Tag Archives: fiction

True North (True Born, Book 2)

True North Book Cover True North
True Born, Book 2
L.E. Sterling
Juvenile Fiction
Entangled: Teen
April 4, 2017
Hardcover
400

Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there's been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters' blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

 

Review:

“True North” is the second book in the “True Born” trilogy.  I found it to be much more fun and less confusing than the first.

Part of the reason it is more fun is that I have accepted the somewhat ridiculous premise and beyond sketchy science and just decided to go along for the ride.  There is a new character, Alistair, who is intriguing and has me anxious for the next book to learn more.  The romance is also ramped up quite a bit for those who were waiting for that.

If you enjoyed “True Born,” you will love “True North.”

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Duels & Deception

Duels & Deception Book Cover Duels & Deception
Cindy Anstey
Young Adult Fiction
Macmillan
April 11, 2017
368

In 1800s London, a young heiress and her lawyer are caught up in a kidnapping plot to steal her fortune, but as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder what she truly wants.

 

Review:

I feel like I am the wrong person to review “Duels & Deception.”  It definitely seems like this is a case of “it isn’t the book; it’s me.”  The budding romance featured is cute and the historical elements are fascinating.  It’s also a very clean book for those looking for one, which is not very easy to find.  The flowery prose just seemed to grate on me and kept me from enjoying it.  If this seems like the type of book you will enjoy, please give it a try.  Don’t let my dislike sway you.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Minor Violence, Alcoholic Character

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, Book 1)

Gilded Cage Book Cover Gilded Cage
Dark Gifts, Book 1
Vic James
Del Rey Books
February 14, 2017
368

For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule--and commoners are doomed to serve. NOT ALL ARE FREE. NOT ALL ARE EQUAL. NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED. Our world belongs to the Equals--aristocrats with magical gifts--and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. A girl thirsts for love and knowledge. Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty--but will her heart pay the price? A boy dreams of revolution. Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts. He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate--or destroy?

 

Review:

“Gilded Cage” is a good take on a dystopian world mixed with fantasy elements.

The story is well-thought out with multiple points of view effectively used to both advance the story and tell it from different segments of the society.  The world-building is excellent.  All of the characters are complex and leave some mystery to them to be explored in the next book.  There are definitely some parallels to the current political climate throughout the book to be found.

I recommend “Gilded Cage” to lovers of dystopian books mixed with some magical elements.  It’s a quick and relatively clean read that is thought-provoking and fun.  I’m looking forward to the next book.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Brief Sexual Situations, Violence

One Italian Summer

One Italian Summer
Keris Stainton
Hot Key Books
May 4, 2017
Paperback
256

'Gentle and romantic. A holiday in itself.' Rainbow Rowell 'I flew through ONE ITALIAN SUMMER. It's a perfect summer read with a gorgeous setting, warm characters and a bittersweet evocation of life after tragedy.' Sophia Bennett, author of LOVE SONG Milly loves her sisters more than anything - they are her best friends. But this holiday is different. The loss of their dad has left a gaping hole in their lives that none of them know how to fill. Heartbreak is a hard thing to fix ...Still, there is plenty to keep the girls busy in Rome. A family wedding. Food, wine, parties and sun. And of course Luke ...Luke is hot, there is no way around that. And Milly will always have a crush on him. But this summer is about family, being together, and learning to live without Dad. It isn't about Luke at all ...is it?

 

Review:

“One Italian Summer” is a light ya romance that reads quickly but lacks much substance.

While there was an attempt at making the characters developed, I still felt somewhat removed from them, especially the love interest, Luke.  There was little to no explanation of exactly why Milly was so interested in him, aside from a rather alarming amount of wanting to lick his muscles.  Not going to lie, the amount of times a phrase like that was thought by her was a bit unsettling.  I know this complaint may be nitpicky, but the author seems to lose track of what her characters were doing quite a bit.  Characters would stand up twice in one page without sitting down, be in a car one second and in a parking lot walking to the car the next, etc.  It kept pulling me out of the story.

That being said, “One Italian Summer” is still a cute romance if you’re looking for a beach read that doesn’t require much from you.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Alcohol Use

Bang

Bang Book Cover Bang
Barry Lyga
Young Adult Fiction
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
April 18, 2017
304

A heartbreaking novel about living with your worst mistake, from New York Times bestselling author Barry Lyga. A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood. Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun. Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. It took a gun to get him into this. Now he needs a gun to get out. Unflinching and honest, Bang is as true and as relevant as tomorrow's headlines, the story of one boy and one moment in time that cannot be reclaimed.

 

Review:

I really wanted to like “Bang”.  It seems that I’m in the minority in not feeling it.  Unfortunately, the book just did not resonate with me.

It isn’t that there is not good writing or that the characters aren’t well-developed.  Both were good.  The problem for me, I believe, is that so many issues were packed into one book that it didn’t have time to focus on any of them enough.  Gun control, Islamophobia, mental illness of several types, and the income gap are a few of the things covered.

I can’t recommend “Bang”, but if the blurb sounds good to you, give it a try.  Maybe it’s just me.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Violence, Hate Speech

Bronze and Sunflower

Bronze and Sunflower Book Cover Bronze and Sunflower
Cao Wenxuan
Juvenile Fiction
Candlewick Press
March 14, 2017
400

Originally translated: United Kingdom: Walker Books UK, 2015.

 

Review:

While meant for children, “Bronze and Sunflower” is a beautifully written book about the cultural revolution in China during the 1960s-70s that any age group can enjoy and learn from.  The culture becomes alive, helped by the fact that it is translated into English.  Everything rings true and authentic.  I wish there were more books this good about other cultures.  Highly recommended.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Fire Starters

Fire Starters Book Cover Fire Starters
Jen Storm
December 31, 2016
Paperback

 

Review:

“Fire Starters” is an excellent book for middle graders about the prejudice facing indigenous peoples.  It’s also a morality tale about taking responsibility for your actions.  Tough subject matter to read, as it should be.  The artwork is great.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Violence, Hate Speech

Piper Perish

Piper Perish Book Cover Piper Perish
Kayla Cagan
Young Adult Fiction
Chronicle Books
March 7, 2017
416

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper's dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she's never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper's sister's tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper's art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power when it means giving up so much? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this dynamic, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she's missing any one of these things?

 

Review:

“Piper Perish” is the perfect book for the kids who are creative and ponder life’s big questions.  It’s also great for the adults who once were those kids and probably are still the same as adults.  I really wish there would have been a book like this when I was in middle and high school.  Highly recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Alice and the Fly

Alice and the Fly Book Cover Alice and the Fly
James Rice
Juvenile Fiction
Quercus
April 4, 2017
304

Greg is cripplingly shy, afraid of spiders, and obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany's. He's not exactly the most popular kid at his high school. In fact, he pretty much goes out of his way to avoid talking to anybody he doesn't have to. And it doesn't help that he has a severe lisp. But Greg's English teacher, Miss Hayes, can see that there's something different about him. He's insightful and sensitive beyond his years, and maybe--just maybe--he'll use these strengths to break out of his shell someday. Miss Hayes urges Greg to keep a journal. "This isn't an assignment," she tells him, "just write down your thoughts." Greg begins to write about everything from his mother's ill-conceived interior decorating ideas to his job at the local butcher's shop. When Greg begins to take an interest in a girl at his school named Alice, he realizes that he will have to face his most paralyzing anxieties if he wants to befriend Alice and help her escape from her violent family life.

 

Review:

I’m not really sure how to review “Alice and the Fly.”  It wasn’t a bad characterization of mental illness, though it did lack any real answers for the reader.  I feel like I just didn’t connect to the main character the way I wish I could.  Overall, I can neither recommend nor not recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Broken Glass (The Mirror Sisters, #2)

Broken Glass Book Cover Broken Glass
The Mirror Sisters, Book 2
V.C. Andrews
Fiction
Simon and Schuster
February 28, 2017
448

Sisters until the end...

Which may come sooner than they think.

Under their mother’s watchful eye, identical twins Haylee and Kaylee Fitzgerald have lived their entire lives in sync. Never alone, never apart, everything about them must be exactly the same: clothes, friends, punishments.

One night, in the darkness of a movie theater, Haylee reveals that she’s leaving to meet up with someone she knows from online. But suddenly feeling ill, and not wanting to disappoint this older man, she convinces Kaylee to go in her stead. He’ll never know, and this way he won’t think she stood him up.

Kaylee reluctantly agrees to go, but when the credits roll and she’s nowhere to be found, Haylee confesses everything to her mom. With the manhunt on, Haylee knows everything must be done to find her sister. Still, for the first time in her life, she’s free from her twin, which, really, isn’t so bad...is it?

 

Review:

What can I say about “Broken Glass?”  I feel like this can sum it up for all fans of V.C. Andrews books: It is exactly what you want and expect to find in one of them, meaning creepy and a guilty pleasure. It’s a fun story that continues the story of Haylee and Kaylee, two of the world’s creepiest twins.  A perfect beach read.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.