Sexy and edgy, with plenty of surprises and fun.

READ REVIEW

ASSASSINS

DISCORD

From the Assassins series , Vol. 1

In this series opener, assassination is a family affair.

Sixteen-year-old bisexual Kindra Weston is all too familiar with her family’s line of business. She has a penchant for sharp knives and elaborately costumed undercover stealth work—greatly aided by her family’s convenient “middle of the road skin tone” and ethnically ambiguous features—and she often does cleanup when her parents’ dirty work gets messy. This is all under the supervision of her tight-lipped, authoritarian mom, who’s kept the family business very professional and very close to the chest—unless, of course, that chest gets a bullet hole through it. Things go awry when Kindra’s father, the family’s lead assassin, misses a shot on a hit in New York City. With him temporarily out of the game, Kindra finds herself taking the lead in some of the business’ “wet work,” which leads to her kidnapping and the eventual unfurling of this complicated yet wholly enjoyable mystery. The plot moves quickly for the most part, and Cameron infuses her heroine and other characters with plenty of personality, sass, and coldhearted ruthlessness. There are biblical puzzles to be decrypted, Mafia-like family wars to be unraveled, mistaken personalities to be cleared, and many bodies to be piled up. The only disappointment readers might encounter is a lack of the kind of fantastical elements that the unconventional character names might inspire.

Sexy and edgy, with plenty of surprises and fun. (Thriller. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62649-422-0

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Triton Press

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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DEATH BENEFITS

In this character-driven intergenerational story, Royce Peterson and his single mother have recently moved from Nova Scotia to British Columbia to help care for Arthur, Royce’s 95-year-old grandfather and one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. After the curmudgeon chases off every aide, the teen is enlisted to watch his grandfather. At first the homesick, friendless and mono-recovering teen and his homebound, rude and crude grandfather are at odds, but then Royce gains new appreciation for Arthur—he caroused with Gloria Vanderbilt and Picasso, traveled the world, loved and lost loves—and Arthur begins to appreciate life again. But just as the pair begins to respect each other, Arthur suffers a series of debilitating strokes and asks Royce to end his life. Inspired by her experience caring for her aged father, Harvey offers a realistic view of the aging process, the difficult decisions left to loved ones and the need for friends and family. Sophisticated readers and fans of Joan Bauer’s Rules of the Road (1998) or Louis Sachar's The Cardturner (2010) will enjoy the grandfather-grandson banter and tenderness. (Fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55146-226-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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