Monday, July 31, 2017

REVIEW: The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu - 5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 11:00 AM 1 comments
Title: The Careful Undressing of Love
Genre: YA Contemporary Alternate Reality
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication: January 31st 20177
Cover Rating: 5/5

Upon starting The Careful Undressing of Love I didn't really know what the book was about. I am glad I didn't read the synopsis because the surprise I felt when I realized I was enjoying this book was amazing. The best way I can describe this book is a more up-to-date Virgin Suicides. This book was beautiful and full of so much sorrow.If you are looking for a unique YA book I definitely suggest this book. In a world where most books are just stems from someone else's original idea, finding a book that is unique is a treasure.

The book takes place in and alternate version of NYC in this community that lives on a certain street.  A few years prior, a 9/11 type event happened that ended up killing a lot of the fathers on this street. To me, it felt like a more present day NYC if 9/11 had happened more recently due to some of the events you learn about throughout the book. One scene in particular where the characters go to visit 'ground zero' where this tragic event happened made me really connect 9/11 to this book. Then we are told about this curse that apparently all the women who live on this street for more than a year end up acquiring. The curse being that if any woman on this street falls in love, the man will end up dying. It sounded stupid  and silly and very cult like in the mentality that these women actually believed this curse. But, it sucked me in and wouldn't let me go.

We are told this story through Lorna's eyes. She is one of the girls of Devonairre Street, justly titled the Devonairre Street Girls, or as Lorna put it throughout the book, LornaCruzCharlotteDelilahIsla, Cruz being the one guy who is a part of their little group. These girls are beautiful and smart and desirable. That is what made this curse become such a big thing, right? If the girls weren't so beautiful and mysterious there wouldn't a curse to speak of, or at least much of a curse to speak of. This entire situation probably would have gone on unnoticed by everyone. But nope, the girls are beautiful and it draws people to them. Both male and female. But the females aren't the ones who have to worry. It is the men that the curse kills.

The rules are simple, or at least the rules the girls have set for themselves are simple. You can screw as many guys are you want but you can never fall in love. But, someone didn't follow this one rule and someone ended up dead.  And that death is what began the whole slew of "outsiders" trying to wiggle their way in so they can the scoop on what is really going on with the residents of Devonairre Street.

All the events in this book are really creepy. It has all the perfect ingredients of a psychological thriller and it came out wonderful! I hate to say this, because I really didn't like this particular book, but if you liked We Were Liars then I really think you would like this book.

I didn't think I would even remotely enjoy this book but I ended up really loving it. It was such a quick and impactful read for me. I will probably ending up adding this book to my favorites shelf. I also didn't expect that ending. I mean, I expected the Cruz thing and maybe a few other parts but the MAIN thing that happened... Didn't really see that coming. I did, however have a few unanswered questions that will keep me thinking about this book for a while.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.



This part is somewhat spoilery. It isn't like omg you ruined the entire book, spoilery, but it still stands so this is the final warning before I start speaking on a subject in the book.

Okay, so the main tragedy of this book was a bombing that happened a few years back that ended up killing a few of the fathers on Devonairre Street. This event is VERY reminiscent of our very real 9/11 tragedy. 

So, the more spoilery part is.... There is a scene where some bad stuff went down and everyone started fearing and hating the people who live on Devonairre Street. A few of the characters decided to go see ground zero where their fathers died. There are a bunch of other people there and a fight-type situation ensues. A woman tells these characters to leave and they are imposing on this towns tragedy by being there. The one character got so sick of hearing the shit that she just exploded. She asked this woman who she PERSONALLY lost in this bombing. The lady proceeded to say we all feel the loss and are suffering as a community. The girl asked again WHO DID YOU PERSONALLY LOSE? The woman started to answer again but the character said BECAUSE WE LOST OUR FATHERS HERE. THIS IS A PERSONAL TRAGEDY TO US BUT IT IS JUST AN EVENT TO YOU(these are not the exact words or anything, just my version of what was said).

With all that being said, it really made me sit down and think. It is good to come together as a group of people after a tragic event but we really need to think about the people these events true affected. Yes, we lost our sense of security on 9/11 but what about the people who lost their loved ones, their jobs, their homes. 9/11 was as much an American tragedy as it was a personal one BUT we need to remember that while we can go about our daily lives and occasionally stop to think about that horrible time, some people never forget. It is a daily struggle for some people and we need to be here for them instead of seeking out some sort of self-security and acting like we were personally wounded by this event. 

This entire rant/whatever you wish to call it also comes after I found this documentary on a woman who came over here after the 9/11 tragedy and took the limelight from the people who were really affected by pretending to have not only been IN the towers when the planes hit but also lost her fiance in the towers. It was a really crazy store and I seriously can't believe someone even had the balls to do that kind of shit. 



Upcoming Release: The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby - August 1st 2017

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Upcoming Release: When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn - August 1st 2017

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Upcoming Release: These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips - August 1st 2017

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Upcoming Release: The Way it Hurts by Patty Blount - August 1st 2017

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Upcoming Releases: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman - August 1st 2017

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Upcoming Release: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock - August 1st 2017

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Upcoming Release: Blight by Alexandra Duncan - August 1st 2017

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REVIEW: North of Happy by Adi Alsaid - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 1 comments
Rate


Goodreads Description:
New from critically acclaimed author of LET'S GET LOST and NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES. In the wake of his brother's untimely death, a teen chef runs away from home to find his true path in life.

Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the US, he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family where he attends an elite international school. His friends and peers-fellow rich kids-have plans to attend college somewhere in the US or Europe and someday take over their parents' businesses. Always a rule follower and a parent pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.

When his older brother, Felix--who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel--is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother's voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father's plan for him. Worrying about his mental health, but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the US and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss's daughter--a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what's most important to him and where his true path really lies.
 

This book made me hungry.
There are recipes in every chapter and I decided to make sure that I mentioned those and give my thoughts on the chapter, simply a sentence or so but that will be at the bottom because of possible spoilers.
The way that Adi manages to describe food and the way that it makes  you feel when you try a particularly good dish was delicious. I could almost taste the food and I wanted nothing but to eat the food described. 

There isn't much description on the main character (Carlos) but that doesn't mean I didn't cast someone in my mind anyways.
Vadhir Derbez

I actually grew to care for Felix which is sad because you know... Hes dead. when Carlos talks about and picture Feliz, he is the type of guy we all wish we know and had in our life, someone that we know would make our life a little better, we would live vicariously through them.

With that said, I am NOT the type to be impulsive, so for Carlos to do what he did, it is an anxiety ridden thing for me to read. Because it is so freaking real! Adi's topics are real, the characters are real, everything is real, its all real life things. 


Recommend it?
Yes, I do


Author Spotlight: Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments

S. K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits. She lives in Toronto with her family, which includes a very vocal cat named Yeti. She is currently working on her second YA novel, featuring an ensemble cast of diverse souls, as well as LOVE.

Title: Saints and Misfits
Genre: YA Contemporary OwnVoices
Author: S. K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publication: June 13th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

A few weeks ago, I read my first fiction book having to do with the Muslim religion and culture. It was very eye opening towards the way women are treated in their communities. While I did enjoy the book, reading about the topic made me incredibly saddened. When I requested to do this spotlight for Saint's and Misfit's I knew I might be getting into something that I could either love or hate. Luckily, I ended up really liking this book but that didn't stop my feeling of sadness. In fact, this book only strengthened my opinions on the topic.

Our main character is Janna. She is this really awesome girl who is just trying to make sense of life. Her parents are divorced, her brother just moved back in and she might have to give up her bedroom for him. Then add a crush, some betrayal and her religion into the mix and you've got yourself a fairly normal girl dealing with fairly normal problems. But then one of her problems becomes not so normal and her entire life is flipped upside down by The Monster.

Then we have Muhammad, Janna's brother, Mr. Ram, the elderly man she helps out with and a ton of other characters that  all have their purpose in the plot for many reasons. Janna's life changes a lot through this book and not just because of The Monster. She becomes close with people she didn't think she would like. She grew up and learned to stand up for herself. this story was definitely about a girl finding herself but it was also about that girl learning to stand up for what is right, regardless of the backlash you might get for it. 

