Book Review | The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Last Wish

Author: Andrzj Sapkowski  // Published: January 31, 1993

★★

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Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.

And a cold-blooded killer.

His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.

But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good. . . and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

The international hit that inspired the video game: The Witcher.

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Book Review | Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

Home Is Not a Country

Author: Safia Elhillo  // Published: February 2, 2021

★★★★

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A mesmerizing novel in verse about family, identity, and finding yourself in the most unexpected places—for fans of The Poet XI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and Jason Reynolds.

Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her white suburban town, which feels both dangerous and familiar. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself.

Until she doesn’t. As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry.

This book is a story of mothers and daughters, of friends and enemies, of journeys and homecomings, and of realizing that sometimes the person you’re meant to be has been staring at you in the mirror all along.

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Mini Book Reviews | Bridge of Souls, Miles Morales: Shock Waves, and The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

Bringing you some mini middle grade reviews today!

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab | ★★★★

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Thank you Scholastic for the gifted review copy!

Absolutely in love with this book! Victoria Schwab continues to bring us the most interesting and atmospheric stories. I’ve never been to New Orleans but the descriptions made me fall in love. I looked up every building mentioned and haunted story told. These books never fail to bring the creepy and haunted atmosphere to life. I adore these characters too! Cassidy, Jacob and Lara are so easy to love and the banter is always fun. I just love their adventures so much. The stakes were definitely high in this one and I was a little worried about how this would end. Everything wrapped up nicely and I got a good dose of fuzzy feeling from the friendship between these three friends.

I think these are definitely books that everyone can appreciate regardless of age!

 

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Book Review | The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

The Bridge Kingdom

Author: Danielle L. Jensen  // Published: October 16, 2018

★★★★

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What if you fell in love with the one person you’d sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people? 

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Book Review | The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1) by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon  // Published: August 20, 2013

★★★★

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It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city-Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly-as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

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Book Review | The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

The Death of Jane Lawrence

Author: Caitlin Starling  // Published: October 19, 2021

★★

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.

By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.

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Book Review | Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman

Author: Sayaka Murata  // Published: July 27, 2016

★★

Convenience Store Woman is the heartwarming and surprising story of thirty-six-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura. Keiko has never fit in, neither in her family, nor in school, but when at the age of eighteen she begins working at the Hiiromachi branch of “Smile Mart,” she finds peace and purpose in her life. In the store, unlike anywhere else, she understands the rules of social interaction ― many are laid out line by line in the store’s manual ― and she does her best to copy the dress, mannerisms, and speech of her colleagues, playing the part of a “normal” person excellently, more or less. Managers come and go, but Keiko stays at the store for eighteen years. It’s almost hard to tell where the store ends and she begins. Keiko is very happy, but the people close to her, from her family to her coworkers, increasingly pressure her to find a husband, and to start a proper career, prompting her to take desperate action…

A brilliant depiction of an unusual psyche and a world hidden from view, Convenience Store Woman is an ironic and sharp-eyed look at contemporary work culture and the pressures to conform, as well as a charming and completely fresh portrait of an unforgettable heroine.

 

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Book Review | A Place Called Perfect (Perfect, #1) by Helena Duggan

A Place Called Perfect

Author: Helena Duggan  // Published: November 2012

★★★★

Violet never wanted to move to Perfect.

Who wants to live in a town where everyone has to wear glasses to stop them going blind? And who wants to be neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time?

But Violet quickly discovers there’s something weird going on – she keeps hearing noises in the night, her mum is acting strange and her dad has disappeared.

When she meets Boy she realizes that her dad is not the only person to have been stolen away…and that the mysterious Watchers are guarding a perfectly creepy secret!

 

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Book Review | Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion

Author: Jane Austen  // Published: December 1818

★★

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Written at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Persuasion is a tale of love, heartache and the determination of one woman as she strives to reignite a lost love. Anne Elliot is persuaded by her friends and family to reject a marriage proposal from Captain Wentworth because he lacks in fortune and rank. More than seven years later, when he returns home from the Navy, Anne realises she still has strong feelings for him, but Wentworth only appears to have eyes for a friend of Anne’s. Moving, tender, but intrinsically ‘Austen’ in style, with its satirical portrayal of the vanity of society in eighteenth-century England, Persuasion celebrates enduring love and hope.

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Book Review | The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

The Shape of Thunder

Author: Jasmine Warga  // Published: May 11, 2021

★★

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Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a year.

Despite living next door to each other, they exist in separate worlds of grief. Cora is still grappling with the death of her beloved sister in a school shooting, and Quinn is carrying the guilt of what her brother did.

On the day of Cora’s twelfth birthday, Quinn leaves a box on her doorstep with a note. She has decided that the only way to fix things is to go back in time to the moment before her brother changed all their lives forever—and stop him.

In spite of herself, Cora wants to believe. And so the two former friends begin working together to open a wormhole in the fabric of the universe. But as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of time travel to save their siblings, they learn that the magic of their friendship may actually be the key to saving themselves.

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