Review: The Taking of Jake Livingston

Title: The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Review:

Jake Livingston feels like an outsider because he’s one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep and he’s not as popular as his older brother. Jake can also see dead people. He sees the way people died on a loop in the place where they died. Teens start dying in mysterious ways, and they were all connected to a school shooting in a different high school. Jake meets Sawyer, the ghost of the school shooter who is taking revenge on the survivors of the shooting. Jake has to figure out a way to stop Sawyer before he takes over Jake’s life next.

At first glance, this was a horror story with gruesome deaths. However, Jake’s story had a lot of layers. Jake felt like an outsider at school because of his race and his ability to see ghosts. At home he also felt like an outsider because he didn’t think his family would accept that he was gay. After a while, I realized that Jake and Sawyer had a lot in common. They had both been abused by their family, and were headed on a similar path. It was up to Jake to decide if he had the same ending as Sawyer or not.

There were quite a few disturbing scenes in this book. Jake witnessed many deaths on a loop. There was a school shooting as well as a suicide. There was also an attempted rape and child abuse. These are potentially triggering scenes but they were brief.

The Taking of Jake Livingston is a creepy horror story!

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

What to read next:

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford

Have you read The Taking of Jake Livingston? What did you think of it?

Review: One Last Stop [audiobook]

Title: One Last Stop
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

Review:

Twenty-three-year-old August moves to New York City to escape her complicated relationship with her mom. She moves in with a quirky group of roommates and starts working at a pancake diner. Then, one day when she’s on the subway, she sees a girl. Jane is mysterious and intriguing. August keeps seeing Jane on the train and falls for her more each time. However, she hasn’t seen Jane outside of the train. That’s because Jane can’t leave. Jane is from the 1970s and is somehow stuck on the subway train. August has to do everything possible to somehow save Jane.

I went into this story without knowing what it was about. I loved Casey’s book Red, White and Royal Blue so I knew I would love this one. I was surprised to see the magical realism aspect, with Jane from the 1970s stuck on a modern train. This was a fun and unique concept.

I loved the romance between August and Jane. It was a little strange, since their relationship had to take place on a subway train. However, I was really hoping they could be together outside of the train. There were some heartbreaking moments but I loved the ending.

This audiobook had a great narrator. She used different voices for different characters, so I could always tell who was speaking. The quirky cast of characters were hilarious. There were funny moments throughout the story, even during serious situations. Those funny parts broke the tension and lightened the mood of this emotional story.

One Last Stop is a great romcom!

Thank you Macmillan Audio for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Have you read One Last Stop? What did you think of it?

Review: The Passing Playbook

Title: The Passing Playbook
Author: Isaac Fitzsimons
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Love, Simon meets Friday Night Lights in this feelgood LGBTQ+ romance about a trans teen torn between standing up for his rights and staying stealth.

‘A sharply observant and vividly drawn debut. I loved every minute I spent in this story’ – Becky Albertalli

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. 

At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy’s soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans – he’s passing. 

So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him after he discovers the ‘F’ on Spencer’s birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone – including the guy he’s falling for.

Review:

Spencer Harris starts at a new private high school in his sophomore year after being bullied and receiving death threats at his old school for being transgender. Spencer is starting this school with a fresh start as a boy, without coming out. He had played soccer in middle school, and was excited to play on the high school team. It gets more complicated when he starts to like one of his teammates, Justice. Spencer is one of the best players on the team, until the coach learns that Spencer’s birth certificate lists him as a female, which would disqualify the team from playing in the final tournament. Spencer has to figure out how to continue being himself while also fighting for queer and transgender rights.

This story had such a cute romance. Spencer and Justice were perfect together. There was a lot of tension in their relationship because Spencer wasn’t out as transgender and Justice wasn’t out as gay. They had to hide their relationship from a lot of people but I was rooting for them the entire time.

There were some devastating scenes in this story. Spencer was lucky to have such a supportive family. They were learning along the way with Spencer, but they made an effort to figure everything out to make his life the best it could be. Even though he had his family’s support, Spencer still had to change schools because he was in danger. Justice was from an extremely religious family who didn’t hide their homophobia. Their school also wasn’t that open to making the school as accessible to queer students, even though they were considered progressive. Spencer’s story was uplifting, but there was a lot of homophobia and transphobia around him.

The Passing Playbook is a heartwarming transgender love story.

Thank you Penguin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Have you read The Passing Playbook? What did you think of it?

Review: The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3)

Title: The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3)
Author: Kay O’Neill
Genre: Children’s, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Join Greta and Minette once more for the heartwarming conclusion of the award-winning Tea Dragon series!

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.

Review:

Greta’s Tea Dragon, Ginseng, is having trouble adjusting to life without her former owner. Greta tries to help Ginseng while also figuring out how to impress a master blacksmith enough to take her on as an apprentice. Her friend, Minette, receives a gift from the monastery where she used to live, which brings back some old memories of her ancestors. Greta, Minette, and their friends and family have to learn how to adjust to the changes in their lives.

This is the final book in the Tea Dragon series. This is a great series because it has so much diversity. Some characters are non-binary. Most of the characters are like humans in behavior, but some have animal-like features. This gives them a diverse variety of appearances.

An important theme in this story was adjusting to life changes. Greta had to figure out how to make her Tea Dragon feel comfortable enough with her. Minette was adjusting to her new place with this group of friends. She had to learn to accept her history to be able to move on with her future.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry is a great conclusion to this graphic novel series.

Thank you Oni Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Princess Princess Every After by Kay O’Neill

Dewdrop by Kay O’Neill

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Tea Dragon Tapestry? What did you think of it?

Review: The Witch King

Title: The Witch King
Author: H.E. Edgmon
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

To save a fae kingdom, a trans witch must face his traumatic past and the royal fiancé he left behind. This debut YA fantasy will leave you spellbound.

Wyatt would give anything to forget where he came from—but a kingdom demands its king.

In Asalin, fae rule and witches like Wyatt Croft…don’t. Wyatt’s betrothal to his best friend, fae prince Emyr North, was supposed to change that. But when Wyatt lost control of his magic one devastating night, he fled to the human world.

Now a coldly distant Emyr has hunted him down. Despite transgender Wyatt’s newfound identity and troubling past, Emyr has no intention of dissolving their engagement. In fact, he claims they must marry now or risk losing the throne. Jaded, Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever. But as he gets to know Emyr, Wyatt realizes the boy he once loved may still exist. And as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide once and for all what’s more important—his people or his freedom.

Review:

Wyatt is a witch who ran away from his home and his marriage contract with a fae prince. The prince, Emyr, finds Wyatt in Texas, where Wyatt has found his transgender identity. Emyr has to bring Wyatt back to their kingdom, Asalin, so they can get married and fulfill their blood contract. However, Wyatt has bad memories of Asalin and doesn’t want to return. He will do anything to get out of this marriage. Wyatt is forced to travel to Asalin with his human best friend Briar, where he discovers Emyr may still be the boy he used to love. Tensions run high between the witches and the fae, leading Wyatt and Emyr to make life changing decisions.

This is the YA fantasy book I’ve been waiting for! I loved that the main character was transgender. Wyatt’s gender identity was an aspect of his personality but not his entire character. There were many moments where Wyatt commented on when someone treating him respectfully or not. Some of the ignorant and mean characters misgendered him or used his deadname (former name). He felt respected and acknowledged by characters who used his correct pronouns, even to refer to moments in the past. These were informative scenes that taught me about being transgender.

In this fantasy world, witches are non- fae children born to fae parents. Since they are considered outsiders in their family, they are ostracized from society and are often abandoned as children. Wyatt compared being a witch in that world to being queer in the real world. Wyatt had experienced being a witch and being queer. This metaphor of the witches and fae compared to being queer was a refreshing take in a fantasy novel.

