Wrap Up: May 2017 (and June TBR)

SO delayed!!

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This Is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information The Nightingale Circus (Broken People, #0.5) Supergirl: Rebirth #1 (Supergirl 2016, #1) Secret Wars #0 (FCBD 2015) Secret Wars (2015-) #1 (of 9) Then Comes Love (Then Comes Love, #1) The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1) Time in a Bottle The Time Keeper City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)

This is What a Librarian Looks Like by Kyle Cassidy

This book needs to be in all libraries. I deserves to be noticed and I think that this was easily one of the best reads for me this year. See review here.

The Nightingale Circus by Ioana Visan

I really enjoyed this novella, as I do with Ioana Visan’s work. I want to read Broken People so I can find out more about the circus and the people that use it as their safe haven. See review here.

Supergirl: Rebirth #1 by Steve Orlando

This was a different and fresh view of Supergirl for me. I enjoyed this short piece and I’m definitely considering reading more about her. See Review here.

Secret Wars #0 by Jonathan Hickman

It’s about time I started this event. I think everything was summed up pretty well in this piece. Review to come soon.

Secret Wars #1 by Jonathan Hickman

I thought this was a pretty good start to the whole event. Definitely got me even more intrigued. Review to come soon.

Then Comes Love by Lindsay Detwiler

A cute, funny, quick read. I really liked this book and enjoyed it tremendously. See review here.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I’ve had this book for a few years and I took way to long to actually read it. I really liked it and I want to read the rest of The Giver Quartet. See review here.

Time in a Bottle by Kathleen D. Tresemer

I had a few issues with this book mainly because the proper trigger warnings weren’t applied but I really did enjoy the writing. See review here.

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

This was definitely one of the better books I’ve read this year. I can’t believe I took so long to get to it. See review here.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

And so the reread continues! I loved this read a lot more the second time around and seeing my babies growing up is always a pleasure. See review here.

Total Read: 10 Books


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Revival, Vol. 3: A Faraway Place The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

ARCs (I swear this list is getting shorter)

Sleight Heartborn Loving Ashe: Book 1 of the Celebrity Series Soothsayer: Magic Is All Around Us (Soothsayer Series #1) Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale, #1) Unseen (Breaking Free Book 1) Teeth: The First Bite (Teeth, #1) Jaeth's Eye (The Agartes Epilogues, #1) Demolition Love The Labyrinth Eve The Soul Reaper The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) Can't Buy Forever

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Expected Releases for June 2017

Goodreads synopses included.

6 June

The Alice Network

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth …no matter where it leads.

Amazon | Goodreads


33347428I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

Superstar comedian and Hollywood box office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.

The question you’re probably asking yourself right now is: What does Kevin Hart have that a book also has?

According to the three people who have seen Kevin Hart and a book in the same room, the answer is clear:

A book is compact. Kevin Hart is compact.

A book has a spine that holds it together. Kevin Hart has a spine that holds him together.

A book has a beginning. Kevin Hart’s life uniquely qualifies him to write this book by also having a beginning.

It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.

The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way).

But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, JK Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the reader on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.

And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.

He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself.

“Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter,” he says. “So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?”

Amazon | Goodreads


Dramatically Ever After (Ever After #2)Dramatically Ever After (Ever After, #2) by Isabel Bandeira

Senior year is not shaping up to be the picture perfect movie Em Katsaros had imagined. Her super hot leading man is five thousand miles away. Her dad just got laid off. And Em can kiss her first-pick university goodbye if she doesn’t snag a scholarship.

To turn this Shakespearean tragedy into the Academy Award-winning dream Em has written for herself, she enters a speech competition and manages to cinch a spot in the US Youth Change Council national round. She gets to spend a week in Boston and her prayers might be answered if she can kick butt and win one of the national scholarships.

Everything seems to be going by the script until she finds out Kris Lambert—senior class president, stuck-up jerk, and her nemesis—is going, too. Cue the dramatic music. In Boston, Kris is different. Nice. Cute, even. But she knows his game way too well—be nice to your opponents and then throw them under the bus on your way to victory. Instead of becoming his next victim, Em decides to turn the tables by putting her acting and flirting skills to work. Unfortunately, as they get close to the final competition and judging, reality and acting start to blur.

Can Em use the drama from the stage to get the future she’s been dreaming of?

