Monday, December 30, 2019

White Blossom (Dark Irregular Book 2) by Kaitlyn Legaspi

49193969White Blossom is the second book in the YA Fantasy series Dark Irregular. This book will be published on January 31, 2020 and was sent to me by the author.

After sealing the Dark Irregular inside of her, Kanna is living life adjusting to the means of being a princess and studying her magic peacefully. However, soon she and her friends are thrown into action when the Dense Shadows start attacking. In addition, another irregular, the Lone Irregular, is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the shadow world from the living. In order to prevent this catastrophe, Kanna must find the White Flower of the Imperial Majesty- even if it means sealing another irregular inside her.

While the writing quality, plot development, world building and imagery were excellent as expected, it is the characters of this series that make White Blossom special and is what this review will focus on.

Kanna is a fearless leader who might be the most noble, selfless character I have ever encountered, and she never ceases to amaze me! She is constantly willing to risk her life for strangers and make the world better at any personal cost. We need more Kannas in this world with her kind and gentle soul. Kanna's character development was clear compared to the first book. She is now proud of who she is, and willing to accept her role as Princess. Her powers have also grown substantially.

The secondary characters have a wide variety of personalities that fully represent the types of people in the world. I enjoyed the reemergence of Kenneth's character and his darker side that drove a wedge between their relationship. I loved the mystery surrounding Ronan's character and the themes of acceptance and love regarding his appearance. I was concerned initially by the large amount of characters, but Legaspi was successfully able to maintain many storylines and personalities without it becoming too crowded. I liked how the "villian" of the story, the Lone Irregular, still had some light and kindness despite the frighting stories.

I love how the cover is simple, yet symbolic, with the red ribbon that will play a large role in Kanna's fate. I was very saddened by the ending of this book, and I hope the next book, Grey Heart, can still have an optimistic tone despite the circumstance and that her relationship with Kenneth can still find a way to succeed!

I highly recommend this book! Click here to see my review of the previous book in this series, Dark Irregular.

Title: White Blossom (Dark Irregular Book 2)
Author: Kaitlyn Legaspi
Publisher: Kaitlyn Legaspi
Pages: 282
Series: Yes, Book 2 of 3
Rating: 5 Stars

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Frozen Secrets (Europa Academy Book 1) by Myles Christensen

53113684. sx318 sy475 Frozen Secrets is the first book in the Europa Academy series. This book will be released on January 25th, 2020 and was sent to me by the author. In a futuristic society, a colony is started on Jupiter's moon, Europa. Unfortunately, it's not all fun and games because soon the thirteen-year-old protagonist Max Parker and his friends witness a crime and learn more than they should regarding a tragic death, causing the criminal organization Xenon League to be determined to silence and end the life of these the teens. Sometimes, curiosity really can kill the cat.

The concept fascinated me since I learned in Astronomy about how Europa has a large potential for life and mineral resources. Just a few weeks ago NASA discovered the presence of water vapor. I enjoyed the author's invention of new hydrogen isotopes, elements, and molecules, like Catarium, Xenite, and Xenium. I was actually shocked to realize that the science mentioned wasn't real! It was clever how they were modeled after Xenon tri-Oxide since that isotope plays a large role in nuclear fusion. I loved the messages regarding the dangers of nuclear energy and the overall tone felt more realistic than science fiction. The amount of research, dedication, and effort put into making it as scientifically accurate as possible is extraordinary.

The imagery was superb and the cover is awesome! There was a clear plotline with a constant increase in intensity. I love how there were multiple climaxes throughout the book and the story kept evolving in new directions. I liked the irony of the name Max Parker as they are relatively average and common names while his character is anything but! I enjoyed the mystery of which characters were allies versus enemies, and I was surprised by the end. Speaking of the end, the book was wrapped up perfectly, resolving the main conflict but also leaving room for another tale. I particularly liked the touch of romance that has plenty of room to expand upon in the coming books.

