Friday, September 27, 2019

Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration Edited by Rose Brock

34959355. sx318 Hope Nation is a YA collection of short stories written by authors describing times when they were able to find hope in seemingly hopeless circumstances. These authors (Atia Abawi, RenĂ©e Ahdieh, Libba Bray, Howard Bryant, Ally Carter, Ally Condie, James Dashner, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Gayle Forman, Romina Garber, I.W. Gregorio, Kate Hart, Brendan Kiely, David Levithan, Alex London, Marie Lu, Julie Murphy, Jason Reynolds, Aisha Saeed, Nic Stone, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, and Jeff Zentner) share personal stories about their life with the goal to inspire their teen readers to remain hopeful in the face of peril.

Hope Nation teaches that even in the darkest times, there are always ways to find hope and optimism. Ranging from issues of death and tragedy to racism and the current President, Hope Nation explores a variety of dark times and circumstances where those victimized still manage to find hope. Libba Bray's essay was definitely my favorite. She described how she still managed to find hope and happiness after a horrifying car accident. I also enjoyed the essays describing the foundation of our country and the importance of protesting racism and violence, as well as those discussing immigration and moving on after terrorist attacks. If you are looking for uplifting stories by some of your favorite authors, read this book!

I highly recommend you read this book!

Here are some books I've reviewed by these authors:

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi 
Warcross by Marie Lu
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner 

Title: Hope Nation
Editor: Rose Brock
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 304
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, September 23, 2019

Merged by Jim and Stephanie Kroepfl

Merged is a YA science fiction book sent to me by the publisher. New technology has allowed one to merge minds with another- seven gifted teenagers will be hosts for genius minds whose bodies are about to perish. For some, it could lead to another lifetime of scientific breakthroughs- but at the cost of the health and mental well-being of the teens. When teens Orfyn, Lake, and Stryker start losing control of their minds, they attempt to fight back and reclaim themselves.

I loved every page and found the concept of merging minds fascinating! The creepy vibe was cool. I also loved the vivid degeneration of the character's minds. When reading Lake's passages with her memory loss and her bizarre new personality, I felt like I had Alzheimer's or was going crazy myself just reading it! It's awesome that the writing was still coherent and messy at the same time. In addition, this cover is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen! I also loved the mystery element. The ending was very bittersweet and satisfying.

I highly recommend you read this book!

Title: Merged
Author: Jim and Stephanie Kroepfl
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 300
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

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

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

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

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
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