What would you do if you knew the world was going to be destroyed by a huge asteroid in one month? The mesmerising YA debut from acclaimed crime writer and New York Times Bestselling author of We Begin at the End.
They knew the end was coming. They saw it ten years back, when it was far enough away in space and time and meaning. The changes were gradual, and then sudden.
For Mae and her friends, it means navigating a life where action and consequence are no longer related. Where the popular are both trophies and targets. And where petty grudges turn deadlier with each passing day. So, did Abi Manton jump off the cliff or was she pushed? Her death is just the beginning of the end.
With teachers losing control of their students and themselves, and the end rushing toward all of them, it leaves everyone facing the answer to one, simple question…
What would you do if you could get away with anything?
Title : The Forevers Author : Chris Whitaker Format : Paperback Page Count :355 Genre : Dystopian YA Publisher : HotKey Books Release Date : July 8, 2021
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★
Micky’s 2 star review
Headlines: Difficult plot to gel with Unlikeable characters Confused writing
I’m sorry that I don’t have better things to say about The Forevers. I love the cover and I definitely found the blurb appealing but as it spun out, the plot was very difficult to like. When the end of the world is definitely coming in 30 days, this small community was pretty wrapped up in the death of Abi, not the big impending asteroid. That seemed a little out of kilter with my expectations.
Mae as a character was likeable but the rest of the characters weren’t. The school, the forevers, the community were a messed up ball of intricate effed-up-ness. Added into this was the fact that the writing was really confusing at times. I was jarred when unnamed characters entered scenes and I never knew who that person was and so the plot point was lost. There were also occasions where I felt like a small chunk of narrative was missing, so again, I was confused. All that said, I was able to string the story together but it was a push to keep going with the aid of some skimming.
I liked the premise but sadly the execution didn’t work for me.
Thank you to Hot Key Books for the early review copy.
The hilarious debut novel from Lex Croucher. A classic romcom with a Regency-era twist, for fans of Mean Girls and/or Jane Austen.
Abandoned by her parents, middle-class Georgiana Ellers has moved to a new town to live with her dreary aunt and uncle. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who lives a life Georgiana couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams.
Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana falls in with Frances and her unfathomably rich, deeply improper friends. Georgiana is introduced to a new world: drunken debauchery, mysterious young men with strangely arresting hands, and the upper echelons of Regency society.
But the price of entry to high society might just be higher than Georgiana is willing to pay …
Title : Reputation Author : Lex Croucher Format : Paperback ARC Page Count :448 Genre : Contemporary Romance Publisher : Zaffre Books Release Date : July 8, 2021
Reputation was a lot of unexpected things for a historical read. It featured themes and behaviours I don’t often come across in a regency era and that was pretty fresh. I didn’t find it light or funny, more like watching a collision about to happen and the realisation that comes afterward. There were a number of triggers in this book so do look for TW if you need them.
Georgiana was an interesing MC and had some relatable traits for any young women, she wanted friendship, to be liked and to have adventure. It was eye-opening that even in this era, someone could get in with the wrong crowd and be led astray. Frances was the kind of friend that took some time to work out, that whole crowd weren’t particularly likeable.
For me, this was a book of two halves, the first half I struggled to gel with this hedonistic life depicted contrary to everything I’d read in the era prior to this. I think I had to suspend some belief to stay with the story. The second half came with more measurement, reflection and a romance to get your teeth into. This was the stronger part of the book and more enjoyable.
This was definitely a different regency read and the parallels to Mean Girls is pretty accurate. This was a fresh, no holds barred kind of read and I’d definitely read this author again.
Thank you to Zaffre Books for the early review copy.
Felix Ever After meets Becky Albertalli in this swoon-worthy, heartfelt rom-com about how a transgender teen’s first love challenges his ideas about perfect relationships.
Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.
When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.
In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.
