Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten YA Books I Want to Read This Spring

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you want to participate, click here. This week's theme is Top Ten Books On My Spring 2019 TBR. In order of priority, these are the books that I look forward to reading the most this spring!

1. Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
Moss Jefferies has had enough of the constant racial discrimination in his school and decides to stand up for himself and his humanitarian rights.

2. The Wave by Todd Strasser
Based on a true event at a school in California in 1969, a history teacher invents a "game" to help the students understand how Nazism was created, but the simple experiment quickly grows out of hand.

3. Beetle Boy by Margaret Willey
Charlie Porter is the world's youngest author having published a book when he was seven about a talking beetle. Now Charlie is 18 and must figure out how to put his past behind him.

4. As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
Mojave Desert, Madison is a magical town where every person gets one wish that always comes true. With anything he could possibly want at Eldon's fingertips, he struggles with what to ask.

Dashka Slater
In this nonfiction story, two teens (Sasha and Richard) on a school bus in Oakland, California became involved in an "accident" that ended up with severe consequences. 

6. Educated by Tara Westover
This inspirational autobiography follows the story of Tara Westover who lived in the mountains of Idaho, forbidden to go to school. Against her parent's wishes, she teaches herself to read and write, eventually earning a PhD at Cambridge University.

7. Dreadnought by April Daniels
After the superhero Dreadnought dies, his powers are passed down to Danny. Finally feeling like herself, she must learn to master her powers and defeat an evil cyborg.

8. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
The only home Carey and her little sister Jenessa have ever known is a cabin deep in the forest with their mother, who one day disappears. The girls soon are swept up in Child Protective Services and start a new life; but their past threatens to never let them go.

9. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Just a year after 9/11, Shirin is constantly stereotyped and bullied for being a Muslim.

10. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
High school senior Emoni Santiago has a passion for cooking and becoming a real chef one day, but her dreams are crushed when she gives birth to her daughter.

What are you excited to read this spring?

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June by Robin Benway

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June is a YA fantasy book. Sisters April, May, and June rediscover their magical powers. April can see the future. May can turn invisible, and June can read minds. When April foresees a tragic accident, the girls must work together to prevent it.

I loved how realistic the characters felt and how wild their emotions were. The dialogue was rich in a lack of vocal self-control, which I thought was ironic given the situation at hand. I enjoyed how the characters felt real even though their powers weren’t. I also loved the suspense and the race against the clock. April had so much pressure on her shoulders. I didn't expect the ending at all, which left a very philosophical question at the end.

A complaint of mine is that the girl's powers were simply stated, but not explained. They have magical powers, but why? How? Where did they come from? I loved the story, however I was left with many unanswered questions. In addition, I thought there wasn't enough difference in the personalities of the three sisters, as the pages and pages of dialogue felt very similar to each other. I was also looking for a "superhero" vibe that I did not receive. But all in all, I still enjoyed the book very much.

I recommend this book! I am excited to try another book from the author, though, Audrey, Wait!

Title: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June
Author: Robin Benway
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 281
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, March 4, 2019

Eternal Love (Eternal Book 2) by Karimah Colden

35215378Eternal Love is the second book in the YA fantasy trilogy Eternal. This book was sent to me by the author. As Reign La’Roche continues to train in her abilities and learn more about her ancient bloodline of undiscovered power, Nicola and Donovan heighten their pursuit of her. She will have to rely on old and new friends to get her through these next few months of both love and anguish.

Similar to the first book in the series, Eternal Soul, the imagery was breathtaking. I also loved the flow and grace of the writing. It was really cool to have Latin, French, and English all the same book. It was surprisingly not confusing at all! I was impressed of how Eternal Love was in sync completely with the previous book.

The drama in Reign's personal life starts to take a toll on her abilities, and I loved watching her battle her internal fears of how nobody would understand her. The entrance of Detective Dominic Amoureux added a fascinating twist to the plotline beyond just another love interest as he holds secrets of his own that intertwine with Reign's. Thus, entering a whole new plotline of mystery.

Her desire to protect the ones she loves is powerful, and as Reign comes to deal with new emotions, it was exciting to watch her figure out how to not let her emotions control her, but rather aid her powers. As she gained more control over her powers, her confidence grew, and with every slip, it fell again. I loved watching her battle real life verses her visions. In Eternal Love when the pressure is heavily rested on her shoulders, I appreciated the importance of her friends to hold her up.

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the final book in this trilogy, Eternal Vengeance! 

Click here to read my review of the first book in this series, Eternal Soul.

Title: Eternal Love
Author: Karimah Colden
Publisher: Karimah Colden (self-published)
Pages: 292 pages
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, February 25, 2019

Foiled by by Carey Fessler

Foiled is a middle grade historical fiction book with a touch of fantasy, based on the conspiracy theories surrounding the 1947 Roswell, New Mexico UFO sighting. This book was sent to me by the author. In a U.S. Army base in Roswell, New Mexico, eleven-year-old Billy's father brings home "magic memory foil" from the alien crash site, and Billy shows it to his friend Kate. The CIA arrives, determined to collect the artifact at all costs. The two kids run away with the foil, discovering it gives Kate the ability to read minds.

I liked the concept of the memory foil and its mystery. I enjoyed the controversy of who to trust, and the foil gave them quite an advantage. While I am left with quite a lot of unanswered questions, it is how it is in real life. I appreciate that rather than the author making up answers to the questions, he left it up to the reader to decide, just like how it was basically left at the time.

It was suspenseful and very exciting. It felt like an action movie with all the adrenaline and fear at times. I loved watching them run away and all the issues they faced. I liked how this book depicted running away realistically, full of anxiety and hardship. I loved the ending, as it was peaceful and wrapped it up quite nicely.

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read it again!

Title: Foiled
Author: Carey Fessler
Publisher: Foeg
Pages: 252
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman

Backlash is a YA realistic fiction book showing the consequences of cyberbullying. Lara was friends with a boy named Christian on Facebook who went to a school nearby. They've talked online for weeks, becoming more than friends. But when he tells her that she's a loser and the world's better off without her, Lara attempts to end her life. It is soon discovered that Christian wasn't even real- it was a fake profile made by her former best friend, Bree. This book follows the events before and after the cyberbullying occurred, and its devastating effects on everyone involved.

I love how this book also shows the bully's prospective. Many assume that the bully is bad and deserves to be hated, or even bullied in response, like how everyone treated Bree afterwards. Bree wasn't an awful person, she just didn't think before she acted. A "fun" joke turned deadly, and not even Bree wanted that to happen. Readers got to see how it deeply affected her and her family.

I also enjoyed how the book gave a timeline of events, switching back and forth between the present and the past, as well as multiple POV's. While I originally thought it would be confusing, it definitely was not. I enjoyed Syd and Liam's voices (the siblings) as they were in a tricky spot being caught in the middle. I loved how the book teaches the consequences of cyberbullying and reminds readers that whatever you post or type can never be taken back.

I am glad that I bought this very eye-opening book and I highly recommend it!

Title: Backlash
Author: Sarah Darer Littman
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 336
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Kingdom Cold by Brittni Chenelle

Kingdom Cold is a YA fantasy novel about a Princess' transition from spoiled and pampered to a brave warrior queen. This book was sent to me by the author and is released today!

An arranged marriage to Prince Young is the last thing that Princess Charlotte wanted. But when her kingdom is under attack and her mother renegotiates the marriage to save the kingdom, Charlotte is stuck with a murderer for a husband. She'll just have to learn to fight and use her smarts to take back her kingdom and marry Young instead.

Ultimately the characters will suffer grief and loss as they fight to survive. Simultaneously, the characters also unravel what it means to love someone- not for their political power, but their personality and who they are as a person, and how to find the sliver of hope in every situation. I adored watching Charlotte evolve from being spoiled, moody, and whinny to blossoming into a courageous leader and protector. I love how she never gave up on what she wanted

The romance felt real and gradual without any cliche's. It was an extremely diverse set of characters, and I enjoyed the multiple POV's. I was fully engrossed in the setting of their world and I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read! I hope that Chenelle will eventually write a sequel to the story because the epilogue, in my opinion, was quite a leap and did not suffice to put to bed the surprising ending. But I love that there is not always a happily-ever-after, which made this book feel more realistic.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Kingdom Cold
Author: Brittni Chenelle
Publisher: Not Avail
Pages: 278
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Eternal Soul by Karimah Colden

Eternal Soul is the first book in the YA fantasy trilogy, Eternal. This book was sent to me by the author. Reign Elise La' Roche has always had her talents. Not simply just her flawless artistic skills, but her sixth sense. Her family beholds an ancient bloodline of magick that she's previously rejected. But when her life is in danger, Reign must accept her other superhuman skills to protect herself, her family, and her friends.

While the main characters are adults, this book is more than appropriate for a teenage audience. I learned a lot about African culture and I was fascinated to discover the history and powers of hoodoo magic, as well as the many religious syncretisms in New Orleans. Eternal Soul is not only a fantastical novel but an educational one, too.

The writing and language was simply beautiful and elegantly descriptive. I loved observing Reign's transformations and embracement of her bloodline. The imagery was superior and I thoroughly enjoyed not only watching Reign suffer, but seeing her triumph and pull through. The characters were a complete mystery, and I had fun trying to guess which man was there to steal her heart or her life, or simply just interested in her beautiful paintings.

I highly recommend this book! I look forward to reading the next installation, Eternal Love.

Title: Eternal Soul
Author: Karimah Colden
Publisher: Karimah Colden (self-published)
Pages: 207
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
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