Book Reviews

[Review] The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

TThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavenderhe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Series: None
Publication: March 27th, 2014 by Candlewick Press
Number of Pages: 301
Genre: Magical Realism, Fantasy, YA, Romance, Historical
Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★★

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Summary

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.
In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.
That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.
First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

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[Mini-Reviews] The Archived and We Should Hang Out Sometime

The Archived (The Archived, #1)The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Publication: January 22nd, 2013 by Hyperion
Number of Pages: 328
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: School library
Rating: ★★★★

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Summary

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

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[Review] Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Publication: August 7th, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Number of Pages: 404
Genre: High fantasy, YA, Romance
Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★

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Summary

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

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[Review] Simon Vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Series: None
Publication: April 7th, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Number of Pages: 303
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Romance
Source: Bought from Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★★1/2

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Summary

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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[Review] The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Series: None
Publication: November 4th, 2014 by Little Brown Publisher
Number of Pages: 432
Genre: YA, Historical, Fiction
Source: School library
Rating: ★★

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Summary

730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.
18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.
DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….
JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….
MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..
In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out. (more…)

[Review] The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulvio

The Boy Who Granted Dreams

The Boy Who Granted Dreams by Luca Di Fulvio
Series: None
Publication: March 23rd, 2015 by Bastei Entertainment
Number of Pages: 780
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★1/2

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Summary

1909. Ellis Island. Arriving off one of the many transatlantic freighters are Cetta Luminita and her illegitimate baby boy Natale, fleeing the poverty and violence of their Southern Italian hometown. Having sacrificed everything, and endured every possible shame, Cetta has but one wish: that her baby should be an American, and grow up with the freedom to decide his own destiny. As they alight, US Immigration officials give Natale a new name: Christmas.
Growing up in the Lower East Side of New York with his mother, who works as a prostitute, Christmas is determined to be a success, whether a decent person or a gangster. The city is ruled by gangs from each community, Italian, Jewish and Irish, and survival is dependent on ruthlessness and strength. But Christmas has a vivid imagination, and an ability to tell stories that people want to believe…and thus is born his imaginary gang, the Diamond Dogs, which earns him respect within the ghetto. All this changes the day he saves the life of a rich Jewish girl Ruth, and despite their different backgrounds, he falls hopelessly in love with her. When circumstance tears them apart, Christmas vows that he will find her, by any means possible.
A sweeping saga of love and hate set in the Roaring Twenties, The Boy Who Granted Dreams is the story of Christmas and Ruth; the story of the dawn of radio, Broadway and Hollywood; and above all, a story about believing in the power of dreams.

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[ARC Review] Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Six Impossible ThingsSix Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
Series: None
Publication: August 11th, 2015 by Poppy (in the US)
Number of Pages: 263
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance, Retelling
Source: From the publisher via NOVL (Thanks NOVL~!)
Rating: ★★★

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Summary

Fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things…

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[Review] More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This

More Than This by Patrick Ness
Series: None
Publication: May 1st 2014 by Walker Books Ltd
Number of Pages: 480
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, LGBTQ
Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★

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Summary

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.
Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.
How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?
As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?
From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.

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[Review] The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: None

Publication Date: October 18th, 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Number of Pages: 409

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Romance

Source: Public Library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. (more…)

[ARC Review] Cold Burn of Magic – Jennifer Estep

Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)

Author: Jennifer Estep

Series: Black Blade #1

Publication Date: April 28th, 2015

Publisher: K-Teen

Number of Pages: 368

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Mystery, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

There Be Monsters Here. . .

It’s not as great as you’d think, living in a tourist town that’s known as “the most magical place in America.” Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I’ve got my mom’s bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend’s pawn shop, and I have to make a call–get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn’t. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I’m stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I’m going to end up just like her. . .

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