Prerelease Book Review: River Stone by Rachel Hennessy

The first in a new YA trilogy The Burning Days, River Stone is a different take on the dystopian genre. The world has been destroyed due to misuse of the environment, animals are extinct, land masses have changed, the air is unbreathable in cities, drought has made outer areas unlivable. Then comes The Burning.

mdePeople who survived The Burning have started small tribes away from the cities, hiding and starting new communities with new rules and laws to help them survive.

Pandora’s tribe The River People has survived for close to 20 years, but now a forgotten disease has struck the village and things are going to change.

I really enjoyed this novel, and except for a part in the middle which had me disinterested for a bit, I plowed through 80% of this novel not wanting to put it down.

The River People have a coming of age ritual where the parents pick a partner for their children in order to keep the tribe going. Pandora’s promised was Matthew, not a choice that Pandora was happy with. I didn’t much like Matthew, I thought he was childish, surly and selfish at times. And in the middle of the story he really started to get on my nerves, as did Pandora for a while when she wouldn’t make up her mind about what she wanted. The whole premise of having a person chosen, a promised one, didn’t sit well with me, I got the reasoning behind it, but if there are other tribes around, why not go outside the tribe to find a partner. When Pandora and her friends come across The Mountain people and she meets Bayat, and their connection is instant, I felt this should have been an option. Matthew’s behaviour towards Bayat and his possessiveness towards Pandora, even knowing she didn’t want him really annoyed me to the point I put the novel down for a few days. I am glad I picked it up again, once I got past the really annoying bits, the story picked up again and the action didn’t stop.

Pandora and her friends are tasked with travelling to the city, a place they know nothing about to try to find medicine to cure the people in the tribe. Their adventure starts when they leave their home for the first time. This journey that they begin completely drew me in and I travelled with them along the river into the unknown, not knowing what they would encounter. They meet Bayat and the mountain people on the way, who know much more about what they are going to encounter in the city. Bayat decides that to give them half a chance he will accompany them. The journey to the city, their awe at seeing immense steel structures for the first time was like the wonder I’ve had when I’ve travelled to places with ancient temples, where seeing something is different to having a vague theory of what it is.

Friendships and beliefs are tested and they will learn to rely on their inner strength and each other to keep going and stay alive. Their encounters in the city will change everything, especially for Pandora.

I am really looking forward to book 2 in this new series and seeing where it goes from here.

Available 15th May 2019

Thanks to MidnightSun Publishing for a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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MidnightSun Publishing

Book Bingo round 6 + book review


This week I’m crossing off the Themes of Fantasy square after reading Akanae by Lynette Noni, I’ve been wanting to read this for ages due to another blogger writing about the series, and I was lucky enough to find it in the book exchange on the last mine site I was on.

Akanae is a YA novel, but I enjoyed it a lot and will be reading the rest of the series. When Alex inadvertently steps through a doorway to another place, it’s the beginning of an adventure and new friendships.

I loved the main characters in this, especially Bear and Jordan who befriend Alex straight away on finding her lost in the woods. They are such fun and loyal friends, completely supporting Alex as she comes to terms with being stuck in Medora and all the differences the world has in it. Finding friends like that is so hard to do. Alex comes to terms with her new circumstances much easier than I would, and takes to her new life in Akanae with ease and wonder.

There’s extremely interesting technology in Medora, everyone at Akanae has a gift or talent of some kind that they are at the academy honing and the lessons all sound extremely interesting, though I’m not sure how I’d go in the combat classes.

There’s a mystery surrounding the library at Akanae and a mysterious stranger who I thought was a bad guy immediately. There’s also plenty of mystery surrounding why Alex has arrived in Medora to begin with.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.


Book Review New Release: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry


This book certainly had me on a roller-coaster of an emotional ride. There were times I didn’t think my heart could take much more and I had to put the book down and take a deep breath before I could go on. I said to my coworker that books based on reality aren’t always fun, but that is why they are also important for us to read. Stories like this one, allow us to walk in other people’s shoes, and allow for empathy and understanding of situations that we would otherwise have no knowledge of ourselves.

Katie McGarry has done a great job of portraying Jesse and Scarlett, two teenagers who are broken, both need to heal and they need each other to do the healing. Both come from physically and emotionally abusive homes. They both have mothers who don’t put themselves or their children first, who blame themselves or their children for the abuse the men in their lives inflict, rather than blaming the person doing the abusing.

In this day and age I believe stories like this are very important in letting teenagers who have been through or who are going through these sorts of things, know that they are not alone, that they can seek help, it’s not their fault that someone in their life is abusive. It’s important that they know they can survive, and they deserve more. They learn that its OK to tell someone about the abuse, that it’s not right and it needs to stop being a secret.

I loved Jesse and Scarlett, they were messed up and afraid, but still strong, especially for the other. This is a book about abuse, but also about love and hope and trust. I loved how their relationship grew once they reconnected, how it taught them both things about themselves as well as each other.

Glory was a favourite character, she was quirky and she was so full of love for these young adults who needed her to give them a helping hand in freeing themselves from their emotional prisons as well as their physical ones. Whether she was psychic or not, she definitely had plenty of insight into what they both needed and her interference in their lives was definitely a catalyst for change.

I thought Pastor Hughes was a great character, he had a wonderful way of dealing with these two broken teens who needed someone on their side. Marshall also turned out to be a character I admired, and he definitely showed Jesse how much he could be counted on.

I definitely recommend this novel 4.5⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan – Tor Teen for a copy of this novel.

About this book:  Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart. 

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…