Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stacking the YA Shelves (April 19, 2015)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

This week my additions to the stack are all review books. 
I got Velvet by Temple West from Macmillan as my only print ARC of the week. It will be released on May 12.

Thanks to Edelweiss for all the rest of my list.

Bridget Wilder: Spy in Training is by Jonathan Bernstein and will be released on September 1,

Fans of the Impossible Life is by Kate Scalsa and will be released on September 8.
Ash & Bramble is by Sarah Prineas and will be released on September 15.

Dreamland is by Robert L. Anderson and will be released on September 22.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson will also be released on September 22.
What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler is also being released on September 22.

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee is also being released on September 22.

Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague is another September 22 release.

What did you add to your stack?  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ARC Review: Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret by D. D. Everest

Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret
Author: D. D. Everest
Series: Archie Greene (Book 1)
Publication: HarperCollins (April 21, 2015)

Description: D. D. Everest's magical middle grade debut, filled with enchanted books and mysterious activity, is sure to captivate readers. Open this book . . . if you dare to face what awaits you inside!

On his twelfth birthday, Archie Greene receives a mysterious package containing an ancient book in a language he doesn't recognize. The gift leads him to a family he didn't know he had and a world he never knew existed.

With the help of his cousins, Bramble and Thistle, Archie tries to unravel the mystery behind his book, but he begins to realize that his gift is something more powerful than he could have imagined. And the only thing more perilous than its contents is being its owner. The book waited four hundred years for Archie Greene. Now Archie must discover why.

My Thoughts: This middle grade fantasy adventure reminds me of the early Harry Potter books. Our hero - Archie Greene - is an orphan being raised by his grandmother. They are poor but happy. When his twelfth birthday arrives, he received a magical book which starts his adventures.

His grandmother tells him that he is part of a magical family and sends him to a bookstore in Oxford to turn in his book. He also meets eccentric cousins that he never knew he had and becomes a magical apprentice in a museum where magical books are stored.

Archie has a unique ability too. Magical books talk to him; he is a book whisperer. He also finds out that he is part of a long-standing plan instigated by John Dee in the 1600s. When he found that someone was trying to release the dangerous magic from these books, he stored the book with a law firm to be delivered to Archie on his twelfth birthday. Enemies are on his trail however. They still want to release all the dangerous magics that are held in the books.

The book has eccentric characters, a hidden museum beneath the Bodleian Library in Oxford that is entered by sipping a magical potion and riding chairs to the underground location. There are talking books and magical creatures set to guard them. There are Greaders who are greedy for the books of magic and who especially want the Terrible Tomes which contain dark magic.

This was an exciting story about a young boy who learns about a magical world and who learns that he has a special place in that world. Sounds like Harry Potter, doesn't it?

Favorite Quote:
Archie felt the color rise to his cheeks. "How did you get rid of them? Where did they go?" he asked.

"I phialed 'em away, of course!" said Old Zeb, grinning. "With my popper stopper," he added with a twinkle in his eye. "All the Museum Elders have them. Don't know where we'd be without them. Well, yes I do, we'd be overrun with Poppers. That's where we'd be!"
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Memes: Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret by D. D. Everest

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week I am spotlighting Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret by D. D. Everest. I got this middle grade eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description of this April 21 release:
D. D. Everest's magical middle grade debut, filled with enchanted books and mysterious activity, is sure to captivate readers. Open this book . . . if you dare to face what awaits you inside!

On his twelfth birthday, Archie Greene receives a mysterious package containing an ancient book in a language he doesn't recognize. The gift leads him to a family he didn't know he had and a world he never knew existed.

With the help of his cousins, Bramble and Thistle, Archie tries to unravel the mystery behind his book, but he begins to realize that his gift is something more powerful than he could have imagined. And the only thing more perilous than its contents is being its owner. The book waited four hundred years for Archie Greene. Now Archie must discover why.
Beginning:
Sardines. That was the mystery ingredient in Loretta Foxe's chocolate cake, and both her children knew it.
Friday 56:
Archie pulled out a chair and sat, being careful not to bump a tower of books balanced on the kitchen table. Thistle pulled out the chair opposite.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ARC Review: Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt

Dear Hank Williams
Author: Kimberly Willis Holt
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (April 14, 2015)

Description: It’s 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee’s new teacher has just given her class an assignment—learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits.

Told entirely through Tate’s hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award–winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.

My Thoughts: I fell in love with Tate P. Ellerbee as I was reading the letters she wrote to Hank Williams. Her teacher had given the class an assignment to choose a pen pal. The teacher had arranged for her class to write to Japanese children but, in 1948 Louisiana, many of the children didn't want to write to children in a country that we had fought a war with. Tate picks Hank Williams because she heard him sing on the radio.

