Grandmaster, David Klass (226 pages) Freshman Daniel Pratzer gets a chance to prove himself when the chess team invites him and his father to a weekend-long parent-child tournament. Daniel, thinking that his father is a novice, can’t understand why his teammates want so badly for them to participate. Then he finds out the truth: as a teen, his father was one of the most promising young players in America, but the pressures of the game pushed him too far, and he had to give up chess to save his own life and sanity. Now, thirty years later, Mr. Pratzer returns to the game to face down an old competitor and the same dark demons that lurk in the corners of a mind stretched by the demands of the game. (Goodreads)
First lines: Chess club was done for the day, and so was eye. I had played three games that afternoon, two of which I’d managed to lose in the first fifteen moves. I tried to remind myself that I had just taken up the game six months ago and was still leanring the basics, but there were times when I wanted to heave the nearest chess set out the window and never touch another rook or pawn again.
Broken Strings, Maria Farrer (423 pages)Jess, a talented 17-year-old violinist, suffers from stage-fright as she auditions for a place at a prestigious music school. Her family do not have enough money for her to continue to study so when she fails, she vows not to play again. Until her wealthy grandmother – estranged from her family since Jess’s mother fell pregnant – shows up at their doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her. Once ensconced in her grandmother’s rich, but empty, life she starts to uncover the mystery of why her grandmother never spoke to her mother again, and the secret which tore her family apart. (Goodreads)
First lines: I slump back in my chair, push the table leg with the bottom of my shoe. It grates across the floor and puts my teeth on edge. My heard’s hurting; pounding between my eyes. I shudder-full of hope, full of dread.
What we did for love, Natasha Farrat (205 pages)Arianne knew Luc before he went away, of course she did. Everyone in Samaroux knows each other. When he returns after five years, the spark between them reignites and becomes something more. But will the war let them be together? As the two teens fall deeply in love, their world starts to crumble around them. German forces, reeling from defeats in the east, are closing in, and Luc, desperate to atone for his family’s past, wants to join the resistance. Arianne will do anything to keep him safe. But in such a small village, Luc is not alone in his love for Arianne. And Luc’s rival just might be a traitor. How far will they go to protect what they believe in? And what will they do for love?(Goodreads)
First lines: I should leave. I want to- I think- but it’s so difficult. I love it here. There’s the lake, look, surrounded by trees. And there’s the river going into it, where we used to swin because the lake is so muddy, and there’s the road curving around the hill uptowards the village. It’s so peaceful.
Dead and buried, Anne Cassidy (328 pages)It’s been five years since Rose’s mother Kathy went missing and, after recent events, all Rose wants to do is get on with her life. Which means taking a break from her complicated stepbrother, Joshua. Then police officer Henry Thompson comes calling with bad news: a body has been found buried in the garden of Rose’s old house. A body that has lain undiscovered for five years. The body of a missing teenage girl. With Kathy and Brendan implicated in her death, Rose and Joshua have one last chance to clear their parents’ names. But if they fail, the consequences will be deadly . . .(Goodreads)
First lines: Now, when Rose thought of her mother, the word killer came into her head. It conjured up pictures sje did not want to see, sounds that she did not want to hear. It was better not to think of her at all.
Graffiti Knight, Karen Bass (282 pages)After a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany, sixteen-year-old Wilm is finally tasting freedom. In spite of the scars World War II has left on his hometown, Leipzig, and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It’s dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings. But it’s exciting, too, and Wilm feels justified, considering his family’s suffering. Until one mission goes too far, and Wilm finds he’s endangered the very people he most wants to protect.(Goodreads)
First lines: The broken windows of the building to the right watched our progress with the hollow stare of someone defeated and beyond caring.
Year of mistaken discoveries, Ellen Cook (257 pages)As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared;they were both adopted. Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact…until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom, but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party. Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’;s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics.(Goodreads)
First lines: It was clear that beer didn’t make my boyfriend a deep thinker.
“I never thought about it before, but Jesus was adopted.” Colton nodded slowly, as if realizing something very profound. Or he didn’t want to move too quickly in case he got the spins.
“Joseph was, like, his stepdad.”
Spirit of a mountain wolf, Rosanne Hawke (205 pages)Fourteen-year-old Razaq Khan lives in the Pakistani tribal area of Kala Dhaka, Black Mountain. When an earthquake devastates his family home, Razaqs dying father tells him to travel to his uncle Javaid. A man preying on orphans lures Razaq to the city with the promise of finding his uncle. But it is not long before Razaq realizes he has not been helped at allhe has been sold in to slavery. Losing hope while in captivity, Razaq meets Tahira, a young girl suffering just like him.(Goodreads)
First lines: Abdur-Razaq Nadeem felt the rumble in the earth- like a truck rushing underground. Then, an eerie heaviness, a sound almost, but there were no words to describe it -like a mourning song with no music.
City in the desert: the serpent crown, Moro Rogers (149 pages) Monster hunter Irro is perhaps the only person in Kevala making a good living. The city pays him and his tailed assistant, Hari, a bounty for each monster carcass they bring in. But one day a religious sect called The Way of the Sacred Peace comes to Kevala to solve the monster problem by capping the city’s Spirit Fountain. Out of a job with all the monsters gone, Irro and Hari are determined to prove that there is a more sinister plot behind the Sacred Peace’s plan. Irro and Hari leave the walls of Kevala to seek new lives elsewhere. However, when the Crown Serpent of Kevala tracks them down and informs them that the evils of the Sacred Peace have spread far beyond Kevala’s borders, our heroes decide to return and save the city they love. Before they can do that, though, they must journey across the wastelands to the prison of the Monster King, and release him in exchange for his help. (Goodreads)
Will o’ the Wisp, Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchison (214 pages)After her parents’ accidental death by mushroom poisoning, young Aurora Grimeon is sent to live with her estranged grandfather on Ossuary Isle, deep in the southern swamps. Joined by her grandfather’s pet raccoon Missy, Aurora explores the fog-covered island of graves. Along the way she meets its sinister residents who care for the tombstones and mausoleums, living out their lives by the strange rules of Hoodoo magic. When ghostly things start happening out in the swamp and island residents start disappearing, Aurora thrusts herself into the middle of the mystery, uncovering secrets that might be better left buried.(Goodreads)
Today, one-word titles:
Gasp, Lisa McMann – the third book in the Visions series (after Crash and Bang). “After narrowly surviving two harrowing tragedies, Jules now fully understands the importance of the visions that she and people around her are experiencing. She’s convinced that if the visions passed from her to Sawyer after she saved him, then they must now have passed from Sawyer to one of the people he saved. That means it’s up to Jules to figure out which of the school shooting survivors is now suffering from visions of another crisis. And once she realizes who it is, she has to convince that survivor that this isn’t all crazy – that the images are of something real. Something imminent. As the danger escalates more than ever before in the conclusion to the Visions series, Jules wonders if she’ll finally find out why and how this is happening – before it’s too late to prevent disaster.” (goodreads.com)
Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (June/July) - the long-awaited new novel from the author of Liar and How to Ditch Your Fairy. “The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses – Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson – is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten. Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment. Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her. When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living…” (goodreads.com)
Exposure, Kathy Reichs – the fourth in the Virals series from the creator of the Bones TV series. “When twin classmates are abducted from Bolton Prep, Tory and the Virals decide there’s no one better equipped than them to investigate. But the gang has other problems to face. Their powers are growing wilder, and becoming harder to control. Chance Claybourne is investigating the disastrous medical experiment that twisted their DNA. The bonds that unite them are weakening, threatening the future of the pack itself. The Virals must decipher the clues and track down a ruthless criminal before he strikes again, all while protecting their secret from prying eyes. And everyone seems to be watching.” (goodreads.com)
And a book about the Divergent film:
Inside Divergent: the Initiates’ World, Cecilia Bernard. “This eye-catching volume takes you inside the film version of Divergent. With more than 100 photographs – many never before seen – Inside Divergent will immerse you in the thrilling dystopian world of futuristic Chicago, where you’ll meet the initiates and discover the factions.” (goodreads.com)
Dead Silent, Sharon Jones (329 pages) When Poppy Sinclair and her boyfriend visit snowy Cambridge, she doesn’t expect to discover the body of a student – arms outstretched in the act of smearing bloody angel wings on the chapel’s floor. Suddenly, Poppy is faced with the possibility that the one closest to her heart might be the one committing the most malicious of crimes. Dodging porters and police, dreading what she might find, Poppy follows the clues left by a murderer bent on revenge… (Goodreads)
First lines: It had to be here. The soles of his shoes squeaked from marble to wood and he ran between the choir stalls, swinging the torch beam like a whip that could beat back the night. How could he have been so stupid as to lose the book? If he didn’t find it he was dead.
Dorothy must die, Danielle Page (452 pages) I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know? Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.(Goodreads)
First lines: I first discovered I was trash three days before my ninth birthday – one year after my father lost his job and moved to Secaucus to live with a woman named Crystal and four years before my mother had the car accident, started talking pills, and began exclusively wearing bedroom slippers instead of normal shoes.
