*First Line Friday 3/6/20* When We Were Magic- Sarah Gailey

49623757. sx318 sy475 A moving, darkly funny novel about six teens whose magic goes wildly awry from Magic for Liars author Sarah Gailey, who Chuck Wendig calls an “author to watch.” 

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

IMG_2250

“I didn’t mean to kill Josh Harper. Really, I didn’t. It’s just that I was nervous, and condoms are more complicated than I was expecting, and one thing led to another and- well. Now there’s blood everywhere and he’s dead.”

*Book Review* Light as a Feather- Zoe Aarsen

40974247. sy475

It was supposed to be a game…

Junior year is shaping up to be the best of McKenna Brady’s life. After a transformative summer, McKenna is welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High, led by the gorgeous Olivia Richmond. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up.

But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover. Violet, the mysterious new girl in town, suggests the girls play a game during which Violet makes up elaborate, creepily specific stories about the violent ways the friends will die. Though it unsettles McKenna, it all seems harmless at the time.

Until a week later, when Olivia dies…exactly as Violet predicted.

As Violet rises to popularity and steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna becomes convinced Olivia’s death wasn’t just a coincidence, especially when a ghost haunting her bedroom keeps leaving clues that point to Violet. With the help of her cute neighbor, Trey, McKenna pledges to get to the bottom of Violet’s secrets and true intentions before it’s too late. Because it’s only a matter of time before more lives are lost.

IMG_2250

My Review:

“Violet had suggested that we play a game….
She hadn’t mentioned that in her game, she was always the winner. Or that playing could cost you your life.”

Heathers meets The Craft in this twisted story that takes place around a middle school horror game. Or for the younger generation, Riverdale meets The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Light as a feather, stiff as a board is a game most kids played at slumber parties. Where we tried to outdo our friends with the most terrifying tales of death and hauntings. It never seemed to work but what happens when it does?

McKenna is now part of the popular clique and was invited to attend the birthday slumber party of the most popular girl at school. After discussing plans for the upcoming dance and guys in horror movies, things go from exciting to drab quickly. That is until the new shy girl at school mentions a scary game that she played with old friends.

One girl lays flat on her back, the other girls place their fingers beneath her and chant light as a feather, stiff as a board. After a while, the person on the floor starts to levitate with the power of concentration from the others. Before this happens, the head girl goes into gory details about how that person will die. Most of the girls go through it that night except McKenna.

After the party, things start to line up in a really disturbing way. One of the girls die and it happens exactly the way it was described at the slumber party. Now every girl who was there is on high alert and the clock is ticking for them to stop this force from ending their lives.

This book was seriously dark and creepy. The way the hypothetical deaths were described was really gory. Now I’m excited to actually see the show and read the other books in this series.

Light as a Feather was a fantastic read. YA horror is something that is looked past but we need more of this in our lives. There was something about this book that made me uneasy in my own house and I loved it.

stacy

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 2/17/20

Happy President’s Day!

This week I’m going to read an unsettling book, a classic, a graphic novel that I picked up at ALA in Philly, and a book that I purchased last week.

What are you reading?

sword divider

My Dark Vanessa- Kate Elizabeth Russell

44890081Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of RoomMy Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

IMG_2250

sword divider

The Outsiders- S.E. Hinton

1191522The Outsiders is a book that delves deep into the hearts, minds, and stories of a group that had no voice before S. E. Hinton gave them one. She began writing the book at age 15, spurred on by the disturbing trend she saw growing in her high school towards a division between groups. “I was worried and angered by the social situation,” Hinton writes. “I saw two groups at the extreme ends of the social scale behaving in an idiotic fashion — one group was being condemned and one wasn’t…. When a friend of mine was beaten up for no other reason than that some people didn’t like the way he combed his hair, I took my anger out by writing about it.”

