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Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy

21996355Breaking Sky

In the near future, the United States is in another Cold War, this time with China, and has been isolated from all foreign contact. China has developed a mass of deadly weapons known as red drones that float in the air and no military has the resources to combat them. Until now.

Chase Harcourt, known as “Nyx” in the sky, is one of two special pilots for the United Star Academy flying one of the elite prototype jets called “Streakers”. Her devil-may-care attitude and maverick pilot skills make her unpredictable, fast, and deadly to everyone around her, yet she’s irresistible to her fellow pilots, earning her quite a reputation. During an emergency, she believes another foreign Streaker tries to come to the rescue, and Chase can’t back down until she solves the mystery, leading to a chain of events that brings the United States under imminent risk of mass destruction.

Perfect for reluctant readers (as long as they aren’t intimidated by the length), this book is an exciting thriller with interesting characters, intriguing plot, and fast-paced action. Chase is a strong female character with a lot of determination, will, and heart. Her first reaction is to be either as desirable or as prickly as possible, depending on her audience, which is revealed to be partially due to her questionable genetics and admission into the STAR. My favorite character was Pippin, Chase’s RIO (radar intercept officer) who is fiercely loyal to Chase but suffers an emotional crisis just when he and Chase need each other most. There’s some romance as well as a scope of diversity in characters (including LGBTQ).  The backstory seems to be a rich projection of the near future with enough military knowledge and history to be believable. The one negative thought I had about this book was the fast-paced action combined with a fairly drawn out plot, making me think that the author had wanted this to potentially be more than 1 book…It could have sat for two books with some more detail, but definitely not three. I think teens won’t be put off though and just might like it better since there’s only one.

 

 

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Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

18713071.jpgScarlett Undercover

Orphaned and living with her older sister working as a nursing student, fifteen-year-old amateur private detective Scarlett takes a case from Gemma Archer, who is convinced her older brother killed his best friend. However, the media reported that Quinn Johnson killed himself. While keeping an eye on Gemma for her safety since her parents are frequently absent, Scarlett finds Gemma’s brother Oliver to be as creepy as he sounds, embroiled within a secret cult. During her investigating, she discovers the cult has roots that link to her own family, and she might be in a lot of danger.

Part of an effort to include more diversity in YA literature, Jennifer Latham wrote this exciting novel about a young Muslim American, including references to cultural myths, magic, and language. Having been compared to that hit teen detective of the 2000’s Veronica Mars, Scarlett comes with elements of sassy attitude, independence, and determination. Despite saying she’s 15, her voice actually seems younger and less capable, perhaps because to the reader, she’s not yet established her credibility as a detective. Additionally, Scarlett’s romantic relationship with Decker felt the most flat along with a few minor side characters. Otherwise, this murder mystery is unique, unpredictable, engaging, and best for older middle grades/younger high school teens, especially reluctant readers who are searching for books that reflect cultural diversity.

 

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Cross-Post! Booklist: New 2016 YA Fairytales with Fierce Female Main Characters

Hey readers!

I’m now also posting on YALSA’s blog The Hub!

Check it out!fierce-fairytales

(Click the picture to follow!)

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker

25603164The King Slayer

Following the revelation of Elizabeth Grey’s identity as a witch hunter and her attack on Lord Blackwell after he usurped the throne and revealed himself to be a wizard, Elizabeth is in hiding and under magical protection while also facing trial for her past crimes. During her trial, she and the villagers of Harrow are attacked by Lord Blackwell’s infiltrators, yet her judgment is still final: she must kill Lord Blackwell. With her stigma freely given to her friend John to save him from death, Elizabeth is sure to die facing Blackwell without it. As Elizabeth trains for the coming fight, she notices John’s odd, violent behavior. Where once he was a healer, he now shuns his magic and throws himself into sword fighting and other physical skills. Seeing the turmoil of her friends and the added pressure of more murders in Harrow, Elizabeth tries to complete her task alone, but in the coming civil war all of Anglia lies at stake and one reformed witch hunter has a key role to play.

Magic, pirates, the undead…I love the blend of historical fiction and fantasy. It’s solid as a sequel, and realistically carries the romance between John and Elizabeth to the next level. It is easy to love some of the characters, especially Schuyler, who despite being a dangerous and unpredictable revenant, still manages to be likable and endearing. Since this is not yet published, I won’t write much about any potential spoilers! However, one of the things that most surprises me about this book is how Virginia Boecker manages to pack so much adventure into such a short book and pulls it off wonderfully! I remember being halfway through thinking that the book had to end soon, and yet new twists kept popping up until the end.  Being named just a sequel, it looks like this is a final book as there’s no mention of the series continuing (a shame not to write more novels though since it has such a rich world!).

Note: This review was taken from an advanced reader copy.

The King Slayer will be released June 14, 2016.

 
 

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Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 New YA

There seem to be a lot of fabulous new YA titles coming out every year, and the number is only increasing. I noticed from years back that I am really starting to be unable to catch up! Still, here are some of the debut titles/authors I am looking forward to during this year.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 New YA

download (1)1. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Why I am looking forward to it: Look at that beautiful cover! Plus this seems like a fantastic adventure…

51keXjqvB2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg2. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Magic? Russia? A read-a-like for Leigh Bardugo? Yes!

258977923. Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Scotland with time-traveling back to Eleanor of Aquitaine? I do so love historical fiction.

515SFv0pn6L._SX327_BO1204203200_.jpg4. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Another intriguing read with Middle Eastern culture and princesses…

228404215. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Historical fiction about Lady Jane Grey and a fun mashup.

245291236. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijakamp

The quick events during a shooting. This is always relevant for this day and age.

257853577. Firstlife by Gena Showalter

The cover and premise are irresistable!

255172838. The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright

I am a sucker for anything concerning British royalty.

267215689. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Everyone has been talking about this, it seems like!

2152598810. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

The cover makes you want to read this book.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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