Tag Archives: young adult

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Book Review: Awakening, by Poppy Williams

Earlier this year Awakening (by Poppy Williams) was featured on Sadie’s Spotlight and I was given a copy of the book. And while my Awakening Challenge is technically finished, I couldn’t resist reading one last book with the title to bring 2021’s total to 15. It makes me laugh to scroll through my reviews page and see the same title go by again and again.

awakening poppy williams
★Every Hero Has a Beginning★

Raised by parents who work deep within the U.S. intelligence agency, Zoe Dixon has picked up a few skills along the way.

When her family moves to a new town, Zoe thinks it’s business as usual. But that all changes when a student turns up dead at her new school. Now, after years of keeping a low profile, Zoe has to decide whether she’ll step out of the shadows and use her skills for good.

As she digs deeper, she’ll uncover shocking truths that will change the course of her life forever.

my review

This is a perfectly enjoyable Young Adult adventure novel that I likely didn’t appreciate as much as I should have, being older than the intended audience. All the same, I like Zoe a lot. I thought the mystery was well-integrated, the possible future love interest sweet, and the writing/editing clean. I did think the sudden twist too jarring and didn’t find it particularly believable. It required some drastic changes in character and I thought didn’t even work toward the the stated goals. In fact, it seemed to me the effect would be just the opposite of those sought. (Sorry, being more clear would be a big spoiler.)

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Book Review: Anchored, by Bridget E. Baker

I picked up a free audio copy of Bridget E. Baker‘s Anchored on Google Play. It was narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya.

anchored bridget e baker

Two worlds, one fate…

Alora was born with the ability to Lift, a power no other women on Terra possess. If the wrong people find out, there’s no telling what will happen. But when she almost kills a man in self-defense, her secret is exposed and she’s forced to run for her life.

On Earth, Alora’s running from something else: hazy memories of her parents’ death and the social worker who wants to separate her from her brother. When she sees the man she almost killed on Terra at work, she’s flummoxed. She’s never recognized anyone from there before—after all, Terra exists only in her dreams…

When her dreams begin to leach into reality, something incredible awakens in Alora. But she knows better than anyone that everything comes with a cost. As the barrier between worlds crumbles, Alora must decide which is safer, which is more powerful, and which world is worth saving.

my review

It’s not that I didn’t like this, it’s just that I was ready for it to be finished way before it actually was. The book is loooooong and it feels even loooonger than the 412 pages (14 hours 27 minutes) it is listed as. And I get it—the book contains two interconnected, but not completely overlapping stories. So, I understand why it’s required a lot of pages to tell the tale. But good lord, I thought it would never end.

The writing is fine. The narrator did a good job. As far as I can tell in audio, the editing seems fine. But I was just a little sick of the special-special snowflake that was Alora. She was the best at everything, important to almost every named male character in the book (be it familial love, attraction, or fanatic hate) and there didn’t even seem to be any other female characters of note. Plus, Alora was too wrapped up in her own head, too many characters showed up and then were dropped as unimportant as the story progressed, and the ending wasn’t particularity satisfying. Not enough of the overarching issues were actually explained and the last minute attempt to make the villain relatable fell flat for me.

All in all, I didn’t hate it. But I’m not in any hurry to read more of the series either.

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Other Reviews:

Iheart Fictional People – Review: Anchored, by Bridget E. Baker

Ya Books Central – Anchored




a deadly education

Book Review: A Deadly Education, by Naomi Novik

I borrowed an audiobook copy of Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education through my local library. It was narrated by Anisha Dadia.

a deadly education audio

Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

my review

Did you ever wonder what it would be like if Hermine Granger entered a magical Hunger Game? I hadn’t, but I feel like it would be something like this book. I quite enjoyed it. I thought it was creative and I liked the powerful, angry girl/himbo hero dynamic a lot. (I’m calling him a himbo even if he isn’t described as super handsome. I feel like he still fits the not overly bright, oblivious description.)

I did think Orion was a bit of a cardboard cut out. We see him almost entirely from El’s POV and, while you get a feel of what he is, you get don’t any real depth into who he is. El, however, I felt had quite a lot of personal growth and I appreciated that.

I did feel like the narrative wandered at times, with long diversions in the middle of other events. It was distracting. But all in all, I liked the book on the whole and had planned to jump right into book two (The Last Graduate), until I realized it’s not out yet. Bummer.

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Other Reviews:

Book Review : A Deadly Education

Book Review: A DEADLY EDUCATION by Naomi Novik