Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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A gritty and nuanced tale of love and revenge in the wild west, Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman will leave you swooning and thirsty for more.

vengeance roadWhen Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

Bowman sucks readers in immediately with the easy going vernacular of a young woman raised in the old west, and the immediacy of the story’s plot already in action. There’s no waiting around for things to unfold — Bowman drops her readers right into the thick of the action, and it’s a nonstop ride until the very end.

And as if that stunning cover weren’t enough to draw you in, Bowman has crafted a top-notch book about the many ways people overcome their grief, layered with a story about vengeance and unexpected love. Family, too, plays an important role in the story, and in the characters’ motivations.

Vengeance Road is also thoroughly researched. Drawing inspiration from old legends, Bowman transport readers to 1877 Arizona — making them feel the desert heat, see the golden landscapes, and sense the dirt on their shoes. The writing creates reactions in all of your senses — not just emotions, but conjuring up tastes and smells and tactile feelings.

Vengeance Road is in stores now.

 

Book Review: Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

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Four of the most pivotal years in a person’s life are chronicled within the pages of Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler, a beautiful and raw look at the interconnecting lives of five teenagers, and how much can change during the course of high school.

infinite in betweenPrintz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.

The real beauty of this book is how Mackler follows the teens throughout significant moments over their four years of high school. It’s truly a coming of age story told unlike any other. Those four years a teen spends in high school are so critical and so formative in who a person becomes; Infinite in Between really captures that process and shows how it’s moments both big and small that contribute to the process.

I was initially wary of a book that promised to cover so much — not just four years of high school, but the lives of five different characters. And yet, Mackler managed to pluck out just the most significant moments from each characters’ lives and each year of school to really beautifully capture their transition from childhood to adulthood. Because even though we all do a lot of maturing and growing up after high school, it’s during those four years that much of our adult selves begin to take shape. We define who we want to be as individuals; what impact we want to have on the world; what we want to do with our lives.

And that’s what Infinite in Between captures so beautifully: the journey to these realizations.

Infinite in Between is in stores September 1st.

Book Review: The Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton

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Easily one of the best middle grade books I’ve read in ages, The Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton promises to become an instant classic for readers young and old alike.

vanishing islandDoes the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

Wolverton’s writing is delightful, transporting readers easily to Bren’s world: first, his dismal life in Map — and then his adventures aboard a Dutch ship, as they search for the mysterious and titular Vanishing Island. I was instantly swept away by the story, and honestly can’t wait for the next installment in Wolverton’s fantastic new middle grade saga.

Packed with humor, adventure, and important (but not heavy-handed) messages about life and growing up, mixed in with exciting locations and wonderfully charming characters, The Vanishing Island contains all the ingredients for a perfect middle grade series — and lives up to that promise.

Wbat’s more, Wolverton doesn’t hold back for his young readers. The Vanishing Island is not a warm and fuzzy story. The novel includes plenty of gore and violence, and Wolverton doesn’t shy away from being raw and honest in his portrayal of the world’s darker aspects. (That said, it IS still age-appropriate!) In many ways, it’s this brutal honesty that makes for the best middle grade stories. (Let’s be honest; Harry Potter was pretty dark. And I’m certain fellow fans of the boy wizard will adore The Vanishing Island, just as I did.)

The adventure sets sail September 1st when The Vanishing Island hits store shelves.

Book Review: A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

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A dazzling tale of courage, friendship, and love, A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano is a wondrous and beautifully-written story about facing our darkest tragedies.

a curious tale of the in-betweenPram Bellamy is special—she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

It’s hard at any age to talk about death, and yet in A Curious Tale of the In-Between, DeStefano has found a way to make the subject accessible for her readers (both children and adults, alike). As one of the characters comments, “Death isn’t a punishment. It’s just what comes next.” DeStefano’s writing is so beautiful and elegant as she takes us along on Pram and Clarence’s time together. The story both evokes a time gone by, and yet is just as easily timeless. It’s not the time or place or setting that matters really; and that’s the point, I think. That this story is about the characters and their experiences.

Throughout the story, DeStefano’s characters display incredible courage and love. Pram and Clarence are such a wonderful pair; but so, too, are Prams’ aunts and Clarence’s father; Pram’s ghost-friend Felix. Their emotions give the story a raw honesty that makes the book’s message so much more compelling.

I was swept away by Pram’s world and her gifts, and her extraordinary journey. I was riveted to find out what would happen next, and to witness her growth as a character. If this is a standalone, I am wholly satisfied with what DeStefano has provided. And yet, if this turns out to be a series, and there are more adventures in store for Pram and her companions, I will gladly hop aboard for the ride.

A Curious Tale of the In-Between is in stores September 1st.

Book Review: Lilliput by Sam Gayton

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A delightful and charming new take on Gulliver’s Travels, Lilliput by Sam Gayton proves you can be brave at any size.

lilliputInspired by Gulliver’s Travels, Lilliput is an exhilarating adventure filled with cunning escape plans, evil clock makers, and very talkative parrots. Join Lily as she travels through 18th century London over rooftops, down chimneys, and into chocolate shops on a journey to find the one place in the world where she belongs…home.

I adored this charming take on Jonathan Swift’s classic story, following the little Lillipution Lily as she tries to escape from Gulliver’s attic apartment and find her way back home. Along the way, she makes some unlikely friends and faces down some sinister foes.

Gayton’s writing is enchanting and inviting, bringing readers into Lily’s world. The story is lovingly enhanced by Alice Ratterree’s beautiful illustrations, which add another level of charm to Lilliput. The story is a quick read, but engaging and delightful all the same for readers of all ages. This is the perfect book for adults to read together with their kids — and opens to door to a whole world of literature, starting with Swift’s original story and exploring other works inspired by Gulliver’s Travels. (A wonderful author’s note at the end of the book explains the rich history of Gulliver “fan fiction.”)

Lilliput is in stores now.

 

Book Review: Resonance by Erica O’Rourke

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The multi-verse saga that began in Dissonance comes to a thrilling conclusion in Resonance by Erica O’Rourke.

resonanceAs a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.

Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him.

She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.

In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice…

The action in this second novel climbs to epic proportions, as Del and her friends race to save Simon and the multi-verse. A fast-paced adventure takes readers throughout multiple worlds, as Del struggles to figure out right from wrong, and figure out whose side she’s really on — and who she can really trust. The result is a world on the brink of revolution, with Del and her friends at the center of it.

Filled with romance, intrigue, and betrayal, Resonance is the continuation of Del’s story that readers have been eager to follow. For readers unfamiliar with this series, now is the perfect time to dive-in: since it’s a duology, you can read both volumes back-to-back for a truly exhilarating (and wait-free) experience.

I loved Dissonance, and this stunning sequel does not disappoint. Resonance is in stores now.

Book Review: Ghostlight by Sonia Gensler

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A creeptastic story filled with heart, Ghostlight by Sonia Gensler is as much about facing our inner demons, as it is about facing ghosts.

ghostlightAvery is looking forward to another summer at Grandma’s farm, at least until her brother says he’s too old for “Kingdom,” the imaginary world they’d spent years creating. Lucky for her, there’s a new kid staying in the cottage down the road: a city boy with a famous dad, Julian’s more than a little full of himself, but he’s also a storyteller like Avery. So when he announces his plan to film a ghost story, Avery is eager to join in.

Unfortunately, Julian wants to film at Hilliard House, a looming, empty mansion that Grandma has absolutely forbidden her to enter. As terrified as Avery is of Grandma’s wrath, the allure of filmmaking is impossible to resist.

As the kids explore the secrets of Hilliard house, eerie things begin to happen, and the “imaginary” dangers in their movie threaten to become very real. Have Avery and Julian awakened a menacing presence? Can they turn back before they go too far?

Let’s start by talking about this book’s creep factor. It’s massive. Though written for middle grade readers, even I found myself getting spooked. So much so, in fact, that at point I had to force myself to stop reading it before bed, because it was creeping me out too much. And then when I did resume reading before bed, I ended up staying up too late to finish it because — again — I was getting creeped out! But the experience was well worth being spooked, because Ghostlight is not only a 100% creepy ghost story, it’s also a story about family, love, and facing your own fears and doubts.

Gensler’s writing is lovely, painting a vivid picture of the farm where Avery spends her summers and the buildings located there — including the creeptastic Hilliard House, but also the cottage where Julian is staying, and the house where Avery’s grandmother lives. Each location comes to life.

And as much as the story is about the mysterious past that lead to Hilliard House’s haunting, Ghostlight is really about the present and the future. It’s about facing inner turmoil and finding a way to move forward; it’s about growing up. It’s about family.

Ghostlight is in stores tomorrow.

Book Review: All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder

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I am so thrilled today to be hosting a stop on the official blog tour for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder. Be sure to keep reading after our review for your chance to win a copy of the book, or a Powell’s gift card!

An ultimately uplifting story about second chances and making the most of what you’ve got, All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder is the end-of-the-world story you didn’t know you needed.

all we have is nowWhat do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes — and gives them his wallet full of money.

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day — maybe even their own.

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So what would YOU do if you had only 24 hours left to live? It’s a terrifying thought — and Schroeder tackles this terror head-on through her characters in All We Have is Now. The range of emotions they experience — so honest and raw — and relatable to anyone who has ever thought about the eventual end of their lives. (And don’t we all think about our mortality at some time?)

