Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Book Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

SPOILER ALERT: There are a couple of spoilers given in this review. I apologize, but I found it very hard to talk about the book without giving anything away.

Title: Thunderhead Book Cover
Title: Thunderhead Series: Arc of a Scythe Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Utopia Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Format: Paperback Pages: 504 Source: Personal Collection

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?


If you’re looking for a second novel in a trilogy or series to frustrate the crap out of you, this one will do nicely. I’m not even kidding.

In this second book, we see that Citra is getting along fairly well as a Scythe and the Rowan is playing a bad-guy-who-is-actually-a-good-guy role. I kind of figured that would end up happening, but that’s isn’t the frustrating thing.

We also see the return of Scythe Rand and Scythe Goddard. No, I won’t tell you more than that. You have to read the book to understand. But trust me, when it happens you’ll be frustrated, annoyed, and a bit awestruck as it is a big on the ingenious side.

Thunderhead has a plot that takes no time to get going and honestly, this book was the fastest read of the three so far. I read this book in just over 24 hours – it took me over a month to read Scythe and finish it because I just wasn’t invested in the story (and because I was in a reading slump). Now? I’m invested. Holy cow am I invested.

It’s hard to review Thunderhead without giving everything away, because pretty much everything I could talk about would be a spoiler and I’ve already given a couple of those out. So all I’m going to say is, it will frustrate you. You will get pissed off about the ending. And you’ll definitely want to read The Toll after it’s over to find out what happens next.

This one is fast-paced and edge-of-your-seat good, which is why I gave it 5 stars. Let’s hope The Toll is too.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Title: Scythe Book Cover
Title: Scythe Series: Arc of a Scythe Genre: Juvenile Fiction Publisher: Simon and Schuster Format: Paperback Pages: 433 Source: Personal Collection

In a world in which the only way to die is to be killed by a scythe, Citra and Rowan compete to earn a position as a scythe’s apprentice–a competition that will see the loser die by the hand of the winner.


When this was chosen as the book for the Barnes & Noble YA Book Club for December, I was a bit disappointed. Up until December, all of the books had been new releases, so it didn’t make sense to me for them to choose Scythe. Then I figured maybe they’d do all three from December through February, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. I’m glad they did choose it though, because I wouldn’t have ever picked it up otherwise.

For me, the book was hard to get into. It just seemed like it was very boring and slow to get going. Once it did get going, it was a great book. But wow, the book was just slow to get going. I get why it was slow to get going – after all, we had to have some sort of reason why Scythe Faraday would choose Citra and Rowan as his apprentices, but I wish it would have moved a touch faster.

Once it picks up though, it picks up. It’s hard to put it down after a certain point in the book because now you’re invested and honestly – you need to know what the heck is going on around that place. I don’t want to give anything away but – yeah, you’re not going to expect plot twist number one – and plot twist number one sets the stage for the rest of the book.

As for characters, I liked Citra a lot, didn’t care much for Rowan. I found him to be rather a pain in the butt and wasn’t all that fond of him. I liked Scythe Faraday a lot, loved Sycthe Curie, and would cheerfully have yeeted Sycthe Goddard right out of the story if I could have. I also actually kind of liked Sycthe Volta. The rest of Goddard’s flunkies needed to be yeeted with Goddard. And finally, High Blade Xenocrates needs a spine… I’m just saying.

The plot twists in this book are what make it so great. You get several and each time, it’s hard to telegraph what’s going to happen next. One of them shocked the heck out of me because I thought I’d figured it out and then BOOM – completely different! Holy cow. And let us not forget the ending – that is one heck of an ending to a book.

I just started Thunderhead, so you can expect a review for that one soon.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Reverie by Ryan La Sala

Title: Reverie Book Cover
Title: Reverie Genre: Young Adult Fiction Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire Format: Hardcover Pages: 416 Source: Personal Collection

While recovering from an attack that leaves him without his memory, gay teenager Kane Montgomery stumbles into a world where dreams known as reveries take on a life of their own, and it is up to Kane and a few unlikely allies to stop them before they spillover into the waking world.


When the Barnes & Noble book club chose this book for the January book club, I was a little leary. I actually had this book from NetGalley and just couldn’t get into it. I tried for months to get into the book and just couldn’t do it. But, I hate to miss a book club, so I bought the book, hoping getting it in a physical copy would help. It did, but so did finally just sticking to it and getting through the first portion of the book.

I’m going to say this now – the only character I actually like is Ursula. The main character, Kane, is so annoying I want to reach through and just smack the daylights out of him. His thing of nothing being able to remember anything about his accident or who he was/what he was like before the accident, asking people what he was like or who he was before the accident, and then not believing them drove me bonkers.

Adeline’s attitude of seeming to be better than everyone is also annoying, Sophia’s overprotective character makes me cringe, and Elliott spends most of his time trying to impress Ursula. Poesy is a whole other ball of wax… let me tell you. I still don’t know if Poesy is biologically male and a drag queen, biologically female and dressed as a man for Kane and Poesy’s first meeting, or if Poesy is simply supposed to be unknown in gender – Poesy is referred to as “he” once or twice, “they/them” at other times, and “she” at other times. It’s a bit confusing and seriously easy to mis-gender Poesy because it’s hard to keep track of gender on that character.

The writing is done very well. The editing not so much. There are several places were words are misspelled, the wrong words are used, and where words are missing, but that’s a double edged issue – writing and editing. I mean, honestly, you’d think the editors would have noticed.

The story in and of itself is very creative. It gives a whole new perspective on “our own little worlds” and what could happen if those worlds managed to escape into reality. If you’re looking for a YA fantasy with major LGBTQ+ rep, I suggest you read this book. If there’s a sequel, I’m definitely going to read it.

