Review: Nicholas Cox is determined to show the world he is a great fencer, despite his Olympic Champion father abandoning him as a baby. His only chance is to enter Kings Row private school, where he will be able to face off with his golden-boy, half-brother at their rival school. Unfortunately, he ends up rooming with another foe, the amazing, almost undefeated Seiji. Can the two of them work together, or will their rivalry push them past their limits?
This was a fun, quick read. It was diverse, inclusive and action packed. The characters were interesting, but there was very little development. As well, few of the characters were actually likable, even Nicholas was more annoying than sympathetic. His motivation does nothing to actually help with form and execution, by the end you will be disappointed by his lack of character progression and fencing skill. The book sort of ends abruptly, maybe in preparation for volume II, but it left a weak start for the beginning of the series.
Review: Amani lives with her family in a small farming village, on the smallest moon in the Adalaan system. She is just blossoming into adulthood when she is brutally kidnapped by the evil Vath overlords, who conquered Andala and have been ruthless to the Andalaan people ever since. The Princess of the Vath, Maram, is half Vathek, half Andalaan (daughter of the Tyrant King Mathis and the now deceased Andalaan Queen). Unfortunately for Amani, she bares a striking resemblance to Maram, and is forced into servitude as the Princess's body double. Maram has many enemies, and now Amani must be the shield to a girl she despises, who is the mirror image of herself.
Mirage is an amazingly crafted novel. The world building was imaginative, detailed and I was so fully immersed that it was hard to pull myself out of the story. It took me a while to read, because I was soaking in the information and basking in the history and romance.
Review: Cassidy drowned a year before the beginning of this novel, but she was pulled from death by a ghost, Jacob. Now, she can part the veil between the land of the living and the land of ghosts, and Jacob has become her best friend. Her parent's, authors of books on the paranormal, know nothing of Cassidy's dying and coming back to life, or of her new powers. However, they have decided to begin a TV show about ghosts around the world, and their first stop is to the most haunted city in the world, Edinburgh, Scotland.
This was a quick and spooky read. The world of both the living and the dead were well developed and the characters were well crafted. The explanations are believable and come naturally with the storyline. Each twist and turn is revealed slowly, adding to the edge of your seat nature of this novel. The mystery of Cassidy's ability is explained, as much as Cassidy can know as the protagonist and narrator, but much is still left in the darkness or to interpretation by the reader.
Review: This novel was an emotional roller coaster, but I knew that it would be when I read the description and after reading the first chapter. I cried a few times.
Sasha Cade has just died, after a long, grueling fight with cancer. Now, her best friend, Raquel, is trying to learn to live without Sasha's strong, radiant personality. Then, one day, a letter arrives from the now deceased Sasha, asking Raquel to trust her and thrusting Raquel into the adventure of a lifetime with Sasha's just discovered biological brother, Elijah.
This novel was at times tragic and at times completely uplifting. It focuses on grief, guilt and moving on. Raquel grapples with loss, with the guilt of finding happiness after losing her best friend, and finding hope in a future without Sasha. She runs the gamut of emotion and it is so well written that the reader often feels Raquel's pain, indecision and fear.
Review: Lana returns to the seaside village she was raised in, to help her Aunt Mae after a terrible storm swept through. Lana and her father moved to the city after the death of her mother. Lana finds an injured Aquicorn and it sparks an adventure like no other.
This was a beautifully written and rendered graphic novel about a young girl coming to terms with the loss of her mother, while also growing into a strong, resilient and resourceful character. Lana is sad at first, when she arrives, returning to where all the memories of her mom exist. However, she still loves the sea and the little village she has always called home. She is conflicted, but she uses the strength within herself to help those in need and make her Aunt Mae rethink her long held beliefs.
Review: Sawkill Girls centres around three female protagonists, Marion, Zoey and Val. Marion, her mother, and sister Charlotte move to Sawkill after the death of Marion's father. Zoey is on the hunt for the killer of her best friend, Thora. Val is like royalty on Sawkill; popular, rich, beautiful, but she is also hiding a deep, dark secret.
All of these young women are on The Rock when "The Collector", a legend who takes young girls, is becoming more and more active. Marion fears for her caring and naive sister, Zoey knows something sinister happened to Thora, and Val is desparate for a connection to another person beyond the facade of her perfect life.
They must be wary of the monster that lurks in the dark, of men who believe they are always right, and anger that might pit them against one another.
Review: Sasha is on vacation with her mother when she is approached by a strange, otherworldly man. He offers her an ultimatum, follow his rules for placement in a never before heard of school, or have something bad befall those closest to her.
What follows is like falling down the rabbit hole into a world one never could have imagined.
Sasha is fearful and confused throughout most of the novel, which the reader is as well. She is a naive, young girl just beginning to emerge into adulthood. Now, she is in rural Torpa at the Institute for Special Technologies, and she is trying to understand both why she is there (why was she selected and forced into going to this school) and what she is meant to be learning (the teachers are guarded, never fully explaining what their lessons will lead to). One wrong move, one failed exam and it could mean something awful for her family.
Review: This is a graphic novel about love, courage, faith and the power of storytelling.
Cherry's husband, Jerome, makes a bet with his friend, Manfred, that Manfred will not be able to seduce his chaste wife into bed within 100 nights. Cherry's maid, and true love, Hero overhears the wager and the two women devise a plan to stop Manfred from winning the wager (which he plans to win by any means necessary, so trigger warnings for alluding to rape). Their plan is to tell him stories each night, draw him in to the tales so he forgets time and days. It works at first, but Cherry and Hero are two women in a world ruled by men, so they have lost to both Jerome and Manfred before the wager was ever made and their plan was put into place.
The narrative style of this graphic novel is rich, intricate, detailed and immersive. Each story that Hero reveals bears a lesson for all those listening, but also highlights the theme of powerful and powerless women.
Review: Steve Catson is an art school drop out, who now works at a call centre. His only enjoyment seems to come from his pet man, Manfried. As his life spirals out of control, mostly from his own lack of responsibility and inability to work with others, he accidentally loses Manfried. What follows is the cat community coming together to help Steve locate Manfried, a story about unity, the strength of friendship and learning to grow up and take responsibility for your actions.
I loved the art style of this graphic novel. The art was fun, light-hearted, funny, and gelled well with the premise of the story (cats are humanistic and men are more like cats). The colouring was bright when it needed to be and dark in times of turmoil, despair and sadness. I also enjoyed the little details throughout, like the canned 'Hungry Man'. There were also a lot of back and forth, parallels between Steve's search for Manfried, and Manfried's confusion as to where he is and how to find Manfriend.
Review: Norris is a black, French Canadian who is being transplanted from Montreal to the warm, unforgiving heat of Austin, Texas. His mom has a new job at the University and all Norris wants to do is go back to the Great White North. Fitting in is never easy, especially when you are plopped into a huge high school with a completely different social structure than the one you just arrived from.
This book read very much like an homage to 80s teen romcoms, think John Hughes. From the thematic vibes, the stereotypes, the fish out of water/outsider trope. However, the novel also mocks those movies, in the way they portray very one-sided, unrealistic characters. The novel is also very introspective, forcing the reader to question their own past judgement.