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Showing posts from March, 2013

Yesterday

Yesterday is a YA sci-fi novel by C. K. Kelly Martin.

In 2063, sixteen year old Freya is terrified that she has lost her brother forever. The U. N. A. (United North America) has already moved everyone off the coastlines because of climate change, there’s a constant, real threat of ecoterrorism, and the increase in a robot working class has forced a massive amount of people into unemployment and complete dependence on the government. Now, there’s a new disaster coming…

In 1985, sixteen year old Freya has just moved to Canada after losing her father in a unexpected, tragic accident. Her mother, sister, and Freya are trying to get through the sorrow and adapt to their new life.

But for Freya it’s difficult because everything seems… wrong. Especially when she looks at her life before moving - her old friends, her first boyfriend – it all feels flat. Unreal. Distant.

Perhaps it’s just the grief. But it doesn’t feel like it.

Then one day she sees a boy. A gorgeous boy. That’s not what catch…

Foretold: 14 Stories of Prophecy and Prediction

Foretold: 14 Stories of Prophecy and Prediction is a YA anthology edited by Carrie Ryan and featuring authors like Meg Cabot, Laini Taylor, Diana Peterfreund, and Margaret Stohl – among others!

Assembled here are fourteen short stories that feature a prediction or prophecy of some sort. It’s a cool premise because it can be interpreted so many ways, that though there is a common thread to each story each one is so unique from the other.

Starting off we get a tale from Laini Taylor that is evocative, interesting and intriguing. It felt enjoyable – and complete! That’s one of the main pet peeves I have with short stories – I don’t want to feel like it’s the start of the story instead of a satisfying, completed one. With Foretold I didn’t have that problem.

Next, Diana Peterfreund’s story had a chilling and excellent vibe. Truly great!

In fact, each story in Foretold has something creepy, funny, or thought-provoking to offer. There’s a Hitchcock flavor to one, dark disturbing aspects to …

Strings Attached

Strings Attached is a YA historical drama by Judy Blundell.

Seventeen-year-old Kit Corrigan went to New York City in 1950 to pursue her dream of being a dancer.

And to flee her messy family situation back home in Providence, Rhode Island. Not to mention her broken relationship with Billy – who enlisted in the army after their break-up.

It’s not easy in New York. Money isn’t flowing, even after she gets a part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show.

But then Nate Benedict, Billy’s father, comes around and offers help.

With strings.

He wants to offer her a nice apartment and a possibility at a better job – as long as Kit uses it to keep him informed on Billy, and does him favors when he asks.

Kit knows better than to trust Nate – he’s a lawyer involved with the mob – but a place of her own is so tempting. And seeing Billy again makes her heart hurt with yearning. But if she does it, will the favors ever end?

What would be like to be indebted to a man like Nate Benedict?

Strings Attached sur…

Fuse

Fuse is a YA post-apocalyptic novel, and the second in the Pure Trilogy, by Julianna Baggott.

Seriously, if you haven’t read Pure yet, reading this review will not be a good idea! Pure is an excellent book and I strongly recommend checking out my review of it here, instead of spoiling yourself by perusing this review of its sequel.

Agreed?

Okay, now for those of you who have read Pure, here’s a light synopsis of Fuse:

Outside of the Dome, the world is a nightmare. Partridge and Lyda, both Pure – untouched by the disasters that have wrecked the world by living in the Dome – are seeing now that the Wretches are not all terrible people – but they have endured horrifying conditions.

Now, Partridge and Lyda, along with the non-Pure revolutionary Bradwell, tough Pressia, who has ties to Partridge they’ve only recently learned about, and El Capitan the changing leader fused to his brother Helmud are learning just how much Partridge’s father had to do with what devastated the people outside …

Shadowfell

Shadowfell is a YA fantasy, and the first in a trilogy, by Juliet Marillier.

For years now, Neryn has been living a Nomadic existence – always trying to stay one step ahead of the Cull. In Alban, now that Keldec is king and has been for years, having even a suspicion of magical power is a death sentence – perhaps on your whole village.

Neryn has seen the devastation with her own two eyes. The haunting images are burned into her mind.

Having the ability to see and speak with the fey beings called Good Folk is means of instant enslavement. And because of the fear of everyone living in Alban, Neryn can trust no one – and she cannot blame them. If whispers reached the Cull that anyone had harbored, helped, or not reported anyone suspected with magical power they can be handed a discipline just as harsh.

Now alone, destitute, and so very weary, Neryn clings to the one hope – Shadowfell. A place where those who disagree with Keldec’s ways, and want to go about reclaiming their kingdom, live…

Unspoken

Unspoken is a YA fantasy/paranormal novel, and the first in The Lynburn Legacy, by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Since Kami Glass was born she has spoken, in her head, to a boy she’s never met. Over the years she’s known to keep it quieter, though she doesn’t hide it. Because of this, Kami has become a bit of an outsider in her small English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale.

But the thing is… he loves him. And the worry as to whether it’s all an “imaginary friend” doesn’t bother her all that much.

In the meantime, she has a best friend, runs a school newspaper, and is flexing her investigational skills in looking into the mysterious Lynburn family that townspeople seem to both revere and revile.

When the Lynburn family return to Sorry-in-the-Vale after having left it before Kami was born, Kami sees an opportunity to break the best story ever. Disturbing things start happening, though. Screeches in the woods. Her own mother dodging her questions. Blood.

And when Kami meets the two teenage Lynburn cous…

Undead

Undead is a YA zombie novel by Kirsty McKay.

Bobby is back in Great Britain after living in America for the last many years. Her accent and slang is an odd mixture that is causing her to have serious difficulty fitting in now at her English school.

So the school trip to Scotland is miserable.

But it’s about to get worse.

While the bus is at a stop at a roadside restaurant, almost everybody gets off – except Bobby and rebel Smitty. And they end up waiting a long time…

Until some kids come stumbling back with not so good news.

They’re teacher? Yeah, he’s trying to eat them. Not to mention most of the students, restaurant staff, etc.

Apparently nearly everybody has turned into zombies – and Bobby, Smitty, and a couple other survivors that seem like they’re hiding something are going to need to go through Survival 101.

Or become someone’s meal.

I’m not much of a zombie person. I don’t like The Walking Dead. But every once in a while there’s a twist that I can appreciate – the lyrical ha…

Predator's Gold

Predator’s Gold is the second novel in the YA sci-fi/dystopia Predator Cities quartet by Philip Reeve.

If you haven’t read Mortal Engines yet, I strongly recommend you do before you read this review and get some inevitable spoilers. You can read my review of that first book here.

Now, if you have read Mortal Engines feel free to continue…

Since the Traction City of London was demolished, Tom and Hester have spent the last two years flying the Jenny Haniver, trading and seeing the world. Their relationship has deepened, and the two have found a kernel of contentment after all the pain.

Yet an acclaimed author/adventurer named Pennyroyal asks for passage on their aircraft and when ordinarily they’d say no, they say yes. And suddenly they’re being pursued by rocket-firing gunships!

Their modicum of peace seems to be over.

Finding refuge in the ice city of Anchorage, Tom finds himself remembering how much he liked living on a Traction City. He starts to dread taking to the sky again. Hes…

In a Fix

In a Fix is a contemporary fantasy novel by Linda Grimes, and the first in a new series.

Ciel Halligan is an aura adapter – and a good one at that. Like a human chameleon, she’s able to take on others’ auras and flawlessly slip into their lives.

That is, in fact, her job.

Whereas a lot of the other aura adapters use their talents for, say, the CIA – Ciel has never been good with blood. So, she started her own business as a facilitator – she takes on clients and deals with problems the people don’t want to face themselves.

Ciel’s latest job was going really well. Snag a marriage proposal from an extremely attractive man while enjoying the relaxation of an all-expenses-paid sunny vacation? Sure, she’ll get paid for that.

But then things go really wrong.

Said attractive man gets kidnapped, and the beachside bungalow becomes a ball of fire.

Maybe completing this particular assignment is going to be a little tougher than she thought…

Oh. My. Gosh! In a Fix was a BLAST!!!

Linda Grimes has c…

Moonlight Masquerade

Moonlight Masquerade is a regency romance by Ruth Axtell.

Rees has worked hard to lift himself out of his middle-class upbringing, working to provide for his sister and mother and make them proud. So when he was offered an important job with the Foreign Office he took it.

However, it involves him masquerading as a temporary butler stand-in in a high-class household.

Essentially, he is to investigate, or spy on, Lady Celine Wexham – French by birth, but seemingly a model British subject. Widowed and beautiful in 1813, she remains unmarried and is inconceivably kind to her servants.

But she could also be passing along information to those in favor of Napoleon staying in power.

Commissioned to find out where Lady Wexham’s loyalties lie, Rees does his very best to fit in the fashionable London townhouse – and not be too enchanted by her.