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Title: The Fountains of Silence Book Cover
Title: The Fountains of Silence Genre: Young Adult Fiction Publisher: Philomel Books Format: Hardcover Pages: 512 Source: Personal Collection

At the Castellana Hilton in 1957 Madrid, eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson connects with Ana Moreno through photography and fate as Daniel discovers the incredibly dark side of the city under Generalissimo Franco’s rule.


So I started reading this book and my eye started having issues, making it difficult to read. The book was interesting enough, I just couldn’t read for more than a couple pages at a time before my eye started hurting. So, I checked my library for the audiobook. They had it, but it was going to be six months before I’d get it. I needed to read the book by Thursday the 14th of November for YA Book Club, so I started checking around. One trial subscription to Scribd later, I was listening away to The Fountains of Silence. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this book.

If you know me at all, you know I’m not a big historical fiction fan. For some reason I just don’t care for it that much. But The Fountains of Silence was the November 14th Barnes & Noble YA Book Club pick, so I decided I’d give it a shot. Like I said above, I was enjoying reading the book but my eye was making it difficult, so I got my mitts on a copy of the audiobook.

The narrator for the audiobook gave it an authentic feel as she had a Spanish accent. This helped a lot, especially to make the parts spoken in Spanish feel more authentic. I loved the narrator and her narration style. It made the audio experience all the more enticing.

I loved, loved, loved Ana and Daniel. I loved that Daniel didn’t just want to use the Spanish culture of the times to get a story, he truly wanted to understand what it was like. He wanted to know what was going on. He wanted to know how the people lived, how they felt. He wasn’t just there to see what was there and take it… unlike Laura Beth and her mother, who literally only what Spain would be able to provide them. I’m sincerely thankful we didn’t have to deal much with Laura Beth as I wasn’t impressed with her at all from the brief interaction we actual get from her.

Ana was beautiful, sweet, and dedicated to her family – and Daniel. I was impressed with the amount of research that had to have gone into the lives and culture of the people to bring Ana and her family to life in the way they were.

I have to say, this is my first Ruta Sepetys book. She has a way of bringing characters to life that I’m truly impressed with. The last chapter of the audiobook was an author’s note read by Ruta herself. She spoke of how she’d fallen in love with the history and culture of Spain when she toured there for her first book and how much research she’d done. She truly brought Spain in the 1950s to life and I can’t wait to read other books of hers.

If you love historical fiction, even if you’re not a young adult (which I most certainly am not), you really must read this book. It’s fascinating, beautifully written, and lively. You won’t be disappointed.

Book Reviews

Blogtober: Book Review – Slumber by Becky Bird

Title: Slumber Book Cover
Title: Slumber Genre: Young Adult Fiction Format: eBook Pages: 292 Source: NetGalley

Prince Thomas cannot take the throne without a queen. Though the problem isn’t his lack of suitors but his refusal to marry a princess that is less than perfect. The cardinal presents him with an opportunity: a quest to find the most beautiful princess in the land who has been in slumber for a century. But, unbeknown to the prince, the cardinal plans to kill him as soon as the prince embarks on his quest, and take the throne for himself. Luckily, Prince Thomas’s path crosses with Lucy, a spirited orphan runaway, who saves his life and convinces the prince to continue the quest. When they eventually find Princess Aurora, they also find another contender – Prince Philip – vying for the princess’s heart. Despite their mutual disdain for each other, Lucy agrees to assist the prince, and Thomas accepts her help to keep him alive long enough to beat out his competition and return to rule his kingdom alongside his perfect bride. They just don’t count on falling for each other in the process. A YA retelling of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty


If you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling that makes you ask, “what did I just read?”, then this book is for you. It’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty… with elements of Snow White. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. Elements of Snow White. Prince Thomas = Snow White. Cardinal Lionel = Evil Queen. Prince Thomas’s Guards = Huntsman. Yep.

So let’s start off with what I thought of the characters, shall we? First up we have Lucy. A tomboy in a century where that’s just not appropriate, of course. She’s sassy, mouthy, and opinionated. I love her. She’s hilarious. She’s also a feminist, getting angry when someone tries to make something easier for her because she’s a female.

Next up we have Jack. Lucy’s best friend. I’m not sure what to think of him. He’s got an eye for color coordinating and fashion, but can’t seem to get the hang of basic “manly” things. It’s like he and Lucy are the polar opposites of what the time period considers appropriate for their gender.

Prince Thomas is, well, a pompous ass at the beginning of the book. He’s shallow, rude, and just plain irritating. I don’t like him much for about 2/3 of the book. Then he finally becomes a likable character.

Cardinal Lionel is the bad guy. He’s a real piece of work. He masquerades as a man of God but has designs on taking the throne himself. He’s obnoxious and honestly, kind of stupid and boring as a bad guy.

Princess Aurora – finally, our Sleeping Beauty. She’s stupid, vapid, and so shallow and self-centered, I want to scream. I can’t believe how obnoxious she is. All she cares about are her looks.

Prince Phillip – he’s not much better than Aurora and honestly, they deserve each other. But at least he is loyal and a man of his word if nothing else.

The plot lines are ok I suppose. They aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible either. The book had the hate-to-love trope in it and honestly, in my opinion, it wasn’t done very well. I would rather the main characters either been in love from the beginning or hated each other through the whole book. It just bugged me. It was far too predictable.

I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars because it was quick and easy to read and it wasn’t a horrible book. Just not one I’d choose to re-read.

I received a copy of this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.