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: 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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Review: If I Stay – I really liked it. Surprised, are you?

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Publication date: April 2nd 2009 by Dutton Books for Young Reader
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult
Pages: 201
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true
to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving
her family and friends behind? Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in
an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

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ARC Review: Passenger – sadly unremarkable

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Publication date: January 5, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion
Genres:  Young Adult | Historical
Pages: 496
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

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ARC Review: Shallow Graves – unfortunately forgettable

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
Publication date: January 26, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368
Links to: Amazon | Goodreads

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

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