Tag Archives: dual narrators

Ashley Poston’s Geekerella is the perfect fairy tale for the Geek Girl in you

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Ashley Poston’s Geekerella is the perfect fairy tale for the Geek Girl in you

There have been so many times that I have held my breath, waiting to see who will be cast as a beloved character.  Some have met my approval – Claire and Jamie from Outlander.  Others have broken my heart – I’m pointing at you entire cast of Twilight (yes – it mattered very much to this grown woman).  I completely understood Elle Wittimer from Chapter 1 of Geekerella.  Her world crashes down when her favorite character is clearly miscast .  . . Or is he?

I very much enjoyed this Geek girl version of Cinderella, and I’m not alone – this book has a 4+ star rating with more than 500 reviewers on Goodreads!


Goodreads Summary
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Enter to win a copy of Geekerella on Goodreads until May 1, 2017!

My Thoughts

This retelling of Cinderella is a contemporary take, perfect for anyone who has ever loved a fandom.  The decision to make “Prince Charming” a movie star is brilliant, and the fact that his side of the story is an important part of the plot adds a lot to the tale you think you know.  And you do know this story, but if you think that means you won’t feel anxious, you are wrong.  This evil stepmother is wicked, and if her brand of mean feels a bit thick at times, it doesn’t stop you from feeling outraged when she pulls her ugly stunts.  Despite her dark cloud, the modern touches are charming – from the pumpkin themed food truck to the decidedly modern take on the fairy godmother – it is worth reading just to study the parallels.  The vibe is more teen movie than fairytale, but I think it will appeal to a pretty broad audience.   I’m definitely adding it to my high school classroom library wishlist and recommending it to fans of reimagined fairy tales as well as those who love a good fandom.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 9+, but adults can enjoy it as well.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Girl Last Seen is a YA mystery that will keep you guessing

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Girl Last Seen is a YA mystery that will keep you guessing

A twisty mystery for the reader who enjoyed Gone Girl and When We Were Liars.  Lies and truth becoming increasingly scrambled as two teens accused of kidnapping and presumably killing a local YouTube star try to prove their innocence.  Honestly, I even got a few surprises out of this one, so I gave it four stars.

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Goodreads Summary

Kadence Mulligan’s star was rising. She and her best friend, Lauren DeSanto, watched their songs go viral on YouTube, then she launched a solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal chords. Everyone knows Lauren and Kadence had a major falling-out over Kady’s boyfriend. But Lauren knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. And nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with the disappearance. Or the blood evidence As the town and local media condemns Lauren, she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the truth herself. Lauren slowly unravels the twisted life of Kadence Mulligan and sees that there was more to her than she ever knew. But will she realize she’s unknowingly playing a part in an elaborate game to cover up a crime before it’s too late?”

My Thoughts

Even the most reliable voices in this book become questionable, and that makes for some surprising revelations and some unexpected turns.  While many readers will be certain they’ve figured it all out long before the final curtain call on this one, I’m willing to bet they won’t see the whole picture until the very end.  I got a real sense of the frustration these characters were feeling because the author was able to convey that place where kids know things that adults don’t, and the nuances that every YA will recognize as threatening are lost on the authority figures who only get the whitewashed version of people.  I felt like that made for well drawn characters, and it helps create themes about bullying and kindness that add some depth to story.  I didn’t love the romance angle – I’m a little weirded out by love blossoming in the middle of this particular situation, but the author took care to develop the relationship believably. Overall, this was an engaging read,  I think many of my high school readers will enjoy this book.  I’m adding it to my high school classroom library wish list, and I can’t wait to start sharing it with my mystery readers.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 8+.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Red Girl, Blue Boy – love and politics for the YA crowd

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Red Girl, Blue Boy – love and politics for the YA crowd

This was a cute story with a sweet romance that is part of a Bloomsbury series of books about wanting the one thing you can’t have.  The series is simply thematic, so each book is actually a stand alone title.  It’s not great literature, but if you are looking for a simple, straightforward YA contemporary romance, this one might entertain you.

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Goodreads Summary

Sixteen-year-old Katie and Drew really shouldn’t get along. After all, her father is the Republican nominee for President of the United States while his mother is at the top of the Democratic ticket. But when Katie and Drew are thrown together in a joint interview on a morning talk show, they can’t ignore the chemistry between them. With an entire nation tuned into and taking sides in your parents’ fight, and the knowledge that—ultimately—someone has to lose, how can you fall in love with the one person you’re supposed to hate?

This title in the If Only line is a frank and funny romance that shows how sparks fly when opposites attract.

My Thoughts

This is a fairly surface read with one dimensional characters and a predictable plot line.  It didn’t bother me because I enjoy a good, simple romance every once in a while.  I liked Drew, and I think most readers will agree he is a pretty ideal love interest.  The problem most readers will have is with Katie.  She is a strange mix and it is hard to see Drew’s attraction to her.  She is socially awkward beyond belief and her oblivious and often entitled world view cancels out a lot of empathy that her loneliness creates.  I’ll admit that she eventually grew on me, but she is hard to relate to.  This book is a pretty fast read, and the pace is fairly consistent.  I think the romantic relationship could have used more detail and I actually would have enjoyed a longer book.  Now, to my biggest complaint – the ending.  While the biggest plot point is nicely resolved, the author chose to leave readers hanging on one of the subplots.  I believe it was to make a point, but, come on!  It irritated me.  This is a clean, sweet contemporary romance with language and situations appropriate for grades 7+.

I received ed an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Heartache and Other Natural Shocks

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Heartache and Other Natural Shocks

This book is about heartache (duh), but it might not be the heartache you expect.  I thought I had this book pegged as an insipid teen romance, and there won’t be much to convince you that there is anything more for the first 30% of the book.  Readers who stick this one out will be glad they did because this is really about the bigger heartaches of growing up and realizing the people you thought you could always depend on and trust might be changed by their own heartaches and natural disasters (see what I did there?).  This was a four star read.

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Goodreads Summary

A page-turning young-adult novel told from the alternating voices of two witty, sharp-edged teenage girls who compete for a role in the school production of Hamlet and for the same local bad boy, in a game of deception, betrayal, and sword play.

When fifteen-year-old Julia Epstein and her Anglophone family flee Montreal in October 1970, she struggles to adjust to a new life in the suburban wasteland of North York, Toronto. Next door lives Carla Cabrielli, who works her “assets” and knows how to get what she wants. Julia and Carla get on a collision course, not only for the same role in the school production of Hamlet, but also for the leading man – sword-wielding bad boy and sex magnet, Ian Slater. Heartache and Other Natural Shocks explores teen rivalry. When events take a dangerous turn, both Julia and Carla become vulnerable to deception and betrayal. Full of unexpected twist and turns, Glenda Leznoff’s unique novel marks the debut of an important new voice in young-adult fiction.

My Thoughts

I’m going to tell it like it is.  The beginning of this book was a trial for me.   Carla is a mean girl and she made me want to punch her in the throat.  It was bad enough that I stopped reading and didn’t pick this back up until my obligation to review became pressing.  I’m glad I gave this book a second chance.  It was a lot more than just a light read about teen love.  There was a lot of depth about love in general and about growing up and getting wiser to the world in the process.  I never really liked Carla, but at some point, I began to see her vulnerabilities and how they were driving her just like we are all driven. Julia, on the other hand, wasn’t a hard character for me to relate to from the start, but she got fierce near the end of the book, and I think lots of readers will want to experience that moment.  Secondary characters are nuanced and some are delightful.  I certainly picked up on a few themes we all could benefit from remembering – being a knockout doesn’t always guarantee a happy romance, and even though something has a pretty facade, you never know what is really going on beneath the window dressing.    I think this book has universal appeal, despite the 70’s setting which can be quite distancing and despite Carla the Obnoxious, because it really deals with that moment in time when you realize that your parents may not be the people you always thought they were.  It’s a tough moment to see one of your idols eclipsed, and it is an inevitable moment in most of our lives.  As an English teacher, I particularly enjoyed the way Hamlet was a pivotal part of the story – a lot of times school assignments in YA fiction feel fabricated from a required reading list, but this one actually incorporates the play in a meaningful way that will pique reader interest in both works.  Overall, I think this is a very thoughtful and moving book, and I would recommend it to my high school readers.  I would love to pair it with a Hamlet as a class assignment, but the sensuality is a little too detailed and the language is a little too much for a required reading, even if I consider it appropriate for high school readers.  I think adults can enjoy this book as much as the target audience, particularly those who feel nostalgic about the 1970’s, but they will have to navigate through the first part of the book, which might be initially difficult for more discerning readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Secret Fire – the battle between good and evil comes to modern day England

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The Secret Fire – the battle between good and evil comes to modern day England

It isn’t often that I find YA paranormal that is actually set in the contemporary world, so I was excited to see The Secret Fire didn’t linger in the past or seek refuge in an alternate or parallel universe.  It is firmly set in modern day England and France, which means we get mini skirts and motorcycles mixed in with the magic.  Unfortunately, I didn’t end up appreciating it as much as I had anticipated, but I think there is a good chance that other readers will, particularly those in the YA demographic.

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Goodreads Summary

French teen Sacha Winters can’t die. He can throw himself off a roof, be stabbed, even shot, and he will always survive. Until the day when history and ancient enmities dictate that he must die. Worse still, his death will trigger something awful. Something deadly. And that day is closing in.

Taylor Montclair is a normal English girl, hanging out with her friends and studying for exams, until she starts shorting out the lights with her brain. She’s also the only person on earth who can save Sacha.
There’s only one problem: the two of them have never met. They live hundreds of miles apart and powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

They have eight weeks to find each other.

Will they survive long enough to save the world?

My Thoughts

The Secret Fire wasn’t a great reading experience for me – I wasn’t particularly invested, and I drifted away from it several times to read other things, but I don’t think my experience will necessarily be yours. There is a lot of action, especially once the setting and characters are established.  There is an engaging premise based on a curse made generations before the story begins.  There is a secret battle going on between good and evil forces that sweeps up the two main characters.  There is magic and there is mystery.  I think I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind.  I absolutely think there is an audience for this book.  Taylor is an average girl who excels at schoolwork. She is pleasantly surprised to find herself dating the hottest guy in school and those strange electric fluctuations surely have nothing to do with her.  She is a bit of a Pollyanna, erring on the side of perfection, but I think most YA readers will like her well enough.  Sasha is an image of a bad boy but with all the chivalry a girl could want. He is a bit of a stereotype, but he has the better character arc, and I think he will be appealing to teen girls.  The inciting incident – a class assignment that comes across as too awkward and contrived- and the pacing of Taylor and Sasha’s relationship- it dragged on for me but still felt underdeveloped- are the two things I can clearly identify as a problem for me as a reader.  I don’t necessarily think they will be an issue for you.  If you enjoy paranormal YA in a contemporary setting, you might just find this book really grabs you.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nightfall is YA fiction with an intriguing premise that is hard to resist

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Nightfall is YA fiction with an intriguing premise that is hard to resist

Nightfall is a light horror/mystery and full of action that is probably going to be most engaging for the middle school reader. The characters come across as too naive, and it did lack some depth, but it managed to surprise me with its twists and turns.  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted or expected, but you might be hard pressed not to give it a try once you read the premise – all I could think was The Village, and I couldn’t resist!  Three star read.

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Goodreads Summary

The dark will bring your worst nightmares to light, in this gripping and eerie survival story, perfect for fans of James Dashner and Neil Gaiman.

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.

My Thoughts

Nightfall is a book that will draw a wide range of readers with its intruiging premise, but, as I said, it will probably be most satisfying to a middle school crowd.  The narrative is shared by three teens who have been left behind in the bustle of an exodus of their village from an island.  This island goes dark every fourteen years, and as the night gets closer, the villagers engage in some strange rituals that have been part of their migration for hundreds of years.  While readers will quickly guess what nightfall on the island brings, the young protagonists don’t.  The fact that they don’t put the pieces together until the answer is staring them right in the face is one of the many reasons that they come across as younger than expected.  Their character arcs, too, are fairly simple.  Growth seems small in comparison to their experiences through the course of the novel, and that left me a little disappointed in the end, especially since the biggest epiphany is one that I guessed at nearly the beginning of the story.  I think middle school readers will be less bothered by this because they will probably be focused on the action and the atmosphere more than character growth.  There is a lot of action once the story gets rolling, and there is certainly enough threat to the characters to keep readers engaged.  I honestly couldn’t predict what was going to happen next, and I wasn’t certain how this would end until it drew to a close.  I enjoyed it for what it was, a fast and light adventure with a side of menace, but I was left a little disappointed by the character development.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Weight of Feathers is a beautiful and dark waking dream of a book.

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The Weight of Feathers is a beautiful and dark waking dream of a book.

I have been looking for this kind of book since I finished reading The Night Circus for the tenth time.  Whimsical and dark, unexpected, and balancing between dream and awake, this book is just what I wanted and needed.  Mermaid scales and feathered wings, illusion and magic – this book has exactly the right amount of whimsy and heart to sweep you away for a good while.

