Series Starters: Crazy Rich Asians

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the whole world buzzing about the new movie, Crazy Rich Asians, which is based on the first book in the Crazy Rich Asians series by Kevin Kwan. The movie is the first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority Asian cast in a modern setting since The Joy Luck Club in 1993, which is also based off of a book by the same name by Amy Tan. The movie has been breaking barriers and setting records since its release into theaters in the United States in August, and I was so excited when I found out that it was based on a series of young adult novels. (Apparently I had been living under a rock during the release of this series…)

New York native Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, anticipating meeting his family for the first time while spending quality time together at his family’s home. Despite Rachel’s assurance that Nick is The One, he might have left out a few minor details about his life in Singapore; namely, that he grew up in what is practically a palace and rode in more private planes than cars with a family who is more than wealthy. Oh, and he is also Singapore’s most eligible bachelor, painting a target on Rachel’s back the second she steps off the plane. Her vacation quickly turns into a war between old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

This series will not disappoint if you love drama, romance, and all-consuming books that you won’t be able to put down. We have hard copies available as well as digital copies available from OverDrive. But you better hurry to put your name on the hold list because this series is super popular right now!

Representation is extremely important not only in the media, but in the mainstream media. With all the buzz from the movie, how could we not mention the books, too? Let me know what you think!

Happy Reading!

Classic Series Starters: The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis recently came back into the spotlight after the release of the movies a few years ago. Many adults have grown up reading the series, and younger adults might have even grown up watching the movies, but this is the series that made me fall in love with reading when I was a kid. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread this series; the spines of my old boxed set of books are all cracked and some pages are dog-eared. The Chronicles of Narnia might not be the first books kids pull off the shelves (I feel so old), but the series is a classic that somehow manages to be relevant almost seventy years after they were first published.

I recommend reading in publication order rather than chronological order, so start with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Even if you haven’t read the book, you most likely know the story anyway. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are sent away to the country from London to live in safety during the Blitz and World War II. The children arrive at the Professor’s house and begin exploring the expansive grounds and rooms, filled with antiques and treasures. During one of these explorations, the youngest, Lucy Pevensie, finds a wardrobe. Instead of finding the back of the wardrobe, however, she stumbles into Narnia, a magical land filled with ice and snow, where the White Witch has ruled for a hundred years in cruelty. Now it’s up to Lucy to convince the rest of her siblings that Narnia is real and that they must save it.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first published in 1950 but were not immediately popular due to the fact that other children’s novels were written in a way to be more realistic so as not to frighten children or give them a false sense of reality. However, it has been widely accepted that C.S. Lewis was one of the pioneers in the genre of fantasy. The series also has strong parallels with stories and images in Christianity.

The original reading order of the series is:

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Silver Chair

The Horse and His Boy

The Magician’s Nephew

The Last Battle

The chronological order of the series is:

The Magician’s Nephew

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Horse and His Boy

Prince Caspian

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Silver Chair

The Last Battle

When I was younger, I always read the series in chronological order because that’s how my boxed set came. I think that it would be interesting to reread the series how it was supposed to be read, which is the original publication order. The Aurora Public Library District has the series both available as physical copies or digital downloads (audio books or digital books) from the Indiana Digital Download Center. We also have copies of all three movies available for check out. Either way you read it, the series will take you right back to being a child again. I can’t wait to read it again!

Happy Reading!

New Young Adult Book Series Starters

We’ve gotten so many new young adult books that the shelves are overflowing! Most of the books that we’ve gotten over these past two months are new series starters and ready to draw you in! Below are the two that has drawn my eye!

 

Song of Blood and Stone is the first book in L. Penelope’s Earthsinger Chronicles.

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart. Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps. Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.


The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

 

Furyborn, the first book in Claire Legrand’s new series, Empirium.

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first. A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined. As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

 

The Queen’s Rising, the first book in Rebecca Ross’ debut series, The Queen’s Rising.

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron. Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes. With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

 

Isle of Blood and Stone, first book in Makiia Lucier’s the Isle of Blood and Stone Series. 

Ulises asked, “How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers.”
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”
“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear. The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side—whether he wants her there or not—Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

The books currently are being held in the teen area on the New Books Display and will later be added to the shelves.

 

Summaries provided by:

Series Starters: The Red Queen

Fantastical, dystopian societies are all the rage with young adult fiction these days, and The Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard fits right in.

