The first one is a YA book called "Rivers of Shadow" by Leo Hunt. It's the second in a series about a boy named Luke Manchett who is a necromancer. I didn't read the first one, but the author left enough of a trail through this one to be sure that newbies like me could totally figure it out. The story starts with Luke trying to wallow his way through high school. It becomes apparent from the get-go, that things are different for Luke this year. Last year he was a jock with lots of friends and this year, he has a freaky girlfriend, a dead father, and everyone seems to think he's toxic. It turns out (in the book before) that Luke found out that his dad was a necromancer and passed on this great skill to his son. Luke wasn't particularly interested and isn't terribly fond of the man it turns out his dad was, but he gets dragged into the fray. In this story, a new girl shows up at school and turns things upside down. Luke ends up on an epic quest. It was super exciting and really scary. There's a lot of funny dialogue and Luke is very likable. I found myself comparing it to Lish McBride's series that started with "Hold Me Closer Necromancer", which I also really liked. If you like scary books, this is a great one to read.
Also in Netgalley this time around was a non-fiction book for cooks called "Eight Flavors" by Sarah Lohman. It's all about the history of some of the big flavors we use all the time in cooking today but really weren't that common until the last 100 years, like pepper and vanilla. Each chapter spotlights one flavor, telling about the history of this flavor, how it's produced, how people used it in the past and how people use it today. Each chapter also includes some recipes (all of which looked great). I thought this book was terrific. It was well researched and well written. I think lots of grown ups will find this one great too.
The last one is a scary book. In fact, it's called "The Most Frightening Story Ever Told" by Philip Kerr. I don't usually like scary books but this one is very funny and has so many nods to classic scary literature that it was really hard to put down. It starts off with an introduction to the main character, Billy Shivers. Billy is recuperating from a terrible car accident so he is pale and thin and small and doesn't like to be outside much, his parents are poor and he doesn't have any friends. It feels a lot like a Roald Dahl book. He ends up at the weirdest scary book store-the owner has lots of notes around the store explaining how things go (also reminiscent of Dahl) and Billy ends up spending a lot of time there. The book store isn't doing very well and plan is hatched to try to get back at some kids who were mean to the store owner as well as make some money for the store. There are lots of references to scary literature from some of the greats like Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley and lovely scary short stories. I thought it was great and it will make a great addition to my library.