The Taker by Alma Katsu
True love can last an eternity… but immortality comes at a price.
On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever.
A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her… despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.
Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.
Part historical novel, part supernatural thriller, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.
Goodreads Rating: ☀️☀️☀️.5
The Taken by Alma Katsu, republished with a beautiful new cover, is a dark and dangerous fantasy. I love the brand new cover. I feel like it represents the story and the genre perfectly. It’s so exciting to have the cover reimagined; it’s like having a makeover. I am also awed at the unique alchemy plot and the necromancer, a disturbingly dark antagonist. The protagonist, and anti-hero of this gothic style story, is Lanore (Lanny), and she is such a complex character, with lots of intricate layers and secrets. The way she narrates this tale is so compelling it is hard to put down. She tells the story using a dual timeline – the present and her past, which began in the early 1800s before becoming immortal. The setting of a logging settlement in 1800’s Maine is so stark that it is the perfect juxtaposition to the world of luxury that Adair represents. It perfectly fuels the theme of greed that runs throughout the story. If you are looking for a darkly unique alchemical fantasy story, this one will leave you in awe.
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
YA Rom Com
Dahlia Adler’s Cool for the Summer is a story of self-discovery and new love. It’s about the things we want and the things we need. And it’s about the people who will let us be who we are.
Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?
Goodreads Rating: ☀️☀️☀️
Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler is a light yet compelling read about teens exploring their sexual identity. Working loosely on a plot reminiscent of Grease the movie, this story explores an issue that many teens are also exploring, and this is what I enjoyed the most about this novel. As a high school counselor, I have worked with many students going through a remarkably similar situation as Larissa, and I am glad there is a book out there that they can grab onto and feel that they are not alone. From a reader’s perspective, I did have an issue with the characters. Their lack of development negatively impacted my reading experience. For me, they read as stereotypes rather than real-life complex individuals. But the plot is fast-paced, and I easily read it in a short time. This is an excellent novel for summer light reading or any teen (or parent of a teen) exploring their own sexual identity.