What haunts him, though, as he watches her thoughtful eyes and graceful poise as she goes about her day, is what will he do if he does find evidence sh…

Hanging by a Thread

Hanging by a Thread is a YA paranormal mystery by Sophie Littlefield.

Clare Knight has recently moved back to her childhood town of Winston, along with her Mom, just in time for summer.

Only problem is that July 4th is a dreaded holiday in Winston – everyone is hoping and praying it won’t be like the last two where someone has gone missing or ended up dead…

Trying not to worry too much about it, Clare’s enjoying her new business she’s running with her best friend where they sell her redesigned vintage clothing.

But Clare has an ability she doesn’t share with others – when she touches certain pieces of clothing she can sometimes see glimpses into their pasts.

So when she stumbles across a beaten up denim jacket and gets a vivid, startling vision of violence and fear, Clare is suddenly much more involved in the disappearance of Amanda Stavros, the girl who went missing the previous Fourth of July…

I spent a lot of my younger reading years gorging on Joan Lowery Nixon and her excellent …

Caught in a Moment

Caught in a Moment is a YA fantasy by Martin Dukes.

Teenage Alex Trueman slips into daydreams – lucid, awesome daydreams that are way more interesting than the lesson at school or the supermarket as he shops alongside his hard-working Mom.

But it’s during his daydreams that something strange starts to happen.

Alex begins to notice a stutter in time. For a moment, everyone is stationary – and then with a shake of his dazed head everything is normal.

When the stutter starts to go longer, though, Alex takes advantage. A little showing off, a little harmless fun against the bullies that insist on tormenting him… nothing too terrible. And it impresses his friend.

But Alex’s enjoyment of the oddity with time comes to a screeching halt when it causes him to enter the bizarre world of Intersticia – where time has stopped moving altogether.

Trapped, there’s a panicky feel to walking amongst people frozen in time – the quiet is terribly loud.

When Alex meets fellow teenager Will and pretty K…

The Holders

The Holders is a YA paranormal novel by Julianna Scott.

Becca, seventeen, has been her brother’s protector since she can remember. He’s always been different. The voices in his head have caused many to try and put him in a mental institution – or worse. Yet Becca has always known, deep down, that the voices are real.

And no one is going to take her brother Ryland from her if she can help it.

So when two representatives from a “school” in Ireland called St. Brigid’s talk about how all they want to do is help Ryland – that he’ll fit in for once and be happy – she’s not na├»ve.

Yet as she listens, she realizes these people seem different. So, she agrees for them to take him – but only if she’s right by his side.

Thus starts her journey to Ireland.

Once there, she begins to learn more about her own family history and a legend about people with special abilities called Holders.

It doesn’t take long for Becca to realize that there might be an alternative reason that St. Brigid’s wanted her …

The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor’s Daughter is a historical fiction novel by Julie Klassen.

Well aware that her father’s boarding school is ailing financially in 1812 Devonshire, Emma Smallwood reaches out to a baronet that previously educated his sons with them. Two sons that Emma shares childhood memories of – one fondly, one not so fondly. Knowing that he has two younger sons perfect in age for her father’s services, she writes to him in the guise of her father – determined to salvage their life’s work.

In response, they receive an invitation to move to the baronet’s cliff-top manor for a year to school the young men at home. Since her father had also been frighteningly out of sorts since her mother’s illness and death, they accept – hoping for a fresh start.

When they arrive they find themselves in the midst of a enigmatic display of shock at their presence.

The strangeness doesn’t stop there.

Late in the night Emma hears someone playing the pianoforte, yet when she mentions it no one else acknowledge…

You Are Not Here

You Are Not Here is a YA contemporary novel written in poetry by Samantha Schutz.

Annaleah shared something special with Brian. She loved being with him. When they were together, nothing else really mattered. Even if no one else really knew about their relationship, it felt perfect.

But then he died.

Sudden. A heart issue of some kind. Something no one could have predicted.

And now Annaleah is grieving – deeply, painfully, and constantly.

Yet she has no one to share the grief with – she never met his family, his friends.

She’s on the outside, alone, and wondering if she can survive the mourning she doesn’t even feel allowed to have.

You Are Not Here is a heartbreaking novel. The fact that it’s written in verse give it a rhythmical, poetical elegance that makes the words flow right off the page and stab you in the chest. It hurts to read.

There is an authenticity, an intimacy, and a subtly that resonates after you close the pages.

Reading it took almost no time at all. I read it in le…