15 November 2019

11 Picks for Speculative Fiction Fans

Here at Beth Fish Reads I try my best to provide book news for a range of reading tastes. Last week I was all about true stories, so this week I’ve taken a 180. The books featured today are not only fiction but have some fantastical elements. Most are set in fully imaginary worlds, but one takes places in the bleak future and a couple are based in contemporary times.

Here are 11 November books that caught my eye. The summaries are from the publisher, and I’ve included the first line and audiobook information as well. Speculative fiction lovers have a lot to be grateful for this month.

Note: All books were provided (digital, print, or audio) by the publisher; some first lines are from advance reader copies.

review of Life and Limb by Jennifer Roberson Life and Limb by Jennifer Roberson (DAW, Nov. 5) The first installment in a new urban fantasy with a western slant on Armageddon.

Gabe Harlan, ex-con biker, and Remi McCue, Texas cowboy, are informed—no, commanded—by a higher power that they must form a partnership, bound by blood and bone, to help save the world. Complete strangers one moment, they have now been thrust together, conscripted into heaven’s army-on-earth. While Remi is willing to believe in such things, to Gabe, newly released from prison, it makes no sense that heaven would count on humans when it has angels in its armory.
First line: “His voice was rich, a much loved, clear baritone, as he handed his seven-year-old grandson a gun.” Audiobook: Read by Kevin Stillwell (Audible Studios; 10 hr, 57 min).

review of The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten WhiteThe Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (Delacorte Press, Nov. 5) This first in a trilogy offers a fresh look at Guinevere and her role at Camelot.
Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution—send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. . . . To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old—including Arthur’s own family—demand things continue as they have been, and the new—those drawn by the dream of Camelot—fight for a better way to live.
First line: “There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl on the cusp of womanhood.” Audiobook: Read by Elizabeth Knowelden (Listening Library; 10 hr, 51 min)

review of Sisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. LarsonSisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. Larson (Tor Teen, Nov. 5) The story of two sisters living in a fairy-tale world.
Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, an abandoned fortress where legendary, magical warriors once lived before disappearing from the world—including their Paladin father the night Inara was born. On that same night, a massive, magical hedge grew and imprisoned them within the citadel. . . . For fifteen years they have lived, trapped in the citadel, with little contact from the outside world . . . until the day a stranger passes through the hedge, and everything changes.
First line: “The night my sister was born, the stars died and were reborn in her eyes.” Audiobook: Read by Caitlin Kelly (Macmillan Audio, 14 hr, 42 min)

review of Winterwood by Shea ErnshawWinterwood by Shea Ernshaw (Simon Pulse, Nov. 5) A dark fantasy set near a haunted woods lightened by elements of romance.
Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.
First line: “Never waste a full moon, Nora, even in winter, my grandmother used to say.” Audiobook: Read by Emma Lysy and Mark Turesky (Audible Studios; 10 hr, 16 min)

review of Fate of the Fallen by Kel KadeFate of the Fallen by Kel Kade (Tor, Nov. 5) An epic fantasy full of adventure and friendship.
Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in headfirst, pulling his best friend, Aaslo, along for the ride. However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough, and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin . . . they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.
First line: “ ‘Why?’ Mathias said as he stared down at the back of his best friend’s head.” Audiobook: Read by Nick Podehl (Macmillan Audio; 12 hr, 33 min)

review of Day Zero by Kelly deVosDay Zero by Kelly deVos (Inkyard Press, Nov. 12) Set in the near future, a story of survival after organized violence ends life as we know it.
Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. . . . Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. But all that disaster training comes in handy when . . . a pattern of violence erupt[s] all over the country. . . . In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings . . . make a break for Mexico. . . . But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?
First line: “I will save the world.” Audiobook: no information

review of The Starless Sea by Erin MorgensternThe Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday, Nov. 5) Stories come alive in an underground world where time is fluid and people are not what they seem.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, . . . he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him . . . through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead.
First line: “There is a pirate in the basement.” Audiobook: Read by Dominic Hoffman and others (Random House Audio, 18 hr, 37 min)

review of Eight Will Fall by Sarah HarianEight Will Fall by Sarah Harian (Henry Holt BYR, Nov. 26) A dark adventure fantasy with battles, monsters, and forbidden magic
In a world where magic is illegal, eight criminals led by rebellious Larkin are sent on a mission to rid their kingdom of monsters. Descending into an underground world full of unspeakable horrors, Larkin and her crew must use their forbidden magic to survive. As they fight in the shadows, Larkin finds a light in Amias, a fellow outlaw with a notorious past. . . . But as the beasts grow in number and her band is picked off one by one, Larkin is forced to confront a terrible truth: They were never meant to return.
First line: “Beneath Larkin’s glowing lantern, luminite shimmered like fish scales in the darkness of Ethera Mine.” Audiobook: Read by Lauren Fortgang (Macmillan; 10 hr, 15 min)

Review of Unnatural Magic by C. M. WaggonerUnnatural Magic by C. M. Waggoner (Ace, Nov. 5) A standalone historical fantasy with strong female characters who hope to forge peace in their land
Onna Gebowa is determined to become a great wizard. She can write the parameters of a spell faster than any of the young men in her village school. But despite her incredible abilities, she’s denied a place at the nation’s premier arcane academy. . . . Tsira is a troll who never quite fit into her clan, despite being the leader’s daughter. She decides to strike out on her own and look for work in a human city. . . . Trolls have lived alongside—and been revered by—humans for generations, but now it appears they’re being targeted by a sinister sorcery. And Onna and Tsira both begin to devote their considerable abilities into figuring out how to stop the deaths before their homeland is torn apart.
First line: “Onna Gebowa always liked numbers.” Audiobook: Read by Shiromi Arserio (Blackstone; ~14 hr)

review of Blood Heir by Amélie Wen ZhaoBlood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao (Delacorte Press, Nov. 19) The start of an epic fantasy series with elements of mystery, political intrigue, and corruption
In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls. When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew.
First line: “The prison bore a sharp resemblance to the dungeons of Anastacya’s childhood: dark, wet, and made of unyielding stone that leaked grime and misery.” Audiobook: Read by Emily Woo Zeller (Listening Library; 13 hr, 57 min)

review of Empress of All Seasons by Emiko JeanEmpress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (HMH BYR, Nov. 6) Set in a world where women battle for power and shape-shifters are despised
Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yokai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy. Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yokai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit.
First line: “Breathing in the dark, and not her own.” Audiobook: Read by Hanako Footman (HMH, 9 hr, 52 min)

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12 November 2019

Today's Read: Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee

review of Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara DeeIf the boys are supposed to be doing some harmless flirting, how come Mila feels so uncomfortable? How come no one seems to understand that she doesn't like to be randomly hugged? Sadly, Mila is not the only seventh-grade girl who has had a #MeToo moment.

Here's how her story starts:

Every day that September, the four of us escaped outdoors. The weather was warm (a little too warm for fall, if you thought about it), and the cafeteria smelled gross, like melted cheddar cheese and disinfectant. So when the bell rang for lunch, we each grabbed something fast--a container of yogurt, a bag of chips, an apple--and ran out to the blacktop, where you could play basketball or run around, or just talk with your friends and breathe actual oxygen for thirty minutes.
Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee (Aladdin, 2019, p. 1 advance reviewer copy)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: contemporary times; middle school
  • Circumstances: After Mila is unexpectedly caught in a group hug by some boys at school, she becomes the target of unwanted contact: bumps, hugs, shoulder squeezes. She doesn't feel comfortable but doesn't know what to do. Some of her friends blame her for being a baby or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others wonder why she doesn't recognize flirting when she sees it. Even her best friend thinks Mila is blowing things out of proportion. To Mila the boys' behavior is not acceptable, but when she tries to talk to one of the teachers, she is told "boys will be boys." It isn't until she joins a karate class that Mila gains self-confidence and the courage to stand up for herself when others won't stand by her side.
  • Genre & themes: middle grade story about an important contemporary issue told in a realistic and sensitive way; themes of self-respect, boundaries, consent, friendship
  • Some thoughts: This book is an important conversation starter. Mila's situation is age realistic and believable as are the reactions of her friends, teachers, and family. Karate won't be the answer for every girl, but finding a safe haven and a self-esteem-building activity can be empowering. Girls are never too young to learn that they are in charge of their own personal space and that there's a huge difference between harassment and flirting, between unwanted contact and consent. The short chapters and large font make this an easy-to-read story, and Mila's inner thoughts nicely express her confusion and unhappiness.
  • Resources: the Simon & Schuster website includes a reading guide and activity sheet geared to libraries, teachers, and book clubs.
  • Acknowledgments: Thanks to the publicist for the review copy of Maybe He Just Likes You.

