If I had to review These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy in one sentence, it would be simple: I LOVED IT. ❤️
This novel was probably one of my all-time favorite YA fantasy books! I actually read it almost an entire year ago, and I can still remember it with such clarity because it was just so good. I simply cannot wait to read its sequel, This Cursed Crown. And with This Cursed Crown having been just published, I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit my thoughts about this fantastical novel!
In These Feathered Flames, the Russian folktale The Firebird is reimagined for a modern YA audience. In the world of Tourin, there are twin heirs. One, Izaveta, was designed to rule as the future queen, and her sister, Asya, was fated to become the next Firebird, a magical being who ensures that magical costs are always repaid. When their mother, the reigning queen, dies unexpectedly, both sisters are thrust into their new positions much sooner than anticipated and have to deal with the consequences these responsibilities entail.
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Katie Zhao pitches How We Fall Apart as: “an Asian American high school student is found murdered, and her high-achieving friends become the prime suspects.” And with a premise like that, who wouldn’t be intrigued? As a fan of dark academia, YA mystery/thrillers, and a long-time lover of trashy teen shows like Gossip Girl, I definitely had high hopes for How We Fall Apart!
Unfortunately, this novel did not live up to the expectations I had built up in my mind; which isn’t to say that this book wasn’t enjoyable, because it most certainly was! But it read a little immature for my tastes. While the topics touched on were more mature, I felt the writing style and the way things were glossed over or only hinted at made it feel more juvenile to me.
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If you’re a fan of Carrie, then have I got a new book recommendation for you! Based on Carrie and a very real news article that reported on a small town in the states that continued to hold segregated proms into the 2010s, The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson brings the classic paranormal horror story into the 21st century with a fresh take that introduces some relevant themes including racism, poverty, and social media to the well-known tale.
I have to admit, this book was a little different than I anticipated. It followed Carrie a lot closer than I expected going into it. I don’t know why, because from the get-go, between the synopsis and the cover art, I should have assumed as much. 🤷🏻♀️ Unfortunately, for me anyways, this was a bit of a drawback from the novel, because I was hoping for more “novelty” I guess (see what I did there? 😉).
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First of all, thank you so much for letting me interview you! I’ve been a fan of your work since I was 13 years old and picked up Honey, Baby, Sweetheart for the first time (quickly followed by the rest of your catalog). What is your biggest motivator for writing books for teens?
Ahhh! Thank you so much for connecting to my books over the years. Hearing from readers who’ve grown up with me just seriously fills my heart. Being part of your lives like this, being able to (maybe, just maybe!) be a guide or an outreached hand through my work, are my biggest motivators. I’ve always wanted to give my readers what books have given me – understanding, refuge, and a sense of being seen. I think younger readers particularly need this.
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Within These Wicked Walls tells the story of Andromeda, a young woman who goes by Andi. When the story begins, she is hoping that exorcising the Evil Eye for her wealthy and eccentric client, Magnus Rochester, will get her the recognition she requires to continue her work as a proper debtera; since her mentor threw her out before she could earn her license.
But cleansing the Evil Eye is a much bigger undertaking than Andi first anticipated. (So much so that many debtera have tried – and failed – before her.) And her growing feelings for the young heir complicate matters further. It will take all of Andi’s training – and maybe a little help from others – to accomplish this life-threatening task.
Continue reading “Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood: ARC Book Review”