The Book Addicts Guide: August Picks

cropped-header032015_edited-1

As July comes to an end, August…the last month of freedom. The end of summer Vacay. And the scattering month to get all things school related. But sometimes you are allowed to sneak in  some fun admits the chaos right? If your answer was yes…I got you covered. My list of Books are just what you need to make the month of August the best of Summer.

Happy Reading…and Comment with your own picks 🙂 

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.28.17 PM

With the success of Wonder Women (amazing movie 🙂 ) it was only right that I chose this book to start off my list

297490851.Wonder Women WarBringer by  the ever so lovely Leigh Bardugo

She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war. 

Expected publication: August 29th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM

 

Wings Unseen2. Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell 
To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.

When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancee of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake. To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.

Expected publication: August 22nd 2017 by Meerkat Press, LLC

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM

 

3.30116958.jpgThe Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined.

Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Amulet Books

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM

 

325086374. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt 

“Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away.” —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water
In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press 
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
22892448.jpg5. The Color Project by Sierra Abrams 
Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.
Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.
When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
Expected publication: August 17th 2017 by Gatekeeper Press
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2)
 6. The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) by Katharine McGee
Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a beacon of futuristic glamour and high-tech luxury… and to millions of people living scandalous, secretive lives. Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. But what happens when their business relationship turns personal?

When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return. Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance – is there anywhere in the world that’s safe for them to be together?

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.Here in the Tower, no one is safe – because someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, you’re always only one step away from a devastating fall.

Expected publication: August 29th 2017 by HarperCollins
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
323332467. Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta
To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.

Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.

Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own. With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Secondborn (Secondborn Series Book 1)8. Secondborn (Secondborn #1) by Amy A. Bartol
Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go. Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by 47North
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1)9. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

“I love every aspect of this amazing book—a gender fluid hero, a deadly contest, and vicious courtly intrigue. Get! Read! Now!” —Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. 

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

 

Expected publication: August 29th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Little & Lion 10. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
A stunning novel on love, loss, identity, and redemption, from Publishers Weekly Flying Start author Brandy Colbert

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Little, Brown
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Emma in the Night
11. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
The Hearts We Sold
12. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
The Burning Girl
13. The Burning Girl by Claire Messud
Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.

Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.

Expected publication: August 29th 2017 by W. W. Norton Company
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
A Map for Wrecked Girls
14. A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

A Fall 2017 Junior Library Guild Selection!

We sat at the edge of the ocean—my sister Henri and I—inches apart but not touching at all. We’d been so sure someone would find us by now.

Emma had always orbited Henri, her fierce, magnetic queen bee of an older sister, and the two had always been best friends. Until something happened that wrecked them.

I’d trusted Henri more than I’d trusted myself. Wherever she told me to go, I’d follow.

Then the unthinkable occurs—a watery nightmare off the dazzling coast. The girls wash up on shore, stranded. Their only companion is Alex, a troubled boy agonizing over his own secrets. Trapped in this gorgeous hell, Emma and Alex fall together as Emma and Henri fall catastrophically apart. For the first time, I was afraid we’d die on this shore.
To find their way home, the sisters must find their way back to each other. But there’s no map for this—or anything. Can they survive the unearthing of the past and the upheaval of the present?

Expected publication: August 15th 2017 by Dial Books
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Reunited (Reawakened, #3)
15. Reunited (Reawakened #3) by Colleen Houck
After surviving her otherworldly adventure, Lily wakes up on her nana’s farm having forgotten everything. Her sun prince, her travels to Egypt, and her journey to the Afterlife are all distant memories.

But Lily is not the girl she once was. Her body is now part human, part lion, and part fairy. And if that isn’t bad enough, she must now harness this power of three and become Wasret: a goddess destined to defeat the evil god Seth once and for all.

With the help of her old friend Dr. Hassan, Lily departs on her final voyage through the cosmos and across the plains of Egypt. On the journey, she will transform into the being she is destined to become. Reunited is the heart-pounding conclusion to the Reawakened series. It is time for Lily to find her sunset.

Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Delacorte Press
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)
16. The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter
The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times best-selling series the Chicago Tribune called “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sends the eccentric detective and his indispensible assistant into the heart of a war between magical worlds.

The fate of the world is in the hands of detective of the supernatural R. F. Jackaby and his intrepid assistant, Abigail Rook. An evil king is turning ancient tensions into modern strife, using a blend of magic and technology to push Earth and the Otherworld into a mortal competition. Jackaby and Abigail are caught in the middle as they continue to solve the daily mysteries of New Fiddleham, New England — like who’s created the rend between the worlds, how to close it, and why zombies are appearing around. At the same time, the romance between Abigail and the shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane deepens, and Jackaby’s resistance to his feelings for 926 Augur Lane’s ghostly lady, Jenny, begins to give way. Before the four can think about their own futures, they will have to defeat an evil that wants to destroy the future altogether.

The epic conclusion to the New York Times best-selling Jackaby series features sly humor and a quirky cast of unforgettable characters as they face off against their most dangerous, bone-chilling foe ever.

Expected publication: August 22nd 2017 by Algonquin Young Readers
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
A Beautiful Poison
17. A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang
Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.

Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.

As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.

Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Crystal Blade (Burning Glass, #2)
18. Crystal Blade (Burning Glass #2)
byKathryn Purdie
The peace is unsustainable.

Sonya and Anton may have brought about a revolution, but can they protect their homeland—and their love—with so many forces threatening to tear them apart?

The empire has fallen, Valko faces trial, and Sonya is finally free from her fate as Sovereign Auraseer. But Sonya’s expanding abilities are just as unstable as the new government of Riaznin—and her relationship with Anton. Not only can she feel the emotions of others but, unlike other Auraseers, she’s learned to make others feel her emotions as well. And Sonya isn’t immune to dark temptations.

Now, as Sonya fights to contain her own darkness, she senses a new evil lurking in the shadows of the palace. Someone from Sonya’s past has returned. And that someone won’t be satisfied until Sonya pays for the mistakes she’s made.

Expected publication: August 15th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
The History of Bees
19. The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees and to their children and one another against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.

England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive one that will give both him and his children honor and fame.

United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.

China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.

Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.”

Expected publication: August 22nd 2017 by Touchstone (first published August 2015)
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Sparks of Light (Into the Dim #2)
20. Sparks of Light (Into the Dim #2) by Janet B. Taylor
For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Houghton Mifflin
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Spellbook of the Lost and Found
21. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The highly anticipated new book from the acclaimed author of The Accident Season is a gorgeous, twisty story about things gone missing, things returned from the past, and a group of teenagers, connected in ways they could never have imagined.

One stormy Irish summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hairclips and jewelry, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something much bigger, something she won’t talk about, and Olive thinks her best friend is slipping away.

Then seductive diary pages written by a girl named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing estate. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tight to painful secrets.

When they discover the spellbook, it changes everything. Damp, tattered and ancient, it’s full of hand-inked charms to conjure back things that have been lost. And it just might be their chance to find what they each need to set everything back to rights.

Unless it’s leading them toward things that were never meant to be found

Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books 
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
How to Change a Life
22. How to Change a Life by Stacey Ballis
A dare between friends leads to startling revelations and simmering tensions in the latest novel from the author of Wedding Girl.

Eloise is happy with her life as a successful private chef. She has her clients, her corgi, and a recipe for the world’s most perfect chocolate cream pie. What more could she need? But when her long-lost trio of high school friends reunites, Eloise realizes how lonely she really is.

Eloise, Lynne, and Teresa revamp their senior-class assignment and dare one another to create a list of things to accomplish by the time they each turn forty in a few months. Control freak Lynne has to get a dog, Teresa has to spice up her marriage, and Eloise has to start dating again.

Enter Shawn, a hunky ex-athlete and the first man Eloise could see herself falling for. Suddenly forty doesn’t seem so lonely–until a chance encounter threatens the budding romance and reveals the true colors of her friends. Will the bucket listers make it to forty still speaking to one another? Or do some friendships come with an expiration date?

Readers Guide and Recipes Included

Expected publication: August 15th 2017 by Berkley Books
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
The Wood
23. The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski

After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Bobulski’s eerie debut is filled with friendship, family, and the responsibilities we choose and those we do not.

Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate
24. Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate by Anne Ostby
A novel of five lifelong friends who, in their sixties, decide to live together on a cocoa farm in Fiji, where they not only start a chocolate business but strengthen their friendships and rediscover themselves. 

“I’ve planted my feet on Fijian earth and I intend to stay here until the last sunset. Why don’t you join me? Leave behind everything that didn’t work out!” 

When Sina, Maya, Ingrid, and Lisbeth each receive a letter in the mail posing the same question, the answer is obvious. Their old high school friend Kat–Kat the adventurer, Kat who ran away to the South Pacific as soon as they graduated–has extended the invitation of a lifetime: Come live with me on my cocoa farm in Fiji. Come spend the days eating chocolate and gabbing like teenagers once again, free from men, worries, and cold. Come grow old in paradise, together, as sisters. Who could say no?

A story of love, hope, and chocolate, Pieces Of Happiness will reaffirm your faith in friendship, second chances, and the importance of indulging one’s sweet tooth.

Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Doubleday Books
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
The Half-Drowned King
25. The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker
Since the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson’s father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family’s land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather’s betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising.

But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It’s not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather’s cruelty comes at the hand of her brother’s arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom.

Drawing from the Icelandic Sagas, The Half-Drowned King takes inspiration from the true story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.

Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Harper
Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.10.56 PM
Miles Morales
26. Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk. It’s time for Miles to suit up. 

Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Marvel Press
                       beachreading_2

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Advertisements

May Book Recs

The 18 Most Anticipated YA Books To Read in May

IT’S GONNA BE MAY. We’re not entirely sure how our bookshelves are going to handle all the new hardcovers. You may have to get another bookshelf…or two or three. Can’t decide what to read next? Let this list decide for you! Browse through to see what the YA community is most excited to read in May!

The 18 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in May 2017

 

1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

This is the third book in this series! Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

 

2. LORD OF SHADOWS by Cassandra Clare

This is the sequel to Lady Midnight! Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

 

3. FLAME IN THE MIST by Renée Ahdieh

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

 

4. ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN by Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

 

5. WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. 

 

6. THICK AS THIEVES by Megan Whalen Turner

Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, an ordinary hero takes on an extraordinary mission. Includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey.

THICK AS THIEVES by Megan Whalen Turner

 

7. THE CROWN’S FATE by Evelyn Skye

This is the sequel to The Crown’s Game! With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

 

8. THE NAMES THEY GAVE US by Emery Lord

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

 

9. WHEN IT’S REAL by Erin Watt

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend. 

 

10. ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. 


 

11. DREAMFALL by Amy Plum

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong. Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. 

 

12. AVENGED by Amy Tintera

This is the sequel to RuinedEmelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory. But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

 

13. RAMONA BLUE by Julie Murphy

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

 

14. IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

 

15. COLD SUMMER by Gwen Cole

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

 

16. HOUSE OF FURIES by Madeleine Roux

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved. Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

 

17. IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET by Misa Sugiura

Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore.

 

18. ELIZA & HER MONSTERS by Francesca Zappia

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and has no desire to try. Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea‘s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. 

 

Spring Book Recommendation

 

 

 


PREVIEW

The Girl from Rawblood

Love stinks. Yeah. Yeah.

As a Villarca, Iris, the protagonist of Catriona Ward’s The Girl from Rawblood, is marked with the knowledge that to love and wed means awakening the deadly curse which has marked her family for centuries. Though Iris vows to her father that she will remain cloistered in their mansion, she finds her promise impossible to uphold, when, at age 15, she finds love. With a nod to the Gothic novels of old, the narrative travels back in time and from England to Italy, in order to bring to life this haunting, mysterious tale.

On shelves: March 7


BUY

Witchy Eye

We are family

Appalachian magic, emperors, wizard-priests, and dragoons populate the world of D.J. Butler’s Witchy Eye, where 15-year-old Sarah Calhoun is on a quest that might just mean the end of her family. Even though she would prefer to be left alone and forgo her skill for hexing, after a thwarted kidnapping attempt, she learns of her heritage and seeks to claim it. This is a must-read, according to the starred review in Publisher’s Weekly: “Sarah is the epitome of the downtrodden hero who refuses to give up until she gets what she needs, and her story will appeal to fantasy readers of all stripes.”

On shelves: March 7

The Wanderers

Some people call me the space cowboy

Exploration is never easy. The explorer is out at the edges of the Earth, away from all that is loved and known, making it a lonely and sometimes terrifying pursuit. Even simulated exploration can stretch one beyond one’s limits. It is at those limits that you find Meg Howrey’s The Wanderers, within which three astronauts vie for a place on the first exploration to Mars. By engaging in a 17-month simulation, the astronauts are tested nearly beyond their personal breaking points. According to the Kirkus review, “Although the contours of a space drama may seem familiar to a 21st-century readership, Howrey, through the poetry of her writing and the richness of her characters, makes it all seem new.”

On shelves: March 14


BUY

The Collapsing Empire

Go with the Flow

Within the pages of The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi(author of the Old Man’s War series) civilizations are connected by an ever-shifting network called The Flow. During some shifts, entire worlds have been isolated from the rest of humanity. When The Flow begins to shift in an entirely new and terrifying way which threatens to separate all of the worlds from one another forever, a scientist, starship captain, and empress band together to find a way to change this dangerous course and save their empire, and ultimately, mankind itself.

On shelves: March 21


BUY

Luna: Wolf Moon

There’s a bad moon on the rise

Ian McDonald’s Luna: Wolf Moon, the sequel to Luna: New Moon, follows the surviving family members 18 months after the fall of Corta Helio, which was one of five family corporations that ruled the moon. At the center of the narrative are Lucas, who sets out on a journey in search of allies, Lucasinho who redeems himself through an act of bravery, as well as several other survivors. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly promises, “Fans of the first volume will love this one and eagerly look forward to the next.”

On shelves: March 28


BUY

Waking Gods

What’s a god to a nonbeliever?

In Waking Gods, book two of the Themis Files and sequel toSleeping GiantsSylvain Neuvel once again bends genres and examines the lines of human and alien contact. Physicist Rose Franklin and the Earth Defense Corps are dedicated to studying the unearthed colossal, humanesque robot. But for Rose the quest is personal: When she was a child, she found the enormous metallic hand that led to the discovery. Now, a second robot has entered the world, bringing with it destruction and fear. But this is only the beginning, as more machines rain down upon Earth, and Rose and her team race against time to save humanity.

