The Way I Used to Be

As the girl closes her eyes, she was thinking of him. Thinking that maybe he was thinking of her, too. But he wasn’t thinking of her in that way. He was holding her in the palm of his hand, wrapping her around his fingers, one at a time, twisting and molding and bending her brain.

Title: The Way I Used to Be

Author: Amber Smith

Series: Standalone

Publication: March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 384

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

My Thoughts:

The Way I Used to Be is a hard book to read because it is a missed opportunity. What could have been a poignant novel following in the footsteps of Courtney Summers’ All The Rage and Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw ended up becoming a one way road of self destruction and a lack of care for a serious subject.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Waiting On Wednesday # 23

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week’s Waiting On Wednesday is The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith!

Publication: March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Summary from Goodreads:

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

 WHY MUST THE WORLD BE SO CRUEL!?!?! Ugh, I need to read this so badly. Anything up the Courtney Summers alleyway is on my must have list. This is the type of book that needs to be read, not only by me – but I mean for everyone. I cannot wait to get my hands on this gorgeous beast and proceed to tear my heart to pieces. I shall have ice cream, tea, tissues, and my teddybear on standby. 

Lady Midnight

“When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins. Their touch stays on your skin and their voice stays in your ears and their thoughts stay in your mind. You know their dreams because their nightmares pierce your heart and their good dreams are your dreams too. And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows of all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them.”

Title: Lady Midnight

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Dark Artifices # 1

Publication: March 8th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 720

Source: Purchased at launch event

Summary from Goodreads:

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

My Thoughts:

Reading this was a very surreal experience. Not only did I get to dive back into the amazing world of Shadowhunters, the book itself takes place very close to home – in fact, there were several places mentioned that I’ve been to before. Lady Midnight, the first book in Cassandra Clare’s new Dark Artifices series, is a book that will knock your socks off (Yes, I put that in there on purpose. If you’ve read the book, you know why). Filled with adventure, action, blazing and swoon worthy romance – not to mention a cast of characters that will both make you want to rip your hair out and bow down and kiss some feet at the same time – Lady Midnight is everything I could have wished for and so much more.

I can’t really say anything about this book without spoiling practically everything from The Mortal Instruments – even the Shadowhunters Academy and The Infernal Devices. Every story plays a part in what leads up to this, The Mortal Instruments most of all. I can say this, Lady Midnight sets itself apart from her other books for two main reasons. One: our protagonist is not only fully aware of the shadow world and what it contains at the start of the book, she is also a Shadowhunter born and bred. Two: While there is romance, this book is centered completely around family – specifically, the Blackthorns whom I adore immensely. A nice little tidbit – you’re actually introduced to all of these characters in City of Heavenly Fire, so it was really awesome seeing them again in their own story.

Like I said, I cannot say anything without spoiling everything for you guys. So, much like my review of Glass Sword, this review will now transform itself into gif central.

Remembering everything that happened to Emma and the Blackthorns in the conclusion of the TMI series:

The Characters (Especially Mark and Tavvy):

 

All the feels:

Me at the end:

That just about sums it all up. If you haven’t yet, READ IT! If you don’t plan to, READ IT ANYWAY! Get on the Shadowhunter train ya’ll, it’s one hell of a wild ride.

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

 

Coming Soon: March 2016

Books, books, books.. what more could I ask for in the glorious month of March? Spring break? Books. St. Patrick’s Day? Books. BOOKS ALL AROUND! This month is full of amazing releases, from new books by favorite authors to wondrous debuts. This month will be the death of me, but I go into it willingly. Check out eleven of my most anticipated releases this month!

1. Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

Summary from Goodreads:

This riveting fantasy marks Melissa Marr’s return to the world of faery courts that made her Wicked Lovely series an international phenomenon.

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them…and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there. The combination of ethereal fae powers, tumultuous romance, and a bloodthirsty faery queen will have longtime fans and new readers at the edge of their seats.

March 1st 2016 by HarperCollins

Add to Goodreads

2. In Real Life by Jessica Love

Summary from Goodreads:

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn’t the only thing he’s been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

March 1st 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Add to Goodreads

3. Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Summary from Goodreads:

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.      Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail,Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

 March 1st 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Add to Goodreads

4. Burning Glass by Katheryn Purdie

Summary from Goodreads:

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.

But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Add to Goodreads

5. A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Summary from Goodreads:

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Add to Goodreads

6. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Summary from Goodreads:

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

March 8th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Add to Goodreads

7. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Summary from Goodreads:

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

March 8th 2016 by Penguin

Add to Goodreads

8. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Summary from Goodreads:

Kill the beast. Win the girl.

A strange beast stirs fear in the kingdom of Lochlanach, terrorizing towns with its brutality and hunger. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity understands her duty to the kingdom though it pains her to imagine marrying a stranger. It would be foolish to set her sights on any particular man in the great hunt, but when a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention, there’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not keen on marriage. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast and protecting his family—yet Princess Aerity continues to challenge his notions with her unpredictability and charm. But as past secrets collide with present desires, dire choices threaten everything Paxton holds dear.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale, “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, outlawed magic, and a princess willing to risk all to save her people.

March 8th 2016 by HarperTeen

Add to Goodreads

9. A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann

Summary from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Anouk has finally caught the break she’s been looking for—she’s been selected out of hundreds of other candidates to fly to France and help with the excavation of a vast, underground palace buried a hundred feet below the suburbs of Paris. Built in the 1780’s to hide an aristocratic family and a mad duke during the French Revolution, the palace has lain hidden and forgotten ever since. Anouk, along with several other gifted teenagers, will be the first to set foot in it in over two centuries.

Or so she thought.

But nothing is as it seems, and the teens soon find themselves embroiled in a game far more sinister, and dangerous, than they could possibly have imagined. An evil spanning centuries is waiting for them in the depths. . .

A genre-bending thriller from Stefan Bachmann for fans of The Maze Runner and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.

You cannot escape the palace.

You cannot guess its secrets.

March 15th 2016 by Greenwillow Books

Add to Goodreads

10. The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

Summary from Goodreads:

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Add to Goodreads

11. Walk The Edge by Katie McGarry

Summary from Goodreads:

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

March 29th 2016 by Harlequin TEEN

Add to Goodreads

anigif_enhanced-17492-1406560553-18

Coming Soon: January 2016

Happy New Year guys! A new year means new books and the amazing opportunity to start your 365 page novel over from scratch. Guess what? There are a crap ton of amazing books hitting the shelves during this new year, but for this post I’ll be focusing on those coming within reach during the month of January. Check out this list of eleven of my most anticipated new releases this month!

1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

 

Summary:

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

January 5th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion

Add to Goodreads

2. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Summary:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

January 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Add to Goodreads

3. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Summary:

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

January 5th 2016 by Tor Teen

Add to Goodreads

4. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandiera

Summary:

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

January 12th 2016 by Spencer Hill Contemporary

Add to Goodreads

5. The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

January 5th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Add to Goodreads

6. Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Summary:

Morgan didn’t mean to do anything wrong that day. Actually, she meant to do something right. But her kind act inadvertently played a role in a deadly tragedy. In order to move on, Morgan must learn to forgive—first someone who did something that might be unforgivable, and then, herself.

But Morgan can’t move on. She can’t even move beyond the front door of the apartment she shares with her mother and little brother. Morgan feels like she’s underwater, unable to surface. Unable to see her friends. Unable to go to school.

When it seems Morgan can’t hold her breath any longer, a new boy moves in next door. Evan reminds her of the salty ocean air and the rush she used to get from swimming. He might be just what she needs to help her reconnect with the world outside.

Underwater is a powerful, hopeful debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on.

January 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

Add to Goodreads

7. Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Summary:

Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

January 19th 2016 by HarperTeen

Add to Goodreads

8. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Summary:

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

January 26th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Add to Goodreads

9. Frontlines by Michael Grant

Summary:

Perfect for fans of The Book Thief and Code Name Verity, New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant unleashes an epic, genre-bending, and transformative new series that reimagines World War II with girl soldiers fighting on the front lines.

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

January 26th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Add to Goodreads

10. The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

Summary:

In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.

January 26th 2016 by Simon Pulse

Add to Goodreads

11. The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

Summary:

All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of her father’s books to track down a woman she’s never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos’ debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us – the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

January 26th 2016 by Balzer & Bray

Add to Goodreads

What books are you guys looking forward to this month? Are there any big ones that I missed?

Waiting On Wednesday # 6

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This weeks Waiting On Wednesday is Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare!

Publication: March 8th 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Summary from Goodreads:

Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

OH MY GOODNESS! Okay, I know this book isn’t coming out for a looonng time, but I chose this one for two reasons. One, they just revealed the cover this past weekend at NY Comic Con ( Isn’t it pretty?). Two, I love Cassandra Clare. I love, love, love, love, love her. Get it yet? I cannot wait for this book to come out!! Not only is it the next part of the Shadowhunters universe, but it takes place in my home state/city! Well, I’m from Orange County which is smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles and San Diego, but I know where everything is and I have been to most of them. So.. I’m excited. Actually, I think excited might be a little bit of an understatement.

*Creepy Gollum voice* My precious…….

