young adult

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

23203252

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
Random House: September 20, 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

The view was nice, but the food was bad.
suitcasesuitcase

A Shadow Bright and Burning is a YA historical fantasy novel and while entertaining, I didn’t think that Bright and Burning offered readers anything new. We’ve got some romance and some personal turmoil being the chosen one. Both of which many will recognize if anyone’s pictured up a fantastical YA read at some point in the recent past.

Miss Henrietta Howell is a young lady with a secret. Henrietta can control and create fire, something that she is struggling to conceal. After all there are no lady sorcerers anymore, not since the last one started a war. Naturally, Henrietta is discovered. Instead of punishment, Henrietta is thought to be the chosen one, prophesied to end the war with Ancients. While not everyone is convinced, Henrietta is taken to London to study, learning things about herself, her past, and those closest to her. (more…)

Ghostly Echoes

28110857Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Algonquin Young Reader: August 23, 2016
Genre: Young Adult; Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
suitcasesuitcasesuitcasesuitcase

Ghostly Echoes is the third historical mystery featuring Abigail Rook and Mr. Jackaby, a private investigator with an unusual specialty of the unexplained.

Abigail is a transplant from England who fell into employment with the eccentric Jackaby and with this third book it’s clear that Abigail has embraced her investigations into the paranormal and has no intention of going back:

It seemed like only yesterday I had been back home in England, packing for my first term at university. Had someone told me that I would throw it all away and run off to America to commune with ghost and answer to ducks and help mad detectives solve impossible murders, I would have said they were either lying or insane. I would have sorted them on the same shelf in my mental library as those who believe in Ouija boards or sea serpents or honest politicians. That sort of foolishness was not for me. I adhered to facts and science; the impossible was for other people.

A lot can change in a few short months (p. 20).

Indeed they can. (more…)

Campy Fun in “Sweet”

22718736Sweet by Emmy Laybourne
Feiwel & Friends: June 2, 2015
Genre: Horror; Young Adult
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
suitcasesuitcasesuitcasesuitcase

Sweet is a weirdly awesome horror tale. It’s both funny and unrealistic, and the author owns that campy tone, making for an all around enjoyable read.

Over the course of six days a celebrity-filled cruise will embark on a televised experiment. Passengers on the cruise ship have been invited to try Solu, a new dietary supplement that results in dramatic weight loss. With Solu you can eat whatever you want and still lose those persistent pounds. Naturally, this drug is not quite what it claims to be, and soon the addicted passengers are ready to do anything for their next fix. (more…)

Teenage Superheroine: “Ms. Marvel”

20898019Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona
Marvel: October 30, 2014
Genre: Graphic Novel
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
suitcasesuitcasesuitcasesuitcase

I picked up Ms. Marvel on the recommendation from a friend. I’d also heard a fair bit of buzz about the series due to it’s diverse main character and relatable storyline.

Kamala Khan is your average Muslim teenager living in New Jersey. She’s struggling to find her identity and dealing with family and friend stuff. But then, Kamala gets superpowers!

After a mysterious fog cloaks the city, Kamala finds that she can transform into Captain Marvel, but the shift into the blonde and booted superheroine is not exactly what Kamala imagined it would be. Kamala thought she would be just like everyone else, but of course, it doesn’t work that way. Most of volume one is about Kamala discovering that who she is okay and it’s also okay not to have all the answers right now. The whole identity issue is a huge part of volume one and it sends a powerful message to readers. Kamala is struggling with her family’s expectations and how they conflict with her own ideas and quite frankly this is a universal experience during those oh-so-fun teen years. (more…)

“Flamecaster”: A Revenge Read

23253083
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
HarperCollin: April 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

Beach Vacation
suitcasesuitcasesuitcase

Flamecaster is the first book by the much-hyped Chima that I’ve read. I’ve wanted to read Chima’s Seven Realms series for a long time, but alas, time, there is never enough. Instead, I decided to jump right into Chima’s new series, which I understand is connected to the Seven Realms series. Having not read the other series, I think I can safely say that Flamecaster can be read as a standalone series.

