Every nation that invades the City gives it a new name. But before long, new invaders arrive and the City changes hands once again. The natives don’t let themselves get caught up in the unending wars. To them, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders.
Kaidu is one such outsider. He’s a Dao born and bred–a member of the latest occupying nation. Rat is a native of the Nameless City. At first, she hates Kai for everything he stands for, but his love of his new home may be the one thing that can bring these two unlikely friends together. Let’s hope so, because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands.
Steph: Yep. I’ll read this. The cover is great, I love the chick (who isn’t Hollywood beautiful) is running straight at us with that mischeif. On top of that the back copy sells the story, there will be love but it won’t be insta, there is a mystery afoot and I want to get to the bottom of it, and I’m already looking forward to getting to know Rat.
Janet: The cover and the back copy remind me of the ATLA comics. (Can you say “Yu Dao Resistance” and The Promise?) Which means I’m interested. I especially like the non-western look of the city and inhabitants. The buildings in the background look Japanese, Kai’s clothing looks Asian, and Rat’s clothing and hair look somewhat South American (or Greek). And “unlikely friends” is a great draw.
Yash: I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS ONE FOR SO LONG AND IT IS COMING OUT SOON AND AHHHHH! Yes! Gimme! Also, Faith Erin Hicks moved to Vancouver recently! Does that mean she’s gonna be there are VanCAF? I don’t think I could handle that …
Nafiza: I’ll read anything Faith Erin Hicks puts out so yes. Please give this to me.
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.
But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked… and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth – or say good-bye to the world of the living forever.
Steph: So, I just scrolled through all the covers and, unless the back copies fail entirely, I’ll be adding at least 5 books to my TBR . . . *sighs* This looks amazing. I love the cover. The back copy is also pretty good–once I get past that familiar: going to a boring relative’s for the summer (so that I’m not with parental adults), have adventure, said relative becomes awesome etc… plot ploy then I’m totally swallowed into the story. Japan is a great setting, and rural Japan, even better! I’m excited :)
Janet: The cover is preeeeeeeetty. Cherry blossoms and vibrant , almost supersaturated colour. AND mysterious creatures who clearly have some purpose in mind. Japanese mythology is fascinating and dreadfully neglected in North American lit. I have a copy of this (thanks, Nafiza!) and I can’t wait.
Yash: The first time I encountered the image of the spirit procession was in CLAMP’s xxxHolic. And if you’ve ever read anything by CLAMP, you know they can make an impression. I don’t know how this book will compare. While I am glad it isn’t a Japanese story with white characters, I am also more than a little curious about the amount of research put in by the author. I may wait for a few reviews before picking this one up, but the cover on its own is quite pretty. Definitely something I’d gravitate towards at a store.
Nafiza: I’ve said all I can about this one. Now go read it.
In the aftermath of civil war, the people of Ffion starve. Trade has dwindled, harvests have failed, and only the cruel and corrupt thrive. The few who could have fled the forest continent for other lands, but most remain, trapped by poverty and love for their homeland.
Far beneath Chloris Castle, the rebel Naomi has been incarcerated since the tyrannical Princess Adrienne stole the Redwood Throne. Starved of light and warmth for the past four years, only Naomi’s rage and determination have kept her going, as she both fears and yearns for death’s release.
In a violent sweep of fate, she is dragged back into the light once more. The Princess and her Councillor hope to use her as a pawn against the powerful Dragon King of Koren. Faced with an almost impossible choice, Naomi strikes a deal with her captors that will set her free at last.
Unfortunately, she soon finds she has taken on much more than she bargained for.
Steph: I like the cover art–this illustration really does it for me except that the sizes of the girl and the dragon isn’t quite right, but then they both had to fit on the cover . . . I kind of like the premise (Robin Hood girl meets loverboy dragon?). I like how the back copy is phrased and organized, it gives us enough without spilling the beans on the actual plot. And so, I think I might give this a go . . .
Janet: Beautiful cover style! I like the lines, the shading, the colours, and GIRL MEETS DRAGON. Steph hit the nail on the head about the back copy. I want to read this. Immediately, if possible.
Yash: I do love this cover. The art style kind of reminds me Emily Cheeseman’s art for the webcomic Sonnet and I love the premise too. And oh, look, dragon! I shall file this one away for when I finally finish reading Shadow Scale and am probably craving more fantasy.
Nafiza: Daaaaang. This cover makes me want to hunt down this book and read it immediately. Unfortunately none of the libraries I frequent carry it and I don’t think I can pick it up in a store so…and I don’t have an e-reader to read it with. Psht. I shall wait to read this but I will get it someday.
A debut summer mystery with a breathtaking twist you won’t see coming
Who killed Annabel Harper?
When a popular teen beauty’s body is discovered by the pool at an elite tennis club, the regulars are shocked—especially twelve-year-old Evie and her best friend, Chelsea. While everyone else is haunted by the teen’s death, Evie and Chelsea jump on the case, dogging the footsteps of the lead detective as he investigates this suspicious death. As the two shadow the detective, the girls learn secrets about the club’s regulars—and stumble upon a disturbing truth that will test their friendship and prompt an act of heroism that may change both of their lives forever.
