There is so much good material here, where to start? The first book in this series is full of accidents and accented with grisly murders. Set in the 17th century era of King Charles II, it has a unique sense of curiosity. The book, written from the perspective of an apothecary masters apprentice, Christopher, from a strict orphanage and telling his story up through his first few years of apprenticeship. Even though the characters are set in the 1600’s, this gives it a lot of relate-able material for the younger generation while appealing to an older generation through the bonds in which Christopher makes.
Kevin Sands tackles integrating chemistry concepts in a fun, appealing and explosive way into his story. Much like chemistry, the story mixes elements of friendship, parental love, religion and growing up to create a concoction that is truly rewarding. The way in which Sands lays these elements into the story as concepts within mysteries and riddles within codes has definitely created a niche story element that keeps a captivating pace throughout.
I have yet to start the second book in the series, but I am definitely hungry to read where Sands writes Christopher next. Without giving the ending away, there are some devilish twists that leave several loose threads!
After several years of direct library experience I wanted to create a space to provide my two cents on librarianship, chronicle my lessons learned and share some insight.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
This series focuses on making the reader question what is good and what is evil, can you do evil in the name of good or can doing good be evil? When a good and bad girl get swapped in their schools for becoming a princess and becoming a villain, things start being put to question really fast all in the pursuit of their "ever after". The best part is the weaving of classic fairy tale characters into this epic trilogy, they fit into the story perfectly and added a whole other level of questioning right and wrong ethics.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This dark trilogy weaves European history into a fantastic story of a small town kids self realization and acceptance. It has a fast pace with lots of action and I appreciated that the darker side of this story was not sugar coated, it had me on edge the whole time!
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Prepare to have your imagination blown away by this immeasurably creative adventure where magic is based on color, but what happens when a girl is born with no color? This story deals with being a complete outcast of society, being ridiculed and finding ones own self worth. I seriously hope there is another book coming by this author as imaginative doesn't even contain the world that Mafi created in this story.
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Another good author friend of mine, Gail never fails to impress with her writings. She comes from a humble background in archaeology and with her strong female lead character Alexia she writes a supernatural steampunk story that is sure to captivate as Alexia struggles to find her way in a society that just doesn't want to make room for her or her strange powers.
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
It is hard to put this series down for sure, the story focuses on a young child dealing with loss, depression and of course his worst Nightmares! This series is an easy read, but it really captures the perspective of how a child deals with these issues. It is a brave series to say the least.
Geist by Philippa Ballantine
A friend of mine, Pip writes a strong female character in this fantasy series that puts her character Sorcha smack dab in the middle of the worlds of the living and the dead. A series that was difficult to put down, but also one that I with there were more of. It is difficult to find a fantasy so well written and empowering of a lead female character. I love Pip's ability to capture all of this.
The Diabolical Miss Hyde: An Electric Empire Novel by Viola Carr
Ok, seriously, things could not get more exciting with this steampunk story about the famous Dr. Jekyll's daughter Dr. Eliza Jekyll and her investigation of the "the Chopper" murderer. Carr crafted a fast paced thriller that twists the ending so much...well you'll have to read it yourself to find out!
A Study in Silks (The Baskerville Affair) by Emma Jane Holloway
Evelina Cooper, she is the niece of Sherlock Holmes. This is a steampunk masterpiece that has just about everything: magic, machines, secrets, crazy action, and all the thrills one expects when love and fear come crashing together. Emma Jane impresses me with this series beyond measure.
Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Series) by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
A re-imagined Edwardian Era England is the perfect place to set this steampunk series that revolves around the strong willed Agent Eliza Braun, I adore her. She is partnered with the meek yet intelligent librarian, Agent Wellington Books (go librarians) in an adventure that rivals that of James Bond.
The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly by Ted Sanders
This is truly an amazing work of writing. I feel that is on par with Harry Potter, but mixed with science! Sanders creates an eccentric and mysterious world and plot embedded in our everyday real world. I felt a constant pull at questioning the motives of the characters...high recommendations for this book and worth every word!
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Set in the 17th century era of King Charles II, it has a unique sense of curiosity. Kevin Sands tackles integrating chemistry concepts in a fun, appealing and explosive way. The story mixes elements of friendship, parental love, religion and growing up to create a concoction that is truly rewarding. I have yet to start the second book in the series, but I am definitely hungry to read where Sands writes Christopher next.
The Thickety by J.A. White
A witch-hunt in the world of children with magic balanced as the problem and solution. J.A. White authored an amazing fairy tale, three previous books, filled with intense emotion. I have been anxiously anticipating the final book for nearly a year and I devoured its pages with my eyes. The story follows a brother and sister as victims of a witch-hunt that turns into a mistake that could end the world.
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
I am only on book two of this six book series. Fast paced adventure that does not leave the emotions behind, combine this with the rich retelling of some of everyone's favorite fairy tales and you have a golden egg of a series. Set in two worlds, the fairy tale world and the modern day world, the story follows twins Alex and Connor on quite an adventure in both worlds.