Review: A Drop of Venom by Sajni Patel

A Drop of VenomA Drop of Venom by Sajni Patel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A Drop of Venom is a recent YA Fantasy release pitched as a retelling of the Medusa myth, steeped in Indian mythology, and happily, it is exactly that.

This story follows 16-year old, Manisha, whose naga people have seen their lives decimated because of the King’s army. Manisha was sent to a holy temple to become a priestess, where it was believed she would be safe.

But for girls, there’s rarely any place that is actually safe.

We also follow 17-year old, Pratyush, who is a Monster Slayer and one of the greatest assets of the King. Yes, the very same King who has terrorized Manisha’s people.

When Pratyush and Manisha meet when he visits the Temple, sparks fly and both see in each other a glimpse of the peaceful life that could be possible. Unfortunately, for them both, fortune is not on their side.

Before their relationship even has a chance to get off the ground, tragedy strikes Manisha. A visitor to the temple, a General in the King’s army, brutally rapes her and throws her off the side of the mountain into a churning den of vipers, where he expects her to die.

But she doesn’t die. In fact, she rises, stronger than ever, with a new set of unimaginable powers.

Pratyush’s next assignment leads him on a hunt for a hideous monster said to be killing and maiming men in the countryside. Little does he know this very monster is actually the girl he wishes to someday marry.

I liked this story, I did. Please don’t let my 3.5-star rating discourage you. Patel’s writing is strong and I appreciate the tough topics that she examined, as well as the rich cultural influences that gave such depth and beauty to this tale.

I loved the idea of a Medusa retelling and I loved watching Manisha regain her strength, power and new courage as the story got farther along.

For me though, I did have a bit of an uneven reading experience with this one overall. There were times I was so into it and then other times when I was bored. There’s no better way to explain it.

Additionally, at times I did find some of the plot elements difficult to track, and definitely felt the second half was stronger than the start. Also, I wasn’t completely sold on the alternating perspectives.

We’re mostly getting the story from Manisha’s POV, so when we would randomly switch to Pratyush, I didn’t care about him. I didn’t feel like I had the chance to get to know him in the way that I got to know Manisha, so I sort of felt like it either should have been more equal in their narrative time, or he shouldn’t have been a perspective we read from at all.

I think I may actually have enjoyed this more if we just had Manisha’s perspective.

With this being said, even though I have some slight nit-picky things I wasn’t crazy about, this is still a good book. It actually seems like the kind of story, that if you’re the right Reader, and you read it at the right time, it could be incredibly powerful for you.

I can see that potential. This is a solid Fantasy story, with strong world creation and compelling ideas. I am definitely interested in reading more from this author in the future.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Hyperion, Rick Riordan Presents and Disney Audio for providing me with copies to read and review. This definitely won’t be my last Sajni Patel!

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Review: Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm (SEA #2) by Julie Kagawa

Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm (Fiction - Middle Grade)Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shinji Takahashi: Into the Heart of the Storm is the second book in Disney’s Middle Grade Adventure series, Society of Explorers and Adventurers. I read the first book, Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl, just before its release last year, at the start of 2022. I absolutely adored it.

Unsurprisingly, Kagawa was able to capture my attention right away, as well as my heart, with her fun characters and pulse-pounding action. The vivid imagery can’t be beat.

As a side note, if you are unaware, Disney’s Society of Explorers and Adventurers, known as S.E.A., is a fictional organization sprinkled about various attractions at Disney Theme Parks. Google it!

The organization is said to be comprised of scientists, travelers and researchers, who traverse the globe continuing to explore the world’s oceans and exotic lands.

In this novel, Shinji is officially a member of S.E.A., along with his friend, Lucy Hightower and her mechanical mouse, Tinker. They are residing at S.E.A. headquarters, where Shinji is working to understand his new powers and struggling a bit to grow into them.

Before he is able to do that though, S.E.A. has another potential adventure on their hands and Shinji and Lucy are included as part of the team. Let’s go!

A sunken ship, thought to belong to the long-extinct Natia people, has been discovered in the South Pacific. It’s a race against the clock as the members of S.E.A. try to get there before their rival, the evil Hightower Corporation, can find it and plunder the artifacts.

Even though the kids are traveling along with veteran S.E.A. members, like Oliver Ocean and Phoebe Mystic, nothing goes as planned. It’s obstacle after obstacle as the team struggles to reach their final oceanic destination.

After Shinji accidentally awakens another guardian, a giant mythological storm boar, wild weather released by this boar threatens to ravage the coast of California.

