The first novel in Victoria Scott’s new YA series is CATCHING FIRE, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and The Amazing Race all rolled into one. But imagine if Katniss couldn’t hunt, or Lyra couldn’t communicate with Pantalaimon. Now imagine that they were still determined to do whatever it took to save those they loved and you’ll understand Tella Holloway’s dilemma in FIRE & FLOOD.
Genre: Science Fiction
While straying toward the science fiction spectrum of speculative fiction, HAMMER OF ANGELS nonetheless is likely to appeal to urban fantasy fans looking to shake up their reading habits. After all, the Shadowstorm series features a ass-kicking heroine with superhuman powers plus a cast of witty supporting characters set in a fictional world mirrored after our own – pretty much like every UF novel, it just so happens this one doesn’t have any magic and takes place in an alternate history where Germany won World War II.
I’m going to be completely honest here and say what we’re all thinking – a comparison to both George Orwell and Suzanne Collins in the same sentence doesn’t exactly make sense, does it? And while I appreciate the publisher’s desire to pull in THE HUNGER GAMES’ audience, if you go into THE OFFICE OF MERCY looking for another Katniss, you’re going to be disappointed. Not because THE OFFICE OF MERCY is in any way inferior to THE HUNGER GAMES, but it’s a totally different type of book – in the same way that Collins and Orwell wrote very different works, even though they may both have books that take place in dystopian environments.
This YA romance is given surprising depth with a background of xenophobia in a world not far removed from ours. At the center of Melissa Landers’ ALIENATED is the sweet and honest love story of Cara Sweeney and Aelyx of the L’eihr, an alien race that offers humanity a cancer cure upon making first contact. The parallels to present-day fears of ‘aliens’ are familiar without being heavy-handed or preachy, and we’re gifted with a protagonist who does not go easily into the role of L’eihr champion, but shows the reader exactly how and why she falls in love with one.
Before starting ERASED, the second book in the Altered series, I was tempted to go back to ALTERED for a skim-type of refresher, or to reread my review. I did neither and as it turns out, I didn’t need to. ERASED did a beautiful job of getting me back into Anna’s life, her world, and the events of the previous book. It also managed it without the sometimes off-putting repetition I’ve seen in other series books (Mythos Academy comes to mind).
A mashup of the story of the Titanic and Beth Reavis’s Across the Universe trilogy, THESE BROKEN STARS is part adventure, part thriller, and part romance. The first in the Starbound trilogy, THESE BROKEN STARS is one of those books that once you pick it up, you can’t put it down. I read the entire thing in a day – and writing this review was hard because I feel like I can’t do the book justice and explain how much I loved it.
Fans of X-men and Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series will fall in love with the MetaWars. With scientific enhancements and mutations that are all but magic, this politically messy series contains a world that has remade itself over and over again. And despite that complexity, I jumped in with CHIMERA and found myself up to speed and invested from page one.
When I hear about husband and wife writing duos I automatically expect an authentic, emotional romance. In FROZEN, the first book in the new Heart of Dread paranormal/post-apocalyptic YA series from Melissa de la Cruz and husband Michael Johnston, the romance is just one of the many things that failed to live up to my expectations.
There is always a challenge when it comes to characters who suffer from amnesia. It can feel like the reader is just as confused as they are. In CONJURED, Sarah Beth Durst handles this conundrum better than most by creating a hazy but still intriguing reality for her short-term memory challenged protagonist with surprising bursts of information well paced throughout the book. Oh and the literally magical kisses didn’t hurt.
When I finished ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, the first in the Cassandra Chronicles duology, you could have knocked me over with a feather, and I would not have noticed. This is one of those books where in the last few pages you’re given what you feel is closure, and then boom! The author turns around and smacks you- not with a cliffhanger, but with the possibility of so much more, the understanding that just because the specific story being told ended, doesn’t mean there isn’t more to these characters that we’ve come to know over the 400 or so pages.