Tag Archives: Young Adult

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Overview
Red Queen: Red Queen Book 1 eBook : Aveyard, Victoria: Amazon.com.au:  Kindle Store

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dystopia, Paranormal fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 5th – 18th September 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orion
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: Just bumbling officers who don’t know you.

Synopsis

This is a world divided by blood – Red or Silver

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to seventeen-year-old Mare, a Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

But Mare possesses a deadly talent of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of her potential, the Silvers hide Mare in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess. Knowing that one false move will mean her death, Mare must use her new position to bring down the regime – from the inside.

Now Mare has entered a game of betrayal and lies.

This is Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

Thoughts

This was one of those books that I felt really unsure of at the beginning. For starters, I’ve read a LOT of mixed reviews about this on the many online book clubs I’m a member of. And there was also the fact that at the beginning it all felt a little same same for YA dystopia stories. Having said that, once I got past the first 50 or so pages it stopped feeling so same same and really started to draw me in.

Mare wasn’t a painful protagonist, which, considering some of the YA books I’ve read, was a pleasant surprise. She wasn’t whiney and childish. Yet, she also wasn’t perfect. I like that she had all the insecurities of a fairly typical teenager – felt like a failure, the black sheep. And that all of this was underlined by an overwhelming love for family and Kilorn.

I knew that this story featured betrayal, but I wasn’t expecting the betrayal that actually happened. I kept flicking back and forth as to whom I thought the “bad” guy was. But I was still kind of seriously surprised when it all came out. Probably part of the reason that I ended up enjoying this book so much.

All in all this was a fantastic book. And the perfect beginning to a series. Now I’m intrigued as to where the story line is going to take me. There’s a sense of wonder and confusion in it all that I just can’t get away from.

<- Steel ScarsGlass Sword ->

Image source: Amazon

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone: Siege and Storm : Leigh Bardugo : 9781510105263

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2, Grishaverse #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: The wound in my shoulder felt like it was on fire, but I was unhurt and my whole body was thrumming from using my power again.

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner – hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice – and only she can face the oncoming storm.

Thoughts

Ever since reading Shadow and Bone, I’ve been seriously wondering what was going to be thrown in Mal and Alina’s way this time. And, you know, when the Darkling was going to reappear. He’s a great villain – I don’t really get the sexy vibes off him that others have claimed, but he is dark, mysterious and undoubtedly evil. A wonderful combination for a villain in my opinion.

Even though I think Mal is a wonderful lead love interest, he’s also kind of a knob. I mean, he’s got a woman who is obviously being thrown into a situation she’s not comfortable with. But instead of trying to communicate and support her? He runs. And just acts… well, knob-like. By the end of the book I was finding him to be a bit much and a bit frustrating in this area… im hoping Ruin and Rising will redeem him a bit more…

The build up that Bardugo creates in this story is wonderfully and seriously intense. Not only is there the clash between Alina and the Darkling, but there’s now royalty and a cult… I mean, if that set of trials and tribulations isn’t gearing up for a massive one, then what is?

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. Even in the moments that I wanted to cringe and look away, I just… couldn’t. The majority of this was read in one sitting. Late at night. When I should have been sleeping. Always a good recommendation for a book in my eyes…

<- Shadow and BoneRuin and Rising ->

Image source: Bookdepository

The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray

Overview
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Scarlet Woman
Author: Libba Bray
Series: Gemma Doyle Companion
In: A Universe of Wishes (Dhonielle Clayton)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Paranormal fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 17th August 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Crown
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: The bulk of my correspondence comes from my grandmama, who, in between complaining about various ailments, never misses an opportunity to remind me that, at nineteen, if I don’t find a husband soon, I will become unmarriageable – though, she remarks, she isn’t sure that I am marriageable at all.

Synopsis

Gemma Doyle feels like she’s finally moving on from the magic and mayhem of her past. But, then a confusing note sends everything crashing back down on her head.

Thoughts

I remember buying A Great and Terrible Beauty a while ago, but I still haven’t gotten around to reading it. This short story based in the world of Gemma Doyle has certainly made me feel tempted though.

I found a lot fo this story hard to understand and follow. Probably because I haven’t read the greater series and so I don’t have a lot of backstory. But, it was still a great adventure.

A good short story can have a seriously open ended ending. This is like that. It makes me think this takes place between books in the Gemma Doyle series… otherwise it is just way too… unsolved for my liking.

<- The Silk BladeCristal Y Ceniza ->

Image source: Goodreads

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Overview
Honor Among Thieves (The Honors, #1) by Rachel Caine

Title: Honor Among Thieves
Author: Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre
Series: The Honors #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Science fiction, Space, Young adult
Dates read: 9th – 14th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: I already knew – however impossible it was – why Marko Dunajski was here.

Synopsis

Petty criminal Zara Cole was shocked to be recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by a race of sentient alien ships to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to change her life, and when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned to, she feels like she belongs for the first time. But nothing – not her Honors training or her street smarts – could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

Thoughts

This book is just so dang good!!! I honestly didn’t want to put it down and found it really hard not to leap for Honor Bound the second I finished this. I have a huge stack of books to read… but man was it still tempting. This was such a phenomenal beginning to a trilogy.

Zara is a fantastic lead. She’s feisty and has a seriously horrible past. And, the part that I found the most attractive? She’s rebellious as all hell. It gives her this fun edge and relatability that made me feel connected almost immediately. It also created a really good coming of age feeling to this story. As the story unfolds, Zara slowly comes into her own and finds her own identity.

I’m still fairly new to the Sci Fi genre as a general. And particularly, fairy new to the stories of sentinent ships in space. They do have a bit of a same same to them. But Caine and Aguirre are able to add in this extra layer of mystery that is lacking in most of the other similar stories I’ve read. You know that there is a Big Bad out there somewhere… you just don’t know what or whom.

All in all, I absolutely loved this book. It was hard to put down, easy to relate to the characters and filled with twists and unexpected turns. The world building is phenomenal and the relationships help to further support this incredible reality that was created. This book was amazing and completely impossible to put down.

<- More Rachel CaineHonor Bound ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Overview
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, Horror, Paranormal fantasy, Young adult, Zombies
Dates read: 22nd July – 6th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: She tried to steady her breathing, to will herself to calm.

Synopsis

NOTHING STAYS BURIED FOREVER.

Seventeen-year-old Ryn cares about only two things: her family and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meagre existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as bone houses, and legend says that they’re the result of an old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with a new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the deeply buried truths about themselves. Equal parts classic horror novel and original fairy tale, The Bone Houses will have you spellbound from the very first page.

Thoughts

This is one of those books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. But it seems to keep getting shunted to the side. Now that I’ve finally managed to sink my teeth into it… wow. This was brilliant. The kind of journey that is hard to put down and forget about. Even writing this review, the day after finishing the book, I’m getting the happy tingles.

I seem to be enjoying books a lot lately that flick between the points of view. I like how this mostly starts with Ryn and builds up her history really strongly. Then it flickers over to Ellis and starts to give out his history and characterisation in more of a trickle. Not only are you reading the book because you can’t wait to see how it ends, but also because you want to know where Ellis began.

This had a slight historical fiction feel to it. The structure of the society and the use of the fae back stories felt very celtic to me. It had a nice sense of familiarity that I tend to find with this background. Then, you add in the bone houses. They’re seriously creepy and a mystery all on their own. Each and every moment of the journey, I was fully expecting one of them to jump out and that tension kept me turning each and every page.

I absolutely adored this book, it had two strong characters who both had their flaws. A dead goat that showed insane amounts of loyalty. And a feeling of mystery that seized you from the very first moment and swept you along. This was just amazing and I’m so glad that I decided to pick this book up!!!

<- More Emily Lloyd-JonesThe Drowned Woods ->

Image source: Goodreads

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone : Leigh Bardugo : 9780805094596

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1, Grishaverse #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 5th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He didn’t say a word to me, and as the hours and days wore on, I started to worry that I’d somehow offended him.

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Orphaned and expdnable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first rek across the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dromant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of roaylty and intrigue, as she trains with the Grisha – her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she lvoes and the very future of a nation.

