The Remedy by Suzanne Young

FinalBookCover_hiresMost recent dystopian novels occur in a future so distant it is almost unrecognizable. That’s not the case with Suzanne Young’s latest novel, The Remedy. This novel is a prequel to The Program and The Treatment and is set in a world that could be just months in our own future.

Quinlan McKee is seventeen years old, and she works as a closer – someone who is hired to provide closure for grieving families by impersonating their loved one who has passed away. Continue reading “The Remedy by Suzanne Young”


The Lodger by Louisa Treger

lodgerIt takes a lot of courage to base a novel on a true story. While creating a work of fiction gives an author a degree of creative license, the writer also holds a certain degree of responsibility to tell the story of a person or event without deviating too much from the facts.

Louisa Treger has proven herself more than a match for these challenges in her debut novel, The Lodger. In her novel, Treger explores the story of Dorothy Richardson, author of the autobiographical 13-book series Pilgrimage and contemporary of authors including Virginia Woolf. As a young woman in London at the turn of the century, Dorothy’s life is full of hardships modern readers can instantly relate to. Continue reading “The Lodger by Louisa Treger”

The Fallen by Charlie Higson

Zombie lovers everywhere should be cheering – or, um, groaning? – for Charlie Higson’s YA horror series The Enemy. The fifth and latest installment in the series, The Fallen, hit shelves in the U.S. on June 10. Zombie fans won’t want to miss the latest and greatest addition to this scary series.

The events of The Fallen pick up where the first book in the series, The Enemy, ended. A year after the world has been infected with a mysterious disease that turns everyone over the age of 16 into flesh-hungry zombies, the Holloway gang – Blue, Maxie and all their friends – are headed for London’s Natural History Museum. When they get there, they find the kids who had taken refuge at the museum are under siege by the infected grownups. After helping battle the bloodthirsty adults, the “geeks” from the museum tell the gang that they are working on a cure, and a nearby pharmaceutical warehouse might have just what they need to end the disease. A harrowing trip and some haunting discoveries follow setting up for some pretty big bombshells in the upcoming final two books of the series.

Most horror novels are aimed at adults, so it was refreshing to read one specifically meant for younger readers. Continue reading “The Fallen by Charlie Higson”

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Jennifer Donnelly has been one of my favorite authors for a very long time. I was beyond excited when I was presented with the opportunity to review her upcoming YA novel, Deep Blue. Not only is it a magical and action-packed story brimming with Donnelly’s characteristic wit and voice, it is also about mermaids. Really, you can’t lose.

Deep Blue is the story of Serafina, the principessa of Miromara. On the day of her Dokimi (the ceremony where she proves her lineage, demonstrates her ability to rule and exchanges betrothal vows with her future husband), she dreams of a prophecy is made predicting a nightmarish future unless Sera can find five others who can help save the merfolk.

I personally haven’t encountered many mermaid books, so this was a really interesting concept to me. Donnelly does a great job of incorporating the history of the mer people and introducing their culture, politics and lifestyle. Continue reading “Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly”

Defy by Sara B. Larson

It’s pretty early in the year, but I can confidently say that I’ll have a hard time finding a new release in the upcoming months that I enjoy as much as I enjoyed Defy by Sara B. Larson. Defy is Larson’s debut novel, and it’s an incredible story full of wit, magic and romance. When evil sorcerers destroy her village and kill her parents, Alexa Hollen must pretend to be a boy to avoid a life in the breeding houses – brothels where underprivileged girls are forced to get pregnant for the sole purpose of expanding the king’s army. Years later, she is the best fighter in Prince Damian’s personal guard. She has guarded the secret of her true identity, but after she, the prince and one of her fellow guards are kidnapped, she learns some people know the truth about her. After years of suppressing any type of romantic feelings for fear of being discovered, Alex suddenly finds herself in the middle of an unexpected love triangle. She must learn how to navigate the world of romance while doing everything in her power to save her country from evil.