Shinji needs to learn to control his powers and figure out how to appease the storm boar before its too late, but the odds seem to be stacked against him. Stress!!!

Kagawa knows how to deliver an entertaining sequel. Almost everything that could happen on this adventure does. There’s an erupting volcano, a nearly sinking ship, breaking into Hightower Headquarters, fighting off robot guards and flying into a storm, to name a few.

The humor Kagawa brings to the story too makes it charming and fun. I love these characters and it was interesting learning more about them, as well as more about the organization. We also meet some new characters and learn more about Hightower.

I thought the conclusion to this was heart-warming and it left off in a great spot to continue on with the series. I am really hoping for a third book.

I definitely recommend this series to Readers who enjoy an engaging Middle Grade Adventure. You cannot go wrong with Kagawa’s writing. Top shelf, beginning to end.

Additionally, the audiobook is fabulously narrated, so I do recommend that as a format. It was how I read it and I felt like I was there with these characters. I was at the edge of my seat the whole time!

Thank you to the publisher, Disney Hyperion and Disney Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. This was a ton of fun.

I love Shinji so much. He has all the qualities one would want in a hero. It fills my heart!

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Review: When You Wish Upon a Star (A Twisted Tale #14) by Elizabeth Lim

When You Wish Upon a Star: A Twisted TaleWhen You Wish Upon a Star: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When You Wish Upon a Star is the 14th-installment to Disney’s A Twisted Tale collection.

If you are unaware, these books take our favorite Disney tales, twist one element and then explore what would have happened if that twist actually occurred.

They’re like Disney’s version of alternate history stories and I’m low-key obsessed with them. Also, important to keep in mind, these books can be read in any order.

They are completely distinct stories, each following a different set of characters, so you can start anywhere you want, with which ever story sounds most appealing to you.

In this story, we explore the question: What if the Blue Fairy wasn’t supposed to help Pinocchio?

I have never read the source material, The Adventures Of Pinocchio, that the 1940-animated Disney film Pinocchio is inspired by. Additionally, I have only watched Pinocchio a handful of times. It actually scared me as a kid, so it wasn’t one I necessarily gravitated towards.

However, when I heard the pitch for this story and saw that it was being written by Elizabeth Lim, I knew I had to pick it up as soon as I could.

This is based on Pinocchio’s story, yes, but this is really the story of the Blue Fairy. Who was she before? Had she always been a fairy? If not, how did she become one and who did she leave behind?

It turns out, the Blue Fairy was once a girl named Chiara, who lived in the village of Pariva, the very same small village that Pinocchio’s father, Geppetto, is from.

I loved the direction that Lim took this story. I found it fascinating learning about Chiara, her complicated relationship with her little sister, Ilaria, and the process that Chiara underwent to become the Blue Fairy we all know and love. Even the village was fun to learn about.

I was immediately swept up into this. I feel like Lim’s writing is completely immersive. Everything about it, from the descriptions, the setting of the scenes, the drama, the character work, it’s all top notch. If you’ve never read anything from Elizabeth Lim, I actually feel like this one is a great example of her style.

The fairy aspects were really fun. There was a school where Chiara went to train and she had a mentor. I love those relationship dynamics, so was happy to see it.

It was also interesting to see the choices, or should I say sacrifices, that individuals had to make to even become fairies. Chiara struggled a bit making her decisions in that regard, but they were important decisions, so it all made sense. It never felt angsty, or overdone, in my opinion.

Ilaria, Chiara’s sister, on the other hand, she was bringing all the drama. With dreams of being a world-famous opera singer, Ilaria’s personality could be a bit grating.

However, with this being said, it did make perfect sense in context with the greater story. We needed that push-and-pull, that vast difference between the two girls’ personalities in order for this story to have maximum impact.

The best part of this for me though, was seeing those connections to Pinocchio. Meeting younger versions of characters we know, for example, like Monstro, Stromboli and even a cricket.

Don’t be alarmed though, long-time Pinocchio fans, he is in the story too! So that was fun, seeing him and the interactions between Pinocchio, Geppetto and the Blue Fairy.

Overall, I had a really good time reading this. It’s a fantastic addition to The Twisted Tales collection. If you are curious about my rankings for all the books that I have read in this series, I will list them below at the bottom of this review.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney-Hyperion and Disney Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. It was nice to see a lesser known Disney character finally getting her time shine!!

