Seer by Ashley Maker

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and my friend Mary Ellen. Thanks! All opinions are my own!

 

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance/Dystopian/Science-Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (romance scenes and violence)

 

Pages: 344

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: When Clare Palmer accepts a scholarship to attend Evergreen, she thinks she’s escaping her insane, estranged father, while also getting the chance to go to the school her late mother graduated from. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a scientifically-enhanced, combat-obsessed society called the Corasha who view her as a dangerous outsider.

Clare views herself as an outsider, too. Unwilling to accept the outrageous claims of those around her, she’s ready to get out of Evergreen at the first opportunity, until unwanted and unstable visible abilities begin to surface, confirming she’s a Seer, a biological anomaly that’s both prized and guarded by the Corasha. The only person who knows about her phasing is Kade, the attractive yet infuriating mentor she’s now indebted to, but trusting him comes with a price her heart might not be willing to pay.

Surrounded by dangerous secrets and hidden agendas, Clare must figure out who she can trust—and fast, because there’s a war coming, and the last thing she wants is to become a weapon in the wrong hands.

 

Oh wow! I don’t think I’ve read a paranormal romance in quite a long time (and I’m not sure if this qualifies as a paranormal romance or if it’s more scifi-y but I’m gonna go with it)… probably since Twilight? Anyways, I went into this kinda blind and I felt for my first trip back into the genre I thought it was really well done. I’m really into conspiracy theories and plots within plots so this one definitely grabbed my attention. I also really enjoyed the world building aspect and the character development.

 

 

However, I did feel that the book had uneven pacing. It was fast in some parts and then tremendously slow in others. The main character was a tad annoying for me and she really didn’t seem to want to figure out what was happening on her own. While this book was very entertaining for me generally, I felt that Clare’s personality really put me off this novel.

 

Verdict: Unique and amazing story within a story that deserves to be read.

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We Own The Sky by Sara Crawford

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (some sexual references)

 

Pages: 510

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: 16-year-old musician, Sylvia Baker, has always been different. She’s the only one who can see the “flickering people.” When she sees a gorgeous flickering man named Vincent, she learns that they are Muses.

With his help, she finds herself creating exquisite songs that she loves almost as much as songs by her favorite bands–Radiohead, M83, and The Black Keys–and she is falling in love in a way she never knew was possible. While trying to maintain her newfound friendships and her band, she falls deeper into the world of the Muses.

When the original Greek Muses wake to find a world in which the internet has given everyone the tools to be an artist, a battle between traditional and new methods of creation ensues. As Sylvia discovers how she is connected to the world of the Muses, she learns that this war may put her music, her love, her very life at stake.

 

Let’s start this off by saying this was a beautifully unique and moving book. I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved by a book that revolved around music except for Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. I thought it was well written and amazing. The characters were amazingly well constructed and complex. I loved the plot, I thought it was creative and well developed, and overall I felt that the book was one amazing song in itself.

 

The only tiny issues I had with the book are that Vincent gave me creeper vibes and I just couldn’t shake them. And the pacing was a bit sporadic at times. There were also some jumps in the scenes that didn’t make sense, but I don’t think they mattered overall for the book.

 

Verdict: If you’re looking for the perfect song, read this book.

I Felt A Funeral, In My Brain by Will Walton

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from KidLitExchange and Push. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Contemporary Poetry

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (homophobia, alcoholism, drug usage, casual sex)

 

Pages: 304

 

Author Website8

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: How do you deal with a hole in your life?

Do you grieve?

Do you drink?

Do you make out with your best friend?

Do you turn to poets and pop songs?

Do you question everything?

Do you lash out?

Do you turn the lashing inward?

If you’re Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what’s happened — and is happening — to you.

I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain is an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself.

 

I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I do enjoy it sometimes. This book I honestly enjoyed. It’s written in verse and it’s so beautiful. I was moved by Avery’s journey from his grandfather’s death to where he finds himself after and all the little roads he travels. I thought that while the book was in verse the book was well written and all the characters super developed. The plot was also complex and amazing. Seriously, this book was good.

