Category: young adult

Peyton’s Choice

Peyton’s Choice
Author: Kimberley A. Johnson
Genre: Young adult, life, hard choices

I was given this book for a fair review.

Peyton Andrews is seventeen, full of life and a promising future with good grades and a scholarship to UCLA. The only problem with her almost perfect life is that she has not had a proper date before. Her friends all have boyfriends, and she is not ugly nor boring. Her focus on her studies has made her an outsider of sorts in her circle.

When Brad Davis enters her life, Peyton thought her dream had come true. Brad is a trophy boyfriend, and they hit off instantly. As a senior, Peyton finally has found a date for prom night. Things are going along swimmingly and Peyton even got a prescription for birth control. She is quite a responsible young woman, pregnancy is so far down her life’s bucket list she’s making sure it doesn’t happen sooner.

Peyton’s Choice is a story for young girls, and as a reminder to those who think single, young mothers are at fault. Peyton herself did not plan to get pregnant and destroy her future, but it happened. Nothing is 100% effective, especially when it comes to pills, even condoms are only 96% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is unfair to blame things solely on the girls, when the boys are just as guilty for not being responsible about their sex life.

What is next? In Peyton’s Choice, I see how young girls are pressured from many sides. To abort or to keep the baby, she will get blamed either way. I guess the author wants this story to be less depressing, so Brad is kind of a sweet guy, because we all know not all guys are like Dream Guy Brad here. In the end, I want to say that it is her choice in the end, and no matter what decision, it is none of our business as an outsider.

Demon King

Demon King: Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales Book Two (Volume 2)
Author: Kassandra Lynn
Series: Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 17, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1523450299
Synopsis: Adriana has returned to her kingdom and ascended the throne as the rightful Demon King. However, she finds her home on the brink of war. Heartbroken and drained from a forbidden love, Adriana must find a way to assume her responsibilities, stop a war, and somehow unravel the family secrets that threaten to destroy her world. It’s a tremendous feat, but one she may be destined for.

I am Sleepless

I AM SLEEPLESS: Sim 299 (Volume 1)
Author: Johan Twiss
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN-13: 978-1517166335
Synopsis from Amazon: he planet Ethos is at war with a mysterious enemy known as the Splicers. Their only successful defense is the Prime Initiative. All newborns with the compatible genetic code are taken from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Each child that survives the stimulus develops an extraordinary ability and is conscripted into the military for training.
After turning twelve, Aidan is moved to the upper-class at the Mount Fegorio training complex. His special gifts allow him unprecedented success in the virtual training simulations, advancing him further than any prime cadet in history. No one knows what lies after sim 299, not even Director Tuskin, the ruthless and reclusive ruler of their planet. But something, or someone, has been guiding Aidan there. If he can pass the final tests, he may discover the key to ending the Splicer War.

Deep Blue

 Deep Blue (A Waterfire Saga Novel)
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Series: A Waterfire Saga 1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
ISBN-13: 978-1423133162
Cover and Link from Amazon
Synopsis from Amazon:  When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

cover from library

A bit sad that most covers are similar, but I guess it is a lot easier to reuse the cover if there is nothing wrong with it. Deep Blue is the first book of a adventure story of the mermaid Serafina, Princess of Merrow, the star of the show with other mermaids. I am a little bit disappointed with the fact that six mermaids were all females, it would have been more realistic to have a mix.

According to Iele legends, six mermaids would have to find their talismans and send some ancient evil back to the depths. Serafina’s journey begins when her home was attacked on her engagement day with Prince Mahdi. With her best friend Neela, who is coincidentally another mermaid on the list of six, they swim to safety and to find answers from the ones who foretold the prophecy.

This is a book that is aimed for younger readers, hence events are written to capture the focus of young people with actions and moral lessons that can be used for later discussion. For those seasoned readers, I can be mean and comment that this book is fast paced but lacked structure and depth compare to others. But that would be harsh as this isn’t really for an adult audience.

As Serafina finds the rest of the mermaids tied to the story, they arrive at the Iele for answers, but they ain’t really getting one that they like. Now the adventure begins, I am still waiting for book two of the series before I comment on how readable this series is.

Perfect for young girls who likes mermaids, although guys might find it boring with girl mermaid swimming around looking lost, although it does have a good dose of action and fighting.  




Midsummer Dreams

midsummer dreams from Amazon
midsummer dreams from Amazon

Midsummer Dreams
Author: Alison May
Publisher: Choc Lit
Cover and Link from Amazon
Genre: Young adults, rewrites
Synopsis from Amazon: Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything …
Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect. Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself. Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers. Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach. At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.

I got this from Netgalley, attracted by the title: Midsummer Dreams and the cover of four young people. We have Emily, who has had a sheltered life and friends with Helen, who has money issues. Emily is dating Dom, and Alex is Helen’s new housemate. 

Introductions aside, Midsummer Dreams is like Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, except that fairies do not show up in this book at all, they may or may not have a role in the story, but there is no talk of supernatural beings in the book.

Emily has family issues, Helen’s financial issues coupled with her crush is Emily’s boyfriend. While her housemate Alex has optimism, Dom is struggling to make himself happy with his life, even though everything is as it should be.

A modern twist to the well known story, Misummer Dreams is a recommended read, particularly if you had troubles understanding the hidden messages in the original one. This can be a cause for discussion between purist and those who think the rewrite is better.

But I myself think that it is a good rewrite, but the original still has its magic.

Paper Towns

Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (September 22, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0142414934
Genre: young adult, mystery, adventure
Cover and Link from Amazon
Synopsis from Amazon: When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.


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Paper Towns falls in to my ‘disappointed’ category, the whole story just was not for me. In the beginning it was fun, exciting and new. Quentin, Q, is neighbors with Margo Roth Spiegelman. At school, Q belongs to the nerdy bunch, destined for Duke College while Margo belongs to the popular club, where she rules the school with flair.

It all started when Margo dragged Q into exacting revenges to fellow classmates for betraying her. Q was caught up in the rush with Margo next to him, he thought that he might actually be out of friendzone.

Except not, Margo disappeared soon after, living behind angry parents and clues. Q soon sets to decipher the clues to find Margo, his friends Radar and Ben roped into the mystery of finding Margo.

It was then the story went from fun to boring, Q’s parents are not fun to read at all, being psychologist or some kind, their attempts to communicate with Q was awkward and borderline on discriminating (if you belong to the less fortunate side). I have no reason to believe that Q is ‘well adjusted’, seeing that he had started to lie so much while looking for Margo without the parents catching on.

In real life, how many lies can you tell before your parents starts sniffing?

So all that investigating and running around, Paper Towns felt more like Dry Towns, when Q hit a dead end. But he persevered, despite being advised to let things go. So all that clue searching and testing of friendship…

He succeeds, Q successfully finds Margo.

You will have to read or watch to find out what happens. 

Chapter Reveal: Beyond the Gardens

Beyond the Gardens
Author: Sandra C. Lopez
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Contemporary, young adult
ISBN-13: 978-1432746988
Cover and Link from Amazon
Synopsis from Amazon: She was a shy artist, who was afraid to blossom into the beautiful flower she was meant to grow into. At the age of 18, Esperanza Ignacio begins her college years at an upscale Los Angeles art school, where she studies to fulfill her long-term dream in Animation. But she soon learns the truth to the old folktale: “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.” Even though she’s getting financial aid, Esperanza works a part-time job during her break from classes just to make ends meet. Her roommate, Anna, is what she calls a “chicana from Beverly Hills” because of the rich daddy and the new car she got for her quinceañera. Things get a little confusing for Esperanza when an old friend comes looking for her, hoping to start a meaningful relationship. But is Carlos the right guy for her? She never even considered him to be anything more than a friend since high school. Then comes Jake, a gorgeous mechanic, who shares her passion for books and loves her for who she is. What’s a girl to do?


Chapter 1

As the evening sun was settling over the small hills, I steadily hiked along the concrete path that led into the center of the campus quad. I hung to the strap of my book bag with a light wind sweeping through the air, then walked past the student store and the food court. The garlic aroma of chicken chimichangas was overwhelming and floated around seamlessly. My god, did it smell good. I almost wished I had five bucks to waste. Instead, I ignored the aching grumble in my stomach and moved on.

The dorms were located on the outskirts of the school next to a highway that was often busy at this time of day. When I reached Da Vinci Hall, I passed along a few students bundled in a corner with large pads sketching the scattered trees on the forefront of the breaking dawn. I had missed the elevator going up just as the doors were closing. Damn.

Exasperated, I punched in the button for the next one. But the wait was so long I decided to just forget it and took the stairs instead.

Crossing down the hallway, I fumbled inside the withered pocket of my jacket for the keys. I unlocked the door and then stepped into a tiny cubicle, where I hit my knee passing by the end table. At that point, I couldn’t decide whether the furniture was moving closer or the room was just shrinking.

I limped across the room and dropped my bag on a nearby chair. Then I took off my cap and tossed it aside. Oh, what a day, I thought while my fingers stroked through the thick strands of my dark hair. I couldn’t believe I stayed up half the night to study for a quiz the teacher decided not to have after all. What a shame. I was really looking forward to it, too.

After spotting my bed just a few feet away, I fell on top of it landing on a soft pillow that cradled my head.Humble sighs trickled through as the evening sun cast a mild afterglow through the shiny window, shadowing the room with a tinted orange. I yawned while the soothing warmth poured across my tanned face. Then I closed my eyes as a tranquil slumber soon began to take its course.

Suddenly, the door quickly slammed open, and I instantly bolted upright.

“Hey, good news you lucky people, I’m here!”

“Jesus Christ!” I yelled, responding to the triumphant arrival of my roommate, Anna.

She looked at me with cavalier naïveté. “Oh, were you sleeping?”

“No, I wasn’t,” I answered. “I was just trying to, that’s all.”

 “Well, as long as you weren’t sleeping.” Casually humming, she sauntered back into the hall and returned with several large shopping bags. Most of them looked like they weighed more than she did.

“Been to the mall, lately?” I asked.

“Just for the last half hour.”

“And that’s all you got?”

“Well, I couldn’t really get much because I had to come

back for a class.”

“Oh, of course.”

I watched as Anna closed the door behind her so she could peek at the mirror nailed in the back. She twirled around a few times, checking out all the angles of herself. Then she fluffed her short, reddish-brown hair, which was decorated with bright, silver streaks. Under closer inspection, she turned from side to side and caressed the light, delicate skin on her face. She checked out everything from the straight arches in her eye brows to the rich, glossy color of her lips. Oh, brother, I thought as I reclined back into position.

There was just no doubt about it. Anna Zapata was the “Chicana from Beverly Hills.” She, technically, came from Orange County, but she was possessed by someone in Beverly Hills. Note: Anytime you see the word “hills” in a city name, you just know it’s a fancy, ritzy area packed with people, who just have too much money. For example, Anaheim Hills, Woodland Hills, Chino Hills, Beverly Hills.

Need I say more?

 “Do you think I need to add another streak?” Anna asked suddenly.

“Another streak?”

“Yeah, right here near my bangs.”

“Well, I don’t know,” I answered. “I think you wouldn’t look any different.”

“Would you get up and look,” she insisted.

“Why, I can remember what you look like.”

“Will you just look.”

“Okay, fine,” I said with a roll of my eyes.

With a discouraging grunt, I hoisted myself up and leaned on the tips of my elbows. I cocked my head in her direction, straining to give her a glance. My face crinkled in confusion as I attempted to drum up an opinion.

“Well?” she persisted.

“Well, uh—”

“Be honest.”

“Honestly……you’d look the same.”

“Oh, no I wouldn’t.”

“Yes, you would.”

“No, I wouldn’t.”

“Yes, you would.”

“Oh, what do you know?”

I collapsed back on the bed with a loud murmur under my breath.

“Can’t you see that one streak will add balance to my bone structure?”

“No, I clearly don’t see that,” I said.

 “Obviously.” She looked back at the mirror. “Maybe I should just start all over with a brand new color. What do you think about that?”

“Why don’t you just go back with the color God gave you?” I asked.

“Well, that kinda presents a problem,” she said. “See, I sorta forgot my original hair color.”

“Are you serious?”

“Nope, I’ve been dyeing my hair for years, and it just sorta slipped my mind.”

“Well, why don’t you ask your mom then?”

“Are you kidding?” she responded. “Who do you think taught me how to dye my hair? My mother couldn’t find her own roots if she was digging for gold.”

“Okay, point well taken,” I mentioned. At least now I knew where her obsession with hair started from.

“Ya know, I think I will add that extra streak,” she said.

“Whatever you say.”

“And while I’m at the salon, I’ll get a manicure, pedicure, and a facial,” she added. “I’ll just beautify all this even more.”

“Are you sure you’re Mexican?” I asked once again.

“For the last time, I am Mexican,” she replied in defiance.

Yo sé hablar español y todo. I just don’t listen to Spanish music or eat spicy foods. Why, don’t I sound Mexican?”


“I resent that,” she said. “I would stay and fight you on that, but I gotta go get my facial, manicure, and pedicure.”

“So, back to the mall you go?”

“That’s right,” she said. “Oh, and while I’m there, I might as well get that cashmere blouse I was thinking about buying but didn’t. See ya.”

With giddy excitement, Anna glided out of the room. 

Finally! Now where was I? Oh, yeah, I was trying to relax.

I lied there and closed my eyes, gradually reacquainting myself with the peaceful and quiet sounds around me. At some point, I actually wondered whether or not I went deaf. But I didn’t. There was absolutely no noise. Wow, this was nothing like home back in the barrio, I thought.

Back home I had the raucous sounds of police helicopters flying overhead to lull me to sleep. But not here.Sounds of the barrio didn’t exist. I haven’t heard screeching tires against the harsh gravel of the streets, or the sounds of drunken cholos clashing with shattered beer bottles. Up until now I figured I’d be stuck with those noises for the rest of my life. It was amazing. I mean, I’ve heard about lawns being greener on the other side of the fence; but it’s another thing to actually sink your feet into that beautiful grass and wiggle your toes in it. Could I really have done it? I wondered. Could I have gotten myself away from the other side and made it all the way here—at the Atkins Art Institute, the place I’ve been working so hard to get to ever since I saw Bugs Bunny as a kid? Could this be a dream? Yes, it was a dream—it was a dream come true!

After conquering the world of high school as a kid and cherishing the last few moments of summer with the people who meant the most to me, I can now say that I had finally made it. I did it! I was here, standing in the middle of a whole new adventure, ready to begin the grand odyssey of college life, ready to discover the answer to the question that’s been nagging me for years: What’s beyond The Gardens?

Ever since I was born in the small town of Hawaiian Gardens—a California barrio that a lot of the locals referred to as The Gardens— my life always had barbed wire around it, and I just couldn’t get through. I was caged like a raggedy, flea-infested dog, always snuggled in a dirty corner while surrounded by the foul stench of that filthy pound. I would look at the world through steel bars, wondering what it would be like to be on the other side.

Was there some other life beyond those gates? Was there something better over that fence? I never knew; I’ve always just wondered. And I kept on wondering even when we moved to East L.A., where I was only transferred from a smaller cage to a bigger one—my curiosities still the same though. I knew I was going to die if I stayed right where I was. I knew it was never going to get any better unless I got out. Well, now, I was a dog that had gone free. I finally escaped my cell. I have passed the gates of limitations, running every step of the way, ready to discover what I have been missing all my life. I was now going to see this new world through fascinated eyes and finally mark my territory wherever I go. What changes await me? What will I find? Who will I meet? How will the next chapters of my life going to end this time? Or were they going to end at all? Maybe my ending will turn out to be a brand new beginning. I couldn’t wait to find out!


To read the full story of Beyond the Gardens by Sandra Lopez, copies are available here:

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For more information, visit the author’s website at or connect with her on Facebook at


A Thousand Pieces of You

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird)
Author: Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird 1
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN-13: 978-0062278975
Genre: adventure, sci-fi, romance
Cover and Link from Amazon
Synopsis: Marguerite Caine is on a mission with her friend Theo: to find her father’s killer and thief who had absconded with Firebird, a device that her parents had created to make dimension jumping possible. 