Noggin, John Corey Whaley (338 pages)Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t. Now he’s alive again. Simple as that. The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too. Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars. Oh well, you only live twice.(Goodreads)
First lines: Listen – I was alive once and then I wasn’t. Simple as that. Now I’m alive again. The in-between part is still a luittle fuzzy, but I can tell you that, at some point or another, my head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado.
Insanity, Susan Vaught (368 pages) Never, Kentucky is not your average scenic small town. It is a crossways, a place where the dead and the living can find no peace. Not that Forest, an 18-year-old foster kid who works the graveyard shift at Lincoln Hospital, knew this when she applied for the job. Lincoln is a huge state mental institution, a good place for Forest to make some money to pay for college. But along with hundreds of very unstable patients, it also has underground tunnels, bell towers that ring unexpectedly, and a closet that holds more than just donated clothing….When the dead husband of one of Forest’s patients makes an appearance late one night, seemingly accompanied by an agent of the Devil, Forest loses all sense of reality and all sense of time. Terrified, she knows she has a part to play, and when she does so, she finds a heritage that she never expected.(Goodreads)
First lines: There was something wrong with the dog. I saw it when I left the store, nothing but a little thing. I would have stopped to give it some love, but I had to get back before Imogene started to worry. Don’t go out tonight, boy. Death’s walking on two legs.
Sorry you’re lost, Matt Blackstone (312 pages)When Denny “Donuts” Murphy’s mother dies, he becomes the world’s biggest class clown. But deep down, Donuts just wants a normal life—one where his mom is still alive and where his dad doesn’t sit in front of the TV all day. And so Donuts tries to get back into the groove by helping his best friend with their plan to get dates for the end-of-the-year school dance. When their scheme backfires, he learns that laughter is not the best medicine for all of his problems. Sometimes it’s just as important to be true to yourself.(Goodreads)
First lines: There’s a gum wrapped at my feet. Juicy Fruit. I wish I new who dropped it so I could tell him not to litter at my mom’s funeral. The room is musty and smells of lemon. My starchy shirt and stiff suit are drenched in sweat. The priest tells me it’s time. Not for telling people to pick up their gum wrappers, but time for the service.
Never come back, David Bell (411 pages)Elizabeth Hampton is consumed by grief when her mother dies unexpectedly. Leslie Hampton cared for Elizabeth’s troubled brother Ronnie’s special needs, assuming Elizabeth would take him in when the time came. But Leslie’s sudden death propels Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew….
When police discover that Leslie was strangled, they immediately suspect that one of Ronnie’s outbursts took a tragic turn. Elizabeth can’t believe that her brother is capable of murder, but who else could have had a motive to kill their quiet, retired mother? More questions arise when a stranger is named in Leslie’s will: a woman also named Elizabeth. As the family’s secrets unravel, a man from Leslie’s past who claims to have all the answers shows up, but those answers might put Elizabeth and those she loves the most in mortal danger.(Goodreads)
First lines: I saw people in uniform first- two cops, two paramedics. They were standing in the living room of my mom’s small house, their thumbs hooked into their belts, muttering to one another. Small talk and jokes. One of them, a cop about my age, laughed at something, then looked up and saw me in the doorway.
“Ma’am?” he said. A question. It meant: Do you have any business here?
Angel de la Luna and the 5th glorious mystery, M. Evelina Galang (331 pages) Angel has just lost her father, and her mother’s grief means she might as well be gone too. She’s got a sister and a grandmother to look out for, and a burgeoning consciousness of the unfairness in the world—in her family, her community, and her country. Set against the backdrop of the second Philippine People Power Revolution in 2001, the contemporary struggles of surviving Filipina “Comfort Women” of WWII, and a cold winter’s season in the city of Chicago is the story of a daughter coming of age, coming to forgiveness, and learning to move past the chaos of grief to survive.(Goodreads)
First lines: The day my Father, Ernesto de la Luna, disappeared he gave me one thousand pesos. “I’ll be home in three days,” Papang said, counting the money. “but just in case. Take care of your inay, Angel.” It’s been two weeks. My mother is out of her mind.
The Great American Dust Bowl, Don Brown, (80 pages)A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America’s high southern plains. The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow—people got lost in the gloom and suffocated . . . and that was just the beginning. Don Brown brings the Dirty Thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel of one of America’s most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.(Goodreads)
First lines: A speck of dust is a tiny thing. Five of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, 1935, a wild wind whipped up billions upon billions of specks of dust to form a savage storn on Amerinca’s plains. Panicked birds and rabbits fled. The temperature plummeted fifty degrees. Electricity coursed through the air. frightened pople raced to the nearest shelter. But the story of the Black Sunday monster started much, much earlier…
The Grey Girl, Eleanor Hawken (262 pages) Poor Suzy thought she’d never get over the terrifying events from her time at St Marks, but she’s resolved to put all thoughts of ghosts and murders (and school…) behind her as she sets off to stay in her aunt’s country estate for the summer. Unfortunately, that quickly looks unlikely. Almost as soon as she arrives Suzy begins to feel watched, and she starts to see strange things. Things like a mysterious grey girl running towards the abandoned boathouse in the dead of the night. Is the girl real – or something altogether more sinister?
