Title: Premonition (The Division Series Book 1)
Author: Leigh Walker
Publisher: CMG Publishing
Published: July 19, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Wow! What an intense thrill-ride. Premonition starts off with a typical story of a teenage girl that's joined a boarding school summer program as a work-study so that she can aim for an Ivy League type of education. Riley soon discovers that her work-study isn't what she thought, tasked with joining an elite and secretive division of the FBI known as "The Division." The writing is quick and breezy, forcing me to finish this book in one day, because I could not for the life of me put it down. I would have liked to have seen one additional round of edits done, I found two blatant errors that slowed down my reading but didn't take away any of my enjoyment of the story. The characters of Riley and Finn have a blossoming relationship that is full of emotion. Premonition brought tears to my eyes, forcing me to cry while reading about Riley's family. The author has created strong characters, a solid backstory, and a ground-breaking plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend this book.
Reviewed by Samantha Peters
Title: Premonition (The Division Series Book 1)
Title: Right Text Wrong Number
Author: Natalie Decker
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Published: July 11, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
The writing was mediocre and the storyline while intriguing the execution fell flat. The book had a great cover and interesting blurb but while reading I could not connect with the characters. While the book is geared toward a young adult audience and teens, the writing felt dumbed down and made the teens look immature. The writing suffers from the issue of telling rather than showing emotion. There are young adult books that show teens being intelligent and thoughtful characters, with a voice that is mature while still struggling through adolescence. This book was too juvenile in terms of writing but with content for upper YA. There are moments I absolutely can't stand Layla's character. Her boyfriend ditches her and she has to get a ride from someone else and then she instantly forgives him within seconds of seeing him. Then the next chapter this just made me cringe.
"I hope he's not in an accident somewhere. Then again, I hope he is because then I can't be mad at him for being this late."
That line makes Layla seem incredibly selfish. She should have stood up to him for ditching her, rather than forgive and forget and pretend it was no big deal. Who wishes someone was in an accident for being late? That is just an awful thing to think. The writing and story for me just didn't work.
Reviewed by Jenna Malone
Title: The Gender Game
Author: Bella Forrest
Published: September 24, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
From the first chapter, as a reader I was drawn to Violet's character. She's flawed in a very dark world that is tasked with a mission in order to "save" her life. The writing is strong, making me easily like Violet, even though she's been in Juvenile Detention. Her actions have proven they have consequences and while she isn't happy with her current situation, she has made the best of it, given her circumstances. As the story progresses and we meet Lee, Violet still down to her roots is the same character from the beginning, recognizing consequence and not just jumping right in blindly without having a conscious for her actions. Violet's character is strong, she's in a world that has a strong influence of women and forced into the strong male dominated society. The world building was quite incredible and well-thought out. There were some things I'd have liked to see more of, but my hope is that we will in the next book.
Reviewed by Katherine K.
Title: Canary Club
Author: Sherry D. Ficklin
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Published: October 16, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance, Young Adult
"Having people fear you gives you power. Having them love you gives you influence. Having both, well, that’s how you build an empire."
There is an obvious sense of wittiness from Masie which is both comical and dramatic. The young woman is powerful and feeds off the power and influence derived from her father, a crime boss. With a story full of speakeasies, bootleggers, and lots of action, Benny and Masie are an interesting combination. Although written with Masie, a character that is seventeen, I think the upper YA mature crowd of readers and adults will enjoy this book far more than most younger teens. The writing is reminiscent of the time period, historically written but not too difficult to read or decipher the intent of the author. There are quotes, like the one above which make you feel like the story flows gracefully and smooth, desiring for you to read more prose within the pages. Early on the author has us feeling for Benny, with his hardships after being released from prison, his fathers death, witnessing two bodies being dumped on the day of his release, and his sisters ailment that affects his family, including his mother. Getting a job with a crime boss to help pay for his sister's visit to a doctor far away seems already like trouble for a man with a prison conviction and for good reason. Add to that the fact that he will inevitably fall hard for the crime boss' daughter and you know trouble is brewing. Canary Clubpulls all the punches with witty writing, action at every turn, interesting characters, and intriguing dialogue that will make you tempted to keep reading from the first page onward. Overall, a satisfying conclusion to a well-rounded story.
Reviewed by: Marissa Vine
Title: Dream Me
Author: Kathryn Berla
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Published: July 11, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Futuristic, Contemporary, Romance
A fantastic unique story that blends the future with the past. Dream Me is a gripping page-turning read that will easily hook you from the beginning. Although the story takes time to unfold and understand the world created by the author, the plot progresses as do the characters in an enriching story. Dream Me is brilliantly written and creatively woven to bring Zat from the future into Babe's dreams. In a futuristic world that is dying, Zat's only chance of survival is by being a part of Babe's dreams, allowing him the chance to see the world long before we destroyed it. There were moments of tears in the last final pages of the book that had me clinging to read more, unwilling to put down my kindle. Emotions are high in this young love tale of a story that Zat, a boy from the future becomes part of Babe's dreams to live a life worth having. If I could give this story six stars I would. A satisfying and emotional ending will leave you thinking about this book, long after you've finished the last page.
Reviewed by: Violet Black
Title: Guardians: The Girl
Author: Lola StVil
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Published: January 9, 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult, Romance
An exciting and page-turning read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, anxious to discover what will happen next. Guardians: The Girl is packed early on with the full explanation of what/why/how of the history of what was happening, with a little bit of an information overload. A through content edit could have easily fixed the heavy dose of information that seemed to go on for pages. The story itself was plenty creative, imaginative, with a strong dose of world-building. There were a variety of characters that were charismatic and full of detail that made for a well-rounded story.
Reviewed by: Katherine K.
Title: Same Love
Author: Tony Correia
Publisher: James Lorimer & Company
Releases: August 1, 2017
Genre: LGBT, Romance, YA
An easy read that is quite often lined with humor despite the heavy subject nature of Same Love. This book is quite clearly written for young adults but I would recommend this story only to those mature enough to handle the content. Where some books drag on to get to the point of the story, I appreciated that Same Love jumped right in with the first chapter. There was easily enough backstory to get onboard and relate while also feeling for the characters, especially Adam. The writing is smooth and clean, the characters have depth and are well-rounded. Although there are obscenities thrown early on in the story (strong enough to cast a long-lasting impression), while also making the reader flinch, this book isn't for the faint of heart or those too young to grasp the message. Adam, a Christian teenage boy that comes out to his parents finds himself sent away to a Christian camp to "fix" him. The sad reality is how true and easily this book could be real for someone that is a teenager, struggling with coming out.
Reviewed by: Laura
Title: That Boy
Author: Jillian Dodd
Publisher: Jillian Dodd Inc.
Published: Jan 13, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary
The writing in That Boy, comes across as juvenile. Maybe it was intentional with chapters spanning back as far as fourth grade, but I would have rather had flashbacks or a series of memories from an adult's writing with a juvenile perspective. Even more mature writing would have made the story stronger. Instead the sentences were short and choppy, grammatically correct but bland to read. I could not for the life of me get into Jay's character and like her. She's kissing Danny for "learning-sake" while getting ready for a date with another boy. It made me hate her character, this juvenile behavior and yes she's a teenager but I feel like the writing and characterizations make Jay look even more immature and selfish. That Boy lacked substance that other young adult titles like The Selection, Looking for Alaska, Fangirl, Delirium, and Before I Fall are drenched in. I wanted to love That Boy, even with the writing not up to my taste and I kept reading as the main character grew older, hoping that her story would mature, but I just didn't feel a solid connection to the story or the characters.
Reviewed by: Chloe Stafford
Author: G. P. Ching
Publisher: Carpe Luna Publishing
Published: November 11, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Grounded is a phenomenal story that goes places I never saw coming. It is a fast read that is filled with excitement and energy, especially as the story progresses. Hemlock Hollow is a small town where Lydia, an Amish girl, has the opportunity to experience the English world on rumspringa. With its roots in a a strong world-building in Hemlock Hollow, this futuristic story explores the power of electricity in a way that is creative and satisfying. Lydia grapples with the government, her new relationship with Korwin, and her identity as a 'Spark'. Prepare to be enlightened by this electrifying dystopian while reading Grounded. I eagerly await snatching the second book in the series. With likable characters, an engaging plot, a fast-paced but well-developed story, and twists and turns at every corner, this book is sure to satisfy.
Reviewed by Samantha Peters
Author: Logan Byrne
Published: Feb 20, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Futuristic, Dystopian
There are far too many similarities in Banded to the dystopian young adult book, Divergent, and even a hint of Harry Potter with the sorting hat. The likeness to Divergent wasn't entirely a surprise given the description of the book (6 factions separated in Manhattan for the good of the country), but I had hoped that the author would have put their own creative spin on things, including the world building, instead of feeling the sense of deja vu while reading this book. When reading about the simulation in the jungle, all I could think was this book is too reminiscent, same with the fighting scenes, being forced to train and fight. This was the one aspect where I thought this book could have differed significantly because the group that Kaleena is put into, isn't tasked with fighting. Instead the book went in the same direction, again, as Divergent. Now, with all that being said, Banded was well-written with decent pacing and I was anxious to read the next chapter and not put down the book. I would have loved Banded had the originality been entirely the authors and not taken from other young adult novels, so much so that I found it distracting. There wasn't a dose of heavy romance like Divergent, which I found to be the biggest difference and the fact that everyone is forced to wear bands, something that I thought could have been further developed and expanded. What makes this book absolutely wonderful and unique, is lost in the repetitiveness of similar works in the same genre.
Reviewed by Marissa Vine
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