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dystopia




  • Comedy, dystopia, Fantasy, Mysteries, New, Nicola

    New books

    16.05.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBrightly burning, Alexa Donne

    Stella Ainsley leaves poverty behind when she quits her engineering job aboard the Stalwart to become a governess on a private ship. On the Rochester , there’s no water ration, more books than one person could devour in a lifetime, and an AI who seems more friend than robot. But no one warned Stella that the ship seems to be haunted, nor that it may be involved in a conspiracy that could topple the entire interstellar fleet. Surrounded by mysteries, Stella finds her equal in the brooding but kind nineteen-year-old Captain Hugo. When several attempts on his life spark more questions than answers, and the beautiful Bianca Ingram appears at Hugo’s request, his unpredictable behavior causes Stella’s suspicions to mount. Without knowing who to trust, Stella must decide whether to follow her head or her heart. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The gravity stabilisers were failing again. I glanced up my sketchpad to see globules of liquid dancing up from drinking glass. They shimmered red, like droplets of blood, though I knew it was just cherry-flavoured nutri-drink. Dammit, that’s my protein ration for the day wasted.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSuitors and sabotage, Cindy Anstey

    Shy aspiring artist Imogene feels conflicted about marrying the young man her father has chosen for her, but she is willing to at least give him a chance for her family’s sake. That is, until she meets Ben, a charming architect’s apprentice . . . and her suitor’s younger brother.Unbeknownst to Imogene, Ben feels the same way about her, but he can never let his true feelings be known without betraying his brother. So he resigns himself to merely a friendship with her, enlisting her to teach him how to draw. But hiding their true feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of unfortunate “accidents,” it becomes apparent that someone means Ben serious harm. And as their affection for each other grows, so does the danger…(Publisher information)

    First lines:”Jasper!”
    Imogene Chively shouted as she jumped to her feet, flinging her sketch into the grass.
    “Don’t move! Stay exactly where you are!”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSmall bones, Vicki Grant

    Dot, whose name reflects her stature, has always had big dreams–but her dreams have to be put on hold while she searches for the truth about her parents. She gets a job as a seamstress at a lakeside resort in rural Ontario and falls hard for Eddie, a charming local boy who is equal parts helpful and distracting as Dot investigates her past. Searching for answers to questions about her birth, Dot learns more than she ever wanted to about the terrible effects of war, the legacy of deceit–and the enduring nature of love. (Publisher information)

    First lines: It was dark and he didn’t know where he was going. He pulled over to check the map she’d drawn for him, but a lot of good that did. She hadn’t been there in years. She’d scribbled vague lines on the back of a soup label and said, “The turn is right before the gas station, or maybe right after,” then she’d drawn a long squiggle and, at the edge of the label, a box with a roof on it.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInnocent, Eric Walters

    After the orphanage she lives in is destroyed by fire, Betty, an innocent and trusting teen, takes a job as a maid in Kingston, Ontario. Welcomed into the household of the wealthy Remington clan, Betty makes friends with the staff at the house and soon discovers that her mother had also been a maid there–and that her father is in a nearby jail, convicted of murdering her mother. When she meets her father, she is taken aback by his claims of innocence, and she decides to try to uncover the truth about her mother’s murder and her father’s conviction. A friendly young policeman assists her in her investigation (and shows an interest in Betty that is more romantic than professional). But all is not well in the Remington household, and someone doesn’t want Betty to learn the truth.(Publisher information)

    First lines: The sun was beat down on me so brightly that I had to keep my eyes tightly closed. It felt so good. I was like a cat basking in the sun, drinking in the warmth, letting it soak in and fill me up. I could lie here all day.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStones on a grave, Kathy Kacer

    Sara has never been out of the tiny town of Hope, Ontario, where she has been in an orphanage all her life. After a fire destroys the orphanage, clues about her parentage–a medical certificate and a Star of David–lead her to Germany. Despite her fears–she doesn’t speak the language, she knows no one in Germany, and she’s never been on an airplane–Sara arrives in Germany determined to explore her newly discovered Jewish heritage and solve the mystery of her parentage. What she encounters is a country still dealing with the aftermath of the Holocaust. With the help of a handsome, English-speaking German boy, she discovers the sad facts of her mother’s brief existence and faces the horrible truth about her father. Ultimately, the knowledge she gains opens up her world and leads her to a deeper understanding of herself. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The smoke was choking Sara, sucking the air out of her lungs. It billowed in massive clouds from the orphanage roof, exploding like lava and pouring across the sky. Sara stood on the lawn facing the disintegrating building, shaking uncontrollably. She pulled a blanket around her shoulders, wondering briefly briefly how it had gotten there. Had she grabbed it when she ran from her room? Everything was a blur.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTruly, wildly, deeply, Jenny McLachlan

    Annie is starting college. She can’t wait. No more school, no more uniform, and no one telling her what to do. It’s the start of a new adventure and Annie’s not going to let anyone or anything get in the way of that. Freedom matters to Annie. She has cerebral palsy and she’s had to fight hard to get the world to see her for who she truly is. Then she meets Fab. He’s six foot two, Polish and a passionate believer in, well, just about everything, but most of all Annie and good old fashioned romance. The moment Fab sees Annie, he’s wildly drawn to her and declares she must be his girl. Annie’s horrified. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s anything, especially if it means losing her independence. But then Annie finds herself falling for Fab. As things go deeply wrong, Annie realises that love can make you do wild, crazy things, and so she sets out to win his heart with a romantic gesture of truly epic proportions! (Publisher information)

