Posts Tagged ‘Publisher-Harlequin Teen’

Daughter of the Burning City

Amanda Foody
Reality is in the eye of the beholder…
Even among the many unusual members of the travelling circus that has always been her home sixteen year old Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years.
This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all of their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real.
Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Now she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.

I really enjoyed this book, the premise, the world building, the dark and shadowy setting, the characters and the twisty, turning plot all contributed to a wonderfully unique and absorbing story.

I love how the author took historicity of Gomorrah and developed an alternative time line with a fantasy spin. Rather than being destroyed by fire and brimstone, the city survived as a roaming mobile carnival-city of vice, freaks and magic workers.

I loved the imagery of a gigantic; smoke engulfed city crawling from region to region bringing with it its many entertainments. Despite its intimidating façade and its reputation of vice and dubious inhabitants, it held within it a community that was generally accepting of all of its inhabitants, and each member valued for their individual skills and their contribution to the ongoing function of the city.

I don’t have a single favorite character; rather I really enjoyed Sorina’s entire family. I loved the premise behind their creation. How, despite springing forth from Sorena’s imagination, they emerged altered in ways that she couldn’t even begins to envision and how they develop way beyond the initial concept of Sorina’s imagination, developing personalities and leading lives independent of Sorina. I think it was a great analogy of young adulthood, building an increasingly independent life away from your family and beginning to see that the members of your family and community exist outside their roles within your own experience.

Peppered throughout the book are illustrations of Soruna’s family of freaks, each one doctored by an unknown assailant. These brief sketch like interludes give you further glimpses in to the mind of Sorina and her feelings for her family as she was creating them, while the sinister unattributed additions ramp up the tension and give a glimpse in to the nefarious pans of a disturbed imagination.

These clever additions ramped up the tension and made me worry for the characters I had grown to love. It was a really interesting way to add an alternative “voice” to a story that is otherwise told in first person present tense. A brilliant example of how illustration can complement and add depth to the text of the story by evoking and enhancing the atmosphere the author’s words have provoked.

I would thoroughly recommend this book. It was an absorbing, fantastical twisting and turning tale, like nothing I’ve read before.

Verdict: Like the smoky nocturnal city itself this book invites you in to its constantly moving world of magic and stomach twisting entertainment.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Publication Date: July 2017
Format: eARC
Pages: 308
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroine
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Debut author
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Karen Ann Hopkins

foreverAll I want is my happily-ever-after. That’s all I’ve wanted since meeting Noah Miller. From the day we met, the world has tried to keep Noah and me from being together, but now that I’m carrying his child, no one will be able to tear us apart. Or so I hope. But Noah and I have made some mistakes along the way, and the consequences are impacting the people we love. Worse, there’s a storm on the horizon, and it’s sure to cause serious devastation.
If we can get through this, we’ll finally be Rose & Noah – a family, forever. But first we have to survive the road ahead. And happily-ever-after is a long way off.

I was thrilled when Karen Ann Hopkin’s package arrived in the post with a copy of ‘Forever’ in. I hurriedly finished off the book I was reading and got started. I had thoroughly enjoyed reading Karen’s previous two books in this Trilogy of complicated and forbidden love between Noah an Amish guy and Rose an ‘English’ girl. ‘Temptation’ and ‘Belonging’ had drawn me in and roused my curiosity in a world that is often hidden from the rest of us. We got to see inside the Amish community, see their rules and customs and follow Noah and Rose’s story as they fall hard and fast in love and seek to continue their relationship despite family and community opposition.

Part of the challenge for Noah and Rose is to remain committed to each other despite the odds and even though they are so young. I couldn’t help but root for them as I’d grown to very much like each of them as they dealt with so much along the way including their own doubts from time to time. It’s been good to see them mature as well, from being a bit selfish and childish in their attitudes at the beginning, to growing as people. Karen has developed their characters well and I enjoyed seeing that growth.
‘Forever’ brings a lot of change for Noah and Rose. I don’t want to give too much away but we do already know that Rose is pregnant and that these will be further testing times ahead for them. This is not going to be an easy time for Noah and Rose and yet it’s good to watch them remain steadfastly committed to each other.

There is heartbreak in this story and I want to warn you so you are prepared with the tissues. I wasn’t prepared for what happened and honestly this is the first time in a long time a story has made me sob into my pyjama sleeve! Tragedy changes everyone and often that tragedy causes others to think about their choices and what’s important. I’m glad to say that that having been through a bit of an emotional rollercoaster with this story, there are changes that bring happiness… Whilst the ending is maybe a bit predictable, I’m not sure I’d have coped had it been too different!

I’m glad to have followed Noah and Rose’s story and think that although this is the end of the trilogy, there is enough potential storyline for them that it wouldn’t surprise me to see them pop up again one day…

Verdict: If you like your romance intense and emotional then this will not disappoint!

Publisher:Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Provided by author
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Karen Ann Hopkins

belongingRose became Amish so she could be with Noah, but is this where she really belongs?
‘I left everything I knew behind. but it was worth it. He was worth it’.
No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren’t even allowed to see each other. Not until I’ve proven myself.
If I can find a way to make it work, we’ll be Rose & Noah, together forever.
But not everybody believes this is where I belong’.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Temptation’(read my review here), Karen Ann Hopkin’s first book that introduces us to Rose and Noah and their blossoming young love with all it’s trials. In fact for Rose and Noah they have suffered and are suffering more trials than your average young couple as Rose is ‘English’ and Noah is Amish. Rose and Noah meet when Rose is new to the area, they fall quickly and hard for each other but face much opposition both from Rose’s protective family and Noah’s very traditional Amish community. At the end of Temptation we leave Rose and Noah in love and prepared to make whatever sacrifices are necessary in order to be together. And to make this a possibility, Rose decides to join the Amish community.

I was very pleased to receive an advanced reader copy of ‘Belonging’ and pretty much devoured the book over a couple of days. Without wanting to give too much from the first book away, Noah is recovering from an accident and Rose has made a commitment to be part of the Amish community, leaving her father and brothers and moving in with an Amish family in order to learn their ways and to show them how much she is prepared to work to prove her love and commitment to Noah.

Rose’s dad and brother, whilst not happy with her decision gave their blessing, secretly safe they believe, in the knowledge that Rose will get a shock and come to her senses and not last more than a couple of weeks. Rose meanwhile is on a steep learning curve having been told that she will not be allowed to court Noah until she has become a member of the Amish church and that this will not happen until she’s had ample opportunity and time to learn their ways and become more like them.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Amish in this book. With Rose living with them, this community is where the story is mostly set and we get to read about all their activities; their services, feasts and different occasions. All the while Rose is fighting against her natural and very ‘English’ ways and desires and trying to fit in with the Amish as best as she can.

Rose makes begins to make friends among the girls and she begins to realise that not all Amish girls are sweet and innocent… Also she still has to deal with Ella Weaver who wants shot of Rose as she is interested in Noah for herself.

Noah meanwhile, is watching Rose and worrying about how she is settling, behaving and stressing over who she is becoming friends with and what sort of influence they will be. He soon finds out when the boys meet up with the girls in the middle of the night in the woods after a sleepover sneak out. As secrets are shared Rose discovers that while the Amish may project a particular image of purity and high moral standards, in fact there is a lot more going on that she realised and that one of her friends in particular has suffered horribly within the community.

Rose is coping with an awful lot considering her still very young years and is finding the change in lifestyle tough, especially as she misses her father and brothers. However she perseveres and eventually is able to join the church and is allowed to officially court Noah. But that doesn’t mean their happy ending is in sight. There is a lot more to happen to Rose and Noah yet.

I just loved this second book. From a kidnap, and misunderstanding between Rose and Noah, new relationships and creepy dealings with creepy Levi Zook which actually put Rose’s life in danger, I don’t want to give too many spoilers away but there is a lot going on and I couldn’t put the book down.

verdict: I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next chapter in Rose and Noah’s story.

Reviewed by Lesley

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 416
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Received from author
Challenge: None
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Michele Vail

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…
Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.
Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally

In Molly’s world the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians are not so ancient. Following the betrayal of some of his reapers and the earth shattering war in the underworld which followed, the god Anubis took the five magical powers reserved for reapers and gifted them to five prominent and noble families. Each power, associated with a different part of the soul, allowing them to control a different element of the dead. Over the generations, the bloodlines have become diluted and the ability’s of these Necromancers wide spread.

