Title: The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Published by: Scholastic Press
Publication date: September 13, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.
Sharon Cameron wrote Rook, which was one of my favorite books in 2015. Naturally, when I saw The Forgetting on the shelf at the library, I snatched it up. Cameron knows how to write a suspenseful story and a timely romance. I like that she takes her time with the romances in her books; it makes them more realistic. Her books also keep you guessing about character motives and trustworthiness.
My reading list was smaller this year, and I fell behind on reviewing several of my favorites. Several on this list are mini reviews because I never got around to a blog post about them. I also read a lot of sequels to books I read in 2015, which I enjoyed more than most of the other books I read. The last three books on my list this year are sequels to books from my Top Ten 2015 list. Below are my absolute favorites from 2016. Happy reading!
Rebel of the Sands
A gunslinger who turns out to be more than a really good shot. I have yet to officially review this one, but I liked the characters, and world building. There’s a bit of a trend for Middle Eastern mythology in YA fantasy right now. I like it. It’s interesting and fresh. There’s some violence and kissing, but mostly clean. Recommended for everyone 14 and up.
Walk on Earth a Stranger & Like a River Glorious
I love this series. I just finished Like a River Glorious and was not disappointed. The historical aspects of the books are educational, and Lee is an inspiration as the uncertain, but determined heroine.
The Falconer Series
Author: Elizabeth May
The Vanishing Throne
The Fallen Kingdom (Ex. Pub June 2017)
Published by: Chronicle Books LLC
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Romance
Amazon Summary for The Falconer
Edinburgh, 1844. Beautiful Aileana Kameron only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. In fact, she's spent the year since her mother died developing her ability to sense the presence of Sithichean, a faery race bent on slaughtering humans. She has a secret mission: to destroy the faery who murdered her mother. But when she learns she's a Falconer, the last in a line of female warriors and the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity, her quest for revenge gets a whole lot more complicated. The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller blends romance and action with steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.
I’m minutes from finishing The Vanishing Throne, and I’m still reeling from Elizabeth May’s cliffhanger! It’s her thing. I was hoping this book wouldn’t end as abruptly as the first; it was only slightly better. Despite May’s less-than-appealing method for ending stories, she writes a really fun series.
Aileana is to fae as Buffy is to vampires—she slays them with super human strength and speed. And like Buffy, Aileana is inconspicuous in her role. A select few know of her gift while she attempts to protect humans from being consumed by faeries. Aileana is fueled by revenge for her mother’s death, but also by love for her friends. She feels responsible for the lives of all mankind, and carries the weight of their protection on her shoulders. But she’s not alone. Kiaran is Aileana’s trainer and partner against the fae, but he’s also an extremely powerful one himself with lots of secrets.
Title: Walk On Earth A Stranger
Author: Rae Carson
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Western, Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.
When I started this book, I remembered that I’ve already read a series by Rae Carson. I enjoyed her Fire and Thorns trilogy a few years ago and recommend it for everyone 12 and older. I like that Carson develops realistic relationships between her characters, both in friendship and romance. Her romantic developments might be a little too slow moving for some, but I find the simmering approach charming, delighting in every small, secret smile.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is a fantastical western based in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The story follows a young girl forced to trek across young America on her own, hoping to reunite with her best friend, Jefferson. It’s the Oregon Trail (Oh no, you died of Cholera! You've killed an offensive amount of bison and cannot carry all that meat, leave it behind for scavengers. Ford the river! Talulla suffered a snakebite [lose 3 days]) featuring a magical girl who can sense gold—Leah (Lee).
Title: Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication date: February 9, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.
But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.
With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.
A trek across an eternally dark landscape, not a lot happens in Reign of Shadows. Mostly world building and character development, the story follows Luna and Fowler and their growing affection for one another. But that character development didn’t always feel consistent, and details in the world building were abrupt at times (tree wolves – Digger! What happened to you? And why were you there at all?? Gigantor bats, plain old rabbits, oh and a mutated octopus eels were also in the story, but there could’ve been more background to these large, strange animals).
I loved Luna when we first meet her, then I loved her even more when her disability is illuminated. A soldier has trained her, so she’s capable, and she has these super sensitive senses that give her an advantage to everyone. She’s also compassionate. However, despite being more than capable, I was disappointed as the book went on when she became more of a damsel in distress. I wanted to see her kick butt, and defend herself; instead Fowler almost continually jumps in to save her. Granted, he is very protective, but all I’m saying is the girl has skillz and I wanted to see her use them.
“Luna was like that flower: innocent on the outside, but dangerous to anyone who got too close. Even me.” – Fowler
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.