 

The only issue I had with it is that some of the verses got a bit confusing and I can see where people could get confused about the direction, but if you’ve read verse before then this shouldn’t be an issue.

 

Verdict: Verse poetry books are the future and I’m loving it.

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from KidLitExchange and Sky Pony Press. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (homophobia, transphobia, sexism, abuse, sexual assault)

 

Pages: 336

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.

Breathlessly romantic and brilliantly subversive, The Unbinding of Mary Reade is sure to sweep readers off their feet and make their hearts soar.

 

2018 is the year of the YA sea-faring books so I found another sea faring book to review! I found this book to be an interesting read. The main character was very complex and I’m still not sure what to think about her. I also thought that this book was unique in that it showed a cross-dressing female.

 

However, I’m very concerned with how trans and genderqueer people were shown and portrayed and treated in this book. There was a lot of abuse and hurtful statements towards them and it was really hard to read. The way the book was written was also really jarring and it took me out of the book each time it shifted. The plot was also really weak and the pacing was super slow. I didn’t feel the romance in this book and honestly there was a lot of it for what I thought would be an awesome sea-faring book.

 

Verdict: I’d really like to know your opinion if you are LGBT+ on this book. I honestly feel there are some really upsetting parts about this book and I fear that it will be hurtful to people in the long run. In my opinion, I think it can be hurtful and I even got upset reading the book. But I’d like to know your opinion about it.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Disclaimer: None! I bought this on my own!

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (sex, drugs…. Uhhhh…. Violens? Also violence and LGBT+ goodness)

 

Pages: 513

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

 

Let’s start this review off with “I’m watching Mackenzi Lee on YouTube and I’ve discovered my twin/soulmate/second-half in her”. Seriously, I love her. And I also love her book! I’ve never read a historical fiction book that was an entertaining as this book! The world building was fantastic and the characters felt so alive. The plot was entertaining and very accurate to the time period and the book was also paced perfectly. I love how Lee wasn’t afraid to keep the novel below the 350ish page “limit” that most YA books seems to try to achieve. I enjoy longer novels when they need to be longer and I feel that a lot of books need to be over that soft limit, but they’re afraid of losing people’s interest in going over it. Lee also made history and the time period come alive and I feel that this book could be easily used in a history class to help bring history to life.

 

The only complaint I have is that 1) The book is over and I really want to know what happens next and 2) I really REALLY REEEEAAALLLYYYYYY want the next book in the series. I’m not sure if this next book is all about Monty’s sister Felicity or if Monty will reappear, but I neeeddddddd.

 

Verdict: I have a new hero and her name is Mackenzi Lee.

We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from KidLitExchange in return for a review. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Genre: YA Contemporary

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (abuse, abandonment, romance, death row)

 

Pages: 416

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.

But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love. For fans of NPR’s Serial podcast, Jason Reynolds, and Matt de la Peña.

 

Could you classify a book as YA if some of the story takes place years after young adulthood? This book is really unique in that it’s told from alternating time lines, one taking place during the main characters senior year in high school and the other taking place in the form of letters from death row. The book does really good in that it’s an eerily inspirational read and I feel that it would be for any young child. I feel that the writing was well done and the characters were so well developed.

 

The only slight complaints I have about it is that the book is slightly confusing. You don’t really find out what happened until the end when everything wraps up and the plot keeps you guessing the entire time.

 

Verdict: A must read for teens today.

No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from KidLitExchange in return for my opinion. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (murder, high school drama, and violence)

 

Pages: 320

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: A gripping reimagining of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and the brutal murders that inspired it

November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.

New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.

Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right.

 

Okay so I’ve not read Capote’s In Cold Blood… but is it anything like this book? Let me explain: this book was okay but the synopsis of it had me wanting more than what I got. I liked that the book had really short chapters because it really made me read it faster. I like how we jumped into the action of the book and I felt that for the most part the writing was fantastic and it sucked you into the book.

