Release Date: August 28, 2012 Title: Speechless Author: Hannah Harrington Pages: 288 Publisher: HarlequinTeen Available:Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.
Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.
But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.
This is Hannah Harrington’s second YA novel. Her first, Saving June, was one of my favorites last year. But this one – this one far exceeded my expectations.
Chelsea Knot is the kind of girl I am. She has a need to be wanted and liked. And when she’s taken under the popular girl’s wing – she does whatever she has to fit right in. When she knows a secret, she tells it. It’s not meant to be malicious; it’s for the sheer entertainment value of it. And when one secret revealed changes the lives of everyone she knew – Chelsea realizes that she’s not the person she wants to be. In an effort to figure herself out, she decides to take a vow of silence. Through this vow, she discovers that words have power and should be used wisely.
I read this one in a single sitting. I was so completely drawn into Chelsea’s world – into her head – that I didn’t want to move once I was there. The writing was flawless. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work – a whole novel, with supporting characters when the main character doesn’t speak? But it was perfect. I honestly didn’t even notice that she wasn’t actually speaking most of the time. The supporting characters – Sam, Asha, and yes even Andy – picked it up and carried it so that the missing dialogue was never missing.
Chelsea’s character development over the course of the book made me adore her. While I do think it should have taken more than a month for her to go from who she was to who she became, it was the right path and I didn’t question it. I loved her. I hated watching her go through the bullying that she dealt with – but I cheered for her for maintaining her silence in the face of adversity.
I was unprepared for the moment she finally decided to speak again. I had expected it to be predictable. I was certain I knew when it would happen. And I was so completely wrong. And that makes me love Hannah Harrington even more.
Release Date: October 23, 2012 Title: The Lost Prince Author: Julie Kagawa Pages: 379 Publisher: Harlequin Teen Available:Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.
That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’s dare to fall for.
Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myths and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.
My name is Ethan Chase. And I may not live to see my eighteenth birthday.
Ethan Chase is all grown up.
When we were introduced to him in The Iron King, he was a wee lad of four. Now, he’s 18! One of my favorite things for an author to do is world continuity. I love that we are still in the world of the Iron Fey that we fell in love with – but it’s twelve years later. Meghan, Ash, Puck – and even our favorite cat – all make appearances – but it’s a new generation of characters who are getting into trouble and saving the fey.
And Ethan is in the middle of it all when he swore he would never get involved.
At first, I was a little apprehensive; it was starting to feel a little like a simple re-telling of the original trilogy with a new setting and new characters. I was disappointed. But I pushed through and kept going and realized that wasn’t happening at all. Some things seemed a little similar, sure. YA novels do tend to seem a little formulaic, no matter how you look at them so perhaps that was unavoidable. But there was no love triangle (yay!) and in the end… I have to admit I prefer Ethan to Meghan.
In the early books, there were times I hated Meghan. I thought she was downright stupid at times. I can remember yelling at her through my radio (I listened to the audiobooks). Ethan, while full of too much teenage angst that made me want to shake him, could at least see what was happening in front of him.
Kierran is awesome. I figured out who he was instantly. I think anyone who had read the original trilogy would have figured it out as well, but just in case, I WON’T TELL YOU. He’s a wild card though. I can’t wait to see what Kagawa has in store for him in the future.
I like that Kagawa rounded out the trio with a human. Technically, another human (but Ethan doesn’t count, since he’s a prince). Mackenzie is awesome. I adore her, to be honest. I love her personality. She’s a little overbearing at times, but I understand why she is the way she is. I get her. I have an inkling for where her character is going… and I’m not sure what I think about it. We’ll just have to see.
Bottom line? If you liked the original trilogy, you’ll love this one too. Well, probably.
Warning! Spoilers from If I Die appear in this review! You have been warned.
Release Date: June 26, 2012 Title: Before I Wake Author: Rachel Vincent
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: I died on a Thursday—killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul.
The good news? He didn’t get it.
The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school
Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent “recovering,” she’s back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend.
But to earn her keep in the human world, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls, and when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has changed. Her immortal status won’t keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn’t just gambling with her own life .
Getting this book the way that I did is one of the highlights of my year! If you don’t know – check out my BEA recap post. I was prepared for it to be fabulous – I just didn’t expect it to be as fabulous as it actually was.
If I gave out ratings higher than a 5, this one would definitely achieve it.
With each new installment of this series, Rachel Vincent opens up this world a little bit more. The characters continue to grow and evolve, including the bad guys. And she isn’t afraid to write death. I won’t tell you who – or how – but expect to be surprised and expect to mourn. When Kaylee died in If I Die, I was shocked – but I never mourned because I always knew she’d come back somehow. She is the main character after all. We’ve lost many characters in the series – Aunt Val, Meredith, Doug, Addison… just to name a few. But I was never affected by it until this book.
