(YA Paranormal, paperback, 368 pages; published April 28, 2015 by Kensington; source: publisher)
A sprinkle of Romeo and Juliet, a generous dash of Disney-esque magic, one fierce heroine, and a fae-filled setting; mix and you have Estep’s latest paranormal offering. Cold Burn of Magic is a great start to a new series! Lila follows along the lines of Estep’s other heroines, with a strong sense of a younger, less seasoned Gin (from her Elemental Assassin series). While a bit heavy on the history/possible futures info, CBoM is a decidedly fun read, as Lila races from one crisis to another, finding herself in hotter and hotter water. At least she has a friend…though that particular secondary character would be reluctant to label himself that. Unless you had some drinky-drink for him. Four stars.
(YA Mystery, hardcover, 256 pages; expected publication: September 15, 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; source: publisher)
Oh, Sherlock. How do I love thee? Well, you’re kind of a prick as a teenager, though that’s not much different than your arrogant adult self. And then you went and got involved with the abused, uber-moody but brilliant Mori, your future nemesis. Yeah, it’s hard to find someone on your intellectual level but poor Mori needs much more help than you can ever give her. It’s a lost cause, despite the romance. More romance than I expected, actually. However, if you stop to think about it, love gone wrong is definitely a good reason for someone like Mori to absolutely despise you and want to bring you down in any way possible. The plot and mystery is pretty implausible but I still found this to be a pretty enjoyable read. Three stars.
(YA Historical Mystery, hardcover, 496 pages; expected publication: October 27, 2015 by Random House Delacorte; source: publisher)
Donnelly can really write a gorgeous story, painstaking in its historical detail, and bring a world to life so much so that you feel you are fully immersed in that world — and These Shallow Graves is no exception. However, the main character, Jo drove me insane. Sure, she’s young and sheltered but she’s also supposed to be intelligent, well-read and aware of the world around her. Some of the choices she makes and things she does are more like that of a hormonal pre-teen than a well-groomed, smart society lady. Then there’s the insta-love between Jo and Eddie, forging a connection I never really bought into. And this story…it’s long. Lots of pondering and more pondering. Nearly 500 pages worth of pondering. That’s a lot. Despite these issues, I did keep reading, mostly because of the worldbuilding and the mystery, which was intriguing. Three stars.
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