ARC Review: Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

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Release Date: July 31, 2018

It struck her that she might spend the rest of her days like this: trapped in a beautiful room waiting for Serina to return, her own life a footnote. Unremarkable. Invisible. Forgotten. 

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In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

review

4 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

PROS:

  • Headstrong, outspoken, risk-taking women who fight for their sisters and stick up for the women around them. These girls were raised to accept gender stereotypes, to remain uneducated, demure, and submissive. Their whole purpose in life-if they weren’t training to be a Grace-is to work in a factory or be sold off into marriage. They were denied the power of knowledge, of words, of BOOKS. If they were trained to be a Grace, they had to look a specific way, eat enough to have “womanly curves”, speak only when spoken to, and were taught to deny their own opinions, their voice, and do whatever pleases the Heir. 
  • Love between sisters. I’m not sure that I have read any YA that fully captured the beautiful bond between sisters and their willingness to sacrifice themselves to protect one another. Nomi and Serina are opposites. They rarely see eye-to-eye and fight quite a bit, but they love each other with that bone deep, eternal magnitude that pushes them to survive when they are on the verge of giving up just to see each other again. Throughout the story, this feeling only grows and is reinforced through both actions and words. 
  • There is some SERIOUS heat between the couples. I had to stop and fan myself during one…kind of extensive scene. More sensual than sexual, but fire. 
  • Gladiators meet Amazonian women. Ruin Mountain has clans of women who each have their own subculture and are forced to fight to the death for food rations. They’re fierce, crafty, and willing to do whatever it takes despite their horrifying circumstances. 
  • The pacing is great. It flows, sucks you in, and it took me a little over a day to plough through.

CONS:

  • The “plot twist” was fairly predictable. It was so much like another book I read a year or two ago that I called it within the first few chapters. There are shades of The Sin Eater’s Daughter, The Red Queen, and Cruel Beauty.
  • While the world-building is fairly solid, I would have loved to hear more of the back story. The brief moments of history and the folklore were intriguing and those legends, it was like a new brand of mythology meets historical fiction.
  • Nomi’s twin Renzo. There was zero development there are hardly anything about their relationship prior to the Grace selection and yet, Nomi expects him to take life-threatening risks for her? There wasn’t a strong enough foundation or enough for the reader to care/appreciate the risk that was being taken. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

 

ARC Review: Torn Sky-Tracy Banghart

TornSky_585wGoodreads/Amazon

cooltext1889161239 copyThe end is near . . .

When Aris Haan brought down Safara’s biggest war criminal, she’d thought it was a turning point in the war. Victory was on the horizon, as was a peaceful future with her Promised, Milek.

But a deadly new threat has emerged: a Safaran bomb that could wipe out all of Atalanta in one catastrophic blast. Aris is tasked with finding the weapon before it is completed, a mission made more difficult when she starts to suspect that there is a Safaran spy in her unit. Friendships are tested, loyalties are strained, and suddenly Aris no longer knows whom she can trust.

In the epic conclusion to the Rebel Wing series, Atalanta’s fate rests on Aris’s shoulders. Can she find the bomb before it destroys everything—and everyone—she loves?

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Alloy Entertainment

+++Contains triggers: Violence, torture

Torn Sky is an action-packed, anxiety-inducing conclusion to the Rebel Wing series. Full of shocking moments, epic battles, and heartache, Torn Sky is irresistable.

PROS:

  • I didn’t think it was possible to love Aris and Milek more than I already did but they’re incredibly adorable together. The chemistry has evolved into a blissful warmth and complete acceptance of each other. They’re playful and sweet, and a little feisty. Their connection has solidified into a beautiful forever kind of love. 
  • The violence is graphic and sickening, the emotions poignant and occasionally overwhelming. The pain of watching someone you love suffer, it’s excruciating. You can feel every tear, every punch, every slice of the knife deep in your heart. This might be too intense for some readers, hence the trigger warning.
  • Adrenaline is high, edge of your seat, trembling in your boots kind of anxious uncertainty. The future is unstable and the price higher than ever before. From the very first few pages there are surprises around every corner. Some of your favorite characters might not make it to the end. The shock is raw and brutal, scenes move fast and so much happens in a short span of time that the book feels too short.
  • Dysis plays a prominent role. The inner workings of her mind are clear and torn. Despite her pain and suffering, Dysis refuses to be beaten. She’s fierce, loyal, and a total BA heroine. You see a softer, more feminine side coupled with her dominance and it’s heartwarming to experience. Her budding romance is just what I was hoping for after the last book. Everyone deserves a happy ending. Also, crazy hot chemistry.
  • The harrowing effects of PTSD made Pallas’ life more of a waking nightmare than an unstable reality. Pallas is a complex, heartbreaking character.
  • The final fight scene. Seriously, anxiety for days. I was an anxious, terrified mess. Talk about down to the wire.
  • The ending was bittersweet and reminiscent of Les Miserables “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”.

CONS:

  • The POVs flipped so often that I felt like there wasn’t enough of each character. I would have loved more of Aris and Milek together. Or Aris at all. And maybe a masculine perspective. The POVs alternate between Pallas, Aris, Dysis, and Galena. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Happy reading, 

cooltext1915142005 copy

ARC Review: Storm Fall-Tracy Banghart

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Storm Fall (Rebel Wing, #2) by Tracy Banghart

Release Date: December 16, 2014

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In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive.

Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history.

Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war.

Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . . .

cooltext1843013304 copy5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Alloy Entertainment

I’ve been a huge fan of Tracy Banghart’s Rebel Wing series since before it was called that. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Shattered Veil (now Rebel Wing) when it was first released. I fell in love with this elaborate world made of fierce women, worn torn cities ravaged by manipulation and sadistic leaders, and heady romance. Sometimes a sequel can fall flat, especially after such a brilliant start but Storm Fall brought elements to the story that were only blossoming in Rebel Wing and laid the foundation for even more action, devastation and sacrifice to come. I finished reading about 30 minutes ago and I’m already yearning for the next book.

PROS:

  • Aris is a powerful, courageous character. She stands up for herself and her fellow female officers against adversity and harassment. She has an unwavering moral compass but perhaps what is most compelling and inspiring is her regard for human life. Everyone is precious and deserves a chance to breathe the beauty of the world, to laugh and love even when everything is crashing down in a flurry of gunfire, smoke, and torture. Each time  Aris hits the sky, dancing through the air in her wingjet it’s an exhilarating, freeing experience. Her passion, her thirst to save the injured, to save the world from the darkness of corrupt political leaders is a battle much bigger than her but she doesn’t question her path. Aris risks everything for a brighter, peaceful tomorrow and understands that bloodshed in a necessary, traumatic part of that process. The way she remains in control as enemy fire is raining down on her is remarkable. Aris has come so far from who she was in Rebel Wing, her convictions and protectiveness reign supreme and though she’s conflicted when it comes to her heart, Aris always puts Atalanta’s cause above her own.
  • The suspense is killer. There’s a constant foreboding and sickening danger on each mission. There’s no guarantees of life or saving, everything is precarious and even the main characters may fall prey to a wayward gun or precise target. Tracy Banghart doesn’t sugarcoat war. She presents it as bleak, debilitating and made of decisions that are so heart wrenching and hard you’ll question your humanity. Death can come in the blink of an eye or at the hands of vile torturers. Civilian casualties, POWs, and refugees are all depicted with a stark reality. Banghart gives a face and side to both warring nations, highlighting the grey area between good and evil and the fallacy with charging an entire country for the fault of a small group/dictator.
  • The ending. So many feels erupted in an explosion of terror and elation. The ecstatic tension between characters, the terrifying news of what’s to come, and the staggering loss is overwhelming but in a stunning, deeply satisfying way.
  • Recon and battle scenes are vibrant, action-packed and detailed. It’s almost like playing Call of Duty as the scenes unfold.
  • Milek. I thought I loved him before but now, I realize that was respect and a teensy bit of infatuation. This Milek is worthy of the top spot on my book boyfriend list. His hard exterior, the sharp tones, the way he hold himself with such power and strength. So sexy. His confidence and authority are staggering. He’s in control and gives orders like nobody’s business. Yet, he has a playful side. The disciplinary action was hilarious. He wavers between gruff formality and this endearing charm when he lowers his guard. The way he is with Aris…sigh. He worships her. He sees her for exactly who she is, a take charge, incredibly powerful woman who fights through her fears and throws punches. He doesn’t tell her to be anything she’s not, he simply looks on and falls, hanging on her every word, movement, action. It’s a hot, urgent love that will leave you breathless and eager for more of them.
  • Dysis is back and as lively as ever. The girl is reckless, violent, and acts first but she is definitely a force to be reckoned with and the best friend Aris could ever ask for. Her sections were moving. Seeing her internal conflicts, her pain, and the agony, the bittersweet agony is heartbreaking.
  • Calix is a surprise. He’s had moments of epiphany and understanding that have effectively helped him become an amazing man. The boy who got lost in rules and expectations is gone and in his place is someone willing to put everything on the line for a chance at an apology. He steps up and miraculously doesn’t crumble but excels. 

CONS:

  • A broader look at the militaristic events and agreements between the other countries would have been invaluable. The discussion of aid is brief and the reader can’t form a full picture of the state of the world. It looks as though the war is between two forces and the effects of this carnage are small when in reality, everything is in a delicate balance of give and take, safety and sacrifice for each nation.
  • Galena’s sections were too short for my liking. The huge reunion at the end left so much unsaid and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I was out for blood after the nauseating and twisted events in book one.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Happy reading,

cooltext1710822410 copy

 

 

PBA Release Event Blitz: Every Ugly Word-Aimee L. Salter; Imitation-Heather Hildenbrand; Rebel Wing-Tracy Banghart

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Release Day Event

Mark My Words Trio

Alloy Entertainment Launches New Digital-First Imprint with Amazon Publishing Read the Complete Press

Alloy PBA Press Release

This event was hosted by:

Mark My Words Book Publicity

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Book Enthusiast Promotions

Synopsis

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Every Ugly Word_Press Release

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

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9781482761283

Wunderkind PR Imitation Press Release

Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face. Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw-out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?

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Amazon Final

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Wunderkind PR Rebel Wing Press Release

The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality.

Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.

Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.

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Meet the Author

Aimee L. Salter

Aimee L. Salter writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you’re really thinking. And she’ll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn’t ask you about.

Aimee blogs for both writers and readers at http://www.aimeelsalter.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON

Heather

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit http://www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

You can find out more about her and her books at http://www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON

Tracy

Tracy Banghart is a cheesy movie-loving, fantasy football-playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | AMAZON

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All of these books are upcoming reviews on this blog so please check back for those. 
Happy reading, 
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