Next book


From the The Silver Mountain Series series , Vol. 1

An engaging adventure that shows the strength that can be discovered amid tragedy.

This middle-grade debut finds an audacious child—with a knack for bonding with animals—thrown into peril by her scheming uncle.

In 1908, 12-year-old Clothilde is the only child of Lord and Lady Ashton, new residents of Fairfax, Oregon. Preferring the name Chloe, the precocious girl loves to explore the nearby wilds while her parents run the Mercantile, an imported fabric shop. Life feels idyllic, as Chloe realizes that the house’s staff and woodland creatures alike adore her. Then one day, tragedy strikes her parents, leaving her family shattered. Chloe retreats into a world of literature and befriends a remarkably intelligent white rat whom she names Shakespeare. Further change comes in the form of Uncle Blake Underwood, who arrives to help maintain the Mercantile. But Blake is the shiftiest of characters and quickly compromises the entire estate. He abducts Chloe, bringing her by horse-drawn carriage among a band of vagabonds, intending to sell her. Not without her own natural gifts, Chloe comes to know and speak with Greybelle, her uncle’s horse. The mare describes her own tragic past as well as an ancient battle between the mountains themselves that left the landscape in ruins. If the girl is to escape, she must learn the extent of her own abilities, and just how deep the land’s magic runs. In this appealing novel, Rios writes with an abiding love of nature, illustrating in scene after scene the power people may draw from it. When Chloe displays wonder that animals understand her, Greybelle says, “The respect you show to all beings—human, animal, or plant—is also your ‘voice,’ and they all hear it loud and clear.” As her fortunes wax and wane, Chloe meets other charismatic individuals like the Artist and Mrs. Goodweather. Rios keeps the danger real by using only low-key magic—like enchanted paintings and pies—that feels “so familiar and so natural that it was almost not like magic at all.” The mystery surrounding a suspiciously cloistered hospital and its reckless ambulance drivers should draw readers to the sequel.

An engaging adventure that shows the strength that can be discovered amid tragedy.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63152-244-4

Page Count: 344

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2017

Next book


A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind.

In this companion novel to 2013’s If He Had Been With Me, three characters tell their sides of the story.

Finn’s narrative starts three days before his death. He explores the progress of his unrequited love for best friend Autumn up until the day he finally expresses his feelings. Finn’s story ends with his tragic death, which leaves his close friends devastated, unmoored, and uncertain how to go on. Jack’s section follows, offering a heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live with grief. Jack works to overcome the anger he feels toward Sylvie, the girlfriend Finn was breaking up with when he died, and Autumn, the girl he was preparing to build his life around (but whom Jack believed wasn’t good enough for Finn). But when Jack sees how Autumn’s grief matches his own, it changes their understanding of one another. Autumn’s chapters trace her life without Finn as readers follow her struggles with mental health and balancing love and loss. Those who have read the earlier book will better connect with and feel for these characters, particularly since they’ll have a more well-rounded impression of Finn. The pain and anger is well written, and the novel highlights the most troublesome aspects of young adulthood: overconfidence sprinkled with heavy insecurities, fear-fueled decisions, bad communication, and brash judgments. Characters are cued white.

A heavy read about the harsh realities of tragedy and their effects on those left behind. (author’s note, content warning) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781728276229

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Next book


From the Powerless Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes.

The Plague has left a population divided between Elites and Ordinaries—those who have powers and those who don’t; now, an Ordinary teen fights for her life.

Paedyn Gray witnessed the king kill her father five years ago, and she’s been thieving and sleeping rough ever since, all while faking Psychic abilities. When she inadvertently saves the life of Prince Kai, she becomes embroiled in the Purging Trials, a competition to commemorate the sickness that killed most of the kingdom’s Ordinaries. Kai’s duties as the future Enforcer include eradicating any remaining Ordinaries, and these Trials are his chance to prove that he’s internalized his brutal training. But Kai can’t help but find Pae’s blue eyes, silver hair, and unabashed attitude enchanting. She likewise struggles to resist his stormy gray eyes, dark hair, and rakish behavior, even as they’re pitted against each other in the Trials and by the king himself. Scenes and concepts that are strongly reminiscent of the Hunger Games fall flat: They aren’t bolstered by the original’s heart or worldbuilding logic that would have justified a few extreme story elements. Illogical leaps and inconsistent characterizations abound, with lighthearted romantic interludes juxtaposed against genocide, child abuse, and sadism. These elements, which are not sufficiently addressed, combined with the use of ableist language, cannot be erased by any amount of romantic banter. Main characters are cued white; the supporting cast has some brown-skinned characters.

A lackluster and sometimes disturbing mishmash of overused tropes. (map) (Fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9798987380406

Page Count: 538

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023

Close Quickview