I have been eagerly anticipating this book for the last year (ever since I finished Froi of the Exiles). Melina Marchetta is one of my favorite authors and she has created a magical series with the Lumatere Chronicles. In this finale, Quintana and Froi have been separated. Quintana is pregnant and hiding out in the Monts’ Valley with Phaedra and Froi is recovering from his wounds with Arujo. Froi is frantic to find Quintana and keep her and their little king safe. He scours the entire Charyn countryside trying to find her. Back in Lumatere, Finnickin and Isaboe are expecting their second child and trying not to get caught up in the Charyn chaos.
I really wish I would have reread atleast Froi before tackling Quintana since it has been so long between them. Marchetta is not an author who recaps all her previous books, which I like, but there is a lot going on and a lot of people and events to remember. This book is all about the connections between the characters, both politically and familially. Can Isaboe let go of her hatred of Charyn to help Quintana? Can the people of Charyn unite and form a more stable, hospitable country? Will Quintana and Froi ever be together? Will the Little King bring peace?
I am sad to see the end of this series, but I can’t wait to read what Marchetta comes up with next. I am also going to reread the entire trilogy sometime when I have a free minute! These characters are so wonderfully written and the world so detailed that it is really hard to leave them behind.
Sarah is the odd man out on a field trip to the Everglades. She is a scholarship student at her preppy school and doesn’t fit in with the other kids. So it is no surprise when she pretends to be sick to get out of an outing. Instead she accepts the invitation of Andy, camp owners son, to take an airboat ride. The ride is exhilarating and scary, but even more scary is finding the boat sunk after their picnic lunch. Seems Andy forgot to put the plug back in after washing the boat. Now he and Sarah are stuck 10 miles from camp and no one knows where they are. They have to trek through the Everglades and evade alligators, wild boars, snakes and tons of bugs all with no food or water.
This was a very good, realistic survival story. Andy and Sarah are world’s apart. He is a redneck hick and she is a city girl scared of everything in the wild. She starts off pretty whiny with a chip on her shoulder. We don’t realize until the end what the chip is and I wasn’t sure why it was saved that long; it didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. However, throughout their days in the swamp both Andy and Sarah learn how to survive and how to trust each other. Very entertaining and engaging read.
2013-14 Missouri Truman Award nominee.
Six-year-old Annie’s world is shattered when she is forced to carry a horrible secret: Under the pretense of reading to her, an older boy molests her, threatening her if she ever tells. Only when her mother pries out the secret is Annie released from her horror and isolation. Slowly she begins to heal, and before the summer is over, she even learns to swim.
Lost in a River of Grass is in the tradition of survival stories like Hatchet or On My Side of the Mountain, where the young protagonist finds herself as she struggles to survive in an unforgiving wilderness. In this case, the setting is the Everglades, and Sarah, the 13-year-old narrator, sneaks away from an overnight school field trip for what was supposed to be a quick airboat ride with Andy, a boy who lives in the preserve. Naturally, disaster strikes and they’re forced to walk out of the Everglades (they’ve got a knife, a small amount of Gatorade and some suspicious Spam). The author also skillfully layers in a story about overcoming prejudice. Sarah is black and Andy is the son of a Confederate-flag waving self-described redneck.
Benson is excited to be escaping foster care and joining the Maxfield Academy. But when he gets there his excitement quickly disappears. He is dropped off at the doors after traveling through two fences to get to the school. Immediately he is warned not to trust some of the students and he finds out why when he has his orientation. Turns out there are no teachers, groundkeepers, cafeteria workers, administrators or really any adults at the school. It is run by three gangs, who joined together because of some serious violence in the past. The Society runs the admin, medical and security portion of the school; Havoc takes care of food service and grounds; Variant are the janitors. Of course Benson joins the Variant group. He is determined to escape this strange school even if everyone else seems content to follow the rules and keep their heads down. Because of course if you break the rules you get detention which apparently means death. Benson keeps pushing and one night he finds out one of the schools big secrets which changes everything. Now he must force the others to realize what is going on and try to get out of there.
The premise of this book is really interesting. Very much a Lord of the Flies mentality. Unfortunately the execution is a little sloppy and filled with holes. Benson isn’t the most likable character in the world. I like that he kept questioning the system, but he continued to do it at the expense of others. He had really no regard for those around him or for the history of the school. He had been there a day and was already trying to escape and within a couple of weeks he is starting a gang war. I really wish the author would have spent a little more time filling in the holes of this story. The entire school system just screamed questions with no answers. And then you had the big mystery/plot twist….What!??!? There was no explanation for that and the ending was horrible. It basically forces you to read the next book in the hopes that it will answer your questions. I literally was left trying to figure out what just happened, which is not a good thing when you have just finished the book. Even with all the problems, this book was fun in parts and a very fast read.