    First lines: I am sitting on train waiting for my adult life to begin. If my mum wasn’t standing on the platform watching me this would be a really kick-ass moment.
    “Go away,” I mouth through the glass, but she just smiles, sips at her frappuccino and stays exactly where she is. So I stick my tongue at her and she sticks her middle finger back at me. For an infant-school teacher, she can be very ride.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe traitor’s game, Jennifer A. Nielsen

    Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home. The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The truth of where I’d been for the past three years wasn’t anyone believed. It wasn’t exile, as my father claimed. The Lava Fields were barren and unforgiving, and charming in the way that discovering a thorn with one’s bare foot might be charming. But I’d gladly choose to live there before sacrificing my happiness for my father’s political demands.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStumped, Kate Larkindale

    Seventeen-year-old Ozzy has a super-hot girlfriend who’s ready to take their relationship to the next level. Tonight. At the lake. But a missing condom scuttles his plans for seduction. Furious, Ozzy takes his girlfriend home and drives off – into the path of an oncoming truck. He wakes up with both legs amputated above the knees. When his girlfriend runs out gagging after one look at him, Ozzy knows he’s a hideous freak. He’s convinced he’s blown any chance of having a real relationship with a girl. Determined to prove he can still be a man despite his disability, Ozzy throws himself into dumping his virginity, but finds there’s a limited number of people willing to touch legless dudes in wheelchairs. His obsession takes him into an underworld of brothels and escort services where he discovers the difference between sex and intimacy, and that sometimes the price is much higher than a sex worker’s fee. (Publisher information).

    First lines: The sunlight bouncing off the water is blinding. To keep from dazzled, I stare down at my toes. Three dark hairs coil across the big toe on my left foot. Only one hair adorns the right. I puzzle over this whole the other swimmers line up. Will Lainey think I’m a freak for having mismatched toe hair. Do girls notice that kind of thing?


  • Comedy, dystopia, Fantasy, Mysteries, New, Nicola, realistic fiction

    New books

    10.05.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNot if I save you first, Ally Carter

    Maddie and Logan were torn apart by a kidnapping attempt when they were young. They were only kids — Logan’s dad was POTUS and Maddie’s father was the Secret Service agent meant to guard him. The kidnappers were stopped — but Maddie was whisked off to Alaska with her father, for satety. Maddie and Logan had been inseparable . . . but then she never heard from him again. Now it’s a few years later. Maddie’s a teenager, used to living a solitary life with her father. It’s quiet — until Logan is sent to join them. After all this time without word, Maddie has nothing to say to him — until their outpost is attacked, and Logan is taken. They won’t be out of the woods until they’re . . . out of the woods, and Maddie’s managed to thwart the foes and reconcile with Logan. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Dear Maddie,
    There’s a party at my house tomorrow night. Mom said I can invite a friend if I want to. So do you want to come?
    _YES
    _NO
    _MAYBE

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBravura, Sara Kingsley

    Raven Araroa is now Woman King of Nuimana and she’s finding island life suits her…especially with Leif by her side. When she learns all is not well back in her old kingdom and Leif must return, she chooses to follow, despite knowing her choice to defy the King of Nadir—her father—will put both their lives in danger. But what she finds upon her return to Nadir is far worse. (Goodreads)

    First lines: “Would you like some more, m’lady?”
    A nearby voice startles me out of my daydream. I look over at Leif, who is holding the decanter of wine. He’s already refilled his glass.
    “Yes, please.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHow you ruined my life, Jeff Strand

    Rod’s life doesn’t suck. If you ask him, it’s pretty awesome. He may not be popular, but he and his best friends play in a band that has a standing gig. Yeah, it’s Monday night and they don’t get paid, but they can turn the volume up as loud as they want. And Rod’s girlfriend is hot, smart, and believes in their band–believes in Rod. Aside from a winning lottery ticket, what more could he ask for? Answer: A different cousin. When Rod’s scheming, two-faced cousin Blake moves in for the semester, Rod tries to keep calm. Blake seems to have everyone else fooled with good manners and suave smile, except Rod knows better. Blake is taking over his room, taking over his band, taking over his life! But Rod’s not about to give up without a fight. Game on. May the best prankster win… (Publisher information)

    First lines: “Thanks for coming out tonight! Are you ready to rock?”
    A couple of people indicate that yes, they are indeed ready to begin the process of rocking. A few others don’t look up from their cell phones, but I’m confident that they’ll discover their readiness to rock as soon as we start playing.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTyler Johnson was here, Jay Coles

    When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid. The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Here’s what goes down:
    It’s just the four of us. My best friends, Ivy and Guillermo (G-mo), my brother, Tyler, and me. We’re just strolling through the aisles of a corner convenience store, rapping aloud to my favourite Kendrick Lamar song, “Feel,” turns rapping verses in out loud.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAce of shades, Amanda Foody

    Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school–and her reputation–behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted. Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected–he’s a street lord and con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

    First lines: If I’m not home in two months, I’m dead.
    Her mother’s warning haunted her as Enne Salta lugged her leather trunk down the bridge leading off the ship, filling her with an inescapable sense of dread.
    If I’m not home in two months, I’m dead.
    It’d been four.


