Review || Secondhand Origin Stories, by Lee Blauersouth


Title: Secondhand Origin Stories
Author: Lee Blauersouth
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Copy: Digital
Rating:

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Synopsis:

Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

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Review (and author interview + giveaway!) || The Heart Forger, by Rin Chupeco


Title: The Heart Forger
Author: Rin Chupeco
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Copy: Digital
Rating:

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Synopsis:
In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection―now she’s after revenge…

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

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Review (and giveaway!) || The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco


Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Copy: Digital
Rating:

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Synopsis:

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland… and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

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Review || Princess of Tyrone, by Katie Hamstead


Title: Princess of Tyrone
Author: Katie Hamstead
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Copy: Digital
Rating:

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Synopsis:
Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone.

All her life, she has heard the story of the Princess, cursed to sleep for eternity, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran, gave her true love’s kiss. Although Apolline knows she is betrothed, she thinks her fairy guardians arranged it out of ignorance of human ways. The thought she could be a princess is inconceivable.

Then Allard appears. Handsome, charming—but he’s not hers to have. He’s betrothed, too. Her guardians warn her against her newfound friendship, but she and Allard meet in secret anyway. Despite her rough exterior, he sees beyond her gun-slinging bravado and their love blossoms.

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Review (and giveaway!) || The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo


Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Poetry
Copy: Paperback
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Narrated in verses, The Poet X is a compelling story revolving around the life of young Afro-Latina Xiomara Batista. As Xiomara struggles with obeying the laws of the church, and negotiating between the person she wants to become and the daughter her mother demands her to change into, she writes down all her thoughts and frustrations onto the pages of her notebook like prayers. In doing so, she is eventually introduced to slam poetry, in which she discovers both her voice and the strength to finally speak up.

Before anything else, I feel the need to disclose that Dr. Seuss aside, I have never read a story told in verses before. From the get-go, my reading experience with The Poet X was definitely a strange one – and of course, I mean this as a compliment. I was worried that perhaps the unconventional narration would distract me from the events in the story or would confuse me every now and then, but I am pleased to say that it was never the case. If anything, the almost lyrical quality to the narrative made me even more engrossed by the story’s events.

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Review (and giveaway!) || Esme’s Wish, by Elizabeth Foster


Title: Esme’s Wish
Author: Elizabeth Foster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Copy: Digital
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Esme’s Wish follows the story of a 15-year-old girl who questions the reason behind the sudden disappearance of Ariane. Although most folks in their town have accepted this loss, Esme refuses to believe that her mother simply got ‘lost at sea’ and thus embarks on a journey to uncover the truth. Eventually, Esme accidentally stumbles upon the canal city of Esperance – the make-believe fantastical place her mother often talked about.

Here’s the thing: I prefer my fantasy stories thrillingly paced and jam-packed with action. I prefer plots that move along rather quickly and stories that involve a lot of action occurring simultaneously. Think Marvel and maybe Game of Thrones infused with tons of energy drinks. Esme’s Wish was not much of these things, if I’m being completely honest.

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Review || The Siren


Title: The Siren
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Copy: Digital
Rating:

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Here’s the thing about Kiera Cass – whom I can really never completely hate, despite my vehement dislike towards all her books – that I just can’t seem to understand: she brings forth a ton of intriguing, refreshingly uncommon plot ideas but ultimately, carelessly rips them apart in favor of an unrealistically instantaneous, illogically all-consuming, hilariously cringe-worthy romance. It happened with her The Selection series, and the same mistake was made here in The Siren.

Supposedly, this standalone fantasy novel tells the tale of sirens, who are bound to serve the Ocean by luring people into watery graves through their singing. In turn, the Ocean is fed and is able to continue sustaining lives. Basically, the justification for this is as follows: sacrifice a few lives in order to sustain the lives of the rest of humanity. I found this tidbit particularly intriguing because it suggests that in the story, the Ocean is a thriving, living being with needs similar to those of people.

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