Meet Cute, ed. Jennifer L. Armentrout

33503607Editor: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Standalone
Read: Jan 2nd-4th
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: romance
Rating: ½

In short: The premise is such that some of these stories felt too short, but some were super adorable. I guess that’s to be expected!

Goodreads: Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke


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Author: Lianne Oelke
Series: Standalone
Read: Jan 10th-11th
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: January 9th, 2018
Genre: contemporary
Rating:

In short: So unexpectedly good—hilarious and entertaining and a wonderful ride.

Goodreads: 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.

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2018 Most Anticipated Releases: January to June

I know it’s like, halfway through January but I just realised I never compiled the books I’m most looking forward to for this year. I’ve decided to get my life together, so I’m finally sorting my to-reads by publishing year. Makes me feel excellent and organised. And since I can’t list everything I’m looking forward to, here is the cream of the crop for the first half of 2018.

  • The Belles (The Belles, #1) by Dhonielle Clayton ▸ February 6
    All right. You knew. You knew this would be here. I loved Clayton’s debut, Tiny Pretty Things, and after reading her beautiful story in Meet Cute I knew I was going to be ride-or-die for her. I’m really interested to see how she’ll handle a world where beauty is prized, and knowing that she’ll centre people of colour in her narratives, it’ll be even cooler.
  • A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena ▸ February 27
    What’s that? A suspenseful what-happened story about a complicated brown girl? She’s not what she seems? And there’s some romance too? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I’m so excited for Bhathena’s debut novel.
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman ▸ February 27
    I think I physically did a double take when I saw that (a) there’s a new Rachel Hartman book out this year and (b) wait, that looks like a dragon on the cover— OH MY GOD. Hartman returns to the world of Seraphina with a brand-new character, and I am so, so there.
  • The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton ▸ March 27
    The greatest thing about YA’s retellings craze is that it brings the most wonderful stories a fresh twist—sometimes genuinely obscure ones in need of some recognition, and sometimes ones that have always been there waiting for a spin. This is going to be a big fat birthday present from me to myself. Gratton tackles Shakespeare’s King Lear in a magical world surrounded by enemies. I can’t wait to see her take on the three sisters, and I’m sure it won’t be as simple as ‘but Cordelia was the nicest and truest and that’s it!’
  • Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente ▸ April 3
    Again: you knew I’d put Valente’s new novel on here. It’s a sci-fi book about Eurovision in space! Well, not exactly, but basically humankind has just one shot at impressing hostile alien races in a space-wide Eurovision. Find me a premise wilder than that. It’s sure to be magic in Valente’s hands.
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland ▸ April 3 
    This is one of those books I feel like I’ve been waiting on forever—finally finally finally, Justina Ireland’s Civil War-era zombie novel is hitting shelves. Yeah, Civil War-era zombie novel. I take it back, Dread Nation is the best premise on this list. And I so cannot wait.
  • The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo ▸ May 
    Maurene Goo’s I Believe in a Thing Called Love was charming and adorable and wonderful. I expect no less from her upcoming novel, about a prankster whose father makes her work the summer in his food truck.
  • My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma ▸ May 15 
    Okay, this book I definitely have been waiting on forever. A self-proclaimed Bollywood expert has to figure out what’s going on when her supposed soulmate cheats on her and gets the position she wants at the student film festival. Give it to me!
  • The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde ▸ May 22 
    Goodreads doesn’t have a summary for this book yet, but it’s about Hollywood craziness and bisexuality so I’m basically all about it.
  • Save the Date by Morgan Matson ▸ June 5 
    No pressure or anything, but after Since You’ve Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything, I have really, really high expectations for anything Matson writes. This one promises to be adorable and fun, with wedding hijinks!
  • Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi ▸ June 19 
    Okay, this is one of those vague Goodreads summaries, but it’s basically about a group of female friends finding themselves and that’s all I want ever in a contemporary novel.
  • A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, ed. Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman ▸ June 26
    To close things out, why not cheat and pick several stories for the price of one? This anthology is full of retellings of East and South Asian mythology, most of which are #ownvoices.

What books are you looking forward to for the next few months?

A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole


34848498Author: Olivia A. Cole

Series: Faloiv (#1)
Read: Jan 9th-10th
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
Genre: sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★☆

 In short: an absorbing, beautiful introduction to a space saga that’s way better than Avatar. It got a little slow-paced at times, but it’s impossible not to be drawn to Octavia’s story.

Goodreads: Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

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Everless by Sara Holland

32320661Author: Sara Holland
Series: Untitled (#1)
Read: January 4th
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★★☆☆

In short: Oh, where did it all go wrong? An interesting premise, but meh everything else. Unpopular opinion alert.

Goodreads: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

26032825Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air (#1)
Read: January 2nd
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

In short: She delivers! Some actually evil faeries, a plot full of scheming, and an exciting introduction to a new series.

GoodreadsOf course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

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.

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August Releases to Look Out For

Pack in your summer reading before it’s too late…

  1. Aug 1:
    When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn. Thriller confessional about a camping trip gone wrong.
  2. Aug 8:
    Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta. Fantasy about a girl who smuggles magic to save her sister.
    The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Paranormal about a girl who sells her heart to a demon.
    Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. Contemporary about a girl who falls for her bipolar stepbrother’s love.
  3. Aug 22:
    The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember. Fantasy about a nonbinary soldier/spy who falls for the enemy.
  4. Aug 29:
    Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Original novel about the DC superhero.

Which August releases are you looking forward to?

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson


 Author:
 Seth Dickinson
Series: Baru Cormorant (#1)
Read: May 18th-19th
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Genre: political fantasy
Rating: ★★★

In short: What to say about a book so good I’ve read it twice in the span of three months? Amazingly plotted, exquisitely written—if you’re looking for a gripping fantasy novel, this is it.

GoodreadsThe Traitor Baru Cormorant is an epic geopolitical fantasy about one woman’s mission to tear down an empire by learning how to rule it.

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer (#1)
Read: July 1st-6th
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: high fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆

In short: Under the pretty language there’s some insta-love, some confusing mythology, and setting that should’ve been fleshed out more. I had hope, but it was not to be.

Mild spoilers for Daughter of Smoke and Bone!

Goodreads: Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

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