#BookReview of The Younglings By Helena M. Craggs @h_craggs @LoveBooksGroup #YoungAdult #Halloween #Fantasy #Paranormal #Vampires #Ghosts #Witches #Debut

The Younglings
By Helena M. Craggs

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today it is my turn to share my review on the blog tour of The Younglings. A spookily good book for Young Adults/Teens in time for Halloween. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the full review…
Thanks to Love Books Group for inviting me onto the blog tour to review. Thanks to Helena M. Cragg for gifting me the book, the Cadbury’s Dark Milk Chocolate (long since eaten) and the pen (now well used).

The Younglings 3

Blurb

The Younglings 1Humans have no idea what lurks in the shadows.

Mortals don’t expect to see supernaturals. Their minds rarely consider the possibility, even when it’s staring them right in the face. I was one such person … until I met my estranged father.

Let me introduce myself. The name is Carter. Quinn Carter. A witty, laid-back, regular guy, who just happens to be half-demon.

Finding out Dad is a demon king was like a sucker punch to the gut. Seriously, I’m a total biological freak. Meeting him was the catalyst for my life tail-spinning into a new world—a world where things of legend are real.  

The one positive about this whole situation is the friends I have made. Good friends. But they too have secrets … big secrets. They’re not exactly your average individuals. Turns out demons aren’t the only paranormal creatures out there.

I also need to mention a Vampire Ministry, evil stab-worthy demons, and troubled spirits stranded on the spectral plane. As a consequence, life for my friends and me became a tad problematic.

Being heroes in the mortal realm hadn’t been on anybody’s to-do list, but we had no choice in the matter, and things were about to get very interesting.

Review

The Younglings 2Once you’ve opened the spookily brooding cover, it is found that the book is cleverly written as from the beginning, readers are practically being directly spoken to and then the story unfolds in third-person from there. This technique is captivating.

It comes as a bit of a surprise to Quinn Carter that he isn’t quite the regular teen he thought he was as he discovers he is half-demon and further still, discovers his friends aren’t as average as he first thought either as some of them have magical powers. Even his best friend Eve isn’t exactly who he thought she was as he discovers she is half-angel. There are also witches and a vampire and ghosts, some even with jobs like Lilth who is a nanny, just not your normal sort…
There’s a story there about good versus evil. There’s even a Vampire Ministry and rules to get to know. This book has everything you’d want in a supernatural book, plus there is a mention of historical times and witch trials in the North of England.

This is a great read for teens in the run up to Halloween, or indeed any other time of the year. There is humour within the spooks that would most certainly appeal to teens. It is entertaining and fast-paced so grabs attention quick.  It has great, realistic characterisation that teens will be able to identify with. Each character has their own trials and tribulations to overcome, sometimes from within. There are also certain relationships brewing that readers can really get behind. There’s romantic chemistry and fight scenes readers can really get into.
Most of the time, characters are easy to root for, sometimes they can be frustrating, but it all goes in with teen behaviours and actions, which gives this book a certain grounding.

It’s a strong debut novel that is very much worth getting your vampire teeth stuck into!

The Younglings tour poster

#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.

#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

#Review by Lou – Journey to New Salem by Mark Rosendorf @markrosendorf #YA #Fantasy #Witches #Friendships #Magic …

Journey to New Salem
By Mark Rosendorf

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The second book in this series whisks readers off to New Salem, where there are some familiar and new characters. Witches, Magic, Vampires, Romance, Friendship, Teamwork, Portals, Trepedation and Teen Spirit… This book is packed full with it all in a quest to save one of the characters in this compelling, page-turning fantasy/realism book that I feel is sure to grab young-adults/teenagers attention. It is worth a read. How far too, would you go for a friend?
The first book was a very good read and encompass themes relevant for Young Adults and written very well, so I am delighted to be asked to review again by the author – Mark Rosendorf.
Find out more below in the blurb and the rest of my review and also discover buy links and a link to Book 1 after that….. The book is available in paperback and e-book formats.

About the Author

MarkMark Rosendorf is a High School Guidance Counselor for students in the New York City Department of Education’s special education district. He is also a former professional magician. Mark shares his knowledge of magic with his students as part of the school’s Performing Arts program.

