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Book Review: A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge


~ Buy through the links below ~ – A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge – A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge – A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge – A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, ABRAMS Kids, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Plot: In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare—wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear—at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell’s expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .


WHEW! Listen up guys, because this is one book that NEEDS to be noted and fawned over.

“It draws you in. You twist your mind into new shapes. You start to understand Caverna…and you fall in love with her. Imagine the most beautiful woman in the world, but with tunnels as her long, tangled, snake-like hair. Her skin is dappled in traplantern gold and velvety black, like a tropical frog. Her eyes are cavern lagoons, bottomless and full of hunger. When she smiles, she has diamonds and sapphires for teeth, thousands of them, needle-thin.”

-The Kleptomancer, A Face Like Glass

Neverfell’s story begins at the young age of five, when she is found by Cheesemaker Grandible after falling into a vat of his curdling Neverfell milk. After rescuing her and taking one look at the young girl, Grandible notices the differences in the young child, covers her face with a mask, takes her in and appoints her as his apprentice. After some seven years later, Neverfell is accustomed to her life as a cheesemaker. But unable to remove her mask around other people or to leave the cheese tunnels, she finds herself fighting a curiosity about what lays beyond. Soon Neverfell’s opportunity to leave the tunnels presents itself, and she gets her first look at the world that she has been hidden from. But her freedom is short lived when her mask falls from her face, and what lies beneath is shown to the people of Caverna. Neverfell, unlike the residents of Caverna, is able to make expressions on her own without having to be taught. As word travels of Neverfell, she becomes sold to the highest bidder. Caverna is flushed with experts in dangerous and strange delicacies, and murder is just another game for the members of the court. Pushed into a world where Neverfell finds trust in the wrong people, she struggles to find a way to protect herself and to recover the memories that she feels may be lost forever. But most importantly, to find a way out of Caverna.

Caverna. Woah. This place is seriously vicious guys. Do you remember reading The Hunger Games and being introduced to the strange people in the capitol? These people were insane and followed bizarre fashion trends that made them both appealing and frightening. Trust me when I say, the capitol has NOTHING on the court in Caverna. These people are PSYCHOTIC. They create wines that have minds and temperaments of their own, cheeses that can explode upon a slight bump, and strange foods that have creatures trapped inside gelatin. Not only do they spend all of their free time trying to poison rival families or hire assassins, but they are unable to make facial expressions on their own. The higher up in society and the better-off you are, the more “Faces” you are able to buy for yourself. People of a lower faction usually are unable to have 1 to 3 faces, depending on their job titles.

How to prepare the perfect Cardlespray Wine:

“One hundred and three years…The grapes spoil if they are exposed to loud noises, so they are tended by a silent order of monks, and all the local birds are killed. The fruit can be harvested only at night during the new moon, and must be crushed by the feet of orphans. The barrels are stored deep in the earth, and only the softest, sweetest music is played to them, continually, for over a century. And after all this, the Wine is fit to be drunk…unless somebody throws it over a table.”

-The Grand Steward, A Face Like Glass

Neverfell finds herself caught right in the middle of the chaos that is Caverna. The people of the court are all trying to get her hands on her for personal benefit, she cannot remember her past, and there is a strange person labeled “the Kleptomancer” running around Caverna stealing incredible objects with no apparent motive. I felt so horrible for young Neverfell throughout this story, and it was honestly staring to feel like something out of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Her innocence started to become her downfall, and it was heartbreaking to see her trust in so many people that proved to be using her in a game much larger than her. Her character grows a great deal in this story however, and I really enjoyed who she becomes. She still has her morals and good intentions, but acquires a cunning and righteous personality by the end of the story. Not only does Neverfell work to help herself be free of Caverna, but she fights to free those who have no voice at all.

The writing in this story is AMAZING, and I can’t wait to start reading other books by Frances Hardinge. She writes with an amazing creative and descriptive style, and it almost feels like poetry after a while. She PERFECTLY set the scene for Caverna as being a dark and curious place, one that can both thrill and kill a person. I thought the entire idea for having a civilization underground was amazing, but one where the characters aren’t able to make their own facial expressions? GENIUS! I seriously couldn’t get enough of this story, and I am wishing it was a full-blown 20 book series. This is one of those stories you wish would make it to the big screen because of how dazzling it looks in your head, but one you fear they will completely ruin…like they usually do.

All in all, I LOVE this story! I have nothing negative to say, not one thing. I can’t help but give this book 5 stars, which I hope will lead to many of you going and purchasing this story RIGHT AWAY. It is the perfect amount of fantasy and science-fiction, and a great read that will twist your mind into two. This book is suitable for all ages, but the youngest I would say is Teens because the writing could get a little confusing for a younger audience.



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Book Review: Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton


~ Buy through the links below ~ – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton – Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Diversion Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Teen/YA/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been able to see countdown clocks over everyone’s heads indicating how long before they will die. She can’t do anything about anyone else’s, nor can she do anything about her own, which will hit the zero hour before she even graduates high school.

A life cut short is tragic, but Ivy does her best to make the most of it. She struggles emotionally with her deep love for on-again, off-again boyfriend Myers Patripski. She struggles financially, working outside of school to help her mom and her sister. And she struggles to cope with the murder of her best friend, another life she couldn’t save. Vanessa Donovan was murdered in the woods, and everyone in town believes Ivy had something to do with it.

Then more girls start disappearing. Ivy tries to put her own life in order as she pieces together the truth of who ended Vanessa’s. To save lives, and for her own sanity.

The clock is always ticking. And Ivy’s only hope is to expose the truth before it runs out completely.



You are probably thinking to yourself Wow, WHAT about this book. WELL, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS BOOK! I have been searching high and low for a specific genre of story to read for WEEKS now. A story that will make my heart hurt and my stomach flip due to eloquent and depressing sentences. You know the kind of story I am talking about. The sort of tale that doesn’t just make you sorrowful, but a story that makes you MAKE yourself sorrowful because you don’t want to stop feeling what the characters feel.

Well, this story comes pretty close to that.

Call it a gift or a curse, but ever since Ivy was a child she knew when the people around her were going to die. The ability to see a countdown of each person’s remaining time over their heads has proved to be most difficult for Ivy, especially when her own death has been approaching quickly over the past few months. After the murder of her best friend, Ivy falls into a downward spiral as she realizes that she can’t save the people she loves. But the need to find out the truth about what happened begins to consume her, and soon Ivy finds herself on the trail to figuring out who the murderer is. As Ivy’s last weeks begin to draw near, she fights to live her final days instead of just watching them tick by.

I can’t express enough how much I loved the concept for this story. Ivy is forced to watch the people around her die as their life clock comes to an end, while feeling helpless the entire time because she has no way to save them. I felt like I had a truly strong connection to this character. She is a loner at school and made to feel like an outcast because of events from her past, but she has a snarky attitude and is quick to fire off amazing zingers. When first introduced to Ivy, the reader quickly learns that there is a sense that she has already given up in life. With the death of her best friend being so recent and her own clock only being a few months before ending, Ivy has an overwhelming sense of despair and sorrow engulfing her. She has nobody close to her that she can talk to, and her family is very distant and wrapped up in their own lives.

As the story progresses, Ivy starts to become obsessed with finding out who killed her friend and why. In regards to the mystery aspect of this story, I was pretty surprised to figure out who it was. I had about one or two main suspects that I thought had definitely done it, but I was pleasantly surprised to have been wrong. The point where this story starts to get truly heart wrenching, apart from the already depressing events, is when the reader learns about Myers. Myers is the ex-boyfriend of Ivy, and let’s just say that relationship ended horribly on a night when everything else shattered Ivy’s world. I found that this author EXCELS when she is describing a sorrowful or dark moment. Not many authors know how to capture a feeling in words, and I thought Kelsey Sutton did a great job of it. This story is riddled with amazing descriptions of sadness and regret, and I adored every single minute of it.

Even after he’s gone I let my fingers linger on the glass, until the cold creeps under my skin and into my bones. Maybe if it goes deep enough, it will numb everything.

As numb as death.”


Overall, this was a TRULY wonderful read. I was hooked the entire time and felt connected to the characters and the story throughout the read. I am excited to see what else this author has done. If her writing is as good as this in all of her stories, then she is going to become a favorite of mine quickly. I recommend his to all ages, but primarily Teen and YA readers. It has a strong message of finding acceptance and living your life to the fullest, which I think anyone can relate to.



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Book Review: Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson


~ Buy through the links below ~ – Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson – Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson – Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson – Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, Clarion Books, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: Romance, intrigue, and plenty of action are woven into a rich and suspenseful narrative in this powerful YA fantasy. The mixed-race heroine Myra is a Flickerkin and can flicker (become invisible) at will. She hasn’t cultivated or revealed this ability, since Flickerkin are persecuted as potential criminals and spies. When invisible people become tricksters and then murderers, Myra’s Flickerkin heritage becomes a deadly secret, putting her relationship with the leader’s son—and her own life—in jeopardy. Loyalties shift and difficult choices are made before Myra understands who she wants to be.

Opinion: Oh hello, HELLO first review of 2017! Let’s start the year out with a nice review of a wonderful YA Fantasy story, complete with prejudices of people who can turn invisible and a world where segregation is number 1! WHEW! Positivity!

Having the Ability should have been fun, in another world, a child who could become invisible might play pranks on her parents, might sneak around with friends, might go ride the beasts in the dead of night. In another world, the Ability might have brought freedom and joy. But I was born in another world, I was born in the Upland, where the Ability was used as a weapon of war.

Myra, Flicker and Mist

One night after waking from a terrible nightmare at the age of 5, unable to see herself or be seen by her family, Myra learns that she can Flicker. Years before her existence, Myra learns of a race called Flicker Men had come to the island of Upland and bred with the Lefties who reside in the Left Eye; which in turn created a sub-race called the Flickerkin. Once a war began and the Flicker Men fled, this new sub-race of the Flicker Men discovered that they had inherited the gift of being able to become invisible, or as they call it “flicker”. From then on Lefties (pale, short and curvaceous) and Flickerkin are put into the Left Eye to be “contained”, while the Plats (dark skinned, tall and thin) are to live in New Heart City as the dominant race. For a Leftie to enter New Heart City, they are subjected to taking a painful test to ensure that they do not have the Ability. Somehow, Myra’s mother was able to enter New Heart City even though she is Flickerkin. With the threat of being thrown to the Waters for judgment, Myra is forced to never flicker again. Now much older, Myra and her fellow residents of New Heart City discover a threat of Flickerkin among them. Myra must fight to keep her secret hidden, and fight to protect those around her.

I was very VERY excited to be approved for this read via Netgalley (thanks Calrion Books), mostly because I have always had a dire yearning to possess the superpower of invisibility. *Sigh*…the thought of it makes my toes tingle with giddiness! ANYWAYS, this story is stuffed and gorged with tons of interesting elements to pull any reader in. Fantasy and romance, adventure and unruly segregation…it’s all here! I was so intrigued by the world that this author created, and I loved the positive and negative elements that made up the island of Upland. The history of the Flicker Men coming to the Island was touched on, but I would have enjoyed a better understanding of who these people were. I think some flashbacks or stories about the past would have been beneficial to the story, and would have given the race of Flickerkin more depth. The elements of Plats riding beasts in a competition against others was really interesting, and I would have LOVED to have read more and more about this. Thought the reader is given a few scenes where the plats and beasts are battling it out in a race, again…I need more background and history about the competition and the importance of it.

The characters fell a little flat for me, especially that of Myra. As our main strong female lead, I needed more personality and character from her…well…character. I didn’t connect with Myra as strongly as I would have liked, especially in a story that has such a creative world as this. She felt very one-dimensional to me. Developed, but not developed in a way where there would have been tears coming down my face if her or someone she loved perished in front of her. If I am reading a story that is written in 1st person point-of-view, then I want to feel like I am inside that character’s head and seeing things through their eyes. I need to know this character as if I AM them, not as if I am looking at them and observing them.

Though I think the author could have taken this creative world a step further, I think this story still turned out to be highly enjoyable. It seems that if a fantasy story isn’t as detailed and elaborate as one like Throne of Glass or Lord of the Rings, then readers seem to push it away and deem it incomplete. I actually really enjoyed this story and what the author offered, because sometimes a book that doesn’t go on and on in detail is a nice change. I recommend this to any of you YA/Fantasy lovers out there. It is something DIFFERENT and entertaining, which is what we are all looking for anyways right? Though I have my qualms with not getting enough background on some things, it is still a book that you can get lost it and love.

3 Stars


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New Book Release! HALYCON by Demelza Carlton

HALCYON by Demelza Carlton


Available on Amazon, and  Free with Kindle Unlimited:


A Lone Planet. One Complex.

Unlimited Chaos.

Catch a siren. Stop the storm. Whatever the cost.

Allie, sick of war and grief, signed up as a lowly maintenance worker for the Complex in the hope of securing a lasting peace between the Metas and Humans. However, the girl has her own secrets, not least of which is her assignment from the Lorn government to monitor the Complex for signs of a suspected saboteur.

Galen, the only survivor of the Poseidon shipwreck, didn’t join the Complex for peace. He wants vengeance on the siren Halcyon, the mysterious Mer whose terrorist tactics single-handedly killed more humans than any other Meta. His sources say that Halcyon is on Lorn, and he’ll happily kill every Mer in the Complex until his parents’ murderer is dead.

Can they catch the terrorist before the Complex is destroyed?


The Complex Book Series:

A Lone Planet. One Complex.

Unlimited Chaos.

After a brutal war between Humans and Metas an uneasy truce is declared in the Seldova solar system. At the conclusion of the treaty signing, the Complex is created on the lone planet, Lorn. The Complex is a blended community of Humans and Metas, all sent to test the waters of a more peaceful existence between the two races. Living under a domed community can only mean one thing for the Humans and Metas. Chaos.


A taste of what’s in store:

Galen unclenched his fists and stepped out of the cab. It zoomed away, leaving him alone in the corridor outside his door. Outside what would be home for the next two years.

Galen took a deep breath, palmed open the door, and stepped inside.

Only to discover the apartment was already occupied.

