The Light Between Worlds-review

light

 

320 pages
Expected publication: October 23rd 2018 by HarperTeen
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the chance to review this title.
WOW. Just WOW. This book was mind-blowingly beautiful and tragic.  If you imagine Lucy coming back from Narnia and dealing with being a child again and feeling out of place in the real world, this is the book you’re looking for.
During an air raid in London, siblings, Jamie, Phillippa, and Evelyn are suddenly spirited away to another world. There the meet Cervus, the guardian of the Woodland. Once there they are told there is also a war going on and that they could help if they choose to stay. They do, but after five years in the Woodland, they are taken back to London the moment, five years ago int he bombs shelter, they left. Now five years younger, they all must cope with being back, hiding their secrets and their yearning for the Woodlands. They all deal with it in different ways. Evelyn, who we read about in the first half the book, has the hardest time pretending to be someone she knows she is not.
Phillippa takes over the second half of the book.  After a falling out with her sister, she returns to America to deal with what has happened. She felt guilty and torn up. She takes a job near home where she meets a boy named Jack, who is fantastic btw. As is the romantic interest for Ev, Tom. They are understanding and sweet and kind. I was swooning, I admit.
This is story about the bond between siblings and the achingly sad way they all try to help Evelyn’s depression. It touches upon some serious issues, and it made me think that if we had a book about what happened to the Narnia kids after coming back to the old world, how they would cope. They wouldn’t just jaunt around as if things were fine after spending so long in Narnia and growing up there. Some have said that not a lot happens in this book, but for me, everything happens. You get such insight on how lost Ev is and how everyone around tries to help only to fail. You see the desperation in everyone to “save her.”  To me, it is realistic and heartbreaking.
All in all, this book needs to pre-ordered now. It is one of those that had me dwelling on it days after I finished it and even though I read this fantastic e-arc, I went ahead and pre-ordered myself. Laura is going to be one to watch in the future.

 

My Plain Jane: Review

my plain jane

 

464 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by HarperTeen
This book was everything I thought it would be. When I got the ARC from Edelweiss of this, I knew I had to dive in. But then I heard one of my sub boxes was getting it, so I waited and I am happy I did because the cover is so gorgeous up close!
I went into this somewhat blindly because I have not read Jane Eyre, but I picked it up as I went and got the gist of it. Though, I feel if I had read it, I would love this quirky retelling better than the classic. I loved the 3 POV’s this book had. From reading early reviews, some people were bothered by it, but I adored every one of them. Especially Alexander. I love the weirdness, I love the banter, and I especially like how you don’t know what was going to happen next.
Let me dedicate a paragraph to Helen because she was pretty impressive. She was probably my favorite character next to Alexander. Her wise-cracks lit up the pages. If ever I had a ghost, I would want one like her.
This book is darker than My Lady Jane (which you don’t have to read to read this one) and a little less crazy. I did feel like the humor was a tad lighter than Lady Jane, and the ending was a tad rushed. I needed more!
All in all, I had a blast reading this book, and I cannot wait for the next one.

We Set the Dark on Fire: review

dark

 

384 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
I received a digital ARC of this book through Edelweiss thanks to HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.
Latina queer rep. Holla!
I want so badly to say that this was an original story, but it didn’t seem that way. At least not at first. This was reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale in a lot of ways and also of some recent books I have read. A lot of what I read is pertinent to the world now, but what sets it apart for me is the diversity. Although this had a touch of older stories, the more I read, the more it morphed into its own. Plus, the cover is just gorgeous.
Girls are primed at Medio School for Girls until they are ready to be sold off to wealthy men. In this story, Dani, who is not of a lower class, is chosen to become part of a chief military officer’s son. She soon finds herself wrapped up in a rebellion and a dangerous romance.
Although there isn’t much action, I still found myself drawn to it. The air of mystery and the twists and turns were amazing. AND THE CLIFFHANGER ENDING.  I didn’t realize until I went to type this review that it doesn’t come out for another seven months. Which means I have to wait longer for the sequel unless I score the arc. Now, I’m scared. Why did I do this to myself???

A Very Large Expanse of Sea-Review

sea

 

320 pages
Expected publication: October 16th 2018 by HarperTeen

Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for allowing me an advance copy of this book.
I have been sitting at my laptop staring at the screen for a good ten minutes trying to figure out how to start this review.
So, you know how people say, “This book is so important!”? Most of the time I read said books and I don’t see it. I thought once it was because of my whiteness and how maybe I am not as good as great as an ally as I thought I was and I need to dig a little deeper to understand what some people go through. After reading this book, I realize now that I wasn’t reading the right books.

This book goes down with books like The Hate you Give, Dear Martin, All American Boys, American Street, The Opposite of Okay and those are just the ones I have read that tackled the hard stuff, that put you into someone’s shoes that you never thought possible; books that opened your eyes.

In this book, Shirin is a Muslim teen navigating high school a year after 9/11. To deal with the hatred and racism, she channels her anger into breakdancing with her brother, writing in her journal and music. When she meets, Ocean James, a non-Muslim, her protective walls begin to slip away. She’s aware of the implications of falling for him and how she doesn’t care but does simultaneously.

In this book, I felt myself right in Shirin’s shoes. My stomach twisted in some scenes, and I smiled like an idiot in others. Here I am, a straight white woman, seeing what it’s like even now for people of color and I thought I understood it. I didn’t. I don’t. Maybe I never will. But it won’t stop me from learning and helping. It won’t stop me from fighting.

So, I’m still sitting here after finishing this book not too long ago, and I am still hurting. I got me thinking that maybe some people did see the error of their ways in this book, but how long will it take for everyone else? How can we treat our fellow human beings the way we do? When will it end?

What hurts most is why it even started to begin with.

I usually end my review with, you all need to read this! I recommend it for etc. etc. etc. But with this one I’m going to end it with, WE NEED MORE OF THESE BOOKS BECAUSE THE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

And the world definitely needs changing.

Hearts Unbroken-review

hearts

 

304 pages
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Candlewick Press
Louise Wolfe is a Native teen navigating the world in its racism and hatred not only in our present time but also in the past. After her boyfriend says something awful about Natives, she dumps him via email and decides to spend her valuable time as a writer at the school newspaper. Meanwhile, the school play chooses to cast diversely, much to some parent’s dismay. The call of “reverse racism” amongst other things propels Louise to follow the story, and it hits home more than she thought it would.
Like another book I have recently finished, Trail of Lightning, this features a Native protagonist, and it is so refreshing. What I loved most was the that throughout this book, almost everyone had a learning experience. Including the ex-boyfriend and Louise herself who makes mistakes and uses that to make a positive change in her life and those around her.
I recommend this book to everyone. This is an OWN VOICES novel so take yourself out of what you know and step into Louise’s shoes. The back of the book gives you some information on a lot of what the author mentions along with info on some key moments in America’s tragic history.
We need more novels like these on the shelves.

The Cerulean: review

cerulean

 

Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2019 by HarperTeen
Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper for the E-ARC.
Okay. *deep, ragged breaths* What in the world did I just read?
There may be some spoilers so read at your own risk.
First off, we have one of those apparent protagonists. She doesn’t quite fit in. She wonders about things she shouldn’t be wondering about. She doesn’t like girls they way others do-
I’ll back up.
Sera lives in a floating city in space. I have dubbed this place, Floaty City. That is the jist of it. Her society is made up entirely of females that reproduce all parthenogenesis style. Cliff notes version: They don’t need males to produce offspring. They don’t even know what boys are. Their city is held on to planets below by tethers. When they feel it’s time to move on, a sacrifice is made to cut the tether and release the city to find a new planet to latch onto. Floaty City is basically a parasite. Oh, and their blood can heal, and it’s magic and stuff.
Are you still with me?
Now, it’s obvious who the sacrifice is going to be. But Sera doesn’t die like she’s supposed to. She lands miserably on the planet below. Sera. You fail.
Let’s welcome twins Agnes and Leo. They live in a Victorian-ish society. I think. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but I was horrible at history and worse at geography so…I don’t know. It’s not Earth. They have weird animals and stuff, but also fancy dresses and cars. Leo is kind of an ass-hat, and I really hated reading his POV. Agnes was better. She at least was interesting. She is in the same boat as Sera, but for her society, liking girls are taboo. But we have some queer story-telling, and I’m down for that.
By the first half of the book, I was a tad jarred. I was in one world and then another, and I was like, whhhhaaat is haaaappening? Then, as I felt all comfy on the planet, we are sent back up to Floaty City into the POV of Sera’s best friend. This part of the book was super exciting, and I kind of wished it stayed there. I didn’t want to go back to Sera’s POV. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa
Ok, I’ll continue.
So, basically, Leo brings Sera to his crazy father who is prepping to run some sort of freak show. Leo becomes less annoying as the story progresses. Much to my surprise, there is next to no romance as I thought there would be. I was all like, I bet Sera is going to fall in love with Leo. I bet you 256,899 dollars.
By the time I finished this book, I kind of had to sit down and eat some Fritos and drink some iced-tea and wonder what goes through Amy Ewings mind when she thinks up book ideas. Did she say, hey, I have this idea about a floaty city and all women society and trees with faces and it’s going to be EPIC. EPIC I TELL YOU.
The story was different. REALLy different. And the cover is spectacular so kudos to that designer. The book is open ended so gear up for a second. I mean, this book was so weird and all over the place that I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen. This book has four POVs. That’s a lot of POVs. But it worked out and got me away from annoying Leo.
I guess I liked the book? I’m having one of those moments where you eat something different, and you can’t quite make out what makes you want to eat more of it because it looks funny and has a weird texture. But somehow you’re still eating it. That’s this book.

