When Lorelei and her brother first see the playground for Splendid Academy they are immediately drawn to the school. Luck for them, their school burns...moreWhen Lorelei and her brother first see the playground for Splendid Academy they are immediately drawn to the school. Luck for them, their school burns down so they get to transfer to Splendid Academy. At this school there aren't really any rules, you just do whatever you feel like doing. There are also snacks...never-ending snacks. Lorelei becomes friends with Andrew, the only other person who thinks all the food is weird. Together they try and get to the bottom of Splendid Academy because it just seem too good to be true. What they find out is more sinister than they would have believed.
This was a lovely book. Almost a re-telling of Hansel and Gretel. Candy + Kids = good times. One part of the story is about the kids and the school and the deep, dark secrets it hides behind closed doors. The other part is Lorelei and the circumstances revolving around her mother's death. Lorelei says she responsible, but how can this young girl be the cause of her mother's death.
The guilt of Lorelei weighs heavy in this book. Just when she starts to feel good about something, it seems like the weight of her mother's death just pulls her back down. On top of this awful guilt, Lorelei also has to struggle not tho be lured into the school's captivating spell that seems to have everyone else in a trance. I appreciated this aspect of the book, it added a bit more meat to it beyond the fun storyline.
Andrew was a good guy, I really liked that he was Lorelei friend. They made a pretty good team. Together they find out a lot of sinister stuff about the school. Nikki Loftin did a good job with foreshadowing bits and dropping as small clues throughout the story. There were lots of little details that really made the story, but went beyond the regular storyline.
Another fun middle grade novel that you should add to your list. I think boys and girls will both love this story about school being a bit more menacing than it first appears.
First Line: "When my mom was alive, she read me stories every night."
Favorite Lines: "'I think you're a witch.' Only I didn't say witch. I used, as my kindergarten teacher would have said, a rhyming word."
One day Victoria's friend Lawrence goes missing. This does not fit in with her perfect plans to make him a bit less...rough around the edges. She also...moreOne day Victoria's friend Lawrence goes missing. This does not fit in with her perfect plans to make him a bit less...rough around the edges. She also is sort of concerned for his well-being. His parents tell Victoria that he's visiting his sick grandmother, but something about this excuse seems a bit off. Maybe it's Lawrence's parents that seem off. Victoria decides it's up to her to investigate what has happened to Lawrence and the other kids who seem to be disappearing. Victoria has a sinking feeling that it all might have to do with the Cavendish Home. She's not sure what goes on there, so she'll have to investigate and what she finds will surprise her.
This was such a fun story. Plenty of mystery and intrigue and general creepiness. I loved the little bugs that were scattered throughout the story and the few illustrations made this story even more of a delight. Victoria was the kind of girl who needed everything to be perfect. She started hanging around Lawrence for the very reason of making him perfect. He was always quite disheveled with his head in music. Somehow though, Victoria managed to tolerate Lawrence and it seems she even grew fond of him.
Much of this book we are only with Victoria. Lawrence disappears quite early on, so we are tangled up in Victoria's rumination. She seems quite smart and able at this point. She's like a regular Nancy Drew, sleuthing around town. It helps that the grown-ups aren't their usual selves. There are a lot of great characters in this novel, some we only meet briefly but all of them play their parts and play them well.
The Cavendish Home is incredible. Every part of it left me feeling a bit creeped out. I really enjoyed it though, and could picture it vividly in my mind. I don't want to talk too much about it and spoil anything but it was a delight.
If you enjoyed Coraline of The Mysterious Benedict Society, this will be right up your alley. This is a smart, sinister read that will leave you guessing until all has been uncovered.
First Line: "When Victoria Wright was twelve years old, she had precisely one friend."
Favorite Line: "The air stank of onion, and something worse, a heavy tang of rot."(less)
You think you know the story of King Henry VIII and his 5th wife? This novel explores Queen Catherine Howard's other relationships— who she was before...moreYou think you know the story of King Henry VIII and his 5th wife? This novel explores Queen Catherine Howard's other relationships— who she was before she was Queen. This story follows Katherine Tylney, closest confidant to the Queen. She always walked in the shadow of Cat, but stood next to her through thick and thin even, unfortunately, in the face of death.
I've just started watching the Tudors, so was quite excited to read this before I got to his 5th wife in the show. I was not at all disappointed. I really like reading historical fiction from different perspectives. This was of Cat Howard's friend from before she was Queen. I appreciated the research (or obsession) that was involved with writing this story. Katherine Tylney was a real person and so it was wonderful seeing things fictionalized from her eyes. It did pass a bit slowly, mostly because I already knew how things turned out, a small problem with stories that are based on history. This was a very well done story about how things may have been in the court of Queen Catherine Howard and you should definitely check it out if you can. If you have any interest in King Henry VIII or historical fiction, I can not recommend this one enough.
First Line: "'You're not going to steal anything.'"
Favorite Line: "Nothing but bile and self-loathing spilled from my mouth."
Sophronia isn't a typical girl, at least not the typical girl her mother would like her to be. She's always climbing things and getting into mischief....moreSophronia isn't a typical girl, at least not the typical girl her mother would like her to be. She's always climbing things and getting into mischief. When her mother receives word that Sophronia is accepted to a finishing school, she ships her off with barely a second look. Sophronia has very little interest in becoming a proper lady, but on the way to the school she starts to realize that something is amiss. This isn't your typical finishing school at all. Dancing is taught and death, Etiquette and Espionage. Sophronia may not mind becoming this kind of proper lady, it might suit her just fine.
I nearly put this book down in the first few chapters. It seemed a bit too silly for my tastes. The characters names were a bit out there (I mean, Barnclegoose, really?). I'm glad I kept with it though because there was plenty of excitement and enjoyment to be had. I think this may be my first Steampunk novel too, which is odd because it has always fascinated me... I could be wrong about this assumption, but as I am writing this I can not think of a Steampunk novel that I have read prior to this one.
Sophronia was at least the kind of girl I could get on with. Plenty of spunk and that one. She was a very courageous character and I liked that. Sneaky around and avoiding getting caught are things I would do if sent to a finishing school. There was certainly never a dull moment throughout this novel. Plenty of action and excitement and quite a few mysteries sprinkled about too.
This is a delightful read if you're looking for something fast paced and a bit odd. I'm hoping the next book really sucks me into this series so that I can fall in love with it like so many others have.
First Line: "Sophronia intended to pull the dumbwaiter up from the kitchen to outside the front parlor on the ground floor, where Mrs. Barnaclegoose was taking tea."
Favorite Line: "Her eyes glazed over slightly as she contemplated sparkles."
On a night where everything started to change for Becca, a dead body changed her town. The unknown corpse of a girl on the side of the road, left her...moreOn a night where everything started to change for Becca, a dead body changed her town. The unknown corpse of a girl on the side of the road, left her small town fumbling. The cops weren't sure what to do with a murder case, and no one knew how this could have happened in this town. Everyone knew one thing though: the person who did this couldn't have been from around here. Becca wants to escape this town at the end of the summer, but the murder has left her rattled. Her plans seem less sure and she finds herself curiously drawn in to the gossip surrounding the mysterious girl. Amelia Anne Richardson was on her way to her big new life, until something happened that left her stuck in a small town she never knew.
Amazing. Can that be the end of my review? I mean, what else is there to say. This book was just as good as I had hoped it would be and that cover is still FANTASTIC. Kat Rosenfield crafted a novel that kept you guessing as you floated through the beautiful writing. I loved the format of this novel too. You have Becca's perspective in Bridgeton after the murder and then Amelia's perspective in the time leading up to her demise. It was very interesting having Becca's side of the story, since she didn't have any real connection to Amelia. Usually in murder mysteries the people telling the story have some sort of tie to the victim, or at the very least are the ones in charge of investigating. It was refreshing to get a new take on murder aftermath.
