What’s new this month

Happy new year! Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month:

209833661/3 – Wayfarer – by Alexandra Bracken

Etta’s debut violin recital culminated with being pulled into the 1700s by an estranged time-traveling relative. With the quest to find the astrolabe and save her mother and the Timeline in tatters, Etta awakens in an unknown time, alone. Nicholas and Sophia have teamed up and are racing through time to find Etta and astrolabe before the Ironwood clan destroys everything. I loved Passenger (see my review here) and I can’t wait to be immersed in a new set of times and place with these characters!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

299393901/10 – Windwitch – by Susan Dennard

The explosive start to this series had me on the edge of my seat the entire time! (You can see my review here). Safi and Iseult are best friends with special abilities, called witcheries. Safi can always tell truth from lies, and Iseult sees the bonds between people. Truth-telling is a rare and valued skill among the three kingdoms, and Safi has kept it hidden until now. With two kingdoms and bounty hunter bloodwitch on their trail, the two friends struggle to stay one step ahead of plans they hardly grasp. Now Prince Merik, a windwitch, must find them and save his kingdom from his conniving sister. I am so excited for this book, her world-building is excellent and the non-stop action is addictive!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

254891341/10 – The Bear and the Nighingale – by Katherine Arden

A story inspired by Russian fairy tales! When a stranger gives Pytor a necklace for his young daughter, he hides it away. Vasya is a wild child who grows up realizing that with the power of the necklace she might be able to save her village the dark foces that threaten to destroy them all. I absolutely adore fairy tales and I can’t wait to see what this winter story holds!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


220820821/31 – Our Own Private Universe – by Robin Talley

Aki knows she’s bisexual, even if she has only dated guys. Her best friend is the only person who knows, and that’s fine for now. But when they go on a youth-group mission trip to Mexico Aki meets Christa–the first girl she has wanted to date. This sounds like all the female friendship and all the LGBTQ love! I’m so excited–a cute story with interesting friendship dynamics. I’m curious to see how they explore the church aspect too.

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

306523341/31 – The Crystal Ribbon – by Celeste Lim

So curious about this one! A middle-grade novel about Jing, a girl in medieval China who is sold as a bride to a baby in order to provide money for her family. When she is treated badly by her betrothed’s family and sold again, Jing decides it’s time to take control of her own life. She wants to find home again, and she just might with the help of fantastical creatures guiding her way. I love middle-grade books, and this sounds like something completely new to me. So excited to see how it unfolds!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble

278832141/31 – Caraval – by Stephanie Garber

I don’t think I have the words for excited I am about this book! I’ve been looking forward to it since last MAY. Sisters Scarlett and Tella secure invitations to Caraval, and incredible annual performance where the audience participates in the show. Despite being assured that it’s all a game, Scarlett quickly realizes that losing will have serious consequences. She has five nights to find her missing sister before everything unravels. Siblings! Magic! A carnival! Love! I signed up ages ago and I will devour this book!

More here: Goodreads and Barnes & Noble


Backlist Bonus: Divergent

8306857by Veronica Roth
YA Dystopian
4 of 5 stars
Debut novel – April 25, 2011

Right after The Hunger Games, the YA shelf needed a dystopian series to catch readers, and the Divergent series won that battle. This trilogy follows 16-year-old Tris, who faces the momentous choice of which faction (and virtue) to dedicate her life to: will she remain in Abnegation (the selfless) with her family, or follow her heart to the Dauntless (the brave)? And what consequences will she face as a result?

I heard about this book from my best friend, who happened to attend the same university as Roth and wanted to share the excitement that somebody our age could sign a 3-book + movie rights deal. This was my first exposure to peers writing best-selling material for teens and I was thrilled that this was becoming more commonplace–honestly, I still am!

This was a fun story to read, and several key scenes were so cinematic and beautifully written through Tris’ sparse, direct voice that I couldn’t wait for the next installment.  As it turns out, I feel the first book is the strongest of the trilogy, but it was worth following Tris to the end, and this is still one of the better dystopian options out there, in my opinion. As an added bonus in this genre, there is no love triangle. Tris is a complicated heroine and her world has plenty of mysteries to unlock, but which boy she’ll choose isn’t one of them. I also enjoyed her constantly evolving relationship with her brother Caleb; he challenges her commitments in the best way. Jeanine is an excellent antagonist, with her own complexity and motivations. This small core cast of characters is what pulls you through the wreck of Chicago and its faction systems as Tris struggles to solve her identity and why the Erudite faction believes it should eradicate the Abnegation. Although the series didn’t go where I expected, I appreciated the author’s creative freedom and choices, and I’m curious to see what she does next.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Divergent is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – The most obvious comparison, but it is very similar. Twelve districts must send two tributes to the capital to fight to the death on live TV as a reminder of the brutality the totalitarian state saved the people from decades earlier. Katniss volunteers to save her sister, but she quickly learns half of the game is mastering the politics and alliances surrounding her. See my review here.
  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – As a literal interpretation of municipal darwinism, the largest cities are mobile and sweep across the world consuming and absorbing each other for resources and labor. Tom finds himself stranded on solid ground and must find a way to survive in this stark post-apocalyptic world.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – Mary spent her life in the fenced village deep in a forest, and she knows what happens if she leaves its protection – death by zombies – but she can’t stop dreaming about the ocean, and whether the Sisterhood is telling the truth when they say no one else survived. See my review here.
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver – I haven’t read this yet, but Roth recomends it as an engaging dystopian trilogy that explores a world devoid of all love, and the consequences that brings to the very fabric of society.

%d bloggers like this: