The Awakening of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/1/16.
Summary from Goodreads:
Having passed her test in Book One, Sunshine’s Luiseach powers are now fully awakened: for months now, Sunshine has felt spirits everywhere: heard voices, felt emotions – intense and sometimes overwhelming. She tries to ignore them, but it is impossible. Hoping to get her powers under control – and hoping for answers to her never-ending questions – she agrees to undergo training with her Luiseach mentor, even though she still hopes to give up her powers someday.
She and her mentor clash left and right; he doesn’t understand or approve of her attachment to the humans in her life; and she can’t understand how he could give her up so many years ago, only to endanger her mother’s life as part of a test.
Sunshine’s training is every bit as terrifying and creepy as her test was, and along the way she meets and befriends another young Luiseach, forcing her to confront her feelings for Nolan. Though her mentor is reluctant to answer her many questions, she finally learns more about her lineage, as well as the rift that threatens the future of Luiseach and the human race… and the crucial part she has to play in repairing it.
I read the first book of this series as an ARC as well and really enjoyed it. I have recommended it to quite a few students in my high school library, and will probably do the same with this one. I am not good at remembering details from books that I read last year, so I was glad that I was able to fill in most of the blanks on details from the first book while reading through this one. The author did a good job of reminding readers of the major things that happened in book one. This book mostly takes place in Mexico, where Sunshine is training to be a luiseach with her birth father, Aidan. She discovers that she is much more sensitive than any luiseach that has been known and that she is being hunted by her birth mother, who thinks that she is the reason that the whole luiseach community is going extinct. Sounds weird, right? It all makes sense as you read though! While this is going on, Sunshine is trying to learn how to control her body and emotions when surrounded by multiple spirits that want her help in moving on. She is also dealing with typical teenage problems, like her feelings for her protector and friend, Nolan. I really enjoy the writing style of this author and it is a quick read. I have already put it on the list of titles to purchase for my library and am looking forward to the next installment.
My rating: 4/5
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date is 8/25/15.
I was absolutely obsessed with The Diviners when it came out and have been waiting and waiting and waiting on this second book, it took soooo long! Anyway, Let me give you a little summary and then I will share my thoughts.
The second installment in The Diviners series is based around the dreamworld. We meet a new character, Ling, that is a dream walker like a character from the first book, Henry. Together, they can enter dreams and manipulate things to their liking. We also have some of our favorite characters from the first book–Evie (can read objects), Sam (can put people in a daze), Theta (who doesn’t want people to know about her ability), Memphis (who has been known as the Harlem Healer), Jericho, Mabel, and so on. Sam is focused on trying to find out what his mother was involved in with a government program called Project Buffalo and he enlists the help of Evie while working at her uncle’s museum trying to find clues that may lead him to the answers he seeks. There is also a sleeping sickness spreading quickly through Chinatown that is a mystery to everyone, no one knows the cause or cure. Henry and Ling are doing more and more dreamwalking in order to see those that they have become close with in the dreamworld, which is causing them to become less functional in the real world. Ling eventually discovers what is really going on with the people they are spending time with in their dreams and it is far from what they thought was happening. This team of friends set out to find what/who is causing the sleeping sickness and to eliminate the problem, while putting their own lives in danger.
So, this book had a LOT going on….my summary is just a tiny snippet of it all. While I adored the first book, I only loved this one. Still good! I felt like it had much less of a creepy factor for some reason, though there were still some definite creepy moments. I will always adore the 1920s era, so I love how much research Libba Bray has put into making her characters and settings authentic. They use all the right lingo and I find myself trying to throw some of it into my daily convo while reading these books. 🙂 It seemed like there were several sections that I could have just skipped right over and still wouldn’t have been confused towards the end. It also took a long time to get to the action and suspense. I do appreciate the detail that this author goes into and, again, love all the research she puts into making her story seem genuine. I also love the characters and character building. I loved all the characters in their own way and they each had their own flaws. They seemed like real people as you read through the story. I will still definitely recommend this book to others and I will await anxiously for the next installment.
My rating: 5/5
If you haven’t read either book yet, check out this trailer, it will give you the chills. Amazing!
The Heir (The Selection Series #4) by Kiera Cass
*****SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES*****
Well, being that I am a princess ;), my love of this series is probably not surprising to most. I ordered The Selection for my school library when it first came out and I have been hooked since. I like to describe it as Divergent meets The Bachelor franchise. This particular installment focuses on the life of the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America, named Eadlyn, who is expect to ascend to the throne fairly soon for her turn as Queen. As we know from the previous books, Maxon and America were striving to eliminate the Caste system that was used to “rank” people in their society. Since they worked so hard and achieved their goals, they have endured a lot of stress in their time of ruling the country. People are starting to get agitated again and still don’t feel that the society is operating the way it should. Outside of the caste system, people have been told they can do whatever they want in life, choose whatever career makes them happy; but that has not necessarily been happening. The people also do not see Eadlyn in a pleasant light—the fact that she is female, thinking she is too young, and that she is a bit standoffish or spoiled. To try to rally that support of the country and lift their spirits, the royal family decides it would be a good idea to hold another Selection, this time for the future queen. She is not interested in any way, shape, or form in finding a suitor but comes to an agreement with her father, planning on making it through a certain amount of time and hopefully driving the boys away on her own. Of course, she doesn’t expect that there will actually be some decent guys among the group and finds herself confused when she starts to like some of them. Through some important events and discussions with family, she decides she should probably take this a little more seriously instead of seeing it as just entertainment for the masses.
Though I hated the way this book ended, I do realize that we have to be kept wanting and waiting for the next book in the series, so I do understand the ending. I did like several of the characters in the book, particularly Hale and Henri….Eadlyn was okay, but I thought she was a bit melodramatic (a spoiled princess, perhaps?) and seemed to make life harder for herself. I thought her brothers were fun, well thought out characters who I can see having more prominent roles in future books (maybe?). This is a fun, quick read that is as interesting as the rest of the series was. I have to say I’m glad Kiera Cass decided to keep it going! I am hoping to see Eadlyn grown into a more personable character that appreciates all she has.
My rating: 4/5