Review: Big Water by Andrea Curtis (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Big Water

Author: Andrea Curtis

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

Seventeen-year-old Christina McBurney, grieving the loss of her twin brother, Jonathan, to consumption, has run away from her Parkdale home. She believes her mother wishes she had been the one to die, and she plans to find work far away as a nursemaid or teacher. Christina’s cousin Peter is the first mate on the Asia, a steamship that transports passengers and freight throughout the Great Lakes, so she seeks him out to secure passage to Sault Ste. Marie.

But when a violent storm suddenly rises, the overloaded and top-heavy steamship begins to sink. Christina, heeding the warnings from her cousin, somehow makes her way to the hurricane deck. A large wave tosses her overboard, but just before she loses consciousness, she is pulled to safety.

Hours later, adrift on the wide-open water of Georgian Bay, in a lifeboat full of corpses, Christina is nervous about being alone with Daniel, a brooding young man with a likely criminal past and the only other passenger left alive. But they both know that working together is the only way they will find the strength to make it to safety.

Big Water is a fictional account of the real-life story of the only two survivors of the sinking of the SS Asia in 1882.



Review: The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton (Spoiler Free)

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Title: The Price Guide to the Occult

Author: Leslye Walton

Genre: YA Magical Realism

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

The Blackburn women are cursed. Ever since the extraordinary witch Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island centuries ago and was shunned by the eight “original” settlers, Blackburn witches have been doomed to carry out a brief whirlwind affair with a descendant of the Original Eight. The vengeful curse, however, had unintended side effects: it diluted the Blackburns’ supernatural powers. That’s perfectly all right with seventeen-year-old Nor Blackburn. All she wants is a quiet, unremarkable life—her powers are blissfully unexceptional, her love life pretty much nonexistent. Nor hopes the curse has played itself out through enough generations that she’ll finally be spared the drama. But when a mysterious book comes out promising to cast any spell for the right price, Nor senses a dark storm headed straight for Anathema—and straight for her.

In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author—Nor’s own mother—looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.


Review: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood (Spoiler Free)

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Title: The Radical Element

Authors: Anna-Marie McLemore, Sarvenaz Tash, Sara Farizan, Marieke Nijkamp, Meg Medina, Erin Bowman, Stacey Lee, Mackenzi Lee, Dhonielle Clayton, Dahlia Adler, Jessica Spotswood, Megan Shepherd

Genre: YA Anthology

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.


Review: Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Phoenix Fire

Author: S.D. Grimm

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: March 5, 2018

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.

Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.


Review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

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Title: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One (Women are some kind of magic #2)

Author: Amanda Lovelace

Genre: Poetry

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.


Waiting on Wednesday

Hey everyone!

It’s time for another Waiting on Wednesday. Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This week, my pick is Rising Silver Mist by Olivia Wildenstein.


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First, I would never kill another person. But when a family friend murdered my father, I destroyed her with a power I didn’t even know I possessed.

Second, I would never strike another bargain. But faeries could bring the dead back, so when Cruz offered to revive my father, I accepted.

Third, I would never marry an enemy, but every bargain comes at a price. The price of mine: I had to marry Cruz and move to the faerie isle.

For the first time in my life, I wondered if death wouldn’t be a kinder end.

Review: DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker


Title: DROPKICKromance

Author: Cyrus Parker

Genre: Poetry

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

A collection of autobiographical poetry about healing and learning to love again from professional-wrestler-turned-poet, Cyrus Parker.

The first half of DROPKICKromance focuses on a toxic, long-distance relationship the author was involved in for several years, while the second half focuses on his current relationship with poet Amanda Lovelace. Ultimately, the collection tells about a profound journey of healing.


Review: This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter (Spoiler Free)

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Title: This Heart of Mine

Author: C.C. Hunter

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living took more courage than dying?


Review: By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell (Spoiler Free)

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Title: By a Charm and a Curse

Author: Jaime Questell

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.


Review: Mirror Sacrifice by Margo Ryerkerk (Spoiler Free)

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Title: Mirror Sacrifice (Ardere Series #2)

Author: Margo Ryerkerk

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publication Date: Paperback now available, February 1 for ebook

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

After escaping a crazed killer, Sierra Reeves is ready to embrace her supernatural Fluidus heritage. She travels to London, intending to train her telekinetic and elemental conjuring abilities as well as integrate into the Ardere society, but she quickly discovers the snobbish elite are less than excited about her existence. Worse yet, Gavin, the man she believed to be her rock, has become more distant than ever as he teams up with his beautiful ex-girlfriend on a mission.

Determined to prove she’s worthy of the Fluidus title, Sierra trains harder than ever with Cooper, who tasked with protecting her, soon becomes her new confidante and possibly more.

But matters of the heart will have to wait as the Culpatus returns with indestructible weapons and unexpected allies.