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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
If you're looking for a one-stop adventure/spiritual journey, you've gotta read After the End. For her whole life, Juneau has believed that she lives in a post apocalyptic world caused by WWIII in 1984. When she suddenly finds herself stepping into the streets of Seattle with a fully functioning modern society, her whole way of thinking is turned around. Juneau is a character I immediately felt for and believed in. I admire her talent to adapt, she's smart and a quick learner, and her naivete is hilarious from a present-day point of view. I'm not even sure in what genre to classify this pseudo-dystopian novel, but it's remarkably unique and exciting, bringing in a breath of fresh air to the young adult scene.
Still slipping Princess Bride quotes into your every day conversations? I bet you still have the VHS somewhere as well. It's okay, I do too. It's one of those movies that will be forever remembered and loved, and we finally have a behind-the-scenes glimpse at The Princess Bride told by our one and only Westley--I mean Cary Elwes. Prepare yourself for endearing stories of how he met his fellow cast members, and hilarious outtakes that happened while filming. A number of the other cast members give their input as well, rounding out this memoir to be one of the best and most fun I've ever read. After finishing As You Wish, I see each scene in a different light, and we all know what that means--I'll have to watch it again, just once more.
"R" is a zombie. He isn't like his fellow Dead. He may not have a heartbeat, he may eat brains, but R dreams too. When R meets the very much alive Julie, and decides to save her instead of eat her brain, things start to change. Something is happening to him, and every day he feels more…alive? This is the most unusual zombie book I've ever read. The writing is delicious and I just loved every bit of the story. You have to give Warm Bodies a try, even if you're not a big zombie-genre fan. I think most people, girls and boys alike, most ages, would get something out of it. Despite its humorous moments scattered throughout, in a way it's thought provoking and surprisingly deep; much more than I expected. I really look forward to more of this author's work. Isaac Marion definitely has a way with words, and I want more.
As soon as I started The Queen of the Tearling, I could tell this was going to be a big one. In fact, I kept looking up Erika Johansen because I had a hard time believing such a creative and complex dystopian/fantasy could be from a debut author. The Queen of the Tearling is the closest thing I've come across that's truly like a female-oriented Game of Thrones. With the book's omniscient point of view, you get the sense of a bigger picture just beginning to be unveiled. Since her mother's death long ago, Kelsea is the to-be queen raised in secrecy, for fear of assassination. Now, on her 19th birthday, Kelsea comes into power; she has to rule a country who hasn't seen a queen in almost twenty years, as well as stave off a looming battle with the neighboring country Mortemense, ruled by the elusive and ageless Red Queen. What's most unique about this world is it's Europe in the future. It's vaguely dystopian, but has the foremost feel of fantasy, with only small reference to world-past. With this unique blending of genres and a relatable heroine, I couldn't stop turning the pages.
In another world, within the magnificent city of Valoria, Kestral is an aristocratic young woman thrown into the deceptive and precarious game of politics. With traitors hiding in plain sight, she has allies switching sides from one day to another. She has her work cut out for her, but it is this life, or a forced life of marriage. Kestral is no perfect character, and in every one of her flaws and acts of stubbornness, I adore her. One day while out shopping, she takes a gamble and buys the slave Arin at an auction house. But she pays a high price--the cost of the winner's curse. This story is told back and forth between the two, and each voice is independently strong. Arin isn't just "the guy" in here, he's interesting, and one of the most fleshed out counterparts I've read in a long while. He's just as much a part of the bigger picture as Kestral. These two won't easily become friends; they're on opposite sides of a decade-won war. Relations between the Valorians and its poorer neighbors the Herrani are precarious once again, and rebellion is on the rise. Who will come out on top this time? The Winner's Curse has everything from elaborate world and language building, to a killer ending that'll make you crave the next installment. For fans of Graceling, I can't recommend this book enough. This is your next fantasy read.
Cath writes. Fanfiction, for the most part, in the world of bestselling book series, Simon Snow. She lives and breathes everything Simon along with her twin, Wren. Now she's at her first year of college, and although she doesn't seek independence and new friends like her sister, she does travel deeper into the magical world of Simon. For Cath, fictional places and people are easier to deal with than the real boring world. I absolutely lost myself within this book. It's quite a big book, which is good because I didn't want it to end. And as soon as I did finish, I wanted to read it all over again. Fangirl is honest, sweet, and at times laugh out loud funny. It's a light read and manages to balance a friendly charm a là Anna and the French Kiss, with an honest portrayal of exactly what it's like to be young and in love. If you consider yourself a part of any fandom or Harry/Draco shipper, then guys, this book was written for you.
Salvage is a stellar Spring debut not to miss. It's a rare Young-Adult bildungsroman piece of work, and I was hooked at the first "right so." It's a non-stop adventure from there out. Ava is likable and relatable, and I forgave her immediately for her naiveness that's necessary for the story. She's true to herself and has a kind heart; you'll be rooting for her prevail. The world building is beautiful, extensive and imaginable. Futuristic Mumbai is a sea of colors and cultures, and the space stations are exciting in their own way. Salvage will appeal to fans of Beth Revis' Across the Universe series, as well as Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Think of it as if you merged them into one, and added some of Meyer's Cinder in as well because we all love us an outsider mechanic. I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this author for future stories.
Bloggers. Zombies. If either of those words catch your interest, you'll like Feed. Siblings Shaun and Georgia write and run one of the leading news sites in 2040. We've cured cancer and the common cold, but are left with the side effects of a zombie apocalypse. The zombies are controlled relatively well though, and they are just a part of dealing with daily life and hoping there isn't an outbreak near you. There's a presidential election coming up and Shaun and Georgia, along with their techy friend Buffy, have been picked to cover the entire campaign. The narrative is sharp and intelligent, and you'll warm up quickly to these siblings who are closer than twins. Georgia and Shaun are willing to sacrifice anything to keep the signal going, and let the truth rise up. Things get more interesting than I anticipated, and I was glued to every one of these 600 pages like it was the last book in the world. Feed is filled with conspiracy, corrupt politicians, and more detailed world building and technological inventions than I've seen in ages.
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.
Maisie Danger Brown is not a girl to be trifled with--and you have to read her story. Dangerous is a book full of witty lines, scientific inventions, and aliens--and I can't recommend it enough. It seems that each Shannon Hale book I read is different from the last; she's always coming up with unique and engaging plots. One of my favorite features in this book (besides the protagonist being a one-armed homeschooler) is that Maisie's parents are very present and interactive. Upon hearing that she's been infected with some alien entity that's giving her superpowers, they're scientists and respond with a, "Well this will be a great learning experience!" which is pretty awesome. I've been seeing Dangerous mostly in the YA section, but I think it's readable to middle-graders and adults too, and boys and girls alike
Every summer In the small town of Carp, New York, the high school senior graduates play a game called Panic. The risks get higher with each event—threatening to bring up old rivalries and plans of revenge. No one knows the judges, or what'll be next, but if you're looking for an escape from this small-town life, you need to win Panic. "A game of teenagers fighting each other" plot may sound worn out at first glance, but this is a book full of fresh twists. If you're familiar with Lauren Oliver's other books, Panic will be a little different. It's not dystopian like Delirium, but feels a mite unusual next to normal contemporary. And not to mention, it has a main cast of characters who are ethnically diverse. Her writing is as strong as ever and has the heart-racing unpredictability that'll leave you wanting more.
Madeline Landry is a strong individual who feels torn between her duties as the Landry heir, and as the story progresses, about what is morally right in her dystopian world—her Victorian-dystopian world to be exact. Bethany Hagen decided to mash up these two popular genres and what happens is a successfully creative and fresh story. I can't wait for the next book; a lot of mysteries were revealed toward the end and I barely had enough time to reassess all my opinions of the three-dimensional supporting characters before it ended. People are not as they seem, and Landry Park is one dystopian debut you do not want to miss this spring.
Blue has been told her whole life that she will kill her true love. Coming from a family of psychics, she’s always accepted the fact, but didn’t really find it a problem until she meets the "raven boys." Rich students from the ivy-track high school nearby, each of the four boys is mysterious and quirky in their own way. Right from the first page, you get the feeling there's something bigger going on in the town of Henrietta, Virginia. Blue is a great main character and easy to relate to. She is splendidly odd, has a cool ability, and strives to be eccentric. Another great character, Gansey's enthusiasm for his quest to find Glendower is energetic and powerful. The excitement is contagious; I could just picture the light in his eyes every time he talked about the legend! The story moves well and there isn't a single lagging moment. The ending is surprising and unexpectedly satisfying, although, I now await the next Raven Boys book equally as much as the last Divergent book...maybe even a little more.
After escaping through the Wall and into the neighboring colony of Vadeshfold, Rigg and his friends uncover more lies and secrets from the "expendables." The people in this new colony aren’t quite what they seem, no matter how cordially they may act. Relationships soon become unstable with new sources of information and the emerging of new powers all around. Umbo, Rigg’s best friend, is tired of Rigg being in charge; Rigg hates the responsibility in the first place, and Parem, Rigg’s sister, fears her own tendency to disappear into the near future whenever situations get sticky. There is always something new and exciting on the next page. Ruins is a strong second book to the Pathfinder series. I recommend this to fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Phantom Tollbooth, but of course if you’re already familiar with Card’s work, don’t hesitate to pick this series up!
Elliot North refused to run away with her childhood friend, Kai, four years ago. Since then, she has been kept busy on the family estate quietly keeping it above water, and secretly engineering illegally enhanced grain. But when Kai returns with new friends in high places and as the captain of the famous Fleet, the distance between the two old acquaintances proves to be ever-growing, and regrets from those years ago keep them at an uncomfortable distance. For Darkness Shows the Stars is one of my favorite reads this year! It’s the kind of book with good writing that allows you to read straight through without even noticing the pages turning. I recommend this to fans of Obernewtyn and Jane Austen; it’s the perfect retelling of Persuasion with an exciting dystopian twist