I feel like rehashing the majority of the events that conspired in me taking a long hiatus would be unproductive. In any situation there is my story, their story, and the truth in the middle. Just as I know things were misconstrued on their side, I’m sure things were on my side as well. I’m not trying to be back in that circle, not trying to remake any of those friendships: I can say that I’m sorry for any wrongdoing on my part. And I’ll leave it at that.
However, there’s also the matter of… I was so tired of blogging. I was tired of this competitive reading and competition for the latest and greatest ARCs. Why couldn’t I just be satisfied with reading what I like, ignoring what I don’t, and writing reviews when I felt like it? Having a schedule of “I need to read this many books and post these reviews and request this book and post these filler blogs to keep numbers up” was just… it was exhausting. And between dealing with the death of my godchild, my beloved uncle, and the friend fallout… I was in a bad place and decided I needed a break.
So I took one. Therapy, fishing, gardening, lazy reading, podcasts, days full of my family and godkids… those things have revitalized more than I ever imagined. I’m so happy now and so happy to be alive.
And ready to review again. I did miss it. I missed connecting with other reviewers and book lovers and having this little hobby when I get bored. I don’t care about numbers or ARCs or posting enough… I just want to have fun with this.
At this point, my love for Anne Shirley is not a secret.
I’ve dedicated threads and posts and days of reading (and rereading) to my favorite redhead and her series. I try to reread ANNE OF GREEN GABLES once every year or two, but this year I decided that I wanted to reread the whole series. The plan was to read one book a month which would have the series finished in August.
But I read the first three this month. No shame.
Returning to Avonlea through the eyes of Anne Shirley, an 11 year old orphan with a huge imagination, always feels like coming home after a stressful day of work. I know the words, I know the story, I know Anne is going to bawl Rachel Lynde out, but it’s all so comfortable and cozy, like seeing an old friend and rehashing younger years. I should be tired of the same old story, but I’m not. I never will be.
I did a lot of drunk crying this reread. Listen, I shouldn’t be allowed to have sangria, instagram, and Anne of Green Gables at the same time. It’s just not good. When my brain gets muddled with sangria, I totally forget that Anne and Gilbert are end game and I ended up just crying a lot. While they are definitely the best slow burn OTP, I just wanted them to hold hands and be cutesy with each other. Instead, we get pulled hair, a broken slate, and an Anne Shirley sized grudge. Which makes for a great story, but isn’t so easy on my fragile heart.
And it’s not just the books I’ve been deeply into. While I love the 1980s series, Anne With An E on Netflix has stolen my heart. I just really enjoy the deeper look into Anne’s past, the PTSD, and, of course, the Anne/Gil tension. Matthew and Marilla are just a charming and wry as ever, and the host of girls and school bullies just makes the show a literal masterpiece.
Of course, my obsession can’t just be contained to rereading and watching a show. Oh no. No, I have to find a bunch of beautiful editions that I REALLY JUST NEED.
Author: Ben Guterson
Publisher: Henry Holt
Date Published: 01/02/2018
Genre: Middle Grade- Paranormal
TW/CW: Witchcraft, characters coming back from the dead, child neglect
Rep: Orphans, broken families.
Goodreads synopsis: Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms―most notably its massive library. It’s not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel’s secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel’s curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to care for, and even Winterhouse itself?
I went into this with high expectations and honestly, I feel a little let down.
First, the cover is beautiful. Let me just get that out of the way. Yes, this was a TOTAL cover buy. I knew I wanted it before I even read the synopsis. But then I read the synopsis and I thought… yeah, this is going to be excellent.
And it was.
I loved the characters. Elizabeth is a relatable heroine to any book nerd who has felt like they don’t belong. She’s also a sad figure, almost cut from the same cloth as my beloved Anne Shirley, as an orphan who has faced uncertain living conditions with her aunt and uncle who seem to think she’s more of a stray animal that hangs around that a niece who deserves to be taken care of. While the story certainly does hint that there is a reason why Elizabeth’s aunt is so cold towards her, we don’t get that story in this one (this is to be a trilogy, if I’ve understood right). As the story progresses, we meet more characters, all of them living or staying at Winterhouse which is where the bulk of our story takes place. Guterson has a way with characters and even the ones we’re supposed to hate have a sort of charm about them that made me care for their plotlines as well.
It was the pacing that lost me. I felt like there were huge chunks where nothing at all happened except average every day stuff that didn’t progress the story as much as it just made the book thicker. I read this one with my 10 year old goddaughter and a hundred pages in, she was ready to call it quits because nothing had happened. Sadly, nothing really does happen until the end of the book.
The book would have benefitted in having a subplot, honestly. I will be reading the second book, though, to see how the story progresses and how Guterson grows as an author… there’s so much potential there!
If a slower paced book doesn’t bother you, this might be the perfect winter mystery for you!
Ben Guterson was a high school and middle school teacher in New Mexico and Colorado for a decade before working for several years at Microsoft as a program manager. He and his family live near Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.
I think we can all agree that 2017 was a trash fire year. However, 2017 was also a fantastic year for books. Even with the chaos of life, I managed to read (number) books and only (number) were rated below 3 stars. Not too bad, all things considered. Whenever I start this big year end wrap ups, I’m just reminded how blessed I am to be able to read, enjoy, and afford books… and I hope it’s something I’ll never take for granted.
In the past, I’ve just done one list with my top 20 or 25 books of the year. This year, however, I read a little more variety and having a top 20 or 25 without consideration for what was new and what wasn’t didn’t seem that great. I finally decided on splitting this list into three categories: top 2017 releases, top backlist books, and top middle grade books.
THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED by Becky Albertalli.
I don’t think anyone is surprised that this one was the first book I thought of while making this list. Molly is the fat girl of my dreams and I wish I was as crafty as she is!
I could gush all day about this book (and its sweet Hufflepuff author) but you can just read my review here!
If you’re an Albertalli fan, be on the look out for the companion to SIMON– LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT which releases in April! She’s also co-authored a book, WHAT IF IT’S US, with Adam Silvera due out in October and is involved in an anthology, DEAR HEARTBREAK, slated for a December release.
THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas.
Not only was this a timely and needed book due to the increasing police violence against Black and Native people, Angie also gives us a cast of unforgettable characters and takes a look at friendships/relationships between the privileged and unprivileged.
It just hit me that I never wrote a review for this. I don’t think it matters- I would never be able to do it justice anyway.
Angie has another book, ON THE COME UP, slated for release in May.
DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone.
I had the privilege of meeting Nic Stone at the Southern Festival of Books and she is just as lovely as her book is.
This, like THUG, was another timely novel that explores police brutality and the aftermath of a friend being murdered. This little book packed a punch.
I really did not expect to love this book so much. But this book was SO GOOD that it threw me into a book slump as soon as finished it because I knew nothing could compare (I was very dramatic). Not only is this book fantastic, but Sandhya might be one of the nicest authors on twitter.
Sandhya has a book, FROM TWINKLE, WITH LOVE, due out in June.
THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo.
I’m a huge fans of the Grisha universe and fairytales, so when Leigh combined those two things together, I knew I was going to love it.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting her in Nashville this year (I was tongue-tied and hearteyed) and she is just as lovely as her books are.
THERE’S SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSE by Stephanie Perkins.
Here’s the honest truth: I never planned on reading anything by Stephanie Perkins. Yes, I loved her story in MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME but I was kind of ‘meh’ until I heard her speak at the Southern Festival of Books. Listen, how many times will I ever get to say an author sold me on their book 5 minutes before a signing? Stephanie did and this ended up being one of my favorite books of the year.
I first discovered Anna-Marie’s writing this year when her book WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS was highly recommended to me several times. I fell in love with Sam and Miel, and I knew I would love the Nomeolvides girls would pull me in just as hard.
I wrote a review, but as I’ve stated in every review I’ve done for Anna-Marie’s books… I can’t do them justice with my words. You need to read these books.
THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee.
I never planned to read this book.
Listen, it just didn’t seem to be a me sort of book, you know? I wasn’t that interested in the cover, I thought it was about zombies for some reason, and someone recommended it to me… and I don’t trust their book opinions.
But, I received an ARC of this in a prize pack and I decided to read a few pages of it just to see. And then I finished the whole book and loved it.
Mackenzi has a companion novel coming out in October called THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY. It follows Monty’s sister Felicity, our favorite asexual babe.
THE END OF OZ by Danielle Paige.
I was so, so sad to see this series end.
I was reluctant to start this series when it first came out but I was absolutely addicted to it by the end. And while Danielle left it open for another book (she said she left it that way in case she ever wants to revisit dear ol’ Oz), it still made my heart hurt to know that we don’t have another definite book to look forward to.
A great twist on a classic story, you can read my review here.
PRINCE IN DISGUISE by Stephanie Kate Strohm.
Listen, this might be the perfect Christmas YA book. No, seriously. It has everything I love about Hallmark Christmas movies but in YA book form.
Princes, castles, misunderstandings, and a pretty happy ever after. What more could you want?
THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.
This book was a total cover buy. I can’t help it, I am a sucker for cabins, Alaska, and the universe.
Thankfully, the story is just as beautiful as the cover. I’m not usually a fan of books with multiple POVs, but Hitchcock did a great job in making each POV strong and unique.
Great for anyone who likes stories about families, friends, and finding where you belong.
#NOTYOURPRINCESS: VOICES OF NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale.
I was so excited to see this book on NetGalley and was even more excited to buy it.
I have a review here, but I would also like to say a few things about other reviews I’ve seen. Non-Natives will not understand a lot of what is in this book. Yes, there are a lot of painful topics covered in here but those are realities for Native women/femme enbies. Just because there are hard topics in this book doesn’t mean it’s problematic. I think it’s problematic to assume that a book by Native women should be watered down for Non-Native consumption.
THE SHADOW AND BONE TRILOGY by Leigh Bardugo.
Is this cheating? Maybe. Either way, this was a series I never planned to read because I had heard so many mixed reviews about it. It’s definitely a “debut” series (you can really tell if you discovered Bardugo through SIX OF CROWS) but this series was just as enjoyable.
And it give us Nikolai and the Darkling. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t love a Bastard Prince and a “Make me your villain” slightly immortal guy?
I purchased this book back in February because the author was going to be at a book event I was attending. After getting it signed, I put it on my shelf and honestly kind of forgot about it. Mindy will be back at Se-Ya again and I decided that maybe it was time to crack this book open.
This book was recommended to me by several people. Unfortunately, I didn’t trust any of their opinions and I put off reading this until Jamie hyped it enough that I just couldn’t not read it.
I’m a huge fan of books that involves kids with a Pentecostal background who struggle with life outside of the church and what they’ve been taught. This one also has excellent poverty rep and while it will hurt your soul, it will also give you hope.
This was a total cover buy when I saw it on Book Outlet. I finally got around to this one in June after having it on my shelf for a year and honestly, I’m not sure why more people aren’t talking about this book.
Poverty, mental health, PTSD, and a young girl trying to keep her family afloat in their crumbling mansion by the sea? Sign me up.
This year’s common theme has been “I love books that were pitched to me wrong or I thought were overhyped and avoided”. This one was definitely a book I thought was overhyped, mostly by booktubers, and having been burned on a lot of their suggestions, I decided to skip it. But Sharon Cameron is coming to Se-Ya Fest and I decided… maybe I should give it a try just in case I do like it.
This was one of those books that I was so, so glad I got to share with my godkids.
Zinnia is going through a lot in this story. Her brother has left, her mom is more interested in saving the world than paying attention to her daughter, and a swarm of bees have mistaken Zinnia’s hair for a beehive.
If you’re reading this, you survived the entirety of 2017 which has arguable been the worst year of my entire existence. But we survived, we’re here, and hopefully 2018 will be a year of thriving not just surviving.
As I stated last year, I’m pretty awful at sticking to resolutions. So before I launch into 2018s bookolutions, I want to take a peek at last years and see how I did.
My 2017 bookolutions were:
Avoid book challenges and readathons.I did great with this one until the end of the year. I’m not against book challenges or readathons but in 2016, I felt like I let those things dictate a lot of my reading habits and I wanted to break that cycle and mindset. And I did! The first readathon I did this year was #MiniMoji and when I felt very ‘meh’ about it halfway through, I just allowed myself to stop. No big deal.
Reduce my TBR by either reading or unhauling. I unhauled 150 books in 2017 and still have 427 unread books in my home. I tried?
Limit myself to three brand new books a month.I think I did ok with this one. There were a few months where I bought more than 3 brand new books and a few months where I bought none at all! I think it balanced itself out in the end.
Read more freely. My biggest goal with this was to break the mindset I had that I needed to read the latest and greatest releases in YA. I wanted to read more middle grade. I wanted to read older releases. I wanted to read books that weren’t so hyped. This one was pretty easy!
Support more Native authors.I can always, always do better at this and I am looking forward to reading the great releases coming out this year!
This year I have similar goals except for #1.
I want to actually participate in readathons this year. Since I’m determined to get my physical TBR into a more manageable order, I feel like readathons will help me knock out the smaller books on my shelves since I seem to be forever overlooking them (I like big books and I cannot lie…).
My goals this year are pretty simple:
Read 100 books from my TBR.At this point, that’s not even putting a good dent in the amount of books I have accumulated in the last few years. I’m working on doing some unhauls, too, especially those that I pick for my monthly TBR and end up not reading.
Post 15 times a month on the blogs with at least half being reviews. This one doesn’t seem hard but I’ve fallen off a normal blogging schedule the last few months. I could blame my busy schedule (I mean, it is busy) but I really just fell out of love with blogging due to some of the things going on in the YA community. Thankfully I’m putting all of that to the side, putting my blinders on, and staying in my “adult who reads YA” lane.
Get my Netgalley to zero.I love Netgalley, I love ARCs. I do not love ebooks. I’ve struggled a lot with migraines brought on by staring at an ereader this year and while I thought about buying a Kindle Paperwhite, I can’t justify the expense since I don’t read that many ebooks right now.
Participate in more readathons. I talked about this one above.
Be more active on bookstagram, litsy, and do more instagram live shows.Something I learned towards the last half of November is that I really, really love doing Insta stories for mini reviews and updates! It started out as a therapy exercise to help with my dissociation turned into something fun. Win/win. I also want to post more pictures for bookstagram and litsy because it’s such a good way to keep up with what I’ve read.
And those are my bookish goals for 2018! If you’re interested in following my progress in real time, you can check out my instagram, follow me on Litsy (handle is: weeziesbooks), and/or add my TBR Beatdown GoodReads account!
I’m also going to be taking a 3 month hiatus from Twitter to write my book! I’ll check in from time to time, but I’m severely limiting my social media presence while I focus on getting Jamie and Bailey’s story written. I will still be posting here and on instagram, but I am easily sucked into Twitter and I need that hiatus to keep me focused.
No, not Christmas (although, that is pretty wonderful, too).
It’s time to start looking ahead and preordering all the wonderful books that are coming out in 2018. I can only hope this year is less of a trash fire than 2017 and by the looks of all the great books releasing… that hope might be a reality!
This is my list of “Winter 2018” (January-March) releases that I am super looking forward to.
As soon as I finished TIMEKEEPER, I preordered this one. Listen, it’s amazing and I’m hoping the sequel is just as good.
Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.
After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path–one from which they may never return.
In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.
The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she’s next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she’s never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.
There’s something he isn’t telling her. But there’s something she’s not telling him, either.
Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
I fell for Jane Sinner the minute I started this book. You can read me gush about it here.
The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.
Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.
As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.
Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?
THE JOURNEY OF LITTLE CHARLIE by Christopher Paul Curtis.
Twelve-year-old Charlie is down on his luck: His dad just died, the share crops are dry, and the most fearsome man in Possum Moan, Cap’n Buck, says Charlie’s dad owed him a lot of money. Fearing for his life, Charlie strikes a deal to repay his father’s debt by accompanying Cap’n Buck to Detroit in pursuit of some folks who have stolen from him. It’s not too bad of a bargain for Charlie . . . until he comes face-to-face with the fugitives and discovers that they escaped slavery years ago and have been living free. Torn between his guilty conscience and his survival instinct, Charlie needs to figure out his next move—and soon. It’s only a matter of time before Cap’n Buck catches on . . .
I LOVED this book about clones and scrappy humans!
Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?
While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?
(Anna-Marie McLemore is in this and I would literally read her grocery list so…)
Take a journey through time and genres and discover a past where queer figures live, love and shape the world around them. Seventeen of the best young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens.
From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.
On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish later that day and a rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories—like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess—and a wealth of secrets about her origin they’ve kept hidden.
To complicate matters, two crushworthy Indian princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’re here to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and slay demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld (who may or may not want to kill her) and the rakkhosh queen (who definitely does) in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…
Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.
But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.
The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.
IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD by Ashley Herring Blake.
In the wake of a destructive tornado, one girl develops feelings for another in this stunning, tender novel about emerging identity, perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish.
When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm–and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.
Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World exquisitely enriches the rare category of female middle-grade characters who like girls–and children’s literature at large.
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.
Ten years after the tragic disappearance of her twin sister Leah, sixteen-year-old Mia Klein still struggles to exist within a family that has never fully recovered. Deep in the dark recesses of her mind lies an overwhelming shadow, taunting Mia with mind-splitting headaches that she tries to hide in an effort to appear okay.
Leah Klein’s life as she knew it ended the day she was taken, thrust into a world of abuse and fear by a disturbed captor―”Mother,” as she insists on being called. Ten years later, any recollections of her former life are nothing more than fleeting memories, except for those about her twin sister, Mia.
As Leah tries to gain the courage to escape, Mia’s headaches grow worse. Soon, both sisters will discover that their fates are linked in ways they never realized.
When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.
The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.
Dara’s lived a sheltered life with her single mom, Mellie. Now, at eighteen, she’s dreaming of more. When Dara digs up her never-before-seen birth certificate, her world implodes. Why are two strangers listed as her parents?
Dara confronts her mother, and is stunned by what she learns: Mellie is transgender. The unfamiliar name listed under “father”? That’s Mellie. She transitioned when Dara was a baby, shortly after Dara’s birth mother died.
But Dara still has more questions than answers. Reeling, she sets off on a road trip with her best guy friend, Sam. She’s determined to find the extended family she’s never met. What she discovers—and what her mother reveals, piece by piece over emails—will challenge and change Dara more than she can imagine.
Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.
No phone. No Internet. And not a single word from Logan.
Maddie tells herself it’s okay. After all, she’s the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full. Until Logan shows up six years later . . . And Maddie wants to kill him.
But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.
Maddie still really wants to kill Logan. But she has to save him first.
Twelve-year-old Caroline is a Hurricane Child, born on Water Island during a storm. Coming into this world during a hurricane is unlucky, and Caroline has had her share of bad luck already. She’s hated by everyone in her small school, she can see things that no one else can see, and — worst of all — her mother left home one day and never came back. With no friends and days filled with heartache, Caroline is determined to find her mother. When a new student, Kalinda, arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, seems to see the things Caroline sees, too. Joined by their common gift, Kalinda agrees to help Caroline look for her mother, starting with a mysterious lady dressed in black. Soon, they discover the healing power of a close friendship between girls.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing Vemeer an unforgettable story about an island haunted by the past . . . and the ghosts who must help with the present.
Ghosts are alive on the island of Nantucket. You can hear them in the wind, and in the creaks of the old homes. They want to be remembered. And, even more, they want to protect what was once theirs.
The ghosts seem to have chosen a few local kids to be their messengers — and to help save the island. But in this mystery, the line between those who haunt and those who are haunted is a thin one — and the past and the present must come to terms with one another in order to secure the future.
For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
Those are my most anticipated releases for the first quarter of 2018! What books are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!
I know, I know. It’s December 5. It’s not Christmas, you’re thinking. But it is Christmas.
November was an, um, interesting reading month. I thought it would be slow because of NaNo and YallFest. But then I didn’t do NaNo so I thought it was would be a decent reading month. Wrong. Wrong.
Eight books isn’t that terrible but I’m used to reading a fair share more than that. Honestly, I feel like I had a giant hangover from YallFest. I had such a good time and got to meet people I’ve known exclusively on twitter in real life which was both fun and nerve wracking!
#MiniMoji helped me rack up a few extra books for the month… literally half of my wrap up was read during this readathon.
Despite not having a large reading month, I was super happy with the fact that all but 2 of the 8 books I read were 4 or 5 star reads. That’s huge! Not the best reading month number wise, but definitely a good month when you factor in quality and enjoyment.. which is what matters the most!
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES: THE FIELD GUIDE by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. I think I read this either in early 2017 or late 2016 with my oldest goddaughter, but I honestly forgot the majority of it by the time I decided to pick the series back up. I thoroughly enjoyed this little gem and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series in 2018! Review coming soon!
TIMEKEEPER by Tara Sim. Everyone kept telling me I would love this book and I was so, so resistant to reading it. Even though the whole “He’s a clock” thing threw me off, I really enjoyed every minute of this book and I’m so excited for the sequel, CHAINBREAKER. I’ll have a review up this month!
CHICKADEE by Louise Erdrich. Louise never fails to touch my heart with her books and I knew this one, with it’s super cute and simplistic cover, would be a 5 star before I ever read it. It’s part of a series but each one can be read as a standalone. I’m looking forward to collecting and reading them all! You can read my review here!
NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis. I’ve had this one on my shelf for a while (and even got it signed at Se-Ya Fest!) but didn’t pick it up until the #MiniMoji readathon. I loved this book and I will have a review up for it this month!
THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner. Why, oh, why did I wait so long to read this book? Just like with TIMEKEEPER, I think THE SERPENT KING was just pitched to me wrong. I ended up loving this and you can read my review here!
MY BRIGADISTA YEAR by Katherine Paterson. This one was a hard rate for me. While I loved the writing and the story, I was a little concerned with how the opposition was portrayed. If anyone knows of a Cuban or Cuban American reviewer who has read this one, please let me know! I’d love to read and link their review! In the mean time, here’s my review.
THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS by Sheila Roberts. This was a cute little Christmas read about a cat named Ambrose who is trying to earn back his ninth life by “saving” a human bachelor named Zach. While I enjoyed this, there were a lot of sexist comments in the book and Zach was your typical “he-man firefighter”. Review coming soon!
WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones. This book almost had. Almost. I was fully prepared to give this a 4 or 5 star rating. I couldn’t understand why people were so iffy about it… and then the whole “we had sex and now I’m a woman and completely changed” thing happened. Big pass.
And that’s what I read in November! Thoughts on these books or my ratings? Read anything spectacular this month? Let me know in the comments!
When the news dropped last year that Becky Albertalli was writing a companion novel to her award winning debut, SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIANS AGENDA, I was shook. When we found out this novel was going to be centered around Leah Burke, Simon’s sarcastic, fat best friend… I cried.
If you follow me on any social media (or maybe you’ve seen my Leah shirt?), you already know that Leah won my heart super early on in SIMON. There’s nothing I love more than a tough girl with a soft center, and I will always be trash for fat characters.
I was lucky enough to see an early version of the cover and it was beautiful… but then the final cover was decided on and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL, TOO. Honestly, I can’t decide which one I love more but I am so stoked to have this one on my shelf when it comes out.
Without further ado…
LOOK. AT. IT.
LOOK AT LEAH!!!!
I am SO glad that we have a fat babe with an obvious attitude on the cover because anything less would have been cheating Leah out of what she deserves. I love the black speckles that totally match the ones on Simon’s book.
I’m in love, y’all.
Art/Design credits: art by Chris Bilheimer; design by @alisondonalty, David Curtis, Molly Fehr, and Michelle Cunningham.
As the date for release gets closer, be on the look out for giveaways through this blog, my twitter, and the Leah Burke twitter account!
Also, today is Becky Albertalli’s birthday! Send her some love!
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic.
She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high.
It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
Last week I decided that I wanted to do one of those “Get To Know Me” Q&As since I had never done one. The problem was… the questions all seemed kind of boring and basic. Instead of just making up my own questions, I opened up a Curious Cat for your questions! I ended up getting a lot. A LOT. My friend who was fielding the questions for me (and deleting any negative bs) picked a few for me to answer!
1. Do you think Adam will get Albetalli’d in the Becky/Adam book? Or will Becky be Silvera’d?
This is an excellent question and one I have genuinely been worried about since Becky mentioned the Silbertalli book. I honestly think Becky’s Hufflepuff powers will overcome Adam’s need to make everyone around him cry. At least… I hope that’s how it works out.
2. Who is your favorite minor character in the Grishaverse books?
Baghra! She’s a tough lady who had a rough life and can admit her mistakes. What’s not to love?
3. If you could cosplay as a character, who would it be?
Anne Shirley! I’ve been trying for years to find the exactly right outfit (my sewing skills are not up to par). I will cosplay her one day.
4. How is Gansey doing?
My sunshine baby is doing well! He had a rough go of it when I was staying at the hospital with my dad because he doesn’t like sleeping with the other puppers. I gave him a bath last night so he’s very fluffy at the moment.
5. Who’s your favorite side character in your current WIP? Why?
I’m going to use my #QueerAlaska WIP since I’m starting #WitchyGirlsBook over in November.
I think my favorite side character is Donnie, Faye’s second oldest brother. He’s a little goofy and silly, but he’s also Faye’s main support system throughout the book. Donnie just loves people. It’s been a lot of fun writing him because… I can’t love that way? Donnie has no problems making friends and it’s been interesting writing a character who is so very opposite of me.
6. What are some of your favorite books with Native characters?
THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich
IF I EVER GET OUT OF HERE by Eric Gansworth
LOVE BEYOND BODY, SPACE, AND TIME anthology
THE LESSER BLESSED by Richard Van Camp
7. What’s your favorite book you’ve read this year? What are you most anticipated books?
It’s so hard to narrow down a favorite… but I think it might be WILD BEAUTY by Anna-Marie McLemore. I literally have not went one day without thinking about that book since I read it. It’s just magical and beautiful and I want more.
Anticipated as in 2018? LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT by Becky Albertalli, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL by Maggie Ann Martin, BLANCA AND ROJA by Anna-Marie McLemore, FROM TWINKLE WITH LOVE by Sandhya Menon, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY by Mackenzi Lee, LOVE HATE AND OTHER FILTERS by Samira Ahmed, PUDDIN’ by Julie Murphy, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME by Roshani Chokshi, TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE by Jay Coles, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi.
8. If you could write the book you wanted/needed as a young child (maybe 10), how would it look/what would it be about?
I think at 10, I was definitely more aware of my body and was coming to terms with being “different” (in terms of being biracial and not having crushes on boys… but having crushes on my friends). I would probably write a fat, Native kid who wasn’t so sure about this “being a girl” thing and trying to navigate living in a body that made other people uncomfortable.
9. Worst and best parts of the bookish online community.
I’ll start with the worst so I can end on a good note. The worst part for me is how people want to pick and choose what they want more rep for. Most times, it’s not for people who get the least amount of rep in books. This has come about more lately, but I hate the way people act like we’re not allowed to talk about poor rep in books if the book is written by a marginalized person or someone who has previously been an ally in the community. We all know how the 27 Hours thing has gone for me and I guess I’m just astonished that people genuinely think we’re supposed to ignore (in this case) race and colonization issues because some people really like the Queer rep (and some people did not, especially the ace and aro rep).
The good does outweigh the bad for me, though. I’ve made some amazing friends through the bookish community. I’ve been able to be more involved in events and reviews. Getting to talk to my favorite authors is also a huge perk. It’s also nice to see how many people are out there fighting for publishing to do and be better.
10. What part of your WIP is most fun for you to work on? E.g. setting, characters, plot, etc.?
Definitely characters! I love figuring out everyone’s personality and quirks!
11. Do you have a favorite vegan dessert?
Banana nicecream with strawberry jam.
12. What is your favorite guilty pleasure book?
I don’t think I have a guilty pleasure book, per se… but I really enjoy books about serial killers and death in general, which is something I don’t ever talk about because it seems kind of strange? I’m trying to break out of that habit, especially now that I’ve been watching Ask A Mortician on Youtube. Death isn’t some big shameful thing and it doesn’t have to be hidden away. So I will definitely be sharing more of my more “strange” reading habits.
13. What’s your TBR look like?
It’s, uh, *starts crying* it’s fine. It’s fine.
No, honestly, it is out of control. I have books everywhere. A stack fell on Gansey. I stack fell on me. Send help.
14. Do you have any reading goals for 2018?
I want to get my physical TBR down to a more manageable size. I need some closet space back. And floor space. And attic space.
15. Why do you read middle grade books?
Lots of reasons! It’s a bonding experience with my older godkids. I get to read great stories without having to deal with overly romantic plots or sex. Sometimes middle grade books are more impactful than YA, NA, or adult. Because they’re awesome??
Thanks to everyone who sent questions! I had a lot of fun answering these!
October is my favorite month. What’s not to love? I don’t exactly know what it is about October that makes the air feel alive, but since I was a kid, I’ve looked forward to chilly mornings, pumpkins, and Halloween all year long. Speaking of Halloween, it’s my birthday! If I wasn’t already truly spooky to you, that should seal the deal, right?
The whole month feels like there’s something exciting around the corner. Growing up in a rural area, it felt like the dead leaves and the corn fields were part of some great spooky adventure and I spent many hours riding my bike, imagining I was one of the kids in THE HALLOWEEN TREE. Even as an adult, October feels like magic.
Every year I try to come up with the perfect spooky TBR- a mix of October books I already know I love and a few that I hope to love. Without further ado, here is this October’s TBR.
Books I read every year:
1. THE OCTOBER COUNTRY by Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury’s second short story collection is back in print, its chilling encounters with funhouse mirrors, parasitic accident-watchers, and strange poker chips intact. Both sides of Bradbury’s vaunted childhood nostalgia are also on display, in the celebratory “Uncle Einar,” and haunting “The Lake,” the latter a fine elegy to childhood loss. This edition features a new introduction by Bradbury, an invaluable essay on writing, wherein the author tells of his “Theater of Morning Voices,” and, by inference, encourages you to listen to the same murmurings in yourself. And has any writer anywhere ever made such good use of exclamation marks!?
2. THE HALLOWEEN TREE by Ray Bradbury. I also love the movie! I remember watching this as a kid at my Grandma’s house and falling in love with it… while also being pretty terrified of the jack’o’lantern tree. Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin’s.
3. SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury. My folklore teacher in high school let us watch this movie over the course of a week long Halloween celebration. I loved the movie and then fell in love with the book. A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare.
4. JOHNNY HALLOWEEN by Norman Partridge. After reading DARK HARVEST, I knew I needed to read everything Partridge wrote. Unfortunately, his stuff is largely out of print and finding it can sometimes be tricky (if you want a nice copy) and pricey. Now Partridge revisits Halloween with a collection featuring a half-dozen stories celebrating frights both past and present. In “The Jack o’ Lantern,” a brand new Dark Harvest novelette, the October Boy races against a remorseless döppelganger bent on carving a deadly path through the town’s annual ritual of death and rebirth. “Johnny Halloween” features a sheriff battling both a walking ghost and his own haunted conscience. In “Three Doors,” a scarred war hero hunts his past with the help of a magic prosthetic hand, while “Satan’s Army” is a real Partridge rarity previously available only in a long sold-out lettered edition from another press. But there’s more to this holiday celebration besides fiction. “The Man Who Killed Halloween” is an extensive essay about growing up during the late sixties in the town where the Zodiac Killer began his murderous spree. In an introduction that explores monsters both fictional and real, Partridge recalls what it was like to live in a community menaced by a serial killer and examines how the Zodiac’s reign of terror shaped him as a writer.
5. DARK HARVEST by Norman Partridge. On a whim last year, I typed in ‘Halloween books’ in the thriftbooks search bar. This was one of the ones I ended up ordering and it quickly became my favorite Halloween story. Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death. Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror–and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy . . .
Books I hope I love:
1. PECULIAR COUNTY by Stuart R. West. Growing up in Peculiar County, Kansas, is a mighty…well, peculiar experience. In 1965, things get even stranger for Dibby Caldwell, the mortician’s fifteen year old daughter. A young boy’s ghost haunts Dibby into unearthing the circumstances of his death. Nobody—living or dead—wants her to succeed. James, the new mop-topped, bad boy at school doesn’t help. Dibby can’t get him out of her head, even though she doesn’t trust him. No, sir, there’s nothing much more peculiar than life in Peculiar County…except maybe death in Peculiar County.
2. THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL by Paige McKenzie. Something freaky’s going on with Sunshine’s new house . . . there’s the chill that wraps itself around her bones, the giggling she can hear in the dead of night, and then the strange shadows that lurk in her photographs. But the more weird stuff that happens, the less her mom believes her. Sunshine’s always had a quirky affiliation with the past, but this time, history is getting much too close for comfort . . . If there is something, or someone, haunting her house, what do they want? And what will they do if Sunshine can’t help them? As things become more frightening and dangerous, and the giggles she hears turn to sobs and screams, Sunshine has no choice but to accept what she is, face the test before her and save her mother from a fate worse than death.
3. UNDER MY HAT by Jonathan Strahan.Broomsticks. Black Cats. Pointy Hats. They can mean only one thing – somewhere nearby, there must be a witch. From fairy tales to fims to fiction, witches cast their spells and capture our imaginations. Now the biggest names in fantasy and young adult literature have come together to make a little magic of their own. Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Diana Peterfreund, Margo Lanagan, Peter S. Beagle, and Garth Nix are just a few of the authors who have toiled over their cauldrons and conjured up bewitching new creations inspired by and celebrating the might and mystery of the witch. Assembled by one of the most well-regarded anthologists in the science fiction/fantasy world, this rich, intelligent collection will enchant readers of all ages.
4. NIGHT SHIFT by Stephen King. From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.
5. SALEM’S LOT by Stephen King. Something strange is going on in Jerusalem’s Lot … but no one dares to talk about it. By day, ‘Salem’s Lot is a typical modest New England town; but when the sun goes down, evil roams the earth. The devilishly sweet insistent laughter of a child can be heard echoing through the fields, and the presence of silent looming spirits can be felt lurking right outside your window.
6. THIRTEEN TALES OF HORROR by T. Pines. You don’t really want to read this …do you? The masters of horror are waiting to take you on a terrifying ride, and there are 13 stops. Meet the new guy in town, very handsome, very sexy, and very deadly. Dine on sweet and wonderfully inviting confections – they’re good to the last breath. Learn that some spells can never be broken…
And that’s my October TBR! What spooky reads are you diving into this month? Let me know in the comments… and Happy Halloween!