The writing was completely beautiful and gripping. I never wanted to stop reading. Each chapter makes you a bit more feverish; you creep to the edge of your seat inch by inch. This made it so that there was never a great place to stop, because it felt like the next page would tell you all the book's secrets.
Becca had other things going on and since she didn't know the murder victim, so those other things took up a lot of her brain space. She was curious about the murder, but also nervous that, like the corpse, she may never actually escape Bridgeton. It was interesting to see Becca going about her life fairly normally, but with the nagging of wanting to know who murdered Amelia. The other characters weren't quite as developed, but we knew as much about them as Becca did. I liked that the story went into the hard times that James had gone through. It made me more sympathetic towards him, it made him into a guy with feelings instead of just some jerk. Every emotion that the characters had in this novel made sense and I really liked that. At first you might think, well, why to the summer people not care much for the locals, but then you read a few more chapters and you find out. It was really great.
Definitely, definitely pick this book up soon. There is no way you will regret it. This will certainly be on my Top Books of 2012 list. So go read it now.
First Line: "The night before Amelia Anne Richardson bled her life away on a parched dirt road outside of town, I bled out my dignity in the back of a pickup truck under a star-pricked sky."
Favorite Line: "The perfect circle of dark, still water; the overhanging trees rising gracefully around it; the cool, gray boulders worn smooth by time and weather—Brendan saw all of this and gasped at its beauty."
May's father decides that May needs to help the family out. The harvest was great this year, and they need some extra money. He takes her fifteen mile...moreMay's father decides that May needs to help the family out. The harvest was great this year, and they need some extra money. He takes her fifteen miles west out in the prairie to help a new couple settle into prairie life. Unfortunately the wife is less than willing to accept the quite loneliness of the great west. Soon the wife, Mrs. Oblinger, takes off to head back home. Mr. Oblinger, upon finding out races into town to try and stop her. May is left alone to get supper ready. Night comes and goes, and then another, and then another and May thinks they might not ever come back. A month or so passes and May is still completely alone. She has no way of telling her family what has happened and she has no way of getting home. Then the blizzard comes and May isn't prepared. She's trapped inside the home with no escape, and no one coming to get her for a while yet.
This was a nice story about a lot of things. May has dyslexia and struggles greatly with it, since she is very into her schooling. She has a cruel teacher who doesn't help her at all. Then, May is left to fend for herself and try to survive the harsh winter. I can't imagine how lonely and crazy I would go being trapped in a tiny house, with barely enough food and clothing to survive. May handled things fairly well though. Fans of Hatchet may enjoy this one. A good survival story with an interesting character. It is great for younger readers, a bit a fear but no violence. I was also thrilled to find this novel is written in verse. It's such a great format to convey intense emotional duress. This was a great debut and I'll be very interested to see more by Caroline Starr Rose.
First Line: "I won't go."
Favorite Line: "There are tracks on the edge of the moonlit garden."
Mia has been struck by lightning more times than you could imagine. It's in her blood and she can feel when a storm is coming. Her family had to flee...moreMia has been struck by lightning more times than you could imagine. It's in her blood and she can feel when a storm is coming. Her family had to flee from their home town because of an accident involving Mia, a storm and some bystanders. So now they are in Los Angeles. An earthquake has devastated their new city though and the displaced are wandering the streets. Mia's mother is still recovering, mentally, from being trapped for a few days during the earthquake. There are some strange groups popping up now though. They are amassing followers for two different sides of the fight. There are the Prophet's people who are doing God's will and then the Seekers who are trying to stop the Prophet's insanity. There is another side though, that Mia desperately wants to choose, but it may be out of her hands, especially since she doesn't know who she can trust.
I dislike that the description claims Mia is a lightning addict. She does not seem addicted to it at all, she is simply a lightning rod. It would have been an interesting element to see Mia more drawn to the storms then she seemed to be. This book was a pretty slow read. It seems like a story about lightning would be fast-paced and exciting, but this seemed to just meander around. I did love all the story elements though. Good versus evil, twists and turns, secret identities...all good stuff. I loved Jeremy too, he was a very interesting character and I liked how things turned out with him. THE PROPHET! Oh man, he is all kinds of crazy-power-hungry. His whole personality is creepy, I would never want to meet him in real life. Spewing about the power of God and forming a cult following, those things just creep me out. About two thirds of the way through the book, the action starts to pick up, mounting to a climax...that fizzles. What a lackluster finale seriously. (view spoiler)[I mean really?!?!? Mia just sort of blacks out. THAT is the big conclusion. The storm rages, Mia is struck and then... (hide spoiler)] I was just pretty disappointed from the finish, I just expected more I guess. I'm quite curious to see how the next book is tackled. There wasn't any real cliffhanger here, so I'll be curious to see what the next story is about. Like I said, the meat of the story was good, but the execution could use some work. It might just not be my style, but I will definitely read more by Jennifer Bosworth.
First Line: "When you've been struck by lightning as many times as I have, you start to expect the worst pretty much all the time."
Favorite Line: "Jeremy had awakened her with a kiss and a nightmare."
Faye doesn't want to stay at Holbrook. She doesn't want to be part of the "Holbrook Family". Faye doesn't have a choice. Her father her brings her "ju...moreFaye doesn't want to stay at Holbrook. She doesn't want to be part of the "Holbrook Family". Faye doesn't have a choice. Her father her brings her "just to look around", but ends up leaving Faye there. Things aren't as shiny happy as they seem on the outside. Faye's nightmares start picking up force, and when her and her roommate wake up on the floor covered in red and lying on a drawing of some symbol, things start to get crazy. Faye doesn't know what's going on with her and the rest of the group, but she's starting to find some clues, even if they seem a bit weird and vague. Kel is trying to help her solve the mystery too but with so much at stake, Faye doesn't know if she can trust anyone.
This book went places I never would have imagined. I was not expecting the paranormal aspect of it. I guess I just didn't read the description well enough, but there was quite a good deal of the supernatural. It was fantastic though. There were some interesting twists in the novel, some predictable and some not. When I went into it, I thought I had it all figured out. I imagined it was just going to be a psychological story, where she doesn't remember her childhood and the evils that happened. It was so much more intense and wild than that though. It did start off a bit slow for me. There were some exciting things happening right off the bat, but it wasn't until the second half of the book that I was truly engrossed. Faye was an interesting character. She was very strong and level-headed, despite her bouts of crazy. The whole group she was with were strong, especially as a unit. I really loved Damion, he acted exactly how the smarter people would. Just going with the flow so you can get the heck out of there. It's the smart and safe choice, but a hard choice if you're stubborn. I'm not sure how I feel about the relationship between Kel and Faye. It was a bit lackluster for me. Even with the supernatural explanations, it just didn't work for me. They seemed like they could be good friends, but not lovers. I also wish the Big Brother aspect was played up a little bit more. Dr. Mordoch at times, seemed ubiquitous but there were lots of times where the kids easily slipped through the cracks. I was reminded a bit of Trickster's Girl while I was reading this, so if you loved that grab this one. This was a wonderful mystery, paranormal, chaos, dystopian, Big Brother mash-up.
First Line: "My nose prickled with the stench of dead flowers and mildew."
Favorite Lines: "The air was foul. Like rotting fish and death."
Cinder Linh is an orphan. She is looked after by her adoptive father's wife after he died. She has two of her own girls though, human girls. Cinder is...moreCinder Linh is an orphan. She is looked after by her adoptive father's wife after he died. She has two of her own girls though, human girls. Cinder is a cyborg, which means that she is worthless in most people's eyes. The only thing she's good for is earning money as a mechanic. Though her life is not enviable, it's good enough for now. Then Prince Kai comes to her to ask Cinder to fix one of his androids. Soon after, her favorite sister gets the plague and everyone blames Cinder, even though Cinder is fine. The Prince has many struggles and heaped onto that is a forbidden attraction. Cinder is just trying to help her sister and find an escape to a better life. With all the chaos stirred up, they might have to look to each other for some help.
