Contest! Win a Copy of Suspicion by Alexandra Monir!

17285326

Isn’t it gorgeous? And we have a copy for YOU! all you have to do is comment on this post and one winner will get a free print copy of Suspicion! Contest goes until Friday 12/12/14 and the winner will be announced Saturday!

Here’s our review and below is the press release.

“Intensely dramatic, fast-paced, and twisty, Monir’s mystery ticks every gothic suspense box. The combination of paranormal elements with a star-crossed romance between almost-royals should keep readers rapt.” Booklist

“A terrific read that will keep you looking out for Imogen as she goes through her trials and tribulations. And the ending…WOW! The ending is a huge surprise that no reader should miss.” Suspense magazine

“Take The Princess Diaries and add magic, murder and mystery, and you’ve got Suspicion. A delightful read!” –Amy Plum, author of the international bestselling Die for Me series

“If Alfred Hitchcock had directed Downton Abbey, the result would have been this book. Alexandra Monir takes us on a gripping, nonstop thrill ride with just the right amount of supernatural and an ending that you definitely won’t suspect. I devoured it in one sitting.”

Jessica Brody, bestselling author of the Unremembered trilogy

Alexandra Monir has captivated legions of fans with her YA time travel romances, Timeless and Timekeeper; critics have praised the books as “fun read[s] filled with romantic suspense and mystery” (USA Today), “music for your heart” (Justine), and a “perfect blend of quality content, romance and heart-pounding adventure” (Savvy).

Now, Monir offers a modern-day, young adult twist on the classic gothic novel, Rebecca, with SUSPICION, an enthralling supernatural thriller to be published by Delacorte Press in hardcover on December 9, 2014.

Rockford Manor is a sprawling English country estate of nearly two hundred rooms, grand columns and towers, and acres of manicured gardens. For seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford, it’s her family’s summer home since the 18th century – and the site of her childhood’s greatest pain: her parents’ death by a mysterious fire in the maze garden. After the tragedy, she was whisked away to New York by her guardians and in sorrow turned her back on her older cousin Lucia and her neighbor and childhood crush Sebastian Stanhope. But she’s haunted by her father’s last words: that there’s something important hidden in the Maze, and she’ll know when the time comes to find it. Then a letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor and face both her aristocratic roots and a stirring supernatural power she can’t control. She soon discovers that dark and long-buried secrets lurk behind Rockford’s stunningly beautiful facade. Imogen herself is caught at the center of them—as is her cousin Lucia, and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.

Inspired by Monir’s longtime passion for the gothic suspense novels of Daphne du Maurier, the psychological thriller films of Alfred Hitchcock, and the upstairs-downstairs world of Downton Abbey, SUSPICION offers romantic suspense, sinister intrigue, and a shocking twist no one will see coming. And at the same time, it’s a universal story of a young girl in the midst of all the changes that come with growing up, who is trying to find her place in the world and navigate loss, love and redemption.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexandra Monir is an author and recording artist. Suspicion is her third novel published by Random House. Her debut was the popular time-travel romance, Timeless, followed by the 2013 sequel, Timekeeper. Alexandra currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is at work on her next novel, while also blogging for The Huffington Post and composing an original musical. Her music can be found on iTunes.

Visit her website at www.alexandramonir.com and follow @TimelessAlex on Twitter. 

Posted in Contests | Comments Off

Review: Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

darkestmercyDarkest Mercy is the fifth and final book in Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely YA urban faery series, and is a finale to a number of the plotlines that have run through the other books.

The book begins where Radiant Shadows ended. Summer King Keenan has left, former Dark King Irial is injured after a confrontation with Bananach, and the veil between Faerie and the mortal realm has been closed. From the opening pages, it is clear that Darkest Mercy will move towards an inevitable showdown, which will put the lives of all the characters at risk. Added to this, Marr revisits the love triangles of previous novels in the series (Niall-Irial-Leslie and Aislinn-Seth-Keenan – though this is more of a square, with the fourth corner occupied by Donia) and offers some satisfying conclusions to these.

Like all the books in the series, Darkest Mercy has some romantic moments, but also some dark ones. There is violence and death is all the books of the series, and the final installment is no exception. However, this is balanced by compelling and sympathetic characterization, which allows the reader to understand the ‘difficult’ moments through the experiences of likable protagonists.

The Wicked Lovely books are a strong series. Marr’s faery world is a fascinating creation, peopled by callous, cruel, seductive and charming fairies – all of whom are bound by both ancient laws and their own strong desires. Darkest Mercy is a fitting conclusion to the series. As well as resolving some of the plot-threads, there is development of central characters and some new additions as well. Almost all the central characters from the various books in the series (with the exception of Sorcha, Devlin, Ani and Rae) are brought together for the dramatic conclusion. I think the epilogue, particularly, will make avid fans of the series smile.

Compared with other books in the series (especially the earlier ones), Darkest Mercy is not as clearly urban fantasy. While Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange told the story of ordinary ‘human’ girls, with one foot in the ‘real’ world and one (reluctant) foot in the supernatural, Darkest Mercy is set almost entirely in the fairy world. This isn’t a criticism as such, but it does remind us how much some of the characters have given up during their stories.

Darkest Mercy is recommended to fans of urban fantasy, and is highly recommended to those who have enjoyed the rest of the Wicked Lovely series. It belongs alongside the YA fairy novels of Holly Black, Aprilynne Pike and Carrie Need.

Contains: references to sexuality, death and violence (not explicit)

Reviewed by: Hannah Kate

Posted in book reviews, fae, fantasy, YA books | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

radiantshadowsRadiant Shadows is the fourth book in Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely YA fairy series. It follows on from Fragile Eternity, focusing more on characters that have previously featured only briefly in the series. In particular, it tells the story of Devlin (High Court regent Sorcha’s ‘brother-son’), Ani (the daughter of Gabriel and sister of tattooist Rabbit) and Bananch (Sorcha’s twin sister and the embodiment of War and Discord).

Although the series began with a rather straightforward division of ‘humans’ and ‘fairies’, the books have gradually complicated this division with the introduction of new types of creature in each installment. I think that Radiant Shadows is perhaps the most complex version of the human/fey divide, as much of it concentrates on the story of a ‘halfling’ (born of a human mother and a fey father) and the shade of a once-human girl (who has technically died, but is kept ‘alive’ through her relationship with the fairy Devlin). Nothing is quite as simple as it first seemed in Wicked Lovely, with a number of newly-made fairies (who were once human) featuring prominently in Radiant Shadows.

This was not my favorite book in the series, and I’m not sure it quite lives up to the promise ofFragile Eternity and the earlier books. While Ani, Devlin and Rae are great characters, I didn’t find them quite as compelling as Sorcha (who was a central character in the previous book), Aislinn, Leslie, Donia or Keenan. Nevertheless, all these characters make an appearance, and I enjoyed the development of the characters of Irial and Niall (who featured in Ink Exchange). The final showdown also had me holding my breath, as Marr filled it with tension and high emotion. This series is a strong one, and Radiant Shadows is still a great piece of YA urban fantasy.

This book is recommended for fans of the earlier Wicked Lovely books, and belongs alongside other YA urban fantasy, particularly books by Holly Black and Carrie Need.

Contains: some references to sexuality, violence and death (not explicit)

Reviewed by: Hannah Kate

Posted in book reviews, fae, fantasy, YA books | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Fragile Eternity

fragileeternityFragile Eternity is the third book in Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely YA fairy series. While it follows Ink Exchange, it returns to the unresolved threads of the first book in the series and revisits Wicked Lovely’s heroine (Aislinn) who was made into a Summer Queen at the end of the first installment.

After discovering that she is the true Summer Queen, Aislinn struggles to come to terms with her new fey existence, as well as with the fact that she has been thrown into a relationship with the seductive Summer King, Keenan. However, unlike Wicked Lovely, this book is not strictly Ash’s story. Fragile Eternity, in fact, follows the story of Seth, Aislinn’s mortal boyfriend. Though he does love her, Seth finds it hard to understand the new pressures on his girlfriend, and both find it difficult to deal with the fact that, while she is immortal, he will one day grow old and die. Seth is also troubled by the close relationship Ash has to share with Keenan, and becomes jealous of the powerful (and physical) bond between the Summer King and Queen.

As a central character, Seth is likable and sympathetic. However, for me, the ‘star’ of Fragile Eternity is, without doubt, Sorcha, the Queen of the High Court. The eternal and ‘unchanging’ queen, who is responsible for the entire creation of Faerie, is at once an imperious and threatening figure and a vulnerable and lonely woman. The choices Sorcha makes defy all human logic, but Marr’s writing skillfully draws us into the world of this frightening fairy, so we are able to have some level of understanding and sympathy. Fragile Eternity also develops the fairy world of the first two books, and explores the tricky relationship between the fey and mortal realms – as well as the dangers to be faced when the balance between these realms is disturbed.

