Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Corner of White
by Jaclyn Moriarty

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 375
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication date: April 1, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy

First in The Colors of Madeleine series. From Goodreads:
"The first in a rousing, funny, genre-busting trilogy from bestseller Jaclyn Moriarty!

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot's dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds -- through an accidental gap that hasn't appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called "color storms;" a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the "Butterfly Child," whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses...

{ I received this as an ebook ARC from NetGalley. }

Wow. Wonderful. Beautiful. Unexpectedly so. I started A Corner of White expecting simply a fun fantasy, and while it certainly delivered on that, I was very pleasantly surprised to find it was so, so much more. It's a brilliant mix of so many things: it's unique, it's deep, it's real, it's whimsical, it's hilarious, it's tragic. It's reality and fantasy woven together, following Madeleine and Elliot as they both begin to believe in the existence of the other's world.

Madeleine lives in the real world, our world, and we follow her adventures and experiences (some fun and silly, some heartbreaking) with her mother and friends as she adjusts to a new life. Elliot lives in the Kingdom of Cello, and while it is a fantasy world, he deals with some very real and heavy issues of his own. I loved bouncing back and forth between their worlds and their stories, and when they began to connect with each other, it just became that much more exciting for me.

Perhaps my favorite thing about A Corner of White is Moriarty's writing. She's brilliant. Period. She has a playful, charming style that I absolutely loved. For example, this cute little descriptive bit:
"Everything on the table was white: cake plate, teacups, salt and pepper shakers. The teapot itself, also white, had a sort of attitude about it all: tall and fancy, its handle like a hand on a hip, spout curving up and over like a wave, like it was dead keen to get into your cup."
And the letters from the Princesses, Ko and Jupiter, were just great. I honestly smiled every time one of their letters popped up in the story. But Moriarty also has a serious side, giving the heavy scenes the solemnity and devotion they deserve. She creates beautifully lyrical lines, like this one that spoke right to my heart:
"She could, if she wanted, be a kite trailing a lantern. She could be the candlelit lantern itself. She could fly with the comets and stars."
For me, A Corner of White was an immersive experience - I got completely lost in Moriarty's worldbuilding of the Kingdom of Cello, of course, but I found I was also hooked on the slow unfolding of Madeleine and Elliot's discovery of each other, discussing the events in their worlds and offering each other advice. I finished the book and immediately wanted to go right back to the beginning and start reading it all over again. Whenever I get that desire, I know I've just read something really special that will stay with me for a while. And that is certainly true of A Corner of White. I so cannot wait to see where the story goes from here!

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

{ More about Jaclyn Moriarty }

Jaclyn Moriarty's website
Jaclyn Moriarty's Goodreads profile

The second book in the series,
is due out in March 2014!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Finds #41

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading. Each Friday, you share the great books you heard about or discovered over the past week: "books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores online, or books that you actually purchased."

Death and the Arrow: A Gripping Tale of Murder and Revenge
by Chris Priestley

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 230
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 13, 2003
Suggested tags: middle grade, historical fiction, mystery

First in the Tom Marlowe Adventures. From Goodreads:
"Fifteen-year-old Tom lives in the murky city of London where he helps his father run a print shop. Among the customers is wise old Dr. Harker, a retired physician and seafarer, whose patient demeanor and fascinating tales endear him to Tom. Both Tom and Harker become intrigued by a murder in the city where the victim is pierced by an arrow and left holding an illustrated card of "Death and the Arrow." The mystery deepens after more "Death and the Arrow" victims are discovered, and Tom cannot rest until he has uncovered the truth behind the murders. This atmospheric venture into the 18th-century will fascinate young adult readers."

Love in the Time of Global Warming
by Francesca Lia Block

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 240
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: August 27, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, dystopia

From Goodreads:
"Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything—her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of home, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions and loses them, finds love and loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.

In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.

More Than This
by Patrick Ness

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 480
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: September 10, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, dystopia

From Goodreads:
"From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . ."