Title : Meet Cute Diary Author : Emery Lee Format : Hardback Page Count : 400 Genre : Contemporary YA Publisher : Quill Tree Books/Harper360 YA Release Date : May 4, 2021
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5
Micky’s 3.5 star review
Headlines: Young protagonist Endings and continuations Pronouns
Meet Cute Diary says it all in the title, this was incredibly cute. Noah, the trans protagonist was 16 years old and I would say that this story felt young, younger than some other YA stories. Maybe he didn’t have street smarts, he’d just come out and was starting afresh, so I think that’s an important representation for readers to have.
The themes in this book were about endings but also how to keep relationships going with friends and family. Noah found himself in a new state, able to start afresh and I loved seeing him feel free from people’s preconceptions. I felt something pretty fishy about Drew early on and that element felt somewhat unfinished but I think Noah thought that too.
The whole concept of the meet cute diary on tumblr and the blog spiralling out of hand was really interesting. Dealing with expectations, trolls, disappointed audiences made for avid reading. I have to give a shoutout to Brian, the best side character in this book, he was the brother of brothers.
It doesn’t matter how I was born or who I thought I was back then. I’m me, and we’re brothers, and there’s nothing in the world that can ever change that.
There were some great but low key elements of education in this book regarding the range of pronouns one might choose for themselves and I welcomed the insight.
Thank you Harper360 YA and Pride Book Tours for the review copy.
Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!
As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.
Six Crimson Cranesby Elizabeth Lim is a YA fantasy reimagining of The Six Swans but with a twist, or two, and set in an Asian-inspired world. Check out review here.
What if our future lies 40,000 years in our past? Subject Twenty-One is an astonishing debut novel in which a young woman’s refusal to accept the status quo opens her eyes to the lies her society is built on.
Elise’s world is forever changed when she is given the opportunity of a lifetime – to work at the Museum of Evolution and be a Companion to the Neanderthal, Subject Twenty-One.
As a Sapien, a member of the lowest order of humans, she and others like her are held responsible for the damages inflicted on the world by previous generations. This job may be Elise’s only chance to escape a stagnating life in an ostracised and impoverished community.
But it doesn’t take long for Elise to realise that, away from the familiarity and safety of her home, her own secrets are much harder to conceal.
And the longer she stays the more she comes to realise that little separates her from the exhibits . . . and a cage of her own.
Title : Subject Twenty-One Author : A.E. Warren Series : Tomorrow’s Ancestors #1 Format : Paperback Page Count :304 Genre : Sci-fi Publisher : Del Rey UK Release Date : July 1, 2021
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
Headlines: Great concept Page turner Friendship & respect
Subject Twenty One was so easy to get into and honestly, this was such a fast and easy book to read. This ‘Jurassic Park-esque’ concept grabbed me immediately and I really enjoyed the immersion in such an unusual story of a dystopian future.
This world with three different species of sapien, showed humanity not at its best. Elise, at the bottom of that rung was employed at a museum to be a companion to Subject Twenty One. The build up to this and the time working with him was just so interesting. Still, I wanted to know Kit better than I did at the end. I’m hoping for more of that from the second book.
There was so much plot to unfurl in this story but it was easy to follow. Trust was an underlying theme and it was truly hard to know who was trustworthy. Even Elise’s family were suspicious to me. I liked Samuel, quite a lot and again, I want to know more about him.
This book was a fresh, gripping read with themes of suspense, trust, ethics and friendships. I am so on board with this world and I’m dying to read more; I can’t wait for book two.
One night? No strings? A sexy game of chess? No problem.
If you’ve never read a Penny Reid book before, this is the place to start! An all new series starter snack from the author of the WINSTON BROTHERS and KNITTING IN THE CITY series. . .
Raquel Ezra loves to fish. With so many fish in the sea, she’s never had a problem baiting the hook or reeling them in. Raquel is a good actress, she can be anyone’s fantasy for a single night as long as they agree to be hers. Which is why she doesn’t think twice about spending an evening in nowhere Tennessee with a smokin’ hot, well-mannered, and intriguing sheriff’s deputy by the name of Jackson James.
Except, when the time comes, Raquel discovers that reality might just be better than any fantasy, and maybe she’s not ready to release this catch.
JUST FOLKING AROUND is a 16k words, contemporary romance, a complete standalone, and is the prequel to TOTALLY FOLKED, book #1 in the Good Folk: Modern Folktales series.
Title : Just Folking Around Author : Penny Reid Series : Good Folk : Modern Folktales (book .5) Format : eARC Page Count : 68 Genre : romance Publisher : Cipher-Naught Release Date : June 20, 2021
I was completely surprised when this ARC landed on my kindle — and for good reason! This little novella introduces the couple for book one; the male love interest of course we know well, Mister Deputy Jackson James, but who was he to be paired up with?
Well now we know.
This novella opens up on the day of Sierra’s wedding and we meet Raquel, one of Sierra’s Hollywood friends, in town for the event, who ends up crossing paths, and more (but also maybe less!), with Jackson.
It took me a moment to warm up to her, I’ll be honest, but her Vegas Chess idea? Genius.
This is a sweet little taste test of what’s to come but knowing Reid we have no idea what’s actually coming.
** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Micky’s 3.5 star review
Well, that was both delicious and cruel. I am left needing more even if it took me a hot minute to work out what was going on, who was what and why. Once I’d done that working out, I was on board.
This was a hawt little novella, naughty but nice. I loved the chess game and the unravelling that it caused in both these characters. I feel like I know Raquel a little now but I need a lot more knowledge on Jackson, stat.
This short piece of goodness will be the starter that fans didn’t know they needed to get going with this new series. I am all anticipation.
Thank you to the author for the early review copy.
Present Day: Eva has never felt like she belonged… not in her own family or with her friends in New York City, and certainly not at a fancy boarding school like Hardwick Preparatory Academy. So when she is invited to join the Fives, an elite secret society, she jumps at the opportunity to finally be a part of something.
But what if the Fives are about more than just having the best parties and receiving special privileges from the school? What if they are also responsible for keeping some of Hardwick’s biggest secrets buried?
1962: There is only one reason why Connie would volunteer to be one of the six students to participate in testing Hardwick’s nuclear fallout shelter: Craig Allenby. While the thought of nuclear war sends her into a panic, she can’t pass up the opportunity to spend four days locked in with the school’s golden boy. However, Connie and the other students quickly discover that there is more to this “test” than they previously thought. As they are forced to follow an escalating series of commands, Connie realizes that one wrong move could have dangerous consequences.
Separated by sixty years , Eva’s and Connie’s stories become inextricably intertwined as Eva unravels the mystery of how six students went into the fallout shelter all those years ago . . . but only five came out.
Title : Don’t Breathe a Word Author : Jordyn Taylor Format : ARC Page Count : 352 Genre : YA mystery contemporary/historical Publisher : HarperTeen Release Date : May 18, 2021
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 3 star review
This was an interesting dual-timeline story, that later connects, of an event in the past that is the catalyst for the creation of a secret society at a boarding school. It mashes up Cold War paranoia with present day priviledge and the new girl at said school who is brought into the society and uncovers the crime at the heart of the organization.
I found this an easy read and enjoyed it when I didn’t think too hard about the unlikeliness of the whole thing enduring through the decades. Also the fact that no one had uncovered anything in the decades since? Like with most stories, suspend some disbelief and you’ll have a good time.
At it’s heart, however, is a good message for teens — and those of us non-teens who sometimes forget — that people worth your time, be them friends or family or peers, won’t demand sacrifice or secrets or for you to bury your discomfort just to be in their presence. Friendship, love, respect.. these are not conditional.
While this wasn’t perhaps all that surprising or original, except for the circumstances taking place during the historical timeline, if you like secret societies, boarding school settings, and mysteries for YA protagonists to unravel, you should give this one a go.
** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.
Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.
Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.
A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she’s ever made.
Title : Blade of Secrets Author : Tricia Levenseller Format : Audio Narrator : Emily Ellet Duration : 8 hours, 53 minutes Genre : Fantasy Publisher : Macmillan Audio Release Date : May 4, 2021
I knew absolutely nothing about Blade of Secrets before I started it and so I was happy to be drawn into an unusual tale with an unusual protagonist for fantasy. Ziva was a smithy with powers, unpredictable ones but she also had anxiety with a range of symptoms. I was all woah to seeing that in fantasy and in a good way. I really appreciated Ziva being a strong female but not diminished by her anxiety, she was still a strong and gifted character.
The story centred on two sisters with virtually no other family but this tale brought a bit of a found-family trope which I liked. This troop of Temra, Kellyn (hellooo), Patrick and the Secret Eater were pretty interesting to read about. They went from smithy to on the run and I was here for the story developments.
There was plenty of banter, fun capers and peril. I am 100% invested in these weapons and I want all the Secret Eater info. There was definitely a slow burn element to budgeoning relationships and the end left me wanting more. I am looking forward to book two.
The narration was great, the different gendered dialogue worked well and felt convincing. The characterisation captured the colourful crew well.
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
Title : The House in the Cerulean Sea Author : TJ Klune Format : eARC Page Count : 400 Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy Publisher : Tor Books Release Date : March 17, 2020
This book was a delightfully sweet and lovely cup of heartbreak, melancholy, and wonder. Which sounds almost awful, or hella sad, and probably contradicts the vibe the cover is putting out, but I don’t know how else to describe all the things this made me feel.
There is whimsy and wonder in this world where magical people exists, there’s melancholy in the reality that children who demonstrate these abilities are sequestered in orphanages and regulated schools or programs, monitored by the government with caseworkers who ensure their safety and well-being, and there’s sweetness in the particular caseworker we follow, Linus; a round middle-aged man believed to be wholly unremarkable, friendless but for his cat, who is in fact so much of the opposite.
“I’m afraid I don’t have magic.” “You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary.”
There were so many moments that had me a hair’s breadth away from crying. I welled up, swallowing hard, like.. six times? Probably more. At one point I was almost wrecked by a bloody button. And then, of course, there was a moment near the end where I just let go. Had my cry. I own it. The emotion Klune packs into his writing resonates so strongly and hits even harder because of the children in this story. Sal, in particular, just.. wow, yeah, I have no words.
Like Linus, it is impossible to remain impartial in the face of these children who were unwanted, unloved, or deemed too dangerous, too unique, to be anywhere else but this little island, far away from others. Through the narrative, Klune challenges prejudice, racism, and mob mentality, and does it beautifully. This is the perfect story for our time, our current climate, and it’s delightfully unique because of the circumstances and the rare collection of gems that are these atypical characters. Truly, the creativity of this story is something else.
I loved this book so much. For all the heavier topics and bittersweetness of it all, this was a lot of fun, too. It’s silly, weird, and delightfully charming, full of emotion and hope and love.
I definitely recommend.
** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Micky’s 4 star review
Headlines: Warm and whimsical THE most endearing found family Hurt and healing
Well, I didn’t know much going into this other than various friends’ love for the book and this review isn’t going to enlighten you. It’s going to be more of a feels than a plot review.
This is a totally character-driven story with a very engaging plot in the background but as a reader, all eyes were on the characters. From Linus, awkward and formal to my favourites Sal and Chauncey. Almost every character was special and sneak-stole my heart. It was a story about the unwanted being wanted and it had political and governmental tones. There were important themes that resonate.
He was but paper, brittle and thin, and he clutched the photograph to his chest, hugging it close.
This was a warm tale, full of whimsy and delightful magic. I got lost in the story and really enjoyed the experience. It made my eyeballs leak a little and I experienced that fuzzy feeling on ending.
*side note* I read this book after the stories of the heinous maltreatment and murder of indigenous children in Canada broke and so I entered this story with trepidation. In the early reading of the story, I saw a few uncomfortable parallels but I was able to sink into the story. However, I am not suggesting you forget the premise foundation for this story which is based in some reality, go out there and educate yourself as I intend to do further. My book bestie suggests this read as a starting place 21 Things You Might Not Know About The Indian Act.