Tag Archive: young-adult



Relatively Normal Secrets (The Falinnheim Chronicles, #1)Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Want a little reprieve from the heavier material you’ve been reading lately? This is the book. It is so much fun and a quick read. After all, it is a chapter book for middle grades. But I don’t quite know how to intrigue you without giving spoilers. Here is the blurb, even it has spoilers I wouldn’t have included.

“Tuesday and Zed Furst are perfectly normal children with perfectly strange parents. Their father won’t discuss his job, their mother never leaves the house without her guard dog, and the topic of the family tree is off limits.

When a last minute “business trip” gets the adults out of the way, Zed and Tuesday decide to get to the bottom of things once and for all. Too bad some thugs with shape-shifting weapons have other ideas. Their escape leaves them trapped in the modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim, where everyone insists their father is a disgraced fugitive. They hope whoever is leaving them coded clues may have some answers, but they’re not sure they’re going to like what they learn.

If they ever want to see their parents again, they’ll need the help of a smuggler with a broken compass, their unusually talented dog, some extremely organized bandits, and a selection of suspiciously misquoted nursery rhymes.

Zed and Tuesday may not have all the answers, but one thing is certain: when it comes to normal, everything is relative.”

Add to the adventure the great narration by Ivy Tara Blair in this Audible version, and you will be in a place of pure enjoyment.

I don’t remember how I heard about these books, but I am already reading the second. I love the characters and how they go about solving the mysteries around them.

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Improbable Magic for Cynical WitchesImprobable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know who recommended this, but it was an insightful read. Kate uses Tarot Major Arcana to tell a piece of a teen’s confusing life. I love how we learn the cards as a story unto themselves and how it applies to Elenor’s past.

Kate Sclesa is a young adult novel, and the romances cause angst. But I loved climbing into Elenor’s thoughts and seeing how she caused her worries to grow.

Stacey Glemboski (Narrator) brought this Audible version alive with her voice acting.

Quite an enjoyable and inspiring read.

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The Novice (Summoner, #1)The Novice by Taran Matharu
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was not my cup of tea. One of my best friends loved it, so don’t take this review to heart.

If you loved Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, etc. This book is for you. Those and this are too male-heavy and too similar that I just got bored. I never got into the main character. I never felt anything about him was worth my time.

But, please don’t take my word for it. It was a quick read that I borrowed from the Libby library app. The text-to-speech was enabled for those who like to listen to books as they do other things like artwork with their hands. So it was painless. Still, when it got to the preview of the next book, I didn’t care if the MC was alive or dead. I was ready to move on to a series more to my liking.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another reread. I needed something while waiting for my next Outlander read. I figured with all the stress of my cataract surgery, I needed something in the fantasy realm.

I did enjoy the book, but I kept remembering the ending and hated reliving it. I don’t think I would have been a good candidate to read this as a kid.

Besides the ending, I had a hard time with this whole series is the lack of good fleshed-out female characters. Hermoine was okay, but there weren’t enough good girls or women. It was very male-heavy.

I may be reading the next one and making it to the series’ end, but it will not be soon.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of the series. I noticed I haven’t changed my star rating. I’m still only giving it three stars. Jim Dale is part of the reason for this rating. His voice is suitable for all the males in the book but is horrid with the females. I do feel the grumpiness of Professor Minerva McGonagall and the hyper-energy of Hermoine. But for the most part, Mister Dale’s females sound demeaning and whiny.

But things I love about the book are the basilisk and the phoenix. These are two very fantastic beasts. Oh, and I love the idea of a diary that talks to you from someone else. I don’t like the Tom Riddle part or Voldemort parts, but I suppose we need the bad guy. I did like getting to know Tom’s back story.

When I read the tome about a decade ago, I thought it was a slower slog. This book was over quickly. And for these stressful days having something I know and enjoy, helps the sleep come faster at night.

I’ve already started book three. And I remember how each book gets darker. Maybe by the end, I won’t use these as bedtime books.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I bought and read the hardback over ten years ago. Somehow my collection went away. Did I sell it before moving? I can’t remember. But I remember enjoying the story and the movies. But one thing I hated about the whole enterprise was how male-heavy it was. With it written by a woman, you would think that she could have brought it around to a female point of view instead of making fun of the most brilliant girl in the room and making McGonagle mean.

I listened to this Audible version because I needed a light read for bedtime. I’ve been reading some pretty heavy non-fiction during the day that I knew I couldn’t read before bed.

The narrator, Jim Dale, did a reasonably decent job of most of the voices. But he was not good at the female voices. As seems to be the case, males doing female voices always sound like they are making fun of the females.

