1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
When I first started reading this book, I didn't realize it was by the same author of both Beastology and Thodosia Series. The writing style is so different. This book was written for a teen audience, while the others were written for middle elementary kids. Grave Mercy is set in a slight alternate Medieval Brittany (France). The old gods were incorporated into the Catholic Religion as saints, and some of the churches serve that god/saint. Ismae was marked as a child to serve St. Mortain, the god of death, as an assassin. Ismae is sent to find out who is plotting treason against the Duchess of Brittany, and eliminate them. I enjoyed the intrigue, but even more so the character development. The Assassin Nuns isn't too shabby of a plot point. This is the first book in the "His Fair Assassin" Series. I look forward to the sequels.
2. The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper
This is another work of historical fiction, although this book is based on the lives of real people. Katherine Ashley was the Governess to Queen Elizabeth I. Not much was known about Katherine Ashley, so a good deal was left up to the author's imagination. I liked how she was made to come from a poorer branch of her family, and by luck managed to make it into Anne Boleyn's household. The story covers a large span of time, from before the birth of Elizabeth, to well into her reign. I enjoyed the interaction between Kat and Elizabeth. I liked that Kat became like a second mother to her. Some of the reviews complain that the author writes like what she is saying is fact. Huh? Isn't that what you do when you write a book? Make it sound realistic? There is an afterward that discuses the historical in/accuracies. What else do you want? A big label on the cover. People take themselves too seriously when reading books based on actual people. Sometimes you just need to let go and enjoy the ride. ::: steps off soapbox:::
3. Museum of Theives by Lian Tanner (Book 1 in the Keepers Trilogy) - target audience: middle school. In this story, the children of the city of Jewel are chained to their parents or guardians until the age of twelve. (The world is just too unsafe for children to go about doing anything on their own. Even dogs are outlawed.) Goldie is at the ceremony for her separation when a bomb goes off. When the "Blessed Guardians" decide to revoke the separation, Goldie runs away. She finds her way to this museum that shifts and moves like it is alive. The museum contains many horrible things like war and pestilence, which is what actually keeps the city safe. Someone wants these evils set loose again. Goldie and the other residents of the museum work to calm the museum and save the town. I thought that the concept of a museum that was "alive" was a neat one. It's a good read for kids who like a bit of fantasy and a bit of dystopia. Neither genre is overwhelming. It's not so fantastical where magic is being slung all over the place, there are some unusual creatures, but not in excess. It's also just dystopian where things are excessively restricted for kids, but it's not like kids have to kill each other like in The Hunger Games.
4. City of Lies by Lian Tanner (Book 2 in the Keepers Trilogy) - This book was about the neighboring town that the first book in this series was set in. The sister of one of Goldie's friend, gets kidnapped. She goes off to save her and gets tied up in the goings on during the Festival of Lies. Goldie manages to discover how to use the magic of the festival to her advantage. A fun quick read. I'm looking forward to the finale of this trilogy.