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Book Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

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Bitterblue has grown from a terrified young girl, hiding from her evil and twisted king father, to a queen with many aspirations to restore her kingdom. But King Leck’s magical lies still cloud the minds of some and his sadistic deeds have shattered the minds of others. With more strange things occurring daily, Bitterblue starts to wonder who she can trust, for it is up to her to right the wrongs of her father, even when it means risking her own life.

This was a wonderful addition to Fire and Graceling. It tied up formerly loose ends and answered the pressing question of what happened to Bitterblue. Kristin Cashore has once again created a masterpiece. She deftly combines old and new characters, and melds her two previous books seemlessly. Full of intrigue and action, this page-turner kept me wondering until the very end. I loved it and would rate it 5 of 5 stars.

– Reviewed by Marissa, grade 10

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Book Review: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

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Grace, Gretchen and Greer find out that not only are they triplets, they are descendents of Medusa. And are therefore monster hungers! I liked that there was always a surprise at the end of every chapter. There was nothing I didn’t like — I’d rate this 5 stars — I loved it! I’d recommend it to ages 12 and up. Also, I love the cover design!

Reviewed by Vanessa, age 13

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Book Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

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When dark, charming Asher and golden, reserved Devin appear in Skye’s life on her seventeenth birthday, everything in her life changes.I liked that there is definitely going to be a second book, hopefully! There was nothing I didn’t like about this book — I rate it 5 stars — I loved it! I’d recommend this to ages 12 and up.

Reviewed by Vanessa, age 13

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Book Review: The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

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When Megan moves to Ireland with her dad, she’s very nervous about going to a new school. But when she meets darkly handsome Adam Deris, everything changes. I liked that at the end of every chapter you were always hungry for more. I didn’t like that it wasn’t, like, 500 pages. I rate it 5 stars- I loved it!

I’d recommend this to readers 12 and up. I also love the cover design!

Reviewed by Vanessa, age 13

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Book Review: Daughter of the Centaurs by K. K. Ross

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Malora wants nothing more than to follow in the steps of her father and be the next great horse trainer, regardless of the opinions of her little settlement. On the day her dreams are to be realized, the first day of her instruction with her father, she witnesses an horrific event that will change her life forever. Forced to leave her now bloody and empty town, she slowly acquires a band of horses that she names and trains to respond to her every signal, a necessity to survive in the harsh desert landscape she now roams. Her world is shattered once again when a party of centaurs corrals her family herd and captures her. She must now learn to survive with a whole different range of dangers-those of a centaur court.

Full of raw emotions and heartbreak, one cannot help but feel for Malora as she struggles with the loss of her family, the crushing weight of being the last human, and the difficulties of adjusting to a centaur city. Outspoken and opinionated, she never hesitates to say or do exactly what she feels is best. She is never cowed by the intimidating size of whatever problem faces her, and uses her tenacity to her immense advantage. I recommend this novel to horse lovers everywhere.

Reviewed by Marissa, age 15

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Book Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

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When Tiki managers to snatch the queen’s own ring from the confines of Buckingham Palace, she is overjoyed. Finally, she can provide her ragtag family of orphans with a real home. What Tiki doesn’t realize is that the ring is the key to an ancient truce between the Fey and mortals, and now that she has the ring, London is thrown into chaos.

This was a thrilling tale with all of the pieces: action, tension, betrayal and budding romance. The courts of faerie were never completely explained, but that was the only fault I could find. I found the cover intriguing and the audience range is 12-15. This is a captivating tale that gives new life to the age-old tales of faeries.

Each and every character is strongly developed, from Toots to Reiner. The plot could have been predictable, but instead is a twisting labyrinth of lies, threats and the rush of new love. Tiki always follows her heart, even when it leads her down dangerous paths. The descriptions of a beggar’s London are complete and eye opening.

