Review: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

on-the-jellicoe-roadOn the Jellicoe Road
Melina Marchetta
Penguin Australia

Taylor Markham has been at the school on the Jellicoe Road since she was six years old. It’s her turn to lead the students in the annual territory wars with the Townies and Cadets from a school in Sydney. But lost memories of her childhood, her mother and a man she hopes is her father distract her from the game. When her caregiver, Hannah, disappears, Taylor studies the stories Hannah left behind, looking for clues to her whereabouts. She forms unlikely alliances with territory rivals, and together they work to solve the mysteries behind many things that happened on the Jellicoe Road.

When I started reading this novel, I felt a bit lost. It seems like two stories are happening simultaneously, and … Continue reading

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish DollerWhere the Stars Still Shine
Trish Doller
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published September 24, 2013

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Callie spent most of her childhood believing her father is after her. She’s never been to school, never had any real friends. Anytime there’s a whiff of suspicion, her mother whisks them away to a new town, new trashy job, new sleazy boyfriend.

Then the truth comes in the form of an arrest warrant for her mom. In a blink, Callie finds herself living with her estranged dad, his new wife and their two small children, right smack in the middle of a large, loud, loving Greek family. For the first time, someone cares whether … Continue reading

Review: Unenchanted, an Unfortunate Fairy Tale by Chanda Hahn

unenchantedUnenchanted
Chanda Hahn
Published by Chanda Hahn

Mina Grime has the worst luck ever. Just about everywhere she goes, bizarre misfortunes follow her: a bakery harpy, a stampede of nursery rhyme animals in the street. Mina soon finds out this isn’t a simple matter of luck, however. Her family has lived under a curse for generations. Now the curse has come after her, and if she doesn’t defeat it, her younger brother will have to face it. Mina sets out to complete all the fairy tales penned by the Grimm brothers.

The best thing about this book is its clever premise. The way Hahn recreates the familiar fairy tales in a contemporary setting is smart and cute. Those made for the best parts of the story, though in this first … Continue reading

When Wings Don’t Mean Freedom: Review of Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

night-birdNightbird
Alice Hoffman
Random House Children’s

Twig Fowler and her family return to her mother’s hometown after a childhood spent in the city. Her mother insists that she keep no friends and remains alone, holed up on an apple orchard baking pies and other goods to be sold in town. Twig’s brother James also chafes at the isolation. He only comes out at night, when no one will see the long wings sprouting from his back.

When rumors of a monster stir up the townsfolk, Twig begins to panic. If a search is called for, her brother might be discovered. It might be easy to stay hidden if it weren’t for Twig’s new neighbors, a family with two girls near her age. One late night Twig spots James and Agate, … Continue reading

A Wow-worthy Sequel: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

shadow-scaleShadow Scale
Rachel Hartman
Random House Children’s

With war between dragons and humans exploding across Seraphina’s once-peaceful home, she vows to find the other gifted half-dragons and use their power to end the conflict. One of Seraphina’s would-be allies seems to have other loyalties. And unstoppable power.

Seraphina works to bring the isolated and fearful half-dragons out of hiding and teach them to operate as a team. Time is running out, however, as an army of dragons threatens to rain destruction down on Seraphina’s homeland. Alliances begin to unravel. A new, unpredictable saint dazzles the people, distracting them from the conflict at hand. In order to pull her own army together, Seraphina will have to understand and unleash the power she has buried inside herself.

The book begins … Continue reading

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

gracelingGraceling
Kristin Cashore
HMH Books for Young Readers

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Katsa’s gift makes her beloved of a cruel king and feared by his people. She is Graced with the ability to fight beyond ordinary human strength and skill. Forced to serve her ruthless king, Katsa spends her days dealing punishment on behalf of the Middluns king. Unbeknownst to the king, she forms the Council, a neutral organization without loyalty to any one crown. The Council deals swift justice to those who would prey upon the weak. As part of a Council mission, Katsa rescues a kidnapped prince and stumbles … Continue reading

Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanSeraphina
Rachel Hartman
Random House
Published in 2013

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Seraphina has lived a carefully unnoticed life. Even as a talented musician, she’s always avoided the spotlight in order to protect a terrible secret that, if discovered, will threaten her life and that of her family.

When a prince of Goredd is murdered, rumors circulate that a dragon is the culprit. These rumors threaten the uneasy peace between humans and dragons. Drawn into the murder investigation, Seraphina helps the handsome captain of the guard, Prince Lucien, to bring the killer to justice.

Seraphina’s quick thinking and easy lying has … Continue reading

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Aimie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerThese Broken Stars
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Disney-Hyperion
Published December 10, 2013

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It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. A product of the greatest engineering minds, the Icarus luxury spaceliner unexpectedly drops out of hyperspace. Wealthy passengers and military personnel race to escape. Lilac LaRoux, daughter of the wealthiest man in the universe finds herself trapped aboard an escape pod with Major Tarver Merendson, a charity case who clawed his way up military ranks the old-fashioned way. When the pod crash lands on the planet, … Continue reading

Review: Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker by Arwen Elys DaytonSeeker
Arwen Elys Dayton
Random House Children’s, Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published February 10, 2015

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Quin is proud of her family’s legacy. She comes from a line of Seekers, warriors who protect the weak and bring justice to the world. Along with two other initiates – her best friend and the boy she loves – she prepares to take an Oath that will brand her a Seeker forever.

Upon her initiation, she discovers that nothing is what she thought. Now it’s too late to escape the fate she’s chosen.

The balance between the three central characters – Quin, Shinobu and John – worked well. All three … Continue reading

Review: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

Deep Blue by Jennifer DonnellyDeep Blue (Waterfire Saga Book One)
Jennifer Donnelly
Disney Hyperion
Published on May 6, 2014

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Dark dreams haunt Princess Serafina as she prepares to prove herself worthy to one day be Regina and rule her people. When an assassin attacks her mother and an army overtakes her home, Sera and her best friend are forced to flee for their lives. Could there be truth to the voices from Sera’s dreams? If she can find the ones she hears in her sleep, can they stop the evil force and restore Sera’s world to what it was?

As far as … Continue reading

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