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Tag Archives: YA fiction

Progeny by Tosca Lee

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Progency_without-quoteSo . . . I just finished reading Progeny by Tosca Lee and I have to talk about it! This was really good YA fantasy. I was hooked from the storyline and the main character was likeable and relatable. One of my favorite things about this book was how well the author wove spiritual themes into a fantasy novel (that’s not strictly a Christian novel). She’s not afraid to create flawed, realistic characters in this fantasy setting, while at the same time explore questions about God’s existence and add in religious elements. Since I’m someone with a spiritual bent to begin with, this aspect of the story really connected with me. But even for someone who is nonreligious, this aspect just rolls into the storyline completely seamlessly. I’ve found that with lots of YA fantasy books, I enjoy the first novel in a series, but then find myself not invested enough to want to keep going. With this one, I’d like to know what happens in book 2. I know not every story can hook me like Harry Potter or Hunger Games (where I want to buy the next book as soon as it releases, even if it’s at midnight!) so it’s nice to read something that pulls you in and makes you want to keep going with these characters.

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Tosca Lee brings a modern twist to an ancient mystery surrounding Elizabeth Bathory, the most notorious female serial killer of all time.

Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. It is a story about the search for self filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.

 

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Terra Soul by S.J. Abraham

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Terra%20Soul%20Cover_zpsd6ycqimvLoveys, I want to tell you about a story I’m excited about! So I had the privilege of working on this super-fun, YA, sci/fi novel and I loved it! Here’s the book blurb:

Ayla thinks she’s just a comic-book nerd with a photophobia until the day a space fold forms in her living room and her father drags through it to the alien world of Karanik, her birthplace. When she discovers that soul-drinking aliens have infested Earth, she must embrace who she truly is in order to save it.

This story is great for young adults, boy and girls. It’s got aliens, teen angst, adventure, basically the world coming to an end and all that great stuff. I really enjoyed it and I think this author will have more amazing stories to tell. So check out Terra Soul on Amazon!!

https://www.amazon.com/Terra-Soul-S-J-Abraham/dp/0997625813

 

Promised by Caragh M. O’Brien

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13010211Hi friends! Well, Promised is the final book in the Birthmarked trilogy. Here’s what I love about this trilogy, it’s such an interesting storyline! From the beginning with Birthmarked, this idea of having to give up your kids for the “greater good” just adds a deep level of intensity and emotion. Then taking Gaia to this place where the women have control over everything–such an intriguing dynamic. And with Promised, Gaia returns as a stronger woman, but still with insecurities and moments of immaturity and indecision. I have to say, however, that Gaia is a very good character. She’s very flawed, but she’s interesting, and at heart, she’s a good person with good intentions.

Her relationship with Leon is an up-and-down kind of thing. They obviously care for each other, but they always seem to be keeping things from each other and doing things without talking them through with their partner. Leon’s feelings for Gaia are obviously very deep and he’s devoted to her. Sometimes Gaia seems less devoted. I read a review where the reader felt like Gaia harbored feelings for Peter and Will, and I can definitely understand that perspective. But she’s proves several times that she’s committed to Leon.

I did feel like the ending came with some depressing aspects. *SPOILER AHEAD*

The fact that Gaia’s ability to have children with Leon was taken from her felt so heavy and sad after all they had gone through. Also, the fact that they had taken her eggs, so while she couldn’t carry her own babies, women around her would be carrying them and having them and Gaia would never know who her own children were–that just felt devastating to me. Maybe it’s the mom in me, but that felt like too much. I was, of course, glad that Gaia and Leon end up together and can raise her sister. But the other part was so dark and depressing.

Anyway, overall, this series is so different from everything else out there, and you have to appreciate the creativity that goes along with that. I enjoyed the writing and all the suspense and action in this final book. I definitely recommend this book for YA futuristic/fantasy readers.

 

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

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New%20Severx-inset-communitySo remember how I raved about Wither, the first book in the Chemical Garden trilogy? Right, and then I just muddled through Fever, a little unsure about how much I liked that one but still needing closure? Well, Sever just came out! The final book in the trilogy. I picked this one up at the library and read it in the span of about 24 hours.

I gave myself a little time to reflect on my feelings after reading Sever, before writing this review. To be honest, I was annoyed when I first finished the book. (I’m trying to avoid spoilers because I know my sister Sara hasn’t read it yet. We’ll see if I can pull that off.) Without giving names, an important character dies in this book and I was frustrated by that.

But after thinking it over, I feel that maybe that specific death helped pull together the other characters and leave room for moving on. I think perhaps I’m just a little tired of all the depression in these YA futuristic/fantasy books. Beginning with Mockingjay, I just felt the depressing aspect outweighed the enjoyment. I recently finished read Promised (Birthmarked trilogy, we’ll talk about it soon), and again, I felt the ending was heavy and sad. I think maybe these authors are so intent on being real, that they end up being depressing. For me, if I’m taking time out of my schedule to read, I don’t want those hours to leave me depressed and unsatisfied. A little realism is good, but please don’t make me depressed.

