From Dust, A Flame
– Rebecca Podos –
Balzer + Bray
Published 8 February 2022
From Dust, A Flame is a Jewish-legend inspired paranormal, historical, mystery YA fiction genre-mash-up that is as entrancing as it is unique.
A slow and confusing beginning had me questioning why I had picked this book up and checking the synopsis to make sure I had the right book. But by a quarter of the way in I was hooked. It’s a great book, strong characters, a strong sense of identity and unique. It’s also rooted in legends and mythology that is not often brought to the page – and it’s about time it was.
– Lynette Eason –
Extreme Measures #1
Published 4 January 2022
If you enjoy books that will have you checking over your shoulder and keeping the lights on at night, then you’ll enjoy Life Flight. A mix of romance, suspense and mystery as the characters race to stay out of the crosshairs of a serial killer.
When Penny Carlton is forced to make an emergency landing during a medial evac flight, she doesn’t expect to find herself the target of a dangerous serial killer. But that’s exactly what happens when a storm takes out her tail rotor blade and she sets out on foot to find help. It’s the perfect night for an escaped prisoner. Dark, wild and stormy. And a helicopter might be the perfect ride out of there. That’s exactly what FBI Agent Holt Satterfield must prevent. With danger closing in and time running out, Penny and Holt team up, because surviving this night is not the only danger they will face as they race to track down this serial killer before he claims more victims.
No Filter and Other Lies
– Crystal Maldonado –
Published 8 February 2022
Social media is such a massive part of our young readers’ lives and yet its reach and impact is so often left out of YA fiction. No Filter and Other Lies addresses the addiction of social media, it’s dangers and its benefits head on. It also addresses the inherent racism and sizeism of social media and the challenges teens face in navigating this online world.
Kat is a photographer, friend, granddaughter and dog lover. She’s also pretty good at lying. For years, she’s been lying to everyone but her best friends about where she lives. Most people think she lives with her parents, as evidenced by the perfect family photos her mother shares on Facebook. But Kat actually lives with her grandparents. So, when the opportunity arises to share her work as a photographer on Instagram to a much wider audience, Kat takes it. It’s only a small lie and what’s that in the scheme of her life? Yes, she has to borrow her friend’s (perfectly gorgeous, white, thin) face after she expressly said she didn’t want to go back on social media. But, Kat will also use the account to share about the dogs at the shelter she works at, so there will be some good come from the whole thing. But when Kat starts to fall for a girl she chats with online, things get complicated. Especially when that girl thinks Kat is a 21-year-old college girl called Max.
– Susan May Warren –
Sky King Ranch #1
Published 4 January 2022
I do so love it when my favourite authors are consistent in their writing. And Susan May Warren has to be one of the most consistent at writing amazing, thrilling, romantic novels. I know when I open a SMW novel that I can sit back, relax (or tense up, because let’s face it, those characters are about to be tested to their very limits) and just enjoy.
Another new book from another new series by Susan May Warren and she brings all her excellent storytelling, epic plots and relatable characters. Plus that romance we know and love.
– A.L. Graziadei –
Henry, Holt and Co.
Published 18 January 2022
Icebreaker is an addictive sports fiction novel, about LGBT+ identity in sports, mental health, family and romance.
I think I start every sports book review with a statement about how much I love sport fiction. And I stand by that statement. I love sports novels. Icebreaker is a mix of YA and new adult, with our main characters in their first year of college but with less sexually explicit content that what one might expect from a new adult novel.
Mickey James the Third is ice hockey royalty. Ever since he was born, it’s been ordained that he will follow in his father and grandfather’s skates. He just has to survive his first year of college before he is drafted as the top pick and then he will have fulfilled that destiny. But when his draft ranking rival is placed on the same team, Mickey knows he will have to work harder than ever to prove he is worth all the hype. And when he starts to fall for that rival, despite also arguing and fighting non stop with him, Mickey will have to chose – destiny or a chance at a future he might finally, actually care about.
The Heart of a Cowboy
– Jody Hedlund –
Colorado Cowboys #2
Bethany House Publishers
Published 5 October 2021
I read the first book in this series at the start of a holiday break and once again I found myself at the end of a big and exhausting term and I picked up the second book in the series. Perfect timing indeed, because once again, slipping into a Jody Hedlund historical romance was exactly the way I needed to start my school holidays.
The second book in the Colorado Cowboys series can be read as a standalone novel, so if you haven’t read the first book don’t hesitate to read this one.
I love when historical romances give me the taste of the past with all the comfort of today’s views and opinions. The Heart of a Cowboy does just that. Linnea is a botanist and an excellent scientist. She is travelling with her grandfather and a group of scientists on a botanical expedition to Colorado. Despite her excellent scientific discoveries and abilities, she had to twist her grandfather’s arm to allow her to accompany the expedition and he worries greatly about her safety – and not just because she’s a woman. Linnea can become so distracted by her work she wanders off and finds herself in all sorts of danger. Like when she falls off the wagon during a river crossing and needs to be rescued by Flynn McQuaid. Continue reading
Just One Kiss and Just Like Home
– Courtney Walsh-
Harbor Pointe #3 and #4
Published 2019 and 2020
Despite not enjoying the first book I ever read by this author, I am now massive Courtney Walsh fan. Trust me, I am so glad I gave her books another read and another chance because she has become one of my favourite authors and a go to for when I need a romantic and relaxing read. When the school holidays hit and I was looking for something to take my mind off my growing to-do list, I turned to Courtney Walsh. I was delighted to see that she had continued her Harbor Pointe series. I loved books one and two in the series, Just Look Up and Just Left Go, so I was excited to continue this series.
You Can Go Your Own Way
– Eric Smith –
Published 2 November 2021
You Can Go Your Own Way is a cute YA romance, sure to be enjoyed by readers who love a simple storyline and ex-best-friends to enemies to lovers storyline.
In my head I have named this book the Pinball Book. Sorry, but it’s kind of stuck. Adam helps his mother run the family pinball arcade. It was his father’s passion and since his father’s death, Adam has done everything he can to keep that dream alive. Even alienating his once best friend. But he can’t help it if Whitney – or at least her dad – is the enemy. Whitney’s father wants to buy the arcade and add it to his growing eSports cafe locations. Whitney and Adam each run the social media accounts for their family businesses and online it is war. When a snowstorm throws the two together again, they rekindle their friendship and possibly something more.
Autumn by the Sea
– Melissa Tagg –
Muir Harbor #1
Published 28 September 2021
Autumn by the Sea is another delicious contemporary romance by one of all-time favourite authors. Seriously. Melissa Tagg never disappoints.
Autumn by the Sea is the perfect blend of mystery, romance, longing for family and meant to be. The characters just worm their way into your heart. The setting is rugged and charming. And that meet cute?!!?? Seriously?!? So cute.
Sydney Rose has only ever wanted a family and somewhere to belong. Maybe that’s why when a stranger approaches her and tells her that he thinks she’s the long-lost granddaughter of Margaret Muir, Sydney Rose jumps on a plane to Maine to discover if maybe, just maybe, she has a family after all. Sydney was not expecting the charming, if a little in need of some love, house on the coast, or Maggie, with her heart so welcoming and so hurt by the past. Nor was Sydney expecting Maggie’s three adopted adult children who are not exactly excited to see Sydney. Just it only takes days for Sydney to feel at home. If she and Neil, Maggie’s eldest adopted and the one holding Muir Farm together, can uncover the truth of the past, maybe Sydney could stay and find her place to belong.
Anything But Fine
– Tobias Madden –
Penguin Random House Australia
Published 31 August 2021
Ballet is everything for Luca. It’s his future, his time, all his effort and his friendships. So when he falls down the stairs at his ballet studio and breaks his leg, it changes everything. When the doctors say he will never dance again, Luca isn’t sure what that means for his future. Who is he without ballet. When he loses his scholarship and has to move school and he shuts out his friends, the only bright side is seeing Jordan at OT. Jordan is the school captain and rowing champion at Luca’s new school. Luca thinks there might be something between them but Jordan is apparently straight. And has a girlfriend.
Anything But Fine is authentically Australia, from the Ballarat setting, to the slang and high school culture. #LoveOzYA
One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was Luca’s friendship with Amina. Amina is nerdy, talks a lot and isn’t who Luca thought he would be spending time with. She’s also as different from his old friends as possible. Amina is Indonesian-Australian and Muslim. She is absolutely fantastic and just what Luca needs. Luca also learns to be a better friend to Amina and more deserving of her. He makes some pretty lousy mistakes in this book, both towards Amina and his old friends, as well as to his dad and other adults who have been there for him. But Luca isn’t afraid to own up to these mistakes and learn from them.