YAY, a re-telling of Cinderella. This was a fun story and a great take on the classic. One thing that really disappointed me, is that the big secret was obvious within the first 50 pages. That takes a lot away from the reading experience, when you know exactly what's going to happen. The journey to the reveal was good though, so it was not a wasted reading adventure. I really enjoyed Cinder and Iko's characters. The banter between the two of them was fun and light. Prince Kai was charming and funny too. He was a very like-able guy, which is a curious but welcomed trait in royalty. I really enjoyed the cyber take on Cinderella, it made the story quite fresh especially with the added Lunar people aspect. The whole setting was really interesting, but sort of downplayed. The environment was nor payed too much attention to, which I guess the characters wouldn't, but I just felt like NEW BEIJING! could have been amazing, but just felt like any other place on Earth. Cinder's cyborg struggle with her identity was also a bit lackluster. She seemed to just start to delve into a deep thought about her machine versus human parts, but then something always seems to distract her. Each part of the story started with a snippet of the original which was fun. This was a good read and I look forward to the next one. I was very disappointed with how this one ended though. It ended right in the beginning of a big action-y scene. It's a clever but painful ploy making the reader have to read the next book for resolution. Nevertheless, I will keep my eye out for this next installment.
First Line: "The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle."
Favorite Line: "Cinder pried herself away, limbs still shaking from the raw energy inside her."
Felicita's friend, Ilven, takes the leap. She kills herself rather than face her arranged marriage. This stirs something in Felicita, especially since...moreFelicita's friend, Ilven, takes the leap. She kills herself rather than face her arranged marriage. This stirs something in Felicita, especially since soon after she is to be betrothed to some man she's never met. She fakes her own death and goes to live with the riffraff of Old Town. At first she regrets her decision. She had to give up luxury and Scriv, a magical drug that enhances her magical abilities. On the streets she's cold and dirty and common. It is better than being a slave to a husband she will never love though. Except, she falls in with a rough but caring crowd, with a leader that has revenge on his mind. Felicita has a hard time keeping her identity under wraps and struggles to find her places among all the chaos that follows her friend's suicide.
This was quite an enjoyable novel. According to Cat it's a "secondary world fantasy" novel. I was trying to figure out what time period it fit in, but that cleared it up and made it even better. It had sort of a historical feel, but with a lot of modern ideas thrown in. Felicita is a member of the high house, but as a women has no real rights. She is reduced to a pawn for her brother to use on his whim. I really appreciate how conflicted Felicita was when she ran away. She was constantly wondering if she made the right decision, wondering whether she should just turn back and face the consequences from her family. Felicita was a very well crafted character, very confused and feeling alone. The jump-rope rhymes in here were very fun and terrible at the same time. I liked them a lot. I also really appreciated the relationships in the novel. Some were same-sex relationships, and there was no shock value to them at all. There was no tension with the characters involved beyond typical relationship tension. I would love to see this happening more and more in novels, because THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE! It will be great when in real life, people can go about their business, and no one will think it odd. I liked the crew Felicita ends up falling in with. They are a unique bunch and it was hard to imagine them so young and so strong. Felicita also takes up with a Bat(what they call vampires) which is a little bit of a strange part in the storyline. He's mostly just the mysterious stranger who appears when help is needed. I didn't feel he was crucial to the storyline, more so just something that was added in for the author's fancy. The book was also a bit slow at times. There were just points when things were going at a normal life pace, no fast excitement and adventure. I enjoyed the supernatural aspects of this novel though. It was interesting to see the myths woven around the town. The Red Tide and all of those types of things were very interesting. The ending was a bit strange. I don't want to spoil anything, but I just didn't expect Felicita to make the decision she did. I sort of know why she did, but it seems a little out of character for her. It would be really interesting to see if there's a sequel for this. The novel ended, but definitely left room for more to come. Check this one out, and keep an eye out for more novels by Cat Hellisen.
First Line: "She's not here."
Favorite Line: "Pelim will fall and Pelim will fall. The heir must answer the witch's call."