Another winding quest with only intermittent bursts of intrigue and action.

THE MORNING FLOWER

From the Omte Origins series , Vol. 2

Ulla continues the quest to find the identity of her parents; her missing friend, Eliana; and the location of the First City.

After Eliana’s kidnapping, Ulla and Pan set off to Fulaträsk in Louisiana, hopeful they’ll find more information about the cult of the Älvolk and the First City. Ulla learns that the troll she believed to be her mother, Orra Fågel, went missing 20 years ago during a mission to find the Lost Bridge of Dimma—the mythical bridge guarded by the Älvolk. Then Ulla hears rumors of roaming philanderer Indu Mattison, an Älvolk from the First City who may be her father. Indu was last heard railing against Kiruna, which is located in the Arctic area of Sweden. This is their best lead yet; it could lead them to the First City. Pan is summoned back to Merellä, and Ulla returns with him, set on continuing her research. But it isn’t long before Ulla and her friends gain the final clues they need to set off to Sweden, where answers to Ulla’s identity bring more turmoil than relief. With fewer dives into deep lore, Ulla’s journey moves with steady purpose, though the clues she finds line up too easily to feel earned. True danger arrives in the climax, but it’s too little, too late.

Another winding quest with only intermittent bursts of intrigue and action. (glossary) (Fantasy. 16-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-20428-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

WATCH OVER ME

After a horrific domestic violence incident, Zoey Ward and her family finally find their footing in Las Vegas only to have their lives overturned by a house fire.

Learning that her father has been recently released from prison, Zoey suspects he had something to do with the blaze. After their lives go up in flames, literally, Zoey along with her mom and her younger siblings, Kate and Cole, flee Las Vegas with the help of her older brother, Will, and his best friend, Tristan. They take refuge in California, where Tristan and his sister welcome them into a world where things seem hopeful and more stable than anything they have ever known. Yet the fear of being hunted down by her father consumes Zoey. The story is narrated from Zoey’s and Tristan’s first-person perspectives, and Gray (Run Away With Me, 2017, etc.) has masterfully captured the uncertainty and terror that come from domestic violence. Tristan and Zoey share a budding romance in which Zoey slowly but surely learns to love and be loved in a nondestructive, healthy way despite her fears and reservations. With everything she has been through, Zoey is the underdog readers will find themselves rooting for. Gray spares no detail in this intense tale. All characters are assumed to be white; Tristan is dyslexic, and there are several queer characters.

An unflinching portrayal of the devastating effects of domestic violence. (Fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4281-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more