Daring You To Read…The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

 
One character trait that I think is really hard to develop in young adult literature this day is a nefarious main character. One that’s conniving and sassy that can hold his own against anyone. He’ll fight, he’ll take a beating, he’ll do what he wants when he wants to and that’s that. Another thing that I find to be difficult in YA literature is the fact that it’s very hard to make a character such as this likable. Well, Jennifer Nielsen manage to achieve both of those great goals when creating Sage and, gosh, is he among my favorite characters ever. I loved him and how he was sort of an anti-hero. He’s not your average hero, he’s a thief, but that’s what makes him so amazing.

Clearly, I’m campaigning for everyone to read this book because you just should. haha

What I found interesting in regards to this one was the intrigue. The royal family in this high fantasy was murdered so a rich man named Conner finds several street-rats out of orphanages who happen to look like the long lost prince. This kid is to become the false prince and take over the throne to rule the country. Eventually, one does. And the intrigue surrounding his identity, his past, his future and his purpose is beyond amazing. I’m not even exaggerating where I say there are certain plot reveals near the end of the book that literally had my mouth gaping wide open like a fish.

When you’ve got an unforgettable character and a plot like this, you know you have a winner. When you couple that with some of the best world-building I’ve ever seen and amazing descriptiveness without being repetitive and boring, you know you have a smash on your hands.

To put it simply, this book is a smash. I can’t say anything negative about it and I genuinely think that anyone who reads it will enjoy it. I’ve yet to find anyone who I have forced to read it that dislikes it. Don’t you think that’s even more of a reason to pick it up?

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

 
 
 
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository
 
The second novel in the Ascendance Trilogy, THE RUNAWAY KING, released on March 1, 2013! Check it out!


Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

 Do you think you can take this dare?

Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed

Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed

Book stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 368 pages
Genre: Gothic Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release date: October 1, 2012

Series: The Amber House Trilogy #1

Source: Borrowed form a Friend

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

"I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."

Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that’s been in her family for three centuries. She’s never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she’s never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.

But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds–and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house’s past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house’s secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.


I’m normally very careful with reading books by more than one author. I feel like most of the time you can tell that two different people are telling you a story because everyone has their own unique and defined writing style. But I found AMBER HOUSE to be both fascinating and intriguing and never once did the writing style trip me up. It was constant throughout the novel and easily immersed me into a world full of history.

The concept of the book is great. Sarah sees the huge house that runs in the family called Amber House and the millions of dollars worth of historical antiques inside its wall for the very first time after her Grandmother’s funeral. But while there, she began experiencing what she learned her Grandmother referred to as echoes. The females in her family all have a certain gift where if they touch certain objects, they’re transported into the past to relive memories that took place in this very house. From bouts of insanity and illegal slave trading, the house is full of dark mysteries and hidden secrets.

As a humanities girl, I really enjoyed learning about history through the book, but the problem is that sometimes the explanations evolving around historical backgrounds got a bit too longwinded. Paragraphs upon paragraphs is a little too much history and not enough story for me. I often found myself skimming the long explanations to get back to the main plot of exploration and learning about ones past. I think the book would have been slightly better if there was more focus on character development than unnecessarily long historical explanations. I also think that the book could have done without its love triangle. Though barely existent, it didn’t much add to the story at all, though it wasn’t bothersome to me either. It was just there when it didn’t need to be.

All in all, I enjoyed this one, but I know it’s not for everyone. It’s for those who really, truly love history, but don’t go into it expecting a historical fiction. You can learn about America’s past, especially the era evolving around slavery, but the emphasis on history isn’t for everyone. This is recommended to those who really enjoy history in school (like me) and prefer reading about slight mysteries over romance.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Book stats:

Reading level: Young Adult
ARC: 318 pages
Genre: Steampunk, Sci-fi, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: September 1, 2012

Series: n/a

Source: Borrowed from a friend

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

This book can only be described as insane. The characters, the mystery, the convoluted thought process…they’re all insane. But in a good way. However, since it took so long to rap my head around things and it would be hard to explain this book without giving things away or sounding insane myself, this is going to be a rather short review.

This book was initially hard to get into. The beginning was slow because it had to set up the Keep, explain Katharine’s background, and everything else. It dragged, to put it simply, but once Katharine finally got off of her high horse and agreed to spend a month analyzing the estate, the book got much better. Adjusting to the way the characters acted took a little bit of time, but I found Mr. Tully’s insanity to be endearing. As insane as he truly was, he was a genius all the same, a regular Albert Einsteen–and he is what made the book. His characterization was superb… a little old man acting like a child with toys, but his toys were steampunk inventions that would have rocked the world of technology during the time period that this book to place.

