Thursday, 12 March 2015

Ugly Young Thing by Jennifer Jaynes

Series: Stranger Series
Author: Jennifer Jaynes
Page Count: 270
Published: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  5 Stars ★★★★★

I received a free copy of this ebook through Netgalley. 

Allie's father walked out on her when she was young, her mother was a prostitute and a murderer when she had been alive, and her serial killer brother just committed suicide in front of her.

Alone and afraid, she runs away and sells her body, her only asset, for money. After returning to her abandoned childhood home, she is discovered by authorities and sent to live with a generous foster mother. 

Soon after she moves in, a woman is murdered near their town. Could this be the start of something awful? And who is behind the murder?

When I started this book, I had no idea what to expect. I downloaded it off of the "read now" section at Netgalley because I was intrigued by the cover, synopsis and title, and it seemed like something unique. A change from the YA romances I usually read.

I was SO right.

First of all, the level of emotion and tension in this book is INTENSE. From the first chapter, I was pulled into Allie's complicated life, and I felt what she was feeling as if I were there experiencing the events of the story with her. This only increased as the book progressed. I felt everything from empathy to anger towards her, and as a character she was very dynamic and believable. 

Secondly, the author made the right choice when she decided to tell the story from different points of view. I witnessed the events of the story through the eyes and minds of Allie, the murderer, and the foster mother. I gained insight on their views and pasts, but I was also kept wondering how exactly they were connected.

This leads to my third point: the mystery surrounding the killer. The author did an amazing job of dropping subtle clues about his identity, and she kept me guessing until the very end. 

One moment, I'm thinking that the killer must be this man.... No! This happened, so it must be the other one. Wait, it can't be!

That was my internal dialogue for the entire duration of the novel. 

I absolutely recommend this novel! If you enjoy mystery, this book is for you. If you enjoy suspense, this book was MADE for you! Those who are interested in novels that take on tough subjects may also enjoy "Ugly Young Thing." 

For those who read mostly YA books but wish to branch out a little, this book is a great start. It's fast paced with a teenage main character, but it also deals with mature subjects and contains no romance besides the mention of Allie's crush.

Sweep: Book Of Shadows by Cate Tiernan

Series: Sweep
Author: Cate Tiernan
Page Count: 176
Published: March 22nd, 2007
Publisher: Speak
5 Stars ★★★★★

When Morgan meets Cal, everything changes. Despite her close-minded Catholic upbringing, she finds herself drawn to the fascinating world of Wicca, and soon realizes that she has a gift....

I LOVED this book! I felt like Morgan and I both had so much in common; a Catholic upbringing, and a Pagan transformation. I kept rooting for her to overcome her parents and their judgement, and to choose the right path for herself!

The characters were quite diverse; some ultra conservative Christians balanced by relaxed Wiccans, and gay secondary characters were included as well. I really appreciated this because there aren't enough books out there with such diversity, especially in the YA genre.

This book also dealt very well with the tough subject of family conflict, especially around things like religion. Cate Tiernan is quite brave to openly portray Wicca positively in a world dominated by other religions and disapproval, and I applaud her for this.

I also appreciated the somewhat realistic portrayal of Wicca. Unlike other novels including witches who either call themselves Wiccan or are hinted at as being such, this book portrayed the craft and beliefs rather accurately. I have to say, though, that I've heard of some of the events that occur in the other books in the series which are NOT accurate portrayals of Wicca and Paganism, so I feel that it is important to note that.

I recommend this book to those who want to read a non-cliche YA book, with an interesting mix of reality and the paranormal, and an intriguing plot.\

 Find Book of Shadows on Goodreads