Book Review: Small Favors

Title: Small Favors

Author: Erin A. Craig

Pub. Date: July 27, 2021

Pages: 480

Pub: Delacorte

Genre: YA Historical Horror Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.
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Book Review: Defy the Night (Defy the Night #1)

Title: Defy the Night

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Pub. Date: September 14, 2021

Pages: 496

Pub: Bloomsbury YA

Genre: YA SFF Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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From New York Times bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer comes a blockbuster fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.

Set in a richly imaginative world with striking similarities to our own, Brigid Kemmerer’s captivating new series is about those with power and those without . . . and what happens when someone is brave enough to imagine a new future.
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Book Review: Never Saw You Coming

Title: Never Saw You Coming

Author: Erin Hahn

Pub. Date: September 7, 2021

Pages: 320

Pub: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Raised by conservative parents, 18-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. Instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship about the church. The clock is ticking on Pastor Allen’s probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.

In Erin Hahn’s Never Saw You Coming, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find yourself. 
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Book Review: Rise to the Sun

Title: Rise to the Sun

Author: Leah Johnson

Pub. Date: July 6, 2021

Pages: 336

Pub: Scholastic Press

Genre: YA LGBTQ Contemporary

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.

Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her.

Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward.

When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined.

Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all. Continue reading “Book Review: Rise to the Sun”

Book Review: A Dance with the Fae Prince (Married to Magic #2)

Title: A Dance with the Fae Prince

Author: Elise Kova

Pub. Date: August 19, 2021

Pages: 374

Pub: Silver Wing Press

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Cinderella meets The Cruel Prince in this stand-alone fantasy romance about a human girl and her marriage to the prince of the fae.

She knew her hand in marriage would be sold. She had no idea a fae prince was the buyer.

Katria swore she’d never fall in love. She’s seen what “love” means through the cruelty of her family. So when she’s married off to the mysterious Lord Fenwood for a handsome price, all Katria wants is a better life than the one she’s leaving. Feelings are off the table.

But her new husband makes not falling in love difficult.

As their attraction begins to grow, so too do the oddities within her new life: strange rules, screams in the night, and attacks by fae that Katria never thought were real. When she witnesses a ritual not meant for human eyes, Katria finds herself spirited away to the land of Midscape.

Surviving the fae wilds as a human is hard enough. Katria must survive as a human who accidently pilfered the magic of ancient kings – magic a bloodthirsty king is ready to kill her for in order to keep his stolen throne – and her new husband is the rightful heir in hiding.

The power to save the fae is in her hands. But who will save her from a love she vowed never to feel?
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Book Review: Starlight (The Starlight Trilogy #1)

Title: Starlight

Author: Lauren Jade Case

Pub. Date: August 17, 2021

Pages: 323

Pub: Not Listed

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

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“You’re like starlight itself, Natalia. You burn with all the power and shine of a star.”

Natalia Whitebell wanted her eighteenth birthday to be a simple affair and not for there to be a giant scorpion, a wolf, and a body at her doorstep. But in a blink, it all disappears.

When she finally does get to celebrate with her best friend, there’s gossip from the Island locals about a new family having moved in and of a large dog running wild – but no mention of more.

She thinks she’s going mad. Until she’s attacked in her own home just one day later.

Rescued and taken in by the new family, Natalia discovers the world isn’t so black and white. Stuck in an endless war, there are Monsters and there are Creatures. And she’s one of them.

While she cannot seem to reveal her true form, sealing her deal with trouble, she must accept this life that was always meant to be hers. It’s time she learnt the truth and acquire help from her father, the new family, and one boy in particular.

But there is a darkness lurking, waiting for her to unfurl.
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Book Review: In the Same Boat

Title: In the Same Boat

Author: Holly Green

Pub. Date: July 20, 2021

Pages: 368

Pub: Scholastic Press

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

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In the Same Boat is the hugely entertaining blend of romance and thrilling adventure that you never knew you needed.

Sadie Scofield is just a few days away from the race of a lifetime. The Texas River Odyssey may be 260 miles and multiple days of arduous canoeing where every turn of the river reveals new dangers-downed trees, alligators, pitch black night-but those dangers pale in comparison to going another year knowing that her father is ashamed of her.

Last year, Sadie caused a disastrous wreck that ended her father’s twenty year streak of finishes, and he’s never looked at her the same. Now, she knows that finishing the race with her brother, Tanner, is her one shot to redeem herself. She’s ready for anything…except Tanner ditching her for another team at the last minute.

Sadie grits her teeth and accepts that she has to team up with Cully, her former best friend turned worst enemy. It’s irritating enough that he grew up to be so attractive, but once they’re on the river it turns out he’s ill-prepared for such a dangerous race. But as the miles pass, the pain of the race builds, they uncover the truth about their feuding families, and Sadie’s feelings for Cully begin to shift. Could this race change her life more than she ever could have imagined?

With an unforgettable heroine and an immersive setting, Holly Green’s captivating debut promises heart-stopping action and a swoony romance that will leave you cheering. 
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Book Review: Bonded Fate (Guardians of the Maiden #2)

Title: Bonded Fate

Author: Beck Michaels

Pub. Date: August 3, 2021

Pages: 554

Pub: Pluma Press

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

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The stakes are higher, new questions will surface, and more blood will spill in the thrilling sequel of the Guardians of the Maiden fantasy series.

Reeling from Cassiel’s confession, Dyna struggles to understand what the Blood Bond means for them both, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a newfound enemy. When reuniting with a familiar sorceress, she realizes the only way to defeat Tarn is to find her Guardians—all of them.

Cassiel never meant to tie himself to a human, especially one that inexplicably draws him. But then the bond develops a startling change, and it puts into question everything he thought he knew.

Zev straddles the line between human and wolf, unsure if his dark thoughts truly belong to the Madness. It’s growing stronger, determined to take over—and he may just let it.

The journey to get the answers they each need will test them all. But what Dyna doesn’t know is that it comes with a price, and it may cost more than she bargained for.
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Book Review: Faking Reality

Title: Faking Reality

Author: Sara Fujimura

Pub. Date: July 13, 2021

Pages: 320

Pub: Tor Teen

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Some Kind of Wonderful meets Kara McDowell’s Just for Clicks with diverse characters, perfect for readers looking for feel-good YA romance and those who like “clean teen” reads

Dakota McDonald swore after “The Great Homecoming Disaster” that she’d never allow her romantic life to be a plot line in her parents’ HGTV show again. But when the restaurant run by the family of her best friend (and secret crush), Leo, is on the line, Dakota might end up eating her own words.

Leo Matsuda dreams of escaping his small town Arizona life and the suffocating demands of working in his family’s restaurant, but the closer he gets to his goal–thanks to the help of his best friend (and secret crush) Dakota–the more reasons there are for him to stay.
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Book Review: Capture the Crown (Gargoyle Queen #1)

Title: Capture the Crown

Author: Jennifer Estep

Pub. Date: July 6, 2021

Pages: 464

Pub: Harper Voyager

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy. 

Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier—and a spy. 

Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta—her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.

Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.

The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne…
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