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

The Scorpion Rules

“You cannot control a man if you take everything from him. You must leave him something to lose”

Title: The Scorpion Rules

Author: Erin Bow

Series: Prisoners of Peace # 1

Publication: September 22nd 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 384

Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

Summary from Goodreads:

A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace – sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals – are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.

Enter Elián Palnik, the Precepture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?

My Thoughts:

This book was brilliant. There were moments that made me laugh, moments that made me tremble in my chair, moments that made me cry, moments that melted my heart, and moments that made me want to rip my hair out at the roots. This book has it all, and it delivers it through a cold but much needed message.
The Scorpion Rules is not a typical dystopia. It takes The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent and basically gives them the middle finger while laughing manically – actually, Talis would be laughing maniacally because he is just that strange. This book starts off with a very informational prologue, basically, it is explaining what the hell went down a couple hundred years in the past from when this book takes place. Long story short, humans were killing humans, Talis – an extremely advanced AI system – was tasked with finding a solution, and his solution was to blow up cities to get people’s attention. It worked, he became like some evil, computer overlord thing, and it all basically goes downhill while also solving a lot of problems from there. He has also removed all weapons except for things such as swords, crossbows, and knives. He wants you to get blood on your hands if you kill. Talis’ answer to world peace is this: the Children of the Peace. Basically, if you want to rule, you must have a child – and that child is taken away from you. It usually happens when they turn five or six years old so you have time to bond with them before they are taken away. Because, the grand scheme of it all is that if you start a war – your child, your hostage, will die. Brutal, but effective.
Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, spends her days, then years, as a hostage at Precepture Four in Saskatchewan. She was amazing. I don’t know what I liked the most about her, her willingness to do what needed to be done, her dignity, her bravery, her ability to think things through and come up with a logical solution. She was a beautifully crafted character, so different from the norms of a young adult dystopian protagonist yet still having that same spark that I love. She was responsible, she knew her duty and she wasn’t afraid to do it – no matter the cost.
The rest of the characters were just as compelling, though some were more so than others. I loved Elián. I loved him, loved him, loved him, loved him. Getting the picture? The first words out of his mouth are these: “Hi. I’m Spartacus, and I’m here to lead you in a slave revolt against an unjust syst-“ Elián is a pop culture nerd, and I loved it. He quotes movies that no one else understands but the reader and the AI systems, and it is pretty entertaining. He uses the quotes, his innuendos, and his snide commentary to constantly push at the boundaries of what he can get away with saying about revolution – failing more often than not. He was a really interesting character.
As usual, I am trying very hard to avoid spoilers, but, I need to make something very clear to you. This book is not a typical dystopian, as I have already said. Rather than this being focused on overthrowing a corrupt government like all of the other books out there, this is a detailed overview of what can lead people to war and the consequences it can have.
Talis is not a bad guy, despite his overlord status – I actually really liked him. As much as I enjoyed all of the other characters, Talis and the Abbot were some of my favorites, Talis mostly. I will never forget him, forget his humor and his capability to reason things through. Yea, sure, Talis is an artificial intelligence system, but he wasn’t always – and that is what makes him and the Abbot so special. They were both humans once, uploaded into this computerized version of themselves. They feel, though it takes more effort. He is a beautiful character for a multitude of things, but what stood out to me the most was how much he actually cared about the children of the percepture. He saves Gerta, he heals her, he protects the children, he basically saves the day. He isn’t all good and he isn’t all bad, and I love that about him. He sort of reminded me of Ultron from the Avengers, but only better.
One thing I did not like was the pacing. This book had too much in it. It bothers me even more now that I know it is a going to be a series. This book had far too much going on, if it was going to be a standalone – fine, but I felt like I read an entire series in the scope of one book. Too much, too fast.
There are so many books marketed as the next big dystopian hit, hoping to knock The Hunger Games and Divergent off their pedestals – but this book does it without trying. The Scorpion Rules has no rebellion, and the evil overlord is one of the most likable, entertaining characters in the book. But, The Scorpion Rules is disturbing, suspenseful, vivid, and it doesn’t sugar coat anything. There is brutal torture, cold hearted murder, entire cities decimated, and one little farm in the center of it all.
The Scorpion Rules is a compelling story of transformation and choice when all options seem lost. It plays with the ideas of sacrifice, science, human mentality, the willingness to go to war while knowing the consequences, and the nature of our choices. It toys with the meaning behind the greater good, how far is too far when lives are at stake? I highly recommend this book, there are some very disturbing scenes – I will never be able to look at an apple press the same way again. I would say this book is appropriate for ages thirteen and up, though, as I have already said, there is some very disturbing material – but it’s worth it. Oh god is it worth it in the end.

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble