Shadow Weaver ★★★★★

9781492649953_5aa32MarcyKate Connolly’s Shadow Weaver is a-maz-ing. A beautifully written spooky middle grade experience.

The shadows that surround us aren’t always as they seem…

Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

Disaster strikes when a noble family visits their home and offers to take Emmeline away and cure her of magic. Desperate not to lose her shadows, she turns to Dar who proposes a deal: Dar will change the noble’s mind, if Emmeline will help her become flesh as she once was. Emmeline agrees but the next morning the man in charge is in a coma and all that the witness saw was a long shadow with no one nearby to cast it. Scared to face punishment, Emmeline and Dar run away.

With the noble’s guards on her trail, Emmeline’s only hope of clearing her name is to escape capture and perform the ritual that will set Dar free. But Emmeline’s not sure she can trust Dar anymore, and it’s hard to keep secrets from someone who can never leave your side.

I knew I was going to love this book after the opening scene. Here are just a few lines:

The first time my shadow spoke to me, I was a mere infant in the cradle. They say on the night I was born that even the stars fled the sky and the moon hid under a dark cloak… I held out my tiny arms and smiled at the shadow in the corner of my room.

And it smiled back.

Connolly fully immersed me in this comet blessed world. As I read through Shadow Weaver, I could tell that Connolly had a clear picture of how this world looked. Between houses, woods, cabins, soldiers, and even the magic–I was never at a loss for appearances.

Shadow Weaver is beautifully spooky right from the get go and Emmeline is beyond relatable to any reader of any background and any age.

Emmeline needs friends and caring family members and she lives most of her life without either. Her reliance on Dar, her shadow and only friend, makes so much sense that it hurts. And while we are led to mistrust Dar right from the start, we also grow more into that feeling and question her motives throughout the whole book.

The history of the world and it’s relevance to Emmeline’s story are laid out perfectly, sprinkled in all the right places making Shadow Weaver completely devoid of info dumping.

Seriously, just an amazing read.

Amazon . B&N

The Swift ★★★★★

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The Swift by Alex Banks is amazingly action packed!

Can the past be unbroken?

Everything about Pete’s life stinks. His dad is dead, his grandfather doesn’t even remember him, his mom cries all the time, and they’re about to lose their crappy old house to the bank.

And Pete’s twin brother Henry blames him for all of it.

While cleaning out the attic, the boys discover an old seaman’s trunk that transports them back in time where they’re forced to battle the raging sea and pirates bent on their destruction. Pete and Henry will have to work together to fix the broken past—or they won’t have a future to return to.

Labyrinth Lost ★★★★★

Córdova immerses us in fantasy, language, and LGBQT in a way I haven’t seen done successfully in today’s YA literature.

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

King’s Cage ★★★★★

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So not that long ago, I posted Full Series Stop, in which I was talking about how the preview for this book was making me less excited for it. I would now like to apologize for letting my enthusiasm wane. We waited for King’s Cage and Aveyard delivered.

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Let’s first talk about the viewpoints. Of course, we stay with mare throughout her imprisonment in Whitefire castle, but we also see Cameron and… wait for it…

SPOILERS

Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm ★★★★★

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LOVED THIS! Phoebe and Her Unicorn is one of my favorite middle grade comic series.

Phoebe and Marigold decide to investigate a powerful storm that is wreaking havoc with the electricity in their town. The adults think it’s just winter weather, but Phoebe and Marigold soon discover that all is not what it seems to be, and that the storm may have a magical cause. To solve the case, they team up with Max, who is desperate for the electricity to return so he can play video games, and frenemy Dakota, who is aided by her goblin minions. Together, they must get to the bottom of the mystery and save the town from the magic storm.

Unicorn on a Roll ★★★★★

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I had the absolute pleasure of reading this adorable middle grade graphic novel by Dana SimpsonUnicorn on a Roll is the modern Calvin and Hobbes, with girls and unicorns.

Hinges Book Two: Paper Tigers ★★★★★

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Amazing. Can that be my review?

Just–amazing.

Orio and Bauble have settled nicely into the city of Cobble. But as more of Bauble’s nature reveals itself they find themselves facing a much greater world outside of Cobble’s walls.

A Tail of Camelot ★★★★★

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I have been waiting to get my hands on a copy of this book ever since I heard about it from the author herself. I’m so happy that it’s finally out and that I can review it.

Young mouse Calib Christopher dreams of the day when he will become a Knight of Camelot like his father and grandfather before him. For generations, Calib’s family has lived among the mice that dwell beneath the human Knights of the Round Table, defending the castle they all call home. Calib just hopes he will be able to live up to the Christopher name.

Then, on the night of the annual Harvest Tournament, tragedy strikes. The mice suspect the Darklings are behind the vicious sneak attack, but Calib has his doubts, so he sets off on a quest for the truth. Venturing deep into the woods beyond the castle walls, Calib and his friend Cecily discover that a threat far greater than the Darklings is gathering, and human and animal knights alike are in grave danger.

With help from a host of unlikely new allies, including a young human boy named Galahad, Calib must get the Mice of the Round Table and the Darklings to put aside their differences and fight together. Only then will they be strong enough to save Camelot.

For This Life Only ★★★★★

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I have a theory that Stacey Kade wants to watch me die from dehydration. A scene that’s absolutely plausible given how much I cried while reading For This Life Only.

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him.

The Darkest Corners ★★★★☆

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Looking for a nice, well-paced, slow build? You need to pick up a copy of The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.