October 2016 Book Reviews

 IRON CAST

Destiny Soria

Corinne is a wordsmith—she can make others see what’s not there, creating illusions through poetry. Ada is a songsmith—her music conjures powerful emotions and can meddle with memory. Both girls are hemopaths, considered a threat to society with their abilities to manipulate the mind. Iron can identify those whose blood gives them these abilities and, as an iron-free zone, the Cast Iron club has always felt like a safe place to Corinne and Ada. Club owner, Johnny Dervish, saved both girls when he employed them to perform at the Cast Iron. But hemopath performances are illegal, Ada is a wanted criminal, prohibition is right around the corner, and two members of Johnny’s circle have been shot. The girls want answers. Will the Cast Iron ever be safe for Corinne and Ada again?

This was an outstanding story, bursting with magic, imagination, action, and danger. Corinne and Ada’s relationship was a really important part of the story. As a reader we know where one girl goes the other will follow, and that both are safest when they’re together. We learn this right from the start when Corinne breaks Ada out of Haversham Asylum for Afflictions of the Blood. Their abilities were introduced slowly and in such a satisfying way. Not just Ada and Corinne, but their friends at the club too. My favourite talent was Saint’s—he was one of my favourite characters too. Rich descriptions and whispers of prohibition fully transported me to 1919 Boston. The asylum gave it a really scary factor—a terrible fate and a true threat to the group. The mystery was wonderful, especially given that anyone can be tricked at any moment. Readers won’t know who to trust. Friends and enemies are found where least expected. This is perfect for fans of novels by Cat Winters and TV Show Boardwalk Empire.

GEMINA

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

In the first book, when the planet of Kerenza was invaded and the survivors fled aboard separate spaceships, their attackers chased them through space. With an enemy warship, a deadly zombie-like virus, and a damaged AI against them, they tried to reach out to Heimdall Station. Gemina shows us what is happening at Heimdall through three brilliant new characters – Hanna, Nik, and Ella.

Reading this series is such an incredibly unique experience. Both books in the series are quite chunky, but I fly through them in a day or two – partly because of the style in which they’re written, but mostly because they are amazing. I got an Alien vibe from this one – so much action, so many twists! Brilliant layout, great humour, a constant sense of urgency, chaos and hope. Again, I don’t feel I can do it justice with my review. I had high expectations going in and Gemina lived up to them, and then some.

WHAT LIGHT

Jay Asher

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon, then packs up and moves to California for the season to sell their trees. Sierra has her life at home and her life at Christmas. But this year she becomes more attached to California, makes more friends, meets Caleb, and builds deeper connections. It’s always sad to say goodbye, but as the time to go home gets nearer, Sierra doesn’t want to leave at all this time.

This is such a wonderful story about forgiveness and understanding, chances and second chances, being fair and taking risks. Caleb encourages Sierra to believe in something, even if she’s not sure it’ll work out. Because they can try and it could become something great, or leave it all behind and never know. This has topped my current recommendations list for festive reads. A new favourite and one I know I’ll pick up again.

STEALING SNOW

Danielle Paige

Snow is a princess from Algid, hidden in the real world with no idea of the power she holds. When a Robber from her true home intrudes her dreams, she’s enticed into a magical land filled with ice and snow to save her friend and fulfill a prophecy. But maybe too much is expected of Snow—she doesn’t know who to trust and how to act, all she wants is to rescue her friend in a land where nothing is as it seems and everyone’s got their own motives…

I’m a big fan of retellings. I like starting a new story with a sense of familiarity already in place and looking forward to how the author will weave the original tale and existing characters into something new. This was a twisty and fast-paced take on The Snow Queen with a Frozen feel. It really grabbed my interest from page one. Snow was a great character as she adapted to a dangerous world and learnt how to control her own powers. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in the next book. With action, romance, betrayal, high-stakes, and real danger, this had everything I love to find in a story like this. I’d recommend to fans of The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine.

OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS

Krystal Sutherland

Grace is new at school. She wears men’s clothing, walks with a cane, and Henry can’t stop thinking about her. When they’re both chosen to edit the school newspaper they grow close quickly, but Grace won’t give too much of herself away, and Henry only falls for what he can see.

This manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking – I’d be crying laughing one minute and just plain ole crying the next. Henry and his friends were a ball. The humour in their dialogue was some of the best I’ve ever read. It was sharp, snappy, and had me laughing out loud. Grace’s story really struck me, and her pain and Henry’s desire to help her was so moving and well handled. It was such a beautiful book, packed with emotion, falling in and out of love, and strong friendships. Brilliantly done. I’d recommend this to fans of Dana Reinhardt’s Tell Us Something True and Meg Leder’s The Museum of Heartbreak.

THE TWELVE DAYS OF DASH AND LILY

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Lily’s not feeling the Christmas spirit and Dash is trying to get everything back on course in the twelve days leading up to Christmas. The red Moleskine is back with instructions that will take Dash and Lily chasing clues across New York City. Wonderfully romantic, where not ever gesture works out perfectly – some disastrously! – but the thought is always there. As the pair try to find themselves and each other, face changes in their lives, and celebrate their anniversary, revisiting their story is a real treat for fans. I love Christmas books – Dash and Lily is always one at the top of my recommendations list, so it’s great to have this join it there. A nice quick read, full of quirky Christmas traditions and heartwarming moments.

Also read this month:

Shadow House: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Yesternight by Cat Winters

The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich

(See all reviews on Goodreads here)