Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo is the second book in the Grisha Trilogy. Mal and Alina escape from the Darkling and are trying to earn enough money to travel to a place where no one has heard of the Grisha. Before they can move on, the Darkling finds them again. The White Stag captured in the first book was only the first of the amplifiers the Darkling wants. He is now after the Sea Whip. The crew is overthrown by a privateer who rescues Mal and Alina from the Darkling, just as the Sea Whip is captured and killed. Alina now has a second amplifier and reads a story about a third one, the Firebird. The privateer, Sturmhond, has many tricks and secrets up his sleeve. While Alina is put in charge of the Second Army with Mal as the Captain of the Guard, the kingdom is searching for the Darkling and preparing for war. Alina learns that the amplifiers were not discovered, but created, which makes their safety more questionable and makes them even more of a mystery. Lives are lost and some are forever changed in the battle with the Darkling. Once again, Leigh Bardugo has entered the Grisha’s world with magnificent writing and dynamic characters- 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the world building and the unsurety of what lies ahead. The characters are dynamic. I like how the author changed Alina to let the magic become part of who she is.
Mature content: PG for a brief kiss and a gentle kiss.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is the start of the Grisha Trilogy about two orphans, Alina and Mal. Alina and Mal are being interviewed by Grisha as children, then the story jumps ahead to their young adulthood. Mal is a tracker in the army and Alina is an assistant to a cartographer. The army is crossing The Fold, a place where monsters called Volcra live. Volcra attack and Mal and Alina protect each other. As the Volcra claw at her back, Alina lights up. She’s suspected of being a Sun Summoner and people will want her to light up The Fold so traveling can be safer and ports can be used once again. The Darkling takes Alina to Os Alta for her safety, her training and to serve the kingdom. Alina feels like she doesn’t fit into this life any better than her last dwelling and job as a mapmaker. She hasn’t seen Mal since she was taken to the palace. Alina has a revelation as a forgotten memory resurfaces. Alina’s power comes forth and as her power grows, it becomes easier for her to call upon and she learns who she can and cannot trust and who she truly loves. I like how the author has woven Russia into the story. Leigh Bardugo is an impressive author and her debut novel, Shadow and Bone, brought anxiety to my mind and tears to my eyes – 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: The story enveloped me from the first page. I adored the characters of Alina, Mal, and Genya. The world building is flawless.
Language: PG for 6 swears and no f-bombs.
Mature Content: PG for prolonged kissing
Violence: PG for Creatures killing and eating people, sounds described. The Cut made with magic that slices people in two. Bloody injury.
A woman lost her son a year ago. He was taken from their home sometime in the night. Her husband left her and is with a new woman who looks like her and also looks like his previous wife, who is now deceased. Two-thirds into the book, it’s revealed that the police and mostly everyone else suspects that the kidnapper was someone inside the home. The uncertainty of whether or not the main character can be trusted or if she’s unreliable makes it more interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed the ending, 4 stars!
Collapsed by Jenetta Penner A world of Cobalts and Scarlets, full of prejudice and poverty, is the setting for Tenlyn’s story. Ten is looking forward to her birthday because it’s also the same day that she’s scheduled to take a test that might open the door to her future. Her best friend Kalib is an artist and also a huge financial supporter for his family since his father died. He also takes the test, surprising everyone, since he hadn’t told a soul. Both Ten and Kalib pass the exam and go on their way to the Scarlet world. They receive different assignments. Kalib becomes a courier while Ten becomes a governess. Kalib visits Ten secretly one time in the middle of the night and tells her that things might happen but he doesn’t explain. The next day, sentries arrive, place handcuffs on Ten and take her in for questioning because of a Cobalt situation. She’s forced into signing a document against Kalib and then returns home. She decides to take Kalib’s advice and find his employer. Once she meets Mr. Robinson, she’s thrown into the rebellion and commits to help. She discovers more secrets that completely surprise her. Intrigue, loyalty and integrity bring grit to this dystopian story for young adults, 4 stars!
Fairytale retelling of Snow White with a pro-feminist twist that questions negative comments and the doubts they create. Princess Sophia has a kind heart and a selfless personality. She cares about everything and everyone. Her stepmother, Queen Adelaide, berates Sophia for being soft and weak and therefore will undoubtedly make a terrible ruler. Adelaide commands the huntsman to kill Sophia and take her heart but, amazingly, she survives. As she struggles to live and recapture her heart, Princess Sophia meets many people of different backgrounds and circumstances and she helps everyone in anyway she can. A tale of courage and confidence, 5 stars!
Gretchen receives a call from her great aunt Esther, who asks her to visit the Axton Mansion where Esther is residing. Gretchen takes an eight hour ride to the desolate and decrepit mansion. She’s surprised by the state of the home but shocked by her aunt. Gretchen can’t decide if Esther is an alcoholic or is suffering from dementia or both. She’s even more surprised by Esther’s background. The mansion and town are haunted by the terrible happenings of the Axton ancestors during the civil war era. Abolitionists against racists and the racists won the violent battles. Satisfyingly spooky, 5 stars!
Savannah lives with her mom in her boyfriend’s house. Savannah’s mom met Tim online and the two of them moved to Tim’s community and into his home less than a year ago. Savannah is tired of her mom meeting men online and uprooting their lives every time she thinks a guy will be great. Tim is physically rough with her mom but only verbally rude to Savannah. He makes fun of the fact that she attends Kung Fu classes and just wants Savannah and her mom to wait on him and do everything for him. Savannah is a loner at school and she’s decided that it’s not worth making friends if she’s going to be moving again anyway. She enjoys her Kung Fu classes and there’s a teenage boy that she gets along with really well, Daniel Diaz. After class one evening, the two stay after to mop the dojo floor and walk out together. Daniel offers to walk Savannah home but she tells him her mom is picking her up. This isn’t true because her mom works the swing shift and Savannah plans on walking home on her own. Before she knows what happened, she’s kidnapped and thrown into a van. No one realizes she’s missing for a day and then her mom talks to the Student Resource Officer, who happens to be Daniel’s father. Meanwhile, Savannah is put in an RV with Jenny, who was kidnapped by the same guy ten months earlier. Jenny tried to escape at the beginning but was mauled by the kidnapper’s guard dog. The two teens try to figure out a way to escape and do everything they can to help each other. Young adult horror full of Bruce Lee quotes and inspiration! 5 stars for a suspenseful thriller for young adults!
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis It took me a day after I finished reading this book to be able to write my review because there’s so much to process: depth, philosophy, relationships, perseverance, and personal strength. The main character is bluntly honest and she’s strong-willed. Being drunk and upset, Ashley ran, fell, was injured, and became horribly lost. She spends many days trying to find her way out of the woods but it seems as though she’s just getting deeper into them. She comes across interesting and amazing things and experiences desperation, humility, and gratitude. This book is just barely over 200 hundred pages but it sure packs a punch, 5 stars for a solid adventure story!
A fantastical adventure for young adults! Thanks to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Margaret McElderry Books for the opportunity to read and review Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson! Elisabeth is a librarian who aspires to be a warden of the library. Many books are “alive” and have to be kept safe and sometimes locked up to prevent harm. The Book of Eyes escapes and Elisabeth is locked up afterwards. She’s transported to Chancellor Ashcroft’s where she discovers that he’s the mastermind behind the Director’s death and many more atrocities. She escapes his clutches and finds refuge at the Thorn residence. Nathaniel Thorn is a young sorcerer and his servant, Silas, is a higher demon that has served the Thorn family for generations. Together, the three of them try to end the sabotage of the Great Libraries and continue to unravel the entire plan. I really want this book to be the beginning of a series instead of a stand alone book. The fun, dynamic characters and the library setting with live grimoires makes an interesting world that I don’t want to leave. 5 stars for this fantastical book!
Restorative Yoga by Caren Baginsku. DK Publishing. Yoga poses include forward bends, back bends, side bends and twists, and a wonderful section focused on yoga to help specific needs such as anxiety, sleeplessness, headaches and more. Pregnancy variations of the yoga poses are shown to help expectant mothers. The book’s subtitle describes this guide perfectly: Relax. Restore. Re-energize. 5 stars!