Bite-Sized Reviews of Slayer, Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, Mera: Tidebreaker, and You’d Be Mine

April 5, 2019 Reviews 17

I’ve got four reviews for you today: a YA urban fantasy, a YA historical in verse, a MG graphic novel and a YA contemporary. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of Slayer, Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, Mera: Tidebreaker, and You’d Be MineSlayer by Kiersten White
Series: Slayer #1
Published by Simon Pulse on January 8, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 404
Source: Library
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
My rating:
5 Stars

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

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I honestly just want to randomly gush about this book because it’s a new installment in the Buffy-verse and it lives up to the brand!! I was both delighted and terrified to read this book. Buffy the Vampire Slayer came out when I was in college, and I was an avid fan. I waited desperately for every episode (I own the whole series on DVD now). Buffy is the only TV show I’ve ever been truly obsessed with. So, the idea of a new series set in that world was exciting, but I was also worried it couldn’t live up to the name (I’ve never read any of the random books based on the show, but this felt different somehow, since it’s a continuation of the series.) I read Season 8 of the graphic novel series to prepare, and I’m definitely glad I did. You could jump into this book without reading the graphic novels because the backstory is given in the book, but it’s definitely richer if you’ve read it.

So, I guess I should actually talk about the book a little, huh?

Basically, it was brilliant, and Kiersten White does a fantastic job capturing Joss Whedon’s combination of wit and heart. Nina has been raised with the Watchers, but she’s always been sheltered and never expected to be a Watcher. She’s always been sidelined in favor of her amazing sister who can do everything. All that changes when it turns out that Nina isn’t destined to be a watcher of Watchers after all—she’s a Slayer.

Nina has her own version of the Scooby Gang, which I loved. Rhys and Cillian are adorable together (they’re a gay couple, in case you can’t tell from the names), but I think I loved Cillian’s friendship with Nina even more than his romance. Artemis, Nina’s twin sister, is a complex character who has a strong character arc throughout the book. Then there’s Leo, the love interest. Super sweet and supportive, he’s a key character–but the romance definitely doesn’t overtake the plot. Buffy herself makes an appearance in the book as well, and I loved Nina’s character arc as she comes to terms with her hatred of Buffy and realizes that a Slayer’s choices are never easy.

Basically, if you’re a Buffy fan, you need this book in your life. If you’re not a Buffy fan, you need this book in your life so you can become one. End of story.


Bite-Sized Reviews of Slayer, Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, Mera: Tidebreaker, and You’d Be MineVoices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on March 26, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Verse
Pages: 208
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (War and some violence, though it's never graphically described)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death.

Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood). Along the way it explores issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices.

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Wow! A historical novel about Joan of Arc in verse? It’s either a crazy idea or utterly inspired—turns out it’s the latter. First off, I highly recommend that you read this book aloud because a lot of the book is written in rhymed and metered verse. I started out reading in my head, and I liked it, but when I started to read aloud the verse truly came alive.

You’ll have to have an open mind when you read this—some of the poems are told from the perspectives of actual objects in Joan’s life, including swords, her dress, etc. (in concrete poems, so they’re shaped like the objects). And Elliott often uses forms of poetry that were popular in medieval times, such as villanelles and sestinas. I loved these unique styles, but I love poetry in most of its forms, so…

The book recounts Joan of Arc’s last days and the events that led to her trial. Basically, in case you’re not familiar with the story, it comes down to the fact that she’s a woman who acts and dresses like a man. Horror of horrors! (Oh, and the men she led didn’t try to take advantage of her, so she was obviously a witch.) We also get the perspectives of some of the other people who knew Joan. Even though the story is obviously tragic, the emotion isn’t particularly palpable (this is often the case for me with verse). Still, I thought this account was engrossing and beautifully told. I easily zipped through the book in one sitting.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Slayer, Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, Mera: Tidebreaker, and You’d Be MineMera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige, Stephen Bryne
Published by DC Ink on April 2, 2019
Genres: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Paranormal
Pages: 192
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: MG/YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence but nothing graphic)
My rating:
4 Stars

From Danielle Paige, the New York Times best-selling author of Stealing Snow, comes a Mera and Aquaman origin story that explores Mera's first steps on land as well as her first steps as a hero or a villain, forcing her to choose to follow her heart or her mission to kill.

Mera is teenage royalty, heir to the throne of Xebel, the other not-so-lost colony under the sea. But Mera is destined to wear a different crown, that of Atlantis. When the inhabitants of Xebel plot to overthrow their homeland of Atlantis, Mera is sent to kill the heir to the throne, Arthur Curry. As the unrest between their colonies grows, Mera and Arthur unexpectedly fall in love...will Arthur Curry be the king at Mera's side in Atlantis, or will he die under her blade?

Mera by Danielle Paige is an astonishing story that explores themes of duty, love, heroism and freedom, all through the eyes of readers' favorite undersea royalty.

