Colleen Mondor Reviews The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves, Roshani Chokshi (Wednes­day Books 978-1-250-14454-6, $18.99, 388pp, tp) January 2019.

In this glittering journey through a fantastical late 19th-century Paris, author Roshani Chokshi gifts readers with adventure wrapped in mystery wrapped in (unorthodox) family drama that in­corporates aspects of crime thrillers, caper flicks, and a fair bit of James Bond-esque espionage. The descriptions of the 1889 Paris Exposition are exquisite, and the history that Chokshi weaves ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Tesla Legacy by K.K. Pérez

The Tesla Legacy, K.K. Pérez (Tor Teen 978-1-250-08489-7, $17.99, 368pp, tp) March 2019.

K.K. Pérez’s The Tesla Legacy presents a familiar but always compelling premise: what if you are not the person you think you are? In this case, high school senior Lucy thinks she knows herself very well. She’s a former homeschooler now happily ensconced in public school, living just outside New York City, where she pursues an ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion 978-136801335-2, $16.99, 310pp, tp) January 2019. Cover by Vivienne To.

In the latest title from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, Korean-American author Yoon Ha Lee transports traditional Korean animal folklore to space in an interplanetary adventure with all the thrills, spills, and surprises that younger teens could want. Dragon Pearl is a bit like the vintage “Perils of Pauline” serials (without the ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Deceit, Alison Goodman (Viking 978-0-670-78549-0, $19.99, 527pp, tp) November 2018.

The final book in the Lady Helen tril­ogy was released in November and it brought this regency romance/fantasy to a dramatic climax just as all of its fans (includ­ing me) were hoping. The Dark Days Deceit picks right up where the second book, The Dark Days Pact, left off. It is December 1812, Lady Helen ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand (Katherine Tegan Books 978-0-06-269660-1, $17.99, 447pp, tp) October 2018.

Let’s talk about how to write a creepy book really, really well, shall we?

Claire Legrand’s Sawkill Girls utilizes an almost dream-like writing style to tell the converging stories of three teenage girls: Marion, Zoey, and Val. The girls live on the island of Sawkill Rock, a place of rolling horse farms, “houses like palaces,” and ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Wicked King by Holly Black and The Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Sphinx’s Secret by Gwenda Bond & Christopher Rowe

The Wicked King, Holly Black (Little, Brown 978-0-316-31035-2, $18.99, 324pp, hc) January 2019.

Holly Black’s highly anticipated sequel to her outstanding The Cruel Prince has arrived and somehow, she manages to put even more intrigue and tension into this second volume. The Wicked King picks up a few months after the first book’s stunner of an ending, (and get ready – she packs that same cliffhanger punch with this ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In an Absent Dream, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing 978-0-7653-9929-8, $17.99, 192pp, tp) January 2019.

In Seanan McGuire’s elegantly written In an Absent Dream, readers are taken on a years-long coming-of-age story through the Goblin Market that proves to be just as insightful about our own world as the fantastic one she creates. This new entry in the Wayward Children series (which can be enjoyed as a standalone) follows ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Bluecrowne by Kate Milford

Bluecrowne, Kate Milford (Clarion Books 978-1328-466884, $17.99, 255pp, hc) October 2018.

In this prequel to The Left-Handed Fate and her popular books about Greenglass House, author Kate Milford ties together elements from across her sprawling literary landscape to show how, basically, a whole lot of things hap­pened for the first time. It is unnecessary to read any of her other books to enjoy Bluecrowne, however, although new readers ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

The Plastic Magician, Charlie N. Holmberg (47North 978-1503951778, $24.95, 225pp, hc) May 2018.

Returning to the world of her Paper Magician novels, author Charlie Holmberg takes readers along on the trials and tribulations of Alvie Brechenmacher, as­piring Plastic Magician. There is a journey far from home! Great magical achievements! A smidgeon of romance! A dastardly villain! A battle to save life, limb, and reputation! A robbery! A car! A ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

A Room Away From the Wolves, Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin 978-1-61620-373-3, $18.95, 315pp, hc) September 2018.

A Room Away From the Wolves is the story of 17-year-old Sabina (“Bina”) who runs away from her small upstate New York home for a Manhattan boarding house that caters to young women seeking safety and security. Bina’s story is sadly familiar; she and her two stepsisters fight constantly and to keep the ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts, Victoria Schwab (Scholastic Press 978-1-338-11100-2, $17.99, 285pp, hc) August 2018.

The plot for Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts is delightfully straightforward: 12-year-old Cass sees dead people and that leads to many uncomfortable situations. Her life is complicated by the fact that her parents are successful paranormal investigators/authors and actively search out places full of ghosts. Her best friend Jacob also happens to be a ghost, but ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Inkmistress, Audrey Coulthurst (Balzer & Bray 978-0-06-243328-2, $17.99, 387pp, hc) March 2018.

In its opening paragraphs, Audrey Coulthurst’s Inkmistress seems to be a story about love. The protagonist, Asra, declares her love and longing for Ina, the beautiful girl who lives in the village below, and soon, with the coming of spring, will return to her. They are aware that their relationship must remain secret – the fear engendered ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt 978-1-250-17097-2, $18.99, 448pp, hc) March 2018.

Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone was released with a deafening boom in March, arriving on the heels of a near-seven figure film deal on top of the seven-figure publishing contract for the trilogy. This is big book in every way: big story, big pay­check and, at nearly 400 pages, it’s a physically ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Agony House Cherie Priest

The Agony House, Cherie Priest (Scholastic/Levine 978-0-545-93435-0 $18.99 272pp, hc) September 2018. Cover by Tara O’Connor.

Cherie Priest takes a pause from adult fiction with this second foray into YA after the cyberthriller I Am Princess X. This time she goes full creepy with a haunted house story set in New Orleans that also manages to throw in a hefty dose of the history of comic books and ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

A Blade So Black, L.L. McKinney (Macmillan/Imprint 978-1-250-15390-6 $18.99, 352pp, tp) September 2018.

Author L.L. McKinney is not coy about what she has to offer with her debut novel A Blade So Black. The protagonist is named Alice, her mentor is named Addison Hatta (a “punk Prince Charming” who strolls onto the page in a t-shirt reading “We’re All Mad Here”), and a couple of her pals are ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang

The City of Sand, Tianxia Bachang (Delacorte 978-0-553-52410-9 $17.99, 243pp, tp) November 2017.

For readers looking for a full-tilt adventure with a side order of the supernatural, Chi­nese author Tianxia Bachang has all they could want with The City of Sand. The novel starts with a bang as teenage “gold hunters” Tianyi and Kai awaken a very angry spirit while looking for treasure inside a grave. Their Indiana ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After, Emily X.R. Pan (Little Brown 978-0-316-46399-7, $18.99, 462pp, hc) March 2018.

The unreliable narrator has a long and il­lustrious career in fiction, taunting readers with questions of fantasy versus reality in novels ranging from We Have Always Lived in the Castle to Gone Girl. Either because they are shameless liars, accidental embellishers, or suffering from a degree of mental illness or trauma, unreliable ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Half-Witch by John Schoffstall

Half-Witch, John Schoffstall (Big Mouth Press 978-1-61-873140-1, $18.99, 322pp) July 2018.

There is something deeply satisfying about a traditional fantasy with plucky protagonists, nefarious villains, hungry goblins, tricky witches, and a dangerous and difficult quest. In John Schofstall’s Half-Witch, everything you expect to find is present, plus a lot of unlikely twists and turns that make this ad­venture a classic read. The novel’s most unusual plot device is ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

My Plain Jane, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows (Harper Teen 978-0-06-265277-5, $17.99, 464pp) June 2018.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: you do not need to have read (or liked) Jane Eyre to enjoy the hell out of My Plain Jane. Over the years I have tried to finish Charlotte Brontë’s “masterpiece” many times and could never get past my frustration with Jane’s ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor reviews A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman, eds. (Greenwillow 978-0-06-267115-8, $17.99, 336pp, hc) June 2018.

In the introduction to A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, editors Elsie Chapman & Ellen Oh write of their deep love for myth and leg­end, something many readers will likely identify with. However, for Chapman and Oh, immersion in tales of Greek and Norse gods, while exciting, was always a bit ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

The Price Guide to the Occult, Leslye Walton (Candlewick Press 978-0-7636-9110-3, $18.99, 288pp, hc) March 2018.

The Price Guide to the Occult begins with the story of an island in the Pacific Northwest and the small group of mostly male settlers who arrived there in the mid-1840s. In this prologue, author Leslye Walton sets up the long dark tale of the Blackburn women and the generational burdens inflicted upon ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor reviews Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts

Meet Me in the Strange, Leander Watts (Meerkat 978-1-946154-15-6, $16.95, 234pp, hc) March 2018.

