Author Archives: adultintheyasection

Blood and Ink

Blood and Ink Book Cover Blood and Ink
Stephen Davies
Young Adult Fiction
Charlesbridge Teen
September 19, 2017
224

Kadija is the music-loving daughter of a guardian of the library in the ancient city of Timbuktu, Ali is a former shepherd boy, trained by Islamist militants--and both are caught up in the war in Mali and on opposite sides of the stuggle to save the sacred Sufi manuscripts that the militants want to destroy.

 

Review:

“Blood and Ink” is a book that I can’t say that I enjoyed, but I did find it important and educational.  It covers the true story of what happened in Timbuktu in 2012.  The story is told in alternating points-of-view, one being that of a local resisting the invasion, and the other being that of a young fighter for a branch of Al-Qaeda.  It’s well-written and really made me think about what is going through the minds of those suffering in these situations.  Even though it takes place in our recent past, it’s just as important today.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Girls Made of Snow and Glass Book Cover Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Melissa Bashardoust
Young Adult Fiction
Flatiron Books
September 5, 2017
384

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother. Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known...or else defeat her once and for all. Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story. “In Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Melissa Bashardoust has given us exquisite displays of magic, complex mother-daughter relationships, and gloriously powerful women triumphing in a world that does not want them to be powerful. A gorgeous, feminist fairy tale.” —Traci Chee, New York Times bestselling author of The Reader “Melissa Bashardoust's debut novel is everything a fairy tale should be.” —Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling coauthor of My Lady Jane “Dark, fantastical, hauntingly evocative.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 

Review:

“Girls Made of Snow and Glass” is a unique and imaginative retelling of “Snow White.”  Both of the main characters were complex and there was quite a bit of heartbreak while I was reading it over the circumstances of the infamous stepmother.  Add to it the lgbtq diversity and you get a solid and original read.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

The Flintstones Vol. 2: Bedrock Bedlam

The Flintstones Vol. 2: Bedrock Bedlam Book Cover The Flintstones Vol. 2: Bedrock Bedlam
Mark Russell
October 10, 2017
144

Fred and Barney reunite for Mark Russell's modern take on Hanna-Barbera's most famous stone-age family! This second volume starring the first family of Bedrock (and civilization, really) tells the story of who we are and why we do what we do as if it all began with Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty and the rest of the citizens of Bedrock. Shining a light on humanity's ancient customs and institutions in a funny origin story of human civilization, Mark Russell (PREZ) blends modern interpretations with Hanna-Barbera's classic characters, bringing a breath of fresh stone-age air. Hanna-Barbera has created some of the most recognizable animated characters of all time. As part of DC Comics' reimagination of cartoons like SCOOBY-DOO, JONNY QUEST, SPACE GHOST and WACKY RACERS, these new series are infused with modern and contemporary concepts while keeping the heart and soul of the classic animation. Collects THE FLINSTONES #7-12.

 

Review:

I have trouble finding the words to express how much I LOVE The Flintstones reboot comics.  “Bedrock Bedlam” is an even stronger follow-up to the first volume.  The art is beautiful and the satire is biting.  They definitely are not the Flintstones of your childhood (or the childhood of your parents).

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Comic Book Story of Video Games

The Comic Book Story of Video Games Book Cover The Comic Book Story of Video Games
Jonathan Hennessey
Comics & Graphic Novels
Ten Speed Press
2017
192

A complete, illustrated history of video games--highlighting the machines, games, and people who have made gaming a worldwide, billion dollar industry/artform--told in a graphic novel format. Author Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Jack McGowan present the first full-color, chronological origin story for this hugely successful, omnipresent artform and business. Hennessey provides readers with everything they need to know about video games--from their early beginnings during World War II to the emergence of arcade games in the 1970s to the rise of Nintendo to today's app-based games like Angry Birds and Pokemon Go. Hennessey and McGowan also analyze the evolution of gaming as an artform and its impact on society. Each chapter features spotlights on major players in the development of games and gaming that contains everything that gamers and non-gamers alike need to understand and appreciate this incredible phenomenon.

 

Review:

“The Comic Book Story of Video Games” is definitely not light reading, but it is entertaining and full of information.  I believe I learned something new on almost every page.  This is perfect for kids interested in engineering and technology, as well as adults.  It could also fit easily into a STEM curriculum.  Highly recommended for all of us video game nerds out there!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

The Creeps

The Creeps Book Cover The Creeps
Fran Krause
Comics & Graphic Novels
Ten Speed Press
2017-09
144

A follow-up to the New York Times best-selling Deep Dark Fears: a second volume of comics based on people's quirky, spooky, hilarious, and terrifying fears. Illustrator, animator, teacher, and comic artist Fran Krause has touched a collective nerve with his wildly popular web comic series--and subsequent New York Times best-selling book--Deep Dark Fears. Here he brings readers more of the creepy, funny, and idiosyncratic fears they love illustrated in comic form--such as the fear that your pets will tell other animals all your embarrassing secrets, or that someone uses your house while you're not home--as well as two longer comic short-stories about ghosts.

 

Review:

“The Creeps” is filled with cartoons depicting various fears ranging from the rational to far beyond the irrational.  I don’t think anyone can go through it without finding something they relate to.  Some of it is funny, some of it is horrifying, and I finished it having some creepy crawly fears I had never even considered before.  It’s an especially fun read for the Halloween season.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

The Best Kind of Magic (Windy City Magic, Book 1)

Windy City Magic, Book 1 The Best Kind of Magic Book Cover Windy City Magic, Book 1 The Best Kind of Magic
Windy City Magic, Book 1
Crystal Cestari
Juvenile Fiction
Disney-Hyperion
May 16, 2017
336

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate. Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match? The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

 

Review:

“The Best Kind of Magic” is a promising start to the new “Windy City Magic” series.  It has just the right blend of magical realism, suspense, the supernatural, and romance to make for a fun, light read.  It flows well and the sass of Amber kept me laughing.  It’s the perfect book for when you need a break from reality.  Good for grades 7 through adults.  Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

The List

The List Book Cover The List
Patricia Forde
Juvenile Fiction
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
August 1, 2017
384

Farenheit 451 meets The Giver in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark's citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it's up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.

 

Review:

“The List” is a middle grade dystopia with a good premise: words are dangerous and by limiting them you can control how people spread ideas.  The city of Ark has 250 approved words, and it is up to Letta to keep the meanings of the others.  The problem is that the narrative is muddled and slow because so many other issues are tackled but not given any depth.  Everything from religion to the environment to prisoner’s rights are thrown in and it keeps the story from flowing well.  I would stick with “The Giver” when it comes to middle graders.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Violence

Emma in the Night

Emma in the Night Book Cover Emma in the Night
Wendy Walker
Fiction
August 8, 2017
320

"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." –Booklist, Starred Review One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

 

Review:

“Emma in the Night” is a taut psychological thriller that kept me reading from start to finish without putting it down.  Not only did I keep second-guessing my theories,  I kept feeling ill-at-ease in my own home.  It’s difficult to say much more than the book synopsis because to spoil it even a little would take away from the fun.  If you like thriller mysteries, you will probably enjoy this.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows Book Cover Mask of Shadows
Linsey Miller
Young Adult Fiction
Sourcebooks Fire
September 1, 2017
384

Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action. Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen's personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

 

Review:

“Mask of Shadows” is another diverse book in the young adult category, and I am thrilled to see more representation.  Sal, the main character, is gender fluid.  Unfortunately, the book seemed to drag in quite a few places.  The plot is good.  It is the execution I found lacking.  That being said, it will still appeal to many readers and there is a lot of promise that the next book in the series will improve. I have my fingers crossed.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

How to Make a Wish

How to Make a Wish Book Cover How to Make a Wish
Ashley Herring Blake
Hmh Books for Young Readers
May 2, 2017
336

Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances. One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace's room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace's world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter's relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

 

Review:

“How to Make a Wish” is the rare sort of young adult romance that tackles the difficulties of growing up in a dysfunctional family and first love without being melodramatic.  The situations feel awful and real, but not hopeless.  It also has a beautifully executed romance between two girls that places it in the top-tier of books featuring lgbt main characters.  Recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence