A Drop of Night

April 29, 2016 by

Stefan Bachmann

Just imagine getting a personal invitation to visit an archaeological site in France.  It will involve a subterranean palace dating from the time of the French Revolution.  You have been personally selected and everything is paid for.  You do need your parent’s signature but after all do they really care?  You know you are gifted, 17 years old and stuck with the weirdest name ever, Anouk.  Why would your adopted parents stick you with a name like that.  Your considered rather weird at school and your home life is nonexistent.  Just give me any reason why I shouldn’t go?

You might have guessed that Anouk  forged her parent’s signature and away she went.  She met four other gifted and chosen students at the airport.  The ride to France would be rated above first class and their rooms at the palace were unforgettable.  All seemed to good to be true and believe me it was.  A Drop of Night is a thriller.  I was intrigued from the moment I read the inside of the book.  You will be pulled into this mysterious adventure that is filled with strange and mystical creatures that twist reality and logic until the very end.

I’d give it: 4 stars

A Song for Ella Grey

April 26, 2016 by

ella greyA Song for Ella Grey

by David Almond

“I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both…knew how they lived and how they died.”
Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final. – Summary from GoodReads

This was an very interesting retelling of the story of Eurydice and Orpheus. I really enjoyed how the contemporary setting mixed with old language. This book reminded me a lot of Francesca Lia Block’s Love in the Time of Global Warming, which I loved. I would recommend this book if you are interested in retellings of myths or fairy tales or interested in reading something different.

Salt to the Sea

April 22, 2016 by

Salt to the Sea

by Ruth Sepetys

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope. (Summary from Goodreads)

Why I picked it up:  Absolutely glowing reviews everywhere I looked!  I couldn’t resist!

 Why I finished it:

All 4 teenagers have totally captivating stories.  Emilia, 15 and pregnant, is from Poland at a time when both Hitler and Stalin want to wipe out the Polish people.  Joana is a young Lithuanian woman with medical training. Florian is a Prussian defector carrying dangerous cargo and Alfred is an egocentric and deluded German naval soldier stationed on the Wilhelm Gustloff.  Through their eyes as well as the eyes of some compelling secondary characters, the story of this horrific tragedy is brought to life bit by heartbreaking bit.

 I’d give it to:  Fans of World War II stories as well as fans of Ruth Sepetys.

I’d give it: 5 stars

 

 

Reviewed by: Connie (Parr Library)

 

One-Punch Man

April 13, 2016 by

 

one punch man 2

One-Punch Man
by ONE

Saitama is a hero for fun. After saving a young boy, he decided to become a hero, and trained for years (losing all his hair in the process) until he became strong enough to defeat any enemy with just one punch, which… is pretty boring. To find a true test of his strength, he seeks out stronger monsters and ends up impressing a cyborg named Genos who decides to train under Saitama and eventually informs him of the hero registry that they need to join for official recognition and jobs as heroes. Through the Heroes Association, we get to meet all kinds of hilarious heroes, my personal favorite being Tank Top Tiger, who wears a tiger print tank top.

tank top tiger

Saitama is an awesomely weird character, often thinking about random things while in the middle of a “battle.” The whole series has a satirical tone and had me literally laughing out loud. I’ve read through the first five volumes, and I can’t wait for my hold on the sixth one to get here!

Reviewed by: Nina (Haggard Library)

Soundless

April 11, 2016 by

24751478Title: Soundless

Author: Richelle Mead

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation. Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

Why I picked it up: The concept was striking- an entirely deaf community, mixed with some traditional Chinese folklore, overcoming the odds. Also, for once there was no love triangle. Girl and boy like each other and always have and learn to appreciate each other more throughout the course of the story. No triangle!!!

Why I finished it: I loved how the author made it clear that despite not using their vocal chords, deaf people can still speak with their hands. The community was quite well-developed, and the story had a fairytale-esque feel to it, which was a nice change. Despite some issues with the world-building, or lack thereof, all of the elements came together with a great ending.

I’d give it to: People who enjoy Shannon Hale’s books, and other fairy-tale/fantasy novels. Also, anyone who is as fed-up as I am with the love triangles in YA literature.

Star Rating:   Four stars

Reviewed by: Anna K (Parr Library)

The Chanters of Tremaris

April 8, 2016 by

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The Chanters of Tramaris

by Kate Constable

Calwyn has lived all her life behind the high ice-wall that guards the sisters of Antaris from the world of Tremaris. The sisters practice ice chantment — one of the Nine Powers of chantment, a form of magic worked through music. But when Calwyn finds an Outlander man fallen, wounded, through the wall, she is drawn to him … and drawn into a wondrous, dangerous adventure that takes her outside the wall and to the limits of her own powers, as she, the Outlander Darrow, and others unite to defeat the sorcerer Samis, who seeks to claim all Nine Powers and become the Singer of All Songs.

So begins the Chanters of Tremaris, a three-part fantasy series in the vein of Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley.

