Category: library loans

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Meija Re…

Title: We Set the Dark on Fire

Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Series: We Set the Dark on Fire, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ll be honest: I’ve been so curious about this book, since before it even came out. Unfortunately, I had to return it three different times before I could read it. Before a total library haul overhaul yesterday, I decided that I wanted to make sure to read this book before I went back. I’d read some of Tehlor Kay Meija’s short stories in anthologies, but this was her debut novel, and I have to say that I loved it. The first book in a duology, We Set the Dark on Fire takes place in Medio, a place where men hold all of the power, and following ancient traditions, each man is given two wives: The Primera, his partner and equal in all things, and The Segurda, a woman passionate and nurturing, trusted with raising a man’s family. Daniela Vargas is assigned as the Primera to Mateo Garcia, and her old school nemesis, Carmen, is chosen as the boy’s second wife. As if this was not punishing enough, the rebellion, La Voz, has threatened to reveal Dani’s deadliest secret if she chooses not to cooperate with them. Dani finds herself trapped in a web of lies, political intrigue, and revolution, and she must decide whether to turn away from her people’s suffering at the rich’s hands, or if she will become a spy and work to free Medio from the vise grip of the powerful…

               This debut novel was absolutely fantastic; from the start, the prose crackled with life, and I was immediately spellbound by Dani’s frank, sweet voice. The pacing was breakneck, and the worldbuilding was one of my favorite parts of the novel. Medio was beautiful, forbidding, and terrifying, and reminded most unpleasantly of Margaret Atwood’s Gilead in more ways than one. The tension in this book, from the start, was at an all-time high. Dani’s parents have spent her life saving so they can send their daughter to the best finishing school for girls in Medio’s capital. But Dani carries a deadly secret: the papers are falsified. When she is selected to be the first wife to a politico’s son, she is determined to make sure that her parents didn’t sacrifice in vain. But things become even more complicated when the second wife, Carmen, is chosen. Still smarting from the other girl’s betrayal years earlier, Dani is forced to team up with her worst enemy to make this arrangement work. But it turns out everyone has something to hide, and some people are willing to kill to keep their secrets from coming to light. La Voz, the rebellion group fighting against Medio’s most powerful players, is fighting for the freedom of the people, and they recruit Dani to help make the new state a reality. Dani and Carmen begin to bond in the face of their new husband’s cruelty, and a tentative friendship blooms into something new and dangerous. In the face of growing unrest and rebellion, will Dani turn her back on her people? Or will she become a revolutionary herself?

               This book was incredible, and one of my favorite books of 2019! I can’t wait for the sequel. I loved the worldbuilding and Mexican-inspired culture and people; it was amazing! Diverse books for the win! The pacing was breakneck, and I was either gasping, swooning, or screaming. The tension was so intense that there were times that I wanted to tear my hair out. I loved all of the characters, and the forbidding islands of Medio. But my favorite parts of the novel are the romance between Dani and Carmen, sweet and shy and innocent but full of fire as well, and the ending! How am I supposed to wait until next year for the sequel?! I’m dying here, Tehlor! One of the best books of 2019! The bottom line: Sexy, romantic, thoughtful and unique, I loved We Set the Dark on Fire! Next on deck: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/we-set-dark-on-fire-by-tehlor-kay-mejia.html

It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell R…

Title: It’s Always the Husband

Author: Michelle Campbell

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I
borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve
heard great things about It’s Always the Husband; in fact, I was so curious
about it that I ordered it from my local library. It’s been sitting in my stack
for a while, and once I realized that it had a hold on it, I pushed it to the
top as soon as I finished Pachinko. Once I finished it, I dove right in, not
sure what to expect, as I’d never read any of Campbell’s work before.
Thrillers, in general, make me leery: either I guess who did it within a
hundred pages, or it’s just so predictable that I lose interest. That wasn’t
the issue here, quite the opposite, in fact. The writing was a bit simplistic,
but it really suited the book, and I loved the concept: How well do we truly
know the people we love, especially our friends? The pacing was breakneck, and
once I began, I couldn’t stop reading. I just finished It’s Always the Husband
last night, and I’m still in shock. I was blindsided by the ending; I thought I
had it all figured out, but it was still a nasty surprise! Michelle Campbell
proves her writing chops with It’s Always the Husband, and I can’t wait to read
more of her work!

               The
book begins at Carlisle College in New England, with three young women from
different walks of life: Aubrey, the poor kid desperate to make friends and fit
in, Kate, the charismatic and wild rich girl with undeniable magnetism, and
Jenny, the overachiever from a middle-class family. Roommates all, the girls
form an unbreakable bond that stands the test of time, up to adulthood. But
that all changes when Kate dies unexpectedly. The police are thinking that it
was a suicide, but some people in town believe that she was murdered. Soon,
everyone in town is under scrutiny, and dark, dangerous secrets threaten to
disturb the peaceful, sleepy town of Belle River…

               This
book was wonderful! It was a bit simplistic, but I think that it suited the
book and the genre. The pacing was breakneck, and once I started reading, I
couldn’t stop. Even when I had to put it down, it stayed in my mind, and I kept
trying to untangle the gnarled, knotted threads that the mystery presented. The
large cast of characters, too, made it nearly impossible to figure out who had
hurt Kate. I loved all of the characters, whose true motives were hidden under
layers of secrets and deceit. I was left guessing at nearly everyone’s motives,
and the ending, when it came, hit me like a brutal punch to the chest. I
thought I had it all figured it out, but I definitely didn’t: I finished it
last night in the tub, and I’m still totally stunned. Michelle Campbell did a
fantastic job with this soapy, dramatic thriller that focuses on frenemies, and
I can’t wait to look into more of her work! The bottom line: Dark, oppressive,
and twisted, I loved It’s Always the Husband! Next on deck: We Set the Dark on
Fire by Tehlor Kay Meija!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/its-always-husband-by-michelle-campbell.html

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee Review

Title: Pachinko

Author: Min Jin Lee

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve been wanting to read Pachinko ever since one of my book club friends recommended it to me, and unfortunately, I had to return it to the library the first time around. Determined to discover what all of the fuss was about, I reordered it, and it’s been sitting in my library stack for a while. As soon as I was finished with The Whisper Man, I dove in, not sure what to expect, because I’ve never read any of Lee’s previous work before. Pachinko is nothing less than historical fiction at its finest: it tells the story of four generations of a Korean family, beginning with the occupation of Korea by the Japanese and ending in the 1980s. This book was a meaty, epic family saga, told with wisdom and tenderness and chronicles a period of sixty years. I loved all of the characters, the pacing was breakneck; the prose was absolutely gorgeous but brutal, as if gouged into the page with a scalpel. I was spellbound, even as my heart broke and my eyes ran with tears. This is one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait to read more of Min Jin Lee’s work!

               The story begins with a young Korean woman named Sunja, who, after a fling with a Japanese businessman, becomes pregnant. Scrambling to salvage what is left of her soiled honor over a first love, a Christian minister offers to marry her, and the couple leaves Korea for Osaka, Japan. What follows is the fracturing of the family, both from outside forces and within, over a period of years. It was painful, real, and offered a perspective on a time in world history that I knew very little about. I loved all of the characters, and one of my favorite parts of this novel was seeing the two countries of Japan and Korea change as the story went on. I also adored the way that Lee depicted the blatant racism and prejudice against Koreans, some of which still happens today, unfortunately. This book was nothing less than a bittersweet gem, and Lee has cemented her place in my heart as one of my favorite authors with Pachinko. It helped me learn, broke my heart, made me cry, and made me think, and isn’t that the whole point of a great story?

               Pachinko was a fantastic novel that opened my eyes to the cruelty that colonialism and imperialism has wrought upon the globe, and I can surely say that I will never forget it; this book may be the magnum opus of Lee’s body of work, and I can’t wait to read more of her novels; it’s been over a week since I finished Pachinko, and I still feel stunned, like I was punched in the stomach and had the wind knocked out of me. I will never forget this beautifully wrought, sad tale of a family torn apart at the seams by tragedy and circumstance. The bottom line: Rich, detailed, bittersweet and brutal, I loved Pachinko! Next on deck: It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/pachinko-by-min-jin-lee-review.html

The Whisper Man by Alex North Review

Title: The Whisper Man

Author: Alex North

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve heard so many good things about The Whisper Man, and I was so sad when I didn’t receive an advanced readers’ copy. So, when I found it on the new display shelf at one of the libraries I go to, I snatched it up. I wasn’t sure what to expect, exactly, but I just finished it last night and my skin is still crawling, my mouth tasting faintly of bile and revulsion. This book just left me stunned, and if I didn’t have to return it immediately, I would’ve at least thought it over for a few days, until I got my thoughts in order. But Alex North has penned a horrifying, thoughtful debut that highlights the relationship between fathers and sons, in every way, and the darkness that hides inside of all of us. I was spellbound until the final page, and the ending will haunt me forever. I still can’t get it out of my head. I can’t wait to see what Alex North has in store for the horror, mystery and thriller genres.

               Tom Kennedy and his young son, Jake, have traveled to the small, sleepy village of Featherbank, England after the untimely death of Tom’s wife and Jake’s mother, Rebecca. Desperate for a new start in a new place, Tom tries to settle in. But he begins to discover that Featherbank has a dark past: a monster called The Whisper Man has killed little boys, and it began with the children hearing a deep, gruff voice at their window. Enter DIs Pete Willis, who has been chasing The Whisper Man for more than twenty years, and Amanda Beck, the green young detective that has been assigned to the new case. Some say that the murders are copycats, as Frank Carter is in prison for The Whisper Man’s first reign of terror. Things get even more frightening when Jake tells Tom that his imaginary friends, The Boy in the Floor, and The Little Girl, are warning him of danger. Tom finds himself entangled in a dark web of terror, deceit and true evil, and not everyone will escape The Whisper Man unscathed…

               Mysteries and thrillers are a touchy thing for me; sometimes, I can guess who did it within the first hundred pages of reading, and then the rest of the book fizzles out for me. But The Whisper Man was a twisty, intricate and dark mystery, interlaced with an awful lot of horror. The pacing was breakneck; I was utterly haunted by the tone of the book. I devoured this book in less than two days, and to say that it was a nailbiter would be a major understatement. My only complaint was that the point of view changed so often that it was sometimes difficult to figure out who was speaking. I enjoyed the large cast of characters, especially Frank, Pete, Tom, and Jake. But I think my favorite part of it was the elements of the supernatural throughout the novel; it gave the mystery such a great tone! And that ending is not one that I will be forgetting any time soon! Alex North has established himself as a new thriller writer to keep an eye on! The bottom line: Dark, terrifying, thoughtful and unique, I loved The Whisper Man! Next on deck: House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/the-whisper-man-by-alex-north-review.html

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson Review

Title: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Margaret Rogerson has been on my radar since her first book, An Enchantment of Ravens, came out. Unfortunately, I had to take her debut novel back to the library before I was able to read it. But when I heard that she was writing a sophomore novel, I was so excited that I put it on hold at my library immediately. Since then, it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, waiting for me to finally read it. As soon as I was finished with Raven, I dove in. I was absolutely intrigued and excited by the premise: magical libraries, with books that spoke, loved, and held the most ancient magic! Rogerson has before been hailed as the heir apparent to Diana Wynne Jones, and after reading Sorcery of Thorns, I absolutely believe it. Full of magic, wonder, romance, political intrigue, and, of course, books, I loved this book. It might be my favorite in Rogerson’s body of work. I can’t wait to see what is up her sleeve for us next! Rogerson has cemented her place in my heart as a new favorite author!

               Elisabeth Scrievener has lived her life within the sacred walls of Summershall, one of the kingdom’s most magical libraries. She knows the danger of grimoires, and the people who wield their magic for evil: sorcerers. If the books are provoked, they run the risk of turning into Maleficts, monsters made of ink and paper. But her peaceful existence is shattered forever when an act of sabotage releases the library’s oldest and most powerful grimoire. But intervening costs her everything, and she is cast out of Summershall. With no one else to turn to, she asks a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorn, to aid her in her quest. Armed with his magic and demonic servant, Elisabeth begins to search for answers and finds herself wrapped up in a conspiracy that goes back centuries. She discovers more than her beloved libraries are at stake: the entire world hangs in the balance. Elisabeth’s tentative friendship with Nathaniel deepens, leading her to question everything she thought she knew. She begins to realize that she holds a new, unspeakable power inside of her, and that the future she was so sure of before is nothing like she thought…

               I loved this book completely and totally; the premise was unique and exciting, and I felt so at home in Elisabeth’s world, even with all of its magic and danger. Honestly, this book felt like a childhood dream come true. The pacing was breakneck, and I was fascinated by the world Elisabeth lived in. Full of magic, danger, darkness, and love, Sorcery of Thorns was an indeed magical tale that captivated me from beginning to end. I also loved Nathaniel and Silas, and the foil they made to timid, straitlaced Elisabeth. I also adored Elisabeth herself; her character development was what really made the book for me. She went from a shy, quiet little mouse of a girl to a young woman who is unafraid to do what’s right, at the cost of her own life and everything she loves. One of my favorite parts of the novel, too, was the romance between Elisabeth and Nathaniel; I was swooning by the time it was in full swing. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, Margaret Rogerson has completely outdone herself with Sorcery of Thorns! The bottom line: Rich, romantic, funny, and dark, I loved Sorcery of Thorns! Next on deck: The Whisper Man by Alex North!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/sorcery-of-thorns-by-margaret-rogerson.html

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel …

Title: Teen Titans: Raven

Author/Illustrator: Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: DC Ink, book two

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a total junkie for comics, in any and all forms, both in DC and Marvel. So, when I heard that DC was rebooting their heroes, especially the women, I was so stoked. I absolutely adored Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale, and when it was announced that Teen Titans was relaunching, starting with my favorite Titan, Raven, I was so excited. I’d had it on hold since before it actually came out, and Kami Garcia is one of my favorite authors. I was slightly nervous at this new addition to the DC canon, as the Teen Titans are some of my favorite superheroes with DC. But I didn’t need to be, because this book did great justice to one of my favorite heroes, and I can’t wait for the next installment, this time revolving around Beast Boy! Can you tell I’m excited? Because I am, a little bit.

               Rachel Roth has lost her foster mother and her memories in a tragic car accident, and is forced to go live with her foster mother’s sister, Natalia, and her daughter, Max. To add to all of this, she begins being troubled by a mysterious, dark bird, and the thoughts of her new classmates. Thinking that she has lost her mind in the crash, she begins to be plagued by a dark, enigmatic voice inside her head, vying for control of her mind. Trying desperately to make sense of the riddles that her life has become, Rachel must decide whether to give in to her family’s dark legacy, or to accept herself, wholly and completely…

               I absolutely adored this book! Raven is one of my favorite Titans, and one of my favorite heroes in the DC canon, and Kami Garcia did a fantastic job of portraying a young Rachel Roth, unfamiliar with her powers and her heritage. I loved Rachel, Max, and Natalia, especially, and I loved the little Easter egg thrown in when Beast Boy made an appearance! The illustrations and colors, done by Gabriel Piccolo were beautiful; I loved the comic’s color palette. But my favorite part about this comic was watching Rachel come into her own and accept herself, powers, dark legacy and all. And that ending! I loved it so much, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the other Titans! Easily one of my favorite books of 2019; Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo did an outstanding job with Raven’s legacy! The bottom line: Funny, honest, and beautiful, I loved this new take on one of my favorite DC heroes! I can’t wait for the next Teen Titans comic! Next on deck: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/teen-titans-raven-by-kami-garcia-and.html

Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo Del Toro an…

Title: Pan’s Labyrinth: Labyrinth of the Faun

Authors and Illustrator: Guillermo del Toro, Cornelia Funke, and Allen Williams

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               This book has been sitting in my library stack for a while, and I couldn’t renew it anymore, so as soon as I was finished with The War Outside, I pushed it to the top of my stack. Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies, so as soon as I heard of that book, I was eager to put it on hold at my library. I devoured this book in a little under two days, and I was utterly spellbound. The writing was beautiful, like something out of an old fairy tale, and I adored the gorgeous, forbidding illustrations. It breaks my heart that illustrations are few and far between in books, because they add such depth to a story. Allen Williams did a fantastic job of adding beautiful pictures to the story. Del Toro and Funke combined their fantastic writing to bring one of my favorite films to life. The prose was beautiful, hypnotic, and though Funke took some artistic license with the story, I liked the way that she and Del Toro filled in the gaps that the original story left unexplained. A dark and gorgeous fairy tale for all ages, I loved this bloody, thoughtful fairy tale, and I will never forget it! This book is one of my favorites in Cornelia Funke’s body of work: She’s done a fantastic job with this lovely book!

               Ofelia’s world has been shattered after the death of her loving, caring father, a tailor. Forced to leave her home and start a new beginning with her pregnant mother, they go to an isolated outpost in the wild forests of Spain to live with Captain Vidal, whom she calls The Wolf. Yearning for her home and her father, she tries to stay out of her new stepfather’s way. But everything changes when she sees the ruins of an ancient labyrinth on the outskirts of the forest: soon fairies, fauns, wicked toads, and magical creatures appear, leading the child to her secret and forgotten past, and Ofelia must use her beloved books and every bit of her strength to overcome The Wolf’s evil ways…

               I absolutely adored this book! Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favorite films, and Del Toro, Funke, and Williams all did a fantastic job of bringing it to prose novel form. I was immediately entranced by the voice inside of the book, and the illustrations were beautiful and detailed, adding a whole new depth to the story. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately drawn into Ofelia’s beautiful, dark, and dangerous world. Even though I knew what was going to happen, the book still managed to surprise me; I was crying and gasping throughout the novel. I wish I had a copy of this book for my own collection; it’s so beautiful! Ofelia’s journey from a meek, shy little girl into a heroine in her own right was my favorite part of it, even more so than the fantastical elements of the novel. And the ending! I loved it so much. This book is a classic fantasy, in that there were magical tasks, blood and war, daring adventures, and a magical land laying beneath the fabric of our own ordinary world. This book is absolutely unforgettable, and it’s one of the best of 2019! The bottom line: Lush, dark, and magical, I loved Labyrinth of the Faun! Next on deck: Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo!

The War Outside by Monica Hesse Review

Title: The War Outside

Author: Monica Hesse

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               The War Outside was the August book club pick for one of the book discussions I go to; I finished it in three days. I, unfortunately, was not able to finish it the actual night of book club, so I finished it the day after. This book was so heartfelt and emotional, and the issues it brought up are still relevant today. Touching on a dark period of America’s history, The War Outside depicts the fraught relationship of two young women, locked away with their families in an internment camp. Haruko is Japanese-American, taken from her home to live with her father, who has been accused of betraying the country and passing on trade secrets. Margot is German-American, sent with her parents on suspicion that she is siding with the enemy. The girls’ lives collide in the most explosive way, ending in tragedy and betrayal. I loved every painful, topical moment of this book, because those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, America has indeed been repeating history, ripping families apart and putting innocent little kids in cages. I’ll be honest: I cried through most of this book. It was so incredibly painful, and absolutely necessary. I will never forget The War Outside, and I can’t wait to read The Girl in the Blue Coat!

               I liked this book a lot; historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, because it allows me to experience a time that I can’t in person. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately entranced by both Haruko and Margot’s voices, bitter and afraid and angry at the country who refuses to accept them because of their ancestry. I couldn’t tell if they were just friends, or if their relationship went deeper than that, but the tension and chemistry between Margot and Haruko was totally electric. I also enjoyed the cast of characters around them: both of their families, entwined with dark, dangerous secrets, and the internment camp itself, a prison dressed up in new clapboard houses, little food, and a new swimming pool. I was constantly turning pages, and when I wasn’t reading, the girls lurked in my head, attempting to lure me back into the book, regardless of what I was doing. The narrative was tinged with regret on all sides, salty and bitter, sitting like a lump in my throat. Fear itself was also a prominent character; no one in the camps trust one another, or the country that promised them all a new life, only to lock them away for things that they did not do. And the ending! I was so shocked; it was the literary equivalent to dropping a bomb. I was blown away and wasn’t expecting it at all, even after being warned! This tender, romantic and bittersweet story tells of a time that should be in our past, but alas, it is happening all over again with Mexican asylum seekers, right before our very eyes. I loved the friendship between the two young women, even as it frayed irreversibly at the end. The only thing I didn’t like was that most of the adults weren’t even listening to the girls; I didn’t like ninety percent of them. Nonetheless, Hesse has penned a breathless and unforgettable sophomore novel that casts a light on one of America’s darkest historical periods, and I will never forget it! The bottom line: Fraught with emotion and distrust, I loved The War Outside! A bittersweet, tender and topical sophomore novel, Monica Hesse has outdone herself, and I can’t wait to read The Girl in the Blue Coat! Next on deck: Pan’s Labyrinth: Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo Del Toro, Cornelia Funke, and Allen Williams!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-war-outside-by-monica-hesse-review.html

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan Review

Title: In Other Lands

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Sarah Rees Brennan has been one of my favorite authors for a long time; I read her first series, The Demon’s Lexicon, when my husband and I first moved, and I’ve been obsessed with her ever since. When I saw In Other Lands sitting on the shelf of a library I go to, I snatched it up. It had been sitting in my library stack, and since I couldn’t renew it anymore, I began it as soon as I was finished with The Best Lies. I wasn’t quite sure to expect, because this book was different than any other in Brennan’s body of work. But regardless, I adored In Other Lands. Full of wit, humor, romance, a fair amount of blood, gore, and death, this book kind of reminded me of the Harry Potter series, with more of a focus on the war aspect of things. Despite that, I was immediately entertained by this hilarious, sarcastic book about an altogether different kind of chosen one. This made me realize just how much I missed Sarah Rees Brennan, and exactly why she’s one of my favorite authors.

               The Borderlands are a magical place, in which modern technology does not properly function, things such as pens are practically unheard of, and I haven’t even mentioned all of the fantastic people and creatures. Elves, harpies, and mermaids are all real, and a war as old as time has been raging. And then there’s Elliot. He’s an obnoxious, nerdy thirteen year old teenager. His best friend is a beautiful elf warrior named Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of Battle, and his other friend, Luke, is perfect in every way. Though Luke is more of a frenemy than a true friend. In Other Lands follows the redheaded, snotty teen through four years, as he ages. This is fantasy at its lowest, and I mean that in the best possible way. I was laughing throughout the novel; one of my favorite things about Brennan is her humor. Elliot was a hard character to root for at times, but I liked him and his character development throughout the novel. I also adored Serene, Luke, Dale, and the rest of the characters that populated the Borderlands. One of my favorite things about SRB is that the worlds she builds are always original, and I loved her take on a Harry Potter style tale. The bottom line: Fizzy, funny, romantic and original, I loved In Other Lands! One of my favorites of Brennan’s work! Next on deck: The War Outside by Monica Hesse!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/in-other-lands-by-sarah-rees-brennan.html

The Best Lies by Sarah Lyu Review

Title: The Best Lies

Author: Sarah Lyu

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I
borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve
had The Best Lies on hold at my local library since before it came out; I’d
heard of the premise from a few other book reviewers I follow, and I was
curious, especially when I saw the pale pink cover, adorned with a
sticky-sweet, pastel-hued lollipop. It was sitting on top of my library stack,
and it was one book that I didn’t want to return without reading. Normally, I’m
leery about mysteries and thrillers; I can usually guess what’s going to happen
within fifty pages. But The Best Lies was totally unique, in that it featured a
love triangle gone horrifically wrong. I loved it, even as I waited with bated
breath for the ending that felt like a punch to the gut. I could see what was
coming, but it still blew me away. I finished this book over a week ago, and
I’m still floored. Just absolutely stunned. A tragic, heartbreaking and
realistic portrayal of a close friendship gone the worst kind of sideways, The
Best Lies is one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait to see what
debut author Sarah Lyu has up her sleeve next!

               Remy
Tsai has never really had anyone who’s really loved her. Her parents are
absorbed in hurting each other, and only use her and her brother, Christian, as
bargaining chips in their arguments. Overlooked, lonely, and shy, her life
changes forever when she meets Elise. Elise understands her like no one else
she’s ever known, and soon the two become entwined, inseparable, ride or die. But
Remy begins to feel that the love that has kept her safe and sheltered for so
long is suffocating her. The feeling only intensifies when Jack enters the
picture, who Remy is immediately smitten with. But Remy’s new love and joy is
shattered when Jack dies, and it’s Elise’s hand that held the gun that killed
him. From the police station, Remy struggles to piece together the tragedy that
destroyed her life…

               This
book was, in a word, compelling. I love books about friendships gone wrong,
especially among young women. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately
entranced by Remy’s broken voice. I was totally spellbound by the love triangle
that formed between Remy, Jack, and Elise. I knew what was coming, from the
beginning, but even still, the ending landed like a punch to the chest and I
felt like I was gasping for breath. This book was like watching a trainwreck,
impossible to look away from. I loved watching Remy and Elise’s relationship
grow from something almost romantic and charged to terribly fraught, and so
frayed that it ended in a horrible, unspeakable tragedy. I felt sorry for
everyone involved in this book; to be frank, most of them were miserable. This
book was so very sad, but I’m glad that I read it; it’s a great example of
toxic relationships and behavior. Elise, in particular, was a study in sadness
and abusive behavior, both giving and receiving. The Best Lies is one of my
favorite books of 2019; Sarah Lyu did a fantastic job in this punchy, timely
thriller with a sticky-sweet, toxic love triangle! The bottom line: Vivid, dark,
and utterly painful, I loved The Best Lies; Sarah Lyu has penned a compelling,
necessary thriller! Fantastic! Next on deck: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees
Brennan!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-best-lies-by-sarah-lyu-review.html