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Fantasy

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Ruby is a Fireblood, living with the power to create and control fire, but she's grown up in a land ruled by Frostbloods, whose power lies in ice. Ruby practices her power and control in secret in her small mountain village until soldiers come searching for her and destroy her home in the process. She spends months stuck in prison, threatened by the guards, only to be broken out by people she has no reason to trust. But they also don't totally trust her, and will only tell her that they need her to complete their plan in overthrowing the Frostblood king.

Number of Pages: 
376

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve is a continuation of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series (which begins with the YA novel Cinder). Unlike the books in the original series, Wires and Nerve is written as a graphic novel with art done by Doug Holgate, and follows a minor character after the original series' end. Iko, Cinder's android friend, suddenly feels unneeded with her friends' new positions in life, and must find her own. Determined to still be a help to Cinder, Iko travels back to Earth to fight the wolf hybrids that went into hiding after the fall of their leader. The beasts are too strong, and the job is too dangerous for any human, but here Iko knows exactly what to do. Unfortunately, even Iko isn't indestructible.

Number of Pages: 
238

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Keepers is the new title by the author of the Mysterious Benedict Society. In the same vein, it is a long read, but I found that it sustained my interest throughout. (That can be important information if you are picking out a book for a young reader, aka, the intended audience.) Reuben lives with his mother and she is working two jobs and not quite making ends meet. Their city is ruled by a secret individual known only as The Smoke. He employs The Counselor to extort the citizens of their money using The Directions, four men who are the eyes and ears of The Counselor and the Smoke. Very ominous. Enter Reuben who is a stealthy kid who likes to sneak out of his apartment building and explore the neighborhood unobserved. In his explorations, he happens to find a mysterious object. It is a watch that doesn't tell time. What happens next will change his whole world and the lives of everyone in his city. He makes fast friends and discovers the identity of The Smoke as he seeks to solve the mystery of the watch. Reuben manages to get himself in and out of some prickly situations. It's great fun to read! There is plenty here for those who love action and also good characters in their novels.

Number of Pages: 
501

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel José Older

Ghost Girl in the Corner by Daniel José Older

Things between Tee and Izzy have been becoming strained ever since Sierra initiated her friends into shadowshaping. Izzy's hip hop career is really starting to take off, and Tee's taking the reins of the Bed-Stuy Searchlight, which is currently based in a creepy church basement. To complicate matters, the ghost of a mysterious girl starts revealing herself just to Tee, and then a local teen baseball star goes missing. Izzy needs Tee to help the search party, and Tee needs Izzy to help her understand this haunting. Will they be able to salvage what's left of their relationship in time to get to the bottom of the abduction?

Ghost Girl in the Corner is a brand new (just released yesterday!) novella, set between the end of Shadowshaper and Shadowhouse Fall (due out next fall). I love, love, love the magical side of Brooklyn Daniel José Older has introduced, and this book satisfies the wait between his YA Shadowshaper series and his Bone Street Rumba trilogy for adults. His pacing is perfect for this short fiction, with lovable, flawed characters; on-point social commentary; and bad guys as bad as ever. It is such a joy to dip back into this world...I can't wait to return!

Number of Pages: 
109

Nemesis by Anna Banks

Nemesis by Anna Banks

Princess Magar Sepora is the last person in the five kingdoms with the ability to create a magical glowing element with her own body. In her home, her father values her only for this ability -- it is what their country relies upon for trade, and what they will need in the war he's starting with their long time rival country. But Sepora is done with this -- she will not finance a war, and sees no option but to fake her own death and go into hiding in the country her father hopes to destroy. Here she can blend in with the descendants of slaves that were stolen from her own home generations before. Here she can keep her secret and all the kingdoms must learn to get by without the magical element she created for so long.

Tarik must begin his rule of the neighboring country after his father dies of an illness that's sweeping the city. People are dying quickly, and Tarik knows that have only an uneasy peace with the other kingdoms. His advisors encourage him to stay with tradition and rule the way his father did. Tarik knows that this isn't the best way, and that things must change.

