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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Dystopian, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 218
1. The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

You get two for the price of one today–Layla has a review of The Scorpion Rules for you, and Wendy has a giveaway + recap of the Erin Bow event she attended awhile back! Review: I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I have been in the middle of a fairly severe reading slump (and am also reading nonstop for my dissertation, so you know, take that into account, too) and The Scorpion Rules is one of the few books that have successfully broken through the haze of grumpiness I’ve been in for the last few months. But The Scorpion Rules really worked for me. From what I can tell, though, it seems like it’s been a fairly divisive read – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Luckily for me, I am firmly on Team Scorpion Rules (and Team Talis!). If you like dark humor, morally ambiguous AIs,... Read more »

The post The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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2. Monsterland, by Michael Phillip Cash | Giveaway

Would you rather be a werewolf, a zombie or a vampire? Enter to win an autographed copy of Monsterland, by Michael Phillip Cash; plus a living dead themed travel mug and a $50 Amazon gift card! Giveaway begins November 14, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 16, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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3. Monday Review: THE SCORPION RULES by Erin Bow

Summary: While you can certainly characterize all of Erin Bow's books so far as speculative fiction, they aren't easily categorized within that, nor are they similar to one another in any way—and I like that. Her first book Plain Kate (reviewed... Read the rest of this post

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4. Willful Machines: Review

When I saw Kirkus describe this book as “Gothic, gadget-y, gay” I knew I needed it in my hands as soon as humanly possible. I am happy to say it is all of those wonderful things. And while I didn’t quite love it, I did really, really enjoy this book. There’s so much to like! Yes, there  are wonderfully complex characters, killer robots, and the sweetest M/M romance. The writing beautifully evokes the brooding boarding school setting. This is a near-future sci-fi thriller with a touch of the dystopian. 16 year-old Lee is the closeted son of an ultra-conservative president who is both fiercely anti-gay and anti-robot. It’s unfortunate then, that Lee has a penchant for tinkering with mechanicals, too. The Human Values platform was created in response to an attack by Charlotte, an AI gone rogue, in which  Lee’s mother was murdered. Ever since, Charlotte has been using her... Read more »

The post Willful Machines: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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5. Monsterland, by Michael Phillip Cash | Dedicated Review

In this novel written for fans of the dystopian-horror genre, Cash delivers a gripping story with a Jurassic Park vibe.

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6. Monsterland Blog Tour 2015 with Michael Phillip Cash

You've received a free VIP ticket to join us as we go on the Monsterland tour with award-winning author Michael Phillip Cash.

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7. Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

You know those books that make you sit back and go, “Um, woah” and then are super hard to talk about because they’ve messed with your brain so much? WELL. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill definitely fits in that category. It’s the kind of book that makes you think. It took me ages to formulate thoughts. WHAT DO […]

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8. Catherine Linka, Author of Girl Undone | Selfie and a Shelfie

"I wanted my selfie to show that A GIRL UNDONE continues the story of A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS."

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9. Micro Reviews: Demons, Race Horses, Assassins and Majors

And here’s another catch up post of long overdue mini reviews.

The Shadow Ellysium by Django Wexler

B / B+

This short novella served its purpose as a teaser to generate interest in the Shadow Campaigns series. I loaded The Thousand Names on my Kindle – now I just need time to read it!


To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

B / B+

This inspirational romance caught my eye because of the horse on the cover.  Maggie is dismayed when her father arranges her marriage to Cullen, an Irish immigrant.  She’s reluctant to marry a complete stranger, and an Irishman at that.  She’s also fearful that he’ll object to her training her mare to run in an upcoming race. 

I enjoyed the development of the romance, as well as the details of daily life on a farm in post Civil War Tennessee.  The author doesn’t shy away from describing the prejudices and terrible treatment of the Irish and African Americans.  At first I had a hard time with Maggie because her thoughts and views mirrored those of her neighbors, but as she got to know Cullen and the farm hands working for them, she began to finally see them as individuals deserving respect.  And the horsey bits were entertaining. 



Hit! by Deliah S Dawson


This just did not work for me. I can’t help but think that a huge banking conglomerate would have a better solution for deadweight borrowers than having them assassinated, or forcing them to be assassins. Meh, I didn’t care for HIT.

