Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published March 25, 2008

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Clary just needs a little normal. Her days are filled with hospital visits to her mother, who is still trapped in a self-induced coma and with avoiding Jace, since their romance is now doomed by the fact that he is actually her brother. Jace wrestles with not only Clary’s addition to his family, but also in the identity of his father, Valentine, who seeks to destroy the only world Jace knows. But Jace may be expelled from the Shadowhunter world even before Valentine has a chance to make his move when a powerful leader questions Jace’s loyalty … Continue reading

Review: Captives by Jill Williamson

Captives (Safe Lands #1)
Jill Williamson
Zondervan
Published February 19, 2013

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Omar, an unappreciated artist in a village of hunters, has a plan to make everyone realize his worth. Surely once they see the wonders of the Safe Lands, they’ll crowd in to thank Omar for bringing them. But when the envoy from Safe Lands arrives and shots are fired, Omar’s brilliant dream twists into a deadly nightmare. Eighteen people are dead, and everyone blames him.

Levi returns from an errand to find his village emptied and many dead. Filled with grief and fury, he vows to enter the Safe Lands to rescue the captives taken from his home. Nothing prepares him for the … Continue reading

Review: Victoria by Silvana Goldemberg

Victoria
Silvana Goldemberg
(translated by Emilie Smith)
Tradewinds Books
Published February 15, 2014

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While grief over her mother’s death is still fresh, fourteen year-old Victoria and her two young twin brothers move in with their aunt. Victoria is determined to make the best of things, but when her aunt’s boyfriend attacks her, Victoria fights him off and runs. She knows she will not be able to go home.

As a precocious girl, she quickly finds friends on the street. She washes windshields and sells flowers for a few coins here and there. She knows she must return to school if she is to have any chance at a good … Continue reading

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner
James Dashner
Delacorte Press
Published October 6, 2009

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With limited memories of his previous life, Thomas arrives in a frightening world, trapped in a hostile maze with fifty other boys. Before he is fully acclimated to his new home, an unprecedented event occurs: a girl arrives, claiming she will be the last person to join them before collapsing into a coma. Thomas reels,feeling that this girl is familiar to him. He can’t stop thinking about her or feeling an intense desire to become a Runner, a member of the elite group of boys who set out into the maze daily, attempting to create a map to the exit.

When the group’s … Continue reading

Review: The Tyrant’s Daughter by J. C. Carleson

The Tyrant's DaughterThe Tyrant’s Daughter
J. C. Carleson
Alfred A Knopf/Random House Children’s Books
Published February 11, 2014

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When her father is assassinated, fifteen year-old Laila, her mother and younger brother escape their tumultuous homeland to America. As Laila explores her new freedoms, she learns that what she grew up believing about her father – that he was a king and her family royalty – is not how the rest of the world saw his rule. The ugly words – dictator, tyrant – slam into her, turning her past upside down. She watches helplessly from across the world as her uncle continues the regime of violence and destruction.

Laila joins a school for the first time … Continue reading

Ten Books I Can’t Wait to Read

OutcastsOutcasts by Jill Williamson

Release date: 1/7/14

Three brothers and a young girl fight for survival within the towering walls of the Safe Lands. Despite its name, the city is ravaged with disease and infested with corruption. Each brother follows a mission: to find a cure for the sick; to free the captives; to take down the Safe Lands in a rebellion.

The second in her Safe Lands series, Outcasts is quickly earning a reputation as an intense story set in a captivating world. As a fan of Williamson’s fantasy series, Blood of Kings, I’ve been eager to get lost in another story by this worthy author.

The Captive MaidenThe Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Release date: 11/9/13

Lonely Gisela spends her … Continue reading

Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen FoxleeOphelia and the Marvelous Boy
Karen Foxlee
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published January 28, 2014

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Eleven year-old Ophelia’s father brings her and her older sister Alice to a magical museum in a city in which it always snows. When science-loving Ophelia wanders off to explore the museum in search of dinosaurs and fossils, she finds a boy locked in a small room. He tells an impossible story and asks for her help. Ophelia, who only believes things which can be scientifically proven, is torn about helping the boy, who says he must find a magical … Continue reading

Review: Paper Hearts by S. R. Savell

Paper Hearts by S. R. SavellPaper Hearts
S. R. Savell
Medallion Press
Published April 15, 2014

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Seventeen year-old Michelle Pearce is barely scraping by. Her grades plummet. The bullying she endures at school only escalates. Even the perky high school counselor seems a bit over her head with Michelle and the fury penned inside her.

Enter Nate. He’s just about the last thing Michelle wants hanging around the gas station she works. Impossibly tall and somber, Nate is just too nice to dislike. She tries. Fails.

They begin working together and at first out of boredom, Michelle pries into Nate’s life. She finds more sadness and more compassion than she could have imagined. … Continue reading

Five Small Press/Indie Titles You Won’t Want To Miss

The Girl Who Played Chess with an AngelThe Girl Who Played Chess With an Angel by Tessa Apa

From my review: “As she wrestles with her father’s sudden death and her mother’s bitterness, Florence begins to see life beyond her own needs. In her tenuous friendship with Max, she finds the courage to ask an even bigger question: is God real? Both Max and her mother are quick to provide their own answers to this deep question, but that’s not enough… Filled with yearning and honesty, Florence’s journey is as captivating as she is. Apa dares to dive deep, to genuinely question, and to allow her characters that which makes them so human: permission to doubt. She brings an authenticity to her debut novel that few authors are able … Continue reading

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Published May 7, 2013

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Most of the human population has been decimated by the first four waves of a highly intelligent alien attack. Though no one has learned to identify the enemy, the ominous shape of the mother ship hovering in the sky above the earth strikes fear in the hearts of the few who survive.

Sixteen year-old Cassie trusts no one. She survives by moving from place to place, reliving the past, when the most terrible conflict she faced was her unrequieted affection for Ben, fellow student and popular athlete. Now Cassie simply bides her time until she can no longer run from the … Continue reading

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