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Leah's affair with reading began even before she realized boys in books are so much better than boys in real life — ever since, she's never found without a book. She takes pleasure in everything from Shakespeare to Steampunk, Austen to Aussie fiction. But when she's not reading, she can be found making chainmaille, gardening, writing for her blog, or traveling to fabulous places all around the world. Don't worry, along her travels she'll be sure to document when she's found the door to Middle Earth.
I don’t come across an epic historical fantasy book as often as I’d like. In my experience, “epic fantasy” and “historical” are not usually in the same description. Yet here is a vibrant story about Alexander the Great’s little-mentioned teenage years, exhibiting his development into one of the world’s greatest conquerors in history. Every page’s description came across saturated in historical authenticity; I felt I was truly in 340BC along with Alex and his comrades (and a little dark magic). Although there are many points of view, each person has their role and whether or not they realize it yet, their fates are inevitably intertwined. This is a compelling read for any older teen, especially for fans of An Ember in the Ashes. Like me, you will run out of pages much faster than you realize—and it is just the beginning.
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Here's a story that's as beautiful and layered as its cover. The pacing is spot on, you never know what awaits in the dimension Marguerite will jump into next, and betrayals lurk in every unsuspecting corner of the universe. I loved seeing Marguerite growing up as I turned the pages into the night. A very supportive sequel, and I can't wait to see how the series will end.
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I’ve never been one much for movie tie-ins, but Black Widow? Say no more. This reaches for that small part in all of us Marvel nerds that wish Natasha Romanov herself would appear on your doorstop and whisk you away on a dangerous SHIELD mission. Unsuspecting teens Ava and Alex experience just that, and what follows is an non-stop adventure with the usual firefights and government conspiracies spanning the globe. Redacted files and long-forgotten projects are revealed, and along the way Black Widow learns as much about herself as Ava and Alex do. The one and only Tony Stark is also present with his signature never-ending wisecracks throughout the story. I truly hope Marvel continues these books to hold me over until the next movie release. More, please!
This is a great book for any young creative mind or aspiring inventor. The illustrations are wild and expressive, and Rosie’s story is one of persistence and believing in yourself while embracing all your mistakes along with achievements. I recommend it to readers of all ages.
Seeking wild adventure outside their small ordinary town, Archer, Oliver, and Adelaide tested the bounds of the imagination, and brought me along in their journey. The oddness and subtle humor is reminiscent of The Series of Unfortunate Events minus the gloomy atmosphere. And contrary to it's 'doldrum' title, it’s rather uplifting. The full color illustrations scattered throughout are resplendent, and really help visualizing all of the unpredictable events that take place. I can’t wait for the next adventure with this group of friends.
“Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures,” so says the great author Alexandre Dumas, and that’s exactly what Zach Lightman does. This is his classic Call to Adventure in video game form. When it is revealed that everything from the classic arcade games to the numerous sci-fi films released over the last forty years have been a government cover up to prepare humanity for an impending alien attack…there’s no hesitation in Zach’s agreement to enlist on the front lines. After all, it must be his destiny, he’s one of the highest ranked Armada gamers in the world. I had way too much fun reading this book, and I’m sure I spent an embarrassing amount of my reading time with a huge goofy nerd-grin on my face. This is not a sequel or companion to Ready Player One but a story more adrenaline fueled, and just as engaging. Strap yourself in for one geek-fest thrill of a ride, this is the most exciting space conflict I’ve experienced since the Battle of Wolf 359.
Along Calvin's journey I caught myself hoping Hobbes was actually there for him, to help him through this sudden change in his life. The lines of reality quickly blur: from snowball fights to the classic philosophical afternoon contemplations, and even a few Spaceman Spiff vignettes, here's a sweet story of friendship, maybe a little off the track, and the perfect nostalgic read for any Calvin and Hobbes fan.
Twelve-year-old Lemony Snicket is a detective's apprentice in the small town of Stain'd by the Sea where's an abundance of mysterious incidents that need solving and he's the best one for the job. Who Could That Be At This Hour? is the first book in a companion series to The Series of Unfortunate Events, but you don't need to read those to enjoy it. Some characters may seem familiar, but I can assure you the events in this book aren't nearly as unfortunate or depressing. It's lighthearted and quirky in Snicket's distinct writing style and there are great illustrations to go along with the story. If you're looking for a good mystery, this book will keep you asking all the wrong questions along with Snicket until the very last page, and I can't wait for the next one.
When Frances survives the wreck of Persephone by assuming the identity of her dead shipmate and friend, Libby, she delves deeply into this charade. Now, after four years of pretending, she practically develops a split personality. Returning to Libby’s home to face both of their pasts, she finally has her carefully calculated plan in motion to uncover what really happened on the Persephone, and why the only other two survivors of the ship are lying. Ultimately, she seeks closure for the horrific murder of her parents she witnessed that night. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in this cold story of vengeance, couldn’t wait to see how it all played out. I was not disappointed.
Fallen actress Pagan Jones was once a great star, but after getting her whole family killed while she was drinking behind the wheel, she’s sent to a girls reformatory. After nine months of imprisonment, she’s suddenly offered a possibly career-saving role in a movie filming in Berlin. Here she is given a second chance to get her addiction under control, and the opportunity to deal with her restless inner demons. This is a glamorous novel full of facades and espionage, and manages a smooth balance of the sparkling 1960’s Hollywood atmosphere, with East Germany as the backdrop. I couldn’t put this book down, it was an incredibly fun read.
There was a time when I finally finished all of Jane Austen's books (twice) and I suddenly didn't know where to turn next. I loved reading about dances, and witty banter, and most importantly, Society with a capital S. After getting stuck in a long reading rut, I stumbled upon North and South, and despite the lack of dances, I found beautiful writing, memorable friendships, and a fair amount of tempestuous romance. This book is more political and industrial than my Austen-norm, but it was just the right book for my fix. I found myself sucked into the troubling world of cotton factories, and unjust class prejudices. Margaret Hale has now become one of my favorite heroines. She's pulled out of her comfortable country lifestyle and thrown into this busy working environment, and we are reminded that there are two sides to every story.
George is a sweet and unassuming story about a kid who just wants to be accepted and known openly for who they are. It shows the strength of true friendship, and the importance of loving yourself no matter what other people think of you. I love this little book, and ten-year-old George's experiences immediately pulled at all my heartstrings. It's sincere, unique, and I couldn't help but read it in one sitting.
This reimagining of The Scarlet Pimpernel is a thrilling, Robin Hood-esque standalone about Sophia Bellamy, a girl in the Sunken City whose arranged marriage is her family's only way out from ruin. The post-apocalyptic world Cameron creates mixes French Revolution gloom with a dystopian and sci-fi feel that is completely her own. The immersing atmosphere, combined with Sophia's exciting journey told through a wide cast of character's POVs, make Rook a satisfying story that will blow you away.
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Fifteen-year-old Phaet is a quiet young girl, leading a very average life with her family on the moon. But when her mother is arrested for rebellious publishings in the paper, Phaet knows the only way to support her siblings in her mother’s absence is to enlist in the powerful Militia. There’s much action and little time for romance in her demanding new life as a trainee, and the deeper she goes, the fewer people she can trust and the more secrets she has to uncover. A stellar debut with a Lunar setting, Dove Arising is sure to appeal to fans of Veronica Roth and Beth Revis.
Marguerite's parents are esteemed physicists known for inventing the "Firebird," a small device which allows you to travel into alternate, or parallel, dimensions. But with such great technology, comes powerful people who want it for themselves and are willing to kill anyone in their way to obtaining it. When Marguerite embarks on a trans-demensional journey to avenge the murder of her father, she has to adapt quickly to new timelines and altered versions of people she knows so well in her own world. With all this world-jumping action, you never know where you’ll wind up, and Claudia Gray is creative with the each outcome. From an underwater science rig, to Russian palaces, this high-stakes story kept me engaged with every world that appeared next. It’s exciting and unpredictable, full of science and speculation. I mean after all…what’s more terrifying than imagining a world without The Beatles?
As soon as I started this last book of the Princess Academy series, I fell right in. I love how Shannon Hale makes her characters tough in the way of brains—beat the bad guys with economics and historical texts! Miri and the princesses she’s tutoring are such likable characters, I was sad to say a final goodbye. But nevertheless, in this book we get some closure for the original Princess Academy graduates, and plenty of quarry-speak. Hale reminds us once again that using your words and intellect is just as powerful as the sword, to win the war.
This really is the book to read if you're planning to go to Peru, or interested in the general history and life of Hiram Bingham III. The narrative parallels Hiram's discoveries—in which, surprisingly, he did a heck of a lot more than just discover Machu Picchu—along with the author, Mark Adam's own adventures following Bingham's footsteps a hundred years later. Where the history sections have potential to become dry, Adams makes it all very engaging, and in his experiences gives you personal tips for traveling modernly to Machu Picchu and the surrounding area, which also makes this a great preparation-read.
When 12-year old Gillian and her friends embark on a search for the "hundred-year battery," their motive is just to clear their dad's reputation, but what they find is more than they could ever have imagined. Many gems are tucked into this wonderful adventure novel: Cold War conspiracy theories, lost treasures, and more. It's full of puzzles and riddles like those in The Mysterious Benedict Society, as well as exciting perils like in City of Ember. As crazy a ride as that all sounds though, there’s plenty of genuine humor weaved throughout, and even a few touching moments. I felt like I made some new friends in Omega City, and I think you will too.
I read this book in one sitting. It reads like a script and feels like watching a movie, but even if you've seen the movie, this book is more than worth the read. It's the 1970's feminist satire you've been looking for, and if you're at all a fan of The Twilight Zone episodes from way back, you'll probably love this. And I didn't realize until half way through, there are only a handful of chapter breaks, and that's a big part of why I read it from cover to cover in one breath. But this book is more than a well-written satire--it's an unsettling, suspenseful thriller that will keep you eagerly turning pages until the final reveal.
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Meet Riley, a 14 year old orphan boy who's been taken in under the wings of villainous magician and occasional assassin for hire, Albert Garrick. Right as Riley is forced to commit his first murder, he is saved by accidentally getting transported into present day, landing himself in the middle of a cross-century investigation much bigger than himself. Now here's another series from Eoin Colfer I can look forward to! It's full of action, witty dialogue, and nasty bad guys who truly believe in what they do. I have a soft spot for time traveling, and this is now one of my favorites in that genre. It's for a slightly older audience than the Artemis Fowl books, because it's not as lighthearted. An especially great capture of 19th century London streets; I felt completely immersed.
If you’re familiar with Ally Carter’s work, toward the end of the Gallagher Girls books, you’ll remember how things started to get legitimately dark and for real. Her Heist Society series got a glimpse of that as well. Now it appears Ally has finally gone over to the dark side. For ninety percent of the book I didn't even trust Grace myself, and totally questioned her sanity. And by the time everything was wrapping up at the end, I could tell this story was just getting started. To top it off, there’a a great international cast of characters who all bring something of their own to the story. Ally Carter, please keep the kick-ass kids and government conspiracies coming our way!
What captures me most in this trilogy, now more than ever before, is the unconventional narrative style. It reads like a story, as in storytelling, not in book-reading, if you follow me. With the complexity of the characters lives twined together throughout years of events, much of the book is told in dialogue and flashbacks. Our main view point is from Toby for most of the book, and a little from Blackbeard, one of the Crakers, which was very different, but captivating all the same. The language Atwood has come up with for this series--with so many strange combinations of words and play on words that I can't possibly list them--is astonishingly creative. MaddAddam answers all those questions and whereabouts of people that were introduced in the first two books. It ends well, just perhaps not in the way you might expect.
Nick can't seem to remember much about the car crash she and her sister, Dara, were in this spring, but it's left Dara's face horribly scarred, and their friendship shattered. Told in riveting flashbacks, this narrative is complex and full of intrigue and second chances. If you're in a book funk and need something that'll immediately grab your attention--and keep it--look no further. At first glance this may look like an average mystery, but with Oliver's signature talent to make the ordinary extraordinary, The Vanishing Girls kept me turning the pages until the sun rose.