Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

midnightMidnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

About: Adri’s, Catherine’s, and Lenore’s lives are intertwined but not in the way that one would think. Adri lives in 2065 Kansas, Catherine lives in 1930s Kansas, and Lenore lives in England in 1919. As Adri is preparing to go to Mars, she stays with her cousin in Kansas, where the training takes place. Upon settling in, she comes across letters written from Lenore to Beth. Through journals and, later, letters, Catherine narrates her own story of being in Kansas during the Dust Bowl.

Ofilia’s Thoughts: Wow. When I read the description for this book, I thought there was no way the author would be able to pull this off in any way that makes sense. Not only does Anderson pull it off, but she makes it sing. The novel begins with Adri who lives in 2065 and is completely disconnected emotionally from people and really from herself. When she moves in with an elderly aunt temporarily before being shipped off to Mars, she finds some letters and a journal, which is how we get the stories of the other two protagonists. Anderson uses this story within a story device with maximum effect making the stories flow and intertwine seamlessly. This book is all about how knowing your history helps make your future. All three protagonists are interesting and tell compelling stories on their own. When you see how they are all connected it just makes the narrative that much stronger. Adri is also assisted by a 100 year old tortoise named Galapagos, who actually plays a role in all three stories. I know it sounds weird, but you have to admit you’re intrigued, right? You should be because this is storytelling at its most complex and beautiful. This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before and totally worth reading more than once.

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Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

devils andDevils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

Jemmie Carmichael has grown up in a world of rival biker gangs, fast living, and magic. Her father and Michael Medici founded the Black Devils, one of the most powerful and feared kindled (magic) biker gangs. Medici, the father of her best friend Alex, and love interest, Crowe, tragically died in a mysterious accident/possible murder last year.

Unlike the crowd Jemmie keeps, she can only smell magic. Feeling like an outsider and bereft over a failed romance with Crowe, she starts seeing rival gang prospect, Darek. During the kindled biker community’s annual meetup, people start to go missing, including her best friend Alex. Tempers and magic fly, and no one can be trusted.

The world of magic wielding motorcycle gangs is a nuanced approach to the contemporary fantasy genre. The novel leads with well-paced, adequate world building; Followed by a rush of drama, action, suspense, the dark arts, and a steamy love triangle, guaranteed to keep readers engaged. Though the protagonists are teens, that does not hinder their wild and reckless behavior, making the novel most appropriate for an older audience. Devils & Thieves reads as if Kami Garcia or Laini Taylor got together to write fandom for the Sons of Anarchy television show. Though an interesting pitch, a hard sell to the masses. However, the niche audience that Devils & Thieves does appeal to will find a winner in this new series.

Reviewed by Audrey and featured in VOYA magazine

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzie Lee


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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

strangeStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – YA F TAY (Fantasy)

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Lazlo Strange is a librarian and a dreamer; Sarai is blue-skinned godspawn; Thyon is a charlatan, and Eril-Fane is the Godslayer.  The city of Weep, shrouded in mystery, brings them all together.  Long buried secrets will be revealed, love will be discovered, and lives will be lost.

ROBEN SAYS: Laini Taylor is one of my favorite YA authors.  I loved her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and so I was thrilled when Strange the Dreamer won a Printz Honor Award this year. Laini’s world-building abilities are truly amazing. She invents strange yet somehow familiar worlds and introduces characters that quickly earn your admiration or love or loathing. And – she has pink hair. I must warn you that the ending of this book will quite literally take your breath away – but don’t worry.  There will be a sequel- Muse of Nightmares – in October!


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Renegades by Marissa Meyers

renegadesRenegades by Marissa Meyers

About: The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies–humans with extraordinary abilities–who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone–except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice. (taken from catalog)

Andrea’s Thoughts: As a fan of Marissa Meyer and her popular Lunar Chronicles series, I jumped at the chance to read this book.  Renegades takes place after the Age of Anarchy, a time in which prodigies (those with super powers) destroyed the existing government, leaving society to be ruled by prodigy gangs of villains.  The Renegades began as a group of prodigies who used their powers to help humans and ultimately take down the villains and restore order.  Now the villains just want to live in peace and freedom without the constant interference and suspicion of the Renegades.  Nova is on a mission to make this happen.  Along the way she meets Adrian, who makes her question her motivations for revenge and whether the world needs prodigies at all, good or bad.  I think Meyer did such a great job in developing the characters and the story for this book, and it just plain fun to read.  I enjoyed reading about the Renegades, the villains, and their society and I can’t wait to find out what happens next in the sequel.

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston

geekerellaGeekerella by Ashley Poston

About: Geek girl Ellie hopes to go to ExcelsiCon Cosplay to meet the actor (closet nerd Darien) scheduled to play Federation Prince Carmindor in a reboot of the movie Starfield. (Taken from catalog description)

What I Liked: This was a classic Cinderella story with some awesome geeky twists. Elle is a Starfield super fan and knows everything there is to know about it. Her step-mother and step-sisters hate it, until Darien Freeman comes into the picture. He gets cast to play Cormindor, the protagonist in the Starfield movie and Elle is not happy about it. She thinks he’s just a pretty face who will destroy the true essence of Starfield. Turns out she’s not one hundred percent right about that, but she doesn’t know that. She wants to win the cosplay contest so she can put Darien in his place. This is really important to her and her best friend Sage makes the costume a reality. Her step-sisters make this somewhat difficult, but Elle is determined. And throughout all of this, there’s a phone conversation happening. It was a huge twist for both of them to find out who was at the end of the other line. There is an awesome cast of characters that all contribute to a great story. This was a very cute book that I really enjoyed!

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The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller


The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

About: A bullied gay teen boy with an eating disorder believes he’s developed super powers via starvation. (taken from SPL catalog)

 Ofilia’s Thoughts: The premise of this book is absolutely intriguing. The main character, Matt, believes that by starving himself, he gains superhero-like powers such as reading minds and influencing others thoughts. Matt’s beloved older sister has run away and he is absolutely convinced that something horrible happened to her to make her leave. He thinks he can figure out what happened to her with his newly formed skills. He suspects a group of popular jocks at school hurt his sister in some way and despite his certainty, he ends up falling for one of them. This sends him on a journey of self-destruction and self-discovery that forces him to deal with certain realities in his life that he has always managed to ignore like his mother’s alcoholism. Matt knows he is seriously endangering himself and his inner dialogue. When he is trying to resist eating is heartbreaking. Despite the magical realism and unique point of anorexia, many of the issues addressed are universal: first love, bullying and family drama. The story sometimes gets lost in all of the issues, but when it gets back on track it is captivating.

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