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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Highlighted Recent Reads July 2017

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

This was a book sequel to Lady Midnight. There is a lot going on, especially with the continued development of Emma and Julian's forbidden romance, the arrival of some unexpected visitors who may or may not be allies, as well as unresolved issues with villains, the introduction of new enemies and an ending that will rock reader's world and not necessarily in a good way.

I laughed. I celebrated. I cried like a baby.  

Be prepared...

Also, the best highlight.....the audiobook is narrated by none of other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum James Marsters aka Spike.  He does an amazing job!

Final rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom - the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she's determined to let everyone know it - somehow.

Out of My Mind is a powerful story. I cannot recommend the audiobook enough because the voice narrative really drives home the point of the book and gives Melody a literal voice.  As someone with a physical disablity, I connected with the character and her struggles.  While I can communicate, just not move like everyone else, I relate to Melody's struggles to be 'normal' and treated just like other people.  

This is an important book for everyone to read, not just the target audience of juvenile and pre-teen readers. It is worthy of its praise.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

DiCamillo continues to write thoughtful and profound narratives focusing on relationships, friendship and finding identity despite the ups and downs life often presents. What I enjoyed about this novel was the unlikely bond developed between the girls, their adventures and the coming of age story for them all.  DeCamillo makes the historical fiction setting still engaging and accessible for contemporary readers.

I'm excited that I'll get to meet the author in October 2017 since she'll be speaking in my community and my library is organizing an event!

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

An epic Rumpelstiltskin inspired YA romance where a young bastard princess must risk her life in order to save her brother's soul. This is highly recommended for fans of Graceling, The Lunar Chronicles, and other twisted fairy tale series.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

The Wish Granter was a fun, engaging read with appeal for both male and female readers, also the story does skew toward romance, thus more fully snaring female fans. This is loosely set in the same world as Redwine's The Shadow Queen. There is ample character and plot development with good pacing. 

I highly recommend the audiobook.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars