Category Archives: mystery

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

the last magicianEsta is a talented thief and a powerful Mageus who, though she can travel through time, is stuck in New York City.  Why?  Because the Order, a group that despises Mageus, has manipulated magic to created something called the Brink.  Any Mageus who end up inside the Brink become stuck inside because crossing the Brink essentially drains their powers and kills them.  And because of this Brink, magic is dwindling and dying out.  But Esta is working on a way to take down the Brink.  All she needs to do is travel back in time to steal a particular magical book.  The problem, of course, is that she needs to get that book from 1902, when not only the Order but also powerful gangs and corrupt politicians hold quite a bit of power over the Mageus in New York City.  This book felt almost as if it were the marriage of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Gangs of New York… Fantastic fun!  (I can’t wait until the second book in the series, The Devil’s Thief, is released in October.)

Happy Reading!

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

32571395[1]Addy, Bronwyn, Cooper, Nate, and Simon all ended up in detention because they were caught with cell phones in their bags during class.  The weird thing is that they all swore they didn’t own the phones with which they were caught.  Even weirder is that only one of these kids seemed a likely candidate for detention.  Nate was already on probation for dealing drugs, but the rest of these kids just didn’t fit.  Addy was a popular girl and homecoming queen who didn’t do much besides follow her boyfriend around like a puppy.  Bronwyn was a brainy, “good girl” who had never been in trouble before.  Cooper was an all-star baseball pitcher and Southern gentleman.  And though Simon was a jerk who ran an app that acted as their school’s gossip column, even he wasn’t considered a trouble maker where teachers were concerned.  But then Simon died in the middle of their detention and the other four ended up becoming murder suspects!

I think this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Some might enjoy it because they like stories that are told from a variety of perspectives — especially since these narrators help to provide insight into how the high school experience might vary depending on one’s cliques, socio-economic status, gender, and sexual orientation.  Some might like the angle of the unlikely friendships and romance that develops as a result of this strange new bond.  And others might simply like this story because it was a good mystery with some interesting twists.  I was pleased to see that I had guessed some of the ending before I got there, but there was plenty more I hadn’t been able to guess on my own.

Happy Reading!

All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

all rights reservedSpeth was nervous about giving her Last Day speech.  She had to do it right or her sponsors could back out on her, or maybe even sue her.  Another lawsuit was the last thing her family needed.  Her parents were already sent into servitude because of the National Inherited Debt Act and the Historical Reparations Agency when it was “discovered” that one of their ancestors had illegally downloaded a song.  And now that Speth was turning 15, she would be given a Cuff so that she could be charged for every word she spoke and every gesture she made — or have her eyeballs shocked if she couldn’t pay.  Speth knew it would be tough to scale back on what she said after 15 years of free speech, but she had no idea she would be tested so soon, or so horribly.  As she was walking across a bridge to give her Last Day speech, her best friend, Beecher, jumped and killed himself.  She literally could not react before giving her Last Day speech or she would be in breech of her contract.  She couldn’t imagine how she would give that speech after what she had just seen, so she decided she just wouldn’t talk.  Ever again.

But how could Speth possibly keep her vow?  She didn’t really consider how she would finish her education.  Get a job.  Or even communicate with friends and family.  It was clear that the corporations and lawyers had taken things too far by copyrighting words, gestures, and even physical likenesses… But how could Speth fight back, let alone lead a revolution, without speaking?    Much like MT Anderson’s Feed, this story challenges readers to consider the consequences of giving corporations and technology too much control over our daily lives.  I can’t wait to see what happens next in the Word$ trilogy.

Happy Reading!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

court of thorns and rosesMy bestie has been telling me to read this book since it first came out, but I stupidly added it to my TBR list and didn’t really follow through.  Even when a coworker and a couple other acquaintances started telling me to read it, I decided that I had a few other things I wanted to read first and put it off a bit longer.  Well…  That was kinda dumb!  Although I will admit that part of me is actually glad I waited — because it means I don’t have to wait for the next couple of the books in the series to be published and can just keep reading!  😉

I am not a huge fan of “epic fantasy” because there always seem to be a million characters and countries to learn, but this book landed safely within my comfort zone.  Sure, there were several kingdoms involved and a handful of characters to track, but it was all very manageable.  I was also relieved to see that Maas avoided the “helpless damsel in distress” trope and went for a strong female lead.  Growing up, I found myself gravitating to Belle rather than any of the other Disney princesses because she spoke her mind and did the saving instead of waiting to be saved.  And though some people might draw comparisons between Feyre and Belle, what with the whole going to live with a beast and sacrificing herself to protect her family thing, she is really quite different.  Feyre was just so amazing.  She was courageous in the face of adversity, smart though she lacked education, and so selfless it hurt to see how poorly her family treated her.  To avoid anything “spoilery,” let’s just suffice it to say that she only got more amazing as her circumstances became more difficult.  So, yeah…  If you don’t like Feyre, we probably can’t be friends.

