ARC Review: Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of Outrun the Wind.

Release date: November 27, 2018

Publisher: Flux

Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult

Premise: The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

Thoughts + Feelings: As a reader who knows very little (okay nothing) about Greek Mythology, I found the beginning part of this book to be challenging as I felt that I needed to know a lot of background information. I took it upon myself to do a bit of basic research into mythology to at least try to better understand the characters and where they came from. As a new reader into this topic, I wasn’t sure if these were pre-established characters from former pieces OR if they were brand-spanking new into the Greek world. As it turns out, Elizabeth Tammi writes an authors note in the end of the novel explaining many of the first and last questions that I had about a fantasy Greek mythological novel (how exciting!!)

Other than the beginning frustration of not knowing enough about Greek mythology to grasp the book, I really enjoyed the story of Atalanta and Kahina. The writing style was easy-going, but sometimes a challenge to follow. In the beginning there was a huge distinction between characters voices; however, somewhere around the middle Kahina and Atalanta’s voices started to become intertwined and I had to flip back several pages to figure out who was speaking. It’s a possibility that this was on purpose, but nonetheless it happened.

I loved the bad-ass driven women of Outrun the Wind. In a male dominated world, these characters are so strong and distinguished. There is Artemis, Atalanta, Kahina, Isidora and Nikoleta. They’re powerful and honest – they create this feeling of sisterhood. Each is special and unique in their own way and as the reader you root for them to succeed.

“But nobody can beat fate – not even her. Nobody can outrun the wind.”

While the female/female romance is in the book, it is not an overwhelming feature. There is a fair share of friendships, trust, love and honesty throughout Outrun the Wind.

This is Elizabeth Tammi’s debut novel and I am hooked as a fan. Due to her crafty writing, I will be delving more into the fantasy novel world and I look forward to seeing what she publishes next.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Release date: June 7, 2011

Publisher: Quirk

Genre: Fiction / Young Adult

Premise: As a child, Jacob’s grandfather would show him a collection of fascinating photographs. Because they looked falsified, Jacob always took it with a grain of salt and believed that they were pretend. When Jacob witnesses the death of his grandfather in a mysterious way, Jacob sets off on an adventure to find the truth behind his grandfather’s last words. On a remote island off the coast of Wales, Jacob finds  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and an entire world he never knew existed.

Thoughts + Feelings: Prior to beginning  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children the only other time I had heard of it was when the movie was released in 2016. The cover of the novel always threw me off because I was expecting a YA horror novel, not the magic that I found inside the pages.

Looking back at the quotes from the book that I highlighted for safe-keeping, it almost seems that this book wasn’t written for the enjoyment of the young adult readers, but rather individuals in their 20s who can feel these quotes in their souls.

“This nightly assault had became such a regular part of their lives that they’d ceased to think of it as something terrifying…”

“Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we were alone?”

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”

I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in one sitting on the airplane back from Dublin. I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to be a part of the universe of peculiar people — honestly, I already feel like I am a part of the universe. The biggest thing to takeaway from this book is realize how special each of our lives are. You may not think your life is extraordinary, but the world you live in is extraordinary and therefore by being in it, you are more than ordinary – you are special.

I can’t wait to read the second book in the trilogy!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Recommend? If you loved Harry Potter, this is another series for you! Even though its written in a different style and the peculiarities are not magic, you’ll find yourself falling in love with the story and the characters.

ARC Review: School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

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Well this was supposed to be an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC). But I’ve been really bad at staying on top of getting them read. So this was published a couple weeks ago, but I still wanted to read it. And I am so glad that I did.

Release date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Simon Schuster

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult

Premise: Theodore (Teddy) Cannon seems like your regular twenty-something year old woman. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, Teddy makes some questionable choices. She’s witty, bright and loves to gamble. She’s a daughter, an ex-student and what she doesn’t realize… Teddy is also a psychic.

From the synopses – When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

Thoughts + Feelings: I didn’t want to love School for Psychics as much as I did. I’ll admit that I was initially thrown off by some reviews that I had previously read (I know you shouldn’t do that, but it happened). Teddy initially started out as a not-great person. She gambled away her parents retirement fund; she was blackballed from all of the casinos on the Vegas Strip; Teddy lied and cheated her way through life. Despite all of this, I thoroughly enjoyed Teddy’s character. By making her a bad friend and daughter in the beginning of the novel, it was easier to see how she began to transform throughout the first book of the series. Surprisingly, I connected with Teddy when she joined Whitfield. Given one last chance she decided to focus on her education. She ignored the friends she made and practiced her skills and meditation. It reminded me of when I was in undergrad and just focused on studying. I thought her change in behavior was astounding when she realized it was her last choice.

Marked as a ‘fantasy’ novel I loved the paranormal aspects of School for Psychics. The story-line makes you wonder what mystical things happen in the world — Can people really move things with their minds and astral bodies? Can the person sitting on the other side of the room read my mind and know what I’m thinking about her?

Overall, this was just a great read. I wanted to keep reading and not put it down. It wasn’t one of the best books I’ve ever read, but it was enjoyable and a book that I would recommend to friends.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommend? I would recommend School for Psychics to a younger adult who doesn’t mind a few instances of adult content within a novel.