Only Ever Always
by Penni Russon

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 176
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: July 9, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy

From Goodreads:
"Have you ever woken from a dream feeling it was more real than your world? Could there be someone exactly like you living another life? Claire lives in an ordinary world where everything is whole. But now she feels broken into pieces as her world is suddenly shattered with grief. The silvery notes of her music box help her escape from her pain into a dream world, into Clara's world. Clara's world has always been broken. Her fragmented life revolves around scavenging and swapping objects to survive. She is determined to face the sinister side of her cracked reality to save the only family she has ever known. But the cost may be more than she bargained for. Though Claire and Clara live in different worlds, their paths are set to collide when the people they love most are faced with death. But which world is the dream? Who is the dreamer? Penni Russon has written a spellbinding tale that stretches the imagination about what is possible."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays: October 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Each Tuesday, you grab the book you're reading, open to a random page, and share 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on the page.
NO SPOILERS - make sure the sentences you pick don't give too much away!

Splintered by A.G. Howard

"I was delusional to think I could sway this game to my favor. The checkmate's already been played."

{hardcover, page 315}

by A.G. Howard

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 371
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication date: January 1, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, retellings

First in the Splintered series. From Goodreads:
"This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Monday, October 14, 2013

New Release Round-Up: October 14-20, 2013

Young Adult

Fault Line
by Christa Desir

Release date: October 15, 2013
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 240
Publisher: SimonPulse
Suggested tags: young adult, romance, contemporary

From Goodreads:
"Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.

But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.

Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?

Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.

The Vow
by Jessica Martinez

Release date: October 15, 2013
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 432
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction, contemporary

From Goodreads:
"No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

Other YA new releases for this week:

Middle Grade

The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit
by Octavia Spencer

Release date: October 15, 2013
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 224
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Suggested tags: middle grade, mystery

First in the Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective series. From Goodreads:
"Meet Randi Rhodes, the world’s first ninja detective! Mystery abounds in this delightful new middle grade series from Academy Award–winning actress Octavia Spencer.

Deer Creek is a small town whose only hope for survival is the success of their Founder’s Day Festival. But the festival’s main attraction, a time capsule that many people believe hold the town’s treasure, has gone missing.

Randi Rhodes and her best friend, D.C., are Bruce Lee–inspired ninjas and local detectives determined to solve the case. Even if it means investigating in a haunted cabin and facing mean old Angus McCarthy, prime suspect.

They have three days to find the treasure…the future of their whole town is at stake! Will these kids be able to save the day?

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya
by Jane Kelley

Release date: October 15, 2013
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 208
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Suggested tags: middle grade, realistic fiction

From Goodreads:
"An orphaned African grey parrot who can speak 127 words. A girl so sick, she has forgotten what it means to try. Fate––and a banana nut muffin––bring them together. Will their shared encounter help them journey through storms inside and out? Will they lose their way, or will they find what really matters?

Here is a story that will remind readers how navigating so many of life’s desperate adventures requires friendship and, above all, hope.

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Apologies again!

So once again, unfortunately, I must apologize for being absent from this blog! I've been surprised to find that married life is much busier than single life - I had expected to have all this time to myself and my husband to just do whatever we wanted, but we're finding that demands on our time are now split between our full-time jobs and our families which both miss having us living at home. We've been running around like crazy since the wedding planning started, and it really hasn't let up at all since after the big day, so we've found ourselves exhausted and picking up apparently every germ that comes our way. So in any spare time that I've had, I've been either sleeping or not feeling like doing much of anything at all. Anyway, I really apologize again for not blogging regularly like I should - I promise that I'm trying to make more time to work on it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

{ bon voYAge! } October 2013

The destination for September 2013 was

{ Australia }

And here are the YA & MG books we found...

The destination for October 2013 is...

{ New York, USA }

Some examples of YA & MG books set in New York:

Please send me links to your posts and reviews by Wednesday, October 30 so I can add them to the next { bon voYAge! } post!

Want to play? Here's how it works...

{ } At the beginning of each month, I'll post the name of a destination: a city, state, region, province, country, etc.
{ } Throughout the month, you can:
       1. look for a YA or MG book (or books) set in that destination to share.
       2. read a YA or MG book (or books) set in that destination and write a review.
{ } You can post the books you found or the reviews you wrote any time during that month. Just send me a link so I can link back to your post!
{ } At the beginning of the next month, I'll share everyone's books and reviews. Then I'll post another destination and we can start again! :)

Want to check out the books we've already discovered? Browse all the locations that we've explored on the { bon voYAge! } tab above!

Have a location you'd like to explore? Let me know in the comments here or on the { bon voYAge! } tab above, or email me at pidginpea (at) yahoo (dot) com!

Want to put a { bon voYAge! } button on your blog? I'd love that! I made it using deviantART stock resources from SneakyTomato and artist00 and fonts from