Bus 59 and a Half by Mel Ingrid

fMK4uviYToO8k+ioThLdEgGenre: Young Adult Psychological Thriller
Pages: Print 153
Release Date: June 7,  2018
Author: Mel Ingrid
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book on my own from Amazon.com. The opinions in this review are solely my own and do not reflect the views of the publisher or the author. 


Synopsis:

In a tranquil town where no one pays attention, June of 2016 means three things to three people–the start of summer vacation, the conclusion of a divorce, and a plethora of cardboard boxes. But when a sculpture exhibit near the local high school opens, June 2016 isn’t just about three things. There’s a flyer inside the exhibit–a job opening hiding underneath an innocent façade, waiting to lure victims into an anomalous trap.

A few traffic jams and a pine thicket away from the suburbs is the worn down warehouse of two sculptors. They’re slaving over a collection with a deadline that puts their lifelines at risk, but that’s the least either of them is worried about. Art is a form of life that exceeds the limitations of reality, and it can be dangerous.

So what is one to do when the muses want their encore?


Author Bio:

Mel Ingrid is the teen author of a YA psychological thriller entitled BUS 59 AND A HALF and a short story, WHEN WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO, featured in the 2017 All In! Snack Fiction Anthology. She’s also a hardcore Sherlockian and a lover of movie posters, among several other things.

She was born in Long Island, New York, raised by loving Taiwanese parents and delicious food. When she was in the first grade, she and her family moved halfway across the world to Singapore, where she resided before her early adolescent years.

In her spare time, she enjoys playing her violin, playing online Scrabble, and doodling weird drawings. She also wants to mother a dog someday.

Her real name is Melissa Lee, and she uses Mel Ingrid as her pen name solely because she does not want to be confused with the CNN reporter.

She now writes and procrastinates in New Jersey.

*Taken from Goodreads author profile. Click this link to go to page.*


Final Thoughts:

Bus 59 and Half was a book that I stumbled on through another indie author on instagram. I was interested in reading more independent author novels and I found a few. This young adult psychological thriller takes you on a journey through the intertwining of a variety of characters. We watch each character play it’s own part in the story and mingle with other characters. The plot was definitely a twist no one will see coming but it was an interesting surprise. This novel is short but thrilling, so be prepared to finish it in one sitting.

The author did a great job starting the story off by introducing one of the characters Alexi. The author provided back story on Alexi and actually introduced members of her family. From there the story takes you on a journey that connects Alexi to another character and so on. Alexi is only the beginning of the start of the flowchart of character connections. We learn that she is offered a job as a model for a sculptor. We then are taken on a journey through the perspective of each person that will come in contact with the sculptor and the sculptor himself. We learn more about him and his past which becomes important as the story moves forward. However, I started to get lost closer to the end of the story. I could understand the structure behind the main plot but I was starting to get confused as people disappeared then reappeared in the story later. I was confused as to where they went and how they got there. I enjoyed the different dialogue perspectives portrayed and the chapter style of leading up to the main event in the story. It help understand how each supporting character intertwined with the main male character. I especially enjoyed the psychological aspect of the story but wanted to know more about the big ending and why the main character did what he did in the ending scene. The book was a bit short and I personally wanted more of an explanation of some of the events. However, the author did a great job of keeping me on my toes and guessing what the next action in the story was. I enjoyed the dialogue between the different characters but also hoped for a bit more romance and action. This book had a lot of potential and moments that made me gasp because of the absurdity. (I mean this in a grip your chair kind of moment.) The author nailed the suspense aspect of the book which made it more appealing to actually finish it. Mel did a great job on this book and I am excited to see more novels written by her in the future. See the link above to check out her book and learn more about her.


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen

img_3793Title: The Way the Light Bends
Author: Cordelia Jensen 
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Print 390
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected unfinished copy. 


Goodreads Synopsis: 

Virtual twins Linc and Holly were once extremely close. But while artistic, creative Linc is her parents’ daughter biologically, it’s smart, popular Holly, adopted from Ghana as a baby, who exemplifies the family’s high-achieving model of academic success.

Linc is desperate to pursue photography, to find a place of belonging, and for her family to accept her for who she is, despite her surgeon mother’s constant disapproval and her growing distance from Holly. So when she comes up with a plan to use her photography interests and skills to do better in school–via a project based on Seneca Village, a long-gone village in the space that now holds Central Park, where all inhabitants, regardless of race, lived together harmoniously–Linc is excited and determined to prove that her differences are assets, that she has what it takes to make her mother proud. But when a long-buried family secret comes to light, Linc must decide whether her mother’s love is worth obtaining.


