Category: Reviews

Review: Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive—but “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has— the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers—urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother—but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it. I didn’t even need to know what it was about, I just knew from the title and cover that it was a thing I was going to like and I needed it. Once I read the summary, I NEEDED IT MORE. Oh, man, was I ever right.

I completely loved this book. I was entranced with the set up story, all the characters and especially the writing style. The writing style is so simple and clean that just it focuses This book reminded me of Claire Legrand’s The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls and Ellen Potter’s Kneebone Boy. If you like books, that are a little quirky, a little dark and completely magical in their own way, this is so your book.

In search for her long lost mother, Sophie makes some new friends. Orphans living on the streets (or above them) of Paris. Rooftopper Matteo, Sky-treaders Anastasia and Safi and Notre Dame dweller, Gerard. I picture these four kind of like being the real world version of Neverland’s Lost Boys. I’m talking kids, but I can’t neglect Charles. One of the coolest adults I’ve read in Middle Grade fiction. So easily adults can be either seen as strict, evil overlords or totally clueless parents (yes, it happens before the teen years), but Charles is neither. He is Sophie’s guardian and just plain cool. He only wants the best for her, no matter her method of getting it.

I know there’s another book expected from Katherine Rundell coming this year and I absolutely cannot wait for it.

Review: Infinite by Jodi Meadows

DESTRUCTION
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

FLIGHT
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

CHOICE
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

This is going to be really hard to do without spoilers!

I will start by saying that Infinite was a beautiful book, and definitely the end that this series deserved.

What Asunder expanded in terms of Ana’s independence and growth, Infinite lets loose in an avalanche. In this book we see Ana’s true strength and courage, as she makes decisions no one else can or will make. Despite opposition and doubt from even those closest to her, Ana does incredible things. I very much enjoyed the final piece of her character arc.

In Sam too, we see growth. One of my favorite things to see in books is the development of relationships after commitment, and Infinite definitely gave me that. While seeing a different side of Sam–both strong and broken–not everything is always sunshine and roses all the time, but that is life. I’m a big fan of Sam, and his unending loyalty.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about Infinite, was it’s clues. Jodi has been dropping clues about the finale of this book since the very beginning, and I didn’t even realize it until a little way in. Well done, my friend. (hint, the cover of this book is very important)

All in all I think Infinite is a very solid and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, and anyone who enjoyed the first two books will be far from disappointed. Also, the last line of the book is awesome!

Review: Asunder by Jodi Meadows

DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been procrastinating about reading Asunder. I wish I hadn’t. I read it in twenty-four hours, and I am so ready for Infinite.

Asunder picks up where Incarnate ended. The city of Heart is recovering from Templedark, where more than 70 of the city’s constantly reincarnating souls were killed, never to return. Now, with more Newsouls on the way, and the Sylph acting stranger than ever, tensions are understandably high.

While Incarnate introduced to Ana, Sam, and the fantastically diverse and creepy world of Range and Heart, Asunder expands. Without getting spoilery, (because WOAH so many things happen!) the mysteries that are introduced in book one begin to unravel. It’s like Incarnate dipped a toe in a puddle, and now we’re knee deep splashing around in said puddle.

However, possibly the thing I loved the most was the character development. We get to see Ana really come into her own as a person, Sam at both his strongest and weakest, and their growth and struggle as a couple. In fact, I thought there was major growth for all the characters, including some new additions to the cast.

Along with the shocking revelations that come for all the characters, the stakes that were already high got higher. If you haven’t read this one get on it–Infinite is out now and you don’t want to miss it!

Review: The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

boundless

All aboard for an action-packed escapade from the internationally bestselling author of Airborne and the Silverwing trilogy.

The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.

In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?

I saw that this book was written by Kenneth Oppel and after reading and loving his This Dark Endeavor series (excuse me, Mr. Oppel, when are we getting more books about Victor? I need them.) I knew I needed this book. Not to mention this book is basically like Titanic mixed with The Great Train Robbery. Taking place on a train. But such a huge train that you can’t just stop it easily or get off. Kind of like a ship. But on land. Awesome.

The entire book is simply a journey from the caboose to the engine. It might sound basic, but on a huge train, filled with danger and unknown enemies, all while being pursued by ruffians and murders. Utterly perilous. Every car holds new challenges as Will has to get to the front of car to save his father and the train. And blend this with the fantastic magic and steampunk themes and it just keeps getting better and better.

But Will isn’t alone. He makes allies with circus performers he’s not always sure he can trust, Maren, a contortionist with many other talent and Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster. Both of which seem helpful, but might just have their own motives. Dun dun dun. I love me a little dubious characters. Make them steampunk-y and performers. Oh man. SO INTRIGUED.

I have to mention how much I love Oppel’s writing style, it’s a little different in this book, but still has the same absorbing quality that his Young Adult novels have. I started this book and I just didn’t want to stop. Didn’t want the subway to have reached my stop, didn’t want my break at work to end or you know, have to sleep. I just wanted to be kept in this rich, beautiful world of the Canadian wilderness.

Review: OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

ocdWhen Bea meets Beck, she knows instantly that he’s her kind of crazy. Sweet, strong, kinda-messed-up Beck understands her like no one else can. He makes her feel almost normal. He makes her feel like she could fall in love again.

But despite her feelings for Beck, Bea can’t stop thinking about someone else: a guy who is gorgeous and magnetic… and has no idea Bea even exists. But Bea knows a lot about him. She spends a lot of time watching him. She has a journal full of notes. Some might even say she’s obsessed.

Bea tells herself she’s got it all under control. But this isn’t a choice, it’s a compulsion. The truth is, she’s breaking down…and she might end up breaking her own heart.

OCD has a very particular reputation in popular media. With shows like “Hoarders” and “Intervention” and “The OCD Project,” I know that the general thought is that people with OCD are psychotic, or crazy. I’ve always known that not to be true, but I’ve read books where that’s the assumption, and so I was skeptical of a book that centered around OCD.

However, when I attended the launch party for OCD Love Story, author Corey Ann Haydu said something I’ll never forget. [Paraphrasing] “I had always thought of OCD as a psychotic disorder. But when I was doing research and found out that it was an anxiety disorder, I knew that I could understand it, and that I wanted to write about it.

That being said, this book is painful in the most exquisite way possible. Following Bea–a girl who has both phobias and severe OCD with a hint of denial thrown in–we get an inside glimpse into someone’s psyche who’s suffering from this disorder. At the same time, we empathize with her. Never is there any kind of outside ‘judgement’ of the character that’s coming through subconsciously from the author. All there is, is a broken girl who doesn’t think she’s broken.

One of the biggest things I can say about OCD Love Story is that it has stayed with me. Vividly. I read this book awhile ago, and still it has left such an impression on me that I still feel I can write about it without having to go digging for the details.

Warning: If you read this, you will be uncomfortable. This isn’t an easy book, because dealing with anxiety in its various forms never is. However, it is an important book. I think that issues like this need to be written about, so that the people facing them can be open about them too, and not hide, which can make things so much worse. (As we see for Bea)

I encourage you to read this love story. You’ll ache, you’ll panic, you might even cry, but I promise that it’s worth it.

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