Snappy dialogue and well-paced excitement bring this adventure to its ambiguous but nevertheless satisfying conclusion

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ARCADIA FALLS

From the Arcadia Trilogy series , Vol. 3

The Arcadia trilogy concludes with magic, shootouts, family betrayals and a cruise ship full of monsters: everything that’s necessary for a romance about Cosa Nostra shape shifters.

After the death of her aunt and sister, Rosa has become head of the Alcantara dynasty of Sicilian mobsters. She’s made nothing but enemies among her own family—because of her romance with Alessandro, head of the rival Carnevare family, because she’s cleaning up the least savory of her family’s criminal enterprises or simply because she’s an outsider—and soon, she and Alessandro are on the run, framed for a murder they didn’t commit. Since the discovery that she can turn into a 9-foot-long snake (while Alessandro can become an enormous panther), Rosa has learned not to be surprised by anything. Still, new discoveries (both magical and mundane) strain her credulity to the breaking point. A friend whose corpse she’s seen appears to be alive. Rosa’s dead father, seemingly involved in the rape and abortion that originally sent Rosa to Sicily, is connected to dark mob business and mad science. As they seek answers, revenge or at least a quiet moment, Alessandro and Rosa face certain doom with believably affectionate bickering. Refreshingly for a paranormal romance, the two protect and fight for each other with equal strength and zeal. Rosa and her enemies leave a trail of corpses, some explicitly gruesome, all the way to the cinematic conclusion at a long-drowned village.

Snappy dialogue and well-paced excitement bring this adventure to its ambiguous but nevertheless satisfying conclusion . (Paranormal romance. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-200610-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Only marginally intriguing.

REDEMPTION PREP

In a remote part of Utah, in a “temple of excellence,” the best of the best are recruited to nurture their talents.

Redemption Preparatory is a cross between the Vatican and a top-secret research facility: The school is rooted in Christian ideology (but very few students are Christian), Mass is compulsory, cameras capture everything, and “maintenance” workers carry Tasers. When talented poet Emma disappears, three students, distrusting of the school administration, launch their own investigation. Brilliant chemist Neesha believes Emma has run away to avoid taking the heat for the duo’s illegal drug enterprise. Her boyfriend, an athlete called Aiden, naturally wants to find her. Evan, a chess prodigy who relies on patterns and has difficulty processing social signals, believes he knows Emma better than anyone. While the school is an insidious character on its own and the big reveal is slightly psychologically disturbing, Evan’s positioning as a tragic hero with an uncertain fate—which is connected to his stalking of Emma (even before her disappearance)—is far more unsettling. The ’90s setting provides the backdrop for tongue-in-cheek technological references but doesn’t do anything for the plot. Student testimonials and voice-to-text transcripts punctuate the three-way third-person narration that alternates among Neesha, Evan, and Aiden. Emma, Aiden, and Evan are assumed to be white; Neesha is Indian. Students are from all over the world, including Asia and the Middle East.

Only marginally intriguing. (Mystery. 15-18)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266203-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A slasher flick spliced with Crime and Punishment, this engrossing debut novel asks complex philosophical questions in a...

NOT EVEN BONES

From the Market of Monsters series , Vol. 1

An adolescent, yet Nietzschean, examination of humanity and horror.

Nita is a monster. Literally. She can heal her own wounds and even block her pain receptors. But she and her mother also deal in monsters, species regulated by the International Non-Human Police, selling their body parts on the black market. Her ghoulish mother hunts and kills, while Nita dissects them with a meditative grace, trying to think of herself as innocent. But when Nita’s conscience inconveniently prevents her from vivisecting a live specimen, she’s kidnapped and taken to the Amazon, caged by people in the same business. Menaced by a zannie (creatures that feed off physical pain) and a ruthless woman, Nita, who is mixed species (with a brown-skinned human father and a nonhuman mother), has to figure out how to escape and whether she has any morals to live by. The vivid setting, Mercado de la Muerte (one of several Death Markets worldwide) in a sweltering South American jungle populated by buyers, sellers, and sold, is matched by a zipping plot interspersed with deliciously horrifying and gory scenes of dismemberment and destruction. Equally intriguing is the constant musing on what makes a monster, how people respond to trauma and control, and how one’s choices affirm or deny one’s own humanity.

A slasher flick spliced with Crime and Punishment, this engrossing debut novel asks complex philosophical questions in a pleasingly hard-to-stomach way. (Fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-328-86354-6

Page Count: 368

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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