On shelves: April 4


BUY

Borne

Born(e) to be wild

Borne, title character in Jeff Vandermeer’s latest, is difficult to discern. Professional scavenger Rachel finds Borne trapped in the fur of an enormous tyrannical bear which roamed through the Company, a biotech firm, until breaking free and causing fear in the nearby city. Rachel is troubled by Borne, but she is also clearly intrigued by Borne’s origins. Against her best judgment, Rachel feels drawn to Borne, which is something she heartily resents, as caring is a weakness. In fact, Borne reminds her of her island home, which was covered over by rising sea levels. In convincing her lover, Wick, not to render Borne into material for his salable drugs, Rachel opens herself up to the discovery that she might, indeed, be sleeping with the enemy.

On shelves: April 25


BUY

Walkaway

Do the walk of life

Hubert, Etc. is an everyman of the new world order in which the rich have gotten richer and everyone else has given up on aspirational thinking. In Cory Doctorow’s latest adult novel, Walkaway, the reality is that one need not live within a society at all because basic necessities are easily met by pressing “print” and creating what you need. On the surface, this world seems ideal, even to those who are not wealthy. But once Hubert and his ragtag crew find a way to preserve consciousness online, everything is set off kilter, suggesting that maybe knowledge truly is power.

On shelves: April 25


BUY

Within the Sanctuary of Wings

She sells sanctuary

Marie Brennan’s Within the Sanctuary of Wings is the fifth and final book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, which spans nearly five decades. Though much is now known of Lady Trent, there is clearly more to learn about this explorer and dragon expert. Here, Lady Trent’s legendary adventure in search of a new type of dragon is revealed, as she journeys through enemy territory where she discovers what appear to be the remains of a Draconean god. Only then does her final adventure to the Sanctuary of Wings begin.

On shelves: April 25


BUY

Radiate

Turn on your heart light

Radiate, the third book in C.A. Higgins’ Lightless series, is a genre-bending fusion of science fiction, drama, and suspense, following sentient AI, Ananke, on her quest to understand her creators and, in the process, maybe even find love. Accompanied by her mother-figure, Althea, Ananke is in search of the the programmer who brought her to life, Matthew. Unbeknownst to her, he is on a quest of his own. The three of them race toward a conclusion that promises to produce as big a bang as creation itself.

On shelves: May 23

FrostBlood Arc Review

Unknown

Frostblood by Elly Blake
Series: Frostblood Saga, #1
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on January 10, 2017

Rating: 4 ♥♥♥♥
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384 pages
Source: Publisher

Elly Blake is a library assistant and the debut young adult author of a new series, The Frostblood Saga.FROSTBLOOD is her first novel, releasing in January 2017. The second novel in the saga, FIREBLOOD, is set to release in September 2017.

FROSTBLOOD is the story of Ruby, a Fireblood, who is trying to keep herself hidden in a kingdom ruled by Frostbloods who want her dead. Her powers are hard to control, leading to her capture by the king’s guards and her imprisonment. Ruby is eventually taken from prison by Frostblood monks who believe she will be very useful in defeating the tyrannical Frostblood king. Ruby must train, fight, love and persevere in this dangerous and complicated world.

“FROSTBLOOD is an enticing and fast-paced read…that it is fun and entertaining to read….Ruby’s point of view was enjoyable, and she was a flawed character with a temper, which I appreciated.”

FROSTBLOOD is an enticing and fast-paced read, but it reminds me a lot of other YA fantasy novels. The novel’s strongest attribute is the fact that it is fun and entertaining to read. The plot eventually broke away from the usual YA fantasy tropes, but it took a while to get to the point where the story introduced those unique concepts.

Ruby’s point of view was enjoyable, and she was a flawed character with a temper, which I appreciated. The love interest, Arcus, grew on me. I found him to be somewhat typical, yet still a compelling love interest. The two main characters complimented each other very well and balanced out the good and evil in the rest of the cast of characters and the world. I was captured by the side characters probably more so than the two main characters. All of the monks and nobles had their personal political motivations, and that made for an engaging read. I enjoyed reading about them, and that kept me wanting to finish the book.

I think that the plot could have used some more action and world-building towards the middle and the end. The first half was slow compared the second half, but I began to enjoy it more once the pace picked up. Not a lot happened plot-wise in the first half, and there was so much set up for the second half of the book and the sequels. The world-building successfully opened the door for a faster-paced second book. The ending made me interested in what Elly Blake will come up with next, and she did not leave the reader agonizing over those last pages. The sequel has great potential to be much better than the first book, and I am excited to see how these characters and this world evolve in the next book.

readers who are new to fantasy will find this novel a lot of fun to read. Even readers who are fans of YA fantasy will enjoy this enchanting story. I would recommend FROSTBLOOD to those who love novels with romance, magic, royalty and bloody warfare.

Arc Books Being Sold on Ebay

rantrambles

My First Blog Rant: Bare With Me.

As a book lover I spend more money on books than buying food or even clothes, receiving free books is a blessing in disguise. But some people take advantage of their blessings when they take those free books, mostly advance copies and sell them on eBay. Not only is it disrespectful to the publishers, editors and more importantly the author—it is also selfish to the many bloggers like myself who would like to get there hands on some of these books and share our excitement for them with the rest of the book lovers out there. Here are some that I have found in my quest to showcase what is going on. Hopefully these Publishers, authors, and anyone who is in charge of Publicity pick and choose wisely.

569a3150-eaa5-0132-6463-0ecefe7c2201

P.s. Tell me your thoughts…if you want.

Top Ten Thursday: Hispanic Edition

top10thursday

Today marks the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month. Yesterday I posted a preview of what this month will consist of. I will be sharing books that have come out in the past as well as books that have been recently released and future releases. So here is my top ten.

 

  1. A Thunderous Whisper by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Published October 9th 2012 by Knopf

13414839

Ani believes she is just an insignificant whisper of a 12-year-old girl in a loud world. This is what her mother tells her anyway. Her father made her feel important, but he’s been off fighting in Spain’s Civil War, and his voice in her head is fading. Then she meets Mathias. His family has just moved to Guernica and he’s as far from a whisper as a 14-year-old boy can be. Ani thinks Mathias is more like lightning. A boy of action. Mathias’s father is part of a spy network and soon Ani finds herself helping him deliver messages to other members of the underground. She’s actually making a difference in the world.

And then her world explodes. The sleepy little market town of Guernica is destroyed by Nazi bombers. In one afternoon Ani loses her city, her home, and her mother. But in helping the other survivors, Ani gains a sense of her own strength. And she and Mathias make plans to fight back in their own unique way.

 

  1. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Published March 8th 2016 by Candlewick Press

25982606

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous year 1977 in New York.

After a freezing winter, a boiling hot summer explodes with arson, a blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, who is shooting young people on the streets seemingly at random. Not only is the city a disaster, but Nora has troubles of her own: her brother, Hector, is growing more uncontrollable by the day, her mother is helpless to stop him, and her father is so busy with his new family that he only calls on holidays. And it doesn’t stop there. The super’s after her mother to pay their overdue rent, and her teachers are pushing her to apply for college, but all Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. There is a cute guy who started working with her at the deli, but is dating even worth the risk when the killer especially likes picking off couples that stay out too late?

