Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed


Science Fiction YA

Review: Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski


THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.

Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.

As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating:


Hello again! Another day, another review, and this one is on Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski! I’ve been trying to read more Sci-Fi and broaden my horizons instead of comfortably reading Contemporary over and over again. So far, it’s been hard to break that habit of returning to Contemporary, but I still try and read something else once in a while. And this book sounded pretty interesting, with the huge competition and everything! Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would…

The main reason for this was my initial feelings for the protagonist. I didn’t like Cassie from the beginning, with her thinking she’s better than everyone else. Even after she began to develop as a character, and I started to like Cassie a bit more, there was still that initial impression that followed me until near the very end. If I liked anything, it was probably her development as a character, making friends while in the competition, and realizing mistakes she has made beforehand. I liked some of the secondary characters a lot more though, like her friends Emilio and Mitsuko!

As for the plot, I actually liked the idea behind it all, with the winner of the competition going into space alongside seasoned astronauts. And every step of the way, I was intrigued by the challenges set up to determine the winner as well as the courses used to catch them up. Although all throughout the novel, I did wonder “Why do they need an inexperienced person to come along with them to space?” And how does youth play a role?” And while my questions were answered by the end, those answers just spurred so many more questions! Honestly, the plot was where it was at for me and the only thing I can think of that I didn’t like was sometimes the pacing would be really quick in some places, but really slow in others.

Well, that’s about all I have to say about Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski. Wasn’t my favourite Sci-Fi read (that honour goes to The Thousandth Floor! 😉 ), but I did find it interesting. Not sure whether I’ll pick up the sequel, though…Has anyone else read Dare Mighty Things? And if so, what were your thoughts on the book? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments Section below!

Take care, everyone, and keep reading!

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Review: The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee


All that glitters is not gold.

New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden—even if it means trusting her enemy.

Watt just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there also means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him…no matter the cost.

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating:


Hello, there! It’s the first review of the year, so I’m going to make it count! Today’s review is on Katharine McGee’s sophomore novel, The Dazzling Heights. Now, when I finished reading her first book about a year ago, I remember wanting the second book immediately! I mean, who wouldn’t after that revelation and cliffhanger? It was the book I would recommend to people, asking,” Have you read The Thousandth Floor yet?” to anyone interested in this genre or YA in general. I didn’t think about how good book two would be, because I automatically assumed it would be amazing!

Now, once I was finished with this book, I thought two things. One, that some characters were still more interesting than others. Like Rylin, Leda, Watt, for example (they’re the interesting ones). I was always eager to follow their POVs and see what would happen. As for Avery, well to be honest, I could care less. She had basically no character development from The Thousandth Floor, in my opinion, which doesn’t make me want to read on when I reach her POV. It actually makes me want to skip to the other POVs. Even the new girl, Calliope, although I wasn’t even interested in her after a certain point. Also, I kind of wish that instead of bringing a new person into the fold, that the author could have brought in one or two more POVs from others who were already in the world of the Tower.

The second thing I thought of was that the story became intriguing in the second half of the novel in comparison to the first. So much more seemed to happen within that half that I liked and didn’t like, but you couldn’t say that it was boring (unless it was Avery’s POV 😛 )! And then there was that ending! Everything came crashing together, so much so that I honestly have no clue how book three is going to tie all these loose ends together!

Well, that’s all I have to say about The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee! Who’s excited for book three, The Towering Sky? I certainly am! If you haven’t already, I suggest everyone who likes light Sci-Fi  read The Thousandth Floor! And feel free to share any comments you might have in the section below!

Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz


When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating:


Hi, there! Another day, another review; this one is on The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz. Now with this book, I’ve got to say, I really wanted to like it. The book sounded intriguing with the ballet premise, the mystery of what has happened to the girls to their current predicament, the Master’s past and so forth. However, it didn’t come together the way I expected, and was thoroughly disappointed because of this.

First of all, I didn’t really like how the author kept on hinting at the mystery of it all by adding phrases like “Or so she thought.” at the end of a passage, making it less of a hint and more of a shout-out (for lack of a better word). If there was more show than tell, it might have been better. Also, it was weird that while the book was centred around dance, it barely talks about it. These girls could have been easily horseback riding and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I love reading books about performance art, so you could only imagine how disappointed I was when it wasn’t really relevant to the plot.

Another thing I thought had potential was the backstory given about the Master. I’ve always liked backstories to see what motivates people to act the way they do. And while I liked the backstory given, I didn’t really understand his motives to control a whole bunch of people. Maybe when it was about revenge, sure. But after that, nope, I couldn’t understand the purpose of holding a school, especially when the other pupils didn’t even matter in the story. They were basically the backdrop for Penny’s big debut. I know that we don’t get as much info on secondary characters since first person is a limited POV, but in this case, I don’t think her fellow classmates were relevant in the slightest. There was just no camaraderie, massive tension, or even some round characters, that made me care about them at all. Again, she could have been the Master’s sole pupil and it wouldn’t have changed the story. Overall, I felt as if some parts of the story weren’t really necessary.

Now, before this gets into a true rant, I’ll quit while I’m ahead and say that The Midnight Dance was not for me, despite wanting to like it. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about the book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour: All the Stars Left Behind by Ashley Graham (Review)

About the Book

All the Stars Left Behind by Ashley Graham

Published by Entangled Teen

Release Day: June 6, 2017 all-the-stars

Relocating to Arctic Norway would put a freeze on anyone’s social life. For Leda Lindgren, with her crutches and a chip on her shoulder the size of her former Manhattan home, the frozen tundra is just as boring as it sounds. Until she meets her uncle’s gorgeous employee.

Unfortunately, no matter how smoking hot the guy is, Roar comes with secrets as unnerving as his moving tattoos. And Leda doesn’t trust him.

Roar shouldn’t be drawn to the moody human girl with eyes that leave him weak in the knees. But when Leda gets shot by one of his enemies and survives, Roar finally understands why he’s drawn to her: Leda is exactly what he was sent to Earth to find. A weapon of immense power capable of saving his planet.

She just doesn’t know it yet.



My rating: purple4

(3.75 stars)

Hi, everyone! I recently finished All the Stars Left Behind by Ashley Graham, and I’ve got to say that overall, I liked it! There were some parts that I was kind of iffy about, but, by the end, it was pretty good.

Firstly, I think I liked how action packed the book got at times. During the beginning, the book was a bit slow for my taste. But once something actually happened, I was fully engrossed in the story. And trust me, a lot does happen in this book. Almost to the point where it’s unreal. But I think it manages to jampack everything that could happen while not being too dramatic. Plus, the book would do a nice job of explaining any raised questions that readers might have right away.

As for the characters, for the most part, I really liked the ones that were fully fleshed out, like our protagonists, Leda and Roar. Without thinking about pairings or whatnot, I really admired Leda’s ability to stay strong and sensible, even with everything that’s been going on. Even at times where she’d doubt herself or want nothing more than to follow her desires, she doesn’t, because she knows there is more at stake. Plus, I like the way the author treats her disability in the novel, not something to be overlooked but at the same time, it doesn’t limit Leda’s potential to be a hero at all. The only problem I had with her was her link to Roar. While it was explained away and everything, I still kind of felt like it was too instalovey for me. I have few exceptions for instalove, and this wasn’t one of them… Other than that instalove and the amount of time it would take to get from one POV to the others, I really liked reading about our main characters.

Well, that’s all I have to say about All the Stars Left Behind by Ashley Graham. I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind instalove and is in the mood for a good Sci-Fi read! If you have any thoughts or questions about this book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below! Thanks for reading, everyone!

About the Author


Ashley Graham was born in Ontario, Canada, and has since lived in five countries. Before writing her first manuscript in 2015, she worked as a clerical assistant, quality assurance officer, chef, and stay-at-home mom/homeschool teacher. When she isn’t writing or reading every book she gets her hands on, Ashley enjoys online window shopping, Netflix binges, and spends way too much time thinking about space travel. ALL THE STARS LEFT BEHIND is her debut novel.

Author links: Website|Goodreads|Twitter|Facebook


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Review: Dreamfall by Amy Plum


Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating: green2.png

Hey there, everybody! Well, it’s finally happened; I’ve gotten around to reading Dreamfall by Amy Plum. I was really excited for this book, not only because it’s Amy Plum, but it’s Amy Plum writing Sci-Fi, and I was trying to get into that genre lately… Plus, look at that gorgeous cover! It’s surreal! But then I actually got to reading it and found myself utterly bored…

To be fair, there were interesting parts. Especially outside of Dreamfall, the place all the teenagers are connected to in their consciousness. I think I really liked the issue of ethics involved in the experiment, especially since they’re almost all minors. There’s this tension between wanting to do the right thing and, at the same time, saving what’s left of the experiment if possible. And this was all told from the POV of Jaime, a premed student who happened to be there, which I really liked. I felt like Jaime was like a reader himself, observing from the outside, trying to figure out what’s going on, while delving deeper into the pasts of the patients. It was also during these times where both the reader and Jaime would learn more about the patients suffering from insomnia and what led them to take part in this experiment. Piece by piece, it would compliment their dreams and help add to the puzzle!