Favorite Quotes:

“…two paths
one in light
one in shadow
diverging.”

“Light leaks around each finger.
Light that seeps in.
Light that demands to be seen.
Even if I try to block it.
How much am I capturing something with my art
as much as I am releasing it?”

Final Thoughts:

This young adult fiction novel is written in a poem format with three different sections. I enjoyed the flow of each poem, the explanation of each character, and the emotions in each stanza. The author provided poem titles that captured my attention the entire time. I was engulfed in the text from the first page. Linc is such a fantastic character, and I enjoyed the explanation of her name. The character development for Linc is one of my favorites in this book since it is written from her perspective. Linc merely wants to make her family proud and live up to the same expectations of her adoptive sister Holly. While Holly is a straight A athletic student, Linc is a creative teen on the verge of being expelled from school due to her grades. Both girls struggle to find their place in the world and struggle to find themselves. Holly and Linc’s relationship struggles throughout this novel as both grow and build connections on their own. You can feel the tension between Linc, Holly, and their mother through the words displayed in this book. Will Holly and Linc rebuild the relationship they once had? Can Linc count on Holly in her time of need? Will Linc ever be accepted by her parents?

Overall this book reads like a contemporary young adult realistic fiction. The family dynamics in this novel felt relatable, and I felt like I could connect with the turmoil between family members. The author did a great job portraying the challenges faced by parents of an adopted child. Holly struggles to figure out who she is and wants to connect more with her past. While their mother strives to treat both girls equally while simultaneously being harder on Linc, her birth daughter. I recommend this book to any teen looking for a read that focuses on family, love, sibling rivalry, trust, and forgiveness. Each member must learn to trust each other and communicate better. Secrets are what will tear this family about, but those same secrets are what will mend the broken ties.


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC Review: Love & War

Love & War CoverTitle: Love & War: An Alex & Eliza Story
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary, Realistic
Pages: Print 366
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers as a part of  Penguin Teen #partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.


Synopsis:

The thrilling romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler continues in the sizzling sequel to the New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza: A Love Story
1781. Albany, New York.

As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza’s doorstep, she must fight for a better future–for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza’s happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex’s burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival–the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex’s star on the rise, Eliza can’t help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza’s epic love survive life in the big city?

The battles are just beginning in the sumptuous sequel to Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza: A Love Story.


Favorite Quotes:

“The say the pen is mightier than a sword, but that is not true in the battlefield.”

“and then there was no more time or desire for conversation, as the most articulate statesman in America found words paled in comparison to the sublime experience of being with his beloved.”


Author Bio:

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including Alex & Eliza: A Love Story, Disney’s Descendants novels, the Blue Bloods series, and the Summer on East End series. Her books have sold over eight million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network. Visit her at melissa-delacruz.com

Final Thoughts:

Love & War is part two of the Alex and Eliza love story. The author did a fantastic job developing both characters and continuing the storyline. In this book, we follow the life of Eliza Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton as both grow and flourish as a married couple. Alex has been tasked with the challenge of having to support his new wife and try to advance his career. Alex harbors the guilt of growing up as an orphan with no ties to a family. He had to fight for Eliza’s hand in marriage and the approval of her father; now he must fight to continue to prove he is worthy of her love. Alex feels as though the only way to establish himself as being more than just a clerk to General Washington, Alex must command his army. He wants command of the Yorktown brigade and feels he is contributing to the war by helping the fight against the British. Will his efforts lead to victory? Can he support Eliza after the war is complete? Alex must decide where he will reside once the war is over and how he will help his family. Will his new career turn out to be a success or a failure?

Overall this is a well written historical teen fiction. It showcases the struggles many women faced during the war. Women were meant to be seen and not heard. Women were the wives, caretakers, gardeners, seamstress, and midwives. While men spoke politics, fought in wars, and worked difficult positions. This book showcases the gender gap during wartime and the concepts instilled in women. I can also tell that the author did her research before writing this series. I enjoyed the notions of honor, the love between Alex and his new wife, and the importance of relationships. I recommend this book to any teen looking for an informative, realistic historical fiction.


 

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

img_3541Title: I Have Lost My Way 
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
Pages: Print 368
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy.


Goodreads Synopsis:

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.


Favorite Quotes:

” I have lost my way.”

