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Review, Young Adult / June 2, 2015
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle PaigeThe Wicked Will Rise
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die #2
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date: March 2015
304 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Fantasy
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In this sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, who is good—and who is actually Wicked?

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

After a tornado swept through my trailer park, I ended up in Oz.

But it wasn't like the Oz I knew from books and movies. Dorothy had returned, but she was now a ruthless dictator. Glinda could no longer be called the Good Witch. And the Wicked Witches who were left? They'd joined forces as the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and they wanted to recruit me.

My mission?

Kill Dorothy.

Except my job as assassin didn't work out as planned. Dorothy is still alive. The Order has vanished. And the home I couldn't wait to leave behind might be in danger.

Somehow, across a twisted and divided land, I have to find the Order, protect the true ruler of Oz, take Dorothy and her henchmen down—and try to figure out what I'm really doing here.

I was so, so, so excited when I received a copy of The Wicked Will Rise because I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen in the next installment of this series. Oh how that excitement was misplaced. The sequel to Dorothy Must Die was a very slow read about how Amy Gumm was on the run in Oz after a failed attempt to kill Dorothy, the self-declared Princess of Oz. The Order feels Dorothy needs to be removed from power and trains Amy on how to use magic and how to kill Dorothy. read more

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By: Sara
Review, Young Adult / March 4, 2015
Midnight Thief by Livia BlackburneMidnight Thief
Author: Livia Blackburne
Series: Midnight Thief #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date: July 2014
384 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.

There was a lot of hype around this book at the 2014 Book Expo America (BEA) and the reviews I read made me want get my hands on this book on release day. I was lucky enough to find an actual print copy at a resell book shop 3 weeks before it was scheduled to be released. I felt it was my lucky day! I raced home to start on what I had hoped would be an amazing adventure into mystery and fantasy. Alas, my expectations were probably greater than what the story could deliver. read more

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By: Sara
Review, Young Adult / January 7, 2015
Falling Into Place by Amy ZhangFalling Into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date: September 2014
304 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Contemporary
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On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Amy Zhang started the book off in an amazing way and I was immediately pulled into the story. I sincerely wanted to know why everything was happening and what lead to Liz driving her car off of a cliff. The ultimate reason I stuck with the story was to find out who was narrating.

The way Amy Zhang wrote the book was beautiful. I haven’t felt they way about a writer’s writing style in a while. What I did not expect was how all over the place the story was. The timeline of the story went from past to present and switched points of view with each chapter. I was really confused and a little frustrated with that. I felt that made the story hard to follow and I was lost interest a couple of times. One chapter would talk about Liz’s friend’s drug addiction, while the next jumped to the topic of the boy who had a crush on Liz. read more

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By: Sara
Review, Young Adult / August 1, 2013
Death & Co. by D.J. McCuneDeath & Co.
Author: D.J. McCune
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date: May 2013
279 pages
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
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Adam is a Luman, and it runs in the family. Escorting the dead from life into light, Adam must act as guide to those taken before their time. As his older brothers fall into their fate however, Adam clings to his life as a normal kid - one who likes girls, hates the Head and has a pile of homework to get through by Monday morning. When Adam gets a terrible premonition he realises that he must make a devastating choice, risking his life, his family and his destiny.

I was pretty much sold when I heard about the book at the Hot Key Books event that I attended—a book about a family of grim reapers? Hell yes! Unfortunately, it just really didn’t meet my expectations. It’s such a huge shame that I wanted to love it, but so much of it didn’t work for me. read more

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / October 20, 2012
Mystic City by Theo LawrenceMystic City
Author: Theo Lawrence
Series: Mystic City #1
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Date: October 2012
397 pages
Source: Review copy from publisher
Genres: Dystopian
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Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City's two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents' sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn't remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can't conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

It started out with such a great premise—Romeo and Juliet meets the X-Men—and such a gorgeous cover that I immediately knew I had to read it. Sadly, even with the cool dystopian Manhattan setting, Mystic City fails to live up to my expectations.

In this world, Manhattan has suffered from the effects of global warming and is flooded. A new city is built high above the island called the Aeries (which I pictured to be just like the Jetsons) where only the rich live. Mystics (those with special energy and powers) are considered dangerous outcasts who get drained of their powers and are confined to live on the remains of Manhattan in relative squalor. Mystic energy is used to fuel the Aeries, but was also once used as a bomb against the city hence the ‘dangerous’ tag. I thought the world was fascinating and well-realised and I could imagine the colourful lights of the Aeries as well as the polluted rivers down in the Depths vividly. read more

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By: Daphne