There was also a slight romance. It was barely there, but it was certainly there. It was slow-going and took a while to develop, but it was sweet. And the very end of the book gave me hope because when someone leaves, they always return. Also, the historical setting of this book will make history buff’s happy. It mentions many tensions between the French and the English, as well as many other markers of time. It made everything seem even realer and helped us to remember the turmoil that the world was experiencing at this time.

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book for everyone despite how much I enjoyed it. The characters in this one are lovably but unbelievable eccentric and won’t connect with everyone. If you are the type of reader that likes unique characters that are imaginative, inventive, and incomprehensibly odd, then this is for you. If you can’t deal with oddities, slight mysteries, and childish behavior in an entertaining manner, than this is not for you. Because really, the entire book is about determining lunacy, so you’d have to be a lunatic to love it.

Read an Excerpt

Daring You To Read…The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

You’ve already read the book? Let’s us know what you thought!

You are accepting the dare? We’d love to know!

Have a dare of your own? Leave a comment ^^

This week, I am daring you to read THE SCORPIO RACES. Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors. With each new book, she finds a way to outdo herself. In my opinion, this is her best book by far. I’m really hoping to introduce everyone to her writing if they have not given her a chance yet. But that’s not the reason that I have chosen this book for this week’s Daring You To Read post.

I’m daring you to read this book because of the message that is hidden within its pages. This book explores the relationship between humans and animals, man and beast. It shows the importance of companionship and its necessity to both survival and sanity. It shows that while a romantic relationship is important, any other form of relationship that is shared between two living creatures is equally as important and just as powerful. And it also shows that something other than a cheesy love story can move you to the point of tears. Not that I actually cried or anything, maybe just teared up slightly at the end…you know…

This story is told from the alternating perspectives of Kate "Puck" Connolly and Sean Kendrick. Both are wounded spirits. Both cannot live without their respective animals. Both are desperate to win the Scorpio Races to grab the prize money and ensure that they keep what is most valuable to them. For Kate, it is keeping a roof above her family’s head. For Sean, it is Corr, the only thing on the face of the planet that has ever mattered to him. (Oddly enough, that one thing shouldn’t matter to him.) But both are unprepared for the journey that this years Scorpio Races will take them on and will find themselves battling between their own desires and their desire to save each other.

Both Puck and Sean have two of the most distinctive and strong voices that I have come across in young adult literature. Puck is always putting everyone before herself and Sean is doing everything in his willpower to become a free man, which means keeping to himself. Where Puck is daring, Sean is quiet and brooding. With their alternative perspectives, you begin to see how the same event can be interpreted so differently or so alike between two separate people.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is willing to read it. It’s a book that I can pick up and re-read countless times without the tale ever getting old. The feelings that you experience while reading will linger with you for months after its completion. While part of me wishes their story continues, I know that this novel is so perfectly written that another book just couldn’t do Puck, Sean, Dove, and Corr justice.

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Read my Review

Read an Excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Do you think you can take this week’s dare?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Book stats:
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 408 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release date: September 18, 2012

Series: The Raven Cycle #1

Source: Netgalley

Reviewed by: Lili

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

As I read more and more of this book, I realized that I haven’t read a book with an amazing group dynamic for quite some time, possibly even years. So, this is why this was such a refreshing read.

The Raven Boys are all different, slightly weird, yet so interesting and because of this I had a hard time putting this book down. This group of boys plus Blue will take you on a quirky, unique adventure that is unlike any other. Blue’s the unique girl surrounded by psychics that can’t have her first kiss because she knows he will die. Gansey is the leader of the Raven Boys and though he is incredibly rich, he’s grounded and pursues his quest with a passion. Andrew is the only poor Raven Boy with abusive parents that he can’t wait to get away from with the help of his rich education at Aglionby. Ronan is the most misunderstood, but most enjoyable because of this. He’s always himself and I’ll admit I began to adore him the second he brought home a baby raven. And then there’s Noah. You tend to forget about him because he appears at the most random of times and he’s strangely quiet, but he’s there. All in all, this cast of characters is one of the most diverse ones out there and they’ll capture your interest easily.

I have to say that I had trouble with the initial plot progression of the book. I had to get a solid third of the way through it before I was able to fully enjoy it. There was a lot of unnecessary detail or oddities that I didn’t think were needed or used properly. The beginning was not all that engaging, but once I got over this minor bump, it was smooth sailing until the end. It almost seems as if Stiefvater struggled for a way to lead up to all of the adventure that can be found in the second half of the book.

As I read more and more, it also became increasingly obvious to me that the synopsis for this book is slightly misleading. I was under the impression there would be a decent portion of romance due to the fact that Blue grew up knowing she could never kiss her true love or he’ll die. In all honesty, there was very little romance.  The book more or less focused on pursuing the ley lines and Gansey’s lifelong quest. What is his lifelong quest? Well, I can’t spoil something so awesome for you! While it’s no romance, it is certainly something that will keep you flipping pages at a rapid speed.

In the end, this book can only be described as odd, but I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much.

With an unpredictable plot, memorable characters, and a twisting tale, Stiefvater will capture your interest easily. While I do not think this book is as amazing as some of her others, this is definitely one to look out for. Once again, Maggie Stiefvater will not disappoint.

Read an Excerpt 

The animated book trailer for The Raven Boys:

 

Above by Leah Bobet

AboveAbove by Leah Bobet

Book Stats:
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Genre: Dystopian
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release date: April 1, 2012

Series: ??

Source: Review copy by Scholastic Canada

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

A gorgeous urban fantasy about dangers outside and in.

Matthew has always lived in Safe, a community hidden far beneath the pipes and tunnels of the city Above. The residents fled to Safe years before to escape the Whitecoats and their cruel experiments, and now Matthew is responsible for both the keeping of Safe’s stories and for Ariel—a golden-haired shapeshifter, and the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen.

But one horrifying night, an old enemy murders Safe’s founder, Atticus, and the community is taken over by an army of shadows. Only Matthew, Ariel, and a handful of friends escape Above. Now they not only have to survive in a sunlit world they barely know, but they must unravel the mystery of the shadows’ fury and Atticus’s death. It’s up to Matthew to find a way to remake Safe—not just for himself and his family, but for Ariel, who’s again faced with the life she fled, and who needs him more than ever before.

An urban fantasy and a love story, Above is the breathtaking debut of an extraordinary new voice.

Imagine a world with monsters with strange powers locked in our mental institutions to protect the public and study them. Now imagine those monsters broke free and lived in the sewers under your city. Well, with Above you don’t have to imagine because it’s exactly what you get.. from the monsters’ perspective.

Above is another book I have mix feelings for. Leah Bobet is a Canadian debut author, Above is a dystopian book and it has this insanely pretty cover. From the moment I heard of it, I’ve been wanting to read it. Yet when I started reading, I quickly realized in wasn’t quite for me.

The writing is very peculiar, which isn’t a bad thing, I mean I appreciate original writing style as much as the next person, but I found that Bobet’s particular style didn’t work for me. The style really confused me from the get go, and add to that the fact that we don’t know the main character’s genre or name until page 31 and I left like, I too, was lost in a dark sewer tunnel. As you can see Above and I didn’t start on the right foot, but I kept on reading because I really wanted to like the book!

As I read on, I got used to the writing style and it improved my enjoyment on the book. Leah imagined a fantastic world, close enough to ours to be believable but with so much more under the surface, quite literally. Some people are born with defect such has fish gills and lion feet, other develop into weird creatures with time. For example, crab arms or powers over electricity or even more subtle gifts like ghost talking. Those people were feared an locked away, but some escaped and formed a Safe community underground, surviving and protecting each other as best as they could, living with an immense fear of Above.

The idea is that much more original because the story is told from the monster’s perspective. It’s really a great story about discrimination, fear, but also courage, strength and love. It’s about a small group of people trying to overcome challenges, fighting for safety in a world that wants the shun them out, forget they ever existed.

Bobet created a wide spectrum of characters, old and young, born Above and in Safe, male and female, all with different imperfections, providing an array of personalities among its rank. While I appreciated the diversity, I didn’t feel any connection with any of them, which really hit my enjoyment of the novel. Matthew and Ariel, the two main characters, were both weird and I had a hard time understanding their decisions. It’s evident they care for each other, but their relationship is very awkward. It’s beautiful in a way, but it wasn’t for me.

The plot line was good enough. The people from Safe were sent running when their Sanctuary was invaded by monsters worst than them and they fought as best as they could from Above, a world they don’t know, to retrieve their haven and uncover the mystery being those terrifying creatures.

What I liked the most about this novel is the butterfly effect Leah Bobet sneakily included in the book. She showed that every decision the characters make, even the ones that seem insignificant, have a huge effect on their own future, but also on everyone around them. The conclusion being the apogee of the whole concept.

This book is definitely worth a shot, and just because some aspect didn’t work for me, it doesn’t mean you won’t like it. Above had a great concept and very good morals to share. I would say read the excerpt and see for yourself if Above is a book that might work for you =)

Read an Excerpt

tynsig

PAF: Story by Kim Harrington + giveaway!