Expect to feel emotional when you read this – and not just because there is death. I got overwhelmed for Kaylee when she had to deal with her classmates back at school. I wanted to reach through the pages and throttle them.
Tod continues to be my favorite book crush (for now). And Sabine continues to annoy the ever lovin’ snot out of me. But she’s growing on me.
I have to say – it’s rare for series to get dramatically better with each new book, but Rachel Vincent accomplishes that with this one. There’s one book left - With All My Soul – and then we’ll be finished with this world. I am sad, but really excited to see how it ends.
Release Date: May 24, 2011 Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1) Author: Kady Cross
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the “thing” inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on—even if it seems no one believes her.
People have been talking about this book for ages. So I finally decided to jump on the bandwagon and read it.
I started with the prequel novella The Strange Case of Finley Jayne - and to be honest, I fell in love with Finley within the first few pages. And the expectations for the series were set – very very high.
Once I started reading The Girl in the Steel Corset, I enjoyed it. But the more I read, the more I disliked it. Dislike is not the right word – the book is fine. The book is even good. But the book is so… common.
Finley’s character was completely different in the book than it was in the novella. I loved her in the novella. But she annoyed the ever lovin’ snot out of me in the book. In the novella, she was (mostly) confident. She didn’t know why she was the way that she was, but she stood up for good. In the book she had to grow into that part of her – which doesn’t make sense since the novella came first chronologically. And really, she never quite made it to where she was in the novella. She was far too unsure of herself.
Griff made me smile, but he had no depth. He is the carbon copy of every “Prince Charming” character in the world.
Sam made me want to punch a baby in the throat. How stupid can you be?
Emily was the only redeeming character in the whole book. Even then, she’s pretty much the spitting image of Kaylee from Firefly (beautiful girl who is awesome at tinkering with machines).
And the constant descriptions of the clothes were really annoying. Yes, it’s a steampunk setting. I GET IT. You don’t have to remind me every 5 pages.
Overall, it was a nice read. But I’m not jumping up and down to read the sequel.
Release Date: September 27, 2011 Title: If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: The entire school’s talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee’s no ordinary high-school junior. She’s a banshee—she screams when someone dies.
But the next scream might be for Kaylee.
Yeah—it’s a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee’s going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend’s needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren’t quite human, either.
But Kaylee’s borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.
This is one of the most spoilery reviews I’ve ever written.
If you have not read this book, PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
What is this I don’t even.
Yeah, so that was pretty much reaction last night when I finished. I was left completely speechless by the turn of events. It was one of those books that had me grinning like a goof and then at the end I was making all of these incoherent sounds that were very positive- I swear. Not that anyone who heard me last night would believe me.
Let me first say- I still hate Sabine. A lot. And that makes me happy. And isn’t completely shocking, considering how much I hated her in the last one.
But in what is a shocking turn of events, I am now 100% irrevocably Team Tod. And I never thought that would happen. Ever.
In a million years.
But it did. I still don’t completely understand it. I can’t pinpoint a moment the moment it happened.
Oh wait- yes I can.
“There’s a good kind of crazy, Kaylee,” he insisted softly, reaching out to wrap his warm hand around mind. “It’s the kind that makes you think about things that make your head hurt, because not thinking about them is the coward’s way out. The kind that makes you touch people who bruise your soul, just because they need to be touched. This is the kind of crazy that lets you stare out into the darkness and rage at eternity, while it stares back at you, ready to swallow you whole.”
“I’ve seen you fight, Kaylee. I’ve seen you step into that darkness for someone else, then claw your way out, bruised but still standing. You’re that kind of crazy, and I live in that darkness. Together, we’d take crazy to a whole new level.”
Seriously, where the hell did that come from?
It doesn’t matter. I loved it. And quite frankly, the ending was one of my favorite endings ever.
This is, hands down, the best book in the series so far.
Release Date: January 4, 2011 Title: My Soul to Steal (Soul Screamers #4) Author: Rachel Vincent
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: Trying to work things out with Nash-her maybe boyfriend-is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.
See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears-and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.
And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever-and whoever-she wants.
I didn’t think a book in this series could be more infuriating than the last one. I was wrong.
Nash has begun to redeem himself. But I was so obsessed with hating Sabine that I almost didn’t see it. That girl is a real piece of work. And yet, I understand her. I admire her for the strength and determination she has when it comes to getting what she wants. I don’t have nearly the balls she does. But I hated her for how she treated Kaylee. There is no other word to describe her than bitch.
Tod is getting close to crossing a line. It’s becoming more and more evident that he has feelings for Kaylee (like I haven’t seen that coming since the first book). And telling Kaylee to let Nash go was so self-serving that I’m not sure what I think about it. On the one hand, he made some very logical points (as did Sabine) about why Kaylee and Nash shouldn’t be together.
But dammit- LOVE IS NOT LOGICAL.
Trying to use your head and think about love is just about one of the worst things you can do.
And sure- I do think Tod and Kaylee could make a good couple; I just don’t want them to because, despite his mistakes, I adore Nash. Plus, I’m not sure Kaylee would ever be able to see Tod that way.
The most annoying thing about the book, however, is that I have a suspicion that I’m going to end up liking Sabine in future books.
From the Publisher: Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.
Until something does.
Demon breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked.
I’m going to take a departure from my normal review format. Today, I’m going to write an open letter to Nash Hudson. Which also means this will be quite spoilerish for any of you who haven’t yet read this book- so proceed with caution!
What. The. Eff.
In the first book, you were the perfect guy. Sure, you were a little too perfect, but a girl can look past that because you were so attentive, so sweet, and so caring in a crisis. And I’ll admit, in the second book there were some red flags. But I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. It was obvious how much you cared for Kaylee, despite your overbearing and controlling ways.
But you screwed up in a big way in the third book.
And I don’t know if you can fix it. How is anyone supposed to trust you ever again? For all intents and purposes, you threw Kaylee under a bus, and you never stopped to see if she was okay.
When I first found out that you would do something that would make my feelings about you change, I was heartbroken. But I never really thought you could do something that bad.
I was wrong.
In the beginning of the book, I thought you were heading in a bad direction- you were pushing Kaylee far too hard on the sex issue when she obviously wasn’t ready. And to be honest, I’m glad you didn’t turn out to be a rapist. But what happened was worse, in some ways.
Oh Nash, how could you? You’re not that guy. At least, you’re not supposed to be that guy.
You’ve disappointed me. You’ve broken my trust. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to read you again the same way.
You’ve got a long road ahead of you for redemption. And I sincerely hope you take it.
From the Publisher: After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems. Although…it’s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a seventeen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain—especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close….
But something dark and hungry is using Emma’s and Brendan’s deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma’s crash course in überspells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.
384 pages, Harlequin Teen
I enjoyed this one just as much as the first one – and my earlier wish came true: this one was definitely heavy on the witchy.
Emma is growing into quite the capable witch who protects those she loves with a ferocity I can’t help but admire.
Brendan is still a huge boy crush for me, but he was a little overbearing and overprotective throughout the story. It’s sweet that he wants to protect Emma, but he really needs to learn and understand that she is strong and can do some things better than he can.
Angelique is my favorite selfless witchy sidekick.
Megan – well she doesn’t deserve any space devoted to her.
The ending reminded me a bit of the end of The Craft (in tone, not in what actually happened) – which is a plus, considering I love that movie.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with these guys, so I hope there are more books coming in the series.
From the Publisher: What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.
352 pages, Harlequin Teen
I’m a sucker for a good love story. I adore witchy stories. Put them together and you get Spellbound - a really really good read – despite what the summary would have you believe.
Brendan is another of the YA boys who is irresistible. He prompted me to tweet about YA boys because, let’s face it, they never measure up in real life. But Brendan is definitely my current YA boy crush.
Emma is another of strong YA girls who doesn’t let people push her around, and I love that about her. The scene where she stood up for her cousin’s honor clinched it for me – Emma is a bad ass.
I do wish they had explored Emma’s witchy side a bit more – but I’m guessing that’s what the sequel is for since this book easily could have been a standalone novel.
Bottom line: if you love the idea of soulmates who have been tragically separated in each reincarnation – and you have a fondness for the witch – definitely read this one.
From the Publisher:When Kaylee Cavanaugh screams, someone dies.
So when teen pop star Eden croaks onstage and Kaylee doesn’t wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can’t cry for someone who has no soul.
The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls: a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can’t possibly understand.
Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk….
288 pages, Harlequin Teen
I like where this series is going. Kaylee is my kind of girl – she’s always getting into trouble; but it’s always because she’s trying to help someone else. Kind of reminds me of Buffy.
Nash got on my nerves in this one because he was never willing to risk his neck for anyone other than Kaylee. She did the right thing for the right reasons; he did the right thing for the wrong reasons. He’s not quite as swoonworthy as he was in the first book, but I do still like him. Tod, however, had a lot of character growth in this book. We got to see his emotions. The end was a little anti-climatic (stop reading NOW if you haven’t read this book yet)…
…you would think that after spending the entire book hellbent on saving Addy’s soul that he would have been crushed to have lost it anyway. I missed seeing that part of Tod. I get his revenge, but I wanted the emotion.
Last year, I only listened to the first two audiobooks, so I’m definitely curious about where the series is headed next. What new kind of trouble can Kaylee get the boys into?