Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan

3.5/5 Stars

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This was a very interesting book. I’m still not sure how to feel about it. This story was very dark for YA. Not as dark as An Ember in The Ashes but still dark in its own way. There’s a lot of physical abuse content in this book, but I do like that the author nates it at the beginning of her book before you start reading the book. She also includes at the end of it, a list of resources that people should contact if they are being abused physically or any kind of way.

This book follows the story of Lei. She gets chosen to be one of the paper girls to please the king. Every year the king selects eight girls to be his concubines, and these girls come from the paper caste. The paper caste is the lowest caste in the kingdom and they are considered to be less than any of the other caste because they are only human.

The king is very cruel against these girls, well at least to a few of them. He is from the demon caste and these “people” for lack of a better word, are some sort of mix of animal and human but most of their characteristics are animal based.

Throughout this story we see Lei and the girls develop and study to become the best paper girls they can be. Lei doesn’t want that future for herself, so she defies everything being given and shown to her. This book talks about how when everything’s been robbed from you, they cannot steal what you are made of, your core being. Lei is very determined, and although she’s very young she makes very adult decisions. The situation that all these girls were put in, none of them had the option to choose if they wanted to be there or not. So, it is hard for them to thrive. However, Lei finds her voice and fights for what she believes in and doesn’t let fear get in her way.

The writing quality was great, Ngan uses very good descriptions to describe the characters emotions and to describe the way they look too. World-building was a confusing a little bit just because mainly of the way she described the demon caste. It was hard to decipher how they would look as animals, but besides that, it was very interesting.

This book took me longer to read than others because it was a book that didn’t necessarily catch my attention. I was expecting it to be more fantasy based in terms of what actually happens during the book. She wrote a whole book that I would’ve condensed into two chapters and then write about what we really care about which is what happens after the book ends. I felt like this book a really long prologue if that makes any sense. I would recommend this book if you like fantasy, Red Queen, An Ember in the Ashes, Blood Rose Rebellion. Anyone 14 years and older could read it.

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Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “A Curse So Dark and Lonely,” by Brigid Kemmerer

Wow, guys. Just WOW.

4.7/5 Stars

This book was soooo not what I was expecting it to be. There’s more to be discovered at every angle of this book. Characters surprise you out of nowhere and scenes that you didn’t think where true or that could happen, happen. This whole book was amazing!

So, it is divided into two POVs. Rhen, who is our cursed prince and Harper, who is our heroine. Now the chemistry between these two is intense right off the bat. This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling but is one of the best ones so far. I love Beauty and The Best and when the Disney live-action remake came out, after watching the movie, I spent days reading retellings of the story. This one is just perfect.

It follows the storyline better than A Court of Thorns and Roses ever did, but it is not as intense as Anne Rice books. Rhen is a prince cursed by an evil enchantress to turn into a beast every change of season, the way to break the curse is for a girl to fall in love with him. His commander and only friend Gray (swoons internally) has the ability to travel between their world into the regular today world–the world that you and I live in. When he goes to our dimension (for lack of a better word) his plans to bring back a girl doesn’t go as planned and instead he ends up fighting with Harper which somehow they end up back in the Beast’s realm.

Here, Harper tries everything she can to go back her world, but not everything seems as easy as it looks. I love the modern twist that this book has to the “Belle” of the story because Harper is the shit! Like this girl is just soo strong, not physically, but with her personality. She does not fear her “captors” and once she learns about the situation and what’s been going on on that side of the world she shows compassion and offers to help. What I love about Harper is how determined she is. She is hotheaded, stubborn, and confident. Everything about her is just power. She acts like a true warrior and for to be thrown into this scenario without previous knowledge, she handles everything so well.

Rhen, on the other hand, is more calculated, controlled. He thinks about everything and is always analyzing the different odds surrounding him. When the enchantress cursed him, she not only cursed him but also his kingdom. This is NOT a spoiler, I promise. The difference between the beast’s curse and Rhen’s curse is that Rhen loses consciousness when he turns into a beast, and he does so at every end of the season. All he knows is that the beast wants to kill. So, to protect his kingdom, he closed off all the barriers surrounding his kingdom and stayed locked inside the castle for five years, never coming out to aid his people for anything. So, his people are defenseless while a neighboring kingdom is taking control of his people. 

