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:

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
(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

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

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!

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