“I’m Not A Stalker” found quick fame on Wattpad and I can see why: a quick story told through a series of emails and texts about what happens when a girl accidentally hits “reply all” and finds herself in the center of a torrent of gossip and (not so) secret admirers? Telling the whole story of Anissa, the main character, trying to figure out who the secret admirer is while dodging nosy classmates and a kind of douche ex-boyfriend through emails and texts works great in a blog / serial format, where the story is more of a guilty-pleasure popcorn munching tale. But when you put all of that in a traditional book format, the charm of it being such a unique format ran out rather quickly, at least for me. Plus, with the title, part of me was hoping for a little of a psycho-thriller aspect to it. I’ve hit “reply all” on important emails before, and the fear and anxiety that comes with that is nothing to laugh at! But none of that is in this story so… don’t worry?
“Soul In Ashes” was originally created as four short novellas, but what I read was the first four “seasons”, and I must say, it’s much better to read these stories together instead of as short one off episodes. But, given the structure of how this book was crafted from these stories all revolving around one character and her struggles with an evil magic and vengeful / ignorant populace, it makes it an instant page turner. The reader follows along as Alswyn attempts to rebuild her life. Crippled after renouncing her evil ash magic and exiled by her people, she seeks sanctuary with a group of peaceful healers who have forsaken all violence. Only in their protective embrace can Alswyn heal, but there are bigger forces at play, forces that draw Alswyn back to the magic she has forsaken, the people who abandoned her, and the king of the rival country she grew up hating. It’s a compelling story, one that doesn’t start out with the goal of saving the world, but instead healing one princess, but that one good deed sets up a fun adventure all the way through each episode.
“Six of Crows” is a story you’ve heard before—a group of thieves on a high stakes heist in order to win an insane amount of money and do, well, whatever they want with the winnings? Yeah, it’s pretty much every Ocean’s 11 and Mission Impossible movie/book you’ve ever read with a sprinkling of magic because this is a YA fantasy, after all. But. This. Is. So. Good! And why is a plotline that’s, let’s face it, not unique so good? Character’s people, it’s all about the characters. Honestly, this review is going to suck for two reasons: 1. I’m going to avoid spoilers at all costs so you will read this book, so this review will be rather vague and 2. There’s not much I can say beyond praise and that gets tiresome after a while. Side note: how sad is it that people have more fun reading the gripes even in highly rated books or movies? Anyway, read this book.
“War World” is one of those books that’s hard to define. It starts off as a science fiction, with secretive science/tech facilities run by the world’s top men and women finding cures to cancer and studying deep space. Then it switches modes and the science begins to evaporate real fast and turns into pure fantasy. THAT’S WHEN THINGS GET WEIRD. I know, you kind of expect weird just reading the synopsis—gnome assassins, wizards, and wormholes, oh my! But these top scientists need their high school children to come and rescue them when their expedition to a galaxy far, far away goes awry? Hmm… But honestly, that’s kind of fun so I’ll ship it. While Spence does a good job of blending science fiction with Terry Brooks levels of fantasy, that’s not the same for his main characters…
Growing up, I loved hearing stories and reading books about dragons. I love good dragons (like those in the Dragonriders of Pern series) and I love greedy evil dragons, (think Smaug). So obviously I enjoyed that this book has both kinds of dragons inhabiting a fantasy world under siege in need of a prophesized one to come in and save the day. This book follows the same formula you find in most adventure/fantasy novels, where a young person (who is living their normal boring life, ignorant of magic or anything fantastic) is met by a person from another realm, begging for help. Saying, essentially, “help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” That’s pretty much what you get with this book, but with more flavors of Snow White then Star Wars (sorry?).
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