The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

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The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a young adult novel written by Miriam McNamara. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I love historical fiction; I don’t read as much Georgian fiction as Regency, but its still an era that I enjoy. In addition to one of my favorite settings, the premise sounded fascinating.

Circumstance has forced Mary Reade to live as a boy named Mark for almost her entire life. As the story begins, Mary’s ship has been attacked by pirates. She chooses to align herself with the pirates, mostly because she sees a girl pirate and imagines being able to go through life as who she is, not who she has to present herself as. Read more

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My Name Is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

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My Name is Victoria is a YA novel written by Lucy Worsley. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because 19th century England is my favorite era in history. I also enjoyed the Victoria television series, as well as Daisy Goodwin’s companion novel and Julia Baird’s biography of Queen Victoria.

The story is told from the perspective of “Miss V”, the daughter of John Conrad, who oversaw the future Queen Victoria’s upbringing. The young Victoria was kept in isolation, and V is one of Victoria’s first friends. Victoria has been told that she needs to be kept apart from society because of her scheming uncles and cousins who might wish to harm her because of her proximity to the throne. Whether there is any merit to this claim, or whether this is intended to instill a sense of paranoia remains to be seen. Read more

Ship It by Britta Lundin

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Ship It is a YA novel by debut author Britta Lundin. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I enjoy YA books, and the premise intrigued me.

Claire is a teenage girl living in rural Idaho. She doesn’t have a lot of friends at school, but she is a very active member in the Demon Heart fan community online. She writes slash fanfiction (gay romance) about the two male protagonists, and is absolutely convinced of the chemistry between them. When a comic convention comes to Boise, Claire is eager to attend the Demon Heart panel. She asks the actors whether or not he’ll be making SmokeHeart (the romantic pairing) canon (a real part of the show). Forest, who is one of the actors, answers rather rudely, and Claire is devastated and embarrassed. However, she ends up winning a huge prize- the chance to travel with the cast to two more conventions.

Claire knows that she needs to mend things with Forest, but at the same time, she wants to convince him of SmokeHeart’s importance. She also wants to convince Jamie, the showrunner, to make SmokeHeart canon. She’s rather persistent in her efforts. Read more

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

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White Rabbit is a YA novel written by Caleb Roehrig. I haven’t read any of his other books, but I was excited about the opportunity to read this one because the plot intrigued me.

Rufus is at a Fourth of July party when he receives a frantic phone call from his half sister. They don’t have much of a relationship, so Rufus knows that things must really be bad if April is reaching out to him. Rufus is less than thrilled that his ex-boyfriend Bash wants to come along, but since Bash is the one with a car, there isn’t much of a choice in the matter.

Rufus and Bash walk into a crime scene, and then they spend the rest of that one long night trying to figure out what happened at the lake house where they found April. They crisscross the town, interviewing and reinterviewing the other people who were at the lake house. Everyone has their reasons for being evasive, and truthfulness seems to come at a premium. Read more

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

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Suitors and Sabotage is Cindy Anstey’s third novel. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed her other books. The novels are unconnected, but they all take place in Regency England, which is one of my favorite historical eras.

Imogene Chively has just finished her first Season in London, and is looking forward to spending the summer with her family and friends as they take turns hosting each other at a series of house parties. One of her suitors has received permission to visit her; Imogene is not particularly interested in pursuing a courtship with the young man, but she doesn’t really have much of a choice in the matter. When the earnest young man- named Ernest, of course- arrives, he brings his brother Ben along as well.

Imogene discovers that she has a lot more in common with Ben. They develop a rapport quickly, and Imogene agrees to give Ben art lessons to bolster his skills as a budding architect. Read more

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

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S.T.A.G.S. is a young adult novel written by M.A. Bennett. This book had piqued my interest because I love boarding school stories, and I was very excited when I finally had the opportunity to read it.

Greer is a new student at St. Aidan the Great, a posh English boarding school. She doesn’t really fit in with her peers, so needless to say, she is quite surprised when she receives an invitation to spend the weekend at the country estate of the most popular boy in the school. Henry and his friends are collectively known as the Medievals, and they serve as school prefects.

Greer is enchanted by the sumptuous estate, and flattered by the attention from Henry. She’s so wrapped up in these superficial details that she fails to notice that the weekend of “Huntin’, Shootin’, and Fishin’” has taken a sinister turn. She and her fellow guests must band together if they are going to survive the weekend. Read more

Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney

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Romancing the Throne is a young adult novel written by Nadine Jolie Courtney. I had seen some buzz about this book, and it seemed like a YA version of The Royal We, which is one of my favorite books. I finally snagged a copy from the library, and recently finished reading it.

Charlotte is a student at the posh Sussex Park School, and she has found herself in an elite circle of friends, one of whom is Prince Edward, the heir to the English throne. There is an instant connection, and Charlotte is just thrilled to be dating the handsome young prince.

But conflict arises when Charlotte’s older sister Libby transfers to Sussex Park. Charlotte introduces Libby to everyone in her circle, and is utterly horrified when Libby and Edward start spending time together. Everything seems like a huge mess, but apparently, the worst is yet to come. Can Charlotte salvage everything she holds dear before it is completely destroyed? Read more

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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Turtles All the Way Down is a young adult novel written by John Green. I haven’t had very many YA titles in my reading queue lately, but I’ve enjoyed Green’s books in the past, and so I took the opportunity to check this one out of the library.

Aza seems like a fairly typical teenage girl, but she struggles with anxiety, which is exacerbated by thoughts of germs and becoming sick (specifically with c diff). Her routine is thrown into disarray when Russell Pickett, a local billionaire disappears and a $100k reward is offered for any information that leads to his whereabouts.

Aza, goaded by her best friend, reluctantly takes up the search. She happens to know Pickett’s son Davis because they attended a grief camp together, and her sleuthing leads to a reconnection with her old friend. Everything seems to be going well for Aza, but her negative thoughts become more persistent, and she can’t stop thinking about getting sick, and starts exploring extreme measures in her quest to avoid illness. Read more

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

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Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a young adult novel written by Kelly Jones. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because it is set in the Regency era, one of my absolute favorite historical periods.

Annis Whitworth is a young woman whose life is thrown into upheaval by her father’s death. She did not know her father very well because he was often traveling, and his sudden death prompts many questions about his occupation. This event also seems to serve as the catalyst for Annis learning that she can sew “glamours” that transform garments and the person wearing them. Read more

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

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One of Us Is Lying is a young adult novel written by Karen M. McManus. I found it on the new release shelf at my town library.

Five teens walk into detention: Bronwyn is an academic overachiever, Addy is a pretty girl, Nate is a drug dealer, Cooper is a baseball star, and Simon is brooding and aloof. They are all there because they were caught with cell phones during class. There’s just one problem- the phones aren’t actually theirs and none of them have any idea what the phones are doing in their bags. They are a rather eclectic group, and don’t necessarily run in the same social circles. Being in detention for a something they didn’t actually do is the least of their concerns because by the end of detention, one of the five is dead. Read more