by Leigh Bardugo

3 Stars

The young adult/fantasy/adventure fiction, Shadow And Bone, written by Leigh Bardugo, was a very mystical book. I am not the type of person to usually read any fantasy books, but I was a part of a book club and this was the book we were reading. This story is about Alina Starkov, all her life she felt as if she never belonged, she felt as if she wasn’t good enough, but thanks to her best friend Mal, the guy who she’s secretly in love with but won’t admit it.

But where she lives, the fold, gets attacked and Mal is awfully injured, she reveals a power that saves his life. Alina never knew she had a power like that, or maybe she did, but she kept it a secret and slowly forgot about it because she wanted to stay with Mal. Once her power is released, Darkling realizes she had a power that could save her town, take her to the royal court to be trained as a Grisha. As love sparks between the two, Alina doesn’t know the actual plan the Darkling has for her. Some parts of the book, as I was reading, was truly boring, but other parts of the book makes you feel as if you were right there or even more you’re Alina. Which by the ending of the book, you wouldn’t want to be in the position Alina was in. Either way, I would still recommend this book to people over the age of 12 and up. Overall, I rate this book a 3/5 stars!  

Hoda D.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Audiobook CD

by C.L Clark

4 Stars

Do you enjoy reading about enslaved people fighting against their masters, rebellion, sapphic relationships, imperfect, perfect love, and beautiful, adult writing?

Well, if so, I sincerely recommend The Unbroken by C.L Clark. The book follows 2 main protagonists: Tourraine (the black slave/guard) and Luca (the princess of the empire — aka the colonizers).
 Quick 1 sentence summary: Tourraine is accused of killing someone she didn’t and Luca seizes the opportunity to save her from the gallows and enlist Tourraine as a messenger/ambassador to communicate with the rebels as an attempt to create peace.

Review: I loved the writing (in all honesty, I love any adult third-person writing, so I may be partially biased), the queerness (again, I am partially biased) and the BIPOC representation (once more, partially biased). Basically, I loved everything. Except *embarrassed sigh* the plot. So, the plot was under no circumstances BAD (not even close) but it also wasn’t WOW to me (although, to be fair, I had extremely high expectations). It was pretty realistic, which I liked but also, I really, really don’t want to read ‘their bowels mixed with their blood’ over, and over again (I’ve read something like that in the book at least 3 times).

Representation: a lesbian main character, a bisexual — or pansexual — main character, LOTS of BIPOC representation (hello? It’s set in North Africa and it’s about slavery), interracial couples and more.
 Trigger warnings: Death, attempted rape (multiple times), mentions of rape, mentions of torture, slavery, gore, and much more — please look up in more depth if you’re sensitive to certain topics!
 Age rating: 16+ (I’m 14 but this is an Adult book so proceed with caution)
 Star rating: 4 / 5 stars (amazing book but could’ve been better)

Jazleen H.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by J.R.R. Tolkien

5 Stars

The Fellowship of the Ring: Tolkien, J. R. R.: 9780007488308: Books -  Amazon.ca

J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring is the first entry into The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The novel focuses on Frodo Baggins’s adventure through Middle Earth as he attempts to destroy the One Ring, a powerful relic of the past. Frodo and his friends must overcome great difficulties as they travel across Middle Earth to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Throughout the journey, Frodo and his companions are hunted by orcs, goblins, dragons, and trolls as they fight for peace. Frodo and his friends must unite the races of dwarves, elves, and men if they wish to achieve their goal. 

The Fellowship of the Ring is an excellent introduction to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. While reading this novel, I felt immersed in the world of Middle Earth and connected to the characters. Tolkien meticulously describes locations, characters, and events, painting a vivid image of the setting in my mind. Each character was complex and had their own strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, and personality. This made the story much more engaging than other fantasy novels I have read. Action sequences are also abundant to keep readers engaged, and they are extremely well-written, so that readers can truly understand the peril the characters face. The novel also ends on an excellent cliffhanger that caused me to immediately begin reading the second book in the trilogy once I had finished The Fellowship of the Ring. J.R.R Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring is truly a masterpiece of a novel and one of the best fantasy novels I have read. I highly recommend the book to anyone looking for an exciting, surprise-filled adventure. I would give this novel 5 out of 5 stars.

Ethan M.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | Audiobook CD | Paperback Edition

by Emily Skrutskie

3.3 Stars

The Abyss Surrounds Us: Skrutskie, Emily: 9780738746913: Books - Amazon.ca

“Come back alive and victorious or don’t come back at all.”
Cassandra Leung, Cas, was born into a family of reckoner trainers. Training giant, genetically engineered beasts that protected ships was all that she knew, all that she longed for. Life was simple and straightforward: pirates are bad, so train reckoners to destroy pirate ships- easy peasy, right? Well, it would have been if she weren’t captured by the very pirates she was raised to despise on her very first solo mission. The pirates, led by Captain Santa Elena, revealed that they had managed to acquire their very own reckoner (despite the fact it was near impossible to steal one) and were in need of a reckoner trainer. Cas, being a reckoner trainer-in-training, had no choice but to oblige.

Disclaimers before I begin my review:
Sci-fiction is not one of my favorite genres. I prefer NA and Adult books to YA. I read an incredible – INCREDIBLE book before I started The Abyss Surrounds Us.

Now, with that out of the way, I rated this book a solid 3.3 out of 5 stars.
Stuff I liked: Loved the world building and, obviously, the pirate aspect. The main character was realistic. Easy to follow plot and writing. Queer (sapphic: woman loving woman) and forbidden relationship.
Stuff I disliked: Plot was weak. Slow paced until the very last third of the book.
So, in conclusion this book would be perfect for younger me but older me is a bit too picky for books now. Happy reading! 

Jazleen

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by Kristin Cashore 

5 Stars

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) by Kristin Cashore

Graceling is the first book of the Seven Kingdoms Series written by Kristin Cashore and was published on October 1, 2008. This story follows a young woman named Katsa and her adventures with Po, a young Lienid man, as they attempt to figure out the mysteries and reasons behind the kidnapping of Po’s grandfather. In this world, there are abilities called “Grace”, which allowed one to have an excellent talent for a certain task. For Katsa, it is the Grace to kill. Throughout her entire life, she was trained to kill or torture those who King Randa, the king of Middlun and Katsa’s uncle, wanted, which were mostly morally evil. Though Katsa had an idea to do what is morally better than to be her uncle’s “pet”. After her escape under King Randa’s grasp, she finally had the chance to do what she thought best, as she helps her Lienid companion solve the mystery. 

The writing of the characters in this book is amazing, as each character and their behaviour are expressed in a clear way. For example, Giddon, an underlord of King Randa who had worked with Katsa countless times. Though as the chapters progress, his negative personality shows. His jealousy getting the best of him, his snarky replies towards others, and special treatment towards Katsa- until a certain point of the story. Another example would be Po, who was introduced as a mysterious person, one with a confident and cautious atmosphere. Though as the story progresses, he is seen as a caring person and a well-suited companion to Katsa, as they go wander through the lands of this world.

As for the setting, the world seems to be one of a fantasy and medieval sort. With the descriptions of the lands, cities, transportation, and powers. Just like the characters, the setting is clear, as the language gives off the impression that the era is medieval or somewhat something similar to it. With plenty of descriptive writing, it brings the atmosphere of the story to life. For example, somewhere a third beyond the book, Katsa looks out from an inn as she sees the rainy weather. Another example of well-written descriptive writing can be found on page 95, chapter 13, “Katsa watched the grass moving around them. The wind pushed it, attacked it, struck it in one place and then another. It rose and fell and rose again. It flowed, like water.” Clearly, this book is fantastic when it comes to the plot, characters, and setting, as it brings the reader into the world of Graceling

Nyjel C.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Audiobook CD

by Andrzej Sapkowski

5 Stars

The Last Wish

Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher: The Last Wish is the first entry in Sapkowski’s The Witcher series. The novel is a collection of stories about Geralt of Rivia’s adventures as a Witcher. Throughout the novel he encounters a variety of interesting characters and creatures, such as a striga, a giant bear who is half-man, a wizard, a queen, and a devil among others. Throughout the novel, Geralt meets people who hire him to deal with monsters. However, the tasks he is given are often more complicated than they first seem.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Witcher: The Last Wish. Sapkowski’s writing style is interesting and engaging, creating an exceptional novel that is hard to put down. The book consists of several short stories of Geralt’s adventures that combine to form a larger story filled with messages and morals. Geralt is a fascinating character who truly elevates the novel into a masterpiece. He is witty, intelligent, strong, and courageous. He is also very cautious and always expects the unexpected to occur. I found it interesting to read about his friend Dandelion, who is the complete opposite of Geralt. Dandelion is cheerful, energetic, optimistic, and always assumes the best of people. This creates an interesting dynamic between the two and leads to some amusing scenes where both are taken out of their element and act a bit like each other. Overall The Witcher: The Last Wish is an excellent novel and is truly one of the books where if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. I would give this book 5 stars out of 5.

Ethan M.

View in Library Catalogue: Print

by J.K Rowling

5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book by JR Company

Harry kicks off his second year at Hogwarts after a terrible summer vacation with his relatives. Just as he starts packing up his bags, he receives a letter from a mysterious creature claiming, if he returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, disaster will strike immediately. Confused and worried, Harry sets out on his journey, back to his wizarding school to see what was wrong. The beginning of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts starts with fresh torments and horrors begin to arise, including a spirit who haunts the girl’s bathroom and other unusual events. But the real danger begins, as he discovers that a mastermind is turning the students of Hogwarts into stone. Harry and his friends have been assigned a difficult task, and it’s up to them to find out who this mastermind really is. Could it be Hagrid? Could it be Hermoine? Or possibly Harry himself? Find out by reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  

Overall, this book was an absolute gem. It’s filled with adventure, imagination, and fantasy that helps the reader engage more in the story. This exciting sequel makes me never want to put the book down. The words written in the story bring the wizarding world to life, making me and other readers wish this all would exist. It was well-crafted and included a surprising plot twist during the end. This book is a must-read, and I recommend this to all ages who love fantasy, action, and humour. I would give this book a 10/10. 

Ahmed Q.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | Audiobook CD | Downloadable Audiobook | eBook

by J.K Rowling

5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Rowling J.K.: 9781408855652:  Amazon.com: Books

Harry’s life is gloomy and filled with despair. With his parents dead and his uncaring relatives who he’s stuck with, he’s forced to live in a dark, tiny closet located under the stairs. Every day seems the same to Harry, being mistreated by his relatives and being bullied at school. But one day, his downhearted life soon changes as he receives a letter claiming that he’s no ordinary boy, but a wizard. A mysterious visitor soon saves Harry from his relatives and brings him to a mysterious school called Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry’s first year at Hogwarts academy was phenomenal, but there was still one problem. A secret object was hidden in the castle walls of Hogwarts. Harry realized that it was his duty to protect it from evil hands that could cause destruction to the whole world. By doing so, Harry will go through the toughest of forces that he could’ve never imagined. 

To conclude, this book was absolutely amazing, and one of my favourite Harry Potter books from the series. There was never a dull moment, and J.K Rowling kept me engaged from the beginning to the very end of the novel. I would definitely recommend this book because it keeps you engaged without ever putting the book down. The book makes you love the characters and their personalities. Remember to not only read this but the whole series as well. The rating that I would personally give this book would be a 10/10.

Ahmed Q.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook | Audiobook CD | Downloadable Audiobook

by Rick Riordan

5 Stars

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1) | The lost hero, Heroes book,  Heroes of olympus

Jason has amnesia. He wakes up on a bus full of kids he doesn’t recognize, and a girlfriend and best friend he’s sure he’s never met. His friends inform him they go to the Wilderness School for “troubled youth,” but he has no idea what he’s done, or why he’s even there, but he can tell that something is terribly wrong.

Piper has a way with words. She’s been sent to the wilderness school for stealing a BMW, except she didn’t really. She simply asked the car dealer for it, and he obliged. But Piper’s dad is missing, her boyfriend Jason doesn’t recognize her, and she’s having awful nightmares that may lead her down a horrible path. 

Leo is good with tools, he’s known for his expert ability with them. He spent his childhood running from foster home to foster home but finally feels comfortable with his friends Jason and Piper. Of course, with his luck, things take a turn for the worse. 

Monsters attack the three on a field trip, and Jason can somehow fight them off using wind powers. However, it’s not Jason who saves them, but some teenagers calling themselves demigods, flying down from a chariot. The trio is taken to a place called Camp Half-Blood, where they learn they are children of the Ancient Greek gods. But Jason, Piper, and Leo are special even amongst demigods and must embark upon a quest that could determine the fate of the mortal world. 

This is the first book in the series after the Percy Jackson books, and I think fans of those books will love it. The Lost Hero has lovable characters, an excellent plot, and like all of Riordan’s books, plenty of humour. I’d recommend it to younger audiences or anyone who read the Percy Jackson books!

Michelle G.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | Audiobook CD | Downloadable Audiobook | eBook

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

by Roxanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

The Solstasia celebration is a time of great rejoicing, and for Malik, it is an even greater joy because he gets the chance to leave his war stricken home. Malik plans to start a new life in Ziran, where the celebration takes place, but his plans get turned upside down when a sinister spirit kidnaps his sister. Malik quickly realizes that his sisters kidnapping was meant as payment into the city; to save her, he strikes a deal with the spirit: he will kill the crown princess Karina in order to get her back.

Karina, however, has plans of her own. Her mother has been assassinated and her court is on the brink of mutiny . With nowhere else to go, Karina decides to use ancient magic to bring her mother back, which calls for the heart of a king. And Karina knows just how she’s going to get one: offer her hand to the winner of the Solstasia celebration.

Malik and Karina’s paths crash together in this intense and romantic own voices novel. An action packed and lush story, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is fast paced and engaging read.

View in Library Catalogue: Print | eBook