Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


REPLICA
By: Lauren Oliver
Published By: HarperCollins
Release Date: Oct. 4, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...




Why it's Wanted:

I loved the other Lauren Oliver books that I read, and this sounds unlike other stories that I've read before. I'm really curious to see what she does with this premise!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (98)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"'She's a whirlwind,' my dad says that night. 'A force of nature.' He is not wrong."


Taken from Loc 745 of THIS ADVENTURE ENDS
by Emma Mills

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Sketch: Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith


PASADENA
By: Sherri L. Smith
Published By: G. P. Putnam's Soons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Sept. 13, 2016
Series: None
Pages: 240
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.

When Jude's best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.

Now everyone is a suspect--family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that's the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude's got a few skeletons of her own.




First Thought After Finishing: This story might be short, but it packs a lot into its pages!

I’m always fascinated by YA stories where the teenage experience is so different from my own. I lived on the east coast in a relatively conservative town, and my summers were filled with camps and activities. I was very lucky. Moreover, life with my friends was quite uneventful. Jude’s life is completely the opposite, and it paints an all-too-vivid picture of what reality can be like.

Jude plans to spend her summer back on the east coast getting to know her father again while escaping from her mom’s new boyfriend. However, a phone call saying that her best friend committed suicide has Jude on the first plane back to Pasadena. Suicide wasn’t possible, not for Maggie Kim. Jude is determined to find out who killed her best friend and bring him or her to justice. In the process, she learns hard truths about her friend group, especially the boy that she cannot let herself be with. As Jude discovers, secrets cannot stay secrets forever…

Although the story is from Jude’s perspective, Maggie is just as important of a character. I think we’ve all known a Maggie, someone who seems to draw so many others into their orbit and make things better. However, Maggie is not without her flaws, and Jude is forced to admit that as she relives memories and starts to piece together the story of Maggie’s last days. Even so, one of my favorite things about Jude is her dedication to her friend. She isn’t willing to let Maggie go without having all of the answers about her death.

Jude’s journey to the truth about Maggie’s death is just as much a journey of Jude trying to understand herself and her place in her friend group and family. Maggie’s friendship had been a form of escape, and now Jude has to confront her past, her choices, and her feelings for Joey. And there were so many times I just wanted to say, “Poor Joey.” He is loyal to a fault, definitely “best friend and more” material, and yet their relationship is not the easy trope it could have been. We meet their other friends as well, and each one has their own story and their own things to hide. There are layers of emotions and histories to sort through, yet I still wanted more so that I could fully understand the characters’ journeys. But even with limited words, the character dynamics and the story itself are not things I am likely to forget.

Most Memorable Aspect: This book focuses on darker issues and makes you think about the kind of person and friend you want to be.




Thursday, September 8, 2016

Book Sketch: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova


LABYRINTH LOST
By: Zoraida Cordova
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: Sept. 6, 2013
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...




First Thought After Finishing: I knew I always loved books about witches for a reason!

Alex—short for Alejandra—is a Brooklyn bruja from a powerful family. But while her sisters embrace their powers, Alex wants to be rid of them. She knows that no good can come from her magic, and she is dreading her Deathday celebration. When she meets a brujo boy, he tells her there might be a way to get what she wants. Only her plan backfired, and her family ended up in Los Lagos, an in-between land. In order to get them back, she will have to embrace everything she has try to run from, trust someone she barely knows, and discover that some bonds go beyond worlds.

Growing up, one of my favorite book series was about witches. I’ve never read any of Zoraida Cordova’s work before, but a story about witches infused with Latin American culture had to be on my to-read list. And just like the Devourer in Los Lagos, I devoured this story—but in a good way. From the beginning, I loved seeing Alex’s family dynamic. Being an only child, I always wanted sisters. These sisters were the kind I always imagined having—sometimes on each other’s case, but always having each others’ backs. Alex’s deceased family members also have an important role, and it made me wish there were ways to communicate with our ancestors.

Los Lagos itself is as inventive as it is dangerous and unpredictable. I loved meeting the different tribes of creatures there as Alex and the others traveled to the labyrinth. Then there were Nova, the guy you want to like but aren’t quite sure if you should, and Rishi, the BFF every girl should get to have. They both have their own stories, and I wanted to know them just as much as Alex. The story made me want to pull all of the characters into a huge group hug, and then let them go because I had to know what was coming next.

Most Memorable Aspect: I loved the excerpts from the bruja history and Book of Cantos that began every chapter. I wish there was a way to learn more about this world!




Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


AFTERWARD
By: Jennifer Mathieu
Published By: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.



Why it's Wanted:

I find psychological stories fascinating. I want to see what the recovery process is for Caroline and Ethan, and how they find a way to move on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (97)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"I can feel the secrets pushing against my veins, and in turn, I push right back--hiding them deep inside, where I hope one day even I won't be able to find them."


Taken from p. 16 of LABYRINTH LOST
by Zoraida Cordova

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Sketch: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas


CROWN OF MIDNIGht
By: Sarah J. Maas
Published By: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Release Date: Aug. 27, 2013
Series: Throne of Glass #2
Pages: 418
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: May contain spoilers if you have not read Throne of Glass.

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.




First Thought After Finishing: Holy game changer, Batman! This fantastic story just got a lot more interesting.

Celaena is back with all of the favorite characters from throne of Glass. After overcoming all of her trials, she's hoping life can settle down. Instead, she's being used more than she would like as an assassin, she has otherwordly orders to discover a secret about her king, and she has to work out her feelings about Chaol. As it turns out, there is no rest for Adarlan's Assassin, and only more fighting to come if she is to have any hope of peace.

I started this book having not read Throne of Glass for years. A few of the details were fuzzy, but for the most part, I remembered the story--a tribute to the brilliant writing of Sarah J. Maas. Everything I loved about the first story was here again. Celaena is still a fierce warrior, only now her battle is focused on those close to her--and on protecting her secrets. In a world full of secrets and long-hidden magic, nobody can be completely honest with others, let alone with themselves. The fighting and the intrigue kept me turning page after page.

Then there was Chaol. We get to learn more about him in this book and see much more of his interaction with Celaena, which I loved. Chaol appears to be the strong (very strong) silent type, but there is even more to love. Nehemia is her usual wise, sweet self, and Dorian has to make important decisions about who he wants to be. Several new characters also play an important role. I especially enjoyed the cheekiness of Mort, whose interactions with Celaena were entertaining.

This book really began to show the grand scope of this series. I have always loved epic fantasy, and I'm happy that this will be such a complex story. I would hate to say goodbye to these characters or this world anytime soon.

Most Memorable Aspect: Chaol. I loved him from the first book, and he remains one of my favorite male YA leads.




Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


THE READER
By: Traci Chee
Published By: Putnam
Release Date: Sept. 13, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.



Why it's Wanted:

This sounds like a mystery, survival story, and a touch of fantasy all rolled into one. From the description, it promises to be an exciting story!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Sketch: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson


THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING
By: Morgan Matson
Published By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Series: None
Pages: 517
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?




First Thought After Finishing: Only Morgan Matson could write a 500-page book about a summer with no plans and have such an engrossing story.

Andie has always had her future planned out. She want to be a doctor, and even in high school she has her summer program lined up. As the daughter of a US Congressman who is never home, and as a daughter still mourning the loss of her mother, she has kept everyone but her three best friends at arm’s length. However, one mistake by an employee in her dad’s office derails all of her plans. For once, Andie has to go with the flow, piece together something she never would have imagined doing, and figure out a new plan along the way.

"Now, being in this moment, on the cusp of something happening, made me wonder why I'd been rushing through it all these years. Or maybe I hadn't. Maybe I'd just been waiting for this moment, right now."


Andie’s story reminded me a lot of my own. I always had a plan for what I wanted to do, and I like having all of my ducks in a row. However, when I moved to Salt Lake, I had no definitive plan other than being with my friends. Even though I never would have guessed that my life would go in the direction it has, it has turned out to be really good. That was Andie’s summer—several unexpected, even unwanted, choices that led to a summer she could never have planned if she’d tried.

With Andie came a great group of friends, and the friend group expands over the summer. Companions both human and canine had their role to play. While walking dogs, Andie meets Clark, who is exactly the opposite of guys that she would pick for herself but also exactly what the summer calls for. She is around for the ups and downs of her friends’ lives, and she can reconnect with her father. This book wasn’t full of twists and turns, but it was a sweet, real story full of the things that are important in life. Andie had a summer that I would want, with a guy you can’t help but love, and adventures with friends that would make for perfect summer nights.

Most Memorable Aspect: The friendships between the characters reminded me of my group of friends. I liked that the group was an actual close-knit group and enjoyed knowing all of the characters.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


HEARTLESS
By: Marissa Meyer
Published By: Feiwell and Friends
Release Date: Nov. 8, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.




Why it's Wanted:

I loved Marissa Meyer's Cinder books, and I love Alice in Wonderland. Putting them together is bound to be a great story!

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