Through Tate's letters, answered only with autographed photos, we learn what life is like for a dreamy 11-year-old in rural Louisiana. We learn about her Aunt Patty Cake who sells beauty products, her Uncle Jolly who works at a nursery and has bad luck in love, and we learn about Tate's pesky little brother Frog. Tate's letters also express how much she misses her mother and her father. And, as the letters go on, we learn why neither of them is a part of Tate's daily life.

We see Tate's rivalry with schoolmate Verbia Calhoun and we see her determination to sing in the local talent show. We see her relationship with her new dog Lovie and we feel her heartbreak when Lovie doesn't come home.

This story was filled with heart and hope and I sobbed as I read the last thirty pages. Readers who want a glimpse into life after the Second World War as told by a wonderful character won't want to miss this excellent story.

Favorite Quote:
I believe music should fill up inside a person like air and make them think they're so light, they could float to the clouds. Hank Williams, that's the way you sound when you sing, like you're a part of those words coming out of your mouth, heading toward the sky.
I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ARC Review: Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook

Every Last Promise
Author: Kristen Halbrook
Publication: HarperTeen (April 21, 2015)

Description: Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate's sexual assault.

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn't supposed to. But she hasn't told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla's coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.

My Thoughts: This was an interesting story which alternated in time from Spring to Fall. The story begins with these two intriguing sentences: "This is a story about heroes.  I am not one of them."

It is told by Kayla Martin about the events that happened at the end of the year party alternating with her return to school in the fall as a social pariah. She loves her home town. Despite the urging of her best friends, she has no desire to leave after high school. She loves the scenery, the people, and the lifestyle. She has three best friends - Jen, Bean and Selena. They are part of the in-crowd. Jen and her twin brother Jay are from a rich family. Jay is the football quarterback of their championship team. He has grown up with a sense of entitlement encouraged by his mother. Jen sometimes loves him and sometimes hates him because of the privileges he gets.

When we switch to the fall scenes we see a different Kayla than the care-free one from last spring. She is accused of killing one of the other boys in their class and she has major guilt about the whole thing. Gradually we find out what happened at the end of the year party and how she came to be involved in the accident that took a life.

We see Kayla's disillusionment as she discovers that her home town is the magic, innocent place that she had thought it was. We see her struggling to try to fit back in at the place that she wanted to be her home for her whole life. All she has to do to fit back in is to forget what she saw and pretend that what she knows never happened.

As she is trying to decide what to do, she connects again with a boy who has always been there but who has perfected his ability to be invisible. Noah Michaelson was a childhood friend but has been on the fringe of her life since they grew up. He's different from the other guys both because he has a Filipino mother and because he is interested in music rather than sports. Now Kayla is running into him where ever she goes. She has begun to realize that many people know the secret she is keeping and are keeping it for their own reasons.

This was a fascinating story about having to make a hard decision that will certainly change the course of a life.

Favorite Quote:
Yes, I came back here. I came back to reclaim a world of love and laughter, a place with sprinkles of magic at the edges. But the people who used to live there aren't the same. The dust in the air at sunrise doesn't shimmer anymore; it just looks dirty. The river smells murky instead of fresh. the magic is gone. From this place...and from me. 
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
You've become a habit I just can't break. Hey, that sounds like the title of a song! You're welcome to use it, if you like.
This week my teaser comes from Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt. I got this ARC from Macmillan. Here is the description of this April 14 release:
It’s 1948 in Rippling Creek, Louisiana, and Tate P. Ellerbee’s new teacher has just given her class an assignment—learning the art of letter-writing. Luckily, Tate has the perfect pen pal in mind: Hank Williams, a country music singer whose star has just begun to rise. Tate and her great-aunt and -uncle listen to him on the radio every Saturday night, and Tate just knows that she and Hank are kindred spirits.

Told entirely through Tate’s hopeful letters, this beautifully drawn novel from National Book Award–winning author Kimberly Willis Holt gradually unfolds a story of family love, overcoming tragedy, and an insightful girl learning to find her voice.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stacking the YA Shelves (April 12, 2015)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

I got two new books this week. 
I have been intrigued by the idea of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard since I heard about it. I had to buy a copy even though I won't have a chance to read it until summer.

I got a review copy of Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty from Edelweiss. I am a huge fan of mysteries and all things Sherlock Holmes. I can't wait to read this one late this summer. It will be released on September 15.

What did you add to your stack this week?