Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith is an edifying first novel about a young woman named Alex who joins a scientific field study of botany in Yellow Stone National Park. Women scientists are not easily accepted in the late 1800’s, but through her passion and drive she impresses the other scientists. The story is told through letters written by the characters and expresses their different adventures and studies within the beloved Yellow Stone.
This book is such a lovely surprise in that I have not read many books like it. Smith was able to write an intriguing tale about scientists that was pleasantly informative but not overly didactic. Through the different letters the reader is able to experience all the characters and their voices as well as their excitement for their scientific findings. I definitely would suggest this book to any plant lovers or Victorian era enthusiasts.
A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer is a witty novel about a young duchess named Faris who’s uncle has sent her off to Greenlaw College to study magic, in the hopes that she will return a proper lady and ruler. During her time at Greenlaw College, Faris makes both friends and enemies. One enemy seems determined get rid of Faris all together, even after Fairs has left the college. In the midst of all her adventuring in order to get back home to her beloved dukedom and escape the assassins, Faris discovers something very surprising about herself.
This book was absolutely nothing like what I thought it was going to be and I was shocked that only one third of the book took place at the college since it is called A College of Magics. I will say though, that the surprise was not a bad one. Faris’ adventures are exciting, humorous, and fun to read. It also provided the reader a chance to watch Faris grow as a character and get better acquainted with her friends.
The Wizard’s Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke is a story about young Hanna who is a future witch, fisherman’s apprentice, and desperately desires adventure like her mother experienced when she was young. One day, on a normal fishing trip a magic storm suddenly appears sending the ship off farther than expected. What follows next is a wild adventure that Hanna never thought she would have the chance to experience and learns more about herself than she knew existed.
I love Clarke’s writing, she always provides the perfect mixture or adventure, comedy, and honesty in her stories. Her characters are always full of personality and very likely to surprise you in what they do and what they become. The adventures she takes you on are always ridiculous, fun, and magical. I highly recommend you buy her books especially since the publisher Strange Chemistry has gone out of business, it will help the author out tremendously .
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King is melancholy, yet charming story of a girl named Vera who is being haunted by her dead best friend, Charlie. Vera and Charlie grew up together, finding ways to deal with their dysfunctional families and survive their somewhat lonely school lives. After high school started and the other kids at school start noticing Chralie’s devil-may-care attitude he started to hang out with new friends and, much to Vera’s dismay, a multitude of girlfriends. When Charlie dies and is blamed for a horrific crime, Vera is still too angry from his betrayal to tell the truth of what happened. So now, Charlie is haunting her.
This story was beautiful and perfect in so many ways. Vera and Charlie are such dynamic characters; complete train wrecks. But no matter what horrible things they did or said to each other, they still share a special love for one another. It took me a long time to read this fairly short book because I just found it so sad. I still recommend it though.
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo is the riveting last installment of the Grisha trilogy. This book starts off with Alina, still recovering from her last encounter with the Darkling. Together with Mal and her friends she must find a way to break free of the oppressive sanctuary and find Nikolai and the last amplifier: the phoenix. With all three amplifiers the world has hope that Alina can once and for all defeat the Darlking.
While I enjoyed this book a lot, the story didn’t have the physical or mental impact I was hoping for. I wish I had more time with Nikolai and I wish things ended differently with the Darkling. On a different note the book was still good and gave a solid ending to the story.
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick is an esoteric novel that follows seven different stories that take place over hundreds of years on a small island called Blessed. When the souls of two lovers continue to find each other over time through different relationships, the reader is enraptured with how the original relationship ended and what led their souls to search for each other for lifetimes afterwards.
I loved this book because Sedgwick constantly keeps the reader wondering what the relationship between the two characters will look like in the next life and how they will have to sacrifice for each other. I found that I loved how different each relationship was for the characters. One time they are mother and son, complete strangers, and even a picture of a young girl seen through a father’s eyes. The idea behind the book is wonderful, I definitely suggest adding it to your TBR pile.
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin is a story rich in magic and culture. Set in an ancient city where priests harvest the lives of those deemed corrupt with their peaceful dream magic, one of the greatest gatherers has made a horrible mistake. When Ehiru accidentally looses control while performing a harvesting and sends a soul into torment, he begins to question his abilities. He becomes even more conflicted when he meets a woman who claims that he is not doing the work of his goddess but of the prince, and while he might believe that he is doing good he is actually a murderer. Ehiru and his apprentice begin a journey to discover who is truly pulling the strings of their work but along the way they face more danger than they ever imagined.
This was quite an interesting book and I was not disappointed at all. Jemisin has a gift for creating colorful worlds and dynamic characters that ensnare readers and keep them entertained through the whole story.
The Body in the Woods by April Henry is a murder mystery about three unlikely kids who help to stop a serial killer. Alexis, Nick, and Ruby are all part of a search and rescue team that helps find people lost in the parks of Portland. On their first search and rescue assignment, the three stumble across something much more horrifying than what they ever imagined: a body. Together, the new friends try and solve the mystery of what will become a string of murders but as they get closer to the truth, the more dangerous the case becomes.
I won this book in a Goodreads givaway and was really excited to get to read something out of my normal comfort zone. I’ve never been much for murder mysteries but the plot of this book is pretty good. Every once in a while I felt like the clues were a little over the top, but again, I don’t know much about murder mysteries. So if you want to read a gripping story about three kids who are trying to discover who the serial killer is, pick this book up at the bookstore starting June 17th.
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain has made it onto my list of favorite books of all time. McNeil and McCain have taken a collection of interviews from many of the people involved in the underground rock and roll movement that is referred to as punk and have given their readers a look into the explosive world. Characters such as Iggy Pop, Dee Dee Ramone, Lou Reed, Richard Hell and many more talk about their experiences with sex, drugs, music, and death. Through the words of the people who were in the middle of it all, this book establishes what the term punk really means.
Dune by Frank Herbert is the first book in one of the greatest sci-fi series to date. It focuses on Paul, the son of a duke, and his family’s move to the desert planet Arrakis. Water is sparse and treated like gold; the spice mined on the planet is one of the most important substances in the universe. As the family moves into a world of dangerous politics and giant sand worms, young Paul will discovers something legendary about himself: he is the only one who can bring peace and life to Arrakis.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to get from Dune. I knew from seeing snippets of the movie that there was a desert planet and giant worms. What I got was a book that is thick with beautiful language and a creative, one-of-a-kind adventure. I won’t lie and say that this was an easy book to read, because it wasn’t for me, but there were many times where I was just thinking about the book while I was at work and wanting to read on in the story.