Pushing the Limits – Katie McGarry
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again (Goodreads summary)
This book was completely my kind of book. Echo is a damaged teenage girl haunted by a night that gave her scars physically and mentally. She is thrown together with bad boy Noah who is seeing the same therapist. Their relationship has the power to heal them both if they will let it – but it means learning to trust and love again by facing their pasts. The story is told from both their points-of-view and their voices are unique and believable. Their romance is both intense and tentative and I was desperate to find out what was going to happen to them. But it’s more than a romance – the characters both take a journey to discover who they are and what they want for their futures. The book is realistic and emotional – honest, raw and powerful. I couldn’t put it down.
Black Spring – Alison Croggon
Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, BLACK SPRING reimagines the passionate story in a fantasy 19th century society sustained by wizardry and the vengeance code of vendetta.
Anna spent her childhood with Damek and her volatile foster sister Lina, daughter of the Lord of the village. Lina has magical powers, and in this brutal patriarchal society women with magical powers are put to death as babies. Lina’s father, however, refuses to kill her but when vendetta explodes in their village and Lina’s father dies, their lives are changed forever. Their new guardian Masko sends Anna away and reduces Lina to the status of a servant. Damek—mad with love for Lina—attempts to murder Masko, then vanishes for several years. Anna comes home five years later to find Lina about to marry a pleasant young farmer, and witnesses Damek’s vengeful return and its catastrophic consequences.
Passionate, atmospheric and haunting, BLACK SPRING will stay with readers long after they turn the final page (Goodreads summary)
I read Wuthering Heights as a teen and I didn’t really connect with it so I was cautious about this book and my thoughts may differ to someone who is a fan of the original. For me, this was its own story – set in a different world to our own where wizards rule and people live by a vendetta code where if someone is murdered, family members have to kill the murderer’s family in turn. The story starts with a man from the South travelling to the harsh North where he stumbles on a cruel man and his beaten wife and their servant who has a story to tell. I was drawn into this new world and found it richly told. Like the story that inspired it, this is a story of passion, violence and love that destroys, not heals but with a fantasy twist. It was very different to what I usually read but I was swept up by it nonetheless. I also found it more adult in tone than the teenage audience it seems to be aimed at.
Hollow Pike – James Dawson
Something wicked this way comes…
She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her. Lis thinks she’s being paranoid – after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark – and a twig snaps… Hollow Pike – where witchcraft never sleeps (Goodreads summary)
This book was creepy but fun. Lis, a teenage girl, moves in with her sister in a small countryside town where strange things happen and folklore abounds. Lis feels the wrath of a mean girl at her new school and falls in with a group of misfits. When a murder rocks the town, Lis and her friends set out to discover the truth before they become the next victims. I loved the characters in this book and Hollow Pike is a great setting for a novel, the story is a thriller with a supernatural twist and I got more into it as it went on. The final third was excellent and I frantically turned the pages to find out what was going to happen. I love reading British YA and this was really enjoyable. It ends on an intriguing note and I hope there will be a sequel in the future.
Hidden Among Us – Katy Moran
This book will be released in March. From the press release: The mysterious boy who Lissy encounters at a deserted train station acts like he’s known her all her life. Unnerved by his unnatural beauty, she sets about uncovering the dark secret of the village of Hopesay Edge. The boy, Larkspur, is a member of the Hidden, an ancient group of elven people and Lissy quickly finds herself fighting to escape from a powerful elven magic. A bargain has been made that cannot be broken, and if the Hidden catch Lissy now, they will never let her go.
This was the first book I’ve read from this author and I enjoyed folky thriller mix. There is so much paranormal on the market, it’s rare to find a new creature so I liked the new race of Hidden in this book. The story is told by several narrators and I found it took longer for me to get into than usual because of this but I liked the mystery that slowly unravels about the bargain made, who the Hidden are and what they want and the people on Earth trying to protect the world from them. It read like a fairytale and there were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. The book had a chilling feel to it and leaves the door open for future stories set in this world.
What books have you enjoyed recently?