Kobo Emerging Writer Prize: Ann Y.K. Choi, M-E Girard & Lynne Kutsukake

IMG_4388The shortlist for the third annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize was recently announced and I was so thrilled to see Canadian authors Ann Y.K. Choi, M-E Girard and Lynne Kutsukake on the list. Their debuts are some of my most anticipated so I wanted to take the time to highlight them:

Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

This award is handed out to a debut novel (published the same year) in each of three categories: Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction this year). Along with a $10,000 CAD cash prize, each winning author receives promotional, marketing, and communications support. This is such a big award for Canadian debut authors and I’m especially happy to see a YA title on an awards list usually dominated by adult books. If you haven’t already, add these three books to your TBR. You can check out the rest of the shortlist here.

Also, if you’ve read any of these be sure to leave a review on book retailer sites like Amazon, Chapters/Indigo and Kobo. For this specific award, book completion rates, customer ratings and reviews were considered when selecting the shortlist titles. Your reviews, even if only a few lines, do matter! You can also follow these authors on Twitter by clicking on their names below:


Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi

Simon and Schuster | May 3, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

A bittersweet coming-of-age debut novel set in the Korean community in Toronto in the 1980s.

This haunting coming-of-age story, told through the eyes of a rebellious young girl, vividly captures the struggles of families caught between two cultures in the 1980s. Family secrets, a lost sister, forbidden loves, domestic assaults—Mary discovers as she grows up that life is much more complicated than she had ever imagined. Her secret passion for her English teacher is filled with problems and with the arrival of a promising Korean suitor, Joon-Ho, events escalate in ways that she could never have imagined, catching the entire family in a web of deceit and violence.

A unique and imaginative debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety vocatively portrays the life of a young Korean Canadian girl who will not give up on her dreams or her family.

-I believe this was published as adult fiction but could appeal to YA readers


28217802Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

HarperCollins | September 6, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth–that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.


25893533The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

Knopf Canada | April 5, 2016

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Set against the pulsing backdrop of post-war Tokyo, The Translation of Love tells the gripping and heartfelt story of a newly repatriated Japanese-Canadian girl who must help a classmate find her missing sister. A dazzling New Face of Fiction for 2016 that will appeal to readers of All the Light We Cannot See and Anita Shreve.

Thirteen-year-old Aya Shimamura is released from a Canadian internment camp in 1946, still grieving the recent death of her mother, and repatriated to Japan with her embittered father. They arrive in a devastated Tokyo occupied by the Americans under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Aya’s English-language abilities are prized by the principal of her new school, but her status as the “repat girl” makes her a social pariah–until her seatmate, a fierce, willful girl named Fumi Tanaka, decides that Aya might be able to help her find her missing older sister. Beautiful Sumiko has disappeared into the seedy back alleys of the Ginza. Fumi has heard that General MacArthur sometimes assists Japanese citizens in need, and she enlists Aya to compose a letter in English asking him for help.

Corporal Matt Matsumoto is a Japanese-American working for the Occupation forces, and it’s his overwhelming job to translate thousands of letters for the General. He is entrusted with the safe delivery of Fumi’s letter; but Fumi, desperate for answers, takes matters into her own hands, venturing into the Ginza with Aya in tow.

Told through rich, interlocking storylines, The Translation of Love mines a turbulent period to show how war irrevocably shapes the lives of both the occupied and the occupiers, and how the poignant spark of resilience, friendship and love transcends cultures and borders to stunning effect.

Blog Tour: The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen

thebrokenones_144dpi-676x1024The Broken Ones (prequel to Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress, and Warrior Witch)

Danielle L. Jensen 

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Publisher: Angry Robot

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

A prequel to the USA Today bestseller and Goodreads Choice finalist Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy).

Below Forsaken Mountain, a revolution stirs with the aim to overthrow the tyrant king of Trollus, and Marc is the right hand of its leader. It’s a secret more than one troll would kill to possess, which is why he must keep it from everyone, even the girl he loves.

Since a tragic accident revealed her affliction and ruined her sister’s chance at the throne, Pénélope is an anathema to her father, the Duke d’Angouleme. Deeming her life worthless, he gives her one chance to survive: find proof that the boy she loves is a leader in the sympathizer revolution.

Marc and Pénélope must navigate the complex politics of Trollus, where powers on all sides are intent on using them as pawns, forcing them to risk everything for a chance at a life together.

Except being together might be the greatest risk of all.

