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Review, Young Adult / December 21, 2014
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerThese Broken Stars
Author: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date: December 2013
374 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Science Fiction
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It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

You know those books that stay with you for ages? It’s been a long time between reading this book and writing this review, but the happenings in it are so unique, I’m still thinking about it. Also, every time I glimpse this gorgeous cover, I basically fall in love all over again.

When I heard it billed as ‘Titanic in space’, I was immediately sold. I love it when two people from different classes fall in love—this is basically why I love period dramas. The tension, the initial distaste, the slow realisation and the element of forbidden love are all wonderful.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / April 22, 2014
Defy by Sara B. LarsonDefy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: January 2014
336 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy
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A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Reviewed by: Mary

So here’s a confession I have to make that might make my unpopular: I absolutely hate love triangles. I love stories that feature relationships and romance, but I hate when they devolve into love triangles.

I grabbed a copy of Defy because the description I read sounded right up my alley. A girl who is a gifted fighter poses as a boy, a prince who may or may not be pretending to be a lazy, spoiled brat, a kingdom in peril. It was everything I normally want. Even the cover looked like something I would love.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / December 13, 2013
Skin by Donna Jo NapoliSkin
Author: Donna Jo Napoli
Date: August 2013
341 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary
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Her lips are white. Sixteen-year-old Sep stares into the bathroom mirror on the first day of school. It's not some weird lipstick (she never wears lipstick), she didn't bump her lips or chew on ice. Her lips are just white. In a panic, she digs up an old lipstick and smears it on her colorless lips. But soon, more and more white spots begin to bloom, spreading their chalky tendrils across her olive brown skin. Does she have a disease? Is she turning into some kind of freak?

Sep is usually the one who knows all the answers. With a quicksilver mind and a supple body, she's happiest when she's delving into the mysteries of animal biology or giving herself over to sweet, hot moves in Jazz Dance Club. Unlike her best friend, Devon, she's never been in a rush to get a boyfriend. But as the white blotches spread, her dating days, like the endangered species she studies, seem numbered. So when Josh, a boy she's always liked, makes a flirty advance, she wonders: why not grab pleasure while she can?

Frank, funny, and full of passion, this compelling novel tells the empowering story of a strong, gifted teen who, as her life spins out of control, desperately tries to prove to the world, and herself, that she is deeper than skin

Reviewed by: Mary

It’s a bit strange to me, but there’s a specific sub-genre of books about teenagers with diseases or medical conditions learning to cope with their lives being profoundly changed. If I had been an English major, I’m sure I could make a case for how it’s a metaphor for growing up. A fair number of these books are “teenagers with cancer who learn how to live before they die” type books, but sometimes you get one that plumps some of the odder depths of medical science. This can work very well, like the Judy Blume classic Deenie that explores scoliosis or Mango Shaped Space, which features a girl with synesthesia.

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By: Daphne
Adult, Review / September 13, 2013
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose ClarkeThe Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Date: January 2013
400 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Science Fiction
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The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.

There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn.

He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat.

When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Reviewed by: Mary

The plot of The Mad Scientist’s Daughter sounds familiar to anyone who has been reading science fiction for a while. If you read only the summary, it’s likely you might even pass the book by, assuming there’s not much new to offer. I certainly would have without a combination of good reviews and a sale on my Nook.

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / July 22, 2013
Prep School Confidential by Kara TaylorPrep School Confidential
Author: Kara Taylor
Series: Prep School Confidential #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: July 2013
304 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary
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In this breathtaking debut that reads like Gossip Girl crossed with Twin Peaks, a Queen Bee at a blue-blooded New England prep school stumbles into a murder mystery.

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn't care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

I was immediately drawn to the premise of Prep School Confidential. I love ‘boarding school’ books and mysteries, so it seemed like a great fit! I’m pleased to say that this book is an entertaining mystery read, perfect for fans of Gossip Girl and Night School.

Anne Dowling, a true blue Upper East Sider, is banished to a prestigious boarding school near Boston after she accidentally sets her school on fire. At first determined to get through the year with her head down and be back in Manhattan as soon as possible, everything is turned upside down when her new roommate was murdered. The rest of the school is eerily quiet about the matter, so it’s up to Anne to investigate and find out the truth behind Isabella’s death.

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By: Daphne