i usually avoid romeo and juliette…

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong 

Retelling, Romeo and Juliet, the 1920s, shanghai, gang wars, young adult, fiction. 

Rating 9/10

Juliette returns to Shanghai to take over the gang, named Scarlets. However, what is noticed is this new mysterious pandemic of individuals clawing themselves to death. She suspects it’s the Russians. Roma suspects that it is the Scarlets. Roma goes to confront Juliette and realized that this is an actual monster. He proposes that the two works together and set aside their differences to find what is killing people. 

I usually don’t like to read any form of Romeo and Juliet. Yet alone to be caught dead reading a retelling. I always hated Shakespeare especially because of Romeo and Juliet. Anyways, this novel had kept popping up everywhere and was recommended to me. I found that I loved this novel. It had very thrilling writing and world-building as well as action with romance. There was serious tension between Roma and Juliette that felt surreal. I enjoyed this novel and found it immersive as well. The way the author transports the reader into the world was extraordinary.

another book tiktok made me buy XD

Bone Crier’s Moon – Kathryn Purdie

Young adult, fantasy, romance, fiction. 

Rating 9/10

Ailesse had been preparing for her Rite of Passage to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers. She had collected all the different bones she needed and learned all the different songs. Now she must go to the bridge to play the flute of a song that would attract her soul mate, the man whom she is destined to love and kill. Bastien was orphaned at a young age and promised to take revenge by murdering a bone crier. Sabine doesn’t like what the Bone Criers do nor their work but she must do what is expected of her. Ailesse’s mother assigns Sabine to watch her daughter’s Rite of Passage. Ailesse gets taken by her amour, Bastien, who wants revenge by taking her hostage. Sabine makes it her mission to rescue her best friend. Ailesse makes it her mission after learning about Bastien’s intentions to free him from their bond without death involved. 

I had seen this while on the booktok side of TikTok and couldn’t resist the whole enemies to lovers trope. The premise doesn’t appear to be that way but it’s flushed out throughout the novel. This was one of my favorite fantasy young adult books so far. There was a perfect amount of action and fantasy along with some romance. There was a lot of tension between all the characters from the first page until the near end of the novel. The plot moved at a graceful pace that couldn’t have been more perfect. I was just sad about the cliffhanger and I have to find out if there is a sequel to the novel because this is excellent. The world-building was great and spread out just enough that it wasn’t just a lore dump in the beginning. I hate novels that do a lore dump at the beginning of the first book is the lore dump. I loved the whole enemies-to-lovers trope that is present. I can see Bastien really going for Ailesse hence I do ship it.

once you arrive its hard to leave…

Ace of Shades – Amanda Foody 

Young adult, science fiction, fantasy, fiction. 

Rating 8/10

Enne Salta finds herself in Las Reynes to try to find her mother. She has the entire summer to find her before she must return to her finishing school. With only a name, Levi Glaisyer, she hunts him down. He is taken aback by this young woman and decides to help her for a cost. She makes an offer to him that he can’t refuse that would solve his problems. He takes the offer and helps her find her mother. As they are searching for her mother, she learns of her past that affects her future. 

My boyfriend had read this novel and I couldn’t help but be curious as to why he would read this. After reading I slowly understood. The plot is really interesting as it slowly unfolded. The world is immersive and makes the reader get hooked once it picks up the pace. The diverse and rich characters involved were very unique. There were many plot twists and turns that I hadn’t expected at all which I love a good book that does that. However, the concept of a world that is sort of Las Vegas but different isn’t my type. Overall, I did enjoy the novel despite that and how slow the beginning was.

never ever make a deal with the shadow man!

Disney Chills: Fiends on the Other Side (Book 2) – Jennifer Brody writing as Vera Strange 

Disney, children’s literature, villains, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Jamal always felt like a shadow, more like in his brother’s shadow. He felt very invisible. One day he receives stuff from his grandma which was just a skull necklace. A man appears and introduces himself as Dr. Facilier. Dr. Facilier wants the necklace but Jamal doesn’t want to trade that but he was willing to trade another item. Little does Jamal know that he must never make deals with the shadow man. 

This was exceptionally different and very dark for a children’s book. Like the other one there were a lot of dark themes but not too dark. I wasn’t expecting the author to continue with the same level of horror as the other one but with this one. I loved that there was a reference to the movie. The other book also has references to the movie but it was more evident in this one than the other. Altogether I enjoyed this and can’t wait to find more.

another great disney twisted tales novel

What Once Was Mine – Liz Braswell 

Rapunzel, retelling, young adult, fiction. 

Rating 10/10

Rapunzel’s mother drank a potion to save her life and it was what they thought was the sundrop flower. When Rapunzel was born she had silver hair that was proven deadly. The King and Queen had to face a decision that all new parents would fear is giving up their child or sending their child away. The Queen made it her quest to find a caregiver for Rapunzel and found Mother Gothel who promised to care for Rapunzel. Mother Gothel had other plans that led to Rapunzel being afraid of her hair’s powers. Rapunzel asked Mother Gothel if she could leave the tower to see the floating lanterns that happen every year on a specific date that correlated to her birthday and was told a firm no. She can’t have Rapunzel kill another person like what she had done to her parents long ago. She asks her mother to go get her something and when the coast is clear Rapunzel leaves the tower out of curiosity of what this strange man left behind to find a crown of some sort. Rapunzel goes on a quest to find someone to take her to the floating lights and has a prize for whomever. She finds Flynn Rider and Gina, both outlaws in trouble, and agrees to help Rapunzel. Along the way Rapunzel finds out the truth about her origin and the reality of her origin. 

I’m a huge fan of Tangled and this twisted tale was by far the best presentation of the story being twisted. Rapunzel has magical hair that destroys or rather takes the life of whoever touches it. This blew my mind because I wasn’t expecting Gina to be included into the mix. Overall I enjoyed the characters in this form too. The plot was intriguing and kept me always on my toes. What I loved a lot about this novel was the way that it felt like The Princess Bride storytelling of someone sitting down and telling this story to someone young and in need of a good story. This story was being told by a man named Brendan to his twin sister Daniella who loves Tangled a lot and often requested to rewatch the movie. I nearly cried throughout this novel as well as laughing and going ‘aw’ a lot. This was utterly sweet and I highly recommend that one go get this novel to read. I couldn’t help but to savor this novel so I finished it within a week. I didn’t want to rush reading it because of how well it was written.

tiktok made me buy another book…

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Young adult, games, survival, fiction. 

Rating 8/10

Scarlett writes to this Legend who is in charge of the infamous Caraval. It is a game where people compete for a prize at the end. Scarlett is about to be married off to a suitor her dad chose for her and doesn’t really want to do it other than take her sister away from their very abusive father. Scarlett was given tickets to go to the Caraval and at the same time her sister, Tella, went missing. Scarlett decides to go with Julian, a man who her sister was seeing, into the game to find her sister or else something bad will happen to her sister. This game makes everyone question if it is just a game or reality. 

I saw this book on book tok, a part of tiktok that is dedicated to bibliophiles, and was intrigued by the plot. I didn’t put this book down because of how it kept me intrigued with the story of how Scarlett was trying to survive Caraval plus saving her sister. There was simplicity and yet complexities to this novel. I couldn’t help but to finish this book in one sitting. This is sort of like the Hunger Games meets circus minus the teenagers being thrown into a fight but rather fleshing out parts of people and sides of people that they themselves didn’t know existed. Overall this was a small book and easy to indulge.

this sorta messed me UP

The Infinity Courts – Akemi Dawn Bowman 

Young adult, fantasy, death, afterlife, computers, science fiction, fiction.

7/10

Nami was ready for her future until she was murdered. She died when the bank robber at the liquor store shot her. She finds herself in Infinity where the mind is alive but her body is dead. The people who greet her tell her about the war against Ophelia who has taken over the Infinity and hates humanity. Nami is the only one to help save them from disaster or their world from actually ending. 

