Sunday, February 28, 2016

Rebel of the Sands: An Awesome Western/High Fantasy/Arabian Fusion

Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Allen & Unwin

"Tell me that and we'll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that's how you want your story to go and we'll write it straight across the sand."

Dustwalk is Amani's home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan's enemies are on the rise.
Review by Nara

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Shadow Queen: DRAGONS!!

Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: C.J. Redwine
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
Review by Nara

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: What I Saw by Beck Nicholas

Title: What I Saw
Author: Beck Nicholas
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Harlequin via NetGalley

One punch will shatter a town.

Is anyone ready for the consequences of the truth?

Callie Jones is not the kind of girl who gets drunk at school dances, and certainly not now, with her scholarship on the line. And she definitely doesn’t hang around with bad boys like Rhett Barker. Especially alone, at night. But these are the circumstances she finds herself in when she witnesses a king hit that lands the town’s golden boy in a coma.

With his reputation, no one is less surprised than Rhett when he is accused of throwing the punch. But he didn’t do it. And he knows Callie saw what really went down. He just has to convince the ‘ice princess’ to come forward and talk to the police – except, for once, good girl Callie doesn’t seem all that interested in telling the truth. Just what is she hiding, and why?

Drawn together by secrets, scandal and heartache, Callie and Rhett find themselves getting closer – even as the solution to their problems gets further away.
Review by Nara

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Title: Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.
Review by Nara

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Title: Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Source: Penguin Random House via NetGalley

It's early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. Fans of The Book Thief or Helen Dunmore's The Siegewill be totally absorbed.

This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Ruta Sepetys, acclaimed author of Between Shades of Grey, brilliantly imagines their story.
Review by Nara

Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Title: Assassin's Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.
Review by Nara

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: Remembrance by Meg Cabot

Title: Remembrance (Mediator #7)
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: William Morrow via Edelweiss

In REMEMBRANCE, the seventh installment of the Mediator series, all Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva).

But when she stumbles across an ancient murder, old ghosts—and ex-boyfriends—aren’t all that come back to haunt her.

REMEMBRANCE will be the first ever adult installment of the Mediator, published by William Morrow, the adult division of HarperCollins, the company that brought you the YA books in the series.
Review by Nara

Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Title: Symptoms of Being Human
Author: Jeff Garvin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.
Review by Nara

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Revenge and the Wild: An Impressively Ambitious Debut

Title: Revenge and the Wild
Author: Michelle Modesto
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Paranormal Fantasy, Steampunk
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.
Review by Nara

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

Title: The Mystery of Hollow Places
Author: Rebecca Podos
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos' debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us - the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.
Review by Nara

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Title: Shallow Graves
Author: Kali Wallace
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.
Review by Nara