Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults
Book Genre Tag "Fantasy" with image of fantasy world of mountains and water

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So, I picked this book up only because of the cover. I didn’t read what it was about, I was just like that looks awesome, and I wasn’t wrong, YAY! 🤣

This is a YA fantasy about a young girl, Joan, who finds out she’s a monster and the boy she was on a date with is a monster-hunter. Unfortunately, the way she finds out is pretty awful, and she has to run for her life!

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The Fear by Natasha Preston

Person peeking through hole titled "Thriller"
Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Well, I just thought this book was absolutely fantastic! I’ve enjoyed Natasha Preston’s books for years, and this one was another great read!

When a post about sharing your biggest fear of how to die goes viral, peoples start dying, and it’s in the way their worst fear was described. This was absolutely terrifying!

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What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat

Book Genre Block - "Horror" creepy house in woods
Book Genre Tag "Fantasy" with image of fantasy world of mountains and water

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What We Harvest was an absolutely fantastic book that had elements of family and friendship, magic, and creepy horror. It was the exact amount of horror I can handle too! 🤣 This was an outstanding debut from Ann Fraistat!

Wren lives in Hollow’s End, an old town set in the backdrop of present day. The town has four farms run by four founding families, and each one has its own special element that helps drive revenue and tourism for the town and families. Something has gone wrong in Hollow’s End though. A blight is taking over the crops, sucking the life right out of them, but it’s more than just the crops. People and animals have begun to go missing, and now they are showing up again, but they are shells of the humans they once were, and they are dangerous.

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These Deadly Games by Diana Urban

Person peeking through hole titled "Thriller"
Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wow! This book was a fantastic story filled with surprises and twist after twist! It was fast-paced, and layered one thing on top of another creating this story-web that was impossible to put down!

Crystal and her friends are so close to qualifying for a video game tournament. They are spending all their free time trying to earn a final spot for the game. Then Crystal gets a message that her sister is being held hostage, and she needs to “Play a Game”. It’s clear that the kidnapper is holding all the cards, and Crystal has no one to turn to. The kidnapper can see and hear everything she’s doing through her phone. She can’t tell anyone, or her sister will die. So, she starts following the directions, but it’s turning into a game with deadly consequences!

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All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue

Book Genre Tag "Fantasy" with image of fantasy world of mountains and water

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wow, I really got sucked into this book! It’s full of magic, friendships, mystery, and first romance all wrapped up in a coming of age story. When Maeve discovers some old tarot cards, she finds that she has a knack for them, and begins giving readings to all the girls in school. When one goes wrong and someone important to her disappears, she finds that a chain reaction of events has begun and she needs to tap into her unknown magical powers to fix everything.

I loved Maeve’s journey in this, and it is what kept pushing me to read. She is learning so much about herself and her friends. There’s some great LGBTQ representation in this one, and I enjoyed that Maeve is learning how to best support the people in her life.

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Unraveling Eleven by Jerri Chisholm

Book Genre Tag "Fantasy" with image of fantasy world of mountains and water

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So, to be totally honest here, I picked this one up without reading the synopsis because it’s book 2 and I just KNEW I wanted to read it! So…I was surprised to find that this wasn’t going to be a book about survival above ground, but instead one of surviving below…still. So, it took me a little to get over being a bit grumpy about that 😂!

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, Escaping Eleven, you definitely need to start there! It’s an amazing story that I loved!! Book 2 jumps into the story where book 1 left off…SPOILERS… Eve and Wren are above ground, but they soon realize they can’t survive up there. They don’t know anything about the world, what to eat, how to fight animals off, what water is safe, etc. And so, they return to Eleven. Their lives return to normal a bit, there are lover’s spats, Eve punches people, and they realize they need to try to save everyone in the compound, not just themselves. But obviously that’s not as easy as it seems!

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Only the Pretty Lies by Rebekah Crane

Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults
Only the Pretty Lies book cover with boy and girl
Book Genre Tag "Romance": A couple kissing

This YA romance is a great way to start discussions around the topics of race, gender, and stereotypes! The story weaves these into the plot in a great way, and I really enjoyed it!

We meet Amoris, a senior in high school, as she reignites a childhood friendship with Jamison. Jamison just moved back to town, and as they become friends, and their relationship evolves, Amoris has the chance to see racism in ways she never noticed before.

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Evelyn and the Kung Fu Headmaster by Kwan Wu

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water
Book cover girl flying over map
Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults

Evelyn and the Kung Fu Headmaster is a fast-paced story that doesn’t waste any time jumping right into the action! It was a fun, crazy adventure that young readers will really enjoy going on!

This is a really good transitional book for readers that are just branching into the young readers books. It’s still a young, clean read, but it’s a bit older than a juvenile fiction story. It’s filled with amazing adventures that are perfect for this age range. I would have liked to see a bit more world building throughout the story, which was the only downside for me. It’s a short book, and we could have spent a bit more time describing the amazing surroundings.

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What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Book Genre Block - "Horror" creepy house
Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults

I could not ignore this book’s cover! I love how wonderfully it fits the story, I look at it now, after reading, and I just think it was matched so well.

This was a creepy, dark, atmospheric read, and it was so different than what I was expecting! The magical elements were darker and more sinister making this a great gothic story. I loved the characters and their backstories. As the plot wove its way through the pages, I was blown away by what was really going on. It was surprising, and something that I absolutely enjoyed!

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Battle of the Bullies by Fenyx Blue

Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4
Book Cover with girl on cover
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and light in the distance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bullying is a topic that needs to continue to be discussed, and I’m so happy to see these types of stories being written. This was an interesting mix of high school drama, bullying, and sisterly relationships.

The Dimes are this terrible group where each member tries to become the number 1 position in the group by bullying other students until they drop out of school. How awful! They are a horrible group that is easy to hate. When their sites are set on the Robertson sisters, they find it harder than anticipated.

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Secrets of the Starcrossed by Clara O’Connor

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I feel like this book was a bit of a mixed bag. I was interested, and I didn’t ever just stop reading this book, but I also kept going back to the synopsis trying to see what it was that I was looking forward to. That Panem callout in the synopsis kept me going. It did feel a little like Panem from the controlling aspect, but I don’t think that’s enough of a connection to use that city.

The world is like ours, but with changes to history. I was really confused in the beginning. They reference historical British royalty family bloodlines, but their histories are changed, so just know going in that any history you know won’t match with this version.

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Power Divided by S. Behr

Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love a good dystopian story, and this book had that plus great characters and a mix of magic that had e totally entranced!

The magical powers that these characters have were exciting, and I loved learning about them. It’s a magical system that was easy to understand, which I always appreciate! The story begins with an accidental use of powers, and it gripped me from the first line!

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