This young adult novel was one of the trendy books I saw and was instantly interested. However, the chosen one trope was what got to me but besides that everything else is really good. The storyline and plot goes smoothly. The characters and their interactions with each other were alright but the chosen one trope kept getting more annoying as the characters kept telling Nami she is the chosen one and that she should train for the ultimate fight. I was expecting better for this novel but then again the chosen one trope is heavily in most young adult novels as it is popular among that demographic. It sells right off the shelves.

when does the third book comes out cause i need to know how this ends

Blood & Honey – Shelby Mahurin 

Young adult, witches, witch hunters, romance, fantasy, fiction. 

After being reunited, Lou and Reid make a plan. They must stop Lou’s mother from enacting her devious plan. Not only that but the two are being hunted by all in the land. One of the important things they need to do is make and form alliances which isn’t an easy thing given that they are in a dangerous game. Reid is still trying to accept magic into his life for the sake of his wife and to follow his marital duties to stay by Lou’s side. The battle for peace and for love has just begun. 

I was waiting a long time for this novel to come out. I had been enthralled by the first book and couldn’t help but wonder about the sequel. This was phenomenally written just like the first book where I was taken on a roller coaster of feelings. I couldn’t help but to try to read this in one sitting because of the way the narrative was written I didn’t want to set this book down not once. I feel for Reid because he was taught to hate witches and magic but he loves this woman who became his wife. I just don’t like some choices that Lou had made that were deeply questionable in this book and I fear for the third book that is coming out later this year. I simply hate the fact that TikTok made me buy the first book and I got so invested in this because the whole trope of witch and witch hunter/ enemies to lovers romance story never got me interested before having read this book. I definitely recommend this series. It is a whole trip and a roller coaster of feels.

the usage of the amnesia trope is fun lol

Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune – Rick Riordan 

Greek gods and goddesses, roman gods and goddesses, mythical, fantasy, children’s, fiction.

Rating 10/10

Percy wakes up with no memory other than he is a demigod and the name Annabeth. He finds himself going to Camp Jupiter and Juno, a goddess, announces that he is to be an important addition to the camp. Hazel is hiding a secret of her origin as well as the fact that she walks among the living for a reason. Frank doesn’t know who his parentage is, or rather which God he comes from. The three of them are the key to fulfilling the quest. The quest begins and frees Thantantos, or God of Death, from being imprisoned. Each of them learn more about what is going on and how Gaea is obtaining more and more power each day. 

I found that this was really interesting and there was a map. I wished that there was a map for Camp Half-Blood. Sadly there is only one for Camp Jupiter. A lot of world building and lore was explained in this novel that helped explain the previous book. I’m not too sure how to feel about the amnesia aspect because without the memories, this tends to cause a lot more issues for these demigods. I understand that it serves a purpose but it is annoying. Drives the plot unfortunately. Either way I did love this second book of the series.

the sequel of the best werewolf YA

Wolfsbane – Andrea Cremer

Wolves, supernatural, fiction, young adults, identity, interpersonal relationships.

Rating 10/10

Calla was captured by the enemy. Only to find out the truth and that Shay was telling the truth of the reality she is now faced with. She has to work with them to fight her true enemy. In order to go back to rescue her pack, she must train and be prepared. She has to protect Shay as he is the key to the future. Even though she turned him into the wolf so he can give her pack blood in order to save his life, he is still in need of protection. She has to trust her own heart to make the right decision. 

I, of course, couldn’t resist getting the entire trilogy of this series. I loved this series as a teenager and even love them more as an adult. The synopsis is short because most of the book has a lot of details and I wouldn’t want to spoil. Andrea Cremer does such a good job world building and making lovable, as well as hateable, characters. This book was fairly paced and well written. A bit shorter than the first novel but definitely action packed. Calla going through the whole identity and purpose crisis was really character building and has made her better. I still find it funny that her other love interest, Shay, is now a werewolf. He hasn’t fully adjusted and it’s quite humoring. I might hold off reading the final book, BloodRose because I want to enjoy this series and relish the moments. I will also work on getting the prequel series that goes along with this book that gives background information of the history behind all what is going on in this series which I also had read back in middle school when I had that werewolf witch phase. I wasn’t on the team Edward lol. I was on the werewolf team. Go find this book series and read it if one is into werewolves and witches.