Alex is one of my favorite female characters of all time. She is extremely strong, both physically and emotionally. She lives her whole life with the burden of a gigantic secret that could get her killed, but she’s still a friendly and entertaining person. While she struggles to admit when she’s wrong and ask for help when she needs it, she knows what her weaknesses are and isn’t afraid to address them. Basically, she’s the type of girl we all want to become.

The romantic subplots in Defy are extraordinarily well done, and it’s especially great because Alex all of a sudden has to deal with two suitors after a lifetime of thinking she’d never be able to be openly in love with anyone because everyone thought she was a man. Continue reading “Defy by Sara B. Larson”

Safe With Me by Amy Hatvany

If you’re looking for a book that will pull you in, make you fall in love, break your heart and somehow still leave you full of hope, look no further than Safe With Me, the latest release from Amy Hatvany. This gripping and gut-wrenchingly emotional story follows the lives of three women who don’t know that they share an amazing connection. Hannah is the co-owner of a popular Seattle hair salon and the single mother of 12-year-old Emily. When Emily is hit by a car while riding her bike, Hannah has to make the difficult decision to donate her daughter’s organs to save the lives of other children.

Olivia was on the verge of leaving her abusive husband when their daughter, Maddie, was diagnosed with type 2 autoimmune hepatitis. Eight years later, Maddie has received a liver transplant and her health is greatly improving, but Olivia is struggling to figure out what the next step should be for their family.

15-year-old Maddie hasn’t had many opportunities to interact with other kids her age since she was diagnosed with her disease. Now that she is recovering, she must learn how to survive high school while also coming to terms with her transplant and her chronically-tense family life.

Their stories are told in chapters alternating between the perspectives of the three different women. Because of this, readers get an inside look at the challenges each character is facing. As their lives intertwine, we get to see relationships develop from all sides and see the lasting impact each woman has on the others.

I could not put this book down. From page one, Hatvany grabs your attention and doesn’t let it go until the final sentence has ended. I was instantly swept up in the lives of Hannah, Olivia and Maddie. They are fantastically created characters, and the situations they face are so well written they felt real. It was hard not to imagine them as people I really know, because they all had qualities of women I’m close to.

No book has ever made me cry as hard as this one did. Read the full review at The Daily Quirk!

Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirstin Chen

It’s not often that a book comes along and completely sweeps me off my feet, but that’s exactly what Kirstin Chen’s debut novel, Soy Sauce for Beginners, does. With extremely elegant writing and a story that is relatable on many levels, this book kept me turning pages until there were no more left to turn.

When Gretchen Lin finds out her husband is cheating on her, she packs her bags and leaves their home in California. She returns to her family’s home in Singapore where she takes a temporary job at the family artisanal soy sauce company, Lin’s Soy Sauce. As she struggles to figure out how to cope with her husband’s betrayal, Gretchen must also navigate the trials of reconnecting with old friends, her mother’s illness and alcohol addiction, and figuring out what, exactly, she wants to do with her life.

There were many things I loved about this book, but the biggest one is right in the title. Gretchen’s family’s soy sauce company produces artisanal sauces. Unlike the dark brown, watery sauce many of us are familiar with, they use natural fermentation processes and no chemicals to produce a light, complex sauce. Little facts about artisanal soy sauce are scattered throughout the book, and it was absolutely fascinating to learn about. I never expected to find something as mundane as soy sauce so interesting!

The soy sauce company is the crux of this story. When Gretchen returns to Singapore, Lin’s is recovering from a scandal caused by her cousin’s poor business decisions. Her father wants her to step up and take on more responsibility at the company, but Gretchen is determined to go back to California to finish the music degree she is pursuing at the start of the next semester.

I really enjoyed that, unlike so many books published recently, romantic love wasn’t a driving force in this novel (although there is a nice, semi-romantic sub-plot). Read the full review at The Daily Quirk!