Now, Rhen’s only hope is Harper and both of them as well as Gray have to come together and form a plan to stop the curse and save his people. Everything in this book is so intense. Besides the fact that Harper decides to help Rhen and Gray, she has her own troubles to worry back at home and yet she perseveres. Every single one of her actions are not anticipated and I loved her for it. In the beginning, she does not fear Rhen, even though he’s the big, mean prince. She gives as good as he takes and she does not back down. The things she did for his people, I’m not sure I would’ve done it if presented by the same scenario.

I also love that Harper is not a princess in distress, she doesn’t need a prince to save her and I LOVE the ending, like from the romantic point of view. I can’t say too much, but I’ll tell you that I look forward to reading the other books on this series and cannot wait to see what comes next.

I would recommend it to 12-year-olds and older. If you retellings, like Braswell, Valentino, Howard, and Henning (these are last names of authors who write fairy tale retellings in YA). Guys, read it. This novel is just so entertaining.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “The Gilded Wolves,” by Roshani Chokshi

4.5/5 Stars

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Exquisite. This book is exquisite. That’s the word that comes to mind as soon as I finished this book. I loved it. Roshani Chokshi did so good and this coming back novel, I’m in love.

The Gilded Wolves is more of a Six of Crows meets Grim Lovelies and I was very impressed by it. If you’ve seen my profile picture in any of my book social media you would see that the book that I hold in my hand is Six of Crows, which is to say that I love that series. When I started reading this book and saw that it was written in the different point of views of the different characters in the book, I saw the immediate pattern of Six of Crows. However, where Six of Crow was dark and sinister, The Gilded Wolves was dark but in a more subdued way.

The Gilded Wolves is set in the late 1800s in Paris, France. Here we follow the stories from the point of view of five different characters, well, four mainly, but we get a sneak peek of a different character at the end. Severin, Laila, Enrique, Zofia, and Hypnos. These characters are brought together because they were lost looking for something that each of them couldn’t find on their own. That’s why Severin forms a team of sorts and with each of the other’s abilities, they can come together to reach their unified goal.

The writing quality was a ten out of ten. I have to give that to Roshani, her writing was beautiful. Throughout her whole story, you get pulled out into the world that she creates and you don’t get lost. Everything makes senses. Despite the different points of view, you never get lost, you understand everything that she’s playing out in the story.

The Character development was alright. I wished she would’ve delved deeper into the emotions of some of the characters. For example, the character Tristan. I felt like there was so much missing from him that we didn’t know. Like the thing with the birds (If you read the book, then you’ll know what I’m talking about). I don’t know, I just feel like her characters, all of them, were a little bit standoffish, not just in the book, but even to us readers, if that makes any sense.

The character that I related to the most had to be Laila. She’s adorable and strong in ways that the others are not. Her qualities and personality really sparked my interest and I like how much she moms everything. I’m always the mom of my group of friends, so I really liked her.

The intellectual depth of this book blew me off. Like Roshani did such great research, and I’m not sure if she went to Paris to do actual research for this book, but this story really grabs France essence and I love it. While reading the book I felt like I was the one with Severin and the girls running down the streets of Paris instead of reading a book. I feel like this book is very original in its essence, but when it comes to the way the story was portrayed I felt like it really compared to Six of Crows, and I haven’t read Grim Lovelies yet to really compare it to that, but I have a feeling that they are about similar patterns.

Anyways, I would recommend this book to anyone 12 years old and older. If you liked the Sic of Crow series. Grim lovelies, for all of you squad-loving people. This is a squad you’ll want to be a part of.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Evermore,” by Sara Holland

4/5 Stars

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This book follows Jules as she flies from Everless because of terrible unforeseen consequences. It seems that what her father and Liam warned her about was true after all. Now she goes on a search to find out who she truly is and how she can destroy the evil. This book is told from her perspective only.

The author’s writing style is great. She uses very good descriptions to make us feel what the characters are feeling. She brings the feelings of the characters alive, if that makes any sense. Her writing is beautiful and melodious and very easy to follow. Mater of fact, if you an author in training and you would like to know how to develop characters emotions and how to compare/relate them to stuff, then you should most certainly read this book because of what a great job she does with that.

