Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Disclaimer: I received an arc and e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Amari and the Night Brothers

Author: B.B. Alston

Book Series: Supernatural Investigations Book 1

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Black main character and side characters

Recommended For…: fantasy lovers, mg readers

Publication Date: January 19, 2021

Genre: MG Fantasy

Recommended Age: 10+ (racism, classism, sexism, and prejudice)

Publisher: Balzer And Bray

Pages: 416

Synopsis: Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.

With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

Review: I absolutely loved this book! This is now one of my favorite series! I loved the writing and how captivating this story was. The character development was expertly well done and I loved how the author brought in and dealt with racism, sexism, classism, and prejudice. The concepts aren’t hard to understand and middle graders should be exposed to this more in their literature. We should be raising children to recognize these issues and deal with them appropriately. The world building was also so well done.

My only complaint is that in some spots the pacing was a little slow, but it was quickly resolved! I legitimately have nothing to complain about, but for the sake of fairness I have to say the downsides.

Verdict: I HIGHLY recommend this book! Go get it now!

Cut Her Out in Little Stars by Daniele Kasper

Disclaimer: I received the e-arc from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Cut Her Out In Little Stars

Author: Daniele Kasper

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: sci-fi lovers, ya readers

Publication Date: January 11, 2021

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Recommended Age: 15+ (romance, gore, violence)

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Pages: 419

Synopsis: Cara DeLeon is a woman lost in time. She’s stuck at a job she hates in a city she wants to escape. When tragedy strikes on a subway train, Cara awakens to find herself in the future, but not the one she dreamed of. Her old life is a distant memory and nothing is as it seems. Thrust into a future on the brink of war, she must learn how to navigate this strange new universe.

Commander of the Confederation Fleet Nikolas Caine is a man haunted by past sins as he defends the star system he has dedicated his life to protect. His ship is attacked by space raiders called Hostiles and Cara is discovered on board. Her arrival sets into motion a chain of events that will change his world forever.

Cara uncovers dark secrets that threaten to tear the star system apart and endanger her life. She must fight to survive if she wants to get home to her family. Battling a looming war and his growing feelings for Cara, Caine must finish his mission. Of course, Cara would end up falling for the one man dead set on sending her home. As the ghosts of his past catch up to Caine, Cara finds herself struggling to face her future.

Review: I really liked this book! I loved the banter and the character development. The world building was amazing and the amount of fun I had reading it was aw-inspiring! I loved the story and the plot intrigued me from start to finish. The book is a definite favorite of mine now and I can’t wait to buy a copy of it!

The only part I didn’t like that much is that the pacing was a bit slow and it took a bit for it to build up.

Verdict: A highly recommended read!

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Disclaimer: I received an e-arc of this book. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book:  One of the Good Ones

Author: Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: LGBT+ characters, Black main characters

Recommended For…: ya readers, contemporary lovers, lgbt+ readers

Publication Date: January 5, 2021

Genre: YA Contemporary

Recommended Age: 16+ (grief, violence, police brutality TW, murder, generational trauma, coming out)

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 384

Synopsis: ISN’T BEING HUMAN ENOUGH?

When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic.

One of the good ones.

Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind—why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?—Happi and her sister Genny embark on a journey to honor Kezi in their own way, using an heirloom copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book as their guide. But there’s a twist to Kezi’s story that no one could’ve ever expected—one that will change everything all over again.

Review: Do not read this book when you’re already sad. You’re going to cut onions reading this book and it’s going to give you a sadness headache. Or is that just me that gets those? Seriously though, this book is SO GOOD! I loved the story and plot and I loved that this book included something I’ve only read about before: The Green Book, which was this book that was published in the 1930s to help Black people travel and stay in safe places (seriously, more books should include this piece of history). The character development is amazing and the history and world building was amazing as well. This will definitely be a book I buy and reread.

The only thing I had an issue with was that the beginning was a bit slow but it definitely picked up.

Verdict: Highly recommended reading! We should know our history as a nation and how to best be an ally!