Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@penguinteen @stephanieeoakes]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

THE ARSONIST by Stephanie Oakes

Code Name Verity meets I Am the Messenger in this riveting YA novel from Morris Award finalist Stephanie Oakes, in which three points of view are woven together in a story that's part Cold War mystery, part contemporary coming-of-age, and completely unputdownable.

Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.

Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.

And Ava Dreyman the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall is unlike anyone you ve met before.

When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there s more to her life and death than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.

At turns heart-racing, hilarious, and heartbreaking, The Arsonist is an intricate tapestry of love, loss, and the mysterious connections between us all.

published August 22nd by Dial Books

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


After reading Stephanie Oakes' first book The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly in 2015, I have been looking forward to finding out what she would publish next. I loved that book and that its characters, story were so unlike anything else.

The Arsonist is a book that I would be interested in even without knowing the author based on those character descriptions, that there's a crime to solve and a diary involved. All are things I often really like in books. I do know who the author is, though, and that has me anticipating the August release of The Arsonist even more!

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Secret of a Heart Note ~ Stacey Lee review [@epicreads @staceyleeauthor @KatherineTegen]

The Secret of a Heart Note
Katherine Tegen Books
December 27, 2016
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Love chose me, and I tried, but I couldn’t stop the arrow in its flight.

As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, fifteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of using her extraordinary sense of smell to mix base notes, top notes, and heart notes into elixirs that help others fall in love.

All while remaining incurably alone.

For Mim, the rules are clear—falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school existence—taking up a sport and limping away flush from victory, joining the debate club and saying things like “That’s a logical fallacy!” Having a boyfriend.

When she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the school soccer star to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that when it comes to falling in love, the choice isn’t always hers to make.

If you were better than I was at reading email the week after Christmas, you may have have read the first chapters of The Secret of a Heart Note thanks to Epic Reads' FIRST5. (If not, maybe they're still in your inbox? You should go check.)

The Secret of a Heart Note has one of my favorite first lines: "Most people don't know that heartache smells like blueberries." It's such a wonderful introduction to Mim and the whole idea of aromateurs.  Everything else about this books is contemporary, realistic YA fiction, but then we have the fact that Mim and her mother, as aromateurs, have a super sense of smell that allows them to create carefully mixed elixirs that help others fall in love. It's a great, fun bit of magic.

For so long that's has been all of Mim's life: her mother, their garden, learning scents, the life destined for her. But it is not all that she wants, she also wants a normal, teenage life.

She's managed to convince her mother to let her attend public high school but it's not long before managing her school work and her work with scents becomes difficult.

I really enjoyed the premise of this book, what Mim and her mother (and their ancestors) are able to do, the sort of 'rules' around all of it and how it's shaped her life. I also liked that it was something everyone knew about (not something she had to hide) but that it also made people wary of her. All of that - Mim's past, that she's spent so long not interacting with a lot of people, not at school, what's expected of her as an aromateur, trying to balance everything - comes together to make Mim a unique character and to make for a fun story.

It was fun discovering more about Mim, about aromateurs and how it all works, as she struggled to fix her mistakes and stay within the rules - or figure out if they needed breaking.

The Secret of a Heart Note is a sweet story about Mim growing up, deciding what she wants and how to fit that into what has always been expected of and for her. It was nice to see a fuller picture of Mim's relationship with her mother as the story progressed. I didn't quite get why the novel's romance started but liked it once it had.

(There are also a number of plants I now want to see/smell . . . )

finished copy received from publisher, for review

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Reads of '16

This week's Ten:
Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I've Read In The Past Year 

I used the number of ratings and reviews each book had on Goodreads as a sort of objective measure of what books, of those I most liked this past year, were less widely read and/or known. It's not a perfect indicator but, hopefully, a decent one. (About half of these have less than 100 reviews on Goodreads, the other half between 100 and 200 and all have less than 500 ratings.)

The Haunting by Alex Bell

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
Review // Goodreads

Civilianized: A Young Veteran's Memoir by Michael Anthony
Review // Goodreads

The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett

The Second Mrs Hockaday by Susan Rivers

Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock & Fear . . . And Why by Sady Doyle

The Museum of You by Carys Bray

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

Please leave a comment and let me know what were your favorite underrated reads of the past year! If you've read any of those on my list, I would love to know what you thought.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cover Reveal: As You Lay Sleeping ]@XpressoTours @katlyn_duncan]

As You Lay Sleeping
Katlyn Duncan
HQ Digital
February 20th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult

I did it all for you…
Cara’s boyfriend is dead.
When fingers start pointing at her, she knows she’s in more trouble than she originally thought. Because Cara can see that something isn’t right.
As her carefully constructed life begins to crumble, Cara isn’t sure who she is anymore.
But maybe that’s exactly what someone wants her to think…

Author Bio:\

Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her ever since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.

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