Thirty years after it was first published, The Outsiders still carries the same frightening and unifying messages for teens (and readers of all ages). The ruthlessly realistic and violent story of the Greasers and the Socs, rival gangs from very different sides of the railroad tracks, is narrated by Ponyboy Curtis, a smart, sensitive kid who has grown to become one of the most recognizable figures in the history of young adult literature. Any teen who has ever felt isolated or different can identify with Ponyboy, a kid forced to be tough on the outside, but who underneath is just as scared and needy as anyone. Hinton herself has said that she has never written a character as close to her own self as Ponyboy is. Young Adult fiction was shaped and defined by Susan Eloise Hinton, and the realism she attached to the genre became the norm, enabling later writers like Robert Cormier and Judy Blume to find characters and voices that actually spoke to adolescents. Since 1967, Ponyboy has become the hero for countless teenagers nationwide as The Outsiders stands to influence an entirely new legion of adolescents who need Ponyboy as much as ever.

IMG_2250

sword divider

Gotham High- Melissa de la Cruz

51135390. sx318 sy475 From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex and Eliza and The Witches of East Endcomes a reimagining of Gotham for a new generation of readers. Before they became Batman, Catwoman, and The Joker, Bruce, Selina, and Jack were high schoolers who would do whatever it took–even destroy the ones they love–to satisfy their own motives.

After being kicked out of his boarding school, 16-year-old Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City to find that nothing is as he left it. What once was his family home is now an empty husk, lonely but haunted by the memory of his parents’ murder. Selina Kyle, once the innocent girl next door, now rules over Gotham High School with a dangerous flair, aided by the class clown, Jack Napier.

When a kidnapping rattles the school, Bruce seeks answers as the dark and troubled knight–but is he actually the pawn? Nothing is ever as it seems, especially at Gotham High, where the parties and romances are of the highest stakes … and where everyone is a suspect.

With enchanting art by Thomas Pitilli, this new graphic novel is just as intoxicating as it is chilling, in which dearest friends turn into greatest enemies–all within the hallways of Gotham High!

IMG_2250

sword divider

Cracked Up To Be- Courtney Summers

45046784When “Perfect” Parker Fadley starts drinking at school and failing her classes, all of St. Peter’s High goes on alert. How has the cheerleading captain, girlfriend of the most popular guy in school, consummate teacher’s pet, and future valedictorian fallen so far from grace?

Parker doesn’t want to talk about it. She’d just like to be left alone, to disappear, to be ignored. But her parents have placed her on suicide watch and her counselors are demanding the truth. Worse, there’s a nice guy falling in love with her and he’s making her feel things again when she’d really rather not be feeling anything at all.

Nobody would have guessed she’d turn out like this. But nobody knows the truth.

Something horrible has happened, and it just might be her fault.

IMG_2250

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 2/10/20

 

This week I’m going to read two books that I picked up at ALA Midwinter and two books that I recently purchased from Barnes and Noble.

What are you reading this week?

sword 2

We Unleash the Merciless Storm- Tehlor Kay Mejia

40522133In this nail-biting sequel to Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically acclaimed fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, La Voz operative Carmen is forced to choose between the girl she loves and the success of the rebellion she’s devoted her life to.

Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.

Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers, taken in when she was an orphaned child and trained to be a cunning spy. She spent years undercover at the Medio School for Girls, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.

There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?

IMG_2250

sword 2

The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy- Elizabeth Kendall

47875636Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 memoir, detailing her six-year relationship with serial killer Ted Bundy, long out of print, now reissued with startling new material from the author and her daughter. Elizabeth Kendall’s memoir, The Phantom Prince, was originally published in 1981. Molly Kendall, her daughter, considered Bundy a father figure between the ages of three and ten.

Ted Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in American history and one of the most publicized to this day. However, very rarely do we hear from the women he left behind—the ones forgotten as mere footnotes in this tragedy. This updated and expanded reissue of Elizabeth Kendall’s 1981 book The Phantom Prince chronicles her intense, six-year relationship with Ted Bundy and its eventual unraveling. Featuring a new introduction and a new afterword by the author, never-before-seen photos, and a new chapter from the author’s daughter, Molly, this gripping account presents a remarkable examination of obsession, intrigue, and the darkness that love can mask.