Steph: Middle grade mystery. Love it. The cover is requisitely “middle grade mystery” with an air of Lemony Snickett. The only issue I see lies in the “while everyone else is haunted by the teen’s death” line, because why aren’t our young protagonists also haunted by the death? How is it that they can bounce back as investigators? I know this is often skipped in mysteries (MG or otherwise) but I like to see it dealt with reasonably. Still, I look forward to finding this on my shelf some day.
Janet: The colour scheme and style of the cover are a bit dull. Still, middle grade mysteries (middle grade MURDER mysteries? new and exciting!) are fun. I haven’t seen young detectives shadowing an adult detective like this before, so if Steph likes this I’ll give it a shot.
Yash: Ooh! I love how summer-y this cover looks! But then the cover also reminds me of the covers Lemony Snicket’s All the Wrong Questions series. I really like it! The premise sounds pretty intense for MG mystery, but that only makes me like it more. And I’m so in the mood for mystery! I’m definitely putting this one on my TBR.
Nafiza: Strangely enough this doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t know why because usually I’m the one who’s jumping all over MG mysteries but I guess I have been reading a bit too many of them or maybe I am not too intrigued by the synopsis? Whatever it is, I think I’ll give this one a pass.
Taylor Simmons is screwed.
Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.
Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they’re in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it’s better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.
Steph: I don’t know about this one. When I read the title I got kind of excited for a gamification of some sort . . . but then the rest of the cover contradicted that and the back copy doesn’t hit at any game structure either and so . . . I’m sad. Still, I think plenty of folks like this kind of book. The quirky romance book = girl relaxes because of boy and boy becomes “good” because of girl–honestly, I get it, these are fun stories akin to She’s All That and other Taming of the Shrew retellings, but I kind of fundamentally disagree with them. Once the girl gets laid she finally chills out a little and broadens her mind. Once the guy gets laid he realizes he kinda like the girl and changes his evil ways. That may be boiling it down a little harshly but . . . meh, it’s just not really like this and so it makes them enjoyable fiction not to be taken too seriously. This one might be a fun one to read, but I don’t think I’ll be running out for it. Oh, and I really don’t like seeing only the sexy legs with none of the actual girl who walks on them. Why can’t we see the guy’s butt then? Geez.
Janet: What’s with the oh-so-perfect female legs? Could we please have a romance novel without objectification of women on the cover? Then again, the cover maybe matches the back copy. Because the premise is seriously flawed. As Steph said. Also, I would like to read a novel about high school without gossip, types, and reputations being the centre of the universe. As bad as high school was at times, mine wasn’t like that, and I’m betting my school wasn’t the only exception to this (fictional) “norm.”
Yash: I don’t like the cover for the same reasons Janet mentions–would it kill people to stop showing teenage girls in pieces–but I am kinda interested to see what happens next? Because somehow I feel like this could turn out less predictable than I expect? Perhaps this is just how I’d write the story though? Because, I mean, what makes Taylor so special? What if she is another notch on his surfboard? What next? Aaaanywayyy, despite everything I am pretty pleased to see the author’s name. Jenny Han can’t be the only WOC writing YA romance forever, you know?
Nafiza: I..hmm, I do like that the intent of the cover and title seems to be avoiding sex-shaming and I don’t know, empowering the girl somehow? At the same time, the cover is meh. It doesn’t actually do what it attempts to but I appreciate the effort. As for the synopsis, I don’t know. I could be interested in this depending on the reviews but honestly, how many girls called Taylor do we need to read before they all seeming alike..
The Phantom Tollbooth gets a modern-day spin in this magical middle grade fantasy filled with adventure and humor that will whisk readers away!
Eleven-year-old Hudson stopped believing in magic long ago. Until the day he is whisked away to the magical land of Logos–a land ruled by words, thoughts, and memories. A fairy might ferry you across the river for the price of one memory, or it’s possible freshly baked homonyms will be on sale two for the price of one, and look out for snarky unicorns, as they are sure to judge the pure of heart. Upon arrival, Hudson is quickly saddled with a troll curse, and only his friend Charlotte can help rid him of the curse. But lo and behold she has an agenda of her own–find and rescue the missing Princess of Logos.
Steph: Ok, I like the cover, looks great–few issues like the children’s clothing, what world are they from? If she is from Logos shouldn’t her dress be a little . . . different? There are a lot of things going on on the cover and so when we stumble across one of them in the book (like that four-leaf clover) we know it’ll be important and that’s kind of distracting, lol, I’ll be flipping to the cover the whole time I’m reading. But! I will be reading it because, heck, it looks like fun and I loved The Phantom Tollbooth. :)
Janet: The cover is okay but not all that special. The back copy, though – I don’t know, did the Phantom Tollbooth really need an update? I’m not sold. If this is really good, Steph will let us know.
Yash: The cover is alright. Bright colours are always attractive, but somehow I feel like I’ve seen covers like this before. The title, though, is pretty awesome. I definitely would have picked it up … and then, because I never grew up with The Phantom Tollbooth, I’d put it down? Then again, it’s a children’s book, so maybe they are banking on attracting new readers, readers who have never read The Phantom Tollbooth. I’ll put this on my “maybe” list, depending on what Steph says.
Nafiza: I’ll reserve judgement until I read The Phantom Tollbooth. As for the cover, my eyes!! It’s really super bright.