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Book review: Ash, by Joel Thomas Feldman

| Gifted | MG fantasy |

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ash is a magical adventure in the Ponderosa forests, where we follow the story of a young girl, Sam, who was unwillingly made to tag along with her father, Jack, on an expedition trip in search of Bigfoot. I didn’t know of this field of research known as Cryptozoology, which her father works on and I found myself completely intrigued by it. Sam has already experienced grief, with her mothers passing not too long ago. Despite her parents’ passion for cryptozoology, Sam did not believe in any mystical creatures and is very skeptical. Sam was unaware that Charlie and his sons would join them for this expedition, an old friend of Jack and also a cryptozoologist. 

As they venture together into the woods, what they come across in the forest soon turns Sam into a believer after all.

What I loved about this book was the magical creature, they end up discovering something they were not looking for. Unexpected turn of events make the this team of adventurers take sides, who will protect this magical creature? The story is easy to grasp and the world building is full of magic, the mystical events that take place are fun to imagine and could easily become a movie. I especially liked how fierce Sam was and her perseverance to keep going at all costs. We discover that Sam is more than what she seems, and I am eager to find out more about her abilities and how this links to her mother in the upcoming novels.

You can check out more about the book and the author here.

Book review: Beyond Dreams, by Carlotta Amerio

| Gifted | psychological thriller |

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The story is set in Italy, following a history student named Giulia and her struggles into her twenties. We see her trying to juggle many things at once: school, work as waitress, friends and also suffering from terrible nightmares. The nightmares began with the stress of her exams, and we feel helpless alongside Giulia as she tries to overcome them by taking sleeping pills, however as it progresses the pills become ineffective and her nightmares start to gravely interfere with her life. Giulia becomes restless and nervous, in a way that even her boyfriend Davide can’t help her. What before was a careless and happy life as a young student alongside her friends and loving boyfriend turned into anguish due to the horrifying nightmares

The story is very dark and intense. We witness Giulia throw herself downhill into a life of drugs. She becomes an addict, loses the good things in her life keeping her together and ends up doubting her sanity. The author describes her pain and her chaos so masterfully that I found myself feeling her troubles and doubts. As the title perfectly suggests, the root of her issues is beyond dreams, beyond her nightmares.

Instead of looking for help, Giulia finds herself losing everything in order to hide from the incomprehensible nightmares, later trying to understand and fight as it all appeared so vivid. This young woman fights for her mental health, and it got me thinking about all those people out there that have no support for these type of issues. I felt a certain unease with the ending, however as I re-read it I see the purpose of it. Overall I recommend this novel for those who enjoy a dark psychological thriller with strong elements of mental health.

You can check out more about the book and the author here.

Book review: Missing Colors, by Lana Orndorff

| Gifted | General fiction |

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I normally don’t read general fiction often, and I found myself delighted by how eager I was to unfold what would happen next in the story. This novel pulls you in with force, as we want to quickly find out all the mysteries behind it. The story is told in different points of view of two childhood friends: Hunter, a sexist and alcoholic young man with clear depression and loneliness issues.

I really disliked Hunter, and felt repulsed by his actions and thoughts. At the same time, his character shocked me to a point that I had to keep reading. I found his chapters more intriguing than Logan’s. While Logan is a respectable and successful young man, the extreme opposite of Hunter.

“Resisting fresh, delicious pizza when making deliveries while really stoned is another challenge. I’ve figured out how to strategically peel off pepperonis so that none look missing and how to hollow out the crust of one piece from underneath so I can get to the soft, doughy insides while the pizza looks untouched.”

Mysterious attacks on women are happening on campus, which will further complicate the life’s of these two men. Hunter becomes obsessed with a woman he never met, he feels a strong connection to her notes found on old literary works. I found that the story was written in a very eloquent and addictive manner, the writing style was one of my favorite parts. The ending is unexpected and by the end I found that I was starting to grow found of Hunter after all!

You can check out more about the book and the author here.

Book review: The Genesis of Seven, by S. M. Schaller

| Gifted | YA fantasy |

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The genesis of seven is an action-packed novel! You are sucked in right away as the main character, Jordan, has to run away from the one home he’s always known. Soon he finds himself in the presence of an archangel, Gabriel. Yup, the one and only. I am a huge fan of stories with angels, so this got me all excited. They have to find the other archangels to help achieve their divine duty.

The story is told in multiple timelines, flashing back from the present to previous events in the story, as well as multiple points of view. I find this very intriguing and allows us to connect to each of the characters well. This book kept me up reading at night, and I didn’t want to go to sleep! I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. I loved as they travel the world to find the other archangels, it was so fun to see lots of countries described! More specifically Brazil, my home-country. It is not often when I encounter Brazil in settings of fantasy novels so this touched my heart with happiness!

Thirteen bound in blood by two
From ancient lines born anew
Both must live until blood is spilt
Afterward fighting hilt to hilt”

The worldbuilding was very well planned out and the ending had me reeling! I am so excited for the next book in the series, I just need to know what happens next!

You can check out more about the book and the author here.