Award-winning author Meg Medina transports readers to a time when New York seemed about to explode, with temperatures and tempers running high, to discover how one young woman faces her fears as everything self-destructs around her.

 

  1. Drown by Junot Diaz (one of the best Latin writers I know)

Published July 1st 1997 by Riverhead Books

531989

With ten stories that move from the barrios of the Dominican Republic to the struggling urban communities of New Jersey, Junot Diaz makes his remarkable debut. Diaz’s work is unflinching and strong, and these stories crackle with an electric sense of discovery. Diaz evokes a world in which fathers are gone, mothers fight with grim determination for their families and themselves, and the next generation inherits the casual cruelty, devastating ambivalence, and knowing humor of lives circumscribed by poverty and uncertainty. In Drown, Diaz has harnessed the rhythms of anger and release, frustration and joy, to indelible effect.

 

 

 

 

  1. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Published September 15th 2015 by Thomas Dunne

20734002

For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice

 

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe #1) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Published February 21st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

12000020

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Shadowshaper (Shadowshaper #1) by Daniel José Older

Published June 30th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books

22295304

Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on. Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

 

  1. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Published March 26th 2013 by Candlewick

15798660

In Meg Medina’s compelling new novel, a Latina teen is targeted by a bully at her new school — and must discover resources she never knew she had.

One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.

 

  1. Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova

Published September 6th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

30408280

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin. The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.

 

  1. Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Published May 28th 2013 by Running Press Kids

16043528

of Andy Cooper. Her friends didn’t know she had a crush him. And they don’t know she was the last person with him before he committed suicide. But Frenchie’s biggest concern is how she blindly helped him die that night. Frenchie’s already insane obsession with death and Emily Dickinson won’t help her understand the role she played during Andy’s “one night of adventure.” But when she meets Colin, she may have found the perfect opportunity to recreate that night. While exploring the emotional depth of loss and transition to adulthood, Sanchez’s sharp humor and clever observations bring forth a richly developed voice.

 

 

 

  1. Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Published July 22nd 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published  1999)

18349883

“We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine.”

In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his barding school in Barcelona. For seven days and seven nights no one knows his whereabouts…His story begins in an old quarter of the city, where he meets the strange Marina and her father, Germán Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the last Sunday of each month. At exactly ten o’clock in the morning, a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman, her face shrouded be a black velvet cloak. Holding a single rose, she walks to a gravestone that bears no name, only a mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings. When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her, they begin a journey that transports them to a forgotten, postwar Barcelona–a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons–and reveals a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.

Written just before The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Marina has long been a cult classic in Spain and is now an international bestseller.

tumblr_ncw7xwpyga1rvlqi8o1_500

 

 

 

 

Hispanic Heritage Month: Books

14887461686_f35286c12f_o

To kick of Hispanic Heritage Month, I would like to share a book that has always been in my household, whether it was being read or not. It is a book that has been passed down and one that truly resonates within my family. The author carries her readers back to when they themselves were growing up. With vivid memories of her childhood and of family, the author allows and seems to ask for a close look at her life. When I Was Puerto Rican tells the stories of a Puerto Rican childhood with its many aspects and attributes, adjustments made in response to her families big move to New York. When I Was Puerto Rican is perfect for those who like books that have real meaning. Sometimes it will make you sad and other times it will make you laugh. I highly recommend it to everyone.

 

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

Published October 11th 1994 by Vintage Books USA

25419

Esmeralda Santiago’s story begins in rural Puerto Rico, where her childhood was full of both tenderness and domestic strife, tropical sounds and sights as well as poverty. Growing up, she learned the proper way to eat a guava, the sound of tree frogs in the mango groves at night, the taste of the delectable sausage called morcilla, and the formula for ushering a dead baby’s soul to heaven. As she enters school we see the clash, both hilarious and fierce, of Puerto Rican and Yankee culture. When her mother, Mami, a force of nature, takes off to New York with her seven, soon to be eleven children, Esmeralda, the oldest, must learn new rules, a new language, and eventually take on a new identity. In this first volume of her much-praised, bestselling trilogy, Santiago brilliantly recreates the idyllic landscape and tumultuous family life of her earliest years and her tremendous journey from the barrio to Brooklyn, from translating for her mother at the welfare office to high honors at Harvard.

Pick up a copy at any book store or online 🙂

69672fdfb7086970b50a38d63eeff369.jpg

 

Books by Bronx writers

we-need-diverse-books-1

Keeping with the theme of diversity, I think as an avid reader it is important that I promote books that fit the description. So for this post, I am going to focus on my top ten books by Bronx writers or stories that center on The Bronx. I feel like it is important for me to promote my borough as much as possible.

 

  1. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx

by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

385255

Published February 10th 2004 by Scribner

  In her extraordinary bestseller, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses readers in the intricacies of the ghetto, revealing the true sagas lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. Focusing on two romances – Jessica’s dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and Coco’s first love with Jessica’s little brother, Cesar – Random Family is the story of young people trying to outrun their destinies. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between survival and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and, throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty.

 

Charting the tumultuous cycle of the generations – as girls become mothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation – LeBlanc slips behind the cold statistics and sensationalism and comes back with a riveting, haunting, and true story.

 

 

  1. Nilda by Nicholasa Mohr

shopping

Piñata Books/Arte Público Press ·Published: January 1st 1987

“Damn you bastards, coming here making trouble. Bunch of animals.” The two police offers responding to a call about an open fire hydrant lash out furiously at the Puerto Rican residents of New York City’s El Barrio neighborhood. It’s the summer of 1941, and all ten-year-old Nilda wants to do is enjoy the cool water with her friends. But the policemen’s curses end their fun, and their animosity is played out over and over again in Nilda’s life. She is repeatedly treated with contempt and even disgust by adults in positions of authority: teachers, nurses and social workers. At home, though, she is surrounded by a large and loving—if somewhat eccentric— family that supports and encourages her artistic abilities. She experiences the onset of World War II and watches anxiously as several brothers go off to war; her stepfather’s poor health means he can’t work, causing serious financial difficulties for the family; one brother slinks off to the underworld, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend, adding two more mouths to feed to the family’s already dire situation. Named an “Outstanding Book of the Year” by The New York Times and one of the “Best Books of the Year” by the American Library Association in 1973 when it was first published, Nicholasa Mohr’s classic novel about life as an immigrant in New York City offers a poignant look at one young girl’s experiences. Issues of race, religion and machismo are realistically and movingly depicted in this groundbreaking coming-of-age novel that was one of the first by a Latina author to be hailed by the mainstream media.

 

 

  1. El Bronx Remembered  by Nicholasa Mohr

320523

Published June 19th 1993 by HarperTeen

In a city called New York …

In a neighborhood called El Bronx …

The Fernandex children own a very special pet: A white hen named after their favorite Hollywood movie star.

A new girl comes to school – a gypsy child who can read palms and foretell the future.A young boy must face the humiliation of wearing his uncle’s orange roach-killer shoes to his high school graduation. In the South Bronx – or El Bronx, as it’s known to the people who live there – anything can happen. A migrant “fresh off the boat” from Puerto Rico can be somebody on the mainland, pursue the American Dream … and maybe even make it come true.

