Review: A Song Below Water

Title: A Song Below Water
Author: Bethany C. Morrow
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. 

Review:

Talia lives with a secret: she’s a siren. She has a powerful voice that can compel people to do things. That makes people think sirens are dangerous. Talia and her family keep her siren identity a secret because of the prejudice against sirens. Talia’s best friend, Effie, has questions about her identity. She blacks out and can’t remember what happened. Effie isn’t sure who she really is, especially since her grandparents don’t have any answers for her. Both girls discover their identities as their secrets are slowly revealed.

Talia and Effie had an extra layer to their identity, with their magical abilities. This makes their intersectional identities more complicated. They were black and female, with magical powers. Race played an important part in this book. There was a murder trial for a black woman, where it was revealed that she was a siren. It ended up being a part of the defence, as a way to justify her murder. There was a protest in this book which reminded me of the protests happening throughout the world this week. The characters had to deal with racism, as well as discrimination against their magical identities.

I loved the fantasy elements of this story. There were sirens and gargoyles. Effie’s background was a mystery that they had to solve. I guessed who she was fairly early on in the story, but I was surprised at the way it was revealed. The fantasy elements added some distance between the race relations in the book and reality, but they were a great way to tell the story.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thank you Tor Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Slay by Brittney Morris

Have you read A Song Below Water? What did you think of it?

Top 5 Saturday – Books Set Near the Sea

This is a weekly meme hosted Devouring Books. This week’s prompt is Books Set Near the Sea. Here’s my list:

1. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

2. Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

3. The Skeleton Coast (Quest of the Sunfish #3) by Mardi McConnochie

4. Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl #1) by Mara Rutherford

5. The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley

(All book covers from Goodreads)

If you’d like to do this list too, consider yourself tagged!

Did you make a Top 5 Saturday list?

Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 27, 2007
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Review:

When Clary Fray goes to an all-ages nightclub in New York City with her best friend, she witnesses a murder of a teenager by three other teens. However, her best friend Simon couldn’t see them. One of the teens, Jace, finds Clary the next day and brings her into the world of the shadowhunters, who hunt demons. Clary becomes personally involved in the lives of the shadowhunters when her mother disappears after being attacked by demons. Clary has to find her mother, while also discovering the secrets of her past.

I had been holding off on reading this series, because I knew I would love it and would have to read it all immediately once I started. I was sucked into this world right away. I loved that there were so many different creatures all in one world, including vampires, werewolves, and warlocks. They had a wide range of powers, but they all fit into the world.

The twists and big reveals in the story were predictable. When secrets of a character’s past were revealed, I could predict how it would affect the lives of the main characters. Even though it was predictable, I loved the storyline. I’m excited to see where it goes next!

What to read next:

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

Have you read City of Bones? What did you think of it?

The Friday 56 – A Song Below Water

This is a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

The Rules are:

  • Grab a book, any book.
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
  • Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  • Post it. And share your link.
  • It’s that simple.

Today I’m reading A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow.

Here is my line from location 56% in my e-ARC:

“The gargoyle’s going to carry me. In his arms, I assume, although maybe he means in his claws?”

Did you make a post for the Friday 56?

Review: Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 1

Title: Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 1
Author: Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, Cathy Le
Genre: Graphic Novel, Contemporary, LGBT, Paranormal
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 14, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Daphne Walters moves to Los Angeles and finds that the only ones who can help her find love and live life to the fullest are the ghosts of her new home!

In Los Angeles, finding an apartment is killer—unless you live with the dead. Daphne Walters moves to Los Angeles for her boyfriend Ronnie, ready to live her happily ever after. But when happily ever after turns into happily for a month, she’s stuck in a strange city with no friends, family, or prospects for fun. Desperate to escape the lingering ghost of Ronnie’s presence everywhere, Daphne sets out to explore the city—and ends up encountering ghosts of a more literal kind! Rycroft Manor is abandoned, beautiful, and haunted. Will the dead be able to help Daphne find the life she’s been missing in the big city? From GLAAD Award-nominated Sina Grace (Iceman) and illustrator Siobhan Keenan (Jem and the Holograms) comes a story about learning how to make friends, find love, and live life to the fullest with a little help from some friends whose lives didn’t end at death. Collects Ghosted In L.A #1-4.

Review:

Daphne chooses to go to the same university as her boyfriend, but when she arrives on campus, he tells her he wants to break up. She leaves her dorm and discovers a beautiful mansion that appears to be empty. She quickly learns that it is filled with ghosts from a variety of backgrounds. Daphne spends time with the ghosts while also learning more about her ex-boyfriend.

I loved the format of this graphic novel. The chapters had small scenes from the ghosts’s previous lives. The ghosts come from different decades, like the 40s and 80s. These scenes explained a bit about what happened to them and how their lives were affected by the time periods. This was a great way to give some background on the ghost characters.

There were some huge reveals and cliffhangers in the final pages. I’m really excited to see where this story goes next.

Thank you BOOM! Box for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Avant-Guards, Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes

Eat, and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo, Lylian Klepakowsky

Have you read Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 1? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – June 4

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is Crave (Crave #1) by Tracy Wolff.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Little Creeping Things

Title: Little Creeping Things
Author: Chelsea Ichaso
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day, and her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down.

But then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

Review:

Cassidy Pratt is known as the fire girl in her town because she started a fire when she was a child. The fire killed her best friend, while Cass was saved by her brother. When Cass’s enemy at school, Melody, goes missing, Cass thinks she knows what happened. Melody’s disappearance seems to follow a list that Cass wrote down in her notebook of how she would kill Melody. Cass gets threatening text messages from the unknown person who has her notebook. Finding the person who is blackmailing Cass will lead her to solve Melody’s disappearance.

This book was a quick read for me. It was fast paced and moved along quickly. There were loads of twists that kept me surprised. It was also creepy, since someone had seemed to perform the actions that Cass listed in her notebook. It had to be someone that she knew, since they got ahold of her notebook, so I considered everyone a suspect.

In many young adult books, the lack of parental supervision is strange. Some of the decisions that the parents made in this story were unusual, particularly ones revealed at the end. The way that Cass was the only one blamed for the fire was one way that I found the parents to be unusually absent. Kids can be mean and find any reason to tease another child, which explains the way other children called her the fire girl. However, an adult should have been supervising them so they couldn’t start a fire, yet none of the parents were blamed for their part in the fire. That part was not explained, which put all of the blame and pressure on Cass.

I enjoyed this fast paced thriller.

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Have you read Little Creeping Things? What did you think of it?