LCMS Book Reviews and Recommends
Check out the book reviews for your next great read!
ShadowscentPosted by Sarah Wilson on 5/14/2020
Shadowscent by P.M. Freestone
P.M. Freestone crafts a YA fantasy based on magical scents, legends, and shadows. Rakel is gifted in scents and scent making. She wants to be a perfumer in order to help save her father from “the rot.” Then, there is prince Nisai, whose father is dying and leaving him the heir to the Aramtash empire. As the novel unfolds, Nisai is poisoned and in a comatose state. Nisai’s shield (bodyguard) and friend feels responsible for Nisai’s poisoning. Because his life is bound to Nisai’s, he must find a way to help the prince.
When Rakel enters a scent-making competition, things don’t go according to plan and she becomes mixed up in the poisoning of Nisai and is falsely accused of poisoning him. Other forces are at work, and Rakel is assisted in escaping her cell. Ash strikes out to find the person responsible for poisoning Nisai and catches Rakel as she attempts to flee the city. Their destinies become entwined. Will they be able to save each other, Rakel’s father, and the prince before the Imperial Rangers catch them?
This YA novel is more complex than others. Be prepared to take your time, savor the words, and experience the 5 provinces of Aramtash. The setting for Shadowscent has an Arabian feel similar to Aru Sha and the End of Time. Each province has a unique climate and contributes a special scent ingredient to the empire. Are you ready to step into the world of scents and shadows and meet Ash and Rakel? Join them on a mysterious and dangerous quest to flee from the Rangers and save the Prince.
City of BonesPosted by Sarah Wilson on 5/6/2020
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The City of Bones is a YA fantasy novel about Clary, a human teen who discovers that her mother has concealed her Shadowhunter heritage. A ward that blocked Clary from seeing demons and other magical creatures begins to wear off. While at a club with her best friend, Clary follows a boy into a storeroom and observes him killing a demon. The Shadowhunter, Jace, realizes that Clary can see him and the glamour doesn’t work on her. Upon the sudden disappearance of her mother, things take a dangerous turn for Clary. She reunites with Jace when he rescues her from a demon attack. Explore the world of the Shadowhunters in book one of “The Mortal Instruments”.
What I liked about City of Bones is the plot development and twists. I found Clary to be an irritating character—she reminds me of Bella from Twilight as she is in endless trouble and has googly eyes over cute boys. I’m hopeful that she will eventually learn to fend for herself once she learns more about her abilities.
I would recommend this book to readers of YA paranormal fantasy and series such as Cinder, Twilight, or Beautiful Creatures. Read the book, then maybe (?) watch the movie.
The SimilarsPosted by Lindsay Deverall on 5/6/2020
The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Six typical teenagers arrive at Darkwood Academy and are “just like other teenagers in America, they have goals, dreams, fears and ambitions. They can be hurt deeply. They feel pain, love and joy.”
This elite academy has a history and reputation for being one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country. Graduates go on to attend Ivy League schools and later run companies or hold high profile jobs. Parents send their children to Darkwood and so the tradition goes….
These six teens are just like any other junior in high school, except for one thing. They share the exact DNA of six other teens currently attending the Academy. AND. Until this day, most of these students had no idea their clones existed.
Thoughts are mixed. Emotions are high. Competition for grades and to be part of the Elite 10 are great. The six originals find themselves wagering their position at the school against their clone.
Without giving away the plot, this book will really make you think about the ethics behind cloning and the consequences of such experiments.
I would recommend the Similars if you liked the Twilight Series or Hunger Games. If you enjoy, Science Fiction, Mystery, and Romance this book is for you.
I can hardly wait to read the sequal, Pretenders!
Divided We FallPosted by Sarah Wilson on 5/6/2020
Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy
After many boys raved about this novel, I had to read it for myself. Divide We Fall is the first book in a trilogy about Danny Wright, a 17-year old Idaho National Guardsman. Danny is a senior in high school, and he loves football, rodeo, his girlfriend, and hanging out with his friends. Danny has a lot on his shoulders at this age with trying to care for his anxious mom, school, sports, and working at the mechanic shop. His father was an Idaho Guardsman who lost his life in the Iraqi war. Danny decided to sign up for the Idaho National Guard in order to serve his country and make some extra money. Little did he know that his life would be forever changed by this decision.
The story begins with the state of Idaho declaring a new federal law unconstitutional. The federal government wants all citizens to carry an ID card that is chipped. This chip can locate lost cards. The governor of Idaho declares that the new cards are an invasion of privacy. This sets off a series of events that pits the state against the federal government and places Danny in the middle.
This genre is one that I typically do not read. Once I got past the unrealistic events that set this story in motion, I couldn’t put the book down. I did enjoy meeting Danny and found myself forming my own opinions about the conflict between state and country. Readers who enjoy characters that work through internal struggles and like action and military genres will enjoy this YA action book by Trent Reedy.
The DreamersPosted by Lindsay Deverall on 4/30/2020
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
In a small college town in California the students living in the co-ed dorm begin to experience something very unusual. It begins when a female freshman falls asleep in her bed and doesn’t wake up.
It happens again. And again. Students fall in some sort of dream state. Unable to be awoken. Their breath is shallow, eyes sometimes twitching. Is there something in the air ducts of the building? Medical officials wonder how the disease is spreading. Students in the dorm are ordered to stay in the building to contain the spread of the virus. Another student goes down and another. Students are ordered to stay within the locked doors in the gym, sleeping on cots and eating food wheeled in from the cafeteria by masked employees.
