Hold Me Like A Breath – Tiffany Schmidt

hold me like a breathLegal organ transplants are reserved for only the healthiest people.  Those that do not make the long government wait lists turn to the underground organ transplant “families”.  Penelope is the daughter of one of the mafia type families who obtain donor organs and for a price transplant into desperate patients.  There are a few families in the business that for the most part have a respectful rivalry.  Penelope has led a privileged but sheltered life because of a chronic disease that causes low platelets.  A bruise for a normal person could mean life threatening internal hemorrhage for her.  She yearns for more freedoms, a less controlling life and by golly, she gets it.  Her older brother is murdered, and then her parents are killed.  Now she is running for her life in the streets of New York.  Who can she trust?  People are not always as they seem.

While the plot twists are not so much of a surprise, the story is still quite engaging.  I liked watching sheltered Penny quickly grow into a resourceful, spunky force to be reckoned with.  The odds were certainly against her, but then it helps to have a personal connection with the vice president.  Nicely done and teens should enjoy this first entry to a new series.

eGalley review                     Publication date 5.19.15

Posted in fiction, suspense | Tagged

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak – Brian Katcher

improbable theoryEveryone has their own battles, their own pain, and their own issues, despite how they appear on the outside. To Ana, Zak initially seems like a slacker, a guy with no pressures, no destination, just enjoying a lazy journey with a weird love of comic book characters. Ana is driven. Her parents force her to abide by their rules and have high expectations for her academic success.  When Zak is forced into joining Ana and others on a Quiz Bowl team, their opinions of one another change over a very eventful night.  Ana’s younger brother, who is also on the team, escapes from the competition hotel on the first night and goes to the comic convention that Zak told him about.  In a panic, Ana asks Zak to help her find her brother.  Their night at the convention reveals characteristics and strengths that neither of them knew they had.  It’s an incredible experience that enables them to learn about each other and themselves.

The story is told in a back-and-forth style between Zak and Ana, and is told with humor, action, introspection, and revelations.  It’s the kind of story that keeps the reader yearning for more and rooting for the characters. Highly recommend.

eGalley review    Publication date 5.19.15

Posted in highly recommend, realistic fiction

The Gracekeepers – Kirsty Logan

The GracekeepersCallanish was busy, performing at least two Restings a week.  She looked young, far from death.  People liked that.  She prepared the dead, said the words, and slipped them into the sea. Legally, all damplings had to be interred in a Graceyard.  The Graceyards were lined up along the equator. They were far from any destination. It was a fine place for Callanish, a landlocker, and for Callinish’s dark secret.

North was a dampling, and felt uncomfortable on the land that never moved.  She and her bear sailed on the circus boat Excalibur and were waiting for their circus act to begin.  Tonight it would be a simple dance with Bear and a kiss. North loved Bear and Bear loved North.  North also had a secret.  Callanish and North, two girls so very different, yet so very alike.

This lovely book reads like a fairy tale.  It is the story of a water world, our world, drowned and become a sea dotted with scattered archipelagos.  The little isles are peopled with landlockers who must be bribed and persuaded to share their food with the damplings who endlessly sail the world. I was totally drawn into this world, totally involved in the lives of the people, was enchanted by the beautiful prose. I came to love all the characters, even those who were not so nice.  The book is suitable for older teens and I highly recommend it.

eGalley review       Publication date 5.19.15

Posted in fiction | Tagged

Dust to Dust – Melissa Walker

dust to dustCallie was in a prolonged coma following a car accident.  During that time, she was in an in-between place for souls who are misguided or have unresolved issues that prevent them from moving on.  She met Thatcher, who died many years before, and fell in love with him.  She also met some other teen spirits who are on the wilder side with hauntings and possessions.  Now she is awake and reunited with her boyfriend, Nick and best friend, Carson.  But she still longs for Thatcher and feels his presence.  Thatcher is warning her to watch out for her former spirit friends who are intent on possessing Callie’s friends in order to live again.  With Thatcher’s guidance, Callie begins a deadly game of cat and mouse aiming to thwart the rebel ghosts’ plans to posses Callie’s friends.

This is the sequel to Ashes to Ashes but can be read as a standalone.  The author does a good job in filling in the backstory.  Chock full of paranormal suspense and vivid characters, teens should enjoy this haunting story.

eGalley review                Publication date 5.5.15

Posted in paranormal | Tagged

Rook – Sharon Cameron

RookHistory is doomed to repeat and the setting in Paris, France.  This dystopia features a society that has shunned all things related to old technology.  The ruthless leader of the revolution created a blood bath in killing the former ruling class.  Prisoners that survive the tortures of the dungeon meet their execution in public.  But someone is freeing the prisoners, leaving the red feather of the Rook behind.  Our heroine is the spunky Sophia who is being forced to marry Rene’ for a wedding fee that will save the family estate from her father’s bumbling mismanagement.  She does this for beloved brother Tom.  It is Tom and Sophia who have succeeded in smuggling prisoners from the dungeons.  On the verge of discovery, Sophia plans her most daring rescue while dealing with her empty-headed dandy of a fiancé, Rene’.  Ahhh, but is Rene’ really the fob he acts?

This delicious remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel is action-packed and tinged with romance.  Not too much, just a bit, after all, there is serious work that must be done.  Difficult to put down!  Highly recommend.

eGalley review        Publication date 4.28.15

Posted in adventure, dystopian, highly recommend, mystery, suspense | Tagged , ,

The Gospel of Loki – Joanne M. Harris

gospel of lokiI know a tale, o sons of earth

I speak it as I must.

Of how nine trees gave life to Worlds,

That giants held in trust.

So begins the authorized version of the history of the Nine Worlds as told in the Prophecy of the Oracle.   But this isn’t the authorized version.  It’s Loki’s version.  Loki:  the Trickster, Father of Lies, not everyone’s best bud.  Sure bad things happened to his friends, but it’s not always his fault.  Things just sort of happen.  He’s really not such a bad guy.  He’d rather be thought of as Loki: the Light-Bringer, the Misunderstood, the Handsome, Modest Hero.

This retelling of the Norse myths is off the wall excellent. Of course, being about Norse Gods, it is full of blood and gore, and much of the humor is dark.  But I liked it very much and it’s suitable for older teens.

eGalley review          Publication date 5.5.15

Posted in adult | Tagged ,

Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back – Janice P. Nimura

daughters of the samuraiIn 1871, five little girls clothed in rich, embroidered silk, their hair elaborately dressed, were presented to the Empress of Japan. Two were teenagers, the smallest was only six.   The Empress commended them for their intention to study abroad.  No Japanese girl had ever studied abroad.  Most had not studied at all.  Soon they would board ship and sail to America, destined to stay until they were adults.  They had no choice.  Raised as obedient daughters of high ranking Samurai they simply did as they were told. Emerging from a civil war, Japan was rushing to embrace all things western. The girls were sent to become enlightened wives for the new generation of Japanese leaders. They were then to bring this wisdom to those at home.  Fostered to loving, supportive families, they soon became typical American schoolgirls.

This was a fascinating and well researched look into the lives of these girls and it was so well written that I felt as if I knew them.

 

eGalley review       Publication date 5.4.15

Posted in adult, nonfiction | Tagged ,