Review: Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

August 19, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline WestDreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West
Published by Dial on April 5, 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: finished copy from the publisher
Goodreads
two-stars
Jaye wakes up from a skiing accident with a fractured skull, a blinding headache, and her grip on reality sliding into delusion. Determined to get back to her starring role in the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jaye lies to her sister, her mom, her doctors. She's fine, she says. She's fine. If anyone knew the truth - that hallucinations of Shakespeare and his characters have followed her from her hospital bed to the high school halls - it would all be over. She’s almost managing to pull off the act when Romeo shows up in her anatomy class. And it turns out that he's 100% real. Suddenly Jaye has to choose between lying to everyone else and lying to herself.

Troubled by the magnetic new kid, a long-lost friend turned recent love interest, and the darkest parts of her family's past, Jaye’s life tangles with Shakespeare's most famous plays until she can't tell where truth ends and pretending begins. Soon, secret meetings and dizzying first kisses give way to more dangerous things. How much is real, how much is in Jaye's head, and how much does it matter as she flies toward a fate over which she seems to have no control?

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0 (possible gay guy, but that uncertainty is why I’m marking this as bad/no rep)
Disability: 0 (while Jaye has a major head injury and hallucinations, I’m not happy with their handling)
Intersectionality: 0

I’m sure Dreamers Often Lie will earn all sorts of honors and awards in the coming year. I’ve got a habit of recognizing literary YA and disliking it! See: Printz winner/National Book Award finalist Bone Gap, Printz Honor novels And We Stay, The Ghosts of Heaven. I like the occasional literary YA, but this book ain’t one of those exceptions. This novel wants so badly to be discussed that it leaves almost everything vague, which creates something that doesn’t make much sense. Read more »

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Waiting on Wednesday (24)

August 17, 2016 Waiting on Wednesday 1

Waiting on Wednesday (24)Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee
Published by Duet Books on September 8, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary, YA Sci-fi
Pages: 262
Format: Paperback
Goodreads
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Bi Vietnamese-Chinese girl gets an internship with a supervillain and adventures ensue. There’s really nothing else I need! I did get to hear about future releases from Duet Books during an event at ALA, though, and hearing that this title in particular had “a lot of buzz” around it made me plenty happy. Support QUILTBAG books from QUILTBAG publishers of all sizes!

(Can I say I wanted to read it before it was cool, hipster glasses and all? I did create the Goodreads page for it…)

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Pretty Preview (2): Unscripted Joss Byrd

August 16, 2016 Pretty Kitty Preview 0

I own so many books I know I can’t review them all, but I want to make sure they’re seen. You never know who might pick up the book on a whim and then love it! That’s the core of my new feature: Pretty Preview!

The rules:

Post a roughly page-long excerpt from a book you own but haven’t read yet.

Whether it came out two years ago or comes out in two months, it’s fine!

Excerpts come from the first 50 pages (less than 300 pages) or first 100 pages (300+ pages).

This week:

Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor!Joss Byrd

(subject to change; excerpt comes from p. 46)

“Ah! Rice pudding day!” Terrance calls from the back of the line. “No hoarding, ladies and gentlemen! One per customer!” he jokes, pointing at Chris. “I see you, Christopher Tate! That is a direct violation of catering code 421, section B!”

“Just get your food, and sit with me out back, okay?” Chris says, walking toward the back door.

“Okay.” I try not to look surprised, but I am. We never eat together, just the two of us. Sometimes Chris eats with Jericho, to talk about how to get to the next level on a video game or to quote some TV show I’ve never heard of.

I thought it’d be easy to make friends with other kids who act. But it isn’t, not when they think I’m Miss Thing when I’m not. When we got to Long Island, Chris asked if I wanted to go to Splish-Splash water park with him and Jericho. I wanted to go so bad. They were all excited about the Giant Twister–three slides that twist through the trees and end up in one pool. The three of us could’ve gone down at the same time. But, like a complete snob, I told them I didn’t want to go because water parks are where you get pink eye and foot fungus. How could i tell Chris that I had to stay in to memorize lines because I’m dense? I couldn’t.

Like what you’ve read? Add it on Goodreads!

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Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

August 11, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowanMaid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Series: Maids of Honor #1
Published by Simon and Schuster BFYR on May 7, 2013
Genres: YA, YA Historical
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
In this breathtaking start to a series, a secret society of young women make up Elizabeth I’s most trusted royal guard. God Save the Queen—or the Maids will.

Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.

Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth: Not everyone is who they appear to be. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity:

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

I’m semi-proud to call Maid of Secrets a book I bought twice, but that’s note entirely on purpose. My cat Shadow threw up all over my hardcover, which had my preferred cover, so I had to buy the ebook to read it. Y’all don’t even want to know how thoroughly she wrecked that book with her upset belly. BUT ABOUT THE BOOK. It was absolutely worth buying twice because Maid of Secrets is a fun romp akin to the His Fair Assassin books–but without the paranormal fixins, of course.

Read more »

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Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

August 5, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: Entwined by Heather DixonEntwined by Heather Dixon
Published by Greenwillow on March 29, 2011
Genres: Retelling, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Due to a reading slump/me being more interested in video games and trying to get a job, I’ve run out of books to review. Whoops! It’s a good thing there are a ton of posts from my original blog that weren’t imported to WordPress properly, so here’s an old review of a longtime favorite novel: Entwined by Heather Dixon. Enjoy!

Entwined is one of those novels that would have done very well if it were published within the last two years, but it came out before the retelling trend really kicked in post-Cinder. Sad, really. This atmospheric, sweet gem of a book is lost in the backlist. Y’all, go buy this book. You need to experience this book if only for the incredible characters and the strong bonds of sisterhood.

Read more »

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Review: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar

August 1, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay RibarRocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar
Published by Kathy Dawson Books on June 7, 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, YA, YA Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
four-stars
Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family's secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.

Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he's affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he'll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they'll go to keep their secrets safe.

With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won't see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.

“Rocks fall, everyone dies” is the classic joke about how to end a series. Harry Potter? ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES. Game of Thrones? THE ROCKS, THEY’RE FALLING. It used to be semi-serious and a way for game masters in tabletop RPGs to end things when they’re fed up, but now we just know it as something funny. So a dramatic novel with that title from an author I know and love? Of course I’m in!

Read more »

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Review: Winning by Lara Deloza

July 28, 2016 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: Winning by Lara DelozaWinning by Lara Deloza
Published by HarperTeen on June 28, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
Goodreads
four-half-stars
House of Cards meets Election in this wickedly entertaining story about an uber-ambitious high school junior.

Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?

Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.

Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.

With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 4 (Sam is lesbian; Erin is either lesbian or bi, but it’s never specified)
Disability: 2 (Lexi’s mom is drug-addicted)
Intersectionality: 1

About five years ago, Charlie Sheen had a meltdown and coined phrase after phrase. One of them was “winning” and it seems apt that this novel has the title it does. Why? Because Winning the novel is just as ridiculous and terrifying as Sheen’s downward spiral and will have you reacting in many of the same ways. (Still more entertaining than most Charlie Sheen-starring shows or films, though.)

Read more »

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