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09 November 2019

Weekend Cooking: Baked Ziti

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish ReadsHello everyone! This week I have a very short and sweet post. When you're reading this, I'll be at my annual fall lace-making workshop / retreat. My traditional contribution is to make a pasta dinner on Saturday night.

This year, I'm going bold by making a recipe I've never made before. Well, let me back up. I've made many versions of baked ziti over the years, but I don't have any particular go-to recipe. So the other day I did an internet search and found the recipe I'm sharing here. If you have a favorite recipe, please share!

I picked it because it got a ton of 5 stars and over 200 positive comments. Fingers crossed that my friends will like it.

The recipe says you can assemble the dish ahead ahead and bake later, but because made the casserole two days early, I was worried about the noodles getting too mushy or absorbing all the sauce.

So I decided to go ahead and bake it and then just reheat it Saturday. Fortunately, I'm cooking for friends and I'm not too concerned about trying to impress anyone. If it's dry, well, then, I learned something. We'll eat it anyway. Plus someone else is making a salad and we'll have plenty of baked goods for dessert.

The recipe comes from Simply Recipes. Because the website says you can't use their photos without prior written permission, I'm using a random baked ziti photo I found on the internet. I forgot to photograph my own pan of baked of ziti, and I don't want to unwrap it since it's all ready to go into the cooler for my trip.

Baked Ziti
from Simply Recipes
Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish ReadsServes at least 8

  • 1 pound ziti pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 large jar of marinara sauce (about 24 oz)
  • 1 heaping cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. When cooked, drain and toss with a little olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking.

Brown the meat over medium-high heat. When brown, drain most of the grease. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and spices and cook for about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce, mix well, and bring to a simmer.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Dot with about half the ricotta. Stir a ladle full of sauce into the noodles and then put into the pan. Top with the remaining sauce. Dot the top with the remaining ricotta. Sprinkle on the mozzarella and then the Parmesan. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.

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07 November 2019

11 Picks for Nonfiction November

November brings us a lot of things, from cooler weather to pumpkin pies and turkeys. In the book-reading world, it’s also popularly known as nonfiction month. Whether you’re official participating in Nonfiction November or are just interested in what’s new, here are my choices from this month’s releases. (all copies—print, digital, and/or audio—provided by the publisher)

Science and Animals

review of My Penguin Year by Lindsay McCraeMy Penguin Year: Life among the Emperors by Lindsay McCrae (William Morrow; Nov. 12). Written by a BBC award-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker, this memoir recounts the year McCrae spent in Antarctica in the company of 4,000 emperor penguins. Illustrated by gorgeous photographs (see the cover) and drawings, this memoir gives us a rare look at these large penguins and their Antarctica home, not only describing the behavior of the birds throughout the seasons but also giving us insight in how climate change is affecting the penguins’ future. “An unforgettable narrative account that is poised to become a classic of nature writing.” Audiobook: Read by the author (HarperAudio; 7 hr, 28 min).

review of Beyond the Known by Andrew RaderBeyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars by Andrew Rader (Scribner; Nov. 12): Written by a mission manager at SpaceX who knows as much about history as he does about the possibilities of the future, this book looks at the various ages of discovery, including the exploration of the physical world we live in, discoveries made through scientific inquiry, and—of course—our fascination with space. “Told with an infectious zeal for traveling beyond the known, [this book] illuminates how very human it is to emerge from the cave and walk toward an infinitely expanding horizon.” Audiobook: Read by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio; 11 hr, 14 min).

review of Snow by Giles WhittellSnow: A Scientific and Cultural Exploration by Giles Whittell (Atria; Nov. 19): Written by the chief leader writer of the London Times, this book is about all things snow: how it forms, why each snowflake is unique, how many snowflakes fall each second across the globe, and our relationship with it—both fun (skiing) and deadly (avalanches). Scientific snowy facts and figures are balanced with fun trivia and Whittell’s evident passion for and curiosity about the white stuff. “An eye-opening and charming book that illuminates one of the most magnificent wonders of nature.” Audiobook: no information.

