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.
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.
Title: A School for Unusual Girls
By: Kathleen Baldwin
Synopsis (via Goodreads): It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle them in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.
After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts…
How I got it: Free on Bookbub! And if you don’t have Bookbub, what are you waiting for. It’s free books in your in-box!
When I got it: June 2018
Why I want to read it: Boarding schools for one. We know how I feel about boarding school stories. Strange paranormal goings on and an historical setting. All combined to make me download it at least. Now, it’s a female lead so we’ll have to see how that goes, but I’m going in with an open mind!
I’m on a roll! This is the Third Read from my Shelf Control pile!
Now I’m wondering how long it’s going to take me to read Warcross. Well I do have the other two books in this series to finish first, so we’ll see.
See my Shelf Control post for the summary.
Why I recommend it:
There were so many things I loved about this book, but most of all I loved Adam, our protagonist and narrator. He’s 17, talented, a bit of a geek, good to his family and totally lovable – not to mention an incredibly bad-ass pilot. When everything run by computers stops working, Adam finds his old clunker of a car to be an invaluable commodity, that and the ultralight aircraft he’d just finished building with his dad. As his community starts to come together to survive, he finds that his skills are in high demand and that he has a knack for observation.
I found the way the situation plays out to be totally believable also. The author talks about rioting and looting, and fighting for resources. Killing becomes inevitable as the animalistic nature of humans takes over and surviva
l of the fittest reigns supreme. I even enjoyed the action sequences and got a very vivid picture of how the scene was playing out. I’ve also learned a lot about The Art of War from, of all places, the old neighbour next door. Herb is Adam’s mysterious neighbour. A dithering old man who becomes the next best thing to Jason Bourne once the computers go down. I’m dying to know his story. And after finishing the book I still don’t know his story, but my curiosity and connection to the characters certainly sent me scurrying for books 2 and 3.
One thing I did find a bit confusing was the locations. I was delighted to find out that Eric Walters was a local boy (local to Southern Ontario), and even more delighted to recognize neighbourhoods and streets from the Greater Toronto area. I could picture Adam landing on the 403 and glimpsing the abandoned buildings of Toronto in the distance. Yet Walters never fully committed to the Toronto location, and I’d love to know why. At one point Adam remarks that his father is half way across the country (in Chicago) so that threw me. I would love to have seen a Canadian setting, if only to see something new; and who knows, maybe non-Canadians would learn something about Canada?
Rating: Four stars
Suitable for teens. I would advise caution as there’s quite a bit of violence and killing, but not gratuitous.
By: Marie Lu
Synopsis (via Goodreads): When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. When Emika hacks into the game illegally, she’s convinced she’ll be arrested, and is shocked when she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem … and he wants Emika for the job. In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.
How I got it: Whenever I go away on holiday I figure I need books to read while I’m away. Never mind that I have more books than I could ever hope to read over a lifetime of holidays, for some reason going on holiday means I can buy more. Addiction remember? And again, digital is waaaaayyyyy too easy.
When I got it: July 2018
Why I want to read it: There are a couple of reasons I’m eager to read this one. First is that it’s Marie Lu and I thoroughly enjoyed her Legends series, though her Young Elites series has remained untouched on my Kobo for a while. Second, well Silence of the Six has set me off on a hacking/cyberterrorist kick, and this book showed up on the “if you liked this, you might like this” screen on Amazon. So now it’s on my Kobo and next in line. Also sounds like there’s a little Ready Player One in there, which can never be a bad thing.
By: Laura Ruby
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.
Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment house—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long-held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.
How I got it: This was another one of the purchases from my Chapters shopping spree in October.
When I got it: October 2017
Why I want to read it: Another one that sounds reminicent of Ready Player One. The combination of New York and a puzzle are very appealing. It also sounds like it has elements of steampunk which I also enjoy. I also like brother/sister teams; there’s often a familiar dynamic between them that I share with my own brother.