July 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (85)

Title: Labyrinth Lost
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Pub. Date: 09.06.16

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (84)

Title: Sometimes We Tell the Truth
Author: Kim Zarins
Pub. Date: 09.06.16

Jeff boards the bus for the Civics class trip to Washington, DC, with a few things on his mind:
-Six hours trapped with his classmates sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.-He somehow ended up sitting next to his ex-best friend, who he hasn’t spoken to in years.-He still feels guilty for the major part he played in pranking his teacher, and the trip’s chaperone, Mr. Bailey.-And his best friend Cannon, never one to be trusted and banned from the trip, has something “big” planned for DC.
But Mr. Bailey has an idea to keep everyone in line: each person on the bus is going to have the chance to tell a story. It can be fact or fiction, realistic or fantastical, dark or funny or sad. It doesn’t matter. Each person gets a story, and whoever tells the best one will get an automatic A in the class.
But in the middle of all the storytelling, with secrets and confessions coming out, Jeff only has one thing on his mind—can he live up to the super successful story published in the school newspaper weeks ago that convinced everyone that he was someone smart, someone special, and someone with something to say.

July 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (102)

This week's topic is ten books set outside the U.S.  I love traveling.  Okay, I don't love traveling (I get hella travel anxiety), but I do love being somewhere else.  Travel envy is the worst though, and nothing gives you travel envy quite like reading something set in a place you want to go.  Here are my picks for this week:

A Mad, Wicked Folly - Sharon Biggs Waller
It's no secret that I love England.  I went to London and Liverpool last year and I was basically dying to go back as soon as we touched down at home.  A Mad, Wicked Folly shows you a glimpse of historical London.

Falling in Love with English Boys - Melissa Jensen
I've said it before, but screw the boys, the best part of this one is the friendships Cat makes during her summer in London.

The Royal We - Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
I had the distinct pleasure of reading The Royal We curled up in my hotel bed in London and on the train to Liverpool.  Like, how lucky was I?  Also, I expected this to be kind of a nothing book - just some fluff about an American girl becoming English royalty, but I completely fell in love with it.  It dives so deep into the characters and families and expectations...I never wanted it to end.

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
I said in my review for this, one of my favorite contemps of all time, that it made me want to give Paris another shot (which is huge for me because I HATED Paris when I went.  I think I wasn't old enough to really appreciate it).

Just One Day - Gayle Forman
After Allison takes a post-grad tour of some assorted European locales, she and Willem spend one day (/night) in Paris and it sets her off on a year of self discovery.  So good.

The Accident Season - Moïra Fowley-Doyle
I read this just after getting home from Ireland and it was like I was still there.  The absolute perfect setting for this story.

Decked with Holly - Marni Bates
This might be stretching it a little, but they're cruising to Mexico I'm totally counting it.  Also, FAKE DATING, my favorite thing ever.  I am trash for fake dating.  Also, fake dating a rockstar, did Marni Bates hop into my brain???

Wanderlove - Kristin Hubbard
I wanted to travel so much when I read this one.  Though, not in the way that Bria does.  I'm so not built for backpacking.

Saving Francesca & The Piper's Son - Melina Marchetta
I don't know what to say about these two other than just read them.  Melina Marchetta is a gem.

What are your favorite books that don't take place in the States?  What are your favorite places not in the States?  Tell me some travel stories y'all, I want to hear 'em!

July 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (83)

Title: The Graces
Author: Laure Eve
Pub. Date: 09.06.16

In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.
 Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

July 6, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (82)

Title: A Torch Against the Night
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Pub. Date: 08.30.16

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead. 

July 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (101)

This week's topic is top ten books I've enjoyed that have fewer than 2,000 reviews on Goodreads.  This was a fun one to look at.  I honestly didn't expect any of my picks to have as few reviews as they did.  I tried not to go with anything too new (for obvious reasons). 

1. September Girls - Bennett Madison
When Sam's dad whisks him and his brother off to a remote beach town for the summer, he's all for it-- at first. Sam soon realizes, though, that this place is anything but ordinary. Time seems to slow down around here, and everywhere he looks, there are beautiful blond girls. Girls who seem inexplicably drawn to him. 
Then Sam meets DeeDee, one of the Girls, and she's different from the others. Just as he starts to fall for her, she pulls away, leaving him more confused than ever. He knows that if he's going to get her back, he'll have to uncover the secret of this beach and the girls who live here. 

2. Exile - Kevin Emerson
(and the sequel, Encore to an Empty Room)
Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.
Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .

3. Inland - Kat Rosenfield
After nine years spent suffocating in the arid expanses of the Midwest, far from the sea where her mother drowned, Callie Morgan and her estranged father are returning to the coast. And miraculously, Callie can finally breathe easily. No more sudden, clawing attacks and week-long hospital stays. No more wary, pitying glances from classmates and teachers. She can be more than a sickly freak, coughing her way between nondescript inland towns every year.
But something waits for Callie in the water. Just as her life begins to feel like her own, with an almost-family and a first love and a circle of loud-mouthed friends, her body starts to rebel in new ways. She finds herself fighting the intoxicating pull of the black waters right outside her window. Her dreams turn wild and real, and she wakes up with salt water in her hair. Family secrets and whispering doubts flood her brain as she leads herself and those around her into danger, jeopardizing everything she once longed for. Is it madness, or is there a voice, beckoning her to come to the sea’s deepest heart; to come home?

4. The Scar Boys - Len Vlahos
In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life. 

The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality. 
The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry's description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he's looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.

Sixteen-year-old Catherine Vernon has been stranded in London for the summer-no friends, no ex-boyfriend Adam the Scum (good riddance!), and absolutely nothing to do but blog about her misery to her friends back home. Desperate for something-anything-to do in London while her (s)mother's off researching boring historical things, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of Katherine Percival her mom gives her-and finds the similarities between their lives to be oddly close. But where Katherine has the whirls of the society, the parties and the gossip over who is engaged to who, Cat's only got some really excellent English chocolate. Then she meets William Percival-the uber-hot descendant of Katherine-and things start looking up . . .

6. Wildflower - Alecia Whitaker
The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.
Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?
In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice. 

7. Cherry Money Baby - John M. Cusick
Cherry Kerrigan loves her simple life, her family’s tiny trailer, even working at Burrito Barn. Forget college — she’s marrying her sweetheart from next door. But here comes Ardelia Deen, a glamorous starlet who sweeps Cherry into a world of fast cars and penthouse parties. Now Cherry’s small-town life just seems so . . . small. When Ardelia drops a bomb of an offer — one involving a baby — Cherry knows her life will change forever, no matter what she decides. John M. Cusick focuses his signature wit on Hollywood royalty and the wide-eyed dreams of Small Town, U.S.A. in a novel about discovering who you are . . . and changing your mind.

8. Firecracker - David Iserson
Being Astrid Krieger is absolutely all it's cracked up to be.

She lives in a rocket ship in the backyard of her parents' estate.
She was kicked out of the elite Bristol Academy and she's intent on her own special kind of revenge to whomever betrayed her.
She only loves her grandfather, an incredibly rich politician who makes his money building nuclear warheads.
It's all good until...
"We think you should go to the public school," Dad said.
This was just a horrible, mean thing to say. Just hearing the words "public school" out loud made my mouth taste like urine (which, not coincidentally, is exactly how the public school smells).
Will Astrid finally meet her match in the form of public school? Will she find out who betrayed her and got her expelled from Bristol? Is Noah, the sweet and awkward boy she just met, hiding something?

9. Blood and Salt - Kim Liggett
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

10. The Sweet of Salt - Cecilia Galante
Julia just graduated as her high school valedictorian, has a full ride to college in the fall and a coveted summer internship clerking for a federal judge. But when her older sister, Sophie, shows up at the graduation determined to reveal some long buried secrets, Julia's carefully constructed plans come to a halt. Instead of the summer she had painstakingly laid out, Julia follows Sophie back to Vermont, where Sophie is opening a bakery—and struggling with some secrets of her own. What follows is a summer of revelations—some heartwarming, some heartbreaking, and all slowly pointing Julia toward a new understanding of both herself and of the sister she never really knew. 

Are you as surprised as I was by any of these titles?