Coming Soon: April 2016

HEY! HEY! HEY! It’s the start of a new month, you know what that means? That’s right. MORE BOOKS. Yippie! Check out fifteen of my most anticipated releases for this month.

1. Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Summary from Goodreads:

Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life–or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporation selects her for a top-secret project, she can’t say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future to bring back data, and she’ll be set for life.

Elena joins a team of four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy with his own reason for being there. But when the time travelers arrive in the future, something goes wrong and they break the only rule they were given: do not look into their own fates.

Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future from unfolding. With time running out and deadly secrets uncovered, Elena must use her eidetic memory, street smarts, and a growing trust in Adam to save her new friends and herself.

April 1st 2016 by Albert Whitman & Company

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2. Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark

Summary from Goodreads:

Catherine Clark has crafted a poignant story about the distances one girl is willing to go in the name of friendship that is at once funny, heartbreaking, and utterly romantic.

Seventeen-year-old Frances wouldn’t describe herself as adventurous. Until now . . .

Frances has one week—while she’ll be away from home competing in a high school bike race—to do every single thing on the Fix-It List. Ten crazy, totally out-of-character ideas her best friend, Stella, came up with to make the bike ride unforgettable. However, as each item on the F-It List opens Frances up to new adventures, new friends, and possibly even a new romance, it becomes increasingly difficult for Frances to keep the one promise that she knows she absolutely must obey—her promise to not tell anyone the truth about the accident that left Stella broken and angry, and started Frances on her quest to complete the list.

When it comes to friendship, Frances must decide what distances she’s willing to go, and what risks she’s willing to take, for the person she cares about the most.

April 5th 2016 by HarperTeen

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3. Boys of Summer by Jessica Brody

Summary from Goodreads:

Welcome to Winlock Harbor…

Best friends since they were kids, Grayson, Mike, and Ian were hoping for another epic summer on “The Locks”, filled with clam bakes, bonfires, and late-night swims in the ocean.

But that was before Ian’s dad never returned home from his last deployment. Before Mike had to take on more responsibility in order to help provide for his family. Before Grayson’s accident left him with an injured throwing arm and an uncertain future.

It’s clear this summer on the island is shaping up to be very different from those Grayson, Mike, and Ian have come to rely on. And when the sacred code of dating a friend’s sister or ex is broken, it will push their friendship to the absolute limit, testing their loyalties in a way that could either break them—or save them.

April 5th 2016 by Simon Pulse

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4. Burning by Danielle Rollins

Summary from Goodreads:

After three years in juvie, Angela Davis is just a few months shy of release, and she’ll finally be free from the hole that is Brunesfield Correctional Facility. Then Jessica arrives. Only ten years old and under the highest security possible, this girl has to be dangerous, even if no one knows what she did to land in juvie. As strange things begin happening to Angela and her friends that can only be traced to the new girl’s arrival, it becomes clear that Brunesfield is no longer safe. They must find a way to get out, but how can they save themselves when the world has forgotten them?

April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

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5. Alight by Scott Sigler

Summary from Goodreads:

Alight reveals to readers the further adventures of Em, Spingate, O’Malley, Bishop, and the other young heroes introduced in Alive. In Alive, Em fought to assert herself as leader and her friends tried to comprehend their own mysterious identity; now she must wrestle not with the challenge of winning power but the grave responsibility of having assumed it, and she and her friends must contend with a grim fact: the revelation of their identity is not an answer but another question—and one with terrifying implications.

April 5th 2016 by Del Rey

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Review of Alive

6. Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Summary from Goodreads:

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person–a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Meticulously researched, intricately plotted, and beautifully written, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice in historical fiction.

April 5th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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7. When We Collided by Emery Lord

Summary from Goodreads:

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn’t be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi’s zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there’s something important Vivi hasn’t told him.

