City Of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. I must admit, the cover drew me to this novel. It is beautiful. The world building kept me in the fantastical city full of secrets and royal ambition.
A girl who was abandoned at the gates of the City of A Thousand Dolls searches for a killer and ends up learning more about her true heritage. This is a nice beginning to what will become a popular fantasy series. Especially if you adore cats…just saying…without giving away too much.
A Study In Silks by Emma Jane Holloway. I must admit I enjoy a good genre mash-up. Mix in an alternate Victorian England controlled by utility barons, add a bit of magic, and Sherlock Holmes for good measure and the stage is set with a mystery afoot. The book should appeal to readers across genre lines who enjoy a light mystery with a bit of fun and romance thrown in. I read the uncorrected proof and it was an easy read so I can only imagine the final copy, out in September 2013, will only be better. Go ahead and read this one. I dare you.
Scarlet by Marissa Myer As a huge fan of Cinder the sequel did not disappoint. There are so many quirky, whimsical bits that carried through both novels and played to the plot. Beloved cyborg mechanic Cinder escapes prison and becomes the kingdom’s most wanted criminal.
The series gives a serious nod to our favorite fairy tales and launches them into a frightful future world. This story centers around Scarlet and Wolf as they attempt to find out what really happened to Scarlet’s missing grandmother. By the time they meet Cinder, the Lunar queen will have a real threat on her hands and the reader will have a nice Segway into the third book of the series. I’m ready for the next installment, please.
This second book in the Lunar Chronicles ups the danger and hints to even greater secrets housed on the moon. To fully enjoy the story I would suggest you start with reading Cinder first. They are both quick and enjoyable reads. Almost too quick. I think I may have to go back and reread…
The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter is a novella spanning the summer when Kate heads back to the real world. To avoid spoilers, you will definitely want to read the Goddess Test first. In this modern retelling of Greek mythology, we see the standard cast of character with some extra angst mixed in. My favorite part of the book is that this story shows another side of Henry aka modern Hades than you see in the full novels.
It’s chance to sneak behind the scenes and see him watching his wife as she reluctantly embraces her semi-annual freedom in the real world. The author’s writing is fast paced and a pleasant read. For fans of the series, it is hard to get enough time in the story world so I would recommend reading. For someone with less time to spend, I would suggest staying with versions one and two and save 1.5 for a later date.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver immerses us in a government knows best world where love is viewed as a disease and each person takes the cure at eighteen. It’s an intriguing premise.
Lena Haloway wants to fit in, to look forward to the husband and career society will chose for her on her eighteenth birthday. Once she’s given the cure, she will no longer have to fear the threat of love the decease that caused her mother’s suicide. “I love you,” she remembers her mother’s last words.
Lena meets Alex a couple of months before she’s scheduled to be cured. He’s different. He makes her see and experience things is a new way. New isn’t good; it’s deadly.
Amazon.com posts an author one-on-one with Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. In it Lauren Oliver shares that the seed of the idea hit her while she was at the gym watching a news click about people panicking during the swine flu epidemic. That one spark of an idea became a page turner. The author who penned Before I Fall had delivered another best-seller here.
The miles between by Mary Pearson starts with a bang and ends with a revelation. Destiny Faraday distances herself from her classmates. She’s terrified of attachments. It’s easier to be a loner. and to keep aching secrets at bay.That is until one day, she and three students “borrow” a car and set out on a once in a lifetime road trip.
Their goal becomes to create on fair day, a day when good guys win and things turn out the way they should. It’s an emotional trip, and weaves in a supernatural element with perhaps a heartbreaking reality behind it. This story blends genres for me. It has some of the elements I love from old-fashioned Southern Gothic stories: a boarding school, old family secrets, controlling Yet it blends in a modern literary feel mashed with young adult.
I couldn’t resist reading on after viewing: I was seven the first time I was sent away. Read it for yourself and enjoy the emotional roller coaster.
The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne was made into a movie in 2008 and it’s no wonder. This fable of an innocent nine year old boy living in 1942 Germany brings us on an emotional journey.
The boy’s family is moving to a place he’s never heard. As he tries to understand meanings to new words he hears he gets it all wrong. He hears his dad’s being sent by the ‘”Fury” to live in “Out-With” and he fails to understand those names, which sound straight from a fantasy novel as the true terms Fuhrer and Auschwitz. For the adult reader, the truth immediately sinks in. I’m not sure soon a younger reader would grasp the connection.
It’s especially haunting to experience this world through the eyes of a naive boy who focuses on his own lonliness and doesn’t realize the true horror in his new friend’s life on the other side of the fence.
Crossed by Allie Condie picks up with the repercussion of Cassie’s rebellious act This sequel to the popular Matched left me slightly disappointed. I normally don’t list a review of a book that I would rank less than four to five stars. I just don’t. Here I loved the originally story so much and I still have high hopes for the conclusion. So I had to share a few thoughts.
Cassia lands in a work camp and finally in the dangerous Outer Provinces searching for her boyfriend Ky. The memory of her ex-fiance Xander shadows her. She’s peeking behind the curtain and learning more shocking discoveries about her Society and the rebels they fight. Sure the conflict and stakes continue to rise in this book, but I had the sinking feeling that this read more like the middle of a novel rather than a stand piece itself. Sagging middles is a syndrome authors fight to overcome the same way many of us battle that extra pound or two.
I’m still going to read the final novel in this trilogy and I have a feeling it will be well worth it. My advice is to wait and read the three novels in the Matched trilogy together, savor the first, race through the second and hopefully enjoy the third.
Chime by Franny Billingsley adds a YA twist to Southern Gothic.
Briony Larkin has been filled with guilt and loathing since her stepmother’s recent death. She keeps secret that she knows she’s a witch, that she’s responsible for her twin Rose’s handicap, and that she caused her stepmother’s death.
Isolated in their Swampsea parsonage at the turn of the twentieth century, she has no hope of things getting better. When Eric arrives things get more difficult. His father plans on draining the swamp and Briony knows that the Old Ones will never allow it. Another death will be coming. This is a dark, twisted world in the best gothic tradition with some added fantasy thrown in. Ultimately it’s a story of redemption and Briony at least feels she’s too far gone for salvation, but she won’t give up her sister without a fight.
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater marks the end of a series. It’s always a little sad when a story has to end, and I’ll be sorry to leave Mercy Falls. In this final book of the trilogy, Grace faces life as a wolf and Sam seems to have found the cure to stay human. As the local wolf attacks turn deadlier, a new threat looms, a legal wolf hunt.
Cole shares the spotlight this time around, so we get a glimpse into the inner workings of a snarky, former rock star. Some of Sam’s spark is lost while he’s pining away for Grace. The parents get additional page time and the ending, I’m sure, will divide readers into two camps.
I recommend devouring this series. Shiver is still my favorite of the three books with it’s stark beginning of a girl surrounded by wolves in the snow and the sparks of an unlikely, first love.