Flamecaster follows the adventures and revenge plots of four people. There’s Ash, a young prince who’s family has been targeted by a rival king. Like Ash, Jenna’s friends have been murdered by the same king, and now she is being hunted down by the king because of the mage mark on the back of her neck. Lila is playing multiple sides, but it’s anyone’s guess who’s side she’s really on. And perhaps the most mysterious of all, Destin Karn, son of the powerful general that serves the dastardly king seems to have his own operation running that is contrary to his king. Each of these characters have their own motivations, but what ties them all together is their hatred for the current king of Arden. (more…)

Let Down in the “Forest of Ruin”

25174874Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong
HarperCollin: April 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

The view was nice, but the food was bad
suitcasesuitcase

Forest of Ruin picks up where Empire of Night left off: the empire is on the verge of war, Moria and Ashyn are separated and those that they care about are in imminent danger. Having LOVED Empire of Night, I anxiously awaited getting my hands on the final book of the Age of Legends trilogy. Did Forest of Ruin live up to my expectations? Well…no, no, it did not.

As soon as I cracked open Forest of Ruin it seemed that something was different. The tone seemed off and everything I liked about the second book seemed to not work for this time around. What I loved about Empire of Night was the author’s use of multiple perspectives. Both Ashyn and Moira get equal page time and readers are immersed into the twin’s perspectives and their very different personalities. I really appreciated this narrative style in the first two books, but I didn’t find either sister that interesting this time around. For me, the problem lays in the fact that Ashyn and Moira didn’t really seem to change that much in the final book. Ashyn continued to be reserved yet quietly strong, and Moira continues to be brash and impulsive. There was very little progression in either girl’s character development that reading their separate narrative felt like a re-hashing of Empire of Night. (more…)

The Heartbreaking “Winner’s Crime”

20443207.jpgThe Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Giroux: March 3, 2015
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
suitcasesuitcasesuitcasesuitcase

On Monday, I posted my review of The Winner’s Curse, and naturally, I jumped straight into book two, The Winner’s Crime. From the first page, it was clear that this was not going to be a happy book. There was such a sense of sadness and hopelessness about The Winner’s Crime, that I struggled to read it. But, read it, I did.

The Winner’s Crime picks up directly after the events of The Winner’s Curse. Kestrel is now engaged to the crown prince of Valoria; which is the price she must pay to the emperor for his agreement to back off in warring against Herran. For Kestrel, this means that she must convince Arin that she cares nothing for him, a fiction that Arin eventually believes.

(more…)

On the Bandwagon with “The Winner’s Curse”

16069030The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Farrar Straus Girou: March 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
suitcasesuitcasesuitcasesuitcase

So, I’ve finally jumped on The Winner’s Curse bandwagon, only committing to read the first book in the trilogy now that I have both the second and third on hand (cliffhangers, I’m no friend of yours). For the most part, I think Winner’s Curse lives up to the hype that it has received. The writing is gorgeous, and that alone will have me picking up the second book.

For those that have been living in a cave and haven’t heard of this trilogy, let me summarize. Kestrel is a general’s daughter, and it was her father that conquered the Herrani on behalf of his emperor. Now, ten years after the war, Kestrel is living in the city of the fallen and the Herrani serve the Valorian as slaves. When Kestrel purchases a young man at an auction, she sets off a chain of events that leads to revolution. (more…)

“Love, Lies & Spies”: A Young Lady’s Debut

25320766Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Swoon Reads: April 19, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
suitcasesuitcasesuitcase

Miss Juliana Telford is on the verge of taking her debut in society. However, Juliana is no ordinary young lady. Rather than anticipating her debut, Juliana is heading off to London with an alternative purpose: publication. You see, Juliana is a budding scientist and along with her father has been researching the lady beetle. Now, Juliana wants to get her and her father’s research published, all under the guise of her societal debut. Therefore, its unfortunate that she becomes entangled with Mr. Spencer Northam.

Spencer, like Juliana, is not whom he appears to be. Rather than carousing with the other young men of his age and station, Spencer is investigating a smuggling operation as a spy for the War Office. When Spencer realizes that Juliana will be living with the family he is investigating during the Season, he cultivates a friendship with the young lady, which only becomes complicated when he develops real feelings for her. (more…)

Not Stepping Into These Woods: “Empire of Night”

21480854Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong
HarperCollins: April 7, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
suitcasesuitcasesuitcasesuitcase

Empire of Night is Kelley Armstrong’s second book in her Age of Legends trilogy, and it’s a book that leaves me anxiously awaiting the final installment’s publication.

Empire of Night picks up soon after the events of the previous book, Sea of Shadows. Moria and Ashyn are more or less prisoners in the opulent court of the Emperor. Both young women are frustrated at the Emperor’s lack of action on behalf of the missing children of Edgewood. However, soon both Moira and Ashyn are able to strike out and discover the truth when they are sent by the Emperor to discover what Alvar Kitsune has done with the missing children.  (more…)