Posts tagged with action-and-suspense

May 1 2015

Undertow, by Michael Buckley


Michael Buckley's Sisters Grimm is one of my all-time favorite kids' series. The books have their problems—actually, some really big problems—but they are so funny, romantic, and action-packed that it's easy to overlook their flaws. Buckley's new YA novel Undertow is much darker than his previous books, but...

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Mar 25 2015

Pocket Apocalypse, by Seanan McGuire


In my review of Seanan McGuire's first three 'InCryptid' novels, I gave the author a very specific request for book four: I wanted the plot climax to kick off with the hero naked, unconscious, and in need of rescue. I don't want to spoil anything, but I would give Pocket Apocalypse a solid B+ for its wish fulfillment alone...

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Feb 23 2015

Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear


Elizabeth Bear's novel Karen Memory has all the hallmarks of a great YA novel: the plot is unabashedly romantic and imaginative, and the author is clearly determined to deliver plenty of value for your entertainment dollar. In fact, I suspect the only reason this wasn't packaged as a teen book is because the sixteen-year-old heroine is A) gay and B) a prostitute...

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Nov 17 2014

Gated, by Amy Christine Parker


Amy Christine Parker's debut novel Gated occasionally strains credulity, but teen suspense fans are going to absolutely love it. It's engrossing, fast-paced, and about as real-world creepy as YA literature gets...

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May 14 2014

Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins


Bestselling YA author Rachel Hawkins has a new iron in the fire. Her latest book Rebel Belle is the first installment in a projected trilogy, and thus far I'm pretty excited about it. It's action-packed, wryly funny, and romantic, and as long as it ends on a less irritating note than her Hex Hall series did, Ms. Hawkins should have an enormous hit on her hands...

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Mar 10 2014

The Kill Order, by James Dashner


In 1988, John Christopher wrote When The Tripods Came, a prequel to the Tripods series, his famous 1960s science fiction trilogy. Creepy and deeply weird, When The Tripods Came simultaneously established the post-apocalyptic world featured in the main series and worked as a standalone novel. James Dashner's novel The Kill Order attempts to...

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Mar 7 2014

Discount Armageddon, Midnight Blue-Light Special, and Half-Off Ragnarok, by Seanan McGuire


The third book in Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series hit bookstores last week, making it officially Way Past Time for me to feature this fantastic (in all senses of the word) urban fantasy series on the site. Do your best to ignore the cover art—I promise this isn't a R-rated story about an anime schoolgirl gone rogue—and believe me when I say this series is wildly fun...

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Feb 24 2014

The Paladin Prophecy and The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance, by Mark Frost


The first two books in Mark Frost's Paladin Prophecy series go for the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach to storytelling, mashing together fantasy (angels and demons!), science fiction (evil geneticists!), and action/suspense (martial arts smackdowns!) into a frenetic but entertaining literary roller-coaster ride...

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Feb 24 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Paladin Prophecy and The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance, by Mark Frost


We're offering two books for this week's Book Giveaway: Mark Frost's The Paladin Prophecy and its sequel, The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance. Our full review will go up later today, but here's a mini-take: Anthony Horowitz and Richard Paul Evans should watch their backs, but Rick Riordan and Suzanne Collins...

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Jan 24 2014

The Naturals, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


We have been enjoying Jennifer Lynn Barnes's books for years—all the way back to 2008's The Squad: Perfect Cover. Her early stories were fun, if shaky, but it's been a pleasure to follow the steady improvement of her work. So many authors have one good (or good-ish) idea and go downhill from there; Barnes is among the few who have sharpened their style with every book...

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Jan 7 2014

Palace of Spies, by Sarah Zettel


We had such high hopes for Palace of Spies, the first book in Sarah Zettel's new YA trilogy. Zettel's writing is consistently solid, she chose an unusual time period for her setting, and she avoided the cover art controversy that has dogged her otherwise-excellent Dust Girl books. The end result, sadly, fell a hair short of our dreams, but let's face it: even Zettel's B-grade work still stands head and shoulders above...

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Dec 16 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Tomorrow, by C.K. Kelly Martin


This week's Book Giveaway pick is Tomorrow, the sequel to C.K. Kelly Martin's Yesterday, which we reviewed here. Sadly, her publisher still has not granted us the insanely lurid 80s-inspired cover art of our dreams, but (spoiler!) Tomorrow is pretty good anyway. Our review will go up later today...

