Review: Invaded by Melissa Landers

17316770Invaded by Melissa Landers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher:Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Aliens

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BLURB:

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return? Continue reading

Review: Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

29340182Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: Hachette
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: NonFiction, Memoir, Feminism, Body Image, Sexuality

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BLURB:

Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible–like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you–writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss–and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps. Continue reading

Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

18190208The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches, Action

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BLURB:

The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.
Continue reading

Review: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

9711714Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Bullying, Contemporary, Family

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BLURB:

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King’s smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it. Continue reading

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

13477676Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: August 13th, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Neglect, Contemporary, Mental Health, Abuse

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BLURB:

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out. Continue reading

Review: Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres

25150366Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Family, Food

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BLURB:

A middle grade debut about family, friendship, and finding your voice by author Jennifer Torres. Plus, tacos!

Estefania “Stef” Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family’s taco truck. She wants nothing more than for her dad to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be put out to pasture. It’s no fun being known as
the “Taco Queen” at school. But just when it looks like Stef is going to get exactly what she wants, and her family’s livelihood is threatened, she will have to become the truck’s unlikely champion.

In this fun and heartwarming middle grade novel, Stef will discover what matters the most, and ultimately embrace an identity that even includes old Tia Perla. Continue reading

Review: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

24382227Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: February 21st, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: ist Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery

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BLURB:

Some bodies won’t stay buried.
Some stories need to be told.

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past… and the present.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations – both yesterday and today. Continue reading

Review: Forever, Again by Victoria Laurie

29218968Forever, Again by Victoria Laurie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: December 13th, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Romance

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BLURB:

Lily Bennett is less than thrilled to be the new kid as she starts her junior year in high school.

But soon after classes begin, she meets a classmate, Cole Drepeau, with whom she forms an immediate and intimate bond. As Cole and Lily grow closer, Lily learns about the murder that divided the town more than thirty years before. In 1985, graduating senior Amber Greeley snapped, killing her boyfriend Ben—Cole’s uncle—and taking her own life.

Lily feels inexplicably linked to Amber, and she can’t help but think that there’s more to the girl’s story. Determined to investigate the truth about Cole’s uncle’s death, Lily and Cole are pulled into a dark mystery—one that shakes the constraints of the world they’ve always believed in.

Masterfully told by best-selling author Victoria Laurie, this novel alternates voices between Lily and Amber, a generation apart, as decades of dark family secrets and treacherous betrayals are woven into the most epic of love stories. Continue reading

Review: Alienated by Melissa landers

13574417Alienated by Melissa Landers

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: February 4th, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Aiens, Romance

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BLURB:

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet. Continue reading

Review: Far from You by Tess Sharpe

16151118Far from You by Tess Sharpe

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: March 27th, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, mystery, LGBT

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BLURB:

Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.

The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared. Continue reading