Monday, February 24, 2014

New Release Round-Up: February 24-March 2, 2014

Young Adult


Fire & Flood
by Victoria Scott

Release date: February 25, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 320
Publisher: Scholastic
Suggested tags: young adult, science fiction



First in the Fire & Flood series. From Goodreads:
"A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
"


My Life with the Walter Boys
by Ali Novak

Release date: March 1, 2014
Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 368
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Suggested tags: young adult, contemporary, romance



First in the My Life with the Walter Boys series. From Goodreads:
"Sixteen-year-old Jackie Howard is devastated when her parents are killed in a car accident. She has no one to turn to except for her mom's best friend Katherine Walter. Jackie quickly discovers that Katherine is no stranger to being a mom-she's got twelve boys! And every single one is a handful...

Adjusting to life with the Walter boys is not going to be easy, especially when two of them start to show an interest that definitely goes beyond brotherly.
"

Other YA new releases for this week:



Middle Grade


Half a Chance
by Cynthia Lord

Release date: February 25, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 224
Publisher: Scholastic
Suggested tags: middle grade, realistic fiction



From Goodreads:
"When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera's lens, as her father has taught her -- he's a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he's judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough.

As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn't want to see: his grandmother's memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.
"


A Snicker of Magic
by Natalie Lloyd

Release date: February 25, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 320
Publisher: Scholastic
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy



From Goodreads:
"Introducing an extraordinary new voice---a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing.

Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she'll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that's been cast over the town . . . and her mother's broken heart.
"

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard


Splintered
by A. G. Howard

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



First in 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.
"

Splintered is dark, disturbing, and freaking amazing. It takes the innocent Wonderland we're familiar with and turns it on its head, making the delightfully odd into the dangerously bizarre. It's brilliant. It's twisted. It's weird and macabre and wrong, and yet oh so right.

I am a hardcore Wonderland fan. I read all the retellings I can get my hands on. Splintered is currently at the top of my list of favorite retellings. I love the fact that Alyssa has to go back and fix Alice's mistakes  - Howard's interpretations of Alice's actions and the ways Alyssa should correct them were clever and, at times, quite action-packed. The scene at the Pool of Tears had me riveted, flipping pages like mad.

I really can't stress how disturbing this retelling is. It's a dark, twisted, terrifying version of Wonderland that Alyssa finds herself in. (SPOILER - highlight to read: The scene at the banquet? WHAT.) But I happen to love dark fantasies, so I loved this Wonderland. I loved the set up to get to Wonderland too, with Alyssa thinking she's inherited her mother's madness and hearing the whispers of insects and finding clues to Wonderland hidden around the house... And of course there's Jeb and Morpheus. I'm usually not into love triangles, but this one I was ok with, because Morpheus always seems to have a hidden agenda and it left me constantly questioning whether he was actually in love with Alyssa or just using her. The push and pull between them was fantastic. And Jeb's heroic selfless love was wonderfully sweet.

Days after finishing Splintered, I was still lost in it, finding my mind drifting back to its version of Wonderland and getting twisted up in its insanity again and again. This was a deliciously warped retelling that I'm now completely obsessed with, and I'll definitely be going back to Wonderland in the next book, Unhinged.


Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars


More about A. G. Howard }

A. G. Howard's website
A. G. Howard's Goodreads profile
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesdays: February 19, 2014



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





Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige

Expected release date: April 1, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 432
Publisher: HarperTeen
Suggested tags: young adult, fantasy, retellings



First in the Dorothy Must Die series. From Goodreads:
"I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?

Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!
"

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Release Round-Up: February 17-23, 2014

Young Adult


Maybe One Day
by Melissa Kantor

Release date: February 18, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook, audiobook
Pages: 400
Publisher: HarperTeen
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction, contemporary



From Goodreads:
"Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend's life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn't sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of
The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned."


Me Since You
by Laura Wiess

Release date: February 18, 2014
Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 368
Publisher: MTV Books
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction, contemporary



From Goodreads:
"Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl’s journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding—in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.

Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?

Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old—a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.

If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother — and herself — from the endless replay of heartache and grief.

Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?
"

Other YA new releases for this week:



Middle Grade


The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden
by Philippa Dowding

Release date: February 18, 2014
Available as: paperback, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 200
Publisher: Dundurn
Suggested tags: middle grade, fantasy



From Goodreads:
"This morning, I woke up on the ceiling ... So begins the strange story of Gwendolyn Golden. One perfectly ordinary day for no apparent reason, she wakes up floating around her room like one of her little brother’s Batman balloons.

Puberty is weird enough. Everyone already thinks she’s an oddball with anger issues because her father vanished in a mysterious storm one night when she was six. Then there are the mean, false rumours people are spreading about her at school. On top of all that, now she’s a flying freak.

How can she tell her best friend or her mother? How can she live her life? After Gwendolyn almost meets disaster flying too high and too fast one night, help arrives from the most unexpected place. And stranger still? She’s not alone.
"


What the Moon Said
by Gayle Rosengren

Release date: February 20, 2014
Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 224
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Suggested tags: middle grade, historical fiction, 20th century



From Goodreads:
"Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can't keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther's family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.

Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.
"

Other Middle Grade new releases for this week: