An enchanting treat for fantasy fans.

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KISS OF THE ROYAL

A princess with magical powers joins forces with a skeptical prince in a battle against a wicked army in this debut YA novel.

The Royal Legion of the Crown City of Myria has fought the Evil Queen and her warriors of darkness for 500 years. The queen commands an arsenal of creatures, including goblins, dragons, and trolls, but the princesses of the Legion possess magic that supplies their battle partner princes an advantage over the menacing hordes. A kiss from a princess accompanied by the right spell can heal a prince, give him strength in battle, or counter a curse. Princess Ivy Myriana, a direct descendent of founding Queen Myriana, has the strongest kiss. Her new partner, Prince Zach, is a skilled swordsman who, to her chagrin, refuses her kiss. He will only kiss out of love, a concept she believes is a “bloody fairy tale.” As the sinister band strengthens, Ivy and Zach embark on a mission to find and destroy a rare and deadly Sable Dragon. Together, they face dangerous griffins and a cursed village and share an attraction that prompts Ivy to reassess everything she thought she knew about kisses and love. Duga’s fantasy is a rousing romantic adventure with dynamic characters and thrilling action sequences. The author has a knack for creating well-rounded protagonists. Ivy is smart, resourceful, and confident in the power of her kisses. Then she meets Zach and discovers what can be achieved without a kiss. Her relationship with the prince unfolds at a slow-burning pace as her notions of love are challenged. The chemistry between Ivy and Zach is palpable, whether they are facing perils or enjoying a quiet dinner together. Duga does a fine job balancing the romance at the heart of the story with effective action scenes, including an episode in which Ivy and Zach dive into a well to retrieve an important amulet.

An enchanting treat for fantasy fans.

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-64063-183-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

ADORKABLE

In O’Gorman’s YA debut, two best friends try to fool people into thinking that they’re in love—and then discover a new facet of their relationship.

Sally Spitz is a frizzy-haired 17-year-old girl with a charming zeal for three things: Harry Potter (she’s a Gryffindor), Star Wars, and getting into Duke University. During her senior year of high school, she goes on a slew of miserable dates, set up by her mother and her own second-best–friend–turned-matchmaker, Lillian Hooker. Sally refuses to admit to anyone that she’s actually head over Converses in love with her longtime best friend, a boy named Baldwin Eugene Charles Kent, aka “Becks.” After a particularly awkward date, Sally devises a plan to end Lillian’s matchmaking attempts; specifically, she plans to hire someone to act as her fake boyfriend, or “F.B.F.” But before Sally can put her plan into action, a rumor circulates that Sally and Becks are already dating. Becks agrees to act as Sally’s F.B.F. in exchange for a box of Goobers and Sally’s doing his calculus homework for a month. Later, as they hold hands in the hall and “practice” make-out sessions in Becks’ bedroom, their friendship heads into unfamiliar territory. Over the course of this novel, O’Gorman presents an inviting and enjoyable account of lifelong friendship transforming into young love. Though the author’s reliance on familiar tropes may be comforting to a casual reader, it may frustrate those who may be looking for a more substantial and less predictable plot. A number of ancillary characters lack very much complexity, and the story, overall, would have benefited from an added twist or two. Even so, however, this remains a largely engaging and often endearing debut. 

A familiar but heartfelt romance for easygoing readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64063-759-7

Page Count: 340

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2020

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Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

MALICE

This YA SF novel features a teen who must halt a virus that will kill two-thirds of humanity.

In Silver Oak, Maryland, Alice Sherman is a high school junior enjoying lunch near her campus basketball court. With her is Archie, her brother, a senior and science prodigy who likes equations more than his fellow students. Alice has been Archie’s one true friend since their mother left six years ago. Alice is about to catch up with Lalana Bunyasarn, her best friend, when a sudden “streak of electricity zaps through” her head. The agony intensifies until a Voice enters Alice’s mind, asking her, “Do you want this pain to stop?” The Voice then instructs her to go up to Bandit Sakda, a classmate playing basketball, and say that she loves him. Bandit is a beautiful Thai boy who’s talented and arrogant. Strangely, the Voice calls her Malice and says not to fall for him because “it’ll only make what you have to do later harder.” Eventually, Alice learns that the Voice belongs to someone from 10 years in the future who needs help saving humanity. A virus will be created by a person Alice knows that will wipe out two-thirds of the world population. Following the Voice’s directions can save everyone—except the person Alice is ordered to kill. Dunn’s (Star-Crossed, 2018, etc.) latest YA adventure offers increasingly tantalizing twists that gleam in succession like nested matryoshka dolls. Alice will charm readers with her quirks, especially her devotion to Chris Hemsworth of Marvel’s Avengers films. Tension builds as characters in the large cast, including crushworthy Zeke Cain and the brilliant Cristela Ruiz, become potential targets for Alice’s mission. Details about Thai culture add a splendid dimension to the narrative; for example, Bandit is pronounced “bun-dit” and means “one who is wise.” While the notion of a high school killer may not sit well with some, the author doesn’t use the device lightly. Her book takes a strong anti-bullying stance, doing so through an entertaining narrative that doesn’t resort to preaching. The author’s heart and craftiness make a sequel welcome.

Well-drawn characters and playful twists keep this thriller fully charged.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64063-412-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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