Book Review: The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly

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Title: The Foxglove Killings
Author: Tara Kelly
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

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The Foxglove KillingsThe Foxglove Killings
Tara Kelly
Entangled Teen, September 2015
ISBN 978-1633751651
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps’s diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He’s almost like a stranger now. I can’t figure it out…or why I’m having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn’t be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it’s up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I’ve ever known about myself—and Alex.

Note to squeamish readers: the first couple of pages of Chapter One are a little stomach-churning. You have been warned.

The Foxglove Killings has been billed as a thriller but I can’t really say that’s so. Once the deer is found in the first few pages (which should have led to a true thriller), absolutely nothing happens for more than a third of the book other than we hear that a girl is missing and the other characters occasionally mention it, wondering if she ran away. All those pages are devoted to character development which is fine but it goes on much too long. With the somewhat lackadaisical attitude about the missing girl, there really isn’t even any suspense. So, I’d say this is really a character study that happens to involve killings and Ms. Kelly does this very well.

All those pages give us the opportunity to really know these people, the teens as well as the adults in their lives, and that knowledge is sometimes quite uncomfortable. It’s not so much the “class” difference between the townies and the cakes (I really don’t like that term) as the level of hostility. In fact, you might think that no one is ever happy but that isn’t really true. Nova and Alex are very appealing even in their discontent because, while both have reasons to be that way, they have each other to rely on and they trust each other. We’re not all lucky enough to find that kind of friendship and that makes it all the more painful when a creeping distance begins to intrude.

The ultimate outcome was a surprise to me, always a good thing in a mystery, and was very sad. That’s as it should be because murder itself is a very sad happening, isn’t it? It’s that touch of feeling that makes me look forward to reading more of Tara Kelly’s work in the future.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2015.

About the Author

Tara KellyTara Kelly adores variety in her life. She’s an author, one-girl-band, graphic designer, editor, and photographer. She lives in Sin City with her beloved guitars, sound design master husband, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.

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Book Blitz: Poison by Lan Chan

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Title: Poison
Series: Wind Dancer #1

Author: Lan Chan
Publisher: Dominion Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

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Synopsis

Since the night her mother was murdered, sixteen-year-old
Rory Gray has known one truth: There are no good Seeders.

In post-apocalyptic Australia, the scientists known as Seeders
have built a Citadel surrounded by food-producing regions
and populated with refugees from the wars and famine. To
maintain their control, the Seeders poisoned the land
and outlawed the saving of seeds.

It’s been six years since Rory graced the Seeders’ circus
stage as the Wind Dancer and still the scars on her body
haven’t healed. Even worse are the scars on her heart,
left by a Seeder boy who promised to protect her.

Now the Seeders are withholding supplies from Rory’s region
for perceived disobedience. Utilising the Wanderer knowledge
she received from her mother, Rory must journey to the
Citadel through uninhabitable terrain to plead for mercy.

However, the Citadel isn’t as Rory remembered. The chief
plant geneticist is dying and rumours fly that the store of viable
seed is dwindling. The Seeders are desperate to find a seed bank
they believe Rory can locate, and they will stop at nothing to get it.

To defy the Seeders means death. But Rory has been close
to death before–this time she’s learned the value of poison.

Recommended for fans of The Hunger Games,
strong protagonists, circuses and nature!

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**Poison (Wind Dancer #1) is on sale for
$0.99 for the week of September 7th-11th!**

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An Excerpt from Poison

I run until it feels like my lungs will burst and every drag of air is excruciating. Then I stumble around in the dark for hours until I finally give up and start to climb again. I go up as far as I can, as high as the branches will support me, and wait for the coming dawn.

PoisonI’m awoken by the hollowness in my stomach. My eyes are grainy and the light is too bright, but I force them open. I’m way above the first canopy, and this high up, the forest is covered in a layer of mist so dense it could be snow.

But no layer of weather would be magical enough to obscure the other sight. High above the treetops, pushing upwards so the tips of the skyscrapers disappear into the clouds, is the Citadel. I hadn’t even noticed it was so close. On this level, the Iron Gates and the six-metre wall surrounding the Citadel are obscured by trees. Besides Warden Tower and the distant gleam from the dome over the Forgotten Garden, the skyline has changed dramatically from what I once knew. Skyscrapers have risen and fallen, and there’s a sense that the entire city is slowly expanding over the mountain it rests on.

It feels wrong to be trying to get back into the Citadel after so long. I barely escaped the first time, and only because I suspect Papa made some kind of untoward deal with the Seeders in exchange for my freedom. Yet seeing it so close, knowing it’s not just a figment of my imagination, fills me with a sense of urgency.

I’m not ready. I don’t have enough information about what I’m getting myself into. So I do the only thing that comes naturally when I’m unsure. I start to climb and don’t stop until the branch I cling to is little more than sapwood. I seat myself with my belly against the tiny leader branch and hug the tree as it sways precariously against the prevailing wind. In this moment, I actually feel like I’m a part of the eternal dance between the earth and the sky. The branch tips horizontally, and I close my eyes and pretend I’m on a ride at the fair that accompanies the circus around the regions.

I smile and then catch myself as a sickening thought occurs to me. Do I really love soaring over the earth, or is it something the Seeders have planted in me by conditioning? If it’s the latter, does it say something about me that I’ve embraced being up so high?

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About the Author

Lan ChanLan Chan is a writer, gardener and professional procrastinator based in Melbourne, Australia. She is still waiting for her super powers to manifest but until then she writes young adult novels featuring strong female protagonists, minority characters and has a particular interest in dystopias and urban fantasy. Lan’s debut novel POISON, the first in her WIND DANCER series was released in September 2015.

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