This is one unique book.

I was chapters into Meet Me in the Strange before I fully realized that the reviewer part of my brain needed to be turned off (stop noting names and locations, stop paying attention to setting descriptions and plot development) and I just needed to take the ride this book was ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor reviews Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Midnight at the Electric, Jodi Lynn Anderson (Harper Teen 978-0-06-239354-8, $17.99, 257pp, hc) June 2017.

Jodi Lynn Anderson accomplishes something unique with Midnight at the Electric, taking a novel clearly set in the future, (the protagonist has just been accepted to a Mars colony program), but grounding it in a historical mystery. This is science fiction that has broad potential appeal; traditional SF readers will be attracted to ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Cadaver & Queen by Alisa Kwitney

Cadaver & Queen, Alisa Kwitney (Harlequin Teen 978-1-335-47046-1, $18.99, 320pp, hc) February 2018.

In Alisa Kwitney’s alternate history Cadaver & Queen, the governments of Europe are laser-focused on constructing armies of “Bio-Mechan­icals.” These mechanized cadavers are perceived as the solution to the most painful cost of war: human soldiers lost to combat. The problem is that Bio-Mechanicals have proven themselves to be good at shuffling along and taking ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince, Holly Black (Little, Brown 978-0-316-31027-7, $18.99, 371pp, hc) Janu­ary 2018.

Immersing oneself in the writing of author Holly Black, readers quickly discern that her formula is to create intricate, tricky, heart-stopping plots in which her characters will end up running for their lives across brilliantly invented landscapes, while also cementing and/or blowing up friendships and possibly falling in love (or at the very least engaging in ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts Made of Night, Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill 978-0-448-49390-9, $17.99, 296pp) October 2017.

Debut author Tochi Onyebuchi draws deep on his mother’s Nigerian roots in the world-building extravaganza Beasts Made of Night. Based on the bustling metropolis of Lagos, the walled city Kos is ruled by the elite Kaya family, dominated by the priest-like Mages and suspicious of the sin-eating young aki. The royal Kayas are entitled and oblivious, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Possible by Tara Altebrando

The Possible, Tara Altebrando (Bloomsbury 978-1-61963-805-1, $17.99, 292 pages) June 2017.

For the first six pages of The Possible, Tara Altebrando wrote a YA novel about a smart-ass 17-year old named Kaylee who has two best friends, a crush on a classmate, and a killer talent on the softball mound. All of this is familiar territory and Altebrando delivers it with a degree of sass and wit that ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin 978-1-61620-797-7, $24.95, 304pp, hc) February 2018.

Kelly Barnhill follows up her Newbery Medal-winning The Girl Who Drank the Moon in a most unexpected fash­ion: with a collection of fantastical short stories for older teens and adults. Dreadful Young La­dies and Other Stories is the kind of writing that does not rely on shock and awe, but rather on fascinating characters ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

The Hollow Girl, Hillary Monahan (Dela­corte 978-1-5247-0186-4, $17.99, 272pp, hc) October 2017.

Author Hillary Monahan takes readers into the world of the Romany people in this brutal blending of realistic fiction and fantasy. Set at some point of the Welsh past (there are no mentions of electronic devices or cars), The Hollow Girl follows the story of Bethan and her grandmother, Drina, the clan’s revered and fearsome wise woman. ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz

The Wingsnatchers, Sarah Jean Horwitz (Al­gonquin 978-1-61620-663-51, $17.95, 368pp, hc) April 2017.

Debut novelist Sarah Jean Horwitz brings together some of the best aspects of ste­ampunk and fantasy in The Wingsnatch­ers, a fun novel set in the Victorian London-ish town of Skemantis. (Where the streets teem with “a churning mass of steam carriages, bicycles, velocycles and pedestrians….”) Thirteen-year-old Felix Carmer works as an apprentice to the con­genial but ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

All the Crooked Saints, Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic 978-0-545-93080-2, $18.99, 320pp, hc) October 2017.

Young adult powerhouse Maggie Stiefvater dives into magic realism with her latest book, All the Crooked Saints. Set in the fictional Colorado desert enclave of Bicho Raro, the novel follows the travails of the Soria family, who are gifted (or cursed) with the ability to perform miracles. Pilgrims come from far and wide seeking solace ...Read More

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