Category Archives: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy

Kiss of Frost and Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

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Wow, I have to say I’m impressed. Normally the first book in a series is by far the best one, but not so with Estep’s Mythos Academy series. Gwen Frost has the power of psychometry–touch magic. She can “see” memories/impressions of strong emotions that are left behind on objects after people use them. She is also the chosen champion of the goddess Nike and is in direct opposition to the increasingly powerful god of chaos, Loki.

And that makes her numero uno on the mythological hit list.

As if that wasn’t hard enough, what’s going on with her Spartan crush Logan? Is he into her or isn’t he?

I have surprisingly grown to love this YA series, after trepidatiously continuing it after a shaky start with book one–an advanced readers edition. It is total fluff, but it’s entertaining fluff and I love it. I really like the Mythos Academy as a school, and I’m totally waiting for my superhuman abilities to develop. Gwen can “read” objects, but other than that she’s totally normal. Kinda hard to feel special when you’re surrounded by powerful freaks of nature wearing designer jeans.

Wind down with a cup of tea reading this series. It’s fun, interesting, and not too stressful.

4 creepy hairbrushes of 5

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The Breeders by Katie French

There’s so much talk in our world about women’s rights and what we should be allowed (and subsequently not allowed) to do with our female parts. Imagine you lived in a world where just being a woman got you forcibly removed from you family and taken to a breeding facility. That’s right! Having a functioning hoo-ha got you a one-way ticket to pregnantville for the rest of your youth! And then, when you got to old to have your own babies, the government so thoughtfully let you care for other girls’ children–as yours were taken from you after birth so as not to distract you from your next imminent pregnancy. 15791488

See what kind of shenanigans men get into if left alone on the planet??

Well, that’s the world sixteen year old Riley Meemick was born into. She’s one of the last free women in the state.

Set in futuristic post-virus New Mexico, French’s work is a page-turner for sure. The gunslinging and Wild West attitude totally took me by surprise, but in a good way. I feel like most YA fiction nowadays is just trying to follow some vampire/werewolf/mermaid/post-apocalypse trend and it gets old. This one was definitely a breath of fresh air and it was interesting to note the dynamic men took on when left to their own devices.

The companion novella Nessa: A Breeder’s Story is also a must read. It’s very enlightening about the back story. 4 homemade bullets of 5  67513a4d92720538a325cae48ee84f58


Rise by Anna Carey

In the third and final installment of Anna Carey’s intense Eve Trilogy, we catch up with our heroine as she is plotting to escape the City of Sand (and her father’s control) for good. The rebels are uprising and she wants to be right in the middle, especially after her honey-poo’s untimely demise.

Unfortunately, this much-anticipated number three was more like a Taco Bell number two. I enjoyed the story while it was happening but when I got to the end I was kind of like, “Hm… Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”  rise

Honestly, I think Carey could’ve just added an extra 50-75 pages each to Eve and Once and just completely skipped this weak last book. I get that the first two were tough acts to follow, cause let’s face it, they were fucking awesome. But, the couple particular plot twists that Carey used were pretty predictable, and frankly kind of annoying.

Also, I didn’t like the fact that her and Charles’ relationship was never resolved AT ALL. I mean, she spent the better part of two books being a total douche-nozzle to him and for what? Nothing! He did nothing but help her and she didn’t even try to get along with him or to at least appreciate him as a friend or a confidant. I didn’t like that.

I also didn’t like that the last page left me feeling SO unfulfilled. It should’ve been the end of one of the final chapters, not the end of the entire trilogy. Like seriously, what the fuck? Are you trying to give me a case of literary blue balls, because you have succeeded, my friend!

3 sore uteruses of 5


The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

Ahhh, Kelley, you’ve done it again. Somehow you’ve managed to make the third book in a trilogy better than the first two while simultaneously intertwining two parallel story lines. Phew. I’m tired just saying that.

The Rising wraps up the Darkness Rising trilogy, which follows Maya, a mountain lion shapeshifter, and her band of genetically modified friends. They’re on the run from some of the most dangerous cabals in the supernatural underworld and have recently learned that the sleepy life they were accustomed to was all a lie. 11864728

Much to my delight, while on the run, they meet up with the teens from Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy and kinda wrap that whole situation up too. I enjoyed this series wholeheartedly–probably for its simplicity. Everything was as it seemed for the most part and for ONCE an ending didn’t piss me off. Things were as they should be. And this love triangle ended the right way.

Reading these books was like dipping my toes in a lukewarm pool. It was pleasant, relaxing, and I didn’t have to get soaked. Some books cause me so much anxiety that I almost stop reading them out of enjoyment and read them to relieve the nervousness they cause. Like I said, these are easy reading.

Keep up the good work, Kelley!

3 birth marks of 5

Also, I highly recommend reading The Darkest Powers bonus pack one and two. They each contain two or three stories out of the DP world and they are definitely worth your time. They fill in a lot of gaps and add a lot to the overall trilogy and are super cheap for the Kindle. (I actually think KA posts them for free on her website but takes them down as new ones are written…)

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And as another, probably useless, sidenote– I also happened to download her other short story Hunting Kat. As far as I know it’s a stand alone, and hopefully it stays that way. The new vampire/genetic vampire/bitten vampire on the run thing was way too contrived. KA has some awesome work out there and this comes no where close to representing her talent. Skip it.