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Goodreads Summary

For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

My Thoughts

This book is exactly what I was hoping it would be – magical, beautiful, a little sad, and populated with characters who feel very real.  It reminded me of a The Night Circus because it felt like reading a waking dream.  I often questioned what was real and I was somewhat puzzled by the expectation that some mysteries have no answer, but I really loved the way this felt like a modern fairytale.  Rival families with a whole mythology of superstitions and prejudices about each other are responsible for raising Lace and Cluck.  Their lives parallel in so many ways, but the small differences develop them into just the person that the other needs.  I really enjoyed the ebb and flow of their relationship, and the imagined betrayals and gentle kindnesses add up to a very believable romance.  As characters, they have both flaws and strengths, and that made them feel like real people who I cared about deeply.  The plot, too, is carefully crafted to reveal just enough to keep frustration low without giving it all away until the end.  There is a lot of tension that ratchets up a notch every time a new piece of the puzzle is unearthed from the murky past, and that made for such an engaging and surprising read.  Some readers won’t like the whimsy and uncertainty of the unfamiliar world where this story is set.  Others will scoff at the unlikely and inexplicable things that happen courtesy of magical realism.  However, if you adore a story where illusion and magic swirl and bleed into each other, you will certainly enjoy The Weight of Feathers.  I am adding it to my classroom library wishlist because I know my high school readers will enjoy the depth and reality of the romance and the beautiful backdrop in which it is set.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Last Night at the Circle Cinema – Hipster, meet YA.

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Last Night at the Circle Cinema – Hipster, meet YA.

Last Night at the Circle Cinema felt like the hipster version of a YA novel – pretentious.  I ground my teeth a lot.  You might like it, but it wore me out.  Three stars because the ending was worth it.

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Goodreads Summary

Olivia, Bertucci, and Codman were the trio no one else in high school could quite figure out, an impenetrable triangle of friendship. Now they’re graduating and about to start new lives away at college and without one another. Beyond their friendship, there’s one thing they have in common: the Circle Cinema, a once-thriving old movie theater now reduced to a boarded up concrete box, condemned and about to be forgotten forever―which is, as far as Olivia and Codman can tell, a lot like what’s going to happen to them.

So in one last desperate effort to hold on to the secrets they share, Bertucci hatches a plan―an experiment, really. He convinces Olivia and Codman to join him in spending their last night before graduation locked inside the cinema’s concrete walls. None of them can open the box before sunrise. Over the course of the night, the trio is then forced to face one another, the events of the past year, and whatever is to come when the new day dawns.
Emily Franklin’s Last Night at the Circle Cinema is the story of a friendship’s end and moving rebirth.

 

My Thoughts

I’m going to tell you straight up that at 65%, I was already making plans to give myself an award for actually getting all the way through this book.  I’m not afraid to say that at that point it made me feel dumber than I know I am, and I thought it was a little pretentious.  The premise warns readers that the three characters are an indecipherable triangle that no one in their high school can understand or penetrate and you should know that it absolutely means you might not be able to decipher them either.  Then the ending changed everything.  It was like someone took a Rubic’s cube that I had been playing with for hours and suddenly lined everything up and said, “See?” and I did.  I’m not going to let the glow of sudden comprehension mess with me too much, but it did change my outright irritation with the story into something else.  So, if the ending makes the journey worth the trouble, why am I not fangirling right now? Because I think too many readers will put this book down out of boredom or frustration before they find the golden ticket.  First, the narrative requires a lot of concentration. It is crowded with three different storytellers, and I really struggled with keeping the two male characters straight.  I don’t know why it was so hard for me to distinguish between boy B and boy C, but every time the narrative left Livvy, I had to stop and sort them out again.  Also, the narrative isn’t linear and switches between past and present without any real warning.  Second, the level these kids operate on is not a traditional high school level.  There is philosophy.  There is psychology.  They discuss the Roshoman effect, which is something I didn’t encounter until well into my adulthood, and while it is a cool thing to know about, I just don’t think it is something a target YA reader will have the context for.  Let me be clear that the author does explain these concepts in a pretty straightforward way, and anyone who has any liberal arts education will probably know what is being referenced, even if they don’t remember it clearly.  It is just tedious until readers can see the shape of the story as a whole, and I think it is a struggle that an average teen reader will find daunting.   I think it is great that this book could encourage people to at least google some of these intellectual ideas.  This is a moody work with an impressively taunt and threatening atmosphere.  I talked myself out of various answers to the riddle (including the correct one) again and again while I read.  For some readers, the end will blow their mind.  For some readers, it will be a book they will have to read again just to see what they missed.  For others, it will be a dense maze that they will abandon long before they find the treasure.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Huntley Fitzpatrick’s The Boy Most Likely To is a compelling companion read to My Life Next Door

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Huntley Fitzpatrick’s The Boy Most Likely To is a compelling companion read to My Life Next Door

Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next a Door is one of the most read and requested books in my classroom library, and it is one I frequently recommend to my fans of contemporary YA romance.  I didn’t realize that The Boy Most Likely To was a companion book, and I was so excited when I finally made the connection.  This book wasn’t quite what I expected, but I really enjoyed it anyway, and I think Huntley Fitzpatrick fans will be much happier with this read than with her last book.