My current ratings for the Twisted Tales series:

1. What Once Was Mine (Tangled): 4.5-stars rounded up
2. Reflection (Mulan): 4-stars
3. Almost There (The Princess and the Frog): 4-stars
4. When You Wish Upon a Star: 4-stars
5. Go the Distance (Hercules): 3.5-stars rounded up
6. As Old As Time (Beauty & the Beast): 3.5-stars rounded up
7. Straight On Til Morning (Peter Pan): 3.5-stars rounded up
8. Mirror, Mirror (Snow White): 3.5-stars rounded up
9. Unbirthday (Alice): 3.5-stars
10. Conceal, Don’t Feel (Frozen): 3.5-stars
11. A Whole New World (Aladdin): 3-stars
12. Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid): 2-stars

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Review: Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown

Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire HuntingSerwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting is the latest release from the fabulous Rick Riordan Presents imprint. It follows, you guessed it, a family of vampire hunters, or as they are commonly known, slayers.

More specifically, Serwa’s parents are the experienced slayers and Serwa is essentially a slayer-in-training.

More importantly though, Serwa is just a 12-year old girl trying to make her way through Middle School. That sounds scarier, doesn’t it?

Serwa and her parents are originally from Ghana, although Serwa has lived in the United States since she was very, very young. They’ve sort of bounced around, going wherever her parents skills are needed.

One day, seemingly out of nowhere an obayifo, or witch, from their past shows up at their house and attacks, allegedly searching for a magical artifact that Serwa has never heard of.

Whatever it is, it must be serious business because their home is destroyed and before Serwa can even wrap her head around what is happening, her parents are ditching her in a remote town in Maryland with an Aunt and a cousin she barely knows.

Serwa is shocked. Her parents have always included her in their adventures. She doesn’t understand why they would abandon her now. She needs them.

Making matter worse, Serwa must even attend school. After being home-schooled her whole life, this is bound to be a big adjustment. She’s the new girl and doesn’t quite fit in.

Luckily, she has her cousin and is able to make a couple of new friends. When mysterious things begin happening at the school, though, Serwa is afraid there is a adze, or shape-shifting vampire, in their midst.

Could this be related to the attack at their old house?

When she tries to tell her parents about it over the phone, they don’t believe her and then cut themselves off from her completely.

Wow, that’s harsh. Serwa can’t tackle this very serious issue alone. Thus, she is forced to confide in her new friends. She’ll just have to train them to be slayers as well. She can always wipe their memories after…

What ensues is a wildly-magical romp following Serwa and friends as they try to solve the mystery, protect a magical artifact and save their school from evil forces.

I absolutely adored my time reading this. I listened to the audiobook and definitely recommend it. The narrator did a phenomenal job breathing life into these characters. Oh my goodness, was it fun!!

I loved the influence of Ghanaian culture and folklore felt throughout this story. I liked reading about how her family and culture impacted Serwa.

That’s really the beauty of this imprint. I’ve always learned from these books and find the different legends and folklore from around the world captivating to read about. This was certainly no exception.

The fact that it incorporates vampire lore makes it that much more fun!

I really enjoyed Serwa as a character. Her personality actually reminded me a bit of Aru Shah. I think that may have been because even though Serwa didn’t quite fit in, it didn’t stop her from being true to herself; a fun-loving, curious, determined young person.

Not everyone can be the super popular kid, nor should they want, or need to be. I loved how Serwa’s character was able to overcome being alienated from a lot of her peers. Once she found her friends, they became so close and really grew stronger together. It’s quality over quantity, y’all.

I also loved the mystery to this and the high stakes. Brown did an incredible job building the intensity as the story progressed. There wasn’t a dull moment to be found.

I did get super frustrated with Serwa’s parents though. Oh my word, I wanted to reach through the pages and shake them at times. We can’t expect adults to get everything right though, can we?

There was a truly jaw-dropping revelation towards the end of this. It basically flipped what I thought I knew on its head. I loved that! It took me completely by surprise.

Even though I found some scenes towards the end a tad confusing, I definitely think this concluded in a great spot to keep Readers drooling in anticipation of the sequel.

I cannot believe I have to wait a year to see where this story is going to go from here. You got me, Roseanne A. Brown. You got me good!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Another stellar addition to the Rick Riordan Presents imprint!!

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Review: Almost There (Twisted Tales #13) by Farrah Rochon

Almost There (Twisted Tale, A)Almost There by Farrah Rochon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Almost There is the 13th-installment in Disney’s Twisted Tales YA-series. These can be read in any order, as they each follow different characters and their stories are completely unrelated.

