Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle

Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle
"On the third night of the third month after a girl’s thirteenth birthday, every girl in the town of Willow Hill makes three wishes.

The first wish is an impossible wish.

The second is a wish she can make come true herself.

And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart.

Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of the cutest boys in her class, and she thinks maybe it would be nice if her very first kiss came from him. And amid the chaos of a house full of sisters, aunts, and a father lost in grief, she aches to simply be . . . noticed.

So Natasha goes to the willow tree at the top of the hill on her Wishing Day, and she makes three wishes. What unfolds is beyond anything she could have imagined."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely love this book and cannot wait to read the sequels. It had a very similar quality to Wendy Mass' Willow Falls books (and her books in general), in that it deals with a magical realism element. Natasha is a great character that I think a lot of kids will relate to, and it was interesting to see how the wishes came around. Myracle writes in such a lyrical, atmospheric style that makes for a compelling read. Such a great start to a new trilogy from one of my favorite authors!

FTC: Received hardcover from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
"In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose...it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown."- summary from Amazon

This is my first book by Kendare Blake, though I've heard wonderful things about her over the past few years and have always meant to read her books. Three Dark Crowns had a bit of a slow start and I did consider doing a DNF on it, but I told myself to at least read through the first three chapters (and therefore meeting each queen) before putting it down. Eventually, I was pulled into this dark fantasy and Blake's prose and twists kept the pages turning. I loved getting to know all three different queens (and several other secondary characters that were occasionally featured as well) as the novel jumps around from kingdom to kingdom. The concept is so original and the ending had me yearning for the second book in the series.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
"Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever."- summary from Amazon

An absolutely compelling, heartbreaking read. With every book I read by McGinnis, I become more and more of a fan of hers. This book is simply stunning and is an excellent look at what it means to be female (if it means anything at all), the blurry line between right and wrong, and so much more. The book alternates between Alex, Jack and Peekay as their lives intertwine and collide during their senior year; McGinnis does a wonderful job of really making these characters complex, relate-able and understood. One of the best books of 2016 and a novel I highly recommend everyone read.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend

Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend
"The first month of school, thirteen-year-old Anna Collette finds herself...
DUMPED by her best friend Dani, who suddenly wants to spend eighth grade "hanging out with different people."
DESERTED by her mom, who's in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt.
TRAPPED in a house with her dad, a new baby sister, and a stepmother young enough to wear her Delta Delta Delta sweatshirt with pride.
STUCK at a lunch table with Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker and Sarabeth the Irish Stepper because she has no one else to sit with.

But what if all isn't lost? What if Anna's mom didn't exactly mean to leave her? What if Anna's stepmother is cooler than she thought? What if the misfit lunch table isn't such a bad fit after all? With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna just may find herself on the road to okay."- summary from Amazon

This was my first novel by Natasha Friend, but it won't be my last. She does a wonderful job writing from Anna's perspective and how a young kid would think about the crazy things going on in her life. Friend writes in a conversational but deep tone that really fits the voice of a 13 year old, and helps keep the novel flowing along easily. I loved seeing Anna with her new friends Shawna and Sarabeth, learning that there's more to them than meets the eye, as well as the slow realization of what a more normal life looks like and how bad it really was living with her mother as she was.

Overall, a fantastic read and one that I highly recommend.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lost in Love by Susane Colasanti

Lost in Love by Susane Colasanti
"Sadie was convinced that Austin was her soul mate, but after discovering his secret she wonders if she even knows him at all. Darcy was all about fun boy adventures with no strings attached . . . until her ex moves to New York City to win her back. Things are getting serious with Rosanna and her boyfriend, but will she be able to break free of her past and let him in? With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, this is the summer that will change their lives forever."- summary from Amazon

I'm a huge fan of Colasanti's and this was another great installment in her City Love trilogy but again with the huge cliffhangers!! At least some threads from the first book were answered (like why Addison is so out to get Rosanna) but more questions and reveals were uncovered. I don't want to say too much more about the book itself for fear of spoiling it, but Colasanti does a wonderful job characterizing each of the girls and providing each of them with a lot of depth and backstory. I really enjoy spending time with these girls, and the best scenes are the ones in which two or all three of them are together, being great friends to each other. It's great to see a romantic trilogy that is as much about romance as it is about the power of friendship. I cannot wait to get my hands on the final book, but will miss these girls when it's all over!!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.