The book plays out like it is some sort of sitcom for the main characters crappy life. We get to follow her through so much and I liked that we got to see so much of her life. Not just her life, though, a lot of lives. We get to see her brother attempting to 'date' Saint Sarah. Her best friend, Tat, gushing over some guy, kind of bordering on stalking and so many other interesting lives. 

To touch on the sadness I mentioned at the beginning of this review, it was so hard to read about someone who didn't even feel safe enough in her own little niche because of some guy who felt that he was entitled to whatever she had to offer. She wasn't even offering anything, but he still tried to take it and that made me beyond sick. Then he tried to make it seem like it was her fault, telling her that he knew she wanted him, all the usual things a rapist tries to tell his victims to make them believe they are in the wrong, not the rapist. 

Now, let's talk about the main love interest, Jeremy. He was white, he was normal, he wasn't anything special and, aside from him being Janna's crush and that causing drama, he really had no purpose. We only got maybe two or three scenes with him as part of the scene and not just in the background or being talked about. He seemed really sweet and caring in the one first scene but due to The Monster, we never really got to see much else about him.

I was so relieved that Janna finally took a stand and opened her damn mouth. She was such a great character to deal with but that one fatal flaw was just killing it for me. I understand WHY she didn't want to say anything in the first place, but hiding and letting something The Monster did ruin things was not the best way to handle the situation. I finished this book with a broken heart over the old man and a smile on my face because of Janna being brave. Also, I hope her brother beat the crap out of The Monster!

In the end, I am glad that this book exists. The Young Adult genre is growing at such a rapid rate but there still wasn't much diversity in the books. Saints and Misfits is a huge step forward in the YA book world and I appreciate the author for putting her words onto paper.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Author Spotlight: This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes + Author Interview

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments

Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently This is How it Happened, Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

Title: This is How it Happened
Genre: YA Contemporary
Author: Paula Stokes
Publisher: Harper
Publication: July 11th 2017
Cover Rating: 2/5

This is How it Happened is a very raw and truthful book. I thought I was just going to be reading a story about a grieving girlfriend beating herself up over her boyfriends death that happened in his car while she was driving. I was really ready to accept the story as that but it surprised me in a lot of ways.

Genevieve Grace is our main character. She is a fairly average girl with ambitions to become a doctor like her parents. She met a guy, Dallas, and he seemed to want all the same things. Then things change when his hobby gets picked up but a talent scout and both of their lives are shaken up. 

I HATED what Dallas did to Gen. And then he later made it seem like she was the problem. Honestly, if I was Gen, I would have left. She was young and Dallas was turning into a really nasty person. She might blame herself for the accident buy I started to blame Dallas. If he didn't hurt her in the first place and then make her feel paranoid and uncomfortable then maybe she wouldn't have wanted to leave the party so damn bad. I feel like Dallas dug his own grave. No, he doesn't deserve to be dead. But Gen didn't deserve the shit he put her through.

Elliott was a very nice addition to the craziness of this book. Yes, Gen did just lose her boyfriend of a few years. And yes, Gen was struggling with a lot of things. But I truly think Elliot helped her out so much. She got judge so horribly for wanting to be with him when it was none of anyone's business. Elliot was a very good person and I applaud him for how he handles the truth from Gen. She was so afraid of everyone leaving her, but he proved to be a very amazing man.

There is no such thing as 'Innocent until proven guilty' when it comes to the internet. And that kind of prosecution is the worst. The internet is ruthless and if a big enough group of people agree on one thing, there is no going back and that is extremely dangerous. We have seen the effects of slavery and concentration camps. Could you imagine how much more brutal those things could have been if they had the invention of social media to back them up? When someone is afraid to be honest because of the repercussions of social media, that is when we seriously need to rethink the things that make this world turn. 

I wasn't sure what I wanted the outcome of this book to be. I know I wanted Gen to come clean and be honest. One person was dead and another persons life was in serious danger. But how many lives have to be ruined before the social media trolls stop? Being bullied online is so different than being bullied in person. There are a lot of people on this earth who would love to watch you crash and burn for no reason other than their own sick, twisted pleasure. People you wouldn't never have to come into contact with if there was no social media. 

Social media has become Judge, Jury and Executioner. It's time to wake up and stop this trend.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.



1) How did you become an author and what led you to writing Young Adult books?
I grew up in a lower-income family and at no point while I was in school/college did I believe writing books was something I could do as a career. Full disclosure: after writing and releasing eight books, I'm still not making enough money to live solely off writing income, so maybe I was right ;) But seriously, it's really common for authors to have other jobs or be married to people who have other jobs. However much money you think an author makes from a book, cut it in half and you're probably about right. 

When I was in college, my love for writing really took off and I decided I wanted to be a New York editor. But I lived in St. Louis and no publisher would even interview me. So then I got a job as an editor at a medical publisher in town. And then that job got downsized before I even started, which led to me joining Americorps and later trying out a variety of different jobs--retail, restaurant, social services, medical recruiting, teaching. But throughout it all, I was still writing--poems, bits of stories, chapters of novels I never finished. Writing was the one thing I always came back to. When I landed an unpaid gig reviewing YA books for a website, it hit me that I wanted to write one, even if it never got published, even if no one but me ever read it. So I started writing seriously in my free time. The first book wasn't very good. The second book was better--by then I knew how to write sentences but I still didn't have a strong concept of plot. I ended up writing three books for Paper Lantern Lit from 2011 to 2013, and that taught me a lot about crafting a story. The Art of Lainey put plot and prose together and scored me my agent.

As far as why YA? It's good to write the types of books you like to read, and I like the unpredictability of a YA book, the fact that almost no story is out of bounds. I like the themes of self-discovery and embracing inner strength and making life-altering decisions that are often present in YA books. But I have ideas for adult books too, and I'm releasing my first new adult book this October. The most important thing is to let the story be what it is--don't smash an "adult plot" into the YA format just because YA is where you're comfortable. Don't force your YA characters into adult roles that don't fit.

2) What are 5 really random facts about you?
I've touched a lot of animals, including some I probably shouldn't have, like a full-grown tiger in Thailand. I've also touched elephants, monkeys, gibbons, stingrays, gray whales, sea lions, sea turtles, a nurse shark, a boa constrictor, a wombat, all manners of goats and camels and petting zoo animals, and probably more I'm forgetting.

While we're on the subject of touching weird things, I've also touched a human heart, while it was still in the chest cavity. (I used to work in surgery.)

I put spiders outside instead of killing them.

My dream jobs include author (yay!), dolphin trainer, and pet detective. I get really sad when I see lost pet flyers.

If I could start any charity, it would be one that helped low-income and poor people pay for veterinary bills for their pets. Everyone deserves the unconditional love of a pet.


3) Which of your books was your favorite one to write and who is your favorite character from that book?
ALL OF THESE BOOKS WERE TORTURE TO WRITE! Okay, not really ;) The writing part was fun. The revision part was like gouging out my own eyes with a grapefruit spoon. (Those are the ones with the jagged little teeth.) I really, really hate to revise. Until I'm like 90% done and I can see that I will eventually get the book to where I want it to go. Then it's okay ;) But I don't have a favorite book--they were all fun in their own ways. Some of them functioned as self-therapy and others were more cerebral, trying to insert just the right clues to the mystery in just the right places. I love all my main characters equally, but my favorite side characters would probably be Trinity from The Art of Lainey and Jade from Girl Against the Universe. Both of those girls are really fun and uplifting and comfortable in their own skin. The world needs more people like them :)

4) If you could only eat one type of food for the rest of your life what would you pick and why?
Pizza, because I am like forty going on four or something. I know it's not healthy, but it's easy, it's filling, and it at least pretends to have components made out of different food groups. Also because I feel like I could go longer without getting bored of it than I could go eating only my second-favorite food, Cadbury Creme Eggs :D

5) Are you currently working on any new books?
Always. Released THIS IS HOW IT HAPPENED a couple weeks ago. Next month, the paperback for VICARIOUS and the hardcover for FEROCIOUS releases. I have THE KEY TO EVERYTHING out in October or November (It's a new adult self-pub.) Next year, I have a mystery for HarperTeen called HIDDEN PIECES that I am still revising. I also have a book proposal for 2019 currently under consideration at a publisher and another half of what I hope will be a second 2019 novel completed.


Monday, July 24, 2017

REVIEW: Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist - 4.5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 11:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Love and First Sight
Genre: YA Contemporary + Medical Issues
Author: Josh Sundquist
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication: January 3rd 2017
Cover Rating: 4/5

Have you ever asked yourself questions before starting a book? Will I really enjoy this? Is this something I would love? Well, I asked myself... John Green clone or not a John Green clone, we shall find out. Sadly, a lot of these books where there is a guy narrator who falls for a girl that seems very unlike and involves some form of medical issue turn out to be TFIOS clones. I try not to clump books into that category but sometimes it just cannot be helped. So John Green, or not John Green, that is the question. Answer? Not John Green. More like Jennifer Niven.

I think I am really starting to be okay with reading books from a guys perspective. I used to never be able to do it but now I don't even really think about it. But it was really fun to see the world through Will's "eyes". He was smart, funny and the way he viewed the world was very beautiful. Not being able to see can have some pretty sensory consequences. 

So Will ends up going to a normal school instead of his school for the blind. I thought that was the bravest shit in the world. Being surrounded by hundreds of kids and teachers who aren't like you or haven't been around others like you sounds completely horrific. Then, on top of the whole new scary school thing, he made a huge choice that could impair the rest of his life. It just shows that people really do want what others have. 

Will's parents were a little big frustrating. They were an excellent support system but they we hardly ever on the same page when it came to what was best for Will. I do admit that in the end his mother turned out to be pretty damn awesome and just wanted to give her son all of the experiences the world has to off.

Then we have the friends Will made at school. Somehow, he managed to become friends with the nerdy group. I think it's pretty awesome. Would he have ended up at the nerd table if he wasn't blind? I am leaning towards, probably not. But because of all the circumstances, this group of unique people ended up together and it made for a very beautiful story and an even more beautiful ending.

Halfway through the book I started getting really upset. There are so many horrible things in this book showing us exactly how it is to live in this screwed up world as a girl. Beauty is preordained for us from the minute we can comprehend what is being shoved down our throats. At this point in the book I decided that however this ends will tell me a lot about the author and I found myself really hoping the author doesn't turn out to be a douche nugget.

I do have 1 regret about this book. I really wish I would have done one of my "As I Read Reviews" for this book. I had so many outbursts and anger that I think it would have made a great addition to those reviews. For example. I would have probably said this in that review: "I think it is gross that Will had all of these people feel sorry for him and try to help him his entire life but he didn't realize that Cecily didn't have that. She just had people making fun of her and judging her because of something she was born with. Hey, Will, how the HELL is that any different from how your entire life has been? You couldn't hide your blindness and she couldn't hide her mark. If you could have hid your blindness would you have?"

All in all, I really loved this book. It had a beautiful meaning behind it and I am very glad with how the author ended it. 

EDIT: So, after sitting here and talking with a friend about the book and her fiance having pretty much the same "deformity" that Cecily has I am kind of rocking back and forth on my rating. I feel like the book was sending the wrong message about Cecily. That message being that only a blind guy/guy who is seeing for the first time could see Cecily's true beauty. I don't think that is what the author was trying to say but it kind of leaves everything open. I also think that Cecily would get bullied a lot more over a guy who had the same thing. For some reason people care less if some bad thing is on a guy. Girls get judged for everything and it is ridiculous. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Upcoming Release: The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz - July 25th 2017

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Upcoming Release: Lucky in Love by Kasie West - July 25th 2017

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REVIEW: The Revenge by Hannah Jayne - 3.5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments
Title: The Revenge
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Author: Hannah Jayne
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication: July 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 3/5

Revenge is a very well used tactic. Exacting revenge on someone who wronged you is the first thing that pops into most people's heads. Someone stole your man? 1-800-smackaho. Did your neighbor back over Fluffernuts and didn't tell you? Call Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, INC. But what if someone took their revenge plot a little too far? In this book, karma is real and he has a name.

Tony broke up with Hope. Tony is a nobody. Hope is a pseudo-celeb in their town. Tony thought things ended on good terms. Hope didn't think so. She goes to school one day and reads some of the personal letters Tony wrote her while they were dating. Sounds harmless enough. But not when you go to a school that can turn on you with the drop of a dime. Tony gets bullied and embarrassed and decides to get revenge. 

But after his revenge, Hope goes missing and now the entire town is out for blood. They want Tony behind bars for hurting their precious Hope. The media and her parents paint her as this angel who volunteers and donates. But Tony knows the real Hope and he knows this is just her way of getting him back. 

Hope might be looking for a way to get Tony back but her plans backfire and she ends up in a really real, really scary version of the joke she was pulling. 

The exact reason for said break up is never really made clear. She loved him. He loved her. He told her he saw the real her. And then BAM dumped? The plot-line for this book was as holey as the case the cops were building against Tony.

This town was crazy and creepy. And it was so sad to see that the thousands of people who were 'looking for Hope were really just looking for their 15 minutes of fame. I admit what Hope did was very wrong. But what her stain-in-the-underpants-of-society parents did... that was beyond words. 

In the end, I found that I really enjoy Hannah Jayne's books but they are very simplistic mysteries that I can read in two or three hours and then move on. They never stay with me long. They are just fun in the moment. I will continue to read her books but if you are looking for some quickie mystery books then I highly suggest giving her a try. 

Overall, I gave the book 3.5/5 stars.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Author Spotlight: Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments
Sara B. Larson is the author of the acclaimed YA fantasy DEFY, and the sequels IGNITE and ENDURE. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband and their three children. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day (while mourning the demise of naptime) and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction. 

She’s online at www.SaraBLarson.com

Title: Dark Breaks the Dawn
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication: May 30th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

Oh, man. The entire time I was reading Dark Breaks the Dawn I kept thinking 'ooo I want to go watch the Swan Princess movies!' I had no idea that this book was a retelling of that story until the end. And boy, am I excited as crap to get to the next book.

Evelayn is forced to become Queen after the deaths of her father and mother. But her kingdom isn't like anything I've ever read about before.

The kingdoms have powers. The light and the dark. They are supposed to live together in harmony but the king of dark side refuses to. He wants to rule both sides and won't stop until he does. But he didn't count on Evelayn being a powerful, smart ruler at such a young age.  That is another thing about this kingdom. Age isn't exactly a factor in death. You can live to be 300 years old. That is a lot of time to get my TBR done.

Tanvir... he was such a likable character but I just knew he was hiding something from Evelayn. I knew it. And I knew it had to of been something tragic and horrible and backstabbing. But his reason for never coming clean was pretty acceptable... he literally CAN'T tell her now. And that is killing me.

So let's talk about the romance. There definitely was some but it wasn't over done and it didn't take away from the plot of the book. I cant tell you how many Fantasy books I have read that had a romance that completely took away from the plot and made the book a porno set in some kingdom somewhere.

With the help of Tanvir, Evelayn divulged a plan of attack against the dark king, King Bain. And, also with the help of a person I won't name or explain, they are able to plan their attack around the kings invasion.

The other thing I REALLY loved about this book was the fact that Evelayn's kingdom didn't use the King as the ruler situation. Oh, no. They used a Queen. The Queen was the ruler and i think that is fricken awesome. The Queen didn't just sit by her husband's side and serve him. Nope
 Nuh uh. SHE was the supreme ruler. As were her mother and grandmother.

I don't think that Evelayn should have even remotely trusted the New king of the dark side. He was a lot older and smarter than she was and knew his way around a pact. She really didn't have much of a choice in the matter though. She didn't want to kill him and risk the dark side not having a ruler but she also didn't want to trust him. Being a good person is really hard when you have tough decisions to make. I think she should have just left them in the dungeon to rot. But hey, that's just me.

In the end, I am harboring so many feelings and I don't know what to do. Is he REALLY dead? I really hope he isn't. But he probably is. What are the terms of Evelayn's 'punishment'? Can she turn back at night like the original Swan Lake story? Is there a way to save her? Ugh! I need to knnnooowww. Part of me wants to go read the authors other series.... Part of me doesn't want to interrupt my attention for this book. Either way, Sarah B. Larson is a very talented author and your should definitely check her out.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars. 


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