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Book Review + Blog Tour | The Blood Race

I have been following Kate Emmons on her blog The Goodness Revolt for a long time. She never ceases to amaze me with her beautiful, insightful writing and poetry. I always knew that someday she was going to go somewhere with her writing, and when I heard that she was releasing her debut novel, The Blood Race, I was so incredibly proud and excited for her. 
Today I am beyond honored to be a part of her launch team and to contribute a post to the awesome blog tour hosted by Kate's sister, Abbie, from her blog Abbiee, and Grace Anne from Totally Graced
You should go and give these ladies all the love because they deserve it!


He’s spent his life running from who he is. She’s been trying to escape her past for 100 years… 
Born with unexplainable abilities he struggles to control, college student Ion tries desperately to integrate into his new school and finally put his dark past behind him. But after making a serious enemy, which leads to an accidental rendezvous with the mysterious old man next door— and his hauntingly beautiful but troubled young protégée Hawk, Ion realizes his life will never be normal again.
Late one evening, Hawk drags him by the hand into a closet-turned-rabbit-hole to an extra dimension, and Ion finds himself stumbling involuntarily into a secret society of training for “anomalies,” teenagers with a special set of abilities. Just like him.
As they train to become Protectors of future Earth, battling each other as well as their own demons, both Ion and Hawk begin to realize that they are far more alike than they realized. Unsettlingly so.
When the Dimension is shaken by an unthinkable betrayal, will an ancient prophecy bring Hawk and Ion together—or will a deadly threat hidden in plain sight cost them both their powers… and their lives?
Trust is a superlative. The result is never lukewarm: it is either an extreme producer of life, or death.
-K.A. Emmons, The Blood Race
I love stories like this one. Fresh stories about superhumans and different worlds are undoubtably the best, and K.A. Emmons was able to execute it so well in The Blood Race. I got so many X-men/Miss Peregrine vibes while I was reading, but not in a bad way at all. The author was able to take the familiar concepts and make them her own flawlessly.

I could tell that great care and detail were put in developing the universe of dimensions and Sliders, but I still found myself confused from time to time, trying to keep up with explanations or new, complicated aspects of the world. But that's pretty usual for me when starting a new fantasy series. I was able to catch on to what was going on eventually.

I really enjoyed learning about and immersing myself in this new world. This is definitely a first book in a series though, because, while there was a plot, much of the story was spent world-building and explaining how the system works instead of following a lot of action.

This book is very fast paced and filled to the brim with beautifully written descriptions and great characters.

I really loved Hawk. I don't usually care for the dark and mysterious type of characters, but I found that I was more intrigued with her chapters than Ion's. Ion got extremely frustrating sometimes. I didn't hate him necessarily, I just really wanted to lock him up in a basement somewhere so that he would stop messing things up. The secondary characters were also memorable. I adored Fin so much! And I became interested in Sensei as well. I would love to read a book about his backstory.

There are incredible themes of trust and redemption woven throughout the whole story that were amazing! It wasn't until the exciting climax of the book hit that I realized it was an allegory. There were some crazy powerful scenes towards the end --especially between Hawk and Sensei-- that made the reader reflect on their own life without being preachy. It reminded me of a modern, sci-fi, teenage Narnia in a way.

I'm so excited to see where the series will go from here and how K.A. Emmons will grow in her writing and story telling. After that cliff hanger I'm dying for more!


I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for an honest, unbiased review

GET THE BLOOD RACE

Be sure to get yourself in on the action. Buy a copy of The Blood Race on Amazon out today and add it on Goodreads!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

When she's not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run. Emmons lives in the often-snowy hills of rugged Vermont with her husband and dog named Rocket.

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the search for my favorite book

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I like to think I know myself very well as a reader. I like to think I have an intuitive instinct when choosing books. I read a variety of things, and I like to think I can enjoy any genre if I'm up for it. But despite what I might think, I am not a book wizard by any standard. I can't pull the perfect book out of thin air, but whenever I pick up a new book to read, I always expect it to become a new favorite. I never decide to read books I know I'll hate just for fun (I've heard of people who do this... just why?). But unfortunately, despite my efforts to only read books I know I will love, it doesn't always work out the way I expect, and I frequently end up disappointed.

When I was younger it seemed like every other book I was able to finish somehow made the cut to my list of favorites. Back when I was reading things like The Lord of the Rings, Watership Down, A Wrinkle in Time, Ella Enchanted, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond. But as I've grown older and more mature in my reading, and as I've read more and more books, it has become increasingly harder for me to find books that I can enthusiastically recommend to others as new all time favorites. I've read a lot of books I like and that I definitely think other people would like as well, I've just noticed that it's becoming difficult for books to break through and completely blow me away.

In the past several months I have read a lot more than I have in a long long time. I'm excited and passionate about reading again. However, none of the many many books I've read recently have lingered in my mind or have changed the way I think or process things. None have left me wrecked and desperately wanting more. I've enjoyed most of them and I'm glad I've read them, but there was no spark and no WOW reaction as I finished them.

I'm constantly comparing and ranking everything I read against my old favorites. Sometimes I worry that I might never find another book that will make me feel the same as others have made me feel. It's sad and discouraging at times. But for some reason or other I keep reading. I keep adding new books to my TBR. I keep following new authors.
I keep searching for new favorites because I know that they're out there somewhere. You never know when a book you pick up will surprise you and teach you something new and blow your mind. I'm on a continuing search for a new favorite book. It's a search that never ends, even after I find one. But that's what I love about reading.

Book Review | Life After Life

| goodreads |
★★★
Imagine a book that is one part Downton Abbey and one part Groundhog Day (or Before I Fall. or any story where you are reliving the same things over and over again) and that is what sort of book Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is.
This story is as charming as it is haunting as it follows Ursula Todd and the many lives she lives. Every time Ursula dies, since she was first born in 1910 as a stillborn, her life begins again, like death is nothing more than a reset button for her.

It's a really interesting and thought provoking read. It's astonishing to see how extremely different Ursula's lives are one after the other. This book makes you think deeply about how each tiny choice you make or experience you have can affect who you are and who you will eventually become.

The writing was absolutely breathtaking! Kate Atkinson's style was unlike anything I've ever read. It envelopes you and pulls you in. I also really really loved the atmosphere she created with the time period, jumping between the two World Wars in an English setting. Throughout all of Ursula's lives, the reader is able to see the war through the eyes of so many people, which is what I liked the most about this book.

There are so so many characters that come in and out of all of Ursula's stories, and they are all important in some shape or form. I especially found Sylvie and Teddy to be interesting, and I wanted to delve deeper into who they were and what was happening to them. I felt like in the end a lot of questions about several characters were left a little open ended.

While I did enjoy this book for the most part, it did fall flat in some ways for me. The main thing was that it is an extremely slow read. I don't usually mind slow reads, but this book dragged on and on and on in some areas. It was very weak plot-wise. There was no grand adventure or mission or discovery that was guiding the story. You're literally just reading about Ursula's different lives over and over and over again. The writing kept me going, but I couldn't help but want a little more, especially since I love books that have a rich and detailed plot.

I found Ursula's character to be frustrating at times. She was extremely naïve about a lot of things which led to very bad situations (major trigger warnings for abuse with this one). Overall I didn't feel as interested in Ursula as I was with other characters in the book as I was reading.

The biggest problem I had, however, was the ending. It just sort of ended. I wanted more closure. I wanted to know if Ursula would ever die peacefully and normally, or if she would finally come to realize the fact that her life is an endless cycle.

I wanted this book to become a new favorite. I loved the premise, the writing was absolutely phenomenal, and it is definitely a perfect cozy rainy-day read. I just had a couple of problems with it personally that I would've changed.
“What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right? Wouldn't that be wonderful?” 
― Kate AtkinsonLife After Life

the skies I'm under

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I wish I could say I have learned to love the skies I'm under. But that would be a lie. It's so hard to be content with the place where I am now when my heart aches and moans for more.

Always stuck in the monotonous pattern of work and sleep and wishing to break from it all. 
Pouring over photographs on travel blogs and in books, wondering if they do the world justice. 
Studying my French, worrying that I might never get the chance to use it.
Watching from a distance as friends, family, and acquaintances take spontaneous vacations and cross-country road trips in the peak of summer.
When there are countries upon countries full of people I haven't met.
When I know there are so many mountains and jungles and deserts and oceans I haven't seen.
When I am so small and when this world is so so big.
And when God is even bigger, yet for some reason unknown to me He keeps me here.  

It's been hard for me to understand why I am where I am. But I'm trying and trusting.