Review | Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

godsofjadeTitleGods of Jade and Shadow (2019)
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Quercus
Imprint: Jo Fletcher Books
Read: 5th August – 1st September 2019
Genre: historical fiction; fantasy; mythology
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather’s house to do more than dream of a life far from her small town in southern Mexico. Until the day she accidentally frees an ancient Mayan god of death, who offers her a deal: in return for Casiopea’s help in recovering his throne, he will grant her whatever she desires. From the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City and deep into the darkness of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld, Casiopea’s adventure will take her on a perilous cross-country odyssey beyond anything she’s ever known. Success will make her every dream come true, but failure will see her lost, for ever…” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

hrhTitleHer Royal Highness (2019)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Read: 20th – 24th June 2019
Genre: young-adult contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools… the farther from Houston the better. Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim… after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale… or is it?”(Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

lesmiserablesTitleLes Misérables (orig. 1862, ed. 1987)
Author: Victor Hugo
Translator: Lee Fahnestock and Norman McAfee
Publisher: Signet Classics
Read: 1st – 31st May 2019
Genre: classics
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean–the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread–Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope–an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart. (Synopsis source)

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Review | Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter

ghostlyTitleGhostly Echoes (2016)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Read: 26th – 27th June 2019
Genre: YA fantasy; historical; mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the services of her detective-agency tenants to solve a decade-old murder— her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all. Soon Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her down to the mythical underworld and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced..” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Beastly Bones by William Ritter

Ritter_BeastlyBones_jkt_COMP.inddTitleBeastly Bones (2014)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Read: 21st – 25th May 2019
Genre: YA fantasy; historical; mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Some girls work in shops or sell flowers. Some girls find husbands and play house. I assist a mad detective in investigating unexplained phenomena. My name is Abigail Rook, and this is what I do. In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First vicious shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt–for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Jackaby by William Ritter

jackabyTitleJackaby (2014)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Read: 4th – 10th May 2019
Genre: YA fantasy; historical; mystery
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local authorities–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–seem adamant to deny.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

throneofjadeTitleThrone of Jade (2006)
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Read: 5th – 16th March 2019
Genre: fantasy; historical fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Captain William Laurence of the British Air Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, begin their slow voyage to China, fearful that upon landing they will be forced to part by Imperial decree. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly-prized of all draconic breeds; famed for their intelligence, agility and most of all for the Divine Wind – their terrible roar capable of shattering the heavy timbers of war ships, shattering woodland and destroying other dragons mid-flight. Temeraire’s egg was captured and claimed by the British at sea, but he was meant to be the companion of the Emperor Napoleon and not captained by a mere officer in the British Air Corps. The Chinese have demanded his return and the British cannot refuse them – they cannot afford to provoke the asian super-power into allying themselves with the French – even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal and inflicts the most unimaginable pain upon Laurence and his dragon. (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

cityofbrassTitleThe City of Brass (2017)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Read: 8th – 20th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; historical fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Among the bustling markets of eighteenth century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles and foreign invaders alike. But alongside this new world the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits. Of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert, full of enchantment, desire and riches. Where magic pours down every street, hanging in the air like dust. Many wish their lives could be filled with such wonder, but not Nahri. She knows the trades she uses to get by are just tricks and sleights of hand: there’s nothing magical about them. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes. Be careful what you wish for.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Enchantée by Gita Trelease

enchanteeTitleEnchantée (2019)
Author: Gita Trelease
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date: 21st February 2019
Read: 23rd – 26th January 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; historical fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians… When seventeen-year-old Camille is left orphaned, she has to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine‘ and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

gildedwolvesTitleThe Gilded Wolves (2019)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Read: 19th – 23rd January 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; historical fiction;
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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