A Shadow Bright and Burning

 

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the arc of A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess! I read an excerpt in Buzz Books YA Fall/Winter 2016 and wanted to read the rest of the book, thankfully, it was available on NetGalley. The fantasy story involves witches, magicians and sorcerers, but they are all different in this world from what we are accustomed to . Magicians are untrustworthy scoundrels, witches start fires and sorcerers control fire. Families and Artifacts harm people and go to battle against humans. Henrietta Howel, Nettie, is a young teacher and is taken by a sorcerer to have her own sorcerer skills revealed. Rook has been Nettie’s friend throughout her life and she doesn’t want to leave him behind. Thinking that living in the Sorcerers’ society will be a better life, Nettie takes Rook along. Trials abound for the both of them as secrets reveal themselves, sometimes unwillingly. This is a story worthy of Harry Potter fans and for readers who enjoyed the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I encourage fantasy lovers to read this, you will devour it! I like how Jessica Cluess states in her author’s notes that she is an “unapologetic nerd.”! This shows how down to earth she is; I love it!

Love Blind

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the arc of Love Blind by Christa Desir and Jolene Perry! A teenage boy, Kyle, as the main character in chapter one, then Hailey for chapter two. Alternating between Kyle and Hailey each chapter lets the reader live in both of their worlds better than first person point of view would have. Hailey has been diagnosed as legally blind (the ophthalmologist tells her she has “old-people eyes”),lives with her two adoptive moms and she has a list of fears to overcome. Hailey is the singer in the band, Blinders On, with her two friends. Kyle lives with his single mom and he’s dealing with being painfully shy and getting bullied at school. Kyle and Hailey meet and become reluctant friends and begin to work on Hailey’s fear list. In the meantime, Hailey talks Kyle into making his own list. Some use of the “F” word, but it fits in with the situations discussed in the book. Love Blind fits in the young adult genre because of its swearing and sex language. This book deals with some intense, tough issues: extreme bullying, losing virginity, hpv, dysfunctional families, blindness, being adopted, gay parents, sexuality and love with creative writing and care. One of my greatest fears is becoming blind and I admire anyone who has dealt with blindness. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and grew to care about them, with their dynamic personalities, humor and drama. The story is intense and deep with an inconclusive ending that leaves the mind to wonder about the characters’ futures.