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Brigid Kemmerer is the author of Letters to the Lost, More Than We Can Tell, and the YALSA-nominated Elementals series and the paranormal mystery, Thicker Than Water. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, with several stops in between. Brigid is now settled near Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and children.
Author photo © Nicole Daacke Photography
January 2020 Book of the Month | This is everything you could ask of a sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and then some. Readers are returned to the well-formed world of Emberfall and its neighbouring territory of Syhl Shallow, where political ambition and newly revealed secrets threaten Rhen’s crown, and where intriguing new characters take centre stage. Among these is Lia Mara, eldest daughter of Syhl Shallow’s Queen. Lia Mara has been overlooked as heir to the throne in favour of her beautiful younger sister and, in many ways, the driving message of this tale belongs to Lia, a wise, compassionate young woman who’s “used to being underestimated”, but stands her ground in the name of doing the right thing. While Prince Rhen has been freed from the curse of the malevolent enchantress Lilith, his kingdom is now subject to new threats. Rhen’s loyal right hand man, Commander Grey, has gone, assumed dead, and there are rumours that Rhen’s secret half-brother is about to lay claim to the Emberfall throne. In hiding rather than dead, Grey encounters Lia and accompanies her to Syhl Shallow. Handsome and powerful, he would make a fine husband for Lia’s younger sister, but his heart is elsewhere. The enthralling story of political struggle is thrillingly laced with conflicts of the heart - both romantic and familial - to create a satisfying feast of YA fantasy fiction, with a cliff-hanger climax that suggests a yet more explosive third installment is on its way.
Rob and Maegan both have a whole lot on their plates. Rob’s rich dad attempted suicide after he was caught embezzling their community and he’s now severely disabled, unable to speak or do anything for himself. Until eight months ago, “Everyone wanted to be me,” but now Rob’s an outcast, tainted by his father’s fraud, which is something Maegan also knows a thing or two about. Previously an academic overachiever, pressures led her to cheat in last year’s exams, which in turn led to hundreds of her peers’ marks being invalidated. Connected by a Calculus project and their dads (Maegan’s cop father was first on the scene when Rob’s dad shot himself), the two outcasts strike up an unlikely friendship, and more. Alongside their romance and the gripping twists, I loved the moving camaraderie between Rob and Owen, whose single mom was thrown into crippling financial hardship by Rob’s dad. For a book that packs-in plenty of big issues, it’s also an entertaining page-turner - the perfect YA package with the overriding messages that “one mistake doesn’t define you”, and “one choice doesn’t determine your whole future.”
Masterfully melding the contemporary world with a richly evoked fantasy realm, this is a fairy tale re-telling of the finest order. Harper has lived a tough life, what with her mom being sick and her brother forced to take on their absent father’s violent debt collection work. She has cerebral palsy but “can move quickly when I want to”. She’s a fighter too, so when she’s snatched by a stranger and deposited in Ironrose Castle, in the heart of a parallel realm called Emberfall, her captors are thrown off-guard. “Most of the girls Grey drags from her world won’t touch a blade or a bridle,” Prince Rhen observes with admiration. And Rhen has seen plenty of girls in his time. Blighted by a curse inflicted by a spurned enchantress, he’s forever fixed at the age of eighteen until someone truly falls for him. This curse has seen his kingdom all but disintegrate and many die and, if he fails with Harper, Rhen will be “condemned to spend eternity as a monster.” With Harper adamant she’s not going to fall for him and Rhen certain the curse will never be broken, they make a pact: “I’ll help you save your country and you’ll help me get home,” Harper agrees. The road ahead is paved with pulse-quickening perils, alongside Harper’s tortuous conflict between love for her family and doing the right thing in Emberfall, not to mention her growing feelings for Rhen. There’s a tangible frisson between them, but is it love? As time ticks on and the powers of the malevolent enchantress heighten, worlds collide to take the stakes even higher. Replete as it is with romance, relatable coming-of-age conflicts and all-out action, fans of Cassandra Clare, Marissa Meyer and Sarah J. Maas will relish this novel, the first in the Cursebreakers series, and its cliffhanger climax will leave readers aching for the sequel.
March 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: gripping YA thriller | Two damaged young people are the central characters in this gripping novel. Rev, who lives with his adopted parents, still bears the scars inflicted by his abusive father, and fears that he may one day meet the man again or, even worse, turn into him. Em’s homelife is toxic, her parents argue all the time and her mother often attacks Em too. She takes refuge online, but that space stops feeling safe when one of the vile trolls who target her (mostly for being female) tracks her down in real life. Em and Rev meet and become friends, but the tension and dangers to both mount. The suspense is maintained throughout, and Em and Rev are compelling characters. Some scenes will upset readers but it’s a powerful exploration of abuse and recovery. ~ Andrea Reece Holly Goldberg Sloan writes equally well about this topic in her YA novel I’ll Be There.
In a Nutshell: Grappling with grief | Facing the truth | Forging new paths | Intensely moving, uniquely premised story of two strangers torn apart - and brought together – by deep loss.Juliet’s mother was killed in a car crash on her way home from a photojournalism assignment in Syria. She tries to deal with her grief by writing letters to her mum, and leaving them on her grave. Then there’s Declan. Everyone has him down as a no-hoper bad boy from a messed-up family. He’s been in juvenile detention and is now doing community service maintaining a cemetery, which is how he comes to read and reply to one of Juliet’s letters. The path of their relationship - and the gripping plot - takes many heart-stopping turns as new revelations threaten to pull them under. Ultimately, though, both teenagers realise that the key to survival is finding the strength to make your own path. I was especially moved by Declan’s personal journey. He’s intelligent, sensitive, and his astute comments about free will and fate help set Juliet back on track. The novel also imparts an important message about the perils of making assumptions; people aren’t necessarily the person you think they are. Powerfully raw, and written with great clarity and a whole lot of heart, this is highly recommended for fans of stories with emotional grit. ~ Joanne Owen
Find the heir, win the crown. Win the crown, save the kingdom. Harper has freed Prince Rhen from the curse that almost destroyed his kingdom. But all is not well; rumours are rife that there is a rival heir with a stronger claim to the throne and that 'Princess' Harper of Disi is nothing but a fraud. Grey has fled the castle carrying a terrible secret. When he is discovered by soldiers and returned to Ironrose by force, Grey's allegiances begin to shift. And as he grows closer to an enemy princess, he is forced to decide whether he will stand against Rhen for the crown he never wanted ...
From the author of the Zoella Book Club-pick Letters to the Lost comes another emotionally complex, romantic story about two teens struggling to unpick the grey area between right and wrong, perfect for fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven Rob had it all - friends, a near-guaranteed lacrosse scholarship to college and an amazing family - but all that changed when his dad was caught embezzling funds from half the town. Now he's a social pariah. Maegan always does the right thing. But when her sister comes home from college pregnant, she's caught between telling their parents the truth about the father and keeping her sister's trust. When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a project, they form an unexpectedly deep connection. But Rob's plan to fix his father's damage could ruin more than their new friendship ...
'Everything you'd want in a retelling of a classic fairy tale' JODI PICOULT 'Absolutely spellbinding' STEPHANIE GARBER Fall in love, break the curse. Break the curse, save the kingdom. Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he can only be freed by love. But at the end of each autumn he is transformed into a beast hell-bent on destruction, and after so many failed attempts, his kingdom and its people are barely holding on. Harper's life has never been easy, but she's learned to be tough enough to survive. She won't let anything hold her back, not her cerebral palsy or her mother's deteriorating health. But when she is sucked into Rhen's world, nothing is as it seems. Powerful forces are standing against Emberfalll ... and it will take more than a broken curse to save it from utter ruin.
NOMINATED FOR THE CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL 2019 Swoon-inducing' IRISH TIMES This is a story about learning to be fearless and set your secrets free. An intense and gripping novel that will speak to fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven. Rev works hard to keep the demons of the time before his adoption at bay ... until a letter from his father after his 18th birthday brings the trauma of his childhood hurtling back. Emma escapes real life by perfecting the online game she built from scratch. Coding is way easier than facing her parents' nasty relationship or the growing distance with her best friend ... But when an online troll's harassment starts to escalate, she fears for her safety. When Rev and Emma meet, they're buckling under the weight of their secrets. Though both of them find it hard to put their problems into words, they connect instantly and deeply. Rev and Emma's problems might be worlds apart, but they promise to help each other no matter what. But promises are made to be tested and some things hurt more than we can tell.
Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope. Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past. When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. Read along with Zoella! Chosen by Chris Russell as part of the new Zoella Book Club for WHSmith
Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He's learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can't seem to afford any allies. He's up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait. Then there's Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She's not hostile. She's bold. Funny. Hot. But she's got an agenda, too. With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he'll have to find someone he can trust...
TOO MANY SECRETS, NOT ENOUGH TIMENick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it's just him and his three hotheaded brothers against the world, that's a survival tactic. But now he's got problems even his brothers can't help him survive.His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going from fast to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn's friend Adam, a dancer, is throwing Nick off-balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he'd rather keep hidden.He can feel it - the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is tarting to find out that sometimes there's you can do to keep the peace.
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own...
Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake. Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. When she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot, everything is about to change. Chris is different from the guys at school... really different. He can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. The brothers are powerful and dangerous. And now that Becca knows the truth, so is she. When the mysterious new kid, Hunter, turns up, Becca thinks she can trust him. But when he goes head-to-head with Chris, Becca's left wondering who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
As an air Elemental, 17-year-old Emily Morgan doesn't have much power. That's okay - she knows what happens to kids who do have power.Like Michael Merrick. He's an earth Elemental, one with enough power to level cities. Which makes him sexy, dangerous, and completely off-limits. At least according to Emily's family.But her summer job puts her in close contact with Michael, and neither of them can help the attraction they feel. When forces of nature like theirs collide, one misstep could get someone killed. Because Emily's family doesn't just want her to stay away from him. They want him dead.
Hunter Garrity is used to watching his back. The kids at school sense something different about him. And they're right.Hunter has powers that have nothing to do with how hard he can throw a punch.Maybe that's what Clare Kasten is picking up. She's shy, quiet, and intense, but she's sought him out. There's no telling what she wants from him.But Hunter knows enough to sense a secret when it's close. And getting close to Clare is a danger he's ready to face.
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