Onyx and Ivory: review

onyx

 

 

The E-ARC was provided by Edelweiss. But the cover was so cool that I also bought it.

 

 

This book started off with a Scorpio Races feel. A girl and her horse, and a fiery heart. I was drawn in right away. Since Scorpio Races is one of my all-time favorite books in the world, I was so sucked in, and I could not put the book down.

This book is told in two POV’s, Kate and Corwin. Let’s start with Kate. She is a nineteen-year-old Relay rider (basically a mailman on horseback) who is also a wilder, able to influence animals. Not only that, she is the daughter of a man who tried to kill the king of Rime. People call her Traitor Kate. But for all she’s been through, she has developed a thick skin. She loves horses and is pretty good with a bow.

Then there’s Corwin. He’s the second born son of the king and child-hood friend of Kate before she was exiled and her father put to death. It’s by chance that their paths cross some three years later while Corwin is investigating a rise in Nightdrake (lizard-like creatures)  attacks. Kate saves Corwin, and their lives begin to change.

Corwin hires Bonner, Kate’s friend, to make revolvers. The thing is, Bonner is also a wilder and being a wilder is pretty much illegal and will get you a death sentence. But the deal is too good for Kate, Bonner, and their friend Signe and they all start new lives at the royal palace. Things become complicated when Kate begins a mission of finding out what really happened the day her father attacked the king. She knows her father was a dedicated and honorable man and that he wouldn’t have done such a thing without being compromised. Meanwhile, the nightdrakes have become daydrakes, and the whole land is going crazy. Corwin is up to start three trials to take the crown from his brother, Edwin and his relationship with Kate becomes more and more complicated.

Pretty much, this book was magical in every way. The writing was superb and never-mind that world-building. Holy cow. This is a book to learn from. I was a tad POed at Corwin at one point, but he sort of redeemed himself. The side characters were great and sometimes more interesting than the main characters. If you can ignore the tropes (secrets abilities, royal rivalries), you’ll love this book. I, for one, didn’t mind them at all.

 

All in all, I loved this book, and I cannot wait for the sequel!

 

 

The Deepest Roots: Review

Deepestroots

 

320 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2018 by HarperTeen
*Thanks so much to Edelweiss and the publisher for the review copy.*

This a story about friendship, hardships, mystery and a touch of magic. It follows three friends who have been gifted with abilities. Rome is a Fixer and is able to fix just about anything with the touch of her hand, and some willpower. Mercy is a Siren, able to seduce men. Mercy is an Enough. She is able to produce more of certain things that people are in need of. Most of the women in Cottonwood Hollow are gifted (or cursed?) with such abilities. People outside of the area call them freaks and outcasts and sometimes that is how they feel. One day a tornado surfaces an old diary that may or may not explain why the women in Cottonwood were gifted. On top of that, there may even be a dowry in a chest somewhere that could get Rome out her trailer and help out more than she is by working at an auto body shop.

The themes that the author touches upon are pretty gritty. Each girl deals with their own set of issues and does their best to let themselves lean on each other for support. Rome living in a trailer with her mother, doing their best to scrape by is one that some kids can relate to. She is resourceful and not one to take handouts, which is admirable. Rome can handle her own, even trying to take some of the burdens from her mother. But she has faults which lead to some of the story’s complications.

