New Release: Down and Across

Down and AcrossRelease Date: February 6, 2018

Down and Across
by Arvin Ahmadi

Summary from Goodreads:
Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

I can’t wait for this book because:
Sounds like a great coming-of-age story! I love that it focuses on the idea of grit and perseverance. Fiora, with her crossword obsession, sounds like just the type of quirky character I’d love! And it’s set in DC, my childhood hometown!

This author will be at the NoVa Teen Book Fest on March 10, 2018!

February Debuts 2013

Each month I’ll be doing one post to highlight book releases by debut authors that I have my eye on.  Check back at the end of the month for reviews! Or feel free to try to sway my opinion to read other debuts as well!

Debut Author Challenge:
February Releases

by Laura Lam 
Release Date: Feb. 5

Goodreads Summary:

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.
But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

What grabbed me:
This sounds like such an imaginative and unique story, and I love the cover!

City of a Thousand Dolls 
by Miriam Forster 
Release Date: Feb. 5

Goodreads Summary:

An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

What grabbed me:

This sounds like a gripping and suspenseful read set in a fantastical world. Add a dash of romance to the adventure and mystery, and this sounds like my ideal read!

Pivot Point 
by Kasie West 
Release Date: Feb. 12

Goodreads Summary:

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

What grabbed me:

I love this concept of two completely different lives stemming from a single choice and how intriguing that she can see the possibilities and both options have serious pros/cons. I love everything about this premise!

Dance of Shadows
by Yelena Black
Release Date: Feb. 12

Goodreads Summary:

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you’re close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner’s heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .
Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister’s shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . . 
Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .

What grabbed me:
The cover is creepy but beautiful.  I did ballet up until middle school and will always have a fondness for it.  I love to read books that take me back to that past love.  Plus this sounds like a suspenseful read!

by Elsie Chapman 
Release Date: Feb. 26

Goodreads Summary:

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman’s suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.

What grabbed me:
Yikes!  Killing your twin?!?!  Definitely sounds similar to Hunger Games.  Looks like a fast-paced and exciting read!

Some debut novels from January that I purchased and also plan to read:

Which debut novels are on your list?

January Debuts 2013

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:
January Releases

Altered by Jennifer Rush
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Goodreads Summary:

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
Goodreads Summary:

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
Goodreads Summary:

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
Goodreads Summary:

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
Goodreads Summary:

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
Goodreads Summary:

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…

Level 2
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.)

Maggie’s Book Trailer, The Uglies series, and Bone Graphic Novels

Maggie Stiefvater is the queen of book trailers.  No, for real, she is.  Her book trailers for Shiver, Linger, and Forever are AWESOME.  And her most recent one for The Scorpio Races is totally gorgeous.  This is rare in the world of book trailers… most book trailers are terrible, miserable, amateur things.  Maggie’s book trailers are art.

I definitely plan to pick up Scorpio Races this Fall!

In other bookly news, I was at the beach and finished five books.

 Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and book 2, Pretties as well.  I can’t wait to start books 3 and 4!

I’m a little late in discovering this series.  They’ve been around for awhile (Uglies was published in 2005).  They just revamped the book covers and the new covers are what I bought and are what is pictured to the left.

If you want dystopian sci-fi, these are awesome.  They are about a future world where the government performs free plastic surgery on all people when they turn 16 to make them “pretty.”  But what if you don’t want the surgery…?

And there are these awesome hoverboards and other technology.  It’s a really exciting story and fascinating concept.

I’m becoming a huge Westerfeld fan because I also immensely enjoyed Leviathan.  I bought Peeps the other day and plan to read that too.  I will review the whole Uglies series upon completion.

My brother brought along his Bone books to the beach and I finally read the first three.  They are so clever and gorgeous to look at.  The rat creatures are hilarious.  Thorn is awesome.  Grandma Rose and Lucius are endearing.  Phoney and Smiley drive me nuts.  I really enjoyed them and highly recommend them.  But I still have 6 more to go!!!

I’m currently reading Forever by Maggie Stiefvater on my Kindle, and then will pick back up with Specials by Westerfeld.  I want to see how many fun books I can get through in the next 10 days before school starts back up…  We’ll see!

Awesome Book Previews for Fall

If you click on the link below, you’ll find the editors of Scholastic speaking about their upcoming book releases this fall.  It’s pretty awesome to pair editor’s faces with names as well as hearing what they get excited about in a book.

I’m also going to be adding several books to my to-read list!

Thanks to author, Maggie Stiefvater, who shared this link.

(I have only watched the YA segment so far.  You can watch the whole thing or pick and age/segment to watch.)