Helped by the rather hunky Nate (not that Suzy’s letting herself get distracted, of course) Suzy sets out to discover exactly what happened to this girl. She’s determined not to let another ghost get the better of her, but she might not have any choice in the matter…(Goodreads)
First lines: I saw a ghost today. A grey girl. She was standing at the window of the top-floor dormitory, looking down at the world below. I’ve never seen the girl before and today was the start of my forth year at Dudley Hall.
Where the rock splits the sky, Philip Webb (266 pages)The moon has been split, and the Visitors have Earth in their alien grip. But the captive planet? That’s not her problem. Megan just wants to track down her missing dad…The world stopped turning long before Megan was born. Ever since the Visitors split the moon and stilled the Earth, permanent sunset is all anyone has known. But now, riding her trusty steed Cisco, joined by her posse, Kelly and Luis, Megan is on the run from her Texas hometown, journeying across the vast, dystopic American West to hunt down her father. To find him, she must face the Zone, a notorious landscape where the laws of nature do not apply. The desert can play deadly tricks on the mind, and the quest will push Megan past her limits. But to solve the mystery of not just her missing father but of the paralyzed planet itself, she must survive it–and an alien showdown.(Goodreads)
First lines: Leaning against the doorpost of the smithy, I pretend it is a normal day. For the thousandth time in the last hour, I wonder whether I should say goodbye to Luis or just slip away. The boardwalk outside is as bright as the forge -it always is0under the light of a sun that sits on the horizon and refuses to set.
Sea of Shadows : Age of legends book 1 , Kelley Armstrong, (406 pages)n the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned. Only this year, the souls will not be quieted. Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.(Goodreads)
First lines: After three days of tramping across endless lava fields, Ronan quickened his steps at the sight of the forest. He swore he could soft earth under his feet, hear birds in the treetops, even smell icy spring water. If one had to pick a place to die, he supposed he could do worse.
Perfect winter reading:
Silver Shadows, Richelle Mead (July/August) – the next in the Bloodlines series by the author of Vampire Academy. “In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists. Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive. For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him…” (goodreads.com)
Sinner, Maggie Stiefvater (July) – and we thought the Wolves of Mercy Falls series was finished! If you liked Cole and Isabel you’ll want to read on. “Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret – his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?” (goodreads.com)
Just Call My Name, Holly Goldberg Sloan (August) – the sequel to I’ll Be There. “Emily Bell has it all. She’s in love with a boy named Sam Border, and his little brother has become part of her family. This summer is destined to be the best time of their lives – until a charismatic new girl in town sets her sights on Sam. Now Emily finds herself questioning the loyalty of the person she thought she could trust most. But the biggest threat to her happiness is someone she never saw coming. Sam’s criminally insane father, whom everyone thought they’d finally left behind, is planning a jailbreak. And he knows exactly where to find Emily and his sons when he escapes… and takes his revenge.” (goodreads.com). Fingers crossed for a happy ending for this one!
A couple of new series, the next instalment in a super-popular one, and a stand alone novel for people sick of series!
The Revenge of Seven, Pittacus Lore (August) – the fifth in the Lorien Legacies series (five already!). Seven figures running and hiding from the Mogodorians is not really working (they’ve already managed to kill four of them), so Seven has decided that attack may be the best form of defence. Seven, the other living numbers, and a new ally (???) are going to fight back. This sounds messy; we hope the numbers don’t dwindle even more!
Dangerous Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (May/June) – Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl return to the Beautiful Creatures world with this new novel. “Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she’s a bad girl. She’s Dark. She’s a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she’s around. Lucky for her, Wesley ‘Link’ Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn’t hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.” (goodreads.com)
The Taking, Kimberley Derting (May) – the first book in a new series by the author of the Bodyfinder series. “When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ‘n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed… yet she hasn’t aged a day. Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth…” (goodreads.com)
Love and Other Foreign Words, Erin McCahan (May) – they say this is perfect for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell (what a duo). “Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue – the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn’t always like, and the best friend who hasn’t said a word – at least not in a language Josie understands.” (goodreads.com)
Beyond Magenta: Transgender teens speak out, Susan Kuklin, (176 pages)Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves. -Publisher Information
First lines: The stories you are about to read are of real people, members of the transgender community, whom I have come to appreciate and respect. An author is supposed to be objective, and this author has withheld judgement while conducting interviews, taking photographs and writing. But my subjects’ willingness to brave bullying and condemnation in order to reveal their individual selves makes it impossible to be nothing less than awestruck.
this star won’t go out ,Esther Earl, (431 pages)A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.-Publisher Information
First lines: This is a story about a girl that went through a life chnaging experience known as Thyroid Cancer. It’s not one of those dramatic “based on a true story” cancer things, especially since Thyroid Cancer is not as bad as cancer. It’s a story about me, Esther Earl, having a sickness that’s pretty scary.
