Review: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh

Friends, I know this sounds dramatic, but CALL THE POLICE! I’ve been personally victimized by this amazing book. The writing is lush and captivating, the characters are vivid, and the chemistry between characters oozes off the page. Honestly, it has been three months since I read this book and I could write this review from memory.

The atmosphere of this book is all-encompassing. Set in 1870s New Orleans, the city comes alive for the reader. I’ve been there once and felt like the book transported me back onto its streets. The lush descriptions paint such a full picture of being there and draws in the senses. Food is an important part of the city’s culture so it has a place of importance in the story and how Celine experiences New Orleans. The city itself is definitely a character in its own right.

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ARC Review: The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden

This book is essentially The Purge x Cancel Culture and it is terrifying in how plausible the plotline is. It’s a smart speculative look at what could happen if the government created a system to rein in the worst parts of social media only to make things arguably worse.

“Now, people were fully accountable for their online behavior… and faced real-world consequences. […] Things were better now. People were more careful online, more responsible. How could that be wrong?”

Cassie McKinney is our sixteen-year-old main character, daughter of a famous hacker with her own coding skills up her sleeve. But since her father died six months earlier, she hasn’t really worked with code. She’s angry and she wants to participate in some Hive justice… until she is on the wrong end of the Hive herself and running for her life.

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Review: Do You Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh

Narrative style: third person | Perspective(s): multiple (six)

Holy crap, I am so mad at myself for letting my copy languish on my bookshelf since February! This wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I loved it all the same. This is a character-driven and captivating story that kept me thoroughly engaged until the very end. If you’ve ever dreamt of exploring the universe, Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is a must-read!

The book is told from the perspectives of the six teenagers chosen to embark on a critical mission: travel to the habitable planet – known as Terra-Two – to lead the colonization efforts. Because it will take 23 years to even reach their new home, they are leaving everything and everyone they have ever known on Earth for the hope of a better tomorrow.

“We’re leaving behind a world where slavery happened. Two world wars. Genocide A world where people have used atomic bombs. Terra-two will be different. Better. We will make it better.”

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Review: A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price

I read this in one sitting! I definitely picked up more Romeo and Juliet vibes from this than expected, but the themes of the Iliad are evident throughout – the underlying story being an important one of privilege and gentrification set in San Francisco.

“You turn eighteen, and they find you. There is no other recruitment. Eighteen – old enough to have had your heart hardened, young enough that blood still passes through it. Not everyone is recruited, of course, but the gangs are smart. They pick people with nothing to lose. The ones who are angry. Those who join San Francisco’s infamous Red Bridge Wars do so willingly.”

The ultimate war between the haves and the have-nots has waged on the streets of San Fransico for ten years. Three gangs run by teenagers are the players: Herons, Boars, and the mysterious Stags. The Herons are the tech companies and their families; their power and wealth drastically changing the city and displacing the poor. The Boars fight back, largely with violence. And the Stags? Well, some people say they don’t even exist.

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Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco

It is rare that I love the second book more than the first, but Hunting Prince Dracula is one of those instances! The writing is beautiful, engaging, and fast-paced… I devoured this book in one sitting on a hot afternoon. I read along with the audiobook, and I have to say that the narrator (Nicola Barber) is incredible – highly recommend the audio for this series!

“Flesh-and-blood men were the real monsters, and they could be cut down easily enough.”

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