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Goodreads Summary

Surprises abound and sparks ignite in the highly anticipated, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:
– find the liquor cabinet blindfolded

– need a liver transplant

– drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:
– well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.
Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.
And Alice is caught in the middle.
Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed My Life Next Door because of the sweet love story.  I was excited about reading The Boy Most Likely To because I thought it would follow in that same vein.  Uh, no.  This book is the antithesis of sweet love story – it actually felt like a New Adult novel rather than a YA novel because the main focus for the two main characters is their sexual attraction to each other.  For me, this book is really mostly defined by the sexual tension that exudes from almost every interaction the two characters have.  I still enjoyed it, and I liked the book as a whole, but it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting.  The two characters played small but memorable roles in the first book, and it was engaging to see their personalities clash.  Tim is hopelessly overwhelmed by expectations, and his rebellion has taken him to a very difficult place.  His story dominated my interest, and watching him struggle to become a man he can be proud of is heartbreaking and sometimes inspiring.  I was less interested in Alice as a character.  I felt like she had a lot to lose, and even though I understand that love can be unpredictable, it doesn’t have to make you blind and stupid.  I wanted them to end up together, but I honestly felt like Alice was making a bad decision to see where her heart would lead her.  There is a lot going on in the background that ties this book to the first one, so you need to read them in order, but there were also enough plot points independent of the first book to keep the story fresh.  I read it straight through the minute I got my hands on it, so I certainly found it compelling.  I think my high school readers will enjoy the book, and even though it feels a lot more grown up than MLND, I believe it is appropriate for high school readers.  I’m definitely adding it to my classroom library wish list.

I received an ARC through the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

You can join this program at firsttoread.com

Ward Against Death – A bumbling hero navigates murder, magic, and one undead assassin

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Ward Against Death – A bumbling hero navigates murder, magic, and one undead assassin

Ward Against Death is going to be the perfect read for someone.  Ward is a screw-up who just can’t seem to catch a break, and the brilliantly efficient Celia (a secret assassin) is his perfect foil.  Murder, magic, necromancy and secret societies abound in this fast paced adventure.  Maria V. Snyder (who I adore for her Poison Study books) blurbed it, and Ward is favorably compared to Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files (I kinda see it).  I sort of feel like a punk because I didn’t fall in love with this book, but I was bored and easily distracted all the way through.  Ward, I honestly believe that it’s not you – it’s me.  I’m sure there is a reader out there somewhere just waiting to get their hands on you.

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Goodreads Summary

Twenty-year-old Ward de’Ath expected this to be a simple job—bring a nobleman’s daughter back from the dead for fifteen minutes, let her family say good-bye, and launch his fledgling career as a necromancer. Goddess knows he can’t be a surgeon—the Quayestri already branded him a criminal for trying—so bringing people back from the dead it is.

But when Ward wakes the beautiful Celia Carlyle, he gets more than he bargained for. Insistent that she’s been murdered, Celia begs Ward to keep her alive and help her find justice. By the time she drags him out her bedroom window and into the sewers, Ward can’t bring himself to break his damned physician’s Oath and desert her.
However, nothing is as it seems—including Celia. One second, she’s treating Ward like sewage, the next she’s kissing him. And for a nobleman’s daughter, she sure has a lot of enemies. If he could just convince his heart to give up on the infuriating beauty, he might get out of this alive…

My Thoughts

This book just wasn’t my thing, and that is surprising since the word “necromancer” paired with a female undead assassin should have really been right up my alley.  I think the biggest problem for me is that these characters are running all over the town for answers but those answers never added up to much for me as a reader.  So, I couldn’t put the puzzle together without one of the characters explaining in detail what had just happened.  When the two characters did slow down. They usually split up which didn’t give them much time to really bond as a team.  All the running around also stalled their development as characters – I didn’t feel like they were more than just characters, and that made me apathetic about the outcome of the story.  I also struggled with the many character names and the intricacies of this world – I just couldn’t seem to grasp how the social structure was set up, so I didn’t really understand the advantages of killing people or not killing people or raising people from the dead.  I really had to force myself to read this book after the first few chapters, but the whole time I was reluctantly reading, I was thinking that some readers would really love this story.  I think this book has a lot of things to recommend it to the right reader, but that just wasn’t me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.