Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword review: You know how sometimes, it's clear that an author has really only planned book 1 of their trilogy? And they're not sure what should happen next, so NOTHING HAPPENS?

Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA

You know how sometimes, it's clear that an author has really only planned book 1 of their trilogy? And they're not sure what should happen next, so NOTHING HAPPENS?

Red Queen, the first book in this series, was nothing new or particularly special, but it was still good. It relied heavily on tropes, but it also had a lot of action and some good romance to keep things fun.

Glass Sword is not fun. It's Mare collecting a laundry list of special people like her. And while she does that, she mopes and whines and alienates people. Then she feels sad about how she is alienating people through her whining and moping. So she mopes some more.

You will spend the entire book wanting to grab Mare by the shoulders and go, "GET IT TOGETHER, GIRL."

On a disappointment scale of 1 - 10, with 10 being Allegiant, this is about an 8.

Do not buy this. You may not even want to bother getting it from the library. Just email me and I can sum up the plot for you in about 10 seconds.


1/5 Brass Knuckles

Full disclosure: I spent money on this, sadly.

Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

Book review: Clearly, this book is disturbing because debt is scary and banks are terrible. Oh and there's also all the killing.

Title: Hit
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Genre: YA

Valor Savings Bank has officially taken over the United States. Their first order of business is to force teenagers to assassinate people who aren't paying their credit card debt.

Clearly, this book is disturbing because debt is scary and banks are terrible. Oh and there's also all the killing.

Patsy has a list of 10 people who have to either enlist as assassins or be shot. She also has a clock, counting down the time she has to handle each person on her list, which adds a lot of tension.

You have to be okay with some violence in order to enjoy this book, but it's kind of like watching a Tarantino movie - you get desensitized pretty quickly.

Buy it when you want some fast-paced action - just DON'T PUT IT ON YOUR CREDIT CARD OMG.


3/5 Brass Knuckles

Full disclosure: I got it from the library because free.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Review: This book is three parts Dune, two parts Deadwood, and one million parts AWESOME.

Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Genre: YA

This book is three parts Dune, two parts Deadwood, and one million parts AWESOME.

Amani is a gunslinger. She grew up in the desert, but she needs to escape her small town before her uncle forces her into a marriage - with himself.

So Amani enters a sharpshooting competition, as one does. She disguises herself as a boy, hoping to earn some cash and escape. At the competition, she runs into Jin. Like any good love interest, he is hot and FULL OF SECRETS.

Amani and Jin are alternately helped and hindered by mythical creatures like magic horses, massive birds, and creepy things that only come out at night. There are no sandworms, so don't get your hopes up.

I loved this book. Amani is great, the action moves very quickly, and there's lots of mythology woven into the story. If you liked the Grisha Trilogy, this book is for you.

Buy it now!


4/5 Brass Knuckles

Full disclosure: I got an ARC from Penguin Canada for review, and then I bought the hardcover on Amazon because I loved it so much.

Madly by Amy Alward

Title: Madly
Author: Amy Alward
Genre: YA

I have had good luck with cover buys in the past. But I regret this purchase.

In Madly, a princess accidentally poisons herself with a love potion. Then a bunch of alchemists participate in a contest to try to mix up a cure. This contest is called the Wilde Hunt because adding a random 'e' to the end of a word makes it totally Old Timey and Legit.

Cara is the latest apprentice in a long line of family alchemists. She participates in Ye Olde Wilde Hunte to try to turn her family's fortunes around. They have basically been put out of business by a corporation that makes potions with synthetic ingredients. But everyone knows that if you make something in a lab that is effective and cost-efficient, that is WAY LESS GOOD than the Old Timey way of doing things.

Cara wants to prove that her family is still awesome at mixing potions, so she joins the Hunte and repeatedly gives up. Wait, what? THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

Cara rejoins the hunt because someone tells her to. Actually, she spends literally the entire book getting bossed around by all of the other characters. I kept thinking that EVENTUALLY, she would step up and claim her birthright and kick some ass.

Then Cara faces a crazy person with a gun. She finally snaps! "Finally," I thought, "She's going to do something clever to save herself and her companions!" Nope. She saves herself by falling off of a cliff. I KID YOU NOT.

