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Me on Books

Me on Books features reviews of young adult novels, the occasional middle grade or graphic novel, and promotes Canadian young adult authors as much as possible. :)

Currently reading

For Darkness Shows the Stars
Diana Peterfreund
Perfect Ruin
Lauren DeStefano

When You Were Here

When You Were Here - Daisy Whitney Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see. Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore. When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.When You Were Here is an emotional and moving tale of a young man's search into his mother's life. There is grief and loss and family, but also death and love, and how utterly confusing the two are.Danny is a mix of messed up emotions. He's broken, depressed, listless, and with no sense of direction, no idea of what to do next. There is no emotion in him, apart from anger at the world, affection towards his dog, and confusion towards his sort of ex-girlfriend. It's like his mother was an anchor in his life, and his memories of her aren't enough to hold him down to continue on with his life.Love and death have a way of going hand in hand in life. They are both completely confusing, hard to understand, and unmistakably irresistible. We can't escape either of them. We love, we die, the ones we love die, our love for others die. But why are love and death so important to the human condition? Why do we base our lives on them, why do we both run from them and run towards them? Is the challenge of trying to understand them that pulls us in? Or is it that, without them, life would be meaningless?After his mother's death, Danny's at a loss and is unsure of where to go next. Losing someone takes a lot out of you, it leaves the world feeling incomplete, like you're not sure how to navigate the place you've always lived in, a place you know like the back of your hand.Danny is searching for reasons why his mother died, but he never expects to learn lessons in love, life, and letting go. The world is far from perfect, there will be pain and loss, but you have to think of the good times, you have to do what makes you happy. You have to love life and love those in your life like nothing else matters.

Way to Go

Way to Go - Tom   Ryan Danny thinks he must be the only seventeen-year-old guy in Cape Breton--in Nova Scotia, maybe--who doesn't have his life figured out. His buddy Kierce has a rule for every occasion, and his best friend Jay has bad grades, no plans and no worries. Danny's dad nags him about his post-high-school plans, his friends bug him about girls and a run-in with the cops means he has to get a summer job. Worst of all, he's keeping a secret that could ruin everything.Way to Go is a book filled with a mixture of emotions and realizations. It's smart, fun, happy, sad, easy, tough, and all kinds of complicated. Perhaps it's a coming out, but perhaps it's also a realization that it's okay to not have your entire life planned out when you're seventeen, that it's okay to still think about what you'd like to do in the future, that it's okay to explore. That it's okay to be you and not who people around you expect you to be.Danny's is a kind and thoughtful voice, the voice of a teenage guy struggling to keep some things secret but to still sound normal around his friends and family. He thinks this secret will destroy everything around him, thinks it will ruin his life. Over the course of the book he's discovering who he is, what he wants to do. But will he keep hiding that part of himself?It's not Deep Cove telling Danny he can't be gay, it's Danny himself who's suppressing this part of himself. It's sad that he feels he has to hide being gay from everyone. It's also sad that this has happened, does happen, and will happen in the future in real life. It's sad for everyone who feels that being gay is wrong, that it needs to be hidden, that being gay equates to not being normal. No one is normal anymore, everyone is different.It's okay if you don't have everything figured out when you're a teenager, that's what those years are for. But during that time it's important to be the person you want to be. You're the one living your life, not your friends or your parents, so be who you want, like what you want, love whomever you want, life without fear, because there will be those who love you no matter what.

