Thank you to Netgalley who approved the e-arc the same day I received my Goodreads win of the same book. All comments are my own.
I am going to start this review by saying how disappointing this book was. It did not make the impact I was expecting it to given the author’s debut. This book was not fun. It was not fast-paced. It was not interesting. It was missing the heart that SINTD had-the relationships that made me fell in love with it. Most of it dragged, and I slogged through the ending with all the gusto of me getting up in the mornings. That is to say, sluggish and swearing at the gods as to why this was happening.
This story takes place ten years after the events of
SKY IN THE DEEP, but do not directly coincide with that book so much.
Fiske’s younger brother, Halvard has center stage, as well as a new
heroine named Tova who is a soothsayer in a way. She and Halvard are
part of two warring clans. Honestly, that is all I got out of it. There
were no emotional ties to either character. I feel personally attacked
at how pumped I was to get not only one, but two copies of this and feel
as let down as I am.
The major things were lack of world-building, lack of character-building, and lack of story-line. The romance fell flat. So, in other words, there was nothing keeping me from talking good about this book. Nothing stood out. Mostly, I wanted it over so seeing as it was short, that was one plus to it all.
Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.
This book was everything I was looking for, which is to say I was looking for a sassy protagonist, a sexy Irish lad, and an Indiana Jones-like adventure. I sure got it.
Theo’s dad is a treasure hunter who suddenly finds himself wrapped up in a mystery and goes missing. Along with the boy named Huck who broke her heart years before and a journal, Theo sets out to find her father, as well as crack the secrets of a ring, reportedly worn by none other than Vlad the Impaler. Or Dracula for you simpletons. What starts as a simple task, their journey takes them deeper and deeper into some shady and dangerous stuff. All while running from a weirdo with a wolf and dodging feelings, Theo and Huck take their travels through Romania and into some creepy places to find both the ring and Theo’s dad.
So, when I said this book was like Indiana Jones, it WAS like Indiana Jones, but for the YA crowd so I was here for it. I mean, I was there before the line even formed. We got an angsty teen and the boy who left her, for reasons we come to know, who have to team up together. I mean, this is GOLD. We’ve got train rides, and boat rides, and camping, and lots of hiding. We have protagonists who bounce dialogue off each other like it’s nothing. I loved it all.
Theo was an unapologetic go-getter; she likes what she likes and she finds a way to get what she doesn’t. Huck was also adorable. They have a tumultuous history which adds to the tension. I probably would have liked a little more about their history as it did seem a little vague, but that wasn’t a deal breaker. I would have liked more of a character arc for both of them, especially Huck. One bug that I kept having to swat was the history with these two and why Huck had left Theo before. For some reason, it was sort of strange seeing as they had lived together and decided to take their relationship a step further, which resulted in Huck’s banishment from the household. There’s some immaturity in the situation, which this is a book about teens, so it’s whatever.
The treasure hunting had a Da Vinci code feel to it, and Bennet did take liberties with some aspects of Vlad The Impaler history, but that was all good.
What I didn’t feel like I was completely sold on was the ending. I felt like Theo’s dad was glossed over a bit, even though he was the main reason (as well as the ring of course) for the journey. I wanted him to have a bigger part. I wanted Huck to hash it out with what her father had done to him as well as to Theo, and I felt it was glossed over a bit. Maybe I’m asking for too much. I don’t know…
Other than those minor issues, I loved reading this book. I love European settings, funny banter, and romance so I give this book 4/5.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to review this book ahead of its release date.
So, sometimes there are books that you may think, well, I just can’t relate to that. But books are not just for you to relate to personally. They are for you to open your eyes to others and what they might be going through. They teach you empathy and how to switch your perception of what you only see on the outside. This book is one of those that I digested in such a way.
SCARS LIKE WINGS follows Ava, a year later after a horrific house fire that killed her parents and left her burned on 60% of her body. She lives with her aunt and uncle as she navigates life feeling lost and hideous. She makes a deal with Cora, her aunt, and attempts to go back to school for a sense of normalcy. Ava knows her life is no longer normal, and the stares and whispers about her appearance do not sneak by but are amplified in her already fragile mind.
She meets a girl named Piper, who’s recovering from a car accident and together, along with a boy named Asad, they form bonds that seem unbreakable, but are just as splintered. Piper may push Ava to become more confident, but it can only go so far. Ava realizes the trauma that Piper is going through behind closed doors and learns to look past her problems. Behind the backdrop of a theater group and secrets, she must come to terms with; Ava must find a way to break free of her scars.
