YA Book Review, Blog Tour and Giveaway: Fate of Flames by Sarah Raugley


fate-of-flames-9781481466776_hrFate of Flames

By: Sarah Raughley

Publication Date:

November 22nd, 2016

Publisher: Simon Pulse

LINKS: Amazon | B&N


Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.

When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.

But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.

Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.

Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.

Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?

About The Author:

s-raughley_credit-photo-melaniegillis-dot-com


Sarah Raughley grew up in Southern Ontario writing stories about freakish little girls with powers because she secretly wanted to be one. She is a huge fangirl of anything from manga to SF/F TV to Japanese Role Playing Games, but she will swear up and down that she was inspired by ~Jane Austin~ at book signings. On top of being a YA Writer, she is currently completing a PhD in English, because the sight of blood makes her queasy (which crossed Medical School off the list).

She is represented by The Bradford Literary Agency.

So far, you can also find her on Twitter, where work ethic goes to die.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Tumblr

 

My Review:

Fate of Flames starts off exciting from the start. The reader is thrown into a world where monsters known as Phantoms are attacking cities all over the world. Only the Effigies can stop them. At any one given time, there can only be four Effigies . Once an Effigy dies, their power and memories are automatically transferred to the next “chosen one”. This is how Maia Finley a regular high school student all of a sudden inherits the power of fire. Maia is not given a choice, and alongside Belle, Chae, and Lake, they must defeat the Phantoms terrorizing the world.

I really love the idea of a super heroines origin story. The fact that they possess elemental powers also really appealed to me, as I have always loved the idea of characters that can control the elements. One thing that bothered me quite a bit about the Effigies is that they always seemed to be squabbling. In a book that should be totally pushing the idea of “GIRL POWER” I really wish the Effigies had a closer bond. Maybe this was just a book 1 type of thing and we see them growing closer in the next book.

Maia is the quietest of the Effigies, but she can make some sassy comments every now and then too. She has been through a lot so far in her life, and I feel she is still growing as a character. I hope the author will continue to develop her in the next book. It’s nice to see that the characters in this story are diverse and come from different backgrounds and cultures. Chae is my favorite because she always seems to do her own thing and speaks her mind. As much as I wanted to like Belle, I did find her a bit stuck up. The fact that Belle uses alcohol as a coping mechanism for dealing with being an Effigy concerned me.

Fates of Flame left me with so many unanswered questions, which really frustrated me. I know everything can’t be revealed in Book 1, but it felt like one of the answers kept being dangled in front of us but yet never revealed for no reason. This drove me insane! I am hopeful that the answers will come in Book 2 and hopefully, as will more detailed explanations about the world building and the Phantoms too.

I am glad that there was no full on romance throughout this book. There is a hint that there could be some romance between Maia and Rhys, but nothing really happens, yet.  I am glad the author decided to not develop their romance just yet, or turn it into Insta-love which is one of my bookish pet peeves. Rhys definitely has some interesting things going on, and I really hope more will be revealed about him in the next book.

Overall, I found Fate of Flames to be entertaining and fast moving. The action scenes really do remind me of the Sailor Moon series. With all this constant action the story does move along fast. However, I really wish the author had developed the world more in the beginning and explained the laws that govern it. More information is given as the book moves forward, but it still left me feeling as if I had just been dropped in the middle of a series and not a Book 1.

Fans of Sailor Moon, Power Rangers and kickass heroines battling large monsters are sure to enjoy Fates of Flame.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Hannah from the Irish Banana Book Tours for the opportunity to participate in this book tour, and for sending me an advance reader’s copy of Fate of Flames in return for an honest review.

Follow the Fate of Flames Tour:

Enter the Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win 1 of 3

Finished Copies of Fate of Flames

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Things I am Thankful For

 

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week we are given a new topic prompt to inspire our bookish lists. This week’s topic lands just before Thanksgiving, so what better way to celebrate than talking about all the people and things you are thankful for? Here is my list of everyone and everything I am thankful for:

 

My Husband

I am so very thankful for my loving husband. He respects and believes in me, and always finds a way to make me smile. He is my best friend and I know I can always count on his support, no matter what.

 

My Family

Though they sometimes drive me completely bonkers, I know that I can always count on them to be there for me in my hour of need. My family always makes me laugh, and I am so lucky to have them.

 

My Friends

I am so lucky to have a good group of friends that I know I can completely 110% count on. It might not be a huge group, but I know that they are quality friends who won’t judge, or belittle me.

 

My Freedom

There are many people who for a variety of reasons are not free to do so many things. Even basic stuff like have the right to choose what to do with their lives, or who they marry…even in 2016. I am so grateful for the freedom I have.

