Light reading for those who like romantic medieval romps and who enjoy or easily tolerate Christian prayers and references.

READ REVIEW

THE PRINCESS SPY

From the Hagenheim series , Vol. 5

Lady Margaretha proves her mettle and her worth to the lord of her dreams in this romance set in Western Europe in 1413.

Despite a title and cover art screaming, “Read me, girls!” the prologue seems determined to lure in some male readers, as Colin witnesses the death of his friend John and reflects that he pressed John into a shared journey of vengeance against “the man who had murdered Philippa. But the heinous deed had filled Colin with outraged justice. Philippa had been his sister’s closest friend and had not deserved such a fate.” After Colin is beaten severely and left for dead, the story moves on to 18-year-old Margaretha, whose sole fault is being too talkative. She is currently being wooed by the foppish Lord Claybrook. Is he merely boring, or do his ridiculous garments hide the heart of a blackguard? The story is not intentionally tongue-in-cheek, but readers need make no effort in order to distinguish “good” characters from “bad” or noble-born physical appearances from lower-born. There is one chance for reflection, in a passage about the difference between vengeance and justice. Otherwise, there are pages of action scenes, wild plot twists and juicy almost-kissing moments, increasingly interjected with oddly post-Reformation prayers from Colin and Margaretha. Intentional humor does appear when Margaretha shows surprising fighting skill with ordinary household objects.

Light reading for those who like romantic medieval romps and who enjoy or easily tolerate Christian prayers and references. (Historical fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-310-73098-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Zondervan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else.

ALL THIS TIME

A modern-day fairy tale about two teenagers suffering from loss who find healing in one another.

Despite the ups and downs in their relationship, Kyle and Kimberly have always made up, and Kyle looks forward to attending college together after graduation. But on the night they should be celebrating, Kimberly confesses that she has committed to a different college and breaks up with him. As they argue, their car crashes, and Kyle later wakes up in the hospital and learns that Kimberly is dead. In his grief, Kyle blames himself for her death. He struggles to leave his bed most days, ignores calls from his and Kimberly’s best friend, Sam, and has visions of Kimberly and life before the accident. One day, while visiting Kimberly’s grave, he meets Marley, a girl who likes telling stories and is mourning the death of her twin sister. Predictably, their natural affinity for one another evolves into romance. It is unfortunate that Kyle essentially moves from one romantic relationship to another on his journey to better understanding himself and his co-dependence on those closest to him, although his gradual development into a more considerate person redeems him. The pacing remains even until the critical plot disruption, resulting in the rest of the story feeling disjointed and rushed. All characters are White.

For readers in need of a happy ending but not much else. (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6634-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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