I finished this book in less than a day. The characters and their journies were so heartbreaking. Having scars of my own (car accident, thyroid surgery, throwing my arm through a window), I felt a little bit what Ava was going through. People who ask about the scars on my face as a child and when we’re children we don’t know how to process it. We sink into ourselves, feel ashamed, or just get angry. These feelings are normal and are some of the things Ava goes through. What I learned as I grew, is what Ava learns in this book, is that you are not your scars and that you can rise above the stares and the questions and comes to terms with your past because scars, unseen or not, are there to stay. It’s what you do with them that defines you.
I cannot wait to see what else Erin Stewart has in store. I cannot believe this is a debut because it is just phenomenal!. Congrats on a fantastic book. I hope teachers and librarians stock this book and use it as required reading.
Expected publication is October 2019 from Delacorte
Thank you to Bloomsbury for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.
AND CROOKED, like the last book I read of Leah’s WHEN LIGHT LEFT US,
was stunning. I went in thinking one thing and getting another. I love
books like that. It’s like reaching into a Halloween bucket of candy and
coming out with the peanut butter cup prize.
This story follows
three POV’s, but mainly the focus is on two. Gus, who has cerebral
palsy, and Kayln, who is the daughter of a murderer. The two kids strike
up a nonconventional friendship which leads them down a path of
self-discovery and solving the mystery of a decades-long murder
The first half of the book seemed very much almost a
love story but not. I caught on pretty quickly what was happening. There
were tense moments where some secrets threatened to spill, and when
they did, it was a like a bomb exploded. I was biting my lip as I was
reading, on edge. The second half took a bit of a detour and focused
more on the past and how to right the wrongs of their families and town.
I loved the characters. Every one of them. We have some serious
queer reps, as well as mental and physical illnesses that you think
would impede out heroes, but it only makes them stronger in the long
run. Leah Thomas has a way with her characters that puts me in awe. Her
talent is flawless. She weaves stories through complicated narratives
with ease. She gives us a glimpse into the lives of flawed and fierce
teens who lean on each for support.
The platonic queer
friendships are something rare in YA books, so this book was refreshing.
The murder mystery reminded me a lot of Making a Murderer and had me
hooked from the first chapter.
I can’t describe how much I love
Leah Thomas and all of her novels. If you haven’t read WHEN LIGHT LEFT
US or her earlier works, do so, and add this one to your WANT TO READ.
You won’t be disappointed.
THE entertainment world goes through phases all the time, but one
that seems to have always stuck around in some form has been the
Vampires were hot some ten years ago with YA books like TWILIGHT and
VAMPIRE ACADEMY and VAMPIRE DIARIES which brought them to a much younger
audience than that of books like INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE or movies
like BLADE and shows like TRUE BLOOD. It seemed for a time that we were
saturated in them. But the supernatural elements of vampires,
werewolves, and ghouls and goblins never really disappear. They just lay
low for a while.
Sometime last year I saw a post on Twitter’s #mswl (manuscript
wishlist) where agents were asking for vampire novels, and the internet
went wild. To sum up the tweets, vampires need a comeback. Not long
after that there were calls for witches and werewolves and folks, I am HERE FOR IT.
When Renée Ahdieh announced her new YA title, THE BEAUTIFUL, fans
went wild. Not long after that, fellow best-selling author, Jay Kristoff
announced his own, EMPIRE OF THE VAMPIRE. Olivia Wildenstein released
her YA werewolf novel, PACK OF BLOOD AND LIES in April (if you haven’t
picked that one up, do it NOW!) with the sequel releasing soon.
Witches never seem to go away, and authors keep coming up with brand
new ways to portray them. SERPENT and DOVE by SHELBY MAHURIN is one that
is releasing this year that comes to mind. Also, THE BLOOD HEIR by
But where are my werewolves? SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater had a good
long run with her Mercy Falls series, NIGHTSHADE, and Patricia Briggs
with her Mercy Thompson series and Alpha and Omega dominate the NA
crowd. So, where are they in the YA world?
With UNSPOKEN, I did not initially intend it to be a shifter novel. But, as a pantser,
I let the ideas flow as I write and never truly plan ahead of time. So,
when the story took hold and formed, I found myself face to face with a
sort of werewolf story-line that, after much research, shifted (no pun
intended) into something much much more than the usual trope.
I have always had an obsession with wolves. They peek into my stories
in subtle ways and, in the case of UNSPOKEN, massive ways. I once wrote
a book when I was younger called The Leader of the Pack, which was
essentially The Lion King with wolves. After that, I wrote another about
a princess and her wolf guardian. After UNSPOKEN, I found myself making
the wolf a central, but ambiguous character in my King Arthur retelling
IRON to LACE (unpublished and under revision currently) and a spooky
Red Riding Hood retelling, EVERY BROKEN THING (still underway)
Wolves are not going anywhere in my writing. But stick around because I promise you they will not get boring.