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Dec 2 2013

The Living, by Matt de la Pena


Matt de la Peña's The Living has gotten a lot of praise for its supercharged premise, its sympathetic male protagonist, and the way it touches on class, wealth, and social injustice. Most of that praise is well deserved, and only one thing prevented me from wholeheartedly enjoying it: the discovery that this is actually the first book in a series, and (of course) nothing ever gets resolved in a first installment...

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Dec 2 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Living, by Matt de la Pena


This week's Book Giveaway pick is Matt de la Pena's The Living, which looks, uh, intense. There's a glowing quote on the front from James Dashner (not really a recommendation, to my mind), but NPR describes the book as " once a disaster epic, a survival story and a coming of age novel, told through the life of a young man who is becoming aware of class, prejudice and romance", and...

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Sep 12 2013

Blood Sun, by David Gilman


David Gilman's supercharged Max Gordon series is aimed squarely at action/adventure purists. These books are not even remotely plausible, but they're ridiculously fun—even for someone like me, who would ordinarily be grousing about strained credulity and far-fetched MacGuffins...

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Jun 3 2013

How To Lead a Life of Crime, by Kirsten Miller


Kirsten Miller's How To Lead a Life of Crime is the junior-division version of Catherine Jinks's novel Evil Genius. Both stories are about unhappy boys with a gift for criminal behavior who are approached by shady older dudes offering them a chance to attend schools for budding supervillains, but Jinks's take on the material is far weirder...

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Mar 20 2012

India Black, by Carol K. Carr


Carol K. Carr's debut novel India Black doesn't actually make that much sense, but when a book is as breezily stylish as this one, being a little short on substance is totally forgivable.

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Aug 8 2011

Ruby Red, by Kerstin Gier


While most of the books I write about are sent to us by publishers or PR groups, occasionally I read something so awesome that it cries out for a review, even if I had to spend my own money t...

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May 1 2011

Caitlin Kittredge

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of The Iron Thorn, one of our Featured Books and the first title in a new steampunk/horror series aimed at teens. I had significant complaints about The Iron Thorn...

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May 1 2011

The Iron Thorn, by Caitlin Kittredge


The Iron Thorn might be Caitlin Kittredge's first book for young readers, but she's sticking to her roots. According to her author bio, she likes writing about "bad things [happening] to per...

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Dec 7 2010

Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher, by Wendelin Van Draanen


We adore Wendelin Van Draanen's books, but we understand why the director of the recent film adaptation of her novel Flipped re-set the plot in the 1950s—Ms. Van Draanen's unif...

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Jul 10 2010

White Cat, by Holly Black


Bookstores are currently overflowing with YA novels about vampires and werewolves, but the majority of the “monsters” in these books seem like fundamentally nice guys. They care about their ...

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Jun 7 2010

The School of Possibilities, by Seita Parkkola


The School of Possibilities is the English translation of Seita Parkkola's award-winning novel Viima, originally published in Finland in 2006. While the book isn't perfect, it is an unusua...

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Apr 6 2010

They Never Came Back, by Caroline Cooney


Caroline Cooney has never quite achieved household-name status, but she's made a successful career out of writing suspense novels for young readers. Her latest effort is They Never Came Back, a f...

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Mar 20 2010

Michelle Cooper

Australian author Michelle Cooper is a speech and language pathologist who specializes in learning disabilities and reluctant readers. Her novel A Brief History of Montmaray is one of our Feature...

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Mar 20 2010

A Brief History of Montmaray, by Michelle Cooper


I have never learned to love Dodie Smith's novel I Capture the Castle. I don't care how classic it is: if I spend 99% of a novel thinking wistfully of giving all of the characters a swift ki...

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Mar 8 2010

Wildfire at Midnight, by Mary Stewart


Mary Stewart is one of those authors whose best work (the truly awesome 1958 novel Nine Coaches Waiting) was so good that everything else she produced pales in comparison...

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Feb 17 2010

Rin-ne: Vol. 1, by Rumiko Takahashi


Rin-ne is the fifth major series from manga great Rumiko Takahashi, following InuYasha, Ranma ½, Maison Ikkoku, and Urusei Yatsura. Rin-ne launched in...

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Jan 27 2010

Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs


If I had to describe Patricia Briggs's novel Moon Called in a single line, I'd probably go for something like: “A lot like Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series—only way less annoying...

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Jan 26 2010

Patricia Briggs

Patrica Briggs is an urban fantasy author based in Washington State. She's best known for her Mercy Thompson series about a shape-shifting VW mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area. (The first t...

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