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The Twice Lost by Sarah Porter

Finally my mermaid trilogy has come to an end! At this point, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. While I fell in love with Luce (and Sarah Porter) during The Lost Voices, my annoyance with her only grew through Waking Storms and The Twice Lost. Her lyrical prose that drew me in was still there, but the delicate beauty the story had at first was soon replaced by blockbuster easy-to-predict action that kind of disappointed me. the twice lost

I just hate how every YA story must revolve around a guy (or two) and how the heroine is influenced by her feelings/weakness for him. I liked the way that Porter ended the series, but throughout the second and third book Dorian continuously pissed me off. DO YOU HONESTLY THINK ANY WOMAN IN HER RIGHT MIND WOULD GIVE UP A MERMAID TAIL SO SHE COULD FOLD SOME DUDE’S LAUNDRY FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE?? NO BITCH, I AM NOT GIVING UP MY AWESOMENESS FOR YOU!

I mean, some girls did end up choosing differently than Luce, but everyone had different reasons for that. I don’t think the reason should be a guy who may or may not love you. That’s just me.

I couldn’t help but feel like The Twice Lost would’ve made a better movie than a book.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Also, during the helicopter scene–when the mermaid were drying out and dying suspended midair–why couldn’t the mermaids who were NOT on “wave” duty start singing a wave to come up and cover the mermaid, or even knock the helicopter out of the sky?? It seemed like the obvious solution and it seemed dumb of Luce (or any of the others) not to think of it. 

I still love Sarah Porter and her mermaids, but I have to say I finished this book more out of anxiety than pleasure.

4 larvae of 5

Added bonus: Back in June when we went back to Florida to visit our families, I got the amazing opportunity to swim with one of Eric Ducharme’s tails! (He was featured awhile back on TLC on My Crazy Obsessions. Check out his site here.)

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Shadows Cast by Stars by Catherine Knutsson

Ok, at first glance Shadows Cast by Stars is a post-apocalyptic novel about a half-aboriginal girl who has Plague-immune blood. The government is seeking all fullblood and halfblood aborigines to drain of blood and use to save non-natives. Or wait, is it about Canadian indian magic and folklore intertwined with the modern day? Hmm… or maybe it’s a combination of a YA love story and Indian legends? 6931234

Honestly, I have no clue and I’m pretty sure Knutsson didn’t either. The way the book is described on the jacket insert is WAAAAYYY off from where the story actually sits. Sixteen year old Cassandra moves to a tiny Canadian island with her father and brother after her mother’s Plague-related death. There she struggles to integrate with the existing tribe/townsfolk and has some creepy-ass encounters with the characters of Indian folk legend. Sprinkle in a cute chief’s son and a weirdo sea monster, and there ya go–there’s the story in a nutshell.

It really has NOTHING to do with the post-Plague world and NOTHING to do with the government seeking native blood. I have no idea why this was even mentioned because it was rarely brought up in the plot. So many random things started to happen to Cassandra and then just…didn’t… that I had to flip back a few times to check if I’d missed something. Half the time I was confused and the other half I was bored.

I really liked the monsters/magic/medicine woman aspect of the story, but I felt like Knutsson bit off more than she could chew. Why not just scrap the whole Plague thing and focus on the native folklore?

Too much added up to too little…

2 sea serpent pearls of 5


Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes

I read Darkbeast about two weeks ago and I’m still not quite sure what to think of it. It’s one of those ambivilant stories that I enjoyed enough to get through without a problem, but not enough to be all OMGICANNOTWAITFORTHESEQUEL. In fact, until the last few pages, I had no idea it was even part of a series as it wasn’t listed anywhere in the book. Darkbeast

In 11.9 year old Keara’s world, every child is designated a “darkbeast” at birth. They grow up with this magical pet and the animal takes all of their negative emotions (anger, jealousy, sadness, etc…) and absolves them away. On their 12th birthday–apparently the cusp of adulthood–the child must take their darkbeast to the temple and slaughter it, thus marking their passage into adulthood and away from the bad behavior of childhood.

Thing is, unlike most children, Keara actually loves her darkbeast–a crow named Caw. He advises her and makes her feel better for all the wrongs she’s done. So when the crucial moment comes, Keara finds that she can’t kill her pet, even at risk of the village’s wrath and her family’s disappointment. 

And there ya go! La dee da, adventure!

At first go, you can’t help but be SUPER reminded of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Material series, with the whole animal familiar thing. This book isn’t really like that at all, but some things still make me question Keyes’ logic. I mean, I get that it’s a middle grade novel, but the annoyingly childish cover  and darkbeast names were overkill. (Caw for a crow, Murk for a toad, etc…)

Not to mention, when it comes to killing the darkbeast…why at age 12? 

Are you really ready to become an awesome adult at that age? And, if you really think about it, wouldn’t all the adults be so much nicer and cooler and laid-back if their darkbeasts had actually done their jobs??

I don’t get why you would get rid of something that would make you a better person throughout your life. I understand that that was kind of Keara’s whole point, but still…

I’ll probably read the next in the series, but only because I’m really nosey–not because I can’t live without it…

3 dead snakes of 5