Thursday, November 28, 2013
Little, Brown and Co.
On shelves now!
Reviewed by: Honorary Sis Sarah P.
Sisters say: Awesome premise, inventive voice. Another important book from A.S. King.
Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.
Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.
In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.
A.S. King is the prizewinning author of Please Ignore Vera Dietz and other serious YA fiction. And when I saw that her newest book was about a teen-aged former reality TV "star," I knew I would read it. No lie—my little nerd heart was waiting for a hard hitting YA take on our culture's obsession with reality TV. It seemed like a topic overripe for the plucking. Musically, my favorite take in the subject is Jack Johnson's Good People. When he sings "we got heaps and heaps of what we sow," I'm right there with him.
Reality Boy delivers on the darkness of its premise. And even though a nanny show is premise enough for a novel, the author does it one better. The true cause of Gerald's miserable life is not what the cameras captured, but what they missed. Gerald's psychopathic sibling was the root of the evil, and neither his mother nor the in-and-out production team would take the time to call it what it was.
This book is a great read, but the middle of it is necessarily grim. In the depths of his journey, it is easy to despair along with Gerald. Nothing is likely to change for him, because more than a decade of evidence suggests that nothing can. I had to push through those parts (much as the character does) to reach the powerful and very poignant ending. Along the way, King's writing sparkles with wit and dark humor. Her take on a teen-aged boy and his high school setting feels very fresh and real, without a cliche in sight.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
On shelves now!
Reviewed by: AmyG (big sis)
Sister's Say: Original, Outstanding and Overwhelmingly Amazing
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.
After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.
All Katy can do is survive.
Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?
Together, they can face anything.
But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?
And will they even be together?
I'm back!!! I know it's been awhile since I've posted a review here, but I do have a good reason. We have a new little one to add to our sisterhood ranks. His name is August, and he is such a little joy. For some crazy reason, I had absolutely no desire to read when I was pregnant. Then the week after I had him, I was dying to have a book in my hands! I have been putting away the books like crazy these past 3 months. Crazy how hormones are sometimes! It's good to be back in the reading world, and what a good world that it is at the moment! I have read SO MANY good books lately and am dying to talk about all of them. Plus, I have 9 months worth of catching up to do! Enough about myself, lets move on to Daemon, a much yummier topic!
I know you know what I am going to say, but I have to say it! Origin is the best in the series yet! Origin has freakin' everything and then more. I'm not quite sure where I was expecting this story to go, but it definitely did not stay on the straight and narrow. JLA does not pull her punches in this one. She lets it all fly and didn't hold anything back. You may think you know what is going to happen, but trust me, you don't!
Origin picks up right where Opal ripped out hearts out. It opens in Kat's POV but switches back and forth between her and Daemon. So all of you ladies that have been dying to catch a glimpse into Daemon's mind, you get plenty of it. I loved every second of his POV. He's exactly how I imagined him, but possibly a little more cocky...if that is even possible! There's so many great and poignant moments amidst all all the incredible action and we're able to see them through Daemon's eyes. It's what we've all been waiting for! We also get all the gushiness! Gone are the days of the reserved with love words Daemon. He knows what he wants now and he's not shy about it either! Honestly, you might all be surprised about just what all Daemon wants and how far he is willing to go to get it! But, that's the reason why we love him. He will move heaven and hell along with all the planets to get to what he loves! I also think the heat in our house picked up a degree every time I read, "I love you."
The action, sweet baby origins (you'll get this joke if you've read the book), the action--it's phenomenal! I felt like OPAL was the calm before the storm. And, the storm in ORIGIN causes all hell to break loose, like the dark, crazy, really hot kind of hell! I felt like I was watching some Alien action movie. I was waiting for Will Smith to pop out and say, "Welcome to Earth!" after he punches some evil alien! JLA has a way with description that makes the pages jump to life right in front of your eyes. I could see it all so clearly as if the action was taking place right in front of my eyes instead of just in my imagination.
Get ready to meet some great new characters. Some will quickly become some of your favs and others will make your blood boil. But all in all, JLA is a master at characterization. Even those you hate with the greatest of passions, you have to admit, they are pretty great characters! I'm even hoping with all hope that there will be a spin-off novel or 2 for some of these characters!
