Book Review of More Than Alive by Fernando Torres

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Title: More Than Alive

Author: Fernando Torres

Review by: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Sci-fi/Fantasy

Release Date: June 22nd 2020

Rating: 4/5

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Back cover:

MORE THAN ALIVE: Death of an Idol, is a literary response to the growing interest in anime, manga, and Japanese culture. Told via alternating storylines MORE THAN ALIVE is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud, sci-fi/paranormal novel set in Japan in the year 2042. Complete at 103,000 words, it takes advantage of my experiences living in Kyoto and lessons acquired concerning story and character development while working at ABC/Disney.

Alice Suzuki (16) has recently passed away, making her eligible to be a harvester, a transporter of souls. For her first thread, she finds herself investigating the death of Akari, a Japanese idol who died playing a VR game while on enhancer, a drug that turns off the suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately, the shadow demon Solak, who was formerly constrained to killing people in their dreams, has learned that enhancer allows him to get around the limitations imposed by free will. Alice must join the Japanese idol group, of which Akari was a member. Her journey is one of learning the true nature of attachment, particularly in regards to love.

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*I received an ARC from YA Bound Tours for my unbiased opinion*

The concept of More Than Alive was quite interesting. It mixed futuristic elements with fantasy having to do with grim reapers (although he doesn’t like to be called that), mystery, yakuza, and pop idols. Having read and watched a lot of Japanese manga and anime with similar themes, I didn’t hesitate to join this blog tour to see what it would be like to have those themes all wrapped together. I really felt it was original and an interesting concept and really liked the characters. It was full of suspense and I kept wanting to read more to know what happens.

One of the things I disliked about this book was the POV. It moved around from POV, sort of like omniscient POV, but not quite. It jumped around character too often and I didn’t feel grounded in any POV. It made me confused a lot of the time, but the story was still interesting enough where I kept on reading. I think this story would have done better if it didn’t switch, but that is my personal preference.

I also really liked the glossary in the back and now want to know why the author can’t open soy packets around shoji.

~Dani

 

About the Author

Fernando Torres is the best-selling author of “A Habit of Resistance,” “The Shadow That Endures,” and the soon to be released sci-fi novel “More Than Alive: Death of an Idol.” Fast-paced, humorous stories that poke fun at genre tropes and explore moral dilemmas are what define this author’s mission. Early in his media career, Fernando A. Torres created the definitive definition of media interactivity. At ABC/Disney, Inc., he worked behind the scenes on such shows as Boy Meets World, Family Matters, Grace Under Fire, Home Improvement, My Wife and Kids, and the Power Rangers. Influenced by many of his generation’s most talented writers and producers, Fernando Torres’ style developed a light, humorous edge that continues to influence his writing to this day. During his time at ABC/Disney, Inc., he contributed to the Writer’s Development program, which inspired additional contributions in education. Many of his stories are inspired by his travels, though he has more permanent roots in the United States and Japan. An instrument-rated pilot, he also enjoys writing music and photography.

“I write because the written word is a powerful ally in conveying truth.” – Fernando Torres

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Blog Tour Organized By: YA Bound Book Tours

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Book Review of Never Date A Siren by Byrd Nash

 

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Title: Never Date A Siren

Author: Byrd Nash

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

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When Brigit ran away from her helicopter parents, all the dryad wanted was an uncomplicated college life.

A contemporary fae YA fantasy with twists and surprises.

But being a fae among humans isn’t easy. When she’s kicked out of her apartment by her Troll roommate, stealing a bedroom from a human appears to be a simple plan.

Unfortunately, he has problems of his own – a messy break-up with a Siren means without her help, he will die.

A quirky fae fantasy about true friendships and magical companions.

Meet a hopelessly dim coco mat and a sarcastic cat, who may be too busy taking a bath to save you.

This book was a great start to a series. I loved how Nash weaved in different fae folklore together. The interactions between the different types of fae was very clever and unique. I haven’t ready too many fae stories, but I found this to be quite original.

Poor poor human Logan got caught up in a Siren’s magic. The description of what it would be like to hear her call, be stuck in her clutches, and have to figure out a way around it was really cool. I can’t wait to read more about these characters.

Brigit was a really cool main character. She is very smart, follows the codes of the fae, but is able to do it in a way to get what she wanted. If you want an awesome female character, this is your book!

All in all, I definitely recommend!

~Dani

Book Review of My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

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Title: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life

Author: Rachel Cohn

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 3/5

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Back cover:

“I’m here to take you to live with your father. In Tokyo, Japan! Happy birthday!

In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World’s future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS – the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her 16th birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahara, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington, DC, to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hypercritical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn’t exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of ubercool international kids who spend money like it’s air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who’s frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.

