The Brilliant Death – Amy Rose Capetta

The Brilliant Death (The Brilliant Death, #1)The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Viking
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, Magic, Family Relations


REVIEW:

Normally, when I read a book, the more I read, the more I understand. In this case, the more I read, the less I saw the point of this story. The beginning sounded exciting: a mafia daughter with hidden abilities has an important mission to accomplish and is helped by another power-wielding boy/girl who she falls for. Continue reading

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Give the Dark My Love – Beth Revis

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Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic School, Health Issues (Plague), Family, Politics, Romance


REVIEW:

I can see how this is a hit or miss for most people. It’s not your typical YA fantasy—not what I’m used to reading and not mainstream. But that’s a good thing. I actively seek originality in my reads and this unconventional fantasy, with its limited world-building and romance, worked for me well. The storyline is straight-forward in the sense that we know what Nedra, the new student at the prestigious school of alchemy, is trying to accomplish and for what purpose. Continue reading

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Retelling, Historical Fiction, Gothic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Childhood Friendship


REVIEW:

I am so glad I finally got around to reading this book, after months of deliberation (and a bit of procrastination), because Kiersten White develops her ideas in interesting ways. Granted, this is a retelling, so credit must be given to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as well, as the author of the original Frankenstein tale, which White would approve of based on her note at the end. But inspiration aside, this retelling stands out in a pool of other books of its kind. Continue reading

Dark Shores – Danielle L. Jensen

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Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Piracy, Politics


REVIEW:

This is a DNF for me. I instantly knew after reading the first page that it would be a DNF. Sometimes you just know. It’s like when you meet someone knew. The first conversation you have with that person can determine whether you can connect on a deeper level or not. Of course, it’s good to give the other person a more meaningful chance than one simple conversation, so I pushed through that boring first page. But like most relationships, if the beginning isn’t beautiful, the rest of it usually isn’t. It CAN get better, but that’s extremely rare and involves growth. Continue reading

Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly

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Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: May 14th, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Feminism, Dark Fairy Tale, Magic


REVIEW:

This is not a pretty fairytale. The story isn’t pretty. The world isn’t pretty. The characters aren’t pretty. Even the magic isn’t pretty.

It’s not a story that will make you dream a thousand beautiful dreams of happily-ever-afters. I’m not saying the contrary applies—that it will give you a thousand nightmares in which you die a thousand different deaths—but it is indeed DARK. Continue reading

Before the Broken Star – Emily R. King

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Before the Broken Star by Emily R. King

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Published: June 1st, 2019
Publisher: Skyscape
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk, Adventure, Revenge, Romance


REVIEW:

I basically despised this author’s The Hundredth Queen and couldn’t finish it (if that’s of any surprise) so it slightly unsettled me when I took hold of this book, opened it, started reading it… and finished it pleased enough by the events and characters. Continue reading

Twinchantment – Elise Allen

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Twinchantment by Elise Allen

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: April 9th, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Siblings, Magic, Family, Adventure


REVIEW:

I don’t remember the last time I gave a book a 2.5 rating but it feels appropriate in this case because this is a story that has a decent idea but a not-so-interesting execution.

It’s about two twins – Flissa and Sara – who live in a kingdom devoid of magical beings because once upon a time magic caused great harm to the kingdom. The Fantasy genre is usually dramatic like that. Continue reading