This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

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

Book: This Golden Flame

Author: Emily Victoria

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Recommended For…: sci-fi readers, fantasy readers, ya readers

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 15+ (slight violence and gore, death)

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 384

Synopsis: Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Review: Overall, I really liked this book. I do want to remark that the book was really good. The book is diverse, having aro/ace characters, gay, and other lgbt+ characters and also showing and writing disabled characters. I really liked how the story flowed and for a debut novel this was really well done. The characters were well developed and, from what I could tell, wrote with care in who they are. The world building was also well done.

However, I did have issues connecting to some of the characters, specifically Zara, and the pacing in some places was really too slow for my liking.

Verdict: It’s pretty good!

Revenge of the Sluts by Natalie Walton

Disclaimer: I received this arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Revenge of the Sluts

Author: Natalie Walton

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: The MC is at least half Korean, but unsure if accurate characterization

Recommended For…: ya readers, contemporary lovers, social justice

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

Genre: YA Contemporary

Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual exploitation, nudes leaked, sexual content, language, slight violence)

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Pages: 328

Synopsis: As a lead reporter for The Warrior Weekly, Eden has covered her fair share of stories at St. Joseph’s High School. And when intimate pictures of seven female students are anonymously emailed to the entire school, Eden is determined to get to the bottom of it.

In tracking down leads, Eden is shocked to discover not everyone agrees the students are victims. Some people feel the girls “brought it on themselves.” Even worse, the school’s administration seems more concerned about protecting its reputation than its students.

With the anonymous sender threatening more emails, Eden finds an unlikely ally: the seven young women themselves. Banding together to find the perpetrator, the tables are about to be turned. The Slut Squad is fighting back!

Review: For the most part I really liked this book. I thought that the concept was very modern for today’s teens. the concept that your nudes can be leaked at any time and for your school to be sexist and not act accordingly is very very real to many teens and I don’t think a lot of people realize that. I think that it is entirely up to them as adults to send their nudes around, it’s an entirely different thing when their children as they could be charged with child pornography, but to not have a book that can talk about the consequences of it and the what-ifs about any situation doesn’t really fully exist in young adult literature yet. I think that, while I have some issues with this book, that this is a good step in the right direction to help prepare modern teens for a more technologically scary world. I also thought that the characters were very well done and developed, and the plot immediately hooked me into the book and I managed to finish it and two hours.

However there are some things in the book that I didn’t necessarily like. For example the main character is part Korean at least but I don’t know how well she is described to tell if it’s an accurate characterization or not. I also found some slight inconsistencies with pornography laws in the book versus what they are in reality. For the most part this book is very well researched. It is true that Massachusetts does not have any laws regarding revenge porn, and I believe that every state should have those laws in place because I believe that distribution of “not your adult porn” is illegal. But I do have a concern when regarding distribution of porn to a minor. in the book a mass email is sent out to the entire student population of these girls naked pictures. And while the book states that all the girls are 18 and I have reason to believe that the person who distributed the nude photos is 18, I don’t think that the email only limited itself to just people over the age of 18 in that school. I can’t find the exact statute, but I believe in many states that distribution of porn to a minor is illegal, so the police really should have been involved with the case from the get-go. But as we have all come to learn in 2020, there are some people who become cops because they like the power and don’t like to work within the legal means of the system. But other than that small legal matter that I debated in my head throughout the book, the only other issue that I have with the book is that the boys didn’t see any repercussions besides a talking to. And while that is the most realistic outcome for these situations, I would like it if I ever had a child for them to live in a world where boys get there proper punishments as they deserve instead of it being slit under the rug as a “boys will be boys”moment.

Verdict: It was a great book!