Category Archives: Book Reviews

My personal views on books I pick up to read.

Captivating from Beginning to End | Review of ‘Out of the Shadows’ (Shadowlands #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Out of the Shadows by Ashlee Nicole Bye
Huntuzie Press
Image Credit: Ashlee Nicole Bye

Death. So delicately controlled by reapers of The Order of Dark and Light, is being threatened by an ancient enemy, and in the hidden streets of the Shadowlands, no one is safe while darkness and light struggle against an enemy of power. For Sachi, it’s even harder. Following the death of her friend, Sachi has not been able to cope, especially once she sees him alive again, battling against a Reaper with the keys to her heart. Sachi shouldn’t be able to see them at all, the dead and mystical. She wants answers and is willing to do whatever it takes to get them. Even die…

Published May 4, 2017, by Huntuzie Press, Out of the Shadows
by Ashlee Nicole Bye is her debut novel following mystical elements familiar to young readers who read The Mortal Instruments.
Continue reading Captivating from Beginning to End | Review of ‘Out of the Shadows’ (Shadowlands #1)

A Beautiful Debut | Review of ‘The Girl in Between’


By Cynthia Ayala

The Girl in Between by Sarah Carroll
Kathy Dawson Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

Homeless but not alone, a young girl lives with her mother in an abandoned mill worried every day that the authorities are going to take her away. But with developers coming their way to tear the place down, she must contend with her mothers’ personal demons and the ghosts of the past haunting them.

Published June 20, 2017, by Kathy Dawson Books, The Girl in Between is the debut novel by Sarah Carroll, a young adult tale about family, homelessness and the love between a mother and daughter.
Continue reading A Beautiful Debut | Review of ‘The Girl in Between’

A Breathtaking Ending | Review of ‘Vicious’ (Pretty Little Liars #16)


By Cynthia Ayala

Vicious by Sara Shepard
HarperTeen
Image Credit: Goodreads

For years, Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer have been terrorized by “A,” a mysterious figure who has harassed them, revealed all their secrets and even threatened their lives and the lives of their loved ones. But now the mystery is over. They know A is the real Alison who. through a vicious scheme, has placed them in jail. In the final fight for their lives, some will leave broken, some will fight until the very end. One things for certain, this is the end of the Pretty Little Liars.

Published December 2, 2014, by HarperTeen Vicious by Sara Shepard is the final novel in her bestselling Pretty Little Liars series where young adult meets mystery.
Continue reading A Breathtaking Ending | Review of ‘Vicious’ (Pretty Little Liars #16)

Powerful and Mystifying | Review of ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Image Credit: Goodreads

Feyre survived Amarantha, she broke her curse over the Fae, but the cost was high. Now she’s a High Fae, but her soul and heart will always be human, and the terrors she was forced to inflict, haunt her daily. And the day of her wedding, Rhysand whisks her away, as part of their bargain. Now Feyre must navigate through the Night Court, discovering the light in the darkness and in Rhysand. With a war on the horizon, enemies and friends must pull together, and Feyre must master her new gifts and be the hero once again—if the darkness doesn’t threaten to kill her first.

Published May 3, 2016, by Bloomsbury USA Children’s A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is the second in her YA fantasy Court of Thorns and Roses series.
Continue reading Powerful and Mystifying | Review of ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

A Winning Combo of Thievery and Fantasy | Review of ‘Six of Crows’ (Six of Crows #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and Company
Image Credit: Goodreads

Kaz Brekker, criminal prodigy has just been offered a job, a dangerous heist that would mean wealth beyond his wildest dreams. Should be a piece of cake, all they have to do is break into an impenetrable prison, retrieve a hostage and live long enough to claim the reward. With a crew full of some of the most desperate and dangerous criminals, what could possibly go wrong?