The Goddess Inheritance

The Goddess Inheritance - Aimee Carter During nine months of captivity, Kate has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her, until Cronus offers a deal. In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if she agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother, and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead. With the fate of everyone resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.The Goddess Inheritance is a powerful and emotional end to a series steeped in myth and unimaginable power. Everything is on the line this time, not just Kate's fate, not Henry's, but everyone's, and one wrong move could send the world crumbling.It starts so quickly, straight into the story, straight into Kate and the raw, seething hatred she feels towards Cronus and Calliope, as well at the love she has for her unborn child. This felt so different from the previous books, so raw and emotional, so brutal and evil and miserable. Kate is so close to tearing herself apart at the thought of having to make a decision, not willing to give up Henry or their baby. Or her own life.Kate has become so strong over the course of the series, she's powerful in her own right, but she's still so young compared to the others. She's still weak and fragile, still thinking like she's mortal. She will have to overcome so much and risk everything to save the people she loves.Family is important in this book, in this series. As she battles against Cronus and Calliope, she won't give up the idea of finally having a family, of having people close to her whom she cares about and who care about her. Everything is focused on that, and when Calliope tries to rip it from her hands, when Cronus keeps her from it, Kate fights back with everything she has.Fans of the series might be sad to see it end, but the author gives it such a powerful and heartbreaking finale. Every movement carries weight behind it, and there are plots upon plots circling everyone in an attempt to either save everyone or to destroy everything that stands in the way. Kate has to dig deep, push every thought from her mind, and make the difficult decision. Or else no one who she loves will be left standing.

The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel

The Clockwork Scarab - Colleen Gleason

Two young women of similar age and standing have disappeared: one found dead and the other still missing. The only clue to connect them is a small Egyptian clockwork scarab. Only Miss Stoker and Miss Holmes are well-positioned enough, similar in age and stature as they are to the victims, to investigate. An unlikely pair, the fierce Evaline Stoker and logical Mina Holmes must follow in the footsteps of their infamous families, Miss Holmes has inherited her Uncle Sherlock’s keen investigative skills while Miss Stoker has accepted her family calling as a hunter of the undead. The partners must find a way to work together, while navigating the advances of a strange yet handsome American, a clever Scotland Yard investigator, and a cunning thief, to solve the mystery of the clockwork scarabs.The Clockwork Scarab is intriguing, a unique twisting together of Victorian intrigue and secrecy, steam, Egyptian mythology, and even a bit of time travel. Two intelligent and resourceful heroines follow hidden clues and their own curiosity in order to expose a dangerous group responsible for the deaths of young, privileged women, hoping to keep anyone else from disappearing or dying.Mina and Evaline, while brought together in order to uncover the truth, are by no means friends. In some situations, they're barely civil towards each other. To Evaline, Mina is an awkward but bossy young woman who spends too much time with her nose in a book, constantly taking charge and analyzing the situation just like her uncle would. Alternately, Mina sees Evaline as head-strong and impatient, more inclined to show off her fighting skills and toss caution to the wind, jumping in straight away without thinking of consequences. Both see the other as foolish and unnecessary, perhaps with potential skills that could assist the investigation. They're forced to work on the mystery with each other, two girls who exist both in and out of polite society because of their skills, and they must learn to work together to keep the rest of London safe.I'm often pulled into books by creative and intriguing world-building. Here is a re-imagining of a known setting, the past setting of London in the late 19th century, but this isn't the London I'm familiar with. This is a new but old London that runs on steam and gears, that exists in different street levels one on top of the other. It implies a different sort of evolution of the UK, that this, perhaps, isn't the past we are familiar with, that this is more of an alternate history sort of book.The author has paid a great deal of attention to the grandeur of the setting, the details of the new steampunk machines and vehicles, the thought-processes of a well-bred but unconventional young woman living in London. She is polite but head-strong, intelligent, inquisitive, resourceful, thoughtful, and witty, her corset hiding a strong will and a spine of steel. She is easily dismissed by male counterparts and authority figures but is willing to push forward, to break through society's norms and take matters into her own hands. Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are the only ones able to unravel the mystery and they will not stop, even with inquisitive young men following them, poking their noses in unwanted places.This is similar to Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, both in genre and it connecting to a previous adult series. This book is set some 60 to 70 years after Gleason's The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, but I'm not sure how loosely or tightly connected this series will be to it.With re-tellings and re-imaginings, a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required on behalf of the reader. In this book, with Sherlock Holmes being a real person, with Bram Stoker writing of vampires because he knew they were real, with London running on steam and mechanical devices, with someone travelling through time and ending up in this steam-filled city, I was both entertained and confused. As thrilling as the mystery and the plot are, as compelling as the characters are, as intricate as the world-building is, I still had a little bit of trouble suspending that much disbelief.That being said, I did find this thoroughly enjoyable. The mystery and intrigue, the new-old London, the ways in which Mina and Evaline clash and work off each other, all of that worked for me. Considering where the book went and how it ended, I'm rather curious as to what will happen next, what mystery Mina and Evaline will have to uncover while keeping the bossy men in their lives at bay.

