Tag Archives: ya literature

Fun Friday: Released this Week!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce was released this week, and it’s one of the two books I’ve most been looking forward to this summer (the other is Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger, from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series!)

If you haven’t heard about Sisters Red, this is the summary from goodreads:

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

I’m so excited to read this.  The cover itself would have drawn me in and held me captive, but I’ve been watching Jackson Pearce’s blog and twitter, and I really just think she’s one of the smartest, sassiest authors to hit YA in a while, and I’m excited to watch her take the YA market by force.

Book Geek Wednesday: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

I came across this book one afternoon while browsing Barnes and Noble for something new to read. I walked by the hardcover a few times, each time pausing momentarily to stare at the cover. The image on the right is what I saw. I didn’t pick it up right away. I’m not sure why. I played that game about three times, before I finally caved. The thing about the cover that I really enjoyed was that it told me several things. One – it would be high fantasy judging from the girl’s clothing and the painting style. Two- it involved poisons of some kind which made me curious (why, how?). And three- it was one of the new releases from Harlequin’s LUNA line which I’d been watching since it launched. I had really high hopes for that line, since I’m a big fantasy fan, and every trip to the bookstore included a walk down the fantasy aisle looking for the little moon symbol.

I kid you not. I’m rather disappointed that the line has since pretty much fizzled to one release every few months or so. But that’s another post entirely.

When I finally picked up Poison Study and read the byline, I got excited.

Choose: A quick death… or slow poison.

I read the first few lines of the blurb. Yelena, the story’s heroine, is about to be executed for murder but instead is given the opportunity to become a food taster. Wow, she’s getting off pretty easy, you might think. But really, it’s a lesser of two evils. Sure, she gets to live another day and eat fancy meals prepared for kings – putting her at risk of assassination by anyone who might try to poison the Commander of Ixia. Ahh… slow poison. Not only that, Valek, the poison trainer and her ‘boss’ for all intents and purposes, has given her Butterfly’s Dust, a poison which will provide an agonizing death if she doesn’t return for the antidote daily. So she escapes one prison and death, only to enter another. That is an awesome premise.

The worldbuilding in this book is captivating and impressive. I loved the political climate of Ixia and how we got little glimpses of it through Yelena’s eyes. The details in regard to the food tasting are superb. I believed every moment that Yelena trained, I was awed by the various poisons, their names, and their effects. They made the world in the book come alive for me and were hands down, my favorite scenes.

Valek was one of those characters that snuck up on me. I started the book expecting not to like him. He does poison our heroine and force her to take this terrible job or die. But throughout the story this man full of mystery and moral ambiguity fascinated me. He’s stealth and dangerous and all kinds of lethal and I loved every page he was on.

Overall, the story had a few weak points, mostly in setting up Yelena’s history and the strange magical power she starts to develop seemingly out of the blue- but I suppose that was necessary to carry on the series. After Poison Study there were two more books, Magic Study and Fire Study. I have yet to get my hands on those, but I do plan to eventually!

Although these books were not originally released as YA fiction, Harlequin has reissued them with new covers and I think the series and its protagonist are a great fit for the YA market.

Overall score: A-


Myths and legends have been an integral part of literature since it was first formed.  As long as stories have been told, mankind has sought to embellish and enrich their lives by way of irreverent gods, baleful dragons, knights-errant, and damsels in distress.

In the modern world and in the face of modern literature, it is easy to brush aside fantasy as something of a lesser value, as if a story that requires a supernatural element in order to be told, must be lacking in some other way, but the fact remains that the oldest stories we have, from King Arthur to Beowulf have something of fantasy to them, and even Shakespeare himself deigned to control the actions of gods and fairies by way of his pen.

Of late, fantasy has been embraced especially by fans of Young Adult literature, as can be seen by the rising number of YA series involving witches, wizards, vampires and all forms of heroes, out to save countless dystopias.  Despite the popularity, though, there has been no central place created to celebrate the extents YA fantasy has reached.

That is our intent here, to create a place for authors and readers alike to find and share new worlds, just a step beyond our own.  To follow Alice down the rabbit hole, take the second star to the right and step through that dresser drawer… only we’ve been all those places before.  And there are many, many more waiting to be found if only we know where to look.  It’s those little entrances that we seek out here, a glassy pond, a locked door, a hollow tree…

In creating this blog, Isabelle and I are hoping to embrace and announce everything that is new and upcoming in that little world where Young Adult and Fantasy collide.  We are very committed to this liminal little genre, and hope to see it grow and flourish as time goes on.  We hope that this place can be a part of that.  We look forward to spotlighting novels and authors who excite us, and in hearing from you, the all-important reader, as we take this journey together.

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