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From the Arcadia Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Paranormal romance jumps the weresnake

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. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Bloody? Yes. Scary? No.

Someone is murdering high school students. Most freeze in fear, but a brave few try to stop the killings.

Senior Makani Young has been living in corn-obsessed Nebraska for just a little over a year. She has developed a crush and made some friends, but a dark secret keeps her from truly opening up to those around her. As the only half–African-American and half–Native Hawaiian student in her school, she already stands out, but as the killing spree continues, the press descends, and rumors fly, Makani is increasingly nervous that her past will be exposed. However, the charming and incredibly shy Ollie, a white boy with hot-pink hair, a lip ring, and wanderlust, provides an excellent distraction from the horror and fear. Graphic violence and bloody mayhem saturate this high-speed slasher story. And while Makani’s secret and the killer’s hidden identity might keep the pages turning, this is less a psychological thriller and more a study in gore. The intimacy and precision of the killer’s machinations hint at some grand psychological reveal, but lacking even basic jump-scares, this tale is high in yuck and low in fright. The tendency of the characters toward preachy inner monologues feels false.

Bloody? Yes. Scary? No. (Horror. 14-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-525-42601-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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From the Starcrossed series , Vol. 3

Oh, the humanity.

Power, love and vengeance come together in this consistently over-the-top conclusion to the Starcrossed trilogy.

Nantucket teen Helen Hamilton is a direct descendent of Helen of Troy, and she’s as entangled as her ancestor was in wars between gods and men. Helen is a Scion, one of an ancient family descended from the Greek gods and cursed to re-enact the old hatreds throughout the ages. Her erstwhile lover Lucas is himself the reincarnation of the first Helen’s lover, Paris. Along with the other Scions—most of whom are confusingly similar to multiple other characters and have seemingly random Classical names, such as Orion, who looks exactly like his uncle Adonis and is Aeneas reborn—Helen must keep the Greek gods from destroying the Earth. With monster-filled battles and the Earth at stake, the plot has no need for the ludicrous forces creating unresolvable sexual tension between Helen and Lucas. Their love has been destined for eons, leaving them without the free will to feel as strongly about others. Helen and Lucas are first cousins, and Scion close relatives always have insane children. They can’t choose to be childless because of another ancient curse which will damn the human race if Helen doesn’t have a baby. Cinematic battle scenes are punctuated with a presumably unintentionally hilarious fireworks-backed kiss and culminate in an overly expository epilogue.

Oh, the humanity. (Paranormal romance. 14-16)

Pub Date: May 28, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-201203-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: HarperTeen

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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