Unlike Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange, this book takes place mostly within the fairy world. The once mortal characters of the first two books are now embracing their fey identities. This shift in focus is interesting, and promises to take the series in a new direction. Fragile Eternity also ends with several storylines unresolved, pointing ahead to the final two books in the series.

This book is recommended for fans of YA urban fantasy, particularly the fairy novels of Holly Black, Aprilynne Pike and Carrie Need. It is highly recommended for fans of Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange.

Contains: some references to sexuality, death and violence (not explicit)

Reviewed by: Hannah Kate

Posted in fae, fantasy, YA books | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

inkexchange

Ink Exchange is the second book in Melissa Marr’s YA Wicked Lovely series. The first book in the series told the story of Aislinn, an ‘ordinary’ high school girl who is stalked by fairies that no-one else can see. Ink Exchange tells the story of Leslie, one of Aislinn’s school friends, who also becomes ensnared in the world of the fey.

Like the first book in the series, Ink Exchange is a rather dark tale. Just as Aislinn had been dogged by traumatic experiences in her past, so Leslie is struggling to come to terms with horrible memories when her story begins. However, in many ways, Ink Exchange offers a more disturbing tale. Having been raped by drug dealer associates of her brother, Ren, Leslie decides to get a tattoo in an attempt to reclaim her body and her identity. Unwittingly, she chooses a tattoo parlor run by a half-mortal, half-fey named Rabbit. The design she chooses is the mark of the Dark King Irial, leaving Leslie tied and drained by the fairy.

Meanwhile, Aislinn (now the Summer Queen) is keen to protect her friend without revealing her new identity, and sends advisor Niall to watch over her. Niall forms strong feelings for Leslie, and has his own past history with Irial as well, creating a complicated love triangle between the mortal girl and fairy men.

Leslie’s (literal and metaphorical) attachment to Irial is described in terms that seem reminiscent of drug addiction – reminding me of Holly Black’s book, Valiant, in which the connection between drug-taking and fairy magic is also explored. At times, Leslie’s fate seems so bleak that it is hard to imagine how she is ever going to come through it. However, the resolution of her story is one of triumph, not of suffering, and her final destiny is one of the most empowering I have read in a YA urban fantasy.

Of all the Wicked Lovely books, Ink Exchange is definitely my favorite. It certainly goes to some very dark places, and is quite an emotional read at times, but this is a strength, rather than a weakness. While Leslie is, for the most part, a victim in this book, the way this is handled (and, finally, dispelled) is excellent. Melissa Marr’s choice of how to resolve a love triangle (so common, now, in YA fantasy) is both bold and moving.

I recommend this book to fans of YA fantasy, though it is more suited to older teen readers. It belongs alongside the other Wicked Lovely books, and the YA books of Holly Black and Carrie Need.

Contains: references to sexuality and sexual violence, drug use and death

Reviewed by: Hannah Kate

Posted in book reviews, fae, fantasy, YA books | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

wickedlovely

Aislinn has the Sight. She sees faeries everywhere, and faeries are terrifying enough that she spends most of her life trying to make sure faeries don’t notice her. Unfortunately, she comes to the attention of the Summer King, Keenan, who must convince her to become his queen. Keenan is bound to play out a scenario set by his mother, the vicious Winter Queen, which requires the chosen girl to take up the Winter Queen’s staff at his request, at the risk of becoming her pawn.  Without the Summer Queen, the world will descend into a permanent, killing, winter. The last girl to take up the staff, Donia, must convince the new girl to reject the staff, but things are changing. Aislinn is different from the girls who have failed- she resists falling under his spell. And she has backup- a grandmother who also has the Sight, and takes the risk seriously, and Seth, a friend who lives in a steel train car where she is safe from faeries, and who is becoming much more than a friend.

