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The Lost Siren

The Lost Siren by Hermione Lee starts out with one of the most beautiful settings I have read in a book so far! Aquila is a young, beautiful, and enchanting Siren of the sea. Unfortunately, she wakes up on an iceberg alone, scared, and without a memory of her past. She’s bruised and cut up but finds her way to an island, where she is rescued by a young sorcerer named Everard.

Everard and Aquila fall in love with each other quickly. He takes care of her and answers any questions she has. He doesn’t like it when she has questions about the palace or the royal family. Everard, however, is not the knight in shining armor we all thought at first. He hurts and abandons Aquila, and she is rescued by a handsome king. Aquila quickly falls in love with the king’s kind spirit, but as she starts to regain her memory of her past, she isn’t proud of who she used to be. Finally, war comes to the palace, and Aquila must write all her wrongs to end the war.

I really did enjoy the creative aspect of the book. The world that was created by the author was unique and painted a good picture in my mind. It was well written with great detail. I loved the characters and their development throughout the story. I enjoyed reading about the magical powers they had in this world. An island full of magic creates such a beautiful picture. What I didn’t like about the book was how the relationships developed when it came to love; there was no build-up. I like falling in love with the characters; in this case, readers are not given much to build on.

The Lost Siren is a captivating teen and young adult novel with elements of romance. While there is a love interest, the story focuses on how Aquila deals with her emotions and the realization of who she is. It is perfect for teen girls struggling with who they are and want fantasy novels that focus on more than battles and wizards.

Pages: 158 | ASIN : B0BGPV6LWN

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Dane Thorburn and Nature’s Revenge

After saving Princess Vanessa from the City of Lost Souls, Dane Thorburn has to deal with another problem, because, of course, there’s no opportunity for heroes to rest—dragons. A significant threat follows our character throughout their journey, and it’s enough to keep your eyes glued to the page.

Dane Thorburn and Nature’s Revenge by Matt Galanos is a fantastical and adventurous story that deals with mystery and mythical beings and is a story that challenges the norms of certain archetypes, such as the hero and the Princess. Accompanied by Lord Frederick, Will, and other memorable characters, Dane needs to figure out precisely what these mythical beasts are doing, how they came to be, and what they want with the Princess.

Within this exciting story, there. It isn’t a moment where adventure isn’t happening. Every chapter is full of questions and excitement, and by the end of every chapter, events are happening in ways that will make you want to read the next chapter and then the next—it’s a book I didn’t want to put down. Though there are grammatical errors here and there, it’s nothing too bad to the point where you can’t understand what is trying to be said.

A large cast was introduced, all by name, in the first few chapters. Each was diverse in personality and appearance, and the author did a great job of keeping everyone distinctive. Every character mentioned, whether they stay throughout the entire book or are only there for a moment, has a striking personality that sets them apart from one another. It’s extremely impressive, and it takes a great author to distinguish so many distinct personalities.

Dane Thorburn and Nature’s Revenge is a captivating young adult and teen fantasy novel. Though some moments can be confusing, the exploration, adventure, and memorable characters do an even greater job of making such a fantastic book come to life. If you’re looking for a fantasy adventure, I definitely recommend this book.

Pages: 314 | ASIN : B0B8K22HS4

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Restart by Drew Samuelsen is a dystopian tale of thirteen-year-old Ulysses, who finds himself alone after a strange event has killed most of the world’s population. Fearing for his Mother, who never came home from work, he sets out to find her. Along the way, he acquires a group of friends and learns the world’s own technology was used to decimate the population. They also soon know not all humans hit by this technological-based attack were killed; some were changed into deadly, almost animal-like killing machines. Can Ulysses and his friends avoid technology and murderous humans while looking for their loved ones?

I like that the vessel to bring about the apocalypse is technology. This also turns the book into a fear-inducing one; I kept thinking about all the tech around me that could be used against me. It leads to a bit of a chilling reading experience. The action was well-paced, and the story kept me intrigued. I also liked this book because it provided light moments in this dark situation. The tone was really a fun one. The fault I’ve found with other dystopian novels is that they are too heavy, with no moments to break up the bleakness; thankfully, this one suffered from no such problems.

I found the book’s frequent foreshadowing took away from many surprise twists in the story that I’d liked to have been able to have gone in unwarned for. I also felt too many things just got handed to the characters. It was like everything they needed fell right into their laps. I am glad they managed to have what they needed to survive, but I would have liked them to work a little harder for it in some cases.

