Reminiscent of Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy, "Prophecy of the Sisters" has a Gothic, transcendental quality to it.
Zink's prose is spot on, with page-turning clarity and conviction. There's a sophistication to her writing that goes beyond the usual young-adult fare. And there's no limit to Zink's imagination and her ability to bring that out on the page.
"Prophecy of the Sisters" is just the beginning of Lia and Alice's tale. And while Zink brings the book to a satisfactory end, she has set the stage for an intriguing follow-up. The twins' story is just getting started. Here's hoping a sequel is fast in coming....more
Often when authors use other works for inspiration, they loose the essence of the original book. That is not the case here. I was surprised at how authentic both Elliot and Kai felt. Their romance has the same underlying tension and passion as that of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth.
Though Diana Peterfreund has created a world of her own with different problems and settings, her book feels at once familiar. It doesn’t come across as a copycat, but rather almost a companion novel — as if the setting were one Austen may have created had she been born in a different time.
Perhaps one of the strongest elements in Diana’s novel comes in her use of letters. In between each chapter, there are sections of correspondence between Elliot and Kai. Each section is from a different time, a different age. This is where readers come to understand the true nature of their friendship — from their first introduction until the time Kai leaves. They are personal and heartfelt and help to push the story forward while looking back.
“For Darkness Shows the Stars” is an intelligent read that doesn’t rely on sexuality, strong language or gratuitous violence. It’s understated and quiet with moments of brilliance. And as with my copy of “Persuasion,” I have no doubt it will be reread many times. ...more
"Amaranth Enchantment" has obvious nods to "Cinderella," without taking them too far. Author Julie Berry uses it as a jumpiFull review at Deseret News
"Amaranth Enchantment" has obvious nods to "Cinderella," without taking them too far. Author Julie Berry uses it as a jumping-off place to create an original tale that has just as much heart as the classic.
It's not without its flaws, stuttering in a few places, but Berry's characters are believable and interesting. "Amaranth" is a strong start for a debut novel....more
With such a glut of fantasy/paranormal young-adult books available, it’s nice to come across anything different. And not only is “Miles From Ordinary” different, it’s really good, too.
Lacey faces real-world challenges to which there are no easy answers. It’s a situation straight out of real life that rings true in both tone and voice.
It’s clear that the author was fully invested in this book and that she truly cared about her characters. It’s also clear she respects her readers. The maturity of the subject and writing confirm a trust between the two.
“Miles From Ordinary” is not a happy book, though there are moments of joy and humor. But happiness shouldn’t be a prerequisite for a good read. Excellence should be the standard, and “Miles From Ordinary” has that in spades. ...more
What at face value seems simple becomes intricate and telling in "Everything is Fine," an engrossing look at the resiliencyFull review at Deseret News
What at face value seems simple becomes intricate and telling in "Everything is Fine," an engrossing look at the resiliency of youth. Ann Dee Ellis' spare prose is telling and poetic as she brings Mazzy's fractured world to the page with earnest detail. ...more
I must admit that I didn’t like Andi’s character at first. I found her a bit caustic and self-absorbed. But that changed as this story about two girlsI must admit that I didn’t like Andi’s character at first. I found her a bit caustic and self-absorbed. But that changed as this story about two girls centuries apart unfolded. Both young women have an admirable hidden strength — Andi in present day and Alex during the French Revolution. Though maybe not the way you would expect, both rise to the occasion after facing incredible tragedies. If you haven’t read this book yet, you should....more
Written by National Book Award finalist and Salt Lake City resident Sara Zarr, "Once Was Lost" is a poignant tale of life, love and forgiveness. Here, Zarr has created a thoughtful character study with faith at its center. Her insightful treatment of this subject matter makes this a worthwhile read. ...more
"The Hate List" is a gripping novel that engages the reader on numerous levels. It asks hard questions to which there are ffull review at Deseret News
"The Hate List" is a gripping novel that engages the reader on numerous levels. It asks hard questions to which there are few answers and forces the reader to look at events from more than one point of view.
A topic such as a school shooting is emotionally charged. Brown's sensitive, but honest, handling of it is to be commended. And though telling the story from the perspective of one of the accused, Brown never trivializes the feelings or actions of the victims.
Brown walks a fine line and does it well. Here, she has created an excellent piece that parents should not be afraid of their teens reading.
The shooting is recounted through newspaper articles and Val's own memories. It's a frightening and intense scene, but it's not overly gory. The details come in the emotions, the flashes of color, remembrances. There is some harsh language here, but it is fitting with the situation and is used sparingly.
Though written for young adults, "The Hate List" effortlessly straddles the age barrier. It's a worthwhile read that delves into the consequences of one's actions and the power of forgiveness....more
One hundred and forty-six women workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Many were asphyxiated and others jumped to their deaths from windows on the burning upper-story floors.
The factory owners had kept the doors locked, funneling workers through one exit so they could be checked for stolen items when leaving work for the day.
There was mass chaos following the fire, with onlookers gawking as workers, family members and residents gathered to identify bodies.
It was one of the worst factory disasters to date.
The fire is only a small part of Friesner’s book. But she makes the characters so real, so compelling that when the fire happens, your heart can’t help but ache for them.
Parts of “Threads and Flames” are horrifying, not in how things are related, but in they actually happened. One can’t help but feel like they are in the factory with Raisa, the flames licking at cloth and smoke smothering the frantic women trying to escape.
The only part that didn’t come together for me was thread between Raisa and Henda. The end resolution felt too contrived and too easy.
Apart from that, however, “Threads and Flames” is a fantastic read for young adults and adults alike....more
In many ways “The False Prince” reminds me of “The Prince and the Pauper.” In both cases, boys are asked to take on roles and responsibilities far beyond what they’re prepared for. But make no mistake; “The False Prince” is not a copycat. It’s a bold story that practically leaps off the page.
Sage is a bright young man who is instantly likeable. He’s not perfect. Indeed it’s imperfections that help him stand out. The other young men are also well-developed, as are Jennifer’s supporting characters.
There’s a strong story here — one filled with adventure, mystery and intrigue. And even though I figured out one of the key elements prior to it being revealed, I still found myself utterly caught up in the story.
It takes a great amount of skill to make all of the elements of such a story work. Jennifer has that skill and then some. “The False Prince” is a strong stand-alone novel. In fact, upon completion, I found myself wondering where Jennifer could or would go from here. I’m eagerly looking forward to the second book in this trilogy, “The Runaway King,” which will be released in April 2013. I can’t wait to see where Jennifer takes readers next....more
Eona is a strong female character. But what makes her so appealing isn’t necessarily her strength — it’s her flaws that make you want to read more. In many ways Eona is still a young woman trying to find her path. And her path is unlike any other. She is not whom society expects and neither, it turns out, is Kygo.
“Eona” is full of action with sword fighting, torture and other acts of violence. Though it never gets to the gross-out gore level. But there are also quiet moments here, as well, balancing the story out and giving it added depth.
“Eona” is like a lot of other popular books in that it’s a one-sit read. In other words, you’ll want to sit down, start reading and not stop until you’re finished. At more than 600 pages, there’s some heft to this book, and it took me about five hours from start to finish. I’m a fast reader, and I was reading under deadline. If I were to go reread “Eona” I would probably take more time, savoring the story rather than pushing through.
And I have to say the likelihood of me rereading “Eona” is high. Although I’ll reread “Eon” before it. It’s been more than two years since reading “Eon” and I did find myself a little lost jumping straight into its sequel. I would suggest reading the two books together for an optimal experience....more
“Goddess Interrupted” is the fast-moving follow-up to Aimee Carter’s “The Goddess Test.” Like its predecessor, “Goddess Interrupted” has a fresh feel to it. Aimee’s story is well-developed, with the newest novel feeling more heavily weighted in myths and lore.
Aimee’s main characters have greater depth as well, though Henry is infuriating for more than half the book. And there are times when Kate is frustratingly naïve. Those complaints are minor, however, in the grand scheme of things.
“Goddess Interrupted” is a great “popcorn” read for anyone interested in mythology. Just make sure to read “The Goddess Test” first....more
“Someday Dancer” can be split into two parts — Casey’s time in South Carolina and her time in New York — and both parts essential to making this great book whole. It’s clear author Sarah Rubin has a love of dance. It practically jumps through Casey and off the page.
It’s also clear that Sarah did her research.
Those who aren’t familiar with modern dance often think it’s all the same. But like ballet, which has a number of different methods, so, too, does modern dance. The Graham style in particular is very structured with specific technique. I was first exposed to the Graham style of dance as an early teen, and I was excited to find the same warm-up represented in “Someday Dancer.”
Beyond the dance, Sarah has written a compelling story of a young girl following her dream and realizing that dreams can be altered. There’s also a strong family component that’s weaved throughout, creating a grounding influence. I would highly recommend this to dance and non-dance lovers alike. It’s one of my favorite dance books in recent years. ...more