 

My Right to Think For Myself

In many countries, women are still considered objects a man can possess, force to keep quiet or to think for themselves. I am thankful that I can think for myself, and for my right to speak my mind openly.

 

My Common Sense

Every day I encounter people that sadly have ZERO common sense for the most basic of things. I am grateful, that I have common sense in an abundance, as well as wit and street smarts.

 

My Home

My husband and I purchased our home just over three years ago. Though we are still in a constant state of repairing and improving it, at least it is OURS. We love our home, and the lovely town we live in.

 

My Books and Libraries

Books are a constant in my life. They were always there for me as a way to escape into. Libraries are sacred places to me, and I consider them almost like second homes I visit. Books have always helped me deal with my struggles and for that, I am very grateful.

 

Quiet Moments

I love having quiet moments when I can just sit back and relax. Maybe read, or craft. A time where I am not thinking about all the “stuff” that needs to get done, and worrying about anything. Moments like these are precious and I am so very thankful for them.

 

Memories

Memories are precious gifts and not everyone has the ability to retain memories or lose them due to old age. I am grateful that I have a good memory and have had plenty of life experiences to fill my memory jars with.

 

What are some of the things you are thankful for? Please share with me your comments below and remember to leave me your links too.

Signature

Blog Tour, Special Announcement and Giveaway: I Hope You Forgive Me with Liza Wiemer

Welcome readers and fellow book lovers!

It gives me great pleasure present to you all today some very special news from one of the loveliest and strongest women I know. Many of you might already know Liza Wiemer, either through her blog, Twitter, book events, or because she is the author of HELLO? (one of my favorite books of all time…so powerful! See my review for Hello? here).

 

I met Liza at BookExpo America in 2015 and since then we have become friends. Liza is the type of person that radiates with positive light and energy. She is constantly trying to find ways to bring people together and to give strength to the voices of teens everywhere. Her novel HELLO? brings to light the importance of how one simple phone call or “hello” can change a life. Liza is now embarking on a completely original project and is launching this new initiative this week called I HOPE YOU FORGIVE ME

ihyfm-logo-horizontal

IHYFM is a revolutionary website that asks teens and adults to anonymously share moments from their teen years they wish they could ask forgiveness for but have never had the courage to. Until now.

During your teen years…
Who hasn’t done something stupid? Thoughtless? Rude? Cruel? Mean?
Who hasn’t made mistakes? Done things they regret?
Who hasn’t been afraid to ask forgiveness, but instead chose silence?
Who hasn’t wished they had said, “I’m sorry,” but now it’s too late? 

It’s not.

I HOPE YOU FORGIVE ME is the opportunity to share your burden. To admit what you’ve done. Anonymously. So that teens can learn from your experience.
Let’s make a difference. Together.

All stories shared are anonymous – no telling details save for details you provide are shared publicly. The goal is the bring people together and help today’s teens realize they are not alone by reading the experiences of others.”

 

Learn more about IHYFM:

Webpage: http://ihopeyouforgiv eme.com

Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/ ihopeyouforgiveme

Twitter: https://twitter.com/i hopeuforgiveme/

Instagram: https://www.instagr am.com/ihopeuforgiveme/

YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com /watch?v=bl8lBJ7nsww

Facebook video—when you post on Facebook, please use this one so that we can keep track of the views: https://www.facebook.co m/ihopeyouforgiveme/videos/125 7224227664923/

 

GIVEAWAY: 3 – $25 Amazon Gift Cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 When I found out about I Hope You Forgive Me last week I wanted to go out and announce it from the rooftops. I hope you will consider submitting your own story or at least spreading the word about this incredible venture.

Signature

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Favorite Movies

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week we are given a new topic prompt to inspire our bookish lists. This week’s topic is taking a break from bookish things and instead asks us to share our favorite movies.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

I love the animated version of this movie. I already know I am going to fall head over heals in love with the live action version. This story has been my favorite fairy tale of all time since I can remember. Is it March 2017 yet?


interview-with-the-vampire

Interview with the Vampire

This movie = Lavish costumes, fangs…and Brad Pitt…::swoon::


marie-a

Marie Antoinette

This movie was visually stunning…from the costumes to the views of Versailles and the music. I also thing Kirsten Dunst did a fantastic job as Marie Antoinette.


dangerous

Dangerous Liaisons

Glenn Close was fabulous and fierce in this movie. The costumes made me drool and the sets are gorgeous.


bright-star

Bright Star

This movie makes me cry every time I watch it. It is delicate and heartbreaking. I loved the way it was shot and the beautiful natural scenery throughout the movie.


barry

Barry Lyndon

One of Kubrick’s finest movie I believe. Everything from the costumes, sets, and the lighting in this movie is perfect. It’s a masterpiece.