Doll Bones

Doll Bones - Holly Black Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing. And stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll, who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.Doll Bones is a curious, haunting, and moving look at growing up, an inventive and complicated story of a boy at a crossroads with the desire to keep having fun with his friends and the pressure put on him by his father to act his age. This book looks at those tough decisions we faced as children when we were told by adults to stop playing childish games, and whether or not you can grow up and keep having fun with your friends at the same time.Zach is pushed into a difficult situation, both by his father and by his own feelings of shame. Playing with Poppy and Alice, creating new worlds filled with adventure and intrigue and pirates, those are the best moments of his life. But playing with dolls and action figures is for little kids, in the mind of his father, and it's time Zach grows up and focuses on what twelve-year-old boys should focus on: homework and sports. The dynamic between Zach, Alice, and Poppy was very interesting, they all had their roles to play, their times to speak up. Their dangerous risks to take.Growing up, moving on. It's not something any kid looks forward to when they realize it's on the horizon. When it comes to playing with toys, dolls, and action figures, how old is too old? Must we follow the recommended age printed on the side of the box? When are you supposed to grow up and leave fun behind?A big part of this book is imagination, how children can create anything out of nothing, how boundaries don't exist and everything is possible. How the word "no" doesn't have a place of its own anymore. The imagination of a child is a wondrous thing, filled with possibility.This book highlights so many important and unique things about being a kid that adults either forget or take for granted. When you're a kid, anything is possible. You can do anything, be anyone. You can go anywhere you want while never leaving the side of the road. It's moments like those that should be remembered and encouraged, and books like this that remind us that, as kids, the entire world was our playground.

Through the Ever Night

Through the Ever Night - It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with a dangerous mission. Now, they are about to be reunited, but their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening of the Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both. Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder if their love will survive the ever night.Through the Ever Night continues the story of Aria and Perry, of Aria's life outside the walls of Reverie, of Perry's search and rescue of his nephew. Of their battle to stay alive and survive the Aether storms. Of the search for the Still Blue. So many lives depend on the both of them, pressing down on their shoulders, and they're forced to survive and struggle forward in order to keep everyone alive.Aria is searching for the Still Blue, trying to make things right, trying to help those in the Domes. Being half-Dweller confuses those at Tides, seeing her as something that doesn't belong, something that will ruin them. Meanwhile, Perry is struggling with the weight of the Blood Lord's chain around his neck. He's constantly at war with himself, his feelings for Aria clashing with his need to take care of his people, to do what's best for them, to keep them alive. He wants to help her, but he can't desert his people.Second novels in trilogies quite often have a plot event or plot point that bothers me, even though I understand the reasoning behind it. Aria has to head off to find the Still Blue and Perry has to stay at Tides in order to keep the tribe alive, to keep them safe, to be the ruler he now is. In the first book, they grew together, and now they have to grow and learn apart. They need to prove they can be their own selves and not just half of a pair. To be believable as characters, they have to work as separate people before they can work as a pair.Those who enjoyed the first book will certainly enjoy this new offering. Secrets are uncovered and revealed, surprises are unveiled, trouble comes from every direction, and Aria and Perry must scramble to keep everyone close to them alive. Including each other.


Indelible - Dawn Metcalf Some things are permanent. Indelible. And they cannot be changed back. Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room, right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world, a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same. Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one, his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future. Failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.Indelible is a mysterious and mystical tale into a world hidden from our own, one that's extremely complicated and dangerous. Joy enters the world of the Twixt by mistake, is marked by mistake, and becomes wrapped up in terms and tasks and near creatures she never knew existed. But is she capable of hiding the fact that she's now part of this world by accident, and will she survive the dangers thrown at her?My initial impressions of Joy weren't necessarily positive. She seems sad, possibly depressed, and leaning closer and closer towards apathy. Her father struggles, her mother is gone, her brother is off at school. If it wasn't for her best friend, Joy would never have a genuine smile on her face. But then a strange boy she barely meets tries to cut out her eye and strange things start happening to her.The dark paranormal world that exists alongside Joy's normal human life is called the Twixt, and from the Twixt comes Joy's assailant Indelible Ink and his sister. The other-worldliness that surrounds Ink and his sibling is obvious, him more so than her (which is curious in itself), the ways in which they show they aren't human multiply. But what are they? What can they do? How much danger is Joy in now that she's linked to Ink?I found it both amusing and annoying when, near the beginning, Joy can't get past the fact that Ink went after her for the sole purpose of cutting out her eye. It's amusing because she keeps going on about it like she wants him to apologize, but it's also annoying. She can't get past it, she wants him to fix it, she wants him to understand how much he hurt her and frightened her, but he doesn't necessarily understand that. He's not human. And he can't take it back.Over time, his attempted removal of her eye becomes less of a problem for her, and their relationship changes. Their 'relationship' is once built on artifice and lies, built on pretending to be close, but the more time Joy spends with Ink, the less she cares. She seems more fascinated by him, by the ways in which he isn't human. Even though she isn't as wary of him as she should be, as I feel she should be (because I think there's a bigger reason why he needed to remove her sight), she is wary of everything else the Twixt introduces her to, the strange monsters and the near constant messages. Of those she is frightened, of the traps and the dangers she is frightened, but over the course of the book she isn't as frightened of Ink. It makes me think he's the one she should protect her heart against the most.The more I read YA the more I realize how self-centered people can be, especially teenagers. A lot of their time their focus is on them, on how they feel, on what's happened to them, on how they've been wronged by others and it's up to them to fix it. Not all teenagers are like this, there are those who put others before themselves. But as it sometimes happens in YA, when the main character only focuses on what is happening to them and around them, the bigger picture goes unseen until time has almost run out.I found this book to be rather fast-paced with an almost frantic tone at times with Joy struggling to understand and brace for what's coming next. If this is the start of a trilogy or series, I'm curious as to where the next book will go. It felt like a tale to be contained in one book but I do have an unanswered question or two. And I still think there's something more behind the reason Ink had for trying to cut out Joy's eyes.


Unremembered - When a flight goes down over the Pacific Ocean, no one expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl they find floating among the wreckage, alive, is making headlines. Even more strange is her lack of injuries and lack of memories boarding the plane. And her lack of memories period. No one knows how she survived, why she wasn't on the manifest, why there's no record of her fingerprints anywhere. Crippled by a world she doesn't know, plagued by abilities she doesn't understand, haunted by a looming threat she can't remember, the girl struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is, but every clue beings more questions and she's running out of time. Her only hope might be a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who made her forget?Unremembered is a complicated search for the truth, a search for memories, a search to discover someone's true identity. Lost, confused, alone, the girl struggles to find out who she really is while wondering if anyone is really telling her the truth. A slightly over-the-top love story veiled by secrets and science, this might interest some but struggled to hold my attention emotionally.The girl is alone. Her memories are gone. She knows nothing, quite literally nothing, nothing beyond what her brain automatically processes when she looks out in the world (like complex math). The boy who knows her is as much a mystery as she is, only no one seems to know he exists. He knows her, he wants to help her, he cares about her, but she is lost in a sea of emptiness and missing memories.Memories are curious things. How deep are they settled in our minds? How ingrained can a touch or scent or sight be to keep us from forgetting it? If we lose our memories, are we still the same person? Or do we become different people? When we've forgotten everything, how can we trust anything that's said to us? We have no way of knowing whether it's true or not, or whether those people have our best interests at heart.An intriguing mix of romance, thriller, and science-fiction that will surely interest some readers. For me, this is one of those books where I can't definitely say whether or not I liked it. The story pulled at me, I wanted to discover the truth behind the girl, behind her amnesia, behind those chasing her, but I felt no emotional connection to the girl herself. Without her memories, she's lacking, almost always confused or frightened or clueless or angry. Of course, this semi-lack of a personality stems from her having no memories as well as the way she was raised. This kind of heroine is hard to like, I spent some time waiting for her to grow a spine and fight back instead of questioning everything and running when her instincts take over.That being said, I'm sure this will appear to those who enjoy epic love stories that stretch out across time and space, books like Fallen, The Eternal Ones, and My Name is Memory.