The sound of letting go, Stasia Ward Kehoe (388 pages)For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave. But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go? -Publisher Information
First lines: Dave Miller grins in my direction. At least, I think his easy-eyed, right-cheek-dimpled expression is meant for me. It’s hard to be certain, since we are separated by the fingerprinted interior window that divides my band room refuge from the chaotic dissonance of the rest of Evergreen High.
Vitro, Jessica Khoury (359 pages)On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives–and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus’s dangerous research.Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach. -Publisher Information
First lines: “Skin Island,” Sophie said for what felt like the hundredth time. “I know what I’m talking about. It’s called Skin Island, and is has to be nearby. Please, can’t you check again?”
Teen spirit, Francesca Lia Block (234 pages)After Julie’s grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.
When the two try to contact Julie’s grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.
First lines: Until things started to fall apart, I had never questioned my desire to be alive, It wasn’t something I had to think about. Even though I didn’t have any close relationships at achool and felt different from the other kids, even though I wasn’t always confident about how I looked or the things I could do, I never thought there was something really wrong with me; I was never lonely or sad.
Emilie and the sky world, Martha Wells (313 pages)When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she’s observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky, a disruption in an upper air aether current. But as the Marlendes investigate further, they realize it’s a ship from another aetheric plane. It may be just a friendly explorer, or something far more sinister, but they will have to take an airship into the dangerous air currents to find out. Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements, with an angry uncle, an interfering brother, and an estranged mother to worry about as well as a lost family of explorers, the strange landscapes of the upper air, and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world. -Publisher Information
First lines: Emilie took a deep breath and kocked on the door. Twilight had fallen, and the quiet street smelled stringly of dinner. Karthea’s house, like all the others, had a chicky stone facade and wood framed windows with cheer curtains and potted flowers on the stoop. The gas lamp on the corner had already been lot, glowing bright in the failing daylight.
The Gospel of Winter, Brendan Kiely (296 pages)As sixteen-year-old Aidan Donovan’s fractured family disintegrates around him, he searches for solace in a few bumps of Adderall, his father’s wet bar, and the attentions of his local priest, Father Greg—the only adult who actually listens to him.When Christmas hits, Aidan’s world collapses in a crisis of trust when he recognizes the darkness of Father Greg’s affections. He turns to a crew of new friends to help make sense of his life: Josie, the girl he just might love; Sophie, who’s a little wild; and Mark, the charismatic swim team captain whose own secret agonies converge with Aidan’s. -Publisher Information
First lines: In order to tell you what really happened, what you don’t know, what the journalists didn’t report, I have to start at Mother’s annual Christmas Eve party. Two nights befre, as if the universe were the coproducer of her big show, a snowstorm whitewahsed our little corner of Connecticut. Mother was thrilled.
When I was the greatest, Jason Reynolds (232 pages) A lot of the stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don’t really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing. Nah, not his thing. Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt.And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it.Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should’ve been—where the people aren’t so friendly, and even less forgiving. -Publisher Information
First lines: “Okay, I got one. Would you rather live every dy for the rest of your life with stinky breath, or lick the sidewalk for five minutes?” Noodles asked. He turned and looked at me with a huge grin on his face because he knew this was a tough one.
Homicidal Psycho jungle cat: a Calvin and Hobbes collection, Bill Watterson (175 pages)Reprising the wide-open landscape format of, The Days Are Just Packed, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat chronicles another segment of the multifarious adventures of this wild child and his faithful, but skeptical, friend. If the best cartoons compel readers to identify themselves within the funny frames, then all who enjoy Calvin and Hobbes are creative, imaginative, and … bad, bad, bad! Calvin, the irascible little boy with the stuffed tiger who comes to life are a pair bound for trouble.-Publisher Information
The Search (Avatar: The Last airbender) Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante Di Matrino, Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru The biggest mystery of Avatar—the fate of Fire Lord Zuko’s mother—is revealed in this remarkable oversized hardcover collecting parts 1–3 of The Search, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!-Publisher Information
This week, a historical fantasy from a Christchurch-based author, two short stories from a popular series, a moving novel about grief and loss, and a holocaust story of survival.
Awakening, Natalie King (New Zealand writer) – “When Zelie Taylor pulls a lost necklace out of the icy waters of the lake, she has no idea what the consequences will be. At first the pendant is just freezing cold – unnaturally so – but then she hears a voice inside her head and Zelie thinks she must be going mad. She’s not. Seventeen-year-old Tamas’ soul has been trapped in the silver necklace since 1918. His body is nearby, sleeping, and Zelie must help him awaken. At first Zelie would like nothing better than for Tamas’ moody, enigmatic presence to be out of her life, but after a while she isn’t so sure. And what is waiting for Tamas when he does emerge? It seems that the sinister force that trapped him all those years ago has returned and is growing more powerful. A hundred-year-old mystery steeped in dark magic will make Zelie question everything she thought she knew.” (goodreads.com)
Tales from the Half-Continent, D M Cornish – this is number 3.5 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series, and it’s really two short/long stories: ‘The Corsers’ Hinge’ and ‘The Fuller and the Bogle’. “Bunting Faukes has a debt and no way to repay it – times are tough for grave robbers. But a way out is presented in the person of Atticus Wells, a sleuth with strange eyes that see into everything — Virtue Bland is alone in the world. Packed off to Brandenbrass to serve the household of her late father’s employer, she has only her old pa’s olfactologue to remember him by. But with it she can smell monsters.” (goodreads.com)
The Year of the Rat, Clare Furniss. “The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother’s death, Pearl’s story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister – The Rat – is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…” (goodreads.com)
Alexander Altmann A10567, Suzy Zail. “Fourteen-year-old Alexander Altmann doesn’t need to look at the number tattooed on his arm. A10567; he knows it by heart. He also knows to survive Auschwitz, he must toughen up. Being soft will get him killed. Alexander will take any chance he’s given – and when that chance is caring for the German officers’ horses he grabs it. He just can’t let them know he’s scared.” (goodreads.com)
Swagger, Carl Deuker (297 pages)When high school senior Jonas moves to Seattle, he is glad to meet Levi, a nice, soft-spoken guy and fellow basketball player. Suspense builds like a slow drumbeat as readers start to smell a rat in Ryan Hartwell, a charismatic basketball coach and sexual predator. When Levi reluctantly tells Jonas that Hartwell abused him, Jonas has to decide whether he should risk his future career to report the coach. (Goodreads)
First lines: All this started about a year and a half ago. Back then I was a junior at Redwood High in Redwood City, a suburn twnty-five miles south of San Francisco. In those days, before Hartwell, before Levi, I took things as they came, without thinking a whole lot about them. Maybe that’s because most of the things that came my way were good.
Anything to have you, Paige Harbison (303 pages)Natalie and Brooke have had each other’s backs forever. Natalie is the quiet one, college bound and happy to stay home and watch old movies. Brooke is the movie—the life of every party, the girl everyone wants to be.Then it happens—one crazy night that Natalie can’t remember and Brooke’s boyfriend, Aiden, can’t forget. Suddenly there’s a question mark in Natalie and Brooke’s friendship that tests everything they thought they knew about each other and has both girls discovering what true friendship really means.(Goodreads)
First lines: I heard her before I saw her. Music blasted from inside her car despite the fact that she was in a quiet neighborhood. I climbed in, and she turned down the volume.
The Osiris Curse, Paul Crilley (286 pages) When Nikola Tesla is murdered and blueprints for his super weapons are stolen, Tweed and Nightingale are drawn into a global cat and mouse chase with his killers. What’s more, it seems that the people who shot Nikola Tesla are the same people responsible for Octavia’s mother’s disappearance. As the two cases intertwine, Tweed and Nightingale’s investigations lead them to a murdered archeologist and a secret society called The Hermetic Order of Set. Fleeing the cult’s wrath, they go undercover on the luxury airship, The Albion, setting out on her maiden voyage to Tutankhamen’s View, a five star hotel built in the hollowed-out and refurbished Great Pyramid of Giza.In Egypt, the duo begin to unravel the terrible truth behind Tesla’s death, a secret so earth-shattering that if revealed it would mean rewriting the entire history of the world. But if the cult’s plans aren’t stopped, Britain may lose the future.(Goodreads)
First lines:Death stalks the streets of London. The winter wind, sensing its presence and feeling some distant, ancient kinship, soars above the frozen city, tossing snowflakes though the oil-black sky as it searches for its location.
Half Bad, Sally Green (394 pages)Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch. You get sick if you stay indoors after dark. You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one. You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen. All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.(Goodreads)
First lines: There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished by the arms of an old chair. You’re the one on the left. The other boy’s warm to lean close to, and he moves his gaze from the telly to you sort of in slow motion.
“You enjoying it?” he asks.
Backward glass, David Lomax (315 pages) Crack your head, knock you dead, then Prince Harming’s hunger’s fed. It’s 1977, and Kenny Maxwell is dreading the move away from his friends. But then, behind the walls of his family’s new falling-apart Victorian home, he finds something incredible–a mummified baby and a note: “Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him.” Shortly afterwards, a beautiful girl named Luka shows up. She introduces Kenny to the backward glass, a mirror that allows them to travel through time. Meeting other “mirror kids” in the past and future is exciting, but there’s also danger. The urban legend of Prince Harming, who kidnaps and kills children, is true–and he’s hunting them. When Kenny gets stranded in the past, he must find the courage to answer a call for help, change the fate of a baby–and confront his own destiny.(Goodreads)
First lines: Here’s what you need to know: You’re my son and you’re something like negative twenty-two, because that’s how long it will be before you’re born. I have a story to tell you. Most of it happened right here in Scarborough, forty, fifty, even sixty years ago, but it happened to me. Last year. 1977. The year I turned fifteen.
Where the stars still shine, Trish Doller ( 336 pages)Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.(Goodreads)
First lines: Yellow light slashes the darkness as Mom sneaks into the apartment again. The muffled creak of the floorboards beneath the shabby carpet gives her away, along with the stale-beer-and-cigarette smell that always follows her home from the Old Dutch.
Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, Michelle Tea (331 pages)Everyone in the broken-down town of Chelsea, Massachussetts, has a story too worn to repeat—from the girls who play the pass-out game just to feel like they’re somewhere else, to the packs of aimless teenage boys, to the old women from far away who left everything behind. But there’s one story they all still tell: the oldest and saddest but most hopeful story, the one about the girl who will be able to take their twisted world and straighten it out. The girl who will bring the magic.Could Sophie Swankowski be that girl? With her tangled hair and grubby clothes, her weird habits and her visions of a filthy, swearing mermaid who comes to her when she’s unconscious, Sophie could be the one to uncover the power flowing beneath Chelsea’s potholed streets and sludge-filled rivers, and the one to fight the evil that flows there, too. Sophie might discover her destiny, and maybe even in time to save them all.(Goodreads)
First lines: Chelsea was a city where people landed. People from other counrties, people running from wars and poverty, stealing away on boats that cut through the ocean into a whole new world, or on plabes, relief shaking their bodies and they rattled into the sky.
I lived on Butterfly Hill, Marjorie Agosin (454 pages)Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile;until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can’t deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country. Warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates disappear from class without a word. Celeste doesn’t quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore.The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered subversive; and dangerous to Chile’s future. So Celeste’s parents, her educated, generous, kind parentsmust go into hiding before they, too, must disappear. To protect their daughter, they send her to America.As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again? (Goodreads)
First lines: The blue cloud finally opens-just when the bell rings to let the Juana Ross School out for the weekend. I’d been wtaching the sky from the classroom windows all day, wondering just when the rain would pour down.
The mirk and midnight hour, Jane Nickerson (371 pages)A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour. Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.(Goodreads)
First lines: he was already dead. Maybe. He had been greviously wounded-he had expected to die anyway-but they did something to him that sucked out the rest of his feeble life and will, except for the tony spark of spul that hunkered mutely deep inside.
We’ve got a great selection this week: standalones and series, plus a new graphic novel, which is always great. (For me, anyway!) Don’t forget that if you have a YA card, you can reserve these amazing books for free.
Afterworld, Lynette Lounsbury (409 pages) Dom is the youngest person ever to arrive in the Necropolis, the ‘waiting place’ between death and what comes after. And it isn’t long before he catches the attention of Satarial, a cruel Nephilim from the beginning of time, who has grim plans to use Dom as entertainment in his vicious gladiatorial games. When Dom’s still-living sister, Kaide, appears in the Necropolis too, Satarial has the leverage he needs, and the stage is set for the biggest shake-up the afterlife has seen in centuries. Dom’s only option is to compete in the Trials and attempt to win the chance to enter the Maze. In his favour he has an enigmatic young Guide, Eva, and a Guardian, Eduardo, who may not be what he seems. But will they be enough?(Goodreads)
First lines: India hit Dominic Mathers with a purtid gust that almost knocked him back tot eh airport. After all these years he wasn’t sure if he loved or hated the place. The air was hot and smelled of sweat and filth and the bloated dead dog that lay in the gutter. It was hard to do anything in India, hard to walk through the mase of desperate people, hard to think with all the noise, hard to move.