What I didn’t enjoy about the book was essentially Dreamfall, the collective consciousness the patients were in while trying to survive their own nightmares. At first, I would try to read as much as I could, but by midpoint, I was skimming around those parts like nobody’s business! Some dreams were vivid and memorable, but after a while, it seemed kind of repetitive…That, and the fact that the book drags on way too long for my liking, and by the end of it all, I don’t think even a few hours have passed since the experiment started. For me, there are only a few books that could pull off that stretched-out narrative, and this definitely wasn’t it. And don’t get me started on the POVs! While Jaime’s POV was interesting, I’m curious as to why there are only two other POVs in the book even though there are more characters trapped inside Dreamfall. Was it because of the novel’s length not allowing it? Or maybe the other characters will be featured in the next and final novel, Neverwake… I don’t know, but overall, I didn’t really like it.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Dreamfall for now. While it wasn’t my cup of tea, I’m pretty sure people who like reading about dreamscapes would like this more than I did. Oh, and by the way, if you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions on great Science Fiction in YA, be sure to leave them in the Comments Section below! Thanks for reading!

– Sumaya

Blog Tour: True Born Trilogy by L.E. Sterling (True Born Review)

About the Book

True Born by L.E. Sterling

Published on May 3rd, 2016

Published by Entangled Teen

Genre: YA Fantasy/Science Fiction


Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood. 


Purchase from the publisher’s site


My rating: purple3

Hi again! Hope everyone is having a good week so far! In honour of the latest instalment of the True Born trilogy, True North, I’m here to review the first book itself! I’ve just finished reading True Born by L.E. Sterling, and even though I liked it overall, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It actually took me a while to finish it compared to most books I read, so maybe it had to do with that. However, I think my view of the characters and the way the exposition was handled had a lot to do with me liking the novel as well.

For instance, other than a handful of characters, I don’t think that anyone made a great impression on me throughout the novel. And that even includes our protagonist, Lucy. At times, I barely tolerated her, but there were a few moments where she caught my attention. Other than that, I also had a problem with her speech patterns because it was all over the place. Sometimes, Lucy would go from using prim and proper speech to talking regularly or in slang. And this isn’t just to different people, but in her thoughts as well. If she had stuck to one lane or the other, it would have been okay with me. But the mix in her dialogue and narrative was a bit jarring to read.

As for the exposition, while I know it’s needed for readers to gain context of the story’s world, at times it could be a bit too much, dumping information when readers could have been eased in. It felt odd at times, too, even random at one point. It’s probably why I was so slow reading this book in the beginning, because by the end of the novel, it was more fast-paced and easier to read.

The thing I liked about this book though was its world building. While the exposition surrounding Lucy and her sister Margot’s history wasn’t the greatest, the mythology surrounding the city of Dominion with a mix of science and magic was really cool. I liked seeing how that all fit together. That and learning about the Fox sisters’ puzzling DNA mystery was what made this book easier to read. It kept me going, wanting to know what would happen to them as well as what was happening to them. Overall, the book’s world building slightly redeemed the story, in my eyes.

Well, that’s all I have to say about True Born by L.E. Sterling. While I’ve got to admit that it wasn’t my favourites, it did hold an interesting appeal in terms of the world created between those pages. Hopefully this just sets the stage for book two! 😉 If you have any thoughts or questions about this book, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everybody!

–  Sumaya

About the Author

I was a voracious devotee of sci-fi and fantasy novels all through my childhood, so I suppose it doesn’t come as much of a shock that I’ve returned to the genre with a vengeance.

For a while I turned my back on the genre in favour of ‘high-brow’ literary texts. Ironically, it was my doctoral degree that saw me circling back. There’s something about the way postmodern literature plays with the arcane that had me utterly fascinated, and it wasn’t long until I fell headlong back into my old ways and haven’t looked back since.

My first novel, which isn’t in the Urban Fantasy or Fantasy genres, isn’t high literature, mind you, even if it tangles with some serious statements about politics and the way our western world runs. My editor described it as something between Charles Dickens and The Catcher in the Rye: Serious Fun, in other words.