A friend on Goodreads recommended this series to me, and since I was in the mood to start another fantasy series I figured I’d give it a try. I pretty quickly got sucked in. The world of Tremaris is interesting and I loved the characters and was impressed with the realistic feeling of the relationships portrayed. The characters have real conflicts and differences and things don’t always just magically work out perfectly in the end. If you’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned fantasy series with magic and quests and romance and beautiful descriptions, check this one out!

Happy reading!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)

The Love that Split the World

April 6, 2016 by

The Love that Split the World

by Emily Henry

The love that split the world

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.”  At first, they’re just momentary glimpses – her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a preschool where the garden store should be.  But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right. Then there are the visits from the kind and mysterious apparition she calls ‘Grandmother,” who tells hers”You have three months to save him.”  The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists.  Nothing, except Natalie and Beau. (Taken from the book jacket)

Why I picked it up: The cover art really captured my attention, and was really curious about this book once I read the description.

Why I finished it: This story had so many wonderful elements to it!  There was humor, romance, mystery, and paranormal and science fiction elements as well.   I really enjoyed Natalie’s character, and was fascinated by the Native American folklore throughout the book.

I’d give it to: Those who like any of the genres I mentioned above, and to anyone wanting to try something new and different.

I’d give it: 4 Stars

Reviewed by:  Melanie, Parr Library

 

 

That Was Then, This is Now

April 4, 2016 by

That was then, this is nowTitle: That Was Then, This is Now

 Author/Artist: S. E. Hinton

Why I picked it up: I picked up this book because it talks about the relationship between two brothers who lost their families and the lives they live through after this terrible event. Through all the hardships and toiling the brothers would have to go through to survive, I was hooked on the story and I immediately began to read.

Why I finished it: I finished the book because of the whole hook up and plot of the story and it was definitely worth my time.

I’d give it to: I would give it to kids aged from 10-12 to teach them how important family is to them at an early age.

Star rating: 5 stars

Reviewer: Sriram (Plano teen)

An Ember in the Ashes

April 1, 2016 by

An ember in the ashes : a novelAn Ember in the Ashes

Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes follows main characters Laia and Elias. Tahir weaves together aspects of an impoverished group of people known as the Scholars, of which Laia and her family are a part. Martials are the militant arm of the Emperor in power who use intimidation and violence to suppress the Scholar sect of society as well as to tamp down any spark of resistance.

Laia and her brother are living with their grandparents, when her brother is accused of treason and imprisoned.

Elias, is a Mask at Blackcliff Academy, the training ground for Martials. He secretly despises everything that the Martials stand for and do in the name of the Emperor. He plans to defect at his first opportunity and, more importantly, before his Mask can permanently join to his face, becoming a sickening constant reminder of the terrible acts he is forced to commit.

Laia: In desperation, and with nowhere else to turn, Laia agrees to spy for the Resistance in return for its help locating and freeing her brother. However, she is given the impossible task of working as a slave girl at Blackcliff Academy in the service of the Commandant, the next highest person in power to the Emperor. The stakes and risks are very high as all of the Commandant’s previous slave-girls were beaten, raped, and eventually murdered, or committed suicide.

Elias: Did I mention that Elias is also the Commandant’s son?

Ethereal beings called Augurs appear to everyone after hundreds of years in order to find a replacement for the heirless Emperor. The Augurs announce that, through a series of trials and tests, one of the Masks will become the next Emperor, one will become the Emperor’s Blood Shrike in lifetime service to the next Emperor.

A dystopian world inspired by the Roman militancy, blended with elements of fantasy and magic, involves characters with ulterior motives and jockeying for power, a couple of love-triangles. Things are not always what they seem, and readers will come to realize that we never really know what is going on behind someone’s closed door.

Why I picked it up: Marie Lu (Legend) tweeted that she missed her connecting flight because she was so engrossed with An Ember in the Ashes (Twitter, October 2, 2014, @Marie_Lu)

Why I finished it: I listened to this on audiobook and couldn’t “put the book down” until I found out what happened. I really hope there will be a sequel. I liked how Tahir shifts back and forth between Laia’s and Elias’ stories to build suspense and keep the pace at a good clip.

I’d give it to: Fans of Dystopian and Fantasy genres. If you like books such as The Testing, Girl of Fire and Thorns or The Glass Sword, definitely try An Ember in the Ashes.

I’d give it: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Andrea Hornedo, Haggard Library

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London

March 30, 2016 by

The Great Trouble : a mystery of London, the blue death, and a boy called EelTitle: The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London

Author/Artist: Deborah Hopkinson

Why I picked it up: This book was one of the smaller novels on the shelf of the library, and I decided I would like a quick read. It was a mystery book that was about the plague in London, so I was intrigued. It had an interesting summary, and I felt like it could be a good book.

Why I finished it: This book had an interesting start, talking about the main character. An orphan who lived near a river which he would then pick up anything he could in order to make a bit more money. As the story progresses, we learn more and more about the characters and their past. This book is quite short, but will keep you hooked until the very end! As they unravel the mystery a piece at a time.

I’d give it to: Anyone who would like a very interesting perspective of the plague in England.

Star rating: 4 stars

Reviewer: Justin (Plano teen)