All in all, though, it did make going to sleep easier. I knew where the story was going, so it soothed me to sleep.

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Ashes in the Snow (Movie Tie-In)Ashes in the Snow by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though gruesome in content, this was a beautiful book. I love how the author portrayed the main characters and historical content. I must admit to not knowing this part of history at all. This story gave me a better understanding of what happened.

Emily Klein narrated the story flawlessly. She varied the voices enough I knew who was who.

This story is a movie. I plan to watch it soon. Meanwhile, I won’t soon forget this family’s struggle, and no doubt thousands of others went through it. And the messages of what could happen to people when life gets to the point where neighbors are not trusting neighbors. When bigotry gets power, it isn’t good for anyone. And when love is involved, you see that life can be a bit better even in the worst situations.

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Fortune FallsFortune Falls by Jenny Goebel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fun book! Though aimed at middle grades to young adults, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My friend and her granddaughter were co-reading this. They shared on a Zoom friends-meet how much they were enjoying it. I started looking around to see if it was on Libby. I couldn’t afford to buy it right now. Thankfully my friend gifted the Kindle version to me. Yay! And thank you!

Imagine a town where superstitions come true. Sadie lived there and was considered unlucky. What an adventure she takes us on while making us question those beliefs!

If you want to take a break from the adult reads, this will fit the bill. I am amazed at the vocabulary and writing. I believe young me or my kids would have enjoyed this even more than I did, which seems an impossible bar to reach!

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The Butchers (Breeders #6)The Butchers by Katie French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are many different reviews on this book, low stars and high. I’m giving it five stars as I still care for the characters and the situation enough to make it through the whole series. And I look forward to the new book in a takeaway series in the future but in the same place.

What I hate has nothing to do with this book, except the way books have to be labeled. Yes, it is nice to have a guideline of readability levels. But maybe we need something that says, this is gory and has a lot of killing and blood. There is a romantic element but no sex. There are gender issues addressed in the way of this series’ settings.

But here’s my thing: Why do young adult books have to have young adults? I remember being a young adult and loving science fiction. The more, the better. Those characters were men, not anyone that looked like me. Still, I consumed them. Am I happier to see books that reflect every age of me now? Absolutely! I’m not ever depicted in exciting books, adventures, etc. Auntie is the closest to me. I think all of us need a variety of types of characters to get to know. What we relate to are the places, flaws, ability to rise above, etc. 71 year-olds are people who need all that, too!

The reading level is easily accessible by middle grades though a parent or teacher may want to talk to the child about it. Certainly, children these days watch shows on the media that contain all that is here. And for many, the survival of our characters teaches how one might be to be out in the New Mexico desert with bad guys everywhere out to kill you.

But barring all those elements, this story pulls me in. From the very beginning, The Breeders. I do agree that it is hard to differentiate between characters. Even having the title of the chapter as the heads up for the viewpoint, the character Sounds the same until he/she bring up individualized things. I’m not sure how to fix that confusion that happens if you are reading by listening only to text-to-speech. But I somehow got used to it and felt the new chapter beginning.

All-in-all, I loved these books enough to overcome the issues presented. I’m looking forward to reading more by Katie French.

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Girl Love Happens - G&T Lesbian Romance Season TwoGirl Love Happens – G&T Lesbian Romance Season Two by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not too fond of angsty romance, regardless of gender. But most romances are with young people who have little experience or self-esteem to bring to the table. Somehow most of us grow up going through it. It wasn’t fun then, and it is sometimes excruciating to read about. I think I am alone in this thought pattern as romances of all kinds seem to flourish in books and movies. It is just the mechanism of two people learning to live with each other. That part I find interesting. Not the does she, does he love me. But how can I make their life better?

Add in new friends and their traumas or dramas, and the angst grows exponentially. And in this book, two lots of problems start growing. Luckily, I have grown to love the characters and watching their growth. I love hearing the thoughts of what I can do to help them through this from multiple levels.

This was the hardest book of the series for me. But this middle book can’t be skimmed through. In book three, the characters need to learn their lessons and move on to a more adult way of life. Yes, I am already halfway through that book. I am proud that they struggled and matured in book two to set up an even better next book.

I love best how the secondary character calms and reasons with our main character and was a voice of reason for what readers may be going through themselves. She gives such excellent advice and yet helps the love stay in front of all the relationships a person deals with, parents, grandparents, family friends, etc. This book points out how no one is an island. You have to include who raised you and who you’ve become and portray that to others. I don’t know many books that include that kind of wisdom.

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