Friday, December 25, 2020

Feature Friday ARC Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review YA books not yet released.

Release Date: January 5, 2021
Genre: Teen & Young Adult; Fantasy Action; Greek Mythology
Pages: 576
Source: Netgalley ARC

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
BUY LINKS:  The Lit. Bar  Barnes & Noble  |  Amazon



READING TUNE:  Afraid by No Wyld


Bind your fate to mine.


Her mother had once told her that the only way to truly know someone was to fight them.


I was fortunate enough to be gifted a copy of LORE on Netgalley -- thank you Disney Hyperion! LORE is actually the first novel by Katherine Laurin I have finished. I tried to read PASSENGERS and made it at least 2/3 through but had to DNF it (which I RARELY do, like ever but I would love to give it another chance in the future). Nevertheless, LORE was a completely different experience for me, in the best possible way.

I am a big lug for Greek mythology especially retellings. While LORE isn’t a retelling per se it is heavily inspired by badass goddesses and gods of Greek mythology. To add the icing to the cake, LORE's premise also heavily resides around cool ancient fighting tactics while using New York City as its arena for the hunting of gods during the week-long Agon. During the last Agon, seven years ago, Lore's entire family was murdered in their house and her best friend died from cancer. With no one left in the world, Lore was insistent on starting a new life away from all of the death, loss, and glory. To change her fate. 

You may deny the Fates, but they will not deny you.

But on one fateful night, her past catches up with her when a legendary goddess bleeding from a mortal wound tracks her down and seeks her help. And forces Lore to deal with deep wounds and bloodthirsty desires for vengeance. I mean: COME ON! I love the premise of LORE.

For seven days, every seven years, the gods walk on earth as mortals. If you can kill one, you become a new god and take their power and immortality.

Having said that, as much as I enjoyed LORE there some adjustments could have been made to the story. It was a little hard to follow what exactly was going on in relation to making plot connections to the gods & hunters' motives and what they were searching for during the hunt. For example, it took me a bit to figure out Wrath a.k.a False Ares was searching for not one but two mythical items which explained why he was on this homicidal rampage. Also, I couldn’t understand why False Ares wanted these mythical items -- by page 275 I still was lost as to why Ares was on his search. 

It also took me a long while to figure out why goddesses and gods were being punished by Zeus via being cast out of Olympus and thrust into mortal bodies --although they were able to retain their powers--which could be killed by the Houses of mortal hunters. Moreover, I feel like all of the logic and intentions of the Hunters and gods could’ve been clearer because I was pretty much lost for at least the first third of the story -- my understanding of Agon, motives, logic, etc. felt splotchy for a while there.

As for what I enjoyed most about LORE, there are many things. The characters were well-rounded and I connected with many of them. The worldbuilding was fleshed out -- it was the perfect blend of the real world and mythical legends. As a native New Yorker, I also think Bracken captured my city really well, which is always bonus points in my book. 

I loved Bracken's play on the infamous lore of Greek gods and goddesses. But, most importantly readers were given the chance to see those gods in a different light, in an interesting and refreshing new way. As gods and goddesses, they are not required to uphold the same standards mere mortals are. Mortals are defined by their consciousness -- their conscious decisions to do right or wrong--, whereas Greek gods are not so restricted. Gods are not confined by the same moral codes of humanity. So, it was super interesting to see these unfathomable immortal beings of divinity cast into human roles, where they struggled to reconcile their divinity with flesh and blood bodies that could die, became physically fatigued, required sustenance, etc.

“You may be a god,” she told him, relishing the sight of his struggle. “But I’m the Perseides.”

The pacing was the perfect speed for the unfolding of the plot -- fast during the action-packed scenes, lulling but gutting during the emotional scenes. And let us not forget the incredible Plottwist crafted by Bracken, the goddess of Wordery. I will not spoil it here but: DAMN. It was great.

Monsters lived in the shadows. To hunt them, you couldn't be afraid to follow. And the only way to destroy them was to have the sharper teeth and the darker heart.

My favorite thread when I read is generally the romance, and Bracken -- who claims to have difficulty with romance beats -- did not disappoint! The story doesn't have the instalove trope but more of a childhood friends turned enemies (onesided) turned friends turned lovers trope going on I delighted in. I wanted to desperately squeeze and hug Castor while reading LORE. Lore and Castor had great chemistry and the tension in defining their rebuilding a connection make me swoon with its angst and sweetness.

"You confuse me," he said plainly. "It's always been this way. I want to tell you everything, but there's a part of me that's still afraid of seeming weak."

All in all, I had a great time reading LORE  and recommend it to anyone who has a sweet tooth for badass heroines, soft, warrior boyfriends, Greek Mythology, and cool fighting scenes.


LORE PERSEIDES: Suffice it to say Loris character is my favorite archetype of heroine. She is fierce as hell, can fight tooth and nail, surly on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside, and fiercely loyal to her friends. I empathize with her character very much because I understand what it means to have to hide your heart behind hard walls in order to survive.

She slammed a fist against the front of the shield, and the roar that burst from it was deeper than thunder -- it was primordial.
It raged through the air, bellowing through the quiet streets. She struck it again, and again, until her ears rang and she heard the call echo back to her from distant buildings. The power blazed through her. She felt invincible.