The world building was great too. She managed to pull us in to the world without being overwhelming but at the same time giving us enough information for us to get the concept of it.

Because a joke from someone you love has no teeth at all

For the characters, Jules is still her same old self. She is more determined to fulfill her destiny and find out who she is. Liam is as great as ever, still sexy. But her characters are very rich in personality and they have different qualities that separate them from one another. Jules is still learning throughout this story, and I like that the author made her vulnerable, even to her own powers–regardless of whether she is a powerful long forgotten alchemist. Sara also kept it PG-13 for the most part so parents, don’t worry, nothing too bad in here.

Anyways, I would recommend it to anyone that likes time stories. Like Passenger by Bracken, Timekeeper, TMI, Ash Princess, etc. Anyone 13 year-old and older can read it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Everless,” by Sarah Holland

4.5/5 Stars

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This book is a great way to start the year! My goal this year is to read 100 books. I know, pretty bold of me, seeing as I work full time and go to school full time. But I’m excited about this new year and I cannot wait to read some incredible books that I know are waiting for me in 2019.

Anyways, I’m so glad I picked up this book for my first book of the year because I enjoyed it so much. It was such a simple book and it was very refreshing. It was a fast read for me but with enough content to satisfy my appetite.

The story follows the narration of our main character Jules, she was banished from Everless with her father, both of them ran from the castle to run from evil hands. Unfortunate circumstances have her coming back to the castle as a servant and there she

Jules is very determined and hard headed and most of the time, hard-headed people annoy me in books–but in this case, it works in her favor. Because of her determination, she gets to find out who she is and discover the dangers that looms inside the kingdom.

There are so many things going on and not too many at the same time. It’s like information brought to you is satisfying but not enough. Which is a good thing because the author won’t let you put the book down.

The princess, the queen, Roan, Liam, and every other character is very well developed. The ending of the book is very unexpected. Liam was that unexpected character that you hate to love. And, honestly, Roan is too convenient. He’s like too good to be true. But I’m glad the book ended the way it did.

The actual ending, like in the final chapters, that I didn’t like. I was expecting more from the author. Like, I was expecting that killer cliffhanger that would have me dying until I finally read that other book. But, overall, this story about time stealing, lies and deceit is very interesting and I would recommend it if you liked Wayfarer, Wintersong, Timekeeper, and Ash Princess. Twelve-years-old and older can read it.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “The Darkest Star,” by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4/5 Stars

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I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was for this book. As soon as I heard that JLA was coming with a new book, I almost died (but I didn’t because I had to read this book). Also, it got even better when I heard that it was a spin off of the other series she wrote, which was the series that made me fall in love with her. The Lux series for anyone who’s asking.

Anyways, this spin-off is based on one of my favorite characters from that other series and his name Luc. I mean, he’s not the main character, but he’s our love interest, which is all we care about. Lol. He’s adorable, infuriating, and awesome at the same time. Evie, on the other hand, she’s super nice and funny.

This review will make more sense if you read the series prior to this one–I recommend it but it is not necessary. In the world that the book is based on, everyone knows about the aliens now. A lot has changed 5 years after the invasion, and there’s something bigger coming along. This book, however, is not very descriptive in terms of the story line. I believe JLA could’ve created a better story line, if that makes any sense. However, everything else in terms of world-building, character description, etc., was great. She’s an amazing author, and I loved the book. It felt good to jump back into the Luxen world and refresh my memory on things.

I would recommend this book to anyone 14 years-old and older. Read if you like Alien book, if you liked her other series, if you like Colleen Houck, Cassie Clare.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “What If It’s Us” by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

4.5/5 Stars

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Wow, this book was incredible. I can’t believe I procrastinated that much. I want to punch myself in the face, I should’ve read it as soon as it came out but I don’t know what’s wrong me. Anyways, Becky and Adam should be writing in DUOs from now on.

This book was a perfect combination of everything you need in a fiction/romance YA novel. This is a perfect story about relationships, friendships and just so much more. There’s a lot of cultures mixed in with this book and I cannot get over how Adam always tries to bring his roots in his writing. I love reading about Puerto Rican culture, seeing since I’m Dominican most of our things are kind of similar.

