The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
Release Date: February 10, 2015

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Release Date: February 10, 2015

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Release Date: February 3, 2015

Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

itle: Grave Mercy
Author:  Robin LaFevers
  Pages: 576
 PublisherHMH Books for Young Readers
               Published: Reprint: March 5, 2013                      Ranking: 5/5    
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage to the respite of the convent of St. Mortain. Here she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts and a violent destiny. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. But how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who has stolen her heart?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Sometimes you meet those books that have that one, clear identifying attribute about them. Like boy-wizard-at-the-coolest-school-ever, or terrifying-reality-tv-show-in-a-dystopian-world, or even creepy-pedophilic-sparkly-vampire. Whatever it may be, it gives you an awesome lead-off for recommending the book to someone else (or explaining why they should never, ever read it.) Whatever your favorite description is, I guarantee this will top it. 

Killer nuns.  

I don;t know why anyone would need a better introduction to a book than that, but just in case the sheer surprise of that statement hasn't sent you running for a copy of this book, let me offer a few more reasons to pick up this novel. 

Grave Mercy follows the story of Ismae, a young girl in 15th century Brittany who runs around with killer nuns. The atmosphere LaFevers manages to construct is amazing, jumping from something that feels as if it was pulled out of the King Arthur stories to something that feels as if it was pulled out of a James Bond movie to something that feels as if it was puled out of guilty-pleasure romance novel. The narrative manages to weave these seemingly conflicting genres together effortlessly, keeping the reader entertained no matter the chapter. It adds an intricate background to an already amazing plot featuring killer nuns. 

The characterization in the novel is pretty good as well. Ismae is no damsel in distress, especially not having been trained by killer nuns but she isn't so hardened as to be unsympathetic. Her emotional journey throughout the novel might not be the most profound I've ever read, but it is sympathetic. And her relationship with Duval is one that will keep you skipping through the parts where they aren't together to get back to the chemistry and excessive sparks.  

Grave Mercy is an addictive read that stands out in the YA world. By effortlessly weaving together political intrigue, mystery, romance, and, of course, killer nuns, LaFevers keeps the reader interested. By introducing wonderfully-rounded characters, she keeps everyone invested. The book is an utter delight and should be read as soon as possible. 


The book cover and synopsis come from Amazon. I mean no copyright infringement and do not claim that they are mine. I use both under fair use policies. 
All the Bright Places by  Jennifer Niven
Release Date: January 6, 2015

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

The Law of Loving Others  by Kate Axelrod
Release Date: January 8, 2015

Hours after Emma returns home from boarding school, she realizes that her mom is suffering from a schizophrenic break. Suddenly, Emma’s entire childhood and identity is called into question.
Desperate for answers, Emma turns to her boyfriend, Daniel. Will he love her even if she goes crazy too? But it’s the lonely, brooding boy Emma meets while visiting her mother at the hospital who really understands Emma. Phil encourages Emma’s reckless need for hurt and pain in the face of all this change and she is soon caught in a complicated spiral of loss and mistrust.

In the span of just one winter break, Emma’s relationships alter forever and she is forced to see the wisdom in a line from Anna Karenina: “The law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.

The Conspiracy of Us by  Maggie Hall
Release Date: January 8, 2015

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with. 

itle: Lucky Us
Author:  Amy Bloom
  Pages: 256
 PublisherRandom House
               Published: January 1, 2014                     Ranking: 5/5    
"My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us."

Brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny, Lucky Us introduces us to Eva and Iris. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine through a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life. From Brooklyn's beauty parlors to London's West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat, and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species.
            Today’s book manages to capture everything of the life of two girls through less than 300 pages. It covers love, heartbreak, cruelty, joy, and the simple fact of life being unfair to some. While Lucky Us has less (good) luck than one would expect from the title, it shows how to make the best of life with the cards you draw.
            While the summary only notes two characters, the best part of this novel is undoubtedly anyone the author puts in. From the Mexican stylist with a soft spot for Iris, to a lesbian who sells her out over some pictures, everyone is either with, against, or trying to help our protagonists while failing miserably. Trying to find out where each person stands on this spectrum keeps the reader on their toes through the whole novel. Though the writing style does help, because if it’s neither important to the character’s lives nor a wonderfully intricate metaphor for something you’ve read earlier, it’s not in the book. This helps the story stay streamlined, since if you can’t find a mention of it, it’s not important. And yes, this means all those descriptions of houses and rented rooms are important. The setting of World War II era-America also aids in the narration, as near everything is shown to be accurate to the period, making it feel real enough to have actually happened. If you’re expecting one of my last-minute nitpicks, you won’t find any here!

            Trying to find one’s way in life isn’t always easy, but Lucky Us shows it can always be done, through the aid of people and places you can’t help caring for by the end of the book. See you all on Friday!


Both the synopsis of the book and the picture of its cover come from Amazon. I mean absolutely no copyright infringement and use both, with proper credit given, under fair use policies.  
The Road by Jay McLean (Also known as Where the Road Takes Me)
Release Date: February 10th 2015


For four years I watched him roaming the halls of high school, always quiet, without a single clue of his A-list status. Then one night he ran into me, literally.  He thought he saved me, but he had no idea how impossible that was. Now he wants to talk. Now he wants to get to know me. Now he thinks he's in love with me.
Stupid, stupid boy.  


I wish I'd found her earlier, but she chose to stay invisible. I watched her take in the world one breath at a time, while living her life alone. I told her that I saved her that night, but I lied. I think she saved me. She wants to push me away and tell me I'm wrong, but it's too late. Now she's been noticed. Now she's a part of me. Now I'm in love with her.
Beautiful, beautiful girl.

Inspire by Cora Carmack
Release Date: December 15th 2014

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

The Darkest Part of The Forest by Holly Black
Release Date: January 13th 2015

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
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