San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.
On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the ‘bossy’ cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
Janet: Pretty cover! I like the lanterns, the colour scheme, the pagoda (?). I’m not too sure about what may be a female figure in place of a candle wick, but overall, the cover would draw me to look at the back. And the back is pretty neat as well. I like Mercy’s determination and presumably tough skin. And I’m a sucker for historical novels. I’ll keep an eye out for this.
Nafiza: I adore the cover and in fact, it was the cover that brought the book to my notice way back when. I hope to read this some time this year, fingers crossed.
When Patrick Griffin passes out after a chemistry experiment gone bad, he wakes up in a strange parallel world, where everyone has huge eyes and tiny ears, and is addicted to smartphones called “binkies.” Patrick thinks it’s all a weird dream, but he’s about to wake up to an adventure beyond his wildest imagination.
Meanwhile, a huge rabbit-like creature named Mr. BunBun is roaming through Patrick’s hometown, leaving a trail of chaos behind it. Its mission? To save Earth from imminent doom.
See what happens when the fate of three worlds lies in the hands of one boy and one gigantic bunny in this first book of a hilarious and mind-bending new adventure series.
Janet: A little odd. The overall effect – title, cover, back copy. I’m inclined to be amused (“Mr. BunBun”) (“imminent doom”), but as this sounds like the sort of sci-fi MG novel Steph will like, I’ll wait her review.
Nafiza: Janet’s right. The quirky vibe on this title is off the charts. From the cover to the synopsis, this seems like one of those stories that only the most adventurous will journey through. I am totally intrigued though. I would give it a read.
In this fantastical adventure-mystery, where science and magic intertwine, eleven-year-old Thelma Bee is never bored. In fact, she has curiosity and adventure in her blood. She spends her time running science experiments, practicing Spanish, and daydreaming about exotic landscapes. But Thelma gets more than she bargained for when a strange woman sells a jewelry box at her father’s antique shop. That night, a ghost kidnaps her father, and the only clues are the jewelry box and a word the ghost whispered in her ear: “Return.” Now it’s up to Thelma to get her dad back, and it might be harder than she thought—there’s someone wielding dark magic, and they’re coming after her next.
Janet: Oookay, that style of title (“The [adjective] [verb] of [Firstname] [Lastname]”) has been done a lot. So I’m not terribly impressed. The cover likewise isn’t particularly interesting. However, the use of pencil or charcoal portraits that look like they’ve been torn from a young artist’s sketchbook is unexpectedly charming. The back copy leaves me feeling ambivalent. The plot details are kinda run of the mill, but the last few sentences don’t give too much away, for a change. I’ll wait for reviews.
Nafiza: I have a soft spot for intrepid heroines and if Thelma is one of them, sign me up. As for the cover, I’m not sure I like it but I don’t hate it so middle ground?
Now a Challenger, Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives–the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons alike. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes’s only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on her traveling party puts Jes at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos–the prince she still loves–is fighting against their country’s enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal’s life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion…. She must become a warrior.
Janet: The title is “poisoned blade,” and there’s an arrow on the cover. Slight dissonance there BUT I like the style and I’ve only heard good things about Kate Elliott’s writing. The use of champion is a strange – champions are presumed to already be warriors; only the best warriors become champions (of a tournament… King/Queen’s Champion, etc.). Still. I expect to hear a lot of praise for this shortly, and I do plan to read this eventually. (*tbr pile sways menacingly*)
Nafiza: It could be a spear instead of an arrow? That would make it a blade, right? Wrong? I don’t know. ANYWAY. It’s good. I’ve read it. It’s very good. Anticipate it!
As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.
When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.
Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinah’s furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.
Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Janet: The card format is fitting, but other than that the cover is boring. So is the back. I’m not interested in romance-centric rewrites. And Wonderland is rather more than “whimsical;” read the original.
Nafiza: I’d really much rather reread the original.
(Crow Moon #2)
Seventeen, heartbroken, powerful; Melz has run away from home, run away from the safety of the Greenworld. In the cities of the Redworld, Melz discovers she’s special, desired. And not just for her magical talents. When Melz meets the young but influential Bran, their attraction is instant and electric. In the Redworld, with Bran by her side, unrestrained by the customs of her former life, Melz knows she can reach her true potential. But the world Bran wants to give Melz is ravaged by war and violence. Oil is running out, and people will do anything to gain control of the remaining resources. Melz may be more powerful than ever, but even great power can be a curse when used against you.
Janet: Not to be a grump, but this cover is also boring. (And kinda 80s? Or cd-cover style? Or something.) I’m just not up for insta-romance. Nope.
Nafiza: A whole lot of telling occurs in the first two sentences and immediately turns me off. Special snowflake narrative right there. No thanks.