The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

By Krystal Stanich,

“Every heartbeat brought the boy closer. Charlotte heard the shallow pulls of his breath, the uneven, heavy pounding of his footfalls” (The Inventor’s Secret, Sentences 1 & 2).

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks. The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery” (Goodreads Synopsis).

Krystal’s Review:

I really enjoyed this book and plan on finishing the series (I’ve already started the second audiobook on hoopla). It’s been awhile since I’ve read Steampunk and now I want to do a Steampunk program…any takers? The only thing about Steampunk books that I DON’T like is that I leave them and go back to a reality where airships don’t exist. WHY DO AIRSHIPS NOT EXIST?

This book is plot driven, so expect a lot of action and adventure from the pistol carrying, explosive tossing, stiletto wielding heroine. Charlotte is our main character and loves to dive headlong into action–like blowing up a Rotpot (giant machine contraption that sort of reminded me of the aliens in War of the Worlds) in the first few pages to slaying would-be thieves in the woods. I like that this series has multiple strong female characters; Charlotte, Lennet, and Meg all have their own strengths and don’t let the boys tell them who to be or how to act.

Read this book if you enjoyed: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, or The Transatlantic Conspiracy by G.D. Falksen.

Krystal

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

By Krystal Stanich,

“I hate First Friday. It makes the village crowded, and now, in the heat of high summer, that’s the last thing anyone wants.” (Red Queen, Sentences 1&2).

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart” (Goodreads synopsis).

Krystal’s Review:

This is one of my new, favorite, fantasy series. This is book one of the series–I’ve finished book two (Glass Sword) and book three is currently out (King’s Cage). I’m dragging my heels on picking up the third book because the ending of the second book left me in tears. I have a confession to make–I may have accidentally watched the book trailer for the third book before I’d even gotten through the first. I know, I know…*hangs head in shame*…but it didn’t ruin anything major, and I’d already had my suspicions about that specific character. The fast-paced plot and action scenes are enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. I had to stop listening (I was listening to the audiobook) a handful of times because it got too intense and I realized I was screaming at my car stereo.

The second book was even better.

Read this series if you enjoyed the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir, or the Young Elites series by Marie Lu.

Krystal

Library Wars: Love & War by Kiiro Yumi and Hiro Arikawa

By Krystal Stanich,

“That brute! He’s on a mission to make my life miserable!” (Library Wars, Vol.1, Sentences 1 &2).

In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves–the Library Forces!
Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her” (Goodreads synopsis).

Krystal’s Review:

It’s been a while since I read this series, but I absolutely loved it. There’s also an anime version out, but (as is the usual) the books are WAY better. The thing I love most about manga books are the characters’ expressions; the artists really sell the emotions and personalities of the characters. This series is set in a dystopian future, but actually covers a lot of topics that are important to us librarians–specifically censorship. Censorship is against our core values; we believe that everyone deserves the right to read what they want without fear of repercussions. With a stubborn determination to always uphold her values, Kasahara personifies what every librarian wishes to be.

The building relationship between Kasahara and her drill instructor, Dojo, is equal parts hilarious, embarrassing, and heart-warming. She’s also on a quest to find her “prince”–the soldier who saved her book when she was younger. My favorite scene is definitely the scene where she punches the “bear”. During a camping trip, the new recruits get initiated and Kasahara doesn’t react in typical fashion–only one other person has the same reaction as her.

If you are looking for a new manga series to read, pick up this one…you won’t regret it!

Krystal

 

 

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

By Krystal Stanich,

“Mom, the house is creepy” (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, Chapter 1, Sentence 1).

“Something freaky’s going on with Sunshine’s new house . . . there’s the chill that wraps itself around her bones, the giggling she can hear in the dead of night, and then the strange shadows that lurk in her photographs. But the more weird stuff that happens, the less her mom believes her. Sunshine’s always had a quirky affiliation with the past, but this time, history is getting much too close for comfort . . .

If there is something, or someone, haunting her house, what do they want? And what will they do if Sunshine can’t help them?

As things become more frightening and dangerous, and the giggles she hears turn to sobs and screams, Sunshine has no choice but to accept what she is, face the test before her and save her mother from a fate worse than death.” (Goodreads synopsis)

Krystal’s Review:

 

This is book one in the series and I will definitely be reading the rest of them. Although this deals with ghosts, I can’t help making comparisons to the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A teen girl gets introduced to the paranormal, finds out she is supposed to fight the paranormal creatures and protect humans, and decides she really wants nothing to do with it and she’s rather happy being a normal teenager. Too bad for Sunshine, she has no choice because to do nothing means her mother dies. Also, there is a “protector” character that does all the research and helps her (a teenaged Giles).

This book really does have some frightening scenes. There’s a scene where her stuffed owl, Dr. Hoo, is flying around the ceiling of her bedroom during a thunder storm: a flying, possessed,  stuffed owl—no thank you. I would be right there with her dog Oscar, cowering under the bed. Even though Sunshine proclaims that she’s not strong enough to handle ghosts, this scene convinced me otherwise. Instead of cowering under the bed with me and the dog, she was reaching for her phone for evidence.

We are Skyping with this author on Thursday, June 1st! If you don’t think that you can read the 296 page book BEFORE Thursday…that’s okay, check out her YouTube channel by searching for “The Haunting of Sunshine Girl”.

Read-a-likes include:  Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano; The House by Christina Lauren; and The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle.

Let me know whether you like this book!

Krystal

Wolf Children

By Krystal Stanich,

Wolf Children is a book that all ages will enjoy. This book is a manga, meaning that it’s a comic book that you can read backwards. Wolf Children takes you through the story of Ame and Yuki who are brother and sister and the children of a werewolf. This story tells you about their mother raising them and the challenges of being a single mother raising wolves. If you are looking for a quick read that’s extraordinary, I definitely recommend this book! -Bre