Molly’s ability, to create and control zombies, is the most common. A gift she shares with her sister and at least three other people in her school. Rather than make her special, all these gifts ensure is that she spends her evenings and weekends working at her fathers Zombie emporium, where for a price anyone can cheat death and have their relative immortalized as a zombie.

Undeadly is told from Molly’s first person perspective, interspersed with diary entries, essays and quotes from “famous necromancing” texts. I initially found it difficult to connect with Molly, her use of teen speak, slang and abbreviations really grated on my nerves and as an old biddy in her thirties, I found myself re-reading passages in order to “translate” what was being said. However within a few chapters I managed to connect with the rhythm of her voice to the extent that I found myself giggling along in places.

I really enjoyed the ancient Egyptian mythology that Vail used as the foundation of the world building in Undeadly. It was an original and interesting addition to the YA paranormal genre

Undeadly didn’t live up to my expectations, inspired by a somewhat misleading blurb. I envisioned an antagonistic relationship between Molly and Rath, who’s strong emotions could either lead to passion or something more sinister – ultimately Molly’s interactions with her reaping tutor received very little page time. The blub prophesied that Molly would have to “go through hell” to correct her mistakes, but the reckoning when it came was a very small proportion of the book and anti climatic.

Undeadly was a fast read, exceptionally so, to the extent that I found myself checking Goodreads to confirm that the book really was 272 pages long, as it felt much shorter. I can’t help feeling that the book could have been and should have been longer, that the author could have made much more of the character interactions, the strange goings on at Nekyia, and the repercussions of Molly’s interference with Rick.

While I suspect that the author will explore the repercussions of Molly’s actions and Molly and Rath’s connection in future installments of the Reaper diary’s, she certainly ends the book with an almighty cliffhanger, I find myself unsatisfied. Undeadly felt unfinished, almost like reading part one of a novel not the completed first book in a series.

Verdict: Undeadly didn’t quiet live up to my expectations but was different enough for me to consider reading the, yet to be published, sequel.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: eARC
Pages: 272
Genre: Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Debut Author
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Karen Ann Hopkins

Your heart misleads you. That’s what my friends and family say. But I love Noah. And he loves me. We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms. It should be Rose and Noah, forever, easy. But it won’t be. Because he’s Amish. And I’m not.

I’ve always been curious about the Amish and their way of life. I envy their simplicity whilst knowing I could never really live that kind of life, especially with all those rules and restrictions! So I leapt at the chance to read newly published ‘Temptation’ a story of forbidden love between Amish boy Noah and ‘English’ girl Rose. Rose is sixteen and her mother has passed away during the last year. Along with her father, a busy doctor, and her two brothers, the family move away from the city and out into the countryside for a fresh start and move to Meadowview, near an Amish community.

Rose and Noah meet almost straight away as they are neighbours and their attraction is instant. I very much liked Rose and Noah. Their characters were well developed and I found myself rooting for them although it seems like a hopeless situation, and being annoyed at them occasionally too! It was interesting to seeing the situation from each of their viewpoints as the chapters are told alternately by each of them. Rose is sixteen. She is young, headstrong and passionate and yet naive and simplistic in her understanding of the complexities of the Amish community. Noah, at just a couple of years older seems more mature than his years, having had to grow up and take on responsibilities from an early age.

I enjoyed learning about the Amish way of life and following Rose and Noah as they navigate their way through their forbidden romance, sneaking off to see each other and agonising over how it will work out. It got difficult for both of them as Noah believes there is no other way than for Rose to become Amish and join their community, but Rose believes that she can persuade him to ‘turn English’ i.e. to leave the community for a life of freedom. They have high expectations of each at times, their overwhelming desire to be together seems to throw common sense out of the window and I kind of wanted to shake them a bit. I didn’t expect their story to work out the way it did. I’d imagined it was all going to go horribly wrong – and certainly lots does but even at their tender age true love seems to win through…or so we think. There is a sequel to this book coming out so we can follow Rose and Noah’s story.

Verdict: I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out.

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 383
Genre: Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Lesley
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: Debut Author
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