Five Young Adult Mini-Reviews

Posted August 26, 2017 by Lisa Mandina in / 12 Comments

Again,  keep getting behind!  I feel like I’ve been doing more adult romance reviews lately, and realized I had these five to share, so here you go!

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves:

Published:  March 28th, 2017
Source:  ARC received from publisher for honest review
My rating:  3.5 stars

This book definitely started out really good and hard to put down.  I like the different types of magic and society as well as the setting and history that was used in it.  The other world that Anna could slip into for the magical beings was very spooky.  But towards the last 30% I got a little bored and had trouble picking it up, not to mention I had a lot of other books to get read for tours, so it got pushed to the back of the reading pile.  I’m not sure if I’ll go on with the series.  But we’ll see. 

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant:

Published:  April 4th, 2017
Source:  ARC received from publisher for honest review
My rating:  5 stars

This was another book that I picked up and got sucked right into. But then I had some review books, and had to put it down for a bit.  But once I picked it back up I could barely put it down to sleep, fortunately it was summer and school was out so I was able to stay up late reading when I wanted to.  About halfway through the book, the love interest, Zenn, was making me sigh.  It is a sweet romance, with a little twist that doesn’t take away from the story, just gives it an added dimension.  A sweet, quick read.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
The more I touch someone, the more I can see and understand, and the more I think I can help. But that’s my mistake. I can’t help. You can’t fix people like you can solve a math problem.

Math genius. Freak of nature. Loner.

Eva Walker has literally one friend—if you don’t count her quadruplet three-year-old-siblings—and it’s not even because she’s a math nerd. No, Eva is a loner out of necessity, because everyone and everything around her is an emotional minefield. All she has to do is touch someone, or their shirt, or their cell phone, and she can read all their secrets, their insecurities, their fears.

Sure, Eva’s “gift” comes in handy when she’s tutoring math and she can learn where people are struggling just by touching their calculators. For the most part, though, it’s safer to keep her hands to herself. Until she meets six-foot-three, cute-without-trying Zenn Bennett, who makes that nearly impossible.

Zenn’s jacket gives Eva such a dark and violent vision that you’d think not touching him would be easy. But sometimes you have to take a risk…

How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat:

Published:  August 15th, 2017
Source:  ARC received for honest review
My rating:  5 stars

I loved this book.  From the moment I picked it up it was so hard to put down!  Unfortunately I started reading when I was back in school, so I was unable to stay up and read like I wanted to.  The story brought out just about every emotion as I read, a lot of crying too.  I fell in love with Lipton.  I totally commiserated with Vicky on some of her social anxiety issues.  Like knowing if a guy liked you, or talking back to him.  Losing a best friend, I’ve been there, and so I felt the sadness and anger at the different things that happened.  A great, emotional story, very much on the pulse of the teens today with the social media aspect.  

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.

So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.

To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.

In this beautiful and illuminating narrative, Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are.

This is Not the End by Chandler Baker:

Published:  August 8th, 2017
Source:  Finished copy received from publisher for honest review
My rating:  5 stars

Man, while I feel like I’ve been reading less YA lately, most of the ones I have been reading have been really good!  I was surprised several times throughout the story with the twists that the author threw out there.  Surprised in a good way, although one way was definitely a sad one.  And then the biggest twist the last 10% made it so hard to put down to do anything else!  While I definitely had some issues with the laws, or thought they were maybe a little weird and out there, if they hadn’t been the way they were, it would have changed some of the tension in the story.  Another fresh idea, a great read, with some good emotional threads woven into the story.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys:

Published:  March 22nd, 2011
Source:  Free audiobook download from 2017 Sync Summer Program
My rating:  5 stars

This is another book that I think so many people, teens and adults alike, should read. And if you get the chance to listen to the audiobook, listening to the author talk at the end was so intense.  I know that when I was in school I don’t remember ever really talking about the way the Russians also had their own work camps, very similar to the Nazi concentration camps.  I never really knew why Siberia was a bad place, other than how cold it was.  This book is one that gives you a glimpse into all of that.  I know that the students at the high school where I am a librarian now do learn about this but this makes me want to know more.  Even though I knew a story like this was more than just a teenager’s life, I still hoped for Lina to have a romance, and then I was so crushed when it looked like it was going to be ruined.  The deaths of the people, so realistic, yet still so much crying on my part.  I also like that the Russian military had at least one soldier/policeman who was shown to be human, even though at times he was just as bad as most of them, at other times he showed he was as unsure of what was being done himself.  If you don’t know a lot about  this time period, you should pick this up.  If The Diary of Anne Frank or other stories like that are ones that really affected you, this will also be one you’ll want to read.  I intend to read this author’s other books as I get the time.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 0
Pin Share20

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 responses to “Five Young Adult Mini-Reviews

  1. All these books look really interesting- and I applaud your ability to do mini-reviews! I know that they can be a good way to share some stuff about books you've been meaning to review for a while, but I can somehow never manage to do them!

    • I'm so far behind on reviews that this is about the only way to try to get everything I want to review posted on my blog. I feel like I'm not doing my best job with these reviews, but at least I'm sharing! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I always get nervous when I see reviews for books I really loved, but you like them too! How to Disappear earned a spot on my favorites shelf. It just hit all the right notes for me, and Lipton!!! Loved him! Zenn was such an unexpected delight, and as you said, such a sweet romance. I loved the quads too.

  3. I bought Between Shades of Gray at a book sale last fall but haven't read it yet. Thanks for the tip about listening to the audiobook. We do a lot of those on the drive to school.

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.