Spring is here in full force, and that means it's a perfect opportunity to go outside and enjoy some books! Hedgie and I have been getting lots of reading done, as well as tending my flowers and anxiously waiting for the blackberries to ripen (still have a ways to go, unfortunately). I've been doing lots of baking, too, and contemplating my new story - working title Mystery at Ramford Hall. But I had plenty of time to tackle that stack of books up in my room with Hedgie, as well as some on my shelves, and here's the best of April's crop.
The Archived by Victoria Schwab (4/5)
The first book in a planned series. Mackenzie is a Keeper. It is her job to patrol the Narrows - the place between the Outside and the Archive - to capture and return escaped Histories to the Archive. Most of the time, the Histories - otherwise known as the record of a dead person's life - she hunts down are kids, and therefore no threat. But other times, they're adults, and they can be violent. The Archived is the most original ghost story I have ever read, and Victoria Schwab also manages to make present tense sound poetic. More of a mystery story than a ghost story, The Archived has surprising twists and a great cast of characters. Recommended for girls and guys, fifteen-and-up, and Readers who like mysteries with a supernatural flair and an original concept.
Fearless by Cornelia Funke (4/5)
The second book in a series, Fearless takes Readers back to the sinisterly enchanting Mirrorworld. Jacob Reckless is dying, due to a Fairy's curse, after trying to save his brother Will's life. Now Jacob is running out of time as he tries to find a way to break the curse, and he and his companion Fox set off on a fantastic adventure to find a legendary crossbow that just might save Jacob's life - or kill millions. Fearless is every bit as wonderful as Reckless; I couldn't put the book down. Filled with new wonders, new perils, and new characters, I fell in love all over again with this new fantastic world that Cornelia has created. Recommended to girls and guys alike, fourteen and up, great for fairytale retelling fans, fantasy fans, and Cornelia Funke fans.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (4/5)
The first book in a planned series, Falling Kingdoms is one of the most engaging high fantasy novels I have ever read. Three kingdoms; one prosperous, one ruled by a cruel king, and one facing a crushing famine and poverty. Desperate, Paelsia allies itself with Limeros in an attempt to invade their rich neighbor Auranos. But Auranos' wealth isn't the only thing King Gaius of Limeros is after; Gaius is also searching for four legendary crystals - the Kindred - that promise unimaginable power to any to possess them. And King Gaius will do anything he can to find them. But the fates of the kingdoms and the Kindred rest with four youths, whose separate stories intertwine in unexpected ways, making for a highly entertaining and emotional read. Recommended for girls and guys, sixteen and up, fantasy fan.
Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis (4/5)
The third book in a trilogy, Stolen Magic is every bit as exciting, witty, and filled with shocking twists as Kat's other two adventures. Kat Stephenson's sister Angeline is finally getting married, but first she must endure not only Mrs. Carlyle's continued dislike, but all of Frederick's relatives. And now someone is actually trying to kill Angeline. On top of that, Kat's initiation into the Order of the Guardians is interrupted when a magical theft takes place, and someone with far more powerful magic than Kat's is stalking her. Kat doesn't have much time to save England, the Order, and her own family. Recommended for girls, any age, Jane Austen fans.
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson (5/5)
An absolutely beautifully haunting retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale. When Sophia goes to live with her eccentric and rich godfather Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, she thinks it is her dream come true. Wyndriven Abbey is a place of luxury, and M. Bernard gives her everything she might want - and more. But Wyndrivan Abbey has secrets - dark secrets. And as M. Bernard's attentions turn from that of a doting guardian to something more, Sophia's curiosity is stirred, and her investigations lead to shocking revelations. Filled with beautiful descriptions, spooky twists, and a villain that is downright creepy, Strands of Bronze and Gold was one thrilling read. Recommended to fairytale retelling and Gothic novel fans, girl-read.