April 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

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8. Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Summary from Goodreads:

Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

April 5th 2016 by HarperCollins

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9. The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Summary from Goodreads:

For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else’s property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

April 5th 2016 by Razorbill

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10. The Memory Jar by Elissa Janine Hoole

Summary from Goodreads:

Since the accident, Taylor’s memory has been fuzzy. But at least she’s awake. Who knows what her boyfriend, Scott, will remember when he comes out of the coma. Will he remember that Taylor was driving the snowmobile when it crashed? Will he remember the engagement ring? Her pregnancy?

Will he remember that she tried to break up with him?

Taylor doesn’t know. And she doesn’t know if she wants him to remember. Plenty of things happened that night and before—secrets wrapped in secrets—that she’d prefer be forgotten.

Facing choices she’d rather ignore, Taylor searches for something more solid than whispers and something bigger than blame to face the future and forgive herself.

April 8th 2016 by Flux

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11. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Summary from Goodreads:

Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all.

Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.

Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.

When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village.

From the author of the award-winning All the Truth That’s in Mecomes a spellbinding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page and make you wonder if miracles really are possible.

April 12th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers

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12. Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

Summary from Goodreads:

There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

April 26th 2016 by HarperTeen

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13. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Summary from Goodreads:

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

April 26th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

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14. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary from Goodreads:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

April 26th 2016 by Scholastic Press

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15. Soldier by Julie Kagawa

Summary from Goodreads:

A fighter dedicated to saving humankind from dragons in strictest secrecy.

That was what Garret Xavier Sebastian thought he was part of as a soldier of the Order of St. George. What he learned from a fiery dragon hatchling twisted all he believed in and set him on a collision course with certain death-but not without a chance to put things right.

Betrayed and on the run again, Ember and rogue dragon Riley discover an unthinkable truth about Talon and St. George. They’ll need Garret’s skills and insider knowledge of the Order to negotiate an impossible deal-and if they fail, there will be no way to stop all-out war.

April 26th 2016 by Harlequin TEEN

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South of Sunshine

“What I want is for Bren to press her lips against mine. To see if kissing her is different than kissing the boys I’ve been with.”

Title: South of Sunshine

Author: Dana Elmendorf

Series: Standalone

Publication: April 1st 2016 by Albert Whitman

Pages: 256

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?

In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.

Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.

My Thoughts:

South of Sunshine was sweet, but like that candy that sticks on the back of your tooth and hurts and hurts and hurts. That probably sounds harsher than I mean for it to be, but, oops?

This book is one of those sickly sweet coming out stories that you love but it makes you cringe all at the same time because it is like swimming in a vat of goddamn nacho cheese. Small town Tennesse, hatred of anyone different (in this case homosexuality), hiding in a closet, and then boom! Love, addition, and everything you could have ever wanted to happen just puts the icing on the cake. South of Sunshine was a very good read, if you can overlook some small things – but I’ll get into that later. It is a story of discovery, of fighting yourself and then fighting for what you believe in. It was very good, it was just too much good.

Kaycee McCoy, likes girls, hides behind boys. She tries to fit in, she tries to pretend like she isn’t who she really is – she suffocates herself in her cloud of guilt. Then, all of a sudden, everything in her perfect plan to fit in goes horribly, wonderfully wrong. A new girl moves to Sunshine, Tennessee. A new girl, who, despite the stigmatized view in the town, isn’t afraid to be who she really is and vocalize things that would probably make your grandma blush brighter than a cherry. She is adventurous, she is witty, she is smart, oh, and she’s also gay.

I really did like Kaycee. Though I couldn’t identify with her struggle, I could find myself identifying with her strength. I felt sorry for her, but I never pitied her. Honestly, there was more than one occasion where I sort of got fed up with her Mary-Sue bullshit and I wished she would just grow a pair and stand up for herself. But, I can also see why it would be difficult to do so in her circumstances – and therefore, I found myself respecting her. But, she was also the main issue I had with the book – besides the pacing. Kaycee, while real and surprisingly complex, was also an unavoidable Mary Sue. I couldn’t escape Perfect Kaycee having to be perfect all the damn time – at her own expense. It was actually quite sickening. Additionally, her sweet little romance with Bren (whom I adore) was just… too much. There was too much of everything and not enough of the things we really needed. It wasn’t real, it wasn’t believable, and it wasn’t enjoyable. It was sort of like biting down on a caramel and getting it stuck on a cavity or something equally as painful.