Book 13 in the Morganville series and Rachel Caine is back on her game. After a couple of books in the series seeming to drag, this one flew by and had several surprises and concentrates on Claire and her relationships and her feelings of growing up.
Sybella has been living with the d’Albert family for six months now. The only reason she took this mission was the promise from the abbess that d’Albert would be marqued and she would be able to kill him. But he isn’t marked and she gets a new assignment. She must rescue the Beast of Worloch before d’Albert kills him. Of course things don’t go as planned and Sybella finds herself on the run with Beast instead of killing d’Albert. Once Sybella gets Beast back to the Duchess she becomes part of the inner circle. How far will Sybella go to protect the Duchess? What will the others think when they find out her secrets? And most importantly, will Beast forgive her all the lies she has told?
I really enjoy this series. It is so different, part historical fiction, part fantasy, and a whole lot of fun. Grave Mercy was very intriguing with a convent of assassins and political intrigue. This is a much more intimate story. It is Sybella’s story. We find out what sent her to the convent in the first place, her tragic family story and how she questions herself and the darkness within her. This is her story of redemption and triumph over her dark beginnings. She embraces who she is and in the process finds herself and her future. I loved Sybella’s journey, especially since it involved Beast who is just awesome. I really can’t wait for the next book.
Death…the final rider of the apocalypse. Breath is the story of Death, but also the story of life. Death has never been like the other riders. He isn’t human even though he takes a human shape. He doesn’t feel things like we do, but today he is feeling like the end is near. He is ready to say goodbye to the world and the world needs to get ready to say goodbye. The other riders are concerned of course. What happens when Death dies? He is the source of all life not just death so can the world continue without him? This is also the story of Xander, a young man in love and ready to start his life. Or is he?
This series is a great one. I love that it tells a different kind of story. It makes you think and it is fun to read. I have enjoyed each and everyone of these books. I really enjoyed that we got Death’s backstory in this book. He has been a fascinating character throughout the series, but one we hardly knew. Now that we know him, he is just as fascinating. I liked that this book resolved all the other Horsemen storylines. We do know what happened to them in the end.
Xander’s story is a little confusing. You have no idea what is really going on until the very end. You keep getting hints and flashes of things, but it doesn’t all tie together. I loved his interactions with Death and how that turned out though.
The ending? What happened here? I am not going to spoil it, but it does leave you with big question marks.
As former Alchemist Marcus Finch pushes Alchemist Sydney Sage to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.
I love companion series, they make the original series so much fuller and you get to see more of that world! Sydney begins to realize that she no longer embraces the Alchemist rules like she used to, the more she is with the Moroi and dhamphirs she is assigned to. Finding out you have been lied to can also be unappealing to someone with the brains to figure it all out. A good continuation of the Alchemist side of the story.
This was an amazing novel. A young Scottish woman volunteers to be a spy for Britian in France during WWII and is captured by the Germans. Her captors break her and she shares information about British defenses and her training but really it’s the story of her best friend, female pilot, Maddie. A well-written wonderful story of friendship and bravery that shares parts of British, French and German history during WWII.
While Kiki Strike is in Paris trying to stop her evil cousin, the princess Sidonia, from all sorts of terrible deeds, it is up to Ananka and the other Irregulars help Kiki find the cure for baldness, foil the evil plans of Oona’s twin, and keep Ananka herself from falling in love with wrong young man.
This series is rather fun, not heart-stopping like some mysteries. The main mystery to me is how all these characters get along, despite the huge differences in personalities, and maybe that is what makes it work so well. The underlying message of friendship, no matter what, makes it worth the read.
When Sybella first arrived at the convent, she was a traumatized young girl. After four years of training, Sybella can now truly serve as one of St. Mortain’s handmaidens. Those who train in the convent become expert assassins and Sybella is no exception. When our story begins, Sybella is undercover at the D’Albret estate. More specifically, Sybella is undercover in her own childhood home. She’s been sent there by the abbess to gain valuable intel on D’Albret’s treasonous plans to either marry or assassinate the young duchess who is struggling to keep Brittany independent of the French. D’Albret’s treachery and brutality know no bounds and Sybella is painfully aware of just how far he is capable of going. When Sybella manages to get the duchess out of a secret attack, one of the duchess’s fighters – a knight known as the infamous Beast of Waroch – is taken prisoner by D’Albret and sent to the dungeons. Sybella is then tasked with freeing him so that he can get back to fight for the duchess against the French and the country’s own treasonous troops. What was meant to be a simple rescue mission turns into a full-fledged journey and Sybella find her plans to kill D’Albret thwarted once again. What’s more, she can no longer return now that the Beast is missing too. Instead, Sybella must deviate from her own mission of vengeance in order to help keep her country out of the hands of both D’Albret and the French. Oh, and she’s got some pretty dark secrets that could potentially change everything.