Thoughts

I can seriously understand why this series, and this story in particular is so damn popular. I knew that I’d probably love it from the fact that I have loved all of the short stories which Bardugo has written. But I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy this. I mean… wow. It is an amazing, unforgettable journey and I can’t wait to read more of this series! hopefully before the Netflix series comes out…

Alina is a lovely and soulful lead character. I honestly fell in love with her from the very beginning. There is something about her loyalty and strength that makes you love her from the first page. And the fact that she will do anything for the boy that she loves… that just makes it all so much sweeter and cuter. Particularly when you discover the depths she’s actually gone to for him…

I seriously can’t wait to dive into the rest of this series – not just he trilogy, but the whole Grishaverse. Alina and Mal may have found a way to escape the first obstacle. But there are so many more to come. And the Darkling doesn’t seem like the kind of villain that is going to be easy to escape – he is kind of terrifying if I’m being completely honest.

I love that this is most definitely a friends to lovers romance. Particularly since you can see Alina’s loyalty and love from the very beginning. Boys are stupid and tend to take a little bit longer, but that tie is there from the very beginning. I can’t wait to see how this all grows and blossoms throughout the series. Everything about writing this review and reading the story just make me want to pick up the next novel in this series!!!

All in all this is an amazing story. One that has pulled me into the Grishaverse reality completely. I can’t wait to read more of the series. And then, hopefully, when I’ve finished, dive into the Netflix show too…

<- More Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm ->

Image source: Bookdepository

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti

Overview
Zeroes | Book by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti |  Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Science fiction, Superheroes, Young adult
Dates read: 21st February – 5th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: All those training missions, shepherding crowds around a shopping center while listening to Glorious Leader’s orders in their earbuds.

Synopsis

DON’T CALL THEM HEROES

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t – like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery and lands him in deep. The only people who can help are teh other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader”. After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals across the city. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three power-house authors for the opening instalment of a thrilling new series.

Thoughts

This book is an absolute chunkster. Which is why I have kept putting it off for ages. I just find books that are this big to be kind of intimidating at times. Plus, there’s the fact that sometimes I tend to get distracted and bored halfway through these monster tales. Yet, in spite of all of my concerns… I just couldn’t put this down! It was an amazing chunkster, one that I seriously and thoroughly enjoyed.

I loved the flickering of points of view throughout this story. It is most definitely a difficult tactic in stories – but these three authors have managed to give each and every one of the six superheroes a wonderfully unique voice. The fact that it also gives you these great views into their lives and the different ways in which they see one another… it was a brilliant journey. And, unlike many other stories I’ve read that flicker between points of view, I wasn’t more or less attached to each of the characters. This is wonderfully unique and had me grinning throughout.

The whole storyline and characterization of the Zeroes reminded me a lot of Umbrella Academy. There was that great feeling of dysfunction and coming together in a pseudo family. Although, being that this is a young adult story, it felt a heck of a lot less dark than the comic / Netflix series. I love stories of dysfunctional family units, they tend to feel all that much more humorous. Which left me grinning and smiling as I journeyed through the Zeroes reuniting and finding more depths to their powers.

This novel partners teenage angst with dysfunction and superpowers. I mean, really, what on earth could go wrong there? Turns out, everything and anything. Which then makes me want to pick up Swarms straight away… it’s surely just going to get better from here on out.

<- More Scott WesterfeldSwarm ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim

Overview
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: A Universe of Wishes
Author: Tara Sim
In: A Universe of Wishes (Dhonielle Clayton)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, LGBTQI, Young adult
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Crown
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: “If you make this wish come true,” the boy said, holding up the figurine, “then yes.”

Synopsis

He’s been storing up his wishes for something big and important. But what he might find on the journey could be everything he ever needed.

Thoughts

This was an absolutely fantastic short story. In fact, I made sure that I added a Tara Sim novel to my wish list the moment I finished this. It was just great, fantastic and fun. The fact that it featured a queer relationship alongside wishes and desires made me ridiculously happy. Particularly when you added in that final splash of magic.

Sage and Thorn are one of the most gorgeous couples. They are just cute and I like how their relationship slowly grew. It wasn’t a love at first sight, sappy story. But just one that I ultimately enjoyed for the sake of enjoying the romance. Plus, the way that their story ended was seriously brilliant. It made me want more stories set in this world!

There is power to wishes and desires. I mean, there’s a pretty strong reason why they feature so strongly in many of the stories that I read. This short story really drove that wonderful idea home and made me think of what I wish for in life.