Women’s Stories

review of The Girl in the Photograph by Byron L. DorganThe Girl in the Photograph: The True Story of a Native American Child, Lost and Found in America by Byron L. Dorgan (Thomas Dunne; Nov. 26): Written by a former U.S. senator, this is at once the story a single American Indian woman as well as a look at hundreds of years of neglect and lies from the U.S. government. American Indian youth have slipped through the safety nets—for example, 33 percent live in poverty and the teen suicide rate is more than double the national rate. When Dorgan met young Tamara in 1990 at Standing Rock Indian Reservation, he became more resolved than ever to make a difference. “Readers will fall in love with this heartbreaking story, but end the book knowing what can be done and what they can do.” Audiobook Read by Peter Berkrot (Dreamscape; 6 hr, 3 min).

Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge by Sheila Weller (Sarah Crichton; Nov. 12): Written by an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, this biography gives us insight into Fisher’s life both on and off the screen. Weller relies on firsthand accounts to tease out the truths of Fisher’s roots, her acting career, her relationship with her mother and daughter, her short marriage to Paul Simon, her successful writing career, and her tough battles with bipolar disease and drug addiction. The biography “is an affectionate and even-handed portrayal of a woman whose unsurpassed honesty is a reminder of how things should be.” AudiobookRead by Saskia Maarleveld (Macmillan Audio; 13 hr, 19 min).

review by Conversations with RBG by Jeffrey RosenConversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law by Jeffrey Rosen (Henry Holt; Nov. 5): Written by a law professor and legal journalist, this book reveals almost thirty years of conversations with the long-time Supreme Court justice. Rosen reveals Ginsburg’s thoughts on constitutional law (abortion, cases she disagrees with), contemporary cultural issues, personal life philosophy, and the Supreme Court. “These frank exchanges illuminate the steely determination, self-mastery, and wit that have inspired Americans of all ages to embrace the woman known to all as ‘Notorious RBG.’ ” Audiobook: Read by Peter Ganim and Suzanne Toren (Macmillan Audio; 6 hr, 55 min).

review of Wild Life by Keena RobertsWild Life: Dispatches from a Childhood of Baboons and Button-Downs by Keena Roberts (Grand Central; Nov. 12): Written by a woman who grew up sometimes in Botswana and sometimes in the affluent Philadelphia suburbs, this is a memoir of Africa, private school, and trying to use African bush skills to fit in with American teen culture. Blending descriptions of life in Africa (adventure, danger, oppressive heat) with memories of negotiating mean girls and field hockey games in Philly, Roberts paints a realistic picture of both her selves and recognizes how each informed the other and led her to pursue a public health career. “By turns heartbreaking and hilarious,” this is “the story of a daring but sensitive young girl.” Audiobook: Read by the author (Hachette Audio; 9 hr, 42 min).

review of Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmidHighway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by Jessica McDiarmid (Atria; Nov. 12): Written by a Canadian journalist, this book looks into a series of murders of Indigenous women and girls that took place along a remote section of highway in British Columbia. McDiarmid interviewed the victims’ families and friends, providing an insider’s look at the effects of racist violence while connecting these murders to thousands of similar cases throughout Canada, This book explores “how systemic racism and indifference have created a climate in which Indigenous women . . . are overpoliced yet underprotected.” Audiobook: Read by Emily Nixon (Simon & Schuster Audio; 9 hr, 58 min).