Amazon | Goodreads


Once and for AllOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Amazon | Goodreads


Words in Deep BlueWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

13 June

 

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2) by Victoria Schwab

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

Amazon | Goodreads


Hunger: A Memoir of (My) BodyHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay

From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

Amazon | Goodreads


Bad RomanceBad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

27 June

Seven Stones to Stand or FallSeven Stones to Stand or Fall (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon

>>>>><<<<<

A collection of seven short stories set in the Outlander universe, never before published together, including two original stories.
This riveting, romantic collection includes: -Besieged- (original novella), -Survival- (original novella), -Virgins, – -The Space Between, – -Lord John and the Plague of Zombies, – -A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows- and -The Custom of the Army.-

Amazon | Goodreads


Midnight Jewel (The Glittering Court, #2)Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead

In MIDNIGHT JEWEL, Richelle Mead goes beyond the glitz and glamour of the Glittering Court, delving into the dark, political underbelly of Cape Triumph through the eyes of one girl who dares to fight for her freedom.

A refugee of war, Mira was cast out of her home country and thrust into another, where the conditions were inhospitable at best. In a life-altering twist of fate, she is given the chance to escape once more, and she takes it, joining the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. There, Mira finds herself subjected to persecution, not only from her fellow Glittering Court jewels, but from her suitors, as well—men she would potentially be expected to give her life to.

By day, she goes through the motions, learning the etiquette and customs that will help to earn her anonymity, even making a couple true friends in the process, the forthright ladies’ maid Adelaide and the ambitious laundress Tamsin. But by night, Mira hatches a different plan entirely—one that, if exposed, could get her hanged in the highest court of Adoria.

MIDNIGHT JEWEL is the extraordinary story of a girl with few options who courageously forges a new path, finding love, passion, lifelong friendships, and maybe even a way to freedom.

Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads Listopia for upcoming June 2017 Releases:

 

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Book Review: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

13624688Goodreads Synopsis

In this fable, the first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time.

The inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world – now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began – and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.


Trigger Warnings: Underage drinking, suicide attempt.

I’d never read a book about Father Time before this so I was really looking forward to seeing how Mitch Albom executed the tale of the personification of time itself.

‘”There is a reason God limits our days.”
“Why?”
“To make each one precious.”‘

When I started the book, I thought that it’d be an easy one. I’d finish it quickly and then write out a review and all would be said and done. While the book wasn’t a difficult read or heavy on the heart, I had no idea how I was going to review it. The only thing I was absolutely certain of was that I was loving it.

Father Time, Dor as he was known before he became the inventor of the thing that weighs a lot of us down, is described to be an old man with a beard that’s so long it reaches his knees. I laughed at this description and thought that we’d found a man whose beard was longer than Dumbledore’s. Because Dor can’t resist counting; the moments, the cycles of the moon, breaths…he is ‘punished’ to live in a cave and listen to the consequences of wanting this power caused. How long? Till when Heaven meets Earth.

“Sitting high above the city, Father Time realized that knowing something and understanding it were not the same thing.”

In our current time we meet Sarah Lemon, a seventeen year old girl who doesn’t want more time, she just wants it to stop. And Victor Delemonte, an eighty-six year old man who wants nothing but time. He wants all the time he could possibly get. When Dor’s ‘sentence’ ends, he’s tasked with the job to find these two people and bring them together. He doesn’t know for what yet, but as the book goes on, the plan unfolds and it’s all pieced together.

I can’t really say what emotions I felt while reading this book. Opinions were formed sure, but those didn’t directly relate to what I was feeling at the moment. I had a lot of questions and a lot of them was me wanting to know why? One man wanted to live forever and one girl thought that one guy was the be all and end all of her entire existence.

“Ends are for yesterdays, not tomorrow.”

I really liked this book and thought it was really great. I don’t typically read books that talk about life, the universe, and everything but something about the synopsis drew me in and it was a spur of the moment buy for me. I’ve owned The First Phone Call From Heaven for a while now, but after reading this, I want to read that as soon as possible.

What I liked especially about this book was that to explain the situation, Father Time put things in perspective for Sarah and Victor and he didn’t make the choice for them. He showed them how they got here and what happened after they were gone. The rest was up to them.

I think that Mitch Albom wrote a very beautiful piece. This was inspiring, amazing, and everything in between.

‘”Time is not something you give back. The very next moment may be an answer to your prayer. To deny that is to deny the most important part of the future.”
“What’s that?”
“Hope.”‘

**Not apologising for all the quotes used. They were just too good to pass up.

Read: 22 May 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 1 May 2013
Publisher: Sphere
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Mitch Albom

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eARC Book Review: Then Comes Love by Lindsay Detwiler

Then Comes Love (Then Comes Love, #1)

Goodreads Synopsis

Three generations of women,
Three second loves,
All with a dose of chaos mixed in.

Sometimes in life, changes can be good…

After losing her husband, her five cats, and her home, Charlotte Noel hates feeling dependent. As Charlotte tries to find her identity in this new stage of life, she comes to realize that drama never ends, dance aerobics can be a war zone, and love is always a possibility.

You never know when a midlife crisis is going to strike…

Charlotte’s daughter, Annie, is going through struggles of her own. Recently divorced, she is feeling frumpy and worn-out. Run ragged, Annie mourns her youth and wonders where her life is headed, all while hoping she can help her daughter Amelia get it together.

Settling down can be overrated, especially when you’re falling for a rock star look-alike…

Amelia is the wild child of the family. Working three jobs, because she just hasn’t figured out what she wants in life, she realizes happiness isn’t always settling down with a steady, dependable man; sometimes it’s about following your true passion and living on the edge.

No matter what age you are, life and love can be crazy…


I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

By the title alone I wanted to steer clear of this book because I could sense what was coming. I’m rarely in the mood for a romance novel and I’d forgotten why I’d requested this book in the first place. I’m glad I did though because this is so much more than a mere romance novel.

We are introduced to three generations of women: Charlotte, the eighty-one year old discovering that just because she’s old, it doesn’t mean that her life has to be over. Annie, a fifty year old who has to reinvent herself after the love of her life walks out on her. And of course, Amelia, the thirty-two year old who’s eccentric and devil-may-care behaviour is trying to lead her to the path of fulfilment but the idea of ‘safety’ leads her in a different direction.

First thing’s first, this book did not read like a romance novel. It was more humour than anything else. I found myself laughing only a few pages in and by then I was pretty sure that I was going to enjoy this book. And I did.

Charlotte’s character was possibly my favourite out of the three women. I have no idea what it feels like to be eighty but this woman did not read like an eighty year old. I kept having to remind myself of her age because the story ran away with me. I think that was a bit different though and I liked that about the book. By doing that, making the characters seem younger, she opened up the book to all ages.

I feel like the main message in this book was: stop running. These characters were so scared to face the music that they kept running away but once they stopped and took a moment to take everything in, new paths opened up for them.

“Sometimes love changed everything. Sometimes love came when you least expected it. Sometimes you gave up on life, gave up on finding out who you were supposed to be.

And then, when you’d forgotten what it felt like, when you’d dismissed the ideal entirely… then, well… then came love.”

Lindsay Detwiler’s writing was superb and extremely fast paced. I sat myself down and finished the book in no time. She really has a way with pulling you into the story and holding your attention up till the very end.

I’m not saying that this book opened up the way for romance novels for me but I’ll definitely be reading more of this author’s work. That was a nice break from the ‘serious’ books I’ve been reading. If you’re looking for a light read that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy in the end, this is what you need.

Read: 11 May 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 18 March 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Lindsay Detwiler

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Expected Releases for May 2017

May seems to be the month of book releases.

Goodreads synopsis included.

2 May

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2)

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . .

Amazon | Goodreads


From Percy Jackson: Camp Half-Blood Confidential (An Official Rick Riordan Companion Book): Your Real Guide to the Demigod Training Camp From Percy Jackson: Camp Half-Blood Confidential (An Official Rick Riordan Companion Book): Your Real Guide to the Demigod Training Camp by Rick Riordan

In response to an awful camp orientation video created by the god Apollo, Percy Jackson and other residents of Camp Half-Blood answer such questions as “What is this place?” and “Do I get to keep the T-shirt?” Newbies can check out the section on the Divine Cabins, read up on Magical Landmarks, and consult the chapter of Training Arenas. But Camp Half-Blood Confidential explores much more than just the buildings and grounds. It includes info that can only be learned from those who live there.

For instance, campers do not always co-exist in peace and harmony. The camp is not run with superior efficiency. Prophecies do not flow forth with great regularity. Sprinkled throughout are stories from heroes who have called Camp Half-Blood home or just passed through on their way to places unknown. Chiron himself introduces the book with a brief history of training based on his millennia of experience. And, of course, there are divine words of wisdom from the god Apollo himself, because . . . well, because the demigod authors would prefer not to be struck down, thank you very much.

Amazon | Goodreads


A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Amazon | Goodreads


Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #3) by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Amazon | Goodreads


Saga: Book TwoSaga Book Two by Brian K. Vaughn

At long last, it’s finally time for the second hardcover collection of Saga, the New York Times best-selling series praised by everyone from Alan Moore to Lin-Manuel Miranda!