Aislinn is a strong protagonist. Caught in events outside her control, she uses her Sight, her knowledge, and her stubborn independence to shape the effect those events will have on her life. She is also loved, and believed, and Seth’s steadiness, resourcefulness, and support are critical to her holding on to her core. The resolution of events is surprising and satisfying, although it’s clear there are still dangerous conflicts ahead, and readers will be eager for the next installment. It’s difficult to believe Aislinn and her friends are teens, or that her Grams, who is portrayed as very strict, gives her the leeway to travel alone through some pretty awful urban areas, much less spend the night with Seth, who is several years older, but readers will forgive the dissonance that creates in favor of letting the story, especially the intertwined love stories of Donia and Keenan with Aislinn and Seth, sweep them away.  The first book in a series, Wicked Lovely is followed by Ink Exchange andFragile Eternity, but Wicked Lovely stands alone, and is clearly the standout of the series. Highly recommended for public library YA collections, and for high school library media centers, and for fans of urban fantasy.

Review by Kirsten Kowalewski

Posted in book reviews, fae, fantasy, YA books | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Made for You by Melissa Marr

20419003Melissa Marr’s latest is the magic-light tale of Eva, a southern princess (child of the elite in the tiny town of Jessup, NC) who after being struck by a car and left for dead finds herself with the unpredictable ability to read the deaths of people who touch her.

Even more disturbing is how many of her friends die at the hands of a serial killer, a maniac that has begun leaving messages through flowers and carved into the flesh of his victims.

The whole premise of Eva being a genteel, popular, universally loved southern lady almost ruins this book. But in the chapters where readers find themselves in Eva’s head (which is most of them) we learn she finds it just as repressive and ridiculous as I did when I read the back cover. Eva feels trapped by societal expectations, a note that rings stronger when a psycho-serial killer starts sending her messages.

Made for You is a great introductory horror novel for teens. There’s a lot of the creepy, stalky, murdery bits with stronger drawn characters. There is horror and gore here, but without the loving descriptions often found in adult novels. Definitely recommended for teen audiences, especially ones who already enjoy Marr’s other series.

Contains: sexual language, violence, murder

Posted in book reviews, horror, YA books | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Sunshine by Robin McKinley

sunshineSunshine’s life is changed forever when, while out for a walk by the lake, she is kidnapped by vampires and left, chained to a wall, to be prey to an enemy they’ve captured and have been torturing. It’s a game, starve the vampire then leave him alone with a pretty young, innocent girl until he can’t resist.

But then, against all odds, Sunshine walks away.

If you’ve ever read a teen coming of age story that uses vampires and magic to propel the lead through the journey between child and womanhood, then you’ve read a book that was trying to be this one.

Vivid, beautiful and damn near perfect, Sunshine is a book not to be missed. Definitely a must have for teen collections.

Contains: Language, sexual language, violence

Posted in book reviews, fantasy, vampires | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Deerskin_coverDeerskin is a fairytale princess, the daughter of the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms who married a great king and whose love was so legendary it eclipsed everything, including her own existence.

Admired and loved the king and queen were, but their story was so powerful no one else, including themselves, had much time or attention to spare for Deerskin. Then the queen becomes deathly ill and the king goes mad without her. People start to notice Deerskin a little more, including her father. The mad king declares that to strengthen his kingdom he will remarry the only woman who can compare to the dead queen, his own teenage daughter.

After a terrible night that proves he won’t be denied, Deerskin and her loyal dog Ash flee, wondering what kind of life a fairy princess raised both indulgently and neglectfully can have in the normal world.

But like all fairy princesses Deerskin has a fairy godmother who is more about enabling survival than happily ever after.

Deerskin is a dark high fantasy novel retelling of Donkeyskin. Similar to Cinderella, with all the horror of the Grimm tale. Deerskin is a dark, but beautiful read.

Highly recommended and no doubt with the popularity of books from vampire tales to stories like Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson Deerskin has a strong audience in teens too.

Contains: violence, incest, rape

Posted in book reviews, fantasy | Tagged | Comments Off

Review: Gotham Academy #1

tumblr_inline_ncpuapk9dh1ra5iejSoooo many questions left after this one. First, I love the cover and the very idea (A Gotham Prep School?) The execution is dark and creepy, a lot like Batman meets Hogwarts.

Olive is in her second year at GA and feels like an outsider after some yet-to-be-explained summer break events changed her perceptions of her life. She’s been saddled with nannying first year student “Maps”, who also happens to be the younger sister of her kinda-not-boyfriend.

I loved everything about this comic except it’s length. Grrr, Give me more! And my favorite bit was the feel that the ghost haunting GA is really Batman himself.

Posted in book reviews, comics | Tagged | Comments Off