Thursday, September 19, 2019

Kingdom Untold (Kingdom Cold Book 3) by Brittni Chenelle

46009292. sy475 Kingdom Untold is the stunning final book in the YA fantasy trilogy Kingdom Cold. While Minseo and Young try to get along without Charlotte, she bonds with a dragon and attempts to escape captivity in Camelot. Camelot is threatening war, but Morgana's elemental magic is stronger than Merlin. Her magic, along with Charlotte's new dragon, may be the key to defeating Camelot forever and gaining a peaceful home.

I loved the ending and the terrifying war that nearly brought me to tears with a shocking twist. It was my favorite book in the series by far! The ending was perfect and concluded the series nicely.  Morgana's powers were incredible and it was ironic having a child of just 5 years old have more power than Merlin! I enjoyed having Merlin be portrayed as a woman with real emotions and traits of humanity. As a woman, the original Arthurian legends definitely changed in this book- but I honestly prefer this version by the end. Merlin felt real and modern- as did Arthur's immaturity and childishness- despite being alive centuries ago.

In Kingdom Untold, Young must face that his wife has chosen his brother over him- and it obviously hurts, changing his personality and ambitions As he's next in line to be king as well, it was interesting to witness the corruptness and downfalls of having such power. I enjoyed how Minseo matured over the course of the series and how Charlotte made him a better man. In addition, Charlotte has vastly matured with motherhood in this book.

I highly recommend this book!

Read my review of the previous book in this series, Kingdom Soul.

Title: Kingdom Untold
Author: Brittni Chenelle
Publisher: Brittni Chenelle
Pages: 320
Series: Yes, Book 3 of 3
Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

Audacity is a YA historical fiction book about the real life story of Clara Lemlich. A Jewish refugee fleeing Russia, Carla came to New York with an eagerness to read and write English, against her families' wishes. Carla is forced to endure harsh conditions at a shirtwaist factory whilst trying to help her family put food on the table. Carla couldn't stand how the women were being treated and with her newly acquired English skills, she created a union for women workers and fought for equality and safety in her new country. She is known today for organizing The Uprising of the 20,000, a strike that revolutionized the rights of a female in the workplace.

My favorite thing about this book is how it is written in free verse poetry. This choice was extremely fitting given that Carla didn't know much English, so naturally poetry would be easier to write than sentences and paragraphs. Crowder is seriously an incredible poet! Her endless similes fly off the page and the extensive inner dialogue lets me see into Carla's heart.

Carla's inner turmoil was extreme. She believed in her duty to be educated to defend her gender and stand up for worker's rights but at the same time she wanted desperately to be a doctor and go to college. By defying the female stereotype and role in a household she was hurting and betraying her family. Every protest or stance for a long time earned her vast beatings and broken ribs. At such a young age Carla went through so much and saw things that couldn't be unseen. She had an incredible amount of tenacity and a fearless determination that truly made a difference for millions of lives.

In history classes at school I learned about the New York shirtwaist strike of 1909. I learned about the sweatshops and child labor and the extreme maltreatment and abuse of young women, but it was entirely different and electrifying to practically see it happening right before my eyes. Audacity is inspiring in not only advocating the importance of education but the importance of always standing up for what's right. Lemlich proves that even the smallest voices can make a huge difference, and that women are just as powerful and significant as men.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Audacity
Author: Melanie Crowder
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 400
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Stone Man and the Trail of Tears by Charles Suddeth

44453832Stone Man and the Trail of Tears is a middle grade historical fiction story that was sent to me by the publisher. This book will be released in exactly one month on October 8th. As the Americans continued to explore the westward areas of the United States, the Indian Removal Act of 1830 allowed the military to take the Native tribe's land and relocate them- by force if necessary. When twelve-year-old Tsatsi’s village is attacked by soldiers and his family kidnapped, he and his younger sister are on the run. With the help of a white man named Johnny, Tsatsi must become a Cherokee warrior and find the strength to get to Oconaluftee.

I enjoyed how the story accurately conveyed the historical attacks against the Cherokee tribes. Stone Man and the Trail of Tears could be a useful educational tool. I also thought it was extremely important and beneficial how Stone Man and the Trail of Tears proves that not all white men were evil and discriminatory. Johnny took unfathomable risks to protect these two kids, inspiring others to do the same and reach out to those in need. The scenery was wonderful and I loved the action-packed scenes. As sad as the story was, I liked how all the characters were still hopeful and did not give up. We should all have the mentality of these characters. I adored the ending and it warmed my heart!

I highly recommend you read this book!

Title: Stone Man and the Trail of Tears
Author: Charles Suddeth
Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press LLC
Pages: 162
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Girl of All My Memes by C.S. Johnson

The Girl of All My Memes is a YA realistic fiction book sent to me by the author. Tommy has always been second in class ranking to Kara. His GPA only being a few tenths lower than Kara caused immense jealousy, and even hatred for a few years. When they are both entered in a competition to gain a full scholarship to their first choice college, Tommy begins to change his mind about Kara- even finds himself starting to fall in love with her. However, his chance at love could be destroyed by a silly decision he made to create memes about her.