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A couple of disclaimers before I start: I went into this graphic novel with absolutely no background knowledge about Mera (or Aquaman, who I wouldn’t have even known was involved if I hadn’t read it in the synopsis). Instead, I read this as a Little Mermaid retelling and nothing more. Also, I always have a hard time reviewing graphic novels because you get so much less detail in them than you do a standard novel. I tend to just go in with the expectation that the story will be sparse and just try to enjoy the artwork and the characterization.

So, my reviews of graphic novels really just come down to how much I enjoy them. Since this is targeted at a MG/young YA audience (ages 12-14), I think that’s what most readers will be doing anyway, so I don’t feel too bad about that. I thought the artwork was great (though Mera and her mother did look a lot alike, which could sometimes throw me for a moment). I liked the muted green color palette. The story involves instalove, but as a Little Mermaid retelling, I wasn’t particularly surprised by that. I liked Arthur and Mera together, and I thought it was intriguing that Arthur didn’t know his background but he always felt the pull of the sea.

The story was interesting, and I was curious about the background history between Xebel and Atlantis. Some of that is explored in this story, but it’s glossed over a bit–we get enough to make me understand Mera’s frustration and her desire to free her people from a tyrannical rule, though.

Overall, I thought this was a good read, and I enjoyed the art. I would definitely read future installments if they make them.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Slayer, Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, Mera: Tidebreaker, and You’d Be MineYou'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Published by Wednesday Books on April 2, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley
My content rating: YA (Alcohol and drug use, Some talk of sex but nothing shown)
My rating:
4 Stars

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

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Even though I’m not a country music fan, this story about an up-and-coming country music star captured my attention. Annie and Clay are both fighting demons, and they both think they’re no good for each other. But resisting the chemistry they feel while on tour together is a whole lot easier said than done. I love that even though Annie often upstages Clay (who’s supposed to be the star), the story never turns into one of jealousy or backstabbing. These two support each other wholeheartedly, even when they aren’t necessarily getting along, and they each recognize the other person’s talent. I was pleasantly surprised by this because this story could have easily turned into a rivalry that got ugly (which would make me not want to root for them as a couple). Instead the story focuses on Annie and Clay each facing their own tragic backstories and dealing with how the events in their pasts have affected their ability to function in life (on many levels, including romantically). On top of that, Clay has to face the fact that he’s using alcohol to drown out his emotions. Since Annie has been deeply affected by her parents’ addictions, this becomes a huge roadblock for these two.

Ultimately, this is a story of hope and redemption. It’s the sort of book that tugs at your heartstrings and makes you want to sing a country song filled with hope and longing. An excellent YA romance.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

17 Responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of Slayer, Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, Mera: Tidebreaker, and You’d Be Mine”

  1. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I agree about Voices! It was REALLY impressive tbh. Like that had to take not only so much of the work that goes into a regular historical fiction, but then to make it all work… wow. And I LOVED the ones that made pictures! Like how freaking impressive is that!? I am going to be honest, idk if I care about any of the other books? Like none were on my TBR and I might just leave it that way? Is that awful? Bwhahah. But your reviews are fabulous! I want to care about Buffy. Maybe one day 😉

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: The 100 Book One (Seasons 1-5) Wrap Up
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I was obsessed with Buffy back in the day. Like, the way you are about The 100, that was me and Buffy. Of course, that’s good and bad when it comes to a spin-off series. It could go either way. I say you should definitely watch it, of course. 😉

      I’m so glad you loved Voices too! I’ve read a lot of verse novels lately, and that one was just so incredibly unique. And I agree that the historical aspect of it was impressive. If I’m going to learn about history, this is the way I want to do it. 🙂

  2. theorangutanlibrarian

    Yay I’m so glad slayer lives upto the buffy brand!!! 😀 I’m so glad it’s in tune with Whedon’s style as well 🙂 And you’d be mine sounds great! Brilliant reviews!

  3. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    I of course LOVED Slayer. I wanted to read Voices, but didn’t have an early copy, or probably time to actually read it. Glad to hear you liked it so much, because I’ll keep it on my TBR. I had a copy of Mera, but I just can’t seem to do graphic novels really, so I traded it. Of course with my luck, that trade seems to have gone a little south, and my books haven’t arrived. 🙁 Great reviews! Thanks for sharing! Also, Aquaman, Jason Momoa, definitely worth watching. 🙂

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: Cover Reveal: The Accidental Girlfriend by Emma Hart
  4. Chana @ Paper Procrastinators

    I’m so happy you liked Voices! And I also really enjoyed Slayer, but I had no prior knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before reading the book, so I just feel that I may have enjoyed it *more* if I did. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make time to read some of the comics or watch the show before the second book 😁

    Chana @ Paper Procrastinators recently posted: Reflections on Anticipation
  5. Olivia Roach

    Great reviews! I want to read Slayer because I think it’s so cool that it is Buffy based and I know I need to try reading something by that author at long last as well. I also really want to read the Joan of Arc one. I am a huge lover of historical fiction and I remember reading about her in primary school and being fascinated. I haven’t really looked into Joan of Arc since so I think it would be fun to return to that. I have to admit that You’d Be Mine intrigues me just because I do like my fair share of country music!

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