Schroeder’s approach to the end of the world is refreshingly optimistic, and her story is an ultimately hopeful and uplifting one. Even as the world devolves into chaos — and the end does NOT bring out the best in everyone — Schroeder shows ways to make the most of what you are given. Her characters seize the opportunity to make their final hours count, and try and improve the lives of those around them as best they can.

Connecting Schroeder’s story, written in traditional prose, are several beautiful passages in verse. These passages serve almost as landmarks in the story, and add an unexpected grace and beauty to the book. Some of my favorite parts of All We Have is Now are from the verse chapters. They are just so lovely.

An inspiring story about cherishing the intangible, important things in life, All We Have is Now is in stores now.

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WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“Thoughtful, endearing, and surprisingly fun — a reminder of what’s really important in life.”

–Suzanne Young, New York Times bestselling author of The Program

“All We Have Is Now is one of those books my teenage self needed — a thoughtfully crafted reminder that every moment is a gift and that we should be kind, especially to ourselves.”

–Julie Murphy, author of Side Effects May Vary

“Heartwarming and hopeful. I’d take this book with me to the apocalypse!”

–Amy Plum, internationally bestselling author of the Die for Me series

FROM LISA

How did the idea for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW come about?

lisa schroederWhen I was in high school, I had a leadership class where we did lots of different activities and exercises. One of the most memorable ones was when we all sat in a circle and our teacher, Mrs. Smith, said something like: “Imagine the world is going to end in 24 hours. I’d like you to share with us how you would spend those last 24 hours.” What made it so memorable was how emotional people got as they spoke of the ones they love the most, or relatives they hadn’t seen in a while and wouldn’t be able to see again. It wasn’t long before almost everyone was crying. It was strange and kind of eerie, but also wonderful, because it was such a great reminder of what matters most. Of course, the class clown, a kid named Eric, gave us all a break from our tears when it was his turn and he said something like, “I’d find a girl and we would have a fun 24 hours, and that’s all I’m gonna say.”

I’ve always been fascinated with meteors and asteroids. The one that happened over Russia in 2013 was slightly terrifying, seeming to come out of nowhere and creating a huge blast in the sky, injuring over 130 people. As I thought about writing a book that dealt with that question of – how would you spend the last 24 hours – this seemed like a unique premise to play with.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Schroeder is the author of over a dozen books for kids and teens, including the YA novels I Heart You, You Haunt Me and The Bridge From Me to You. She loves tea and cookies, flowers, family hikes, books and movies that make her laugh and cry, and sunshine. Living in Oregon, she doesn’t get nearly enough sunshine, but the hikes are amazing. You can visit her online at http://www.lisaschroederbooks.com on Twitter at @lisa_schroeder.

Visit Lisa Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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The author will be giving away $40 Powells e-gift card (US) OR a signed copy of All We Have Is Now (INT) to the winner of the below Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends August 5th.

Fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE!

 

Book Review: The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

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We are so excited today to be hosting one of the stops on the tour celebrating the release of Dr. Seuss’s new book!

what pet should i getThe manuscript & illustrations for What Pet Should I Get? were discovered in the home of the late author back in Fall of 2013. With today’s publication, it becomes the first original new Dr. Seuss book to be published since 1990’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go.

Featuring the brother & sister from Dr. Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, What Pet Should I Get? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment, choosing a pet.

To celebrate its release, we’re joining up with 43 other bloggers to review Dr. Seuss’s first 44 books.

butter battle bookThis was such a treat for me, given what a huge role these books played in my childhood. When asked which book I wanted to review, my first pick was The Butter Battle Book. I have so many fond memories of this book, and the animated adaptation I used to watch on TV — with the catchy “Butter Side Up/Butter Side Down” song.

Reading the book years later as an adult, I was MUCH more aware of the political aspect of the book. I remembered enough of the story that I expected as much — but what I did not remember was the book being so grim! As the conflict between the Zooks and the Yooks escalates, each sides takes more dramatic — and more violent — means to win their bread buttering dispute.

It’s interesting to me that the GoodReads description for this book emphasizes that The Butter Battle Book is about teaching tolerance and acceptance, when it’s actually well-known that Dr. Seuss wrote this book as a very loosely-veiled anti-war manifesto. (It was published during the peak of the Cold War.)

Given the historical context, and reading the book as an adult, I had a VERY different experience than when I enjoyed The Butter Battle Book as a child. That said, this grim, anti-war satire is a good way to broach the difficult subject matter of war with children.

