Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston


Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.
When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves? 

The Review:

This was one of my most anticipated reads for 2018, mainly because I really loved Geekerella so much, and also the possibility of an Anastasia retelling in SPAACEEE, would also get me excited.

Yes, the story is an Anastasia retelling set in space, and it almost follows some of the same beats as the story of Anastasia, mainly about a lost princess, who is of course our main protagonist, but she doesn’t know it yet.

Ana is a great protagonist, she spent most of her life living in space with her Captain who found her, while in space. She is someone that always wants to know about her past, and where she came from.

Than there is D09, or Di who is a robot, and is honestly one of my favorite robot characters that I have read. While yes, he is a robot, he does have a lot of personality. It also helps that there is a lot of chapters, told through his point of view. The relationship between Ana and Di was amazing, and was shipping them the whole way through.

There is also Robb, who is another POV character. He is an heir, or rather the youngest heir to the throne. He is trying to figure out what happened to his father who was supposedly killed during the rebellion, and he trying to find out what really happened. He is a great prince-like character, and a lot of his POV chapters dealt a lot with his family and making sure that his brothers don’t take over and become ruler.

Jax, is the ships main pilot, and he comes from a race, who can see the future with the stars. He is also one of my favorite characters. I love his cooky attitude, and it reminded me a lot of Joker from the Mass Effect series. There is also a romance between Robb and Jax and while it does feature some aspects of insta-love with Robb from the first sight of Jax, wants to kiss him. But they also develop into a couple I would love to root for.

The plot, is basically a retelling of Anastasia, with Ana being delivered to the Grand Duchess, it also involves a semi prophecy that she is a Goddess, who it set to rule.

I felt that the Dossier crew, could have also been a bit more fleshed out, mainly because it has a ton of diverse characters to them, and I always love a sort ragtag crew set in space.

I liked learning about how the Iron Kingdom is set up, especially with how they deal with Metals, or robots, who are seen as inferior with the HIVE threat.

I also thought the villain reveal was a bit too obvious, especially as someone who has watched the movie Anastasia could figure out, but I did like how his motivation was revealed.

In the end, Heart of Iron was a great read and a real page turner. While it was a retelling, Ashley Poston did add a lot of new twists to the story. The characters were all very engaging and I want to see what happens next for our characters.

Grade: 4/5


Gunslinger Girl by: Lyndsay Ely


Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.


This was a book that sort of suprised me because I am a huge fan of the Western genre and I was always hoping for a YA book set in the Old West. well this book is technically set in the New West after the Second American Civil War, with a sort of dystopion setting.

The story starts with Serendipity or Pity, is trying to escape her father who wants to sell her to a Commune, which forces woman to basically become Handmaidens to produce children. She deals also mostly with the also the death of her mother who was a Patriot during the Second Civil War.

Pity is basically Katniss Everdeeen if she traded her bow and arrow for two revolvers, and she is a great shot with those revolvers. During her journey she heads to Cessation, which is a lawless town and there she is recruited to become a performer in the Theatre Vespertine.

The setting of Cessation feels sort of like a Law Vegas, where the only law is Selene’s law and you do not dare cross Selene or else you maybe put in her Finale of her show. Selene is basically the person that runs Cessation, and she runs it with an iron fist, while she may be corrupt, you kinda see a reason for her corruption.

There is also a romance in the book, with a boy named Max, who saved Pity’s life while trying to escape and introduces her to the Theatre. The romance was bestially a sort of hot-or-cold with neither one trying to let their feelings. While the romance was very basic I did feel that it took away from the plot and it also introduces a man named Sheridan who basically makes it a love triangle.

I also felt like the ending was a bit rushed, and I would have liked it to be a bit more fleshed out especially when the book takes a few good twists and turns which really makes it feel like a real western.

In the end, Gunslinger Girl was a good book. I really enjoyed the western setting, and while I heard it maybe stand alone, I would like to see where the characters go from here.

Grade: 3.8/5

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings


Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

The Review:

This was another anticipated read of mine. I have been following Sasha’s journey with the book for quite a few years, with her drafting and editing this book along with Lindsay Cummings.

I really liked the setting of this book, how it is set in the far reaches of the galaxy, with a ton of different species living within the galaxy. It really reminded me a lot of Mass Effect in a way, in which the crew of the Normandy are a diverse set of people and aliens.