The Gwylis in UNSPOKEN is taken from Welsh mythology and, like the werewolves of legend
that you know, they are cursed. But this curse they did to themselves
by making a pact with demons for power to overcome their enemies. So,
ultimately, what we have is both a curse and a gift. I twisted up what
people knew and made it my own. If you want wolves, I have wolves:
killer ones, good ones, and ones with serious bad attitudes with
That all being said, I’d like to present the cover:
Isn’t it gorgeous????!!! The team at PARLIAMENT HOUSE PRESS brought the goods! What we see a mashup of the two worlds that our protagonist, Izzy, must choose between; the castle she will inherit or the wilds of the unknown.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.
Francesca Zappia. That name makes me hit pre-order no matter what the plot is. No matter how the cover looks. Zappia has me spending my time and money on blind faith alone because the moment I finished MADE YOU UP, she became an auto-buy author, and I became a lifelong fan.
What is this book about, you ask?
Our protagonist is named Zora, and she can see ghosts. She comes from a tumultuous family (father in jail for a Ponzi scheme and mother who has disappeared five years prior) and lives with her older sister, Sadie, in a trailer on a bluff overlooking the small town in Indiana. Years ago, she was blamed for a fire while battling a “firestarter”, a vile ghost, and the town looks down on her ever since. When another firestarter shows up in Addamsville again, Zora must dodge a ghost hunting television show and deal with little support from the town she’s trying to save.
Zora is the YA version of Odd Thomas, and I am here for it. I’ve been waiting for something like this, and I got it. Now, listen, this is not your typical Zappia book, BUT hear me out. This hits home with some hardcore emotions. Zora’s anger over being blamed by the town and imprisoned father, and feelings of loss over her missing mother, she feels alone at times. Zappia wrote: “This book is about our bonds with our family, our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves.” Take away the ghosts and mysteries, and you have a girl who just wants to feel normal and wants what everyone else has: love and support.
NOW ENTERING ADDAMSVILLE is a fun, emotional journey and hits all the sweet spots in a YA. We have an OWNVOICES protag (ace) and a setting both exciting and scary. She writes hardships and struggles and always seem to make me tear up with her prose. Zappia books are in a way, the equivalent of slipping into a warm bath, Lush bath bomb and all and playing some really good old school rock; both relaxing and heart-thumpingly delicious.
I love Zappia’s books because she incorporates magic into the real world with such expertise that you believe ghosts are walking around you as you sit and sip your tea. Maybe they are. Maybe we just can’t see them. And maybe I just want you to read this book because you won’t regret it.
P.S- I could not help but think of Zac Baggins when reading the arrogant ghost hunting, tv host character of Tad Thompson. I could not stop laughing. I still can’t. bahaha
The cover reveal for my debut is in just three days and to celebrate, I will be doing a giveaway for ANY NEW RELEASE BOOK OF YOUR CHOICE! All details will be on both my Instagram and PHP so make sure to follow both to stay up to date. I am so excited to show this cover to you all!
Thank you to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date.
This book was just what I needed. Witty writing, with a magical
plot-line and a protagonist you can cheer for to the very end. I just
came off reading a highly disappointing anticipated read, and I have to
be honest, my hope in books plummeted a bit. But thanks to this
delightful, witchy read, hope has been renewed.
What’s it about?
is a seventeen-year-old babysitter from a complicated home. Her mother
was put into a mental hospital when she was young, and her father
doesn’t really jump at the chance to talk about it. Along with her best
friend and fellow fashionista, Janis, they form a babysitter’s club
which is really just them browsing the internet and watching movies.
Weirdo things start happening when a new girl named Cassandra and her
hot brother show up. Suddenly, Esme finds herself in an entirely
different club, and it has nothing to do with changing diapers.
I loved: Esme’s voice. Her narration does a colossal justice to YA
everywhere. It mixes in a sometimes cynical girl who loves movies and
clothes and her friends and is entirely awkward in front of her crush.
It was so fun reading her quirkiness. And I laughed out loud so many
times. When a book can do that to me, I know it’s going to be good.
story was light-hearted and went ways I couldn’t even imagine. I’ve
never watched an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer so sue me, but It
is inspired by it, and from other reviews, I hear it takes a few notes
from the show as well.
I judge a book by how fast I get ready
for bed to lie down and read. This one had me skipping skincare routines
so that I could continue reading. It’s a quick, spooky romp through the
head of a girl who is just trying to navigate life but has to fight
evil monsters instead.