Nightmare city, Andrew Klavan (303 pages) 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)
First lines: Tom was in heaven when the phone rang. At least, he though it was heaven. He had never been there before, and the look of the place surprised him. It wasn’t what he was expecting at all. Then again Tom had never really thought about heaven much.
Alienated, Melissa Landers (344 pages)Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket. Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking. But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.(Goodreads)
First lines: Winning. Cara Sweeney had made it her business, and business was good. Honor Society president? Check. Young leader award? Check. State debate champion two years running? Double check. And when the title of valdictorian had eluded her, she’d found a way to snag that, too.
Under the Empyrean Sky, (Heartland trilogy, book 1) Chuck Wendig (354 pages) Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow, and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie, his first mate and the love of his life forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry, angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck . . . even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.(Goodreads)
First lines: The corn reaches for the land-boat above it, but the corn is slow and the cat-maran is fast. The stretching, yearning stalks hiss against the boat’s bottom, making a white noise that sounds like pollen coming out of a piss-blizzard.
Her Dark Curiosity, (A madman’s daughter novel) Megan Shepherd (422 pages) 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. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again. As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.
First lines: the air in my crumbling attic chamer smelled of roses and formaldehyde. Beyond the frosted windowpanes, the rooftops of Shoreditch stretched toward the eat in sharp angles still marked with yesterday’s snow, as chimney stacks pumped smog into an already foggy sky. On nights like these, I never knew what dangers might lurk in the streets.
White space, (Book 1 of The Dark Passages) Ilsa J. Blick (551 pages) Seventeen-year-old Emma Lindsay has problems: a head full of metal, no parents, a crazy artist for a guardian whom a stroke has turned into a vegetable, and all those times when she blinks away, dropping into other lives so ghostly and surreal it’s as if the story of her life bleeds into theirs. But one thing Emma has never doubted is that she’s real. Then she writes “White Space,” a story about these kids stranded in a spooky house during a blizzard. Unfortunately, “White Space” turns out to be a dead ringer for part of an unfinished novel by a long-dead writer. The manuscript, which she’s never seen, is a loopy Matrix meets Inkheart story in which characters fall out of different books and jump off the page. Thing is, when Emma blinks, she might be doing the same and, before long, she’s dropped into the very story she thought she’d written. Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they–and Emma–may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose. Now what they must uncover is why they’ve been brought to this place–a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written–before someone pens their end.(Goodreads)
First lines: At first, Mom thinks there are mice because of that scritch-scritch-scritching in the walls. This is very weird. Marmalade, the orange tom, is such a good mouser. But then Mom spies a dirty footspring high up on the wall of her walk-in closet.
Lost Covenant (A Widdershins adventure) Ari Marmell (277 pages) It’s been six months since Widdershins and her own “personal god” Olgun fled the city of Davillon. During their travels, Widdershins unwittingly discovers that a noble house is preparing to move against the last surviving bastion of the Delacroix family. Determined to help the distant relatives of her deceased adopted father, Alexandre Delacroix, she travels to a small town at the edge of the nation. There, she works at unraveling a plot involving this rival house and a local criminal organization, all while under intense suspicion from the very people she’s trying to rescue.Along the way she’ll have to deal with a traitor inside the Delacroix family, a mad alchemist, and an infatuated young nobleman who won’t take no for an answer.(Goodreads)
“Thank you. Welcome to Davillon. Next!”
“Thank you. Welcome to…”
And on. And on.
And finally, a new graphic novel:
Lost at sea, Bryan Lee O’Malley (189 pages)Raleigh doesn’t have a soul. A cat stole it – or at least that’s what she tells people – or at least that’s what she would tell people if she told people anything. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it’s just what she needs – or maybe it can help her find what she needs – or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.(Goodreads)
First lines: I have a lot on my mind and not a lot to do so it’s going to come out, all of it, and then, then, it may begin to make a sort of sense.
Something for fantasy lovers, something for creepy fairy tale lovers and something for lovers of historical glamour.
Diamonds and Deceit, Leila Rasheed (At Somerton #2) – this is the second book in the series that is touted as being like Downton Abbey. “London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can’t help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard the rumors about Ross’s sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late. Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin William’s expenditures. Her father’s heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys’ reputation. Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him–for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.” (goodreads.com)
The Nethergrim, Matthew Jobin – “Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes’ honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned! Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together – and work apart – in ways that will test every ounce of resolve.” (goodreads.com) Goodreads suggests that if you read and enjoyed the Ranger’s Apprentice books you might like this one.
The Mirk and Midnight Hour, Jane Nickerson – “Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war – a war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy – one of the men who might have killed her own brother – and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds – keeping him alive – and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.” (goodreads.com) This is based on the folk tale ‘Tam Lin’. We don’t know much about this one! Except it’s Scottish. Interesting.