Restart: Book 1 (The Restart Series) is a captivating young adult dystopian story. It had the right amount of chilling and humor that balanced it well. In addition, it gave some unique ideas about how an apocalypse might go. I highly recommend this to any dystopian and science fiction fans.

Pages: 160 | ASIN : B0BJYD1KWW

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New America Awakenings

In an America divided by race and religion, Colton Jenkins must simultaneously navigate the new war-like world as a young adult and a victim of oppression. He and his family found themselves in a community ruled by a heavy hand, where every form of treason, with or without evidence, leads to another head cut from a body stuck on a pike. With no one to trust and turn to, may it be the government, the religious, and even your neighbors, Colton must find a way to keep himself and his loved ones alive, all while finding ways to regain freedom and liberty for everyone.

New America Awakenings, by Tyler Davis, is a gripping story that depicts what our future might look like without democracy and the role the youth play in societal changes. From the beginning of the novel, the author makes sure to spare no details about the apocalyptic setting, from its origin and history to its ongoing severe, sadistic practices. With every page, readers anticipate and dread what is coming, for there seem to be no limits regarding the horrifying reality the characters experience, regardless of race, religion, and age. Yet, in the doom of it all, there are moments where one can see hope, whether in the scenes focused on family, the camaraderie between friends, and even times when authorities are defied and challenged. Because of these, readers are inspired to continue despite the cruelty to see if these moments can lead to somewhere positive. 

Personally, the book was a page-turner due to the constant presence of crisis, intriguing me to wait and see if there is anything that will happen that is more cynical than the previous. Unfortunately, the book did not disappoint in that area, and I was left hanging by its ending because I was expecting more to happen. Still, the ending placement was clever, for it keeps readers on their toes and hungry for the sequel to come out. I have always been interested in dystopian novels, and this one earned its rightful place in my top ten. As for the characters, each one’s contribution to the story was highlighted, making it easier to remember them and either love or hate them. The author also made sure to keep all characters real, in the sense that they are all flawed, one way or another, which is integral to point out in a dystopian setting that calls people to act based on survival rather than morals.

New America Awakenings will keep its readers interested with the constant action, all while compelling them to reflect on what they are reading in terms of their ethics. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in books such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, which are famous for their young adult heroines and post-apocalyptic setting. I also recommend this to anyone who would like to ponder on the humanities, for the novel shows a different take on culture and society as we know it.

Pages: 322 | ASIN : B0BDBLJ9JZ

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The Conjurer’s Curse 

Rowan has always been different. Since the day he was born, he has battled a curse that brings death to those around him, the morbid result of his mother’s actions long ago. After Rowan’s curse kills his fourth Guardian-Mother, he is banished from his island and forced to sail off in search of somewhere he can belong. After finding family in Shandria, Rowan thinks he has found a place to call home. But, the stakes grow as he tries to navigate love while learning who to trust in this world of cunning, monsters, and dangerous magic.

The Conjurer’s Curse is a coming-of-age fantasy story written by Stephanie Cotta. It follows seventeen-year-old Rowan as he searches for a place to be accepted and break the curse that has plagued him his entire life. Set first in the deep jungle, then in the vast land of Shandria, this story opens an impressive fantasy world where the magic takes its toll, and people fall prey to the conniving Conjurers who wield it. Full of dynamic characters and nail-biting conflict, this story is an exciting ride from start to finish.

The Conjurer’s Curse is never dull and transports the reader to Rowan’s world through vivid descriptions and emotional impact. One thing that really grabs the reader’s attention is the excellent use of dialogue. Accents and different dialects are a big part of it, and there are times when the characters come across as very clever. Cotta also proved to be skilled with pacing, based on the plot progression and romance timing.

The Conjurer’s Curse is complex and exciting and has beautiful descriptions and dialogue. This would be an excellent read for middle schoolers and above or anyone who wants to experience the adventure in this young adult epic fantasy novel.

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Sky Curse

In the year 2045, mankind has depleted the resources of Earth, and humans are looking to move off the planet in hopes of a fresh start. This is the setting for this thrilling young adult novel. The chosen five are Brian, Jamal, Alex, Kev, and Cecilia in Janet Kravetz’s titular series. Cecilia Miller is a teenage female protagonist in this dystopian future book. Titan is regarded as humanity’s last hope, but everyone can’t afford to travel there. Even more so, not everyone desires to. Duncan Macdougall, a Localist, wants Cecilia and the other four chosen candidates to stop the fulfillment of an old Mayan prophecy and save Earth and its inhabitants. Five Mayan crystals that contain the technology to save the planet are sought after by the chosen five who journey to Mexico in their search.

