In ROSEMARKED, the rose plague affects every part of the novel, from setting to characters. There are frank descriptions of everything, from infections to the remote, and desperate, lives of the infected. There is no magical cure and no kindness for those who are rosemarked.
THE SUFFERING TREE has themes teens will identify with but the plot holes and writing style overwhelm and distract from the overall novel. Tori Burns and her family move to Chaptico when they are bequeathed a house and plot of land in a will. After her father’s death, Tori is depressed and angry. She’s a cutter who already feels like she doesn’t fit in, and living in the close-knit town just isolates her further.
The vibe one gets from the cover of THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC is that the contents within will be lighthearted and cutesy. The story delivers exactly that – an excellent example of a time a cover is perfect for the book. Unfortunately, while lighthearted and fun, I do have a few complaints about THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC.
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.
A very creative take on the Snow White fairy tale, STITCHING SNOW has a brilliant heroine coupled with a stubborn and honorable hero, taking place in what appears to be a galaxy, far far away. While some of the plot points were a bit predictable, it was a diverting read, and a fun way to spend a few hours.
A traditional set-up with a good helping of charm, THE FOUNDRY’S EDGE by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz packages a lot of common YA fantasy tropes in an unconventional wrapper. Though the biggest ‘surprise’ of the novel is revealed in the first third of the book, it’s a dark twist with far-reaching consequences, and that edge turns the first Book of Ore from a predictable story to an adventure worth taking.
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.
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.
Like my favorite television police procedurals, THE NATURALS takes plausible skill and science to the redline, where serial killers and the FBI profilers who hunt them may as well be magical monsters and heroes. I fell in love with these characters and their world, and can’t wait for another chance to visit the Natural’s clubhouse at Quantico.
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.