Tag Archives: YA

cemetery boys

Book Review: Cemetery Boys, by Aiden Thomas

Aiden ThomasCemetery Boys has been on my radar for a while. I finally got around to borrowing an audio version of it from the libarary

cemetery boys

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

my review

I have been intending to read Cemetery Boys for a while now. I’ve only put it off because I’m always afraid of books that have gotten too much hype and because I have to be in a particular mood to tolerate young adult literature with character on the younger end of the scale. (I’m 43-years-old, after all.)

I’m happy to say Cemetery Boys lived up to the hype and was very good. Sure I personally thought some of the school bits and much of the general teenage angst was tedious (not the trans self-consciousness, that was different) . But that’s just a symptom of being old. I loved how immersed the reader is in the Brujx and Latinx cultures. I appreciated that, though Yadriel’s family struggled with his trans-ness, it was obviously not out of cruelty or a lack of love. And who wouldn’t adore Yadriel and Julian’s fierce dedication to one another by the end?

I did struggle a little with Yadriel’s father’s sudden acceptance. If felt a little too pat, but more importantly, I felt like he accepted the external confirmation that Yadriel was a Brujo, while I saw no evidence that he would have accepted him as a man on his own otherwise. I also guessed the end at the halfway mark. So, the mystery isn’t super hard to figure out.

All in all, however, I’m glad to have finally given this one a go.

aurora cycle

Book Review: Aurora Rising & Aurora Burning, by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I borrowed an audio copy of Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff‘s Aurora Rising from the library. When they didn’t have an audio copy of Aurora Burning, I borrowed an ecopy.

Description from Goodreads:

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

my review

These days, I go into Young Adult books hoping for the best and expecting to be disappointed. But Aurora Rising not only didn’t disappoint me, it was an all-out pleasant surprise. I had a lot of fun with it. I laughed frequently, liked the characters and diversity, and was invested in the plot.

Yeah, I thought there was some predictability and a few cliches. But I also liked the unexpected nature of some of them. The heroine doesn’t fall for who you’d expect, for example. All in all, I liked the book and raced out for book two. (OK, ‘raced out’ means I went online to digitally borrow the next book. But you know what I mean.)

As to the audio, I thought the narrators did a great job. I only had one irritant. As much as I liked all the character voices, I couldn’t figure out how three people who grew up in the same place (knew each other from Kindergarden) would end up with drastically different accents. Or rather one of them would sound completely different from the other two. Even if your parents are from different places, you’d still sound like where you’re from…all of you.


aurora burning

Description from Goodreads:

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

my review

As is so often the case with second books, especially when they’re also middle books, I didn’t like this as much as the first. That isn’t to say I didn’t still enjoy it, but not quite as gleefully. I missed having the crew together and all the banter that went with it. And I thought the predictability in the plotting stronger here too. I still like the characters though. I’m still interested in seeing how it all plays out, and look forward to book three. Unfortunately, it’s not out yet. Which I didn’t realize when I picked the series up. If I had, I might have waited a few more months to start it. Oh well, now I have to wait. But I will, because I do want to read it.

song of shadow

Book Review: Song of Shadow, by Natalya Capello

I picked up a copy of Natalya Capello‘s Song of Shadow as an Amazon freebie, earlier this year.
song of shadow natalya capello

They said she was out of her mind. The dark truth will shake the foundations of the fae realm…

Lorelei refuses to believe her wild visions mean she’s insane. But despite her royal sidhe heritage, she’s banished to a remote priory to prevent her causing trouble. So when a priestess of the Elemental Order urges her to join a risky pilgrimage, she flees her prison and sails headlong into danger.

Traveling to an ancient land imbued with volatile magic, she chokes back her disbelief after unearthing evil sorcery that shouldn’t exist. And now that Lorelei holds the forbidden secrets, she fears it’s only a matter of time before the powerful Elphyne Empire silences her permanently. If the fae church’s ruthless assassins don’t hunt her down first…

Can Lorelei expose the sinister conspiracy before darkness falls forever?

 

my review

I gotta be honest. This has a great cover, but I was board stiff by it. It’s just so very linear. This happens, and then this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens. There is no build up of tension or feeling of being immersed in a broader story. And so very many of the things that happened were the group running into battle, getting injured, freeing someone, getting healed to run off and to the exact same thing again. It got redundant.

Then there is one of my biggest pet peeves. This book is labeled as book one. But there is apparently a novella that comes before it that really needs to have been read for some things to make sense. I am of the firm belief that if the prequel needs to be read (not just a bonus, but is an integral part of the story and plot), IT IS BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES.

I did like some of the characters, Wes in particular. And the mechanical writing is plenty readable. But I just couldn’t really ever get into it.

song of shadow