 

However, I didn’t like that the characters had so little back story to them and that there were a lot of characters that easily were forgotten. The main character was wrote really bad. She kept making the same mistakes over and over again and it became really irritating after awhile and it made her very unlikable, but she was already unlikable with some of her other qualities. Lastly, the ending was way too quick and neat for this type of book.

 

Verdict: I feel like this book was okay, but it could have been better.

Seconds: The Shared Soul Chronicles by Brindi Quinn

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the author because I’m on her Street Team. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy/Steampunk

 

Recommended Age: 14+ (love and steampunk and twists and turns)

 

Pages: 278

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: “The scarlet tattoo marked him as one who’d never been born. It marked him as a Second.”

In a steam-filled world, Seconds run rampant. Split-personalities manifested into human form, these beings possess thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

But do they deserve to live?

One scrap huntress is about to find out.

Tide is no ordinary girl; she zones out, possesses freakishly good climbing skills, and claims to have a serpentine demon after her. Simply put, she’s abnormal.

When Tide meets a fanboy named Rye, she thinks she’s found her match. He’s cute, he’s quirky; but there’s a problem: Rye is a Second. Can Tide find a way to make Rye whole before his existence kills?

It’ll take more than just love and luck on this journey to discover the secrets of the soul.

 

I’m usually not a big fan of steampunk and I’ve been severely burned by some of them (I’m looking at you Wendy Spinale) but I decided to give this book a try… anddddd… and I thought it was really good for the most part. The world building and the plot were very well developed and the story was engaging for most of the book. The characters were memorable and unique. They were well developed as was the plot.

 

However, I do feel that the after the first 13 chapters the book took a weird turn and it became a bit harder to follow. I also feel that the last part of the book was very fast paced and uneven with how the rest of the book was told. For the most part the writing was extremely well done, but the ending just threw me off the book.

 

Verdict: An adventure that only Brindi can write in her own funky, but entertaining way. Seriously, if you’ve not read a book from Brindi Quinn definitely pick one up today.

The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley for my opinions on it. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 1/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: DNF

 

Pages: 288

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: In the ancient moors of Scotland, the king of Calidon lies on his deathbed, cursed by a ring that cannot be removed from his finger. When a mysterious fey stranger appears to save the king, he also carries a secret that could tear the royal family apart.

The kingdom’s only hope will lie with two young men raised worlds apart. Aric is the beloved heir to the throne of Calidon; Albaric is clearly of noble origin yet strangely out of place.

The Oddling Prince is a tale of brothers whose love and loyalty to each other is such that it defies impending warfare, sundering seas, fated hatred, and the very course of time itself. In her long-awaited new fantasy novel, Nancy Springer (the Books of Isle series) explores the darkness of the human heart as well as its unceasing capacity for love.

 

This will be a fairly short review as I had to DNF this book. The book immediately jumps into the story and doesn’t give the reader any backstory nor does it give the reader any orientation as to world building or character development. The book reads as a fast paced movie and that type of story doesn’t translate well in book form. Also, the synopsis gets solved in the first chapter of the book…. Soooo…. There’s not that much of a plot. It also seemed that the two main characters might be into each other which is cool, I’m all for LGBT books and stuff but I will say that my dislike for instalove transcends all orientations.

 

Verdict: Hopefully you have a better experience with this book than I do.

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from Just Reads Tour to provide a review for the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 13+ (some violence)

 

Pages: 328

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories—she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down . . . and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers . . . and they’re after her too

 

In a world where almost every idea has been done at least once before, can there be an original idea? Yes there still can be and a prime example of this is The Story Peddler! The book was super unique and very imaginative. The writing was well done and the plot was very well developed. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and I can’t wait for the next book.

 

However, I did have some issues with the book. I really didn’t understand why we had a POV from Braith, but I did enjoy her story as well. I didn’t like how the magic wasn’t explained. I’d really like to know more about how it works and what causes it in certain people. Lastly, I didn’t like how she strung her friend along the whole story. It was a nice change of pace from the girl being strung along by the guy, but I still get angry at characters who do it.

 

Verdict: Overall a fantastic story that will leave you wanting more.