Dr. Seuss 44 Classic Book Celebratory Tour
  1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, 1937 – The Young Folks.com
  2. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938 – Bookish Antics
  3. The Seven Lady Godivas, 1939 – The Eater of Books
  4. The King’s Stilts, 1939 – On Starships and Dragonwings
  5. Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940 – The Book Cellar
  6. McElligot’s Pool, 1947 – Media Mikes
  7. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, 1948 –Mommie of 2
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck, 1949 – Nonperfect Parenting
  9. If I Ran the Zoo, 1950 – Live to Read
  10. Scrambled Eggs Super! 1953 – Word Spelunking
  11. Horton Hears a Who! 1954 – Bookiemoji
  12. On Beyond Zebra! 1955 – Jessabella Reads
  13. If I Ran the Circus, 1956 – Book Hounds
  14. The Cat in the Hat, 1957 – The Bookbag
  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1957 – Nightly Reading
  16. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958 – Winter Haven Books
  17. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, 1958 – Alice Marvels
  18. Happy Birthday to You! 1959 – Chapter by Chapter
  19. Green Eggs and Ham, 1960 – Poland Bananas
  20. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, 1960 – Once Upon a Twilight
  21. The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961 – The Mod Podge Bookshelf
  22. Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, 1962 – Good Books and Good Wine
  23. Dr. Seuss’s ABC, 1963 – The Irish Banana
  24. Hop on Pop, 1963 – Mundie Moms
  25. Fox in Socks, 1965 – Page Turners
  26. I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965 – Book Rock Betty
  27. The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 1967 – Giveaway Train
  28. The Foot Book, 1968 – I Am A Reader
  29. I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories, 1969 – Cuddlebuggery
  30. I Can Draw It Myself, 1970 – The Children’s Book Review
  31. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? 1970 – Curling Up with a Good Book
  32. The Lorax, 1971 – Elizziebooks
  33. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972 – Reading with ABC
  34. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? 1973 – Me, Myshelf, and I
  35. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, 1973 – Paperback Princess
  36. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! 1974 – Presenting Lenore
  37. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! 1975 – YA Books Central
  38. The Cat’s Quizzer, 1976 – Lille Punkin’
  39. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978 – Confessions Of A Vi3tbabe
  40. Oh Say Can You Say? 1979 – Ex Libris
  41. Hunches in Bunches, 1982 – No BS Book Reviews
  42. The Butter Battle Book, 1984 – Novel Novice
  43. You’re Only Old Once! 1986 – Dad of Divas
  44. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 1990  – Jesse the Reader

ABOUT DR. SEUSS

Dr SeussTheodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.

ABOUT WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?

In the Fall of 2013, an original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr. Seuss, aka Ted Geisel, was discovered in the La Jolla, California home of the late beloved children’s author. That complete manuscript was for the picture book, WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?, and will be published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015. It is the first original new Dr. Seuss book since the publication of the last book of Dr. Seuss’s career, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in 1990. WHAT PET SHOULD I GET? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and features the brother and sister characters that Dr. Seuss drew in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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A stunning and seductive story about love, betrayal, and sacrifice, The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh will leave readers gutted and begging for more.

wrath and the dawnEvery dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Let’s start with the wonderful characters. It is easy to see why Khalid is so intrigued by Shahrzad — as readers, we are as pulled into her charisma and verve as the Caliph is. Likewise, we are intrigued by this “monster boy-king” and the mysterious torment that plagues him; clearly there is more to his story than he lets his people believe — and, like Shahrzad, we are drawn to him and to the desire to know why he has done these monstrous things.

And while Shahrzad and Khalid are at the center of the story, Ahdieh has filled The Wrath & the Dawn with a bevy of supporting characters who really bring the story into vivid detail. This book would not be so richly rewarding to read were it not for ALL of these characters; Jalal and Despina and Tariq and the Rajput and the General and more. These are the characters that give meaning and purpose to everything that Shahrzad and Khalid must face.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that The Wrath & the Dawn is just beautifully written. Each description is so sumptuous, readers will be transported to Khorasan — and will see this fictional world come to life before them. (And if you’re anything like me, you’ll also be craving some delicious Middle Eastern feasts — the FOOD in this book! I was so hungry while reading this!!!)

But what really clinched my love of this book is the chapter titled, “Oblivion.” It falls on page 342 in the hardcover, and it’s the point where The Wrath & the Dawn becomes a truly extraordinary book; where every expectation you might have had about where things were going will be shattered. I literally cried out, out loud (sorry, sleeping husband!) at one point — and fought back tears as I continued reading. This chapter changes everything. And the book was already fantastic to begin with — but this is the major turning point, where in any other writer’s hands, the book could have gone one of several predictable routes and become mundane, even ruining what had already been written to this point. But no, Ahdieh shifts her players and her characters in unlikely ways, and the result is a gut-wrenching and achingly beautiful portrayal of what true love really means.

This book — and this chapter in particular — left me gutted in the best possible way, and I’m still not over it (nor do I wish to be). The Wrath & the Dawn is in stores now.