I absolutely loved this book and it marks a great start to 2020 and the future of astronomy! I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

Title: Frozen Secrets (Europa Academy Book 1)
Author: Myles Christensen
Publisher: Moon Zoom Press
Pages: 298
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, December 20, 2019

The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway

The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand is a YA mix of fantasy and realistic fiction. Adam Strand has a relativity unique ability: he cannot stay dead. Ironically, even though Adam has died 39 times (suicide, accidental, and even murder), but somehow still wakes up the next day totally unharmed.

Initially I thought the irony was very clever, however I quickly became disappointed in this book.  According to the book, all Adam does is sleep, drink, and die. The reader gets bored very quickly of the same shenanigans and little to no plot structure at all. Several things in this "plot" make absolutely no sense. First, if Adam was truly immortal like the book says he is and he is viral on the internet, wouldn't the CDC or the FBI become involved and want to speak to him, quarantine him or experiment on him? The emotions and reactions of the characters in this book were also extremely unrealistic, especially Adam's parents, who one would think to be shocked and bewildered that their son is basically immortal.

I was also hoping for an inspirational message about the importance of life and an attitude change in Adam, but he had very little character development. There is nothing uplifting at all, not even a religious element. I was also disappointed in how it didn't even strike Adam how lucky he is- like think of how he could be a war hero or an astronaut? I am also fascinated by the magic of it all, and I would have loved some imagery of how his skin magically heals or how a bullet hole closes. 

All in all I found this book disappointing, confusing, and boring. I do not recommend this book!

Title: The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand
Author: Gregory Galloway
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 336
Series: No
Rating: 1 Star

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

38571446Here to Stay is a YA inspirational realistic fiction book that tackles bullying, racism, homophobia, and Islamophobia. When Bijan Majidi scores the winning basket in a varsity basketball game, his world is turned upside down. There are those who cheer for him, but jealousy and ignorance of his middle-east heritage leads to a bully emailing all the students in his school a picture of him photoshoped as a terrorist. However, Bijan refuses to let it break him or stop him from playing his favorite sport.

Basketball is personally my favorite sport to play, and I loved how accurate the descriptions of the games were and I felt like I was playing right there with him. Bijan is extremely brave. He never let the bullies win or bring down his confidence. He was not afraid to stand his ground and prove himself equal. I love how Here to Stay proves that even when it seems like the world is against you, there will always be people by your side who will continue to stand up for what's right.

Racism and Islamophobia are real issues and very present at this time in America and all over the world. Here to Stay clearly illustrates how ignorance leads to fear.  Especially in sports, jealousy is a powerful force that often results in hatred. This book combats the hatred with kindness and relentless determination. It's extremely diverse set of characters in races, religion, and sexual orientation adds to the inspirational tone.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Here to Stay
Author: Sara Farizan
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 304
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Sleeper by MacKenzie Cadenhead

26059415. sy475 Sleeper is a YA science fiction book. Sarah suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, which makes her act out her dreams, endangering herself and others. The experiential drug Drexid paralyses her when she sleeps, so she cannot hurt others anymore. However, this new drug allows her to jump into people's bodies when they are dreaming. This new power lets her have fun and get back at the bullies who taunt her- but soon the path of revenge threatens her sanity and those she loves most.

Sleeper is a very strange and, at times, disturbing book. I was hooked from the first sentence! I enjoyed reading it and there were definitely some scenes where my pulse was racing in fear. I liked how it contained elements of addiction and is very relevant with the opioid epidemic. Despite the very stressful and high paced book, I was very happy with the ending and was surprised to find calmness and satisfaction with no unanswered questions.

Sarah's character had some of the most internal conflict I've ever read. On one hand, she has this great power and has the chance to do right the people who wronged her, but deep down she knows what she is doing is wrong. She also has an abusive boyfriend who is a very bad influence, and I enjoyed seeing her struggle to do right and wrestle with the guilt of her actions.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Sleeper
Author: Mackenzie Cadenhead
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 272
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars
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