Source: Borrowed

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Talon: Review

Talon: Review

I didn’t know I needed a book about dragons masquerading as humans until I found one. Talon is about a world where the remaining dragons hide in plain sight in human form in order to stay alive and a girl who wants more for her life than what has been laid out for her. Although I had some issues with it, I liked the interesting characters, their relationships with each others, and the dragon culture. The book follows multiple perspectives, but the main character is Ember. She and her twin brother, Dante, have been moved to a small beach town for the summer by Talon so they can learn to blend in with normal human teenagers. For Ember, this is her one, brief period of time where she can have fun and do whatever she wants before the next stage of her mysterious training begins and she is officially locked into… Read more »

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I Was Here: Review

I Was Here: Review

I’m not really a contemporary person, but I am very much a Gayle Forman person. With that said, I’m not sure anyone could be more disappointed than I am that I did not love this book. Forman’s prose and storytelling talent have shown me the heights of what contemporary can achieve in her previous duologies. I do think, honestly, that she is near peerless within her genre. So what left me so cold about her most recent release? A thing with me is that books take on their own “color” and mood. The experience of reading this book felt just like being under a constant cover of gray skies. There was so little in the way of hope or optimism. Which is fine, I suppose. But even if you’re going to stick readers with difficult emotions there should at least be some sort of catharsis. Unfortunately, even that fell through…. 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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Beware the Wild: Review

Beware the Wild: Review

    Well, this book was one deliciously creepy treat. It’s the sort of book that wholly transports from the first pages and ensnares the reader into its darkly magical web. At its best, the  gothic aspects of this story reminded me of Strange Sweet Song and its dark fairy tale feel brought to mind Cuckoo Song. Those are two of my favorite books of 2014 and I do not make the comparison lightly! Sterling Saucier (what a tremendous name, btw) is dealing with loss on several fronts. Immediately, her brother has disappeared into the town’s mystical swamp. Years earlier her alcoholic and abusive father left their family. Of course, his departure was not without significant scarring itself for both Sterling and Phineas. And the repercussions of that departure echo throughout the story. I was quite struck, actually, by how this was both a paranormal novel and a contemporary “issue”… Read more »

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Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Her Dark Curiosity: Review

Ah, I am seriously so interested and excited by this book. For folks who are unfamiliar with The Madman’s Daughter series by Megan Shepherd, the basic premise is as follows: what if Dr. Moreau (island, animal-human hybrids, H.G. Wells) had a daughter with the same scientific bent? The first book (Wendy has a positive review of that book here; Tonya liked it less) follows Juliet Moreau from London – where she’s been living and working, cleaning university laboratories and the like after her father disappeared following a scandal that besmirched their family name – to the fabled island her father’s currently set up shop on. Juliet’s anxious and excited about reuniting with her father, but her feelings become more troubled when she discovers that the rumors are true: not only is her father a vivisectionist, but he is crafting human beings from the parts of different animals. (Whom he names after characters from Shakespeare, because… Read more »

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If You Could Be Mine: Review

If You Could Be Mine: Review

I should start by saying that I’m glad that this book exists. There aren’t enough young adult novels that deal with LGBTQ subjects, and there certainly aren’t enough that deal with those subjects in the Middle East (or anywhere that isn’t contemporary America, to be honest). Sara Farizan’s If You Could Be Mine – about a same-sex relationship between two Iranian teenagers – goes a long way towards filling the gap. I wish books like this had existed while I was growing up. That said, however, I really wanted more from this novel. Here’s the premise: Sahar and her best friend, Nasrin, have been in love since they were children. In addition to this, Nasrin’s family functions as Sahar’s adoptive family: Sahar’s mother died when she was young, and her grieving father, though physically present, has pretty much been an absentee parent ever since. So, on top of loving Nasrin,… Read more »

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Deception’s Princess: Review

Deception’s Princess: Review

Okay, sure. That cover is just screaming Brave (on purpose I can’t help but think). I can tell you, though, that there really aren’t many similarities between the two. This is straight historical fiction with no more magic in it than a book set in the misty, mythic hills of Iron Age Ireland perhaps cannot help but imbue. Maeve is the youngest daughter of the High King of Ireland and a valued prize for any of the dozens of ambitious lesser kings. Though, clearly, she is not going to resign herself to such a fate without a fight. Maeve’s characterization was a delight to behold. Witty, courageous, and fierce, but with a tenderness and vulnerability as well. She’s talented and capable yet she makes mistakes. She’s fully drawn and one of the realest characters I’ve encountered this year. I loved her. The most enjoyable aspect of this book is watching… Read more »

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