Here are stories that capture the flavor and beat of El Bronx in its heyday, from 1946-1956.

A New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year

Finalist, 1976 National Book Award for Children’s Literature

A Notable Children’s Trade Book in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)

 

4. Felita by Nicholasa Mohr, Dena Wallenstein Neusner (Editor), Ray Cruz (Illustrator)

271086

Published July 19th 1999 by Puffin Books

Felita’s parents promise she will love their new neighborhood. Only Abuelita, her grandmother, understands how much Felita will miss her old block, and her best friend Gigi. But her new neighbors taunt and tease Felita and her family because they are from Puerto Rico. First published twenty years ago, Felita’s compelling story has resonance for kids today.”An honest, realistic view of an important aspect of contemporary American life.” –The Horn Book (less)

 

  1. Bronx Masquerade (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) by Nikki Grimes

shopping-1

Published Turtleback Books

When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class and reads it aloud, poetry-slam-style, he kicks off a revolution. Soon his classmates are clamoring to have weekly poetry sessions. One by one, eighteen students take on the risky challenge of self-revelation. Award-winning author Nikki Grimes captures the voices of eighteen teenagers through the poetry they share and the stories they tell, and exposes what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.

 

  1. CrackHead by Lisa Lennox

shopping-2

Published Atria Books

Lisa Lennox transports readers to the heart of the crack era—the South Bronx, New York City, 1989. In the late 1980s and early 90s, the crack epidemic swept through inner city communities like the plague. Mothers abandoned their children and took to the street for a hit. Fathers sold everything they owned to get a taste. The crackhead was rampant. Some neighborhoods were never the same. Enter Laci Johnson, a beautiful, smart, privileged teenage girl from across town, who teams up with The South Bronx Bitches—an infamous girl group known for chasing men and money. When the SBB becomes envious of Laci they devise a plan to destroy her life. Finding love in the most unexpected of places, Laci turns to a local drug dealer to help save her and heal the wounds of her new addiction. Through Laci and a host of entertaining characters, Crackhead vividly captures the essence of an era and the devastating, sometimes fatal consequences of addiction.

 

  1. Show and Prove, by Sofia Quintero

9780375847073_p0_v1_s192x300

Published July 14th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

In the South Bronx in 1983, church camp counselors and best friends Nike and Smiles contend with diverging paths, girl trouble, and the threat of violence against a backdrop of the AIDS and crack epidemics of Reagan-era America. At the root of their troubles is Smiles’ recent transfer to a fancy private school, a move that promises a brighter future but divides him from both his best friend and himself, as he fears becoming an outsider in his own life.
Pair with: All that ’80s nostalgia you’re looking to neutralize

 

8. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

28648863

Published January 18th 2016 by Riverdale Avenue Books

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

 

  1. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

26594801

Expected publication: February 21st 2017 by Simon & Schuster

Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life

Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal

Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal

This supermarket

Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts. With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

 

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

  1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

19542841

Published June 2nd 2015 by Soho Teen

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

 

Read the First 4 Chapters from UNITED AS ONE

Read the First 4 Chapters from UNITED AS ONE


Other civilizations do exist. Some seek to destroy you. UNITED AS ONE by Pittacus Lore is the epic conclusion to the thrilling, action-packed I Am Number Four book series. The Garde did not start this war, but they will do whatever it takes to end it once and for all…Read the first four chapters and find out what happens next when it’s available on June 28.


PROLOGUE

The girl stands on a rocky precipice, her toes curled over the edge. A dark chasm opens up in front of her, and a few pebbles dislodge beneath her feet and fall away, disappearing deep, deep down, into the shadows. Something used to be there, a tower or maybe a temple—the girl can’t remember exactly what. She stares down into the bottomless hole before her, and, somehow, she knows this place was once important. A safe place.
A sanctuary.
She wants to step back from the steep drop-off. It is dangerous, teetering here on the edge of nothingness. Yet she finds herself unable to move. Her feet are rooted to the spot. She feels the rocky ground shifting and crumbling beneath her feet. The pit before her is spreading. Soon, the edge she balances on will break and she’ll fall, swallowed up by the darkness.
Would that be so bad?
The girl’s head hurts. It’s a distant pain, almost like it’s happening to someone else. It’s a dull throb that starts at her forehead, wraps around her temples and down her jawline. She imagines her head like an egg that’s begun to crack, the breaks in the shell fanning out across the entire surface. She rubs her hands over her face and tries to focus.
She vaguely remembers being thrown down on the craggy ground. Over and over again, swung by her ankle with a force too powerful to resist, her head smashing and rattling on the unforgiving rocks. It’s like it happened to someone else, though. The memory, just like the pain, seems so far away.
In the darkness, there’s peace. She won’t have to remember the beating or the ensuing pain or what was lost when this bottomless pit was blasted into the earth. She’ll be able to let go, once and for all, if she just slides the rest of the way over the edge and falls.
Something pulls her back. A knowledge, deep inside herself, that she shouldn’t run from the pain. She should charge back towards it. She needs to keep fighting.
There’s a flicker of cobalt blue in the darkness below her, a solitary ember of light. Her heart flutters at the sight. It reminds her of what she fought to protect and why she’s so hurt. The light begins as just a pinprick, like she’s looking down at the night sky and its solitary star. Soon it expands and zooms upwards, a comet coming right for her. She wavers on the edge of the chasm.
And then he’s floating in front of her, aglow just like the last time she saw him. His curly black hair a perfect mess, his emerald-green eyes fixed on her—he is exactly how she remembers him. He smiles at her, that devil-may-care smile, and holds out a hand.
“It’s okay, Marina,” he says. “You don’t have to fight anymore.”
Her muscles relax at the sound of his voice. The darkness stretching out below her doesn’t seem so ominous anymore. She lets one of her feet dangle over the abyss. The pain inside her head seems even more diminished now. Further away.
“That’s right,” he says. “Come home with me.”
She nearly takes his hand. Something isn’t right, though. She looks away from his eyes, his smile, and sees the scar. A thick band of upraised purple tissue that wraps all the way around his neck. She jerks her hand back and nearly stumbles over the edge.
“This isn’t real!” she yells, finding her voice. She gets both her feet planted firmly on the rocky ground and pushes away from the darkness.
She watches as the curly-haired boy’s smile falters, turns into something cruel and mean, an expression she never saw on his actual face.
“If it isn’t real, why can’t you wake up?” he asks.
She doesn’t know. She’s stuck here, on the edge, in this place in-between with the dark-haired boy—she loved him once, but that’s not really him. It’s the man who put her here, who beat her so badly and then destroyed this place that she loved. And now he’s desecrating her memories. She locks eyes with him.
“Oh, I’m going to wake up, you bastard. And then I will come for you.”
His eyes flash, and he tries to put on an amused expression; but she can tell that he’s angry. His perverse trick didn’t work.
“It would’ve been peaceful, you little fool. You could’ve just slipped down into the darkness. I was offering you mercy.” He begins to recede into the chasm, leaving her alone in this place. His words float back to her. “Now all that awaits you is more pain.”
“So be it,” she says.
The one-eyed boy sits on his backside in his prison of pillows. He hugs himself—not by choice; his arms are secured inside a straitjacket. His one eye stares dully at the white walls, everything padded and soft. The door has no handle, no discernible way to escape. His nose itches, and he buries his face in his shoulder to scratch it.
When he looks up, there’s a shadow on the wall. Someone is standing behind him. The one-eyed boy flinches as two powerful hands set down on his shoulders and squeeze them gently. The deep voice is right in his ear.
“I could forgive you,” says the visitor. “Your failures, your insubordination. It was, in a way, my fault. I should not have sent you to these people to begin with. Asked you to infiltrate them. It’s only natural that you would develop certain . . . sympathies.”
“Beloved Leader,” says the one-eyed boy in a mocking singsong. He strains against the straitjacket. “You’ve come to save me.”
“That’s right,” the man says with a voice like a proud father, ignoring the boy’s sarcastic tone. “It could be like it was before. Like I always promised you. We could rule together. Look at what they’ve done to you, how they treat you. Someone with your power, and you let them lock you away like some kind of animal. . . .”
“I fell asleep, didn’t I?” asks the one-eyed boy flatly. “This is a dream.”
“Yes. But our reconciliation, that will be very real, my boy.” The strong hands fall away from his shoulders and begin to unbuckle the straitjacket. “It is a small thing I want in exchange. A demonstration of your loyalty. Simply tell me where I can find them. Where I can find you. My people—our people—will be there before you even wake up. They will set you free and restore your honor.”
The one-eyed boy doesn’t really listen to the man’s proposal. He feels the straitjacket begin to loosen as the buckles are unsnapped. He concentrates and remembers that this is a dream.
“You tossed me away like garbage,” he says. “Why me? Why now?”
“I’ve come to realize that was an error,” the man says through his teeth. It’s the first time the one-eyed boy has ever heard the man apologize. “You are my right hand. You are strong.”
The one-eyed boy snorts. He knows this is a lie. The man came because he thinks the boy is weak. He manipulates. Probes for weaknesses.
But this is just a dream. The one-eyed boy’s dream. That means his rules.
“What do you say?” the man asks, his breath hot against the one-eyed boy’s ear. “Where did they take you?”
“I don’t know,” the boy answers honestly. He doesn’t know where this padded cell is actually located. The others made sure he couldn’t see. “As for . . . what did you call it? Reconciliation? I have a counteroffer, old man.”
He imagines his favorite weapon, the needle-shaped blade that attaches to the inside of his wrist, and just like that it exists. He pops it, the deadly point punching through the fabric of the straitjacket, and swivels around to stab the blade right at the man’s heart.
But the man is already gone. The one-eyed boy grunts bitterly, disappointed at the lack of satisfaction. He takes a moment to stretch his arms. When he wakes up, he’ll be in this very same place, except his arms will be bound again. He doesn’t mind the padded cell. He’s comfortable, and there’s no one around to bother him. He could stay here for a little while, at least. Do some thinking. Pull himself together.
When he’s ready, though, the one-eyed boy will go ahead and let himself out.
The boy walks across a football field at the beginning of winter. The grass, brittle and brown, crunches beneath his feet. To his left and right, the metal bleachers are completely empty. The air smells like fire, and a gust of wind blows ash against the boy’s cheeks.
He looks at the scoreboard up ahead. The orange bulbs flicker and pop, like the electricity is coming and going.
Beyond the scoreboard, the boy can see the high school, or at least what’s left. The roof has collapsed, blown in by a missile. All the windows are shattered. There are a couple of mangled school desks on the field in front of him, all hurled this way by whatever force destroyed the school, their glossy plastic tops wedged into the ground like tombstones.
He can see it, on the horizon, hovering over the town. The warship. Like a muscular scarab made of cold gray metal, it prowls the skyline.
The boy feels nothing but resignation. He made some good memories in this place, at this school, in this town. He was happy here for a while, before everything went to hell. It doesn’t matter what happens to this place now.
He looks down and realizes that he’s holding a torn scrap from a yearbook in his hand. Her picture. Straight blond hair, perfect cheekbones, those blue eyes. A smile that’s like she’s inviting you in on some private joke. His stomach clenches at the sight of her, at the memory of what happened.
“It doesn’t have to be this way.”
The boy whips around at the sound of the voice—melodic and calming, totally out of place in this burned-out setting. A man walks across the football field towards him. He’s dressed unassumingly, a brown blazer over a sweater, some khaki pants and loafers. He could be a math teacher, except there’s something regal about his posture.
“Who are you?” the boy asks, alarmed.
The man stops a few yards away. He holds up his hands like he doesn’t want any trouble. “That’s my ship back there,” the man says calmly.
The boy clenches his fist. The man doesn’t look like the monster he caught a glimpse of in Mexico, but here, in the dream, he knows that it’s true.
So he charges forward. How many times has he run down this field, an opposing player in his sights? The thrill of sprinting across the dead grass lifts the boy’s spirits. He punches the man, hard, right in the jaw, and rams him with a shoulder tackle on the follow-through.
The man falls to the ground and lies there on his back. The boy looms over him, one fist still balled, the other clutching her picture.
He doesn’t know what to do now. He expected more of a fight.
“I deserved that,” the man says, staring up at the boy with watery eyes. “I know what happened to your friend, and I . . . I am so sorry.”
The boy takes a step back. “You . . . you killed her,” he says. “And you’re sorry?”
“That was never my intention!” the man says pleadingly. “It wasn’t me who put her in harm’s way. But all the same, I’m sorry she was hurt.”
“Killed,” the boy whispers. “Not hurt. Killed.”
“What you consider dead and what I consider dead . . . those are two very different things.”
Now the boy is listening. “What does that mean?”
“All this ugliness and pain, that’s only if we keep fighting. It’s not my way. It’s not what I want.” The man continues. “Did you ever stop to consider what I might want? That it might not be that bad?”
The man hasn’t tried to get up. The boy feels in control. He likes that. And that’s when he notices how the grass is changing. It’s coming back to life, emerald green spreading out from the man. In fact, it seems to the boy that even the sun is starting to shine a little brighter.
“I want our lives—all our lives—to get better. I want us to grow beyond these petty misunderstandings,” the man says. “I’m a scholar, first and foremost. I’ve spent my life studying the miracles of the universe. Surely, they’ve told you about me. Lies, mostly, but it is true that I have lived for centuries. What is death to a man like me? Merely a temporary inconvenience.”
Without realizing it, the boy has begun to nervously rub the scrap of paper he’s holding between his fingers. His thumb brushes across the girl’s jawline. The man smiles and nods at the torn piece of yearbook.
“Why . . . why would I trust you?” the grieving boy manages to ask.
“If we just stop fighting, if you listen for a while, you’ll see.” He sounds so sincere. “We’ll have peace. And you’ll have her back.”
“Have her back?” the boy asks, stunned, a surge of hope rising in his chest.
“I can restore her,” the man says. “The same power that brought your friend Ella back to life, it is now mine. I don’t want to fight anymore, my young friend. Let me bring her back. Let me show them all how I’ve changed.”
The boy glances down at the picture in his hand and finds that it has changed. It’s moving. The blond girl pounds her fists against the inside of the photograph like it’s a glass wall and she’s trapped behind it. The boy can read her lips. She’s pleading for his help.
The man holds out his hand. He wants the boy to help him up.
“What do you say? Shall we end this together?”

CHAPTER ONE

This room reminds me of the kind of places that Henri and I used to stay in during the early days. Old roadside motels that the owners hadn’t updated since the seventies. The walls are wood paneled, and the carpet is an olive-green shag, the bed underneath me stiff and musty. A bureau rests against one wall, the drawers filled with a mixture of clothing, different sizes and different genders, all of it generic and dated. The room doesn’t have a TV, but it does have a radio with a clock that uses those old-school paper numbers that flip around, every minute punctuated by a dry slap.
4:33 A.M.
4:34 A.M.
4:35 A.M.
I sit here in the Patience Creek Bed & Breakfast and listen to the time pass by.
On the wall across from my bed, there’s a painting that looks like a window. There aren’t any actual windows, on account of the room being located deep underground, so I suppose the designers did the best they could. The scene in my fake window is bright and sunny, with tall, green grass blowing in the wind and the indistinct shape of a woman in the distance clutching a hat to her head.
I don’t know why they made the room look like this. Maybe it was meant to convey a sense of normalcy. If that’s the case, it isn’t working. Instead, the room seems to magnify every poisonous emotion you’d expect staying in a scuzzy motel by yourself—loneliness, desperation, failure.
I’ve got plenty of those emotions on my own.
Here’s what this room has that some dump off the interstate doesn’t. The painting on the wall? It slides aside, and behind it is a bank of monitors that broadcast security feeds from all around the Patience Creek Bed & Breakfast. There’s a camera pointed at the front door of the quaint cabin that sits above this sprawling underground facility, another pointed at the serendipitously flat meadow with its hard-packed soil and perfectly maintained grass that just happens to be the exact dimensions necessary to land a medium-sized aircraft, and dozens of other feeds surveilling the property and what lies beneath. This place was built by some very paranoid people who were planning for a potential invasion, a doomsday scenario.
They were expecting Russians, not Mogadorians. But even so, I guess their paranoia paid off.
Beneath the unassuming bed-and-breakfast located twenty-five miles south of Detroit, close to the shore of Lake Erie, are four subterranean levels so top secret they have been virtually forgotten. The Patience Creek facility was originally built by the CIA during the Cold War as a place for them to ride out a nuclear winter. It fell into disrepair over the last twenty-five years, and, according to our hosts in the US government, everyone who knew about it is either dead or retired, which means that no one leaked its existence to MogPro. Lucky for us a general named Clarence Lawson came out of retirement when the warships appeared and remembered that this place was down here.
The president of the United States and what’s left of the Joint Chiefs of Staff aren’t here; they’re being kept someplace secure, probably someplace mobile, the location of which they aren’t divulging even to us allied aliens. One of his handlers must have decided it wouldn’t be safe for the president to be around us, so we’re here with General Lawson, who reports only to him. In our conversation, the president told me he wanted to work together, that we had his full support against Setrákus Ra.
He said a lot of things, actually. The details are fuzzy in my memory. I was in shock when we spoke and not really listening. He seemed nice. Whatever.
I just want to finish this.
I’ve been awake since—well, I’m not exactly sure when. I know I should try to sleep, but every time I close my eyes I see Sarah’s face. I see her face back on that first day at Paradise High School, half hidden behind a camera and then smiling as she finishes snapping my photo. And then my imagination takes over, and I see that same beautiful face pale and bloodied, lifeless, the way she must look now. I can’t shake it. I open my eyes and there’s a twisting pain in my gut, and I feel like I’ve got to curl up around the hurt.
Instead, I stay awake. This is what it’s been like for the last few hours, alone in this strange place, trying to wear myself out to the point where I’ll be able to sleep like, well . . . like the dead.
Practice. It’s the only hope I have.
I sit on the bed and look at myself in the mirror that hangs over the bureau. My hair is getting a little long, and there are dark circles around my eyes. These things don’t matter now. I stare at myself . . .
And then I disappear.
Reappear. Take a deep breath.
I go invisible again. This time I hold it for longer. For as long as I can. I stare at the empty space in the mirror where my body should be and listen to the paper numbers on the clock tick by.
With Ximic, I should be able to copy any Legacy that I’ve encountered. It’s just a matter of teaching myself how to use it, which is never easy, even when the Legacy comes naturally. Marina’s healing, Six’s invisibility, Daniela’s stone gaze—these are the abilities I’ve picked up so far. I’m going to learn more, as many as I can. I’m going to train these new Legacies until they come as naturally to me as my Lumen. And then I’m going to repeat the process.
All this power, and only one thing to look forward to.
The destruction of every Mogadorian on Earth. Including and especially Setrákus Ra, if he’s even still alive. Six thinks she might have killed him in Mexico, but I won’t believe that until the Mogs surrender or I see a body. A part of me almost hopes he’s still out there so that I can be the one to end the bastard.
A happy ending? That’s out the window. I was stupid to ever believe in it.
Pittacus Lore, the last one, the one whose body we found hidden in Malcolm Goode’s bunker, he had Ximic, too, but he didn’t do enough. He couldn’t stop the Mogadorian invasion of Lorien. When he had the chance to kill Setrákus Ra all those centuries ago, he couldn’t do that either.
History will not repeat itself.
I hear footsteps in the hallway that stop right outside my door.
Even though they speak softly and even though I’m listening through a reinforced steel door, with my enhanced senses, I can still hear every word Daniela and Sam say.
“Maybe we should just let him rest,” Daniela says. I’m not used to hearing her speak in such a gentle tone. Usually, Daniela’s a mix of abrasive and gung ho. In just a couple of days, she’s completely left behind her old life and joined our war. Although she didn’t have much choice considering the Mogs burned her old life to the ground.
Another human swept up in our war.
“You don’t know him. There’s no way he’s sleeping in there,” Sam replies, his voice hoarse.
Sitting in this stale room, reflecting on the past and the damage I’ve caused, I started to wonder: How would Sam’s life be different if Henri and I had chosen Cleveland or Akron or somewhere else instead of Paradise? Would he still have gotten Legacies? I’d be worse off, maybe dead, without him. That’s for sure.
Sarah would still be alive, though, if we’d never met.
“Uh, okay, I’m not really talking about him getting a good night’s sleep. Dude’s a superhero alien; for all I know he sleeps three hours a night hanging from the ceiling,” Daniela replies to Sam.
“He sleeps same as we do.”
“Whatever. Point is, maybe he needs some space, you know? To work his shit out? And he’ll come to us when he’s ready. When he’s . . .”
“No. He’d want to know,” Sam says, and then knocks softly on my door.
I’m off the bed in a flash to open the door. Sam’s right about me, of course. Whatever’s happening, I want to know. I want to be distracted. I want forward momentum.
Sam blinks when the door opens and stares right through me. “John?”
It takes me a second to realize that I’m still invisible. When I appear from thin air in front of them, Daniela stumbles back a step. “Goddamn.”
Sam barely arches an eyebrow. His eyes are red rimmed. He seems too worn-out to be surprised.
“Sorry,” I say. “Working on my invisibility.”
“The others are about ten minutes out,” Sam tells me. “I knew you would want to be there when they land.”
I nod and close my door behind me.
The illusion of a motel disappears as soon as I’m outside my room. The hallway beyond, more like a tunnel really, is all austere white walls and cold halogen lights. It reminds me of the facility underneath Ashwood Estates, except this place was built by humans.
“I got a VCR in my room,” Daniela says, trying to make conversation as the three of us walk down one of the identical hallways in this mazelike complex. When neither Sam nor me immediately responds, she presses on. “You guys got VCRs? Shit’s crazy, right? I haven’t seen a VCR in years.”
Sam looks at me before answering. “I found a Game Boy wedged under my mattress.”
“Damn! Want to trade?”
“It’s got no batteries.”
“Never mind.”
I can hear the distant hum of generators, the buzz of tools and the grunts of men working. The one drawback of Patience Creek being so under the radar is that a lot of its systems aren’t what you’d call updated. For security reasons General Lawson had decided they should run a stripped-down operation here. With everything going on, there’s not exactly time to call in civilian contractors. Still, there’s got to be almost a hundred army engineers working around the clock to bring the place up to date. When we arrived late last night, I saw that Sam’s dad, Malcolm, was already here, helping a crew of electricians install some of the Mogadorian tech recovered from Ashwood Estates. As far as the army is concerned, Malcolm’s basically an expert on the extraterrestrial.
Sam and Daniela’s conversation has trailed off, and I quickly realize that it’s because of me. I’m silent, eyes straight ahead, and I’m pretty sure my expression is stuck in neutral. They don’t know how to talk to me anymore.
“John, I—” Sam puts a hand on my shoulder, and I can tell he’s going to say something about Sarah. I know what happened to her hurt him bad, too. They grew up together. But I don’t want to have that conversation right now. I don’t want to give in to grieving until this is over.
I force a halfhearted smile. “Did they give you any tapes for that VCR?” I ask Daniela, clumsily changing the subject.
WrestleMania III,” she says, and makes a face.
“Hell yeah, I’ll be by to pick that up later, Danny,” Nine says, emerging from one of the many hallways with a grin.
Out of all of us, Nine looks the most rested. It’s only been about a day since he and Five brawled all over New York City. I healed the big goon back in New York, and his own superhuman stamina has apparently done the rest. He pats Sam and me hard on the back and joins our procession down the hallway. Of course, Nine acts like there’s nothing wrong at all, and, honestly, I prefer it that way.
As we pass by, I glance down the hallway Nine came from. There are four heavily armed soldiers there, standing guard.
“Everything squared away?” I ask Nine.
“Yeah, Johnny,” Nine replies. “They got some pretty whacked-out prison cells in this place, including one that’s straight up padded walls. With Chubby tethered to some cushions and strapped into a straitjacket, he ain’t going anywhere.”
“Good,” Sam says.
I nod in agreement. Five is a complete psychopath and deserves to be locked up. But if I’m being brutally practical about winning this war, I’m not sure how long we can afford to keep him in a cage.
We round a corner, and the elevator bank comes into view. Overhead, the halogen lights buzz loudly, and I notice Sam pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Man, do I miss your penthouse, Nine,” Sam says. “Was the only hideout we ever had with mellow lighting.”
“Yeah, I miss it too,” Nine replies, a note of nostalgia creeping into his voice.
“This place is already giving me a serious migraine. Should’ve gotten some dimmer switches to go with those VCRs.”
There’s a crackle of electricity over our heads, and one of the bulbs flickers out. The hallway lighting is suddenly a whole lot more tolerable. Everyone except for me pauses to look up.
“Well, that was weirdly timed,” says Daniela.
“Better, though, isn’t it?” Sam says with a sigh.
I hit the button to call the elevator. The others gather around behind me.
“So, they’re, uh . . . they’re bringing her back here?” Nine asks, his voice lowered, being about as tactful as he can manage.
“Yeah,” I say, thinking about the Loric ship right now descending towards Patience Creek, filled with our friends and allies, and the lost love of my life.
“That’s good,” Nine says, then coughs into his hand. “I mean, not good. But we can, you know, say good-bye.”
“We get it, Nine,” Sam says gently. “He knows what you mean.”
I nod, not prepared to say anything else. The elevator doors open in front of us, and when they do, the words come spilling out.
“This is the last time,” I say, not turning around to face the others. The words feel like ice in my mouth. “I’m done saying good-bye to people we love. I’m done with sentiment. Done with grieving. Starting today, we kill until we win.”