The world is divided in two, by blood; Red or Silver. People with Red blood are normal humans, but people with Silver blood are elite, with special powers that set them above the Red-blooded. Mare Barrow is a poor Red, just barely scraping by with her family until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Despite her red blood, Mare discovers that she possesses powers of her own that threatens to destroy the careful balance of power. The Silvers who discover her powers hide her in plain sight, claiming Mare is a lost Silver princess who is now engaged to a Silver prince. Carefully walking the razor edge between Mare’s compliance and her death, she decides to aid a Red alliance to overthrow the Silvers from power.

The Aurora Public Library District owns the first three books in the series, with the fourth and final book expected to be published sometime in 2018. The Indiana Digital Download Center also has the first three books as well as two prequels and audio books. Check these out today!

Happy Reading!

Series Starters: The Waking Land

The Waking Land by Callie Bates was just released in June of 2017, but I’m already sucked into the hype and can’t wait for the second book to be released in May of 2018. This novel would probably be categorized in the genre New Adult, which is the in-between phase of books with characters between the ages of about eighteen and thirty.

The Waking Land begins with the kidnapping of Elanna Valtai, a five-year-old girl with incredible powers  who is the daughter of a duke and duchess in the north, where magic is still possible and the very earth is alive. Elanna is raised by King Antoine like a daughter, but is still ostracized by members of his court. Falsely accused of his murder, Alanna must flee with a band of rebels to the north, back home, where her dormant powers begin to awaken. Chock-full of magic and adventures, this novel will keep you on the edge of your seat and second-guessing until the very last page.

Elanna’s first-person, present-tense narration keeps the story directly in front of you, so you feel like you’re witnessing the events of the novel right alongside Elanna, Jahan, Sophie, Finn, and the rest of the characters. Your heart will pound when they’re being chased or captured, you will weep when key characters are killed, and you will rejoice when they rejoice. I’m excited to see how the rest of the series will turn out, especially since the second book is told from Jahan’s point of view.

Happy Reading!

Series Starters: Me Before You

A couple years ago, the novel Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was one of the most popular books in the country, largely due to the fact of the release of the movie of the same name. What many might not know is that Louisa Clark’s story continued with a second and third book (the third book was just published in January; will there be a fourth?). And while there have been mixed reviews from readers about the continuation of Lou’s life, I believe that it’s important to see how she grows in each book as well as how she’s living her fullest life.

Louisa Clark is nothing special; her life is exceedingly ordinary (read: boring), and she’s content to keep it that way. That is, until she loses her job and is forced to take a new one as the caretaker of wheelchair-bound, paraplegic Will Traynor, who used to have the world at his feet. His life used to be anything but extraordinary, but after his accident, he turned bitter. Lou is different than all his other caretakers, though, and refuses to treat him with the delicacy he hates. When Lou discovers something shocking about Will’s future plans for his life, she decides it’s up to her to prove to Will that any life is a life worth living.

I read Me Before You right around the time all the hype surrounding the upcoming release of the movie started; typically, when it seems like the whole world can’t stop ranting and raving about a particular book, I have to read it to see what all the fuss is about. And I’m so glad I did. Not many books can bring me to tears, but this one did. My favorite part about the first two books is how you can actually watch Lou develop as a character throughout the pages. I’m so excited for the third book in this series because I have to know what happens next!

You can check out this series and other books by Jojo Moyes from the Aurora Public Library District or digitally from the Indiana Digital Download Center.

Happy Reading!

Classic Series Starters: Anne of Green Gables

Wholesome. That’s the best word I can think of to describe the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. This series is easily a classic, with feisty, redheaded, freckle-faced orphan Anne (with an E!) Shirley leading the way. With the popularity of the Netflix series soaring, as well as in the wake of the many television and film adaptations of Anne Shirley, it’s important to remember where she got her start.

Anne of Green Gables was first published by L.M. Montgomery in 1908, and has been considered a children’s novel since the middle of the twentieth century. The first in the series tells about an orphan girl named Anne Shirley who was sent by mistake instead of the boy brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert requested to help out around their farm. The book is filled with Anne’s attempt to win the Cuthberts over so they won’t send her back to the orphanage, but her temper and her mouth always seem to get in the way. Even though she has a heart of gold, Anne can’t seem to keep her opinions to herself when it comes to bullies, teachers, and classmates, alike. Anne grows from age eleven to sixteen in the first book, making and losing friendships, getting herself in and out of scrapes, and relying on her imagination and wits to see her through.

There are eight novels total in the Anne of Green Gables universe that follow Anne into adulthood and beyond. For over one hundred years, these books have been classics in almost everyone’s childhood.

Happy Reading!

