Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication date: September 9th, 2014
Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.
So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What’s she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.At any cost.Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.
Rites of Passage was such a great contemporary! Other than the ending feeling a little rushed, everything was done well. First of all, the main character was SO STRONG. Sam had to deal with so much (and not just physically), but she stood her ground. She was an admirable heroine. There was a little bit of romance between her and Drill and I loved it! He was a good and supportive guy. I also loved how he and some of the other characters (eventually) worked together to help Sam out at the school and didn't leave her behind. She wasn't completely alone in her struggles with those she treated her horribly.
Overall, Rites of Passage was a pretty darn good with a refreshing setting and focus. It was a tough one to tear myself away from (I ended up reading it in one day because I was sucked into it). It made me angry at the horrible characters than mistreated Sam and even had me crying at one point. I loved this book! I highly recommend this one, especially for fans of contemporary.
The Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo
Genre: YA mystery/suspense
Publication date: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: Astraea Press
There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen.Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences, a life she's only dreamed of having.
As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who's next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies.
The Innocent Assassins was an enjoyable focus with a really fun focus on spies and assassins. It also had a very large focus on romance, but I didn't feel like that overwhelmed the other partstoo much. A good portion (especially the beginning) was hard to put down, which is a sign of a decent book. I did have two issues with this one that brought down my rating a bit. The romance went back and forth a lot. It didn't bother me for most of the book, but towards the end, it became a little too much. It made Jane and Adrian's chemistry less believable because their relationship was disrupted time and time again with their fights. My interest in the story also started dropping towards the end. Overall, this was a decent, fun read. If you don't mind a back-and-forth romance and find the description of The Innocent Assassins interesting, you may like reading the book!
What makes a "strong heroine?"