Cinder by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
As a kid, I loved fairy tales and princesses as much as the next little girl. My favorite was Cinderella, and I was obsessed with her. I owned every version of the story I could get my hands on - including a retelling where "Cinderella" was a cowboy named Bubba. Cinder blows all of those versions out of the water. Meyer captures the best parts of Cinderella's story and the best elements of sci-fi and turns them into a phenomenal book.
When I was little, the thing I loved most about Cinderella was her strength - despite everything. Meyer expresses that perfectly. Linh Cinder is by far my favorite incarnation of Cinderella. While the Grimm brothers portrayed a girl waiting for her prince to save her, Meyer brings a more heroic Cinderella to life. Cinder is determined and brave, both loving and lovable. Casting her as a cyborg was an ingenious decision, and it adds another whole dimension to the story.
The detailed way Meyer intertwines science fiction and fairy tales is imaginative and engrossing. I enjoyed looking for the classic elements of Cinderella that found their way into Cinder, and I was not disappointed. From the lost shoe to the magic pumpkin, Meyer finds ways to adapt the fairy tale to a futuristic setting - which is ingenious in its own right.
For the most part, Meyer's world-building is spot-on. The few little slips here and there could very well be explained in the next book, and they weren't major enough to interfere with the story. Cinder's world is inventive and well-thought out, from the ruthless Lunars to the almost-human androids. A race of people living on the moon could have seemed far-fetched and even silly in some plot lines, but the struggles of the characters and the fairy tale make the story seem familiar and realistic.
Even if you don't typically like fairy tale retellings, if you're a fan of sci-fi, you should definitely check out Cinder. While I'm fairly biased to Cinderella stories, this book has a lot going for it. Unlike most fairy tales, Cinder is exciting and unpredictable - once upon a time doesn't necessarily lead to a happily ever after. Cinder is one of the best books I've read this year, and I absolutely can't wait to read more.
Fragile Line by Brooklyn Skye
It can happen in a flash. One minute she’s kissing her boyfriend, the next she’s lost in the woods. Sixteen-year-old Ellie Cox is losing time. It started out small…forgetting a drive home or a conversation with a friend. But her blackouts are getting worse, more difficult to disguise as forgetfulness. When Ellie goes missing for three days, waking up in the apartment of a mysterious guy—a guy who is definitely not her boyfriend, her life starts to spiral out of control.
Perched on the edge of insanity, with horrific memories of her childhood leaking in, Ellie struggles to put together the pieces of what she’s lost—starting with the name haunting her, Gwen. Heartbreakingly beautiful, this poignant story follows one girl’s harrowing journey to finding out who she really is.
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.
Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.
And Gretchen follows his every command.
Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.
As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
Don't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
All her life, Imogene has been known as the girl on THAT blog.
Imogene's mother has been writing an incredibly embarrassing, and incredibly popular, blog about her since before she was born. Hundreds of thousands of perfect strangers knew when Imogene had her first period. Imogene's crush saw her "before and after" orthodontia photos. But Imogene is fifteen now, and her mother is still blogging about her, in gruesome detail, against her will.
When a mandatory school project compels Imogene to start her own blog, Imogene is reluctant to expose even more of her life online...until she realizes that the project is the opportunity she's been waiting for to tell the truth about her life under the virtual microscope and to define herself for the first time.
The Chance You Won't Return by Annie Cardi
Driver's ed and a first crush should be what Alex Winchester is stressed out about in high school - and she is. But what's really on her mind is her mother. Why is she dressing in Dad's baggy khaki pants with a silk scarf around her neck? What is she planning when she pores over maps in the middle of the night? When did she stop being Mom and start being Amelia Earhart? Alex tries to keep her budding love life apart from the growing disaster at home as her mother sinks further into her delusions. But there are those nights, when everyone else is asleep, when it's easier to confide in Amelia than it ever was to Mom. Now, as Amelia's flight plans become more intense, Alex is increasingly worried that Amelia is planning her final flight - the flight from which she never returns. What could possibly be driving Mom's delusions, and how far will they take her?
Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….
Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.
Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?
Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
The world can tip at any moment … a fact that fifteen-year-old Pearl is all too aware of when her mum dies after giving birth to her baby sister. Told across the year following her mother's death, Pearl's story is full of bittersweet humour and heartbreaking honesty about how you deal with grief that cuts you to the bone, as she tries not only to come to terms with losing her mum, but also the fact that her sister - The Rat - is a constant reminder of why her mum is no longer around…
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.
In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.
That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.
I'm having a very difficult time putting my feelings for this book into words. Not because I'm conflicted about them, but because there just aren't any words to accurately describe how much I love The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. This books is potentially the most beautifully written I have read since The Fault in Our Stars - and maybe even more so.
The story Walton tells is about love, loss, tragedy, hope, and so many other things that are acutely human. It's impossible to stick this book into a single category. Even though it has its fair share of the fantastical, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender contains a story more real than most realistic fiction books. Walton's lyrical prose is bittersweet and heart-wrenching. Ava narrates her story, and her family's story, with a clear voice, mixing whimsy and heartbreak in a way only true stories can. The story begins slowly, with Ava's grandmother, and works its way through the generations to Ava and her twin, Henry. And although the beginning isn't fast-paced, it's captivating. The pace of the story slowly gathers speed, leaving readers breathless with tears and joy by the last page.
The story of the Roux family is complicated and crowded with a multitude of characters, each more intricately written than the last. And yet, the story is told simply and beautifully. Each of the characters contributes something, and even those characters I hated, I understood. Not a single one of them is flat or boring, and almost all of them are intensely relatable. Walton's strange and beautiful characters tell an equally strange and beautiful story, permeated by love and all its imperfections. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is an achingly lovely book. I want to scream from the rooftops how good this book is - and to stop myself from gushing any more, that's all I'll say.
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
Based on the true story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge.
When soldiers arrive in his hometown, Arn is just a normal little boy. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever.
Arn is separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children dying before his eyes. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers.
This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier.
Until I picked up this book, I had never heard of the Khmer Rouge. The thought that such awful events - the murder and imprisonment of an entire people - has been overlooked by history is almost criminal. This is a book that everyone should read. Not only is it written extremely well, but it tells an incredibly important story. McCormick's decision to use improper grammar and syntax only strengthens Arn's voice and the impact of the story. Never Fall Down captures the suffering of a nation with a voice of innocence.
We read about history to learn from it, to see its mistakes. One of the reasons I love historical fiction so much is that it teaches about the past so much better than a textbook. Textbooks are factual and apathetic, while books carry empathy. McCormick captures the emotions of a child soldier so vividly with Never Fall Down that it was nearly impossible not to cry, reading this.
There were so many times during this book that I wanted to pull him out of the pages and into safety. A story like Arn's is unforgettable. I am horrified at my own ignorance of the Khmer Rouge, which only goes to show how important it is that stories like Arn's are told. McCormick does a remarkable job telling it, and I strongly urge you to read this book.
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (Blood of Eden #2)
In Allison Sekemoto's world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood.
She has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie's birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever—and possibly end human and vampire existence.
There's a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago—and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time.
Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.
As far as sequels go, this book is decent. As far as vampire books go, this book is fantastic. Even though it's technically classified as Paranormal Romance, The Eternity Cure, and the entire Blood of Eden series, has more fantasy elements than swoon-worthy monsters.
I really like that the series is from Allison's point of view; Paranormal Romance books are almost always from the perspective of whoever's falling in love with the paranormal. Telling the story from the monster's point of view, and showing just how much she struggles to contain that nature, make the romance that much more believable. Showing Allison's fight to stay at least somewhat human also gave her a lot more depth as a character. Almost all the characters were better in The Eternity Cure than they were in The Immortal Rules, actually.