Published September 29, 2015, by Henry Holt and Company, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a young adult fantasy about six thieves challenged by one incredible heist.
Continue reading A Winning Combo of Thievery and Fantasy | Review of ‘Six of Crows’ (Six of Crows #1)

Good but Beginning to Drag | Review of ‘Yellow Brick War’ (Dorothy Must Die #3)


By Cynthia Ayala

Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige
HarperCollins
Image Credit: Goodreads

Amy Gumm was swept up in a tornado just like Dorothy Gale. A higher power swept her up to destroy Dorothy and her close friends who let the power and magic of Oz corrupt them. No longer is Oz the vibrant place, now it’s a dark place full of monsters and danger. And Amy too is in danger of becoming one of those monsters. An assassin who has failed, Amy must find the light buried deep inside her to keep herself and her friends safe from Dorothy’s wrath and her own.

Published March 15, 2016, by HarperCollins Yellow Brick War
by Danielle Paige is the third in her young adult series about Amy Gumm and her trials in Oz against the wicked witch Dorothy of Kansas.
Continue reading Good but Beginning to Drag | Review of ‘Yellow Brick War’ (Dorothy Must Die #3)

Unfortunately Forgettable | Review of ‘Before the Claiming’ (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories #3)


By Cynthia Ayala

Before the Claiming by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Image Credit: Goodreads

When Lena was a baby, Seer and gifted card reader Amma Treaudeau saw a terrifying future in the cards that sent her to Emmaline’s door. When a powerful Dark Caster sets fire to Lena’s house with baby Lena and her father trapped inside, Amma, Emmaline, and Macon vow to protect the child. Lena’s grandmother and her Uncle Macon whisk Lena away, protecting her and moving her to a new place at the first sign of trouble. But a Caster can only hide for so long, and Macon must rely on the teachings in an ancient book to control his Dark nature. Ultimately, it will be his job to protect Lena–and keep her from surrendering to a Dark fate.” (Goodreads)

Published October 13, 2015, by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Before the Claiming by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl is a young adult novella that revisits some of the pivotal moments that would end up defining Lena’s future.
Continue reading Unfortunately Forgettable | Review of ‘Before the Claiming’ (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories #3)

Thought Provoking & Challenging | Review of ‘Jurassic Park’ (Jurassic Park #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Jurassic Park by Micheal Crichton
Ballantine Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

“A billionaire has created a technique to clone dinosaurs. From the DNA that his crack team of scientists extract, he is able to grow the dinosaurs in his laboratories and lock them away on an island behind electric fences, creating a sort of theme park. He asks a group of scientists from several different fields to come and view the park, but something goes terribly wrong when a worker on the island turns traitor and shuts down the power.” (Goodreads)

Published December 1991 by Ballantine Books Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton is the classic novel that spawned a franchise about dinosaurs and the will of man.
Continue reading Thought Provoking & Challenging | Review of ‘Jurassic Park’ (Jurassic Park #1)

Unfulfilling and Lackluster | Review of ‘The Seer Spread’ (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

The Seer Spread by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Image Credit: Goodreads

Still grieving over the death of Amma, Ethan receives a gift from her, the box of secrets she always kept from him. But now it’s time to open the box. The history of Amma and everything that brought her to Ethan.

Published July 14, 2015, by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, The Seer’s Spread by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl is the second in young adult paranormal Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories series.
Continue reading Unfulfilling and Lackluster | Review of ‘The Seer Spread’ (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories #2)

A Delightful Hilarious Read | Review of ‘Evil Librarian’ (Evil Librarian #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
Candlewick Press
Image Credit: Goodreads

There’s something sinister with the new Librarian. Maybe it’s the horns that stick out of his head, to the leathery wings. But it’s probably the fact that he’s a demon who has Cynthia’s best friend under his spell. Now between working on the set of the schools’ production of Sweeny Todd and trying to maintain her composure around her crush and only ally, Cynthia must save her friend and her high school from the clutches of the dashing, yet evil, Mr. Gabriel.

Published September 9, 2014 by Candlewick Press Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen is the first in her humorous young adult paranormal series.
Continue reading A Delightful Hilarious Read | Review of ‘Evil Librarian’ (Evil Librarian #1)