“Right here is where I need to be.”

“We all die. It’s the only sure thing in life and the one thing we all have in common with everything else on the planet.”


Final Thoughts:

This captivating book follows the journey of three young adults all uttering the same phrase that has connected each to one another, “I have lost my way.” Gayle Forman has done it again with her new contemporary novel that follows the lives of these young adults, each dealing with their form of loss. Freya must learn to accept the things she cannot change and mourn the loss of an absentee father. She must decide what’s more important, building relationships or her career. Harun is harboring a secret that could change his life and his relationship with his family. He must face facts, he must face his fears, and he must learn what it is necessary, family, love or both. Lastly, Nathaniel is too afraid to face the reality of his situation. He is facing the biggest challenge of the three, but he has to face reality head-on or let his imagination consume him. It is by fate that these three stumble into each other on that day in Central Park and it is by fate that their lives begin to unravel together. Each must face their challenges both individually and collectively. These three were strangers during the day, but by night they are family. Will Huran ever face his fears? Will Freya get over her absent father? Will Nathaniel face the truth?

Overall, this novel had me on the edge of my seat. Of all the characters, I had the hardest time with Nathaniel. His character put me to tears with the internal battle he struggles within this book. Gayle Forman did a great job developing his style and showcasing the challenges of dealing with a loss as epic as his. Huran was the most exciting character, and his trial was one that I had not thought of. I was absorbed in the story of his family, of his siblings, and of his challenge of finding a mate that fit into the boundaries of his cultural upbringing. He faces one of the most significant challenges that isn’t showcased much in literature that I have read, and I enjoyed his character much. Lastly, Freya was one I could relate to the most. The turmoil she faced with her sister and her finally finding a voice of her own is a fantastic story. I enjoyed this entire novel and felt the author did a tremendous job connecting the three characters and focusing on issues that needed to be addressed. I was tearing up at the ending parts of all the characters. This young adult fiction has a hint of LGBTQIA awareness between the pages and information on the importance of building relationships. I recommend this novel to teenagers and up. I personally would have liked more information on Nathaniel’s mother and an epilogue. This only because some pieces left me wanting more.

Happy Reading!


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

img_0895Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ Romance
Print: 303 pages
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book from my local bookstore. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.


Goodreads Synopsis 

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


Favorite Quotes:

“…I’ve been basically picturing this moment for ten hours, and now that it’s here , I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to say. Probably something awesome and witty and not school-related.” – Simon

“It’s strange, because in reality, I’m not the leading guy. Maybe I’m the best friend.”- Simon-

“This was supposed to be–this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.” -Simon-

Final Thoughts:

Simon Spier is a hundred percent sure that he is gay, but he is also a hundred percent sure that he is not ready to share this information with anyone else. He is so entranced with the fact that someone else at his school is also a “closeted gay” that he forgets to log out of his email at the school library. Simon has had a secret, email, relationship with a student attending the same school as him. However, he has no idea who this student is, and from the looks of the pseudonym Simon is using, he’s not ready to reveal his true identity either. Martin, however, is prepared to use any information he has against Simon to advance his love life. This story follows the life of Simon Speir, a teen male in high school trying to figure out a way to get through his junior year without any hiccups. Martin is a straight teen male who merely wants to get closer to Alice, Simon’s best friend, by any means necessary. Will Martin win the heart of Alice or will his attempt at blackmail fail? Will Simon ever figure out who the other closeted gay in his school is? Will Simon ever feel comfortable to tell anyone about his sexuality before Martin does?

Overall, I thought this book had a lot of potentials. I am a fan of Becky Albetalli and her other works such as “The Upside of Unrequited,” but I thought this book fell a little bit short for me. I wanted more from the author in this tell-all LGBTQ novel. I guessed who the secretly closeted gay was at the beginning of the book. However, I felt inclined to finish the entire story, and I am glad that I did. The book started off a bit slow for me, but I did love the email interactions between Simon and Blue. I enjoyed reading the responses from both parties. I also liked the writing style in this book. The author did a great job portraying the drama and using adequate descriptive terms for all the supporting characters. I was able to channel my inner imagination to create what I assumed Simon’s best friends looked like. There was an adequate amount of drama, romance, tears, and friendship turmoil. I wanted more information about Leah, but overall the author did a great job with this book. I especially loved the developed drama between Martin and Simon and I legitimately almost cried during the epic scene towards the end. I would say that I should not have watched the movie trailer before reading the book. I had preconceived notions of what would happen and how the book began. I recommend this book to any teen looking for a fun, heart-wrenching, LGBTQ romance novel that focuses on the right side of coming out.


Read any good LGBTQ novels lately and want to share it with me, comment below!


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

img_2966Title: The Beauty that Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk 
Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ Contemporary
Pages: Print 324
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Random House.


Goodreads Synopsis:

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.


Favorite Quotes:

“Sometimes when I look in the mirror for too long, I start to look like someone else.” -Logan-

“Sometimes loving someone is scarier than leaving them.”

“Ever since, I’ve felt a little out of control. But there’s something about music that tethers me to the rest of the world.”- Shay-

“I just tell the rose how much I’m going to miss you. How much I already do. I miss you. I miss you. I miss you. There’s never an I miss you not. And there aren’t enough petals on the flower. There aren’t enough petals in the world.” -Autumn

Final Thoughts:

This young adult contemporary novel captures the view of loss from the perspective of three different teens. Each must learn to deal with the grief associated with losing someone close to them. They must learn to overcome the guilt, learn to move on with their lives, and face each day head-on. Autumn, Logan, and Shay are three teens who are connected by the music they enjoy and by the grief they have experience. The book starts off with the perspective of each teen following each crippling loss that has consumed their lives.

This entire novel I was captivated by the emotional connection I felt with each character. The author did a great job showcasing the different stages of grief and the challenges faced with trying to move on. Autumn lost her best friend, the only girl that understood her, and now she is clinging to the only person that understands her grief. Logan lost a former lover; he finds solace in alcohol rather than something healthier like music. Shay has lost her twin sister, her partner in crime, her best friend, and now she must move on with a project they started together. Autumn, Logan, and Shay learn to cope with their losses in unique ways. This young adult novel both provides examples of the different stages of grief but also examines the connections of sorrow. Each of these teens is connected to each other by the loss they share and the hope of escaping through music. Logan used to write the most beautiful songs but can’t pick up a pen. Autumn will only listen to specific music but refuses to draw. Shay, can’t seem to get through one music show without wanting to escape. The emotions showcased in this novel feel real, and the connections between each character are meaningful. These teens face some tough decisions they can only overcome with the help and support of family and friends. A loss is unpredictable but having a good support system can help in the healing process. This message is evident throughout this entire novel.

Overall, I thought this was a relatable original novel that had me engulfed in the story-line from the beginning. The author writes each chapter from the perspective of these three teens. I was on the verge of tears after reading about Shay’s sister, Logan’s lost lover, and Autumns best friend. I would have loved to learn more about the death of Autumn’s best friend and the same for the other members lost. I would have liked to see more development of the supporting characters such as Shay’s friends as well as Logan’s friends. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in a compelling young adult novel about loss and connection.



Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

img_2886Title:The Poet X 
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo 
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: Print 357
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Epic Reads.


Goodreads Synopsis:

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.


Favorite Quotes:

“Their gazes are words are heavy with all the things they want you to be.”

“It is ungrateful to feel like a burden. It is ungrateful to resent my own birth.”

“….she should be remembered as always working to become the warrior she wanted to be.”

“If I were nothing but dust would anyone chase the wind trying to piece me back together?”

Final Thoughts: 

The Poet X is a compelling young adult novel written about the challenges faced by a young Xiomara. In a world that never hears her, she must find her voice and speak up. Xiomara and her twin brother are seen as their parent’s gift from God. Her parent’s struggled to have children, and the twins were their miracle. The two have to live up to the high expectations of their mother and the lack of awareness from their father.

Growing up in a Catholic household, Xiomara is taught not only the ways of her Catholic mother. She is continuously scolded when she breaks any rules. She learns to explore her feelings for the opposite sex while trying not to get caught. She experiences her first love, shares her first kiss, and hides a secret about her brother. Mami continues to put immense pressure on Xiomara, expecting her uphold to a high set of standards or be punished. X continues to be exploited solely for her looks instead of for her intelligence or words. Her only place of solace in the poetry club at her school. Her English teacher encourages her to apply for the poetry slam in the upcoming months. Xiomara expresses her feelings through her poetry until one day she goes mute after a terrible thing between her and her mother. Can she ever forgive her mother? Will her mother ever accept her? How long can she keep Twin’s secret?