I loved the magical aspect of this story. I was hoping for I to have a more prominent part in the story, if even at the end, but it fell flat for me. When I read magical realism, I like to have it be an intricate part of the plot. I loved the ambition of the story. But I could feel when things were dragging. I liked the lack of romance. Although there was an element, I felt like that could have been taken out entirely and the story could have been excellent. I thought, maybe, that Jett would play a much more significant part when things came together and were hoping for it. But alas.

All in all, I did like the premise and the characters. The execution fell flat for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio Silence: Review

radio403 pages
Published February 25th 2016 by Harper Collins Children’s Books
“Hello. I hope somebody is listening.”
Be prepared for a crazy amount of quotes.
So, I didn’t expect to finish the last 300 pages of this book last night. But I did. I also didn’t expect to be completely drowned in this story. It took my feet and pulled and kept on pulling. A day later and I’ve yet to reach the bottom. That is how much it stayed with me. I’m beginning feel bad for people who haven’t read this yet.
I don’t even know where to start. *deep breath* Okay…
So, this is one of those books that I completely thought was different than it turned out to be. But it was a good surprise. Like Christmas morning and when you find a dollar in your pants pocket. The characters drive this story along. Oh, did I add that all of the main characters are queer? Not only that but there is so much diversity I almost ran outside and screamed for an AMEN.
There were so many geek references in this book. Game of Thrones. Scott Pilgrim. SPIRITED AWAY. On top of some pretty awesome music selections. I feel like I need to be best friends with the author. Like now.
The themes in this story include depression, sexual confusion, online bullying, and abuse but on top of that, you have friendships that wild horses could not pull apart, platonic love, long lost love, typical teenage problems like school and whether to check your Tumbler or not which made it so relatable. And even though Frances’ mother was awesome, not all of the parentals figures were so understanding. Which is something a lot of teenagers can relate to for sure.
“I stopped speaking. There was no point trying to argue. There was no way she was going to even attempt to listen to me.
They never do, do they? They never even try to listen to you.”
I almost forgot to talk about the individual protagonists as a whole. So, there’s Frances, and she’s obsessed with a podcast called University City which is about a person stuck in a monster-ridden city set in the future. She meets Aled, who happens ot be the creator of the podcast. Cool? Yep. Only he doesn’t want the world to know that. He is a very private with some heavy family drama.
“…it felt like we were friends. Friends who barely knew anything about each other except the other’s most private secret.”
It’s a slow burn friendship and THANK THE SKIES, there is no romantic love between them. They have a beautiful, soul-mate type connection that feels so real and it makes me yearn for something like that.
“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo,’ but I appreciate the sentiment.”
Without giving too much away, Aled’s podcast and his persona, Radio Silence hit me in the feels. When it all comes together, and we realize who he’s speaking to and how deep his agony goes, it just ripped out my heart.
“I wonder – if nobody is listening to my voice, am I even making any sound at all?”
Sometimes, I think we all feel that way, and Radio’s pain is our pain. This book was written for you and for me.

Girls of Paper and Fire: Review

girls

 

336 pages
Expected publication: November 6th 2018 by Jimmy Patterson Books
Thank you to Edelweiss for providing the E-ARC.
WARNING-This book contains sexual abuse, abusive language and the death of an animal (sad face)
I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this book. The plot reminded me a lot of a mix between The Hundredth Queen, The Selection and other books with plots that involve girls being chosen as companions to a royal. But from the very first pages, I knew I was in for something unique.
Lei is chosen as a Paper Girl, a sort of courtesan to the Demon King. She goes, but not without a fight. Soon after arriving she realizes she must play the part if she wants to survive. But that’s hard to do when you begin to develop feelings for a fellow Paper. She doesn’t hide her emotions well, which causes major issues with the king, who is basically a rapist, so trigger warning there, everyone.
To quickly give a summary about the world, which was inspired by Malaysia much to my delight. There are the demon Moon castes which are hybrid animals people, the Steel Caste which is the middle ground and then paper which has no demon qualities at all.
The writing, the world-building, and the characters were all on point. Though, I have to say the plot kind of took a 360 at one point, making the first half drag a bit and seem sort of pointless. But it all came together and didn’t jarr me too much.
If you’ve been dreaming of an Asian inspired fantasy with a “love, despite the world falling apart around us” theme and girl power, this is the one.  I seriously hope a book sub box does this in November because I cannot wait to stroke the beautiful cover like the weirdo I am.