On top of this, Cara uses the word "hashtag" in conversation. So she is The Worst.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that some light racism would really make this book complete. Don't worry, Madly has that too! Cara meets some Indian people who live in a village in the jungle, and they give her curry and are generally lovely. THEN Cara notices that one of the kids has magic! This is terrible because the child is in the middle of nowhere, wasting her gift on her family's tradition of farming. Cara wonders if she could somehow get the girl back to Civilization where she could attend a "proper school." She is disappointed to learn that she is unable to "save" the girl. Despite the fact that the girl's village and home seem pretty great, Cara muses about how much better her own life is.

The writing is inconsistent as well. When the princess accidentally drinks her own potion, she has been "poisoned." When Cara deliberately gives her grandfather a truth serum, he has been "potioned." In addition, the royal family in the book are simply "figureheads," but also if the princess dies, the country will descend into economic and magical turmoil. SIGH.

You may want to buy this book for someone you hate (link is to Amazon).


Zero Brass Knuckles

Full disclosure: I bought it, and I have regrets.

Wolf by Wolf, by Ryan Graudin

Title: Wolf by Wolf
Author: Ryan Graudin
Genre: YA

It's 1956, and Germany and Japan won the war. As you may have guessed, there is a lot of terrible shit happening in the world.

Someone has to stop it, and that someone is Yael. She's a skin-shifter, and she's posing as Adele Wolfe, a champion motorcycle racer. Yael enters the Axis Tour as Adele, and she has to win. Because if she does, she'll get to dance with Hitler. And obviously, she will kill that asshole. Unfortunately, Adele's brother and ex-lover (?) are also in the race, which complicates things.

I bought this book because it sounded cool, but it turned out to be THE GREATEST BOOK EVER.

Yael has flashbacks to her time in a death camp, and that content treads a fine line: it's horrible enough to stick with you, but not detailed enough to actually traumatize you. So unlike other books which use this content to manipulate readers (I'm looking at YOU, Boy in the Striped Pajamas), this one will not have you sobbing in public.

Wolf by Wolf has everything: shape-shifters, Nazis, motorcycles, rebels, fantastic characters, and tons of action. Also fantastic cover art.

Buy it now - you'll thank me later (link is to Amazon).


Five Brass Knuckles

Full disclosure: I bought it with my own money because money spent on books totally does not count toward my overall budget.

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Genre: YA

Every fall, Cara's family becomes strangely, dangerously accident-prone for 4 weeks. They suffer through bruises, broken bones, and worse. But why?

The Accident Season is seriously creepy. Early on, Cara notices that Elise, an old friend from school, is in all of her photos. ALL OF THEM. Vacation photos, family snapshots - everything. The more you think about that, the CREEPIER IT GETS.

It's also atmospheric as fuck. The writing is haunting, and will give you that prickly "OMG I AM PRETTY SURE MY HOUSE IS HAUNTED" feeling.

I was worried this would resolve with "Oh it's all in the child's imagination," which is a fucking lazy plot device. This book has a much more satisfactory resolution. It's both creepy and sad, but also just a bit reliant on cliché.

Totally worth a read, but you may want to wait for the paperback or get it at the Library (link is to Amazon for those who lack patience).


3/5 Brass Knuckles

Full disclosure: I bought it with my own hard-earned cash.

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Review of The Dark Days Club:  In Regency London, Lady Helen has to deal with demons AND sexism.

Title: The Dark Days Club
Author: Alison Goodman
Genre: YA

In Regency London, Lady Helen has to deal with demons AND sexism.

Lady Helen is looking forward to her Season, hoping to finally shake the shadow of her late mother, who may have committed light treason. But when she's presented to Queen Charlotte, the matriarch whispers that all is not as it seems.

This becomes patently clear when Helen is exposed to the world of demons by a fellow hunter. She is quickly drawn into two battles: that of good versus evil, and that for her HEART. Will she fall for the disreputable Lord Carlston? Or will Duke Selburn and his tolerance of Helen's liveliness win her over?

The Dark Days Club combines Regency romance with a supernatural thriller, and it WORKS. Goodman clearly did a ton of research, but everything is presented with appropriate context, so I didn't find it hard to follow. I also really really loved Eon, one of her earlier books, so I wasn't surprised to see that The Dark Days Club has excellent world-building, romance, and adventure.

You will want to buy this one (link is to Amazon).


4/5 Brass Knuckles

Full disclosure: Penguin Canada gave me a copy for review, which was very exciting but did not affect my opinion of the book.

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