Editor: Lamar Giles
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
This is an anthology that was written in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. It includes never before seen works from thirteen of YA’s most recognizable, diverse authors: ten short stories, one graphic story, and a one-act play. I am thrilled to have been allowed to early review this amazing collection of short fiction, that is just demanding to be read, shared, and talked about!
Let me just begin by saying- Wow! After reading the early synopsis of this anthology, and learning who the authors contributing to it were, I had high hopes… I mean really high. This blew them away! Every one of these short stories had something very important to say, and they all made their point in the best way possible. I may not have been able to personally identify with all of the characters in these stories, but the message of each was not lost on me. These authors are all so brilliant, that it is really hard to pick a favorite story out of this collection. If pushed to choose, I would have to say that Eraser Tattoo (Jason Reynolds), Why I Learned to Cook (Sara Farizan), Don’t Pass Me By (Eric Gansworth), Meet Cute (Malinda Lo), and Tags (Walter Dean Myers) really stood out to me. All of the stories were just long enough to pique the reader’s interest, tell their story, and then leave you wanting more. This is an anthology that has been needed for some time, especially in this climate, and I am so glad that it is here! It is bound to be a hit, and one that will last for a long time to come. Now…Can we get another one of these, please? Fresher Ink, anyone?!
Publisher: WordFire Press
I was asked by one of the authors of this anthology to review this book for the release, and I am so glad that he asked me to do this! I absolutely loved it! The stories included in this compilation range from strange and creepy to outright scary, and there was not one of them that I can honestly say that I just didn’t enjoy. There were some, however, that stood out for me. One that really stood out for me was The Kraken’s Story by Robert J. McCarter. THe reason that this one stood out, in my mind, was the POV that it was told from: the Kraken’s. I do believe that this is the first time that I have read a story told from the POV of a Kraken, and it was very different (in a good way!). One of the stories that I just loved was Gregory D. Little’s A Marsh Called Solitude. The writing was beautiful, with wonderfully developed characters. It feels like he was able to put so much in to a short story. It is the writing that I have come to expect from him in a neat little package. One of my other favorites has to be Sea Dreams, written by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta. The writing was also very lovely in this story, and the underlying message of friendship is an important one.
If you love short stories (we all know that I love them by now!) and sci-fi/fantasy, I think that you will really enjoy this anthology. You are getting so much packed in to this one book!
New reviews coming up tomorrow!!!!
I am so excited (as if you can’t tell)!!!! Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl From Everywhere and The Ship Beyond Time– you know, one of my absolute favorite YA Fantasy series (duology) in the past couple of years- has a new trilogy beginning, and the cover was just revealed on Bustle!!! It’s gorgeous!!!
So, here’s a tidbit about For A Muse of Fire (killer name, right? Shakespeare’s Henry V, anyone?):
Jetta (our awesome heroine) and her family live in a war-torn land and are known for their magical puppet shows. Jetta, however, has a secret: she can see the recently departed, and bind them to the puppets. The family’s shows win them a spot aboard a royal ship (yay, more sea fun!!) that supposedly has a magical spring that will cure all. Jetta is determined to learn the cure. She meets a smuggler along the way, with his own secrets, and she faces some hard truths and difficult decisions.
There is an exclusive excerpt over on Bustle, that you should really check out! This promises to have everything that we have come to expect from Heilig’s writing: incredible world building, characters that are well developed and fully fleshed out, adventure, action- What more can you ask for? Is it September yet??!!
Author: Lisa Carlisle
Series: Underground Encounters
Layla is on the run from a Master Vampire. She has fled from London, and arrived in Boston to become Angelica, the singer in an 80’s cover band. Devon is the shapeshifting bounty hunter who is after her. He hates vamps, so there is no issue with him hunting her down…until he meets her. With more vampires on their trail, will this end well for them?
This is the fourth installment in Carlisle’s Underground Encounters series, but each one can be read as a standalone. This, as all her work thus far has been, was an incredible enjoyable read! The characters were well fleshed out, and fun to hang out with. The plot line was a very interesting and fun one. What I think that I love most of all about this author’s work, though, is her world building. It is always very rich and well imagined. I can almost always picture, with great detail, the environment that she is describing. If you are a PNR fan, this is a series (and author!) that you shouldn’t miss!
Author: Kristen Strassel
Series: Real Werewives of Alaska
Landon Fox has always put football before everything in his life, his daughter included. His career is finally reaching an end point, and the Real Werewives are after him. When there is a huge uproar at one of the Real Were wives event, he sees the last person that he expected to see. Jenna came to Alaska with one mission: reconnect her daughter with her father. She has no notion of finding love here. That is, until Landon accidentally bids on her for a date. Will they find a love connection once again?
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and somehow missed the second. I had no problem, however picking right back up at this one (they can be read as a standalone). I must say, that I think I enjoyed this ne even more than the first. I liked the first one a lot, but this one seemed to have even more of an enriched backstory, so it led to deeper emotions being felt while reading it. I will throw in, though, that it still has all of the humor, wit, sarcasm, and fun of the first in the series, so you won’t miss any of that! The characters were still developed well, and the world-building was in keeping with the first of the series. If you’re a PNR fan looking for a quick, fun read, I recommend this one.
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger Duology
Genre: YA Fantasy
Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy, determined to play her debut and make her way in the professional music world. In one night, everything that she knows and loves is ripped from her, as she is torn from her world and her time, and forced to travel years from her home. She didn’t even know that this was possible until her legacy was forced upon her. Nicholas Carter is living his life upon the open seas, free from a family and burden that have plagued him for years. The sudden arrival of Etta upon his ship, however, changes all of that for him. He must now journey through time with her to find a powerful object that this family believes that only Etta can find for them.
I decided to start the year out re-reading this fun novel that I read, but didn’t review, at the end of last year. I really, really enjoyed this story. The writing was beautiful. The character development was great. It was much better than I have been seeing in many YA novels of late. The world building was phenomenal! I felt that I was on the journey with them, and I wanted to keep going! Fortunately, I am about to re-join all of our players in the sequel of this duology, Wayfarer. You can look for that review to come sometime in February. One thing that I truly enjoyed about this YA was that, while there was a bit of a romantic element to the story, it wasn’t so heavy on the romance that it overtook the rest of the story. It also wasn’t an overly anguished YA romance, which was refreshing. If you enjoy time travel adventure in your fantasy, this is a great book to look in to!