The Lives We Lost (Fallen World - Trilogy)

The Lives We Lost - Megan Crewe A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn's small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, then encounter a world that's beyond recognition. It's not only the "friendly flu" that's a killer, there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, where the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?The Lives We Lost is an exploration of humanity, of inner strength, of the drive to stay alive. The world around Kaelyn is slowly descending into utter madness and chaos, and she will have to battle her way through everything that's thrown at her in order to complete her mission: to return the world to what it once was. To bring back everything that's disappeared under the snow.The book, the series, is eerily realistic. The disease, the bleakness of the situation, the degradation of society and governments, the sudden loss of the things that were once easy to obtain like food, heat, and shelter, the struggle for survival. The situation is not over-blown or exaggerated, not filled with action or battles for the cold box or constant drawing of guns, but it is tense enough to keep your heart pounding past the last page.Kaelyn is pushed down by the weight of everything on her shoulders, but she's the one who put it there. She's the one who had the idea to take the vaccine off the island, she's the one who wants to save everyone, she's the one who wants her peaceful life with her healthy parents and her friends back. And she will go as far as it takes. Will she do anything? I don't think so, we all have our limits, but she believes in this cause so strongly that she will travel as far as she must. Previously, it was Kaelyn against the disease, against herself as she built up her strength and courage. Now, it's her against the world, a world far different than the one she remembers, a world far more dangerous and desolate.In the first book, Kaelyn recounted the events of the disease on the island to Leo in a journal, but now he's there, now he's right there with her. But so is Gavin. It's something she doesn't need, to be pulled between Gav's support and Leo's familiarity, but it's what she gets. And sometimes it's both that help her continue the long walk.There is something about this book that is utterly depressing, perhaps it's the complete breakdown of society as we know it now, but you can't help but have hope for Kaelyn and her group. You can't help but hope they make it, that Kaelyn finds the right people to give the vaccine to, that they all make it there alive. They have the strength and the resolve to continue on this seemingly impossible journey, they can only hope the world doesn't come after them before they reach the destination. It will be a long and arduous wait for the final book of the trilogy.

Unravel Me

Unravel Me - Juliette has escaped to Omega Point, the headquarters of the resistance. There she discovers other people with abilities, ones they learned to control, and for the first time in her life, Juliette has hope. Hope that she can have a life with Adam. Hope that her touch can be used to save instead of destroy. But Juliette is only just beginning to understand the depth of her power, and she's struggling to fight the desire to use it. She's haunted by her past, terrified by her future, and too tempted by Warner, who still wants her more than she ever thought possible. Juliette is forced to make some life-altering decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right, decisions that might involve choosing between her heart and Adam's life.Unravel Me is just as compelling as its predecessor, if not more so. Rich with Juliette's confusion, her terror, her power, here is the story of a girl who thought things were going to be okay but discovers she was mistaken. The world is still crumbling, everyone is still afraid of what could happen next, and Juliette is being pushed closer and closer to the edge. The edge of reason, of thought, of purpose. Of sanity.Things are working together without knowing to unravel Juliette. Adam. Warner. Castle and Omega Point. The Reestablishment. She might be (relatively) safe, but after the life she's lived, after what she's experiences, after who she's harmed with her touch, it won't take much for her to shatter and unravel.Her power is dangerous but untapped. Being told to focus, to harness it, to use it, is a double-edged sword. She could reach her highest potential, she could become invincible, but what if she becomes something she fears? What if her body becomes the weapon she hoped would never be created? Being afraid of what's inside your body, your mind, is something you never want to experience. Your body is yours, but not being able to control something you should? Frightening. Juliette must find control, she must find strength to push on, or she'll be lost.The book is an interesting look at the human psyche. After it has been beaten down, battered, contained, restricted, shunned, what is left? Is there anything left, any sense of sanity or humanity? Juliette is fracturing constantly with every word she speaks, every thought she thinks, every emotion she feels. She's torn between the world she's lived in, the one where she was left shattered and glued back together by Adam, and the one where Warner slowly unravels every piece of what was built up. In the end, what will be left? Will she still be there?Lush with imagery and metaphor, both sweetly and sadly poetic, this book is painful to experience. A young girl, locked away, who doesn't know how to live without pain or isolation or fear, is grasping onto whatever she can that's warm and loving and familiar. But as her mind fractures, as she's faced with truths no one wants to accept, it's hard to keep it all from slipping through her fingers. Surprise after surprise in this book will create wave after wave in the next, and hopefully Juliette will be left standing at the end.

Ashes on the Waves

Ashes on the Waves - Mary Lindsey Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him, until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever. With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied, but the violent, mythical Otherworlders who inhabit the island and the sea around it have other plans. They make a wager on their love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial, and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.Ashes on the Waves is haunting and mysterious gothic novel filled with darkness and dangerous beings, filled with sadness and mournful wailing, filled with dark secrets and a love hopefully unbreakable.Something unexpected in this book but welcome was Liam's voice. An old-fashioned way of speaking brought on by classic literature, intelligence that belies his age, but also a sadness that cuts deep. He's a melancholic young man hated by most of the villagers, shunned because of his origins, cast aside like a monster. When Anna comes along she doesn't see what they see, but she doesn't know what they know, what Liam himself knows. Anna returning to the island creates hope in Liam, awakening a dream of not being looked at in fear or revulsion.Being in Liam's head shows readers the dangers of the island but keeps the secrets he also keeps from Anna, and so in that way readers learn as Anna learns. Readers are left in the dark, curious about why he is called a demon by the villagers, until Liam tells Anna what he knows. But even then it's not everything because Liam himself doesn't know the whole truth.On the island is Celtic and old world mythology come to life. The Otherworlders are creatures of myth and legend, living on land and in the sea. They are very dangerous, and not so mythical, if they're present, if their presence is known. And they have their own agenda, wrapping up Liam and Anna in something sinister.The author has brought new life to Poe's poem, to the sea and the castle rising over it, to the cliffs and the dark waters holding dangerous secrets, to the overwhelming love the narrator has for a certain girl. But how strong is Liam and Anna's love? Is it truly unbreakable? This is a modern day gothic novel with a compelling love story, it's utterly enthralling and utterly heart-breaking.

Charmed Vengeance

Charmed Vengeance - Suzanne Lazear When V is forced to break their bond, Noli's only option is to join the crew of the air pirate ship piloted by her brother, Jeff. With its gleaming brass, dark wood, and spotless clockwork gears, the Vixen's Revenge is no orsinary air pirate ship. Beneath its polished exterior lies a dangerous secret. Off and away from the girl whose heart he was forced to break, V and his brother James are off on a quest demanded of them by their mother, Faerie Queen Tiana, wandering and searching the country for something she desires. And someone Noli never thought she'd see again, the scallywag faerie huntsman Kevighn, has appeared on the air pirate ship. While serving as shipmates, Kevighn and Noli learn that the Earth Court King plans to find a forbidden artifact, one that will bring destruction to everyone Noli loves.Charmed Vengeance is a return to an alternate 1900's America filled with aether and airships, faeries and fighting, deception and danger. Noli must somehow cope with the sudden changes in her life, move on from the dangers of the faerie realm, and hopefully live a happy and normal life with V. But nothing is that simple.This book is a return to a unique and refreshing setting, a curious and magic-filled alternate version of America where aether flows out into the world and gardens keep hidden doorways to the Faerie realm. What's next for Noli is nothing short of trying, of dangerous and frightening. Her relationship with V is shattered, the reprobate Kevighn is still wandering around looking for trouble, and the Faerie Queen has plots and plans of her own. But something else is happening right under their noses, something that could destroy everything.Noli is changing, and not necessarily for the better. She's not human, not mortal, but neither is she faerie. It's unsure of what's worse for her, being separated from V or having to share her practical, intelligent, unconventional brain with a superficial and vapid sprite. Noli is trying to find a place for herself, trying to move on, trying to wait for V to return, but the sprite's focus on pretty things and fun is seen as useless.Even though I see reasons for pulling Noli and V apart, it bothers me how often I come across this in second books in series. Having them grow while being apart, yes. Learning to stand in their own, yes. But why must they always be forced apart by another character or an external force? Why can't they decide on their own that they need to learn and grow? But in a book that needs drama and conflict, it happens this way.There was less action than I expected, but there wasn't necessarily that much action in the first book. It's all journeys, Noli's journey on the air pirate ship, V's quest for his mother, even Kevighn's wandering about aimlessly. But over the course of the book people are mentioned, items appear, meetings take place, and everything comes together to reveal something dangerous.More exploration than action, equal amounts of faerie magic and steampunk elements, this book still has one strong-willed girl, her Faerie prince, and a rakish huntsman. With what's revealed at the end, the next book is sure to be interesting.

