I thought to end the year with a couple of fantasy-type novels that are the third in a series, which is sort of where the similarity ends. Apart from the stories both being excellent!
Half Lost, Sally Green. This is the last book in the Half Bad trilogy. “Nathan Byrn is running again. The Alliance of Free Witches has been all but destroyed. Scattered and demoralized, constantly pursued by the Council’s Hunters, only a bold new strategy can save the rebels from total defeat. They need the missing half of Gabriel’s amulet – an ancient artifact with the power to render its bearer invincible in battle. But the amulet’s guardian – the reclusive and awesomely powerful witch Ledger – has her own agenda. To win her trust, Nathan must travel to America and persuade her to give him the amulet. Combined with the Gifts he has inherited from Marcus, the amulet might just be enough to turn the tide for the Alliance and end the bloody civil war between Black and White witches once and for all…” (goodreads.com)
A Tangle of Gold, Jaclyn Moriarty. This is the third book in the crazy and cool Colours of Madeleine series, which began with A Corner of White. “Cello is in crisis. Princess Ko’s deception of her people has emerged and the Kingdom is outraged: The Jagged Edge Elite have taken control, placing the Princess and two members of the Royal Youth Alliance under arrest and ordering their execution; the King’s attempts to negotiate their release have failed. Color storms are rampant, and nobody has heard the Cello wind blowing in months. Meanwhile, Madeleine fears she’s about to lose the Kingdom of Cello forever. Plans are in place to bring the remaining Royals home, and after that, all communication between Cello and the World will cease. That means she’ll also lose Elliot, now back in Cello and being held captive by a branch of Hostiles. And there’s nothing he can do to help his friends unless he can escape the Hostile compound. Worlds apart and with time running out, Madeleine and Elliot find themselves on a collision course to save the Kingdom they love, and maybe even save each other.” (goodreads.com)
Well actually two.
The Year We Fell Apart, Emily Martin (January 2016). ” In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from – and fix – her past.” (goodreads.com) The book tells the story of Harper, who has really burned her friendship with Declan. On top of dealing with her mother’s illness, Harper must figure out whether or not it is possible to mend bridges, and if you should.
The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater (April 2016). Okay so we’ve been waiting a while now and finally the final instalment in the Raven Cycle has got a proper publication date. We hope. What’s going to happen? Well we don’t really know, except the author is assuring people the important awful thing(s) she’s been saying will happen will actually happen even though readers are saying, “No don’t, you wouldn’t really.” Start with The Raven Boys if you haven’t already (trying not to spoiler).
The YA nonfiction collection is not very large – ‘compact’ might be a good word – but we do stock it up with some good stuff. We’ve recently ordered some new history titles (World War II, precisely) and other interesting things.
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, M. T. Anderson.
This is not just for classical music enthusiasts – it looks like a gripping book for anybody interested in World War II, or basically just for anybody. Written by the prize-winning author of Feed, Thirsty, and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing.
“In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history—almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943–1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm; they ate family pets and—eventually—one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens—the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory.” (goodreads.com)
Hitler’s Last Days: the Death of the Nazi Regime and the World’s Most Notorious Dictator, Bill O’Reilly.
We note the American angle on this interesting subject!
“By early 1945, the destruction of the German Nazi State seems certain. The Allied forces, led by American generals George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower, are gaining control of Europe, leaving German leaders scrambling. Facing defeat, Adolf Hitler flees to a secret bunker with his new wife, Eva Braun, and his beloved dog, Blondi. It is there that all three would meet their end, thus ending the Third Reich and one of the darkest chapters of history. Hitler’s Last Days is a gripping account of the death of one of the most reviled villains of the 20th century—a man whose regime of murder and terror haunts the world even today. Adapted from Bill O’Reilly’s historical thriller Killing Patton, this book will have young readers—and grown-ups too—hooked on history.” (goodreads.com)
Really Professional Internet Person, Jenn McAllister.
The author is really (also) Jennxpenn, YouTube personality.
“Really Professional Internet Person offers both an insider’s guide to building a successful YouTube channel and an intimate portrait of the surreality of insta-fame and the harsh reality of high school. Brimming with honesty, heart and Jenn’s patented sense of humor, Really Professional Internet Person features top ten lists, photos, screenshots, social media posts and never-before-posted stories chronicling Jenn’s journey from an anxious middle-schooler just trying to fit in, to a YouTube sensation unafraid to stand out.” (goodreads.com)
Some more newly-ordered titles!
The Anatomy of Curiosity, Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff. These three authors read and critique each other’s work regularly: they have a writing group, which is cool. The Anatomy of Curiosity is the follow up to The Curiosities, and similarly it contains illustrations and annotations about their writing process, which would be really interesting for writers and other creative people.
“In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor… In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love… In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.” (goodreads.com)
Black Widow: Forever Red, Margaret Stohl. We did a double-take over this novel, thinking surely this is a graphic novel? But no, Black Widow gets some well-deserved attention from Margaret Stohl, co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series.
“Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives. Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments-until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type. Until now. When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned-and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams.” (goodreads.com)
Young Man With Camera, Emil Sher. “T– is used to getting grief. He gets it from his mom, who blames herself for his accident years earlier. He gets it from Mr. Lam, who suspects every kid of stealing from his shop. Worst of all, he gets it from Joined at the Hip, a trio of bullies so vicious that they leave T– terrified of even using his entire name. But T– has his own strength too: his camera, which captures the unique way he sees the world. His pictures connect him to Ms. Karamath, the kind librarian at school; his friend Sean, whose passion for mysteries is matched only by his love for his dog; and especially Lucy, a homeless woman who shares his admiration for the photographer Diane Arbus. When Lucy is attacked by Joined at the Hip, T– documents the assault on film. But the bullies know he has the photographs, and their anger could be deadly. What’s the right thing for T– to do? Do pictures ever tell the whole truth? And what if the truth isn’t always the right answer?” (goodreads.com) The novel is interspersed with T–’s photographs, which is pretty cool.
March 2016 is a good month for bestselling authors, and we’ve just recently ordered some titles we think will be really popular.
Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare. This is the new book in the new Dark Artifices series and people have been hanging out for it for ages. “Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge. Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention – they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim. The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.” (goodreads.com)
The Winner’s Kiss, Marie Rutkoski. This is the final book in the Winner’s trilogy. “War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people – and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks. But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?” (goodreads.com)
Yellow Brick War, Danielle Paige. Dorothy Must Die #3! (Is she going to?) “In this dark, action-packed third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm – the new girl from Kansas – must do everything in her power to save Kansas, kill Dorothy, and make Oz a free land once more. Amy Gumm’s mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and nonmagic worlds, maybe get the guy – and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all… Danielle Paige’s twisted versions of beloved Oz characters are back, including the biggest, baddest, most famous of all: the Wicked Witch of the West. Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there’s danger around every corner, and magic shoes won’t be able to save you.” (goodreads.com)
We’re starting to order some great looking fiction that will be coming out next year. March looks like a fantastic month; we’ll let you know about that in a few weeks, but in the mean time here’s a couple of Februaries.
Glass Sword, Victoria Aveyard. This is the sequel to the action-packed Red Queen, a sort of dystopian-fantasy class struggle. “Mare Barrow’s blood is red – the color of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince – the friend – who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind. Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known – and pits Mare against the darkness of her own heart.” (goodreads.com)
Riders, Veronica Rossi. The new novel by the author of the Under the Never Sky trilogy. “For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does. Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse. Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen – Conquest, Famine, and Death – are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence. They fail. Now – bound, bloodied, and drugged – Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for – not to mention all of humankind – he needs to convince the sceptical government officials the world is in imminent danger. But will anyone believe him?” (goodreads.com) The four horsemen of the apocalypse? Excellent!
Introducing a mystery, some futuristic suspense, and an old/new book from the queen of book covers with spectacular dresses.
The Siren, Kiera Cass (January 2016). This is a re-release of a novel the author wrote before the best selling Selection series. “‘You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans. You are, essentially, a weapon. A very beautiful weapon. I won’t lie to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time…’ The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can’t bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she’s been waiting for doesn’t seem nearly as important as the one she’s living now.” (goodreads.com)
These Shallow Graves, Jennifer Donnelly. “Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.” (goodreads.com)
The Game of Lives, James Dashner. “Michael used to live to game, but the games he was playing have become all too real. Only weeks ago, sinking into the Sleep was fun. The VirtNet combined the most cutting-edge technology and the most sophisticated gaming for a full mind-body experience. And it was Michael’s passion. But now every time Michael sinks, he risks his life. The games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine—Kaine’s master plan—has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box—if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.” (goodreads.com)
Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, was first published in 2005. In three years it will be eligible for a Young Adult card.
What is Twilight? Well, it is the story of a girl who falls in love with a vampire (and vice versa) with some rather stressful consequences. It was/is/has been a publishing phenomenon, probably bigger than The Hunger Games although not as big as Harry Potter. There were movies, there was fan fiction, there were lots of similarly-themed books.
We’re wondering how Twilight will fare in a post-apocalyptic dystopian book world. Maybe a bit of supernatural romance will make it seem a better place?
With this in mind, we’ve ordered copies of the 10th anniversary edition. We are told there is extra bonus content. It should be here in October. Reserve it now!
These are two titles we’ve ordered recently, one sci-fi, one urban fantasy with angels.
Ten Thousand Skies Above You, Claudia Gray. This is the second book in the trilogy called Firebird. “Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions. Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.” (goodreads.com)
Unforgiven, Lauren Kate (November). This is the fifth book in the Fallen series, from Cam’s perspective. “Cam knows what it’s like to be haunted. He’s spent more time in Hell than any angel ever should. And his freshest Hell is high school, where Lilith, the girl he can’t stop loving, is serving out a punishment for his crimes. Cam made a bet with Lucifer: he has fifteen days to convince the only girl who really matters to him to love him again. If he succeeds, Lilith will be allowed back into the world, and they can live their lives together. But if he fails… there’s a special place in Hell just for him. Tick tock.” (goodreads.com)
This week, the sequel to a smash-hit, the third book in a really popular New Zealand series, and something new.
Girl Online On Tour, Zoe Sugg. This is the follow up to the runaway smash hit Girl Online and it’s due to be released at the end of October. “Penny’s bags are packed. When Noah invites Penny on his European music tour, she can’t wait to spend time with her rock-god-tastic boyfriend. But, between Noah’s jam-packed schedule, less-than-welcoming bandmates and threatening messages from jealous fans, Penny wonders whether she’s really cut out for life on tour. She can’t help but miss her family, her best friend Elliot… and her blog, Girl Online. Can Penny learn to balance life and love on the road, or will she lose everything in pursuit of the perfect summer?” (goodreads.com)
Being Magdalene, Fleur Beale. This is the follow-up to I Am Not Esther and I Am Rebecca (in that order) and it should be here soonish. “Four years have passed since Rebecca ran away. The community simmers with tension and rumours of an approaching split, and life has become terrifying for Rebecca’s remaining siblings as Elder Stephen seizes any chance to take revenge on them. Twelve-year-old Magdalene lives in fear that her strong-willed little sister, Zillah, will be his next target. The girls have run out of people who can protect them. To Zillah their path is clear but Magdalene is torn. How can she cause more hurt and shame for her parents? But, equally, how can she face a life with no freedom to be herself? And another question scares her most of all. Without the elders’ suffocating rules that tell her how to live, who would Magdalene be?” (goodreads.com)
Dangerous Lies, Becca Fitzpatrick. This is the new book by the author of the Hush, Hush series (due in November). “Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life. After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer. But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows. As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…” (goodreads.com)