IRON WIDOW by KIRAN JAY ZHAO

While this draws on a few real characters in history, make no mistake, it is a Sci-Fy, Fantasy, Futuristic tale that touches on the place women still have in society. Second. Disposable.

And then it just dives right in to giant fighting machines called Chrysalises, transforming robots that battle with mecha aliens that have almost destroyed everything. The pilots are boys. The girls or concubine pilots give of their life force and no one seems to care that they lose their lives.

Except 18 -year-old Zetian. She has plans of revenge after her sister died during one of these fights. She doesn’t use normal weapons. She takes on her pilot with her mind and is the only one returning. With a nickname. Iron Widow.

She has turned the tables on the boys and will now use them as ‘fuel’. They are afraid of her and what she can do. They try pairing her with the strongest male pilot in Huaxia. But Zetian has tasted the power and she likes it. Now her mission is to find out why only girls are being used and disposed of.

She is one of the strongest characters I have seen. She has had enough and is not taking it anymore. This is not my usual genre but I am very glad I read it. I felt empowered and ready to fight.

Well Done.

NetGalley/September 21st, 2021 by Penguin Teen

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by LAEKAN ZEA KEMP

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

Meet Penelope Prado who works like crazy at her father’s restaurant. Nacho’s Tacos. It’s a mix between a bar and a great Mexican food place. The entire family works insane hours to support themselves and a lot of people in the community.

Her parents don’t want that life for her. They want her to be a nurse or something stable. So she enrolls in college and pretends to go. Because Pen has her own plans. To take over the restaurant and make it more. Specifically a bakery. She already is known for her food and especially her baking. She adds that secret ingredient only people who love baking can add. Love.

Pen has had demons in her past that have left her feeling unsure of herself and what she controls. When she finally works up the nerve to tell her parents that she hasn’t actually been going to classes. Not once. Because she wants to have the restaurant that her brother is managing.

Pen’s parents are not happy and she doesn’t get the restaurant and she doesn’t get to keep her job. She’s on her own.

Xander came to this country at nine years old. His mother left, his father left and all he has is his grandfather. And fear. Lots of fear. He is undocumented and lives in the shadows, constantly afraid someone will find out.

When he comes to work at the restaurant, he and Pen are instantly interested in each other. They share their deepest secrets and fears. Together they just may be able to save themselves and a lot of other people they love.

This is a YA book and I cried and was saddened by the treatment of immigrants in this story. It’s all true. We see it everyday on the news. This was a beautiful and timely book that I enjoyed very much.

Little, Brown, And Company

THE INFAMOUS Frankie Lorde by Brtany Geragotelis

Stealing Greenwich (The Infamous Frankie Lorde, #1)

The Lordes Taketh, Stealing Greenwich, a new series in the YA genre.

Frankie Lorde has a great dad. She loves him and he loves her. They are a team. A team of jewel thieves to be precise.

Learning from her dad has given her a skill set not every girl has. Like lock picking and spotting the cops or stealing valuable cars and jewels. But every thing eventually must end and this ends with daddy in prison and Frankie sent to live with her uncle. The Cop. Now she has to learn a new set of life-skills. How to fit in at middle school, how to act her age.

She is also living in the affluent town of Greenwich, which for her is like living in a candy store. She still sees the chasm between the haves and the have-nots and that gives her an idea… but will it be a good idea or a bad one?

This is the first in a new series that I know my 6th grader loved. Frankie is a cool character and we liked her a lot.

The NATURE of WITCHES by RACHEL GRIFFIN

Climate Change meets Climate Witches in this Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Young Adult debut novel.

Witches have been maintaining the climate for a very long time. Their powers are the powers of the seasons. With the sun peaking in the season they are born.

But the humans or shaders have gotten greedy and off-track wanting more of everything without a thought as to how to it will affect the planet or the weather. They aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. Now the witches control over the weather is getting spotty. Witches are being depleted just trying to hold things together while the weather is acting like an out of control toddler.

But there may be hope. Clara is an Everwitch, she is rare and encompasses all of the seasons. But in Autumn Clara wants nothing more than to lose her magic. The power she has is out-of-control. She has already hurt people she loved. She just wants it gone so no one will be hurt. But the weather is hurting everyone.

When Winter comes and the world is raging as disaster after disaster kills more witches Clara finally understands that only she holds the power and answers that may save them all. But first, she needs to get control of her emotions and her magic.

Sang, is helping her with that. Big problem. He’s hot. She’s hot. He’s training her and he has a strangely calming effect on her magic. But will that keep him safe if she loses control?

And when Summer comes she will have to choose between her powers and love. Her responsibility to her fellow witches and her own personal happiness.

First, I don’t read YA. So much angst. Not so for this book. I could have kept on reading if only the author hadn’t stopped writing. I loved Clara. A strong female lead and strong female characters. I adored every person in this book. I look forward to the next one.

June 1st, 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire/ NetGalley Review



The ESSENCE of NATHAN BIDDLE by J.William Lewis

The Essence of Nathan Biddle

Oh, the exquisite angst of young adulthood. Our MC Kit Biddle is a star. Smart and athletic he could have it all. The problem is Kit doesn’t even know if he is Kit.

This reminded me so much of Catcher in the Rye. So much tragedy and so much talking about it. Let me say the writing itself is beautiful. I re-read many passages.

I kept wondering who was who and what were they all so shady about? In the end, I had way more questions than answers. It felt incomplete.

Some of the relationships were not explained and while the writing was lovely the story was confusing.

NetGalley/June 1st, 2021 by Greenleaf Book Group Press


THE FURIES by KATIE LOWE

The Furies

Elm Hollow Academy is an all-girls school in a boring town by the coast with a rather dark past. Witch trials in the 17th century and one supposedly hung from a tree on campus. Theories abound about the school and the odd things that happen there.

Violet is sixteen and has already had her fair share of tragedy and loss. She is that character on the fringe. Even she isn’t sure she belongs here. Or anywhere.

The talk of the school when Violet arrives is the mysterious disappearance of Emily Frost. Said disappearance means there is an opening in a study group with their instructor, Annabelle. Mysterious Annabelle. She teaches the girls about the Furies and how they took revenge on the men who wronged them.

Only these girls aren’t taking notes, they are taking action and Violet is drawn into something deadly and it could get her killed. Not knowing who to trust, she trusts herself.

There are plenty of books dealing with angst-ridden teenaged girls at schools. This had less to do with popularity and boys and more to do with witchcraft.

It was really wordy and the middle got a bit old quickly. The end was unexpected and rather disappointing I thought.

NetGalley/ October 8th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

The Nobody People by Bob Proehl

The Nobody People

After decades in hiding, a group of outcasts with extraordinary abilities clashes with a world that is threatened by their power.

Great world-building in this tale! It has rather an X-Men feel to it. These are ordinary people that you wouldn’t look twice at. Nobodies. And yet not quite as ordinary as they seem.

They all have abilities. Emmeline was one of my favorites! Fahima was another. Ordinary people with extraordinary gifts. And with those gifts come the people who would use them or destroy them.

This time they will come together to fight the bigots, the small-minded, and the ones who fear what they can not understand. One of them tries to hold on to a shaky sort of peace while the others are ready to stand up and fight.

I see there will be a second in this Fantasy/Science Fiction book. The kids were really interesting and I’m sure this will be a hit with young adults!

NetGalley/  September 3rd, 2019 by Del Rey

 

 

THE LEAF READER by EMILY ARSENAULT

The Leaf Reader

Maybe, occasionally, some of the pictures I saw in teacups were not for the tea drinkers. Maybe some of them were for me.

Marnie Wells knows that she creeps people out. It’s not really her fault; her brother is always in trouble, and her grandmother, who’s been their guardian since Mom took off is…eccentric. So no one even bats an eye when Marnie finds an old book about reading tea leaves and starts telling fortunes. The ceremony and symbols are weirdly soothing, but she knows—and hopes everyone else does too—that none of it’s real.

Then basketball star Matt Cotrell asks for a reading. He’s been getting emails from someone claiming to be his best friend, Andrea Quinley, who disappeared and is presumed dead. And while they’d always denied they were romantically involved, a cloud of suspicion now hangs over Matt. But Marnie sees a kindred spirit: someone who, like her, is damaged by association.

Suddenly the readings seem real. And, despite the fact that they’re telling Marnie things about Matt that make him seem increasingly dangerous, she can’t shake her initial attraction to him. In fact, it’s getting stronger. And that could turn out to be deadly.

Marnie is an odd duck. It seems the entire family shares that trait. And you won’t find out why until near the end.

This is a YA Fiction and it is not the genre I read, however I have read some of Emily’s books before and enjoyed them so I gave it a try. Honestly because I thought it was going to be about tea and reading leaves.

It’s pretty much your basic teenagers doing what teenagers do. They lie. A lot. And they are horribly angst ridden over every little thing. There was too much whining and lying for me.

 

 

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

As You Wish

What if you could ask for anything- and get it? 

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself

Madison is not a place people stop unless they are getting gas. And no one encourages stopping either. Something isn’t quite normal here.

Eldon isn’t sure he wants to make a wish. He’s seen how some turn out and it isn’t all good.

This was an interesting book. Full of the normal teen aged angst, but also a deeper theme of taking shortcuts through life and what we want at 17 is probably not what we want at 25.

About how our wants or wishes can and do affect other people’s lives. I am still not sure if I liked the end or not.

Netgalley/Sourcebooks/YA  Release is set for January 01,2018.

Scion of the Fox (The Realms of Ancient) by S.M. Beiko * RELEASE DAY*

Scion of the Fox (The Realms of Ancient, #1)

As the winter ice begins to thaw, the fury of a demon builds — all because one girl couldn’t stay dead . . .

Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not so typical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.

American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in this powerful first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations everywhere.

Roan is one of the most relatable characters I’ve seen in the YA world.

The author has built an entire world that we humans can’t see, but is full of magic,symbolism, and ancient powers and struggles. And Roan has a big role to play in this parallel world.

The characters developed very well during the story and I was glad to see this teenaged girl without some romance involved, fighting her own battles.

I think this is what good YA Fiction/Fantasy is all about!

Well Done!

Netgalley/ECWPress  Release is October 17, 2017