White Stag

White Stag takes you into the world of Permafrost and doesn’t let you go. After finishing this first book, I am ready for further stories in the series!
Janneke has spent a century trapped in Permafrost, the land of the goblins. She was 41ZAiYeF48L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_captured after her village was ransacked and forced to serve her goblin master. The only bright side is that she has been removed from her torturous master to serve his nephew Soren. It is while serving Soren she must overcome the greatest turning points in her life. The first is The Hunt which will decide who will be king and if her former master wins, Janneke will suffer horror unthinkably. The second is that she is changing into a goblin. Should she choose this new path or fight to stay with her human roots?
The book covers both points easily intertwining the hunt with Janneke’s own coming of age story. Kara Barbieri created Janneke with complex emotions; she is both badass and vulnerable at the same time. It is hard not to love her character and cheer on her survival. The other characters are more flat though. The villain is typically evil and the goblins and other creatures are nothing short of ruthless. It is the few characters that show vulnerability that truly pull you in and make you care.

The Permafrost is a character unto itself. The Permafrost is more than just a barren wasteland; it full of deadly locations. Creatures, gods, and even humans take advantage of the caves, forests and fire pits during the game of cat and mouse that is The Hunt.

White Stag pulls no punches. The book is steady with only one lag where the internal commentary of her characters could have been spread out. Otherwise, the books move quickly (and possibly too quickly in several places). There is death and destruction everywhere but there is always hope.  Like The Hunger Games, the hunt for the white stag brings 0out the worst in people but also the good.
Overall, White Stag is an explosive start for a new series developing character you care about and a world you are enchanted by.

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

I received an arc through NetGalley; all opinions are my own.

Book Club Review: The Hate U Give

My friends and I participate in a book club with our inaugural book being The Hate U Give. I will be including reviews of the books that we read. These will be mingled with the new book reviews on the site.

The Hate U Give is ripped from the headlines and showcases the actual lives of African Americans and the issues they face.
Starr straddles two worlds: the first is the poor area of town filled with minorities and drug dealers. The second is the rich world of white private school that Starr attends. She has to balance being in both cultures while keeping her lives separate. That all comes crashing down when she sees her black childhood friend gunned down by the police. Starr must find her voice and learn that she is more than just either side of her personality.
I was surprised how close to the central conflict the story stayed. I had expected a sweeping story to set precedent about how this event affected the world and such. But the author skillfully stays with Starr and her family. This is her (and Khalil’s) story. Seeing how it impacted the family and those around them is something that most media representations don’t show. It was enlightening to read about how these events effect on the local community level.
f043712f-4655-4c8a-b60f-fca1e4c6ca9fAngie Thomas has her characters walking a complex line which allows for growth for the character and identification for the reader. Not one person is just one-sided and the majority of the characters show the complexity of true life. This allows anyone reading to identify and appreciate the story. I was able to identify with growing up poor around those with money. This empathy made me even more invested in Starr past the explosive predicaments she
I could never imagine being in that situation and bridging that gap allowed myself (and, I am, sure other races) to start to see more humanism in these characters and these events.
I did have some issues with a few things (such as propagating stereotypes of others when the author is trying to fight those against African Americans), but overall the writing brought you into Starr’s world, let you see through the characters’ eyes and understand their feelings.
I came away from this book with so many question, emotions, and desires to advocate. I suggest everyone one read this book and see a side to an ongoing issue that some many don’t think about. I look forward to seeing what our discussion in book club brings.

Past Tense

I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher movie. But I had not read the books, so I didn’t understand why readers were upset. I thought Tom Cruise being a little guy and kicking ass was cool. But once I read one, I understood: Jack Reacher fans feel the way I feel about The Maze Runner Trilogy.
Past Tense is the latest entry and my first Jack Reacher novel, but I was easily able to jump into the world and the story despite this being 23 books into the series.
Jack Reacher is traveling and sees the sign for Laconia, where his father is from. Reacher decides to stop and dig into his family history. Meanwhile, an unsuspecting couple stops at a motel with a very heavy and secretive suitcase. Their car is having trouble and the people who live there offer to help them. But quickly the couple find theipast-tense-16r “help” is something completely different.
About chapter 20, I really felt that Past Tense had turned into a taffy machine. Lee Child drags the story along stretching out portions of side stories that aren’t needed and detracted from the most interesting story. These side stories pose no real danger or tension bogging down the pacing.
The writing suffers from the same pacing. It feels like Child is getting paid by the word. Just say he closed the browser instead of describing each minuscule step. I only kept reading because I wanted to know what was going on with the couple trapped in the hotel; that was the most interesting thread in the book.
It’s the couple story that seems most central and it’s easy to see how Reacher’s search for his family name intersects with this. This was the story that kept me reading. If I had not been invested in their story (at first, I thought it was going to be a psycho moment but expands into a more intriguing story), I would have just stopped reading.
While I enjoy the thrill of the movies, I truly saw the character by reading the book. I was given new understanding to what fans were seeing. While this book only receives three stars from me, I have enjoyed getting to see the literary side of Jack Reacher.



I received an ARC for review; all opinions are my own.