I enjoyed how this book showcased the importance of forgiveness and understanding. It is essential to rise above hate, become better people, and learn from your mistakes- but not drown in them. The Girl of All My Memes is also unique in how it expresses how boredom, not just hatred, is a direct link to cyberbullying. Boredom breeds the most awful form of creativity, and it doesn't mean that Tommy is a bad person. A lot of cyberbullying instances don't stem from evil intentions- rather an accidental lapse of judgement. 

I love how The Girl of All My Memes was lighthearted and fun whilst still showing serious issues of mental illness and cyberbullying. It's much easier to read and digest than a serious book like Backlash or Here to Stay, yet they both expose mostly the same truths. Tommy and Kara's romance was very sweet and defies all obstacles. It was amazing to see how their love overshadowed the competition and jealousy between them. Kara's personality is radiating and vibrant. Besides how yellow is her favorite color, her positive and inspiring outlook on life is one that everyone should embody.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: The Girl of All My Memes
Author: C.S. Johnson
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 340
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Screamcatcher: Web World (Screamcatcher Book 1) by Christy J. Breedlove

45181000. sy475 Screamcatcher: Web World is a YA fantasy book sent to me by the author. Ever since Jory Pike lost her parents to a car accident, she has been haunted with terrible nightmares. She reluctantly agrees to try the original Chippewa dream catcher during a sleepover with her friends Choice, Darcy, and Lander. However, the dream catcher works too well- not only catching their dreams- but the teens as well! They get sucked into an alternate universe created by centuries of nightmares. Jory and her friends must attempt to survive their own worst nightmares and find the center of the dream catcher where they can escape through the light.

Screamcatcher is a very creative concept. I've always thought of dream catchers as pretty, peaceful items, so it was intriguing for them to be representative of evil. I loved the alternate universe! The setting was extremely fascinating and creepy at times, especially with the humongous insects. The book was very mysterious, and I enjoyed the mix of danger and excitement. I also love how theories of evolution and the nature vs nurture debate came into play. It was fascinating to watch how Lander's personality and characteristics changed after being stuck in this opposing environment.

I love how the end turned out and the progress of Choice and Joy's relationship. The contrast between the character's personalities, especially Darcy, was humorous. It was also really sweet how Choice and Joy refused to leave Darcy behind, even though she was a weak link. Screamcatcher also showcased the importance of having a positive attitude, and Darcy's circumstances amusingly reminded me of The Little Engine That Could.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Screamcatcher: Web World
Author: Christy J. Breedlove
Publisher: Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
Pages: 219
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Hidden Scales (Merrows Book 1) by A.M. Robin

Hidden Scales is a middle grade fantasy book about a girl who finds out she's a Merrow. This first book in the Merrows series was sent to me by the author. Hidden Scales will be released on September 1st! When eleven-year-old Mira and her friend Peter discover that she has grown actual scales on her feet, the discovery triggers a curse that has them running for their lives. With the help of their new friends, Mira learns that she is a Merrow, and must master her new powers to fight back against the Empress of the Sea.

I enjoyed the major thematic similarities to Keeper of the Lost Cities. If you enjoy that series, you’ll definitely love this book! The plotline was fun to read and easily understandable. I enjoyed the unique representation of many types of magical creatures, like gnomes, pixies, and dragons. I also liked that humans were able to coexist and share the same kingdom with the magical species, an idea often not written about. I wish I could live there! The setting was vivid and realistic with lighthearted, peaceful imagery that makes you feel happy.

I liked how even though Peter is human, his intellectual ability and determination to protect his friends still made him a beneficial ally and an important character to the story. Mira's internal conflict and growth was instrumental. She goes from being insecure and terrified of her powers to embracing her identity and having newfound confidence. The cover art is also beautiful and captures both the dangers and the wonders of the ocean and their abilities.

I am excited for the next book in this series!

Title: Hidden Scales
Author A.M. Robin
Publisher: A.M. Robin
Pages: 324
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Hyperion's Shield (The Scales of Torma Book 1) by Nathan Schivley

Hyperion's Shield is the first YA fantasy book in the Scales of Torma series. This book was sent to me by the author. After the Eighth Great War between the Reysa and the Gartune, the Gartune defeated the Reytanas and built a huge shield that prevented their sun-based powers. The citizens live fearful lives under their rule. Inside the city, twins Loras and Regan dream of being Reytanas and taking back their home. When their dream shockingly comes true, the twins, along with their best friend Tinko, are forced to flee for their lives. After discovering a refugee camp for fellow Reytanas, the twins participate in a massive battle to take back their city.

I loved Hyperion's Shield! While the book is quite long, it is worth the time! This strong, exciting story was very well written and captivating! The world-building was special and vivid. The literal battle between darkness and light was intriguing and ironic. It is a completely original and extremely creative plotline. I enjoy it when I get to read content that I've never thought of before.

I enjoyed Xander's vast internal conflict- if he decides to be with the girl he loves, he turns his back on his family. It was fun for me to predict what side he would be on. Tinko was enjoyable and confident. While he has no powers of his own, he still managed to stand out with his creativity, humor, and resourcefulness. I loved the twins' struggle to adjust to their powers and solve the mystery of their destiny. I was shocked by the identities and roles of Loras and Regan in the amazing final battle, and I loved the sweet cliffhanger at the end!

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the next book in this series!

Title: Hyperion's Shield
Author: Nathan Schivly
Publisher: Blue Avenue Media
Pages: 585
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
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