Super cute and fluffy and fun, with one of the best BFFs that I've ever come across in YA. The references to Art of War didn't really interest me that...moreSuper cute and fluffy and fun, with one of the best BFFs that I've ever come across in YA. The references to Art of War didn't really interest me that much (ironic, since that's probably part of what sold the book), but the narrative voice is very fresh.
4.5 stars Well, color me surprised--this was excellent! Such a great reimagining of a skewed Oz, with interesting characters, awesome and imaginative...more4.5 stars Well, color me surprised--this was excellent! Such a great reimagining of a skewed Oz, with interesting characters, awesome and imaginative use of magic, lots of humor and gore, and genuine emotion. And it's just plain fun.
Abrupt ending, and a couple of other little quibbles, but it's really exciting to have a debut author burst into the scene with such a confident, smart debut. Easily followed if you aren't so familiar with the original books or films, but also so many layers to appreciate if you are.
4.5 stars The best sequels expand the world you know and make you fall even deeper in love with the characters. Murder of Crows does all that and more...more4.5 stars The best sequels expand the world you know and make you fall even deeper in love with the characters. Murder of Crows does all that and more in a story that's just as interesting as its predecessor.
4.5 stars It takes a lot to interest me in starting an adult urban fantasy series these days, so I was a bit hesitant when Written in Red landed on my...more4.5 stars It takes a lot to interest me in starting an adult urban fantasy series these days, so I was a bit hesitant when Written in Red landed on my doorstep. This turned out to be a happy surprise, however, because it ended up being a fantastic read.
Meg Corbyn is on the run. As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, she is able to see the future when cuts are made on her skin. This is a painful process in many ways, and she's desperate to free herself from those who have been profiting from her gift her whole life. She soon encounters Simon Wolfgard, a snarly, suspicious shapeshifter who takes her under his wing despite his better judgment.
What I loved: I liked Meg as a protagonist, and her attempts to fit into her new surroundings were well-written, particularly the subplot involving Simon's panicked, endearing nephew Sam. The secondary character are distinct and memorable, particularly the reticent Tess, who just might be more than she appears. Simon is fiercely protective of those he holds dear. And there are short but thrilling action scenes with spectacularly awesome deaths. I admit to being a little bloodthirsty, but really--I was wriggling on the edge of my seat as I was reading some of those scenes!
This book also has one of the most interesting depictions of werewolf culture that I've ever read. The way they interact with each other, the hierarchy, the thought patterns and behavior impulses--all these were well-thought out and integrated into the story, and were both a little scary and endearing in turn. These shifters are primed for action and much more in touch with their animal side than their human one.
"You want us to save any meat for you?" Blair asked.
He wasn't human. Would never be human. "I want the heart. I'll come by for it later."
When Meg was asleep.
But these wolves also aren't above some creature comforts now and then, and can also be coaxed with cookies. :D
A few things that could have been a little better: the villains could have been more complex. The strutting, on-the-make Asia Crane appears often, and yet she's more of an annoyance than a real threat. After such a long build-up, the climax might've been more drawn out. Meg's blood prophecies are pretty cool, so I would have enjoyed seeing more of that. And that cover--oh sweet mercy, that cover should be so much stronger.
I enjoyed this book so much, however, that those things didn't even matter in the end when there's great world-building, humorous dialogue, and genuinely touching moments here and there. I also liked that the book didn't fall into predictable PNR/UF patterns of relationship behavior between Meg and Simon, even though there's clearly an attraction. The way they get to know each other happens gradually, and it's going to be so interesting to see where their story goes in the next installment.
All in all, a strong start to a great series. If you're a YA reader who would like to try more adult crossover titles, this might work for you as long as you know it's not written in a wham-bam instant gratification kind of way. And if you're an urban fantasy fan, you have to check this out. I loved it--I hope you will, too!
3.5 stars Confession time: as someone who is still suffering from Archer withdrawals a big fan of the first two Hex Hall books, I was a little nervous...more3.5 stars Confession time: as someone who is still suffering from Archer withdrawals a big fan of the first two Hex Hall books, I was a little nervous about the prospect of a spinoff series. I'm happy to report that School Spirits finds the author back in fine form, this time with a character that was introduced in Spell Bound.
Remember the girl who talked to the Torin, the guy stuck in the mirror? Izzy Brannick is now fifteen, and her family has a long history as hunters of supernatural creatures. After she and her mom move to a new town in Mississippi, she starts to investigate mysterious hauntings at her high school under the guise of membership in the PMS (hah!) or Paranormal Management Society. The problem is, this case is more complicated than it initially appears--and it doesn't help matters that Izzy has no idea how she's supposed to fit in and be a "normal" teenager.
Written with the author's signature bouncy prose and effervescent humor, School Spirits is presented with more of a traditional mystery framework than the Hex Hall series, which really helps with driving the story forward and keeping the plotting clean. Izzy's Nancy Drew shenanigans are well-balanced with her family life, her relationships with her new friend Romy, and her relationship with her mom. I also liked Dex, a highly amusing fellow who charms Izzy with his witty quips and flamboyant personality. He makes for a rather unconventional love interest, and it's going to be interesting to see where that story arc goes next with the various complications thrown in their way.
You will have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief with how things end with the two of them, by the way; and after setting up such a good pace for the story, the ending also felt a bit rushed to me. But this series is definitely off to a fun start, and Izzy is a heroine who's easy to root for. Will she find out what happened to her sister Finley? What's really going on with Torin? I MUST KNOW. It's vexing to have to wait a year or more to find out these answers, but with such a cheerfully brisk narrative and colorful array of characters, you can be sure I'll be among the first in line for the next installment in this series.
3.5 stars I have to admit, I really enjoyed this, even though a lot of things really bothered me about the story. Some sort of short reaction to come....more3.5 stars I have to admit, I really enjoyed this, even though a lot of things really bothered me about the story. Some sort of short reaction to come. (less)
Ideally, sequels not only expand upon the stories and themes introduced in their preceding books, but they also improve upon them. Scorch does a great...moreIdeally, sequels not only expand upon the stories and themes introduced in their preceding books, but they also improve upon them. Scorch does a great job of upping the stakes for a group of young grim reapers in an entertaining way, in both the action and character development departments. This sequel features tighter plotting, is faster and funnier, and makes you enjoy your time with its likable protagonists even more than you might've the first time around.
I really liked: Uncle Mort's hilarious attempts to minimize Lex and Drigg's makeout time, jellyfish venom, the further developments of Lex's (and Driggs') powers, and a really cool twist at the end that changes the direction of the story and an important relationship.
And my favorite quote:
That doesn't mean you get a free pass to ride the baloney pony whenever you want to. Got it?
Heh. Definitely check out Croak and Scorch if you enjoy humor mixed with your YA urban fantasy.
An advance copy was received by the publisher for this review.(less)
Not many books start out with the heroine getting shot in the chest with a flying arrow. Fortunately, Tevra is wearing chain mail and astride her hors...moreNot many books start out with the heroine getting shot in the chest with a flying arrow. Fortunately, Tevra is wearing chain mail and astride her horse, however, so she doesn't even bat an eye. She merely pulls out her sword, narrowly avoids the keening magical orb pursuing her, and rendezvous with the men under her command. The king himself has charged her with ending the corruption in the Forest Province, and as the youngest Colonel in the Light Cavalry, she takes her extraordinarily powerful role as the king's viceroy quite seriously.
I rarely traditional fantasies because I often don't have the patience to learn all the new customs and names--and so many fantasy books seem so focused on the world building that an engaging story sometimes falls by the wayside. Not so in this book, however! We are thrown into the action as soon as the story begins, and we are quickly caught up on the issues at stake. For a short book in which sword battles, politics, romance, and magic play nearly equal roles, it is exceptionally well-paced, entertaining, and accessible, whilst pleasing most fans of high fantasy, adventure, and romance.
Tevra is an unforgettable heroine, one who imperiously commands war-scarred men and dispatches corruption with ease, but who is also capable of expressing herself subtly with a cool lift of her brow or a gracious tilt of her head. The author has created in Tevra a sympathetic protagonist who is believably authoritative, but whose inner dialogue also shows a more vulnerable, emotional side that is immensely appealing. In the middle of the sensitive political issues she must deal with, Tevra is also struggling with an unwanted attraction to the Forest King, and her tingly encounters with this man made me clutch the book a little more tightly more than once. Complicating matters is the headstrong young Hetwith, who has been at her side for more than a decade and whose strengths and weaknesses somehow seem a perfect match to complement her own.
