Posts Categorized: 3.5 star books

Mini Reviews: Magonia, Rook, and The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Guide

Mini Reviews: Magonia, Rook, and The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Guide

I have a nice little round up of April releases for you today! I think most of these have flown under the radar so far so I’m happy to shed a little spotlight here. We’ve got a dystopian (but sort of historical–you’ll see), a beautifully creative fantasy, and a science fiction-light romp that had me in stitches. Let’s dive in!     Title: Rook Author: Sharon Cameron Rating: 3 stars This is one of those times where I fear I just couldn’t connect with a book not through any fault of its own, but because I just wasn’t really in the mood at the time. I saw this initially billed as a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and while the threads of relation are definitely there, this is mostly an original story. In a dystopian future, Sophia spends her days as an English gentlewoman, but in her spare time is a daring rebel… Read more »

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The Storyspinner: Review

The Storyspinner: Review

It can be hard to stand out in the saturated YA fantasy market. It seems that inevitably there will be an outrageously evil king/powerful noble, a lost princess, and the recovery of unknown powers. And those elements are all present here, but in the hands of a skilled author they are more than welcome. In taking such an overly done story and making it interesting and original, I am happy to say that Becky Wallace succeeds in spades. I admit that I stumbled a bit in the beginning of this novel. Even though I am such a veteran fantasy reader, I need maps. They help me orient myself to the world and understand everything so much better. My mind races too much when introduced to foreign proper names and concepts to just let me be and enjoy the reading experience. I am a “constant flipper.” Yes, index finger permanently marked… Read more »

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Under a Painted Sky: Review

Under a Painted Sky: Review

Who here used to play the computer game “Oregon Trail” obsessively as a child? Let’s see a show of hands. Think back fondly on the days you used to carefully select your wagon train, hunt for buffalo, and decide whether you needed to ford the river or caulk your wagon. (Sometimes, when I am driving, I feel like I am rafting down the Columbia River and trying to avoid boulders and like driftwood and stuff. A fun fact about me, I know. If you would like to relive the magic, you can play the game here, btw. It’s not perfect but it sparked my interest in this period of American history as a kid.) Anyway. When I found out that Under the Painted Sky was about two young women – one Chinese-American, one African-American – who cross-dress as teenage boys in order to navigate the Oregon Trail – I was sold. If… Read more »

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The Walls Around Us: Review

The Walls Around Us: Review

I’m torn on this one, you guys. There were many things I liked about Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us: the prose style is gorgeous, and I was much more interested than I expected to be in a story about killer ballerinas. On the other hand, I saw the twists coming from a mile away (rare for me!), but dammit, I was still so interested in this book up until the last twenty-five pages or so. The basic premise of The Walls Around Us: Amber’s in a juvenile detention center, Violet’s off to Julliard. These are our novel’s two narrators. Both their stories are bound together by their relationship to Ori – a promising young ballerina who is sent to the same juvenile detention center after allegedly murdering two rival ballerinas. As readers, we never get Ori’s story directly, but are asked to piece it together from Amber and Violet’s accounts. (This… Read more »

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Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

Mortal Heart: review + giveaway

Assassin nuns! Who doesn’t love assassin nuns? (All of the people who get assassinated by them, probably.) If you aren’t a threat to 15th-century Brittany, though, you’re probably safe. That said, if you haven’t read any of the books in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers, GO READ THEM NOW. That is an order. The second book, Dark Triumph, is one of the best books I’ve read in the past year, and I think the series as a whole is pretty awesomesauce. The premise is as follows: the books follow the adventures (murder adventures) of three initiates – Ismae, Sybella, and Annith – of the Convent of Saint Mortain, the god of Death. All of the convent’s novitiates are also supposed to be the daughters of Mortain and have the creepy birth stories to prove it (with the exception of Annith whose birth is mysterious and unknown). They have all… Read more »

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Conversion: Review

Conversion: Review

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book. I didn’t know much of anything about this book when I started it, except that it had to do with the Salem Witch Trials. I like Salem. I like witches. I figured I would like this. Well, this was not what I expected, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Conversion is a story about friendship and the nature of the truth in both the present day and the past of Salem. It tackles a lot of stuff, and I think is for the most part successful. One thing I didn’t know going in is that there are two stories told in alternating chapters. The main one is set in a present-day private school for girls where a mysterious illness—called, catchily enough, the Mysterious Illness—has quickly spread. The story follows Colleen and her circle of friends as they navigate the… Read more »

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Sublime: Review

Sublime: Review

Sublime is a dark, atmospheric romance. It’s the story of a living boy and a ghost who fall in love, but more than that it’s about the lengths someone will go to be with the person they love. There were things I liked and things I didn’t, but overall I thought it was a very romantic, unique paranormal romance. The best part about this book were the two main characters. The chapters switch between Lucy and Colin’s perspectives, and I think each character is given equal depth. I was especially surprised by Colin. He was sensitive and likable, even when he did stupid things (like crazy bike stunts that break his arm). A lot of times when I read young adult books I don’t feel like the boys come across as authentic, but Colin did effortlessly. He thought and acted like a teenage boy. His chapters were some of the… Read more »

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