Prague and Secrets

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

blood&shadow

First Look:

Way over-Shopped big face…seriously, when you hold it in your hand, you can see the lines where the Photoshopping was insufficiently blended.  The shadow effect on her cheek is cool, but the only thing I really love is the reflection in her eye.

Jacket Copy:

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life. Continue reading

Advertisements

Superpowered in Minneapolis

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette

dark star

First Look:

At first glance, it looks pretty cliche, but a) she has a face, b) the setting makes sense, and c) so does her outfit!  I like it.

Jacket Copy:

[Honestly, I’m not sure there’s anything in the description that isn’t a spoiler.  Here’s what I think you need to know.]

Audrey’s mom is a superhero; only Audrey, her childhood best friend, and her mom’s teen sidekick, Leon, know her mom’s real identity…although there has been a certain cop hanging around and dropping hints lately.  Her mom may be keeping the Twin Cities safe, but superpower-less Audrey just wants to have some fun with her friends–but their night out almost turns deadly.  What Audrey discovers threatens not only her worldview, but the safety of everyone she loves, and even the entire world!

[May be more cliche, but at least it doesn’t tell you every plot element, Disney Hyperion.]

Sequel?

Yep, first in a series.  Author’s website has no info yet on how many volumes, but Book 2 should be out this fall.

Worth Reading?

wonderwoman

Um, there is a female superhero who is the most powerful person in town!  What’s not to love?  Seriously, it’s a lightning-fast read, competently written, with worldbuilding that has some new twists to it, and is internally consistent.

Notable Things:

mpls

Minneapolis!  My home city!  I must admit, though, this brings up one of my complaints.  If you are going to set an action-focused story in a real place, then maybe make it a little more emphatically real.  Name names and streets and neighborhoods!

misfits

Superpowers!  Some of which don’t get used very wisely!  I love the idea that superpowers don’t come with a training manual, and sometimes you just have to figure it out as you go.

friends

Different kinds of relationships!  Audrey of course has her mom, and she has friends (unlike many a teen heroine these days), and gains more friends as the story moves on, and of course, there is a crush as well.

Elaboration:

Dark Star  was cute, entertaining, and I quite liked it.  It didn’t steal my heart, exactly, but it was fun, and the book did get bonus points for being set in the Twin Cities.  I can see a lot of potential for future volumes to develop on the interesting mythology, because I thought the concepts behind the mythology were interesting, but felt that some aspects were underdeveloped.  I will read the next one, hoping that it improves on its amusing predecessor.  Audrey is a relatable young teen, and I’d like to find out more about her.  I’ve read some other reviews complaining that “It’s not a superhero book, because xy [spoiler about the origin of Audrey’s mom’s powers],” and I don’t really understand what they mean.  A superhero(ine) is someone who has superpowers and uses them to fight the forces of evil.  There are many different traditional origin stories, and I don’t think the origin has a bearing on whether or not someone is a superhero. So there’s my two cents.

Disclosure:

Borrowed.

I’m…Still on Team Human

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Team Human

First Look:

Generic Love Triangle Shot.  It’s the title, tag line, and somewhat the names (I’ve read and liked one solo work by each of the authors) that hooked me.

Jacket Copy:

Residing in New Whitby, Maine, a town founded by vampires trying to escape persecution, Mel finds her negative attitudes challenged when her best friend falls in love with one, another friend’s father runs off with one, and she herself is attracted to someone who tries to pass himself off as one. Continue reading

Black Is the Color of My True Love(?)’s Hair

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Raven

First Look:

So pretty.  I love the painting and that the brushstrokes are visible.  The swirling strokes hint at magic, and the lack of a visible eye adds a strangeness that is perfect for the story.

Jacket Copy:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. Continue reading

Fairy Prince or Huntress?

Ash by Malinda Lo

ash

First Look:

*Slow Clap*  Honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Of course, that means the publisher did change it for the paperback.

Jacket Copy:

In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love. Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief. Continue reading

Like The Avengers, But With Swords and Things

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

First Look:

I couldn’t resist showing both sides, because this is wonderful!  I love everything about it, especially that all major characters are shown and each have the personality that is described in the text.

Jacket Copy:

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as “Prince Charming.” But all of this is about to change…

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other associated terrors to become the heroes no one ever thought they could be. Continue reading

Beating Stephenie Meyer at Her Own Game

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

First Look:

Charming and cute, yet spooky.  I love it!

Jacket Copy:

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him? Continue reading

Eva, Can You Hear Me?

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

First Look:

Well, on first look, I only saw the half of a Big Face, but the hidden silhouette redeems it, and goes well with the themes of the book.

Jacket Copy:

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything. Continue reading