Paranormal April Fools'

Our post today is from the delightful Kim Harrington, author of the YA Clarity series. The first book, CLARITY, came out last year and its sequel, PERCEPTION, was released on March 1. Keep reading to find out about the pranks Kim has played on her friends and family and make sure to stick around for the fantastic giveaway that Scholastic is offering.

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Confession: I love playing pranks on my family and friends. Loooove it. It’s often the highlight of my day. My shenanigans range from silly little scares to meticulously planned full-scale pranks.

For small scares, here are my old stand-bys:

– There’s nothing like a good static electricity shock in winter. This is half the reason I wear fuzzy slippers. I especially love to zap my husband’s head when he’s watching TV and not expecting it.

– Wrap a rubber band around the spray hose at your kitchen sink and slightly aim it upward. The next person to turn the water on will get a spray in the face.

– Stand quiet and still in a doorway when you know someone’s going to walk by. They will inevitably have the daylights scared out of them, but you can claim innocence by saying, “I didn’t jump out at you! All I did was stand there.” *snicker*

It’s hard to pick one of my more involved pranks to tell you about. One of my favorites was what I did to my poor mother’s stuffed giraffe, but you can read that story already here. Instead, I’ll tell you about a more recent prank I played…on my neighbors.

My friend is super busy and had recently told me she didn’t even have time to take her Christmas decorations down yet. This got my wheels turning. A few days later I painstakingly crafted an Angry Old Lady Letter. In the note, I pretended to be an anonymous neighbor who was deeply offended that my friend had tainted the neighborhood by leaving her decorations up for so long. I then wrote that she had forty-eight hours to remove the decorations or I’d report her to the town.

Here’s the tough part. My friend knows I love to do things like this. I once changed the name on her mailbox to something…funny…and she didn’t notice for a week. So I knew I’d be an immediate suspect. But she also knows I’m a writer. So I purposefully inserted spelling and grammatical errors. Nothing over the top. Only about three of them, including an incorrect usage of “it’s.” Common, but something I wouldn’t do. And I printed the letter in Comic Sans.

We timed the delivery for when one of them was out. My husband snuck up to their house in the dark, like a ninja, and taped the note to the front door. Then we giggled, snuck home, and waited for the phone to ring. Soon enough, they came home, read the note, and immediately posted about it on Facebook. With indignant threats to leave the decorations up all year long.

I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

I let it go on for about thirty minutes, then confessed. That’s another important part of playing a prank. You have to know when to end it.

But the laughing? That never has to end.

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Thanks very much for stopping by, Kim! I think we’ve all learned to beware the next time we see you at a signing. =)

Want to know more about PERCEPTION? Here’s the scoop:

Kim Harrington PerceptionWhen you can see things others can’t, what do you do when someone’s watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She’s the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.
But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare’s pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare’s hopeful ex-boyfriend who’d do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Read Tynga’s Review

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Click on the cover below to learn more about CLARITY:

Kim Harrington Clarity

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giveaway


We have two (2) sets of CLARITY and PERCEPTION to give away, courtesy of the kind folks at Scholastic!

Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions to enter.

US only

Giveaway ends Sunday, April 15, 2012.

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image

Kim Harrington lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. When not writing, she’s most likely reading, watching one of her favorite TV shows, or fantasizing about her next vacation. She has no psychic powers and is cool with that. Her debut young adult novel, Clarity, came out on March 1, 2011 from Scholastic.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Jenn

Perception by Kim Harrington

Perception (Clarity, #2)Perception by Kim Harrington

Book Stats:
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Genre: Fantasy / Mystery
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Point
Release date: March 1, 2012

Series: Clarity #2

Source: Scholastic for review

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

When you can see things others can’t, what do you do when someone’s watching you?

Everybody knows about Clarity "Clare" Fern. She’s the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare’s pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare’s hopeful ex-boyfriend who’d do anything to win her back?

One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

Clarity’s close encounter with a killer during the summer brought her something she never had: instant popularity. Mind you, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds because even though people suddenly want to be around her, they aren’t really interested in her, with the exception of Mallory, an unexpected and awkward friend. Having the murderer behind the bars doesn’t mean Clare’s little town is now in peace. A girl is missing and even though the police won’t investigate because she is 18 years old, her mother is convinced that she’s dead and Clare would love to help, but at what cost?

Perception was a great sequel to Clarity and even though there is still a strong mystery element, I thought the vibe was different. Clarity had more action with Clare actively investigating the murders and the bodies pilling up, whereas Perception was more on an intellectual level. Clare deals with a secret admirer/stalker and there isn’t much she can do but worry. She also can’t investigate the girl’s disappearance but tortures herself about it the whole time. Perry, Clare’s brother, is also acting strangely, adding to her anxiety. For all of those reasons, Clarity spends a lot of time in her head, trying to put the puzzle pieces together and even if it’s very different from the first book, it was still a fast and entertaining read.

The not-really-love-triangle from the first novel morphed into a full blown love triangle in Perception. Because of what happened in Clarity, our hero considers getting back together with Justin, but is very attracted to Gabriel, so she is torn between to two boys, both waiting for a yes to jump in. The drama surrounding Clare’s love life takes a bigger place in this novel and I was glad that she ended up taking a decision. Too often love triangles drags for too long, and I’m really happy it’s not the case here.

The plotline took the form of a crescendo, slowly ascending to the big conclusion. Information pile up as the story progresses and nothing really makes sense until the big final reveal. Even when the hero, and you, think all is figured out, you are still missing the big picture. Kim Harrington really did a good job knitting her mystery together while keeping us in the dark. An aspect I really liked is that while Clare isn’t really actively investigating her stalker nor the kidnapping, clues are sprinkled along the way, but you don’t know they are clues until the end: very original!

The end was heart-pounding and very unexpected. I confess, I finally guessed who the killer was a bit before his/her identity was revealed but I liked the way the scene played out. I was also happily surprised by the unlikely hero who saved the day! I don’t know if there are plans for a third book in the series, but it would be interesting to know how everything will change now.

Perception was a great sequel, if somewhat different from the first book. Clare stayed true as she learnt more about herself and evolved when facing challenges. Her friendship with Mallory was really an eye opener for her and even if I was quick to judge, right along with Clare, this relationship allowed our girl to grow. Fans of the first book won’t be disappointed!

tynsig

Clarity by Kim Harrington

ClarityClarity by Kim Harrington

Book Stats:
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Genre: Fantasy / Mystery
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Point
Release date: March 1, 2011

Series: Clarity #1

Source: Scholastic for review

Reviewed by: Tynga

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Don’t close your eyes. Except when the truth is too dark to bear.Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.And a curse.When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case — but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother — who has supernatural gifts of his own — becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Clarity Fern has always been cast out by her peers because of her abilities. All of her family have special gifts, her mom can read thoughts, her brother can talk with ghosts and Clare herself sometimes has visions of the past when touching objects. They use their abilities to entertain the tourists but the locals always mock Clare over it. Her unique talent will come in handy though when a 17 years old tourist is killed in the small town and the police has no leads. It’s no easy task though when everyone thinks you’re a fraud.

Clarity was a short and entertaining read! From the first chapter I was engrossed in the story, mostly because of its highly loveable characters. Clarity is easygoing and funny and she is quite a pair with her lover-boy brother. Their personalities really shone from the start and I really enjoyed their easy banter. All of Kim’s characters deserves praising too. Justin, Clarity’s ex, is trying to earn his way back into her heart and he is just the sweetest thing. Gabriel, the inspector’s son, is a sexy rebel acting all hot and cold with Clare, leading to some interesting moments. Even though two boys are emotionally involved with Clare, it didn’t feel like the usual love triangle because of the way our girl feels about each of them.

Harrington blessed us with a flowing plot. The pace is perfect and all the twist and turns were perfectly laid out. The story itself turns around the resolution of the tourist’s murder and as the body count grows, we are no closer to guess who the culprit is. My suspicions were all over the place and even though I had the right culprit in mind at one point, I hadn’t figured out the whole thing. I also liked that Kim started the book with Clarity facing the killer and then went back in time to show us how it came about. This leaves you craving to know who is that killer! I think it was a really smart move.

I have to admit, one element bothered me with Clarity. With the benediction of the Mayor and the lead inspector on the case, Clare, Justin & Gabriel unofficially investigates the murders, with exclusive access to crime scenes and evidences. I mean, who would let a trio of 16 years old investigate a murder? It’s just not plausible, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

The conclusion was most interesting as the veil of mystery is finally lifted and the truth revealed. We finally get to appreciate the complexity of the plot and Harrington lays out a nice cliffhanger, making sure the readers will come back for more.

Kim Harrington’s debut novel set a nice stage for the upcoming books in the series and I’m excited for what’s to come! I would definitely recommend this book to young adult readers who likes a little mystery in their fiction. Clarity is a quick and enjoyable ride! Make sure you have Perception, the second book in the series, close by because you’ll want to pick it up right away. BTW, Clarity has been optioned for television!

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