Ink and Bone

Rachel Caine’s new series The Great Library is off to a promising start.  Book one Ink and  Bone introduces us to a futuristic world with steampunk elements.  Jess has never known a time when the Great Library doesn’t rule over everyone.  It dictates what people can read and only allows books to be read via tablet: real physical books are forbidden.  His family specializes in black market books so when the opportunity arises for a job within the library his father doesn’t hesitate to pay for him to get an audition.  It would be perfect having a family member inside the library working as a spy.  But once Jess starts his journey he finds that things are not that simple and in fact they are quite deadly.

What an outstanding beginning.  The atmosphere was engrossing and detailed.  I could feel myself in the gritty side streets of London as well as the sweltering desert of Egypt.  I also liked that in many ways this futuristic world felt old and reminiscent of the Industrial age.  This book was complex with layers of intrigue and I enjoyed learning key tidbits (both past and present) through letters between the heads of the library.  I should also mention, that this book is packed with action.  Whether it be with the tests that the candidates have to complete or braving a war zone, I often found myself quickly turning the page to see if everyone was okay.  That being said, Caine never  sacrifices her character development.  Jess went from being a bullied son to finding his courage, using his intelligence, and creating lifelong friendships.  This is a great read for fans of the Divergent series, Infernal Devices or all book lovers.

Hollow City

After finishing Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children a while back, I was saddened to be left adrift along with Jacob, Emma and all the other peculiars from the island. I was ecstatic when Hollow City finally came out and thrilled that the story  picks up right where the first one left off with Jacob and his friends heading to London.

The whole world that Riggs creates for the peculiars to discover is fascinating.  I really enjoyed watching all of the children grow into their powers and discover other peculiar children as they traveled.  The photos are just as unusual as in the first book and follow the story well…almost as if Riggs sat down with a pile of bizarre photos and created stories to explain the unique children in them.

I really hate waiting for the next installment, since we discover Jacob’s hidden talent at the very end of this one. But I’m sure it will be well worth the wait. Loved. This. Book.

Bones of Faerie

If you are looking for a dark faerie young adult novel, then be sure to pick-up Janni Lee Simner’s Bones of Faerie trilogy.  Simner creates such an original world and story that I found it to be an incredibly refreshing read.

Bones of Faerie is the first book in the series.  Liza has grown up in a very bleak world.  After the war with the faeries, life as they once knew it no longer exists.  There are no cars or computers, in fact there are very limited resources.  Liza also knows that when people are touched with magic they must be “dealt” with.  The evil of magic must not be allowed into the village regardless of how brutal the actions to the inflicted are.  The problem is, Liza thinks she may have been infected with magic.  She decides she much embark on a quest to better understand her heritage and her mother.

This is an excellent, albeit dark, faerie dystopian tale.  Simner did such an amazing job of describing the fear of living in her world.  The mythology of the magic is unlike anything that I have read lately.  It was not just the people that were effect by the faeries but everything: trees, water and creatures have all come to life with magical gifts.  I loved this but  found myself anxious right along with Liza during her perilous journey. You never knew what was lurking around the next turn.   Not only are the descriptions fabulous, but so are the characters.  Liza may be sheltered but she is already  starting to grown into a strong and independent heroine.  And I also loved her healer Allie with her constant optimism.  She is a the perfect balance to Liza’s often pessimistic logic.

We still have autographed copies of Faerie After, book three in the series, in-stock.  Janni Lee Simner has told us she is happy to sign books for any of her fans and will stop in the store to sign books.  Please let us know if you are interested in a personalized autograph copy.

Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater’s newest novel Raven Boys is the start of a new series featuring a psychic’s daughter Blue and a handful of the Aglionby private boarding school  students, commonly known as Raven boys.  Blue herself has no psychic abilities  even though everyone else in her life does.  She has been told that she has the rare gift of supercharging a psychic’s sight, but truthfully finds this to be a dull talent.  Her whole life she has grown up trying to stay away from the Raven boys.  They are nothing but spoiled brats temporarily residing in her small town.  Well, that’s one reason.  The other reason is that for years her mom and her mom’s friends have told her that her first true love will die if she kisses him.  That kind of makes it even more important that she stays away from them, which is fine until she meets Gansey and his posse.   Now she finds herself drawn into his quest to discover a long lost king with all the challenges and heartache that comes along with it.

This was a great book!  I especially loved all of the repeated raven references.  You really can’t get away from that bird, whether it be the boys’ school, their pet, or the missing Welsh king himself, the raven is everywhere.  I thought Stiefvater took a unique approach to her book by giving none of the main characters any magical powers – or at least none that we know.  Instead the focus is looking for a ley line, which holds all of the magical powers.  It was fun and easy to relate to the teens searching for magic instead of learning to use magic.  The characters are charming, developed, and sure to keep getting better as the series progresses.   And how can you not love a book that uses the phrase, “top shelf” in non-joking fashion from a teen character – what a fantastic use of language.  If you are looking for a paranormal book that isn’t the typical vampire or angel theme, then pick-up Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys.  You are sure to like it and want more.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin was just as gripping and mesmerizing as the first book in the trilogy.  Mara now knows that Jude is alive and seems to be after her.  This has caused her serious anxiety issues. To make things even harder, Mara is trying to convince her family that she is not crazy and should be allowed to live at home.  The only good thing that has come from this whole ordeal is Noah coming back into her life.  He seems to be the only thing that is keeping her grounded.  As she continues to come to terms with her “gift” and hang on to what is real, Mara discovers that there could be much more to her and Noah’s talents.

I loved this book!  The characters are fantastic and they just keep getting better.  I loved how this book feels incredibly contemporary and then a few pages later it is filled with supernatural elements.  All and all creating a very realistic feeling story.  Hodkin has done such an amazing job of keeping her readers guessing.  Just when you think you have everything figured out, she throws in one more twist.  Of course this also means we are left with a cliffhanger ending that leaves us anxiously awaiting the final volume.  I am completely intrigued with the possible family back-story that was hinted at in this book as well as learning what Mara and Noah’s gifts mean.  This has been one of my all time favorite young adult series.  It has everything you desire in a book; a love story that is well written and witty, suspense and mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat,  and of course  fun paranormal elements.

New Releases

 

Here are  a few new releases for the week:

The Old Gray Wolf by James Doss  (The latest installment in the Charlie Moon series)

The Hunters by John Flanagan (Book 3 in the Brotherband Chronicles)

Venom by Fiona Paul

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (Book 2 in the Ruby Red trilogy)

Masque of the Red Death

Bethany Griffin’s debut novel Masque of the Red Death  is an amazing start to a new paranormal series.  Araby lives in a dying world that has been overcome by a plague.  The only way she and the few others remaining have stayed alive is by avoiding human contact and always wearing their masks to filter the air they breath.  To make things worse, her parents barely realize she exists.  Since the death of her brother, Araby’s father has consumed himself with his inventions and her mother just doesn’t really notice her.  But things are changing, Araby’s best friend’s brother has return to the city and has asked her for help.  She has met someone who actually makes her feel a small spark of hope in her world of guilt and despair.

Melissa Marr described this book as “haunting and beautiful”, and I think that is the perfect description for this book.  You can really feel the ghosts that haunt Araby in her voice.  She starts  feeling so much despair in her life that the emotions just resonate with you long after you have put the book down.  However, I am excited to see how Griffin develops Araby.  She has already started to change from someone seeking to escape to someone who wants to fight.  I have a feeling that she is going to emerge from the series as a very strong individual.  Typically I am not a fan of the love triangles that are such a constant in young adult literature, but I am really intrigued by this one.  Griffin has kept us guessing as to which side each of the boys are on, making it a very compelling side story-line.  This is an excellent dark tale with steampunk elements that is sure to win over readers and having them anxiously awaiting book two.

