Mini Swarm Reviews: A Sprinkle of Magic

Posted 22 September, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Review | 20 Comments

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20419003MADE 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!)

16156357IMMORTAL CROWN (Age of X #2) by Richelle Mead
Science Fiction
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).

18505811THORN 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.

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

20 Responses to “Mini Swarm Reviews: A Sprinkle of Magic”

  1. Ahhhh to the Mead cliffhanger! Those can be brutal! I was just reading a review on Marr’s. It so sounds like one I need to try! I hear ya on the mental sieve bit. I was just sitting down to do a review and total blank. I enjoyed the book but couldn’t for the life of me. Time for a re-read. lol
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    I love Richelle Mead’s writing style, and hope to check out her Age of X series sooner rather than later before I fall too far behind. Your review of Made for You didn’t really tell me much though, but at least you liked it! That’s what happens when you wait to long to type up your thoughts. 😉
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  3. HAHA!!! I WIN!!!! It let me comment:)

    YEAH! I really enjoyed Made For You as well Mary! I read it a while back too and, like you, can’t remember all the details except to know I had fun reading it and it was hard to set aside for the night to go to bed. And Cathy was intrigued by Thorn Jack as well, so I’ll be interested to see what you guys both think of the next book!
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  4. I unexpectedly received Made for You – and I didn’t know if I’d be in the mood to read it because I haven’t felt like YA lately – but you’ve read it twice so I should totally give it a shot.

    As for Jack Thorn I really thought I would read it but I just haven’t been interested. Too bad the 2ndary characters were flat – I hate when that happens – makes me feel like the author got lazy and didn’t want to invest time in making anyone else real people.
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  5. I want to read Marr’s book soon. I have a copy and I’ve been seeing great reviews. Creepy mystery and romance? Sign me on. Richelle Mead’s series is supposed to be like 5 books, maybe more. She hadn’t decided yet. At least that’s what she said right after Gameboard released, at an author event I went to. I loved The Immortal Crown, too, but like you I want them to just get together already! It was kind of a shocker ending, right?! Great mini’s, Mary! 🙂
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  6. This is terrible, but I’ve never read anything by Melissa Marr! I will also admit, that this set up – especially the bad boy that hurt the good girl – but she loves him anyway, is a trope I’ve started to avoid like the plague. But this isn’t the first review that has said their relationship was written well. With the number of YA books out there with this kind of guy in them, you’d think high schools would be teeming with these boys. ANYWAY, I need to give this one a try.

    I’m still not sure this Richelle Mead series is for me. But sometimes I have better luck when I wait to read them as a group, instead of separately. It cuts down on my frustration, so I will see where this goes before committing. I definitely understand the JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY!! Craziness. Is this another 6 part series?

    I don’t know much about the final book, though I’ve seen it around a lot. I’m glad you ended up enjoying it overall.
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