Genre: Paranormal

Waiting on Wednesday for Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Waiting on Wednesday for Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day GeorgeSilver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on July 7th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 358
Goodreads

A New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

New WoW1890s New York City. A mysterious Romanian family. Adventure. A Prophecy. Bloomsbury is bringing us a new Paranormal YA this July by Jessica Day George!

I only recently discovered that this YA title (look at that intriguing cover!) was being published by Bloomsbury in July. The author actually went to Romania to undertake research for her book, so that makes it even more appealing. I love when I read about authors traveling to the country in which their books are set for research. I think it adds a richer dimension to the story, and that shows.

I adore books set in the Victorian era, fantasy, and Eastern Europe, so it’s no surprise that I’m excited about this book. On GoodReads, Sandie from Teen Lit Rocks has stated that this would be an excellent title for MG readers moving towards YA. Since I love MG and YA equally, and come into contact with both kinds of readers, I’m looking forward to discovering a new book that I can recommend to those readers who are on the border between these two camps.

I don’t think I need to say much about how enchanting that cover is! There’s a place on my shelf for Silver in the Blood and I look forward to putting it there soon.

What are you waiting on Wednesday for this week?

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, in which we share those upcoming releases we are most excited about!

What Katie Read

Review & Giveaway: Cruel Summer by K.R. Conway (YA Bound Book Tour)

Review & Giveaway: Cruel Summer by K.R. Conway (YA Bound Book Tour)Cruel Summer by K. R. Conway
on March 16th 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 231
four-stars

Kian O’Reilly is flawless as a killer. Well-practiced in the art of making murder look like an accident, he is selfish, wealthy, and totally arrogant as a soul-stealing immortal. But when he ends up stranded on Cape Cod with a stolen car and a dead drug dealer in the trunk, he thinks his luck couldn’t get any worse. That is, until Ana Lane shows up.

Gifted as a mechanic and surfer, feisty Ana is not a fan of the entitled Frat Boys who show up every summer, messing with local girls. Believing Kian is one of those typical rich brats, she fixes his car and ruthlessly dismantles his cocky ego . . . which intrigues the dangerous soul thief.

Determined to spend more time with the prickly mechanic, Kian sets out to understand what makes Ana so fierce. Soon, however, he uncovers the painful truth behind the real Ana Lane, and the decision to save her, may destroy them both.

Welcome to my stop on the Cruel Summer blog tour, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! You can find the complete tour schedule here. There’s also a giveaway for the book at the end of this post, so be sure to enter.

Cruel Summer is a novella, written as a prequel to Undertow and Stormfront. However, it’s recommended that you read Undertow and Stormfront first. Cruel Summer is a standalone, so you can technically read it before those two, but because there may be a few spoilers (nothing too dramatic), I would recommend at least reading Undertow first.

Not only am I lucky enough to have met the author, K.R. Conway, but I very recently attended a YA panel that included Conway, Trisha Leaver, and A.C. Gaughen, among others. It was fantastic to see all these ladies together in a “Girl Power” panel at a library.

I loved Undertow (here’s my REVIEW), though I’m not a big urban fantasy fan, so when I saw the sign-ups for the Cruel Summer blog tour, I jumped on the bandwagon.

Illuminations:

First things first. I love all the references to REAL places on Cape Cod in the book! Whether it’s an ice cream shop or diner, you’ll enjoy the various locations and eateries the characters frequent. Conway specifically included the names of real places, and this is wonderful advertising for local businesses. I heard her say recently that you can actually have the people at some of these spots sign your book. How cool is that?

Cruel Summer starts off with a bang.

A body hidden in the trunk of a very expensive car procured by Kian himself. We open with Kian’s perspective—a character in Undertow as well. In Undertow we don’t really get Kian’s point of view, so featuring it in this novella allows readers to get to know Kian more. He is not human. He is a mortis, and that means that he can be very dangerous. But at the same time, readers will probably fall in love with Kian.

In the beginning of the book, Kian meets Ana, a tough mechanic with violet-streaked hair who is not to be messed with, and is unimpressed by Kian’s wealth and looks (though she soon realizes that she’s attracted to him). Ana has her own challenges to deal with—she’s got an abusive alcoholic father, and her friend MJ who works at an ice cream shop is probably the only friend that knows the truth of Ana’s situation. Until Kian finds out. And then things get pretty complicated.

What I found interesting is that not only is Kian a fascinating character as a soul-thief, and about 182 years old, but Ana has her own special abilities. She can read emotions. She senses something a bit off about Kian, but isn’t able to actually “read” him. I won’t give anything away, but the buildup to the reveal maintains a healthy pace to the narrative.

I really appreciated the switching of perspectives in this story–it didn’t feel disjointed. Rather, I enjoyed reading both Kian’s and Ana’s side of the story.

The dialogue and interaction between the two enriches the story by making you, the reader, want the two to acknowledge their feelings for each other. There are a few roadblocks to this happening. For example, Kian ends up staying the summer on the cape, but it’s much to the dismay of Ana, who doesn’t want to cultivate her feelings for this new friend. But as we all know, that isn’t necessarily going to stop these two from growing closer.

Who Should Read This Book:

If you like urban fantasy, are intrigued by the idea of killer humans with supernatural strength who feed on the souls of people, and want a quick read set on Cape Cod, this one is for you. If you read Undertow and/or Stormfront, I think you’ll be interested in knowing more about Kian and Ana, before they make their appearance in the other books. I really appreciated getting their perspectives—often you enjoy a book, but you wonder what was going on inside the head of those secondary characters. With Cruel Summer, I don’t have to wonder anymore—at least in terms of these characters’ back stories.

The Final Illumination:

Witty dialogue, a Cape Cod summer setting, killer soul thieves, and mystery are all dimensions of this story that had me turning the pages late into the night. I haven’t read Stormfront yet, but since Undertow ended on a kind of cliffhanger, that’s something I plan to get to soon.

I can imagine Conway’s series is popular with young adult readers–in Undertow she references the perils of high school and I can imagine Cape Cod teens would be very interested in Cruel Summer with its vivid shore settings and nods to local businesses and hang out spots.

Kian and Ana may not play center stage in the other two books, but I think getting their backstories and perspectives adds to the depth of a series that is sure to delight fans of urban fantasy, hungering for a bit of the paranormal by the shore.

“Dad used to say that the night sky was truly endless when you were out at sea. He said that when the water was dead calm and the moon was hiding beneath the curve of earth, it felt as though he was actually floating in space. On the blackest of nights, he said you couldn’t see where the ocean stopped and the universe began and suddenly you were one with the stars. On those night, you became your own constellation and a mere speck in a galaxy so vast, that no one else existed.”

** This is the prequel novella to UNDERTOW and is based on the story of Kian and Ana the summer they met. While it can be read at anytime in the series, it is meant to be read after UNDERTOW and STORMFRONT.** 

Add to Goodreads

Links for Undertow (Book One):

GoodreadsAmazon

Links for Stormfront (Book Two):

GoodreadsAmazon

 kr conway

About the Author

I have been a journalist for 15 years and serve on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center. I also drive a 16-ton school bus because I am ENTIRELY NUTS.

In addition to working jobs that should come with a warning label , I hold a BA in Psychos (Forensic Psych), torment the tourists about Jaws, and occasionally jump from the Town Neck bridge in an attempt to reclaim my youth.

I live on Cape Cod with two smallish humans who apparently are my kids, my fishing-obsessed husband, two canines (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. Nope – that’s not a type-o. The bird is quite the indoor camper.

Author Links:

WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Book Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

Now for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

four-stars
What Katie Read

ARC Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (2015)

ARC Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (2015)The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Books on March 24th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Law & Crime, Magical Realism, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Goodreads
four-stars

“Ori's dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She's dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices--one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there's Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls' juvenile detention center, there's Amber, locked up for so long she can't imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls' darkest mysteries.We hear Amber's story and Violet's, and through them Orianna's, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture--which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.Praise for Imaginary Girls:“A surreal and dreamy world where magical thinking is carried to a chilling extreme.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review.

First Impressions:

Wow!

That’s my first impression of a book that I couldn’t put down and pretty much raced through. This story’s lyrical tone and beautiful language gripped me, and I was first intrigued by the fact that it’s referred to as a “ghost story” in the GoodReads summary. This is true. The atmosphere in this book is at time chilling and ominous, and though I’m fairly sensitive to really scary books, this one didn’t bother me in the least. I was happy to slip into this story world the days I was reading this book, a world featuring killer ballerinas, the ghostly remains of a women’s only juvenile detention center, and the injustice of a person wrongly accused of a crime.

Ori and Vee were best friends until those days came to an end after a terrible crime took place in the midst of one of their ballet rehearsals. Ori is the one who gets locked up, while Vee is free to pursue her dreams of attending Julliard one day. Will those dreams come true? Will Ori’s innocence be proven? These are some of the questions posed for the reader in the book.

Some Spiritual Aspects in This Book:

One example of spirituality that was immediately apparent to me in the story is the desire for an injustice from the past becoming revealed and reconciled. Someone was wrongly accused, and obviously that affects the lives of multiple people in the story. I won’t give anything away about how and if that injustice is righted, but I’ll just say the presence of supernatural forces does come into play.

There’s also the issue of guilt and innocence. How do we navigate a world where the innocent are convicted of crimes they didn’t commit? When friends betray friends, destroying a life in the process? There are pretty heavy issues that come up in this story, and I think that adds to its appeal—how can things get better, we ask? Especially when it looks like wrongs will not be righted?

But wait. Events take place in the story—events that probably would not take place in our own world. But the world of The Walls Around Us is that of magical realism. And this makes this one unique story. Some readers might be confused by what’s happening at any given moment in this book, but hang tight—events should come into focus (or not).

Who Should Read This Book:

I haven’t read other books by Nova Ren Suma but I’ve heard that her other titles are good, so I assume that if you have read and enjoyed her other books, you might like this one as well. Do you like stories of ballerinas, stories from the barre? Multiple pov’s and a women’s juvenile detention center? Any of these reasons would probably be enough for you to test out The Walls Around Us.

There may be some aspects of the story you want more from, if you’re like me. For example, this didn’t affect how much I liked the book, but I definitely would have LOVED to read a few chapters from Ori’s perspectives. Sure, we get Vee’s and Amber’s, and those are both important perspectives, but I wonder how the narrative might have been different if we had received a deeper glimpse into Ori’s mind?

The Final Illumination:

I finished this eerie and unique story satisfied, but at the same time, wished it was longer with THREE voices (including Ori’s) instead of just two, Amber and Vee. At the same time, in real life, we don’t always have the advantage of getting all perspectives in a situation, so maybe the gaps left in the book are ok. I actually didn’t anticipate what happened in the end—I was expecting something—but not quite the resolution we receive. Tweet me or comment on this post when you finish the book, but I do have to say that what did happen was really interesting! And though I do have questions about the workings of all that happened, I suppose that’s where magical realism comes in.

The Walls Around Us impressed me with its plot that drew me in, its magical realism, and its grappling with what happens in a world where the innocent are found guilty.

 

four-stars
What Katie Read
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