Tag Archives: ya

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, Book 1)

Nyxia Book Cover Nyxia
Scott Reintgen
Young Adult Fiction
Crown Books For Young Readers
2017
384

Emmett accepts an interstellar space contract but learns en route that to win the promised fortune he and nine other recruits face a brutal competition, putting their very humanity at risk.

 

Review:

I’ll say right off the bat that “Nyxia” borrowed quite a few elements from other science-fiction and dystopian works.  That being said, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment.  It was a quick read that left me wanting more.  Emmett is complex, as are the secondary characters, and there are definitely deeper things going on that I want to know about.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait for the second book.  The cast of characters is extremely diverse.  This is a good setup to the rest of the trilogy that I can easily recommend to those who enjoy science-fiction or dystopian novels.

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

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Black Bird of the Gallows

Black Bird of the Gallows Book Cover Black Bird of the Gallows
Meg Kassel
Young Adult Fiction
Entangled Teen
September 5, 2017
300

Her love breaks his curse. But his love spells her death. A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. Angie Dovage can tell the mysterious new boy next door is more than he appears, but she can't imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. But when a grotesque, otherworldly man tries to attack her and Reece comes to her rescue, everything changes. Any minute, chaos could rain down on her town, on her family, on everyone she cares about. But that's only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

 

Review:

“Black Bird of the Gallows” was not a bad book, but it wasn’t for me.  I liked the backstory and the magical realism, but there seemed to be something missing in the actual execution.  I didn’t like the main character, so that was definitely part of the problem.  I can neither recommend nor not recommend it, so I suggest that if it looks good to you to give it a shot.

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

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Animal Death

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 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

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

Zero Repeat Forever (Nahx Invasions, Book 1)

Zero Repeat Forever Book Cover Zero Repeat Forever
Nahx Invasions, Book 1
G. S. Prendergast
Young Adult Fiction
Simon and Schuster
August 29, 2017
496

Sixteen year-old Raven, injured and still grieving over her boyfriend's death by the invading Nahx, crosses paths with Eighth, a Nyx warrior who has deserted his unit and abandoned his directives, and as the world falls apart around them, the two learn to trust each other in order to survive.

 

Review:

I really wanted to like “Zero Repeat Forever.”  It has so much that I love: aliens, survivalism, nightmare-inducing scenarios.  Unfortunately, it fell very flat.  The chapters featuring Raven seemed to drag on in an effort to make the “forever” in the title seem literal.  I also did not find her character likable at all.  The only redeeming parts of the book were Eighth and diversity.  I can’t recommend it to even the biggest of alien invasion fans.

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

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Underage Drug and Alcohol Use

Omega (Infinity Division, Book 2)

Omega Book Cover Omega
Infinity Division, Book 2
Jus Accardo
Young Adult Fiction
Entangled Teen
August 1, 2017
Paperback
320

One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson.

Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission in danger.

But there’s more going on in Ash’s alternate universe than either of them knows: a mysterious project called Omega. A conspiracy spanning multiple Earths and revolving around none other than Ash. Its creators would do anything to keep Omega secret…

Anything.

 

Review:

“Omega” is a fun follow-up to “Infinity.”  It expands nicely upon the science fiction aspect and adds more depth to the original characters.  It also introduced new characters and points-of-view that were entertaining and expanded the universe a great deal.  If you enjoyed “Infinity”,  then you are most likely going to love “Omega.”

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

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

No Good Deed

No Good Deed Book Cover No Good Deed
Kara Connolly
Young Adult Fiction
Delacorte Press
2017
352

"Ellie is USA's best shot at Olympic gold in archery, but one wrong turn in Nottingham on her day off from the trials and she's somehow been transported back to the Middle Ages. Amidst an evil sheriff who wants to lock her up, a knight who might not be who he says he is, and an assassination plot, she must not only find her way back to the present, but fight to survive and not change history"--

 

Review:

“No Good Deed” is a fairy-tale/legend retelling that served as a good palate cleanser for me in the middle of quite a few heavier reads.  The plot is fast-paced and the characters are just the right amount of snarky and developed for a light read.  The content is mild, and the writing easy enough to read, that even the youngest of the ya group should find it enjoyable.  Recommended!

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

 

Content Warning:

Language, Very Mild Sexual Content, Violence