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This is the dark, twisted tale of three sisters fair destined to destroy each other. Or rather, only two need die. One will emerge victorious. On the island of Fennbirn, when the queen gives birth it is always to triplet girls. Each new queen is either a poisoner, a naturalist, or an elementalist. The queen identifies which queen is which and then abdicates. The new queens are raised together until the age of 6, when they are claimed by their different factions and trained in their powers. In the year of their 16th birthday, the Ascension year, the queens will each put their powers on public display and then proceed to attempt to murder each other. They have one year to accomplish their tasks. The last queen standing wins. Of the three sisters, we spend the most time with Arsinoe, the naturalist. The naturalists live in a seaside town that evokes a humble,... Read more »
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Once again I find myself in the position with a book that is practically perfect in its premise, yet I ultimately fail to forge much of a connection with it. This is not a bad book, and I think it has its readers! I mean, it is a book about a great Library that has access to infinite alternate dimensions and universes. It also has werewolves, vampires, Fae, and dragons all romping around and creating magic, mystery, and mayhem in a sort of alternate steampunk “Victorian” London. Sign me way up for that. However, I get this sense of “fuzziness” for lack of better word to describe it with fantasies and other genre works where the world building is not at all clear to me. The Library is a very advanced institution that seems to exist out of time. It has its own Language that allows Librarians to alter their... Read more »
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This review is going to be frustrating to write. So far, all of my GoodReads friends have adored Rebel of the Sands, and it comes on the strong recommendation of Wendy. But I was never swept up by the story, or as wholly captivated by the world and the romance as I quite wanted to be. I’ll address some of the things that I think prevented from being fully invested at the start of this review. Amani is a gunslinger (awesome!) and a girl struggling to get by in Dustwalk, her unfriendly desert community. For as long as she’s known anything, Amani has been desperate to escape. This is historical fantasy that blends a Middle Eastern-based setting with the tone and feel of an American Western. And it just didn’t work for me. I found the language (It’s folksy and Western. Like, “I reckon” and a town named “Dustwalk” when... Read more »
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I will give Victoria Schwab credit: she sure knows how to build a captivating world full of deftly defined characters, and a creeping, sentient magic. It also doesn’t hurt that she has in her arsenal the capacity to wield a wicked sentence or two. But it’s a strange feeling when you give a book a 3 star rating, yet still feel as though you are a black sheep. I was absolutely enchanted by the first volume, but this one didn’t quite hit the same mark for me. We pick up the story four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic. Lila has taken her adventuring to the high seas in her delightfully audacious quest to see “everything.” Kell and Rhy are left behind in Red London struggling with the consequences of the powerful decisions made at the end of the first book. Their storylines converge when all... Read more »
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I think this book is actually, objectively awesome. How it could not be? It’s a book about bad ass lady pirates menacing the high seas with genetically engineered monsters at their call. It’s also rife with moral ambiguity, making tough choices, and the search for one’s true self–however ugly or unwanted that truth may be. So, Kim, why “only” three stars? Well, I actually find I don’t enjoy pirate stories all that much. At this point you’re wondering why I even read this book, then, and also why you are continuing to read this review. I really, really wanted to love this book and one of the key reasons I wanted that to happen is because this book features an f/f romance. Oh yes, and it’s pretty delicious, too. But we’ll get to that later. I was also very intrigued by the dystopian setting, and the monsters weren’t a hard... Read more »
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It’s interesting that the blurb for this book compares it to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. While I can see some common threads of interest (namely the contemplation of mortality), this is a very different book. First, no one in this story is actually dying. Next, the dynamics of relationships between the characters, the nature of their revelations, and the overall tone of the story is wholly different. Lucky Few is a funny contemporary that examines relationships, growing up, and the very nature of change through a sweetly morbid lens. The story is eminently readable. From the first page it flows with self deprecating humor and charm. The chemistry and interaction between the three main characters feels natural and adds a rhythm to the story that is noticeable for its absence when the characters are apart. Stevie is wry and judgmental, but with a good nature and easy... Read more »
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I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Hannah Moskowitz’s new book, A History of Glitter and Blood. It is a really weird book, you all, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It was not entirely to my liking and I still can’t stop thinking about it? Books about fairies are not my thing, and thinking about unreliable narrators reminds me of how much I disliked We Were Liars, but hey, I picked this one up because the cover was pretty and Moskowitz writes queer-centric fiction. If you like weird books and fairies and unreliable narrators and thinking about how history’s written, you’ll probably like this, though. I suspect it’ll be a polarizing read. Why is it weird? Well. There are fairies. Who are covered in glitter. And gnomes who eat fairies, despite disliking the taste of glitter. (And most fairies are missing some body parts as a result.... Read more »
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Do you want to read a dystopian novel with a genderqueer protagonist who may or may not be part lizard? If this sounds like something you didn’t know you wanted, Lizard Radio is the book for you. It’s a hard book to describe. Our protagonist, Kivali – familiarly known as Lizard, was abandoned as a baby (wrapped in a lizard t-shirt!). Lizard is adopted by Sheila, a human woman who becomes her foster mom and sends her, at the opening of the novel, to CropCamp. The novel takes off from there – CropCamp is all about teaching teenagers how to be good citizens of an oppressive totalitarian government; teens have to attend CropCamp or one of the many other strictly regimented government-run camps and, if they fail, risk being sent to Blight. At CropCamp, a camp focused on developing agricultural workers, group conformity is prized; state-sanctioned heterosexual relationships are supposed to emerge... Read more »
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While I, sadly, didn’t fully connect with this novel as I would have liked to, I do have to admire it for the sheer ambition of its scope. This story set itself after the incredibly complex task of telling a political mystery, set in a fantasy world, where dreams themselves figure so heavily they are practically characters. You know how difficult it is to describe your dream to someone? You can see it so clearly, but when you go to actually tell it it’s impossible? This story features a lot of dreams, and I have to applaud Lindsay Smith for the attempt to capture and convey the weirdness and irreality of them in the context of a story. Dreamstrider takes place in a fantasy world that is reminiscent of a sort of 17th-18th century Europe. The Barstadt Empire is a nation with a very strict class system. There are the... Read more »
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It’s interesting how some three star books are “good” three stars, and some three star books are “bad” three stars. This is definitely the case of a “good” three star. It’s a book that I genuinely enjoyed, and one that was funny, deep, and alternately light hearted yet heart aching throughout. I suppose this is the part where I admit to you, friends, that I have been in such a terrible reading slump for well over a month now. Nothing (other than Cara McKenna’s excellent romance novels it seems) is getting through to me at the real emotional level. This novel was good and affecting, but some emotions just didn’t get through to me, and I can’t tell if it’s me and my slump or the book. Frustrating! So the premise goes that RJ’s soul is accidentally reaped and she is sent onto the Afterlife for “processing”. The Afterlife was... Read more »
The post It’s A Wonderful Death: Review appeared first on The Midnight Garden.
If you enjoy historical fiction with a spunky female lead, some romance, and a murder mystery thrown in for good measure, you might want to pick up Jennifer Donnelly’s latest book, These Shallow Graves. I admit, I was lured in by the promise of a spunky female lead in this case – a girl who secretly dreams of being a writer and defying societal expectations! – ’cause that’s my jam all the time. In turn-of-the-century America, no less! (An aside: my love for American history has been totally revitalized by the release of the soundtrack for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical, by the way. And this is … a century later! Where’s my Revolutionary War YA when I need it?) Anyway. Ahem. Back to business! Despite the spunky female lead, while I liked many aspects of These Shallow Graves, I didn’t connect with it emotionally in the way that I wanted... Read more »
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If you ever read and loved Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, you should probably read Lena Coakley’s forthcoming novel, Worlds of Ink and Shadow. I didn’t entirely love Worlds of Ink and Shadow – which posits that the Brontë siblings could all construct fantastical imaginary worlds and enter them at will – but at what cost? ::cue ominous music:: What I did really love was being reminded of how much I love the Brontës, and the obvious affection that Coakley has for her subjects. I also haven’t read much of their juvenilia – I’m only familiar with it from Juliet Barker’s biography of the Brontës – but now feel renewed interest in their work and curiosity about material that I haven’t read, which is never a bad way to feel. In any case, the premise of the novel is a really interesting one – the Brontës can... Read more »
