‘Defy the Night’ and ‘Defend the Dawn’ are the first two books in Brigid Kemmerer’s fabulous new series

I admit that sometimes, I am spectacularly uninformed about the books I read. Take Brigid Kemmerer's new series which begins with "Defy the Night" and its sequel, "Defend the Dawn." I was sure that this was a duology, and I was thrilled that I would get to read both books in a row. I was … Continue reading ‘Defy the Night’ and ‘Defend the Dawn’ are the first two books in Brigid Kemmerer’s fabulous new series

‘Furysong’ by Rosaria Munda is the conclusion of a brilliant fantasy trilogy

With her latest novel, "Furysong," the last fantasy in the trilogy that began with "Fireborne" and continued with "Flamefall," author Rosaria Munda has claimed her place as a first class writer who can plan, plot, and execute a series of books wherein each approaches 500 pages—not one page of which feels unnecessary. Yes, the novels … Continue reading ‘Furysong’ by Rosaria Munda is the conclusion of a brilliant fantasy trilogy

‘Flirting with Fate’ by J. C. Cervantes is a lovely story of destiny, love, and family

Flirting with Fate by J. C. Cervantes While "Flirting with Fate" by J. C. Cervantes is a young adult fantasy about love and fate, it's not quite as light and frothy as that might indicate. It's a touching story, and I actually needed a tissue as I finished reading it because of the evocation of … Continue reading ‘Flirting with Fate’ by J. C. Cervantes is a lovely story of destiny, love, and family

‘No Beauties or Monsters’ by Tara Goedjen is filled with surprise and mystery until the lovely ending

No Beauties or Monsters "No Beauties or Monsters" by Tara Goedjen is the ultimate mystery novel. For most of the story, we have little idea what is happening. Why does main character Rylie lose track of time—for hours—and have no recollection of what happened? What is going on in Twentynine Palms and the nearby military … Continue reading ‘No Beauties or Monsters’ by Tara Goedjen is filled with surprise and mystery until the lovely ending

‘Flamefall’ by Rosaria Munda is the sequel to the thoughtful and thrilling ‘Fireborne’

Flamefall by Rosaria Munda You don't want to miss reading "Flamefall" by Rosaria Munda, the sequel to "Fireborne" and the second book in "The Aurelian Cycle" trilogy. In the first novel, Rosaria Munda created an alternate world populated by overlords and serfs. The overlords could do—and did do—anything they wanted to the peasant families they … Continue reading ‘Flamefall’ by Rosaria Munda is the sequel to the thoughtful and thrilling ‘Fireborne’

‘Bluebird’ by Sharon Cameron is a stunning work of fiction based on real events that are shocking

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron Sharon Cameron demonstrated her ability to write engrossing historical fiction based on real events in her masterful book, "The Light in Hidden Places." In some ways, "Bluebird," based on real, shocking events, is the antithesis of that story. As a contrast to the first story that focuses on heroes that appeared … Continue reading ‘Bluebird’ by Sharon Cameron is a stunning work of fiction based on real events that are shocking

‘Hold Back the Tide’ by Melinda Salisbury is a thrilling, inspiring tale of bravery and things that only come out at night

Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury Want a story that will grab you from the first sentence and hold your attention to the last? "Hold Back the Tide" by Melinda Salisbury is just such a read. It begins, "Here are the rules of living with a murderer." And the suspense grows and grows as … Continue reading ‘Hold Back the Tide’ by Melinda Salisbury is a thrilling, inspiring tale of bravery and things that only come out at night

‘Poisoned’ by Jennifer Donnelly is a beautiful, complex, fractured fairy tale retelling of Snow White

Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly Jennifer Donnelly's fairy tale retellings are beautiful in their complexity and their reimagining; but make no mistake, the beauty of the writing doesn't equate with "beauty" being foremost among the traits of the main characters in her newest fantasy "Poisoned," or her previous fractured fairy tale, "Stepsister." Both young adult fairy … Continue reading ‘Poisoned’ by Jennifer Donnelly is a beautiful, complex, fractured fairy tale retelling of Snow White

‘The Girls I’ve Been’ by Tess Sharpe is a surprisingly touching YA story of friendship, love, a bank robbery and much more

The Girls I've Been In "The Girls I've Been," Tess Sharpe's brilliant writing draws us into the lives of the three teens at the center of this young adult thriller. We meet them just as they are on the cusp of being held hostage at their local bank in rural California, and from the first … Continue reading ‘The Girls I’ve Been’ by Tess Sharpe is a surprisingly touching YA story of friendship, love, a bank robbery and much more

‘The Shadow Mission’ by Shamim Sarif is international intrigue with a strong female secret agent

"The Shadow Mission" is the sequel to "The Athena Protocol" by Shamim Sarif, and both novels feature Jessie Archer, a secret agent/vigilante who works for Athena, a secret, nongovernmental organization dedicated to helping children and women around the world who are being targeted by fanatical groups or governments. In the first book, we learn that … Continue reading ‘The Shadow Mission’ by Shamim Sarif is international intrigue with a strong female secret agent

‘They Called Us Enemy’ by George Takei is a graphic memoir that brings home the horror of racism and judging people by their race and is a must-read for teenager readers

I've read about the internment camps for Japanese Americans during WWII, and there are many historical fiction books for children that are set in those camps (see some listed at the end of this review), but George Takei's powerful memoir instilled in me a broader sense of what this country was like when this atrocity … Continue reading ‘They Called Us Enemy’ by George Takei is a graphic memoir that brings home the horror of racism and judging people by their race and is a must-read for teenager readers

‘Fireborne’ by Rosaria Munda is a splendid combination of fantasy, friendship, political intrigue, and bloodshed

"FIreborne" by Rosaria Munda is a young adult fantasy with two main characters who alternately share their narrative. The story takes place nine years after a revolution that is very reminiscent of the Russian revolution, wherein the Czar and his family were executed. In a like manner, the "royalty" of Callipolis were murdered. These rulers … Continue reading ‘Fireborne’ by Rosaria Munda is a splendid combination of fantasy, friendship, political intrigue, and bloodshed