The point of this series is to take our favorite Disney tales, twist one element and explore what would have happened if that twist had actually occurred. Think of it as a sort of alternate history for Disney stories.

It’s Tiana’s turn to take center stage in this magical volume set in 1920’s New Orleans. I’m sure many of you love The Princess and the Frog as much as I do and it was so nice to return to that setting and characters through this story.

The twist in this tale involves a deal that Tiana agrees to make with the notorious Dr. Facilier. Even though Tiana only makes the deal because she feels backed into a corner, it still provides her with all of her deepest desires: her own restaurant, T&J’s Supper Club, her friends safe, and her beloved father’s return.

Unfortunately, sometimes when things sound too good to be true, they are. As Tiana finds herself navigating her new reality, she also begins to notice strange occurrences popping up everywhere around her.

It ends up being a race against both time and evil forces, but luckily Tiana has her good friends Naveen and Lottie on her side. New Orleans is getting creepy and it’s pretty clear Facilier has something to do with it. Can Tiana and friends set things right before she loses everything she holds dear?

Almost There was great. I flew through it so quickly. It was such a treat to be back in this setting, 1920s NOLA, with this fantastic and nuanced set of characters.

I really appreciate what Rochon was able to do with this story. I felt transported. The atmosphere was very well done. A strong addition to the series!!

I did listen to the audiobook and as always, Disney does a great job with that format. The narration was fantastic, perfect for these characters.

I definitely recommend this story to fans of this series, or The Princess and the Frog movie. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you pick it up.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books and Disney Audio, for providing me copies to read and review.

I am a huge fan of this series and am looking forward to continuing on with it!

My current ratings for the Twisted Tales series:

1. What Once Was Mine (Tangled): 4.5-stars rounded up
2. Reflection (Mulan): 4-stars
3. Almost There (The Princess and the Frog): 4-stars
4. Go the Distance (Hercules): 3.5-stars rounded up
5. As Old As Time (Beauty & the Beast): 3.5-stars rounded up
6. Straight On Til Morning (Peter Pan): 3.5-stars rounded up
7. Mirror, Mirror (Snow White): 3.5-stars rounded up
8. Unbirthday (Alice): 3.5-stars
9. Conceal, Don’t Feel (Frozen): 3.5-stars
10. A Whole New World (Aladdin): 3-stars
11. Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid): 2-stars

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Review: Part of Your Nightmare (Disney Chills #1) by Vera Strange

Part of Your Nightmare (Disney Chills, Book One)Part of Your Nightmare by Vera Strange
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Part of Your Nightmare is the first book in Disney’s Chills series, which features all new characters making deals with famous Disney villains.

This is a Middle Grade anthology series and does read very true to that age group.

In this installment we follow 11-year old, Shelly Anderson, who spends a lot of her time at the aquarium owned by her parents. She loves marine science and knows a lot about the ocean and the creatures who live there.

At school, Shelly is a member of the swim team and wants so much to be accepted by the popular girls on the team. In fact, being popular is a big focus for Shelly.

On a school trip to the aquarium, Shelly is hanging out with the popular girls, Kendall, the queen bee, and the twins, Alana and Attina. She’s excited about the acceptance she is starting to feel from them. They actually consider her a friend. She can’t mess this up.

When Kendall challenges her to do something she would never normally do, Shelly succumbs to the peer pressure. Her action has horrible consequences, summoning the Sea Witch Ursula and putting Shelly within her grasp.

Shelly apparently never saw the movie The Little Mermaid, so she is unaware that Ursula is a dangerous negotiator; someone she doesn’t want to be a making a deal with.

Unfortunately, without this knowledge, Shelly does just that. She makes a deal with the witch that will allow her one wish, to be the best swimmer, that way she can win competitions for her team and secure her popularity for sure.

As I am sure you can imagine, there’s hidden aspects to this deal and it doesn’t go as Shelly imagined at all. Life as she knows it is now at stake, can she figure out a way to break the deal before it’s too late!?

Part of Your Nightmare is a great start for this anthology series. I enjoyed this one. The ending took me completely by surprise. It was definitely chilling with a heavy dose of Goosebumps vibes. Fun and frightening!

The dialogue wasn’t the greatest, but I am hoping this author can improve with that over the course of the series. It just didn’t feel natural, or in any way like kids this age would talk.

Other than that, I enjoyed the imagery, the incorporation of Ursula and the lessons taught over the course of the story. I absolutely plan to continue on with this Spooky Middle Grade series.

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Review: Long Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw

Long Live the Pumpkin QueenLong Live the Pumpkin Queen by Shea Ernshaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After Sally marries Jack…wait, you know who I am talking about, right? Only the most perfect couple to ever couple; Jack and Sally Skellington.

You know them. They were simply meant to be.

So, yeah, back to what I was saying…after Sally marries Jack, she is officially the Pumpkin Queen, a title she wasn’t prepared for.

I mean, she was aware that Jack was the Pumpkin King, but that’s not why Sally wanted to be with him. She wanted to be with him because she loves him with her whole being; for the way he makes her feel.

Sally isn’t sure she is cut out to be a Queen though. Nothing about her feels Queenly, yet she’s been thrust into this position of power she feels completely unqualified for.

With all of her doubts swirling around her, Sally tries to do the best she can just adjusting to her new life. As all this is going on, Sally and Zero end up discovering a doorway to an ancient realm called Dream Town.

What Sally inadvertently unleashes from there threatens all she has come to love.

Now thrust into a position where she must act in order to save her town, Sally must search deep within herself to find the strength and will to move forward. She can’t be meek in the face of this danger.

This is her moment to prove to herself, and everyone else, that she has what it takes to be a Queen.

This was so cute. It’s a short book and probably won’t live in my memory forever, but for what it is, it absolutely filled my heart. I’m so glad I read it.

Ernshaw’s dark, beautiful writing is perfect for this setting and these characters. If you are a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, you must pick this up. Take a journey to Halloween Town and beyond as you learn more about one of the most lovable characters in animated herstory!

I cannot stress enough how perfect Ernshaw was as the author for Sally’s story. Her writing is perfectly equipped to bring this setting, with all it’s spooky quirks and features to the page.

I also definitely recommend the audiobook. The narration was fantastic!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. My world has been made a brighter place because of this story!

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Review: Shinji Taskahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa

Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl (Fiction - Middle Grade)Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Julie Kagawa never fails to completely capture my attention with her stories. Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl is no exception. This Middle Grade Adventure story was an absolute blast to read!

When he was very young, Shinji Takahashi lost both of his parents in a devastating house fire. Since that time, he has lived with her Aunt Yui.

Aunt Yui and Shinji travel the world in their boat, The Good Tern, searching for rare treasures for her business. In a way, they’re real life treasure hunters. It’s an interesting life; Shinji can’t complain, even though he is a bit surly at times.

While in Africa, they visit the small village of Abenge. Shinji goes exploring while his Aunt does some work. She gives him a bit of cash, so he can pick out a treasure of his own.

In a dusty old shop, he comes across an idol that will change the course of his life. A magical object that binds itself to Shinji and tattoos the Mark of the Coatl on his arm.

Almost as soon as he has the object in his hot little hands, a pair of menacing men approach Shinji and try to get the object from him. When Shinji refuses, it looks like things may turn violent and Shinji decides to run for it.

He’s not sure what exactly he has, but obviously it’s valuable as heck because these dudes aren’t giving up.

Before he can even make sense of it, Shinji is captured and whisked away to an unknown location. Once there, he is able to befriend a girl named, Lucy. She fills him in a bit on the people behind his capture, the mysterious Hightower Corporation.

Lucy seems to be some sort of tech prodigy and Shinji likes her right away, but can he trust her?

It seems Lucy is an ally. She aids in his escape from Hightower and leads him to some people who she thinks will be able to help and protect him: The Society of Explorers and Adventurers, better known as SEA.

It seems the tattoo on Shinji’s arm, the Mark of the Coatl, is actually a curse of sorts. In order to break it, Shinji must return to the source of the magic’s power and return it.

A team from SEA is assembled, made up of Oliver Ocean, Maya Griffin, Professor Carrero and Zoe Kim, participating via her drone, to help Shinji and Lucy on their quest.

Along the way, the group faces many obstacles, both natural and magical. They’re forced to face human villains, as well as creatures of legends. It’s a wild ride!

This was such a easy story to get into. Kagawa is a gifted storyteller and this one drew me in from the very start.

I loved Shinji so much. He truly embodies all of the characteristics needed in a hero. Additionally, I loved learning more about the secret organization of SEA. Hardcore Disney fans will find some Easter Eggs in this one. That made it extra fun, but really this story can be enjoyed by anyone.

The intensity builds in a nice, steady pace throughout the story, all leading to an epic showdown in the temple of the Coatl.

There were some scenes where I was biting my nails, edge-of-my-seat, praying for my favorites. Kagawa did a fantastic job of incorporating various folklore from around the world into this, as well as providing a strong message on the importance of protecting the world’s cultural artifacts.

This ended in such a great spot for the continuation of the series. I have no idea how many books are slated to be included in this series, or even if there will be multiple authors contributing. Either way, I am in for the long haul.

Bring on more SEA!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was an excellent start to another fantastic Middle Grade series!!

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Review: Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

Daughter of the DeepDaughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Would you be shocked if I told you this was the first book I have ever read by the fabulous Rick Riordan?

Well, it’s true. I can’t believe it either, but it’s true.

Luckily for me, I picked the perfect book to start with. I mean, honestly, this book has it all. I loved it.

Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a school for all things of the sea. Ana’s older brother, Dev, is also a student at the school.

Due to an accident taking her parent’s lives two years ago, Dev is all the family Ana has left. He means everything to her. They are very close.

The pinnacle of Ana’s freshman year is a weekend trial at sea; think of it as a very serious field trip.

Ana has no idea what lies in store for the weekend. She can only hope that she’ll be successful, but all of that goes out the window when the Freshman class witnesses a violent and tragic event. They’re lucky to be alive.

They learn a rival school, Land Institute, may be responsible, but why? What could possibly be behind such vicious animosity?

Ana and the rest of her classmates are now on their own. They need to figure this all out and somehow out smart and out last their enemies. Along the way, they learn a lot of school history and Ana learns some quite interesting things about her own heritage as well.

Daughter of the Deep is such an exciting, fast-paced and heart-warming story. I loved the connections to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, as well as the setting and overall vibe.

Riordan grabbed my attention from the very beginning and that never changed. I was completely engrossed in all that was evolving on the page.

I adored this cast of characters, how they grew to rely on one another and really became an excellent example of a found family. You want to be with them; one of the team.

Additionally, although the circumstances for our characters are quite serious, there was a great vein of humor running throughout this story. I found that aspect extremely engaging; it kept me focused.

I’m not sure what the plan is for this. If this will become a new series or not. I certainly hope it will be. I cannot imagine this being the last I read of these characters. They’re all so fantastic and there is so much more room for them to grow. I want more!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Audio, for providing me with a copy of the audiobook to listen to. The narrator was terrific and I feel like audio is great format to take in this story.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this will not be the last we see of Ana and friends!!!

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Review: Star Wars: Midnight Horizon (The High Republic) by Daniel Jose Older

Midnight Horizon (Star Wars: The High Republic)Midnight Horizon by Daniel José Older
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The High Republic era continues with Midnight Horizon from veteran Star Wars contributing author, Daniel Jose Older.

This installment features a huge and varied cast of characters, many of whom will be familiar to Readers of previous HR books.

The main action is set on the planet of Corellia and more specifically in its capital of Coronet City. Jedi Masters Kantam Sy and Cohmac Vitus get sent there, along with Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jamoram, to investigate a possible Nihil attack on the Core Worlds.

Known for its massive shipyards, Corellia would be a tantalizing target for the evil Nihil raiders.

It’s on Corellia that Reath and Ram run into Crash, a bold young security specialist who lost one of her close friends during the recent attack.

The young people team up and infiltrate the Coronet City night life, including a wacky ruse involving an intergalactic pop star, while the Masters pursue more mainstream channels of investigation.

This book was so packed full of action my head is still spinning. This is definitely one that I will need to read again in order to be able to pick up on all the finer points.

Older’s passion for the Star Wars galaxy is evident on every page. You can absolutely tell this is a person with vast knowledge of the world, characters and lore.

It’s not just action, however. This story is full of insights into many popular HR characters.

Since this era began, the characters we have come to know have been through so much. There’s a lot to process. I like getting the chance to go along with them on that journey.

Some of you may be wondering about my 3.5-star rating; although rounding up to a 4, it may seem low to some.

Basically, for me, I wasn’t as swept away in this installment as I have been with earlier works. I rate novels based off a comparison to other novels in the same genre that I have read. Star Wars, in my opinion, being a genre unto itself, that is what I am comparing this reading experience with.

I’ll be honest, I did get lost at times trying to keep up with all the characters and action. Additionally, I found my attention sort of waxing and waning amongst the separate lines of the plot.

With this being said, I fully accept that may be more of a me problem, than a problem with the actual book.

I respect this author’s contribution to this world so much. I think the level of content here is fantastic. I just may need to read it again in order to be able to soak it all in.

It’s really good though, so I actually wouldn’t mind…

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it so much!!

I have absolutely adored my time spent with the new High Republic materials and definitely recommend them to any Star Wars fan.

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