There are plenty of surprises too! Some things I saw coming, but other's I was left with my jaw on the floor! There was one thing in particular that I did not see coming at all, but it left me in a fit of girlish giggles! On the other hand, Jen doesn't hold anything back. There's a war going on in Origin and the results are realistic. This isn't one of those books where it's WWIII but somehow all the characters survive! Don't get to close to anyone because they might not make it out. I like that though. I like that we see the truthful, painful side of war even though it left my heart heart hurting in the end. All choices have consequences, and I loved seeing how far the characters are willing to go for the choices they have made.
This was my favorite novel of the series to date. I am dying for the finale of this story, but then again I really don't want it to be over! So, all I can say as usual with all JLA books, is read it! You will love it and come away with more book boyfriends!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
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A few months after being honorably discharged from the military, Jackson Hunt is still struggling to adjust back to the real world. He needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he’s going to keep his own demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal.
Bodyguard (and baby-sitter) to spoiled-rich-girl Kelsey Summers isn’t exactly what he’d been looking for, but it’s a chance to travel, to get away from the home that has felt stifling ever since his return. It would be a pretty sweet gig if it weren’t for the fact that Kelsey’s father doesn’t want Kelsey to know she’s being followed. Hunt feels guilty (and a little bit creepy) as he watches her from afar. She’s vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When he sees her falling into the same patterns that he suffered years ago, he decides it’s time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know her is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her,the more he wants her. -->
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.
It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen
On Shelves November 26, 2013
Reviewed by: YA Sisterhood's Mom
From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane
The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.
Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.
But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
So, we asked Sophie Jordan, author of the recent NA Foreplay, what books are on her "Dying For" List.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I'm looking forward to Lady Thief, which follows A.C. Gaughen's Scarlet. These gorgeous books are a reinterpretation of the Robin Hood stories.
In book two, Scarlet's true identity has been revealed, but her future remains uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet's future together, and as the royal court descents upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people hope that Prince John will choose their beloved Robin Hood.
But, seriously, what this reader wants to know is... will Scarlet get another kiss from Robin?
The book comes out on February 11th, 2014.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Happy Tuesday! Sourcebooks has a new title coming soon, and with it a special offer. Read on about the pre-order gift for Racing Savannah.
They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules. . . get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!
We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.
Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)
2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!
3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out.
4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!
Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Reviewed by: Honorary Sis Sarah P.
The Sisters Say: Beautifully moving and incredibly original. David Levithan's finest work.
New York Times bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.
While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
The very best books are the hardest to review. Because I'm always anxious that I can't possibly do the thing justice. But here goes:
I'm a big fan of David Levithan's work. The opening page of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is one of my all time favorites. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is one of the most warmhearted books I've read in the past couple of years. And while I usually eschew paranormal plot lines, One Day is the sort of book you have to read to understand its genius.
And although the premise for Two Boys Kissing (a Guinness Book record?) and the unusual narrative voice (a bunch of dead guys?) did not spark my interest, I decided to give the book a try.
I'm so glad that I did!
The genius of Two Boys Kissing is that it's not really a book about the difficulties of being a gay teenaged boy. It's a book about the difficulties of being human. Levithan's impeccable observance of human nature drives an unlikely plot forward.
I found the Greek Chorus narrative voice to be distracting until, oh, perhaps page 3. And then they made me cry about fifty times in quick succession. Because dead narrators have instant credibility and poignancy. (Think of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.) And if, like Levithan, the author is careful not to overplay the grief card, that credibility can lead the reader forward with strong hands:
“We gather the things we learned, and they don't nearly add up to fill the space of a life.And like the reader herself, a dead narrator is omniscient, but also powerless to affect the action on stage. Levithan uses that helplessness to up the ante. Together, we can only watch the train wrecks occur. This is a "medley book," where the reader is asked to keep track of its cast of characters. And all these characters are teenaged boys in various states of happiness, but somehow it's not confusing. As the Guinness hopefuls' drama plays out, we get glimpses of the other characters' foibles. And the whole tangle comes to a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion before the last page.
You will miss the taste of Froot Loops.
You will miss the sound of traffic.
You will miss your back against his.
You will miss him stealing the sheets.
