Hocking sure knows how to bring it.

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ASCEND

From the Trylle series , Vol. 3

Hocking (Torn, 2011, etc.) saves the best for last in the final installment of the Trylle trilogy.

On the eve of her 18th birthday, Wendy is days away from marrying a man she doesn’t love and becoming queen of Förening. She is also on the brink of war with her father, the evil king of the Vittra. Rest assured, the princess is up for the challenge—each and every one of them. The Wendy of this novel would barely be recognizable to the girl who first discovered she was the daughter of the king and queen of two feuding troll kingdoms. With her newfound confidence and control over her powers, Princess Wendy has come into her own. There is also strength in numbers, as Finn, her Tracker, her best friend Willa, her host brother Matt and Tove, her closeted but loyal husband-to-be, stand ready and able to fight by her side. If only she had such command over her own heart. Wendy’s love life continues to be a hot, juicy mess as Loki seeks asylum in Förening and forces Wendy to acknowledge her feelings for him. The push and pull of their undeniable attraction, complicated by the presence of both her husband and her former lover, makes their burgeoning love story all the more delicious.

Hocking sure knows how to bring it. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-00633-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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A seriously satisfying, worthy, and well-crafted sequel.

DEATHLESS DIVIDE

From the Dread Nation series , Vol. 2

Two young black women kick zombie ass from the post–Civil War East to the late-1800s American West. 

This sequel to Dread Nation (2018) is told from the perspectives of the irascible Jane McKeene and her unlikely best friend, Katherine Deveraux, after they escape the unholy hell of Summerland, a social science experiment run by a maniacal minister through which black people were forced to protect whites from attacks by throat-chomping, undead shamblers. Alternating between Jane’s haunted life with its Shakespearean overtones and Katherine’s more devout but no less deadly existence, each chapter takes readers farther west, with hopes resting on happy endings for the duo in California. The pacing is steady throughout the first part of the story, building and exploding into a gut-wrenching plot twist halfway through. Then it’s a glorious race to the finish, with compelling moral examinations of human experimentation and killing for hire to fuel reader interest. At its core the book delves into a spectrum of black girls’ and women’s experiences, kinship, and necessary resilience. That focus never strays even as Ireland touches briefly on social tensions between Native and black characters along with passing commentary on immigration and relations between Chinese families and other communities. The imaginative integration of real-world historical players into an equally messy, gruesome chronology artfully developed by the author makes this stand out.

A seriously satisfying, worthy, and well-crafted sequel. (author’s note) (Historical fiction/horror. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-257063-5

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A richly satisfying, Poirot-like ending for Johnson’s inspired and inspiring teen sleuth.

THE HAND ON THE WALL

From the Truly Devious series , Vol. 3

The final, riveting chapter of the Truly Devious murder series.

The initial incident in the series involved the 1936 abduction of newspaper tycoon Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter; the present volume probes several unsavory events that transpired afterward, including Ellingham’s own death in 1938, in a sailing accident on Lake Champlain, and the recent immolation of University of Vermont history professor and Ellingham mystery enthusiast Dr. Irene Fenton. Fenton was introduced to protagonist and contemporary “Ellingham Sherlock” Stevie Bell in The Vanishing Stair (2019). As Stevie gets closer to making good on her resolution to solve the Ellingham case’s past and present riddles, Johnson makes the most of the exclusive institution’s remote, wooded mountain locale, provocatively setting the climax of Stevie’s investigations during the throes of a cataclysmic blizzard. Stevie and her motley crew of misfit high school geniuses are stranded à la Agatha Christie with members of the Ellingham Academy administration, who may have a stake in the revelations of several secrets linking the Ellingham kidnappings with present-day murders. Throughout this intricately woven, fast-paced whodunit, Johnson demonstrates how proximity to wealth and power can mold and bend one’s behavior, whether with good or—here largely—devious intent. The brainy secondary characters' quirky talents and interests complement Stevie's sleuthing skills; while mostly white, they include diversity in socio-economic background, mental health challenges, physical disability, and sexual orientation.

A richly satisfying, Poirot-like ending for Johnson’s inspired and inspiring teen sleuth. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-233811-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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