Dragon Pearl-review

dragonpearl

 

304 pages
Expected publication: January 15th 2019 by Rick Riordan Presents
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this title.
This book follows thirteen-year-old Min who runs away from home in search of her brother who is suspected of desertion from the Space Force. She is also a fox with special powers. Most of the universe in this story have different abilities and appear as a human though they are different animals such as tigers and dragons.
I had to keep reminding myself that this was a middle-grade novel and all the sheer coincidences were, so the story wasn’t too complicated for younger audiences. Once I remembered that t the story took off for me. But something continued to drag, and I started to feel bored. The instances of situations happening just to add drama jarred me, as well as characters appearing that did not appear again in the story, which I would have liked a lot. Min made decisions so quickly, there was no build-up, as most of her choices lacked. The pacing was off. I also wanted more of other animals to appear. The dragons, for instance. The ending also irked me a lot. UGH
I can see how this would appeal to younger audiences, but as an adult reading it (and don’t get me wrong, I read a ton of MG books) it wasn’t doing it for me. There was a lot of potential for the story that never got there.

Resistance: review

resistance

 

400 pages
Published August 28th 2018 by Scholastic Inc.
Bravo! That is the one word I thought to use after I finished this amazing novel. Bravo.
This story follows Chaya who, after her family is split apart during the war, decides to use her job as a courier (adopting a Polish persona) and joins a Jewish resistance group called Akiva.  The story skirts along actual events that took place in several ghettos throughout Poland. After a semi-botched event, Chaya is separated from her group, only to find that one is left and that their mission has become more dire and important than she ever imagined.
As I said before, this story centers around actual events and actual people like Chaya and those we are introduced to in a fictional and nonfictional sense. Chaya is courageous in every sense. She stands for every brave soul who fought for their freedom. Those whose stories we don’t know. She had her share of heartache, but rises above it. She knows she cannot save everyone, but even just one life would be worth it to her. She is probably the most heroic protagonist I have ever read about
I swept up by this story, its nonstop action, and tension. This is one of those books that will stick with me. I will also probably buy it for anyone who doesn’t already own it whom I think will enjoy it as much as I did.
Bravo, Jennifer. This get s rare five stars from me.

Damsel: ARC Review

damsel

 

320 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for a ARC of this book.
Oh me oh my. Okay, first off, this is marketed as a YA and part of me wants to say, THIS IS NOT A YA BOOK, but the other part says, THIS IS IMPORTANT.
This was a fairly quick read for me, at only 320 pages, I got through 100 pages each day while I walked on the treadmill as I do with most of my e-arc books. Once I got halfway through though, I just had to devour it.
It starts off with a prince named Emory who is on a mission to slay a dragon to rescue his damsel. Seems simple enough, right? Once he accomplishes sadi tasks, we switch over povs to the damsel herself. She remembers nothing of her life before Emory saved her, which he does well to remind her, over and over and over…needless to say Emory turns out exponentially obnoxious with his hardcore sexism which is normal for this world apparently. Our damsel doesn’t know better and goes along with it at first and then she opens her eyes.
I don’t want to go into too much to give away important details, but this book has a lot of talk of penises, or “yards” (I giggled) and basically nonconsensual sexual acts that made me cringe.  As much as I wanted to say that this book didn’t need it after some thought I decided that it certainly did. It is sad that this almost feels modern with the violence that she endures from men around her.
The ending left something to be desired. I even “turned the page” just to see the Acknowledgment section and I almost cried.  All in all, it wasn’t a bad book. It read much older, but I enjoyed reading it.

Out of the Blue-review

blue

 

266 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Roaring Books Press
This has a queer rep and a diverse cast. It’s also about loss, and falling angels, which is pretty rad.
Ten days after Jaya’s mother dies, angels begin falling from the sky. They land in random places all over the globe. None of them survive the fall. Except for one. Jaya is in the right place at the right time to find the angel. She promptly hides her and names her Teacake.
At first glance, I thought this would be all about the angels. But it goes so much deeper than that. Jaya’s father moves her and her younger sister, Rani, to Edinburgh for a few weeks because he’s obsessed with the angels. Grief pulls them all in different directions. For Jaya, she wrangles with her mother’s loss and her confusion over the disappearance of her girlfriend shortly after the Beings began to fall to earth. Her father obviously deals in his own way, seeing the falling angels as a sign from his late wife in some way. Jaya finds trust in a girl named Allie, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and her introverted brother. Together they keep the fallen angel hidden and plan ways to heal her broken wing and keep her from The Standing Fallen, a local cult.
I bought this book IN Edinburgh on vacation which is funny because I didn’t realize it until I got home so reading the setting, and all the places Jaya goes was bittersweet. I loved Scotland with all of my heart. Although this book was lacking in its explanation as to WHY the angels were falling, it was very character driven with scenes reminiscent of E.T.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. Along with the diversity and magical realism, this stood out for me as I did go in thinking it was some sort of Hush, Hush type of book. I cannot wait to see what else Sophie Cameron has in store for us next.

Sherwood: Review

Sherwood

 

496 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by HarperTeen
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for the E-ARC
**1/2
When this was first announced, I nearly leaped out of my living room window in pure excitement. Because that is how I prove my joy. By jumping from things and also eating lots of Fritos. When Edelweiss approved my request to read this in advance, I googled what the tallest building near me that I could climb was. You know so I could jump.
I was confident that I would love this as much as I loved HUNTED. I was so confident that I started reading this on vacation, which I reserve for fascinating reads to get my vacation mood flowing continuously. Alas, I am disappointed to say that it did not live up to my expectations.
This story is about Marian who, after the death of Robin, takes up what she believes is his noble deed. At first, I liked her character. She grieved for Robin and seemed to give a big, fat middle finger to anyone pushing her into something she didn’t want to do. She yearned to find her strength and break free of how society saw her. But then she slowly became a Mary Sue, a special snowflake if you will. I stopped rooting for her at some point near the second half of the book and cared mainly for the Merry Men. Little John mostly. He was cool. The horse was too.
It wasn’t all bad. It just didn’t go in the direction I expected it to.
AND WHAT WAS WITH THAT ENDING???? I was scowling. Disgusted. Aghast.  I mean, what was all of this for just to have her end up with this A-HOLE?? I may be alone in thinking that this ending was all wrong. All wrong. I am tempted to rewrite myself, so I stop scowling.

Pride: review

Pride

 

August 29, 2018
Hardcover  | 304 pages
Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer and Bray for the e-arc. All opinions are my own.
Pride is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Brooklyn and centers around Zuri Benitez whose pride for her heritage and neighborhood lead some unexpected situations.
A new family moves in across the street; a RICH, new family. A stark contrast to Zuri’s barely-getting-by family of her own. She resents Darius straight away, labeling him as arrogant and haughty. She doesn’t like that he’s invaded her seemingly deep-rooted neighborhood and knows in her heart that he will never understand her.
Zuri is amazing. She is not one dimensional. She loves reading, poetry, her family, her heritage, her city, and most of all, she is eager to get into college and make something of herself. She can hold her own and takes nobodies crap. Especially the boys in her block.
True the classic story, there is the love/hate thing with Zuri and Darius (Darcy, duh). It seemed so real and not as flat as the trope can sometimes be. I felt like I was in her city, eating with her family, shopping in the local bodega, talking with her sisters on the rooftop of her building…everything.
The writing was breezy. I read this in less than four hours. As much I love shorter books sometimes, this one I wanted to be longer. This is one of the best retellings I have read to date. If you love Pride and Prejudice, I highly recommend this one.

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.