Do not ignore these things.”
Disclaimer: it's very unusual to find a YA book narrated by voices older than the teen years. I am (*cough*) a bit past my own teenaged years, too. So this book had special resonance for me. Those men who died of AIDS in the early nineties? I knew those men. I heard the echo of their voices in this book. So if you're younger than me, perhaps this narrative will reduce you to tears twenty times instead of fifty.
Nonetheless, this is the sort of book I'd like to hand out on street corners. My goal in doing so wouldn't be to teach tolerance. It would be to pass on the experience of reading a narrative of true originality and real genius.
I sure hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Friday, November 8, 2013
As Ava develops her own powers, she seeks to solve the many mysteries in her life: Who was the handsome young man who helped save her from the fire-- and why does she remember him having wings? Why did her mother commit suicide? Who is the sinister stranger who's been following her from the city, and what's his connection with the deaths and disappearances that are plaguing Blythewood? When evil broadens its scope beyond the Blythewood campus to impact world events, Ava must decide whom to align herself with, and figure out how to stop the dark forces, even if that means going against everything she’s been taught.
Set in New York's Hudson Valley in the early 1900s, the gothic Blythewood Trilogy vividly portrays a world-- both real and imagined--on the brink of change, and one girl's quest for the truth about her world, her school, and herself.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Then Stacy discovers Older Me is a liar.
Still reeling from that betrayal, Stacy is targeted again by her most persistent tormentor. Only this time, he's used her own artwork to humiliate her - and threaten her last chance with Mark.
She’s reached breaking point.
"Original. Authentic. Heart-breaking. BREAKABLE has officially become one of my favorites!" -New York Times Bestselling Author of Losing It, Cora Carmack
Monday, November 4, 2013
Reviewed by: Honorary Sis Sarah P.
The Sisters Say: beautiful picture book for grownups (!) with some courageous things to say about the way we live now
If you are at first lonely, be patient.
If you're not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren't okay with it, then just wait . . .
From a solitary walk in the woods to sitting unaccompanied on a city park bench to eating a meal and even dancing alone, certain activities can feel strange when you're on your own. We rarely treasure those moments, even though there are abundant possibilities and delights waiting to be discovered when we have the time to just be with ourselves. Tanya Davis's words and Andrea Dorfman's beautiful illustrations soothe the disquiet that accompanies this fear of aloneness, and celebrate the power of solitude to change our views of ourselves and the world. How to Be Alone reveals how, removed from the noise and distractions of other lives, we can find acceptance and grace within.
For those who have never been by themselves, or for those who relish being on their own, this moving work encourages us to recognize and embrace the possibilities of being alone—and reminds us of a universe of joy, peace, and discovery waiting to unfold.
This beautiful little hardcover book grew out of a 4.5 minute video sensation with five million YouTube hits. The question this poem asks is beautifully subversive. Why is it sometimes so difficult to be alone? How nonsensical to feel awkward or ashamed when we are not surrounded by a gaggle of friends.
But it isn't easy, is it? What a dope I feel like, just admitting it.
The book posits that feeling comfortable being alone is a skill worth acquiring, and it's hard to disagree. The poem, just a few words on each page, starts out with the assumption that being alone is not easy. "We could start with the acceptable places: the bathroom / the coffee shop / the library." And it builds from there, finding many new ways to be comfortable all alone.
My favorite page comes about 1/3 of the way through, and it's an important enough sentiment that it might as well be the book's subtitle. "Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone." Surely that's this generation's greatest challenge, no? With our shiny digital friends, we can always bow our heads and shut the anonymous world out. In fact, if this were my book, I'd cut to the chase and title it: How to Put Down Your Phone.
This pretty book (which would probably make a lovely gift, come holiday time) wants us to try to find the real joy in our solitude. "Dance like nobody's watching. Because they're probably not."
Aside from the beautiful poem, the book's painted art, its handwritten text and its matte cloth cover are are gorgeous. Read it, and then pass it on to someone you love.
|A picture book for grown-ups!|
Disclaimer: the publisher provided a hard copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Friday, November 1, 2013
He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?
June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.
I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. :)
I graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.
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Here is what's up for grabs from Penguin Teen for this giveaway.