-Marissa, age 15

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Book Review: Swear by Nina Malkin

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Just when Dice’s life is tipping back towards normal, (aside from her cheerleader-turned-goth cousin) she finds that her powerful gift is required again — this time to locate best friend Marsh’s missing boyfriend. Who is really controlling this twisted game — Dice or Sin? This novel is even more powerful than the first (2009’s Swoon) — the characters pop and the tension of an irritatingly unwanted love traingle makes Dice and Sin’s love sizzle.There was nothing I didn’t like about it. The cover is full of mysterious splashes of foreshadowing — I like it more now I’ve read the book. This is a powerful and enjoyable read. I recommend it to all those who enjoy practical, realistic magic.

Nina Malkin seems to grow stronger as a writer in this second novel. The love triangle she creates is much stronger with an increase in tension and need. All of her charaters are more defined and her descriptions are more vivid. Even Dice’s unique and quirky voice is strenghened. The twists and supernatural elements are very well handled, making Swoon — and all that happens in this little town — more captivating.

-Marissa, age 15

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

Annabel’s family has been avoiding work for years, so when the new lord comes to town, she is sent to work in his castle as payment. Stern, mauled and foreboding Lord LeWyse is not a welcoming man. Chased by the Bailiff, Annabel is saved time and time again by her Lord. What interest does he have in her?

This was a realistic Beauty and the Beast — a tale of unconditional love fraught with pain and heartbreak. I’d rate it 5 stars — there was nothing I didn’t like about it!

A potent combination of my favorite genres — romance and action, all set in medieval times. Annabel is a perfect heroine, embodying the traits of women both ages ago and today. Humble, shy and caring, she is also quick-witted and unafraid to follow her heart. I immediately connected with her, cheering her on every step of the way. Lord LeWyse is a man with heart-wrenching scars — inside and out. While his beard hides his scarred face, his rough, harsh demeanor hides a heart of gold and a sweet soul. He is fiercely loyal, and committed to doing what is right. I love the way chapters switched between the two. I couldn’t wait to find out what the other was thinking in each event. It gave the piece a three-dimensional quality that I have ever encountered before. This is truly a phenomenal book with characters that are strong and realistic beyond belief and a plot that twists with each page.

One of the best books I have ever read.

-Marissa, age 14

Posted in Booklists

Fantasy

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Black, Holly. Tithe

Sixteen-year-old Kaye, who has been visited by faeries since childhood, discovers that she herself is a magical faerie creature with a special destiny.

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Bray, Libba. A Great and Terrible Beauty.

After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world. 

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Colfer, Eoin. Artemis Fowl

When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.

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Farmer, Nancy. Sea of Trolls

After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.

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Gaiman, Neil. Stardust 

In nineteenth century England, a young man named Tristan must travel into a world of magic to find a fallen star, in order to win the heart of a woman. Much to his surprise, the star turns out to be a live creature. (Illustrated  novel). 

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Larbalastier, Justine. Magic or Madness

From the Sydney, Australia home of a grandmother she believes is a witch, fifteen-year-old Reason Cansino is magically transported to New York City, where she discovers that friends and foes can be hard to distinguish.

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Marr, Melissa. Wicked Lovely

Seventeen-year-old Aislinn, who has the rare ability to see faeries, is drawn against her will into a centuries-old battle between the Summer King and Winter Queen, and the survival of her life, her love, and summer all hang in the balance.

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Nix, Garth. Sabriel

Sabriel, daughter of the necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead.  

 

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Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn

Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth’s surface.

 

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Pierce, Tamora. Terrier

When sixteen-year-old Beka becomes “Puppy” to a pair of “Dogs,” as the Provost’s Guards are called, she uses her police training, natural abilities, and a touch of magic to help them solve the case of a murdered baby in Tortall’s Lower City.

 

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Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass

Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North. 

 

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Watts, Leander. Beautiful City of the Dead

After joining a heavy metal band, high school student Zee learns that she is a god of water and is called upon to fight sinister forces that want her powers for their own.

 

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Zevin, Gabrielle. Elsewhere

After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to “live.”