I’m so happy to be part of the blog tour for THE BROKEN ONES by Danielle L. Jensen. Today I’m posting an interview I got to do with the author. THE MALEDICTION TRILOGY is one of my favourite YA fantasy series, so I was thrilled to hear there’d be a prequel. If this series is new to you please check out STOLEN SONGBIRD, the first book. This gorgeous debut has trolls and magic and a city under a mountain. If you haven’t read STOLEN SONGBIRD, I recommend reading it before THE BROKEN ONES. Thank you to Danielle for joining me on the blog today.

interviewlogo

Q: In THE BROKEN ONES, Marc and Pénélope find themselves right in the thick of the complex politics of Trollus, both holding dangerous secrets of their own. How did writing THE MALEDICTION TRILOGY, which became more complex with each book, prepare you for this story?

A: It taught me patience. I’d love to say that all the interconnections and depth of plot for the trilogy appeared fully formed in my brain, but that was really, really, not the case. While writing those three novels, I learned to dig deeper. To make sure actions had not just one believable motivation, but layers of them. To find the connections between characters and events, even if those connections didn’t make it onto the page. THE BROKEN ONES is technically the backstory for the trilogy, but calling it such makes it sound boring. I prefer to consider it the beginning of the story. There are countless ties to the trilogy, some big and some small, that I hope readers will pick up on, and building those in was part of what expanded THE BROKEN ONES into a full-length novel. This is just a silly, non-spoiler example, but did you ever wonder how Tristan managed to smuggle a piano into Trollus for Cécile? Well, he didn’t – it was already there… 🙂

Q: THE BROKEN ONES is told in the joint point of view of Marc and Pénélope, different from THE MALEDICTION TRILOGY, which were told in the POV’s of Cécile and Tristan. What was that like? Were you ever worried that Marc and Pénélope would sound too similar to Cécile and Tristan?

A: I didn’t worry about it, because the characters are so different. Pénélope is the quintessential quiet heroine. She’s soft-spoken, thoughtful, elegant, and about as far from my reckless and impulsive Cécile as you can get. Marc is a younger, slightly more naïve, version of the troll you got to know in the trilogy, and he also has a much quieter voice than Tristan. Tristan has a huge role in THE BROKEN ONES, so you’ll get PLENTY of his younger, smart-ass self to sate yourselves! I’m digressing here a bit, but as much as the cover copy makes it sound like THE BROKEN ONES is about Marc and Pénélope’s relationship, it’s actually just as much about Marc’s relationship with Tristan. They have their fair share of conflict, but they have an exceptionally close friendship that didn’t get the page-time it deserved within the trilogy.

Q: This is a prequel to your debut novel STOLEN SONGBIRD. What was it like writing something where the ending is already in print? Were you ever worried the plot would head in a different direction?

A: It was tough, for sure. I never felt like the plot was driving toward a different ending, but it was often challenging ensuring that how I got to that ending remained consistent with the details I provided within the trilogy. There were many times when I was banging my head against my desk, because what I wanted to write wouldn’t work within the parameters I’d inadvertently set for myself when drafting the other books. But that forced me to dig deeper and get creative, and I think the novel is better for it.

Q: This book was originally supposed to be a novella. Is it safe to say you really enjoyed writing it? What was your favourite part about returning to this world?

A: I LOVED writing it! Trollus was my favorite setting within the trilogy, and it felt so good to walking through its streets again.

Here’s the thing about it morphing from a 30k word novella to a 68k word novel: if it had remained a novella, all it would’ve contained would be a slightly elaborated-upon version of what readers already knew. And I wanted it to be so much more than that. Marc deserved more than that. Despite readers knowing the ending, I wanted the story to be exciting and unexpected and full of new plot that would leave readers wondering if they actually knew how things would turn out. As far as what my favorite thing about writing it was… I’d say the cameos, especially the appearance of Chris. His friendship with Tristan was one of my favorite things to write in the trilogy, and it was great to include their relationship’s origin story!

Q: If Marc and Pénélope lived in our world, what books would they be reading right now?

A: Haha, this made me laugh, because there is a scene in the novel where Pénélope confesses that she doesn’t spend much time reading – she prefers to spend it on her art. That said, she is a guild-trained artist, so I’d envision her with a book about art history or technique. Marc is deeply concerned about the state of Trollus, so if he lived in our world, I’d see him reading non-fiction about social or political issues. How different they are from Cécile and Tristan, who both like to read escapist fiction!

aboutauthor

DaniellView More: http://heatherpalmer.pass.us/danielle-jensene L. Jensen was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous, and it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.

Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of The Malediction Trilogy: Stolen SongbirdHidden Huntress, and Warrior Witch.

Follow Danielle L. Jensen on Amazon

My website: danielleljensen.com

Twitter: @dljensen_

Instagram: danielleljensen

Facebook: @authordanielleljensen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7091823.Danielle_L_Jensen

Top 5 May Releases

Today I’m sharing my top 5 May releases! This list was super hard to narrow down because there’s so many amazing books coming out this month. I hope you add these to your TBR, buy/preorder them and request them at your local library. You can read more about this feature here.


