Light Years by Kass Morgan

For the first time ever, the Quatra Fleet Academy is accepting students from all 4 planets occupied by the Tridian people. Settler children from Loos, Chetire and Deva and children of Tri journey to the secretive academy with hopes of becoming officers in the elite Quatra Fleet, and protecting the solar system from annihilation by the Specter species.

Morgan beautifully weaves together the lives of her ensemble cast in this story about students forging new lives for themselves in this exclusive boarding school. She manages to write characters that anyone can relate to, and you can’t help but hope for the best for them. We got to struggle with Vesper as she grappled with her expectations of herself. Arran’s anxiety and insecurity is something so many young adults can identify with. Cormak takes the concept of hiding behind a mask to a whole new level. And Orelia’s problems may not be the most relatable, but they work to make all of the characters seem so much more human

The timing of this novel was so well done; the suspense and anxiety was eating at me. There was a point in the middle of the novel that had no action, but was make-or-break for Cormak and it literally had me sweating. The point of view rotates every chapter, and I appreciate that time moves continuously for every person. The rise and fall of conflict in each characters chapters synchronize so well with their friends. It helps to reinforce the supportive dynamic Squadron 20 shares.

I wish the blurb on the back had focused less on “finding love.” It’s a high school story, of course people are going to hook up. But the romance wasn’t the center of the story by a long shot. There were so many other themes that were explored more thoroughly than romance, like classicism and war ethics. On that note, the romance that was present was uplifting in a story that couldn’t carried a lot of weight. The relationships the cast formed helped push them to be better, instead of being toxic and hindering them.

It was a quick read, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It lacked the excessive cheese factor that I thought plagued The 100. The characters were so easy to relate to and so likeable. Their motivations were clear and they worked hard to push each other to be better. Watching them grow over the course of the semester was such a joy. I give this book a 5/5. I literally cannot find anything to complain about.


  • 5/5 stars
  • great character & plot development
  • really fun read

The Memory Book by Lara Avery


The Memory Book

by Lara Avery

Available now from Poppy



They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I’ll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I’m writing to remember.

Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way–not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.

So the Memory Book is born: Sammie’s notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It’s where she’ll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart–a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she’ll admit how much she’s missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.

Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it’s not the life she planned.

*I received a copy of this book from Poppy in exchange for my honest review.

Sometimes a book comes along and you need everyone to know how spectacular it is. The Memory Book will take you on an awesome, gut-wrenching, emotional rollercoaster. I loved this book from page one. Let’s dissect.

Samantha is your average teenage girl. Sort of. She’s ridiculously smart, on track to be the valedictorian of her high school, and she’s full of wit and snark. It didn’t hurt that she referenced Lord of the Rings like a champ, too. Sam felt real to me, as tangible as the keyboard beneath my fingers. And when the details of her Niemann-Pick disease came out…well, let’s just say that you know right away how this story will end. NPC is ALWAYS fatal, and the author doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of it. So, I cried when Sam struggled, I celebrated when she triumphed. I perused the “Feels Department” and sampled everything they had to offer.

Now, before you think this is a sad book about sick teenager, I should warn you: It is. But it’s also a story about love and life and family and sacrifice and being a teenager in a vastly unfair world. And it made me laugh. A lot. (It also made me cry…a lot.)

The romance in this book is beautiful. There is a love triangle, but I promise you it’s great and realistic and will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.

Stuart and Cooper (the love interests) are both entertaining in their own right. Stuart is a smartypants like Sam, a writer trying to make it big in NYC. He’s well read, and Sam loves that. Cooper is the “boy next door” type. He’s a little country, but his heart is in the right place. He and Sam grew up together as neighbors. The way the three of them come together and ignite is some amazing writing.

The best part of The Memory Book? It’s written as Sam’s journal. I think the immediacy of her words pushes the novel to the next level. The reader experiences Sam’s decline as her disease steals her life. But, readers will also experience her joy, her revelations, and every bit of her humor.

If you love John Green, Shannon Lee Alexander, or you read those heartbreaking Lurlene McDaniel books as a kid, you will fall in love with The Memory Book.

Can I give it more than 5 stars?


  • Buy this book now.
  • Remember the tissues.
  • Experience every documented emotion known to man.


How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather


How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Available July 26, 2016 from Knopf Books for Young Readers



Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

*I received an ARC of this book from Knopf Books for Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.

I’ll admit it, How to Hang a Witch took me a LONG time to read. Usually I knock out a book in 2-3 days tops (1 day if it’s amazing), but I’ve been reading this one since May because it just didn’t grab my interest.

The beginning is SLOW, a deep dive into cliché high school waters. There’s bullying, oblivious, annoying teachers, catty girls, a cute boy next door…and even though the book is set in the ever-so-interesting Salem, I was BORED. However, once I made it past page 70 or so, the book took off and was at least partially redeeming.

Let’s start off with the good stuff. Where Mather’s book shines is Salem history. She took stories that feel old and worn and made them into something fresh. This book has a little bit of everything—a curse, a ghost, magic, a love triangle (square?) that is sweet but not gag-worthy, screwed up family dynamics, and a good old-fashioned mystery. I loved how modern day feels like history repeating itself. The witch trials were all about fearing the unknown and different. Look at bullying, racism, and the rampant hatred society experiences today. THIS is what How to Hang a Witch is really about, and Mather nails it on the head.

But that is where the greatness ends. The rich history lost itself to one-sided stereotypical characters. Samantha, our heroine, is a stubborn, clumsy girl. (When will authors realize that making a character clumsy does NOT make them endearing? Ugh.) The boy next door is cute in a determined stalker kind of way. The descendants (who sound awesome if they were fleshed out) are completely interchangeable. They’re mean girls. Why? Because.

The characters lack emotional depth and I lacked all empathy for them. There was a lot of history here, rich, INTERESTING history, but the author never delved into it. So the characters are mean because the story called for it, but we get no other explanation. They served as plot placeholders, occasionally providing comic relief or some deep dark secret or warning.

The ONLY character who had any depth was Elijah, who is one of Samantha’s love interests. You can tell while reading the book that he was Mather’s favorite character, as he’s the only one with a truly fleshed out past. I liked him for his unexpected humor, old-fashioned ways, and unwavering kindness. I could’ve read the book from his point of view and been completely enamored.

How to Hang a Witch is a fun, superficial read. Though the plot is layered with rich Salem history, it lacks character development that could’ve made it shine. All in all, not a terrible debut from Adriana Mather.


  • Slow beginning
  • Lots of fun Salem history
  • Cute love triangle (square?)
  • Lacks character development

3 stars


Tarquin Jenkins and the Book of Dreams by Peter Ford

Amazon | Goodreads

In Tarquin Jenkins and the Book of Dreams, we follow 15 year old Tarquin Jenkins as he learns to travel through time and uses his vast history knowledge to get himself into trouble. Tarquin’s parents were also time travelers, and Tarquin’s uncle Jules is in on a plot to learn what Tarquin’s parents knew and find the clues they’ve hidden. And a journal Tarquin found in 1671 might just be the key to what everyone is looking for.

A fun and wonderfully quirky read, Tarquin Jenkins’ adventures are filled with references to thrill every pop-culture geek, and follows in the footsteps of Tarquin’s fellow space and time travelers. In Tarquin Jenkins and the Book of Dreams, it’s hilarious to see imagined personas of such figures as King Charles II, Sir Isaac Newton, and Alice Cooper; not to mention the creatures impersonating other people like leprechauns and Hillary Clinton, the android who “became” Madonna, and the Griddleback droid General Washington

Inconsistent pacing made this book harder to read than it should have. The author participates in something my English teacher liked to call “Thesaurus Abuse.” It’s where you replace a shorter word or phrase with a more pretentious, longer word that many people have never seen before. Ford is not the worst perpetrator I’ve ever seen, but his word choice can get clunky, and it affects the rhythm and pacing of the novel, particularly in the begining.

The plot relies heavily on backstory and things that happened years ago,  but it’s all explained relatively well. There were just some instances where the story would have been more impactful coming from a character who was directly affected by it. Georgia Blade’s tragic past is the one that jumps to mind; it’s great that we learned about her past, but we should have heard it from her. When Seamus tells her story, there’s no emotion to it, and I guarantee that would not have been the case if we heard from Georgia instead.


  • 4/5 Stars
  • Fun read
  • Occasionally clunky word choice
  • Endearingly quirky




Emotion Market: So It Begins by Dimitris Chasapis

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Click here to view on Goodreads and here to view on Amazon.

In Emotion Market: So It Begins, Dr. Caroline Emerson has created a medical technology that can perform long-term alterations to patient’s emotions. The International Council on Emotional Control has been formed to help regulate this service because they recognize the potential for abuse this technology has, but the ICEC has also chosen to immediately offer Emotion Markets to the public rather than waiting for the results of the clinical trials. The morality of this technology is hotly contested, and there is a conspiracy in place to take them down.

There are too many characters to efficiently keep track of, and more characters were continually added. Characters added nearer to the end were less developed than characters in the beginning, which is a bit of a problem considering characters introduced earlier weren’t that well-developed anyway. The writer used very few moments to show us about the characters, but took many opportunities to tell us. As a result, much of the development felt thin and underdone.

The writing style was strange. The dialogue and exposition were redundant. Sentences would sometimes be rewarded three different ways. It made the novel clunky and awkward to read.



The exciting part of this novel was the mystery. Who is behind the plot to take down emotion markets? Why are they so against it? Who is funding them? How did Taylor’s actions at the end of the novel benefit them? I also liked that everything was connected. It was fun to try and connect the dots.


  • 3 stars
  • Clunky, awkward writing
  • Too many characters
  • Exciting conspiracy and mystery