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


Frannie turned her demon boyfriend Luc into a human with her magical Sway in Personal Demons (2010). Now he's living in his...

A demon-turned-human, a lecherous succubus, an angelic—if bratty—brother, an "insanely beautiful" archangel; with all these mystical creatures in her life, no wonder Frannie's overwhelmed.

Frannie turned her demon boyfriend Luc into a human with her magical Sway in Personal Demons (2010). Now he's living in his own apartment while barely resisting Frannie's seduction attempts. Frannie divides her time between Luc, her summer job and her increasingly distant friends. Frannie and Luc's dating is complicated by the constant presence of Matt, Frannie's guardian angel, who was once her twin brother but died during childhood. Through alternating, brief first-person accounts, all three narrate the continuing saga of Frannie vs. Hell. Lucifer wants to punish Luc for his defection and gain control of whatever power turned him human; luckily, Hell doesn't know about Frannie's Sway. Meanwhile, Matt is distracted from his duties by uncontrollable feelings for Lili, a strange new girl in town. The protagonists pop in and out of Hell like there's no tomorrow; secondary characters are merely damned for all time. The battle against Hell is punctuated by frequent steamy encounters: There's "crippling desire," lust that’s "totally raw and all-consuming" and characters who "sink into the sheets, into each other." For all that sex, it's a shame that the sexuality of all the girls other than Frannie is subject to disturbingly intense slut-shaming.

Pub Date: July 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7653-2809-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011


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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