It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt

its a wonderfulPoor RJ is in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up in the middle of a Grim Reaper and gypsy, who isn’t ready to depart from this world. Oops you’re dead.

Instead of being shocked, dismayed or upset RJ is angry and indignant. How dare the Reaper make a mistake and interrupt her busy teenage schedule.

She insists on being sent back pronto.

Essentially this story is about having the chance to rectify mistakes, to take the right path instead of the wrong one and being given a second chance.

Each interaction we have with another human being moves a cog in life. Depending on which direction it moves it sets different things in motion. So it goes without saying that changing one movement or direction in one cog can change a life.

The powers that be, and there are quite a few in the Heaven/Hell/In-between station, finally decide RJ at least deserves a try at being a better person. So she gets placed back into certain situations in the hope that she will make better choices for herself and for her fellow human beings.

Schmitt lays at lot of emphasis on bullying, peer pressure and taking responsibility for your actions. The underlying message being; how each of us and our decisions can impact others.

If our interactions with others are negative then perhaps we are leaving a trail of destruction behind us. Instead of ignoring the bullied kid in the corner maybe you should talk to them. If being with the popular kids means you have to be mean to others then maybe you need to find new friends. Do you ignore it when others are being picked on? Stand up and speak out.

A strong message to young people, but wrapped within a story, which is both witty and serious at the same time.

Thank you to Edelweiss for my copy of It’s a Wonderful Death.
Buy It’s a Wonderful Death at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Karou has literally been raised by monsters, she knows nothing about her heritage and is torn between two worlds and two warring groups. The seraphim and the chimaera, the angels and the monsters. Her heritage is a mystery and yet already she knows that somehow she is caught in the middle. Her loyalty to Brimstone & Co. is set in stone, because they are her family, despite them being her natural enemy.

I loved the little magical eccentricities and the idea of the Wishmonger, although that disappeared a little in the second half of the book.

It is certainly firmly in the YA world, despite the fact I thought the character of Karou and the story would have done just as well being more NA or adult. The way Karou interacts with the monsters and angels is bold, creative and intriguing. The interaction between Karou and her uni friends is teenagey, very YA and predictably cheesy. Quite a contradiction, despite the well-written story. On the one hand you have the fearless fighting ninja and on the other the giggly immature teen.

I thought the story got off to a great start and was hoping to learn more about the secrets of Brimstone, unfortunately the second half meandered into a forbidden romance instead of sticking with the already half-opened doors of the underworld.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.