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.

very spooky…

Disney Chills: Part of Your World (Book 1) – Jennifer Brody writing as Vera Strange 

Children’s literature, Disney, villains, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Shelly wants to be popular for once and be a faster swimmer. Unfortunately when her parents split she had to go to a new school and join a new swim team. Just wanting to fit in and not be called ‘fish girl’. Her wish is to swim faster so that she can prove to her peers that she can be popular. Shelly finds a nautilus that takes her to this lair where an entity shows itself. Ursula, the sea witch, proposes a deal with Shelly. Shelly could become the fastest swimmer if she signs the contract and allows Ursula to call in a favor at any time. After twenty-four hours of contemplation, Shelly signs the deal. Unaware of the ramifications of her wish and the favor. It is too late to back out now… 

One of my favorite Disney Villains is Ursula. She is clever and very smart with her deals as well as executing her plans. In this book, she knows what she wants and knows what Shelly wants. The deal that was made was ultimately evil and brilliant. Not only that but to make deals with Ursula one has to be hyper-specific in which Shelly wasn’t. The writing of this novel was so immersive and vivid. This novel is perfect for young readers who want to read a spooky story and are Disney fans. This is also great for all ages really but the demographic for this was geared towards children. I believe this book can be found at local Targets in the children’s section or the Halloween part of the book section. There are more books in the series that have different Disney villains incorporated.

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.

loved this sci-fi fantasy novel

Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse 

Science fiction, fantasy, fiction.

Rating 9/10

Xiala is a disgraced captain that was about to get punished when she is given a task that guarantees her freedom and a stable job. Escort someone or rather a special passenger. Serapio was blinded by his mother in hopes of her son becoming one of the Gods. Unfortunately what she was doing was abusive to her son and cost her son’s eyesight. He needs to be taken back to his homeland and Xiala must take him there. 

This was rather interesting and intriguing. The novel discusses disability as an empowerment for which Serapio has lost his sight and can’t see but his other senses are heightened due to that. Also this novel goes over and discusses a lot of how the indigenous peoples are mistreated and how they are viewed by others. These topics were presented as science fiction and fantasy which is great. There is a lot of lore explained as well as a diversity of different perspectives. The writing was phenomenal and the characters don’t feel artificial. They feel as if I know them personally.  I enjoyed this novel a lot and think I might just get the sequel whenever it comes out. 

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.

Gaea is not nice -.-

Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena – Rick Riordan

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

Rating 9/10

Annabeth and her friends have another hurdle they must face. The Mark of Athena and the prophecy of their next journey. New acquaintances from Camp Jupiter accompany them on their journey. They must save Nico and defeat the twin cyclopes. Gaea had made it her mission to ensure her minions and followers kill these demigods except for two, a boy and girl. It is a race against time to save their friend and push back Gaea.

This one was more adventure than world building. I enjoy that because it’s a change of pace. Seeing that these demigod teenagers are trying to save the world again without the help of their Godly parents. I have to say I really love the interactions between Percy and Jason. It is funny as well as Leo and Frank’s interactions too. There are comedic moments because nothing has to be always serious and to keep light of the situation that these teens are going through. This was really fun to read and I am enjoying this journey with these characters. Riordan really did it with this series by making such lovable and relatable characters. The writing and changing of perspectives helps understand what’s going on with these characters in their eyes. I feel that it was of major importance to the plot and storyline in the long run. Loved every single moment of this book and am anticipating the next book very soon.

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.