Created by the multiple Eisner Award-winning team of artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40, Archie Comics) and writer Brian K. Vaughan (The Private Eye, Paper Girls, We Stand On Guard), Saga Book Two continues the action-packed education of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war.

Collecting 18 issues of the smash-hit comic, this massive edition features a striking original cover from Fiona Staples, as well as a brand-new gallery of exclusive, never-before-seen Saga artwork from legendary creators including Cliff Chiang, Pia Guerra, Faith Erin Hicks, Karl Kerschl, Jason Latour, Sean Gordon Murphy, Steve Skroce, and more!

Collects SAGA #19-36.

Amazon | Goodreads


Star Wars: Rebel RisingStar Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis

When Jyn Erso was five years old, her mother was murdered and her father taken from her to serve the Empire. But despite the loss of her parents she is not completely alone—Saw Gerrera, a man willing to go to any extremes necessary in order to resist Imperial tyranny, takes her in as his own, and gives her not only a home but all the abilities and resources she needs to become a rebel herself.

Jyn dedicates herself to the cause—and the man. But fighting alongside Saw and his people brings with it danger and the question of just how far Jyn is willing to go as one of Saw’s soldiers. When she faces an unthinkable betrayal that shatters her world, Jyn will have to pull the pieces of herself back together and figure out what she truly believes in…and who she can really trust.

Amazon | Goodreads


Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

9 May

Men Without Women

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

A dazzling new collection of short stories–the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.

Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

23 May

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2) by Cassandra Clare

Sunny Los Angeles can be a dark place indeed in Cassandra Clare’s Lord of Shadows, the sequel to the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Lady Midnight.

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

30 May

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
 
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
 
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
 
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall

Goodreads Synopsis

With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today’s foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person’s life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Named to numerous state reading lists, this novel was also recognized as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by Fox 2000 Pictures.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.


Trigger Warning: This book contains suicide, underage drinking and driving while under the influence.

Before I Fall tells us the story of Samantha Kingston and how she relives the day of her death seven times, each day bringing different results and a different Sam.

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Lauren Oliver and I must say that I’ve really missed her writing. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was written almost a decade ago and the way people thought and acted back then is not the same as it is today. One example I can give, the main thing that stood out for me, is the almost homophobic feel about the characters. Two girls would hug and the response would be ‘Are you lesboing out on me?’ and I didn’t appreciate that and I’ll admit that that did affect my overall rating.

Sam starts out as this vain and bitchy character with almost no redeeming qualities but as we learn more about her we find out that she’s been swept away with the crowd. These girls thrive on thinking, feeling and acting like they’re better than anyone else. I did not like her at all in the beginning and when the question was asked, whether she deserved to die because she was a bad person, I thought that no, she did not. Still, Sam dying doesn’t take away from the fact that she wasn’t a nice person. I didn’t like that she let popularity get to her head in the worst way possible, that she saw bad things being done to others and did nothing to stop them. Instead she joined them.

The start of this book really dragged and here was a point in the beginning of the book when I was waiting for the accident because I was certain that the story would pick up. Once Sam realised that this was how her life ended, and that she had a chance to at least help others and change the person she was known as, the flow got a lot better.

“Here’s another thing to remember: hope keeps you alive. Even when you’re dead, it’s the only thing that keeps you alive.”

I did find myself wondering if the occasional nice things she did in her week of reliving her death made a difference. If my some weird twist of fate, those people would remember it. By the end, it was almost like Sam was on repeat. She knew everything she wanted to do because whether she liked it or not…this was her last day. I think she grew as a person and there was some major character development on her part. Her friends though…I really hope that her death at least knocked some sense into their brains.

When the book ended I was hoping that through some miracle maybe it turned out that Sam didn’t die. That she had redeemed herself enough for the universe to give her a second chance. The thing is though, she got seven chances to make things right. And while that ultimately didn’t change her fate, hopefully it helped others see that maybe putting others down so that you can raise yourself up isn’t the way to go through life.

Read: 25 March 2017
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 25 October 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Lauren Oliver

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Expected Releases for April 2017

Goodreads Synopsis included.

1 April

30318795

Alone in Paris by Ashley Earley

Breathe, Taylor.

Taylor Clay’s family isn’t exactly perfect. They may look the part with the nice, big house and her dad’s fancy job, but that’s what’s tearing them apart. That, and her dad’s sudden recurring drinking problem.
Though her family is close to falling apart, she never wished for something like this to happen. She never wished for her father to drive off a bridge. Especially not while they were on vacation; especially not when her and her mom were in the car with him at the time.