The community begins to prepare. They stock up on supplies. Clear the grocery shelves of canned goods, water and toilet paper. The Air National Guard will not allow people to leave the town. When a person is infected with the virus a black spray painted “X” is placed on their front door.
In this dream state, some people go down for days or weeks or even months. Sleeping peacefully in hospital beds and hooked to I.V.’s to keep hydrated. This disease doesn’t discriminate. Babies, children and adults get the virus and then one day…it DISAPPEARS.
Why did this small, college town become infected? What are the long term effects on the people? And, most importantly, what are they DREAMING?
The Dreamers has many parallels to the virus COVID-19 and the current stay at home order. This book is a great example of how fiction sometimes mirrors reality. I felt very empathathetic for the characters as they anticipated possibly being infected by the virus. Karen Thompson Walker’s beautiful prose makes this book hard to put down.
I would highly recommend The Dreamers!
WishTreePosted by Lindsay Deverall on 4/22/2020
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Red the old Oak tree near the elementary school has 216 rings. Over Red's life span, the tree has provided oxygen, shade in the summer, beauty, and a home to many animals and birds. Red has watched people move into the neighborhood and their great - great grandchildren grow up.
Red's roots are deep and strong. Red's hollows are safe and offer protection. The wise old Red Oak gently says, "Making others feel safe is a fine way to spend your days."
Many years ago, a young girl from Ireland by the name of Maeve tied the first piece of fabric to the branches of Red and made a wish. She wished for someone to love with all of her heart.
I would recommend Wishtree by: Katherine Applegate to all ages. Readers are introduced to several characters, real life struggle and a message of hope in an uncertain future.
Tie pieces fabric and yarn to a tree in your community and make a wish!
The Serpent's SecretPosted by Sarah Wilson on 4/10/2020
I recently enjoyed the novel, The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta. This middle grade fantasy novel has elements that reminded me of Aru Shah, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter. What was your worst birthday ever? Kiranmala's 12th birthday was THE worst. A protective ward wore off resulting in the kidnapping of her parents and a nasty demon, called a rakkhosh, destroyed her home and attacked her. Luckily, she was rescued by two princes from the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers. Suddenly, all of the Bengali folktales that her parents told her began to make sense and Kiranmala discovers that she really is a princess born to the Serpent King and Moon Goddess. Travel with Kiranmala to this kingdom, enjoy riding on a winged horse, solving riddles, saving the day, and trying to rescue her family from being permanently sucked into a black hole. The most memorable line from this story for me: "Everything is connected to everything." Check out the book trailer here.
DragonflyPosted by Sarah Wilson on 10/24/2019
Dragonfly by: Julia Golding
I would highly recommend this book written by author Julia Golding to anybody who loves adventure, fantasy, and even a little romance. This book would be great for anybody looking to try a new style of book.
This book is about a girl named Princess Taoshira of the Blue Crescent Islands. She is forced to marry a foreign prince in another country to form an alliance. When the Prince of Gerfal, Ramil, finds out about this he isn’t too pleased either. When they first meet, they both discover that they are complete opposites and there is no way that this relationship will work. Ramil grew up hunting and gathering, while Princess Taoshira great up very conservative, ritualistic, and proper. One day, Ramil tries to take Taoshira into the forest to teach her how to ride horses. They are both kidnapped by a traveling circus. They want to escape, but it is difficult when they have so many differences. Together they must plan, battle, and dodge obstacles in order to escape. Will they set aside their differences to escape? Will they fall in love?
Read this exciting, action-packed, intense romantic fantasy to find out for yourself. Read-alikes include Dragonswood, The Wizard Heir, and The Exiled Queen.
Reviewed by: library student assistant
A Night DividedPosted by Sarah Wilson on 10/24/2019
A Night Divided by: Jennifer A. Nielsen
I highly recommend this book because it is filled with suspense, risk, history, descriptive writing and emotional, adventurous characters.
Gerta is a small 8-year-old girl that lives with her family in eastern Germany, one night she lies awake in bed listening to her beloved parents argue about escaping their home. Her father and big brother Dominic leave to go find jobs and a home on the west side. Before they could return to gather the rest of their family, on a cold night while everyone was sleeping, their government built the Berlin Wall cutting off the eastern side of Germany from the west. Gerta would never be able to leave or see her father again. After four years of being separated from her family, Gerta finally sees her father on a viewing platform giving her a hint and one thought, dig. She must find a way to dig a tunnel under the wall to escape the prison she calls home while not getting caught in the act. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz must decide if it is worth it to leave or if it is a bigger risk to stay.
This story gives people the idea of what it was like to fight for freedom in this time period. Back then people had to decide to attempt an escape knowing they would risk losing their home, money, family, friends and even their lives. It gives the thoughts, feelings and fears of Gerta living in a society where the government monitored every move she made and word she spoke.
This is an amazing book. The struggle of the time they live in is so well described it will suck the readers in with every page and they will never want to put it down. Middle schoolers who liked this book also might also like The False Prince, The Berlin Boxing Club, Behind Enemy Lines and The Auslander. A Night Divided has the elements of death, loss, questioning and freedom but, reveals the lengths people will go to for a family.
Reviewed by: library student assistant