Tag Archives: young adult

[Review] Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds

Book Title: Long Way Down (Standalone)
Author:     Jason Reynolds
Number of pages:  320

Synopsis:

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?

(re: Goodreads @ Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds)


Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– A fully formed story with 99% of the words removed, seriously.
– Claustrophobic and introspective realistic fiction with themes of gun violence, power, and family at the heart of it all
– Setting and characters may not be discretely described but they act as vessels to this cyclical story that can apply anywhere

Initial Thoughts

My first verse novel ayyyy.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Long Way Down from Simon and Schuster Canada and at Book Expo.


Continue reading [Review] Long Way Down – Jason Reynolds

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[Review] The Assassin’s Curse — Kevin Sands

Book Title: The Assassin's Curse (Blackthorn Key #03)
Author:     Kevin Sands
Number of pages:  384

Synopsis:

Wherever Christopher Rowe goes, adventure—and murder—follows. Even a chance to meet King Charles ends in a brush with an assassin.

All that’s recovered from the killer is a coded message with an ominous sign-off: more attempts are coming. So when Christopher’s code-breaking discovers the attack’s true target, he and his friends are ordered to Paris to investigate a centuries-old curse on the French throne. And when they learn an ancient treasure is promised to any assassin who succeeds, they realize the entire royal family is at stake—as well as their own lives.

(re: Goodreads @ The Assassin’s Curse by Kevin Sands)


Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– MG ‘The Da Vinci Code’ set in Paris in the 1600s
– Mystery and puzzles are based on wordplay and the nuances in language
– World building might take the assumption that readers know what each landmark looks like; might be a concern re: imagery
– Expands the lore of Benedict Blackthorn’s legacy
– Although 500+ pages (in the ARC), the dialogue reads very quickly and the story is well-paced

Initial Thoughts

Kevin Sand’s The Blackthorn Key series is a middle grade book that should be on everyone’s radar. Full stop.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of The Assassin’s Curse from Simon & Schuster Canada.


Continue reading [Review] The Assassin’s Curse — Kevin Sands

[Review] Lucky in Love – Kasie West

Book Title: Lucky in Love
Author:     Kasie West
Number of pages:  333

Synopsis:

Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

(re: Goodreads @ Lucky in Love by Kasie West)


Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr review:

– Protagonist (although means well) spends her winnings frivolously, lets people use her for cash, gets angry etc. – gotta be okay with the growth that comes with naivety
– Love interest is somehow unaware of the above
– The Vietnamese rep in this story is basically non-existent (if not for the cover, I would have imagined him as a white boy. full stop.)
– Good inclusion of the importance of familial and academic dynamics in this story
– The dialogue is fluffy af

Initial Thoughts

For your reference: this is not my first Kasie West book but I gave this one a shot because of the male Viet-Am experience I wanted to read about.

I know what you’re thinking “why do you read books you know you’ll dislike, Joey?” Read on to see why.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of Lucky in Love at Book Expo.


Continue reading [Review] Lucky in Love – Kasie West