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In many ways, this book was such a perfect Christmas-time read. It is a Regency-era British historical fantasy that delights in the magic employed within its pages, and the utter charm of its characters and its world. The writing is also a treat; completely in the style of a book that had been written in the Regency era, it more than does its job in conveying the reader so completely to the world on its pages. When you want a book that’s going to wholly transport you, this is the sort you reach for. In the world of Sorcerer to the Crown, Britain’s supply of magic has been on the decline for years. The flow of magic from Fairyland into the mortal realm has all but stopped, as have the presence of familiars, the spirits/vessels of magic needed to make a mere magician into a sorcerer. This being Regency Britain,... Read more »
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Well, this is frustrating. There are times when you read a book and you feel like it’s not the book, it’s you. This is one of those times. There is so much contained in this story that I should love. We have time travel, pirates, romance (well, ha, we’ll get to that shortly), and diversity! But The Girl from Everywhere was a book I struggled to connect with from the beginning, and unfortunately, failed to connect with overall. The premise is very interesting. We have a girl born in Hawaii in 1868, but who has grown up on a tall ship literally throughout time and place on this Earth. Her father is from modern NYC, so Nix is equally at home on her smartphone in 2016 as she is traversing to 19th century India. Nix finds herself on this ship thanks to her father, the captain. Her mother having died... Read more »
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It has taken centuries to recognize that all humans possess certain unalienable rights. There will come a time when we have to consider whether others deserve those rights as well. That time will come on July 3rd 1863.
When a stranger carrying a shiny,metalic valise steps aboard a train carrying Abraham Lincoln home from a 2 year stint in Congress, everyone stares, wondering about the stranger's odd clothing and strange footware with the word Nike emblazoned on them.
When the strange man shows up in Lincoln's office at the White house 14 years later, still wearing the same clothes, carrying the same valise and looking not a day older, the president and his staff know something is odd.
But when Edwin Blair opens his valise and projects a 3d image of the Earth on Lincoln's wall, then proceeds to tell a fanciful tale about time traveling aliens preparing to land at Gettysburg on July 3rd, they are sure they've met a lunatic.
Unfortunately for them, they're wrong.
A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, is the first book in a new science fiction series that follows the adventures of Edwin Blair and the aliens known as Pests as they chase each other through all the centuries of Earth's past.
This book was not at all what I expected. I was expecting Historical Fiction but didn't expect the time-travel, alien, science fiction elements. Had I read the summary above I would have had a better idea of what to expect.
The first 50 pages of this book I was confused and not at all interested in the story. It did pick up once I got further into the story but I just didn't love this book. I know there is a target audience who will really enjoy this, it just wasn't my cup of tea. It was just a little too far fetched and bizarre for me to really get into the storyline.
It seemed like the Historical Fiction portions of this book were very well researched and portions of it were interesting to me. If you enjoy Science Fiction with a historical twist and want to read a story about time travel and aliens at Gettysburg give this book a try.
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: From Tribute Books as part of a Blog Tour
Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin:
As if transferring senior year weren't hard enough, Charlotte Locke has been bumped to lower level classes at her new school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future is starting to seem like an oncoming train for which she has no ticket.
Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to something else: popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, brilliant, and rich. As her new side kick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team—and closer to Neal, Amanda's equally brilliant friend and the most perfect boy Charlotte has ever seen.
But just when senior year is looking up, Charlotte’s life starts to crumble. The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more Neal wants to hide their relationship. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive, and she's keeping a secret Charlotte doesn't want to know.
Talented newcomer Alexa Martin delivers a poignant story of first love, jealousy and friendship, where the ups and downs of senior year have never been so complicated. What else can Charlotte do but throw her hands up and ride?
I read Girl Wonder back in March and should have written a review back then. It's now 2 months later and honestly this book didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I rated it 3 stars on goodreads when I finished reading it and then forgot about it. The book dealt with many different issues from family to friends to boys to school, partying, sex, drugs, learning disabilities, expectations... At times I felt for Charlotte and at other times could not relate to the choices she made. For me the subject matter of the book was the drawback not the writing itself. I would likely pick up and read another book by this author.
Content: Language, sex, drugs & alcohol use
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: ARC Tour
For all the Teen Book Scene Blog Tour stops please visit: http://theteenbookscene.weebly.com/girl-wonder-tour-details.html
Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened—his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled—her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from—all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?
This is a book I definitely should have written a review on weeks ago when I finished it. This is not a book that stuck with me. I had to go reread the summary, a few reviews and flip through the book to remember what happened in it.
The sirens or more accurately seekriegers in this book are creepy. They brought to my mind the mermaid creatures from the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie not The Little Mermaid Ariel. There is some very interesting new mythology on sirens most of which is shared at the end of the book.
This book was a little slow to start but it was worth reading. About half way through the book the story really starts to pick up when the main character Will reads through a captain's log and we start to learn the history of the sirens. At the end of the book we finally get some of the information I'd been waiting for throughout the story. I do want to read the sequel because I'm interested to learn more about the mythology of these sea creatures.
Content: I didn't flag this as a clean read but can't remember anything objectionable so I'm guessing it just has a little bit of language but honestly I can't remember!
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: From author for review
For all the tour stops please visit The Teen Book Scene
A Day with Duke is about a big, needy, loveable pooch that comes into a family who is not quite ready for him. How does this giant Bloodhound make his mark on the neighborhood? You'll find out as you laugh your way through his story. Everyone will be sure to fall in love with Duke!
I'm sure dog lovers can relate to this book. Duke is one very mischievous dog and is always getting into trouble. Despite his impish behavior his owners can't help but love him.
A Day with Duke is definitely not as polished as some children's books but it does has a unique charm about it. The way it is written reminds me of the way my mother in law would tell a story to our children. I was unsure about the book when I flipped through it but by the time I got to the end I decided it was a book worth reading.
Children trying to convince their parents to keep a dog that gets into everything could surely reason with their parents that at least their dog is not as bad as Duke! Those looking to get a dog might get a realistic picture of just how much work owning a dog could be.
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: From Author for Review
Title: Hope Haven
Author: Victoria E. Mora
Released: June 6, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Lauren Hart's summer is shaping up to be a first-rate disaster. Even after she asks God to make things the way they used to be, Lauren's reality is still as harsh as ever. Her parents are separated, and now she has to help care for her terminally ill grandma. Just as Lauren wonders what else could go wrong, it does.
Lauren and her horse, Dawn Treader, are ranked number one in the Junior Hunter Division and are headed to the national finals-that is until Dawn leaps out of the paddock and is seriously injured. Worse yet, her grandmother-who has always been a rock in Lauren's life-is knocking death's door, leaving Lauren to wonder what is next. But after Lauren meets the staff at Hope Haven Therapeutic Riding Center, everything is about to change-not only for her, but for her beloved horse as well.
In this heartwarming, coming-of-age story, a teenager rediscovers her faith and hope through tender friendship and the healing power of horses.
PATH International, formerly NARHA, is a federally-registered 501(c3) nonprofit and was formed in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs. More than 6,500 PATH Intl. members help more than 42,000 children and adults with physical, mental and emotional challenges find strength and independence through the power of the horse each year. With every purchase of Hope Haven, you will be helping PATH Intl. continue to advocate for safe equine-assisted activities and therapies for people with special needs.
Sunday afternoons usually find me with an inspirational type book in my hands. I received an unsolicited copy of Hope Haven in my mailbox last fall and finally picked it up to read last Sunday.
The main character in this book is sixteen but this book felt more like a middle grade/tween read than a young adult read. Lauren's life seems to be falling apart. Her parents are separated, her grandma is dying and her horse gets injured. Nothing seems to be going her way.
Lauren can't bear the thought of her horse being put down after it's injured so the horse ends up at Hope Haven, a therapeutic riding center where horses are used to help those with special needs. There are some touching moments in this short story especially around Lauren dealing with the death of her grandmother.
This was an short, inspiring read I would recommended to those who love horses or have an interest in horses being used for therapeutic purposes.
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: From Author
Title: The Snowman's Revenge
Author: Mark Smythe
Illustrator: Mike Motz
Publisher: Mark Smythe
Released: May 9, 2009
A snowman left out in the cold by himself is out for revenge, especially after he sees kids in the nice warm house, eating cookies, and drinking hot chocolate. This delightful story flows with rhymed verse, and is beautifully illustrated.
I really didn't know what to think of this book so I decide to it aloud to all 5 of my kids ages 6-17 to get their reaction. My older kids were disappointment with the ending. The snowman doesn't actually get revenge and they thought he should have been able to scare the children. If a snow man is able to come to life then certainly he should be able to do more than just melt when he gets in a warm house. My youngest said she wouldn't want to read it all the time and that it was ok and she liked it.
This is a rhyming story but I didn't feel the text flowed as smoothly as it could have. There were a few times the verses just didn't flow of my tongue. I liked the illustrations although a couple of them are a little scary looking.
So not a favorite of mine but one I wouldn't complain about if asked by my daughter to read again.
Rating: 3 Stars - Worth Reading
Source: From Author
The concept of Dissonance is one I’ve always found interesting, but haven’t read very much of- parallel universes. This book has a very intricate and fresh idea about a world with multiple universes that are based on sound and frequency. In this world there is the primary Key World and an infinite number of other worlds that are created from the choices people make and are populated by alternate versions of people, called Echoes. There are a small number of people who can go between these worlds, called Walkers, who destroy any broken worlds to maintain the Key World. I loved the world of this story. It managed to take a very complicated concept and describe it in a way that wasn’t heavy on the exposition, wasn’t too confusing, and worked well as an intrinsic part of the plot. I loved how the plot was mainly rooted in the mechanics... Read more »
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I didn’t know I needed a book about dragons masquerading as humans until I found one. Talon is about a world where the remaining dragons hide in plain sight in human form in order to stay alive and a girl who wants more for her life than what has been laid out for her. Although I had some issues with it, I liked the interesting characters, their relationships with each others, and the dragon culture. The book follows multiple perspectives, but the main character is Ember. She and her twin brother, Dante, have been moved to a small beach town for the summer by Talon so they can learn to blend in with normal human teenagers. For Ember, this is her one, brief period of time where she can have fun and do whatever she wants before the next stage of her mysterious training begins and she is officially locked into... Read more »
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While Soulprint brings up some interesting questions – how are we shaped by our pasts? how are we shaped by our environments? – I was ultimately not thrilled by its execution. In the world of the novel, here are the things you need to believe for this book to make sense to you: that there are souls, one; that souls are reincarnated (and are immediately reincarnated upon dying, but only travel short distances because … reasons), two; and that there’s a study that claims a high level of correspondence between criminal activity in past lives and criminal activity in current lives. Once a psychopath, always a psychopath. In the novel “shared souls” is kind of a stand-in (at least to my mind) for genes and their influence – the comparison to heredity is made more than once over the course of the novel. There is also a biological component to soul-printing... Read more »
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The premise for Denton Little’s Deathdate: Denton Little lives in a world where everyone knows the day they will die. When you’re born, your guardians send in some hair and blood, and bam! Deathdate revealed. Denton is an Early – a person whose deathdate falls before their 21st birthday – and he just wants to be a normal teenager who *isn’t* fated to die during his senior year of high school. Denton’s deathdate also happens to fall on the same day of his senior prom. So the book takes us through Denton’s final days on this earth: a brutal hangover, his own funeral, sex with his girlfriend, sex he can’t remember with his best friend’s sister, a strange cop who keeps following him around, a strange man who promises he knows mysterious things about his dead mother – all culminating in prom night, the day Denton is supposed to die. (Whether this... Read more »
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I have a nice little round up of April releases for you today! I think most of these have flown under the radar so far so I’m happy to shed a little spotlight here. We’ve got a dystopian (but sort of historical–you’ll see), a beautifully creative fantasy, and a science fiction-light romp that had me in stitches. Let’s dive in! Title: Rook Author: Sharon Cameron Rating: 3 stars This is one of those times where I fear I just couldn’t connect with a book not through any fault of its own, but because I just wasn’t really in the mood at the time. I saw this initially billed as a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and while the threads of relation are definitely there, this is mostly an original story. In a dystopian future, Sophia spends her days as an English gentlewoman, but in her spare time is a daring rebel... Read more »
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