A new music series, short stories for people with Divergent-withdrawal (if you can wait a few months), and time travel.
Rock War, Robert Muchamore – a new series (Rock War) by the creator of CHERUB. “Meet Jay. Summer. And Dylan. Jay plays guitar, writes songs and dreams of being a rock star. But his ambitions are stifled by seven siblings and a terrible drummer. Summer works hard at school, looks after her nan and has a one-in-a-million singing voice. But can her talent triumph over her nerves? Dylan is happiest lying on his bunk smoking, but his school rugby coach has other ideas, and Dylan reluctantly joins a band to avoid crunching tackles and icy mud. They’re about to enter the biggest battle of their lives. And there’s everything to play for.” (goodreads.com)
Four, A Divergent Collection, Veronica Roth (Juneish) - five short stories from Four’s perspective (”The Transfer,” “The Initiate,” “The Son,” “The Traitor,” and “Free Four”). Find out what Four thinks really happened.
The 57 lives of Alex Wayfare, M. G. Buehrlen – “For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories. Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever. And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.” (goodreads.com)
Thin Space, Jody Casella, (243 pages) Ever since the car accident that killed his twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends, to right his wrongs and set things right. He must find a Thin Space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side. But, when a new girl moves into the house next door, the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead.
First Lines: “Marsh”
The light was bright. Glaring. I tried to turn my head, but a sharp tug locked me in place. Ugh! Something was clamped between my lips. It snaked down my throadt so I couldn’t breathe. I jerked my hands, wating to claw whatever the hell is was away, but someone’s fingers curled around mine and held them down.
“You’re Ok, Marsh.”
Man Made Boy, Jon Skovron (361 pages)Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.
First lines: In the beginning, there was zero. And then God said, let there be one. Computers, Internet, phones, text messages – our entire digital lives can be broken down into code. And any code can be simplified into birnary And binary is nothing but a string of ones and zeroes. At each moment, a choice. Yes or no. Everything we create, everything we do, everything we are, comes down to that. It is so simple. And so beautiful.
The Darkest Path (320 pages)A civil war rages between the Glorious Path–a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier–and what’s left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path’s dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path’s deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal’s loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on
First lines: When I woke up in the examination room, I was handcuffed to the bed. A loop of steel circled my right wrist, holding it fast to a guardrail. My left arm lay throbbing at my side, the skin swollen taut from where Sergeant Rhames had broken my wrist with a baseball bat.
How I became a ghost, Tim Tingle (141 pages)Told in the words of Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the Trail of Tears, HOW I BECAME A GHOST is a tale of innocence and resilience in the face of tragedy. From the book’s opening line, “Maybe you have never read a book written by a ghost before,” the reader is put on notice that this is no normal book. Isaac leads a remarkable foursome of Choctaw comrades: a tough-minded teenage girl, a shape-shifting panther boy, a lovable five-year-old ghost who only wants her mom and dad to be happy, and Isaac s talking dog, Jumper. The first in a trilogy, HOW I BECAME A GHOST thinly disguises an important and oft-overlooked piece of history.
First Lines: Maybe you have never read a book written by a ghost before. I am a ghost. I am not a ghost when this book begins, so you have to play very close attention. I should tell you something else. I see things before they happen. You are probably thinking “I wish I could see things before they happen. Be careful what you wish for.”
Seeing Red, Kathryn Erskine (344 pages)Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He’s a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Rocky Gap, Virginia.
Red’s daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and Mama with some hard decisions and a whole lot of doubt. Should they sell the Porter family business, a gas station, repair shop, and convenience store rolled into one, where the slogan — “Porter’s: We Fix it Right!” — has been shouting the family’s pride for as long as anyone can remember?
With Daddy gone, everything’s different. Through his friendship with Thomas, Beau, and Miss Georgia, Red starts to see there’s a lot more than car motors and rusty fenders that need fixing in his world.When Red discovers the injustices that have been happening in Rocky Gap since before he was born, he’s faced withunsettling questions about his family’s legacy.
