The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

I requested The Haven from the library before it was released. While I was waiting to receive my copy, I read another of Carol Lynch Williams’ novels- The Chosen One. In that novel, Williams looks into the life of a girl living in a polygamist sect.

The Haven reminded me of The Chosen One. The Haven introduces the reader to Shiloh, a young girl who lives in Haven Hospital and Halls. The story takes place at some point in the future: the hospital was founded in 2020, but it’s not clear how many years have elapsed since then.

Shiloh is a Terminal. She lives with many other children, all of whom are also Terminal. They cannot leave the hospital because they are all sick, but they do not need to leave the hospital. All their needs are provided for; they go to school, receive medical care, and are taken care of. Read more

Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips

I found Quiet Dell at the library. It was on display at the end of a bookshelf. The synopsis seemed interesting, so I added it to my reading list. Quiet Dell is a novel written by Jayne Anne Phillips. It is based on real life events in 1931, but has been fictionalized.

The story is presented in a rather interesting manner. The reader is first introduced to the victims. The Eicher family has been living in genteel poverty since the death of Mr. Eicher several years before the book begins. Their situation becomes even more precarious after the death of Mr. Eicher’s mother, the matriarch of the family. Asta Eicher has been corresponding with a man she met through a lonely hearts service, and she believes that this man is the solution to all of her problems. But he is not, and within a month, Asta and her three children are dead. Read more

Frozen (Cold Awakening) by Robin Wasserman

Many of the books that I have read recently have been Young Adult titles. A couple of months ago, Buzzfeed posted a list of hot new releases, and I have been making my way through that list. I also can’t seem to stop finding interesting books whenever I go to the library. It’s kind of a problem- my reading list never seems to get any shorter!

Without a doubt, the biggest trend in Young Adult literature is dystopian fiction. The most popular dystopian series is The Hunger Games, but there are many others. I had not heard of the Frozen series, but the cover and synopsis intrigued me. This is a young adult series written by Robin Wasserman. Apparently, the series was previously published under a different name- Skinned.

Frozen is the story of Lia Kahn, a girl who survives a terrible car accident. Survived is a relative term; Lia’s body cannot be repaired, but her parents elect to have her brain scanned and downloaded into a new mechanical body. Advancements in science and technology make these mechs humanlike, but the practice is extremely controversial, and mechs have a hard time finding a place in society. Read more

The Gathering Storm (Katerina Trilogy) by Robin Bridges

I love going to the library in the next town over from where we live. The library is in a smaller space, and shares a building with the fire station and police station… and also possibly the municipal center. But inside that tiny library is a virtual treasure trove of books. This is where I discovered the Somerton series, and this is where I found The Gathering Storm.

The Gathering Storm is the first book in the Katerina trilogy. This is a young adult series written by Robin Bridges. The series take place in 1880s Russia, and features gorgeous young people from wealthy families enjoying lavish parties as they hope to catch the eye of young European royals (albeit minor royals).

Did I mention that the pretty young narrator has a big secret? Read more

Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor) by Jennifer McGowan

I discovered Maid of Secrets on Amazon, and I immediately made a request though my library network. This is the first book in the Maids of Honor series, written by Jennifer McGowan. This young adult series takes place in Elizabethan England. From what I understand, the subsequent books will have different narrators, and will focus on a different girl in the Maids of Honor group.

Maid of Secrets is the story of Meg Fellowes, a young woman who is a member of an acting troupe. Because all the theatrical roles are filled by men, there is no place on the stage for Meg. However, Meg plays a very valuable role: while the audience is distracted by the production, Meg picks their pockets. Read more

The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff

My oldest daughter just turned 7, and she is a voracious reader. She has always been an advanced reader, but when she was in kindergarten, she was reluctant to make the transition from picture books to chapter books. Her wonderful teacher introduced her to the Babymouse series. Since then, she has fallen in love with graphic novels, and so have I. Fortunately for us, our town library has a large selection of children’s graphic novels, and an even larger selection in the young adult section. Many of the books in the young adult section are not appropriate for my seven year old, but they are just right for me!

I found The Undertaking of Lily Chen at my library. It was a new release, and it caught my eye because it was displayed on the shelf. This graphic novel was written by Danica Novgorodoff. Read more

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

I will admit that I had trouble getting into Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children when I first checked it out from the library a couple of years ago. It just didn’t hold my interest, and then it had to go back. Too many books, not enough time. A couple of months ago, we found the graphic novel version of Miss Peregrine’s Home, and that was a much better experience. When I saw the audiobook version of the sequel- Hollow City– at the library, I picked it up. Please note: if you have not yet read Miss Peregrine’s Home, this review contains information that might be considered spoilers for that book. There are no spoilers for Hollow City. You really need to read Miss Peregrine’s Home before reading Hollow City. The Kindle version is currently on sale for $5.28, and is really worth picking up. Read more

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

I found The Dark at my town library. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but how could I pass up a picture book written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen? I’ll admit that I never read the entire Unfortunate Events series, but Snicket’s The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming is a favorite holiday story of mine, and I think I Want My Hat Back is a modern classic.

The Dark is a story about Laszlo, a little boy who is afraid of the dark. They mostly keep away from each other, and the dark stays in the basement. But when Laszlo’s nightlight goes out, the dark comes to visit. The dark talks to him, and guides him into the basement. Laszlo learns that he doesn’t have to be afraid of the dark. Read more

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

As I attempted to prioritize my reading list by selecting the books that were due back to the library the soonest, I realized that I had two similar titles. The Chosen One and The 19th Wife had similar covers: both featured a single braid of hair, and both books centered around polygamist families. It was hard to choose which book to read first, but I started with The Chosen One.

The Chosen One was written by Carol Lynch Williams. This is the story of Kyra, a young girl living in an isolated polygamist community. Kyra is a fascinating protagonist, and once I started reading, I could not stop until I found out what happened to her. Read more

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

I don’t remember how I first heard about Fallen Beauty. Usually I have a good memory when it comes to books, and I can remember whether a book was recommended on Amazon or if I read a book review in Entertainment Weekly. But I’m just drawing a blank when it comes to Fallen Beauty. Nevertheless, it was in my library pile, and its due date was quickly approaching, so I put it at the top of my to-read pile.

Fallen Beauty is a work of historical fiction written by Erika Robuck. This is her fourth novel, and her third to feature prominent 20th century American literary figures. I actually have her Call Me Zelda on my Kindle. I do believe that it was a Kindle deal of the day. No, I don’t think that there is a correlation between the Kindle deal and finding out about Fallen Beauty. Read more