Overall, I thought this was a great novel, and I enjoyed the relationship between Xiomara and her English teacher. I like the concept that teachers have a significant influence on students. It is always great to read about teachers encouraging their students. I think the author did a great job with the writing of this book and I enjoyed the poetry format. I felt more connected with each character as the emotions were eloquently displayed. I recommend this book to young adults between the ages of thirteen and up. I had a teen ask about poetry books recently, and I suggested this book.



Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

Hayley Soon by Andrew Henley

img_2803Title: Hayley Soon
Author: Andrew Henley
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary LGBTQ
Pages: Print 192
Rating: ★★★


Disclaimer: The contents of this review is solely my opinion and mine alone. A copy of this book was sent to me directly from the author in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.


Goodreads Synopsis:

Hayley Soon is the tale of a Korean-American transgirl with a fractured mental health, obsession with pop culture, cosplay and a rapidly declining interest in her studies.

Featuring movies, music and a diverse cast all entangled in themes so dark you’ll need a flashlight, Hayley Soon puts the trans in transgressive fiction.


Final Thoughts:

A copy of this book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. In the past, I have read novels that showcase the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ community. These books shed light on the struggles that non-cisgender individuals face on an everyday basis. The author of this book tries to shed light on some of those challenges.

Hayley Soon is a short novel that focuses on the life of a Korean American transgender. Hayley struggles with finding a place where she belongs. She struggles with the challenges of embracing her body even if it isn’t what she wants it to be. She struggles with bullying from a former high school classmate and even going to the bathroom in public. Hayley has a hard time trying to accept herself for who she is and embracing her inner beauty. Many people have given her compliments on her appearance just as much as people have chosen to bash her appearance in person and online. Will she ever figure out where she belongs? Will her mother finally accept her? Or will everyone continue to refer to her as her birth name?

Overall, I liked the idea of this novel and the focus content but did not entirely like the delivery. I wanted more of the story with Hayley, and the ending left me questioning a lot of things. What happened to her after the incident? Why wasn’t her best friend more supportive? Why did Hayley keep the secret from her best friend? The story felt more like it was occurring in a high school versus on a college campus. The bullying felt a bit high school and did not feel realistic. I have seen contemporary novels that felt a bit more realistic, but this just felt like the information was not pulled from realistic experiences but from what someone thought it would be like. I felt as though there could have been more development of the storyline, a more developed ending, a bit more drama, more problem solving, and more realism. Of course, I understand that this is fiction novel, which it feels fictional, I just expected more.

The main character Hayley does struggle a lot in this book, and she is portrayed as a character who has a mental illness that has not been diagnosed. She struggles with anxiety, depression, identification issues, and self-esteem issues. If you are interested in reading a book about a transgender person who faces many daily struggles and finds unique ways to cope, then this is your novel. If you have experienced extreme depression and anxiety, this novel has a few triggers in here so I would read this at a cautious pace. If you are a person who just wants to read a unique story that challenges many theories, then you should pick this book.



Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

Alex and Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz

eliza and alex
The following image is taken from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32860355-alex-and-eliza

Title: Alex & Eliza: A Love Story
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Next Book in the Series: Love & War: An Alex and Eliza Story (Releases in April)
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Print: 368 pages
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked out a copy of this book from my local library. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.


Goodreads Synopsis:

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.


Final Thoughts:

The story of Eliza and Alex marks my first time reading a book written by this author, and I adored the writing style used. This book is my second historical fiction read of this year, and the author did a great job portraying the story of Eliz and Alex. I listened to this book on audio but will read the print version of the next in the series. I wanted to read this one since I am a part of a blog tour for the next book in the series.

I enjoyed the historical references throughout this novel. I loved that the author did her research before writing this book. I have a BA in History, and it is hard to find historical fictions that have somewhat relevant information in them. The time frame of the war, the challenges women on the home front faced, and the problems of men enlisting in the war were portrayed excellently in this book. The love story between Eliza and Alex was one that was remarkable. The interaction between each character enhanced the overall storyline. There were a lot of moments in this book that had me laughing. I especially loved the first part of the novel when the Schuyler’s threw a party to marry of the three sisters. The eldest of the Schuyler sisters is a spunky, determined, level-headed, older sister who feels she must marry well. Each daughter must find a suitable mate that will not only enhance the already established family name but also financially support the daughter. Alex does not fit any of these requirements. He struggles to earn the trust of one Schuyler sister in particular while trying to help in the war efforts instead of just being General Washington’s clerk. Alex struggles to find his place in the world, struggles to fight for the one he loves, and struggles to know his worth. Is love worth more than power? Does love truly conquer all?

