The Heir by Kiera Cass

The-Heir_612x925

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction

# of pages:  346

RAC:  yes

It has been twenty years since America Singer won the selection and married Prince Maxon.  Their first born, by seven minutes, is Eadlyn.  Due to the change in law, she is the next in line for the throne and not her younger twin brother.  Eadlyn has felt enormous pressure her entire life because she knows that someday she will rule, but she never realized how much her parents have been shielding her from.  King Maxon abolished the caste system almost immediately after he became king, but all these years later there is still discrimination and unrest going on.  Eadlyn’s parents decide a Selection might shift the focus away from the unrest and onto happier, more exciting things.  Eadlyn is not thrilled by the idea of a Selection and vows to fight it at every turn.  There are several interesting suitors who are chosen and she begins to enjoy herself a bit, but as with any Selection there is a fair share of drama.  Will she find true love?

This follow-up series to the original is fun in that it is from a female perspective and therefore she is unable to get away with stuff her father did simply because he was a man and viewed differently by the public.  Eadlyn takes her responsibilities seriously, but often comes out unlikable because of her brusque attitude.  It’s obvious that she and her siblings know very little about the selection that brought their parents together and that is surprising considering a lot of important events transpired that still effect relations within the castle today.  The ending brought many shocks and surprises which is what fans will be looking for…along with the next book!

Utopia, Iowa by Brian Yansky

utopia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  323

RAC:  Yes

Set in fictional Utopia, Iowa where the life expectancy is longer than usual and many people are believed to have “gifts,”  Jack Bell lives with his mother, father, and sister.  Jack, his mother, and his sister can all see ghosts, but they have taken extra precautions to make sure they cannot enter their home.  When Jack’s sister, Amanda, claims to see a ghost on Jack’s bed they are all naturally alarmed because more than likely it would take a much stronger spirit to enter their house than a usual ghost.  Then, a young college student is pushed from a dorm window to her death and she seeks Jack’s help in finding what happened to her.  She does not remember her death, which is unusual for ghosts, but she knows her boyfriend didn’t kill her despite his confession.  The police detective starts to become concerned that Jack is somehow connected to this case because he seems to know details he should not know, and he is not a believer in the town “gifts.”  Can Jack help this spirit find her way and clear his name?  Can he protect himself from the growing number of threats people keep prophesying about him?

This light fantasy story provides an usual spin on the ghost genre in that the reason behind the threats and mysterious deaths actually connect to an ancient story that is slowly explained throughout the book.  Jack comes in contact with several different types of gifted people who all try to help in their own ways as he deals with the ghosts that keep seeking his advice as well as the mounting danger he keeps getting warned about.  The ending is exciting and satisfying, but it’s not a story that the reader will think much about once it is over.  Recommended for fans looking for a fun fantasy.

How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt

how to build a house

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  227

RAC:  Yes

Harper is running away from a difficult home life after her father’s divorce and decides to join a volunteer group working to rebuild a home in Tennessee destroyed by a tornado.  The story switches between Harper meeting new people and helping to rebuild the house in the present and then flashing back to what happened with her dad and why she feels so isolated after her stepmom and two stepsisters moved out.  In addition to this, Harper is trying to avoid her former best friend whom she thought was starting to show romantic interest in her when she caught him with another girl at a party.  While she is in Tennessee she begins to grow closer to the teenage boy of the family they are building the house for, Teddy.  As hard as the work is, the distraction is great to ease her mind on all of her problems at home and she comes to have very strong feelings for Teddy.  Can she face her life after the house is built and the summer is over?

This is a title that has been on my reading list for awhile because of its unique focus on service.  The flashbacks to what happened to Harper are interesting and well paced, but in general the book has less substance than I was expecting.  Teens who have suffered through a parents’ divorce will resonate with Harper’s internal struggle of who she should remain faithful to and wanting the truth.  Harper’s summer activities are not explained in as much detail as her past and the teens she is volunteering with are not developed enough for the reader to easily keep them straight.  Fans of teen romances will like this title.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

these broken stars

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  374

RAC:  Yes

Lilac is the famous daughter of a prestigious businessman who owns the amazing spaceship, Icarus, that she is currently traveling on.  Tarver is a decorated war hero also traveling on the luxury spaceship, but his experience is much different.  When he tries to speak to Lilac in public she makes it very clear that he is beneath her in every way, but shortly after their public altercation the ship is suddenly pulled out of hyperspace.  They both end up in the same escape pod and it’s Lilac’s quick mechanical skills that free their pod before the ship crashes.  They land on what appears to be an uninhabited planet.  In order to survive they must trek across the planet in search of food, people, or a means to communicate.  The two are very different and do not get along well at first, but over time they must come together for the goal of survival.  Eventually, they start to get close and wonder if they even want to leave their own private planet, but then mysterious things start happening.  They hear voices and see hallucinations, among other things.  What is this place and can it in fact hurt them?

