Lost Sun / Strange Maid, Tessa Gratton
In Gratton’s United States of Asgard, the Norse gods walk the earth. Odin advises the President. The Valkyries oversee ceremonies and sacrifices. Lost Sun is about Soren, a young Berserker who struggles with the wildness in his soul; Strange Maid is about Signy, the youngest and wildest of the Valkyries, who revels in hers. This Norse mythology with all the blood and poetry left in. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
Seraphina, Rachel Hartman
Seraphina’s mother was a dragon; her father, a human. Since human/dragon liaisons are utterly forbidden – by both species – Seraphina is used to hiding the truth. Which becomes more difficult when she is chosen to tutor the royal princess; harder still when she is thrown into the orbit of the Captain of the Guard. Politics may be a matter of course, but treason is not, and Seraphina discovers a conspiracy that could rekindle the devastating human-dragon wars. Highly recommended; now in paperback.
Black Dog, Rachel Neumeier
Natividad is a Pure, a wielder of protective magic that can keep the terrifying transforming Black Dogs at peace. Her oldest brother is a Black Dog, so she she knows how to behave around the savage creatures, but she have never encountered anything like the Black Dogs of Dimiloc. Which is fair: Dimiloc has never met anyone like Natividad and her brothers, nor the enemy after them. Smart and emotionally real.
The Wiggins Weird Series (How To Curse In Hieroglyphics / Haunting Of Heck House), Lesley Livingston & Jonathan Llyr
Cheryl and Tweed are twelve year old cousins. Raised by their grandfather in a drive-in, the girls have an appreciation for the unusual things in life. Like the strange carnival that just rolled into town, which just might be carrying a very real curse among its sideshow exhibits. It will take all of Cheryl and Tweed’s ingenuity (and love of B movies) to save their town. Delightful.
Cold Cereal Saga (Cold Cereal / Unlucky Charms / Champions of Breakfast), Adam Rex
When Scott meets an actual leprechaun, he realizes that being the new kid in town is only the beginning of his problems. And when he and his friends Emily and Arno realize that the fairies are trying to take over the world with magical breakfast cereal, he knows those problems are bigger than he could have imagined. A great series, funny and serious by turns, full of Rex’s marvellous illustrations.
Julia’s House For Lost Creatures, Ben Hatke
“Julia’s house came to town and settled by the sea…” Happy with her new location, but a little lonely, Julia puts up a sign welcoming lost creatures, and soon her house is full of them. Very full. But the intrepid Julia knowns just how to handle a house full of boisterous guests, no matter how unusual. From the author of the ‘Zita’ books, with the same warm and charming art style.
The Princess Who Had No Fortune, Ursula Jones & Sarah Gibb
This particular Princess has no time for Princes. She needs to fix the leaks in her old home; keep her father the King out of trouble; and get her overgrown garden into shape in time for a party. A gardener arrives, but he’s almost as bad at gardening as she is at baking cupcakes. The story is smart and sweet, and the the colourful silhouette-style illustrations are just plain gorgeous.