review of The Ship of Dreams by Gareth RussellThe Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era by Gareth Russell (Atria, Nov. 19): Written by a historian and novelist, this book places the tragedy of the Titanic into the wider context of a rapidly changing and modernizing world. “Using previously unpublished sources, deck plans, journal entries, and surviving artifacts,” Russell focuses on six very different first-class passengers—including a countess, an actress, and a business tycoon—detailing their fates and showing how their lives signaled a turning point in history, technology, commerce, and politics. The book includes many black-and-white and color photographs. Audiobook: Read by Jenny Funnell (Simon & Schuster Audio; 15 hr).

review of The Golden Thread by Kassia St. ClairThe Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History by Kassia St. Clair (Liveright; Nov. 12): Written by a journalist, this book looks at the history of fabric from the very earliest fibers made by cave dwellers to the fabrics that protect astronauts and clothe today's elite athletes. St. Clair takes a deep historical look at fabric, connecting it to early human migrations out of temperate climates as well as later trade routes (The Silk Road), which connected East and West. The book offers “insights into the economic and social dimensions of clothmaking” and dispels “the enduring, often demeaning, association of textiles as ‘merely women’s work.’ ” Audiobook: Read by Helen Johns (John Murray; 11 hr, 26 min).

review of Family Papers by Sarah Abrevaya SteinFamily Papers: A Sephardic Journey through the Twentieth Century by Sarah Abrevaya Stein (Farrar Straus & Giroux; Nov. 19): Written by an award-winning historian, this is the story of a large Sephardic family and how they were affected and scattered by the fall of the Ottoman Empire and later almost wiped out by the Holocaust. Basing her research on the family’s abundant correspondence and papers, including various documents and photographs, Stein recounts the joys and sorrows of a family struggling to keep their connections intact while surviving political unrest and forced immigration. Through these papers, Stein tells “not only [the family’s] history, but the history of Sephardic Jews in the twentieth century.” Audiobook: no information.

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05 November 2019

Today's Read: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

review of Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia LucierImagine that when you were just an infant, your father, the royal mapmaker, disappeared on the same day that two young princes of your island kingdom were ambushed by an enemy army and never seen again. Now, almost two decades later, you discover secret maps and a related riddle that may shed light on what happened on that horrible day. Could your father and the princes still be alive?

The book opens innocently enough:

The outing had been planned on a whim; an afternoon lesson up in the hills, away from the smoke and stink of the city. Antoni hauled himself over the ledge and caught his breath—Saint Mary, he had grown soft—then reached down and instructed the child below to hold fast. When Bartolome's small hand grasped his, Antoni swung him up onto the rocks by side.

Prince Bartolome landed on his knees with an Oof before scrambling to his feet. He was seven, tall for his age, dark hair pulled back in a queue. The boy looked around with an expectant air, but as he surveyed the area—a flat hilltop covered entirely in black rock, barren of even a single bush or shrub—his anticipation quickly turned to bewilderment.
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier (HMH, 2018, p. 1 [Prologue])

Quick Facts
  • Setting: a fictional island kingdom with a Renaissance Mediterranean feel
  • Circumstances: Although Elias's father disappeared years earlier, the son has followed in his father's footsteps both in the trade of map making and in befriending the royal family. When he and his friend the young new king, Ulises, discover some mysterious maps that offer clues to who their true enemy is, they set out, along with Ulises's cousin Mercedes, to discover what really happened to the princes and to Elias's father. Their quest takes them on a journey over the seas and to distant lands and back home again. Along the way they discover some answers, find more puzzles, outwit enemies, fight beasts, and solve mysteries.
  • Genre & themes: action adventure with hints of fantasy and mystery; themes of friendship, secrets, betrayals, family, loyalty, and maybe even a little romance; written for a teen audience
  • Early thoughts: From the first scenes, I was impressed with Lucier's world-building skills and how quickly I connected with the characters and their universe. I'm only about a quarter of the way in, but I'm invested in the trio's fate. Both the main characters and the secondary players are fully developed with believable personalities and motivations. Oh, and I love books that include maps, and Isle of Blood and Stone doesn't disappoint.
  • Other things to know: The book is the first in a duology and won starred reviews and much praise. I can see why. The second book came out in August, so no waiting to see what happens! You can find a copy of the map and a discussion guide at the author's website.
  • Acknowledgments: Thanks to the publisher for the review copy of Isle of Blood and Stone.

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