# of books read: 7
Publisher: Scholastic Press- Released September 15, 2015
Summary: Two seemingly unrelated stories–one in words, the other in pictures–come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.
Overall Thoughts: If I could describe this book in one word it would be “magical.” Brian’s writing style and additional illustrations really transports you. At the start of the novel, the illustrations lead us to believe that generations of Marvels make it big in acting on a London stage. However, as the story progresses, Joseph, the main protagonist, does everything he can to uncover the mysteries surrounding The Marvels. By the novel’s conclusion, we realize that Albert made the story up. I was surprised when that was revealed, because while there were some hints throughout that Albert was connected in some way, I never would have guessed he based that story on moments in his life. This was my first Brian Selznick book and I was very impressed! I did take away 1/2 a star because at times I felt the plot was lagging. If you enjoy middle grade, adventure, and historical fiction, you should definitely pick this book up.
Publisher: Silver Wing Press-Released August 27, 2015
Summary: A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…
The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.
Overall Thoughts: This was an amazing debut! Elise created a very complex world where elemental magic plays a huge role. The characters, world, and plot were wonderfully developed and if you are looking for a breath of fresh air from YA Fantasy, definitely pick this book up.
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin-Released: October 6, 2015
Summary: Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Overall Thoughts: I loved this book! Returning to a world with Baz and Simon again was truly magical. The pacing was perfect and the alternating POV was a surprise to me, but Rainbow truly understood each character’s POV & I felt I understood them too. Baz&Simon’s friendship/relationship development was done perfectly. Rainbow again creates a story where you fall in love with each and every page.
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers- Released: October 13, 2015
Summary: Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.
But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?
Overall Thoughts: What a great sequel. Same as the Legend Trilogy, Marie Lu knows how to develop her characters and plot and give them much more depth than the previous novel. Adelina gets much more darker and that truly shows with her internal thoughts. 1/2 a star is taken away, because I feel the world is not fully developed. By that I mean I can’t truly picture the world for this trilogy for some reason. But other than that, this really is a great sequel.
Publisher: Henry Holt& Co.-Released September 29, 2015
Summary: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Overall Thoughts: I really loved this book! While I wasn’t a huge fan of the Grisha Trilogy, I felt that was mostly due to the world. I didn’t feel I understood enough of it to enjoy it. However with this book, I can tell that Leigh’s world-building improved. Each character has their own unique voice and the 3-person POV makes it easier to switch between characters. 1/2 a star is taken away because at points the plot felt quite slow and I wish there was more setting descriptions. But overall, a great start to a new world from Leigh!
Publisher: HarperTeen- Released October 6, 2015
What if you aren’t the Chosen One?
The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.
Overall Thoughts: This was an entertaining read. I loved how this whole book played wit the whole idea of the “Chosen One.” I also loved the diversity in this book. However this book gave little explanation to how the “Indie Kids” got their powers, sometimes the pacing of this book was rather slow, and it didn’t feel like there wasn’t much plot. Overall, it was a really fun book to read and having read read another one of Patrick’s books in the past, I can understand that is just his style.
Publisher: Balzer+Bray- Released October 7, 2014
Summary: Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.
Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.
Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?
Overall Thoughts: Not having read books featuring Jinn/Genies in YA before I really enjoyed this book. Nalia as a main character made this book so great. She is strong and fighting for her freedom. Raif and Zanari, Ajinna rebels, want to make Arjinna free again, so they need Nalia to retrieve an ancient sigil that will help them with the rebellion. Once Nalia gets it, she can be free. Not only is Nalia fighting for her freedom, but she is also trying to find the sigil and avoid being killed by and Arjinna assassin sent by the new rulers who want to destroy her caste. I did take away 1/2 a star because I wanted more interaction/development of Raif and Zanari with Nalia and I wish the pacing was a little faster. Other than that, this was a great YA Fantasy.
What books did you read this month? 🙂