Review: Splintered – I’m out of this rabbit hole

splintered-ag-howardSplintered (Splintered, #1) by A.G. Howard
Publication date: January 1, 2013 by Amulet Books
Genres: Fantasy | Retellings | Young Adult
Pages: 371
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic – definitely magical and entertaining

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Publication date: February 24th, 2015 by Tor Books
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 378
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

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Review: More Than This – first Patrick Ness and I’m not disappointed


More Than This by Patrick Ness
Publication date: September 10, 2013 by Candlewick Press
Genres: Science Fiction | Young Adult
Pages: 472
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he
here? And where is this place? The street seems familiar, but everything is
abandoned, overgrown, covered in dust.

What’s going on? Is it real? Or has he woken up in his own personal hell? Seth begins to search for answers, hoping desperately that there must be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife…

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Review: The Winner’s Curse – I asked for politics, not pretty dresses!

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Publication date: March 4, 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Genres: Fantasy | Romance | Young Adult
Pages: 355
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

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Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly – powerful, raw, realistic

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Publication date: June 9th, 2015 by Dial Books
Genres: Contemporary | Mystery | Young Adult
Pages: 400
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

A hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in yourself.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow:
twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible
secrets of her past.

Gorgeously written, breathlessly page-turning and sprinkled with moments of unexpected humor, this harrowing debut is perfect for readers of Emily Murdoch’s If You Find Me and Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us , as well as for fans of Orange is the New Black.

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