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Friday, March 25, 2016

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Age Group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Pages: 512
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble /
IndieBound / Book Depository
Description: Goodreads
This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . 

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
I've been following The Austen Project, a series of modern retellings of Jane Austen books by contemporary authors, for a while now. From what I can tell, it has drawn some (somwhat expected) criticism for either not following our beloved plotlines close enough or following them too closely and not making sense in a modern world. Though this sounds contradictory, I have to say I understand this mentality. I've seen a reimagining of Austen's words go wonderfully well (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Austenland) to middling at best (save for the casting, Emma Approved). This is all to say that pleasing the Austenite crowd isn't for the faint of heart.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Ravenspire #1
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Pages: 387
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble /
IndieBound / Book Depository
Description: Goodreads
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose. 
Right from the beginning, I knew I’d have fun with The Shadow Queen. A Snow White & The Huntsman retelling, it wound an intricate, compelling story around the classic fairytale arc. At just under 400 pages it’s a fairly long YA novel, but as I made it farther into the story— I realized much of the best detail would’ve been lost without the length.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ask the Dark by Henry Turner

Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 256
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
Loads of people have asked me 'bout what happened. Tell the truth, I'm tired of getting asked. I want to answer everybody all at once and get it all the hell over with…

Billy Zeets has a story to tell.

About being a vandal and petty thief.

About missing boys and an elusive killer.

And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who can piece together the truth.

Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable.
Billy’s life is in a hard place. His mother has died, his dad can’t work, his sister is pregnant, and they’re about to lose their home to the bank. He also used to be a troublemaker, which makes it hard to shake people’s assumptions about the kind of person into which he’s turning. Try as he might, there’s not a lot he can do to keep his house from foreclosure doing odd jobs around town. When boys start disappearing Billy decides that he can use his restless nights to help find them, even if the police won’t listen to him, and just maybe he can use the reward money to change the fate of his family.