Written with brisk economy that still manages to convey a great deal of expressiveness and emotion, Tevra's story excited me and moved me in ways that I didn't expect. It is thrilling to witness her decisiveness and determination in the heat of battle (the woman takes a harpoon through her side at one point!), it is unbearably sad to hear about her past as an Unchosen maid, and it is scandalously pleasing to see her discover her feminine side for the first time. It's always tricky with first person narrative to make the reader cognizant of clues that the main character herself may not necessarily be aware of, but somehow the author managed to do that here. I also loved the cheerful humor and witty language with which nearly every scene was met--I don't think I've ever chuckled so much in a fantasy adventure.
While it's true that you might predict some of the plot lines or you may guess some of the secrets that Tevra keeps hidden even from herself, it really doesn't matter. This book fulfills every demand you would want from a story like this--and it does so with style, playfulness, and latent emotion. I couldn't have loved it more.
Spread the Love
If you ever wonder about whether word of mouth is influential, by the way, this book is another great example of how readers discover and share hidden gems. Gail Carriger chose a moment from this book as her favorite romantic scene on my blog for her guest post. Since I started reading it, more than 100 people have shelved this book and I know a number of friends have purchased it (along with a few of the author's other titles) as well. Taming the Forest King is sadly out of print, but you can easily obtain a copy through secondhand bookstores or online through Amazon, Half.com, Alibris, etc. Good luck! It's well worth the $5 or so you'll spend.(less)
3.5 stars Super cute--the perfect thing when you want a quick, entertaining read that isn't going to tax your brain too much, but also won't leave you...more3.5 stars Super cute--the perfect thing when you want a quick, entertaining read that isn't going to tax your brain too much, but also won't leave you frustrated with its vapidity. I really liked how smart and honest and funny Miranda's voice was, and the way she owns her geekery and her differences with more popular kids. (less)
Wonder is one of those rare books that makes you want to hug everyone in it so tightly that they’ll have no doubt about how much you love them…and bey...moreWonder is one of those rare books that makes you want to hug everyone in it so tightly that they’ll have no doubt about how much you love them…and beyond that, it also makes you want to reach out and hug the whole world. It’s an upbeat, humorous, life-affirming story that deserves to be read—and it’s one that may just change its readers, too.
If you remember how terrifying it was to be a kid on a day to day basis, you’ll appreciate August’s story. 10-year-old Auggie is going to school for the first time in his life, and he has to navigate new rules, learn to interact with teachers, and figure out how to make new friends. In addition, he also has a severe facial deformity that stops strangers in their tracks, so all the usual perils of the fifth grade take on even more heightened stakes.
With the matter-of-fact wisdom that warmed Beverly Cleary’s books, this story about growing up is full of heart and humor, and written with a clear-eyed intelligence that never descends into cynicism. Auggie’s smart, funny personality will win over readers who will agonize with him over the complicated web of friendships and family even as they cheer for him as he learns some of life’s big and scary lessons.
It’s okay, I know I’m weird-looking, take a look, I don’t bite. Hey, the truth is, if a wookie started going to school all of a sudden, I’d be curious, I’d probably stare a bit! And if I was walking with Jack or Summer, I’d probably whisper to them: Hey, there’s the wookie. And if the wookie caught me saying that, he’d know I wasn’t trying to be mean. I was just pointing out the fact that he’s a wookie.
Even with a positive attitude and smart, loving parents, however, Auggie’s story is not an easy one to read, and my emotions ran wildly from sadness to hilarity to terrible anger at what happens to him. Not all kids are nice. Some kids behave one way in front of adults and another way in front of kids. Some adults are downright cruel. And just when you think life can’t possibly get any harder or more challenging, sometimes it does.
Although the book is primarily told from Auggie’s perspective, it was a surprise to me when it switched to a few other points of view. With a total of six different voices, I would normally say this is far too many, but in this particular case every person offered an insight into August’s beautiful personality and amazing life in a way that would be impossible to otherwise know. Reading about Auggie’s 27 surgeries, rejoicing at his vibrant inner life, hurting for him when he felt lonely or misunderstood, and seeing his life from various different perspectives, it’s impossible not to be moved by his story. And how can you not love a boy who understands that sometimes his mom might need his precious teddy bear more than he does?
