Book Review: La Belle Sauvage

Title: La Belle Sauvage

Author: Philip Pullman

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Format: Hardcover

Published: By Random House Children’s Publishers UK on October 19th, 2017

ISBN13: 9780385654081

Grade: Outstanding

La Belle Sauvage (Book Review)

Synopsis

Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy…

Malcolm’s father runs an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue. He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust – and the spy it was intended for finds him.
When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, Malcolm sees suspicious characters everywhere; Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a dæmon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl – just a baby – named Lyra. Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make chocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

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Book Review: To Kill a Kingdom

Title: To Kill a Kingdom

Author: Alexandra Christo

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Format: E-book

Published: By Hot Key Books on March 6th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781471407390 (Paperback edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

To Kill a Kingdom (Book Review)

Synopsis

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

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Book Review: Secondhand Origin Stories

Title: Secondhand Origin Stories

Author: Lee Blauersouth

Genre: Young adult sci-fi

Format: E-book

Published: By Createspace Independent Publishing on March 15th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781626726345

Grade: Exceeds expectations

SHOSPH Blog Tour - Book Review

Synopsis

Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

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Book Review: Moxie

Title: Moxie

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Genre: Young adult contemporary

Format: E-book

Published: By Roaring Brook Press on September 19th, 2017

ISBN13: 9781626726345

Grade: Outstanding

Moxie (Book Review)

Synopsis

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with an administration at her high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

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Book Review: The City of Brass

Title: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)

Author: S. A. Chakraborty

Genre: Adult fantasy

Format: E-book

Published: By Harper Voyager on November 14th, 2017

ISBN13: 9780062678126

Grade: Outstanding

The City of Brass

Synopsis

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary City of Brass – a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

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Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Title: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young adult fiction

Format: Audiobook

Published: By Bolinda Audio on August 27th, 2015

ISBN13: 9781406331165 (UK hardcover edition)

Grade: Outstanding

The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Book Review)

Synopsis

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

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Book Review: The Martian

Title: The Martian

Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Adult science fiction

Format: Audiobook

Published: By Podium Publishing on March 22nd, 2013

ISBN13: 9781785031137 (UK paperback edition)

Grade: Outstanding

The Martian (Book Review)

Synopsis

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

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