Review: Hazel and Gray (Faraway #2)

Title: Hazel and Gray (Faraway #2)
Author: Nic Stone
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Short Story
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 15, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Two anxious young lovers lost in the woods. A beckoning mansion in a dark clearing. A short modern-day retelling of Hansel and Gretel by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin.

It’s bad enough that Hazel and Gray have defied the demands of Hazel’s foul stepfather. The Monster has forbidden their romance. Now they’ve awakened in the forest, phones dead, hours past curfew. But not far away is a grand estate in the middle of nowhere. The door is open. In this short story about choosing your own path, the fury of the Monster that awaits them back home may be nothing compared to what lies ahead.

Review:

Hazel and Gray are teenage lovers who have been forbidden to be together. They sneak away to a forest to be together, but they end up getting lost. They find a house that’s all lit up, with a stream of people heading inside. Hazel convinces Gray to go inside to find help, but they weren’t expecting the monster within.

This is a dark retelling of Hansel and Gretel. Instead of being brother and sister, they are lovers. This story had dark and mature themes, including drugs and sex trafficking. It’s a young adult short story, but for a more mature young adult audience.

Though this was a short story, it felt complete. It was fast paced, and quite chilling at times. Sometimes, I have questions after reading a short story, but this one answered all of the questions I had. I would love to see a full length novel about these characters or more dark fairytales from Nic Stone!

This is a great short story in the Faraway series!

What to read next:

The Princess Game by Soman Chainani

The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

Other books in the series:

  • The Prince and the Troll
  • The Princess Game
  • The Cleaners
  • The Wickeds

Have you read Hazel and Gray? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – April 14

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is From Little Tokyo, With Love by Sarah Kuhn. The expected publication date is May 11, 2021.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Celebrated author Sarah Kuhn reinvents the modern fairy tale in this intensely personal yet hilarious novel of a girl whose search for a storybook ending takes her to unexpected places in both her beloved LA neighborhood and her own guarded heart. 

If Rika’s life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale–being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts’ business–she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn’t quite fit the princess mold.

All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness–searching for clues about her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with a cute actor, and maybe…finally finding a sense of belonging.

But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn’t so kind. Rika knows she’s setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don’t happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

What books are you waiting on this week?

Blog Tour Review: Just Get Home

Title: Just Get Home
Author: Bridget Foley
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When a devastating earthquake – the Big One – hits Los Angeles, two strangers are brought together by an act of violence and must help each other survive the wrecked city.

Beegie is riding the bus when the quake hits. The teenager was heading back to her unhappy foster home, but then she’s thrown into a broken world. Roads crumble, storefronts shatter and people run wild.

Dessa, a single mom, is enjoying a rare night out when it strikes. Cell towers are down, so without even knowing if her 3-three-year-old daughter is dead or alive, she races to get back across town.

As danger escalates in the chaotic streets, Beegie and Dessa meet by a twist of fate. The two form a fragile partnership, relying on each other in ways they never thought possible, and learn who they really are when there’s only one goal: Just get home.

Review:

Dessa is a single mom, who was out with friends when the earthquake hit. Fifteen-year-old Beegie had run away from her foster home and was on the bus during the earthquake. Dessa doesn’t know if her three-year-old daughter is dead or alive because the cell towers are down and the streets are a disaster. Beegie and Dessa are brought together in these chaotic circumstances, and they have to travel across L.A. to find Dessa’s daughter.

This story was about the big earthquake that is predicted to hit California one day. I’ve only experienced a very small earthquake in Toronto years ago. I can’t imagine what kind of devastating situation like this earthquake could create.

The actual earthquake wasn’t the problem. The disaster came in the aftermath, with buildings and infrastructure destroyed and people breaking laws. In this story, people went crazy looting buildings, robbing people and attacking people. People behaved horribly to each other. It was really upsetting to read, but especially after the pandemic of the last year, I’ve noticed that people really don’t care about protecting others by changing their behaviour. It was difficult to read, but, unfortunately, it was an accurate depiction of human nature.

There were some very difficult scenes to read. Some of these scenes included rape, abuse, murder, suicide, and discussion of abortion. I definitely think these things were part of an accurate depiction of the after effects of a natural disaster, but they were still difficult to read.

This was an intense earthquake story.

Thank you HarperCollins Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Last to See Her by Courtney Evan Tate

Social Misconduct by S.J. Maher

About the author:

Originally from Colorado, Bridget Foley attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television. She worked as an actor and screenwriter before becoming a novelist. She now lives a fiercely creative life with her family in Boise, Idaho.

Have you read Just Get Home? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Titles That Could Be Crayon Colours

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Book Titles That Could Be Crayon Colours. Here’s my list:

1. Thorn by Intisar Khanani

2. Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

3. Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi

4. Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

5. Fire by Kristin Cashore

6. Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin

7. Pumpkin by Julie Murphy

8. The Shadows by Alex North

9. Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

10. Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Happy Pub Day – April 13

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

Malice by Heather Walter

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

Just Get Home by Bridget Foley

The Sky Above Us by Natalie Lund

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell

The Backups: A Summer of Stardom by Alex de Campi, Lara Margarida

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

What books are you most excited for this week?

Review: The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts #1)

Title: The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts #1)
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.

Review:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto was preparing for her high school graduation when she was suddenly killed. She wakes up in a place called Infinity, where she’s offered a pill to numb the human pain that her consciousness still feels. She’s rescued by a team of rebels who are working against Queen Ophelia. Ophelia was the virtual assistant that everyone used on Earth, but she’s taken over Infinity with plans to erase humans and fill the world with her Residents. Nami is special because though she is human, she can alter her appearance to look like a Resident. Nami has to work with the rebel group to save the humans and defeat Ophelia and her sons.

This was an original story about death. I was enjoying Nami’s story in the first few chapters, where she was living like a normal teenager. Then, she was murdered and sent to Infinity, the afterlife for human consciousness. It was strange to be thrown into this new world that is so different from our world, but it was fast paced and mysterious that I had to keep reading.

This world had complicated relationships between the humans and the Residents. The humans served the Residents, and didn’t have awareness. The pill that they were offered after waking up in Infinity removed any awareness they had, so they could follow orders from the Residents. There were different courts that they could be sent to, including War and Death, which didn’t have positive outcomes for the humans sent there. The rare few who could escape without taking the pill and keep their awareness tried to rebel against the Residents.

The final chapters of this book were really surprising. There was a character who I found suspicious from the beginning. I was right in suspecting there was something wrong with that character but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I hope there will be a sequel because I really want to know what happens next!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Have you read The Infinity Courts? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – April 12

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading Just Get Home by Bridget Foley.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – April 11

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 9 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… The Infinity Courts

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.

What book are you in bed with today?

Six for Sunday – Magical Books

This meme is hosted by Steph at A little but a lot. The weekly prompts for 2019 can be found here.

This week’s prompt is Magical Books. Here’s my list:

1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

3. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

5. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

(All book covers from Goodreads)

Did you make a Six for Sunday list?