All the Stars and Teeth

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

 

This book is fantastic.  It is fast paced with great descriptions and tons of action. It is filled with magic, mystical places and mermaids.  The reader is quickly drawn into the story and acquainted with the characters.  From the beginning it makes the reader want to see Amora victorious, saving her kingdom and sailing to all the islands enjoying her freedom.

The Silence of Bones

I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

 

This book was intriguing because it is set in 1800 Korea and the author gives great description of places, people and things.  The story begins with a murder and you are drawn into the twisted political world of 1800 Korea.  There are many different pieces but the author skillfully melds them together to form a cohesive story.  This was a fairly easy read as you want to know what is going to happen next.

From the Ashes

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, but their tough-love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful experiences with abuse, uncovering the truth about his parents, and how he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family through education.

 

I wasn’t sure what this book was going to be.  Turns out it is a brutally honest description of a life wasted. Jesse recounts his descent into alcohol, drugs, homelessness and hopelessness.  At times it is hard to follow as it is written in small excerpts as Jesse remembers them and sometimes they jump from place to place.  Jesse holds nothing back, sharing the disappointment of his family and friends and even himself as he turns into his father who he also disliked due to his actions.  But in the end Jesse proves that with the will to live and the desire to achieve the cycle can be broken.

Felix Ever After

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after. 

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle…. 

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

 

This book is a must read for EVERYONE.  Although the main issue in this book is acceptance of LGBTQ individuals it also speaks to self-acceptance.  The book reminds the reader to accept themselves as they are and to embrace their uniqueness and that of the people around them.  It is important to love oneself and this book brings that to the forefront. It is just an all around good read.

This Place: 150 Years Retold

Explore the last 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in the graphic novel anthology, This Place: 150 Years Retold. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

 

To be honest I did not enjoy this book, I struggle with graphic novels.  That being said it is an informative book with lots of history.  It is a collection of 10 short stories so is an “easy” read that can be picked up for a short time and the illustrations are well done. 

Be Not Far From me

The world is not tame.

Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg. 

 

This is a powerful survival book. How far could you go to survive, how long would you last in the woods alone?   Ashley has been an outdoors person her whole life so she is aware of many things that most would not know. She had the determination to stay alive and keep going.  As you read the book you can’t help but wish her well and hope that she is found as each day dawns.

Clap When You Land

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

 

How would you react if you found out your father had another family and life completely apart from you?  This book follows 2 stepsisters as they deal with this situation.  They have led very different lives but they are similar in many ways. This is a great story of acceptance and love showing that it is important to give people a chance to show their personality rather than making assumptions of what they are like, what they have lived through and how they will react.

Stamped

This is NOT a history book.

This is a book about the here and now.

A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.

A book about race.

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

 

I was pleasantly surprised with this book.  Based on the subject I expected to struggle with reading this book but kudos to Jason Reynolds as he has managed to take a tough subject and present it in an easy to read entertaining format. This book is a chronology of racism and the feeble “attempts” the American government has made to overcome racism.

The Vanishing Deep

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed. 

 

Ever wondered what the world would be like if there was a great flood?  This book gives a glimpse into what that world might look like.  The reader is propelled into a futuristic world of water and medical advancement allowing for bringing people back to life.  The book broaches the question of how far is too far when dealing with life and death and who has the right to make decisions about who lives and dies.  A good book with action and thought provoking ideas.

Verona Comics

Jubilee has it all together. She’s an elite cellist, and when she’s not working in her stepmom’s indie comic shop, she’s prepping for the biggest audition of her life.

Ridley is barely holding it together. His parents own the biggest comic-store chain in the country, and Ridley can’t stop disappointing them—that is, when they’re even paying attention.

They meet one fateful night at a comic convention prom, and the two can’t help falling for each other. Too bad their parents are at each other’s throats every chance they get, making a relationship between them nearly impossible…unless they manage to keep it a secret.

Then again, the feud between their families may be the least of their problems. As Ridley’s anxiety spirals, Jubilee tries to help but finds her focus torn between her fast-approaching audition and their intensifying relationship. What if love can’t conquer all? What if each of them needs more than the other can give?

 

This book deals with a few topics with the major one being mental illness and how it can affect all around the one who is suffering.  The bottom line is that it can be controlled with help and there is nothing to be ashamed of.  Don’t be afraid to accept help when it is offered. Aside from the mental illness focus this book is a modern day Romeo and Juliet with the coming together of teens from opposing families.  It was a good read where the “geeks” are the main characters.