First Lines: Folks don’t understand this unless it happens to them: When your daddy dies, everything changes. He’s not around anymore to teach you how to drive a truck when Mama isn’t looking, or tell you man stuff that J isn’t old enough to hear, or listen to you holler when you’re mad and say, “I hear ya, son,” while he lets you figure out what you’re going to do about it.
Hideous love, Stephanie Hemphill (293 pages)An all-consuming love affair. A family torn apart by scandal.A young author on the brink of greatness.Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein. Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.
First lines: I am Mary. I want to be a beauty, but I am not. I want to be free, but I am not. I want to be equal, but I am not. I want to be favourite, but I am not. I want to be loved, yet I am not.
The counterfeit family tree of Vee Crawford Wong, L. Tam Holland (357 pages) When Vee Crawford-Wong’s history teacher assigns an essay on his family history, Vee knows he’s in trouble. His parents—Chinese-born dad and Texas-bred Mom—are mysteriously and stubbornly close-lipped about his ancestors. So, he makes it all up and turns in the assignment. And then everything falls apart.After a fistfight, getting cut from the basketball team, offending his best friend, and watching his grades plummet, one thing becomes abundantly clear to Vee: No one understands him! If only he knew where he came from… So Vee does what anyone in his situation would do: He forges a letter from his grandparents in China, asking his father to bring their grandson to visit. Astonishingly, Vee’s father agrees. But in the land of his ancestors, Vee learns that the answers he seeks are closer to home then he could have ever imagined.
First lines: Dad was like China, full of sad irony and ancient secrets. There were the words he used to describe the country he had abandones, and they were full of philosophy and poetry, like him, and I didn’t understand them at all.
The new book by E Lockhart (!), breaking free in Edwardian London, and “The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report”.
We were liars, E Lockhart (May) – we’ve been waiting a very long time for the new E Lockhart book (Frankie Landau-Banks was 5 years ago!). May’s not that far away really. “A beautiful and distinguished family. — A private island. — A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. — A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. — A revolution. An accident. A secret. — Lies upon lies. — True love. — The truth.” (goodreads.com)
A mad, wicked folly, Sharon Biggs Waller – “Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist – a nearly impossible dream for a girl. After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse – or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?” (goodreads.com)
Uninvited, Sophie Jordan – an interesting new two-book series! “When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS) – aka the kill gene – she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone. Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.” (goodreads.com)
A historical fantasy, a contemporary fantasy, and two romances.
The Story of Owen, dragon slayer of Trondheim, E. K. Johnston (March) – This is getting great reviews by people saying it’s awesome, and like any great hero, Owen has a bard: ”Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim’s fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard. Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen!” (goodreads.com)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han (April) – the new novel by the popular author of The Summer I Turned Pretty. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.” (goodreads.com) This sounds horrifying to me! If you do this, maybe don’t address the letters.
The Geography of You and Me, Jennifer E. Smith (April) – the latest from the queen of chance encounters (e.g. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight). “Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father. Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and – finally – a reunion in the city where they first met.” (goodreads.com)
The Ring and the Crown, Melissa de la Cruz (April) – “Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve? Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard. Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of – the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only one rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.” (goodreads.com)
City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare (due in New Zealand in May/June) – the next instalment in the Mortal Instruments series. They say it’s the last, but we’ve heard that before (can it really be true?). “Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him – must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!” (goodreads.com)
Raging Star, Moira Young (May) – the conclusion to the Dust Lands trilogy that began with Blood Red Road. “Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton…until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world… for the chosen few. The few who can pay. Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.” (goodreads.com)
The One, Kiera Cass (May) – the next in the Selection series. “The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen. America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.” (goodreads.com) That’s an amazing dress.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – we’ve ordered extra copies of this, for re-reading after watching the movie (opening on Thursday, tomorrow).
A couple of loose ends are tied up (we think):
Dreams of Gods & Monsters, Laini Taylor (April 2014) – the third in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. Which must mean it’s the last?
“By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz…
“When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
“And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing…” (goodreads.com)
The Caller, Juliet Marillier (January 2014) – this is the conclusion to the Shadowfell trilogy.