Every bit as intriguing as the first book in the series, Dark Triumph is a pleasure to read. Readers will come to root for Sybella as she faces trial after trial. The Beast is a fantastic character and a wonderful foil to Sybella. I kind of wished I could have seen more of Ismae in this one, but I do recall being very curious about Sybella, so it was interesting to have her perspective. I look forward to seeing what Annith will be up to in the next book.
Viola lives with her mother and young brother in war-torn Sudan. All the men are either dead or fighting and soldiers prowl throughout the town, taking whatever they wish. After Viola is raped by one of these soldiers, the family decides to attempt a move to America. First they must travel out of Sudan and into Egypt, where they live in a refugee camp while waiting for the appropriate documents. It takes many long months to get the paperwork in order, but they are finally able to travel to America. Viola and her mother move to Portland, Maine, where a large Sudanese population has already been established. There, Viola attempts to piece her life back together while trying to balance life as both a girl from Juba and her new life as an American teen.
Told entirely in spare, lyrical verse, this novel is lovely addition to the immigrant-story genre. Viola’s experiences are painful, but her hope is palpable. This story sheds light on a part of the world that many American teens spend little time thinking about. The trajectory that Viola’s life takes is breathtaking, realistic and honest. We, as Americans, are so used to thinking about a country’s borders as something writ in stone, however, the borders of many countries in Africa are more or less arbitrary and were imposed largely by Western colonialist powers. Thus, when civil war breaks out, it is not necessarily because the country is divided, more that the country was never exactly unified in the first place. In fact, this story takes place shortly before South Sudan gains its independence. Readers will feel for Viola as she struggles not only to survive the journey out of Sudan but as she attempts to reconcile the cultural differences she must face as a new American. A moving and memorable read.
Stephen has been trekking back and forth across the United States with his father and grandfather for several years. They work their way north and south, depending on the season, to trade salvage for food and supplies. The United States has completely collapsed after a war with China led to an outbreak of an extremely virulent P-11 flu virus which has become known as the Eleventh Plague. The vast majority of the population has fallen prey to the virus and civilization has collapsed. Stephen was born after the Collapse, so their nomadic lifestyle is normal to him. Then his ex-military grandfather dies, taking his strict rules regarding interacting with other people. Stephen and his father begin to move on, but quickly encounter some vicious slavers along the way. In an attempt to rescue some captives and flee the slavers, Stephen’s father falls into a gorge, causing a traumatic head injury. Helpless to do anything, Stephen stays with his father until a group of men and boys come into the woods. Finally accepting that these new people are not slavers, Stephen lets them take him and his father back to their community where Stephen’s father can get medical attention. The community turns out to be the remains of a secluded gated community, largely untouched by the looting that had followed the Collapse. The residents there live a relatively normal life, but Stephen has difficulty adjusting to being around other people. Things only get worse when Stephen gets involved with his host family’s adopted daughter, Jenny, who is Chinese and puts the rest of the town on edge. She’s a bit of a rebel and manages to get Stephen (and the rest of the community) into serious trouble in next to no time. Not that she’s a bad person, she just really doesn’t like her status quo.
Not a particularly groundbreaking post-apocalyptic novel, but it does blend the dystopia with survivalism pretty well.
Hope and Lizzie have always been the closest of sisters. Then one day Hope catches Lizzie with a gun. Suddenly, Lizzie is in the hospital and Hope doesn’t know why. She doesn’t know why Lizzie tried to kill herself or why she has been crying at night for the last few months. Her mom has secrets too. Secrets she is scared of people finding out. Their mom has been a prostitute for a while now; she says it is better money than working at the Piggly-Wiggly and she needs money now that dad is gone. Slowly, over the course of the summer, Hope finds out what happened to Lizzie and her whole world changes.
Novels in verse are somehow more powerful than regular novels. The sparse text has to convey so much and that gives it more weight and meaning some how. Hope and Lizzie’s story is a tragic one. You will guess Lizzie’s secret long before Hope, but like Hope you hope it isn’t true. How can a mother be that evil, that heartless towards her own child? Truly powerful story that can be read in a very short period of time. It will break your heart, but it is worth it.
Dani and her mother are thieves. They have been for as long as Dani can remember. They move from place to place, ending up wherever the next job is. The current job is in Heaven. Heaven is a small beach town with a very wealthy neighborhood. Dani and her mom are going to rob one of the houses. Problems begin when Dani starts to realize she likes Heaven; she likes the house they are staying in; she likes the people she is meeting. She becomes friends with Allison, who just happens to be the daughter of the house they are targeting. She also captures the interest of local cop Greg, who is as interested in Dani as she is in him. All of this makes Dani question her lifestyle and realize everything she has been missing.
I adore Elizabeth Scott. I think her books are wonderful and tragic and fascinating. This is not your typical Elizabeth Scott book. It isn’t tragic even though it is a little bit sad. It has the snappy dialogue and interesting story of her other books, but the entire time I was reading it I felt like something was missing. I wanted the sadness and the tragedy and the loss. Scott always uses those things to help you realize there is hope. I think without them this book was lacking the power of her other books. It isn’t a bad story, but it is not what I was expecting from Elizabeth Scott.
The events of the Salem Witch Trials are fairly well known. Young girls started having fits and claimed to be attacked by witches. Many were accused, some died, but most were eventually freed. We do not know what motivated these girls to accuse so many (around 200) people of cavorting with the devil. Hemphill attempts to shed light on what might have driven these girls down such a path. She uses the voices of three of the afflicted, Mercy, Margaret and Ann, to tell the story of Salem. In Wicked Girls, the girls are not being attacked by the devil, but are acting in order to gain status and attention in the town. It all starts out as a game as they accuse those who have wronged them or their families. But remorse sets in when people actually start to die because of their accusations. This novel in verse very accurately captures the paranoia and frenzy that infected the area. It shows how lives were ruined and communities divided.
School Spirits is Rachel Hawkins spin off series from Hex Hall. This book centers around Izzy Brannick who we met in the Hex Hall series. Izzy is one of the last of a long line of Brannicks who fight monsters, except it is now just her mom and her. They are now working for the Prodigium Council tracking down monsters instead of just killing them. A case leads them to Ideal, Mississippi and Izzy’s first stint in high school. She quickly becomes friends with the teen’s in the Paranormal Management Society (PMS–horrible acronym). They are interested in a ghost named Mary who is supposedly haunting the school. She has been a ghost for over a hundred years, but has recently amped up her activity. Izzy, along with Romy (peculiar girl extraordinaire) and dreamy Dex (who may or may not be magic) have to figure out what Mary is doing before she hurts anyone else.
I love the Hex Hall series. They are fun and witty and entertaining. I think this is going to be another fun series to follow. The banter between Izzy and Dex was wonderful. I also enjoyed the ghost storyline, mainly because it didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I am intrigued by this new focus on the Brannicks and can’t wait to see where the rest of the series goes.
I received a copy of this from the publishers on Netgalley.com and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Abby is doing school project on her family tree and discovers that she is a descendant of Sarah Good, one of the accused witches at Salem. This discovery coincides with the strange dreams and blinding headaches she has been having. While researching in Salem, Abby meets dreamy Rem who seems to know a lot about her and can talk to her in her head. Back at school she is crushing on dreamy Travis, the popular, athletic, heart of gold senior who just happens to be dating the world’s meanest and worst person Megan. Abby’s research uncovers a book of spells which she just has to try; a love spell on Travis works like magic. Soon Abby is caught between Travis and Remy and an evil circle of witches who want to unleash revenge on Salem on prom night of course.
I found this book entertaining, but very cliche. It reads like your typical teen paranormal B movie. Everyone is pretty one-dimensional and predictable. The idea is intriguing, a girl descendant of the Salem witches coming into her power; however, the execution was not that great. For one thing, I found Abby fairly unlikable once she started practicing magic. She was all about self-gain and revenge, which doesn’t make a very good heroine. I found the circle of witches thing ridiculous. Seriously ridiculous. They wait hundreds of years so they can have witches of all four elements (earth, air, fire, water) so they can do a big spell and bring revenge on Salem, even though the people in Salem today have nothing to do with the original witch hunts. It seemed so contrived like the author really just needed more paranormal activity. I won’t spoil it, but the ending was definitely made for a movie…contrived and cliche. I feel like this has been done before and better.
I received this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Ariane Tucker is not like ordinary girls. She has a secret that she and her father work very hard to conceal. Ariane isn’t quite human. She was born in a lab at GTX and spent the first six years of her life as a guinea pig. Her adopted father broke her out of the lab and has been raising her ever since. He has given Ariane a set of rules to live by, which basically means she has to be average and not stick out. That works just fine until she and her one friend Jenna become the target of mean girl Rachel. Suddenly everyone is noticing Ariane including cute boy Zane. Can Ariane keep her secret and survive high school?
This was a fun scifi story. Ariane is an alien/human hybrid with telekinesis. She can move things and make lights flicker. She is kind of Carrieish in the way her powers act up. The science behind how she was made and what exactly the her purpose will be is kind of glossed over. It is hinted that she came from the Roswell crash, but we really don’t get a lot of information about it. I actually like that Ariane isn’t your typical alien beauty. She is weird and looks a little off. I found the romance between Ariane and Zane fairly believable and interesting; however, most of the other characters were pretty one dimensional. This is the start of a series so I am sure some of the unanswered questions will be resolved in future books.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.