CASTOR ACHILLEOUS: Castor is my favorite brand of delicious cinnamon roll boyfriends. Although he grew up in a blood-thirsty world filled with bullying, hatred, murder, and betrayal, and suffering from cancer, he still managed to be sweet, kind, loyal to his friends, and loyal to himself.

“He didn't want to let her down, because she would have lost her training partner and had to leave the program. But more than that, he always wanted to see her. He always wanted to follow her, even if it was right into trouble." 


She had had her family. Her bloodline. Her name. Lore had borne the weight of those responsibilities from the moment she first learned the word Agon. Castor, though -- Castor had been different. It felt as if he had been given to her by the gods, and she to him.


"I accept your apology," he told Iro. "Thank you for helping the Achillides."
Lore blew a piece of hair out of her face. "This is why I always had to hold all of our grudges as kids. You've never had the heart for them."


Alexandra Bracken is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds series and Passenger series. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. After working in publishing for several years, she now writes full time. Her work is available across the world in over 15 languages and has been adapted for the big screen. 

Visit her online at and on Twitter and Instagram @alexbracken.

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 14, 2020

New YA Releases : Week of December 14th

Here are some upcoming releases this week. Release dates sources: 
Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.

Are any of these on your Bookish Wishlist or Pre-Order cart? Which do you look most forward to?

Happy Reading!
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Review: The Beholder by Anna Bright

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date
June 4, 2019
Source: Hardcover


Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.
BUY LINKS: The Lit. Bar    |    Amazon




Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after.


Once upon a time always began on nights like tonight.


Short Review:

Cinderella reimagined and the best of folklore. Reluctant adventures across the high seas. To strange, distant lands far from the home we ache for. To broken, naive hearts and finding the courage to be strong. To the lies told and truths unfolded. To silver-tongues and honest souls.

To Torden, who stole my heart . . .

Long Review:

Talk about a debut novel! THE BEHOLDER was easily one of my favorite reads of 2019. The pacing of THE BEHOLDER flowed well for the unfolding of the story. The writing was enticing and kept me flipping the page. The worldbuilding was magical and drew me into Selah's world. My favorite part of the story where the characters though. They were so well fleshed out, they felt real. When Sleah's stepmother played the role of the evil stepmother and her father played the role of the traitorous father who chose his new wife over this daughter, I felt Selah's hopelessness, then rage on her behalf. 

"Sometimes I'm not sure which is worse," I said. "Nightmares, or the thoughts that come to visit when. wake up alone in the dark."

My one issue with Selah's character: her lack of agency. To the point is was super frustrating. Frustrating, I understand. Super frustrating, no so much. Maybe I was frustrated because I've dealt with trying to regain the controls when dealing with family members in my very immediate personal circle or because the lack of agency was overdone? I don't know. Is self-determination a real-life issue? Of course. Is it plausible that someone with a lack of agency would Selah defy her circumstances and risk everything to go on a dangerous seafaring mission to lead her people? No, that's highly unlikely.

“I couldn't help but wonder, as we rose, how it would have been to grow up raised by a pack of wild animal boys instead of nuns and libraries. Would I be less fragile and anxious if I'd spent my earliest days being teased by brothers, more confident if I'd been conscripted into wrestling matches, taught to fight and race?"

Selah's love life in this book was a rollercoaster. Buttttt... she did meet the love of her life in the only. Torden sweet Torden -- who is reminiscent of a smarter, supportive, more serious Thor.

“It will not be easy, but we could build something good together. Something that would endure.”

All in all, I really enjoyed THE BEHOLDER and so excited to read its sequel, THE BOUNDLESS.


SELAH: It was easy to connect with Selah's character. She was kind and intelligent but also shy and lacked purchase. I saw a lot of myself in her. I truly hope Selah becomes stronger in her self resolve.
“My heart was a lit candle, a forest fire, a burning star.”

TORDEN: Torden stole my heart. He was fierce but sweet. Serious but considerate. And he wholly loved and respected Selah which is much more than I can say about her own father let alone her evil stepmother.

"Any excuse to kiss you, or none," he said, voice husky against my lips. "Christmas or Midsummer, under the mistletoe or at a church altar or somewhere alone in the dark. As long as you are mine, elskede, because I am yours."
His mouth was a bonfire that set my skin aglow. As Torden kissed me, warm and relentless, I wondered if it were possible for two people to fall in real love as quickly as we had thrust or hearts at one another."


"He misses you, too. I know it." ... "I've never seen him happier, lucky bastard. So-serious Torden and the girl of his dreams."

"I was done looking for suitors. Whether or not I'd ever see Torden again, I'd already fallen in love."

“The things we like are different. The things we love are the same.”


Anna Bright is an indie bookseller by day and an author by night who still gets in trouble for reading when she's supposed to be doing other things. When not hiding out among books, she loves concerts, roller coasters, and adventures at home and abroad. Anna lives with her husband and cat in a charming cobblestoned neighborhood in Washington, DC, but you can find her online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @brightlyanna.

***Check out Anna Bright's website for more information about her and THE BEHOLDERHERE

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 7, 2020

New YA Releases : Week of December 7th

Here are some upcoming releases this week. Release dates sources: 
Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.

Are any of these on your Bookish Wishlist or Pre-Order cart? Which do you look most forward to?

Happy Reading!
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Blog Tour: Pretending by Holly Bourne Review & Excerpt

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