#BookReview By Lou – Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez #JenniferLynnAlvarez #YA #Mystery @penguinrandom #BookTwitter #BookRecommendations

Lies Like Wildfire
by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A compulsive, intensive read for 12-17 year olds that will have their noses stuck in a book until the end. Thanks to publisher – Penguin Random House Children’s UK for gifting me the book to review. Discover more in the blurb and scroll on down to the rest of my review.

Lies LIke Wildfire

Blurb

Secrets and lies are everywhere in this compulsive page-turner, perfect for fans of TikTok favourites One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars and This Lie Will Kill You.

An intense high-stakes story about five friends and the deadly secret that could send their lives up in flames, perfect for fans of Karen McManus and E. Lockhart.

In Gap Mountain, California, everyone knows about fire season. And no one is more vigilant than 18-year-old Hannah Warner, the sheriff’s daughter and aspiring FBI agent. That is until this summer. When Hannah and her best friends accidentally spark an enormous and deadly wildfire, their instinct is to lie to the police and the fire investigators.

But as the blaze roars through their rural town and towards Yosemite National Park, Hannah’s friends begin to crack and she finds herself going to extreme lengths to protect their secret. Because sometimes good people do bad things. And if there’s one thing people hate, it’s liars.

Review

The gang, the teenagers make up – 2 boys, 3 girls, are called The Monsters, are also out to protect each other and themselves when a huge, catastrophic, very destructive fire breaks out in a town, with the wild flames heading towards Yosemite National Park. It’s pretty graphic in some places, especially with the fire, which really highlights the seriousness of the situation.

It’s a dark, twisty young adult book which highlights unhealty, toxicity in some relationships between the characters. There’s also the chase of future life dreams, such as teenagers wanting to become a nurse, work in criminology and more… Each is far, far from perfect. They tried to be good, but they are also far from this too as secrets are kept and many lies are told. Older teenagers and early 20 somethings will find this a gripping read as the story builds as the flames and realisation of the fire does too and there’s nothing much that can be done to fan them as the gang begins to crack here and there, but Hannah tries to hold tight and keep the gang close. As the net closes in on them, one of the gang disappears, creating further speculation and intrigue.

Lies Like Wildfire is about teens, who have their whole lives ahead of them, falling apart and readers can find out how far they are willing to go in their lies, even to the most powerful of authorities in law to try and coverup their terrible secret. There’s the intrigue as to whether they will eventually come good or not and what will happen to them.

#BookReview By Lou of Stranger Back Home By E.L. Haines #ELHaines #Fantasy #YoungAdult #YA

Stranger Back Home
By E.L. Haines
Rated 5 stars *****

Stranger Back Home by E.L. Haines is a well-crafted fantasy book for Young Adults and Adults alike who enjoy this genre. Thanks to E.L. Haines for contacting me via my Contact Me page on my blog to request I review this book and for gifting me a copy to review from. Find out a little about the author, the blurb and the rest of my review below…

Stranger Back Home

About The Author

Ethan reads all the time, and writes so that you can read. He travels the world, ignoring the usual boundaries of space and time, collecting stories, which he loves to tell almost as much as Sparrow himself does.
He has visited more than 25 countries in person, and perhaps more than a hundred in books. He has also time-traveled to more than 40 different years in history. We won’t tell you exactly which ones.

Blurb

Stranger Back HomeOne day, your father is a renowned diplomat. The next day, he’s an infamous terrorist.

When Sparrow is summoned to the reading of his father’s last will and testament, the most he hoped for was a minor bequest. Instead, he inherited suspicion and accusations from the Empire that his father helped unite.

Locked away in a vault are the secrets that will reveal Xavier DuMont’s mysterious past and shine a light on Sparrow’s future. Perhaps even the future of the entire realm.

Of course, these secrets won’t be obtained easily. Especially when everyone in this magical world seems so casually racist.

Social dynamics in this world were already pretty strange. Somehow, Sparrow makes everything stranger.

Review

Told in the first person, the character of Sparrow really takes you with him into the fantastical dystopian world he and others find themselves in. It gives Sparrow a really compelling voice, as though the storyteller is with you.
There is a map of Middle Telleron, which is great for illustrating the size of the area and the places around it, and in detail, a map of City of Dragon’s Mouth where the more official government buildings are and where the upper and middle classes reside.

Apart from Sparrow, there are also orcs and an old wizard, gobins, dwarfs as well as humans and halflings. It’s a bit The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings like in this respect and readers who are fans of those books will enjoy this. The world building is is done well and the writing is beautifully descriptive of the places and of Lazaretto Manor, where you can be met by a butler who is a ghost and there is talk of vampires who are pretty fiesty.

As much as it feels like every fantastical creature and being is thrown into the world, it is done so in a way that still flows and it feels like different communities of people or creatures, just like you get different communities of people in the real world.

The book has a grounding in the real world too and almost straddles between the fantasy and world we know as it highlights issues, such as a grim robbery happening and other social and class issues. There are also jobs, such as tax collectors, barbers, actors and there are even laws. There are also family fueds about life choices, conflicts and tensions amongst characters as tensions rise due to suspicions being created due to certain events surrounding Sparrow’s father.
This all adds something more identifiable, in this otherwise, strange, yet intriguing world that sees peace and unrest within it as well as mystery, the prospect of kidnapping or death looming, secrets and a touch of humour. There is also the existence of retirement, but not as we know it…

The book sweeps you along into its world as there are so many hooks within it and it is pretty entertaining to read.

Dragons Walk Among Us by Dan Rice @TheWildRosePress #Fantasy #Dragons #YA

Dragons Walk Among Us
By Dan Rice

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A mysterious procedure, dragons that may or may not be there amongst themes of climate change, health and friendship make this a twisty fantasy for Young Adults. Dragons Walk Among Us is Dan Rice’s debut.
Thanks to Dan Rice for contacting me via Contact Me on my blog and gifting me his book.
Fly down below to discover a bit about the author, the blurb and the rest of my review.

About the Author

Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views. 

Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years. You can explore his blog at https://www.danscifi.com

Dragons Walk Amongst Us Cover

Blurb

Shutterbug Allison Lee is trying to survive high school while suffering the popular girl’s abuse. Her life is often abysmal, but at least her green hair is savage. Her talent for photography is recognized by the school paper and the judges of a photo contest.

While visiting her friend Joe, a homeless vet, Allison’s life irrevocably changes after an attack leaves her blind. All her dreams as a photojournalist are dashed as she realizes she’ll never see again. Despair sets in until she is offered an experimental procedure to restore her vision. But there are side effects, or are they hallucinations? She now sees dragons accompanying some of the people she meets. Can she trust her eyes, or has the procedure affected her more than she can see?

Dragons Walk Amongst Us Cover

Review

Cascadia Prep High School is where the book begins, with some powerfully described photographs. There’s quite a competition on, especially where pupil, Leslie and Allison Lee are concerned.

The book is bang on topic when it comes to climate change and public transport versus cars, it also includes figures. This may make some people really think about how they travel. I like that a lot. Climate change, homlessness and race relations are hot topics and they are both combined in this book. The book also turns into a detective story, which is interesting as it will appeal to young readers who enjoy a bit of a mystery as Allison suffers from an attack, rendering her blind, until an experiment is performed on her. Haji, who is very significant in her life and Dalia kindly visit her as she begins her journey in her different sort of life from what she knew before, which readers are taken on.
Readers are basically asked to be patient before anything fantastical occurs, but the background is pertinent and then comes the intriguing part when it comes to the treatment. Then Allison’s world becomes fascinating as glimmers of a dragon merges with the real world and there’s a sinister doctor and strange magician.

There are interesting concepts with the sort of experimental treatment conducted on her and the side,-effects experienced. It then gets more intense as further twists involving everyone’s lives occur, which then makes this quite the unexpected page-turner, that lures you further and further into this fantastical world that is created that blends together with the real world, until it keeps you guessing what has truly happened to Allison’s vision, as events get turn darker, lives are in danger as the interesting concept of shape-shifters emerges and soon it’s a race to save all of humanity.

The layers of story builds, although at certain points there’s quite a bit about will anyone kill anyone or not, and takes a little while to get anywhere near to seeing the dragon, but once you do, then this is a book worth sticking with as it really gets into its stride and pulls you in, until you need to know what happens next.

#Extract of Rising Star by Michele Kwasniewski @MicheleKwas @RandSmithBooks @RandomTTours #YA #RisingStar

Rising Star
By Michele Kwasniewski
Extract/Excerpt

Today I am pleased to show you an extract/excerpt from Rising Star, thanks to Random TTours Rand-Smith Books and Michele Kwasniewski for providing the passage.
I will also say that Rising Star is an interesting sounding book that looks at the price of fame and fortune, which is a highly fitting for today’s society of young adults. Find out about the author, the book and then discover an extract from it to get your reading eyes going.
Readers… meet Dani Truhart

About the Author

Michelle K Author PicThe author, Michele Kwasniewski, is an entertainment industry insider who has seen what the Hollywood machine can do to people – having worked for many years in film and television production on such films and TV shows as Primal FearIndependence DayEvita, Face/OffBig Brother, and many TCL, HGTV, and Discovery series including: Meet the Pandas, Adoption Story, Wedding Story, and Extra Yardage. 

 

Michelle Kwasneiwski Author PicWith her book, she shares the glamour and excitement of fame as well as the hard work it takes to achieve success and the price of living life in the public eye.  Everyone wants to be famous, but most people have no idea what that really means.  Michele has seen it firsthand.  She is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

 

Blurb

What’s the Price of Fame?

Rising Star Cover ImageIn the first book in THE RISE AND FALL OF DANI TRUEHART series, RISING STAR, fifteen-year-old Dani Truehart is living a life that is not quite her own. Driven by her mother’s desire for fame and fortune, she has spent her childhood dutifully training for a career as a pop star. On the brink of discovery, doubts begin to creep into Dani’s mind as she questions her own desire for fame, and she wonders whether she can trust the motivations of the adults who are driving her forward.

Following a brilliant audition arranged by her vocal/dance coach and former ’80s pop icon Martin Fox, Dani is thrown full-force into the music industry. She leaves her friends, family and scheming mother behind to move with Martin, who has become her legal guardian, into the Malibu compound of her new manager, Jenner Redman. Jenner, the former swindling manager of Martin’s boy band, leverages what’s left of his depleted fortune to launch Dani’s career.

Isolated from her life at home and trying to stay apace with her demanding schedule, Dani struggles to keep in touch with those she loves, connect to her withholding mother and find her voice as an artist. With Martin and Jenner at odds over their rocky past and finding herself unprepared to handle the pressures of her future singing career, Dani’s debut album and future stardom are at risk of falling apart.

Rising Star Cover Image

Extract/Excerpt

Sean, the lights, and the gym quickly dissolve into my shrieking

alarm clock and my equally grating mother yelling my name. I roll over groaning and blindly striking out for the clock, knocking odds and ends off the nightstand. A final violent swipe turns off the alarm. I pry open my eyes. It’s 5:12 a.m.

“Danilynn Marie Truehart, get up this instant! Don’t make me walk up those stairs and get you, girl.”

I pause for a second, wondering what evil I’ve done in my past life to deserve such torment in this one. Jodi Truehart is her own special brand of torture. Some days it’s all I can do not to either burst into tears or erupt in a tirade of swear words. My mother never stops. She is unrelenting, unforgiving, and utterly determined to make me into a star.

Sighing as I haul my bones out of bed, I remind myself that if I’m really that miserable, I could make the endless lessons and rehearsals stop. My mother is all about the bottom line. If there’s any chance she won’t receive a big payoff after all these years of pushing and spending, she’ll cut her losses and turn her maniacal stage-mother- ing skills to some other money-making prospect. She’d probably just have another baby. I chuckle to myself…third time’s a charm, right?

Grabbing the stack of workout wear on the dresser, I stumble down the hall to the bathroom. My father is shambling up the stairs from the kitchen, a steaming mug of coffee in hand.

“Sorry about all the noise, Dad. Guess I overslept.”

He shakes his head. “No worries, Marie. I had an early meeting any- way.” He blows me a kiss and continues down the hall to the master bedroom.

My dad is the only one who calls me Marie. I’m named after his mother, who used to visit us a lot when we were younger. We used to hang out at her house all the time, and she used to bake the best cakes ever. But there was some sort of falling out between her and my mom, and we stopped going to see her. No one ever mentions it, and I’m too scared to ask what happened. Though I haven’t seen her in years, I always think of her when he calls me “Marie.”

“Where’s my apology, superstar?” Geena appears in the doorway of her darkened room, arms folded across her t-shirt, her blonde hair tousled. She smirks and gives me a playful slap on the butt as I pass. “Better get in that shower.” Geena puts her hands on her hips and wags her finger at me in a perfect imitation of our mother’s Texas twang, “Don’t make her walk up those steps and get you, girl.”

I groan. “God, you’re lucky you’re the smart one! If you’d been able to sing, maybe they’d have stopped at one kid, and I’d be blissfully unaware up in the stars somewhere.”

“You make your own luck, sis, believe me.” Geena winks at me and disappears into her room.

Rising Star BT Poster

#Bookreview by Lou of Thick and Thin by Upasa Borah @CherryPublishi2 #UpasaBorah #YoungAdult #YA

Thick and Thin
By Upasa Borah

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Older young adults/teens and 20 somethings will discover characters in Raumah who have issues to overcome and there is also some lust and a lot of fists flying and other elements of action with family ties, romance and discovery. Find out more in the blurb and review.
Thanks to Cherry Publishing for gifting me the book to review

Thick and Thin

Blurb

In Raumah, a city where wealth and familial ties rule all, the four Kings of Raumah walk a path seemingly paved in gold.
Duante, the protector. Strong, amiable and desperate to keep his loved ones out of harm’s way.
Drayden, the golden boy. Smart and resourceful, heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire.
Shohei, the celebrity. Delicate but determined, this fabulous fashion icon is the darling of Raumah.
Aqil, the prodigy. Truly gifted and academically dominant, but is it earned or is it his family ties that are the key to his successes?