Between the graphic violence and the steamy sex scenes, many people will likely feel more comfortable with labeling this book as “New Adult” rather than “Young Adult.”  But, no matter how you choose to label it or which section of the library you choose as its home, this book/series is an essential purchase for public libraries!  And, though it is still labeled as “in production” on IMDB.com, the fact that it has been picked up by German producer Constantin Film is very promising… So you may want to get a few extra copies for when the movie news psyches people up and increases demand.

Happy Reading!

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

the-cheerleadersSunnybrook High doesn’t have cheerleaders anymore.  It wasn’t a hazing scandal or a lack of funding that ended the cheerleading program, though.  It was the fact that Sunnybrook was trying to make it easier to move on from the tragic loss of five cheerleaders.  The first two died in a car accident.  The next two were brutally murdered.  And then the final cheerleader died by suicide.  Five years later, Monica is still struggling to come to terms with her sister’s death and to figure out what really happened.  First of all, Monica is convinced that her sister never would have killed herself.  She also finds it extremely troubling that the man who supposedly murdered two girls was killed as the police attempted to apprehend him.  Her stepfather and his partner swore that they were acting in self-defense, but their story doesn’t quite add up when you consider the evidence at the scene.

When Monica discovers a stack of letters in her stepfather’s desk, it becomes very clear that whatever happaned isn’t actually over.  The letters have been coming every year around the anniversary of the cheerleader tragedy, and they insinuate that all the deaths were somehow connected.  There is also the fact that Monica found her sister’s old cellphone hidden in her stepfather’s desk.  Why on earth would he have kept that?!?  Monica decides that something must be up and she becomes determined to figure out what really happened.  It’s pretty clear to her that *somebody* has to know something more, but she doesn’t know who they are or what they know.  How far is she willing to go to find the truth?  And why does she seem to be smack in the middle of whatever it is that happened?!?

Happy Reading!

The Fall of Innocence by Jenny Torres Sanchez

fall-of-innocenceEmilia had a particularly tough childhood… After surviving a horrific attack behind her elementary school, she was so traumatized that she actually stopped speaking for some time.  In the aftermath of the attack, her father also left because he couldn’t deal.  Now that she is in high school, she is frustrated that she still can’t quite get past the attack.  She sometimes finds herself mentally trapped in the time of the attack and reliving it.  Winters are especially bad, since that was when the attack took place. And attempts to be intimate with her boyfriend seem to be particularly triggering.  To make matters worse, she just found out that the person who attacked her was *not* actually the person she identified and who went to jail.  With the knowledge that she sent an innocent person to jail and that she will likely see him around town once he is released, Emilia isn’t sure how she will make it through this winter.

Though this story doesn’t deal with straight-up amnesia, fans of With Malice will likely enjoy the way this story also unfolds bit by bit to reveal how everything happened.  If you’re looking for a book that will keep you guessing, and on the edge of your seat, you should definitely add this to your summer reading pile.

Happy Reading!

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

little-white-liesAlthough Sawyer’s family was both rich and well-known, and although they lived less than an hour away, Sawyer had no experience with high-society.  Why?  Because her mom was kicked out when she got pregnant during her “deb” season.  All Sawyer knew of her family was what her mother told her — and that was only when her mom wasn’t busy running off with one man or another.  During one of her mother’s sudden departures, Sawyer got a surprise visit from none other than her grandmother…  Who came to give Sawyer the offer of a lifetime.  In exchange for going to stay with her grandmother and participating in the debutante season, Sawyer would receive $500,000.  The money sounded good, but the whole deb thing was less than appealing.  And then Sawyer realized this would also afford her the opportunity to try and figure out who her father was.

Despite the appearances they put forth in public, she quickly found out that the debutantes were far from the meek and mild little ladies they pretended to be.  They were vindictive, calculating, manipulative, and wild.  And before she knew it, Sawyer found herself both making friends and discovering all sorts of secrets about their high-society families.  This story goes back and forth in time, alternating between the debs’ landing in jail and how they got there.  (Though the story is not the same, it had much the same feel as Paul Rudnick’s It’s All Your Fault.)  High-paced action, lots of mystery, and humor that had me actually laughing out loud.  I only wish it was coming out this summer because I think it would be a perfect beach read!  (Sadly, it’s not due out until November 6th.)

Happy Reading!