The Culling

The Culling - Steven dos Santos Lucian "Lucky" Spark has been recruited for training by the totalitarian government known at the Establishment to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an "Incentive," a family member to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he'll have to choose death for his only living relative, his four-year-old brother Cole. Lucky will do anything to keep his brother alive. What he isn't prepared for is the undeniable attraction to the handsome and rebellious Digory Tycho. While they train together, their relationship grows, but daring to care for another Recruit in a world where love is used as the ultimate weapon is dangerous. As Lucky soon learns, the consequences can be deadly.The Culling is brutal and deadly, a dangerous world controlled by a murderous government hiding behind a mask of righteousness. Lucian will have to fight, fight with everything he is, fight for everything he has, and hope it's enough to keep those he loves alive at the end.Everything Lucian does is for Cole. Everything. He's all he has left, and so every sacrifice must be made. He just never expected to make this sacrifice, to be forced to leave him and train in order to return and fight for both of their lives. Then comes Digory, igniting a spark between the two of them, Digory who helps Lucian as much as he can, and Lucian ends up a little torn between him and his brother. There's also Lucian's past friendship with Cassius, the new prefect for the city. Something happened between them, something in the past before the book started, and I'm very curious as to what it was.In any dystopian, there will be secrets the ruling group is trying to hide. There will be threats of physical harm and death. There will be those who choose to rise up and fight back and those who crumble under the massive weight of the world. In order to connect with readers, there must be strength in the characters but also weakness. Lucian is battered and bruised, especially after going through what he has, but he still pushes on.It's not every day that I come across a dystopian YA where the main character is gay, or where a different male character has a husband and all of the surprise stems from the fact that he's already married and not that his spouse is a man. It gives a different sort of glimpse into the world the author has crafted. Yes, it's brutal, lethal, and razor sharp at all the edges, but apparently it's a world where people can marry within their gender and not be discriminated against.Now, this book is similar to The Hunger Games, rather similar, but that being said I found it different enough to be interesting, to hold my attention right to the end. So many questions are left unanswered at the end, and so now I'm left waiting for the next book.

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave - After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie is on the run from Them, the beings who only look human and roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. Cassie believes she will only stay alive if she stays alone, until she meets someone. This person may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother Sam, or saving herself, but she has to choose between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.The 5th Wave is a rather powerful and dangerous book, a look at what could happen to Earth and it's inhabitants if aliens do come with motives not so peaceful and pure. The world is shattered, millions are dead. The future for those left alive and on the run is bleak, but there are glimmers of hope. Some are still alive, still surviving, still fighting, still pushing to take back what was ripped from their hands.It must be said that the summary of the book is misleading. It's not just about Cassie. Cassie's voice is crucial, vital, prominent, but it's not the one one. There are others who tell different sides of the same overarching story, others with different perspectives, different motives, different journeys. Different realizations. Different lessons. All the same story.The human condition is a curious thing. We push and strive to survive, to stay on top. We don't seem to die away or stay down for long. We will fight for as long as we can, pushing through barriers, moving forward when it appears that all hope is lost.Cassie is strong, she has immense courage and drive, but she is, in some ways, weak. Her love for her family, for her brother, both drives her and holds her back. Everything is for Sammy, but only as long as he's alive. His being alive is what fuels her.I wonder if I've done this book any justice with this review. It's dark and twisted and complicated, dripping with death and secrets and lies. It's a very volatile and powerful book. It's not about the aliens, it's about the humans, it's about those who are still alive who have the strength to carry on fighting. They still have hopes for a future that doesn't smell like blood or fire or death. This book is about getting up and moving on, continuing that hard journey, and that kind of story transcends genre and connects with every single reader on a lever they never expected.