Everything on the surface seems picture perfect, but dark secrets lie hidden behind the
frame. When Duante’s past comes calling, the Kings’ world is thrown into chaos.
Faced with the ghosts of his bloody past, Duante’s hard-earned freedom is put in jeopardy, just as Shohei’s love is put to the test. Drayden’s ruthless determination is usually his strength, but this time, will it blind him to what’s right? Can Aqil, the trailblazing son of the Faiz family, face his fears, before the fire burns him alive?
Facing their fears is no easy task, will they bow under the pressure or come out stronger than ever?

Themes: Family Ties, Friendship, Love, Lust, Identity, Self Discovery, Self Acceptance
Genre: Action – Romance, Queer Young Adult Fiction

 

Review

Thick and ThinThick and Thin gets off to a strong start. There’s Duante, the protector, Drayden, the golden boy and heir to the country’s largest and most influential business empire and Shohei, the celebrity who is a fashion icon. It’s identifiable to Young Adults. Loki also pops up.

The chapters present themselves as Acts, which adds some intrigue as does the four kings and the characters surrounding them. That makes it sound almost fantastical, but really there are  just some average lives too, with pop culture and bookish references, such as Justin Timberlake and Harry Potter. It also has powerful messages about bullies and handling them.

The book is about identity and trying to accept who you are and makes me hopeful that people will become happy in their own skin. There’s also friendships embraced and characters like Aquil who just want to be included in plans. This is so relatable for the Young Adult audience with its powerful themes.
It also delves into darker sides of society, such as gun culture. I think there is a lot that young adults will find thought-provoking and some they may debate.
There is also part where Aquil has got powerful family ties who are influential, for readers to see if Aquil is working on own steam or if the family has a hand in things, such as a scholarship reward.

There is the occassional bit of humour of the teenage/young adult life. There is also a lot of that teenage angst, as well as a film of sadness going across it.

There is teenage lust amongst a couple of the characters, who pine after each other at certain points and some elements of self-discovery and mostly it is done well. 

As much as it isn’t quite the page-turner, it is something that young adults can get their teeth into and to see who comes out of it all well. This would be good for older teens and 20 somethings.

About the Author

Upasa Borah (also known by her pen name glassEyed) is a 21 year old dreamer from a land of rivers and hills, called Assam, in India. Aside from writing stories, she dabbles in poetry and performance art. She is a spoken word poet who has been active in the slam poetry circuit in Delhi, as well as in her hometown, as a
featured performer, organiser and judge. A believer of magic and collector of stories, she loves
meeting new people and finding inspiration and muses in the mundane.

 

#Review by Lou – Instructions For Dancing by Nicola Yoon @Penguin @NicolaYoon @The_WriteReads @penguinplatform #UltimateBlogTour #YA #Teens #BookReview #Romance

Instructions For Dancing
By Nicola Yoon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s time to get your dancing shoes with this highly addictive and exquisitely emotional read. Take a look at the blurb and then the rest of my review. Sometimes there are real gems for Young Adults/Teenage readers and this is one of them. Discover more about Nicola Yoon, the blurb and my review as you dance your way on down…

Thanks to Penguin for gifting me the book and The Write Reads for inviting me to the blog tour.

Instructions for Dancing

About the Author

NicolaYoonPhotoNicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Two of her novels have been made into major motion pictures. She’s also co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist David Yoon, and their daughter.

Instructions for Dancing cover

Blurb

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with a new and utterly unique romance.

‘An endearing, affecting portrayal of the journey of love. Everything Yoon touches turns to gold… this cinematic supernatural romance will be no exception’ Booklist

Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.

When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.

For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.

But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love?

Review

Instructions for Dancing coverInstructions For Dancing is beautifully and tenderly written, with some of it waxing lyrical, amongst the emotional rollercoaster of joy and heartache of life and dance – sometimes it’s soaring and other times, pounding and grinding down.

Instructions For Dancing is the title of an instruction manual on how to dance many styles of this art form, that inspires Evie. The title, not only means the physical act of dancing at the dance studio, but also perhaps a metaphorical meaning of dancing the steps of life as there are break-ups and make-ups and life in general to deal with and issues to walk through…. So any readers who have come across Don’t Forget To Dance, would also appreciate this, although certain themes differ.

There’s fun in Evie’s life with waffles and brownies and hanging out with her friends, but also her homelife is in a bit of crisis. There’s also music and some romance in the air in the maze of teenage life, but also the breaking up of her family that changes and complicates things and an unexpected romance that also changes everything. It shows so much of the highs and lows of life.

Readers will get a real feel for Evie’s personality and the inclusion of texts that also carry the story along is a fun addition in being immersed into her life.

This is highly addictive, exquisite book that I highly recommend. It is one of those perfectly conceived books for teens/young adults.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1524718963

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55600878-instructions-for-dancing