Fire Color One

“Haven’t you worked it out yet?” Margot asked him.
“What?”
“Life’s big secret. If a thing’s not dangerous, it’s hardly worth doing.”

Title: Fire Color One

Author: Jenny Valentine

Series: Standalone

Publication: January 31st 2017 by Philomel Books

Pages: 240

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Iris itches constantly for the strike of a match. But when she’s caught setting one too many fires, she’s whisked away to London before she can get arrested—at least that’s the story her mother tells. Mounting debt actually drove them out of LA, and it’s greed that brings them to a home Iris doesn’t recognize, where her millionaire father—a man she’s never met—lives. Though not for much longer.

Iris’s father is dying, and her mother is determined to claim his life’s fortune, including his priceless art collection. Forced to live with him as part of an exploitive scheme, Iris soon realizes her father is far different than the man she’s been schooled to hate, and everything she thought she knew—about her father and herself—is suddenly unclear. There may be hidden beauty in Iris’s uncertain past, and future, if only she can see beyond the flames.


My Thoughts:

Sometimes an impact can be made in a short amount of space. Like poetry, Fire Color One uses its small size to pack each page full of imagery and deeper meaning. It might be a short, quick read – but it leaves a lasting impact. Fire Color One stays with you, lingering like the crisp aftertaste of a ripe apple or the scent of turpentine after painting a masterpiece. This book is art celebrating other art. It’s fresh, beautiful, and full of meaning. Fire Color Once is a magically brief glimpse into something more than normal.

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Mad Miss Mimic

I knew nothing. And I found that, yes, I was curious—very curious indeed.

Title: Mad Miss Mimic

Author: Sarah Henstra

Series: Standalone

Publication: January 3rd 2017 by Razorbill Canada

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back… and watch as she unintentionally scares off every potential suitor. Only the impossibly handsome Mr. Thornfax seems interested in Leo…but why? And does he have a connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that has London in its terrifying grasp? Trapped in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, where doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent an injectable formula, Leo must search for truth in increasingly dangerous situations – but to do so, she must first find her voice.


A List of Thoughts:

  • A fantastic Victorian era mystery that will keep you on your toes
  • Leo, or Leonora, is surprisingly easy to relate to. She is fun, quirky, and full of an entertaining spark reminiscent of Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. Oh, and she also has a speech impediment which enables her to perfectly mimic people but stutter in her own voice.
  • Full of twists and turns. I, personally, did not expect this book to be a Victorian-era drug bust esque sort of thing. Henstra totally rocks it.
  • The plot is very complex, in a good way. It’s just enough to keep you intrigued and make you think – not too much, not too little.
  • The characters with their failings and strengths are complex, believable, and a real treat to delve into. Leo, Francis Thornfax (DUDE, HIS NAME), Tom… all of them. They all have such a vibrant spirit – that’s the only way I can describe it.
  • The plot itself is amazing. It is a giant, tastefully crafted melting pot of terrorism in retaliation for banning drugs, romance, mystery, and the perfect bursts of humor. It’s dark, intense, and delightful.

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Arena

Death is not something to be cheated. It’s simply the end of a journey. The best thing we can do is move on, live the best life we can, and always remember them and everything they taught us.

Title: Arena

Author: Holly Jennings

Series: Arena # 1

Publication: November 1st 2016 by Ace Books

Pages: 400

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who s far more distracting than he should be.
Between internal tensions and external pressures, Kali is on the brink of breaking. To change her life, she ll need to change the game. And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside.


My Thoughts:

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. In all honesty, despite my excitement, I sort of put off reading it because I was afraid it would be a mash up of Divergent simulations and The Hunger Games. However, Arena completely proved me wrong.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Arena as much as I actually did. It was exciting, fun, entertaining, and unique in ways I thought would be lacking. There were interesting characters, wonderful relationships, and a whole lot of action. Arena was a treat to read in so many ways, perfect for the upswing after just finishing finals.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Salt to Sea

“I raised my face to the sun. My war had been so long, my winter so cold. But I had finally made it home. And for the first time in a long time, I was not afraid.”

Title: Salt to Sea

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Series: Standalone

Publication: February 2nd 2016 by Philomel Books

Pages: 400

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

 

Summary from Goodreads:

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

My Thoughts:

While I have never read any of Ruta Sepetys’ work before, her name has always been floating around in my mind. I remember hearing about Between Shades of Grey. I remember seeing it on the shelves way before I started blogging. I remember resolving to read it later and put it back. Well, now I can say I made one of the biggest mistakes when I put it down. Ruta Sepetys is brilliant – her work nothing short of pure genius. Salt to Sea is only the tip of the ice berg about to crush the flood gate and let the rising tide through.

Salt to Sea takes place in 1945 – four years after the German invasion of Russia during WWII. While the war may be drawing to a close, the terrors are still fresh and a daily occurrence in the eyes of refugees fleeing for a ship off the coast. Then the ship is attacked by a Russian submarine, and the refugees are forced to watch their only chance of hope sink right before their eyes – and then they must find a way to survive.

This book is told through four perspectives: a runaway, a thief, a burdened teen, and a Nazi. Joanna is a runaway from Lithuania and a nurse. Her heritage is what drives her throughout the story, the guilt she feels over abandoning her family to create a future for herself is what fuels her need for survival. She was smart, brave, and oh so strong. Then we have a thief, Florian, who was so complex it was like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded (hint: I can’t even solve them with my eyes open). His only goal – despite his random and daring acts of kindness – is to find a way to be free of Germany and all of the pain it represents. Then, my favorite for more reasons than I can possibly describe, Emilia. She broke my heart. She’s just so…. real. No matter what happens and what she had already lived through – she just puts one foot in front of the other and keeps truckin’ on. She refused to give up even when giving up was the easiest thing to do. She was so steadfast, so fierce and shameless in her bravery. It was beautiful. Now, the most surprising of the bunch – Alfred. I have no idea what to say about him…. he is everything I hate about WWII and Germany at the time, and yet… it was so damn interesting to see things through his eyes.

If you’re looking for a happy book, a book that will make you smile and help you sleep at night – turn back now. Salt to Sea was not easy to read in any way, shape, or form. It was painful. Each word was like a sharpened knife with a laser sight set directly on your heart. The war was not kind, we know that from our history – but seeing it like this, having it up all in your face flashing every single thing you never wanted to see and what you wanted to forget even existed… Just wow. I had to put this down more than once and walk away. I had to take breaks. Hell, at one point I even chose to do my homework rather than keep reading because it hurt so much. This doesn’t make light of what happened – nor does it make it so obviously horrible that it becomes trivial. It is a careful balancing act. Humans are a bunch of monsters. That’s something we should never forget.

Salt to Sea is one of those special books. It’s one of those books that forces you to stop and think, to remember. Ruta Sepetys creation is a masterful weaving of history, pain, and what it is like to hope when it seems impossible. If you have any sense at all, you will find this book at the nearest opportunity so that you may share in the pain of millions – even if only for four-hundred pages.

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