<- A Universe of Wishes CollectionThe Silk Blade ->

Image source: Goodreads

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Overview
Over Sea, Under Stone | Book by Susan Cooper | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster

Title: Over Sea, Under Stone
Author: Susan Cooper
Series: Dark is Rising #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Adventure, Camelot, Fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 27th – 28th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: McElderry Books
Year: 1965
5th sentence, 74th page: But they seemed to go for the books, and I can’t vouch for those.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

All through time the two great forces of Light and Dark have battled for control of the world. Now, after centuries of balance, the Dark is summoning its terrifying forces to rise once more – and three children find themselves caught in the conflict.

Simon, Jane, and Barney, on holiday in Cornwall, discover an ancient map that leads to a grail: a vital weapon for the Light’s fight against evil. The search for the grail becomes their quest, and they risk their lives in a race against sinister human beings who serve the dreadful power of the Dark.

Thoughts

I bought the box set of Dark is Rising ages ago. Partly because it was on sale, but I also have a tv series based on this series and I’ve heard good things about it. But then, because the covers of my versions aren’t the most attention-grabbing, I kind of kept forgetting about them. And wow, am I kind of regretting that fact. This book was wonderful and intense and seriously, wonderfully enjoyable. Most definitely a great start to a series. One that I plan on reading more of in the (hopefully) near future.

In the past year I’ve started to find and enjoy some Camelot stories. I don’t know a lot about Arthurian lore, not anything that isn’t seriously mainstream. But it’s definitely something that I’m beginning to enjoy more and more. A theme and base that is used beautifully in this story. The whole tale is about the search for the Grail. And I’m getting some serious King Arthur vibes from Simon. There was also that nice little crumb at the end of the story about Merlin which I’m really looking forward to unpacking…

From the moment you open this book, you are pulled into this great adventure. As a child, I might have even tried to solve the little riddles and clues that are riddled throughout the novel. But, as an adult, it was just a lot of fun to be pulled along on this adventure. This unexpected journey that takes you all over the countryside pulling you into a story that you won’t forget anytime soon. One that had me smiling and gleefully turning to the next page again and again throughout.

This is a fantastic, wonderful and very, very enjoyable adventure story. One that has introduced me to a whole new world that I can’t wait to sink further and further into. I love that although the battle is over in this story, you can feel all the hints and horrors of the war to come. And now I can’t wait for the next mystery to be revealed!

<- More Susan CooperThe Dark is Rising ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Overview
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Dumplin’ #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 1st – 2nd January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: And now I know.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Willowdean Dickson (Dumplin’, to her mum) has always been at home in her own skin.
Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body?
Really, the criteria is simple.
Do you have a body?
Put a swimsuit on it.

But life as Willow knows it is about to change. And when this happens, she suffers an unaccustomed and unwelcome attack of self-doubt. So in an effort to regain her confidence, Willowdean enters into the local Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs and a wildly unforgettable heroine – Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart. And send you out to buy the bikini.

Thoughts

I bought Dumplin’ a little while ago. Because I loved the Netflix movie, and, so far, all of the books that I’ve read which have been adapted into Netflix content has been glorious. And this was no different. Dumplin’ the movie was amazing, and Dumplin’ the book was also glorious. I read this cover to cover in about a twenty-four hour period, struggling to find a way to actually be productive in the meantime…

I should probably preface most of this review by stating the fact that I’m quite skinny. So the ways in which a “fat girl” or really any of the outcasts in this book feel is kind of foreign. Having said that, I was bullied, just for different reasons. But I love that Murphy is able to place you in Willowdean’s shoes. And show you all of the emotional and insane entanglements which come with being a plus sized girl. One with a beauty queen mother.

There is something that is always glorious fun about those fish out of water stories. The ones in which the outcast who doesn’t quite fit in chooses to stand up and stand out. Willowdean does this amazingly. And it is a great reminder that we should all jump up and grab what we want in life. Without waiting for someone else to tell us that it’s ours. It seems like such a simple choice, but no matter what your status or what the world tells you, sometimes you need that reminder that living your best life starts with putting your best foot forwards.

I absolutely loved this book. The older I get, the more my body changes, and the more I question what I see in the mirror. It doesn’t matter what size your body is, everyone has things that they love and don’t love about themselves. Murphy reminds us that we all have our own issues. And Willowdean is able to remind us that there are so many different ways to find our own strength and identity. Even on the days that we kind of hate the body that we find ourselves in.

<- More Julie MurphyPuddin’ ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia