Tag: YA

A Favorite Series Ends

Posted October 18, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, review / 0 Comments
A Favorite Series Ends

Finishing a series is always such a bittersweet experience. I have loved The Gold Seer trilogy since the first book, so I went into this finale with a lot of expectations, but also a bit of hesitancy as I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters. Into the Bright Unknown wraps up Lee and her friends’ story brilliantly, and I know for sure that this is one series I will be revisiting over and over again. Without a doubt, this book and this series’ stars are the characters. Lee, in particular, is a terrific protagonist. She has come a very long way since the first book when she lost her parents, went on a long trek and faced danger after danger. She has learned a lot from her experiences, and has become a strong, bright and tenacious young woman. I didn’t just love Lee for her strengths – I admired her even more for how kind and selfless she was. Every action of hers was driven by her love […]

What Is Family, Really? Read This Beautiful Story To Find Out

Posted October 16, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review / 13 Comments
What Is Family, Really? Read This Beautiful Story To Find Out

Quite frankly, I’m of the opinion that Robin Benway can do no wrong. Far From The Tree just went ahead and proved me right in that regards. It’s a poignant and powerful tale of love and family that struck deep with me, and is one of my favorite reads of the year. This is a book of three teens who are each at different points in their lives, but who are linked to each other through their birth mother. Far From The Tree is told in the compelling voices of Grace, Maya and Joaquin, who have grown up in very different homes. Grace has just given birth and has given her baby, who she lovingly names Peach, up for adoption. Though she knows that Peach is growing up in a good home, she’s still struggling with regaining normalcy in her life. Her grief and guilt are palpable throughout the book. My heart would ache with her. Robin Benway did such a lovely job with her characters. She made me feel […]

Girl Power, Girl Power & More Girl Power: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Posted October 9, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, review / 13 Comments
Girl Power, Girl Power & More Girl Power: Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Can Leigh Bardugo write a bad book? I think not! Once again, she’s written a novel that’s a complete blast to read from start to finish. Though I’m not as excited about this new YA superhero series as a whole, I was itching to get to Wonder Woman for two reasons. Firstly, it’s Leigh’s first full-length book outside of the Grishaverse. Secondly, after that amazing WW movie, I was ready to devour everything and anything Wonder Woman. Thankfully, I was entirely satisfied by this book, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see Leigh write more books for teen Diana! There are innumerable reasons why this book and I clicked, but mostly, I just loved all the girl power. I have been loving this trend of female empowerment in YA lately, and Leigh Bardugo takes it to a whole other level. It’s a book that focuses 100% of femininity, the power of female friendship and the absolute strength that women wield. Diana, our beloved Amazon princess, is just the perfect […]

Time-Traveling Thieves, Soulmates & Books With Cool Concepts

Posted October 2, 2017 by Nick in ARC, review / 33 Comments
Time-Traveling Thieves, Soulmates & Books With Cool Concepts

I read Julie Halpern’s The F-It List a couple of years ago and adored it. I haven’t picked up anything else by her since, but when I came across Meant To Be, I got curious. Unfortunately, for me, this was one of those books that has an interesting concept that’s just not executed to its full potential. In Halpern’s world, on your 18th birthday, your soulmate’s name becomes etched onto your skin, a phenomenon that’s gone unexplained. Isn’t that such an interesting story line to explore? Anyways, our protagonist, Agatha, wants nothing to do with this soulmate. She wants to make her own choice on her own terms. Agatha wasn’t the easiest character for me to get behind. She has a very dry sense of humor, and is also very sarcastic. Typically, I enjoy these sorts of heroines, but I don’t know, Agatha rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe, because I felt like she tried too hard at times? She mentioned her farts, her giant breasts frequently throughout the story, […]

A Gorgeous & Memorable Book Every Teen Should Read: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Posted September 18, 2017 by Nick in 5 stars, ARC, review / 23 Comments
A Gorgeous & Memorable Book Every Teen Should Read: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Trigger warnings: Poignant and heart-breaking, Akemi Dawn Bowman’s winning debut novel tells the story of a half-Japanese half-white teen girl struggling with her identity, anxiety, art and family. It’s a story that shines from every page and stands out among other YA contemporaries. The book world is in for some spectacular books if Starfish is just a glimpse at Akemi Dawn Bowman’s elegant writing. Social anxiety-ridden Kiko has one dream – to attend the prestigious art institute, Prism, to pursue her dream career. Bonus, it will also help her escape her narcissistic mother, whose only impact has been to embed a deep lack of self-confidence in her daughter. Starfish is the emotional journey she goes on as she experiences rejection from her dream school, and decides to get out of her toxic home life with the aid of a friend. It’s a journey that is necessary for her growth, and one that helps her understand her self-value. Kiko is a protagonist who will speak to many teen girls, especially mixed-raced […]

The Most Creative 2017 Debut: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Posted September 11, 2017 by Nick in 4.5 stars, ARC, review / 25 Comments
The Most Creative 2017 Debut: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens is a stunning debut novel that will lure readers in with the gorgeous prose, and keep them glued to the pages of the book with its vibrant characters. It might be Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, but she pens An Enchantment of Ravens like a pro and will leave you in awe. This is a YA fantasy novel that will stick with me for a long time. The book shines for its unique take on magic. In Rogerson’s world, humans have the ability to Craft, basically they all have a talent that the Fair Folk are able to purchase. It was refreshing to see this different sort of power dynamics. Margaret Rogerson takes common themes and elements from fae mythology and puts her own twist on them. The magical world was beautifully and subtly built throughout An Enchantment of Ravens, and most importantly, it was easy to envision. Rogerson’s writing is lush, gorgeous, and vivid, especially when it comes to the protagonist, Isobel’s artistic skills. This is […]

When An Unnecessary Twist Nearly Ruins A Good Book: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Posted September 6, 2017 by Nick & Nereyda in ARC, Audiobook, review / 19 Comments
When An Unnecessary Twist Nearly Ruins A Good Book: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Nereyda: I had no intention of reading this book. I haven’t been too impressed with contemporary YA as of late, this author’s last book was a little bit of a letdown (considering all the rave reviews) and this audiobook was narrated by one of my least favorite male narrators. All signs pointed to a no for me… but my brain sometimes (aka almost always) forgets things like this and before I remembered about all the reasons why I didn’t want to read this book, I had already downloaded the audiobook. I don’t like to not review audiobooks I receive for review (unfortunately I don’t have the same mentality when it comes to eARC’s…sigh) so I figured I would give it a try. When I say Nick talking about how much it surprised her in a weekly recap, I moved it up my list. Surprise, surprise, I actually ended up liking this quite a bit… up until the point that I didn’t… but it still wasn’t enough to make me dislike […]

Oh, My Heart! : Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Posted September 4, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, ARC, review / 31 Comments
Oh, My Heart! : Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren are a wildly popular duo in the romance community, and with Autoboyography, no doubt the YA community will also go wild for this talented pair. Autoboyography is a lovely, heart-felt book about sexual identity, religion, love and family that teens and adults alike will fall in love with. Tanner and Sebastian could not be more different from each other, but somehow the two meet, and fall in love with each other. The book is predominantly told through the voice of Tanner, a proud bisexual boy who is only out to his family in his new Utah town. He is a total sweetheart, who captured my heart with his easy-going personality and kind soul. He is outgoing, smart, level-headed, and loves like nobody’s business. Sebastian on the other hand is more quiet, and very devoted to his Mormon religion. Tanner and Sebastian meet in Tanner’s seminar class where Sebastian is the teaching assistant. Somehow the book that they have to write in the class turns out to be an […]

I Expected More: Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

Posted August 28, 2017 by Nick in 2.5 stars, ARC, review / 18 Comments
I Expected More: Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

When a book is described as “Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas”, it’s hard for a fan of both of those things to ignore. Rebel Seoul comes highly recommended from fellow bloggers, which just added to my excitement of reading the book. Perhaps it was my high expectations, but Rebel Seoul wasn’t the book I was led to believe it would be. The premise of the book is certainly interesting. The futuristic/dystopian South Korean setting is fresh and unique, but only bare bones of the world are explored here, which makes it hard to become invested in the story. A lot of the world building, and the history of the war that led to this new Korean society feels like info-dumping, which means the book is peppered with these dense chunky paragraphs explaining the world. It’s not how I personally enjoy reading the world building of a book, and it led to moments of boredom for me. The plot is also slow-paced, which didn’t enhance my enjoyment of the story. […]

A Book Set In South Korea, A Book That Put Me To Sleep & A Book With Dragons

Posted August 23, 2017 by Nick in 2 stars, 3 stars, 3.5 stars, ARC, review / 10 Comments
A Book Set In South Korea, A Book That Put Me To Sleep & A Book With Dragons

Ferocious by Paula Stokes Winter Kim and her friends race back in this sequel and finale to the Vicarious duology, this time armed with a thirst for revenge for the deaths of her loved ones and the desire to find and protect her brother, on the streets of South Korea. Winter’s dissociative identity disorder (DID) plays a much more significant role in Ferocious, and is an interesting look into the mental health illness. Though I can’t speak to how authentic the representation of DID is in the book, it certainly feels like Stokes has taken her time to research the subject matter meticulously. Admittedly, the DID is used as a plot device at times, and the book could have done with a deeper look at Winter’s alternate personalities, to make it come across as a stronger element of the novel. Winter’s blood-thirst, determination and struggles with who she really is make her an interesting protagonist. Though she often time makes questionable decisions, she remains a likable character throughout Ferocious, and […]

When A Favorite Author Disappoints: The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

Posted August 18, 2017 by Nick in 2 stars, ARC, review / 13 Comments
When A Favorite Author Disappoints: The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

I have loved every book by Jessi Kirby, and any time I hear about a book from her, I pounce on it. The Secret History of Us sounded very different from her typical book, but I had faith that she’d write yet another compelling, character-driven book. I’m so sad to even write this, but this book was a huge disappointment. I’ve decided to do this review in bullet form because it’s much easier for me to express my thoughts about this book this way. What I Liked The writing was lovely. As always, Kirby’s writing is stunning. I knew very early on this book wasn’t working for me, but I also was not able to put it down because of the writing. Olivia’s reaction to her amnesia was realistic. I thought the author handled that part brilliantly. When Olivia’s emotions surfaced, especially, I found the book to be very engaging. She’s obviously struggling with her memory loss and trying to figure out what happened to her over the years, and […]

The Book That Did Not Stop Surprising The Two of Us: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Posted August 10, 2017 by Nick & Nereyda in 4 stars, ARC, Audiobook, review / 16 Comments
The Book That Did Not Stop Surprising The Two of Us: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Nereyda: I had honestly never even heard of this book (to be fair, I’m so out of the loop when it comes to books) until it came up on my emails for audiobooks. I had heard good things about her last thriller even though I never got around to reading it, but there was something about this book that intrigued me. I don’t usually bother with YA thrillers because most of the time they are way too predictable, but Little Monsters managed to escape the predictability with an unexpected POV and some added twists along the way. Nick: I was curious about Little Monsters but didn’t pick it up until Nereyda mentioned that she liked it. I read it over the weekend and thought it was one of the more brilliant YA mystery I have read. What I liked the best about this book was how it kept making me second-guess my theories at basically every turn. Nereyda: When Kacey’s friend Bailey goes missing, the whole town is shocked and […]

When An Aussie Author Makes Me Read A Genre I Normally Wouldn’t: The Undercurrent by Paula Weston

Posted August 9, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, review / 25 Comments
When An Aussie Author Makes Me Read A Genre I Normally Wouldn’t: The Undercurrent by Paula Weston

Well, that was one heck of a ride. I’ve been in love with Paula Weston’s writing and books ever since I read Shadows, the first book in one of my all-time favorite series, The Rephaim. With The Undercurrent, a standalone, Weston delves into an entirely different genre, but once again, she has penned an engaging and thrilling story. If The Undercurrent had been written by any other author, I would have skipped it because it’s a futuristic thriller, and I personally tend to struggle with those. The Undercurrent however was compelling from the start. It opened up with a bang, literally with a building explosion, and the pacing did not let on. The story is filled with secrets, corruption, government conspiracies and bio-engineering, which made for an exciting book start to finish. What’s awesome here is that the story slowly built up, and you’re only fed information one chapter at a time, which made the book almost impossible to put down. The Undercurrent was non-stop action, non-stop revelations, and non-stop danger, which […]

I Laughed Until My Belly Hurt: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C Yee

Posted July 31, 2017 by Nick in ARC, review / 28 Comments
I Laughed Until My Belly Hurt: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C Yee

Bravo, F.C Yee! You’ve managed to make me laugh with a book until my stomach hurts. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo wasn’t exactly on my radar until some of my close bookish friends (shoutout to Eri, Aila & Aentee), wouldn’t stop raving about it. These ladies hardly ever lead me astray, so I decided that I was going to give it a shot and surprise, surprise – I had so much fun with it, by the end, I was just dying to have the sequel in my hands. Books like The Epic Crush of Genie Lo remind me why I love reading so much. They are temporarily able to whisk me away to a different world. Sure, I’d probably be the first to flop dead in Genie’s newfound world of demons, but it’s still fun to imagine myself in her shoes. It helps that Genie is a super relatable character. I think a lot of readers are going to love her. She’s just pure fun, but also smart, studious […]

A Twisty New YA Fantasy Debut: Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

Posted July 27, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, ARC, review / 29 Comments
A Twisty New YA Fantasy Debut: Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta

YA fantasy used to be one of my favorite genres in the past, but lately, I haven’t been meshing well with it. But still every time that I hear about a new fantasy book releasing, my interests piques. Shimmer and Burn was one of those books that tickled my fancy. Then I took a closer look at the book summary, and the minute I found out the plot was centered around the relationship between two sisters, I was more than in. I’m thrilled that my gut feelings about this book was right. The main element that kept me glued to Shimmer and Burn was the impressive world building. Mary Taranta builds up the world, foundation by foundation, in a spellbinding fashion. The Kingdom, riddled with corrupt dark magic that was literally killing people, was written so intricately, I was able to picture every aspect of it. I was equally fascinated by the background here, which much like the world building, builds up piece by piece, as the author reveals more and […]

It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Posted July 22, 2017 by Nick in 2 stars, ARC, review / 17 Comments
It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician was a book I was more than excited to read. It has a heist, magic and a historical setting, all elements that made it seem like a book I would love. Unfortunately, the book let me down. However, I don’t think that should stop anyone from picking this one up, because I really think a lot of my lack of enjoyment of the book had to do with my personal preferences when it comes to book lengths. You see, The Last Magician is close to 500+ pages long, and while normally that would have taken me 2-3 days to read, I struggled through this one for about 6 days. I was reading about 2-3 hours daily, and every time I checked my progressed, I would get annoyed that I had only made it through 20%. Additionally, I just didn’t feel like the book warranted that many pages, because there’s a huge chunk in the middle when the story in The Last Magician remained stagnant. I feel like […]

The Eerie And Creative Story of A Girl With No Eyes: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Posted July 17, 2017 by Nick in 3.5 stars, ARC, review / 36 Comments
The Eerie And Creative Story of A Girl With No Eyes: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

I’ve been so excited to read Daughter of the Burning City. I loved the idea of a circus setting, and with that gorgeous cover, there was no holding me back from this book. This may only be a debut, but it was sweeping, magical and very atmospheric. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Amanda Foody comes up with in the future, because she is brimming with creativity and talent. There was an almost ethereal quality to the writing in Daughter of the Burning City. It’s not the fastest paced book, but I never found a dull moment in the book. I was absorbed by the magic, the eerie atmosphere and the strange characters. The world building, while I thought could have been expanded a little bit further – it felt like an info-dump at times, was still satisfying enough to be able to envision Gommorah, a traveling festival. It was quirky, but I also found myself wanting to transport myself into this world. It’s very unique! I will admit that the […]

The Beauty of Flawed Girls: Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone & This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes + A Giveaway

Posted July 13, 2017 by Nick in 4 stars, ARC, review / 13 Comments
The Beauty of Flawed Girls: Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone & This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes + A Giveaway

I have come to expect the best summery contemporary romances from Jen Malone just based on her release last year, Wanderlost. Though I didn’t read the book in the summer, Changes in Latitudes was just the perfect read for me, with all the themes that I love in a good YA contemporary. I have to say, I’m really liking this new trend of unlikable YA protagonists – flawed girls make for the most interesting characters. I’ll admit, I initially struggled with Cassie’s character. She was very angry at the world, particularly at her mom. She blames her mother for her parents’ divorce, and she is angry that her mother has ruined her summer plans to go on a sailing trip. I had to remind myself that this was a teen girl, and teen girls tend to make a mountain out of a molehill out of every thing. It’s that age when you think the whole world is against you because of all the changes going on. What’s great about Cassie’s character […]