Title: Royal Bastards
By: Andrew Shvarts
Published: May 2017
Target: Young Adult
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.
At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.
Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.
How I got it: Free on Bookbub! Again, maybe time to limit the Bookbub browsing.
When I got it: August 2017
Why I want to read it: I think it’s the idea of the outsiders being the heroes and the main characters in this novel are definitely outsiders. I have always cheered for the underdog and this story is about a time when birthright mattered. There’s something about marriage making things legitimate that is so foreign in our modern world that exploring the whys of it has always been fascinating to me. A child’s life was so different back then through no fault of their own. I’m also interested to read the legitimate vs. illegitimate dynamics.
I love summer for the unlimited reading time! So I’ve been very good about chipping away at the Shelf Control pile. Unfortunately I seem to be acquiring books at a greater rate than I am chipping. Maybe time to get off Book Bub? Not sure I can do it.
See my shelf control post for the summary.
Why I (sort of) recommend it:
So another bit of a let down with this one. It starts out so strong. The characters are well defined. I love how different they are and how they all come from different family backgrounds. As they are work to figure out the puzzle and sneak into the various buildings to do so, I found I couldn’t read fast enough. They had a great friendship and the author created some wonderful dialogues between them. I really got a feel for these boys and loved their banter. Then for some reason, the book took a turn that made me almost wonder if I was still reading the same book. Once the adults came into the picture and started describing the town’s secret, I found myself plodding through. Even though the boys were still integral to the plot, I found the focus shifting from their dynamic to the “intrigue” and it didn’t work for me. I purchased the other three books in the series when I was still caught up in loving the characters and the “Stranger Things” feel of the novel. I now find I’m not that interested. I may give the second one a go but we’ll see.
Rating: Three stars
Recommended for 10+. Boys may particularly relate to the character dynamic.
Title: Town Secrets
By: Scott Gelowitz
Target: middle readers
Synopsis (via Goodreads): A centuries-old organization within the tiny town of Grayson protects many secrets – from unknown scientific discoveries to the truth about the mythical island of Atlantis, along with information that ties it to historical events from around the world, such as the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Thirteen-year-old Adam McTaggart and his wise-cracking friends learn some of these secrets and discover that their boring small town is much more exciting than they had always believed it to be. But someone is coming, looking for an ancient power protected by the secret organization, and they are destroying towns as they draw near.
Can Adam and his friends learn all they need in time to protect the biggest secret of all before it’s too late?
How I got it: Free on Bookbub! I love Bookbub.
When I got it: June 2018
Why I want to read it: Sounds very “Stranger Things”; group of boys, mysterious town goings on, strange powers etc. It has excellent ratings on GoodReads so I’m curious to see if it holds my attention. And besides, I need a good “boy book” after my misadventures with Warcross and Keeper of the Lost Cities, which I really must review on of these days.