Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

betrayals

Betrayals by Lili St. Crow

#2 in the Strange Angles series: Teenager Dru has spent her life first with her Gran, learning warding spells after her mother was murdered by vampires. Then she was reunited with her Dad full time tracking down and killing evil creatures. Now Lilie is traveling to a safe Schola run by Order group that destroys evil creatures in the Real World. She and her friend Graves, whom she met at school in the last town where she and Dad lived, are on the run after Dad was turned into a zombie and she and Graves were attacked by werwulfs and other dangerous creatures. As if that’s not enough intrigue, while Dru tries to fit in as the only girl at her Schola, attacks make them believe there’s a traitor in the Order.

I loved this sequel and will keep reading to find out what happens to all the characters. Lili St. Crow’s world building, of secret creatures and conflicts, keeps getting better.

Review by Ms. Provence

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The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

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The Well of Lost Plots  by Jasper Fforde

This title is the third book in the Thursday Next series, focused on a woman who tracks down criminals in the literary world in an alternate universe. Spec Ops Literary Detective Thursday Next has entered the Well of Lost Plots, where unpublished books wait for publication. In an alternate universe of the United Kingdom, Thursday has vanquished master criminal Acheron Hades and fought the all powerful but vicious Goliath Corporation. Having become an agent of Jurisfiction in the Book World, Thursday learns there are schemes and villains in Book World, just as in the Real World. Apprenticed to Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, Thursday uncovers a plan to pervert Book World, limiting the number of times a book may be read, among other nefarious plans. How she works with both fictional and real characters to thwart the plot provides an exciting adventure, laced with much humor.

Those who know me are aware that I have become a huge fan of Jasper Fforde, whose zany plots remind me of Terry Pratchett, another favorite author. How they invent these worlds and populate them with such imaginative characters, both good and bad guys, amazes me. I can recommend these books to all readers looking for unusual reading.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Image result for lost in a good book by jasper ffordeLost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next, a literary detective in the Special Operations division, has become famous for her work trapping a villain in the pages of Jane Eyre. Set in an alternate universe centered in England, Thursday and he husband Landon start noticing bizarre coincidences that put their lives in danger. Thursday’s father, a renegade time traveler being hunted by the ChronoGuard, keeps finding her in the past and future to warn her about a mysterious substance that will destroy the world if she doesn’t stop it. At the same time Thursday keeps meeting Miss Havisham from Great Expectations to be trained as a book jumper. As the plot threads begin to merge and the characters keep meeting, the book becomes even more engaging. The second in the Thursday Next series, Lost in a Good Book continues Jasper Fforde’s wildly inventive and humorous universe created in The Eyre Affair. While having read the works of literature mentioned is not necessary, familiarity with their plots gives the reader a deeper understanding of this book. Fforde even brings in a character from his Nursery Crime series. This book is great fun and well worth the reader’s time.

Lost in a Good Book sub index

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

the_front_cover_of_the_book_raising_steam_by_terry_pratchettRaising steam by Terry Pratchett

After his father dies in an accident working with steam and metal, 10 year old Dick Simnel vows to make steam his servant. Ten years later, Dick tells his mother he has educated himself in mathematics at the library, knows what went wrong with his father’s work and shows his mother the prototype of a steam engine he calls Iron Girder. After Iron Girder takes a few turns on tracks he’s laid in a field at home, Dick announces he’s taking Iron Girder to the city of Ankh Morpork. Lord Vetinari, tyrant of Ankh Morpork, sends Moist von Lipwig to see this novel machine. Both Moist and Dick realize the potential it has to carry people and goods. Even as Lord Vetinari, Moist and businessman Sir Harry King begin planning what they call the railway, a group of renegade dwarfs called grags begin fomenting a rebellion. As the grags and railway are heading toward open warfare, Moist keeps extending the railway throughout the area.

Since this is a Terry Pratchett book, plot twists and Image result for terry pratchettturns, colorful characters and humor come without pause. Just when the reader suspects what’s coming next, Pratchett springs another surprise. This title also features Moist von Lipwign one of my favorite DiscWorld characters. Published near the end of Pratchett’s much-too-short life, this title is one to treasure.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

Carry On: the Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

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Carry On: the Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

Rowell’s fans will be thrilled with her latest novel detailing the crazy life of Simon Snow as he tries to finish theWatford School of Magicks, fall in love, and save the world.  Simon and his roommate and arch enemy Baz started off as fictional characters in the writer’s 2013 Fangirl.  Simon, his best friend Penny, his sort-of-ex-girlfriend Agatha and Baz join forces to combat the powerful Humdrum which is trying to steal all the world’s magic.  The story may remind readers of the Harry Potter stories, but Rowell’s twists on the genre and strong characters and setting make this title hard to set aside.  I recommend to fans of fantasy, Harry Potter, romances and Rainbow Rowell.

If you’re an an author geek, here’s an interview with her from Book Expo last June.

fangirl               eleanor and park

Click on the book covers for our reviews of her other books.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crooked-kingdom

Crooked Kingdom  by  Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker, leader of the Dregs gang in the fictional city of Ketterdam, plots revenge against those who cheated him of payment for a dangerous and scary robbery job and kidnapped a valuable member of his gang in the first book, Six of Crows. Using the unique talents and abilities of each member of his crew, Kaz makes meticulous plans against both the criminal leader and the outwardly respected merchant who double-crossed him.  Each person in the gang knows only his or her job and even then is not aware of the ultimate purpose. Almost like assembling a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces, Kaz moves ahead, even when it seems his enemies have thwarted him. Without giving away any of the details and ruining the mystery, I can say Crooked Kingdom lives up to the suspense and excitement Bardugo generated in Six of Crows. Readers will find themselves rooting for Kaz and each person in his gang, worried when they seem to be in danger and hopeful that their audacious scheme will destroy their enemies and make their future lives more secure.

 

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Click book for our review of the first book.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

big-over-easy

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

When Humpty Dumpty is found dead in many pieces among the dustbins at the bottom of a garden wall in a seedy part of town, Detective Inspector Jack Spratt of the Nursery Crimes Division investigates with his partner Sgt. Mary Mary.

They find Humpty was involved in shady and mysterious dealings, had an exwife and numerous girlfriends and had not been seen in public in the past year. The coroner finds several possible causes of death, but everyone in town seems to have liked Humpty, even the possible suspects. As they investigate Jack and Mary uncover more puzzles, including ties to previous cases that had been assumed solved. In this alternate universe of England where Nursery Rhyme characters live side by side with real people, everyone accepts this situation as perfectly ordinary.

Loaded with tons of humor and imagination, The Big Over Easy has laughs aplenty and constant surprises. This new series follows author Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, also based in an alternate England where real characters track literary crimes and are able to move from the real world into books. Just when the reader thinks the murderer will be revealed the plot takes another U-turn. Nothing is resolved until literally the last page.

Review by Ms. Goldstein-Erickson