Kagawa's vampires are exciting and interesting to read about, and the taste of vampire politics readers see in this book adds to that. The new plague threatening New Covington is a creative plot twist, just another aspect of The Eternity Cure that sets it apart from the crowd. Kagawa artfully combines elements of the paranormal, fantasy, and dystopian genres in The Eternity Cure without sticking to too many cliches. Readers who love the paranormal genre but are dissatisfied with the Paranormal Romance craze will savor Kagawa's Blood of Eden series. The second installment in Allison's story is as well-paced and intriguing as the first, and I can't wait to get my hands on the third.
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS
Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?
With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.
Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.
In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.
Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.
Don't Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout
Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.
Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.
But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
The story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.
Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum
Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It's her life: Dad's a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative's trailer, where her mom's contempt swells right along with Colby's supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby's role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she's only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame.
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #4)
The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
By now, I've read seven of Cassandra Clare's books, and I have no doubt in her talents as an author. City of Fallen Angels doesn't do those talents justice. All the things that made her other books so good were there, but there was a lot I didn't like about City of Fallen Angels, too.
One of the best things about Clare's books is her world-building. The world of Shadowhunters, Downworlders, mundanes, and demons Clare has created is intricately detailed and fascinating. No part of it is sloppy, and it draws on just enough reality to allow readers to believe. Clare is also extremely talented at writing action scenes and villains. Her monsters are frightening and usually not just one-sided. So when Clare leads the Shadowhunters into battle, it's thrilling. City of Fallen Angels was missing a lot of that action, though. A few exciting scenes were scattered here and there, but the plot didn't really get going until the last 150 pages or so. Those last hundred pages were action-packed and suspenseful, but the entire book was over 400 pages long.
The majority of the book was taken up with either Simon's story or romance scenes. I actually really liked Simon's parts and was glad he played such a central role. The romance scenes weren't nearly as interesting, and there were a lot of them. I admit, I ship Malec and Clary/Jace as much as the next fangirl - but reading about their constant makeout sessions and deep, romantic conversations got a little tedious after a while. If the romance scenes weren't filled with so many cliches, it might have been a little more bearable, but there's still the issue of how much description Clare used for those scenes. Some of the more lovey-dovey scenes between Clary and Jace read more like smutty fanfiction than an actual novel.
I wasn't exactly disappointed by City of Fallen Angels as much as frustrated by it. This book definitely isn't Clare's best. I'm still dying to know what happens next, and I won't be abandoning the series anytime soon, but I'm hoping the next one will be better.
Thorn Abbey by Nancy Ohlin
Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss.
Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary—everything that Becca wasn’t. And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max.
Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go…
The young adult genre - especially YA romance - gets a pretty bad rap. And while not all books fall into the crappy, instalove category, Thorn Abbey definitely does. Ohlin managed to take a creepy plot idea with a lot of potential and turn it into a giant YA stereotype.
Which makes sense, I guess, since most of Thorn Abbey's characters were basically walking, talking stereotypes. There's the perfect girl with the dirty secrets, the bad girl and her weight-obsessed fashionista posse, the dark, handsome, and brooding love interest, and, let's not forget, the awkward and lovesick narrator. Blech. The only character who wasn't completely 2D and boring was Tess. But any good that little bit of character development did her was overpowered by the constant reminder that she's just "not like other girls." Not only that, but Tess is yet another example of social anxiety being portrayed as cute and quirky.
Tess also has an annoying habit of over-clarifying everything that happens. She'd read or hear something about Becca and then say "What? So-and-so did this with what's-his-name!?" Or, after uncovering information on Becca, she'd immediately say "What? What does it mean!?" even though whatever she'd just uncovered was glaringly and blatantly obvious. Instead of creating suspense, it made Tess come off as a bit dumb, which she obviously isn't.
The most annoying thing about Thorn Abbey was the romance. The love story between Tess and Max was almost cringe-worthy at times. Reading it was like running down a checklist of bad YA cliches. Instalove? Check. Super-hot boy falls for completely ordinary and nerdy girl? Check. Jealous ex the boy can't seem to get over? Check, again. Okay, yes, this time, the jealous ex was dead, but Tess' constant insistence that she could "so help him get over Becca" canceled that out. Romances like this one give YA a bad name - but hey, at least this time there wasn't a badly-executed love triangle!
Thorn Abbey wasn't a total flop. The book got creepy fast and stayed creepy. It wasn't actually thrilling or scary, but it was a little freaky. And it definitely built up to a chilling climax. Stephen King fans would be extremely disappointed by this book, but those who don't like true horror might find it more their speed. The "twist" ending was another pretty good thing about Thorn Abbey, even if it was still pretty predictable. Thorn Abbey didn't really satisfy me, but readers who don't mind books with a little less substance might like the creepy, slow-build ghost story aspect of it.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
New Orleans is pretty high up on my list of places to travel to, despite the stories of dirt and crime in the city. Josie's New Orleans isn't without dirt and crime of its own, but it has a charming side, too - surprisingly found in a brothel. Sepetys describes the setting well, but the book's real strength lies in its characters.
The characters in this book are downright brilliant. First off, you have the prostitutes. Sepetys doesn't write them as simple, sex-minded women; they're funny, loving, and most definitely not cookie-cutter. The brothel madam, Willie, is just as uniquely imagined. Instead of fitting the stereotype of a cruel and unfeeling boss, Willie is both tough as nails and sweet as pie, acting as a mother figure to Josie. The cast of colorful characters continues, from Sadie, the mute maid, to Cokie, the lovable cab driver, to Josie herself. Josie is my favorite part of this whole book. She's realistically flawed and absolutely lovely, the perfect heroine for a book like Out of the Easy.
The book doesn't have one central plot line, instead, it has a jumble of stories that make up Josie's life. Because of that, it feels much more realistic than a lot of books that focus on just one thing, but it also isn't what a lot of readers would be expecting. From Josie's longing to go to college and escape the Big Easy, to her horrendous mother's troubles with the mob, and a few other plot lines, there's a lot going on in Out of the Easy. Sepetys does a great job of keeping the numerous plots from overwhelming readers. Usual a book with as many plot lines as this would be too all-over-the-place, but in Out of the Easy, it takes the attention of the events and puts it on the characters. More than anything, Out of the Easy is about Josie, and because she's such a great character, it works really well.
The moment I saw that Ruta Sepetys was the author of this book, I knew it was going to be good. The same raw emotion and subtle but powerful prose from Between Shades of Gray is part of Out of the Easy, and although the two books are about very different subjects, they both leave a lasting impression on readers. Those who love historical fiction will devour Sepetys' books, and anyone on the fence about the genre will love it after reading her work.
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.
But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.
The World Outside by Eva Wiseman
Seventeen-year-old Chanie Altman lives the protected life of a Lubavitcher Hasidic girl in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, in 1991. Religion is the most important aspect of her life, and, like other Lubavitcher girls, she is expected to attend a seminary and to marry as soon as she graduates from high school. But Chanie has a beautiful voice and dreams of becoming an opera singer - a profession forbidden to a Hasidic girl. When she meets David, a non-Hasidic Jewish boy, he opens the portals to the world outside her fundamentalist community. The Crown Heights riots break out, and the Lubavitchers are put under siege by their African-American neighbors. A tragedy occurs. Will Chanie stay in the fundamentalist community she has always known in a life that has been prescribed for her, or will she leave it behind to follow her dreams?
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.
The first time, she's fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that'll take years to kick.
The second time, she's seventeen, and it's no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.
After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina's brother won't speak to her, her parents fear she'll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared
Always Emily by Michaela MacColl
Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Theo is better now.
She's eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.
Donovan isn't talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn't do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she's been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.
Once Upon a Time...
As a longtime lover of stories and a believer in the power and magic of books, I've spent my life seeking out the best reads. This blog is dedicated to reviewing the books I read - good, bad, or magnificent - to help other readers find their next favorite books.