Nemesis is told in chapters alternating between Tarik and Sepora's viewpoints. They start out separate, though, obviously, the two stories merge. The general plot and the romance are fairly predictable, but the world Banks' creates is new and exciting. Sepora and Tarik are both strong, smart characters, and though certain parts are no surprise, it's still fun to read how the characters get to each point, and the discoveries they make in their world along the way.

Number of Pages: 
359

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Henrietta Howel feels fire in her fingers whenever she's especially upset. But she knows in her home that magicians are evil, and she must work to control the fire before anyone can discover her secret. When a sorcerer comes to check the girls where Henrietta teaches for a power with fire, she worries that she'll be dragged away from her home. And she is -- but not to be punished, to be taught sorcery, as the only female sorcerer in recent times. Thrown into this boys' club and expected to learn all the skills in only a fraction of the time, Henrietta must navigate a new society as well as control and use her newly discovered powers. The sorcerers are only willing to tolerate Henrietta because they believe she fulfills a prophecy. Henrietta herself is not quite so sure.

Number of Pages: 
407

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling is the first in a series by Erika Johansen. (The third is coming out at the end of this month!) This book was just what the doctor ordered this past weekend. A fantasy novel with a strong female lead who is a bit of a bookworm and wants to learn how to sword fight. Kelsea was raised in a cottage in the woods by Carlin and Barty. She is the heir to the Tearling throne, but has been in hiding from her Uncle, the Regent and the Red Queen of Mortmesne. Now she has turned 19 and it is time for her to take back her crown with the help of her deceased mother's loyal guard. Besides being a secret, there have also been many secrets kept from Kelsea about her mother's reign. The young queen Kelsea will have to overturn horrific institutions that her mother put in place.

Although this was a bit predictable, I just couldn't stop reading it. I loved the characters of the young queen and her guard. Now I have to wait for the second book. I don't know if I can wait for the delivery to get here. Faster, courier, faster! I need my book candy!

Number of Pages: 
434

The Pirate's Bed by Nicola Winstanley, ill. by Matt James

The Pirate's Bed by Nicola Winstanley, ill. by Matt James

The pirate's bed has stayed a long time on board the pirate ship, but when a great storm comes, the bed floats off into the sea. There it is finally able to have its own adventures, but it realizes that something is missing.

This picture book is on the longer end, probably better for an older child or one with a longer attention span. It's written as a bedtime story, and even before that becomes clear, the cadence of the words give the calm feeling that it would work well as such. It opens the child's imagination into what things might be thinking, and the adventures they could all have with and without people.

Number of Pages: 
32

Croak by Gina Damico

Croak by Gina Damico

Croak was the selection for the YA2 book club's horror month in October. It tells the story of a girl with unexplained bursts of violent behavior who is sent to live with her uncle for the summer. It turns out he is a Grim Reaper and she is the newest apprentice in the strange town of Croak which bridges this life with the afterlife. Lex has a hard time leaving her parents and twin sister behind but once she is in Croak she quickly makes friends and fits in like never before. She finds she is good at guiding people towards their deaths and even finds a love interest. Things get complicated when some mysterious deaths pop up that point to a reaper gone rogue and Lex becomes determined to stop the killer. Things get darkly serious at the end of the book which felt a bit contrived to me after what was mostly a fun and humorous teen story. I'm not sure if I'll pick up the sequel or not but I really enjoyed the characters and the magical world in the early parts of this book.

Number of Pages: 
311

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack is the latest graphic novel from Ben Hatke, author of the Zita the Spacegirl series and Little Robot among other works. When I brought this home from the library, my girls sat and examined every page in detail for a looooong time and then demanded I read it to them. So perhaps it goes without saying that Hatke has once again created a beautiful and magical story. Jack is dreading summer break from school because it means he has to look after his younger sister Maddy who is nonverbal. There is an homage to Jack and the Beanstalk when Maddy suddenly miraculously speaks and instructs Jack to trade his mother's car for some cool looking seed packets. Jack and Maddy then forge a connection as they grow a magical garden in their own backyard, helped by a fierce, cool, and possibly untrustworthy neighbor girl. The garden's magic is unpredictable: sometimes it is fun but many times it seems determined to hurt them and when an enormous dragon appears, Jack feels like things have gone too far. The ending leaves us hanging, waiting impatiently for the next installment!

Number of Pages: 
203