Androma or Andi, is a mercenary and basically a hired gun. She made a reputation of being one across the galaxy. She reminded me a lot of Cealena from Throne of Glass, except that she is in space. She also has an all female crew, who also remind me a bit of Mass Effect, and also the crew of Serenity. I like that each of the crew members all were very distinct in their own way.

Among the travels of the crew of the Marauder, they come across Dex, a bounty hunter who had a past with Andi. While the Dex and Andi relationship if you can call it that, was kinda of the cliched, lovers to enemies back to lovers again. But I think the way that the characters were framed, it was able to sort of overcome that trope. Dex is almost the Captain Reynolds type, who is very cocky in what he does and also the banter between Dex and Andi was always fun to read.

Lira, was another character from the Marauder crew, who had some chapters with her POV.  I though she was one of my favorite characters. and I thought she had a really good arc in the book. While I won’t give too much away, it has a lot to do with her past and present.

The main plot of this book, is sort of a redemption arc for Andi. She was a former Spectre for the Unified Systems, but after something happens she is forced to space piracy. Her main mission is to break the son, of a general out of prison. It feels straight out of Mass Effect, with sometimes Andi and Dex choosing the Renegade option.

The mission also ties into a lot into a conflict that affects the galaxy. This is also one of the few books I read that sort of has a villain POV chapter, along with a few origin chapters tied within the novel, which while it may feel like the Manon chapters in the Throne of Glass series it does lead into something.

In the end, Zenith was a great book. It had everything I wanted in a nice space opera, with great characters and a nice story. It also has a pretty good twist, that I will dare give away. I am very excited to see how this ends.

Grade: 4/5

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu


Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

The Review:

This is another book I was very excited for. I mean, one of my favorite authors writting one of my favorite superheros, of course I will be all for it. This is another of the DC Icons series in which YA authors write their own interpretations of popular DC characters.

This book, had a lot to live up to, seeing as Batman is one of my favorite heros, I love all things Batman, from the comics, movies and the videogames. This book is takes place when Batman was just a 18 year old teenager named Bruce Wayne who is basically living life as a rich kid, once he gets in trouble he is sent to Arkham Asylum to perform community service. In Gotham there was been a series of murders linked to a group called the Nightwalkers. He also meets a girl named Madeline, who is linked to the Nightwalkers.

What made this book work was that it truly felt like I was reading a Batman origin story. What makes Batman interesting is the psychological dilemma of Bruce Wayne, and there was some aspects of him dealing with his parents death. It shows that Bruce Wayne is more than just Batman.

I also like some of the Easter eggs related to the DC universe, one example is a pre-Two face Harvey Dent who is a classmate of Bruce, and also references to Metropolis.

I also got to see a lot of Detective Batman, which is mostly shown in comics and a little bit of the movies. He was also trying to find out the mystery of the Nightwalkers and how they commit their crimes. He finds a lot about it through Madeline, a Nightwalker staying in Arkham.

I thought the relationship between Bruce and Madeline was really well done, it really fleshed out her character and how she is with the Nightwalkers. Their relationship reminded me a lot of of anyone of Batmans other female villains, for example, Catwomen and Talia Al-Ghul, other villains he forms relationships with. Yeah, Batman pretty much has a type.

Madeline, was actually pretty fleshed, I read a lot about her back story and what mother wen, especially dealing with corruption within Gotham, and you could see why Bruce sees the good in her.

In the end, Batman: Nightwalker is everything I wanted to see in a sort of Batman origin story. It gave a great detective story in the Batman universe. I also felt that this is what Gotham should have been with a great character with Bruce Wayne.

Grade: 4.3/5

Hype or Like Friday: The Cruel Prince review

Happy Friday everyone, and here is a Hype or Like Friday book review and the review for The Cruel Price by Holly Black

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by JillianLarkin, and Britt to discuss about hyped books and see if they’re hyped up or not. There would be book of the month that you can read, and the post your review for it on the end of the month, then rate it whether it’s a hype it or like it.


Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

The Review:

I was very excited that this book was chosen for Hype or Like Friday, so it gave me  great excuse to read this book. I haven’t done a Hype or Like review in a while so I am glad that it is this book. Also I was able to meet the author when she came to Boston last week.

The book is a semi modern fantasy, which includes the moral world, which a the modern world and also the world of the Fae. I like the inclusion of the mortal world mainly because I usually don’t see the modern world within the world of the Fae, unless its Lost Girl.

Jude and her twin sister Taryn, were brought into the Fae world after their parents were murdered and was taken in by their parents murderer, Madoc. Years later after spending some time in faerie, she of course wants to be seen as more than just a human, because in faerie humans are always looked down upon, even amongst her classmates.

Jude, is a great character. I like that while she doesn’t delve into an anti-hero, she does isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when the time comes. Even though she is a human in faerie she refuses to put up with anything that the fae throw at her. She also tries to have a good relationship with her sisters; Taryn and Vivi and also Oak, who is sort of her step brother.

Throughout the book, Jude is wants to become a knight, but being a human is the only thing that is stopping her. She becomes a spy for Prince Dain, one of the princes up for the crown, and she begins to learn a lot more about the kingdom. She learns about what the other princes; Baelkin and Cardan are planning.

I also through the world building was really great. It showed a lot about the faerie, and how the everything is run, with High Courts, along with Kings and Queens. I also like how it including the politics that is within the faerie world which made it seem as if it was a political thriller with a lot of great twists and turns that practically kept me guessing until the final page.

A lot of the characters aren’t exactly black and white, which is a huge positive. Morally grey characters makes those characters a lot more interesting, mainly with the villain, Madoc, who raised Jude and her sisters. While he is of course the villain in the story, you kinda see where he is coming from and it makes him compelling. Most of the members of the High Court, all have their own schemes, and it reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones  in which there are so many sides.

In the end, The Cruel Prince was an excellent first book to a series. It had great world building and also character development. The use of morally grey characters makes the book a lot more interesting, after the cliffhanger this book had I am excited to see where this book goes.

Grade: 4.7/5

Use this when liking a book on the list.



Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES.

And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

The Review:

This book was another very heavy read, especially after reading Dear Martin. The book is told enterily in free verse poetry, and it really provides a uniqueness towards the book, since I don’t usually read poetry books.

The book is told through the perspective of Will, a fifteen year old black kid, whose brother was shot to death and is now trying to get revenge from those who killed him, and it moslty takes place in an elevator and while he is on the eleavator he keeps getting flashbacks of what has happened.

But it is not just about what happened to his brother but also what happened to some of the other people in his life, and how each of them were affected by violence.  They come in the form of ghosts.

The concept of the book and the main story is basically set within a three minute and it is mostly set in the elevator with WIll constantly having to think about getting his revenge. It really gives him time to think, and really take in the situation.

I was very blown away by this book, and it put me on a whirlwind of emotions and it is a great testament to Jason Reynold’s writing and how you could feel every word on the page come out.

Long Way Down, is another great book by Jason Reynolds. His words always has meaning and delivers a dark and complex story.

Grade: 4.5/5


Dear Martin by: Nic Stone


Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

The Review:

My very awesome girlfriend gave me this book for Christmas, so it was very fitting that this would be my first read of 2018, and boy did my reading year start with a bang (I know very poor choice in words).

Much like The Hate U Give, this book deals a lot with the police violence in the United States especially when dealing with race. Justyce, is a young African American male who goes to a prep school, and is also dealing with being one of the very few black students who attend, a feeling I know all to well. A lot of the book deals with the fallout of his arrest, and him realizing that after everything, people could still arrest him.

While the book is fiction, it does touch on a lor of real life issues. After Justyce’s arrest he learns of other stories about young black men getting killed by the police who are unarmed. He uses his letters to Dr. Martin Luther King in order to come to grasp with his situation.

His issues with racial inequalities also happens a lot in his school with his classmates. Since a lot of classmates are white with the exception of Manny. Most of his white classmates dismiss issues of race and basically claim that white people have it worse, and I have also dealt with them in school. Mainly with Jared, who is most white boys I went to school with.

It also touched a lot of issues of race in regards to Manny’s father, who is a Vice President of a major company and still deals with issues of race.

A major highlight of the book was the “Dear Martin” chapters. I think the use of the letters really gave us a sense of the character of Justyce and what he is going through. I also liked his relationship with Sarah-Jane, or SJ, a white Jewish classmate of his. It kinda falls under the normal teenage love tropes in which they are debate partners and Justyce of course starts to have feelings for her and is very nervous about making a move. I thought is was nice to have a few light moments with them to counter a lot of the heavier moments that the book has.

In the end, Dear Martin is a very powerful book, much like The Hate U Give. It deals a lot of issues with race that is still going on today and Justyce is a great character to see those issues through his eyes.

Grade: 5/5