Series Starters: The Kane Chronicles

One of Rick Riordan’s lesser-known series is the Kane Chronicles. The first book in the Kane Chronicles, The Red Pyramid, takes place at the same time frame in the Rick Riordan universe as The Lost Hero, and there are subtle references to Long Island and the Percy Jackson universe throughout that are fun to pick up on.

Brother and sister Carter and Sadie Kane have grown up apart since their mother died. Carter has been traveling the world with their Egyptologist father while Sadie was forced to live with their grandparents in London. On a rare visit to London, Carter and Sadie’s father brings them with him on a research assignment to the British Museum where things go terribly wrong. The Egyptian god Set has been released, forcing the children to flee for their lives as their father is banished to the Underworld. The siblings discover that the gods and goddesses of Egypt are real, alive, and know that the Kanes exist. What happens next is a journey to discover their own family’s history and who they are in the grand scheme of things. Oh, and they also have to save the world from sure destruction.

Told in alternating chapters narrated by both Carter and Sadie, this trilogy is sure to get your heart racing and your blood pumping. The voices of Carter and Sadie are perfect, and the Egyptian culture is a nice change of pace. If you’re looking for your next adventure series, then look no further than the Kane Chronicles.

Series Starters: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

The final book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy  by Rick Riordan was just released at the beginning of October. Sometimes it’s nice to start a series when you know the final book has already been published, so you don’t have to wait so long in between installments. But this is another one of Riordan’s series that I love so much and am recommending to you if you like action, mythology, humor, and adventure.

The first book, The Sword of Summer, begins with Magnus’s death on his sixteenth birthday. Strange events have always happened in Magnus’s life and were magnified two years ago, when strange wolves attacked his apartment, killing his mother. Magnus has been living on the streets of Boston ever since, when his estranged Uncle Randolph finds him and reveals that his father is actually a Norse god. Now Magnus must claim his birthright, a fabled sword that belonged to his father. After Magnus’s death, a whole world is unlocked to him and now he must figure out how to save it from Ragnarok.

The premise of Riordan’s series for younger people are all very much the same, and yet the adventures and characters are all diverse and distinct. They each stand out to me that makes me want to keep going back to these books to read more. Also, the cross-references to Riordan’s other works is always awesome to see; in this series, you’ll get a lot of references to the Greek gods because Magnus is first cousins with Annabeth Chase, from the Percy Jackson universe.

You can find physical copies of this series on the shelves throughout the Aurora Public Library District, or you can check them out digitally from the Indiana Digital Download Center.

Happy Reading!

Series Starters: The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, I’m sure you’re familiar with the name Philippa Gregory. As someone who has always been interested in the English Wars of the Roses, her series have been on my to-read list for a long time. But also as someone who is easily confused by names and dates in history, I was never sure where to start with the two series that I was always interested in: the Tudor Court and Cousins’ War series. Luckily, as of August 2016, Gregory combined these series into one giant series (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels) and released a list for how they are to be read in chronological order rather than publication order.

Start with The Lady of the Rivers, which is about Jacquetta of Luxemborg, who was married to the Duke of Bedford, the uncle of King Henry V. When her first husband died, she married Richard Woodville, shifting her alliance from the House of Lancaster to the House of York after the Battle of Towton. After Edward IV took the throne, Jacquetta’s daughter, Elizabeth Woodville, married him and became Queen consort to the new King of England. Don’t forget the dashes of witchcraft and magic! The novel is a historical fictionalization of one of the prominent, if often overlooked, figures in England’s civil war, known as the Wars of the Roses. The book opens in 1430, right after Henry VI is crowned King of England at only nine years old after his father, King Henry V, is killed in battle during the Hundred Years’ War.

If you’re interested in reading The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels series in chronological order:

The Lady of the Rivers

The White Queen

The Red Queen

The Kingmaker’s Daughter

The White Princess

The Constant Princess

The King’s Curse

Three Sisters, Three Queens

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Boleyn Inheritance

The Taming of the Queen

The Queen’s Fool

The Virgin’s Lover

The Last Tudor

The Other Queen

If you’re interested in reading the series in publication order:

The Tudor Court:

The Constant Princess

Three Sisters, Three Queens

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Boleyn Inheritance

The Taming of the Queen

The Queen’s Fool

The Virgin’s Lover

The Other Queen

The Cousins’ War:

The Lady of the Rivers

The White Queen

The Red Queen

The Kingmaker’s Daughter

The White Princess

The King’s Curse

The Last Tudor

This particular section has always interested me, but I always get so confused trying to keep track of names and dates. Luckily, Gregory provides a link to the family tree of the historical figures of her books on her website, or I would be lost.

Happy Reading!