The Witch King is a fabulous, diverse fantasy! I highly recommend it!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

About the author:

H.E. EDGMON H.E. Edgmon was born in the deep south but has had many homes, dropped out of school to do gay stuff, and is at least a little feral.

In both their writing and daily life, they aim to center the voices of Indigenous people, trans people, and survivors of trauma. It is always their goal to make fascists uncomfortable.

They have an eccentric little family of their own design, several very sensitive pets, and a lot of opinions. They can most often be found on Twitter @heedgmon.

Where to buy:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Witch-King-Duology/dp/1335212795/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-witch-king-he-edgmon/1137425923 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335212795 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Witch-King/H-E-Edgmon/9781335212795?id=7303188004859 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-witch-king/id1526009284  Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/H_E_Edgmon_The_Witch_King?id=9q70DwAAQBAJ

Have you read The Witch King? What did you think of it?

Review: Cool for the Summer

Title: Cool for the Summer
Author: Dahlia Adler
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.

Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.

Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?

Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.

Review:

Lara has had a crush on Chase Harding, the star quarterback at her school, for six years. When she starts her senior year, Chase finally notices her and starts flirting with her immediately. However, Lara isn’t the same girl she used to be. She spent the summer with her mom at her mom’s boss’s summer house where she met Jasmine, the daughter of her mom’s boss. Lara and Jasmine had a summer romance that Lara thought was in the past since Jasmine was going back to her home with her mom. Now that Jasmine has moved to Lara’s school, she is a constant reminder of their summer fling. Lara has to wonder if it was just a fling and she should enjoy the attention from Chase, or if she has deeper feelings for Jasmine.

This was such a fun story. It would be perfect for summer because there were many scenes from Lara and Jasmine’s summer spent at the beach. There were also lots of feelings in this book. Lara was experiencing so many emotions, with her surprise feelings for Jasmine and her dreams of dating Chase coming true. This was a heart pounding story about figuring out your teenage romantic feelings.

This story explored what it means to identify as bisexual. In other novels that I’ve read with bi characters, they have a hard time defining their feelings. Lara had always had a crush on Chase so she assumed she was straight. When those feelings were finally recognized by him, she thought she had to be with him since that was her dream. However, she started to question her sexuality after having a relationship with a girl. For some reason, it’s sometimes difficult for people to accept that people can like both girls and boys, including the person experiencing those feelings themself. It’s possible to identify as bisexual and be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex or the same sex, without being identified as straight or gay. Lara had to come to terms with her feelings before she could become her true self.

Cool for the Summer is the perfect summer read!

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Have you read Cool for the Summer? What did you think of it?

Review: Kate in Waiting

Title: Kate in Waiting
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.

But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.

Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.

Review:

Kate Garfield and her best friend Anderson Walker have always shared crushes. They also share a love of theatre. At their summer camp, they both crushed on Matt Olsson, who didn’t seem to know they existed. However, when they start their junior year of high school, they’re shocked to see Matt Olsson has moved to their school. Kate really likes Matt, but Anderson really likes him too. Their feelings are stronger than their usual communal crushes. They each spend time with Matt in different situations, but eventually someone will get the guy and the other will get their heart broken.

This story was such an emotional rollercoaster. Kate and Andy experienced the whirlwind of first love and first heartbreak. I loved both Kate and Andy, but I knew that only one of them could win Matt’s affection in the end. I was rooting for them both to win, even though that couldn’t happen. I will say that the ending was perfect!

This story had great diversity. Kate’s friends were gender diverse. Andy was gay and their friend Raina was trans. They didn’t know the sexual orientation of their other friend Brandie, but they were okay with that and didn’t force her to tell them. Kate was Jewish, which I don’t see a lot in YA novels. Even though there are many Jewish YA authors, they don’t necessarily put that into their stories, so I was glad to see this aspect of Becky’s life in this story.

This was a beautiful story about first love in high school!

What to read next:

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Have you read Kate in Waiting? What did you think of it?

Review: Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1)

Title: Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it. 

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .

Review:

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. Dreamers can bring things into the real world from their dreams, but if the dreamer dies, the things they have dreamed will permanently go to sleep. Jordan Hennessey is a dreamer and a thief. The dreamers are also being hunted. Carmen Farooq-Lane is one of the hunters, who had a brother who was a dreamer and a killer. The dreamers must try to survive the hunters but also the killers that are only found in their dreams.

This story had Maggie Stiefvater’s beautiful poetic language. The rhythm of the sentences almost made it feel like I was in a dream while reading it. There are so many small scenes that seem unrelated to the plot at first, but they end up having an important clue or introducing an important character. I think you could read this book over and over and notice new things every time.

This book is the first in a trilogy that is based on The Raven Cycle. Ronan was one of the main characters in The Raven Cycle. Ronan is a complex character who could probably fill multiple book series with his extensive history as a dreamer. This story mentioned some of the things that happened in The Raven Cycle, but I would recommend reading The Raven Cycle before this one, so that you have the background of the characters.

I loved this book! The second one in the series comes out in a couple of weeks, so I can’t wait to read it!

What to read next:

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Swamp Thing: Twin Branches by Maggie Stiefvater, Morgan Beem (illustrator)

Have you read Call Down the Hawk? What did you think of it?

Review: A Universe of Wishes

Title: A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology
Author: Dhonielle Clayton (editor)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, LGBT, Short Stories
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased from Owlcrate
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles).

In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, Victoria Schwab, Tara Sim, Nic Stone, and a to-be-announced debut author/short-story contest winner

Review:

This is a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories written by diverse authors. These stories had characters of a variety of races, religions, and gender identities.

I used to think that I didn’t like short stories because the ones I read in school were literary and complicated to understand. If I had been introduced to collections like this book when I was younger, I would have read many more short stories before now!

Two of the stories are from the worlds of fantasy book series. The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libby Bray is from the Gemma Doyle series. A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab is from the Shades of Magic series. I’ve only read the Shades of Magic series, so it was fun to see this story from before the events of the series. I really want to read the Gemma Doyle series after reading that story.

I enjoyed all of these stories. I would read any of them if they were expanded into a full length novel. I had only read a handful of these authors before. I will definitely be reading more of the authors that were new to me.

I highly recommend this collection to YA fantasy and science fiction readers!

What to read next:

Vampires Never Get Old; Tales With Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker (editors)

Fresh Ink: An Anthology by Lamar Giles (editor)

Have you read A Universe of Wishes? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: These Feathered Flames

Title: These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames #1)
Author: Alexandra Overy
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A queer retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale

When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.

But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.

As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.

Review:

Twin sisters are destined to become a queen and a Firebird. Once their fates were decided as children, Izaveta stayed with her mother to prepare to be the queen. Her sister Asya traveled with her great-aunt, the current Firebird. The role of the Firebird is to take something from someone who uses magic, to make sure magic remains balanced. This could be the caster’s heart or a limb. When the current queen, and the twins’ mother, dies suddenly when the girls are seventeen, Asya must return to the palace to reunite with her sister. Asya must find the source of the magic at the palace while Izaveta must convince the council that she is ready to be queen.

This story followed dual narratives of Izaveta and Asya. Both of them had fascinating stories. In their own ways, they had to prove that they were old enough and strong enough to fulfill the roles that they were born to do. Since they were teenage girls, they were overlooked and underestimated, but they had to stand up to their enemies.

There were tons of twists in this story. The death of their mother was kind of glossed over at the beginning, and it ended up being part of a twist at the end. Everyone had secrets that led to a fast paced, exciting ending. It ended on a cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to read the next book!

I highly recommend this exciting new fantasy!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

About the author:

ALEXANDRA OVERY was born in London, England. Ever since she was little she has loved being able to escape into another world through books. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and is completing her MFA in Screenwriting at UCLA. When she’s not working on a new manuscript or procrastinating on doing homework, she can be found obsessing over Netflix shows, or eating all the ice cream she can.

Have you read These Feathered Flames? What did you think of it?