Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Exciting New and Upcoming Teen Fiction Releases

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)

By Cassandra Clare      

Darkness returns to the Shadow hunter world. As theircity of heavenly fire society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last instalment of the Mortal Instruments series!

 

Allegiant (Divergent #3)

By Veronica Roth

What if your whole world was a lie?allegiant
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

 

The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4)

By Rick Riordan

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief andhouse of hades follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

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Book Review – Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances – Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle

LetItSnow

About the Book – From Goodreads:

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

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Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances consists of three separate stories that all take place during a holiday snow storm in a small town. The stories, each written by different authors, focus on separate casts of characters, and in each story, there are two characters navigating the slippery slopes of love.

This is a great lighthearted read for the holidays. It does revolve around Christmas, but there are characters in these tales that do not celebrate Christmas, too. The stories are all romances, so there is a bit of a gooey factor with this book. But the stories are also funny, and while there is some kissing and declarations of love, it’s not unbearably mushy. If you are looking for a good holiday read to flip through while snuggling by a fire or sipping hot chocolate at home (or in a Starbucks!), this could be a great choice for you.

My favourite thing about the book?  Although each story was written by a different author, and focused on different people, all of the stories were interconnected. The tales all take place in the same town, and there are certain minor characters that are present in all three tales. Plus, at the end of the final tale, everyone comes together, which is really cool.

My least favourite thing about the book? For being a holiday book, these stories are not really centered on the holidays themselves. The theme of this book is really love taking place because of a massive snow storm, and the book could easily have taken place in the middle of January…the holidays were somewhat present, but not nearly as important as they could have been.

 

Looking for similar titles?  Try these!

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Ex-mas – Kate Brian

The Fault in our Stars – John Green

Kissing Kate – Lauren Myracle

13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson

Snowed In – Rachel Hawthorne

Book Review: Changeling – Philippa Gregory

 

About the Book – From Goodreads:

Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.

     Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.

     Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.

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Changeling is the first young adult novel from Philippa Gregory, the author of many historical fictions including The Other Boleyn Girl. Set in 1453, this historical fiction follows two main characters, Luca and Isolde. Luca is working to become a priest, but he is kicked out of his monastery after using logic to question the authenticity of a religious artifact, and is instead asked to use his logic to travel around and study strange occurrences in the land. Isolde is the daughter of a great ruler, who is forced by her brother to live at an abbey after her father’s death. The two come together when Luca is sent to investigate strange happenings at the abbey, witchcraft that is being blamed on Isolde herself.

This is a good read for lovers of historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery. While the book is not set in a fantasy world, there are elements of sort of “realistic fantasy” strewn into the story, because of the superstitions and beliefs people held at the time. There is a lot of mystery in this story, too, and I am guessing, since this is the first book in a new series, that there will be a lot more mystery to come as well. There is not a lot of romance in this story (although that might build as the series continues), and there is not much action. But for those who like historical fiction and enjoy mysteries solved with the use of logics, this might be a great choice.

My favourite thing about the book?  There was a lot of mystery in this book. Sometimes I could guess what was happening, but a lot of the time I couldn’t, which was nice. The mysteries sort of sat on the line between real events and supernatural happenings, too, and it was fun to try and guess what the end result would be.

My least favourite thing about the book? I didn’t connect with the characters too much in this book. Isolde seemed a bit oblivious to what was going on around her, and relied too heavily on her friend for advice. Luca seemed to be angry all the time; I can’t count all the times he said something “irritably”! However, these characters might develop more as the series progresses, and their personalities might become a bit more rounded as we learn more about them.

 

Looking for similar titles?  Try these!

The Kingmaker’s Daughter – Philippa Gregory

Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers

A Temptation of Angels – Michelle Zink

Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

About the Book – From Goodreads:

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

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Entwined is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale.  After their mother dies, Azalea and her eleven sisters find themselves stuck in strict mourning; no open curtains, no colourful clothes, no visits from suitors, and absolutely worst all, no dancing.  They are miserable, so when a seemingly perfect escape presents itself in the form of a magic forest where there is dancing every evening, Azalea allows her sisters and herself to enjoy the nightly ritual.  But when things start to turn ugly, and Azalea learns that the mysteriously dark and handsome Keeper is hiding a devastating secret, she knows it is up to her to save her family, and her home.

This is a great read for the summer.  Each of the twelve sisters has her own unique personality and voice in this story, and the scenes with all the sisters were a lot of fun to read.  There are glamorous dances, cute boys, and some dark and creepy scenes in Entwined as well, though the story never strays too far from scenes of lighthearted fun. 

My favourite thing about the book?  Azalea’s kingdom used to be magic, but isn’t anymore…well, mostly.  There are a few leftover pieces of magic in the house, like a rather bitter tea set, with rather bite-y sugar tongs.  And when Azalea’s sweet-minded sister Clover has had enough of the tea set?  Awesome.

My least favourite thing about the book? It would have been interesting to see a darker take on this tale, as I know the story can be quite creepy.  I think there was potential for the ending to be quite a bit more gruesome than it was, but the author decided to take the story in a lighter direction instead.

So, if you are looking for a good summer read, like stories with romance, dancing, and princesses, or just enjoy fairy-tale retellings, you might want to give this book a go.

Looking for similar titles?  Try these!

Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George

Spindle’s End – Robin McKinley

Seriously scary audiobook…

Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly

book cover

If you enjoy being scared, definitely give this book a try! I listened to it on an audiobook and found it that much better. I think I enjoyed it so much this way because you almost feel as though the narrator on the CD is Uncle Montague himself, personally telling you these ghastly tales. Whether or not you believe in the supernatural, you’ll definitely be checking the backseat of your car at night after listening to this story.

Check it out for yourself!

Book Review : Legend by Marie Lu

book cover

Summary: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.Source: amazon.com

For those of you who are fans of dystopian novels, this one’s a must! The book is told from alternating view points of the two main characters, June and Day. I actually really liked this form of narrative as I was able to get into both characters’ heads and wanted both to succeed in their missions even though they were on opposite forces. Legend was a super quick read for me as I found it hard to put down! The only complaint I really had was that I wished it was longer and that it didn’t wrap up quite so quickly. However, from what I’ve read, it looks like this will be a series so we might be seeing some more of June and Day in the near future!

Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

book cover

This book was absolutely a fantastic read! You may already know Maggie Stiefvater from her hit bestselling werewolf series “The Wolves of Mercy Falls” and her latest novel, The Scorpio Races, is no exception to her stellar record.
Here’s a plot summary from Maggies website:
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Whether you are a horse person or not, this story will grab your heart and take you for a ride alongside Puck Connolly with her fiesty mare, Dove, and Sean Kendrick with his blood-red stallion, Corr. Stiefvater does such a great job with descriptions of the island Thisby, that you feel as though you can smell the salt water air and can hear the ocean roaring with Capill Uisce (water horses). This book definitely deserves 5 stars! Check out the book trailer below: