Category Archives: Book Reviews

My personal views on books I pick up to read.

The Queen is Rising | Review of ‘Blood of Wonderland’ (Queen of Hearts Saga #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes
HarperTeen
Image Credit: Goodreads

“Dinah has been exiled from Wonderland. The vicious father she always feared has framed her for the brutal murder of her brother and turned the kingdom against her.  Now hiding in the lush and mysterious Twisted Wood with only her war steed at her side, Dinah is faced with a choice. She could leave Wonderland forever or return and fight her father for her throne—a fight she knows would only result in bloodshed. But before Dinah can lead her people into combat, she must confront certain truths about her heart and her destiny—no matter how dark those truths may be. Revolution is rising in Wonderland. Dinah’s battle has begun.” —Goodreads

Published January 31, 2017, by HarperTeen Blood of Wonderland
by Colleen Oakes is the second novel in her Wonderland retelling that brings new life to the Queen of Wonderland.
Continue reading The Queen is Rising | Review of ‘Blood of Wonderland’ (Queen of Hearts Saga #2)

A Thoughtful Conclusion to a Delightful Series | Review of ‘The Ruby Circle’ (Bloodlines #6)


By Cynthia Ayala

The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
Razorbill
Image Credit: Goodreads

“Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives. But they are never supposed to see Vampires as anything other than monsters. For Sydney, she finds herself married to Adrian, her love for him binding, But when the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis.  Meanwhile, she and Adrian become enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.” —Goodreads

Published October 13, 2015, by Razorbill, The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead is the final novel in her young adult paranormal/fantasy series, Bloodlines.
Continue reading A Thoughtful Conclusion to a Delightful Series | Review of ‘The Ruby Circle’ (Bloodlines #6)

Just Not Fresh | Review of ‘The Lost World’ (Jurassic Park #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

The Lost World by Michael Crichton
Alfred A. Knopf
Image Credit: Goodreads

“It is now six years since the secret disaster at Jurassic Park, six years since the extraordinary dream of science and imagination came to a crashing end—the dinosaurs destroyed, the park dismantled, and the island indefinitely closed to the public. There are rumors that something has survived. . .” —Goodreads

Published September 17, 1995, by Alfred A. Knopf, The Lost World by Michael Crichton is the second and final book in the sci-fi adventure series Jurassic Park.
Continue reading Just Not Fresh | Review of ‘The Lost World’ (Jurassic Park #2)

Stale Seaweed | Review of ‘Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch’ (Villains #3)


By Cynthia Ayala

Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino
Disney Press
Image Credit: Goodreads

“The tale of the sea king’s daughter Ariel is a beloved one of losing and then finding one’s own voice. The story has been told many times and in many ways. And yet this is only half the story. So what of Ariel’s nemesis, Ursula, the sea witch? What led to her becoming so twisted, scorned, and filled with hatred? Many tales have tried to explain her motives. Here is one account of what might have shaped the sea witch into a detestable and poor unfortunate soul.” —Amazon

Published July 26, 2016, by Disney Press Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino is the third novel in her young adult Disney Villains series.
Continue reading Stale Seaweed | Review of ‘Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch’ (Villains #3)

Breathtakingly Unique | Review of ‘Ivory and Bone’ (Ivory and Bone #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh HarperTeen Image Credit: Goodreads

“Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives. As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that had been planned all along.” —Goodreads

Published June 7, 2016, by HarperTeen Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh is a prehistoric YA fantasy with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.
Continue reading Breathtakingly Unique | Review of ‘Ivory and Bone’ (Ivory and Bone #1)

Fun Entertaining Sequel | Review of ‘Lifeblood’ (Everlife #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

Lifeblood by Gena Showalter
Harlequin Teen
Image Credit: Goodreads

“With her last living breath, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences. Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must launch her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. But Ten’s competition is Killian, the boy she can’t forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she’s never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.” —Goodreads

Published February 28, 2017, by Harlequin Teen Lifeblood by Gena Showalter is the second novel in her YA fantasy Everlife series.
Continue reading Fun Entertaining Sequel | Review of ‘Lifeblood’ (Everlife #2)

A Phenomenal Conclusion | Review of ‘A Million Worlds with You’ (Firebird #3)


By Cynthia Ayala

A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray
HarperTeen
Image Credit: Goodreads

“The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation. Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. Struggling to overcome the damage, he leaves Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake and Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead. It’s a battle of the Marguerites…and only one can win.” —Goodreads

Published November 1, 2016, by HarperTeen A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray is the final novel in her Firebird trilogy.
Continue reading A Phenomenal Conclusion | Review of ‘A Million Worlds with You’ (Firebird #3)

Mythically Captivating | Review of ‘The Library of Fates’


By Cynthia Ayala

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Razorbill
Image Credit: Goodreads

“No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now. When the unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, former prisoner of Sikander. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.” —Goodreads

Published July 18, 2017, by Razorbill The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana is a romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore.
Continue reading Mythically Captivating | Review of ‘The Library of Fates’

Magical and Brilliant | Review of ‘Akata Witch’ (Akata Witch #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Speak
Image Credit: Goodreads

“Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.

Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?” —Goodreads

Published July 11, 2017, by Speak Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor is the first in her YA fantasy series where magic and culture collide. Originally published back in 2011, the novel is being republished to mark the announcement of a long-awaited sequel.
Continue reading Magical and Brilliant | Review of ‘Akata Witch’ (Akata Witch #1)

Who Says Crooks Can’t Be Winners? | Review of ‘Crooked Kingdom’ (Six of Crows #2)


By Cynthia Ayala

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and Company
Image Credit: Goodreads

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies, emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.” —Goodreads

Published September 20, 2016, by Henry Holt and Company Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is the second novel in her Six of Crows duology, a YA fantasy following thieves as they do what they do best: scheme.
Continue reading Who Says Crooks Can’t Be Winners? | Review of ‘Crooked Kingdom’ (Six of Crows #2)