IMG_2250

sword 2

Harleen- Stjepan Šejić

47357622Dr. Harleen Quinzel has a theory: mental illness is a survival mechanism. As she seeks to help the broken souls of Gotham City piece together their sanity she will become the one thing she fears the most: one of them. A bold new retelling of the tragic origin of Harley Quinn told through the eyes of the only person who knows her better than anyone: Harleen.

A young psychiatrist with a potential cure for the madness that haunts Gotham City, Dr. Harleen Quinzel must prove her revolutionary theory to a skeptical establishment by delving into the disturbed minds of Arkham Asylum’s deadliest inmates. But the more time she spends with her criminally insane subjects, the closer she is drawn to one patient in particular–and the further she falls away from reality. The birth of legendary antihero Harley Quinn and the shocking origins of her twisted romance with the Joker are revealed in Harleen, a stunning new tale of love and obsession written and illustrated by renowned comics storyteller Stjepan Šejic (Aquaman: Underworld, Sunstone).

IMG_2250

sword 2

Shades of Magic Volume One: The Steel Prince- V.E. Schwab

43404416. sy475 Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book prequel to A Darker Shade of Magic is perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy!

Delve into the thrilling, epic tale of the young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic!

The youthful Maresh is sent to a violent and unmanageable port city on the Blood Coast of Verose, on strict orders from his father, King Nokil Maresh, to cut his military teeth in this lawless landscape.

There, he encounters an unruly band of soldiers, a lawless landscape, and the intoxicatingly deadly presence of the newly returned pirate queen, Arisa…

Collects Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince #1-4.

IMG_2250

 

 

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 2/3/20

Happy Super Monday!

It’s that great Monday after the Super Bowl and I’m sitting at work wondering why this Monday isn’t a holiday? I think it should be.

This week I’m going to read two arcs that I picked up at ALA in Philadelphia and a book that I won from Flatiron Books.

What are you reading this week?

sword 1

The Honey-Don’t List- Christina Lauren

46779178. sy475 Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate, and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on a book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

From the New York Times, bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own. 

IMG_2250

sword 1

Anna K.: A Love Story- Jenny Lee

42119168. sy475 Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.

IMG_2250

sword 1

Diana: Princess of the Amazons- Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

45143759From New York Times, bestselling authors Shannon Hale and Dean Hale comes a heartfelt story about making mistakes, learning the hard way, and growing up to become a hero.

Eleven-year-old Diana leads an idyllic life on the island of Themyscira. Cut off from the rest of the world, she’s beginning to feel more and more isolated. Though she has a loving mother and many “aunties,” she is an only child. THE only child on the island, in fact.

After an escapade goes wrong, Diana gets in trouble for not living up to the Amazonian standard. She just can’t seem to measure up no matter what she does. Every other person on the island is an adult proficient in their trade and mighty in body, while she is gangly, sometimes clumsy, and not particularly good at anything. She’s not Wonder Woman … yet. What Diana needs is a friend; someone her own age whom she can talk to. But when she decides to take matters into her own hands, she may just make a monster instead of a friend.

IMG_2250

 

*First Line Friday 1/31/20* All the Stars and Teeth- Adalyn Grace

38325332. sy475 Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

IMG_2250

“This day is made for sailing. The ocean’s brine coats my tongue and I savor its grit. Late summer’s heat has beaten the sea into submission; it barely sways as I stand against the starboard ledge.”

*First Line Friday 1/24/20* A Werewolf in Riverdale- Caleb Roehrig

44575180Who is the Riverdale Ripper? And why is Jughead waking up covered in blood?

Everyone knows the characters from Riverdale: popular Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, angsty Jughead Jones, and the sophisticated Veronica Lodge. But this is not the Riverdale you know and love. Something twisted has awoken in the town with pep. Inspired by the iconic Archie Horror comics, this reimagined universe takes the grittiness of the TV show and adds a paranormal twist.

Someone is killing the citizens of Riverdale. And after a bloody full moon, Jughead realizes he is the killer! Jughead is a werewolf. Can he keep this secret from his friends — including werewolf-hunting Betty Cooper? Jughead has to get his dark side under control — before it is controlling him.

IMG_2250

 

“As far as Dalton Doiley was concerned, if he was going to die tonight, then a graveyard was as good a place to do it as any other.”