Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh


I made the mistake of picking this up on a weekday night, and I definitely stayed up just a little too late finishing it. Whit a gripping storyline, strong characterization, and a unique setting, Ahdieh’s new series does not disappoint.

Set in feudal Japan, FitM follows the story of Mariko, the daughter of a daimyō lord and bride-to-be of the Prince. Along her way to the capital, her litter is attacked by who she suspects to be the Black Clan, a group of bandits who is rumored to support the old emperor’s claim to the throne. After evading capture, Mariko decides to infiltrate the Clan to reveal their motives in attacking her. Disguised as a boy, she befriends the Clan’s leader, Ranmaru, and their strange second in command, Ōkami. But Mariko’s ruse is faltering, as the lines between her enemies and her friends isn’t as clear-cut as she thought them to be. Meanwhile, her twin brother Kenshin, the famed Dragon of Kai, will stop at nothing to bring his sister back home. And strange stirrings hover around the emperor’s consort, who may have a hand in more events than we know.Read More »


Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu


Yes! So much girl power in this novel, it’s so inspiring to read about. The heroine is funny, smart, and strong. The book does fall to some high school stereotypes like the behavior of the boys football team that seems a tad unrealistic (I guess I can’t actually say, just because I’ve never experienced it doesn’t mean it’s not true), but I understand and totally support how it’s meant to highlight the theme of girls embracing each other for who they are. I especially liked how girls weren’t lumped into different cliques or labels, instead they were shown as someone more than their social circle; they were shown as human. Pretty easy to read and super empowering, Moxie is a book everyone should look at!

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang


This book deals with issues like depression, suicide, and other challenges teens in high school deal with. Zhang tells the story of Liz Emerson, the “it” girl of a small town and how her seemingly perfect life drove her to fatally crash her car. It shows that what we show on the surface is not what is actually beneath us.

Liz has always felt responsible for other people’s problems. And to some extent, she is. She’s the one who got her friend Julia addicted to drugs, kissed her friend Kennie’s boyfriend, and ruined people’s social lives. She’s filled with self-loathing for her actions, yet she can’t stop being the person she’s become. Add a cheating boyfriend, an absent mother, and a case of bulimia to the mix, and Liz has a problem: herself. So she decides to remove the problem, permanently. But things don’t go as planned, and she’s left to make a choice: to let go or to keep fighting.Read More »

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne


I did not expect this book to be as good as it was. I put off reading it, thinking it was just another typical YA fantasy, but the characters won my heart in the end. The plot, although not action-packed, made me want to keep reading, and the setting was fantastic.

Zivah and Dineas are both under the rule of the Amparan empire. Zivah’s people of Dara are peaceful, and acquiesce to the empire’s demands, but after Dara’s healers failed to cure the empire’s soldiers after an outbreak of the deadly rose plague, their village is put under the spotlight. Now rosemarked from contracting the plague, Zivah is unable to practice her art of healing that she has trained so hard for. Meanwhile, Dineas has just escaped from the Amparan prison and is reunited with his people, the Monyars. He wishes vengeance for the brutalities done on him, and a way to stop the Amparans from conquering his people. A chance encounter between Dineas and Zivah spawns a plan that could bring the empire to its knees, if the pair can play their cards right.Read More »

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden


Enchanting and bewitching, the Girl in the Tower does not disappoint. Arden transports readers back into the snow filled world of Rus’, this time into the heart of the capital with its snow-capped rooftops and burning wood stoves. With its vivid descriptions, enthralling plot, and beautiful prose, this book cements the series as one of my all-time favorites.

After the events of the first book, Vasya disguises herself as a boy and sets off from her village to become a traveler and to see the world. But Vasya soon finds that the world is a dangerous place. When she saves three girls from the Tar Tar barbarians, Vasya unintentionally catches the Princes’ eye, and is whisked off to the capital, where her siblings Sasha and Olga reside. Her reputation hangs by a thread, for if anyone discovers who she really is, the repercussions for her and her family would be dire. And strange events are happening behind the kremlin bound gates of the city, which may bring in a whole new enemy.Read More »

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


The Bear and this Nightingale blew me away. Be transported into the frigid Russian wilderness, where creatures of fairytales breathe and frost demons wander the woods. Gather around the warmth of the hearth, around the crackling flame, and hear the story of Vasilisa, the girl marked by the winter king.

The atmosphere and setting of this book was magical. The way Arden writes every word and strings them into sentences and build them into pages is enthralling. Her descriptions are vivid, and made the setting come to life. Set in a village on the edge of the woods, in a place where the snow almost never melts, the role of nature plays a key role in both the plot and the setting. Creatures like the domovi, which are the household spirits that protects the inhabitants, and the lake spirit added a mystical quality and dimension. Throughout the pages, I could see the glint of sunlight on frost, feel my breath mist the air, and look out to a landscape of white. A warm house with a roaring flame never felt so good. This book utterly immersed me into a whole new world that I was eager to be lost in.Read More »

Invictus by Ryan Graudin


This is not my favorite Graudin novel. I only picked this up because I LOVED Wolf by Wolf, but I didn’t enjoy Invictus. The setting wasn’t developed enough, I didn’t feel any attachment to the characters, and although the plot was ambitious, it was a tad overwhelming.

This book is set in the future when people have discovered time travel. Our lead Faraway shows promise to become a time traveller, but after failing his exams due to an unknown glitch, he becomes a smuggler of ancient relics for the black market. He and his crew are very successful, until they attempt a heist on the Titanic, where this mysterious girl named Eliot thwarts their plans. Eliot blackmails them into joining their crew, and despite their mistrust of her, it’s clear there’s something more going on, and only she has the answers.Read More »