“Neryn has made a long journey to perfect her skills as a Caller. She has learned the wisdom of water and of earth; she has journeyed to the remote isles of the west and the forbidding mountains of the north. Now, Neryn must travel in Alban’s freezing winter to seek the mysterious White Lady, Guardian of Air. For only when Neryn has been trained by all four Guardians will she be ready to play her role in toppling the tyrannical King Keldec.
“But the White Lady is not what she seems. Trapped with Whisper, her fey protector, Neryn is unable to send word to her beloved Flint, who is in danger of being exposed as a double agent. When a new threat looms and the rebellion is in jeopardy, Neryn must enter Keldec’s court, where one false move could see her culled. She must stand up against forces more powerful than any she has confronted before, and face losses that could break her heart.” (goodreads.com)
Hello blog readers! My name’s Nicola, and you may have seen some of my posts on this blog before, mostly looking at graphic novels. Now I’m writing about books as well. Here are my picks for the best new books this week.
A trick of the light, Lois Metzger (189 pages) -Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.
Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.
First lines: “The first time I reach Mike Welles, he’s in a tunnel. It’s syrupy hot, July hot, the kind of heat where your breath going out feels like your breath going in, or so I imagine. I’ve been trying to talk to Mike but he can’t hear me or can’t listen- the distinction isn’t important.”
Fallout, Todd Strasser (258 pages) – In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. As the neighbors scoff, he builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and stocks it with just enough supplies to keep the four of them alive for two critical weeks. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those same neighbors force their way into the shelter before Scott’s dad can shut the door. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. But even worse is the question of what will — and won’t — remain when the door is opened again.
First lines: I wake to a hand on my shoulder. Dad’s voice is urgent. “Get up, Scott!” The light in a the bedroom is on, nd I squint up into his face. Dad’s eyes are wide, and he’s shaking me hard, not gently, the way he usually does when he wants to wake me. “Up, now!”
Julius and the Watchmaker, Tim Hehir (349 pages) -When Julius Higgins isn’t running from Crimper McCready and his gang of bullies he’s working in his grandfather’s bookshop in Ironmonger Lane. Until Jack Springheel, a mysterious clock collector, turns up looking for the fabled diary of John Harrison—the greatest watchmaker of all time.
Before he knows it, Julius becomes a thief and a runaway and makes a deal with Springheel that he will live to regret. And all before he finds out that Harrison’s diary is really an instruction manual for making a time machine.
First Lines: Give me seven extra long seconds. That’s all I ask, though Julius Higins as he sprinted around the corner into Ironmonger Lane. Crimper McCready and his two henchboys were close and gaining.
The eyes of minds , James Dashner (308 pages) – Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?
But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.
First Lines: Michael spoke against the wind, to a girl named Tanya.
“I know it’s water down there, but it might as well be concrete. You’ll be flat as a pancake the second you hit.” Not the most comforting of works when talking to someone who wanted to end her life, but it was certainly the truth.
Death, Dickinson and the demented life of Frenchie Garcia, Jenny Torres Sanchez (268 pages) – Frenchie Garcia can’t come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends didn’t know she had a crush him. And they don’t know she was the last person with him before he committed suicide. But Frenchie’s biggest concern is how she blindly helped him die that night. Frenchie’s already insane obsession with death and Emily Dickinson won’t help her understand the role she played during Andy’s “one night of adventure.” But when she meets Colin, she may have found the perfect opportunity to recreate that night.
First lines: The man across the street is dead. I don’t know who figured it out or how, but I think he’s been dead for days when they found him. School has been out for three weeks. I estimate that would have been the last time I saw him. Alive.
Charm and Strange, Stephanie Kuehn (213 pages) Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost. He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable.
Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying.
First lines: I don’t feel the prescence of God here. I pay along the far side of the river, my ears filled with the hum of cidcadas and the war of water flowing over the milldam. Vermont is postcard perfect. I could stand on my toes and peer over the current and the cattails and see the whole town spread before me.”
Homeland, Cory Doctrow (414 pages)-In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.
A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. Soon his onetime girlfriend Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumbdrive containing a Wikileaks-style cable-dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff—and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.
Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him—but he can’t admit to being the leaker, because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.
First lines: Attending Burning Man made me simulteanously one of the most photographed on the planet and the one of the least surveilled humans in the modern world.
Transparent, Natalie Whipple (350 pages) Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults. After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily. Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
First lines: I nearly died the second I was born. The doctor dropped me, but it wasn’t his fault. When I smacked the floor and let out a screeching cry, all anyone could see was the semi-transparent umbilical cord. The poor guy scooped me up, grasping in shock at my invisble body.
The Rig - Joe Ducie (358 pages) Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one except for Drake…
After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it?
First lines: The Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk flew low over the coean, low enough that a cool mist splashed William Drake in the face through the open bay doors. He could taste salt on his lips and feel the roaring wind rush past his ears. Handcuffed to a steel pivot-loop on the floor of the shopper, Drake glared out at the miles of endless ocean.
Antigoddess – Kendare Blake ( 333 pages) Old Gods never die…Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.
Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god. These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.
Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.
Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.
The Goddess War is about to begin.
First Lines: The feathers were starting to be a nuisance. There was one in her mouth, tickling the back of her throat. She chewed at is as she walked, grabbing it with her loars and pulling it loose. Warm, copper-penny blood flooded over her tongue. There were others, too, sprouting up inside her like a strange canceer, worming their way through her innards and muscle.
Who done it? – “conducted” by Jon Scieszka (352 pages) A star-studded anthology with a devilish hook, whose proceeds benefit 826nyc: the fabulous literacy non-profit founded by Dave Eggers.
Can you imagine the most cantankerous book editor alive? Part Voldemort, part Cruella de Vil (if she were a dude), and worse in appearance and odor than a gluttonous farm pig? A man who makes no secret of his love of cheese or his disdain of unworthy authors? That man is Herman Mildew.
The anthology opens with an invitation to a party, care of this insufferable monster, where more than 80 of the most talented, bestselling and recognizable names in YA and children’s fiction learn that they are suspects in his murder. All must provide alibis in brief first-person entries. The problem is that all of them are liars, all of them are fabulists, and all have something to hide…
First lines: Dearest friend, you are invited to a gathering! Where: The Old Abandoned Pickle Factory. When: 8pm sharp. Why: Because if you don’t attned, I will have to telll the world everything I know about you. (Yes: everything. ) Your boss/superior/editor Herman Q. Mildew.
The horror/thriller edition of recently-ordered fiction.
Her Dark Curiosity, Megan Shepherd (January) – this is the sequel to The Madman’s Daughter, in which Juliet travelled to a remote island in search of her father, to discover he was performing horrific experiments on the island’s animals, creating human-like monsters of them. In Her Dark Curiosity, “Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island – and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy – though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her. As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island…” (goodreads.com) These are inspired by classic novels: The Madman’s Daughter was H. G. Wells, and this one’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. 19th century gothic!
Nightmare City, Andrew Klavan (December/January) – “Tom Harding only wants the truth. But the truth is becoming more dangerous with every passing minute. As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life – when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty… his street empty… his whole town empty… empty except for an eerie, creeping fog – and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog. Now Tom’s once-ordinary world has become something out of a horror movie. How did it happen? Is it real? Is he dreaming? Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Has he died and gone to hell? Tom is a good reporter – he knows how to look for answers – but no one has ever covered a story like this before. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything – including Tom’s life – hangs in the balance” (goodreads.com).
The Naturals, Jennifer Lynn Barnes (December/January) – Cassie can read people, can tell who they are and what they want just by looking at them. She’s not thought much of her talent until the FBI wants her for a classified programme called the Naturals, where they use gifted teenagers to help them crack cold cases. But the Naturals programme doesn’t just mean solving murders; when a new killer emerges, Cassie and the other Naturals are caught up in a lethal game of cat and mouse. Like Criminal Minds, people say!
after last week’s mammoth post, this week’s is a short one featuring books based on other literature and characters:
Sweet Shadows, Tera Lynn Childs (336 pages) – Three teenage descendants of Medusa must figure out where their fate will take them. The warring factions among the gods of Olympus are coming for them, the creatures of the abyss are pushing into San Francisco, and the boys in their lives are hiding dangerous secrets. Gretchen has fought the monsters the longest, but teaching the girls the ropes is hard. Can she rely on Grace and Greer, or even trust herself to keep them safe? Greer has pressing social commitments and little time to train her newfound powers. But her second sight won’t leave her alone. Grace is worried about her brother, Thane, who has disappeared. His secrets might have to do with the heritage the triplets share. How can the girls embrace the shadows of their legacy?
First lines: “As I stare across Gretchen’s dining table at Grace, who is flipping through a binder about some ridiculously hideous monster straight out of mythology, I still can’t really fathom that there are two girls right her in this loft who look just like me. Same long, dark-blonde hair – although mine glistens with pricey highlights – and silver-grey eyes that have always been my most unique characteristic. Not any more.”
The Clockwork Scarab, Colleen Gleason (356 pages) – Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate. Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.
First lines: “There are a limited number of excuses for a young, intelligent woman of seventeen to be traversing the fog-shrouded streets of London at midnight. A matter of protecting one’s life or preventing another’s death are two obvious ones. But as far as I knew, I was neither in danger for my life, nor was I about to forestall the death of another.”
Splintered : a novel, A. G. Howard (371 pages) – Alyssa Gardner hears the thoughts of plants and animals. She hides her delusions for now, but she knows her fate: she will end up like her mother, in an institution. Madness has run in her family ever since her great-great-great-grandmother Alice Liddell told Lewis Carroll her strange dreams, inspiring his classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But perhaps she’s not mad. And perhaps Carroll’s stories aren’t as whimsical as they first seem. To break the curse of insanity, Alyssa must go down the rabbit hole and right the wrongs of Wonderland, a place full of strange beings with dark agendas. Alyssa brings her real-world crush – the provocative Jeb – with her, but once her journey begins, she’s torn between his solidity and the enchanting, dangerous magic of Morpheus, her guide to Wonderland. But no one in Wonderland is who they seem to be – not even Alyssa herself…
First lines: “I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick. Some of my victims line the walls in shadow boxes, while others get sorted into mason jars and placed on a bookshelf for later use. Crickets, beetles, spiders … bees and butterflies. I’m not picky. Once they get chatty, they’re fair game.”
Ashes on the Waves, Mary Lindsey (373 pages) – Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever. With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make awager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed. Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling poem, “Annabel Lee,” Mary Lindsey creates a frighteningly beautiful gothic novel that glorifies the power of true love.
First lines: “She looked like something out of a dream . . . or a nightmare. Simultaneously, so terrible and beautiful, it made me ache. Waves pounded the jetty, shooting geysers of frigid salt water into the air as she leaned into the wind, her long hair whipping in all directions.”
and now for something completely different:
All the Truth That’s in Me, Julie Berry (266 pages) – After two years missing, Judith returns home – her tongue cut out, her best friend dead. No one knows what has happened and Judith cannot speak of it. All she can do is silently pour out her feelings to the boy who has owned her heart for as long as she can remember: Lucas. In a voice filled with hurt, yearning, hope and love, this is Judith’s story.
First lines: “You didn’t come. I waited all evening in the willow tree, with gnats buzzing in my face and sap sticking in my hair, watching for you to return from town.”
Zac & Mia, A. J. Betts (307 pages) – The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note… then a friendship neither of them sees coming. You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.
First lines: “A newbie arrives next door. From this side of the wall I hear the shuffle of feet, unsure of where to stand. I hear Nina going through the arrival instructions in that buoyoant air-hostess way, as if this ‘flight’ will go smoothly, no need to pull the Emergency Exit lever. Just relax and enjoy the service. Nina has the kind of voice you believe.”
Leap of Faith, Jamie Blair (240 pages) – Leah Kurtz has finally found a place to call home, a town where she and baby Addy can live in peace, far from the drug-infested place she grew up. Chris is one of the best parts of her new life, the only person who’s ever made her feel safe. And now that she’s found him, there’s no way she can tell the truth: Her real name is Faith, not Leah. She’s seventeen, not nineteen. And the baby isn’t hers; Faith kidnapped her. Faith’s history catches up with her when a cop starts asking questions and Chris’s aunt spots her picture in the newspaper. She knows it’s time to run again, but if Faith leaves, she’ll lose Chris. If Chris is in love with a lie, though, did Faith ever really have him in the first place?
First lines: “The bangbangbanging of Mom’s headboard against my wall needs to stop before my head explodes. I’m exhausted and wish he’d just leave so I can sleep. Of course Mom’s bed has to be shoved right up against the other side of my wall. I roll my eyes and take a deep breath, pulling the covers up higher around my neck.”
The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo (384 pages) – In 1890s Malaya, Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.
First lines: “One evening, my father asked me whether I would like to become a ghost bride. ‘Asked’ is perhaps not the right word. We were in his study. I was leafing through a newspaper, my father lying on his rattan daybed. It was very hot and still. The oil lamp was lit and moths fluttered through the humid air in lazy swirls. ‘What did you say?’”
Bracelet of Bones, Kevin Crossley-Holland (256 pages) – One morning, Solveig wakes to find her father, Halfdan, has gone. He has followed the young Viking warrior Harald Hardrada to Miklagard (Constantinople), where he is leader of the Empress’s guard. Solveig sets off in a tiny boat to find him. So begins a fierce journey of discovery and survival, where the young Viking girl will meet a ghost ship and befriend an English slave, shoot rapids, survive an arrow storm, and witness a living sacrifice. Will Solveig reach Miklagard? And will her father be there?
First lines: “‘Is this it?’ Solveig called out. No trees stood on the battlefield. Nothing but little scrubby, twisted black bushes. Without breaking his long, limping stride, Halfdan glanced over his shoulder. ‘You all right, girl?’ It’s all dead, thought Solveig. There’s nothing left but black fingers, black hands, thousands of them. Stiklestad. What can ever grow in this place again?”
Sweet Peril, Wendy Higgins (371 pages) – Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things. Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind. When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?
First lines: “Unbeknownst to the Roman community, 666 earthbound demons were making use of the infamous Colosseum. Twelve of the fallen ones, the Dukes, were present in human form, while the others hovered as spirits, blotting celestial light from the night sky. Rahab, the Duke of Pride, took his place in the center, exhilarated by the attention his presence commanded.”
The Messengers, Edward Hogan (214 pages) – When fifteen-year-old Frances is sent down to the coast to Helmstown, to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin, she meets and befriends Peter Kennedy, a somewhat tramp-like character who lives in a beach hut along the seafront. As soon as they meet, Peter recognizes that Frances is a messenger, just like him. As messengers, they experience black-outs, and when they come round, they have the ability to draw, in minute detail, the scene of an accident. Although Frances can’t change the past, she realises that she can change the future, at least for a chosen few.
First lines: “We’re drawn to each other, us messengers. We must be. I remember the first time I saw him, down by the beach huts. There was something about him. The look of him. How could I not go over? You might even say it was fate, but I don’t believe in that.”
The Neptune Project, Polly Holyoke (340 pages) – Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident swimming with the dolphins that her mother studies than hanging out with her classmates on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who – unbeknownst to them – have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of “The Neptune Project” are given a mission to build a better future under the sea, safe from the dangers on land. But there are some very big problems: no one asked Nere if she wanted to be a science experiment; the other Neptune kids aren’t exactly the friendliest bunch; and in order to reach the safe haven of the Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim through hundreds of miles of dangerous waters, relying only on their wits, dolphins, and each other to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids … dead or alive.
First lines: “I wake to an urgent tap at my window. My heart thudding, I sit bolt upright in bed. The night is hot and still. I push my sweaty hair away from my face and try to ignore the twist of fear in my gut. No one brings good news at this hour. I slip from my bed and peer cautiously through my window.”
SYLO, D. J. MacHale (407 pages) – Fourteen-year-old Tucker Pierce prefers to fly under the radar. He’s used to navigating around summer tourists in his hometown on idyllic Pemberwick Island, Maine. He’s content to sit on the sidelines as a backup player on the high school football team. And though his best friend Quinn tells him to “go for it,” he’s too chicken to ask Tori Sleeper on a date. There’s always tomorrow, he figures. Then Pemberwick Island is invaded by a mysterious branch of the U.S. military called SYLO. And sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for Tucker, because tomorrow may never come. It’s up to Tucker, Quinn, and Tori to uncover the truth about the singing aircraft that appears only at night—and the stranger named Feit who’s pushing a red crystal he calls the Ruby that brings unique powers to all who take it. Tucker and his friends must rescue not just Pemberwick Island, but the fate of the world.
First lines: “It was the perfect night for a football game. And for death. Not that the two have anything in common. When you hear the term “sudden death,” you normally don’t expect there to be an actual loss of life, sudden or otherwise, but there was nothing normal about that night.”
Death & Co., D.J. McCune (279 pages) – Adam Mortson is a Luman, one of the elite band of spirit guides who travel to the Hinterland to guide dead souls into the afterlife. And though Adam just wants to be a normal teenager – one who dates girls like Melissa, hangs out with his mates and avoids his homework – his role as a Luman is strictly non-negotiable. But as a hidden and dangerous power grows within him, Adam must make a terrible choice: to stand by and watch as lives are lost, or to disobey the rules of death … and risk everything.
First lines: “Nathanial Mortson stood in the darkness, hands thrust into the pockets of his camel-hair coat. In the physical world it was freezing, the road glittering with ice, but here in the Hinterland he couldn’t feel it. It was the middle of the night and he was tired. Usually he had company but on a job like this he preferred to work alone.”
Starglass, Phoebe North (448 pages) – Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn’t interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he’s yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she’s got. But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain’s guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship’s idyllic surface. As she’s drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime–one that will determine the fate of her people.
First lines: “On the day of my mother’s funeral, we all wore white. My father said that dressing ourselves in the stiff, pale cloth would be a mitzvah. I ran the word over my tongue as I straightened a starched new shirt against my shoulders.
He Forgot to Say Goodbye, Benjamin Alire Sáenz (321 pages) – On the surface, Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove could not be more different. Ram is Mexican-America, living in “DizzyLand,” the poor side of El Paso. He’s struggling to keep his family together as his younger brother descends into a dangerous world of drugs and violence. Jake is a rich WASP with anger-management issues who can’t stand the falseness of his mother’s materialistic world. But as circumstances in both of their lives begin to spiral out of control, Jake and Ram turn to each other for comfort, friendship, and understanding. No one realizes what it’s like to know that all of your problems stem from one thing: that your father didn’t even care enough to say goodbye.
First lines: “My mom says I need to stop and think about things. I think about things all the effen time. Think and think and think. You know, it’s not like all that thinking has gotten me places.”
Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson (384 pages) – Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
First lines: “I’ve seen Steelheart bleed. It happened ten years ago; I was eight. My father and I were at the First Union Bank on Adams Street. We used the old street names than, before the Annexation.”
Ashes of Twilight, Kassy Tayler (320 pages) – Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out. Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren’s friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.” What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.
First lines: “The Bible teaches us that the heavens and earth were made by the one true God. I have heard these things all of my life but I dare not ask the questions that the lessons have created in my mind. I am certain I know quite a bit about the earth, as I spend most of my waking moments within its clanking iron bowels. The heavens, however, are a mystery to me as my world is hollow and my sky is made of glass.”
Coda, Emma Trevayne (309 pages) – Deep in an abandoned basement, Anthem sings of truth and freedom with his illegal underground band. Yet on the surface and under watchful eyes, Anthem is unable to resist the call of the Corporation’s addictive, mind-altering music tracks, even as he knows they are used to control him and his fellow citizens. When tragedy strikes close to home, Anthem realizes that defying the Corp comes at a deadly price … and the stakes of preventing his brother and sister from being claimed by the government drug are worth every heart-pounding second. The key to the revolution might lie with the girl Anthem loves, but will he trust her enough to let her join the fight?
First lines: “I’m drawn toward the door. I can’t hear it yet, but I can feel it. A pulse, a heartbeat. The floor shakes. Inside, the cavernous, soundproof room is already packed, black and neon and flashing lights and stifling heat from the crush of bodies.”