Review: Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan

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In case you didn’t know it,  I have a love affair with all things New Orleans.  And while technically this one isn’t set in the Big Easy, it’s close enough.

Bayou Perdu is a small little town in the backwoods of Louisiana.  Close enough to New Orleans to be convenient but far enough to be in its own little world, it’s a typical small town. Everyone knows everyone else, and they’ve been through a lot together.  Even hurricanes.  But this one’s different.  The one they call Katrina is so ominous that even Evangeline’s grandmother is scared and ready to evacuate.

With evacuation comes loss, especially when you return to nothing.  Houses, personal belongings, friends,  these are all things Evangeline is missing as she and her family impatiently wait it out far, far from Louisiana.  She feels as if she’s stuck between two worlds, living two lives.  The question soon becomes, which life will she and her family choose in the end?

A good story, an accurate retelling of events surrounding this devastating storm.  A great read for young adults!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Between Two Skies

Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

When was the last time you finished a book and had to sit back and collect yourself before you started crying, because you were sucked into it from the very first page and felt like you were in the book, and when it was done you didn’t want it to end? Well, for me, it was this morning.

Hunted is the epitome of what the perfect YA fantasy book should be. Engaging from the very beginning, exciting and emotional throughout, and a very climactic ending that leaves you breathless and in tears.

One of the best parts about this book, besides it being a fabulous Beauty and the Beast retelling, is that it’s a standalone. I am in the midst of so many series that I just can’t take another one. But I heard a few early reviews and put it on hold at the library so fast. I needed to read this. I’m so glad that I can recommend this to everyone without them feeling like they need to invest the next few years of their lives to another series.

Yeva is you and me. She is looking for more. More what, she doesn’t know. Just more. And when her family is forced to leave their current situation and head for the woods of her childhood, she thinks this may help in her discovery. She’s longed for those woods. But as an adult she soon learns that the mysteries they hold, are much more than she ever dreamed or imagined. And finding the Beast is just one step in finding herself.

I can’t say any more except to hold on tight for this beautiful and heart twisting story.

~Melpomene

Buy Hunted here: http://amzn.to/2nrchSO

Review: All the Forever Things by Jolene Perry

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I love strong female characters.  I especially love unique, strong, teenage female characters.  It’s hard enough to be a teenager.  More so if you’re female and march to the beat of your own drum.

Gabriella lives in a funeral home.  It’s all she’s ever known.  So of course she’s heard all the jokes and whispers at school.  Bothered her at first, but now she’s used to it.  She has her own (very little) group of friends to go along with her strange family.

As all teenage things are destined to do, though, her comfortable life comes to an end.  When her forever best friend falls for one of her biggest tormentors, Gabriella finds herself lost.  Luckily there’s a new kid at school, and he’s almost as strange as Gabriella.  Hartman seems to want more than friendship and she’s not sure she’s ready for that.  Along the way, her friendship with Bree is tested in ways she never imagined.

This was such a fun story to read.  The cast of characters that comes from living in a funeral home is just as you would imagine it to be.  Gabe is funny and charming, and her parents are just as much so.  One of my favorites of last year!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  All the Forever Things

Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

In preparation for Apollycon this month, I was trying to read as many signing authors as I could beforehand. I’ve had it on my shelf for way too long so it was way past due. As soon as I finished, I was immediately kicking myself for waiting as long as I did.

I will say, I did have an ulterior motive for having this on my shelf. I read it for my teens. As you know, I am always on the look out for things that they will read. They are quite picky, so I find myself reading YA books with them in mind, every single time. I’m happy to say that I think they’ll like it. Only one scene that’ll make my anti-romance daughter cringe but I’m okay with that.

SYNOPSIS
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

Because this is listed as a #1 in a series, many people, including myself are leery about starting an unfinished series. But fear not, these books are interconnected standalones. Which basically is another reason I’m a dummy for waiting so long. I went in thinking I needed to wait til closer to book two since it was gonna be a cliffy. I was wrong. If you, or someone you know, enjoy action packed fantasy YA books, then grab a copy and pull up a chair.

Very exciting and adventurous. I thoroughly enjoyed all the banter. Some parts had me outright giggling. The friendship bond these characters had was so refreshing. They were a family. I wanted to be a part of it. This ragtag group of fugitives will have your emotions all over the place and loving every moment of it.

At some point during this haphazard journey, she’d fallen in love with a bespectacled kleptomaniac, a star-crossed seducer and his displaced princess, and, most of all, an infuriating blue blood who used to call her Rattail. She learned that home was a fluid thing, and whether on a planet, on a satellite, or on a rusted bucket of a ship, this crew was her home.