My second novel, Pluto’s Gate, is where I’ve come home to myself: it’s a contemporary retelling of the Demeter-Persephone-Pluto story from Greek mythology. Folded into the mix is a Shaman-in-training, a magical book, Underworld Gods, a world covered in ice, a three-headed dog, and one lousy ex-boyfriend.

But I’ll tell you this much: I believe in the power of words and stories to transform our inner worlds. Whether the characters be vampires or vagabonds, a good narrative sucker punches so-called reality anyhow.

Author links: Website|Goodreads|Twitter


Read the first 6 chapters HERE

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Book Bargain: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee!

Hey, everybody! I just wanted to let you know that The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is on sale for $1.99 (eBook). You can find it on Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks. I suggest this to anyone who is thinking of reading it to go and buy it now before the sale’s finished! 😉 I read it last year and loved it! ❤️❤️❤️ 

Review: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

My rating: black4.5.png

Hello, fellow bloggers! I’m back with another review. This one is on Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar. I admit, it was the title that made me want to pick up this book. It was just so blunt that I wanted to know more about it. Also, it’s especially comical with the traffic sign attached to it. The book is about a boy named Aspen, who has taken advantage of everyone through his super powers, taking away anything he doesn’t like about people. It’s been in his family for quite a while and until he goes to stay with them, he never really thought about what his powers does to others.

I love how selfish Aspen is; it’s much more refreshing than those protagonists who are more good than bad, but feel guilty about what they’ve done and try to make amends for it all the time. I don’t know what that says about me, but I really liked reading from Aspen’s POV, especially when you as a reader can tell that what he’s doing at the moment is pretty awful, but he thinks it’s alright and appropriate behaviour. However, don’t worry; Aspen does develop within the story and it is fulfilling because he’s come a way ( I wouldn’t say a long way, but more than the first page of the book, that’s for sure).

There’s also the romance within the book. Or the lack of romance. I felt as if this book was more focused on the idea of family and what makes a person rather than the romance between characters. Any romance that was present within the story was warped or broken to the point beyond repair. Anyways, the romance was sidelined for an important part of Aspen’s life to manifest itself: family and his powers. They had such an influence on shaping him to who he is in the present, which can be seen through the amazing flashbacks that gave us just enough information to get by and build suspense. Overall, the whole was about family, not the guy becoming a better person due to love.

That’s all I have to say about Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar. I thought that this was a pretty great paranormal read with a satisfying ending. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya


Review: The Cage by Megan Shepherd

My rating: green4

Hey, everyone! I’m back with another review, and this one is one The Cage by Megan Shepherd. It’s about a group of teens who are abducted by aliens for their own safety and to ensure the survival of the human race. The story is told in many different POVs but most of these chapters are told from the perspective of Cora, the daughter of a senator who recently got out of juvie. Her fellow captives include Lucky, Nok, Rolf, and Leon. Together, they must figure out a way to escape their space prison/ otherworldly zoo or end up living the rest of their lives under the custody of their alien jailers.

I’ve got to say, this book was intriguing in the way things were set up. I thought that things were revealed at the right time, with certain information being withheld just for suspense’s sake. OMG, and the huge reveal at the end? That was something I really liked! I also enjoyed reading the characters’ backstories along with the plot; in this case, I thought it was well done and helped readers sympathize with the other characters. However, I felt as if the sympathy skewed towards Cora, the one who gets the most voice-time, as well as the known rebel of the group. It would have been nicer to get more of the others’ thoughts at times, because I would be wondering what the others were going through and how they were holding up. I would only get snippets of that, and as result, the development of the characters wasn’t as profound or believable in relation to Cora. That was my main pet peeve. But other than, I didn’t really have a problem with the story.

As for the characters, there were times I was on a character’s side only to have questioned their logic later on. While they were in captivity at the otherworldly zoo, each character was trying to convince themselves that they were doing the best they could in order to survive and that everyone else was in the wrong. My opinion on that is that everyone in that place was going slightly paranoid and that was bound to affect their interactions with others… While their behaviour was really problematic, I thought that it made sure that no one was a flat character and that they were more interesting to read about. And that’s just looking at the humans in the story. The aliens were a whole other matter. While the story illuminates a bit about the origin of these aliens, I hope that the next book elaborates more on the world(s) surrounding them.

That’s all I have to say about The Cage by Megan Shepherd. If there’s one thing about Megan Shepherd’s books, it’s that she knows how to write a gripping story that will have you reading till the very last page. If you have any thoughts or questions about The Cage, please leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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