Each month I’ll be doing one post to highlight book releases by debut authors that I have my eye on. At the end of each post, I’ll name my MUST READ for the month. Check back at the end of the month for my review. Or feel free to try to sway my opinion to read one of the other debuts as well!
Debut Author Challenge:
Altered by Jennifer Rush
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.
Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.
Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.
Why I’m Interested: I’m a huge fan of science fiction. Throw in secrets, escape, love, and a mysterious connection and this sounds like my kind of read!
Splintered by A. G. Howard
Release Date: January 1, 2013
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.
Why I’m Interested: I normally avoid books about mental illness because it’s such a heavy and dark topic that really gets to me. However, the reviews that are posted and the description intrigue me, especially the vivid setting and spin on a literary classic.
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend … and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.
Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.
Why I’m Interested: This book has a lot of buzz already. The summary sounds strange, but it also sounds action-packed and intriguing.
Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.
After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.
Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.
Why I’m Interested: I have this fascination with Medusa and think she’s a totally awesome character/legend/myth to play around with as a writer. That alone made me want to check this book out.
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.
Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.
Why I’m Interested: I heard an agent speak about acquiring this manuscript and it immediately jumped out at me when I saw the list of debuts. While I haven’t read H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, I’m really into YA books that are spins or twists on classic literature, so this one definitely intrigues me.
Hooked by Liz Fichera
Release Date: January 31, 2013
When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.
But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.
But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…
Why I’m Interested: Native American protagonist and a girl who golfs could make this a fresh and original contemporary read.
My MUST READ January Debut is…
Look for my review on January 30!
(I wanted to pick The Madman’s Daughter but it comes out January 29 and I want to read one of the above in January, so look for Madman’s Daughter to slip into another month as a debut read.)