Haunting and well crafted, this is the story of a young girl, Tea who is gifted with dark magic. Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead, when her feelings of grief overwhelm her. With her newly discovered powers, Tea and her brother, Fox, are brought to a different land to learn the ways of the Asha so that she may fight the monstrous daeva that plague the country. But dark asha are feared, and rightfully so as they can control the monsters. The story starts slowly and builds towards a cliff hanger. Beautifully written with Asian mythology and cultural influence, the book weaves an intricate tale of a young girl trying to find her place. Recommended for grades 8 and up.
Nina and Artemis are twins who live in a secret conclave of Watchers. Artemis gets all her mom's attention and all the training, while Nina becomes a medic, and dwells in the fact that her mother hates her and doesn't understand why. Everything changes the day that Nina realizes she is a Slayer and the last Slayer at that, because of what Buffy did. Now she needs to figure out how to be a Slayer and fast, because something evil is out there killing people and she needs to stop it.
Based in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, this book is a nonstop action filled thriller of a ride. You don't have to have knowledge of the Buffy show to enjoy this book. The action is solid, the characters are interesting. Nina can get a little too whiny at times, but overall the book is fun and you will want to continue the series. Recommended for grades 7 and up.
When a royal messenger shows up at their shop looking for her father, a once reknowned tailor, to become the new Imperial tailor, Maia decides to dress as a boy and take his place. You see, she is the best tailor in their shop, but only boys are allowed that title.
When she gets to the palace she discovers she is one of twelve tailors vying for the job. Soon she is dragged into a fierce battle for the title, and not everyone is playing fair. An unlikely ally, a reluctant bride and mysterious scissors all come into play, in this lush fantasy steeped in Chinese culture. Recommended for grades 7 and up.
This follow up to Before She Ignites find Mira and her friends escaping from The Pit and heading out to find a way to rescue the ailing dragons. With a shaky alliance among the escapees will they be able to find the dragons in time, or will they be recaptured by Altan and made prisoners again?
This second book is full of action and adventure as Mira and her compatriots run from one close call to another. The world building is fantastic and you get to know the characters better in this second book. When it is done you are going to want to go straight to the next book to find out what happens.
Recommended for grades 7 and up.
This story centers around Nix, the daughter of a time-traveling ship captain. Nix and her father have a very complicated relationship. He is in search of a map that will get them back to Hawaii and her mother, while she is worried that if they get there she will disappear. On top of that he has an opium addiction that she despises. However, her desire to learn to navigate keeps her on the ship and with her father.
Using maps to time travel to anywhere real or mythical is an interesting premise. Add in the motley crew, a bit of magic and lots of adventure and you have a mashup that is worth reading. There is a little romance along with the adventure as well. The story moves pretty well, although there are a few parts that seem to drag a bit. Well-written, interesting characters and descriptive settings will immerse you in the story. This is the first book in a planned duology. Ages 12-up
Avicen and Drakharin have been warring for centuries for complete control of Earth. They are magical creatures that live among the humans hiding behind magic and sunglasses. Both species closely resemble humans unless you look closely and see the feathers or scales on their skin. In this world lives one human - Echo, a runaway and thief who lives at the New York Public Library. She was discovered and adopted by the Ala - one of the elders of the Avicen. Now the Ala sends her on a secret mission - to find the mythical Firebird and end the war. There is plenty of action, a whole lot of romance, a few too many coincidences and some twists you won't see coming. This is the first book in a planned trilogy. Overall, it is a great story (if you can get past the romance). Well plotted, interesting characters and enough twists to keep you guessing. Ages 12-up
I was so excited for this one - female gladiators right! I was sorely disappointed. We first meet Fallon in her home in Prydain (Britain as Caesar calls it). It starts off well, the setting is interesting, the characters interesting. Then she gets captured and the story goes downhill from there. There are far too many coincidences and there are one too many stretches of moral character. I mean this was Ancient Rome - home of brutal gladiator matches and Caesar laying havoc wherever he went. It was a dog eat dog world. The first thing we see is a kind slave catcher. I mean he's a slaver people - there is no kindness in people who kidnap those unfortunate enough to stray a little too far from their villages and then sold for profit. From there the coincidences and kindnesses just snowplowed and then there was the insta-love.
The premise was great. The story started off strong, and was interesting. The writing isn't bad - perhaps a bit too descriptive in places. But the overall problem are the plot holes, and the fact that the story wasn't quite developed enough. I knew before I finished that there would be another story, because the ending felt too rushed.
This would have been fantastic with better editing. But I think those who like romance in the guise of historical fiction will enjoy it.
Ages: 12 and up
Scarlett has wanted to participate in the magical game of Caraval as long as she can remember, but despite the fact that she has been writing it's mysterious creator, Legend, for years she has never gotten an invitation. That is until just a few weeks before her wedding to a complete stranger.
Donatella, Scarlett's sister, has always been a bit of a rule breaker. Given the chance to finally escape her cruel father, Tella, and the sailor she just met, drag Scarlett to Caraval against her will. When Tella disappears Scarlett promises herself to stay only long enough to find her sister. But what at first seems like a magical and interesting game, quickly turns more dangerous. Will she get home in time for her wedding? Will she save her sister? Can she trust anyone?
The world building in the book is fantastic. Coupled with vivid descriptions, you can almost taste and hear the sounds and smells of the streets. The characters keep you guessing as to their true intentions, and the twists keep on coming, right up to the Epilogue. The story will sweep you away. A little bit romance, a little bit mystery and a lot of magic keep the plot moving along quickly. Ages 12+