  • Classic novels, dystopia, Great Reads, Librarian's Choice, Nicola, You might like

    You might like…dystopias

    04.05.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDystopias are a constant in YA fiction – what happens when imperfect humans try to create a perfect world. The dictionary defines it as “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.” But I think the idea that this was an attempt to make a perfect world is an important one. Of course one must ask: perfect for whom?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSeries like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner being among our most popular titles. Other notable titles include Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon – which won the Carnegie Medal in 2013. The Giver by Lois Lowry is a classic of YA literature for good reason, although it has a subtler approach to the genre than others.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOf course we have the two “parents” of the genre. 1984 is the George Orwell classic. Later we have Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Another book that’s in the media a lot and – warning, it’s tough going – is The Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood. Another favourite classic is Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower.


  • Comedy, dystopia, Environment, Fantasy, GLBT, Horror, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Sci Fi, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them, zombies

    New books

    02.05.18 | Permalink | Comment?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDread nation, Justina Ireland

    Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. Now laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. But it’s not a life Jane wants. When families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy… and the restless dead are the least of her problems. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The day I came squealing and squalling into the world was the first time someone tried to kill me. I guess it should have been obvious to everyone right then that I wasn’t going to have a normal life.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe fates divide, Veronica Roth

    The lives of Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth were spoken by the oracles at their births. The fates are inescapable. Akos is in love with Cyra in spite of his fate. He knows he will die in service to Cyra’s family. When Cyra’s father, Lazmet Noavek– a soulless tyrant, thought to be dead– reclaims the Shotet throne, he ignites a barbaric war. Cyra and Akos are desperate to stop him at any cost– and in the process they discover an unexpected fate. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Why so afraid?” we ask ourself.
    “She is coming to kill us,” we reply.
    We were once alarmed by this feeling of being in two bodies since the shift occurred, since both our currentgifts dissolved into one.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe heart forger, Rin Chupeco

    No one know death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life … and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her–and took the life of her one true love. But there are those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die … War is brewing among the kings, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: She wore the corpses for show. They trailed behind her, grotesque fabrics of writhing flesh and bones, spreading across the plain for miles around us. Those bereft of legs and feet used hands and elbows; those lacking jaws and tongues moaned from the hollows of their throats. Those onlookers who drew close grasped at the train of her gown until I was no longer certain where her dress ended and they began.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStormcaster, Cinda Williams Chima

    Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move wind, waves, and weather, but his magical abilities can’t protect him forever from the brutal Empress Celestine. As Celestine’s relentless bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom that an invasion is imminent. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall, and his last sanctuary will be destroyed. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose. Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship, sailing east. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled stronghold. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Evan of Tarvos stood at the stern rail, his eyes fixed on the ship had been following them for the better part of a day. The sleek three-master stayed just at the horizon, neither approaching nor losing ground. Strange. Most ships fled in a hurry when they spotted Captain Latham Strangward’s stormlord standard.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMisfit, Charli Howard (non-fiction)

    So, how did a slightly bonkers misfit with anorexia, bulimia and anxiety decide to solve their problems? I became a model. As you do. Charli Howard had always wanted to be normal – but for some reason, she couldn’t quite find out how to do it. As a teenager, she felt like the only one who struggled with anxiety and self-esteem issues when everyone around her seemed to fit in. So she tried to embrace standing out: by becoming a model. Believing it would make her happy and envied, she set out single-mindedly to make it – and she achieved her dream. But the reality wasn’t quite as glamorous as she’d hoped. The pressure on Charli to look a certain way took an extreme toll on her body and self-image, and no matter how thin she got, she was never thin enough. When Charli, though medically underweight, was fired by her modelling agency for being too big, she decided she’d had enough. She used her platform for good and spoke out about the insane standards of the modelling industry, whose images influence young women and girls all over the world. Now, Charli is comfortable in her skin for the first time ever, working happily as a plus sized model in New York. Here, she shares her journey, from anorexic and bulimic teenager to happy, healthy twenty-something. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I am not normal.
    From the ages of four to six, I though I was a dog. A German shepherd to be precise, though I could also be a Dalmatian, depending on my mood. The dogs I grew up with were spoiled and loved, and played around all day, so that’s what I decided I wanted to become.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAs she fades, Abbi Glines

    On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken. Slate Allen, a college friend of Vales brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she cant deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she’s not immune to Slate’s charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship. Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she’s in Slate’s territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved fairy tales. And I’ve believed in true love. It was easy for me, though, because I feel in love at six years old. Not many people find love so young. Crawford and I believed we were special. That fate shined on us and gave us each other early so we’d have a lifetime together. He was my very own Prince Charming.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDefy the worlds, Claudia Gray

    Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. When a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi is the only soldier to have ever left the planet. It’s up to her to save its people — if only she wasn’t flying straight into a trap. On the run to avoid his creator, Burton Mansfield, Abel hears that Noemi has been captured — by Mansfield. Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Noemi Vidal walks through the two long lines of starfighters in the hangar, helmet under one arm, head held high. She doesn’t wave to her friends like she always used to – until six months ago. Now no one would wave back.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe continent, Keira Drake

    For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire–a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two nations remain perpetually locked in combat. Most citizens lucky enough to tour the Continent do so to observe the spectacle and violence of battle, a thing long vanished in the peaceful realm of the Spire. For Vaela, the war holds little interest. As a talented apprentice cartographer and a descendant of the Continent herself, she sees the journey as a dream come true: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land. But Vaela’s dream all too quickly turns to nightmare as the journey brings her face-to-face with the brutal reality of a war she’s only read about. Observing from the safety of a heli-plane, Vaela is forever changed by the sight of the bloody battle being waged far beneath her. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, Vaela finds herself much closer to danger than she’d ever imagined–and with an entirely new perspective as to what war truly means. Starving, alone and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home–but first, she must survive. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: This must be the most magnificent party in the history of the Spire.
    I’ve never felt quite like this before; my mind is awhirl, my senses dazzled, and there’s a bounding joy spiraling up within me. I wonder where it’s coming from, this feeling of inexhaustible delight?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI have lost my way, Gayle Forman

    Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in helpƯing the others out of theirs. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I have lost my way.
    Freya stares at the words she just typed into her phone.
    I have lost my way. Where did that come from?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite night, Ellie Marney

    In Bo Mitchell’s country town, a ‘White Night’ light-show event has the potential to raise vital funds to save the skate park. And out of town, a girl from a secretive off-the-grid community called Garden of Eden has the potential to change the way Bo sees the world. But are there too many secrets in Eden? As Bo is drawn away from his friends and towards Rory, he gradually comes to believe that Eden may not be utopia after all, and that their group leader’s goal to go off the grid may be more permanent – and more dangerous – than anyone could have predicted. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Three things are all over my feed on the first day of school: the skate park’s being shut down, Mr Showalter is losing his nut, and the new girl is a feral skank. Teo saw Mr. S talking to himself at the I.G.A. Lozzie’s avatar is a dancing tulip.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSal, Mick Kitson

    Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs, and a first aid kit from Amazon using credit cards she’d robbed. She read the ‘SAS Survival Handbook’ and watched loads of YouTube videos. And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits, and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her. Told in Sal’s distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, ‘Sal’ is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Peppa said “Cold” and then she went quiet for a but. And then she said “Cold Sal. I’m cold.” Her voice was low and quiet and whispery. Not like normal. I started to worry she had hypothermia. I saw a thing about how it makes you go all slow and quiet.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNice try, Jane Sinner, Lianne Oelke

    The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out. Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange , a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother , but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight. As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world–or at least viewers of substandard TV–that she has what it takes to win.(Publisher summary)

    First lines: I’m not a particularly good daughter, but I sat through a month of therapy for my parents’ sake. I’d like to think they got more out of it than I sis. Couldn’t have been too hard. Any system that requires the patient’s family to pay someone else to care about her is fundamentally flawed. But I digress. If my decision to stop attending therapy means James Fowler High School no longer welcomes me as a student, I guess that’s on me.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLeah on the offbeat, Becky Alberti

    When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat–but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends–not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting–especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

    First lines: I don’t mean to be dramatic, but God save me from Morgan picking our set list. That girl is a suburban dad’s midlife crisis in a high school senior’s body.


  • dystopia, Fantasy, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Real Life, Real Problems

    New books

    13.04.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMunmun, Jesse Andrews

    In an alternate reality a lot like our world, every person’s physical size is directly proportional to their wealth. The poorest of the poor are the size of rats, and billionaires are the size of skyscrapers. Warner and his sister Prayer are destitute–and tiny. Their size is not just demeaning, but dangerous: day and night they face mortal dangers that bigger richer people don’t ever have to think about, from being mauled by cats to their house getting stepped on. There are no cars or phones built small enough for them, or schools or hospitals, for that matter–there’s no point, when no one that little has any purchasing power, and when salaried doctors and teachers would never fit in buildings so small. Warner and Prayer know their only hope is to scale up, but how can two littlepoors survive in a world built against them? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Being littlepoor is notsogood.
    I know I know, you think you know this already, howabout I just tell you though.
    I want to see if this makes you laugh. A middlerich kid stepped on our house and crushed my dad to death. Then that same year a cat attacked my mom at the dump and snapped her spine. Okay there. That’s it. Did you blurt a little giggly laugh?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe girl who saw lions, Berle Doherty

    Abela has lost everything, and now she must leave her home in Tanzania and flee to Britain. Rosa’s struggling to cope with her mother’s wish to adopt a child. When they are brought together, will Abela and Rosa ever be able to love one another like sisters? From the Carnegie Medal-winning author Berlie Doherty, The Girl Who Saw Lions is a powerful and moving story, inspired by the author’s visit to Africa. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: The priest arrived on a red motorbike. Dust rose like smoke around him as he roared into the village. Already the villagers were strolling towards the church, which was built like a barn on wooden supports. The sides were open, and swallows and children swooped and tumbled in and out. Abela had been one of the first to arrive, carrying her baby sister on her hip, the child’s skinny arms looped around her neck. She was too big to be carried, really, and Abela was too small to be carrying her.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe astonishing color of after, Emily X. Pan

    Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: when her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. When she travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time, Leigh is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: My mother is a bird. This isn’t like some William Faulker stream-of-consciousness metaphorical crap. My mother. Is literally. A bird. I know it’s true the way I know the stain on the bedroom floor is a permanent as the sky, the way I know my father will never forgive himself. Nobody believes me, but it is a fact. I am absolutely certain.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFound, Harlan Coben

    It’s been eight months since Mickey Bolitar witnessed the death of his father. Eight months of lies, dark secrets, and unanswered questions. Mickey’s sophomore year brings on its own set of troubles: Ema surprises with news that she has an online boyfriend, and he’s vanished. As he’s searching for Ema’s missing boyfriend, Mickey and his friends are pulled deeper into the mysteries of the Abeona Shelter, risking their lives, until Mickey finally comes face-to-face with the truth about his father. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Eight months ago, I watched my father’s coffin lowered into the ground. Today I was watching it being dug back up. My uncle Myron stood next to me. Tears ran down his face. His brother was in that coffin – no, strike that, his brother was supposed to be in that coffin – a brother who supposedly died eight months ago, but a brother Myron hadn’t seen in twenty years.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe sorcerer heir, Cinda Williams Chima

    Emma and Jonah are at the center of it all. Brought together by their shared history, mutual attraction, and a belief in the magic of music, they now stand to be torn apart by new wounds and old betrayals. As they struggle to rebuild their trust in each other, Emma and Jonah must also find a way to clear their names as the prime suspects in a series of vicious murders. It seems more and more likely that the answers they need lie buried in the tragedies of the past. The question is whether they can survive long enough to unearth them. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: “Where are you off to, Alicia?” Aunt Millisandra asked as Leesha Middleton sidled past on her way to the door.
    “A party,” Leesha said, purposely vague. “I’ll be back late.”
    “Is the party here in town?” Aunt Millie asked. “Will there be drinking? Will you be careful?”


  • Comics, dystopia, GLBT, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Sci Fi

    New Books

    05.04.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSightwitch, Susan Dennard

    Set a year before Truthwitch, Sightwitch follows Ryber Fortiza, the last Sightwitch Sister as she treks deep underground to rescue her missing best friend. While there, she encounters a young Nubrevnan named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he wound up inside the mountain. From the New York Times bestselling author of Windwitch Susan Dennard, an illustrated prequel novella set in the Witchlands setting up the forthcoming hotly anticipated Bloodwitch. (Publisher information)

    First lines: You don’t remember me, do you, Kullen?
    I’m familiar though. When I walked into the Cleaved Man, you squinted your eyes as if there was something in my face you knew. Something that made you rub that scar on your chest. Don’t you wonder how you got that scar?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDon’t cosplay with my heart, Cecil Castellucci

    Edan Kupferman’s life is coming apart: her father is being “sequestered” because the company he works for in Hollywood is in legal trouble, her best friend is in Japan for the summer, and the boy she has a crush on is just plain confusing, so she escapes into the world of comics, and her favorite character, Gargantua–but when Kirk, a boy from her high school, gets her into the sold out ComicCon it starts to look like she might, with a little help, be able to take control of her life after all. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: it’s no wonder when I see the cheap Gargantua mask I picked up on Free Comic Book Day this past spring on my desk, I put it on and leave it on when I am called down to dinner. Gargantua, my favorite character from Team Tomorrow, is ten feet tall and so is the size of my being pissed off at everything right now.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe price guide to the occult, Leslye Walton

    When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred-some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide ‘s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: They have been called many things.
    Years ago, when their nomadic ways led them north to where the mountains were covered in ice and the winter nights were long, the villagers called to them , “Häxa, Häxa!” and left gifts of lutfisk and thick elk skins.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe fandom, Anna Day

    Violet’s in her element – cosplay at the ready, she can’t wait to feel part of her favourite fandom: The Gallow’s Dance, a mega-story and movie franchise. But at Comic Con, a freak accident transports Violet and her friends into the The Gallows Dance for real – and in the first five minutes, they’ve caused the death of the heroine. It’s up to Violet to take her place, and play out the plot the way it was written. But stories have a life of their own…(Publisher summary)

    First lines: I begin to stand, realize my maxi skirt has stuck to my thighs, and subtly unpeel the cotton from my skin.
    “Go for it,” Katie whispers.
    I don’t reply. Why did I volunteer to do this stupid presentation?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhat goes up, Katie Kennedy

    Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Interworlds Agency. They’re not exactly sure what the top-secret program entails, but they know they want in. Rosa has her brilliant parents’ legacies to live up to, and Eddie has nowhere else to go–he’s certainly not going to stick around and wait for his violent father to get out of jail. Even if they are selected, they have no idea what lies in store. But first they have to make it through round after round of crazy-competitive testing. And then something happens that even NASA’s scientists couldn’t predict…(Publisher summary)

    First lines: NASA stored the future in a hangar in Iowa. Rosa Hayashi’s future, anyway. The tryouts for a position with the Interworlds Agency would take two days, but they started now. Rosa stepped into the hangar and didn’t wait for her eyes to adjust. She found a seat and bounced a pencil on her leg while waited for the future to catch up with her.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA very, very bad thing, Jeffery Self

    Marley is one of the only gay kids in his North Carolina town — and he feels like he might as well be one of the only gay kids in the universe. Or at least that’s true until Christopher shows up in the halls of his high school. Christopher’s great to talk to, great to look at, great to be with-and he seems to feel the same way about Marley. It’s almost too good to be true. There’s a hitch (of course): Christopher’s parents are super conservative, and super not okay with him being gay. That doesn’t stop Marley and Christopher from falling in love. Marley is determined to be with Christopher through ups and downs-until an insurmountable down is thrown their way. Suddenly, Marley finds himself lying in order to get to the truth-and seeing the suffocating consequences this can bring

    First lines: I am not a bad person. I’m not a great person, either, but not bad. No matter what I did.
    Stupid? Yes.
    Desperate? Yes.
    Completely and totally lost beyond all belief? Abso-damn-lutely.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe extinction trials, S.M. Wilson

    Stormchaser wants to escape her starved, grey life. Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. Their only chance is to join an expedition to a deadly country to steal the eggs of vicious dinosaurs. If they succeed, their reward is a new life filled with riches. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – only the ruthless will survive. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: She couldn’t see him. She didn’t even know he was there. Lincoln pressed herself against the dark red walls of the cave. Maybe it was the artificial light that made her look so unwell. They’d been rushed out of their old home and moved into this one so quickly that he couldn’t even remember when he’d last seen his sister in natural daylight.


  • dystopia, Fantasy, Mysteries, New, realistic fiction

    New books

    29.03.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHero at the fall, Alwyn Hamilton

    Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and the Demdji powers she’s struggling to control, Amani must rally a crew of rebels to take on the bloodthirsty sultan of Miraji and free the imprisoned prince Ahmed. But as the rescue mission travels through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist, Amani questions whether she is leading them all to their deaths. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I woke from a sleep filled with nightmares to the sound of my name.
    I was already reaching for a gun when I recognised Sara’s face above me, swimming in and out of focus as my eyes blurred with exhaustion.
    My grip on the trigger eased. It wasn’t an enemy, just Sara, the guardian of the Hidden House.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsObsidio, Amie Kaufman and Jay kristoff (#3 in the Illumiane Files)

    Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza–but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?(Publisher summary)

    First lines: Crowhurst, G: Perhaps we should get proceedings under way? Miss Donnelly, is the video feed operating at your end?
    Donnelly, H: We can see you, Mr. Crowhurst.
    Crowhurst, G: Thank you for making yourself available to us today. Please state your name and occupation for the record.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe beauty that remains, Ashley Woodfolk

    Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Autumn is a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan has always turned to writing love songs when his real love life was a little less than perfect. But death might pull them apart– when tragedy strikes each of them, music is no longer enough. Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend; Shay is struggling to keep it together; Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered. It is possible for one band’s music to reunite them and prove that beauty thrives in the people left behind? (Publisher summary)

    First lines: I saw you yesterday.
    There’s no way this is real. It’s can’t be.
    I keep waiting for you to call.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFaceless, Alyssa Sheinmel

    Maisie is a normal sixteen-year-old, until an electrical fire caused by a lightning strike leaves her with severe burns, her face partially destroyed–she is lucky enough to get a full face transplant but she soon discovers how much her looks shaped her own identity and her relationship with those around her, including her boyfriend. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Step, breath. Step, breath.
    My best friend, Serena, doesn’t understand why I run. She said once that of all the different forms of working out, she thought running seemed like the absolute worst. The most punishing. Of course, Serena does yoga.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRide, Lisa Glass

    As a professional surfer, seventeen-year-old Iris has travelled the sun-kissed beaches of the globe. But after a tumultuous week in Miami leaves her heartbroken, Iris returns to her home town in the south coast of England. Putting her promising career on hold. Leaving behind Zeke, the boy who changed her world. Iris is desperate to get back to her old life, to the family and friends she grew up with. She wants to rediscover her passion for surfing. She needs to move on. But Iris soon realises it won’t be that simple. Because while a summer romance might only last the season, first loves never truly leave you…(Publisher information)

    First lines: The Florida wind in my face, I paddle into shark park, acutely aware of several long-lens cameras trained on me. I’ve made the decision to stop wearing bikinis when I compete, even in warm water. Instead, I’ll dress in either a one-piece swimsuit with men’s boardshorts and my contest jersey, or, if I can surf without getting cooked by neoprene, a spring wetsuit.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe belles, Dhonielle Clayton

    Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful. But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite, the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie, that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles, or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. (Publisher information)

    First lines: We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.
    But not for us. Today is our debut. There are only six of us this year.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChildren of blood and bone, Tomy Adeyemi

    Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (Publisher summary)

    First lines: Pick me.
    It’s all I can do not to scream. I dig my nails into the marula oak of my staff and squeeze to keep from fidgeting. Beads of sweat drip down my back, but I can’t tell if it’s from dawn’s early heat or from my heart slamming against my chest. Moon after moon I’ve been passed over. Today can’t be the same.


  • dystopia, Mysteries, New, Nicola, poetry, Real Life, Real Problems, Troubled teens trying to put their past behind them

    New books

    20.03.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo

    Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The summer is made for stoop-sitting
    and since it’s the last week before school starts,
    Harlem is opening its eyes to September.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTo kill a kingdom, Alexandra Christo

    Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. Hearts are power, and with the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. When a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own, the Sea Queen transforms Lira a human as punishment. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever. Hunting sirens is Prince Elian’s calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good– but can he trust her? (Publisher information)

    First lines: I have a heart for every year I’ve been alive.
    There are seventeen hidden in the sand of my bedroom. Every so often, I claw through the shingle, just to check they’re still there. Buried deep and bloody. I count each of them, so I can be sure none were stolen in the night. It’s not such an odd fear to have. Hearts are power, and if there’s one thing my kind craves more than the ocean, it’s power.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRestore me, Tahereh Mafi

    It’s been sixteen days since Juliette Ferrars killed the supreme commander of North America and took over as ruler of the Reestablishment on the continent … Juliette thought she’d won. She took over sector 45 and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch–and with so much power in her young hands, the world is watching her every move, waiting to see what happens next. (Publisher information)

    First lines: I don’t wake up screaming anymore. I do not feel ill at the sight of blood. I do not flinch before firing a gun.
    I will never again apologize for surviving.
    And yet-

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe case for Jamie, Britanny Cavallaro

    A year after August’s death, Jamie and Charlotte are manipulated into reforming their detective team by someone who wants to see them suffer. Jamie is going through the motions at Sherringford, trying to finish his senior year without incident, with a nice girlfriend he can’t seem to fall for. Charlotte is on the run, from Lucien Moriarty and from her own mistakes. No one has seen her since that fateful night on the lawn in Sussex—and Charlotte wants it that way. She knows she isn’t safe to be around. She knows her Watson can’t forgive her. Holmes and Watson may not be looking to reconcile, but when strange things start happening, it’s clear that someone wants the team back together. Someone who has been quietly observing them both. Making plans. Biding their time. Someone who wants to see one of them suffer and the other one dead. (Publisher information)

    First lines: It was January in Connecticut, and the snow hadn’t stopped falling in what felt like forever. It gathered in the windows wells, in the hollows between the bricks of the rebuilt sciences building. It hung from the boughs of trees, tucked itself up the root systems below. I shook it from my wool cap before every class, ruffled it out of my hair, pulled it from my socks.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInto exile, Joan Lingard

    Catholic Kevin and Protestant Sadie have married and escaped to London to start a new life together, away from their disapproving families and the fighting on the streets. But news from Belfast brings loneliness and heartache – will they ever really be free of the Troubles back home? (Publisher information)

    First lines: Sadie McCoy stood by the window looking out into the dingy street. It was Sunday morning, early, and few people were about, which made the street look even worse than usual. She was used to dingy streets, it was not that in itself that was bothering her, but the streets she had known were Belfast ones, with rows red-bricked houses built back to back. This was a London street, and even after a month it still looked foreign to her.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA girl like that, Tanaz Bhathena

    In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sixteen-year-old half-Hindu/half-Parsi Zarin Wadia is the class troublemaker and top subject for the school rumor blogs, regularly leaving class to smoke cigarettes in cars with boys, but she also desperately wants to grow up and move out of her aunt and uncle’s house, perhaps realizing too late that Porus, another non-Muslim Indian who risks deportation but remains devoted to Zarin, could help her escape. When the two end up dead in a car on a highway in Jeddah, it becomes clear she was far more than a “girl like that.” (Publisher information)

    First lines: The wails Masi let out were so heart-wrenching you would think I was her only daughter lying dead before her instead, of the parasite from her sister’s womb, as she once called me. She should have been a professional funeral crier.


  • dystopia, Nicola, Sci Fi, You might like

    You might like…alternate histories

    15.03.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on You might like…alternate histories

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAlternate histories can be best be described as “what if but ” There’s often crossover into fantasy or they involve some fantastic elements. This is particularly true of my top picks for alternate history fiction: Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy (what if the Great War but one side had giant monsters and the other side had enormous machines) and Brian Falkner’s Battlesaurus series (what if the Napoleonic Wars but the French ride dinosaurs).

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a more serious note, I think Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series is the pre-eminent title in this genre. It falls outside my formula but it’s a YA classic and for good reason. Noughts and Crosses deals with a reversal: People of colour occupy a place of privilege, whilst the others are oppressed. It is much more complex than that; it deals with love, family ties and the ethics of oppression and resistance. I cannot recommend this book enough.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe big lie by Julie Mayhew is a newer book with a common trope in alternate history fiction; what if the Nazis won World War Two? This book examines this from the perspective of the daughter of an English Nazi officer. To describe this book as chilling is a massive understatement; it’s a startling vision of a world made unfamiliar right down to the smallest detail. A massive political change through the eyes of one person.

    Now for other items in our collection. It’s interesting to note that is a popular theme in non-fiction as it is in fiction. There are plenty of historians interested in the possibilities. More what if? : eminent historians imagine what might have been (edited by Robert Cowley) is my top pick.

    In adult fiction, we have The mammoth book of alternate histories, edited by Ian Watson and Ian Whates. It’s a collection of short stories, so it’s not a heavy tome with lots of lore. On the more fantastic side of things, we have Anno Dracula – what if Dracula was real and turned Queen Victoria into a vampire.

    It’s interesting when looking at alternate history novels; especially in regards to who writes them and what gets told and what differences are emphasised. Something to keep in mind while investigating the genre.


  • Comedy, dystopia, Espionage, Fantasy, Horror, Mysteries, New, Nicola, Real Life, Sci Fi

    New books

    06.03.18 | Permalink | Comments Off on New books

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe last to let go, Amber Smith

    Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind. But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own. In a year of firsts–the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom–Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go. (Publisher information)

    First lines: It’s the end of June. A Friday. Like any other day, except hotter. I take my usual shortcut home from school through the alley, where the air is dense and unbreathable, saturated with the raw smell of overheated dumpster garbage. I can taste it in the back of my throat like an illness coming on.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics36 questions that changed my mind about you, Vicki Grant

    Hildy and Paul each have their own reasons for joining the university psychology study that asks the simple question: Can love be engineered? The study consists of 36 questions, ranging from “What is your most terrible memory?” to “When did you last sing to yourself?” By the time Hildy and Paul have made it to the end of the questionnaire, they’ve laughed and cried and lied and thrown things and run away and come back and driven each other almost crazy. They’ve also each discovered the painful secret the other was trying so hard to hide. But have they fallen in love? (Publisher information)

    First lines: There were three rapid knocks, then the door opened and a girl stumbled in, out of breath.
    “Sorry. Sorry I’m late. I had to talk to my English teacher about my term paper and he wasn’t in his office and…”
    Jeff jiggled his head like no problem.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRosemarked, Livia Blackburne

    When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she is destined to live her last days in isolation. Dineas, broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, thirsts for revenge against his captors; he’ll do anything to free his tribe from Amparan rule– even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self. The two are thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, and must find common ground to protect those they love– while grappling with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts. (Publisher information)

    First lines: A bitter film of ziko root coats the inside of my mouth. I run my tongue over my palate to rub out the taste, though I know it won’t work. Nothing dislodges ziko bitterness – not water, not bread, nor goat’s milk. If I’d been planning ahead, I might have brought a mint leaf to chew, but I’ve had more important things on my mind.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAkata warrior, Nnedi Okorafor

    A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Greetings from the Obi Library Collective of Leopard Knocks’ Department of Responsibility. We are a busy organisation with more important things to do. However, we’ve been ordered to write you this brief letter of information. It is necessary that you understand what you understand what you understand what you are getting into before you begin reading this book. If you already understand, then feel free to skip this warning and jump right into the continuation of Sunny’s story and Chapter 1.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll that was, Karen Rivers

    Piper and Sloane were best friends. They grew up together, from childhood to first love, and in spite of how different they were, their friendship was supposed to last forever. That is, until Piper caught Sloane kissing her boyfriend–and just days later, Piper was found dead, washed ashore on a beach. Sloane was torn with grief and guilt. How do you make amends for hurting someone you love if that person is no longer around? And how can you ever move on and love again? (Publisher information)

    First lines: What do I do now?
    I’m under.
    I’m gone.
    I’m below.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe chaos of standing still, Jessica Brody

    Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year. She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died. But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her. And his name is Xander. When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head. Ryn can’t move on. But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start. (Publisher information)

    First lines: The view from the window of seat 27F is like trying to look through a snow glove after you’ve shaken it so hard the artificial white flakes don’t know which way is down.
    “Restless” is a word that comes to mind.
    Is it safe to land a plane in a snowstorm?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBetween us, Clare Atkins

    Between Us is the story of two teenagers – Jono and Anahita – falling in love for the first time. There’s just one thing standing between them: twenty kilometres of barbed wire fence. Anahita lives in the Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre, where asylum seekers are detained while they wait to be ‘processed’ by the Australian government. The two teenagers meet at Darwin High School. Anahita travels from Wickham Point to school each day, passing through metal detectors, checkpoints and enduring multiple roll calls on the detention centre bus. Jono has no idea about any of this. All he knows is that there’s a beautiful new girl with dark eyes, who keeps looking over in his direction … is it possible she likes him? (Publisher information)

    First lines: I start again.
    I lift my right foot off the ground, and place it on the lowest step of the bus. My nerves are an electric lightning storm inside me, fraught and fiery.
    The officer waves from me to get on. Her voice cracks with impatience. “Hurry up!”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNobody real, Steven Camden

    Marcie is seventeen and under pressure. Pressure from Mum to go to University. Pressure from Dad to rebel and find her passion. Everyone seems to know what’s best for her. Nobody just listens. Not like her imaginary friend Thor Baker used to. When Tara’s older brother Morgan comes home from university, Marcie thinks she might have someone who understands. Then Thor Baker shows up. In the real world. Still strong, still handsome, still made to protect her and to love her. But Thor has his own ideas of what love and protection mean. And what Thor wants might not be what’s best for Marcie either. As the story builds, seen through Marcie’s eyes and Thor’s, the stakes continue to grow, until both find themselves having to choose – between what they have always wanted, and what they really need…(Publisher summary)

    First lines: You’re almost twelve.
    Staring through the fire at Sean. The tips of the flames lick the top branches of the bush you’ve both spent all day hollowing out.
    You’re holding the stolen aerosol can. Sean’s nervous smile. Your willing apprentice.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSecond best friends, Non Pratt

    Jade and Becky are best friends, but when Jade’s ex-boyfriend lets on that everyone thinks Becky is the better of the two, Jade finds herself noticing just how often she comes second to her best friend. There’s nothing Jade is better at than Becky. So when Jade is voted in as Party Leader ahead of her school’s General Election only to find herself standing against Becky, Jade sees it as a chance to prove herself. If there’s one thing she can win, it’s this election – even if it means losing her best friend. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Rules for breaking up with hottest guy in school.
    1. Know your reasons
    2. Look fierce
    3. Take your best friend for moral support (even if she puts up a fight)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI never, Laura Hopper

    Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex. (Publisher information)

    First lines: Happy freaking’ New Year. Did they really think this was a good time to do this? Really? Here we are in beautiful Cabo San Lucas, where I’m enjoying a much-needed break from the stress that junior year of high school brings. At out supposedly celebratory New Year’s Eve dinner, they drop the bomb.
    “Separating.” “Splitting up.” We all know those are euphemisms for the dreaded D word.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe breathless, Tara Goedjen

    No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year–almost to the day–from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is. Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died. And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets–dangerous secrets–about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever. (Publisher information)

    First lines: It isn’t a night for raising. It isn’t night yet at all. It’s a hazy gray afternoon, with the promise of rain. A layer of fog covers Blue Gate and the woods that surround it, but we can se inside the windows. Here a family gathers near a girl with hair that gleams. Her green eyes have a hint of gold, and she is a pretty thing. The kind of girl everyone points to and says: something big is going to happen to her one day.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHonour among thieves, Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

    Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell. Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan–a race of sentient alien ships–to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers. Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight. (Publisher information)

    First lines: I feel the stars.
    Energy pulses against my skin, murmuring secrets about this small galaxy, about orbits and alignments and asteroids streaming in space. Impulse makes me want to dive and cruise those currents, but I control urges. I shift my attention to the flutters of life within my skin.


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