The Edge of Nowhere

The Edge of Nowhere is Elizabeth George’s first young adult novel and what a remarkable debut.  This book is sure to have you on the edge of your seat the entire way through.  Becca’s ability to hear some of other people’s thoughts has put her and her mother at risk from her step-father since she learned about his criminal activity.  The plan was that her mother would go to Canada and get a safe house ready while Becca stayed with friends, except that her mother’s friend is gone.  Now alone, Becca has to find a way to disguise herself and stay  hidden from her step-father on the small island of Whidbey.

What a captivating novel.  There is so much tension while Becca attempts to stay hidden from her step-father and others that I found myself unable to stop reading – I had to know what was going to happen.  Becca is a great character.  She is strong and determined and surprisingly resourceful.  It was easy to like and cheer her on.  The writing was great and the story has a little bit of mystery, romance, paranormal, and tons of suspense.  This is a great beginning to a promising new series.

Release date:  September 4th 2012

Legend

Marie Lu’s novel Legend is a captivating debut that will grab your attention and not let go till the very end.  June is the Republic’s prodigy child, even if she is a bit willful and independent.  Day is the Republic’s most sought after criminal, not the most dangerous but definitely the most problematic.  When June learns that Day killed her brother her only emotions are anger and the desire for revenge.  Thus begins the hunt for Day, but what June doesn’t expect is what she learns from him about her beloved Republic.

This was a fantastic young adult dystopian read, and frankly the closest book that I have found to The Hunger Games.  I thought Lu’s writing style of telling the story from both characters’ point of view to be an excellent way to grab the readers attention and to have you cheering for both of the characters.  Her  style also ensured that her story was rich with details  since you are leaning about things from multiple perspectives.   Lu captured the military mind so well with her writings about June and likewise the street smarts when writing about Day.   You couldn’t help but think these two are a nice balance and could make an excellent team.  The characters were both well developed and it was easy to tell who was speaking, even had Lu not changed the color of her text between them.  The writing is wonderful but so is the story.  We are just beginning to learn about the flawed Republic at the end of the book and I am anxiously awaiting  Prodigy (book two due out in January 2013) to find out where the story goes.  I think the corruption is going to be much worse than we initially anticipate.  Legend is a compelling beginning to what is sure to be an amazing series.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin is an extraordinary read, albeit a hard book to categorize.  At first glance it appears to be a contemporary fiction novel for young adults, but as you read the story you discover it has so much more to offer.  Sections of the book read like a thriller novel and has your gripping the book in anticipation, the next moment you’re swooning and in love much like Mara, and then the paranormal twist just throws all your previous conceptions out the window.   And because Hopkins keeps you guessing about the true reasons behind all of the deaths and Mara’s madness, you find that you stumble across an amazing new series.

Mara, after waking up from a coma, finds out that three of her friends were killed in a terrible accident that she herself was in.  She was the only one to survive the collapsing of a run-down local asylum building, leaving her alive but emotionally damaged with no recollection of the accident.  Her family quickly decides the best way for Mara to cope with her post traumatic stress disorder is to move to Miami.  However, Mara knows that the only true way to cope with her grief and new life is to find out what really happened at the asylum.  Luckily, she meets a mysterious boy who helps keep her sane, so to speak, and find out the truth about herself.

As I have said before, this was a fabulous read.  The characters are really well developed for book one in a series.  I found Mara to be incredible realistic and easy to relate too.  Her interactions with other characters never seemed forced and the dialogue is playful and sophisticated .  Mara and Noah have a great love story that was mature for teens, but magical enough to still be first love.  Hodkin did a great job making the reader feel all of Mara’s emotion; this is a fantastic debut novel.  If you are looking for a book with a great love story, a few thrills, and a little off the beaten path, this would be a great choice.

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