Halo: Battle Born

Quick family story before this review. Many years ago when my oldest child was thirteen he received the game Halo as a birthday present and I made him return it because- violence. I was on top of things and had parenting standards back then. Fast forward to our youngest child who at the age of two watched his older brothers play Halo. So much so that one of his first phrases was- nuclear bomb. So, I’m familiar with the Halo Universe.

Please note that I received a free advance ARC of this book through the Kid Lit Exchange without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.


Whether you’ve played any of the Halo games or not this YA Science Fiction novel is worth a read. If you have played the game, then this book contains all the details that you would expect. Everything from The Covenant to plasma guns, to health packs, even a young injured Spartan soldier.

Saskia, Dorian, Evie, and Victor live in a small colony in the middle of nowhere, and while they weren’t exactly best friends before their colony got attacked, they manage to work together to defend their families from the aliens. Each chapter is told from a different character's point of view, and the action is pretty much non stop,

This book is labeled YA, but I would put it a little lower into what I wish were a real category- YYA (Younger Young Adult) There aren’t a ton of books for 7th and 8th grade kids to enjoy. Most MG is too young and a lot of YA has mature topics that they may not even be interested in yet. There is a great thread on Twitter about this.

Halo: Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke

January 1, 2019

If You're Out There

Is Zan being “ghosted” by her best friend, Priya? That is the question that you as the reader will struggle with throughout this story, Priya moved out to California and seemed happy on Instagram but has close to zero contact with anyone that she used to know.

Zan’s parents think that Priya may be re-inventing herself. Zan finds that hard to believe and starts her investigation. This YA mystery kept me glued to my Kindle as I sped read through a rainy, windy afternoon.

As a bonus, you get a love story side plot and a realistic, honest portrayal of the adults in her life.

I’d hand this to kids in the 8th grade and up.

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

If You're Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser

March 5, 2019

ifyoure.jpg

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2)

ladys.jpg

The boys are back at the start of Felicity’s story and are as lovable as ever. Clearly, it’s still the 1700’s and part of what makes these I completely adored The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and was over the moon excited for this sequel. This review is nearly all me fangirling and a half reviewing.

Felicity is smart, sarcastic (a winning combo for me) and driven to become a medical doctor when that was just crazy talk. She doesn’t want to be a midwife or herbalist as is suggested to her, and she definitely doesn’t want to marry the baker who asked her. Felicity is asexual in the most normal outspoken way.

“And you don’t want anyone with you?” Sim asks, raising her head. “No family?”  “I want friends. Good friends, that make up a different kind of family.”  “That sounds lonely.”  “It wouldn’t be lonely,” I say. “I’d like to be on my own, but not alone.”  “That’s not the sort of lonely I meant.” “Oh.” I’m not sure why I’m blushing, but I feel it swell in my cheeks. “Well, that sort of aloneness doesn’t feel lonely to me.” 

But, what is it about you may be asking?

The story is of an active, diverse, scientific girl gang on a Pirate Ship!

So there is all that, plus at its heart, this is a “quest.” The girls head off from Germany to the depths of the Atlantic chasing a secret that has been guarded for generations.

Her dark eyes meet mine, and I look between her and Johanna. In the company of women like this—sharp-edged as raw diamonds but with soft hands and hearts, not strong in spite of anything but powerful because of everything—I feel invincible. Every chink and rut and battering wind has made us tough and brave and impossible to strike down. We are made of mountains—or perhaps temples, with foundations that could outlast time itself.

If you aren’t sold based on that passage, I’m not sure how else to convince you. If you have a teenager in your life, who enjoys historical fiction they need this book. Possibly you as the adult do too! 

The message of being your own self, unapologetically, shines throughout the plot. It's okay to love wearing makeup and pretty dresses. It's also okay to not like those things. It's okay if you like girls, boys or nobody at all. Our diversity is what makes as strong and I really loved that message.

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

October 2, 2018

The Good Demon

The prose in this novel was so descriptive that I not only read it one sitting, but I felt as if I were transported into the book. This is a classic horror story with a twist. The writing is evocative of either Neil Gaiman or Stephen King. Kind of YA homage to both I suppose. 

A demon has lived inside Clare since childhood. Once it's discovered a local preacher is called to get it out and the story begins with Clare just desperate to get her friend (the demon) back. For a long time, her demon was her only friend and had proved trustworthy and loyal. 

While reading, I had the same thoughts that you get watching a horror movie; I adore that anticipatory lump in my throat as you mentally prepare for a good jump scare. You know, how you start to suspect one thing and then something worse happens? That's this book- delightfully creepy.

Probably an unconventional pairing, but reading this with Good Omens, and maybe some C.S. Lewis would make for some fun discussions about how quickly we humans can be tricked into almost anything by the supernatural or other humans.

Recommending this for older kids who like horror as a genre. There is alcohol, sex and obviously some scary spiritual imagery. Nothing gratuitous but possibly nightmare provoking. (if you love scary books this is a plus)

I just one-clicked the author's previous book Goldeline, sight unseen. It's MG so I'll review it here too. I'm now a big fan,

Please note that I received a free advance E ARC of this book from Edelweiss+ without a review requirement or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that, I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

The Good Demon by Jimmy Cajoleas

September 18,  2018