Book: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

23341894Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publish Date: June 16th 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1484705278
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis: If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

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Book: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

TWTDThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Publisher: Putnam/Penguin
Publish Date: May 12, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0399171611
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.


This book owns me. As well as Renée Ahdieh.

I have always been fascinated with stories set in West/South Asian cultures: Arabian Nights, Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp. To me, growing up, they offered a diversity from the norm. To me, it was like listening about stories of family. When Stacee and Christina told me that I had to drop everything to read Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn, I immediately did so.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a story about love, revenge, and the grey line that separates the two. It is a story about sacrifice and pleasures, but don’t they all correlate one way or another? The Wrath and the Dawn begins with a death. But while some death scenes can be written in black and white, Ahdieh wrote the scene in a way that had me question the harshness of it. And that’s when her words mesmerized me.

A young woman, Shahrzad, makes a sacrifice and volunteers to be the next calipha. She volunteers to marry the one that is said to be horrific and the monster of her nightmares, the Caliph, Khalid. As hatred fuels her, she waits to look in the eyes of not only her king, but also a murderer. But there is a catch. At dawn, her life will be forfeit. At dawn, she will no longer be anything. Shahrzad’s ill feelings toward Khalid give her courage to do what others have not been able to do: survive.

Shahrzad is a heroine that takes action. Given her circumstances, she isn’t just a damsel in distress. Instead, Shahrzad is the white knight in shining armor. She demands attention from death, and will gladly stare him in the eyes. I love her, for her hopes and dreams, her gusto and bravado. She is someone you want to look up to and become all in the same swoop.

Ahdieh adds memorable characters to the fiction world. Khalid, a horrific king with immeasurable power, whom has become my favorite. He is one of the most complicated characters I have met. To even try to figure out his enigmatic personality is a task in itself. Tariq, a heroic love who will stop at nothing to rescue his fair maiden. Where love can be measured as a strength could become his downfall. Jalal, the loyal guard and cousin, will do whatever he must to save his king. Even if he must befriend someone whom he should not.

The Wrath and the Dawn’s world is exquisitely filled with wonderful and complex characters. You cannot simply love them, nor can you hate them. Instead, you have to invest your time and emotions into them, and allow them to live with you forever. It’s complexity upon mystery upon mystique. Words haunt you and they make you fall in love. Characters make you cheer for the bad and jeer for the good. Everything is skillfully crafted, binding each detail to another, making one large cycle of intricacy and book awesomeness.

The Wrath and the Dawn is amazing, and I highly urge you to read it as soon as you can.

 

Book: My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

20783745My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date:  March 3, 2015
ISBN-13:  978-0316324786
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Synopsis: You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate.

Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.

Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?

The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?

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Book: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

16085457Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 10, 2015
Series: Seraphina, Book 2
ISBN-13: 978-0375866579
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
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Book: Dearest by Alethea Kontis

17155793Dearest by Alethea Kontis

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: February 3, 2015
Series: The Woodcutter Sisters, Book 3
ISBN-13: 978-0544074071
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?
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Book: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

21469060The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publish Date: March 3, 2015
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy (Book 2)
ISBN-13: 978-0374384708
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them. Continue reading

Book: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

RQRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publish Date: February 10, 2015
Series: Red Queen Trilogy, Book 1
ISBN-13: 978-0062310637
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
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