At Midnight: 15 Beloved Fairy Tales Reimagined by Dahlia Adler
★★★★ "At Midnight is quite an interesting book that leaves the reader wanting to know more. The book comprises multiple spinoffs of different original fairy tales. Each spinoff is interesting because even if the reader doesn't recognize the original tale they are able to enjoy the story for what it is because all of the authors have done a great job of exfoliating each story to its true potential. A new chapter in the book marks the beginning of a new story leaving the reader with fresh content throughout the book. The stories have a minor mystery/thriller aspect to them which is much appreciated because they stay true to the dark themes of the original stories. At Midnight is a great read, especially for those who do know the original story because they gain a new appreciation for the originals viewed in a contemporary light. Lastly, At Midnight does a good job of being ordered in a way that stories with similar themes were not adjacent to each other, creating a refreshing experience for the reader due to the change in tone of the text they are reading. I enjoyed the book because even though I did not recognize the original plot buried in the spinoff I was able to read the story and look at the back of the book and find the original story to cross-examine and gain a better appreciation. One aspect of the book that I disliked about the book was the individual tales were not as long as I wanted them to be because they were all about 20 pages. This really shows that each individual author did a good job in hooking me into their story which I believe will be the case for the many that will read this book."
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
★★★★★ “Red Queen takes place in a world where there are people with silver and red blood. Those with silver blood have powers and rule over the “lowly” reds. Mare, a girl with red blood, is a thief and a pickpocket who is counting down the days until she gets drafted into the war. But when her best friend gets drafted, Mare gambles everything (including her life) to free him. Swept into the world of silvers and royalty, Mare tries to make sense of who she really is. I loved this book because it was the most interesting concept I’ve ever read. The characters were complex and the world of the silvers was well thought out.”
The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad
★★★★ "This book is about a girl who is a survivor of abuse who escaped and became a magical being by the help of a box a mysterious boy gave her. She then starts using her powers to collect other girls who have troubled pasts. They call themselves the wild ones. But when dangerous magical forces try to destroy that mysterious boy, the wild ones do everything in their power to save him. I enjoyed the book very much. It was very empowering. Though it was mainly based on themes of female empowerment, it did not leave out other men/males. While it was very emotional and unsettling at times, these parts were only the necessary ones to understand the story. The author instead focused on the characters overcoming these issues. Also the details of world culture and food were, in my opinion, better than any travel vlog."
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
★★★★ "This book is set in an alternate version of America filled with the supernatural creatures and magic. The main character Ellie is indigenous and comes from a Lipan Apache family. She also possesses the ability to raise the ghosts of dead animals. When her cousin is murdered, she becomes determined to figure out what truly happened to him. Upon her quest she begins to unravel secrets of her town. I loved how important family was emphasized in this book. The book moved at a steady pace but was rich with magic and culture."
Soulswift by Megan Bannen
★★★★★ “Gelya, the main character, is a religious vessel for the Ovinist God. Because of this, she has lived her life in a convent praying and translating texts. However, there are others who believe that the figure Elath is a goddess, instead of the demon that Gelya and the rest of the Ovinists believe. When Elath is released during a deadly conflict, Gelya accidently becomes a human vessel for her too. With her own religion against her, Gelya teams up with the young soldier Tarvin to try to free Elath from her body. I liked this book! While the plot was a bit hard to understand at first, I quickly figured it out. I also really liked the ending, I felt as though it matched and gave justice to what the story was leading up to.”
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
★★★★★ "Away from high society, a small gang of teens makes its way to the top of the hierarchy. A job is offered to them, one they can't resist, and they travel to a frozen land to pursue it. They find creative solutions to their problems and personal secrets are revealed on the way. The book ends on a cliffhanger, leaving you want to pick up the sequel immediately. These characters appear in the Netflix series Shadow and Bone. I liked how the author elaborates on the relationship of the characters and builds a world very similar to eastern europe. I would recommend this series over the actual Shadow and Bone series, the characters are much better developed and SOC doesn't read as coming from a brand new author."
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
★★★★★ “A group of 6 young people from the wrong side of town team up to comit the biggest heist ever. This high stake, fun, adventure is shown from multiple perspectives. Each character has a unique set of skills to pull of their mission. The heist is to break into the unbreakable city. With this we see the genius plans created by their leader, Kaz. And the book sees if these troubled kids can get their gold. I loved this book because of the incredible writing and the characters. All the characters are so unique and personable which is so fun to read. This book is also high stakes along with everyone being morally gray. It’s a definite reread.”
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
★★★★ “This world revolves around the story of Cinderella who died 200 years ago. Every girl at the age of 16, 17, and 18 is forced to attend a ball when single men bid on them to find a wife. If the girls aren’t chosen within 3 years, they or forfeit. Sophia is about to attend her 1st ball, but feels like the world she lives in is too structured and is ready for rebellion. She fights for LBGTQ+ representation and her rights as a woman. Be prepared to leave the childhood story you thought you knew behind as you explore a world where not all fairy tales have a happy ending. I thought the LGBTQ+ representation was displayed really well as well as the fight for women's rights. The world was crafted extremely well as well as the main changes to the princess story. However, I felt the characters were a bit underdeveloped.”
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
★★★ "Bri is a girl with a magical power, she can control plants. One day, she gets an unexpected cal that her one of her biologial family members passed away and left her an estate in upperstate New York. Her mothers agree to go there for the smmer and decide what they should do with the newly aquired property. After her arrival there, Bri finds a secret garden that holds the secret to her biological family's past. Nothing is as it seems, what is her family's true past? Read to find out. I did enjoy this book. I think that there were many interesting conponents. Some parts had weird pacing, but overall the bookwas exciting and a good read."
Forestborn by Elayne Audrey Becker
★★★★★ "Rora is a shapeshifter who works as a spy for the king. But when Prince Finley, her best friend, falls under a mysterious illness, Rora journeys into the magical wilderness to retrieve the cure. The only cure for the illness is stardust, one of the rarest elements. And as a shapeshifter, Rora faces many dangers in the foreign lands. Alongside her brother and Prince Finley’s brother, Rora must face the magical woods while escaping those who want them dead in order to save her friend. I loved all the elements to the magical forest and all the challenges the group faced as they traveled through it. The relationships were well-written and the romance was gradual but beautiful as the story went on. I can’t wait for the sequel."
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
★★ “On the island called Fennbirn, a set of triplets are born every generation. These triplets are all heirs to the throne and possess magic. Mirabella can control the elements. Arsinoe is a naturalist with Earth powers and Katharine is a poisoner. When the triplets turn sixteen, they have to fight to the death for the crown. While I liked the concept, I did not enjoy the book because I found it to be very slow moving. In addition, they seemed to focus on romance more than the actual story.”
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
★★★★ "Fourteen-year-old Sydelle is a weaver in her village who dreams of adventure. When a wizard named Wayland appears seeking her help, she agrees. Wayland carries a secret that could end a war. However, he needs to reach the capital in time and have someone to mend his magical cloak. Sydelle and Wayland rush to deliver the message and avoid the challenges they face along the way. I loved the images of the characters and thought the illustrator did a good job capturing the scenes. The plot and magical elements were very fun and easy to follow along."
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
★★★ “This book is about a competition called the Agon. In the Agon, Greek Gods have to walk on Earth as mortals and are hunted by descendants of ancient Greek bloodlines. It is set in modern-day urban America. The story revolves around a teenage girl named Lore who is a descendant of an ancient bloodline but has fled that life until Castor, her childhood friend, now a god, comes back. I think the use of Greek myths made this an interesting book. But it can get confusing to someone who doesn’t know about Greek Gods. The plot seemed a little slow paced in the middle of the book. It is a good book for someone who enjoys Greek Mythology.”
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
★★★★ “In this book, we follow two perspectives. Karina, the princess of Ziran and Malik, a commoner who is trying to get into the country illegally. But when Malik’s sister is taken and Karina’s mother dies, they both are out to kill. Karina, for the winner of the Solistia competition, and Malik for Karina herself. And when Malik gets chosen to enter the competition, they run into each other and feelings start to bloom, despite their missions to kill each other. I really enjoyed many aspects of this book. The magic system was very easy to follow and was very unique and the ending had me wanting the next one right away. However, some of the plot twists were predictable and I felt like the romance was a slightly smaller aspect to what the book described.”
Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli
★★★★ "Nineteen year-old Emeline Lark is a musician who constantly hears the call of the forest of Edgewood. When her grandfather goes missing, she finds herself returning to the forest in search of him. She discovers that he’s been captured by the Wood King as a tithe. Desperate to save her grandpa, she makes a deal to give her voice in exchange for her grandpa’s freedom. With the help of members of the Wood King’s court, Emeline embarks on a journey to prove that her voice is worthy of the king and learn more about her mysterious past. The exquisite writing made for an intricate and romantic setting. The plot was simple enough to follow, if not a bit trope-y, but the details made the book entirely unique. For me the relationships between characters could have been a bit more developed, and the main character was very melancholy throughout a majority of the book. The romance was slow-burning and exciting to read, and I enjoyed the plot twists near the end."
Arrow by Samantha M Clark
★★★★ "This book tells the story of a young boy, Arrow, who is the only human living in a magical rainforest. The forest has been protected by a magical barrier for years, but now the magic is failing, the forest is dying, and other people begin to find it. These people want to exploit the forest for its resources and endanger its well being. Arrow must use his knowledge of the forest to save it from them and protect his home. This book was interesting and engaging, and I enjoyed it. It is a good story and it has a positive message for the readers."
The Adventurers Guild by Zack Loran Clark
★★★★★ “In a world ravaged by monsters, best friends, Zed and Brock, have big plans for the future. While Zed wants to be a part of the Mages Guild, Brock wants to be a part of the Merchants Guild. Unfortunately, both find themselves members of the Adventurers Guild, a guild that accepts dangerous quests outside the safety Freestone (their city). When Zed and Brock uncover something that puts Freestone in danger, they join their new allies at the Adventurers Guild to prevent it. The book was very entertaining. It was funny, witty, and full of action. This is a great beginning to the series the authors are planning to make.”
Reclaim the Stars by Zoraida Cordova
★★★ "This book is a collection of short stories written by Latin American authors and based on Latin American culture and superstition. Each story creates an entirely unique, captivating fictional world involving spaceships, galaxies, magic, and other realms of existence. The tales explore a wide variety of themes, from love to rivalry to the reality of death. Connecting to concepts such as the Day of the Dead and mythological creatures, each story contains engrossing, educational aspects of Latin American folklore. No matter your interests, you are bound to be enthralled by the fascinating worlds created within the pages of this book and find a story that you fall in love with. I really enjoyed the fantasy and futuristic elements of the book. Reading this is an experience similar to returning to childhood, exploring fantasy, space travel, magic, and monsters. A few are confusing and seem hastily-written, but many are well-written, deep and symbolic."
The Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwell
★★★★★ “In this quest retelling of Snow White and Rose Red, two sisters, Ivory and Rosie, are twins, though their minds are anything but the same. When their and their mother’s circus catches on fire and members of their crew begin to disappear, they panic. They try to save their mother and circus. They explore themes of revolution, gender, identity, love, and found family. I absolutely ADORED this book! It was so so quick and easy to read while also just being so incredibly wholesome at the same time. The plot was so well done and the writing, both in verse and not, was beautiful.”
Broken Wish by Julie C. Dao
★★★★ “The book has a beautiful story line and loveable characters. Elva has an inspiring passion to help others, making a great moral to the story. All the characters are lovable. It also makes fairytales seem real in her hometown and shows the good side in magic. Also sets the example to be kind to everyone. I liked the book because the way Dao goes into detail helps bring the visions to life, especially environments. I also loved all the characters and the sense of female empowerment yet not too overpowering.”
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
★★★★★ “The Good Luck Girls have to set out on a journey after an accidental murder. Followed by horrendous things like raveners, rengeants, and the law, the girls face many challenges. The only hope they have at freedom is a bedtime story/ myth. The escape journey is dangerous, and the girls risk their lives to free themselves. This book is full of adventure and suspense! I LOVED this book! It was always very suspenseful and hard to put down. I felt very emotionally attached to the characters, and I found myself silently rooting for them the entire time.”
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
★★★★ "When Rue’s mom is shot dead on her doorstep, Rue is taken from her normal life and away from her surviving sister. Her father takes her to the magical island of Ghizon, where rulers protect their magic and thrive on human suffering. Homesick, Rue breaks the rules and flees the island, returning home to see her sister. However, she finds that the black kids are trapped in violence, and that her sister could become victim to the very forces that killed her mother. Rue must use her powers to save her neighborhood before evil forces take away all that she loves. I loved how the author merged fantasy and real world issues. The action was fast-paced and there were so many cool concepts that made the book so interesting to read."
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
★★★ “The cursed forest of Arz is an eerie and mysterious place only one person can seem to enter and leave unharmed. Zafina, a huntress who disguises herself as a man, entering the forest each day in order to collect food to help feed her people. The books mysterious forest and intricate past is woven into the story guided by Zafina and Nasir, the prince of death. The story switches between their perspectives amidst an adventure to find a mysterious artifact that wields a lot of power. The fight for power and change begins. I didn’t really enjoy the book, but I found the setting and unraveled mystery kept me reading. I never really got connected to any of the characters at all. There were some moments, but they didn’t stick. However, the descriptions setting were wonderful and I was always left curious about the past of the world and what happened.”
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody
★★★★★ "In the city of Ilvernath, seven different families live under a curse. Every generation each family must pick one member to compete in a battle to the death. The winner is granted a large supply in magick. The story follows four different people: Isobel, Gavin, Briony, and Alistar. Marketed for fans of The Hunger Games, the story follows the seven families’ fight to survive. Much of the beginning was dedicated to setting up the relationships between the seven families, but once the action started, so much happened. Full of adventure, romance, and betrayal, I would recommend this book for fans of The Hunger Games and Red Queen."
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
★★★★ “Two sisters leave their island to go to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Caraval. They go with a young sailor who just arrived to the island and the sisters end up separated from each other. The sisters have to play the game to find each other and escape from their father. They have to figure out what is real and what is just a game. In the end it will take a “leap of faith” to win the game. I really enjoyed the book due to the fantasy elements. The world felt very fleshed out and the magic system worked really well. I did think the book was a little predictable at times but overall a good read.”