This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life - Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.This Song Will Safe Your Life is both refreshing and brutally honest about what it is to live as a unique semi-misfit teenager who's slowly figuring out who she is. This book is about finding friends who will actually be friends, about connecting with other people, and about coming to terms with being different.At the beginning, Elise is depressed and ready to give up on life. She doesn't see the point in being special or being different because of the ways her classmates have reacted to her during their school years. Basically, what Elise does isn't cool/is different from how they do it and they don't like it/she should change everything about herself. And so she gives up on being different. It never got her the friends or the popularity she thought she would get.Elise's problem is that years of bullying have left her with the inability to like herself, to appreciate her quirks and interests. Getting over that big a hurdle will be difficult, but she'll have to do it if she wants any kind of opportunity to make friends and finally be happy. If she really wants Vicki, Pippa, and Char in her life. If she really wants to DJ.The book is peppered with flashbacks of the bullying Elise suffered during her school years. Classmates laughing at her for using complicated words, talking behind her back, stealing her things. This kind of bullying is all too familiar and common. It seems to be part of being a kid that, when someone does something different (meaning not the way they do it) it's funny. Talking different, wearing different clothes, liking different music. Elise's differences unfortunately make her an easy target, both as a child as as she attempts to navigate the complex social cliques that make up high school. Their bullying leaves her to see life as hopeless. It's sad that it hurts her so much as a child, and it's sad that it still hurts her as a teenager, but unfortunately, bullying like that is common.It's all about Elise figuring out who she is and where she fits into the massive train wreck that can be life. It's not necessarily about fixing all of her flaws because they make her the weird, honest, precocious, confused, music-loving girl she is, but more of her understanding them. More of her understanding that popularity isn't all it's cracked up to be. More of her realizing that maybe she's okay the way she is. More of her learning how friendship can be messy with all its unwritten rules and the ways it can save you.I found this book to be complicated and sad and painful, but those are the teenage years. As unfair as they are, as torturous as they are, as revealing as they are. It wasn't hard to see bits and pieces of my own high school experience in Elise's, which meant it wasn't hard for me to follow her so closely throughout this book, from the first page to the last. For everyone who felt like a misfit in high school, I would recommend this book.

In the After

In the After - Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive, and avoid Them at all costs. After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby, and much more.In the After is an eerie post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller that hints at something more, something sinister just waiting to be discovered. Staying alive means staying silent, it means hiding in a world once thriving but now ravaged and ruined. There are survivors living on, but how long will they last? Can they last? Where did They come from?The world After They arrived is sparse, silent, and dangerous. Before Amy is in the colony, her world is very clear, very simple. She knows what They are capable of and she knows how to hide from them. But after she and Baby are found, things aren't what Amy thought they were.The Amy from Before and the Amy of After are like polar opposites. Before, she was foolish, selfish, and a smart-ass teenager, and After, she becomes an intelligent and silent protector of her and Baby's way of life. Three years can sometimes feel like a lifetime, and Amy's years of scrounging and searching have taken their toll on her.There's a subtle and suspicious undertone in the colony of New Hope. Something is happening, something unknown to Amy in her years of silent survival. Something that could change the way she looks at everything. It affects her acclimation into this new home. Not everything works for her, not everything fits with what she's experienced. Not everyone is telling her the whole truth. So she goes searching.Once I started this book, I found myself reading it rather quickly. It could be indicative of pacing, of how quickly the action moved, of the story and plot. It also could have something to do with Amy's voice, with the author's style of writing. I'm just not sure how I feel in regards to this speed and the book's 450+ page length.Odds are readers will find similarities to other recent science fiction YA novels like Icons and The 5th Wave. All three are, in a sense, about survival, about secrets and lies, plots and plans, betrayal and hope, and the drive to continue living, but this book's surprising twist aims to set it apart from the others.