Mark is also credited with published novels in various genres including The Rasner Effect series. He eventually decided on an early retirement from writing. When asked why, Mark’s usual answer was because he lost his favorite pen.

Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into his brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it.  Suddenly, despite the decision to never write again, Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas, Mark’s first young adult story, was born.

 

New Salem cover

Blurb

A year has passed since The Witches of Vegas saved the city from the evil Wiccan vampire, Valeria. Since then, the show has hit an all-time high. So has the romance between teen witch Isis Rivera and teenage magician, Zack Galloway. Things couldn’t be any better for them until Isis develops seizures that cause her power to spiral out of control. Fires and earthquakes are just the beginning of the chaos caused by the misfired witchcraft. Unable to find a cure, Isis’ family journeys to New Salem, a fabled village of witches which may or may not even exist. Meanwhile, Zack ends up face to face with the only being who may have a cure…Valeria. But does he dare pay her price?

Review

Jasper has premonitions in some of his dreams/nightmares and a night spent with his other-half, Tia saw some more….
The book then moves to the first chapter and onto The Witches of Vegas – a unique magic show as the witches are real and have Wiccan powers. Isis Quinn-Santell, fomerly Isis Flores Rivera is one of them, who readers can follow in her life in the book.

The book has themes which are perfect for the young-adult/teen market. There’s fantasy (magic and teleportation) mixed through the real world, romance, life, all manner of emotions and growing-up.
The romance between Isis and Zack is beautifully written. There is great humour within this relationship, surrounding a small issue of fire…

The time-travelling to the 1990’s is a bit of fun and is a great addition for letting the younger generations gain some knowledge of this decade. It shows books, even fantasy books can be vital in, as well as providing an enjoyable story, they also provide and add to knowledge and increasing a well-rounded education, vital for quizzes and for knowing and understanding the world. 

There’s trepidation as Isis isn’t feeling her usual self and Zack needs to summon Selena and Sebastian to help with their Wiccan powers. As she lies in hospital things become complicated for Isis and how to hide her true witchy identity and the others need to help, but run into problems here and there with teleporting as other forces may also be at play. The author does this well and builds some mild tension up.

Politics in some form also come to play as Isis meets Tia – the president in New Salem, nothing heavy, which is a good call, so it doesn’t jar the story. There’s also some interesting theories about vampires and readers can find out about Valeria as the quest to get Isis back to health continues, where the tension ramps up another gear as the Witches of Vegas are characters that are easy to want to do well and succeed.

This is a book that young adults can easily escape into. It’s compelling to the end!

Links

Amazon          Waterstones     Review of Book 1 – Witches of Vegas

A #Spotlight into What Beauty There Is @coryanderwrites #YA #Teens #Thriller #TheWriteReads #TheWriteReadsOnTour

What Beauty There Is
By Cory Anderson
Spotlight

What Beauty There Is banner

Something sinister and exhilerating is coming to the Young Adult book market… What Beauty There Is, is published by Penguin Random House UK on 8th April. It’s going to be one heck of an amazing  ride, not for the faint-hearted!!! It has an all immersive atmosphere that will have you hanging in there for the duration of the book. It’s like hearing and seeing everything in 4D in your mind. It will set your pulses racing and eyes glued to every page! You will want to know what happens next this thriller that depicts beauty and brutality. This has a dark, intense grittiness within it as it  poses the thought-provoking question of “How far will you go to protect your loved ones…”
This is a new thriller older teens and young adults will get much reading pleasure from.
What Beauty There Is, is a fast-paced, well-written thriller from Cory Anderson, who is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. What Beauty There Is, is her debut novel.
Find out more in the blurb below.
In April, I will be back with a full review of this Thriller of a book!
Thanks to The Write Reads for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

What Beauty There Is

Blurb

An exhilarating, emotionally impactful and superbly written thriller with the atmosphere of Winter’s Bone and the compulsive reading experience of Karen McManus.

Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.

Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d do anything for. Even die for.

Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.

But in the harsh, isolated landscape of the mid-Rockies with winter approaching, it isn’t easy. And soon Jack realises he’s not the only one on the hunt . . .

An unputdownable thriller about how far you’ll go to protect those you love.

What Beauty There Is is Cory Anderson’s YA novel about brutality and beauty, and about broken people trying to survive—perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Laura Ruby, and Meg Rosoff.