Review: Angel and Bavar by Amy Wilson

Angel and Bavar

After the death of her parents, Angel has a lot to get used to: a new home, a new family, a new school. The last thing she’s interested in is making new friends. Until she meets Bavar, a strange boy who slips through the shadows, a boy who might understand her nightmares.

But Bavar doesn’t want to let anyone in. Everyone—and everything—in his enchanted house is already urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift and the fearsome monsters traveling through it, a responsibility he wishes he could ignore.

Then Bavar discovers that the monsters are the same ones that killed Angel’s parents. Determined to stop the creatures for good, he reluctantly accepts Angel’s help. Together, Angel and Bavar must find the courage to stand up for each other and themselves to repair the rift between worlds…before it’s too late.

Ok. I'll admit something before I write this review.

I failed to realise that this book was middle grade when I downloaded it on Edelweiss, so I started it expecting a slavic inspired Beauty and the Beast. However, whilst the fairytale inspiration is there, the fairytale romance that I wanted was not. Not a bad thing, and completely my own fault, but not what I expected.

When I did get past that, I started to enjoy this book. There is a lot of depth there - something that MG books tend to lack - and Bavar especially was the type of broken character that the genre lacks. The friendship between Bavar and Angel was heartwarming, and that - I think - is the main point of this book. It's very well done.

That being said, there was a somewhat rushed feel about this book that stopped me being so into it. I would have loved Wilson to have taken a step back and used a little more time to flesh out the world and the characters. Kids like to imagine, and they need more description to do that.

Overall, Angel and Bavar was a lovely book about friendship and one of the better Middle Grade titles when it comes to characterisation. That being said, I do feel that the pacing was a little off and the descriptions were lacking which meant this book didn't quite become everything it could have been.

Book released 6th November 2018 by Katherine Tegen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)


Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.


Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Oh no, Jodi Meadows. Why oh why do you insist on doing this to me.

An author as renowned in the YA market as you, and you insist on writing and publishing a book that - in my opinion - is a step back for inclusivity in YA.

I am not a black woman. I have no right to comment on how this book may represent black women in a way either positive or negative. I am, however, someone who has suffered with mental health issues for as long as I can remember and I do not feel that this was well represented in this book.

Mira has panic attacks... then her anxiety is not mentioned again for a while. Then she suddenly has an obsession with 'counting', but then this isn't really elaborated in. What is Mira's 'thing', Meadows, because I am seriously not sure who she even was.

This book is about a character who goes through lots of bad things, and whilst we are meant to see he grow throughout, the only time I saw this growth was right at the end of the book... and as awful as it is for me to say, by this point it was almost too late for redemption.

If there is one pro for this book, it's that the writing is gorgeous. No question that Jodi Meadows is a brilliant author, she just tried too hard with Before She Ignites, I think... I think maybe she just sort of lost direction.

Book released 12th September 2017 by Katherine Tegan
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Review: Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

The Secret of a Heart Note

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

Sweet, holy love of cute boys. Someone find me a Court, and fast.

I like to think that I am past the point at which I fall in love with teenage boys in books because - let's be real, at my age it's a little creepy - however Court is the lovely, non-stereotypical YA boy that I needed to read when I was in my teens.

Like don't get me wrong, Mimosa and Dahlia were great characters too, but I just adored Court - and obviously the romance between him and Dahlia.

Let me just put this out there. This book is light, it's cute, it's downright adorably awkward at times... but it also cover topics like racism and alienisation, it takes these topics and writes about them in a way that feels fully integrated into the plot and not at all forced.

Stacey Lee's writing style is so real. When she was describing tastes and scents I felt like I was experiencing them along with Mim. It was so well done and so deep and I can't fault it.

In fact, there is so very little that I can fault in this book. If anything, I might have to say that sometimes when Lee sometimes wrote about the scents, or the history or things like that I was pulled away from the moment we were in, but other than that tiny little issue... I loved this book! 

Book released 27th December 2016 by Katherine Tegan
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review