Both authors did a great job in developing the story, we got an excellent look at Ben and Arthur and neither character felt poorly written to me. I absolutely loved the relationship that Ben had with his best friend Dylan, to the point where I wished I had a Dylan, lol.

Arthur and Ben met because destiny wanted them to meet and well, from the incredible encounter in the city of New York to all of their “first-dates”, this book was great. I also liked that this book is very modern and talked about many subjects that are true to us as millennials and generation z. Never once did I get lost throughout this book and never once did I feel overwhelmed. Something else that I like to point out is that every time I’ve read a book about gay characters, there’s always focus on their coming story, which, don’t get me wrong, I love. But I always wonder what comes after the coming out part. That’s something that I really appreciate about this story, how it doesn’t focus on that. It focuses on two teenagers who are very new at love and that are trying their best to be together for however long they can.

The humor in this book will have you falling off your chair. I laughed so hard throughout this entire book, cried a little even. But it was so worth it. I would recommend for all those gays out there that feel out of place, that are afraid of finding love, of committing to friendships, of a new beginning. Anyone fourteen years and older can read this book. Also, read this book if you are a fan of both Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, or as I like to call them Silvertalli. Read this if you like Jennifer Niven, John Green, has nothing to do with magic but I have a feeling Harry Potter fans would love this, as well as fans of Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and many other musicals.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Skyward” by Brandon Sanderson

4/5 Stars 

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I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. It was really well developed. This is my first time reading anything by Brandon Sanderson and I have to say, I really enjoyed it.

Spensa has to prove herself to be different than her father, who was a pilot admired by everyone until he made the wrong decision one day. After that, Spensa had to live in her father’s shadow for most of her, all she truly wanted was to fly like her father once did.

This book will not let you get away, you’ll want to finish it in one sitting, seriously, it was that good. There’s everything you need to like, there are spaceships, there’s aliens, space, weird things going on, etc. The only thing I didn’t like and the reason why I didn’t give 5 stars was that there was no romance. I mean, not even a kiss. I was very disappointed. But overall it managed to keep my attention all throughout the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone from 8 to 18 years-old. Read this book if you liked the Illuminae Files series, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc. You get the point.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Escaping From Houdini” by Kerri Maniscalco

Exquisite. This story was absolutely exquisite.

4.5/5 Stars

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I loved the story, big surprise there, but Maniscalco managed to bring me everything I missed from Audrey Rose and Thomas once again. This story was a little bit more confusing to follow than the other ones we read before, but a great story nonetheless.

This story follows Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell join the Etruria, on a week-long trip to New York from GB. Here, the entertainment provided was a circus that the captain brought on board. This circus was directed by a man named Mephistopheles, whose sole purpose was to entertain their patrons. The whole trip turns into a bloodbath and a trip full of terror. Since the first day, these performances turn into targets that kill people, and now, it’s onto Audrey Rose and Thomas to find who’s the murderer.

The world building and character description were very good. Her writing is incredible. Every time I read her stories I feel like I am in 1800s England drinking tea with my cousin. Her writing is consistent and very proper and fascinating. Maniscalco applies a modern fancy English in her writings and I absolutely love it. Is like a mix of Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes. It’s about reading a novel that has to do with a gruesome murder. And never in a hundred years did I think I was going to like these kinds of story that she writes because for once, I hate scary mysteries and creepy stuff. But I believe that her melodic way of writing makes her murderous descriptions passable and tolerable and somehow enjoyable.

I can sit and eat a big plate of tacos from my favorite Mexican restaurant while reading her gruesome descriptions of whatever murder Audrey Rose just discovered–especially if it is followed by a kiss between Thomas and Audrey Rose.

I am going to say that I was disappointed a little bit with the ending. I was expecting more from Kerri. I got lost in the story a couple times, and I don’t mean that I didn’t understand the story, it was more about, the author losing me as a reader. There were some parts that I thought were redundant and unnecessary. Like, the chain of events that the main characters go through isn’t necessarily part of the conclusion of the book. Unless Maniscalco left some loose ties to tie them up in book four, there are many things that didn’t need to happen or not relevant to this story.

I would recommend this series to anyone 14 years-old and older. If you like mysteries, suspense, and thriller, this is the book for you.

Books · Reviews - Teen Books

Non-Spoiler Book Review | “Sea Witch” by Sarah Henning

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