I expected to like The Left-Handed Booksellers of London (Katherine Tegen Books, 2020) by Garth Nix, and I wasn’t wrong. What’s better than fantasy mixed with booksellers? I’m so happy it is a series and that book two is already out.
Set in an alternative 1983, eighteen-year-old Susan Arkshaw goes to London early for college, but also plans to find out more about her father–a man she’s never met. She doesn’t expect to run into magic. But then she meets Merlin, a left-handed bookseller, in the very upsetting occasion of him killing “Uncle Frank” with a prick of a pin. When he protects her from a horse-sized bug, and says “we’ll both be dead if we stay,” she follows him out the window. It turns out her quest and his overlap. Will they both get the answers they are searching for?
I like the humor, mysteries, and of course the magical parts of this adventure. More than any of the author’s other books, I’d love to see this one made into a movie.
This bestselling author has a number of fantasy titles plus some stand alone books–check them out on his website. Read about Garth Nix here. And, yes, as his FAQ answers, Garth Nix is his real name.
The Kingdom of Back (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) by Marie Lu is such an unexpected story–history and fantasy–about the other Mozart. The sister.
It’s 1759 and Nannerl Mozart wants to be recognized as a musical prodigy. She doesn’t want to be forgotten. Her younger brother Wolfgang is getting more and more attention. While she helps him with his compositions, she is secretly composing herself. But when a stranger from a dream promises she’ll be remembered, things go oddly wrong.
This is Marie’s first historical novel. And is a standalone book. Most of her other books are series. Read about all her titles here. Read about The New York Times bestselling author here. I’m really looking forward to her newest title coming next April: Stars and Smoke.
Winterwood (Simon Pulse, 2019) is another winner by Shea Ernshaw the author of The Wicked Deep.
Each month at full moonrise, Nora Walker enters the woods in search of lost things. “The things that are lost at Jackjaw Lake in summers past are once again found in the woods. Appearing as if the forest is giving them back.” But she never expected to find a body.
I found this spooky romantic book unputdownable. There’s a fun trailer on the author’s website for this book.
Read about NY Times bestselling author Shea and her other books here. I’ve got more books to read! 🙂
Labeled women’s fiction but with a fourteen-year-old character, I believe The Girl with the Louding Voice (Dutton, 2020) by Abi Daré will be a good read for teens, too. It’s such a moving story of hardship and perseverance. And a reminder of the importance of education that we so often take for granted.
In a small village in Nigeria, Adunni just wants to go to school like Papa promised her mother when she was dying. But her father needs money and sells her to an old man who already has two wives. Not only does she have to deal with being forced to have sex (not described graphically), but also with the resentment of one of the other wives. When Adunni is put in an even more terrible situation, she runs away. Only to be sold again–this time as a housemaid in an abusive rich lady’s home in far away Lagos. But Adunni is willing to risk working and speaking up for a chance at a better life no matter how hard things are.
I love the voice of the character–it’s clear from her words that English is a second language–but more than that Adunni’s determination and sense of right and wrong comes through. She is a so admirable. It’s satisfying to see her learning, too.
This great book became a New York Times Bestseller. I wish everyone would read it.
Amazingly, this is Abi Daré’s debut novel. You can read about her here.
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee (Crown, 2019) by Jeff Zenter is so good! It’s a touching story that also brings laughter. And there are great lines, too.
Josie and Delia (aka Rayne and Delilah) are seniors in high school who dress like vampires for the show Midnite Matinee which they host on the local public television station. There they share low budget horror and scifi movies. Each girl has different goals. Josie wants to get into TV and is using the show for practice. Delia is using the show as a connection to her father who left. What happens when each get what she wants?
Jeff Zenter is an award-winning author—read about him here. And you don’t want to miss the “interview” here. This is his third novel.