Mad About the Major by Elizabeth Boyle


Fun read with a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off vibe. Lady Arabella escapes the suffocating confines of her father’s estate to grab a small taste of freedom before she’s forced to marry a stodgy old bachelor. Her father is furious with her because a handsome stranger made a spectacle of her at a ball, and now he’s adamant that she marry before she’s completely ruined. She runs into the rakish Kingsley, the stranger from the ball, after he almost runs her down with his carriage. Arabella convinces him to accompany her on her day of freedom, arguing that he owes her three favors for his behavior at the ball. What follows is an enjoyable romp through London, as Arabella and Kingsley fall for each other during their unusual adventures. I really enjoyed this.

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I don't often like to review a book waaaaay before it comes out, so this is less of a review, and more of a squee with a few salient details you could find on the back of the novel. I really enjoyed this book; it was unashamedly a love story -- but... Read the rest of this post

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I started my late teen entry into fantasy reading with girls who heard telepathic dragons and Heralds who rode blue-eyed telepathic horses. They whole telepathic animal thing quickly got to be a bit much, but I have to admit that I loved those books... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on TURNING PAGES: HUNTER, by MERCEDES LACKEY as of 8/21/2015 2:58:00 PM
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I have a tiny addiction to Joseph Bruchac's KILLER OF ENEMIES books, as you'll note from my original review, the review of the ROSE EAGLE novella, and the fact that I do cover reveals for the KILLERS series - which I don't often even notice are... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on TURNING PAGES: TRAIL OF THE DEAD, by JOSEPH BRUCHAC as of 9/25/2015 6:20:00 AM
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13. An Inheritance of Ashes

A lone figure ambles its way up the twisted ruins of road to find itself unbidden on the steps of a solitary farmhouse. Is the stranger friend or foe? God or man? For 16 year old Hallie, the questions, and the threat, are all too real. In the desolate ruins of civilization, Hallie and her much older sister Marthe have been clinging to their farm, their world, and trying to hold on to each other, but are failing at both. I really enjoyed this book; more, actually, than I have any book in almost two months (I’ve been in a really terrible slump). It has the isolated, post-apocalyptic farm vibe of The Hallowed Ones, with a touch of The Stand, and more than a touch of The Subtle Knife. Leah Bobet crafts this book out of simply gorgeous prose that is never overwrought. This is a sparse, ruined world and... Read more »

The post An Inheritance of Ashes appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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14. Book Blog Tour: STORMDANCER by Joshua Pantalleresco...

The Storm is here...

About Stormdancer:

Days after the events featured in The Watcher, the Watcher is taken hostage by a dragon, leaving Kristen, Will and Nicki alone in a strange new world. With no choice but to try and rescue their friend, Kristen and the others must travel through ancient cities, forgotten burial grounds, and eventually into the heart of the great storm.

Faced with the unknown, will they be able to traverse the storms that stand before them as well as ones within their own hearts?

Book Details:

Title: Stormdancer (Sequel to The Watcher)

Author Name:  JoshuaPantalleresco

Genre(s): Poetry, Sci-Fi, Dystopian

Tags: Poetry, Epic, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, science-fiction, dragons

Length: Approx. 104 pages

E-book:  978-0-9947490-4-8
Paperback:  978-0-9947490-3-1

Release Date: October 1, 2015

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing (http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/)

Appropriate for all ages from Young Adult to Adult.

Follow the Tour to Read Exclusive Excerpts, Guest Posts, and Reviews:


Guest Post:Why Joshua Pantalleresco Writes

So before we begin, I want to thank Sharon for having me. She's secretly a unicorn, and that story will have to be told some other day, but she's a kind, sweet lady and it was a pleasure to be asked to come here and write. 

I am going to write about my books, why I wrote them, and the lessons you can learn from them.  Stormdancer is book two of the Watcher Saga. In it, the Watcher, the main character from book one is kidnapped leaving Kristin, Nicki, and Will to chase him down. The journey is improbable and fantastic and in my opinion the kind of magic a good story creates.

I want to talk about some of the themes of the story. In particular, dealing with grief and changes.  Because entering into this book, I was left in a quandry. The Watcher was the Watcher's story; about his journey to discovering who he was, and more importantly, what he wanted to be. This wasn't the Watcher's story anymore. It is the first line in book two. 

This is not my story anymore.

That was deliberate, conscious line that illustrated the problems I had starting book two. I wanted to flesh out the characters I introduced at the end of book one, yet I didn't want to lose the strong presence the Watcher had in book one.

So who were the three kids I rescued? I chose Kristin as the main character in book two. They had just gone through the loss of everything they knew. Kristin represented that tragedy. Losing a family.

It parallels my own story. Not that I lost my whole family, but my whole family situation collapsed at a very young age. My mom and dad fell apart and I remember that when I was younger it was like my fault. Why did two people I love have to do this? Why did things have to change? It messed me up. I tried to tell myself I was over this pain of not having this unit in my life. I ran away from home at one point because of the pain.

I was very fortunate. I had two teachers look after me. One of them a principal, and the other was my grade four teacher. I was her last class. We didn't make the greatest impression, but to my surprise, she was there for me when I least expected it.

That's Kristin in chapter three. She was happy in her life – it was all she knew. And that turmoil is expressed very much in all her actions for the first half of the book. She has become my favorite character to write in the saga so far. Watching her rise above her own stuff was a vicarious experience.

I had to learn at a young age that life was a struggle. A lot of kids have their childhoods end a lot sooner than maybe they should. I thought the three kids had been through hell, and it was just beginning.   Making them grow up happened to me.

The silver lining going through grief is that people come together. Family isn't just blood. It's the people you go through things with, that are there with you through thick and thin. Going back to the very beginning, it wasn't just the Watcher's story anymore. It was about the kids, and going through their own fires, and becoming closer for it.

So if you are a kid reading Sharon's blog, I hope this book teaches you to be brave. I'm not going to lie to you; life is hard. Chances are you have gone through some painful things and are probably stronger and braver than I was ever was. I'm not going to make you a promise that it'll get any easier. What I can tell you though, is that you can overcome. The big secret that most adults don't even know is that if you believe you can do it, you can. You are strong and powerful and can do anything.

But I'm also going to say that there are people who are there for you no matter what. People that believe in you. They will be there when you fall, and they will be there to help you rise. They are the people worth being with. 

Read an Excerpt:


he ran
disappearing into the night
leaving us all alone

we tried to follow him
but were unsure of the trees and trails
we went slowly

we knew something had happened
when we found his blades in the forest
blackened and alone

he had come
like a force of nature
wrecking our lives
in the name of freedom
freedom from what?

the hollow embers and ashes we found
I didn't build them
those ruins were his story
not mine
never mine

I...was happy
yeah, I was happy
is there something wrong with that?

my parents loved me
I didn't care about anything else

the dragons were bastards
but I understood the game
the moves that could be made

with one flick of a blade
he changed all that
shattered the illusion with a roar of rebellion

now my life is here
in this forest
now he had vanished into the night
leaving me abandoned

leaving everything in shambles!

Purchase Links:


Mirror World Publishing

Meet the Author:

Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff. It's even on his business card. This is a succinct way of saying that in addition to writing poetry, he also does interviews, columns, comics, prose and anything possible with the written word. When he isn't writing, he's playing with podcasts, filming stuff, fiddling with alternative medicine, travelling, talking to people and pretending he is a rockstar. Stormdancer is his second book through Mirror World Publishing. He lives in Calgary.

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15. Red Queen: Review

I am sad to say that Red Queen is yet another bland and wholly unexceptional entry in YA fantasy. What starts out with potential is ultimately unable to fulfill the promise of its premise. Here you have the story of a common girl, Mare, a Red, who finds herself in a position to make an actual impact against the brutal oppression of the supernaturally powered Silvers, and yet the story is one long slog fest of tired trope after another. The writing is competent, yet far from stunning. But it was the convenience of the plot that first got my hackles raised. In the space of a single day Mare: is selected from obscurity to get a job serving in the castle after a chance run in with one of the princes (he is obviously instantly enamored of her) is sent out to serve the most important families in the... Read more »

The post Red Queen: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.

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16. Book Review: The Selection By Keira Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a

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17. Pandemic Novels

I recently finished reading Station Eleven. I had heard so many good things about this book.

I wasn’t disappointed by the writing and the characters. But I have to admit, this book had me at flu pandemic.

I love a pandemic.

Pandemics in novels are not a new premise. It’s been done thousands of times, which proves that there are no new stories under the sun; however, it all depends upon what the writer brings to the story — the plot, the characters, the setting.

So then I started thinking of other pandemic novels that I loved — each of them very different. Here’s a few from my list:


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson
A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer
Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Stand by Stephen King

Do you also love pandemic, end-of-the-world novels as much as I do? Let me know your favorites — I’m always on the lookout.

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I was attracted to this novel first by the cover depicting the SF Bridge, second by the name of the author, Ellery Kane which of course reminded me a great deal of Ellery Queen. Third, the author is a forensic psychologist which was the eventual... Read the rest of this post

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19. Zodiac, by Romina Russell | Book Review

Readers looking for tension, angst, fantastical myths, well-rounded characters, and a very human tale of survival will delight in this quick and engrossing page-turner of a story, sure to inspire the inner-Zodiac in everyone.

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20. Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review: Hunted (The Sinners Series Book 2) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

   Hunted (The Sinners Series Book 2) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki Pre-Order today  Print Length: 414 pages Publisher: Month9Books  (April 28, 2015) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Language: English ASIN: B00SVVX64C It’s been three months since the revolt against the Commander’s fifty-year-old regime failed.  Under a new ruler, things

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21. Interview: Meet Rachelle Dekker, Author of The Choosing

[Manga Maniac Café] Good morning, Rachelle!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Rachelle Dekker] Curious, goofy, free-spirited, and fearful (I hide the last one well, but I’m working on it).

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about The Choosing?

[Rachelle Dekker] The Choosing is a story about identity. Carrington Hale is a girl that lives in a society where worth is based on your ability to be picked as a bride. We find Carrington at the beginning of the story having failed to be picked and the turmoil that follows. Is a person’s worth based on the titles and roles society places on them, or can they discover their true worth, given to them by their Father. That is the journey Carrington will go on.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Rachelle Dekker] There is a scene between Aaron and Carrington that comes towards the end of the novel that I love. They talk about being a bird, being able to fly. It’s a dream sequence that’s half nightmare, half hopeful and I identify because I’m a dreamer myself. I think dreams give us incredible insight and can show us things about ourselves we may have forgotten. It was a fun scene to write.

[Manga Maniac Café] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

[Rachelle Dekker] The lessons learned. I write to discover, to explore an idea that I think is intriguing or terrifying, or both. I have told my husband several times, if nothing ever came from writing this novel other than the physical words on paper it would still have been worth it because of the personal journey it took me on.

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Rachelle Dekker] My cell phone, it’s sad but how will I play Trivia Crack, or FarmVille without it?

[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Rachelle Dekker] Harry Potter pen, pickle duct tape, and the outline for my next project

[Manga Maniac Café] What’s your favorite snack when you’re working on a deadline?

[Rachelle Dekker] Apples and peanut butter, or Cheez-It’s.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Rachelle Dekker] Anna Kendrick: she’s beautiful, can sing, quirky, funny, and she got to be in Pitch Perfect, Into The Woods, and ParaNorman

[Manga Maniac Café] You have been granted the use of one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?

[Rachelle Dekker] I feel like the ability to fly would be pretty awesome, but I wonder if after a couple of days I would get board. I’m also not a huge fan of heights, so maybe Telepathy would be better. Then I could go into random coffee shops and freak everybody out by moving things with my mind. Clearly I’m really mature.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Rachelle Dekker] Looking for Alaska – John Green, Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo, And The Mountains Echo – Khaled Hosseini, and Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs… I would recommend them all!

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Rachelle Dekker] My Website: www.rachelledeker.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rachelledekker

FaceBook: www.facebook.com/rachelledekkerauthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rachelle_dekker

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.

But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.

Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.

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22. Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes

by Sabaa Tahir

Told in alternating stories of two main characters on opposite sides, An Amber in the Ashes is a suspenseful exploration of the effects of violence on both the conquered and the conquerors. Set in a Rome-like fantasy world, the Scholars are a subjugated people under the rule of the Martials. Laia is a Scholar living with her brother and grandparents. When her brother is arrested on suspicion of being a member of the resistance, and her grandparents are killed violently by Martial soldiers, Laia runs away in fear. To atone for her cowardice, Laia sets out to save her brother, and goes undercover as a slave to the cruel and sadistic commander of the elite military academy Blackcliff.

