March 1, 2016 Debuts - Part Two

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

"A cinematic tale of forbidden love and Machiavellian politics."
-- Booklist

My review: I tore through this sweeping sci fi adventure! It's got beautiful, harsh desert landscapes, hard people making hard choices, court politics and dangerous conspiracies, and heartbreaking romance. The alien world is well-drawn and fascinating, and the author's descriptions of the desert will make you feel parched just reading along, and I was cheering for the main characters to find a way to fight and survive even when it seemed impossible.

Most of all, I very much appreciate that Ava Jae is clearly a card-carrying member of the If You Love Your Dashing Hero You'll Make Him Suffer, No, More, More Suffering, It's Not Enough Yet School of Writing. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY APPROVE OF THIS APPROACH. I would love to read more in this world, with these characters, even though I know that just *thinking* that beams ten thousands evil ideas for more delicious character torment in the author's mind. I solemnly accept that possibility, terrible though it is.


In this gripping debut novel, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense and volatile relationship—by the new boy in school.

His obsession. Her fall.

Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College. But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying? But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed. So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life. If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

"Parker expertly presents the complexity of abusive relationships. Having Zephyr, an intelligent, strong-willed, and practical character, trapped by a manipulative abuser illustrates how dating violence and abuse can happen to anyone... Parker’s powerful cautionary tale highlights a terrifying reality for many teens. Zephyr’s story outlines warning signs that may be a lifesaver to others in similar situations."
-- School Library Journal starred review

Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Red Queen meets Shadow and Bone in a debut fantasy about a girl forced to use her gift for sensing—and absorbing—other people’s feelings to protect the empire from assassins. Steeped in intrigue and betrayal, Burning Glass captivates with heartrending romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s quest for redemption. 

In Riaznin, it’s considered an honor for Auraseers like Sonya—girls with a rare form of synesthesia—to serve as the emperor’s personal protector, constantly scanning for feelings of malice and bloodlust in the court. But Sonya would rather be free.

After the queen’s murder and a tragic accident, Sonya is hauled off to the palace to guard a charming yet volatile new ruler. But Sonya’s power is reckless and hard to control. She’s often carried away by the intense passion of others.

And when a growing rebellion forces Sonya to side with either the emperor who trusts her or his mysterious brother, the crown prince, Sonya realizes she may be the key to saving the empire—or its greatest threat.

“Filled with mystery and intrigue, betrayal and passion, Purdie’s political debut will sweep readers away to a world that is not that different from their own.”
-- School Library Journal