Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan | an edgy gothic fantasy

review template (17)

Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan

April 2, 2019, from Wednesday Books
YA fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

cab2star

2 stars

This book seemed cool from the outset; look, I like dark fantasy, and I generally tend to enjoy all the blood and gore that comes with it. That paired with the Gothic, eastern-European setting made me think this book could be for me despite the mixed reviews I’d read. Alas, the potential was wasted. Despite Wicked Saints seeming like something I’d enjoy, I went into it with trepidation, and it still fell flat.

Continue reading “Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan | an edgy gothic fantasy”

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins | an adorable royal romance

review template (16)

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

May 7, 2019, from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
YA contemporary rom-com
Goodreads | Amazon

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

cab5star

5 stars

I’m officially hooked on queer royal romances. I read Red, White, and Royal Blue last spring and I loved it. Her Royal Highness has the same charm, complete with so many of my favourite romance tropes.
Continue reading “Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins | an adorable royal romance”

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver | a soft, emotional, and lovely book

review template (10)

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

May 14, 2019, from Push
Young adult contemporary
Goodreads | Amazon

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity.

cab4star

4 stars

I’d heard a lot about I Wish You All the Best and how good it was. I haven’t read a lot of ownvoices books about non-binary characters, so I was excited to read this, and I was not disappointed. I Wish You All the Best is a soft book that deals with difficult subjects but ultimately manages to be uplifting and positive.

Continue reading “I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver | a soft, emotional, and lovely book”

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake | a tender story about family & friendship

review template (15)

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

October 1, 2019, from Disney-Hyperion
YA contemporary
Goodreads | Amazon

The Larkin family isn’t just lucky—they persevere. At least that’s what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn’t drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.

But wrecks seem to run in the family. Tall, funny, musical Violet can’t stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.

Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family’s missing piece – the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.

She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.

cab4star

4 stars

When I first saw The Last True Poets of the Sea, I found myself hooked on the premise–I’d read the first few chapters and was drawn into it. It sounded like the kind of story I would like, and in many ways, I was right. The Last True Poets of the Sea is an deep exploration of family, friendship, mental illness, and survival.
Continue reading “The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake | a tender story about family & friendship”

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera | urban fantasy, phoenixes, and brotherhood

review template (14)

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

January 14, 2019, from HarperTeen
YA fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

cab3star

3 stars

When I heard Adam Silvera was writing a fantasy book, I was thrilled. His contemporary books are some of my favourites. So I went into Infinity Son optimistic. Though there are some problems with the worldbuilding and pacing, I ultimately liked Infinity Son; it’s an urban fantasy that stresses the importance of family and responsibility.
Continue reading “Infinity Son by Adam Silvera | urban fantasy, phoenixes, and brotherhood”

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | a space adventure with an underdeveloped ensemble cast

review template (11).png

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

April 30, 2019, from Knopf Books for Young Readers
YA science fiction
Goodreads | Amazon

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

cab3star

3 stars

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Aurora Rising. I’ve been working my way through the Illuminae series and honestly wasn’t super impressed, but I enjoyed it, so I decided to give Aurora Rising a try and see if the more traditional style of narration worked for me. Aurora Rising is entertaining enough, but the mess of POVs and wonky pacing meant that it didn’t stand out to me.
Continue reading “Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | a space adventure with an underdeveloped ensemble cast”

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen | a beautiful story about self-discovery and growth

review template (13).png

Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen

April 21, 2020, from Roaring Brook Press
Young adult contemporary
Goodreads | Amazon

Seventeen is nothing like Codi Teller imagined.

She’s never crashed a party, never stayed out too late. She’s never even been kissed. And it’s not just because she’s gay. It’s because she and her two best friends, Maritza and JaKory, spend more time in her basement watching Netflix than engaging with the outside world.

So when Maritza and JaKory suggest crashing a party, Codi is highly skeptical. Those parties aren’t for kids like them. They’re for cool kids. Straight kids.

But then Codi stumbles upon one of those cool kids, Ricky, kissing another boy in the dark, and an unexpected friendship is formed. In return for never talking about that kiss, Ricky takes Codi under his wing and draws her into a wild summer filled with late nights, new experiences, and one really cute girl named Lydia.

The only problem? Codi never tells Maritza or JaKory about any of it.

cab5star

5 stars

When I picked up this book, I was not expecting it to make me ache for things I’ve never done, friends I’ve never had, and a teenagerhood I never got. Late to the Party is a great queer coming-of-age about self-discovery and friendship and experiencing all the firsts of life.
Continue reading “Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen | a beautiful story about self-discovery and growth”