All tagged Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Recommendation Roundup: November 2014

My reading habits have been all over the place lately. 

For a few days, I binged on all the comics I could find. Then, I blew through Amy Poehler's book. And, it took me most of the month to listen to the final audiobook in Alexandra Bracken's Darkest Minds trilogy (I'll write more about that series later). I've continued to read the Sirantha Jax series slowly, and am kind of bummed that I'm approaching the end. Probably my two favorite reads this month were both graphic stories: Ms. Marvel and Seconds (thanks to my friend Kinoko for the recommendation). And now I'm kind of in a reading funk--not much is working for me. 

In other news, Sandra's been blowing through review books, so her recommendations are filled with newer titles, if you're looking for something fresh. 

As always, click through on the book cover image for more info!

Sarah Recommends

Quick(ish) Thoughts on Four Recent(ish) YA Novels

I've been disinclined to write extensively about young adult titles lately, despite that I've been reading quite a few recent releases. I do have a few I want to be sure to write about more extensively (particularly the final novel in Gabrielle Zevin's spectacular Birthright series), but I wanted to share my thoughts on a few I've read recently.

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Admittedly, I was nervous about reading Lauren Morrill's new novel, Being Sloane Jacobs. Lauren is one of the few authors I follow on my personal Twitter account and I enjoy her thoughts on publishing and tweets about being an extra on The Originals but I haven't read her debut, Meant to Be, and was worried that I wouldn't like her book. (I've had this happen before, enjoyed someone's online persona and their book didn't work for me--and I always fell badly about it.) 

Fortunately, my worries were completely needless, as I enjoyed Being Sloane Jacobs a bunch. The premise is essentially The Cutting Edge meets The Parent Trap, except without twins. Instead, we have two points-of-view, both girls named Sloane Jacobs. One is a stressed former competitive figure skater from a high-powered Washington, DC political family. The other Sloane Jacobs is a tough hockey player from Philadelphia with a bit of an anger problem.


Recommendation Roundup: Dec. 2013 & Jan. 2014

I combined December and January's recommendation posts due to our year-end List of Awesome compilation. We have a ton of very mixed books to recommend this time--I think the only one we all read was Jennifer Lynn Barnes' super-fun thriller The Naturals, which our book club read in January. 

I had a particularly good run of books over the last couple months, including that I got to read a super-early copy of Lisa Schroeder's lovely new novel, The Bridge from Me to You, which was special to me for a number of reasons (disclosure: including this), but particularly because it reminded me so much of growing up in small town Oregon. 

I was also excited to discover Maureen McGowan's action-packed post-apocalyptic thriller series (Deviants and Compliance), which is a whole lot of fun--especially on audio. And, if you're looking for a charming adult novel about the suckitude of adulting, I have to point you to You Had Me at Hello--it was a bestseller in the U.K. for a reason, let me tell you. 

AND! One one final note, I was thrilled to read another super-early copy of a much-anticipated book, Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which I adored. If you like Zevin's novels, you'll love this one, trust me.

Obviously, Sandra discovered the awesomeness of Sarah Addison Allen this month--hooray for another convert! And I peer-pressured Laura into reading more Liza Palmer, as one does...

Onward to the recommendations!

Blogging is a funny thing.

I never imagined that “my thing” as a blogger would be defending genres that I don’t really read. But, it’s something I feel very strongly about. I really do believe that the frequent diminishing of any number of genres is really a disappointing approach to book criticism.

Within every single genre, there’s a spectrum of quality, and that perception varies greatly depending on each individual reader or reviewer’s personal taste, so the dismissal an entire genre out-of-hand really bothers me.

With that said, it’s probably no surprise I was pretty disappointed to read a piece recently that was extremely harsh toward paranormal YA. Admittedly, this is not one of my favorite genres, as I tend to prefer my paranormal in adult fiction (it generally makes more sense to me in a more grown up setting). 

However, there are a few paranormal YAs that I sincerely enjoy and often recommend. 

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Alert! Alert! This is a standalone paranormal YA! Try not to pass out from the shock of it all. I loved this book so much, it’s a really fun ghost story and mystery with a whole lot of humor and a light, charming romance. And if you grew up on Nancy Drew, you’ll love the little shout-outs to Nancy’s adventures. (Sandra also recommends the Maggie Quinn books by the same author.)

{Note: This review contains spoilers for the first book in this series, Raised by Wolves. If you haven’t read it, and don’t want to be spoiled, do not pass go, instead, read Sandra’s review of Raised by Wolves.}

There’s always a way around orders, a way to be the exception instead of the rule. I just needed to find it. I was going to find it.


Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare, better known as Bryn, returns in Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ second book in the Raised by Wolves series, Trial by Fire.

She’s proud.

She’s a fortress of strength.

She’s also the leader of her newly-formed and unusual pack, created at the end of Raised by Wolves. She’s stretched the bonds of her previous pack to find her own freedom, to forge a new and different pack while still following the rules that bind them all. With her new responsibility of alpha status, she fights to maintain her balance and dignity as the weight of her werewolf world threatens to challenge her position and deeply-held beliefs.

Bryn’s own path, a path filled with pitfalls, pain and hard, harsh lessons exacts a unique toll. It’s a tricky trail, one never forged before. Yet, she holds fast to what her heart and conscience whispers to her as truth and righteousness.

I needed to protect them, more than I needed water or air or any kinds of human connection.

Bryn’s evolving understanding of what it means to be a human leading a pack of werewolves hits relentlessly, hard and fast.

{Review} Raised By Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

You can decide who you want to be, who you want to be tied to. Who you can trust.

I never thought I’d be such a fan of werewolf and shapeshifter novels—but they’ve recently become some of my favorites. 

Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series (Amazon, Goodreads) is one to which I am hopelessly addicted, I enjoyed Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (Amazon, Goodreads) and consumed Rachel Vincent’s Shifters series (Amazon, Goodreads). There’s something captivating about stories of people who are not entirely people, that are connected to the animal world in a different way. And, when these novels are done well, the dynamics of “the pack” are absolutely compelling—typical family drama amplified. 

Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Raised by Wolves is the first in her young adult werewolf series focusing on a human girl adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf killed her parents. At 15, Bronwyn Alessia St. Vincent Clare has only experienced the rigid life of the pack.

Bryn has emblazoned in her mind a bloodbath of loss that not even the Alpha can erase: She hid while a rabid werewolf bit and killed her parents before searching desperately for his true query. Bryn herself. Later, Callum finds her hiding like a mouse curled under the sink. He adopts, saves and schools her in the ways of wolves.

Rule one. No rational werewolf would bite a human. The ramifications are horrific.