My other big issue was the beginning. While the overall pacing was awful – though it did sort of redeem itself at the end – the start of this book is so damn unbelievable. It was rocky, shaky, and all other possible ways you can call something unstable. It’s confusing, it’s too fast, and it is simply a thorn in my side. I wanted more – I wanted a backstory, I wanted to see relationships build and break. South of Sunshine kind just shoves it up in your face and expects you to both understand and care. Um… sorry, but no.

Overall, while South of Sunshine is a pretty good read if you’re capable of overlooking minute details – it is also an unrealistic, almost sickeningly perfect story that seems to be clinging onto your bare minimum sensibilities for dear life. It was charming, the setting was charming, the characters were charming – but charm is not enough. I needed more beyond the surface layer, and in that respect I found this book to be sorely lacking. But, don’t count this book out of the running just yet – you could potentially like it more than I did. Just… be prepared to read a shallow first draft rather than what could have been a deep, profound final copy.

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Teaser Tuesday # 24

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

This week’s Teaser Tuesday is for South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf!

“What I want is for Bren to press her lips against mine. To see if kissing her is different than kissing the boys I’ve been with.”

“A blanket and a boyfriend–or a girlfriend if that’s the case–are the only two things you need on a hayride.”

“How do you expect anyone to accept you if you can’t accept yourself?”

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Girl Last Seen

“I’m turned on, happy in her misfortune, then deeply ashamed, then just sad for both her and me.”

Title: Girl Last Seen

Authors: Heather Anastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown

Series: Standalone

Publication: March 1st 2016 by Aw Teen

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Kadence Mulligan’s star was rising. She and her best friend, Lauren DeSanto, watched their songs go viral on YouTube, then she launched a solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal chords. Everyone knows Lauren and Kadence had a major falling-out over Kady’s boyfriend. But Lauren knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. And nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with the disappearance. Or the blood evidence As the town and local media condemns Lauren, she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the truth herself. Lauren slowly unravels the twisted life of Kadence Mulligan and sees that there was more to her than she ever knew. But will she realize she’s unknowingly playing a part in an elaborate game to cover up a crime before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:

Hmm…. that was very, very interesting. Not bad, certainly not horrible, but also not good. So… interesting. I sometimes have a hard time getting into mysteries or thrillers simply because I cannot force myself into believing the story as something actually plausible – and Girl Last Seen was one of those cases. Now, don’t get me wrong – everything else about this book was pretty air tight, but the overall thematic elements just didn’t click with me, and that alone was enough to make me go ehh.

Give me a far fetched, insane fantasy world any day. As long as I can find something believable – be it characters, mannerisms, or certain phrases – I can put myself behind the story and collectively scream “hell yes” all hours of the day. But, give me some surface value characters, a plot line out of a telanovela, and pacing that makes the Vampire Academy film look good – and I simply don’t know what to do with myself.

I think part of what spun this book out into the no no zone was the multiple point of views. It just didn’t work for me. In a thriller, I don’t want bits and pieces from everyone – at least when all of those pieces aren’t adding to the story as a whole. In this case, it only worked against the main goal and gave way too much away. I like to pride myself on my ability to figure out big reveals way ahead of time, and boy – this book was one hell of an ego boost.

Too add insult to injury, I swear I’ve read another book pretty damn identical to this – only that book did it better, a lot better. I mean, if you’re going to do the same story line as something else – you better make damn well sure you either blow it out of the water or make the concept your own in a unique way. It simply didn’t work, and that sucked.

By no means is Girl Last Seen on the blacklist or anything of the sort – some of you might find it highly enjoyable – it just wasn’t the book for me. I was able to read all the way till the end – despite the multitude of bumbling cops, weird psychopathic tendencies, and little to no consequences for very despicable actions. While I appreciate the overall attempt, Girl Last Seen fell flat in the long run.