Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Review: Empress of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Book #1 of the Empress of A Thousand Skies series
Genre: YA sci-fi, fantasy
Publication: February 2017 by Razorbill
Acquisition: received an ARC as a gift

Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta'an wants vengeance.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, Rhee has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne - and her revenge.

Alyosha is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding - even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee's name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.
(from Goodreads)
3 / 5 Stars

This one was all over the place for me. I loved it, it annoyed me, I loved it again, I wasn't feeling the need to finish it and then I ate up the ending quicker then anything.

What I liked:
The setting -- space! I love YA space stories! Give them all to me!
Ok - and the characters...most of the time.
And the story itself was good...not great but pretty good. The chase was nice - very fast moving with lots of pieces in play. The world was complex and pretty flushed out and the rules were pretty straightforward -- meaning, nothing seemed like a curve ball (which can sometimes happen with books set in space cause anything goes! But it really shouldn't…)
Anyway! I did like the story. Very much.

What I didn't like:
Those rules. Those rules of the world that everyone fit into without straying far into the implausible and crazy. I didn't like them. The system of government was hard to figure out and the...let's call it the movement of people? The transportation logistics were a little off. I had a hard time keeping straight where everyone came from, where they were going and how they got there.
Oh! And the characters - not many of them and they don't fit together really until BAM! Connections!! OOOO! Except, it was predictable. Very predictable. With so few potential players on the board, and loads of foreshadowing, when someone new just pops up? It's pretty easy to figure out who they are.
And then the ending - nope - it didn't work for me at all.

Final thoughts:
I really wanted to love this one and I was disappointed. But! I don't think everyone would be. I would still recommend Empress of A Thousand Skies to YA sci-fi fans and I will be reading book 2 because although I didn't really like how forced the character's connections were, I still have a need to see how everything plays out for them in the end.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Book #1 of the Royal Bastards series
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: May 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
Acquisition: I received an egalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .
(from Goodreads)
4 / 5 Stars

This was a weird read for me. I really felt connected to the characters but the story itself was a little too neat and clean.

What I liked:
The adventure for sure. Lots of running and hiding and thinking quick and putting aside assumptions and unearthing all the secrets and lies.
Also, the character interactions were great. Everyone felt like a solid piece of the story and even when actions were surprising (there are a few twists!) they fell in line with how I viewed everyone so nothing really seemed far fetched or out of the blue.
The romance -- some call it insta love which omg I hate so much but even though it happened quickly...I still really fell for it all.

What I didn't like:
That neatest I mentioned. Don’t get me wrong - the story isn't simple or boring but the way things ended seemed to tidy. A little too many loose ends were tied up and I've heard this is part 1 of a trilogy? I can see where there would be room to explore more of the story but I'm also worried it wouldn't fit well with what we already know? But on the other hand, there is a lot these characters can still do. See what I mean about it being a bit weird for me? Pretty hard to put this one in a nice little box!

Final thoughts:
I really connected with the characters, I loved the setting and the overall story - love the fantasy elements - and even though I would be happy with Royal Bastards being a standalone, I'm still lusting after book 2 so I would say this is a solid start to a hopefully fabulous series.