Breathe.

She’s devastated after the fact. And it isn’t helping that the papers are gossiping about how the pristine lawyer could have driven off the bridge on purpose. And just when she thinks nothing could possibly make things worse, she realizes she’s left alone with no relatives to care for her.
So she’s alone. Her parents are dead. And she’s stuck in the country her family was visiting for their vacation. She’s alone in Paris.

Just breathe.

Then Nathan walks into the picture. Funny, snarky, persistent, and sometimes, just flat out rude, he annoys Taylor to no end. He won’t leave her alone, but Taylor doesn’t know whether or not she should push him away.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

4 April

Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

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Perfect (Flawed, #2)Perfect (Flawed, #2) by Cecelia Ahern

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick–the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.

And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?

Amazon | Goodreads

***

6 April

Thrawn

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

In this definitive novel, readers will follow Thrawn’s rise to power—uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

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Amazon | Goodreads

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11 April

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Amazon | Goodreads


The Upside of UnrequitedThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

Amazon | Goodreads


LiterallyLiterally by Lucy Keating

A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

Amazon | Goodreads


33260201Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince by Ben Greenman

A unique and kaleidoscopic look into the life, legacy, and electricity of the pop legend Prince and his wideranging impact on our culture

Ben Greenman, New York Times bestselling author, contributing writer to the New Yorker, and owner of thousands of recordings of Prince and Prince-related songs, knows intimately that there has never been a rock star as vibrant, mercurial, willfully contrary, experimental, or prolific as Prince. Uniting a diverse audience while remaining singularly himself, Prince was a tireless artist, a musical virtuoso and chameleon, and a pop-culture prophet who shattered traditional ideas of race and gender, rewrote the rules of identity, and redefined the role of sex in pop music.

A polymath in his own right who collaborated with George Clinton and Questlove on their celebrated memoirs, Greenman has been listening to and writing about Prince since the mid-eighties. Here, with the passion of an obsessive fan and the skills of a critic, journalist, and novelist, he mines his encyclopedic knowledge of Prince’s music to tell both his story and the story of the paradigm-shifting ideas that he communicated to his millions of fans around the world. Greenman’s take on Prince is the autobiography of a generation and its ideas. Asking a series of questions–not only “Who was Prince?” but “Who wasn’t he?” and “Who are we?”–Dig if You Will the Picture is a fitting tribute to an extraordinary talent.

————————

Ben Greenman is a New York Times bestselling author and New Yorker contributor who has written both fiction and nonfiction. His novels and short-story collections include The Slippage and Superbad, he was Questlove’s collaborator on Mo’ Meta Blues and Something to Food About, and he has written memoirs with George Clinton and Brian Wilson. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, McSweeney’s, Rolling Stone, and elsewhere.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

18 April

The Adjustment (The Program, #3)

The Adjustment by Suzanne Young

How do you go back to a life you can’t remember? Find out in this follow up to the New York Times bestselling The Program and The Treatment.

Tatum Masterson never went through The Program. She never had her memory stripped, never had to fight to remain herself. But when Weston, her longtime boyfriend and love of her life, was taken by handlers, she hoped he’d remember her somehow—that their love would be strong enough.

It wasn’t.

Like all returners, Weston came back a blank canvas. The years he and Tatum spent together were forgotten, as well as the week when he mysteriously disappeared before The Program came for him.

Regardless of his memory loss, Tatum fights to get Weston to remember her. And just as they start to build a new love, they hear about the Adjustment—a new therapy that implants memories from a donor. Despite the risks, Tatum and Weston agree to go through the process. Tatum donates her memories from their time together.

But the problem with memories is that they are all a matter of perspective. So although Weston can now remember dating Tatum, his emotions don’t match the experiences. And this discrepancy is slowly starting to unravel him, worse than anything The Program could have done.

And as the truth of their life together becomes clear, Tatum will have to decide if she loves Weston enough to let him go, or to continue to live the lie they’d build together.

Prepare for your Adjustment.

Amazon | Goodreads

***

25 April

Once Upon a Time: Regina Rising by Wendy Toliver

Sixteen-year-old Regina is very different from the Regina known by fans of ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.” She seeks romance, adventure, and approval. Of course, getting approval from a mother like Cora is next to impossible. For Regina, friendships have always been a rare commodity. Could it be that Regina has finally found a true friend? Or is it too good to be true? As Regina struggles to find her own identity and create her own destiny, she discovers that her fate might just be to become everything she despises.

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