Reviews written by Penny Olson

20 results - showing 1 - 15
1 2
Ordering
June 25, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Loved this phenomenal, delicious fairy tale

This loose retelling of Grimm's Goose Girl story is told by Vanja, who was handed over at the age of four by her mother to become the goddaughter of the low gods Death and Fortune. As the 13th daughter of a 13th daughter, she was simply considered bad luck. Vanja...

June 25, 2022 (Updated: June 25, 2022)
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Imaginative, enchanting and dark

Hotel Magnifique follows the story of two sisters who gain employment at a mysterious, magical hotel that travels to a new location every night. Jani is to work as a maid and wants to provide for her younger sister Zosa after their mother died and left them orphaned. Zosa, who...

June 25, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Beautiful tea magic with a brave heroine

A Magic Steeped in Poison follows, Ning, a teenage girl, as she travels to the Imperial Capitol to enter a competition to become the Princess' Shennong-Shi, a master of the art of tea making, who instills tea with magical powers. She hopes to receive a favor from the Princess so...

June 25, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Riveting, powerful and heartbreaking

All My Rage is the story of two Pakistani American teenagers growing up in a small desert town in California. Salahudin and Noor are outsiders and best friends facing incredibly adverse circumstances. The richly developed characters drew me in immediately and I felt that I was right alongside them. All...

February 03, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
A Powerful And Triumphant Conclusion

Ashes of Gold is the intense, powerful and triumphant conclusion to the Wings of Ebony fantasy duology. Wings of Ebony was a strong debut, but Ashes of Gold takes it to another level. The world of Ghizon and the magic system were more fully fleshed out, and the character development...

January 24, 2022
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
N/A
Writing Style
 
N/A
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
Fun, imaginative middle-grade fantasy

Never After is the first book in a new fantasy series. It's perfect for middle grade or upper elementary school readers, or as a light YA or adult read. Filomena, the main character is beloved by her parents but bullied at her California middle school. She visits the bookstore after...

January 24, 2022
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
A Dark, gothic, haunting retelling

Gilded is an imaginative retelling of Rumplestiltskin and the German tale of the Erlking. The heroine, Serilda, a miller's daughter was born cursed by the god of stories and lies. One night, after hiding two moss maidens who are being hunted by the evil Erlking and his undead hunting party,...

February 04, 2021
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Lush fantasy with amazing characters and world-building

I really loved We Hunt the Flame. It is a well-written fantasy inspired by Middle Eastern culture. The world building is skillful, the magic system fascinating, and the characters complex. The land of Arawiya once vibrant and flourishing, has lost its good magic, has become cursed and suffers under a...

January 08, 2021
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Hilariously funny and insightful rom-com

Super Fake Love Song is about Sunny Dae, a Korean American teenager who is a mega-nerd trying to survive at his wealthy, white California high school. He is introduced to Cirrus Soh, a very cool, worldly, beautiful girl. To impress her, he impulsively tells her he is the front man...

November 13, 2020
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Claustrophobic, creepy and haunting

Margot is the survivor of a devastating accident in which her entire family drowns in their car. She is taken in by the family of a lawyer, a former colleague of her dad's who owes her father his life. They live on an enormous, isolated family estate. She is asked...

November 13, 2020
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
A compelling and original coming out story

Amir is an Iranian American teenager who is gay and in the closet. When another student blackmails him about his secret boyfriend, he absolutely panics and flees to Rome. He is terrified of his parents finding out he is gay. The story unfolds as Amir goes to Rome, but also...

November 13, 2020
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Fast paced sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian

I really enjoyed Skyhunter, another winner from Marie Lu. Talin is a refugee and is mute. She is a Striker, a special type of fighter, for the country of Mara. Mara is under threat from the Karensa Federation, which has invaded every other country except for Mara. Talin and her...

November 13, 2020
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Young Adult Fiction
Fun contemporary YA romance

Evie is a young actress living in L.A. and has a legacy to live up to. Her parents are famous documentary film makers and her grandmother, Gigi, is a legendary actress. She has dreamed of following in Gigi's footsteps her whole life. Evie is about to launch into superstardom in...

September 15, 2020
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Brilliant, thought-provoking sci-fi

Andra, a teenager from the 2160s, is put into cryogenic stasis fulling expecting to wake up on another planet one hundred years later with her family and about a million other colonists. She is woken up in a dirty cave in 3102 by Zhade, an exiled prince. Society has devolved...

March 12, 2020
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Fantasy/romance for the younger YA reader

The Queen's Assassin is a fantasy romance geared toward the younger YA reader. It is told from the first person perspective of Shadow, who has grown up with her aunts and wants to join the Guild, an association of assassins and spies, and the third person perspective of Cal, the...

20 results - showing 1 - 15
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