28458598When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 

Simon Pulse | May 30, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


31449226That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Harper Teen | May 9, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

This young adult novel by Sheba Karim, author of Skunk Girl, is a funny and affecting coming-of-age story for fans of Jenny Han, Megan McCafferty, and Sara Farizan.

Shabnam Qureshi is facing a summer of loneliness and boredom until she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack. Shabnam quickly finds herself in love, while her former best friend, Farah, who Shabnam has begun to reconnect with, finds Jamie worrying.

In her quest to figure out who she really is and what she really wants, Shabnam looks for help in an unexpected place—her family, and her father’s beloved Urdu poetry.

That Thing We Call a Heart is a funny and fresh story about the importance of love—in all its forms.


32890474The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Duet Books | May 4, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.


31447601Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Amulet Books | May 2, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.


29640839Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Sourcebooks Fire | May 2, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis: 

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

April Wrap-Up Post

I didn’t get to read too many books in April. I was in a reading slump and only finished three books in the last two weeks or so. I did participate in A Very ARC-ish Readathon hosted by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. I only read one arc but I’m happy to have least completed the challenge.

Books Read:

Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

ICYMI:

Book Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

A Very ARC-ish Readathon + Update Post

Book Review: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

Top 5 April Releases

25 Books I Must Read Before 2018

Book Review: Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

Update: A Very ARC-ish Readathon

a-very-arcish-readathonAt the beginning of April I decided to participate in A Very ARC-ish Readathon hosted by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. This was a very low-key challenge: read as many arcs as possible during the month of April. Although I’d hoped to finish more, I did read one arc – Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. Thank you to Aimal for hosting such a fun reading challenge! Check out the hashtag #AVAReadathon on Twitter to see how everyone did.


24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Thomas Dunne | February 7, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Book Review: Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

25802922.jpgMirror in the Sky

Aditi Khorana

4.5/5 stars

Release Date: June 21, 2016

Publisher: Razorbill

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.

As the world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.

As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara’s life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth–and for Tara–will ever be the same again.

Review:

This won’t be a very detailed review, more a recommendation and why this book is so important.

So I’m really sad this has such a low average rating on Goodreads but at the same time I’m not surprised. I think I may have misinterpreted the synopsis or something because when this book became more contemporary than sci-fi (what I was really interested in), I had to set it down/read it in-between other books. The sci-fi aspect is still a very big part of this book but it’s not the focus. If you want to read this because of the sci-fi element and not the contemporary you won’t like it. I’m still going to recommend MIRROR IN THE SKY to everyone because this book is so, so important! Don’t just write it off as “high school angst” – MIRROR IN THE SKY is so invaluable to teen and young adult readers. This is OwnVoices for an Indian MC; the main character is biracial but I’m not sure if that is also OwnVoices.

So many important topics/themes are covered: the pressure placed on teens to get good grades, join a fair amount of clubs/do extracurricular activities, work or support your family, make a decision/career choice that will impact your entire future at a very young age (16/17); peer pressure, bullying, racism, micro-aggressions, tokenism, misogyny. Finding yourself and just fitting in. Khorana creates a very authentic voice in her main character, Tara as well as her friends and family – it never felt like the author was introducing too much to the reader. There were so many things I could relate to, having experienced them when I was a teen and even as a young adult.

Khorana’s writing is incredibly beautiful! As the novel progresses and Tara experiences new things, some good and some bad, the narrator [Tara] talks about these events with such wisdom. They’re the kind of lines you find yourself quoting over and over again because they’re so beautiful and memorable. For fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.

Important things to consider before reading/recommending (spoilers below):

One of the secondary characters is outed as gay by a friend to her other friends. The scene wasn’t exactly positive (happened during a big fight) so it could be harmful to LGBTQIA readers.

Another secondary character may have had an eating disorder – I use the word “may” because this character denied it but most of her friends agreed?said? she had one.

I haven’t been able to find any reviews that discuss these two things or the rep of either characters.

25 Books I Must Read Before 2018

mustread2018

If you’re like me you probably have a ton of books on your TBR (almost 1000!). When you add up all the amazing recent releases + the ones coming out later this year and even the backlist titles, it’s way more than you can read in a year. I’ve decided to make a list of 25 books I really, really want to read before 2018. Top priority. It was super hard getting this down to 25, but I want an actual attainable goal here. Most of these are recent releases and backlist titles but there’s a few books that haven’t come out yet – I either have the arc or I’m trying to plan ahead.

I’ve made a shelf on Goodreads and the 50 Book Pledge so you can see my progress. I haven’t decided if, when I cross off a book, I’ll add another one to it or just make a whole new list. I am going to try to read two books on this list before reading one that’s not on it. Click on the titles to add them to your Goodreads TBR shelf.

