Okay, it’s time to look at a few of the week’s YA new releases and see what’s fresh and exciting in the world of books. Ready? Okay.
We’re going to start with a thriller–best to begin with our feet on the ground before we go a-wandering to distant times and lands (which we most certainly will!)…and then we’ll even take a surprise journey to something more poetic than our usual fare.
Never Missing, Never Found
The title, with its inherent contradiction, really yanked me in good. It also hints at the main character, Scarlett, being in a sort of limbo state, at least to start off. Judging by the description, I’m not wrong:
Some choices change everything. Scarlett chose to run. And the consequences will be deadly.
Stolen from her family as a young girl, Scarlett was lucky enough to eventually escape her captor. Now a teen, she’s starting a summer job at an amusement park. There are cute boys, new friends, and the chance to finally have a normal life.
Her first day on the job, Scarlett is shocked to discover that a girl from the park has gone missing. Old memories come rushing back. And now as she meets her new coworkers, one of the girls seems strangely familiar. When Scarlett chose to run all those years ago, what did she set into motion? And when push comes to shove, how far will she go to uncover the truth . . . before it’s too late?
Well, that’s definitely intriguing! I love it when characters have to face their past head-on when all they want is to escape it. There’s a lot of ready-made inner conflict there, and great potential for suspense as well as some good, satisfying character growth.
This one got a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which called it a “tense, clever thriller.” Looks well worth checking out!
Let’s see, what’s next? How about some magic?
Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet
I’m sensing a title theme here: Two Words Comma Two Words. I have no problem with that–the rhythm resonates nicely.
So the title promises lots of magic, but what kind? Let’s take a look at the description:
Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.
When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.
During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.
From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.
I’m loving the hints of fairy tales here–we have some Hansel & Gretel, the Gingerbread Man, and a touch of Alice in Wonderland.
What really piques my interest, though, is Fyel, the “ghostly being,” as well as the mention of Maire’s lost memories. How did she lose them? Why? Is the memory loss connected to her magical abilities? So many questions I’d love to dig into with this one, and I’m sure the answers are delicious (wordplay!)
This one’s hitting a lot of the Amazon lists right now, perched at #3 in Paranormal Romance, #4 in Historical, etc. Looks like it might have the potential to break out!
And now we’re off to visit with one of my favorite authors, always reliable for her ability to craft intriguing worlds and fascinating characters:
And I Darken
Ugh, that cover is too gorgeous. I could probably drone on for a good long while on the juxtaposition of beauty and violence, but instead, I’ll jump into the description:
NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.
Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.
But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.
From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.
I like how the protagonist here is set up to be in conflict with not only her potential love interest, but also her brother…oh, and the Ottoman Empire. That’s a loooot of conflict. Sign. Me. Up.
Now we’ll swing from historical fantasy to…what’s this, poetry? And we’re jumping from one of my favorite YA authors to one of my favorite professors.
That’s right, I actually know this final New Release’s author in, y’know, real life. He taught some of my favorite courses in undergrad, and I know him to be a fantastic poet. This isn’t strictly a new release, as it came out in May, but I was crazed with grad school then and had pretty much no idea what was going on around me, so I’m just hearing about it now.
by Eric Schwerer
I love the atmospheric, eerie cover photo.
If you go here, you can get a little taste of what’s inside with the poem “Listen,” an evocative piece with rich imagery and an inviting rhythm. Now, anyone who knows me knows I loooove poetry, like I’m a complete nerd for poetry, so I’ll definitely be snapping this one up.
Well, that’s all the new releases my brain (and my poor wallet) can handle today. Happy Book Birthday to all the authors featured this week!
Stay tuned for my next post on Friday–I’ll be introducing the most recent additions to our household, some quacky little fluffbums who like peas and splashing around in water.
Did anything pique your interest this week? Did any of the featured books land in your TBR pile? If so, why?