The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands combines historical fiction with a little bit of fantasy and magic. It is a little bit Da Vinci Code and a little bit The Apothecary, but what matters most is that it’s a mystery that is exciting until the very end.
This story revolves around Christopher Rowe an apothecary’s apprentice in 1600s England. Note: an apothecary is similar to today’s pharmacists in that they treated illnesses and mixed medicines.
Christopher is particularly talented at solving puzzles and when his master is found murdered, it’s up to him to figure out who did it. But what he uncovers is much more complex, dangerous and magical than he could have ever imagined. As things progress he must fight, not only for what is right, but to stay alive!
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santaya
Remembrance day is the time for Canadians to come together to remember those members of our armed forces who died in battle and to consider the implications of war. At Alpha library we have a number of books related to the military, to help you remember the past and we have an especially good collection of books on World War I and World War II.
Come check out the display of non-fiction books in our window for some ideas of what to read next.
And if historical fiction is your thing, check out the fiction books in the window that take place during periods of war.
Some of my personal favourite stories all take place during World War II:
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak –> Narrated by “death” this book tells the story of a young German girl who steals books banned by the Nazis to learn to read.
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne –> The son of a Nazi officer befriends a boy in a concentration camp.
- City of Thieves by David Benioff –> A young man in Russia goes on the impossible task of finding eggs for the Colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake, or else he dies.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer –> Told in alternating points of view between a blind girl in German occupied France, and a young genius boy who is recruited by the Nazi’s and whose paths inevitably cross.
I will start this post off with the fact that I am not generally a fantasy fan. I have always had difficulty picturing imaginary worlds, but in an effort to expand my horizons I read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and absolutely loved it.
Though it is fantasy, the world is accessible and filled with the perfect amounts of gore, mystery and romance. Fans of the Hunger Games, will definitely enjoy this book.
This is the first book in a four part series and Tahir creates a gore filled world which is allegedly based on Ancient Rome. In this world, the Emperor rules with an iron fist and kills anyone who goes against his will, but a revolution is rising amongst the lower classes.
Told in alternating points of view, the story follows a young woman named Laia who agrees to spy for the rebel cause after her brother is arrested. Her seemingly impossible mission is to spy on the head of the world’s elite military academy where hand-picked children are trained to become deadly assassins.
There she meets Elias, the school’s best soldier who is having second thoughts about his life of violence and murder. As the story develops their destinies become intertwined as they each struggle with how to fight against the tyrannical system.
Halloween is almost here, so stop by the library for a creepy scary read. Need a book suggestion? Check out the list of popular horror titles we have at Alpha.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is a story about family and basketball that is written in verse. This means that the entire novel is made up of poems. But don’t be turned off if you don’t like poetry, these poems are more like hip-hop lyrics and spoken word than ‘traditional’ poems.
The plot is easy to follow and focuses predominantly on the basketball games and lives of star athletes (and twin brothers) JB and Josh. Josh is the narrator and spends a large part of the book competing with his brother for acclaim on the court, and this competitive spirit is only heightened by their father, a former European league basketball champion who works them hard off the court. But when JB gets a girlfriend and Josh starts to realize that his dad is quietly suffering from a life threatening illness, everything changes.
This book is for you if you like sports, basketball, hip-hop/ rap or if you’ve ever felt that you were in competition with a friend or sibling.
Congratulations to the winners of the Summer Reads Contest!
First place prize
The first place prize of two movie tickets went to Ashtan Prasaad who recommended:
Runners up were Katie Kuchihskaya who recommended:
The Pearl that Broke it’s Shell by Nadia Kashimi
and Julia Wagner who recommended:
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Be sure to check the blog/ the library for future contests, but in the mean time, keep reading!
Queen Elizabeth the Second has proclaimed that October 2016 is library month and October 24th 2016 is school library day. And if the Queen says it, you know it must be important!
So stop by the library and say hello. Who knows, you just might find something interesting to read!
Flannery by Lisa Moore is a story of love, friendship and struggle.
Flannery Malone is a 16 year old in Newfoundland, living on welfare and helping her free-spirited mother raise her younger brother. But despite her struggles at home, what dominates most of her attention is her love for her childhood best friend Tyrone, but he hardly even acknowledges her existence. So, when they are paired up in entrepreneurship class to create and market an innovative product, making and selling a love potion seems like the obvious choice. But when their love potions seem to start working, everything else starts falling apart.
This story has everything from humour to devastation to romance, so check it out!
If you’re looking for a book recommendation this year, check out some of the books that were suggested by other Alpha students in our Summer Reads Contest.
Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Adventure
(those that don’t fit into the other categories)
The Nest book Cover
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel is a quick page turner that is both creepy and haunting.
Steve is a young man who will do anything to help his sickly newborn baby brother. Haunted by bad dreams, Steve’s reality and his imagination start to blur throughout the story and leave him constantly worrying and full of anxiety. Instead of relaxing for the summer, Steve spends his vacation fixated on the fact that his life feels like it is spinning out control. But when a mysterious stranger comes to him in a dream and offers a way to make is brother better, how can Steve say no? But this deal is full of loopholes and may have disastrous consequences that will leave Steve fighting for more than just his baby brother’s life.
Not only is this eerie story an enjoyable read, but it is also littered with dark and creepy illustrations by Jon Klassen and is definitely worth checking out.