MADE FOR YOU by Melissa Marr
YA Magical realism/thriller
368 pages, hardcover
Published: September 16, 2014 by HarperCollins
When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.
Yes, I’m a fan of pretty much everything Melissa Marr writes so of course, I wanted to read her foray into contemporary that also had a Southern gothic-thriller-but-a-hint-of-magic twist. At first, the plot of this seems like it might be familiar, with a popular girl gaining powers and a bad boy coming into her life (again, in this case). But Marr has her own magical powers — the ability to make something that might seem to be dulled with use and make it shiny and pretty much impossible to put down.
(On a side note, I read this a couple of months ago and *should* have written the review back then but I didn’t and so, in my effort to clean up my To Be Reviewed list, when it came up in rotation, I couldn’t remember it for the life of me, except that I liked it. It was just as good the second time around. I swear, my brain has become a sieve!)
IMMORTAL CROWN (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead
432 pages, hardcover
Published: May 29, 2014 by Dutton Adult
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.
Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.
Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.
Dammit, cliffhanger! Why you gotta do me like that? You know I have no patience. And I’m already getting frustrated with the are-they-aren’t-they of Mae and Justin’s relationship. JUST GET IT ON ALREADY! They’re better together. They work well as a team, challenge and frustrate one another.
While it sounds like I didn’t like this story, I did. Quite a bit, actually. Intriguing worldbuilding, interesting project (case?) for the pair and fast pacing make the book a fun read and have me looking forward to the third, as-yet-untitled story (a finale? Perhaps but I can’t find anything saying one way or the other. But there are SO MANY unanswered questions, I’m hoping that it’s not. That’s a lot to cram into one book. But, I suppose, if anyone can do it, it’s Mead).
THORN JACK by Katherine Harbour
352 pages, Hardcover
Published: June 24, 2014 by Harper Voyager
They call us things with teeth. These words from Lily Rose Sullivan the night of her death haunts her seventeen-year-old sister, Finn, who has moved with her widowed father to his hometown of Fair Hollow, New York. After befriending a boy named Christie Hart and his best friend, Sylvie Whitethorn, Finn is invited to a lakeside party where she encounters the alluring Jack Fata, a member of the town’s mysterious Fata family. Despite Jack’s air of danger and his clever words, Finn learns they have things in common.
One day, while unpacking, Finn finds her sister’s journal, scrawled with descriptions of creatures that bear a sinister resemblance to Jack’s family. Finn dismisses these stories as fiction, but Jack’s family has a secret—the Fatas are the children of nothing and night, nomadic beings who have been preying on humanity for centuries—and Jack fears that his friendship with Finn has drawn the attention of the most dangerous members of his family—Reiko Fata and vicious Caliban, otherwise known as the white snake and the crooked dog.
Plagued with nightmares about her sister, Finn attempts to discover what happened to Lily Rose and begins to suspect that the Fatas are somehow tied to Lily Rose’s untimely death. Drawn to Jack, determined to solve the mystery of her sister’s suicide, Finn must navigate a dangerous world where nothing is as it seems.
I really had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this book and cracked it open. After the deaths of her sister and mother, Finn moves to a new town and heads off to college. She makes friends, does college-y things and finds herself inexorably drawn towards the rich, powerful and eccentric extended Fata family (yeah, I got a bit of a Twilight vibe from that. Powerful but “untouchable” family. Can’t fight that feelin’ when it comes to the boy, Jack…). The Fatas are…well, it’s hard to pin down at first. Some type of fairy complete with a Tam Lin, wicked tendencies and the desire to lure humans to their doom. I liked the semi-gothic, eerie atmosphere and Finn’s drive to uncover the strange creatures’ purposes. I had a bit of a quibble with the secondary characters, which were either a bit too flat or a bit too overdrawn (especially the “bad” fae). Still, I enjoyed it so I call it a win.
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