Review: What Light by Jay Asher

29093326What Light by Jay Asher

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Random House Canada
Publication Date: October 18th, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Christmas

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BLURB:

From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing again. . . .

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love. Continue reading

Review: Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

28554825Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Publication Date: September 15th 2016
Publisher: Holiday House
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale-Retelling

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BLURB:

Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two – now three – after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince’s band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut. Continue reading

Review: The Light Fnatastic by Sarah Combs

28814848The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received:Publisher
Publication Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Point of View: Various
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Murder

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BLURB:

Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. One fateful day that changes everything.

Delaware, the morning of April 19. Senior Skip Day, and April Donovan’s eighteenth birthday. Four days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the country is still reeling, and April’s rare memory condition has her recounting all the tragedies that have cursed her birth month. And just what was that mysterious gathering under the bleachers about? Meanwhile, in Nebraska, Lincoln Evans struggles to pay attention in Honors English, distracted by the enigmatic presence of Laura Echols, capturer of his heart. His teacher tries to hold her class’s interest, but she can’t keep her mind off what Adrian George told her earlier. Over in Idaho, Phoebe is having second thoughts about the Plan mere hours before the start of a cross-country ploy led by an Internet savant known as the Mastermind. Is all her heartache worth the cost of the Assassins’ machinations? The Light Fantastic is a tense, shocking, and beautifully wrought exploration of the pain and pathos of a generation of teenagers on the brink—and the hope of moving from shame and isolation into the light of redemption. Continue reading

Review: If You’re Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

28110860If You’re Lucky by Yvonne Prinz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Mental Illness

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BLURB:

When Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe that Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating Lucky’s girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: Did Fin murder her brother in order to take over his whole life?

To uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. But as her suspicion grows, her mental state becomes more and more precarious. Is Georgia’s mind playing tricks on her, or is the entire town walking into the arms of a killer who has everyone but her fooled? Continue reading

Review: Threads by Ami Polonsky

28620390Threads by Ami Polonsky

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Child Labor, Family

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BLURB:

To Whom It May Concern: Please, we need help!

The day twelve-year-old Clara finds a desperate note in a purse in Bellman’s department store, she is still reeling from the death of her adopted sister, Lola.

By that day, thirteen-year-old Yuming has lost hope that the note she stashed in the purse will ever be found. She may be stuck sewing in the pale pink factory outside of Beijing forever.

Clara grows more and more convinced that she was meant to find Yuming’s note. Lola would have wanted her to do something about it. But how can Clara talk her parents, who are also in mourning, into going on a trip to China?

Finally the time comes when Yuming weighs the options, measures the risk, and attempts a daring escape. Continue reading

Review: The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

28691932The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Publication Date: September 13th 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Extra Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Dystopia

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BLURB:

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her. Continue reading

Negative Review: Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz

28963881Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, (Bad) Romance, Contemporary

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BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Day Baker views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she pictures and the truths she believes-neatly captured in black and white-begin to blur.

Julian is not the “armed and dangerous” escapee the police are searching for, but his alibis don’t quite add up, either. There is more to his story. This time, Day is determined to see the entire picture . . . whatever it reveals. Did he? Or didn’t he?

Day digs deeper into the case while Julian remains on the run. But the longer her list of facts becomes, the longer the list of questions becomes, too. It’s also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels for him. Is it real? Or is she being manipulated?

Day is close to finding the crack in the case. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is a master of suspense and romance. In this page-turning thriller, Stolarz tackles dark truths with a powerful, contemporary voice. Shutter will keep readers guessing until the very end. Continue reading