THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST is the perfect update to the fairy tale worlds of childhood. A little darker, a little sexier, and with heroes and heroines just a half step away from what is expected.
Genre: Young Adult
A creative take on a fairy tale retelling, PRINCESS OF THORNS follows the daughter of Sleeping Beauty, Aurora, as she treks through the kingdom to rescue her brother. With elements of other fairy tales brought in (Niklaas’ curse comes to mind), PRINCESS OF THORNS is a wonderful continuation of a beloved fairy tale. Plus, the entire first half of the book has Aurora dressed up as and acting as a boy – a trope I can’t resist – and in this case, it was done well.
SUSPICION by Alexandra Monir, is pitched as a modern version of the classic thriller Rebecca, and it definitely creates that vibe, along with a pretty solid mystery, and a dash of The Princess Diaries. Between that and the romance of reconnecting with a first love, this book didn’t need anything else – but it’s ‘urban fantasy,’ and so magic must appear. It’s rare for me to wish a story lacked a supernatural element, but with SUSPICION (a nonsensical title for the novel) enough is happening that the subplot about an ancestor with an unusually green thumb and the inheritance of “Elemental” powers just unbalances the plot.
Though it started out a bit slowly, MORTAL HEART was an excellent series conclusion to the His Fair Assassin trilogy. With the usual politics, action and intrigue that we’ve come to expect from the trilogy, MORTAL HEART offers an ending that should satisfy readers who’ve followed the characters from GRAVE MERCY.
A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray is a charming, romantic adventure across multiple universes, though as with many fantastical stories built on a vague, pseudo-scientific premise, the souffle falls if you poke at it. As long as you’re the type of reader who can ignore inconsistencies in the rules of made-up technologies, Marguerite’s dance between dimensions in pursuit of revenge, love, and loss should spark your imagination.
Romantic police procedurals are a television staple, and The Naturals series brings this winning dynamic to young adult fiction. The teens making up this crime solving team fairly leap off the page, young and sexy and gifted.
If you missed Sophronia Temminick’s Finishing School adventures as much as I did, you’ll love Gail Carriger’s latest trip to Madamoiselle Geraldine’s and the lessons in proper spycraft within the pages of WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY. The wider supernatural world closes in on Sophronia and her friends as the werewolf drama that sets the events of Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series into motion happens while the ladies are learning the art of the bladed fan. With her friend Sidheag personally affected by pack dynamics, Sophronia has no choice but to get involved herself. It’s always a delight to go back to school with Carriger, though, like Sophronia’s first outing, WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY feels more like a stepping stone in a larger story than its own novel.
While it didn’t manage to pack quite the emotional punch as THE BROKENHEARTED, THE INVISIBLE has it’s own way of twisting the reader’s heartstrings. A thrilling and action-packed follow-up to THE BROKENHEARTED, THE INVISIBLE will grab readers from the beginning and remind them why they loved book one so much.
Reminiscent of the many threads introduced in THE RAVEN BOYS, BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE once again widens the lens of this world to follow oh so many stories at once. With more of a focus on action than relationships, BLUE LILY covers significant ground, and yet, feels paradoxically shorter than its predecessors.
Don’t be fooled into expecting the usual YA ghostly love story, SUBLIME will entrap those tender expectations and twist them into horror. While the characters are as charismatic as expected from the expert romance duo Christina Lauren, most of the ghostly promise of the plot ultimately fell flat.