If you'd like to see my recent four-plus- and five-star YA recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.
* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.
Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes ***+ This reads like a more traditional fantasy (albeit without dragons) than any I've read recently. I'm not a huge fantasy person, actually (despite my love for both Harry Potter and Tamora Pierce), so it took me a while to switch gears and sink into it. However, once I did, I enjoyed it (though I skimmed a bit). I liked the overall concept (three kingdoms all needing the elemental magic to return to the land), and I thought the world building was pretty solid (I'd grasped the overall concept fairly quickly). Because a great deal seemed focused on setting the stage (perhaps for book two -- that's the impression I got), the characterization suffered a bit. All the characters seemed a bit two-dimensional, and Cleo fell in love in practically an instant (and the relationship lasted about that long, as well). Still, I'm intrigued enough to look for the next book, now that it's all set up, when it comes out. The story: A prophecy foretold of a girl who would hold the power of a sorceress, making her the only one capable of retrieving the Kindred (the elemental magic of this world). When the baby is kidnapped and given to one of the kingdoms, the power shift begins...only to be furthered sixteen years later when a lord from a different kingdom kills a wine seller and starts a war. Princess Cleo, engaged to the murdering lord, finds her world turned upside down -- and worst yet, her older sister is dying. Cleo runs away, desperate to save her sister with a piece of old magic. Although she doesn't find it, she does find even more trouble in a run-in with a neighboring prince and the brother of the murdered man...if Cleo's dad (the king) falls, who will save her kingdom then? (YA fantasy, released 12/12, publisher: Penguin)
Shades of Twilight, by Linda Howard (R) One of the reasons I so enjoy rereading this book is because of the very (unusually) clear picture of how we misread other people. The two main characters in this are spectacularly bad at understanding one another, and this creates so many problems -- it's fascinating to move from one perspective to the other and see how actions (and even words) are being misinterpreted.
Currently Reading: The Lives We Lost (from netgalley, although this will be out soon) and Darkest Minds