Tag Archives: YA

Book Review: Incarnate

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Author: Jodi Meadows

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 374

Summary: New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Review: Jodie Meadows has done an amazing job setting up this strange world. The idea of people being the same souls, who are reborn over and over again, is new and intriguing. Adding in the idea of “what would happen if a new soul arrived?” brings more intrigue and mystery to the story.

Meadows has created some full characters as well. The main character, Ana, is defensive yet intelligent– a great combination for a strong female lead. Sam is more mysterious. With his many past lives, readers get the sense of who he is in each lifetime, but still aren’t sure of his actions and the reasoning behind them.

This book has wonderfully set the stage for the next in the series. Ana must figure out why she was born, what happened to the soul who never returned, all before she is stranded and alone until she dies, unsure if she herself will ever return.

Recommendation: Wonderful! Must read!

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Book Review: Killer Instinct

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Author:  S.E. Green

Genre: YA Thriller

Summary: She’s not evil, but she has certain… urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.

Why?

Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return… in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim…

Review:  WOW! I couldn’t put this book down. Amazingly written and filled with nonstop action. S.E. Green knows tension. The entire book is full of rising tension, action packed scenes, and a well crafted plot. I have to admit, I was trying to figure out the mystery the entire time. The ending was wonderfully drawn out and had a great twist!

Most thriller’s are action-based, and Killer Instinct is no exception. Lane aka Slim aka the Masked Savior is constantly getting her hands dirty. But Green brings in two more layers. One is Lane’s stream of consciousness. Readers learn about her “urges” as she feels them and as she figures out her own view on them. She is extremely analytical about the whole thing, and very self-controlled. 

The second layer Green brings to this YA thriller is more of a subplot. Though Lane doesn’t have the same emotions as a normal teenage girl, she still has the capacity to feel for others. Readers will see that she is not merely acting on her urges, but acting on her sense of justice. She defends those who can’t defend themselves. She feels more for the innocents or the weak than she does for herself. This caring quality is what gets her stuck in a twisted game of lies, blood, and murder. She must decide whether to accept her inherent urges or to take charge of them.

Recommendation: Get your hands on this ASAP

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Book Review: Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic #1)

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Author: Jen McConnel

Genre: YA

Summary: There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

Review: Jen McConnel knows how to keep the tension high. In the novel, Daughter of Chaos, tension is brought on early, with Darlena choosing a path that she didn’t know existed. This focal point is driven throughout the novel, leaving readers almost as desperate as Darlena to find out more about Red Magic.

The tension rises more as the life she once knew is taken away from her. Her parents are scared, her friends are misunderstanding, and a plethora of goddesses keep showing up,trying to convince her to use Red Magic their way, but leaving Darlena with more questions than answers. She is frightened and intrigued by the power that she wields, hoping to be able to do good for the world; not just destruction. Her journey for answers takes her farther than she realized she’d ever go.

Recommendation: Read

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Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

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Author: Robin Wasserman

Genre: YA

Summary: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Review: Robin Wasserman has written a wonderful stand alone book! There’s blood and love and an ancient mystery. What else could you ask for?

Her characters are unique, though spun from the normal archetypes. I loved that each character turned out to have a secret! (I refuse to be much more spoilery than that!)

I had the privilege of hearing her speak on a panel at AWP in Seattle last week. They were discussing creating a career in children’s and YA. This is not Wasserman’s first book (or second or third or tenth!) She has taken the time to hone her craft, and in this book, it shows.

The tension rises well as the action does. Nora’s emotional arc is slow, but forefront and is very authentic. My favorite craft element of this book though is the voice! Wasserman has created a wonderfully sarcastic, bright, and lovable main character with Nora.

Recommendation: READ!! 

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Book Review: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)

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Author: Gail Carriger

Genre: YA/Steampunk

Summary: It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail Carriger’s legions of fans have come to adore.

Review: I read part of Gail’s first series, The Parasol Protectorate, and was extremely excited when I learned she was writing a YA series. She really sold me on Steampunk.

Her character’s are unique and solid within themselves. This is set in a different time, not to mention that there are different creatures in this world as well, but she does a wonderful job at keeping the character’s true to the time, and still very relatable.

Her description is wonderful. I love the steampunky words used to describe the machines and the funny names of the machines themselves. Also, the names of characters are extremely unique. You won’t see them in any other YA novel, that’s for sure!

Overall, I love Carriger’s pith. She gives every chapter a purpose, but she throws a dash of hilarity. Mostly, the pith is all in the language and conversation, which makes reading in this time setting completely lovable! 

Recommendation: A must read!

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