Elias is a student at Blackcliff, training to become a Mask, the most elite of Martial soldiers. Although he has lived most of his life as a student under the harsh discipline at Blackcliff, Elias still sees things differently than his peers because he spent the first six years of his life outside the Martial society. Elias is determined to escape the violent society and his role as an enforcer as soon as he graduates. Then a visit from the Augurs — the Martial's version of oracles — puts a difficult choice before Elias. But can he trust the prophecy, or is he being manipulated by the Augurs?

Sabaa Tahir was inspired to write An Ember in the Ashes during her time at the Washington Post's foreign desk, when she was exposed to horrifying stories of the effects of violence on people around the world. An Ember in the Ashes is an exciting dystopian story that shows how a violent society affects everyone, from the slaves to the highest levels. Even the resistance is divided by the question of whether they have an obligation to help those of their people in need, or whether such aid detracts from their mission of fighting back against the Martials.

I had some minor credibility problems, and the plot development was occasionally awkward. I thought that the addition of supernatural characters like djinn was an unnecessary device that muddies the waters. The augurs were fine and really drive the plot in many ways, but the djinn and other spirits made it start to feel like everything was thrown in, including the kitchen sink.

This isn't a subtle book: the message about the effects of violence is hammered pretty hard. However, as I write this in a Baltimore (and a nation) trying to figure out how to police our communities without unnecessary violence by police against the people they are supposed to protect, the message really resonates.

In spite of the minor issues, I found An Ember in the Ashes to be a thrilling and highly engaging plot-driven story with loads of teen appeal, especially for fans of dystopian fiction like the Hunger Games. I can understand why it's been optioned for film already.


Elias is described as having golden-brown skin. The identity of Elias' father is unknown, but it's likely that his skin color came from his father, since his mother is described as having pale skin. Other than that, skin color doesn't seem to play a role, although one of the more despicable characters is also described as having dark skin. The Martial empire appears to be generally diverse, with various ethnicities of people coming from the different conquered nations, although it's not significant to the plot.

Although the empire appears to be fairly patriarchal, female characters play a significant role. Besides Laia, there's Helene, who is also a student at Blackcliff and Elias' best friend. Helen is one tough cookie, in some ways one of the toughest students there. In spite of that, though, she's mostly relegated to the traditional female support role, and a subplot about an attraction leaves her acting "like a girl." There's also the female commander of Blackcliff, and several minor female characters including a cook who used to be an explosives expert.

The author is a woman of color.

Who would like this book?

Anyone who enjoys a thrilling, suspenseful plot-driven story, particularly fans of The Hunger Games and other dystopian fiction. In keeping with the theme, An Ember in the Ashes is fairly dark and violent, so sensitive readers may want to take a pass.

Buy from Powells.com:

FTC required disclosure: Review copy sent by the publisher to enable me to write this review. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

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23. End of Days: Review + Giveaway

  Well, it’s the end of an era isn’t it? I wasn’t even a little bit nervous that this book would fail to deliver on all the promise of its predecessors and I am so happy to tell you that I was right in my confidence. If you are looking for heart pounding action, a fierce but all too human heroine, the swooniest of swoons and, of course, intense creepiness you will find it, and more, in End of Days. Like World After, End of Days picks up almost immediately where its predecessor left off. Penryn is reunited with both Raffe and Paige, but they are still plagued with problems. The world is still a mess, overrun with angels, humans, and other monsters. Raffe still needs his wings back and Paige needs help steering back to humanity. As is to be expected this book is super creepy. You thought you’ve... Read more »

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24. TURNING PAGES: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

The cover of this novel is striking and colorful, signalling a South Asian tale. Readers may be surprised to discover that it's both a dystopia -- and, in part, a verse novel. The detail is absorbing and the political landscape surprising, and the... Read the rest of this post

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25. Archivist Wasp: Review

This is the story of a girl lost in a lonely, desolate, and bare world; and a girl lost in herself. Wasp is an Archivist, one of a handful of girls selected from a young age to serve in a religious order where she must capture ghosts, learn what she can from them about their lives in the world Before and then dispatch them. It is a good thing to finish them eternally, or so she has been trained to think. Wasp must also battle to the death for her title every year. There is a line of upstarts looking to become Archivist themselves, and it is also how she herself took the title. She wears the braids of the Archivist before her and of all the upstarts who have challenged her in her own hair. It’s a fierce and brutal world our Wasp inhabits. This is a girl who... Read more »

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