Not entirely random side note: (view spoiler)[In my former life, I worked in movie publicity. In that position, you’re subjected to a lot of wheedling and sob stories, so it’s natural to develop a pretty jaded viewpoint. So when a film critic forwarded a plea to me from the mom of a young boy who wanted to attend an advance screening of the latest Harry Potter movie, my first reaction was automatic suspicion—why couldn’t this kid wait the two months until the movie was out? I did a lot of research before I finally spoke to the mom, but I’m so glad I did. Because it turned out the boy was in the advanced stages of an incurable illness and was not expected to live much longer.
It made me so terribly ashamed that I had doubted the story. Understandable, yes, but I knew that the letter could easily have been overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the business—and it scared me to think that something that so important might have been lost because of other things that mattered so much less. In this case, I made sure this boy and his family got the VIP treatment, including a ton of swag and a very memorable evening. He was absolutely incandescent that night, and his parents told me afterwards that it was one of the happiest experiences in his young life. When his mom told me a few months later that he’d passed away, it was terribly sad. But I was so grateful to have had that brief contact, and to have helped bring a tiny bit of joy into his last months. It was, just as Wonder is, a reminder that it’s so much easier to look the other way, because of impatience or fear. But sometimes reaching out to another human being can be a life-changing experience, for everyone concerned. As many have said before me, taking action doesn't just change the other person, it also changes you.(hide spoiler)]
Tears were streaming down my face as I finished this book—and the funny thing is, they were primarily tears of joy. Wonder is written with the kind of sensitivity and insight that I had hoped for when I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and it went the extra mile to be an uplifting story that made me want to embrace life and the people in it, too. I also very much appreciate that this middle grade book is written for its intended age group, not just a book for adults in the guise of a children’s book, even though it’s certainly one that can be enjoyed by readers of any age.
“There are always going to be jerks in the world, Auggie,” she said, looking at me. “But I really believe, and Daddy really believes, that there are more good people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other.”
A story like this comes along just a few times in a lifetime, and I fervently hope that readers will find their way to it. This short book that doesn’t waste a single page in squeezing your emotions so tightly you feel like you can't breathe, but when they're finally released, you may find that your heart is full of even more empathy, compassion, and love than you thought possible. We expect to be surprised by cruelty, but how wonderful it is to also be surprised by kindness.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
About the Inspiration Behind the Story
The ice cream incident in this story actually happened, but perhaps not in the way you might think. Learn about the surprising inspiration behind this story on the RJ Palcio's website. She's definitely an author to watch.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Win an ARC of Necromancing the Stone over atThe Midnight Garden! Open internationally through 7/30.
4.5 stars At long last, it's here! This review con...moreWin an ARC of Necromancing the Stone over atThe Midnight Garden! Open internationally through 7/30.
4.5 stars At long last, it's here! This review contains some spoilers from the first book, so proceed at your own risk.
After killing the evil necromancer Douglas Montgomery in last year's hilarious Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, Sam LaCroix has not only inherited Douglas' seat on their town's supernatural Council, but he's inherited his huge house, his shapeshifting cat butler James, and a small army of angry jam-loving gnomes as well. Just as he's settling into his new position as head of a very unusual household, however, his sister gets a nasty threat delivered to her door, and a sudden death changes everything. One thing a necromancer should always keep in mind, after all, is that just because someone's dead doesn't mean they stay that way.
It feels like we've been waiting for this sequel forever, and I'm so pleased to report that catching up with Sam and his crew is even more fun the second time around. Necromancing is more tautly plotted, faster, funnier, and full of even more madcap moments than the last time around.
Fun Necromancing Madness
A vengeful undead enemy? Check. A werebear best friend? Check. A harbinger of death who uses a Blackberry? Check. A pointy-toothed, beef jerky-loving pygmy cupacabra? Check. Stupidly entertaining gnome names like Chauncey the Devourer of Souls or Gnoman Polanski? Check. Deceitful companions who just might be enemies? Check.
Aside from the zany one-liners and good-humored characters, there are also surprising moments of gravity that I really appreciated. Okay, so they happen to involve a sad zombie panda and throat-cutting, but still! I also got the wish I expressed in my review of Necromancer, which was that the antagonist would be more fully developed and nuanced. I loved the way the author explored his back story, and the climax and resolution felt properly serious and satisfactory, without being too somber for a book like this.
If I were to nitpick, I do wish a little more had been done with the awesome secondary cast. While I really liked the werewolf politics involving Sam's girlfriend Brid and her pack, I would love to have seen more done with the werebear, gnomes, etc. Right now they're mostly there for comic relief, while there was such a great opportunity to utilize them in the action and interpersonal scenes. I'm also not sure that James, the cat shapeshifter, also need to have a second form (view spoiler)[as a dragon (hide spoiler)] since he doesn't really use it and it's so different from his other two forms.
I am, however, very glad that the book mostly loses the extraneous POVs that made the first book so disjointed. Necromancing the Stone focuses on two primary characters and allows us to get to know and appreciate both. Still, a third POV is inserted very late into the book at page 161, and then again at pages 278 and 296--and being that all of them total 11 pages, it seems as though the book would be much more streamlined and would have flowed much better if those parts had been reworked somehow.
But none of that really matters in the end, because jeez, this book is just so much fun. It's awesome when a sequel is even better than the original, and I'm hoping this means we'll not only see a trilogy, but that the third book will be the best book of all. If you enjoy humor with your young adult urban fantasy, this is a series that's not to be missed.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
P.S. Waffles make an appearance on page 50. Just in case you were wondering.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
4.5 stars Do you believe violent offenders are the product of nature or nurture?
In the case of 17-year-old Jasper “Jazz” Dent, he’s got both factors...more4.5 stars Do you believe violent offenders are the product of nature or nurture?
In the case of 17-year-old Jasper “Jazz” Dent, he’s got both factors working against him. Not only is he the son of the country’s most notorious serial killer, but dear old daddy even forced him to watch those grisly crimes and sometimes…more.
I’ve always been interested in how human beings cope with extreme circumstances, and the way children in particular can demonstrate remarkable resilience. I Hunt Killers sets up a fascinating scenario showing how both environment and biology can contribute to certain conditioned responses and behaviors—and how an innate sense of human decency might be strong enough to overcome even the worst of upbringings. At least that’s what Jazz keeps telling himself. Because now that he suspects that a new serial killer is at work in his small town, he’s flashing back to memories that make him extremely uneasy. Did he help kill someone he loved without knowing it? Is he destined to follow in his father’s footsteps?
What sets this novel apart from all the other paint-by-numbers mysteries is that Jazz is an incredibly complex, believable character. The book has been billed as “Dexter for YA” and it’s an apt comparison; Jazz is likable, relatable, and consumed by the idea that he may not be able to stop himself from doing harm to others. The story itself is engaging, with the masterfully detailed, well-researched criminology aspects related in an accessible way. The book is also HILARIOUS from beginning to end. I didn’t expect to be laughing so much at a book about a possible serial killer in the making, but it’s impossible to resist the graveyard banter running through Jazz’s seasoned, offhand narrative.
Making a duplicate key from a wax impression was an extremely useful skill to have if you were the sort of person who liked invading other people’s homes and killing them.
And later, his best friend Howie earnestly asks him what his middle name is, because he’s sure that serial killers all have three names! The choice to use humor to hook the reader into the story is brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed being in Jazz’s conflicted and absurdly playful head.
Despite its humorous tone and exceptional writing, however, my guess is that this is going to be an extremely polarizing book. Its refusal to look away from the often horrific nature of brutal crimes and twisted mind games will be shocking to readers who aren’t used to these kinds of details. Early in the book we’re eased into some crimes because they’re mostly told in past tense, but the later scenes definitely escalate in tension and violence, although I don’t think they really cross the line in terms of being gratuitous rather than graphic.
If I had to quibble about anything, I’d say that Jazz’s give and take relationship with the police is something readers will need to accept, although their doubtful reliance upon him is portrayed in a fairly believable tone. And as with all murder novels, I wasn’t particularly keen on the few scenes told from the killer’s point of view. But those things are really almost incidental when the writing is nearly pitch-perfect in balancing ghoulish humor and a macabre subject.