Anyway, back to Sever, I liked the pacing, and the twists and turns were good. I like to be surprised and I definitely was. And now that I’m a few days removed from the story, I think my overall opinion is good. The story wraps up pretty well. If you’ve read Wither and Fever, definitely read this one. You’ll want to know the ending, just expect some sadness. Wither remains my very favorite of the three, but I’m glad I stuck with this series to the end.

Angelfall by Susan Ee

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ImageOhmigosh. I just finished Angelfall by Susan Ee and I am trying to get a hold of all my thoughts! As usual, I was introduced to this book by my sister Sara. She got it for Christmas because it was on her wish list, and she immediately handed it to me and said that I needed to read it ASAP because it’s awesome. So, so right. At the beginning, it reminded me of Hunger Games because our main girl has a younger sister she loves and needs to take care of and a mother who is unreliable and emotionally unstable. But that’s where the similarities ended really.

Basically, angels have descended and completely destroyed the modern world. If I had one complaint, it would be that I don’t feel we got enough history. There are so many unanswered questions about what actually happened and who’s in charge and so on. I know the author was setting the scene for the next book in the series, but I think we needed a little more to go on. Anyway, our main girl, Penryn (love that name!), is on a mission to save her little sister from the scary angels and she has to team up with Raffe, an angel, to do it. They form sort of a shaky alliance at first, but over time, they really do need each other for survival. The ending sort of leaves you hanging, but it feels like an appropriate ending and it worked. I will definitely be reading the next book.

What I found so cool and interesting was the supernatural aspect of this book. For a believer like myself, the thought of angels and demons and all that isn’t so unfamiliar. I am really interested in seeing how the author develops the “God” figure. She has Raffe, an angel remember, as an agnostic. I was thinking, there’s a verse in Scripture that tells us that even “the demons believe, and tremble” (when speaking of believing in God. James 2:19). For me, this was a really thought-provoking book. Raffe talks to Penryn about the angels that fell from heaven and the nephilim (I think I’m spelling that right). Those aspects of the story came from the Bible so I found them to be really intriguing.

Overall, great characters, great pacing, and a fascinating storyline. Though I have to warn you that there are some dark parts and things that make you cringe. Still, this was a really great book and I’m hooked on the series. 🙂

 

Tempest by Julie Cross

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So yesterday I finally finished Tempest by Julie Cross. I remember seeing this in Barnes and Noble and thinking it looked cool. So when I saw it on the shelf at our library, I grabbed it. This is a time-travel story (feels a lot like the movie Jumper). We’ve got our main character Jackson, who can time-travel, his brainiac best friend Adam, and Holly the girlfriend. To be honest, I wasn’t absolutely crazy about this book, however I did find the end to be great. I was worried it was going to be predictable and I was pleasantly surprised that the author didn’t take the easy way out (I hate when authors do that). But for me, I never really connected with the characters. I thought the idea of time-travel in a YA book was really cool, and the plot was interesting. But as for Jackson and Holly, they never clicked for me, which is sort of important since they are the main characters. But I could totally see how someone else might read it and just love it. Like I said, the end sort of redeemed it for me, but by that time I’d felt kind of frustrated with the characters. Holly is sort of confusing. She’s really sweet and sort of ordinary and comes across like she’s supposed to be shy–but then she’s the one initiating everything with Jackson, kissing him (and insisting on more), calling him and emailing him, and always forgiving him immediately when he’s a jerk because she’s just so in love with him that it must be okay that he’s a jerk. So she’s not really shy. I just found her character qualities to be confusing. Jackson can be a jerk to her sometimes, so I wasn’t crazy about that. Granted, he does a 180 by the end of the book and is ready to jump into marriage with both feet despite the fact that he knows his life is about to get crazy and Holly will be endangered (but he makes the wiser choice in the end and shows more maturity). I just felt like some of it was implausible (of course, I know this is science fiction) but it seemed like all the CIA agents and Jackson’s dad were just bending to whatever he wanted all the time, which did not fit. He’s a kid and they’ve been working in this area for years. His dad, who apparently is an agent with serious skills, is always giving into Jackson. And we already know that Holly is always giving in to him.

There were some unexpected twists and turns that were good. And Adam was a great supporting character. Jackson shows a lot of character development, which I appreciated. But this one was so-so for me. Still, if you like time-travel books, you’d probably really like it.

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

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Here’s what the back cover of Juliet Immortal says:

I’m not Ariel Dragland. My name is Juliet and I’ve spent centuries jumping in and out of other people’s bodies, fighting for true love, trying to save soul mates from Romeo, the man who killed me. Yes, that Juliet. That Romeo. He’s in Dylan’s body. And I’m only borrowing Ariel’s body for a short time. Then I’ll be gone, and the soul who really lives here will come take my place, and no matter what she remembers, she’ll never love you the way I do. Never.

I read that and I was hooked. I had to check out this book. And I’m really glad I did. It’s a very cool twist on an old story. It’s a quick read. What I liked was mostly the unique aspect of the story. Everyone knows about Romeo and Juliet. And this book is a fun way to spend more time with those characters and see them in a new way. Not dying of love for each other–fighting to the death over true love. Not that there isn’t a love story, but it’s not what you expect.

I liked this story! And gosh, the cover is gorgeous. Perfect. If you’re a fan of the original Romeo and Juliet, I think you’d have fun with this book. 🙂