Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 549
Ismae was born with terrible scars on her back because her father is Death and her mother tried to have her killed before she was born. Later, Ismae’s stepfather sells her into a terrible arranged marriage. Once her new husband sees her scars he believes Ismae to be cursed and starts to beat her. She is rescued and sent to a convent where everyone works for Death. Ismae comes to find she has talents for working as an assassin whenever Death shows her the mark that someone should die. She is sent on a mission to help a man named Gavriel to protect a young girl who has recently taken power over a big nation. Ismae knows there is a traitor amongst the duchess’s advisors, but is not as prepared for the task as she thought she would be. Can Ismae find the traitor who threatens to put an entire kingdom in jeopardy before it is overtaken by enemies? Can she trust Gavriel as her convent believes or is he in fact hiding any secrets of his own?
This book is getting a lot of attention because it is engaging right from the beginning. Any reader naturally wants to know more about Ismae’s skills as well as who is betraying the young duchess. The characters are all memorable, which is important in a book with so many characters any of which could be the traitor. The ending is satisfying and readers will want to see more of this character to find out what she is capable of. Fans of Graceling and Star Crossed will enjoy this title as well.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 289
Luna and her family are struggling to deal with the unexpected death of her mother. A year after she was hit and killed by a taxi, Luna goes to her mother’s studio and finds her cell phone with seven unheard messages. As Luna slowly listens to the messages she begins to learn things she never suspected about her mother. Could it be possible that her mother’s death was not an accident? Is there information her father is not sharing with her?
The book lives up to its title in that there is information to be learned from the seven messages, but Luna does not linger too long on them and instead moves on to finding out more. The relationship with her neighbor seems a bit tiresome at times, but Luna’s relationship with her father and brother are rich and help establish their home life before their mother’s death. The ending is satisfying, but there is no surprise that the reader won’t predict early on. Fans of Lipstick Apology will enjoy this title.
# of Pages: 391
Nora is paired with Patch in science class and always feels a bit uncomfortable around him, especially since he seems to turn up wherever she is. The more time she spends with him, however, the more drawn she feels to him. Her best friend and the school counselor warn her he is dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted, but she cannot help but feel like she is in fact safe with him. Meanwhile, another new boy has come to her school, Elliot, and he is determined to befriend her. While Nora’s best friend thinks Elliot is wonderful Nora cannot help feel like something is a bit sinister with him. After a series of bizarre events in which Nora either hallucinated or someone is purposefully messing with her, she must decide which boy would be taunting her with dangerous situations. Is her life actually in danger and why?
This story is yet another fallen angel romance, but somehow still finds a way to be unique and interesting. Patch and Elliot both have reasons to hurt Nora, yet they both seem genuine at times when they want to befriend her. While Nora’s mother is absent for an enormous part of the book and her best friend seems to make the worst choices ever, Nora seems to take things in stride despite the fact that she finds herself in severe danger over and over. The ending provides some answers, but there is still a lot readers will want to know as this fantasy romance unfolds. Fans of Unearthly, Fallen, and Halo will enjoy this title as well.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 349
RAC Book: Yes
Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena are back ten years after the last installment of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Now they are all approaching the age of 30 and they have struggled to keep their friendship alive. Tibby moved to Australia with Bryan, Bridget lives with Eric in San Francisco, Lena lives alone in New York and works as an art professor, and Carmen lives with her horrible fiance in New York where she works as an actress. Tibby has especially fallen out of touch with her friends, which is why they are all so surprised when she invites them to Greece for a reunion. When the three girls arrive, Tibby is not there to greet them. By nightfall they know something is wrong and by morning their worst fears are confirmed. The way each woman handles this tragedy is to run away from each other, which seems a bit surprising considering how long they have been friends. Can they ever recover from their loss? Can they ever find their way in this world without wandering aimlessly forever?
Most of this book centers on Bridget, Lena, and Carmen coping with Tibby’s apparent suicide. During this time the three women rarely speak to each other and choose to throw themselves into various other activities. It seems sad they have been a bit lost these last ten years and it took a tragedy to wake them up. It’s difficult to take characters who became famous in young adult novels and make them realistic adults. In many ways, these characters were still the same immature girls who traded pants. The ending was satisfying, but the journey was a bit frustrating as the characters repeatedly made decisions that seemed unrealistic for thirty-year-olds who have been friends since birth.
# of Pages: 229
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to The Mark, Cassie is now living in a new place with a roommate and trying to make it on her own. She has the ability to see marks that mean a person is going to die soon. She has found that if she intervenes it can save a person’s life, but she does not know if it has any negative affects and decides to find out more about her gift. One way she studies death is by working at a funeral home and studying the different ways people handle death. When her roommate informs her of a girl at a nearby mental ward, Cassie begins to wonder if they in fact share the same gift. When she goes to meet with the girl she sees a mysterious boy from her class and begins to wonder about his intentions and motivations. As the two get closer she learns that he may have more to teach her than she thought. Can she trust this mysterious boy, Zander? Are there others out there like her?
Cassie’s gift creates an interesting premise for a book and there are many worthwhile situations that help her better understand how her gift can affect people. One great example is when the father of a classmate dies. There are a few mentions of her past from the first book that may confuse some readers if they have not read it, but the new characters in this book prove to be engaging. The relationship dynamic between Cassie and Zander changes with every revelation they learn about each other, but it is still unclear what their ultimate relationship will be like. Fans of supernatural and fantasy will enjoy the story, but will probably want to start with the first in the series.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 454
RAC Book: Yes
Elizabeth Valchar wakes up to find her own dead body, but she can’t remember anything before she died. As she watches her friends and family move on from the tragedy she realizes that her life was not as perfect as everyone thought it was. She had already suffered the loss of her mother at a very young age, and of her father’s hasty remarriage afterward. She did truly love her boyfriend, Richie, which is why it’s so hard to see him suffer after her death. She has a ghostly companion in Alex, a boy in her high school who died a year before Elizabeth. He was very unpopular and people did not react to his death the way they do hers, which makes for an uncomfortable situation. Can Elizabeth find out what happened to her so that she can be free?
This story grabs readers right from the beginning because there is so much that Elizabeth does not know. The more she remembers about the months before she died the more confusing it gets. She is surrounded by a bunch of questionable characters who could either be on her side or working against her. Her circle of friends is particularly mysterious as they appear vapid, but some of them know more than they are saying. Fans of The Everafter, Elsewhere, and Thirteen Reasons Why will enjoy this book, but there are some heavy issues discussed.