I am typing this in Wadestown library! Sort of like New Books on Tour. Haha. Haaa.
Blink Once, by Cylin Busby (290 pages) – West wakes up in a hospital bed, strapped down. He is paralyzed. The girl in the neighbouring bed, Olivia, is the only one who can communicate to him. But why? Why is she in hospital? How is she connected to all his nightmares? What is going on here, guys. Publishers Weekly says that readers rush to the end to answer these questions, and ‘they won’t be disappointed by what they discover’, which is frankly very appealing.
First lines: ‘Someone is crying. A girl. Not a pretty kind of crying, like actresses do, tears delicately streaming down a beautiful face. This is sobbing, sniffling, gasping for air.‘
The Demon Catchers of Milan, by Kat Beyer (278 pages) – Mia’s distant family from Italy have come to visit. Just in the nick of time! As she has been possessed by a powerful demon, and they are actually all demon hunters. Once her cousins have exorcised her, she heads back to Italy with them to learn Italian, get more involved with the family business (i.e. killing demons) and fall in love with Italians. Not her cousins though! I don’t know.
First line: ‘I used to be the kind of girl who would check under the bed and in the closet every night before going to sleep.‘
Embers & Echoes, by Karsten Knight (461 pages) – This is the follow-up to Wildefire, about a bunch of gods who have reincarnated as teens. Ashline Wilde is the reincarnation of Pele, a Polynesian volcano goddess, and when her sister is taken by some evil gods she must join up with Wes, a reincarnated Aztec god, who has his own vendetta to hash out. ’More X-Men than Clash of the Titans,’ says the Library School Journal, which is really quite a compliment.
First line: ‘Ashline Wilde lay battered on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and watched her boyfriend emerge from the fiery car wreck, back from the dead.‘
Unfed, by Kirsty McKay (307 pages) – This follows on from Undead, about a zombie apocalypse during Bobby’s school trip. She survived it! Unfortunately, he best pal is missing and it’s up to her to find him in the zombie-infected wastelands AND and find an antidote before it’s all over for the human race. ‘Hysterically funny,’ says The Times.
First line: ‘When you’re staring into the jaws of death at the age of fifteen, there’s not a whole lot of life to flash before your eyes.‘
So Close To You, by Rachel Carter (313 pages) – Lydia’s great-grandfather disappeared, along with others, it is rumoured, because of some weird army experiment called the Montauk Project which occurred at the spooky abandoned military base near her home. When a portal opens up and takes her back to 1945, six days before her great-grandad disappears, she becomes part of the experiment. The first in a planned trilogy.
First line: ‘The bonfire in the clearing spits out flames and smoke. Red, yellow, orange sparks fly up into the night sky.‘
Tiger Lily, by Jodi Lynn Anderson (292 pages) – Before Peter Pan met Wendy there was Tiger Lily, who faced all kinds of hurdles to be with Peter (and not this guy her family and tribe wanted her to marry). And then of course Wendy comes along to Neverland on an English boat and things get messy. A clever retelling of the Peter Pan story, as narrated by Tinkerbell. ‘Perplexing’ to those familiar only with the Disney version, which of course doesn’t include any Teen Blog readers.
First line: ‘She stands on the cliffs, near the old crumbling stone house. There’s nothing left in the house but an upturned table, a ladle, and a clay bowl.‘
What’s Left of Me : The Hybrid Chronicles, by Kat Zhang (343 pages) – Eva and Addie were born in the same body, but are two distinct souls, or hybrids. However in this alternate reality, hybrids are against the law, so they must keep their dual existence a secret from the government and their family. Reviews say this is very well written, with a great ending, so go on reserve it why don’t you.
First lines: ‘Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath.‘
Don’t Turn Around, by Michelle Gagnon (310 pages) – Noa, a rebellious teen orphan, has woken on an operating table with no memory. She joins with Peter, a computer hacker from a wealthy background, to take down a large and evil corporation. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens’, a reviewer writes, if that’s a good thing?
First line: ‘When Noa Torson woke up, the first thing she noticed was that her feet were cold. Odd, since she always wore socks to bed.‘
Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo (358 pages) – Gonna let the catalogue describe this one – ‘Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protegé of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.’
First line: ‘The servants called the malenchki, little ghosts, because the haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.‘
The Broken Lands, by Kate Milford (455 pages) – This is the prequel to steampunky The Boneshaker, and is set in New York, 1877. Two teenaged orphans – Sam and a pyromaniac girl named Jim – must battle ancient dark forces from turning the city into Hell.
First line: ‘A crossroads can be a place of gerat power; this should not come as any surprise. It is a place of choosing, of testing, of transition, and there is power in all of those things.‘
We have some super cute new books in our collection that you should know about. Author Camilla Morton has collaborated with Manolo Blahník, Christian Lacroix and now also Dianne von Furstenburg to produce these gorgeous editions: designer biographies, written in the style of well-known fairytales and lavishly illustrated by the designers themselves. Negl, I am in LOVE!
Manolo Blahník and the Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker / Camilla Morton ; illustrated by Manolo Blahník
Manolo Blahník’s famous illustration style in this wee gem is BEAUTiful. Christian Lacroix’s artworks are super expressive and there’s so much to look at, you must see to believe! What I love about these books is that they’re a quick read; the fun narration coupled with the beautifully vivid drawings makes for a light yet satisfying romp through the pages. I’ve never been able to read a whole book in a day but, honestly, you can knock this over in half an hour! Can not WAIT until our Diane von Furstenburg copy arrives. Reserve it here.
We also have this exquisite edition by Sandra Bark. Birds of a Feather Shop Together: Aesop’s Fables for the Fashionable Set is a light look at various life lessons, all given a humorous high-fashion twist and inspired by Aesop’s famed fables. Again, the illustrations are colourful, luscious and to-die-for; you’re gonna love it!
As it turns out, designers are feeling the fashion fairytale love as well. (My advice? Don’t google the term ‘fashion fairytale’. You’ll get a whole lot of results on Barbie. NOT necessary.) Marchesa’s dreamy, fairytale gowns from New York Fashion Week are a must-see. Ellie Saab’s all over it as well; check out some footage from her fairytale-inspired Spring/Summer 2012 runway show at Paris Fashion Week.
And who can forget Annie Leibovitz’s Alice in Wonderland themed shoot in Vogue ‘03?! Amaze! An oldie, I know, but daaang, it’s a goodie. View the full shoot (and swoon) here. Loving John Galliano as the Queen of Hearts. And Tweedledum and Tweedledee’s chic make-over is pretty much amaze, a la Viktor & Rolf. Sigh… ♥
The Crown of Embers, by Rae Carson (410 pages) – This is the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Elisa has led her people to victory, but now she must harness the power of the Godstone. This can only be done by following the clues found in ancient scripture, hidden catacombs and similary dangerous places. A nice thick fantasy book for this apparently eternal winter, I reckon.
First line: ‘My entourage of guards struggles to keep pace as I fly down the corridors of my palace. Servants in starched frocks and shined shoes line the way, bowing like dominoes as I pass.‘
Small Damages, by Beth Kephart (293 pages) – Kenzie is eighteen and pregnant to her boyfriend, the ambitious Kevin who is headed for Yale. Kenzie is sent to Spain to stay so that she’s closer to her baby’s adoptive parents. She has to cope with the culture shock, a stubborn old cook, and the young and mysterious Esteban with his Hyberian charm and gentle way with horses.
First line: ‘The streets of Seville are the size of sidewalks, and there are alleys leaking off from the streets.‘
Something Strange and Deadly, by Susan Dennard (388 pages) – Victoria-era Philadelphia has a zombie problem, and Eleanor Fitt’s brother has gone missing in New York. He was able to send a cryptic letter via zombie, and for Eleanor to find him she will need the help of the Spirit-Hunters, who defend the city from the weird. This is the first book in a planned trilogy.
First line: ‘“Dead!” a woman screamed. “It’s the Dead!” My heart shot into my throat, and shocked cries rippled through the station.‘
Pushing the Limits, by Katie McGarry (403 pages) – Echo and Noah are both teens whose lives are marred by tragedy and secrets, and both are struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy. They are drawn together, and fall in love. If you like a “suspenseful plot, dramatic conflicts, and tragic characters” you will like this, a review says.
First line: ‘“My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has … well … issues. How do you think I’m doing?”‘
Enshadowed : A Nevermore Book, by Kelly Creagh (429 pages) – Book two in a series about a dreamworld inhabited by Edgar Allan Poe’s stories that have come to life. Varen is trapped there, and Isobel is the only person who can save him. Will she save him before he becomes her greatest and most lethal enemy? I don’t knoooooow
First line: ‘“Edgar?” Speaking softly, Dr. Moran leaned over his patient. His eyes traced the wan and pallid countenance of the famous poet, Edgar Poe.‘
Unspoken : The Lynburn Legacy, by Sarah Rees Brennan (373 pages) – This blurb is incredibly complex and difficult, so just read this summary written by Grimm back in July. It is the first in a series, but according to Goodreads there are a couple of short stories in ebook form that are prequels to this book. Get them from her site, maybe.
First line: ‘Every town in England has a story. One day I am going to find out Sorry-in-the-Vale’s.‘
Dead Embers : A Valkyrie Novel, by T. G. Ayer (380 pages) – This is book 2 in a series. (Here’s book 1!) Bryn is a Valkyrie (the Norse angels of death who carry heroes to Valhalla (imagine one of the sets from LoTR but with vikings)). She is in training still! Loki (Norse god of mischief) has somehow stuck her boyfriend in Hel (Hel is the Norse underworld! Boo) and Ragnorok (the Norse apocalypse!) is on its way. So yeah, not much to look forward to.
First line: ‘Cold burrowed into my knees, digging icy claws deep into bone. Despite the pain, I didn’t move.’
Between You and Me, by Marisa Calin (243 pages) – Phyre is sixteen and wants to be an actress. She falls in love with the student teacher of drama class, Mia, which leaves her best friend (who loves Phyre) feeling blue. This book is written as a screenplay, with the best friend never described further than just the role of “you” in the script. Phyre is “me”, if that makes sense?
First line: ‘FADE IN
‘MY BEDROOM. SEPTEMBER. EVENING.
‘Close-up. Heart-shaped pink sunglasses.’
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, by Kat Rosenfield (279 pages) – Becca is keen to leave the small town where she grew up. Her boyfriend dumps her, and the body of a girl Becca’s age is found the next day, and Becca is suddenly too unsure and too shaken to gather the will to leave. “Horrifying,” “emotionally arresting,” and a “raw debut.”
First line: ‘They found her just after dawn on June 24th, crumpled awkwardly by the side of the road with a rust-coloured blossom drying in the dirt beneath her.‘
Hidden : A Firelight Novel, by Sophie Jordan (264 pages) – Siteen-year-old Jacinda can turn into a dragon, and now she must surrender her giant lizardy self to her enemies in order to destroy them. From within! This is the third book in the series, aaaand it’s also the last one.
First (amazing) line: ‘The air traps hot inside my lungs as I hover outside the van, peering within, studying the shadowed depths, so reminiscent of another van not so long ago.‘
Smart Girls Get What They Want, by Sarah Strohmeyer (348 pages) – Three pals – Gigi, Bea, and Neerja – are very smart overachievers, and are all certain that once they leave school for Harvard or Princeton or whatever their lives will be just awesome. They probably will! But in the meantime they decide that they’re missing out on the full highschool experience, so make a pact to face their fears and do something about it.
First line: ‘Before Bea, Neerja, and I got everything we wanted from high school – the adoration, the fun, the fame, and the super-hot boys – all we did was study.‘
The Diviners, by Libba Bray(578 pages) – It is 1926, and New York is pretty swell. It’s the tops! Evie is excited to move there, but she has to live with her occult-obsessed uncle, who she fears will discover her secret occult powers. However, something evil and dark has awoken, and the bodies begin to pile up.
First lines: ‘In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, every lamp blazes. There’s a party going on – the last of the summer.‘
Carnival of Souls, by Melissa Marr (306 pages) – Mallory is a witch! As is the rest of her family, who all some time ago fled the City of Daimons where they lived. Now in the human world, Mallory must always be on the watch for any daimons out to get her. At the City’s heart is the Carnival of Souls, where once every generation the chance to join the ruling elite is up for grabs in deadly competitions. Soon Mallory must face the Carnival. I think! I’m not doing a good job of summarising this one.
First lines: ‘The man – witch - who’d summoned Selah was nothing like what she’d expected. In truth, he looked no different than many daimons she’d met: implacable expression and a musculature that would serve him well in one of Marchosias’ fighting competitions.‘
Drift Race, by David Jubermann (342 pages) – Leon grew up in Japan, but moves back to NZ with his mother. He becomes involved in the world of drift racing, which he thought he’d left behind. In no time at all he ’spirals into an exciting world of adrenaline, fast cars and high-speed chases,’ and becomes a top competitor. BUT! Death and danger await around the corner (maybe literally?) – will he be okay?
First line: ‘They were tired – all of them, near the end of their endurance.’
Geek Charming, by Robin Palmer (338 pages) – This is the book that was the inspiration for ‘the Disney Channel original movie Geek Charming.’ If I had to guess (without reading the blurb) it is about a geek who is in fact a prince! Or a geek who gets a make-over and a girl falls for him! Maybe she kisses a geek and he turns into a prince. Or all of that? Who knows
First line: ‘One day as I was watching Oprah, waiting for her to get to her “Favourite Things for Spring” segment (she has the cutest taste in accessories), I heard this self-help guru guy say that the word for crisis in Chinese is actually two words: danger and opportunity.‘
Betrayal, by Gregg Olsen (273 pages) – This is the second Empty Coffin Novel (Envy was the first). Twins Hayley and Taylor are murder solving slueths in a Washington town that is sometimes called ‘Empty Coffin’ after some old piece of creepy folklore probably. The twins have some supernatural abilities that allow them to receive clues from the dead, often via Scrabble tiles. (Here’s my usual Scrabble message: ‘QZKKCYTP’ or something.)
First line: ‘Olivia Grant wasn’t exactly sure what she’d expected America to be like, but Port Gamble, Washington, most certainly wasn’t it.‘
Lauren Conrad’s back! At the library, with a new book that is. A companion book to her previous guide – Lauren Conrad: style – and filled with beauty tidbits from her blog. The book has just been ordered and isn’t on the shelves yet, but be the first to reserve it HERE.
Another fashion book, just ordered for the Young Adults collection, you might want to check is Fashionable by Owen Weldon. It covers the more outlandish trends of fashion history, such as the dandies of the Macaroni Club – and just whatever that is you can see here.
Arcadia Awakens, Kai Meyer (394 pages) – Rosa Alcantara comes from a New York Sicilian family. On a visit back to the home country, Rosa is introduced to the world of the Mafia, but with a large twist. Not only is the underworld of crime and deadly family rivalries alive and well, but there seems to be a mysterious, supernatural element to it: strange beasts roam the hills of Sicily, and the feuding families have dark, dangerous secrets. It is perhaps unwise, then, to fall in love with a member of the enemy family. But then who’s wise? (Not Rosa, nor Alessandro.)
First sentence: “One day,” she said, “I’ll catch dreams like butterflies.”
The Convent, Maureen McCarthy (419 pages) – “Peach is nineteen and pretty happy with the way things are. She has her university work, two wildly different best friends, her sister, Stella, to look after and a broken heart to mend. But when she takes a summer job at a cafe in the old convent, her idea of who she is takes a sharp turn – into the past. Where once there were nuns, young girls and women who had fallen on hard times, Peach discovers secrets from three generations of her family. As their stories are revealed, Peach is jolted out of her comfort zone. But does she really want to know who she is?” (Book cover)
First sentence: My sister and I often rode past the convent that summer.
Another Faust, Daniel & Dina Nayeri (387 pages) – this novel is a companion to Another Pan, and Another Jekyll, Another Hyde. Set in an exclusive academy (which we like). Five children from various cities across Europe mysteriously disappear, only to turn up seeveral years later in New York, together with an unusual governess. Together they attend the Manhattan Marlowe School, exhibiting unusual powers bestowed on them by their governess. Having unusual powers is a bit of a head rush, but there’s a dangerous side, which they may discover to their detriment.
First sentences: Victoria didn’t have time to play. She didn’t have time for friends or laughing or jumping or any other things little kids do.
The Kill Order, James Dashner (327 pages) – For Maze Runner fans. Before the Maze, there were the sun flares, and the infectious disease of the mind that drove the people of the eastern United States to madness, threatening humanity. Amongst all the chaos, Mark and Trina wonder if there is something they can do to stop the devastation of civilisation as they knew it.
First sentence: Teresa looked at her friend and wondered what it would be like to forget him.
Such Wicked Intent, Kenneth Oppel (310 pages) – the disturbing story of young Victor Frankenstein continues (after This Dark Endeavour). Victor has turned away from alchemy, but can’t resist the temptation when another possible way to cheat death presents itself. He, Elizabeth, Henry and Konrad travel through a portal into the spirit world and “unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return” (cover).
First sentence: The books flew open like startled birds trying to escape the flames.
Endless, Jessica Shirvington (449 pages) – the fourth Violet Eden book. “Angels are real. They aren’t always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori – part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing that Violet will face. For her, the endless question ‘Can love conquer all?’ will finally be answered.” (goodreads.com)
First sentence: What do you do the moment your father discovers your dead mother is still alive, standing in his apartment looking not a day older than the day she died – over seventeen years ago?
Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas (405 pages) – Celaena is an assassin, freed from hard labour by Crown Prince Dorian, provided she defeat 23 other assassins and assorted killers in a gladiatorial competition. The winner becomes King’s Champion. Sounds simple enough, except that before the competition begins the competitors all start dying in mysterious and horrible circumstances. Something evil is afoot, and can Calaena find the cause before her world is destroyed?
First sentence: After a year of slavery in the Salt Mines of Endovier, Calaena Sardothien was accustomed to being escorted everywhere in shackles and at sword-point.
A couple of angels, fairies (perhaps!), a shade, a troubled teen, and twins.
Some Kind of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce (414 pages) – One day (Christmas, to be exact), Peter gets a phone call from his parents to say that his sister, Tara, has arrived home. Tara has been gone for twenty years, and she’s back with incredible tales of adventure. But Tara looks the same as she did when she disappeared, and Peter wonders if there’s something a bit different about her (and do the woods around their parents’ home have something to do with it?).
First sentence: In the deepest heart of England there is a place where everything is at fault.
Fury, Rebecca Lim (368 pages) – the fourth book in the Mercy series. “Heartbreak. Vengeance. Fury. Mercy is an exiled angel cast down to earth and forced to live out thousands of different lives for her own protection. Betrayed by her eternal love, Luc, Mercy burns with fury. The time of reckoning is here and now she must wage open war with Luc and his demons. Ryan’s love for Mercy is more powerful than ever, but loving an angel is mortally dangerous. As their two worlds collide, Mercy approaches her ultimate breathtaking choice.” (catalogue)
First sentence: Picture, if you can, the ancient city of Milan in the dead of night, lashed by an unimaginable storm.
Shift, Jeri Smith-Ready (367 pages) – this is the second in the Shade trilogy. “Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to. Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past – the mystery of the Shift. As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets… and her heart” (cover).
First sentence: I held my breath as it began, the last verse of the last song.
Happy Families, Tanita S Davis (234 pages) – Twins Ysabel and Justin have a perfect life and a happy family, and are preparing for life after school (Ysabel as an aspiring jewellery designer, Justin as a college student), when their father makes an announcement that will turn their world on its end.
First sentence: The surge of chattering, pointing, gawking people pours into the massive auditorium, and I feel a shiver crawl up my arms.
Heaven, Alexandra Adornetto (417 pages) – the conclusion to the Halo trilogy. In which Bethany and Xavier take a rather important step in their relationship – a forbidden marriage – and come up against the Sevens, who are (I think) like the angel equivalent of the SAS, and who are bent on keeping Bethany and Xavier apart. Will true love conquer?
First sentence(s): Everything began to rattle. I clutched the edge of the table and watched my engagement ring tumble onto the checkered floor of Sweethearts Cafe.
Trapped Outside a Cage, Ken Benn (237 pages, New Zealand author) – “Rochelle’s brother, Jack, is in prison for the murder of Methsy, and Rochelle is convinced he didn’t do it. But if Jack is innocent, then why has he confessed to the crime? Rochelle is about to find out that something or someone with sinister intentions is behind Jack’s actions” (summary from the publisher – thanks!).
Time Spirit Trilogy, Melissa Pearl (New Zealand author). The Time Spirit Trilogy is Golden Blood, Black Blood and Pure Blood. Gemma Hart and her family are Time Spirits, able to travel through time (as and when her father desires). This sets her apart from others, and makes her a bit of an outsider at school. But then her crush, Harrison, looks like he might fancy her also: is her growing relationship with him going to jeopardise her family’s secret?
Ngā waituhi o Rēhua, Katerina Mataira (379 pages) – This is a dystopian novel in Māori, or more accurately, four stories in one volume (plus audiobook): Rēhua, Hōkio, Maungaroa, Hokingaroa. The book “follows four teenagers living on Rēhua, a planet settled after Earth is destroyed by ecological disasters and global war. The four raise hōkio, giant mystical birds, which take them on flights to explore their new world. On one flight, they discover an island with another colony of people and are given a quest to interpret a message drawn on cave walls. Deciphering the symbols leads them to appease a gargantuan octopus and help the Tūrehu, fair-skinned sea fairies, who have discovered a way to return to Earth.” (catalogue description)
The Poison Diaries, Maryrose Wood (with The Duchess of Northumberland, 278 pages) – Jessamine Luxton has lived her whole life in a cottage near Alnwick Castle, where she has been learning about the power of plants from her apothecary father and hanging out for the day when he will let her in to his locked, poison garden. One day a traveler called Weed arrives, who – as the name suggests – has an affinity for and knowledge of plants that goes beyond her father’s. Will Jessamine’s growing fascination for Weed draw her into the dangerous secrets of the poison garden? (The Duchess of Northumberland is herself the proud owner of a Poison Garden.)
First sentence: Gray skies; the rain came and went all morning.
Devine Intervention, Martha Brockenbrough (297 pages) – Heidi is a junior in high school and would most like to be an artist but instead must play basketball, on account of her height. Jerome is Heidi’s guardian angel, except he’s not especially good at it (he’s in rehabilitative training). When things go badly wrong (and “the unthinkable happens” – what? what unthinkable??), will the two be able to muddle through and save Heidi?
First sentence: One Monday morning, a couple of years before my cousin Mike shot me in the forehead with an arrow, my eighth-grade homeroom teacher brought two cartons of raw eggs to school.
Lucy in the Sky, Anonymous (267 pages) – “The author of this diary began journaling on her sixteenth birthday. She lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Santa Monica with her mom, dad, and Berkeley-bound older brother. She was a good girl, living a good life… but one party changed everything. One party, where she took one taste, and liked it. Really liked it. Social drinking and drugging lead to more, faster, harder… She convinced herself that she was no different from anyone else who liked to party. But the evidence indicates otherwise: soon she was she hanging out with an edgy crowd, blowing off school and everything she used to care about, all to find her next high. But what goes up must come down, and everything, from her first swig, to her last breath is chronicled in the diary she left behind.”
First sentence(s): Dear Diary. That’s ridiculous. Who writes “Dear Diary” in a diary?
Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl (261 pages) – Someone suggests this is like I Capture the Castle meets Pride and Prejudice. We shall see! Althea is under pressure to “marry well” in order to keep her mother and brother and sisters in a manner to which they are accustomed, and to stop the family castle – Crawley Castle – from crumbling into ruins. Enter Lord Boring. Althea decides he’s a good candidate, and swings into action, only to find Lord Boring’s business manager, Mr Fredericks, has plans of his own that may foil Althea’s.
First sentence(s): We were walking in the castle garden. The silvery light of early spring streaked across the grass, transforming the overgrown shrubbery into a place of magic and romance.
Interrupted, Rachel Coker (247 pages) – “After the loss of her mother, Allie is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Betrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Clinging to the past is comforting but will it cost Allie her chance to be loved?” (catalogue)
First sentence(s): I stared at the ceiling in silence. Although it was so dark I don’t think it could really be called staring at all.
More, as promised!
POD, Stephen Wallenfels (297 pages) – a POD is a sort of alien flying thing that destroys (”zaps” says the back cover, a little playfully) people who venture out of their houses. Josh and his father are trapped in their house, slowly running out of food. Megs is – a little more tenuously – trapped in a multi storey car park, with “dangerous security staff” lurking in the hotel next door. What’s more dangerous? The PODs, or the humans left?
First sentence: The screeching wakes me.
Dust Girl, Sarah Zettel (292 pages) – the first of the American Fairy trilogy. It’s 1935 and dust storms are tormenting Kansas. This is bad for Callie, whose mother insists on staying in Slow Run, waiting for Callie’s father (who is never coming back). When Callie’s mother also disappears in a violent storm, Callie befriends Jack, and they hitch rides on trains (hobo-style) to California. But! Callie is about to learn that the supernatural world is alive and well, and is looking for her (and indeed, she might be one of them).
First sentence: Once upon a time, I was a girl called Callie.
Reunited, Hilary Westman Graham (325 pages) – Alice, Summer and Tiernan used to be best friends, and best fans of the group Level3. But the band split up, and so did they. A few years later, at the end of high school, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion concert. So Alice, Summer and Tiernan go on a road trip together to the concert, but will they be able to reestablish their friendship?
First sentence: “Is the blindfold really necessary?” Alice asked her parents.
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, Shelley Coriell (299 pages) – Chloe is super popular at school, until her best friend suddenly goes cold on her and turns her into a social outcast. So Chloe joins the school radio station - which is so not cool, but necessary - where she becomes the host of a call-in show, with mixed (and possibly romantic?) results.
First sentence: I loved being a burrito.
This is so not happening, Kieran Scott (315 pages) – This is the conclusion to the trilogy that began with She’s So Dead to Us and continued with He’s So Not Worth It. Ally and Jake being their senior year together together, but a bit shakily. Then life gets complicated and seems to be pulling them apart: as high school ends will they end too, or stick together?
First sentence: “Chloe’s pregnant?” Jake blurted, pushing himself up off the ground.
Bullet Boys, Ally Kennen (320 pages) – “Alex, Levi and Max follow the young soldiers from the local army camp on the moor. But harmless rivalry develops into something far more incendiary. When the boys discover a cache of buried weapons near the training grounds, deadly forces are brought into play.” (catalogue)
First sentence: Alex never killed hares.
A Breath of Eyre, Eve Marie Mont (342 pages) – Emma lives partly in the real world and partly in the imaginary world of the books she reads and the stories she makes up in her head. When reading an old copy of Jane Eyre during a lightning storm, Emma suddenly finds herself catapulted into Jane’s shoes: and the brooding gaze of Mr Rochester… (You could try it with one of our not-so-old copies of Jane Eyre.)
First sentence: There was no possibility of taking a swim that day.
Here’s a selection of new fiction – there’s more to come also!
Ransomwood, Sherryl Jordan (New Zealand author, 268 pages) – the cover description is so good that here it is: “Spurned by her lover, and with her uncle threatening to marry her off to his odious widowed brother, Gwenifer is almost relieved to be sent away to escort the magistrate’s old, blind monther to Ransomwood, where the tears of the statue of the Holy Mother are said to have healing qualities. Together with Harry, the village halfwit, who is escaping a sentence of hanging for being in charge of an ox that trampled a child almost to death, they embark on a perilous journey… each of them looking for a different kind of healing.”
First sentence: When the child, Tilly, was trampled by an ox and left a devil’s whisker away from death, Halfwit Harry, innocent and inarticulate and in trouble most days of his life, was blamed for the calamity.
Endlessly, Kiersten White (389 pages) – this is the final instalment in the Paranormalcy series. Three books in, and Evie is still trying to be as normal as possible – as opposed to paranormal. Alas, this is proving as difficult as ever. There is a new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency who wants her back working for them again, the faeries are proving difficult (and downright dangerous if you’re an unwitting human), and once again Evie seems to be the key to keeping the paranormal (and normal?) world in one piece.
First sentence: Here’s the thing about dragons: I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about them.
Masque of the Red Death, Bethany Griffin (319 pages) – this is inspired by an Edgar Allan Poe short story of the same name (available in this collection here, for example). The world has been all but destroyed by a plague known as the Weeping Sickness (I hear it’s pretty revolting). The only protection is ceramic, air-filtering masks. Fortunately for Araby Worth, she is the daughter of the inventor of these masks, so she is free to move around without fear of dying a gruesome death. Even so, life is bleak, and Araby (and many others) seeks out a way to forget the horrors in a club known as Debauchery. There she meets Will (who runs the club) and Elliott (”wickedly smart”), which can surely only lead to many complications? Also: there’s steampunk!
First sentence: The charcoal sky spits cold rain as we rumble to a stop at a crossroad.
Ghost Flower, Michele Jaffe (358 pages) – Right: Eve has run away from home and works in a Starbucks just outside of Tuscon (Arizona). There she meets Bain and Bridgette, who are rich and attractive, and who have a plan. You see, three years ago, their cousin Aurora disappeared on the night that her best friend Liza died. Eve, as it happens, is the spitting image of Aurora. Bain and Bridgette plan to bring Aurora (Eve) back, claim her inheritance and split it three ways. But when Eve becomes Aurora, Liza’s ghost appears, who tells her there is much more to the story. Can Eve find out what happened to Aurora and Liza? (Without becoming a ghost herself?)
First sentence: It started with a new dawn.
Revived, Cat Patrick (327 pages) – This book cover gives me vertigo! Daisy is a test subject for a government trial for a drug called Revive that bring people back from death. The tests are, I think, top secret, which means that for each test session Daisy officially dies, is revived, then must assume a new identity in a new town to be ready for the next round of tests. This has happened five times. But in her new iteration, Daisy has found a new best friend, and a cute boy (a cute Matt in fact), and she is beginning to question her role in the drug trials: is there something sinister going on?
First sentence: I’m flattened and thrashing on the sun-warmed track next to the football field, lying on what looks like asphalt but what I realise, now that I’m down here, is actually that fake spongy stuff.
Another Jekyll, Another Hyde, Daniel & Dina Nayeri (249 pages) – “When his billionaire father marries French governess Nicola Vileroy, high society is all abuzz — but Thomas, the most popular student at Marlowe, is just plain high. Ever since his girlfriend Belle dumped him, he’s been spending less time with old friends and more time getting wasted at clubs. But after someone slips him a designer drug one night — and his stepmother seems to know way too much about his private life — things really start to get scary. As Thomas’s blackouts give way to a sinister voice inside his head, and as news of a vicious hate crime has students on edge, Thomas comes to the sickening realization that Madame Vileroy has involved him in a horrifying supernatural plan. How can he muster the strength and will to stop it? The pulse-quickening climax revisits Jekyll and Hyde as a current-day cautionary tale laced with a heady dose of paranormal intrigue.” (goodreads.com)
First sentence: A two-faced moon hung over the black-and-white city, in turns shining as bold as the sun and hiding, shamed, behind the veil of cirrus clouds.