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.
I am quickly becoming addicted to this series and really wish book three was out already! Thank goodness it is just a trilogy and I only have to wait for one more book for all my questions to be answered. This is truly a gem of a series and a wonderful import.
Sapphire Blue picks up after the events of Ruby Red. Gwen and Gideon have time traveled a couple of times, been set upon by brigands, met the Count, and started a bit of a romance. This book just ramps things up even more. There are many more time traveling trips. Gwen starts to learn more about the conspiracy and the prophecies surrounding the twelve time travelers. The Count becomes even scarier, mainly because he was nice. We definitely don’t know who to trust at all. And the romance between Gwen and Gideon heats up, cools off, heats up, cools off.
I don’t read a lot of time travel books, mainly because I find them a bit confusing. That still holds for this book, but it is just too much fun to matter. Sure Gwen has a conversation with the Count about a meeting he had the day before and she hasn’t had yet. Sure she meets her grandfather one day and then a few days later, but for him it was years. Not confusing at all right? I love how witty and under-appreciated Gwen is. I think underestimating her is going to be the downfall of the society! Probably the best part of the book is the demon ghost and Gwen’s friend Lesley. They steal the show. If there is one negative thing I can say about the book it is that the romance is even more confusing than the time travel. Gwen is starry eyed over Gideon even when he treats her like crap. One minute they are fighting and the next snogging. Neither can seem to make up their minds about the other and it is a lot of back and forth. Frankly, I am not sure why Gwen likes him most of the time. However, romance aside, this is a fabulous series and I truly can’t wait until Emerald Green comes out.
Sunny’s best friend and cousin Shiri commits suicide. Her family does not know how to cope with it. Sunny’s hippy parents seem lost and the tension between her Aunt Miri and Uncle Raymond just keeps getting worse. In the wake of the tragedy, Sunny starts experiencing weird flashes where she hears voices. It turns out she is hearing the thoughts of others and she learns Shiri had the same power/affliction from her journal. With this power, Sunny learns what her friends really think of her and that her Uncle Raymond is abusive. She finds a new group of friends but they just seem to want to exploit her powers. It doesn’t seem like anyone is on Sunny’s side.
I felt like this book had two different personalities. On one hand it was a moving story about a family coming to terms with a tragedy. How do you cope with your loved one taking their own life? You start questioning everything and you discover things you never knew. On the other hand it is about a girl with a secret power to hear thoughts. She has to learn to handle her power and she has to figure out who she can trust with the knowledge. I really thought the suicide storyline was the stronger story. I am intrigued by how the family copes with the tragedy and everything that came about because of it. I thought the underhearing, as Sunny calls it, was a bit of a stretch. We are given no reason for Sunny getting this power. Did she inherit it from Shiri when she died? How did Shiri get it? Why did it seem to come about during the late teens? Why does no one else have secret powers? If this was a world where the paranormal was more normal I think this part of the story might have been more believable. As it is, it seems like the author kind of thought “hey paranormal is really hot right now, I should throw it in my book”. I really liked the realistic aspects of the story and I think the author should have stuck to that.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Macey of Gallagher Girls fame and Hale of Heist Society fame meet up in this caper. They are both attending a high society event when suddenly masked gunmen take the who’s who of New York Society hostage. They are after the canary diamond and Macey and Hale have to stop them, with a little help from their friends.
I have never read any Gallagher Girls books, but I really enjoyed Heist Society. This is a fun little novella that peaked my interest in the rest of Ally Carter’s books. I just might have to check them out.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com
Free verse poetry is used to record the reactions of various students, fellow teachers and community members to the murder of one of the teachers at Tower High School. Eventually, the killer is revealed.
Although the book was written in 1996, the subject of campus killings couldn’t be more relevant. Glenn’s characters are rather stereotypical, but at the least they represent a cross-section of a typical urban high school. No one is perfect, and this point is well made. Particularly interesting is a side-by-side comparison of reactions from twins- opposing views offered in a nearly identical manner. The murderer, however, is a mashup of traits and activities society enjoys associating with violent behavior. I’m surprised tattoos weren’t involved. Overall, an interesting read.
Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses is a satirical look at fairy tales with a modern twist (and a gruesome one). Ron Koertge does a brilliant job showing the darker side of these tales. I also enjoyed the modern updates. This was a fun quick read.
Michael Grant, you have sucked me into your world of the FAYZ for the last time and I leave as bloody and broken as everyone else. This series has been addicting and depressing and amazing. I am sad to see it end, but I devoured every page racing towards the end.
Grant pulls no punches in this last installment (as if he ever as). Life is brutal in the FAYZ. Sure the barrier is clear now, but you still can’t cross over. You can see your parents on the other side eating their doughnuts and Carl’s Jr. even while you are starving. The Darkness is now a little girl named Gaia, but she is just as powerful and evil as ever. Little Pete, the only thing Gaia fears, is a disembodied spirit. And everyone else is just trying to survive and wondering about life after. The endgame is here and no one will walk away unscathed.
This is a brutal and brilliant series. I have loved every minute of it as I have despised the characters and cheered them on. The FAYZ has always been about good versus evil and what you are willing to do to survive. In this book the characters start wondering what will happen when the dome falls? What will the outside world think of them? Will anyone be able to understand just what went on in the FAYZ? Who will be blamed for it? This series was a wild ride and the ending was a double loopty-loop with a steep drop. I may have screamed all the way down but I loved every minute of it.
Bijou and her grandmother have just moved to Sykesville. Bijou starts school for the first time after being homeschooled her entire life. At school she meets dreamy Sebastian and his twin Amina. Bijou and her grandmother have moved a lot; they never seem to settle in one place. And Bijou is not your ordinary girl. She can sometimes feel what others are feeling and everyone is scared to look into her eyes. Turns out she has a reason to feel different. She is the “chosen one” of prophecy. She is part djinn and supposedly the savior (or sacrifce) that will restore the powers of the djinn. Sebastian and Amina are her protectors and djinn as well. Weird things start happening at school with a teacher and mean girl Mandy. Then the djinn arrive and Bijou has to figure out what is really going on.
I almost gave up on this book. The plot was just all over the place. I found the idea of the djinn interesting, but I think this book could have really used some editing and maybe a plot outline. The characters were all over the place; I could never figure out if they were on the same side or enemies or what. One minute they were one and the next another. It was like everyone in the book had a split personality. And the djinn prophecy didn’t always make sense. It seemed like things changed every once in a while to fit whatever scene was taking place. Sometimes the djinn had powers and sometimes they were powerless. Sometimes Bijou acted like she knew what the heck was going on and others she was completely clueless (about the same things). And then there was the love triangle (or square). Bijou/Sebastian/Niko/Mandy. This was just ridiculous! I almost always hate love triangles and this one ranks at the bottom of my list (or the top of the most hated). The whole story was one convoluted mess.
I received a copy of this book on netgalley.com.
Zenn Scarlett is an exovet in training on Mars. She works with her uncle Otha in the Cloisters, which is part monastery part animal hospital. Her mother was killed in a freak accident and her father has taken off because he can’t deal. Zenn and her uncle work on alien animals some as large as buildings in the clinic. They are under pressure because the bills are mounting up and the city council is threatening to revoke their lease. Then all kinds of strange “accidents” occur which make the animals look dangers and the staff incompetent. In addition to Zenn and her uncle, Hamish, a human size bug alien also works at the clinic. And local boy Liam has started helping out. Zenn has to figure out who is sabotaging them and make sure they don’t loose their land.
For some reason this book took forever for me to read. It wasn’t bad exactly, it just wasn’t very exciting. For the most part the book is about Zenn working on animals and struggling against her uncle’s restrictions. There is mention of tensions with Earth, ships going missing, and conspiracies galore, but these are not fully explained or developed. This is clearly the start of a series since it ends on a cliffhanger, but I wish more time had been spent on the world building and developing the overall arc of the series instead of describing each and every alien creature in detail. I was fascinated by Zenn’s connection to the animals and the politics between Mars and Earth. Hopefully these things will be developed more in the next book.
I received this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.