Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rec'd reads: 'Hollow City,' 'Defy,' 'Evertrue,' 'Fragile Spirits'

(from usatoday.com
by Jessie Potts)

(Photo: Quirk Books)

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

OK, so I've been waiting YEARS for the sequel. When I first read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I was blown away. Not only did I fall for the creepy and twisted story, but the vintage photos were just as eerie and really added a depth to book and story. Hollow City is fantastic, especially if you've just read MPHfPC (had to reread it to remember everything). The pictures are just as cool, the time loops are just as confusing and Jacob and the peculiars are just as crazy and intense. Not to mention there was a bit more focus on Emma and Jacob (if you can get past the whole I-fell-for-your-grandfather thing). I loved it and definitely recommend both books for fans of the crazy, the supernatural and the peculiar!

And here's a little something extra from author Ransom Riggs …

His three favorite haunted houses:

- The Mary Winchester house in San Jose was built by the radically insane heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, who believed she had been tasked to build a home for all the ghosts of people killed by her father's guns.

- The entire campus of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio (my alma mater).

- If any house in the world is haunted, it's got to be the one that inspired the house in Miss Peregrine. It's a real place — an abandoned chateau in Belgium — and I was lucky enough to visit it. It's too ruined to be much explored inside, but the air it gives off is positively thick with ghosts. I'd love to know the story behind that house and who lived there, but old Mr. Notteboom, the man who owns it, isn't talking.

"Defy" by Sara B. Larson.(Photo: Scholastic Press)

Defy by Sara B. Larson

So I love the concept of a girl disguising herself as a boy to fight/get into the army/get on a ship. Can you guess which Disney movie is my favorite? Defy is the first book by Sara, and I found it action-packed and intense … romantically, not to mention home of a delicious love triangle (if you are a fan of two hot heroes). Anyway, Alexa is one such girl and has been serving in the king's army until a sorcerer abducts her, a fellow guard (and good friend Rylan) and the prince. There are secrets that all three are holding close, and when her gender comes out of the closet, both fight for and with her to get freedom and her heart. I have to say that I liked it, there were just a few "huh?" and "wha?" moments where I wasn't sure what had happened or why. I wanted Alexa to be a stronger heroine, but not all heroines are strong. I also noticed there was a lot of blushing, pulsing, flaming and flushing and a lot of mentions of her heart. Having said that it is still a solid debut, and I would love to read the sequel to see what happens next.

Author Sara B. Larson's favorite love triangles ...

Some of my favorite love triangles include: Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian from Throne of Glass (by Sarah J. Maas); Katniss, Peeta, and Gale from The Hunger Games (by Suzanne Collins); Lucy, Peter, and Jack from (the movie) While You Were Sleeping; and the original love triangle: Guinevere, Lancelot and King Arthur.

"Evertrue" by Brodi Ashton.(Photo: Balzer + Bray)

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

This is the third and final installment of the Everneath series and will have fans holding their breath. Nikki, Cole and Jack are all coming to a close, and for those of you popping in for the first time, pick up Everneath and Everbound for an epic love triangle and a really unique concept. Nikki adores and loves Jack, but Cole has tricked her into feeding off of him, which means she's beginning to turn into an Everling … she must feed or die. Now, anyone who knows me knows I always choose the "wrong" guy in the love triangle, and I have been a Cole fan since he first came onto the pages. So Cole fans … we must band together! I found the story fast-paced, the mythology intense, and Nikki, as always, is an interesting and noteworthy heroine.

Brodi Ashton's three favorite YA heroines are …

- Lizzie Bennet

- Anna from Anna and the French Kiss (by Stephanie Perkins).

- Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone (by Laini Taylor).

Brodi also says: I'm a huge Castle fan, so I created my main character's name from combining Detective Kate Beckett's name with her alter ego Nikki Heat. Hence, Nikki Beckett!

"Fragile Spirits" by Mary Lindsey.(Photo: Philomel)

Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey

This is the second book in the Souls series, but definitely can be read as a stand-alone since it features a different couple, Vivienne and Paul. I love these two. Vivienne ignores all things involving the dead. Even though she's a Speaker, she wants nothing to do with it, and never does what she's told. Paul is a Protector. He wants to serve a Speaker and help souls find peace. He always does what he's told (goody two shoes) and longs for the day he gets paired with a Speaker … until he's paired with Vivienne. Watching the two warily circle around each other and their issues was intense. They are perfect for one another and only have to let go of their baggage to see that. For fans of Shattered Souls, Lenzi and Alden are in the book, just not front and center. This ghost story is the perfect read for those looking for a haunting yet lovely read, and guess what? The ending is great!

Funny story from author Mary Lindsey:

When my youngest daughter was a preteen, we got into a discussion (I use that term loosely) over something — I forget what now — that caused her to say, or rather screech, "I wish that for just one day, you could put your soul in my body to see what it's like to be me!"

Um, no thanks. I'd been her age and going back did not appeal. What did intrigue me were the possibilities that scenario provided. Not trading bodies, but two souls in one body. Could you share memories? Did it hurt or feel claustrophobic? Maybe you experience the host person's feelings, like a magic decoder ring to the heart.

"Hang on," I told her. "That's a great idea. I need to go write it down." I left her midteen-angst eye roll and outlined the first book in the series, Shattered Souls, that afternoon.

Fragile Spirits is dedicated to her, appropriately.

Jessie Potts, also known as Book Taster, adores books in all forms. She also does reviews for Bitten by Books and RT Book Reviews and is an intern at Entangled Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter (@BookTaster).