Monday, March 24, 2014

New Release Round-Up: March 24-30, 2014

Young Adult

Nearly Gone
by Elle Cosimano

Release date: March 25, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 388
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Suggested tags: young adult, thriller, contemporary

From Goodreads:
"Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon—she'll be next.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
by Leslye Walton

Release date: March 25, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 320
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Suggested tags: young adult, magical realism

From Goodreads:
"Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and na├»ve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human."

Other YA new releases for this week:

Middle Grade

The Children of the King
by Sonya Hartnett

Release date: March 25, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 272
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Suggested tags: middle grade, historical fiction, 20th century

From Goodreads:
"Internationally acclaimed author Sonya Hartnett tells a hauntingly beautiful story set during World War II.

Cecily and Jeremy have been sent to live with their uncle Peregrine in the English countryside, safe from the war, along with a young refugee named May. But when Cecily and May find two mysterious boys hiding in the ruins of a nearby castle, an extraordinary adventure begins."

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave
by John Boyne

Release date: March 25, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 247
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Suggested tags: middle grade, historical fiction, 20th century

From Goodreads:
"The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight—but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by—a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock. Alfie isn't sure what shell shock is, but he is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place. . . ."

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pinterested in Books #4

According to Urban Dictionary, you're "Pinterested" when you're "too distracted by Pinterest to be bothered to do anything else." I find I have this problem quite a bit. I also find that I get too distracted by books to be bothered to do anything besides read. So I thought, why not share some book-related finds from Pinterest on my blog? Today's pin is a photo of a library organized chromatically, which I think is a fantastic idea!

You can check out my Pinterest, where I've got bookish boards as well as lots of other assorted collections. Feel free to share links to your own bookish pins and boards in the comments!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Available as: hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 348
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication date: June 7, 2011
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy

First in the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. From Goodreads:
"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography,
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."

{ I received a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. }

I originally read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children when it first came out in 2011, but I reread it now in preparation for reading the sequel, Hollow City. When I read it in 2011, I immediately fell in love. No, more than that - I fell in obsession. I talked about this book to anyone who would listen. I flipped through the pages over and over again, poring over the vintage photos. I got lost in the world of Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children. It's a brilliant concept, and it combines some of my very favorite things: time travel, paranormality, and vintage photography.

And that last line of the synopsis - "anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows" - well, really, how could I not love this book?

I'm not going to go into too much detail with the plot, because half the fun of reading this book is in the experience of discovering things along with Jacob. But I will talk about the photos, because they are fantastic. At first, I will admit, I found myself viewing them like Jacob did in the beginning - lame photography tricks, obviously altered - but as the story went on, I came to view them as believably peculiar... And they are interwoven with the story expertly; Jacob comes across photos as the story unfolds, and we are able to see what Jacob sees. The photos are used to introduce characters, to set the mood, and, in some cases, to freak you right the heck out. And I mean that in the best way possible, because this book is deliciously dark and mysterious.

Riggs's writing too is excellent. It's by turns suspenseful, sweet, and humorous at all the right moments. His storytelling is nicely paced and wonderfully descriptive, so that you feel like you're right there with Jacob on his peculiar journey. The end wraps things up, but at the same time it leaves them wide open for the next book so that almost anything can happen from there. I'm excited to see what happens to Miss Peregrine's peculiar children next. And I certainly hope there will be plenty of photos.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars

{ Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children book trailer }

More about Ransom Riggs }

Ransom Riggs's Goodreads profile
Ransom Riggs's website
Follow Ransom Riggs on Twitter
Follow Ransom Riggs on Facebook

{ Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series }

Book 1: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children 

Book 2: Hollow City 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesdays: March 12, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Each Wednesday, you share upcoming releases that you're eagerly anticipating.

The Forbidden Library
by Django Wexler

Expected release date: April 15, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 373
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy

From Goodreads:
"The Forbidden Library kicks off a brand new classic fantasy series perfect for fans of Coraline, Inkheart, and The Books of Elsewhere

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That--along with everything else--changed the day she met her first fairy

When Alice's father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon--an uncle she's never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it's hard to resist. Especially if you're a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

by Karen Ann Hopkins

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 408
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: April 30, 2013
Suggested tags: young adult, Amish, romance, contemporary

Second in the Temptation series. From Goodreads:
"I left everything I knew behind.

But it was worth it. He was worth it.

No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren't even allowed to see each other. Not until I've proven myself.

If I can find a way to make it work, we'll be NOAH & ROSE

together forever.

But not everybody believes this is where I belong.

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

I hate to say it, but Belonging made me fall completely out of love with Rose and Noah. When I read the first book in the series, Temptation (read my review here), I was hooked on their little star-crossed romance. There were a few issues in Temptation that bothered me (SPOILER - highlight to read: mainly, Noah's absolute refusal to compromise in any way while expecting Rose to do all the sacrificing for their relationship, and their very immature and shockingly stupid idea that having a baby will solve all their problems), but overall I liked the book and rated it highly. But I realize now that those issues should have been warning signs, because they completely blew up in Belonging. To the point where I went from really enjoying the first book to not even looking forward to reading the third.

In Belonging, Rose and Noah go from star-crossed to just not meant to be. Rose is living with the Amish, trying to learn their ways, but she hates it. And while Rose is making these sacrifices (to the point of being kept away from her family), Noah makes absolutely no effort in their relationship. He will not compromise; Rose must conform to everything he demands of her, while he will not give an inch. Despite these circumstances, I didn't feel that bad for Rose, because she is clearly giving up her life for all the wrong reasons. Rather than working together to make their relationship work, Noah and Rose seem to be in constant struggle with each other, plotting how to make the other one do what they want and, when things start to go sour, how to get back at the other with maximum emotional damage (despite how damaging said plot might be to themselves). (SPOILER - highlight to read: Once Rose and Noah are no longer an item, Rose jumps into a relationship with another guy, who is totally sweet and utterly devoted to her. But she doesn't care because she's just doing it to make Noah jealous. And Noah proposes to an Amish girl that he doesn't even really care for to get back at Rose. What. The heck. Is wrong with these two. Can they not see that they're ruining their own lives and those of innocent bystanders by pulling these immature moves?)

And then the end... ugh. To be fair, I can see how some readers would find the dramatic events of the ending exciting and unexpected. But to me, it came out of nowhere and seemed so farfetched and random that, had I been reading a hard copy instead of an ebook, I would have thrown the book against the wall. Lucky for the book, I love my Kindle.

I find it hard to stop in the middle of series, so I probably will still be picking up Forever at some point, despite my disappointment with Belonging. But I certainly will not be going out of my way to read it. Unfortunately, Belonging significantly cooled my enthusiasm for this series.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars

More about Karen Ann Hopkins }

Karen Ann Hopkins's Goodreads profile
Follow Karen Ann Hopkins on Twitter

{ Temptation series }

Book 1: Temptation 
Read my review

Book 2: Belonging 

Book 3: Forever 

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Release Round-Up: March 10-16, 2014

Young Adult

Don't Even Think About It
by Sarah Mlynowski

Release date: March 11, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 336
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Suggested tags: young adult, contemporary, paranormal

From Goodreads:
"Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP from the author of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have).

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

The Shadow Prince
by Bree Despain

Release date: March 11, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 512
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, mythology

First in the Into the Dark series. From Goodreads:
"Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Other YA new releases for this week:

Middle Grade

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
by Robin Herrera

Release date: March 11, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 272
Publisher: Amulet Books
Suggested tags: middle grade, realistic fiction, contemporary

From Goodreads:
"Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.

With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart,
Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her."

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week: