New YA: July 6-12.
The Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles), by Mary E. Pearson:
There's action and romance and romantic complications; the characters are smart and strong and the emotions are palpable; the focus seamlessly shifts from Lia to the Prince to the Assassin and back again; the worldbuilding and creation of multiple cultures is super; the details about daily life are just as compelling as the action sequences. As you'd expect from a girl who's grown up a princess, Lia is capable of being QUITE imperious when roused as well as QUITE bossy, but she's also wonderfully stubborn and hugely empathetic and even if I didn't always AGREE with her decisions, I understood them. There are threads about family and duty and friendship, and OH MY STARS, IF YOU LIKE HIGH FANTASY, THEN JUST READ IT.
Midnight Thief, by Livia Blackburne:
Basically, the first half of Midnight Thief reads like the bones of a generic Dungeons & Dragons module: everything’s sketched in, but the Dungeon Master and players haven’t given it any distinct personality. If I hadn’t been reading it for review, I might have put it down. Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have. Either way, due to the stronger second half, I’m glad that I didn’t.
Zom-B Clans, by Darren Shan
Wild, by Alex Mallory
Unravel (Linked), by Imogen Howson
Uncaged (The Singular Menace, 1), by John Sandford and Michele Cook
Earthquake (Earthbound), by Aprilynne Pike
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, by Candace Fleming
Four: A Divergent Collection (Divergent Series), by Veronica Roth
The Half Life of Molly Pierce, by Katrina Leno
Idols (Icons), by Margaret Stohl
In Deep, by Terra Elan McVoy
MindWar: A Novel (The MindWar Trilogy), by Andrew Klavan
Embers & Ash (A Cold Fury Novel), by T.M. Goeglein
The Defiant: The Forsaken Trilogy, by Lisa M. Stasse
Demon Derby, by Carrie Harris
New paperbacks (that I've read):
Raven Flight: A Shadowfell novel, by Juliet Marillier:
As I said in my review of the first book, Neryn isn't an overly badass, swaggering heroine. Yes, she wields huge power, but her strength lies in her thoughtfulness, in her empathy, and in her disinclination to wield her power without fully understanding it. In more grasping, ambitious hands, it could be used to manipulate and enslave the Good Folk, and in lazy or feckless hands it could be used purely for convenience, but Neryn uses it to ask, and to be heard.
A Really Awesome Mess, by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin:
It isn’t as emotionally raw or honest as Blake Nelson’s Recovery Road, and it doesn’t have the immediacy of Amy Reed’s Clean: It reads more like the literary version of a music montage of working out one’s problems, rather than the it-takes-time-and-hard-work nitty-gritty of real life. The characters—primary and secondary—have breakthroughs right and left, and while the lack of true backsliding is supernice for them, it’s not all that reflective of reality, and to a degree, it minimizes the gravity of their various conditions.
Burn for Burn, by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian:
So, three narrators, lots of drama, lots of issues, fast pacing, snappy dialogue, plenty of intrigue, and oh yes: IT'S ABOUT REVENGE. (<--That's your cue to make your best REVENGEFACE.) While a lot of the conflict is pretty ho-hum standard and some of the secondary characters are one-note (especially Rennie), the three main characters are three-dimensional, and the emotional complexity of their relationships with their friends and revengees is well done. And there's SO MUCH conflict that that kind of makes up for the ho-hum feeling.