Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maelstrom by J.D. Watts

Maelstrom (Children of Creation #3) by J.D. Watts
Publisher:  The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing
Publish Date:  December 13, 2012
Pages: 142 
ISBN#978-1612131115

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This story was a little heavy on biblical references for me.


This story involved a lot of retelling from the first two books, so there wasn't much need to read the first two books.  The writing and characters are fine, just not my cup of tea.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Entangled (Spellbound #1) by Nikki Jefford

Entangled (Spellbound #1) by Nikki Jefford
Publisher: ebook, self-published
Publish Date: February 20, 2012
Pages: 303


Seventeen Graylee and her twin sisters are witches.  Graylee is also now dead.  It gets worse - she has to be stuck in her twin's body every other day.

Charlene (her twin) leaves her notes on how to dress, eat, act with her friends and how to act with her boyfriend, Blake.

Graylee (Gray) - a bit of a free-spirit, but that is ruined by her petty behavior and how she classifies everyone based on their physical traits.  Portrayed as a goody-goody, but is often rude and self-righteous.

Charlene - pretty, popular, boy crazy

Raj - intimidating, a bit of a stalker, the only non-white character - I feel like he got a crappy deal.

The writing is choppy, inconsistent and sometimes repetitive.  The idea is awesome, but the book needs some major editing work.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe
Publisher:  Bantam
Publish Date:  April 2, 2013
Pages: 352
ISBN# 978-0345531704


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



Lora's raised in an orphanage in England in 1915.  She's learned to keep her secrets, but only after being treated with a type of electroshock therapy.  By the age of sixteen, she appears to be 'normal'.  She's even chosen as the charity student at a boarding school.  There she meets two boys - Jesse, the groundskeeper that everyone thinks is mute, he knows Lora for what she is and Armand, the aristocrat whose family owns the school, he's drawn to Lora but not sure why.

The writing is glorious and beautiful! Subtle hints and vague whispers carry you through the story for the amazing climax.

Lora is a bit hardened by her life of poverty and people thinking she's crazy.  But she wants to be a part of things and would love for a boy to love her.  She quick witted and her tongue is sharp.

Armand - comes off as jerky, but does have a sense of humor, a bit downcast and lost.

Jesse - gentle, quiet, sweet, doesn't mind anyone but Lora an Armand.

Ms. Abe does a wonderful job making you love her characters. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Books Out This Week: March 25-31, 2013

March 26th

Get Ready for War (Hollywood High #2) by Ni-Ni Simone
Publisher:  K-Teen/Dafina
From Goodreads:  They have everything their parents’ mega-celebrity can give—but when the Pampered Princesses of Hollywood High take aim at each other, the last girl standing will have everything to lose.
London Phillips needs a time-out from her mother’s rules, and from her crazy clandestine romance with hottie Justice Banks. To keep her cool, and keep her secrets, she turns to her parent-approved billionaire fake boyfriend. But unexpected romantic sparks ignite a firestorm of their own…

Rich Montgomery wants to start fresh with her true love. But the web of lies she’s created is pushing her past the edge, spinning her into battles she can’t afford to lose...

Teen TV star Heather Cummings never thought she’d land in rehab. Resuscitating her career means getting clean. Yet, she never thought she’d find a counselor who’d redefine what abstinence means…

Spencer Ellington is so done losing besties and boyfriends. Good thing she’s been keeping track of a stash of scandals. Now she’s ready to begin a media feeding frenzy even Hollywood High’s in-crowd may not survive…



 Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston
Publisher:  Candlewick Press
From Goodreads:  I’m Valkyrie White. I’m fifteen. Your government killed my family.
Ever since Mabby died while picking beans in their garden — with the pock-a-pock of a helicopter overhead — four-year-old Valley knows what her job is: hide in the underground den with her brother, Bo, while Da is working, because Those People will kill them like coyotes. But now, with Da unexpectedly gone and no home to return to, a teenage Valley (now Valkyrie) and her big brother must bring their message to the outside world — a not-so-smart place where little boys wear their names on their backpacks and young men don’t pat down strangers before offering a lift.


 Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
From Goodreads:When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.


Wasteland by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan
Publisher:  HarperTeen
From Goodreads:  Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

 Imposter (Slide #2) by Jill Hathaway
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
From Goodreads:  What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.


Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
Publisher:  Harper Collins
From Goodreads:  Paul "the Bomb" Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don't know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst. 



   Shadow on the Sun (Black Hole Sun #3) by David Macinnis Gill
Publisher:  Greenwillow Books
From Goodreads:  Durango has always relied on Mimi--once his tough-as-nails squad leader, she is now the bitingly sarcastic artificial intelligence flash-cloned to his brain. Mimi is the only reason he is alive.

Durango has always looked out for his devastatingly beautiful and brave second-in-command, Vienne--now wounded, crushed, missing. Vienne is the only reason he wants to live.

Durango hasn't always despised his father. But he does now. Lyme wants Durango to be the Prince of Mars, and he'll stop at nothing to realize that dream. He'll sacrifice anything and anyone in the name of domination. Even Mimi. Especially Vienne.

Lyme forgot one thing. You don't want to mess with Durango.
 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wicked Kiss (Nightwatchers #2) by Michelle Rowen

Wicked Kiss (Nightwatchers #2) by Michelle Rowen
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publish Date:  February 26, 2013
Pages:  440
ISBN# 978-0373210640

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.




In this second book, Samantha is still trying to get her soul back, as well as putting her life back together.  There's some flashbacks to explain things, which was very helpful.  The team just seems to have so much drama going on, it's hard to believe that they have time to get anything done at all! 

The characters:

Samantha - stuck loving Bishop, but wanting his soul.  Gets boring after awhile.  Otherwise I like her.

Bishop - his main goal seems to be to return to Heaven, but he stupidly screws it up time and time again.

Kraven - seems evil but honest - gotta like that!

Jordan- she's ok, but I need to know more about her before I can decide if I really like her or not.


In short, the series is good, the writing is great; but there are too many last minute saves and too much secret keeping.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Strong Deaf by Lynn McElfresh

Strong Deaf by Lynn McElfresh
Publisher: Namelos
Publish Date: December 1, 2013
Pages:  130 pages
ISBN# 978-1608981267

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.




Jade is the only hearing person in her family.  Her siblings, parents and grandparents are deaf.  Her older sister lives at school during the week, just coming home on weekends and holidays.  Needless to say, Jade and her sister do NOT get along.

The story is told from both perspectives.  Jade's portion is in written English, while Marla's is in written ASL.  If you aren't familiar with ASL, it might take a bit of getting used to.  It's a little choppier.

It was fun to see things from the viewpoint of the hearing person being in the minority.  The two sisters bring up both sides of Audism - the view that being able to speak and hear is the best and anything else is stupid; the view that being deaf and signing is the best and anything else is stupid.  Audism isn't brought up specifically, but it's demonstrated very well.

Even though the two sisters are very bratty, I can see where it's very realistic.  They're 12 & 14 years old, they have difficulty communicating, they're teenagers!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Devil's Bargain (Red Letter Days #1) by Rachel Caine

Devil's Bargain (Red Letter Days #1) by Rachel Caine
Publisher:  Sihouette Books
Publish Date:  August 1, 2005
Pages:  296
ISBN# 978-0373513673

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.




Jazz Callender was a homicide detective, until an incident occurred.  Now her partner is in prison for murder and she's off the force and drinking...a lot.

Then a stranger offers her a job.  She is instructed to partner with another stranger and open a Private Investigation firm.  They will take regular jobs, but every once in awhile they will receive a job in a red envelope - they must accept these jobs and complete them.

Jazz and the job offering stranger, James, slowly develop a relationship.  It'll be very interesting to see where it goes. The partner, Lucia, is professional and loyal and written very well.

The writing is wonderful.  Miss Caine did a great job setting this up as a mystery/thriller.  The story moves slowly, but purposefully.  I can't wait to read more of them!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Rising (New Kid #2) by Temple Mathews

The Rising (New Kid #2) by Temple Mathews
Publisher:  Teen Libris
Publish Date: 1st in 2010, republished 2012
Pages: 274
ISBN# 978-1935618164

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.






Will Hunter's best friend is trapped under glass. Will just found out his dad is the devil. He also just managed to survive a huge battle.  Good times. What do you do to top that?  Well, Will has discovered a breed of female demons and a girl with similar powers to him.  This should be fun!

But it really isn't.

The characters didn't come off as believable as teenagers.  Will comes off as perfect, never sarcastic or dumb or anything that would make him seem real.  He's just too perfect.  Teenagers get mad and stupid, it's ok.  The relationship between Will and Natalie never comes off as love at all.  They just seem awkward together.

I think that the book would benefit from  a bit more editing, mostly in the characters.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Punk Ethic by Timothy Decker

The Punk Ethic by Timothy Decker
Publisher:  Namelos
Publish Date:  May 1, 2012
Pages:  188
ISBN# 978-1608981205

This book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Martin just 'is'.  Then one day he writes an essay about landmines and why they're a problem.  His teacher challenges him to do something about it.  So in the next month, he stages a concert benefit to raise money to handle the landmines.  Martin is very smart and a little smart-alecky, which comes off as a real 17 year old boy.

The book was a little confusing for me at first, maybe because it jumps right in and you have to figure it out a bit, maybe because it's like a diary.  But it does have beautiful quotes and artwork.  The story did seem to end rather abruptly, leaving you wanting more.  It's okay though, the author did his job well.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tempestuous (Twisted Lit #1) by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Tempestuous (Twisted Lit #1) by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes
Publisher:  Merit Press
Publish Date:  December 18, 2012
Pages:  224
ISBN# 978-1440552649

This book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Miranda was incredibly popular and witty. Then she started a little business at school that got her in trouble not only at school, but also at home.  See, she didn't see any harm in hooking up smart kids with kids that needed homework...for a fee.

Now her dad's made her take a job at the mall.  It's not even a good job at a swanky store, but in the food court with all the losers.

The characters are good, they come across as real.  There are the stereotypes (by looks) in each store, but under it all, they're different.  Take the jock in the sporting goods store. He's a dumb jock, right?  Not so much.  He just plays the part for his job.

Then one night there's a blizzard that closes down the mall, leaving the teens in the food court stranded in the mall with some customers.  Some of those customers are Miranda's old gang - including her ex-bff and ex-bf.  Then they realize that there's a thief loose in the mall. 

I think this is a delightful retelling of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST.

Good job, ladies!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dead and Gone (Benny Imura #2.5) by Jonathan Maberry

Dead and Gone (Benny Imura #2.5) by Jonathan Maberry
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Publish Date:  August 14, 2012
Pages: 84
ISBN#  978-1442472761


This short story introduces us to some new characters that will, I'm sure, feature prominently in the Benny Imura series.  It's also a good view into some of the other surviving factions.

We meet Riot, a girl on the run in the Ruin.  Her names changes as she changes - from Sister Margaret to Maggie to Riot. 

We're also introduced, via Riot, to the Church of the Night.  They're a  particularly nasty group to deal with. 

I have to say that I really love that more authors are putting out these little short stories to tie up loose ends or introduce characters!  It relieves my anxiety of not being able to figure out where I heard of a character or why I don't get what the heck they're doing. 
 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Books Out This Week: March 4 - 10, 2013

March 5, 2013

A Touch Menacing by Leah Clifford
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

From Goodreads: 
Eden is dying. For real, this time.

She is crumbling to ash, and an unnatural plague is ravaging mortals and immortals alike. With both Heaven and Hell out to destroy her, Eden can no longer tell the difference between good and evil.

Friends become enemies. And enemies are everywhere.

But don't underestimate Eden. She'll fight for her life, for the lives of those she loves, and for every life she has ever touched.

She'll fight for revenge. For redemption. For—just maybe—the chance to be mortal again.

Everything began with forbidden love.

What will be sacrificed at the bitter end?


 Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph
Publisher:  HarperTeen

From Goodreads: 

Fifteen-year-old Nina Perez is faced with a future she never expected. She must leave her Garden of Eden, her lush home in the Dominican Republic, when she's sent by her mother to seek out a better life with her brother in New York. As Nina searches for some glimpse of familiarity amid the jarring world of Washington Heights, she must uncover her own strength. She learns to uncover roots within foreign soil and finds a way to grow, just like the orchids that blossom on her fire escape. And when she is confronted by ugly secrets about her brother's business, she comes to understand the realities of life in this new place. But then she meets him-that green-eyed boy- who she can't erase from her thoughts, the one who just might help her learn to see beauty in spite of tragedy.

 Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver
Publisher:  HarperTeen

From Goodreads: 
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

The Collector (Dante Walker #1) by Victoria Scott
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

From Goodreads: 

He makes good girls...bad.

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried
 

When We Wake (When We Wake #1) by Karen Healey
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads: 

My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027--she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.
But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies--and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity--even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

 Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall #1) by Shannon Messenger
Publisher:  Simon Pulse

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

 The Murmurings by Carly Anne West
Publisher:  Simon Pulse

From Goodreads: 

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…

 Unremembered by Jessica Brody
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus & Giroux

From Goodreads:

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

 Legacy of the Clockwork Key (Secret Order #1) by Kristin Bailey
Publisher:  Simon Pulse

From Goodreads: 

When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.

Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge.

 The Nightmare Affair (Arkwell Academy #1) by Mindee Arnett
Publisher:  TorTeen

From Goodreads: 

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

March 7, 2013

 Orleans by Sherri L. Smith
Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile

From Goodreads: 

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

 Crap Kingdom by D.C. Pierson 
Publisher:  Viking Juvenile

From Goodreads: 

THE CHOSEN ONE MUST BE RETRIEVED FROM EARTH

HE WILL BRING DOWN THE WALL AND RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO GLORY

HIS NAME IS TOM PARKING

With this mysterious yet oddly ordinary-looking prophecy, Tom's fate is sealed: he's been plucked from his life and whisked away to a magical kingdom to be its Chosen One.

There's just one problem: The kingdom is mostly made of garbage from Earth. Okay, well, two problems: the king hates Tom. Also, the princess likes to wear fake mustaches. And being Chosen One seems to consist mainly of cleaning out rats' noses at the Royal Rat-Snottery.

So, basically, the kingdom sucks.

When Tom turns down the job of Chosen One, he thinks he's making a smart decision. But when Tom discovers he's been replaced by his best friend Kyle, who's always been cooler, more athletic, and better with girls, Tom wants Crap Kingdom back—at any cost. And the hilarity that ensues will determine the fate of the universe.

March 8, 2013

 Senshi (Katana #2) by Cole Gibsen
Publisher: Flux

From Goodreads: 

Rileigh Martin just wants to do normal teenage things, like go on romantic dates with Kim, her boyfriend and past life soul mate. Although that seems impossible when she’s the reincarnation of Senshi, a fifteenth century samurai warrior. After a ninja ambush leaves her unable to control her ki powers, Rileigh vows to get them under control before her friends lose more than their eyebrows. But when Kim leaves her for his past life betrothed and the other samurai stop talking to her, Rileigh realizes she doesn’t have any friends left to worry about.

As the ninja attacks increase, Rileigh learns that the reincarnated kunoichi, a powerful female ninja, wants to kill her in order to reclaim her destructive powers. Alone and with increasingly unstable powers, Rileigh’s only offer of help comes from Whitley, her sworn past life enemy. Rileigh knows she doesn’t stand a chance against the kunoichi by herself, but Whitley’s sudden allegiance might be hiding a much deadlier agenda.

 The Culling (Torch Keeper #1) by Steven dos Santos
Publisher:  Flux

From Goodreads: 

Recruitment Day is here...if you fail, a loved one will die...

For Lucian “Lucky” Spark, Recruitment Day means the Establishment, a totalitarian government, will force him to become one of five Recruits competing to join the ruthless Imposer task force. Each Recruit participates in increasingly difficult and violent military training for a chance to advance to the next level. Those who fail must choose an “Incentive”—a family member—to be brutally killed. If Lucky fails, he’ll have to choose death for his only living relative: Cole, his four-year-old brother.

Lucky will do everything he can to keep his brother alive, even if it means sacrificing the lives of other Recruits’ loved ones. What Lucky isn’t prepared for is his undeniable attraction to the handsome, rebellious Digory Tycho. While Lucky and Digory train together, their relationship grows. But daring to care for another Recruit in a world where love is used as the ultimate weapon is extremely dangerous. As Lucky soon learns, the consequences can be deadly...