This story had a lot of potential, but I felt it was lacking. I liked the idea of Elle not finding out who her dad was due to the strict culture beliefs in her dad’s side of the family. It reminded me a lot Ouran High School Host Club as Tamaki couldn’t be with his dad until the grandmother knew he was the only way to be the successor.

I liked Elle’s background, coming from a semi-okay background to her mother getting into drugs and her life came crashing down. That gave depth to the character…

But when Elle moved to Japan, she was quite a snob and disrespectful to her father’s way of life. Yeah, I’d be pissed if my grandmother didn’t like me because I wasn’t full Japanese, and that was understandable, but there were many other things where she was just rude, selfish, and snobby.

The other problem I had with the plot was that nothing really happened and then all the real conflict was at the 75% mark and it was all resolved within the last few pages. And some stuff wasn’t even resolved or talked about again.

I felt this story had a lot of potential, but it fell short.

~Dani

Book Review of Shielded by KayLynn Flanders

 

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Title: Shielded

Author: KayLynn Flanders

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Release date: July 21, 2020

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Back cover:

For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

This book was really fascinating. I loved the world that Flanders created, and the characters as well. I found them all to be really well rounded, interesting, and I felt they were believable. The romance was adorable and not too over the top like some YA. There were many surprises throughout the book, and it left me wanting more. I can’t wait for the second book and definitely want to read it whenever it comes out.

One of my favorite parts of this book is how it was in first-person, but there weren’t many uses of the word “I”. Flanders is a very good author to be able to make it feel like you understood what was in Jenna’s head, but not falling into the “I” pit that a lot of authors (including me) do. I was very impressed.

The only problem I had was that some chapters had a shift in perspective to the bad guy. I felt these pulled me out of the story and didn’t add anything. I wish that they weren’t included, although they weren’t too terrible as it didn’t affect my rating. It was more of a personal preference.

All in all, I definitely recommend!

~Dani

Book Review of Gunsligner Girl by Lyndsay Ely

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Gunslinger Girl

Author: Lyndsay Ely

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

 

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James Patterson presents a bold new heroine — a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West.

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great . . .

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

I am so in love with this book! YA SFF Westerns is apparently a genre I need more of as I realized my favorite anime is Trigun and I am in love with K. Lynn Smith’s graphic novel Plume, which will be getting a review shortly as well. I really loved the character in this book, Pity Jones, who just wanted to get out of her small abusive farming community and see the world, and more importantly, to be free.

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The characters in this book are all spectacular and I loved how Ely weaved together her city and her community. It has great world building, great tech ideas for post war, and brings on enough mystery to keep me wanting more.

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It is rare for me to want to reread something, but this is definitely a book I want to read again, and wish for another book that I know won’t be coming 😦 It wraps up well, leaving your imagination to fill in the future.

A definite recommendation from me! Check this book out!

~Dani

Book Review of Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

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Wicked Fox

Author: Kat Cho

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

 

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An addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to men. He’s drawn to her anyway. When he finds her fox bead, he does not realize he holds her life in his hands.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous and reignite a generations-old feud . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

This book caught my eye at the book store, as I do love foxes and folklore. At first I thought it was the Japanese Kitsune, but I found out it was the Korean gumiho! I haven’t done much research in Korean folklore and looked forward to learning more and reading a fantasy book about it!

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The characters in the this book are well rounded, made sense, and evolved throughout the story. There are a lot of Korean terms, which I think is awesome for bringing you into a culture as language is essential. Luckily there is a glossary in the back to help you figure out the terms, but most made sense by context, and a lot of dishes are now on my to-cook list.

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I also loved the story of the gumiho that was weaved in, and how you were slowly given the folklore of this creature. I also loved learning about the different powers, magic, and religion in the area and how it was never info dumped, but gradually introduced.

A definite recommendation from me! Check it out!

~Dani

Anime Review of Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life

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Series: Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life

English Producing Company: Funimation

Stream on: Funimation

Review by: Dani Hoots

Rating: 5/5

Description:

Down to its last member, the koto club will accept anyone who is interested in the traditional Japanese instrument. But when a delinquent and a prodigy player sign up, finding harmony isn’t going to be easy—especially not with ensemble competitions looming around the corner. With enough time and some incredible skill at the strings, perhaps this motley crew can strike a chord with the judges.

I like a good slice of life anime, although usually I go for the ones that have a little fantasy or sci-fi in them. This one caught my eye as the art is quite spectacular, and also because I like a stories with delinquents in them some odd reason. I was hooked after the first episode!

The story arc itself is a pretty normal one—they make a club and they want to make it to nationals! yay! But I found how the character develop in this story to be quite beautiful. Even some of the ones I didn’t like I ended up liking because their background made perfect sense. Everyone had their own unique story, and I really enjoyed that. For anyone who wants a good example of character arcs and character backgrounds, I definitely recommend this anime!

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All in all, I’m excited for season two and see what happens with this group. I watched the dubbed version because I’m a Capricorn and have to be multitasking in everything I do, and can’t sit still to read the subs. The cast did a great job, as most Funimation voice actors do.

So if you need a sweet, beautiful anime, this is definitely a great one!

 

Release Day Announcement: Endangered

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Endangered is now available! And join us RIGHT NOW for the release day party!
I’m proud to say that Endangered is now available as a paperback and ebook! And right now we are having a release day party with many different authors and artists having takeovers and giveaways! Please join us in having some fun by clicking here!

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Summary:
Chrys has been in the Underworld for thousands of years, hidden away by her father, Hades, from all of the other gods. He’s afraid that if someone finds out about her, they will destroy her because of the dichotomous power that she holds, the power of life and death. So she has remained in the Palace of Hades all her life, making very few friends and always bored out of her mind.

Huntley would have never guessed that after he died he would wake up with a beautiful girl standing over him. And that she would be the Dark Lord of the Underworld’s daughter. Yet, for some reason, she keeps him around as her tutor, as if he knows anything about the world. But Huntley knows that all she really wants is a friend; being trapped in the Underworld can get pretty lonely.

That is, until Chrys decides she wants to run away to the human world after a big fight with her mother Persephone. Chrys claims her father is just over reacting and that nothing bad will come of it. There’s no way that the gods will notice she’s there for only a couple of days…right?

Dani

Endangered Cover Reveal

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Endangered (Daughter of Hades #1)
by Dani Hoots

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Release Date: May 13th 2016

I proud to reveal my cover for Endangered (Daughter of Hades #1)! I am so excited to release this book to you all in less than two months! Please add it to your Goodreads “want to read” list! The preorder will be available in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for that!

Summary from Goodreads:

Chrys has been in the Underworld for thousands of years, hidden away by her father, Hades, from all of the other gods. He’s afraid that if someone finds out about her, they will destroy her because of the dichotomous power that she holds, the power of life and death. So she has remained in the Palace of Hades all her life, making very few friends and always bored out of her mind.

Huntley would have never guessed that after he died he would wake up with a beautiful girl standing over him. And that she would be the Dark Lord of the Underworld’s daughter. Yet, for some reason, she keeps him around as her tutor, as if he knows anything about the world. But Huntley knows that all she really wants is a friend; being trapped in the Underworld can get pretty lonely.

That is, until Chrys decides she wants to run away to the human world after a big fight with her mother Persephone. Chrys claims her father is just over reacting and that nothing bad will come of it. There’s no way that the gods will notice she’s there for only a couple of days…right?

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About the Author

Dani Hoots is a science fiction, fantasy, romance, and young adult author who loves anything with a story. She has a B.S. in Anthropology, a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, and is currently in the Your Novel Year Program through Arizona State University.

Currently she is working on a YA urban fantasy series called Daughter of Hades, a historic fantasy vampire series called A World of Vampires, and a YA sci-fi series called Sanshlian Series.

Her hobbies include reading, watching anime, cooking, studying different languages, wire walking, tinkering with her violin and concertina, and volunteering at the library. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two cats.

Author Links:

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Endangered (Daughter of Hades #1)

Endangered (Daughter of Hades, #1)

I’m proud to announce my upcoming series Daughter of Hades is coming to you at full throttle! The cover will be revealed March 23rd, at the end of the Goodreads giveaway. If you have a blog and are interested in participating in the cover reveal, please check my Facebook for the sign-up sheet through YA Bound Blog Tours next week.

Endangered will be published May 13th, 2016, and there will be plenty of ways to participate! I will be having an online book release party through Facebook, which you can already join by clicking here. At that event I will be having a bunch of giveaways, swag, and author takeover events all day on May 13th so please join us!

Along with this, I will also be having a Blog Tour through YA Bound Blog Tours, so if you have a blog and review books, be sure to check out my Facebook page and join my release party to stay updated!

Be sure to add Endangered to your “want to read” list on Goodreads by clicking here!

Description of Endangered (Daughter of Hades, #1):

Chrys has been in the Underworld for thousands of years, hidden away by her father, Hades, from all of the other gods. He’s afraid that if someone finds out about her, they will destroy her because of the dichotomous power that she holds, the power of life and death. So she has remained in the Palace of Hades all her life, making very few friends and always bored out of her mind.

Huntley would have never guessed that after he died he would wake up with a beautiful girl standing over him. And that she would be the Dark Lord of the Underworld’s daughter. Yet, for some reason, she keeps him around as her tutor, as if he knows anything about the world. But Huntley knows that all she really wants is a friend; being trapped in the Underworld can get pretty lonely.

That is, until Chrys decides she wants to run away to the human world after a big fight with her mother Persephone. Chrys claims her father is just over reacting and that nothing bad will come of it. There’s no way that the gods will notice she’s there for only a couple of days…right?