POISONED APPLES opens by warning its readers, “You can lose your way anywhere,” and for anyone underestimating this slim volume of YA fairy tale poetry, consider yourself fairly warned. It’s a solid little book, some offerings packing more of an emotional punch than others, some fitting the fairy tale theme better than others. But taken as a whole, it delivers raw and sometimes brutal commentary on what it means to be a teenage girl today.
Genre: Young Adult
BLACK DOG was my favorite book of 2014, and PURE MAGIC is everything I could have hoped for in a sequel. The black dogs of this world are a little darker, a littler more demonic than Urban Fantasy’s usual shapeshifters. With sulfur and fire and violence in their hearts, they flow up through the human body, and burst into our world.
In the original description I read of THE ARTISANS, this crucial sentence was at the end: “The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s classic Beauty and the Beast.” Generally anything promising a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite fairytale) is an instant win for me. And while I can definitely see the parallels between THE ARTISANS and Beauty and the Beast, THE ARTISANS had quite a bit more going on, that in fact, at times I felt like there was almost too much going on.
SILVER IN THE BLOOD was a book I was very much looking forward to reading. The beautiful cover and author alone (I loved DRAGON SLIPPERS) was enough to intrigue me, and I didn’t even bother reading the description. So going in a bit blind, I was very happy when SILVER IN THE BLOOD lived up to my expectations.
This is a fabulous story with fabulous characters. Molly, the “Wicked Witch” who comes to Castle Hangnail to govern it, is smart and ready to face the difficult tasks ahead – most important of which is getting the minions on her side!
Whether it’s the minotaur cook in the kitchen who hates anything to do with the letter Q, a stitched together (more than once) majordomo or the pin cushion doll with a hypochondriac goldfish, Vernon makes every secondary character interesting.
I’ll admit to being a bit wary of a book based on a comic. In fact, I had very low expectations for HEXED: THE SISTERS OF WITCHDOWN. And while it didn’t blow my mind, HEXED was still an enjoyable young adult read with some fun characters and creative mythology.
COLD BURN OF MAGIC is exactly what one would expect from an author like Estep – excellent and fun. Similar to her Elemental Assassin series, COLD BURN OF MAGIC is a new world filled with interesting characters, creative mythology, and a little touch of romance.
When a plague deadly to women sweeps through the aerial empire of Arthurise, doctor’s assistant Jonathan Gouden discovers that with the aid of a strange chemical called fantillium, he can create powerful illusions, which is key to finding an antidote. Unfortunately for Jonathan, the woman with the solution won’t help unless he agrees to be her champion in a magical arena. Heather Dixon’s ILLUSIONARIUM has some charms, but it’s centered around a flawed premise, and rushes through young adult tropes as if moving quickly will keep anyone from noticing the predictability. The system of magic which holds the book together makes no sense, and I had a hard time getting past it.
After I called CRUEL BEAUTY my top YA read of 2014, I wasn’t sure that CRIMSON BOUND could live up to the mightily high expectations I had for it. I mean, this is a book that I requested before there was even a description to go with the lovely cover. And, while I’m afraid that for me, CRIMSON BOUND doesn’t top CRUEL BEAUTY, it is still a magnificent story, well written with some great characters.
I tend to shy away from many YA books unless I find the premise interesting enough that I must at least give it a try or until the shear popularity of it forces me to take a peek. With THE STORYSPINNER it was the former reason.