“…I repeat, restrict temperatures within all living spaces to a lower limit of two…no, make it five degrees above the freezing point of water. Anyone who wants lower temperatures than that will have to apply to Maintenance and only if appropriate insulation is fitted to all the apartment’s pipework will it be allowed,” the woman said. A floor-cleaning robot hummed around her feet, siphoning water off the floor.

An electronic voice protested, “You do not have authorisation to impose controls on all living spaces, or this one. Resident number – “

“Space that!” the woman snapped. “My authorisation is ALI-407102 Maintenance override. Stick that up your circuits and do as you’re told.”

Galen liked her already.

“Processing,” the recorded voice replied. “Authorisation confirmed. Any further orders?”

“Give me a damage report. How many apartments are affected by the burst pipes?”

A pause, then the electronic voice said, “Just those on this side of the inner ring of this level. No other apartments had sub-zero temperatures for an extended period.”

The woman sighed, her shoulders relaxing along with her voice. “Good. I want temperatures matched to those in 407 until the ice has melted in all affected apartments, and I want floor cleaning robots activated in all of them. Get me every Maintenance worker we have in the Complex, and a load of replacement pipes. This is urgent.”

“Implementing orders now,” the voice said.

As if on command, Galen’s communications device sounded an alert.

The woman whirled around, so her surprised eyes met his. She wasn’t more than a girl, really, despite her authoritative orders to the building management AI. Yet her dark eyes seemed to x-ray his soul, if he believed in such a thing.

Galen tried to shake off the effect of her hypnotic stare. Did that make her a Meta like the Intra at the entrance? “How many apartments have burst pipes?”

Her eyes widened for a moment. “Enough to keep me busy all day. Some idiot set these rooms to temperatures below freezing, without realising that some other idiot had forgotten to insulate the water pipes against freezing. Probably someone who’d never seen snow before, or what ice can do to pipes. My money’s on a stupid ship-born Meta.” Her brows drew so low they nearly met over the bridge of her nose.

Hating Metas made her Human, then. Just a really pretty one. Galen blew out a breath he hadn’t known he was holding. Human and his type and here. Whoever she was, he wanted her.

“Aren’t we supposed to be trying to get along?” Galen said. “You know, us and the Metas, now the war’s over?”

The girl snorted. “Oh, sure. The war’s over and we live under a peace treaty, so we’re not supposed to kill each other, but there was nothing in the treaty about banning stupidity. So I guess we’ll just have to live with that.”

Galen laughed. She wasn’t stupid, that was for sure. “I’m Galen,” he said, extending a hand in greeting. “I’m supposed to be the environmental engineer responsible for the Complex, and while I don’t think I’ve officially started work yet, I think your AI just conscripted me.” He pointed at his right hand, which hid the chip implant that held his communication device. “I’ve changed a few pipes in my time. I did my apprenticeship on shipboard environmental systems. Nothing as state of the art as this place. Our ship was falling apart, cobbled together from spare parts and scrap metal in the first place. You’d replace one thing, only to find something else had fallen off while you were working. I can handle pipe replacements.”

Her cool fingers meshed with his as she shook his hand. Her eyes lit up. “So you’re the genius engineer Lennox told me about. I thought you’d be older.” Her mischievous grin did things to Galen’s insides.

“I’m twenty-four, and I’ve been working as an engineer for a decade. Plenty old enough to know what I’m doing,” Galen snapped to hide the tumult inside. She couldn’t be any older than he was. In fact, she looked younger. And she was a Maintenance worker, which made her his subordinate. “How many apartments need replacement pipes?” he repeated.

The girl lifted her eyes to the ceiling. “Answer him.”

“Fifty-two, not including the two already repaired,” the electronic voice said.

“Twenty-six each, then,” the girl said. She flashed another impish grin. “How fast can you fix pipes, genius? Want to wager something on it? Loser has to make the winner dinner.”

How had she known he’d wanted to ask her to dinner? Galen shook his head. She hadn’t. “You’re on. One condition, though.”

She raised her eyebrows, waving for him to continue.

“Tell me your name.”

She let out a peal of laughter. “Sure thing, Galen. I’m Allie, and it’s good to have you on board. Genius or not, anyone who can fix pipes is a good man in my book.” Allie winked. “I’ll go left, and you go right. I already fixed the pipes in your next door neighbours’ place. A wolverine shifter family. Good thing the ventilation’s still working well.”

Galen watched her head down the corridor, unable to take his eyes off her.

Allie glanced over her shoulder. “Staring at my arse won’t win you your wager, genius. Nor will it get you any closer to getting your hands on it.”

Feeling his face grow hot, Galen turned away, but not before he heard her laughter ring out down the corridor. He had to win this wager, he swore. His reputation depended on it.

And maybe more besides, he thought, envisioning what she looked like without her standard-issue coverall. One day he wanted to find out how well fantasy matched the reality.