The only thing that did irk me was the
lack of CALLING THE COPS thing when things happened. I get it, for
plot’s sake, they had to deal on their own, but being the mother-bear
inside of me was cursing them out for not enlisting the adults. ARGH.
hoping for redemption and a real love interest in the next one. I
cannot wait to take Esme, Cassandra, and Janis and just squeeze them and
tell them things will be all right if you stick together, darn it.
352 pages Expected publication: September 10th 2019 by HarperTeen
Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss who continue to trust me with their books.
Last summer I had the chance to read THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS while on vacation in the UK. I was so enthralled by it that I rushed through touring the sights in London and Scotland just so I could go back to the Airbnb to read it. I couldn’t wait to get back home to review it. After, I became a lifelong fan of Laura Weymouth. If you have a chance, add her on Twitter. She is the sweetest author I have ever had the opportunity to converse with on social media!
I don’t know how she does it, by Laura takes us into a world where a girl is devoted to a magical house in England. After the father was accused of treason and sentenced to house arrest, Violet was sent away only to return some years later after the caretaker’s death. When she arrives, she finds the house in disrepair. After being told she’s to “cure” the house in a specific timeframe, Violet realizes the depth of her devotion to the sentient building and to those she loves. With sweeping emotional turmoil, Violet navigates the world of secrets her father had built up and first love to discover that her fate is not sealed and that she can be whatever she wants to be, despite the promises she made.
This premise is unique in that it brings us to a world built entirely around this house, that seemingly has emotions of its own. Violet’s devotion borders on obsession. She almost loses sight of what is truly important, and I think, at least to me, that s the lesson I took from it. This may not be what Laura intended, but we all see stories differently and relate to them in a way that coincides with our own emotions in real life. It is also a testament to finding our place in the world, and just like in THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS, Violet pours her heart and soul into what she loves and what she believes will ultimately make her happy.
Upon asking Laura what her inspiration for the story was, she told me that it was partly based on The Crawley family and their devotion to their home in DOWNTON ABBEY. She sprinkled in some magic and TREASON OF THORNS came to be. Part of me can see that, and another part was reminded of THE HAUNTING OF HILLHOUSE (the show on Netflix) and how these people were drawn to this house that would or would not ultimately decide their fate. Though not as horrific as the show, TREASON OF THORNS gave me a gothic feel. It was beautifully written (as always) and drew me in from page one. I cannot express how much I adore Laura’s writing, but I know she will always be one of my favorites.
Finally. FINALLY. A well-written fantasy that does not remind me of anything that I’ve read in the past. Don’t sit on this one, folks.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for the chance to review this title ahead of its release date. This, in no way, affects my glowing review.
SERPENT AND DOVE is a fantasy told in a split POV narrative. First up is Lou, a witch in hiding who’s missteps cause her to get married to a witch hunter named Reid. Reid is stiff and dedicated to his beliefs whereas Lou is often vulgar and unchaste. Together they form an unusual pairing that is often filled with bitterness and confusion. Enemies turn up, as they do, and both Reid and Lou have to decide where their allegiances lie. To each other, or the lives they were born into.
LOU is a snarky arse eighteen-year-old who turns her nose up at the Church and its ideals. She lives her life as a thief to get by in this France inspired world. She has bestie written all over her. She’s fierce and independent, but also likewise vulnerable with flaws. The only other heroine I can think of that compares is Celaena from Throne of Glass, but that’s only a minuscule portion of who Lou is. Shelby created a protagonist that you can cheer for until the end. She is the ultimate YA heroine.
REID is a witch hunter, or Chasseur if you will. He’d been raised to believe witches were evil, and to follow the good book, almost blindly. He’s a tall drink of water with cinnamon roll tendencies. That is to say; he’s so chaste and innocent, I was hoping Lou would ravage the poor guy sooner rather than later. He’s tall, and prone to rage-filled outbursts, mostly because he does not understand the woman Lou is. Oh man, the tension between these two was so thick I had a hard time pulling my kindle away from my face. Teamed up with Lou, they are a force to be reckoned with. Their romance is nail-biting delicious.
Add to this your TO BE READ, pre-order, whatever. If you like fantasy, kick-arse heroines, and a fresh magic system and world, this is the one for you.
The plot flowed beautifully and had me hooked from page one. Usually, with longer books like this, I tend to take my time, but I had to blow through this because it was literally THAT good. I felt my body sag when I saw this was only a duology. But needless to say, I will follow Shelby’s career to my dying day. She is one to watch!
Expected publication: September 3rd 2019 by HarperTeen