YA Update

Some of the most touching, amazing, and intricate novels being written today are Young Adult novels.  But there are also a lot of YA books out there that are just a lot of fun – series with action and romance and fantasy – a quick read and a great escape.

dream thieves

The Raven Boys series follows Blue, a teenage girl who is the only non-psychic in a female family full of them.  Since she was small she has known her future – when she falls in love and kisses the boy he will die.  So she avoids boys.  Until she sees Gansey, a boy from the local prep school, on her annual trip with her mom to see the soon-to-be-dead walk past.  Soon she is caught up with Gansey and his friends – Ronan, Adam, and Noah – the “Raven Boys” as they search for an ancient king and the ley lines that surround him.

In this latest installment, The Dream Thieves, things are starting to get a little crazy now that the ley lines have been activated, focusing largely on Ronan.  Ronan is falling deeper and deeper into some seriously strange dreams, he has to face his past and what it means to his future, while there are nefarious people looking for him and the power he holds.

For some reason, I’ve had a harder time getting engrossed in this series, although the stories are adventurous and move quickly.  The characters and their connections seem a bit disjointed for me at times, but I do love Blue’s quirky family!

Title: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Publication: Scholastic, September 2013

iron traitor

The Iron Fey series tells the story of the Nevernever, the world of the fey, where kings and queens rule the various Faery courts – Summer, Winter, and Iron.  This world of the creatures and fairies of our childhood fairytales is often violent and vindictive, but often wonderful and beautiful, and separated from the world of humans by only a thin veil.  The first books in the series follow the adventures of Meghan Chase, a human who was also born part fey.  The most recent books in the series follow the adventures of her half-brother Ethan, completely human, but possessing the ability to see the fey.

In this latest installment, Iron Traitor, Ethan is on a quest to help his fey nephew, Keirran, save his true love Annwyl.  Joined by his girlfriend, Mackenzie, Ethan reenters the world of the fey out of a sense of loyalty and duty to his family.  But how far will Keirran go to save the girl he loves?

This is a great series, fun and light, full of adventure and fantasy and romance.  Not my usual reading preference, but this series has become a guilty pleasure!

Title: Iron Traitor
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Publication: Harlequin Teen, August 2013

fall of five

The Lorien Legacy series follows John Smith, a teenager from the planet Lorien with unique powers who was sent here as a baby, along with eight others, to grow up, reunite as The Garde, and fight the Mogadorians who destroyed their home planet.

In this latest installment, The Fall of Five, the Garde has been reunited and are hiding out in Nine’s penthouse in Chicago, planning their next move when they receive a message, in the form of a crop circle, from Number Five.  Is it a trap?  Or will they finally all come together and be able to defeat the Mogadorians?  This installment was another fast-paced part of the story, with twists and turns and surprises around every corner.

Title: The Fall of Five
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Publication: Harper Collins, August 2013

just one year

Just One Year picks up where Just One Day left off.  In Just One Day, Allyson and Willem spend a magical day together in Paris but the next day when Allyson wakes up, Willem is gone, and she is heartbroken.  Just One Year takes us along on Willem’s journey throughout the next year as he searches for Allyson knowing nothing about her – not even her name.  But it is more than a desperate search for a girl he lost.  It is also a search for Willem’s place in this world as he deals with the loss of his father, his relationship with his mother, his relationships with girls in general, and the ultimate need to do what is right, and what is right for him, instead of what everyone else wants and expects.

There is not much of Allyson in this book, but I was not disappointed.  Willem’s coming-of-age story is entertaining and touching in its own right, and his longing and searching for her provide the dose of expected romance.

Title: Just One Year
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Publication: Dutton Juvenile, October 2013

Tuesday Top Ten

top ten anticipated sequels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten upcoming sequels that I’m anticipating.  Since I have tried to give up on reading series until all of the books are coming out, this was a tricky list for me, but there are a couple of series that I still have not finished…

Next-in-Series YA Novels:

  1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth – The final book is out!  And as soon as my daughter is done with it, I will take my turn!
  2. Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – A fun series – – I’m not “dying” to read the next book, but it should be entertaining.
  3. Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore – See #2.
  4. Just One More Year by Gayle Forman – I read the first book in the series, Just One Day, without realizing it was part of a series, so now I want to know the end of the story!

Next-in-Series Adult Fiction – Coming Soon!

  1. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich – Always hilarious and books that I always am excited for each November.
  2. Sycamore Row by John Grisham – John Grisham returns to the setting of A Time to Kill, one of my favorite Grisham novels.

I’m Going to Have to Wait a Long Time…

  1. Eden in Winter by Richard North Patterson – I’m really reaching now, since this book doesn’t come out until July 2014, but I really enjoyed the different directions he took with the first two novels, Fall from Grace and Loss of Innocence, and am looking forward to seeing where he goes now.
  2. By Its Cover by Donna Leone – The next book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series isn’t due out until April 2014, but I am ready for another dose of Venice!
  3. The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman – The Moe Prager novels are some of my favorites, truly some of the best detective writing out there today, coming out in May 2014 this will be the last in the series!  😦
  4. Others that have not yet been announced and that I will have to wait far too long for – the next Inspector Gamache book by Louise Penny, the next Odd Thomas book by Dean Koontz, and probably many more that I can’t think of right now…

Tuesday Top Ten

top ten fall tbr

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten list of books that I want to read this fall.  There are WAY more than ten, there are always way more than ten books on my TBR list, and I am probably forgetting some or there are some that will hop to the top of the list later this year when I realize they are coming out, but here’s what I’m looking forward to right now…

  1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth – This is a series that I have been reading along with my daughter this summer and I am eager to read the final book!
  2. Sycamore Row by John Grisham – Grisham’s legal thrillers are always a fast and fun read and I am looking forward to a return to the setting of A Time to Kill.
  3. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom – I’ve been a fan of Albom’s work in the past but found The Time Keeper to be a disappointment.  I’m hopeful for better things with his next book.
  4. Just One Year by Gayle Forman – I read Just One Day earlier this year, not realizing that it was part of a series, and now I want to finish the story!
  5. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich – The one series that always makes me laugh out loud!
  6. Loss of Innocence by Richard North Patterson – This novel is a prequel to Fall from Grace which I devoured in a day!
  7. Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith – This series always entertains me, yet always leaves me feeling relaxed and peaceful – must be something to do with the main character’s personality.
  8. Death of Santini by Pat Conroy – An author I have always enjoyed, with much of his work based on his life – this autobiographical story is sure to be worthwhile.
  9. Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore – I am interested in learning about Ben’s little sister who apparently had quite an active part in history as well.
  10. Edison and the Rise of Innovation by Leonard DeGraaf – The dork in me is always interested in the great scientific and engineering minds throughout history.

Just One Day

My resolution to not start a series until all of the books have been released went right out the window!  When I started this book I had no idea that there was going to be a second book, released in October, called Just One Year.  I didn’t realize it until I was half way through the book and happened to glance at the back cover – “Coming Soon!”  Seriously?!  Now I have to wait another 8 months for this story to end??  I HATE it when that happens!
just one dayAllyson is on a trip through Europe before starting college in the fall, boring, reliable, safe Allyson, when she meets Willem, a Dutchman performing Shakespeare, and agrees to spend a day with him in Paris.  Willem dubs her Lulu, and for that one day she allows herself to be, to feel, to experience, to love.

“Because that day with Willem, I may have pretended to be someone named Lulu, but I had never been more honest in my life.  Maybe that’s the thing with liberation. It comes at a price.”

When Allyson wakes up the next day and is unable to find Willem, she has to find herself.  Her one day in Paris changes her life and sends her on a year of self-discovery.

“Part of me knows one more day won’t do anything except postpone the heartbreak. But another part of me believes differently. We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day.” 

Allyson is not the only character on a journey of self-discovery – her best friend tries on different personalities as casually as trying on shoes and abandons Allyson in the process.  Dee, her gay friend in college, is also trying to figure out who and how to be, who to show himself to, and what parts of himself to share.  Allyson’s mother is controlling and annoying, but as a mom myself I can appreciate her journey of figuring out who she is if her days are not absorbed with being Allyson’s mom.  How does a young adult break away and how does a parent learn to let go?

Just One Day was a joy to read (even if there is now an 8-month long cliffhanger!), although Allyson’s struggle to find herself does get a little annoying in the middle of the book where she seems to spend far too much time feeling sorry for herself and very little time trying to do something about it!  Having said that, I was racing to the end, found it to be a quick and enjoyable read filled with travel, friendship, and maybe even love…

   Title: Just One Day   
   Author: Gayle Forman   
   Genre: Young Adult Fiction
   Pages: 369
   Publication: Dutton Juvenile, January 2013