Overall, I thought the author did an excellent job with this novel. She focused on the struggles intellectual women faced during the time of American Independence. Women were meant to be seen but not heard. Eliza is an intelligent woman who wants to contribute to the war effort like her aunt. She wants to feel as though she is making a difference. She isn’t worried about clothing or class, but she struggles to follow her heart in a time where her parents make the final decision. Eliza and Alex both grow together in this novel, and the character development of each is impeccable. This story is filled with love, loss, bravery, honor, and strength. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a young adult historical fiction.


What is your favorite historical fiction?



Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC Review: Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby

img_2562Title: Sleight 
Author:  Jennifer Sommersby 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: Print 408
Release Date: April 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Skyhorse Publishing Inc #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to Skyhorse Publishing Inc #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author the publishing company. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Skyhorse Publishing Inc. 


Goodreads Synopsis:

Growing up in the Cinzio Traveling Players Company, Genevieve Flannery is accustomed to a life most teenagers could never imagine: daily workouts of extravagant acrobatics; an extended family of clowns; wild animals for pets; and her mother, Delia, whose mind has always been tortured by visions—but whose love Geni never questions. In a world of performers who astonish and amaze on a daily basis, Delia’s ghostly hallucinations never seemed all that strange . . . until the evening Geni and her mother are performing an aerial routine they’ve done hundreds of times, and Delia falls to her death.

That night, a dark curtain in Geni’s life opens. Everything has changed.

Still reeling from the tragedy, the Cinzio Traveling Players are also adjusting to the circus’s new owner: a generous, mysterious man whose connection to the circus—Geni suspects—has a dark and dangerous history. And suddenly Geni is stumbling into a new reality of her own, her life interrupted daily by the terrors only Delia used to be able to see.

As the visions around her grow stronger, Geni isn’t sure who she can trust. Even worse, she’s starting to question whether she can trust her own mind.


Favorite Quotes:

“Genevieve, the key to good is found in truth.”

“Henry places one of his now very warm hands on my cheek, the flush of memory pushing through me as the scene unfolds in the forefront of my mind- that day at the circus when we first met in the mess tent as I stood between Baby and Lucian.”

Final Thoughts:

After reading the synopsis of this book, I thought it would be great to request an advanced reader copy of this novel. I have not yet read a book that involved a circus and was very intrigued by the different components showcased in this book. I am a fan of fantasy novels and enjoy books that have some mage component in the storyline. The book starts off with a thrilling opening act involving Delia and her daughter Genevieve. This opening chapter is the part of the book that grabbed my attention from the moment Delia fell to her death while her daughter watched from afar. I almost shrieked in horror after reading this part of the book. The author did a great job capturing this moment in the opening chapter. The book continues with us watching how Gen deals with the loss of her mother and how the circus must move on. A new owner has purchased the circus and while Gen is still trying to figure out the cryptic message her mother left behind, she must also watch her every corner in this new place. She has to figure out who she can trust while diving into her mothers past and trying to connect the puzzle pieces Delia left behind for her. With Baby as her trusted companion, the help of Alicia (a friend of her mothers), and the support of family friends Genevieve will learn more about her mothers past leading to discoveries about herself. Family history is essential in this book as we watch Genevieve, dive into her family tree. She must fight to protect her mothers secrets and protect the ones she loves. Will Genevieve discover the secrets her mother kept hidden from her and will she be able to protect them? What happens when all of her mothers secrets are uncovered? Can she protect everyone she loves and fight for everything her family’s legacy? This is a lot of pressure for a seventeen year old!

Overall this book is written well with copious amounts of descriptive terminology that comes in handy. I was able to imagine the circus based merely on the words used in this novel. The author did a great job capturing my attention throughout this book. It is filled with some subtle and action-packed scenes. I would have preferred to learn more about Henry’s mother and the supporting member’s roles in Delia’s life. I wanted to know more about the other members of the circus and more about Genevieve’s desire to become a Vet. I would have liked more circus action, but the balance seemed adequate with the length of the novel. How has Gen be able to keep that big secret about the power she holds and how long can she keep it?

The story completely entranced me from the moment I opened this book to the ending. The cliffhanger at the end had me wishing for more. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a Young Adult Fantasy novel that focuses on family history, family ties, magic, romance, and circus with a hint of historical references. This book combined all of my favorite genres into one all-encompassing novel. I am more than excited to see what this author does with the second book and am curious as to how Genevieve and Henry’s journey will unfold.


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com