My copy from the library

I have mixed feelings about this Firebird series. I may have had higher expectations because of a few good reviews. Marguerite Caine started on a journey to find her parent’s research assistant who had stolen a very important invention called the Firebird.

The story narrates in first person point of view, and begins with an introduction to keep the readers abreast of the situation at hand. Marguerite is the artist in the family of scientists. Her parents believe in multiple dimensions and had managed to create a device that could enable a person to jump from on dimension to another, as long as that dimension had another version of ‘self’.

That’s not the spoiler, just the setting of how Marguerite came to be chasing Paul, the guy whom she was told to be the bad guy. Right from the start it was an eye roll for me. Marguerite did not question, neither there were concrete proof that it was Paul who killed her dad. Mystery aside, the pressing question was how to catch Paul. 

Marguerite is a gullible person, smart but so trusting, she makes the story interesting with her internal argument, questions and reminiscing about the good times. But I had my doubts about her capability from the start. There were certainly hints and events that were obvious to me, but I guess Marguerite doesn’t think much about the past, only the present and the future when she gets her hands on that traitor.

I am intrigued, but at the same time slightly disappointed with the characters, they were predictable. The story arc was plotted. and the surprise element was not really ‘surprising’ for me. Maybe I have read too many of these books that it ceases to amaze me. 

If you like a sweet romance with some adventure, then Firebird series is a good start. I don’t mind the different worlds and different versions of the same person. But I do question the legitimacy of jumping into someone’s body, taking over as consciousness is easy to transport. 

The most romantic thing about this book is the argument that fate is real, destiny is real, but I think it was predetermined by the author when she wrote the book. I hear the next book is good, so I might stick around to the end.

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach

Contemporary Romance
Date published: September 2014

A startling revelation – the long-time friend you never viewed romantically is actually the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.

But what do you do about it?

For Derek, a laid-back graduate camping with college friends on Ireland’s west coast in the summer of 1996, the answer is … absolutely nothing.

Never the proactive one of the group – he’s more than happy to watch his friends surf, canoe and scuba-dive from the shore – Derek adopts a wait and see attitude. Acting on his emotional discovery is further hindered by the fact he’s currently seeing someone else – and she’s coming to join him for the weekend.

As their five days on the beach pass, and there are more revelations, Derek soon realises that to get what he desires, he’ll have to take it. Events conspire to push him to the forefront of the group, and, as unexpected sorrow begins to surround him and his friends, Derek grasps his chance at happiness. After all, isn’t life too short to just wait and see?

David J O’Brien was born and raised in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. He studied environmental biology and later studied deer biology for his PhD, at University College Dublin. An avid wildlife enthusiast and ecologist, much of David’s non-academic writing, especially poetry, is inspired by wildlife and science, and he sometimes seeks to describe the science behind the supernatural. His second and third novels, Five days on Ballyboy Beach and The Ecology of Lonesomeness were also published by Tirgearr Publishing, and his Young Adult paranormal novel The Soul of Adam Short was published in October 2015 by MuseitUp Publishing. His children’s book,Peter and the Little People will be published early in 2016.

Under the pseudonym JD Martins, he has published two erotic romance novellas, One Night in Madrid and One Night in Pamplona.

David is currently working on the two sequels to Leaving the Pack to complete the Silver Nights Trilogy. He is also plugging away at a long novel set in the pre-Columbian Caribbean, and a non-fiction book about the sociology of hunting. 

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My Review

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach is more of a life lesson than a contemporary romance to me. Derek was happy to be the guy who takes a back seat while watching others rush on with life. It was in a camping trip with Sinead, Sarah, Bill and John for the night when Derek realizes his attraction to pretty Sinead.

Told in first person point of view, the readers can see Derek’s attitude towards life and love as he faces questions in his life. This is not a long read, five days on a beach is not a long time, so things move quickly in Derek’s life.

Without much to describe to spoil the story, this book is a touching read, it tells of friendship and how unpredictable life can be, and why Five Days on Ballyboy Beach is a reminder that we should all seize love when it comes our way.