Category Archives: Contemporary Fantasy

Superheroes in Prose, Vol. 1: Welcome to Prose by Sevan Paris

Doom and disaster strike for our young hero Gabe, who’s only trying to save the world and survive his freshman year of college at the same time.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

TitleSuperheroes in Prose, Vol. 1: Welcome to Prose
AuthorSevan Paris
SeriesSuperheroes in Prose, Book 01
Publish Date: January 19, 2012
Genre: YA Superhero Fantasy
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionImagine you have the power to fly.

Pretty awesome, right? Imagine you have the power to levitate or crush something the size of a Winnebago. Equally awesome. Now … here’s the catch: having the power means you are bonded irreversibly to a smartass, sociopathic alien life form.

Not so awesome.

So, what would you do with all of that power? The way I figured it, I had one of two options: Option #1) Use it to commit crime or Option #2) Use it to fight crime. My name is Gabe Garrison and I chose Option #2.

This is my story …

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

In this fantastic superhero book, readers meet Gabe – a teenager who’s got an alien “M” inside his head. M’s presence has given him out of this world abilities, so he decides to join the rank of superheroes within his hometown of Prose. But that’s when the trouble begins.

Told in four different stories, Volume 1 is action-packed as it follows Gabe and M as they take on rogue superheroes, dating, and plenty of notorious supervillains with manipulative plots of world-domination.

I was really drawn to this, especially since it reminded me a lot of the television show, Danny Phantom, a cartoon I was once obsessed with (and let’s face it, I still am). It has the same silly yet serious feels, while dealing with familiar superhero tropes: like harboring a secret identity from your mother, trying to balance real life and hero life, and the fine lines of morality AND mortality.

I really love Gabe and I’m also quite fond of Pink, one of the “registered” heroes who is capable of possessing almost everyone. And though he’s also kind of a dick, I find Casa’s character is integral to the plot and makes things a lot more interesting for Gabe, as he has a very dangerous agenda.

All in all this was fun and I’m glad I had the chance to read it! Five stars!

Other recommendations…

Recommended for fans of Jennifer Estep, Kirsten Brand, Lexi Dunne, and Sarah Raughley.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Etched In Bone by Anne Bishop

I LOVE THIS SERIES! I can’t tell you how happy it made me to have another installment to read. Usually, I save these books for audio because the narrator is so awesome. But when the book became available on NetGalley, I just couldn’t wait.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

etched-in-boneTitle: Etched In Bone
AuthorAnne Bishop
SeriesThe Others, Book 05
Publish Date: March 7, 2017 Roc
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s DescriptionNew York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


ivana 100Invested Ivana says…

After Marked In Flesh’s very large political conflict, the conflict in Etched in Bone is closer to home. Detective Crispin James Montgomery’s brother comes to town and puts the delicate balance of the courtyard in danger.

There are some interesting themes in this book. The main theme, the impact a toxic person has on the lives of others, will hit home for so many readers. I’m guessing just about everyone has been in the radius of a toxic person at some time or another. Even while we recognize their influence, many times we feel powerless against it. Monty and his family, along with the whole Lakeside Courtyard, feel helpless against the influence of Monty’s brother, Cyrus James—a self-centered, manipulative, immoral jerk. Though many of the residents of the Courtyard, including Monty and his mother, know that Cyrus James should be turned out, the Elders who are visiting the Courtyard want to understand how one bad human can impact a stable group, and so demand that Cyrus be allowed to stay.

Another theme in this book is overcoming addiction and increasing impulse control. Meg and her friends have come up with an alternative to cutting herself for prophecy. She has combined several decks of fortune telling cards in an attempt to create the Trailblazer Deck for other blood prophets. We see Meg deliberately using the cards when she has the compulsion to cut, even hear her thought process. This is excellent modeling and I’m so glad Bishop included it in this book. Lack of impulse control is linked to so many bad things like criminality, poor relationships, poverty, addiction, and other things that prevent one from having a genuine and satisfying life. It seems our country is suffering from a major lack of impulse control right now, and having good models is crucial.

Fans of the romance between Simon and Meg will be happy. Meg is beginning to grow and heal from her trauma, and though it is happening sooooooo slowly, this book finally marks a progression in the relationship between the two.

badge5v5Each book in this series gives me “big things” to think about while also thoroughly entertaining me. I love all of these characters and the careful life they’ve built. I’m looking forward to release day when I can “reread” this in audio. 😉

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

Again, this series is so unique, I can’t really recommend anything quite like it. But for other excellent urban fantasy series, see my favorites list.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

The New You by Kathleen Leverich

Welcome to Saturday Shorts, in which we review shorter works such as short stories, novellas, middle-grade books, and graphic novels.

In The New You, Abigail is a young girl who just moved to the big city. She’s got a new step-mother as well and as she adjusts, she realizes she has lost who she used to be and wants to find herself a new identity

the-new-youTitle: The New You
Author: Kathleen Leverich
Series: stand alone
Publish Date: June 1, 2000 Scholastic
Genre: MG Magical Realism
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Abigail and self-esteem have not gone hand in hand ever since she transferred to a new school. And the harder she tries to fit in, the more things seem to come out awkward and wrong. But when she makes friends with three savvy older women, gets a fabulously flattering haircut — and ultimately what she earnestly believes is a completely new identity, suddenly things begin to look up. Is it all wishful thinking or a glimpse into the future?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat_Mandu_100

 

Kat Mandu says…

In The New You, Abigail is a young girl who just moved to the big city. She’s got a new step-mother as well and as she adjusts, she realizes she has lost who she used to be and wants to find herself a new identity.

This is an okay coming-of-age story. It’s very young so I put it at lower middle-grade on my mental shelf. The New You was one of the books that I found while going through some of my old books; I couldn’t remember much about it besides that it had a future-meets-present feel, so I reread it. Boy, I wonder if I liked it more back then because my feelings toward it have definitely changed if so.

Abigail has managed to lose her friends, her hometown, and everything else she once was. Now that she’s in a new school and new city, she doesn’t quite know where she fits in. She wants to make friends but doesn’t know how because she doesn’t know if they’ll like her. So she stumbles on a makeover place called The New You in a phone book and decides to go there (a twelve year old wandering around in a NYC type area at dark? *shudder*).

What she finds is three women who treat her kindly and take her in, giving her a makeover. After a few hours of feeling comfortable around them, she starts to become ill, and goes home. She wakes a few days later and discovers she was sick. But when she starts to tell her family about the experiences she had, they tell her they never happened. In fact, she starts to investigate but finds out that the building she went to doesn’t even exist, let alone the people she met.

Yet Abigail remains hopeful and is much more comfortable in her own skin. She makes friends and realizes that these friends and these experiences are more like deja vu, and that her “dream” was just a projection of the future.

badge2v4If you’re looking for something simple and young, this book is for you. It just wasn’t for me. I missed the action that a lot more YA offers these days. Since this is an older book, it’s a lot more innocent. Which, there’s nothing wrong with, but I like my magical-realism a bit grittier.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys draw ever closer in their search for Glendower, but not everything is what it seems.

blue-lilyTitleBlue Lily, Lily Blue
AuthorMaggie Stiefvater
SeriesThe Raven Cycle, Book 03
Publish Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe third installment in the all-new series from the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: I still like the characters. I was a little sad that Noah, for the most part, is absent from this novel. But the steamy scene between Gansey and Blue more than made up for that! Can you say sexual tension? I like that we learn more about Glendower and that the boys and Blue are so close to waking him up.

Dislikes: The pacing is still slow. Part of the reason I took so long to read this book is because I would lose interest and be on to other things. I think maybe this series could have been a trilogy or a duology instead of four books. The “bad guys” are more comical than villain-y. They just don’t make me fear for the main characters the way a villain should.

I have to give this book three ghosts. While I love the characters, the pacing is often slow and befuddling and there are still way too many unanswered questions.

Our reviews in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are posted.

Other recommendations…

In the Shadows by Kiersten White, The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys are back at it again in this next installment of The Raven Cycle.

dream-thievesTitleThe Dream Thieves
AuthorMaggie Stiefvater
SeriesThe Raven Cycle, Book 02
Publish Date: September 17, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

Likes: Readers get to know Ronan better in this novel as it is focused mainly on his history, secrets and his terrifying yet useful ability to pull things from dreams. One of the best things about this book is that it explores the relationships not only between the characters but between the characters and their personalities.

Dislikes: What I liked so much about the first book was that the lines between reality and the paranormal were blurred. Not so much so in The Dream Thieves. The story seems much more functional and informational. It seems like the magic that was found in the first book is decidedly absent in this one.

badge3v4While this book is still essential to the overall story, I think that the magic that appealed to the reader in the first book is decidedly absent, and so I give this 3 feathers.

Our reviews in this series…

Links will become active as reviews are posted.

Other recommendations…

Black Heart by Holly Black, Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow, All Our Yesterdays by Christin Terrill.