In no particular order:

  1. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
  2. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
  3. Flashfall by Jenny Moyer
  4. Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
  5. The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
  6. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  7. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
  8. The Reader by Traci Chee
  9. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  11. That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim
  12. The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
  13. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
  14. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
  15. Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron
  16. 27 Hours by Tristina Wright
  17. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  18. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
  19. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
  20. The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  21. The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen
  22. Riders by Veronica Rossi
  23. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
  24. Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
  25. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

I’d love to know what your priority reads are? Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think?

March Wrap-Up Post

IMG_3807March was another great reading month! I liked all the books I read and was able to finish a book I started back in 2016 (Beyond the Red). I’d wanted to read at least 8 books, but I’m still happy with 5 – reading the same amount as the previous month is better than less. My favourite March read was a tie between Beyond the Red and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The latter is so good! It didn’t just inspire me to tidy up but I actually made progress. Click on the titles below to read my reviews.

 

Books Read:

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah’s Scribbles #1) by Sarah Andersen

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1) by Marie Kondo

Sasuke’s Story: Sunrise by Shin Towada

ICYMI:

Top 5 March Releases

Book Review: A Tail of Camelot by Julie Leung

Top 5 April Releases

Today I’m sharing my top 5 April releases! I hope you add these to your TBR, buy/preorder them and request them at your local library. If you’ve read any of these, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads and other book retailer sites – long, short, positive, negative, it all counts. You can read more about this feature here.


26219455The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie (sequel to The Abyss Surrounds Us)

Flux | April 18, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N

Synopsis: 

Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart.

But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?

Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?


25314447Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis

Putnam’s Children | April 11, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.


30653853The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Balzer + Bray | April 11, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

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?


30312562Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman

Simon Pulse | April 11, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis:

Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.


26240663Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Harry N. Abrams

Original Release: March 8, 2016

Paperback Release: April 4, 2017

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

I’m cheating a bit with this one because it actually came out in 2016, but the paperback releases this month and I really wanted to feature it.

Synopsis:

Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

Book Review: Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

29282402Beyond the Red

Ava Jae

5/5 stars

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Chapters/Indigo.ca | B&N | Kobo

Synopsis on Goodreads:

Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

Review:

BEYOND THE RED by Ava Jae is a thrilling ride from start to finish. With highly advanced aliens, a deadly planet and compelling characters, I was left wanting more. Whether or not you’re a fan of sci-fi, Jae’s writing has the power to engage every type of reader. The world, the characters and the non-stop action are incredible!

This book doesn’t feel like a debut. There are some really great debuts out there but there’s always something about them, something that lets you know it’s a debut. It feels like Jae has spent 10 years polishing her craft and knows her writing inside and out. I’m a huge sci-fi reader so I knew I’d like this, but BEYOND THE RED will also interest readers who don’t usually read or even like sci/fi. The writing reminds me of THE HUNGER GAMES – it just has that ability to captivate the reader. Every reader will find themselves relating to this book in one way or another.

I absolutely loved Eros and Kora. This book is a dual POV and I usually find myself favouring one POV over the other, but that wasn’t the case here. I loved both characters equally as well as their perspectives. I loved these characters, they sometimes annoyed me with their actions, and I was rooting for them to win every step of the way. I’d also like to add, I usually read books with female protagonists over male, their POV just interests me more. However, with Eros I was completely engaged and I was never dying to read Kora’s POV over his.

Oh my goodness, the world-building is incredible. I’m still trying to figure out how Jae does it. We get to see all the different aspects of the Sepharon – from social to political to economic. Their advanced technology was really out of this world. It was also great seeing how an advanced [alien] civilization puts their advanced technology to – mostly – good use (ex. growing crops, eradicating disease, advanced medicine). Jae also delves into things like discrimination and prejudice. This alien world is really fantastic in the way it informs the reader but doesn’t overwhelm.

The action and suspense may have been the best part. I’d get to the last 100 pages and go, “oh no, oh no, oooohhhh nnnnooo!!!!”. I usually read really slow but I was speeding through those pages, trying to get to the end and just hoping my favourite characters would be alright. Jae does not hesitate to destroy the reader’s heart! I have to say, during those last 100 pages I wasn’t sure if there was enough space to wrap things up – it was so suspenseful!

BEYOND THE RED is one of my favourite books of 2017 and I’m seriously dying to read the sequel! Please add this book to your TBR immediately. You could absolutely hate sci-fi and this book would change your mind. If you love sci-fi, BTR will become one of your favourite series. I’m not sure how I’ll survive until Fall 2017 (when the sequel comes out). Also, I’d buy this book for the hardback alone. That cover is gorgeous, but there’s also a map and a glossary/pronunciation guide?!

I read an advance reading copy of this book. This has in no way altered my honest opinion of the book.