This sci/fi adventure is very exciting with many twists in the plot.  The characters and setting are well developed and interesting, but the ending may confuse some readers.  The pacing seems uneven at times too, with parts moving slowly and then a lot happening at once.  Fans of this genre will enjoy, but most others will pass on this one.

Kalahari by Jessica Khoury

kalahari

Genre:  Adventure/Survival

# of Pages:  354

RAC:  Yes

Sarah has lived in one exotic location after another her entire life since her parents are both scientists and often move to where they can conduct research.  After the recent passing of Sarah’s mother, they are still grieving but decide to carry on with a previously scheduled educational safari so that they can earn some extra money.  Shortly after the five teenagers arrive, Sarah’s dad is called away to stop some poachers and she is left to entertain them in the middle of a semi-desert.  Hours go by and Sarah’s dad does not return and finally she receives a very panicked call over the radio from a frantic man who sounds like her father claiming it was a setup and he was being chased.  The call cuts out with the sound of gunshots.  Sarah and the other five teenagers are alone, with little food, and no transportation.  They decide to go looking for help and must rely on Sarah’s survival skills in order to survive.  They eventually find a silver lion who tries to attack them and Sarah knows something unnatural is going on and more than likely whomever created that monstrosity would do anything to keep it quiet.  Can Sarah get the others to safety?  Will she ever find out what happened to her dad?  Where did the silver lion come from and is there some illegal experimenting going on?

Fans of survival books will enjoy this title.  There are multiple scenes in which one or more of the teens is in serious danger due to some natural wildlife threat, like snakes.  However, once they uncover the silver lion they face many dangers from humans as well as the people behind the altered animal want desperately to contain the situation at all costs.  The characters are sympathetic and relatable as they truly just try to just survive this very unexpected situation and in the process must face the many reasons they all wanted to escape to the Kalahari in the first place.

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

nearly gone

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages:  386

RAC:  Yes

Nearly lives in a crappy trailer with her mother who works as an exotic dancer.  She is trying desperately to keep her head down, work hard, and hopefully earn a special science scholarship.  She reads the missed connections ads every Friday in the hopes of finding a message from her father who abandoned her years ago.  Nearly has an unusual talent where she can feel what people are feeling simply by touching them, so she tries not to touch anyone ever.  One day she sees a mysterious ad in the missed connections section and doesn’t think much of it until a cheerleader, whom Nearly tutored,  from her school is taken and attacked at an away basketball game.  After the attack, the clues in the ad suddenly make sense.  She goes to the police, but they do not believe her story and instead decide to follow her and see if she had anything to do with the attack.  Each week a new ad with clues come out and each week there is a new attack of someone that Nearly tutors.  Can she find who is doing this before it is too late?  Who could be capable of such crimes and what do the numbers written on the bodies mean?

This mystery combines several elements to make a fairly complicated story.  There are many characters and sometimes they can be a bit confusing, but in the end they are all fairly memorable.  Nearly has many things going on besides the attacks in her life which makes it unclear which part of her life is actually behind trying to frame her for these terrible crimes.  Most readers will not put together the final resolution, but the pieces do indeed fit together.   Mystery fans will be satisfied.

When by Victoria Laurie

when

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages:  327

RAC:  Yes

Maddie has been able to see numbers on everyone’s foreheads since she was a little girl, but it isn’t until her father dies suddenly that she realizes what they are:  deathdates.  After her father’s death her mother struggles with sobriety and stability and Maddie must become the caretaker and even the breadwinner when her mother strongly encourages her to give “readings” in which she tells people their death dates for money.  Maddie hates doing this because it often causes pain, but she does not know how else to help her mother cope.  After a reading with a wealthy woman asking about her sick daughter, Maddie is horrified to have to tell her that it is in fact the woman’s young son who has a quickly approaching death date.  The woman does not take Maddie’s advice and feels she is threatening her young son.  Maddie’s best friend even calls to warn her to keep a close eye on him in the hopes that his death date can change.  Instead, Maddie and her best friend become prime suspects when that little boy goes missing after school one day.  Things continue to get worse for Maddie and her best friend as more people linked to Maddie start disappearing.  Is someone trying to frame her?  Could it be someone who is close to her and knows what she can do?  How can she stop anyone else from dying?

This premise is executed really well as you see how problematic and troubling this gift has been for Maddie and her family.  Her uncle, a big shot attorney, tries his best to keep her out of jail for the suspicious disappearances that she seems to be predicting, but the evidence just keeps mounting against her.  The reader cannot help but feel connected to Maddie and feels her fear as what is left of her meager world comes crashing down around her.  The mystery itself comes to a very satisfying conclusion that will leave readers wanting more.  Recommended for fans of mystery.

 



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 212 other followers