Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Leigh Bardugo

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’”

Kaz Brekker, known as “Dirtyhands” to many, is given an offer he can’t refuse. If he manages to complete the task of infiltrating the Ice Court, the most highly secured prison, he’ll be paid a large sum. Within the Ice Court, Kaz is supposed to kidnap a scientist who is being kept there. He will have to gather six of the deadliest outcasts known throughout Ketterdam if he wants to be able to pull this off. If he can get them to join him, they could manage to finish without a hitch. But they’ll have to learn to trust each other and work as a team, first.

Not only one of my favourite books, but one of my favourite series of all time. This book takes a group of characters from a number of different backgrounds, as well as the reader, on a journey of crime and desperation. Filled with magical realism as well as action and adventure, the characters we meet make us question what really is good versus bad in the world. Can something that we would normally see as a crime be justified for the right reasons?

Six of Crows is filled with so many incredible characters that are strong, intelligent and quick-witted. You’ll end up loving most, if not all of them.

This book is such a fun and enjoyable read, as well as very well written. I became a fan of Leigh Bardugo because of Six of Crows. – Stacie C.

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The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

The nation of Panem (that used to be North America) is made up of 12 districts and the Capitol that rules them. Residents of The Capitol live a glamorous, fabulous lifestyle compared to the very poor, sorrowful lifestyle of the Districts. Every year, one boy and one girl (aged 12-18) from each District is forced to be in the Hunger Games, a televised game where it’s either kill or be killed. So, on the day of the Reaping, in her District 12, when Katniss’ sister Primrose gets chosen as that year’s tribute in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The boy chosen was Peeta Mellark, who has seen Katniss within their district. At first, Katniss is okay with Peeta and considers him just a friend but, after Peeta comments regarding her on live television she has quite a surprising reaction, rethinking her original opinion of him. Leading up to the commencement of the Hunger Games, a former winner from district 12, Haymitch is mentoring them. He prepares them for the games, helping them throughout many challenges they encounter within the games with helpful gifts.

In an enthralling journey, Katniss Everdeen must fight for her life in order to survive. If she is the last one standing, it means a much better and richer life. If she loses it means definite death! That is what the Hunger Games is all about. Through extreme obstacles and variable terrains, Katniss and Peeta go through difficult decisions that their life will depend on. Who will be the one to survive? Who won’t make it home? It will all come down to life or death if Katniss wants to see her family again.

Being the first out of the three books in the series, it was surprisingly enjoyable and very hard to put down. This book has emotion, excitement and tension. But, in my opinion, there could’ve been more action and some events could’ve had a different outcome. I give this book 4 stars because it is very well written and is such an amazing adventure that the characters had to go through. I suggest reading this because of the conflicts, life and death struggles and how, combined, they brought forth unexpected emotions. Because of the mature content within the story I recommend this book for ages 12+. – Emma M.

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Nemesis (Project Nemesis, #1)

Brendan Reichs

Min and Noah have both been killed five times, every two years on their birthday since they were eight years old. Yet, somehow they don’t die. Each time they are killed, both wake up in a secluded area unsure how they have gotten there. All marks of their injuries disappeared, as well as any evidence that the murder happened. For Noah, these come as nightmares. Nightmares promised to go away but keep plaguing him every two years.

However, the earth has bigger problems. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid, is threatening to hit earth and wipe out everything. Nothing will make it. No humans, no animals, no buildings. Everything will be rubble. Everyone is on edge as they wait to find out if this asteroid will miss or not. However, far beyond the Anvil lies a series of even more complicated and sinister government plots that no one knows about. It isn’t until Min and Noah start working together when they uncover years of secrets that involve them and their sophomore class in Fire Lake.

By far, Nemesis has been one of the best books I have read. Not only is it action packed, this book is full of mysteries, questions, and always leaves you wanting more! I am hoping there will be a sequel to this book as the end reveal leaves so many unanswered questions and made me want to know what will happen and how everything will turn out. I would definitely recommend this book to you if you enjoy reading thriller books with an edge of mystery. I look forward to reading a sequel if one does come out, and will definitely look into more books written by Brendan Reichs. – Juliana M.

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La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)

Phillip Pullman

The Book of Dust is a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.

Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

“So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is . . . an ‘equel.’ It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have glimpsed in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.

“Third: why return to Lyra’s world? Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.”

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This Savage Song

V. E. Schwab

In a crumbling city where the violence has begun to breed monsters, Kate Harker and August Flynn are heirs to the divided city of Verity. Kate strives to be just as ruthless as her father, even if that means getting expelled from six boarding schools. August just wants to be human, and to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent. Torn between his ambition and the ideology of monsters given to him by Leo, who acts as an older brother to him, August is given a mission. As Kate moves into the city and joins an esteemed high school after an attempt to burn down her previous boarding school, August goes undercover to keep an eye on her. But Kate discovers him, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair is forced to flee for their lives.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Unlike many post-apocalyptic young adult books, this one has a refreshing storyline that does not revolve around a romance. The characters are not one-dimensional, they make mistakes that have legitimate consequences, and they have flaws and disabilities. The combination of a monster-run city and in-depth characters makes This Savage Song an extremely good read. Anyone who is interested in thrilling action sequences, monsters that are both human and creatures, minimal romance, and a bit of music should definitely pick up this book.

This Savage Song is the first book in The Monsters of Verity Duology. – Janki V.

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Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)

Shannon Messenger

Sophie Foster is a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her mom, dad, sister, and cat. Sophie is exceedingly smart for her age, and is already a high-school senior. But Sophie has a secret. She is a Telepath, and can hear the thoughts of everyone around her. In Sophie’s town, there are strange, white fires burning. Human arsonists are suspected, but what’s really behind it? Sophie’s life is as normal as it can be for a twelve-year-old telepath, until she meets a mysterious boy named Fitz. Fitz is also a Telepath and lives in a world where telepathy, among other abilities, is considered normal. Fitz and the people in his world are elves, but not the pointy-eared Christmas kind. These elves live in a world of magical creatures, like gnomes, alicorns, and many others. Sophie Foster’s life is about to change forever.

Sophie is an elf. Neither Sophie nor her family knew it, and the elf community cannot risk exposing themselves to tell them. Soon, Sophie is forced to leave her human family for this new world of elves. There, Sophie has many problems to face. Will she like her new foster family? What will the kids at her new school think of the “human girl”? Will she do well in her studies? Sophie has a lot to worry about before a mysterious criminal organization starts wreaking havoc among the elves. Who are these elves? What does the banned ability of Pyrokinesis have to do with them? What is this group planning? And what do they want with Sophie?

I loved this book and the entire series. My friends and I are totally obsessed with Keeper of the Lost Cities, and we can’t wait for the sixth book to come out in November! I loved Shannon Messenger’s writing style and the characters are so relatable. If you like books set in magical worlds such as the Unwanteds series or the Land of Stories series, you will like this book. – Madeleine D.

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Earth and Sky (Earth & Sky, #1)

Megan Crewe

17 year old Skylar feels wrongness. She sees things or events that shouldn’t appear or happen, yet they do.  She doesn’t understand or know why these panic attacks happen, but they never leave. After the panic attacks or feelings of wrongness go away, nothing out of the ordinary does or will happen. It isn’t until she meets a mysterious boy named Win when the truth is revealed. The humans on Earth are not alone. We are experiments to human like creatures called Kemyates. In fact, Kemyate scientists sit above earth changing and manipulating what should be normal; changing the past and the way circumstances should play out. This is causing the essential fabric of our world to become frayed and unravel. Eventually, the world we now have and know will disappear forever.

