In honor of summer’s approach, I wanted to do something a little different today. (A new review will be posted on Wednesday.)
When I was in school, I looked forward to the summer for all the usual reasons. One of my fond memories is taking family vacations with my family. We’d visit my grandparents in rural North Carolina and tube the creek, shop the flea market, hike in the woods and play Nintendo until deep into the night. But one of my most cherished evening activities during those lazy summer trips was reading. I’d often stumble upon an unexpected gem in one of the rundown flea market used book shops. Some of those books I read and reread until my copies came apart. Here are a few of the finds that never left me.
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood #4)
Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Published November 1, 2012
The entire court of immortal faeries is distraught when beloved and beautiful Lady Gleamdren is kidnapped by a fearsome dragon-witch. Two of her most devoted admirers race to her rescue, and the Bard Eanrin is determined to be first to reach his ladylove. On his journey he encounters a human girl locked in a spell of sleep and finds he cannot simply leave the unlucky mortal to her fate.
Eanrin wakes Starflower from her sleep, intent upon sending her on her way, but the maiden knows little of the treacherous Wood. As she accompanies Eanrin on his quest, a deep connection … Continue reading
Annie Laurie Cechini
Published February 1, 2013
Goodreads | Currently out of Print
Captain Tabitha “Dix” Dixon and her crew make a living transporting cargo across the solar system and staying off the radar of the corrupt and powerful System of United Planets (SUN). To Dix, the crew are family, and she will do anything to protect them.
But Dix carries a secret in a tiny vial that even most of her crew don’t know, one that could cost them their lives. Eternigen is a miracle serum that would allow humans to travel through deep space, beyond the control of the SUN. Agents of the SUN will go to any lengths to get it back, and now they have a new ally.
Eira Ninge is … Continue reading
The Immortal Rules
Published April 24, 2012
In a world ruled by vampires, Allison Sekemoto survives by staying hidden and scavenging for food. When hunger forces her to venture outside the safety of home, she is attacked and offered a choice: to die or become what she hates most. A vampire.
Allie struggles to learn vampire ways and accept and what her new form means to the humans she has left behind. Another attack forces her to flee from the city and into the wild where she will be stalked by rabids, diseased and deadly creatures. But Allie isn’t the only one braving those wilds. In the night, she comes upon … Continue reading
Thirteen Reasons Why
Published October 18, 2007
An unexpected package greets high school student Clay Jenson at home one day. It bears no return address. Inside are seven cassette tapes. Curious, Clay pops one into a dusty player and is shocked to hear the voice of his crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide just weeks earlier. Clay is stunned. Through the tapes, Hannah promises to reveal the names and circumstances in which thirteen people contributed to her suicide. But how can he be one of them? He liked her.
Hannah’s story sends Clay spinning through town, visiting locations Hannah has marked on a map, reliving each scene … Continue reading
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Leslye J. Walton
Published January 1, 2014
Ava Lavender comes from a long line of peculiarly gifted women who’ve been unlucky in love. She relates her family history beginning with her great-grandparents and their journey from France to the United States in the early 1900s. Ava’s grandmother is the surviving member of her small family by the time she marries. Desperate to escape the bitter memories of her lost loved ones, Emiliene and her husband head west, finally settling in a small Washington town. Emiliene bears one child, Ava’s mother, before her husband dies. Each member of Emiliene’s family bears some peculiarity, and it seems Viviane, … Continue reading
Dutton Books for Young Readers
Published November 30, 2010
Cassia has looked forward to her Match Banquet for as long as she can remember, and nothing could be more wonderful than sharing that day with her best friend, Xander. She is elated when the Society choses Xander to be her very own match. He is right for her in every way, a confirmation to Cassia of the Society’s perfection.
So she believes until a rare malfunction occurs and another face flashes across Cassia’s screen. Ky Markham’s face. Confused, Cassia allows the Society leaders to reassure her that everything is fine. Her doubts resurface in the form of a gift from her grandfather: words from … Continue reading
Dial Books for Young Readers
Published September 27, 2012
With her famed family estate lost to a mysterious stranger, Sarah and her father have been forced on the kindness of a former servant and her family. When Sarah loses her job, she swallows her pride and accepts a new position assisting Azrael, the owner of her former home. A job isn’t all the strange man seems interested in. Disturbing rumors about how he acquired the estate buzz around Sarah’s head, and his question lingers in her mind: for what price would she offer him her soul? She resists, but tragedy forces her hand. All Sarah can do now is try to save the … Continue reading
HMH Books for Young Readers
Published September 25, 2012
Going home after her sister’s death is the hardest thing Lex has ever had to do. But life in Croak isn’t getting any easier for the teenage Grim Reaper. Though her friends stick with her, the rest of the town blames Lex for Zara’s murderous rampage. After all, Zara wouldn’t be able to Damn souls if Lex hadn’t somehow transferred that ability to her. That Zara killed Lex’s sister doesn’t seem to matter either. Irrational fear and poor leadership whip the town into a frenzy of paranoia until Lex and her friends have no choice but to flee to the Grim capital, … Continue reading
The Book Thief
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published March 14, 2006 (Orig. published 2005)
A mysterious narrator gives an account of a young girl who has an unusual vice: she steals books. Death comes for the girl’s brother as she and her mother wait for a train to take them to a foster home where the children will be safe. It is he, the collector of souls, who is the only witness to the girl’s first thievery, and he begins to follow her story.
Life in Liesel’s new home is a difficult adjustment, plagued with nightmares, but through them, she and her foster father … Continue reading