Time is a precious commodity and I don’t like to waste it. That’s why I have very little patience for bad or boring books.
If I’m browsing at the bookstore or library, usually the cover grabs my attention first. Next, the title has to be something that sounds interesting. The inside jacket or the back of the book comes next. If the blurb leaps out at me, I’ll read the first few pages (if I have time).
Then and only then will I buy (or check out) a book.
I read a lot of different genres, but YA is my favourite and speculative is my preferred sub-genre.
I thought I’d share three recent speculative YA novels that gave me a serious book hangover.
1. The Evaporation of Sofi Snow
If you’ve ever read a Mary Weber book, you know she is the cruelest queen of cliffhangers. Like, wring-the-tears-out-of-you-and-drink-them-in-a-teacup queen. Her Storm Siren trilogy just about undid me.
So I was smart this time and didn’t start Sofi until AFTER I had the sequel, Reclaiming Shilo Snow, safe in my hands.
Weber transported me to a grim future where corporation CEO’s rule what’s left of the world after WWIII and high-stake virtual reality gladiatorial games entertain the masses. I enjoyed the dual narration that flipped back and forth between gamer-girl Sofi and playboy/ambassador Miguel.
Throw in some creepy aliens and human trafficking and you have a thrilling tale that addresses a key issue with sensitivity and compassion.
True to style, the ending had me bolting to the bookshelf for the next one. Thank goodness for being prepared!
2. The Wish Granter
Rumpelstiltskin is my favourite villain from the TV show Once Upon a Time, so when I found out C.J. Redwine’s next Ravenspire novel was a fantasy retelling featuring this dastardly fae, I couldn’t wait for it’s release.
Her Snow White retelling, The Shadow Queen, was good.
But The Wish Granter was amazing.
I loved her heroine, Ari, who is plucky and resourceful and definitely doesn’t act like a princess. She’s the perfect protagonist to root for as she fights to free her brother, the king, from the disastrous bargain he made with Teague aka Rumpelstiltskin.
The other point-of-view character is Sebastian, palace’s weapons master. While he has some interesting secrets to hide, he does his best to assist Ari, and they just might be fighting an attraction to one another along the way.
Teague was as chilling a villain as one could hope for and the final showdown left me breathless.
3. Defy the Stars
I discovered Claudia Gray by accident when I stumbled upon her Firebird trilogy (also fantastic).
Defy the Stars is also told from the POV of two characters (I love this YA trend!) who couldn’t be more different from one another. Noemi is a human, a soldier, and is determined to save her planet from invasion. Abel is a mech, a very high-tech android who looks and acts waaaay more human than Data and just happens to be a part of–you guessed it–the invaders.
It’s told in third-person present tense which took some getting used to.
But in the end, I was hooked on their story as they raced through the galaxy to keep Noemi’s planet from destruction and along the way, discovered more questions than answers. And the sequel just came out. Wahoo!
What books have you read recently that you’d like to share?
Jebraun Clifford always wanted to step through a door into an imaginary kingdom, so it’s no surprise she now calls Middle Earth home. Too short to be an elf and too tall to be a Hobbit, she lives smack-dab in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island in a town filled with thermal activity, stunning lakes, and enough Redwoods to make her Californian heart swoon. She writes about discovering identity, living without fear, and enjoys creating fantastic worlds. Her unpublished YA fantasy, The Two Queens of Kyrie, won both the American Christian Fiction Writer’s 2015 First Impressions contest and the 2016 Genesis contest. She loves coffee, tree ferns, dark chocolate, and Jesus, and harbours a secret penchant for British spelling.