Luckily, Win is part of a rebel group who wants to shut down the experiments and leave Earth the way it should be. Skylar is the only earthling he has met that is sensitive enough to notice the feeling of wrongness or ‘shifts’. With her help, he plans on finding the pieces of a weapon that Jeanant (the rebel’s group leader from a different era) has scattered around the world in different eras. If they recover these pieces to the weapon, then they can shut down the experiments. Although it will be difficult to retrieve these pieces as enforcers will be right on their tail, determined to shut down the rebel’s operations.

This is not the usual genre I would read, however, I did enjoy reading it. This book includes science fiction, action/adventure, and mystery. Some parts of the plot were hard to understand but as you got deeper into the book, the plot and main idea became clearer. There are also two more books following the first one which I am looking forward to reading. – Juliana M.

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The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)

Sherry Thomas

Iolanthe Seabourne can channel three of the four elements, Fire, Earth, and Water, making her an elemental mage. She was raised up by her guardian Master Haywood. Elemental mages are very rare nowadays and if they are powerful enough, the agents of Atlantis take them away. Iolanthe has always embraced her powers, and decides that she will put on a show for her friend’s wedding. Something as simple as putting on a show turns her life upside down, revealing that Iolanthe has a destiny that will alter the future forever.

Prince Titus is the Master of the Domain. His Destiny was to find the greatest elemental mage of all time, protect and train them to remove another mage who doesn’t deserve to be in that position. Prince Titus must risk his life to ensure that this happens as that is his sole purpose. As Prince Titus and Iolanthe cross paths, they realize that their missions are life-threatening and they have no choice but to complete their destinies together no matter what.

The Burning Sky is an excellent book by far. It keeps readers’ hearts pacing at every page. This fantasy was very creative and personally I enjoyed it in a way I can’t explain in words. The Burning Sky is the beginning of a trilogy, making sure readers will pick up the next book and the final book with excitement. This book also carries a romance making you scream “Why?!” out your window… it did for me. Just an amazing book you must pick up! – Celine J.

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Continue with: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights

Before She Ignites

Jodi Meadows

From the New York Times bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane comes a smoldering new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Kristin Cashore about a girl condemned for defending dragons and the inner fire that may be her only chance of escape.

Mira has always been a symbol of hope for the Fallen Isles, perfect and beautiful—or at least that’s how she’s forced to appear. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret, Mira is betrayed by those closest to her and sentenced to the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles.

Except Mira is over being a pawn. Fighting to survive against outer threats and inner demons of mental illness, Mira must find her inner fire and the scorching truth about her own endangered magic—before her very world collapses.

And that’s all before she ignites.

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The Way We Fall

Megan Crewe

16 year old Kaelyn lives on a small island along with her mom, dad and brother. Being the quieter type, she vows to speak out and interact with more people this year. Kaelyn writes a journal directed to her former long best friend Leo, who has left the island to attend school. She hopes to speak with him when he next visits.

However, a fatal epidemic no one has seen before begins to sweep the island. What starts off as a severe itch with coughing and sneezing, develops into the victim spilling their secrets and being terrified at something only they can see. With her father as a microbiologist on this small-scale island, Kaelyn hopes he will discover a cure for everyone who has been entangled in this severely contagious disease. But what started off looking bad now looks even worse.
The connection is soon broken off to the mainland, and power starts running out. The amount of people being admitted to the hospital overwhelms the nurses and doctors. Doctors start dying, as well as nurses, teachers, parents, and kids. The island is placed under quarantine and resources start running out. Homes become abandoned and the uninfected break in to scavenge what supplies are left in order to survive. The people Kaelyn has known her whole life and the ones she loves are slowly being taken away from her. Kaelyn becomes a fighter using her new found inner strength along with new bonds she has made.

This book is exciting, terrifying, and thrilling, as you know that everyone is terrified, but they keep pushing forward. The book had a bit of a slow beginning, but once involved in the plot and characters it is hard to put down! Many people can closely relate to the characters and/or the plot which makes this book appealing and unique. – Juliana M.

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