Book Review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Title: Sky in the Deep
Series: Sky in the Deep
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books Release Date: April 24, 2018
Format: eBook
Pages: 352
Source: Library
Rating: ★★★★☆


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

I didn’t even know this book existed until Adrienne Young mentioned it and the second book in the Sky in the Deep series, The Girl the Sea Gave Back, in an Instagram post. I decided to see what she was referring to and I am so glad I did!

This book has a feel to it that is hard to describe. The Gods seem almost like Norse Gods of old, yet they’re clearly not real Norse Gods. The book also has a very Braveheart and Last of the Mohicans feel to me, but that could just be me. I guess it’s the whole clans and being the last of their clans thing that makes me think of those.

I love Eelyn’s character. She’s a warrior, she’s brave, she’s proud. She’s also scared out of her wits, afraid to die, and afraid to love. Her loyalty to her clan, the Aska, runs fierce. But then you see her start to change and grow. It’s something you have to read to believe. She’s a beautiful character.

Fiske is… sorry, he’s a warrior teddy bear. That’s the best way to describe him and it works. He’s gentle with his family and with anyone else he cares for. He’s fierce with his enemies or the enemies of those he loves.

The heartstopping scenes in this book – the battles, the raids, the heartache, the heartbreak. I cried in some places, I cheered in others, and “watched” in horror in other parts of this book. It kept me enthralled and I couldn’t put it down. Definite 4 star read. It would have been 5 stars but I’d liked to have had more time to get to know some of the supporting characters like Inge, Halvard, Iri, and Runa. Maybe in the next book we might get to know them better.

Book Review: No Fences in Alaska by Glen Sobey

Title: No Fences in Alaska
Author: Glen Sobey
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Black Rose Writing Release Date: June 27, 2019
Format: eBook
Pages: 381
Source: Author
Rating: ★★★★★

Their worlds are about to come crashing down…

At sixteen years old, Harper Lyon’s life is spinning out of control. She threatens her parents with suicide unless she can meet her drug-dealing boyfriend, a college student who doesn’t know she’s pregnant. Cooper Lyons, her estranged grandfather, lives in rural Alaska with only his dog and cat for company. He has just been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, and he doesn’t plan on letting the disease run its course. Harper needs to escape her parents and decide what to do about the baby. She and her grandpa are worlds apart, but they may be exactly what the other needs. When Harper calls her grandfather, he welcomes the opportunity to help her and redeem his previous failure with his daughter Heather, who died from a drug overdose years ago.

Can they save each other?

For the love of all that is holy, get a box of tissues before you read this book. I’m not even kidding. You will need them, especially towards the end.

Harper Lyons may not be your “typical” teenager, but I have to say, there were a few girls like her in my high school. Chases the boys, has sex, does drugs, drinks, you name it, she’s probably done it or thought about it. But Harper doesn’t really want to be that way, does she?

This book will hit you right in the feels, if you’ll forgive the expression. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be furious. Glen Sobey writes teenage angst and problems with the best of them. Do all such stories get happy endings? No, sadly they don’t. But you’ll love the ending of this one… mostly.

The way Glen Sobey writes his books, you’d think he has some sort of personal experience with the subject matter. He doesn’t write like he’s just imagining these things, he writes like he’s lived it. Or perhaps like he knows someone who has lived these stories. This was the second novel of his I’ve read and I am determined that I’ll read more of them!

If you don’t find yourself relating to Harper, Gabriel, Cooper, Rachel, Greg, or Natalie, then I don’t know what to tell you. I found ways to related to them all and found ways to connect with all of them. Zachary… let’s just say that’s one part of the story that didn’t make me cry.

You honestly have to read this book. It’s a superb rendering of how the love of a family member, even one you don’t know very well, can lead to redemption. Definitely a 5 star read.

I received a copy of this book free from Glen Sobey in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Book Review: Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Title: Again, but Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books Release Date: May 7, 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 373
Source: Personal Collection
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.

I read this book for Barnes & Noble’s new YA Book Club. I hadn’t even heard of the book and didn’t know who the author was, although once I saw her YouTube channel name, I vaguely recognized who she was. I have to say, I wish she’d gone back and watched some of her own videos when writing this book.

The biggest problem is that the characters don’t grow and develop, they either stay exactly the same or they devolve. The character development was great in the beginning and then just started to fall apart. You’re not only still cringing at Shane in Part 2, you might find yourself cringing even more than you did before. And don’t even get me started on Shane’s parents. I get that there are parents like that in real life, but seriously, Shane’s father is just plain scary at times. Also, in the words of our facilitator tonight… he makes you want to say “choke you” to him.

The plot of the story is great. You start out thinking you’ve got a cool contemporary YA novel and then BOOM, plot twist! The execution of the plot twist itself was awesome, it was just the execution of the rest of the story. Shane is a highly relatable character because you can honestly think of some time in your life when you’ve acted in that type of cringe-worthy manner. Pilot is a great character but we don’t get to know much about him until Part 2. Just try not to face palm when you read his last name for the first time. Babe, Sahra, and Atticus are more or less just there, even though they’re all friends. It’s one of those weird things where the characters just didn’t get the type of development they should have.

I gave the book 3 stars because it’s not horrible, but it’s not great. Would I re-read it? Sure, because there are some seriously funny parts in there. But if I hadn’t already bought it, I’d just check it out from the library. It really wasn’t worth buying the book.