~Melpomene

Buy Starflight HERE

Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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For a long time, young adult novels pretty much ran the gamut from surviving a bully to falling in everlasting love.  Thankfully times have changed somewhat.  Today’s authors are giving us stories full of believable characters, not just those who fit into a stereotypical mold of the perfect teenager.

Libby has A LOT of things going against her.  She’s overweight, significantly so.  She’s never had a boyfriend.  Her mom is dead.  She’s been homeschooled for the past several years and is way out of touch with the high school scene. She has no friends and has been bullied in the past.  And, oh yeah, she achieved national notoriety when she had to be cut out of her house because of her weight.

But she also has a lot going for her.  She has a loving father.  She’s lost a ton of weight since that infamous incident.  She’s funny, kind, smart, and resilient as all get out.  And she’s back in school after so many years away.  Of course there are struggles, but Libby’s up for the challenge.

And then there’s Jack.  As one of the popular, cool kids he’s the exact opposite of Libby on the outside.  But he has his problems and insecurities, too.  His swagger and confidence comes from a place of insecurity and shame.  He’s covering up a secret that he’ll do anything to protect.

Although Jack and Libby seem to have nothing in common, they’re unwillingly thrown together as the result of a cruel prank.  They find friendship first, and then something more.  Is it possible that two such different people can actually be happy together?

This is kind of a sappy romance book, which I’m usually not a fan of.  But I loved Libby’s spunk and her spirit.  She’s strong and confident as she flies in the face of everyone’s idea of the perfect teenager.  I would only wish that all young girls could have such confidence.  It’s very good most of the time.  Granted, there are parts of the story that were highly unbelievable for me just because I know how society treats people who are different.   It’s certainly something to wish for, though.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Holding Up the Universe

 

Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

01lon There’s something about a Katie McGarry book that makes me wanna buy 10 copies and pass them out to all the teens I know. She is the queen of the ‘coming of age’ genre. I hope my daughter will start to like romance so I can pass all of these along to her.

Ever since Violet’s dad died, she’s wanted to leave the MC world and move on in peace, but she’s stuck. Her mom won’t leave, so she’s has to stay and try and protect her brother, and her heart, from the world that stole her dad from them.

Chevy has loved Violet for as long as he can remember but this life isn’t what she wants. Heck, this life stole his dad from him also, so he’s not sure if this is the life him either. When he’s 18 he needs to make a formal decision, but he’s not sure what to do. But when he and Violet get threatened, he must make a choice, even if it changes everything. His life will never be the same, no matter what. He loves her so much, but if she needs to walk away, he has to let her, even if it kills him.

Violet has always been my best friend, but it’s more than that. She’s always been a piece of me, and without her the world was cold, a bitter freeze that cut to the bone.

I loved Violet. She was willing to give up the boy she loved, in order to not have him choose. But when the past catches up with her, she must make some very hard decision about this “family” of hers, in order to protect them. She stood up to the men who, in her eyes, got her dad killed, and that had to be terrifying for her. But she was done and I commend her. She didn’t take crap from any of them, even if it scared her to death.

I love seeing Chevy, Violet, Oz and Razor together. They grew up together and they may not be blood but they’re family. I love these characters. They’re not perfect, but, to each other, they are.

Violet and Chevy must look inside themselves to find the right path. The decision will not be easy, and will make them question everything they thought they knew about who their family is and why things happened the way they did. So many new revelations that I didn’t see coming. But in the end they both have to make tough calls in the name of love and hope they make the right ones.

~Melpomene

Release date Jan 31, 2017
Preorder Long Way Home HERE

Review: The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

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I can’t remember the last time I read a book with such a fitting title.  I mean, when you’re talking about navigating the world of high school as a confused and misguided teenager,  it truly does become the most dangerous place on earth.

The story really begins a few years before.  Something very tragic happened in middle school.  And while certain people were definitely to blame, very few will admit it.  Fast forward to high school.  Same kids, different problems. Switching back and forth between several characters, we hear it all.  Bullying, both face to face and online.  Drug and alcohol use.  Hooking up.  Hooking up with teachers.  Being ignored by parents.  Just because your parents are loaded doesn’t make these problems, and a myriad of others, any less damaging. Some people are resilient and able to move on.  Some people pretend they’re okay but they aren’t really.  Who you are in high school and what you choose to do can determine the rest of your life.

This story is dark. It’s depressing.  And it leaves little hope for the state of the American teenager in today’s world. But it’s also very realistic as much as parents and other adults might want to think otherwise.  The issues presented are happening.  Maybe not all at the same time and in the same school but still.

I must also caution that, although this is described as a young adult book, I would leave it for older and more mature teens only.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Most Dangerous Place on Earth