Sky Curse has a slow-burn beginning, but that gave me time to adjust to the world-building presented by Kravetz. It is futuristic hard science fiction, but it also contains aspects of fantasy and has a measure of reality mixed in. This teen novel is an exceptionally well-written, imaginative, and wholly original work. Along with Cecilia, I was transported to an unfortunate Earth. Cecilia is portrayed as a blonde with blue eyes, which is a little cliché. However, she still has her imperfections and is intelligent, and contributes well to the authenticity needed to make a protagonist come to life. And not to forget, Tony provides the humor and is Cecilia’s go-to companion.

The thought-provoking plot lines will get readers to consider climate change from beginning to end. Although it is hypothetical, nothing seems out of the ordinary or overly complicated. The reader starts to believe that what they are reading might very well be the kind of world we are leaving for future generations, which has a dramatic effect. The novel is written for older teens and younger adults, but Kravetz’s insightful developments and topics are broad enough to appeal to readers with more demanding tastes in literary nuances.

Sky Curse is the exciting start of a new young adult science fiction series, The Chosen Five. Filled with action, drama, paranormal, and fantasy elements there is something for all readers in this novel. Follow the chosen five as they try to save Earth and prevent the apocalyptic destruction of humanity. I can’t wait to see what the series has in store!

Pages: 395 | ASIN : B0B9638NC7

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Smuggled by Angela Karanja is the story of Tuliana, a fourteen-year-old orphan from Kenya, who finds herself trapped in a world of human trafficking. Barely remembering her mother from childhood, Tuliana grew up never having a home of her own or a sense of stability. Then, one morning, she finds herself on a plane with a group of kids and has no idea where she’s going. When they arrive in London, Tuliana is separated from the kids and whisked away in a stranger’s car, which marks the beginning of her new life.

Terrified of her new life and unaware of her fate, Tuliana hangs on to what she remembers: Jonathan, a friend she made on the plane. He becomes her anchor in a way she would have never imagined and vows to find her. As she moves from one home to another, she is treated differently in each setting, though she is always a servant (slave). She later realizes that she’s a victim of human trafficking. Jonathan realized Tuliana was a victim of something uncanny as soon as she was snatched and began to investigate her whereabouts, concerned for his friend.

This emotional book does a fantastic job of diving into the bleak and often invisible lives of children and people who are victims of human trafficking. It’s a tragic reality that we often don’t associate with the modern world. The author brings the real story of one girl, who represents many children globally who fall prey to smuggling and slavery. Karanja carefully explores children’s different perspectives and trauma experiences during this process. Tuliana is a great character who displays great strength, intelligence, and resilience in her life.

I highly recommend Smuggled by Angela Karanja for the humanity it gives victims and survivors of human trafficking. It’s a great story about an important topic that deserves more attention on a local and global scale.

Pages: 189 | ASIN : B0BB1VZ4JG

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Antunites Unite

Antunites Unite by Terry Birdgenaw is the third book in the Antunite Chronicles. This series is a great starting point for budding lovers of high science fiction. Warrior Cats meet Ender’s Game, and the characters are regular AND cyborg insects.

In Antunites Unite, we follow several different ant characters as they fight to keep and restore order among their colonies. Not only does the reader have to keep track of different characters and their plot threads, but those are also not necessarily chronological. The chapters jump in time often whenever current events need explaining, which is when we jump back in time to the events that caused the current situation. Luckily, the book starts with a helpful list of characters in chronological order and a quick recap of the story so far, and each chapter starts with the name of the ANT or BEE ruler at the time.

The story is great for younger readers, as it is fairly easy to follow despite the time jumps and different characters. I can see it inspire many new lifelong readers and lovers of complex science fiction to the likes of Dune. It is a pretty light-hearted read, and those that are mature readers should remember the target audience is young adults and teens. The series is filled to the brim with writing conveniences like paragraphs of exposition starting with a variation on the line: “As you know…”, always spoken by a wise character to a young character who is new to the job and has a new perspective on the world around them.

Antunites Unite (The Antunite Chronicles Book 3) is a young adult science fiction novel with a dystopian theme. The story is rich and complex while still keeping the story accessible to readers not as well-versed in the depth of sci-fi.

Pages: 373 | ASIN : B0BCT1SFJY

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