princess-bride

The Princess Bride

This movie will always make me smile and laugh and feel better after a bad day. I loved the wit and of course, I wanted a farm boy of my own to tell me “as you wish”.


hp

Harry Potter Series (especially movie 1)

The scene where we see the Great Hall for the first time is what made me fall in love with this series. I only watched for about 5 minutes before I decided I NEEDED to read all the books that were already out before I could even think about watching the movies. This movie brought me Hogwarts, it also opened the pathways to my discovery of the books and the many friends I have made because of them.


stardust

Stardust

This was the first movie based on a Neil Gaiman novel that I ever watched. The parts with Robert De Niro are some of the best. At the time I was reading Coraline and I was just starting to fall in love with Neil Gaiman’s writing. Watching the movie and then reading the novel (as well as finishing Coraline) sealed my love for everything Neil Gaiman.


stoker

Stoker

Not one that many have seen out there. I loved how this movie was shot, the visuals and the music all worked together very well. It was strange, weird and suspenseful and I loved it.


What are some of your favorite movies? Are any of them on my list? Share with me your comments below, and remember to leave me your own links if you participate in TTT.

Signature

YA Fiction Book Review: Transcendent by Katelyn Detweiler

YA Fiction Book Review: Transcendent by Katelyn DetweilerTranscendent by Katelyn Detweiler
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on October 4th 2016
Pages: 448
Goodreads

A beautiful work of magical realism, a story about a girl in the real world who is called upon to be a hero.  When terrorists bomb Disney World, seventeen-year-old Iris Spero is as horrified as anyone else. Then a stranger shows up on her stoop in Brooklyn, revealing a secret about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Iris’s birth, and throwing her entire identity into question. Everything she thought she knew about her parents, and about herself, is a lie.   Suddenly, the press is confronting Iris with the wild notion that she might be “special.” More than just special: she could be the miracle the world now so desperately needs. Families all across the grieving nation are pinning their hopes on Iris like she is some kind of saint or savior. She’s no longer sure whom she can trust—except for Zane, a homeless boy who long ago abandoned any kind of hope. She knows she can’t possibly be the glorified person everyone wants her to be… but she also can’t go back to being safe and anonymous. When nobody knows her but they all want a piece of her, who is Iris Spero now? And how can she—one teenage girl—possibly heal a broken world?

 

Transcendent is a story about belief. Iris is the 17yr old daughter of Mina (who immaculately conceives Iris, but no one believes Mina’s story). The premise of the story takes place a month after a bombing occurs at Disney World. Like everyone else around her, Iris is trying to sort out her feelings regarding these traumatic events. One day a stranger comes to her door and pleads for her mother’s “miracle” child to cure his dying daughter. Now all of a sudden Iris’s “normal” life is turned upside down as she learns the truth about herself.

To some, the “virgin birth” of Iris might conjure up the idea that this is a religious book. But that is not the case with this story. Transcendent isn’t set around one specific religion. Instead, it is about the idea and concept of belief. What it means to believe and how believing in something or someone can inspire hope in darker times. Which is why after the tragic events that occur in this book, people are so willing to believe that Iris is a “miracle”. They need something or someone to give them hope and they see Iris as that hope.

With the expectations of the world on her shoulder, it is no wonder that Iris flees her home once she discovers the truth from her parents. Frightened and looking for a way to cope with these sudden revelations she ends up at a homeless shelter. While she processes her feelings, Iris befriends siblings Zane and Zoey. Iris knows she is no “savior” or healer, but together with the help of her family and her new friends she finds the courage to use her musical talent and persuasive ability to heal people’s internal suffering rather than their external pain.

Transcendent is well written though it did lag a bit in a few places. The author did a great job creating a realistic and plausible story. However, the ending felt rushed. I think Transcendent is more of a general YA fiction instead of magical realism. Though there are some hints to magical realism, they did not feel strong enough (for me at least).

I did like Iris and I felt protective of her. She wasn’t perfect which made her a relatable heroine. After all, which of us at age 17 would be willing to self-sacrifice for the good of the world? To take on the challenges of making everything better for millions of people? Who just like Iris would not feel overwhelmed and lost? The friendship sparked between Iris with Zane and Zoey made good additions to the story. It helped us see Iris reach out and touch the lives of other children her own age, and brought emotional depth to the characters.

While it is not the story I was expecting, Transcendent did surprise me. The author did a fantastic job keeping her story from becoming overly preachy. Transcendent is about finding the strength to believe in yourself. It teaches us to find our own happiness and to help others who are struggling find it too. It is also about how we should focus on love and acceptance over resentment and hate. Overall, Transcendent is about finding the everyday miracles in each other  and in every moment of our lives.

I would like to thank Viking books for Young Readers and Leah at PressshopPR for providing me with a finished copy of Transcendent in return for an honest review.