Genre: Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 293
Margaretha lives on her father’s estate in Germany and knows she must choose a suitor to marry soon. When a man named Claybrook comes and begins to woo her she thinks he might be the one, but then an injured man is brought to the healer’s cottage from England. She is one of the few people around who knows English and she translates what he’s saying. He followed a man named Claybrook from England in order to make him pay for murdering a young girl, but instead Claybrook’s men beat him and left him for dead in the street. Margaretha is unsure who to believe, but decides to spy on Claybrook and learns he is plotting to murder her father and take over his estate. Can she save her family and her family’s land without alerting the wrong people to the threat? Does she know whom she can trust? Is she equipped for such a venture?
This is a fun, fast paced adventure story in which Margaretha and her new companion from England try to save her family from a very miserable future in which they are pushed out of their own land by sheer force and violence. There are many twists in the plot as Claybrook tends to be one step ahead of them at all times. Many of the characters lack depth, but they do not need to be over developed since the plot rests mainly on Margaretha and her English gentleman. Fans of other period stories like The Selection and The Queen of Someday will enjoy this title.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Adventure
# of Pages: 368
Colt Shore grew up attending an elite private school where he was trained in many skills required of a spy, but he always intended to enter the profession as an information person and never as a field agent. He also grew up believing his parents had him after their first beloved child died, which always left him feeling left out. He is quite surprised to learn that who he believes to be his parents are actually his grandparents and his dad was actually a spy killed in the line of duty. His mother is still an active agent and introduces him to spy headquarters. When he is asked to help out with a mission, his mother argues against it, but does not stand in his way. He finds that the mission is simply too good to resist, but once he gets in the field he must learn quickly how to make decisions as the mission morphs into something much bigger than he signed on for.
The evolution of this mission is done so in a way that seems logical, although there does tend to be a lack of fear on the part of Colt and the person he is trying to protect. The action sequences are well written and adequately describe how Colt manages to get from one tough situation to another. He does have luck on his side in a few instances but not in an unbelievable way. Colt’s personality engages the reader from the beginning and many will want to follow his adventures for many books to come. Highly recommended for fans of spy novels and reluctant readers.
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 335
This title was recently named to the Iowa High School Award Winners for 2013-2014. The first in this series, Mary is rescued from a death sentence for stealing in 1853 by a woman who runs a special school for young girls. After many years of schooling, Mary is taken into a special program designed to turn young women into spies. Her first assignment is to be the paid companion of a wealthy teenage girl who is ungrateful for the company at best. As Mary enters the house she is supposed to keep her ears open for information about the family business and whether or not they are really suffering from as many lost ships as they claim, but in the end she overhears much more than that. She also meets another spy trying to dig up information on this family. Will he be a threat or an ally? Can Mary perfect her spying skills in order to become a permanent fixture in this alliance?
Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this title because it is set in a unique time period while also including intrigue and mystery. The story moves fairly quickly and the ending is exciting. The final revelation of who is behind the lost ships is surprising, but also a bit confusing in the details for some young readers. Mary’s background is touched on, but readers will look for more to be revealed in the future sequels.
Published November 14, 2012
Adventure , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: capture, espionage, family, fighting, monarchy, princess, spy, torture
Genre: Futuristic Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 295
Before the book starts there are many days of environmental disasters in a row that leaves England struggling to survive and unable to reach anyone outside of their country. Months later, Eliza is horrified as a child when she witnesses her mother, the Queen of England, being poisoned to death. Years later, there are rumors that a ruthless dictator is plotting to overthrow her father and crown himself King. Her father assures her that everything is fine, but there is an elaborate attack on Buckingham Palace that leaves Eliza’s father dead and her brother and sister captured. Eliza manages to escape, but must then decide how to proceed. Should she run for her life? Should she stand and fight? There is a handsome reward out for her capture because once the dictator catches all three of the children he plans to have a very public execution so that there will be no confusion as to whether or not there are any rightful heirs out there.
Eliza encounters many dangerous situations trying to find out information about her brother and sister and often things do not go her way. This heroine faces some serious struggles and is even tortured at times. The villain is particularly evil, but is not in the story that much. Fans of futuristic stories will like this one, but need to be prepared for violence and frustration at times. The story is open for a possibility of a sequel, but doesn’t necessarily require one.
Genre: Science Fiction
# of Pages: 309
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to Glow, Waverly and Kieran are still on the space vessel the Empyrean while trying to lead the other kids on board and plan an attack against The New Horizon for kidnapping their parents. Kieran has self-appointed himself to the position of captain, which grates on some of the younger kids after what they went through with Seth. Seth, meanwhile, is in the brig and feeling bad about what he has done. One day he wakes up and the door to his cell is open. He walks out, but cannot help feeling like it is a trap. Kieran is still very afraid of Seth after what happened in the last book and tries to blame everything he can on the face that he escaped. Seth did not have anything to do with the mysterious goings on on board, but then who did? It seems unlikely any of these children would want to hurt their own ship or those on it. Can Waverly assert her power as a leader on this ship? Can Kieran hold onto his power without abuing it?
The only thing I did not like about this book was that it ended too quickly and there is an entire year before the next one comes out. Glow was one of my favorite books of the year. These young teens have to think on a whole new level now that they are in charge of a entire vessel and the pressure starts to get to all of them. Facts start coming out about what happened before the New Horizon’s attack on the Empyrean and it is easy for readers to see how the characters got to this position, but you can’t help feel for these young people who have suffered so much because of decisions the leaders of these ships made. It really makes you think about the decisions any leader of a nation has and how those decisions affect generations to come. This book was full of action and adventure, but it goes quickly and will leave fans hungry for more.
# of Pages: 294
RAC Book: Yes
Cammie Morgan is back in this Gallagher Girls book and this time she has no memory of where she spent her summer. She wakes up in a remote convent and must find her way back to her family and friends who have been looking for her for months. As Cammie begins to piece together what happened to her she realizes that she may have chosen to forget what she learned because the truth was too hard to deal with. Will she ever get answers as to why the Order is chasing her? Will she ever find out what happened to her father?
Cammie does learn some answers in this book, but these are revealed to her along with the reader as she retraces her steps. It is fun for the reader to learn Cammie’s past along with her. The characters all seem to develop further in this book, which is impressive because it is not terribly long. There are also a few fun surprises that fans of the series will love.
# of Pages: 359
RAC Book: Yes
Digger lives as a thief and a spy, but when her partner is killed by the King’s police she must go into hiding so that she does not meet the same fate. She becomes Celyn, a lady-in-waiting, to a family that is going to a remote castle for the winter. Digger believes this will be the perfect getaway from the city, but when she gets there finds that one of the guests, Lord Daul, knows her true identity and threatens to reveal it unless she becomes a spy for him. As Celyn begins snooping around the castle looking for clues she finds much more than she expected and must decide whom she should trust.
Starcrossed begins a bit slow and will frustrate some fantasy readers because fantasy elements are not as prominent as they are in some other books. However, the plot in this story carries many twists and turns that will keep readers wanting to know more about the people who have come together in this castle for the winter. Celyn, Lady Merista, and many other characters continue to grow and develop until it seems like the reader actually knows them. Fans of Graceling will want to check this one out.