It’s so exciting to see YA that pushes boundaries in this way. While I confess that I'm a little uneasy about the idea of 13-year-old being exposed to this sort of information, I don’t think the book contains too much explicit material that older teens or adults already haven’t seen in other forms of entertainment. I strongly urge readers to carefully consider whether this is a subject that they want to read about, however, because this book certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. But for the right audience, this thriller will hit all the right notes for an unforgettable reading experience. Its dark, disturbing, and devilishly funny vibe is pure genius.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.
If you’re intrigued by the sound of this book, stay tuned. We’ll be giving away an advance readers copy next week on the blog!(less)
Gosh, this book is so freaking cute, I can't even stand it. We all can use a little romance now and then, but not many contemporary YA love stories st...moreGosh, this book is so freaking cute, I can't even stand it. We all can use a little romance now and then, but not many contemporary YA love stories stand out as anything particularly memorable, which is why I normally prefer to see them cloaked among werewolves and angels and other such distractions.
Brenna Blixen doesn't need supernatural beings to keep our attention, however. This smart and focused heroine has plenty of drama in her life, what with starting all over again at her school after being abroad for a year. She's also attracted to two very different boys: the arrogant, too-sexy-for-his-own-good Saxon, and the hot but shy Jake. Both boys pursue Brenna with enjoyable focus, and as things heat up in the two different relationships, she discovers that everyone's hiding secrets...and the two boys even have a complicated history of their own.
I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, but it quickly became one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Love triangles are rarely well-done, but it's easy to see why Brenna likes both boys in different ways--and why they like her, too. She's smart-mouthed but kind, responsible but spontaneous, and just seems like an all-around nice girl who'd be fun to hang out with. I liked that even though the story is very much centered on the romance, Brenna has a balanced life and cares about things other than just boys. Her parents and friends are great, she thinks about school and about her future, and she doesn't allow herself to be walked all over. Ever.
I love that Brenna goes on blessedly normal dates, sneaks her boyfriend into her room, and tries to be a good person in handling her attraction to these guys without being a boring old goody-goody. One of the things debut author Liz Reinhardt deserves big credit for is that this is probably the most explicit and realistic depictions of teen sexuality I've ever read. It's also HOT. And fun. And the characters actually talk about sex, which is fantastic.
The two boys are also mouth-wateringly adorable. They're both seriously cute, Saxon with his careless demeanor and how he's attuned to Brenna's personality, and Jake with his sweet uncertainty and absolute devotion. (I almost hate to say this, but the name *whispers* Tucker Avery floated into my head more than once...) Neither boy is even close to perfect, though, which makes for some uncomfortable moments and history, but also some fairly realistic ones, including some wince-inducing bluntness from Saxon in particular. I liked that, aside from a number of hot and heavy make-out scenes, there is also unexpected depth and emotion in this story. These characters are layered and feel very real; this book pushed a number of buttons for me, since it makes me terribly sad to hear about kids who don't have enough to eat, as well as incredibly angry when I hear of anyone being mocked for their lack of education or intelligence.
If there's any room for improvement, I'd say that Brenna might be a little too adult sometimes in her thinking and her actions, even though I really enjoyed not wanting to smack the heroine for a change. Jake's past is also perhaps explained away a little too simplistically, and there are a lot of references to films that might be considered a bit dated when they're all taken together. None of this really bothered me all that much, however, as the narrative voice is so fresh and funny and thoroughly winning. It just worked for me as a YA romance in a way that few others have ever done. The sequel, Junk Miles, wasn't quite as successful for me, but this first installment was one that I really enjoyed.
The next time you're in the mood to wriggle your toes over some adorable dates or swoon over some cute guys, consider giving Double Clutch a try! I think most fans of contemporary YA romance will fall in love with it in a big way.
That's right, this is a self-published novel, and aside from a couple of minor typos, it's actually more polished than many traditionally published books on the market. Although I do support indie authors, I rarely respond to indie review requests these days since I receive so many. What caught my attention about Liz's note, however, was her warm and personalized approach, her reference of the Oxford comma in her author profile, and my sneaking suspicion that Brenna's name was a nod to the writer Karen Blixen, aka Isak Dinesen. I was right about that reference, and I was right to give this book a chance. I hope that if you're a romance lover, you will, too.