Wednesday, December 31, 2014
When Kara Westfall was five years old, her mother was hanged for witchcraft. Ever since that time, she, her brother, and her father have been outcasts in the village. Her father is barely functional stuck in the horror and despair of losing his wife. This leaves Kara to take care of herself and her sickly younger brother.
The village is surrounded by a dark and dangerous forest called the Thickety. It's filled with magic and frightening creatures. No one ventures inside because of the risk of death or worse.
One day a strange creature lures Kara into the Thickety where she discovers a grimoire and begins covertly practicing magic. She is in constant danger of discovery, but the magic is powerful and addictive.
About halfway through the book, things take a (not so) surprising turn which I won't reveal in the interest of not spoiling the story. But the twist at the end I did not see coming.
This was a good but disturbing book with an interesting exploration of addiction. I am interesting to see what J.A. White does with book two.
Before I move on to the plot, please be aware that this is the final book in a trilogy, so there will be spoilers. Don't read this review if you are behind on your reading!
Alina, Mal, and the rest of the survivors of the failed attempt on the Darkling are now underground at the White Cathedral under the control of the Apparat. Alina is weakened after the battle and confused and disturbed by the band of religious zealot warriors the Apparat has assembled.
When she finally gains the strength, she and her surviving grisha set out with Mal to track the firebird. She believes that finding the final amplifier is the only way to defeat the Darkling.
This quest will reveal dark truths about Morozova and put her friends in greater peril than ever. The stakes are higher than ever as the final battle approaches, and everyone will be faced with difficult choices and heartbreaking sacrifice.
One of my students said this book was more melancholy than the others in the trilogy, and I think that is the perfect description. I thoroughly enjoyed this series, and I can't wait to see what Leigh Bardugo writes next!
Monday, December 15, 2014
The only way to save him, is to use the family "gift" and travel back in time to 1938 to stop the event that turned Lucas Biggs into the hard and cold man he is today.
Back in 1938, things are not going well for the Victory corporation or for the miners who produce the company's coal. When a disaster in the mine causes increased tensions in the town, the miners go on strike.
There is one moment where everything hangs in the balance. The first time around resulted in tragedy, and the balance tipped in Victory Corporation's favor. Margaret hopes things can be different this time. If she succeeds, she will save three lives and change the future of Victory, Arizona. If she fails, she loses her father.
This is a story about time travel, friendship, and the struggle between social classes with a dash of environmentalism thrown in. We get multiple perspectives on the action from both 1938 and 2014. You will be on the edge of your seat as Margaret and her friends try to change the past to save the future. Read this collaboration between husband and wife, Marisa de los Santos and David Teague!
Everything changes when she returns home to find her mother dead of an apparent heart attack. Suddenly, her world is falling apart. But things are about to get a lot worse. Worse like a vengeance spirit trying to murder her in her sleep!
She is saved by two guys she's never seen before who break into the house and destroy the spirit. Lukas and Jared tell her that her mother didn't have a heart attack; the same spirit who tried to kill Kennedy killed her mother. And it's all part of a bigger plan.
Lukas and Jared bring Kennedy into the world of the Legion, a group that has been battling demons and spirits for hundreds of years all in an effort to keep a world-destroying evil at bay. They are also convinced that Kennedy has inherited a place in their ranks.
Now she and the other Legion members must battle vengeance spirits to collect pieces of a device that will save the world.
This is Kami Garcia's first solo novel, and the best part about it is the creepy factor. I loved all the haunted locations in the story. If you are a Supernatural fan, you will either love or hate this book because it has a lot of similarities to the tv show.
Friday, December 12, 2014
You all know I love fairy tales. I'm sure it's no surprise that I also love Into the Woods, and I can't wait for the movie to come out! Come by the library to check out a book from our fairy tale display, and enjoy the trailer below.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
When her best friend moves away to go to school, a desire to learn is kindled in her heart. Everything changes when the Janjaweed arrives. They are a local militia bringing death and destruction in their wake. When they are gone, the village is destroyed, and many people are dead.
The survivors flee and end up in Kalma, a refugee camp. Life is now filled with trash and strangers and hopelessness. It is the gift of a red pencil and a pad of paper from a stranger that begins to wake Amira from her grief.
Amira's dream of going to school comes alive again, and now she will do anything to learn.
Andrea Davis Pinkney's new verse novel is beautiful and heartbreaking story about pain, violence, and the will to succeed. Be sure to read the author's note at the end for a brief explanation of the true events in Darfur that inspired this story.
Now it is four years later, and Alfie's father has stopped writing letters. His mother says he is on a secret mission for the government, but Alfie only half believes her. Most days Alfie doesn't go to school. He works as a shoe shine boy at the train station to make extra money for the family. It is while he is shining shoes one day that he accidentally discovers the truth about his father.
This discovery sets Alfie off on his own secret rescue mission.
You may recognize the author, John Boyne, from The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. This new book is set during WWI and focuses post traumatic stress disorder, which was called shell shock in those days. People understood even less about PTSD then than we do now, and many people accused these men of being cowards. This book scratches the surface of the horror of "shell shock" and hope for eventual recovery.
I really liked this book and its subtle exploration of painful issues related to WWI and it's aftermath. It will take a careful reader to really grasp the story and its implications.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Arin wasn't always a slave. When the Valorian war machine showed up ten years ago conquering, killing, and enslaving, he was just a child. Now he is a slave, but he doesn't intend to be one for long.
Kestrel and Arin should be enemies, but each seeks out the company of the other, and their feelings begin to grow. This isn't just a tale of star crossed lovers. These two are on opposite sides of a brutal war with each side taking ruthless action against the other and each betrayal cutting ever deeper. Kestrel can only deny her feelings for so long, but can she ever truly love and trust her enemy?
I loved Marie Rutkoski's new book! It's a great love story, but there are so many more moral questions at play. It is much more complex than I had imagined. Highly recommended!
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Monday, December 1, 2014
But just as their team is poised to take the championship, things start to go wrong. Josh and JB have always been best friends, but now JB has a crush on the new girl Alexis. Miss Sweet Tea may be cute and a baller, but it's not easy for someone else to take the number one spot away from Josh.
Josh's dad used to be a professional player in the Euroleague until his hurt his knee. His career could have continued if he's had knee surgery, but he has always been opposed to doctors. The same is true now that he's had fainting spells and shortness of breath. Heart problems run in the family, but "da man" can't be brought down so easily. The fried chicken and donuts don't help.
All of this is driving Josh a little crazy, and he lashes out at JB at a game. Can these two brothers ever repair their relationship, or is this the end of a beautiful friendship?
I loved Kwame Alexander's story of basketball and family told in verse format.
Katherine is tall and strong and prefers sword fighting and horses to pretty much everything else. Her father trains all the king's horses with Katherine's help. She doesn't have many friends, but she only needs her father, the horses, and her two best friends Edmund and Tom.
Tom is a slave to the cruelest master in the village. He has a special gift with the natural world. He can speak to and understand animals, and he has a vast knowledge of plants. His only moments of peace are when he can steal time with his friends.
When a number of children go missing from the surrounding area, all signs point to the return of the Nethergrim. Even though it's supposed to be dead, killed by a trio of men including Katherine's father, the signs are clear. As fear and despair spread through the countryside, Edmund, Katherine, and Tom realize they know where to find the missing children, but no one will listen. That means the three friends must venture into danger to save the missing children before it is too late and the ancient horror that is the Nethergrim awakens.
What a fabulous fantasy epic by Matthew Jobin! I can't wait for book two!