Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake

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ARCADIA AWAKENS

From the Arcadia Trilogy series , Vol. 1

When a Romeo and Juliet mobster romance just isn't enough.

A year after a terrible experience, 17-year-old Rosa Alcantara is leaving home. She's left Brooklyn for Sicily, where she will be joining her sister in the family business: organized crime. An unlikable petty thief, Rosa thinks she's prepared for joining Cosa Nostra. But there are reasons beyond the Mafia to fear her ancestral home. Her attraction to Alessandro Carnevare, the scion of a rival (and stronger) Mafia house, can only get her into trouble. Both the Alcantaras and Carnevares are hiding an unbelievable secret. Alessandro, like the rest of his family, has a feline form: a monstrous panther. Meanwhile, Rosa discovers that the Alcantaras transform into enormous snakes. The shapeshifting makes for a more deadly rivalry—or a more twisted romantic pairing. On top of everything else, there's a kidnapped mob schoolgirl, a murdered mother, an attempted coup, family betrayals, a tragic lesbian relationship and whispers of a conspiracy, all told in choppy, infelicitous prose. (It's possible the clunkiness of the prose may be laid at the feet of the unidentified translator from the German.) A smaller subset of plot threads might have allowed room for Rosa to grow into a more than just a survivor.

Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake . (Paranormal romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-200606-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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FOLLOW ME

From the Amateurs series , Vol. 2

The teenage detectives from The Amateurs (2016) return, sent on a chase by their adversary.

It’s three months after Seneca, Aerin, Maddox, and Madison discovered who killed Seneca’s mother and Aerin’s sister, but the escape of the killer—their former friend, Brett—is haunting them. Then Chelsea Dawson, an Instagram-obsessed white girl, disappears. The next day, the disappearance is inexplicably posted on Case Not Closed, a cold-case message board, with a post from Brett that draws the Amateurs’ suspicions. While biracial Seneca takes the lead in the investigation, torn between catching Brett and dealing with her confusing feelings for white boy Maddox, white girl Aerin is weepy and distracted by thoughts of her sister. Korean-American Madison barely registers in solving the case or with readers, and Maddox seems mostly concerned about how white boy Jeff, Chelsea’s ex and a suspect in her disappearance, is apparently putting the moves on Seneca. Throughout the novel, Brett is spinning his web to teach Chelsea a lesson and make the Amateurs realize they’re outclassed. While there’s enough back story to explain their first case, the immature and two-dimensional foursome are amateurs in both name and ability. Unlike the first, this so-called mystery is utterly lacking in suspense or tension, overflows with leaps of logic, and offers nothing to indicate the teen detectives are any match for Brett—a fatal flaw.

Skip. (Mystery. 14-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4228-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Freeform/Disney

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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It’s hard to get invested in a love story when one of the partners is an unknowable black hole

HOW TO DISAPPEAR

Two teens are set on a collision course with sexy results.

Nicolette Holland is on the run. She’s changed her name and her hair and fully intends to disappear as fast as possible. Jack Manx, son of a mob big shot, is blackmailed into finding Nicolette and making sure no one else does. The circumstances revolving around Nicolette’s importance are a bit blurry: Jack is told she murdered a girl connected to a powerful crime boss, but Nicolette doesn’t act like a murderer, and the police aren’t on her tail. The story unfolds with alternating chapters switching between Jack’s and Nicolette’s present-tense accounts, but the different perspectives offer little to the narrative. There are no tense cat-and-mouse sequences here; Jack just finds his mark with little trouble. When the pair cross paths there’s a sexual attraction that promises to give emotional texture to the mob drama, but each character is so guarded that little genuine heat arises. Jack and Nicolette are manic in their moods, going from loving to hating and back to loving each other, sometimes within the span of one or two pages. Neither character is particularly engaging: Jack is a stereotypical bad boy with a heart of gold, and the mysterious nature of Nicolette’s past crime keeps her at arm’s length.

It’s hard to get invested in a love story when one of the partners is an unknowable black hole . (Thriller. 14-16)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4393-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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