CHAPTER TWO 

Twisted metal shrieks by overhead. Clumps of dirt and ash batter my face, the wind whips at what feels like one hundred miles per hour, and I throw everything I have into it. Blaster fire sears across my legs. I ignore it. A jagged strut from an exploded Mogadorian Skimmer crashes into the dirt next to me. Only a few feet closer and I would have been impaled.
I ignore that too. I’ll die here, if that’s what it takes.
Across an empty pit where the Sanctuary used to stand, Setrákus Ra staggers up the ramp of his warship. I can’t let him make it back on board the Anubis. I shove out with my telekinesis, and I don’t care about the consequences. I hurl every goddamn thing at him, and he pushes back. I feel his power strain against mine like two invisible tidal waves crashing together, sending up a spray of metal parts and dirt and stone.
“Die, die, die . . .”
Sarah Hart is next to me. She screams something into my ear that I can’t hear over the roar of the battle. She grabs my shoulder and starts to shake me.
“Die, die, die . . .”
“Six!”
I gasp and wake up. It isn’t Sarah shaking my shoulder. It’s Lexa, our pilot, seated behind the controls. Through the windshield, I can barely make out the peaceful countryside zipping by underneath us. In the glow of the control panel, I can see a look of concern on Lexa’s face.
“What is it?” I ask, still groggy as I gently push her hand away.
“You were talking in your sleep,” Lexa replies, and goes back to looking straight ahead, our flight path mapped out on the screen before her.
My feet are up on the dashboard, my knees tucked in close to my chest. My toes are all pins and needles. I set my feet down on the floor and sit up straight, then strain my eyes into the darkness outside. Just as I do, the countryside drops away and is replaced by the blue-black water of Lake Erie.
“How close are we to the coordinates Malcolm sent us?” I ask Lexa.
“Close,” she replies. “About ten minutes out.”
“And you’re sure we lost them?”
“I’m sure, Six. I ditched the last of the Skimmers over Texas. The Anubis broke off before that. Seemed like the warship didn’t want to keep up the chase.”
I rub my hands across my face and through my sticky tangle of hair. The Anubis stopped chasing us. Why? Because they had to rush Setrákus Ra somewhere? Because he was dying? Or maybe already dead?
I know I hurt him. I saw that metal bar pierce that bastard’s chest. Not many could survive that injury. But this is Setrákus Ra. There’s no telling how fast he heals or what technology he’s got at his disposal to nurse him back to health. It went straight into his heart, though. I saw it. I know I got him.
“He has to be dead,” I say quietly. “He has to be.”
I unstrap from the copilot’s seat and stand up. Lexa grabs hold of my forearm before I can leave the cockpit.
“Six, you did what you had to do,” she says firmly. “What you thought was best. No matter what happens, if Setrákus Ra is dead or alive . . .”
“If he’s alive, then Sarah died for nothing,” I reply.
“Not for nothing,” Lexa says. “She pulled you out of there. She saved you.”
“She should’ve saved herself.”
“She didn’t think so. She— Look, I hardly knew the girl. But it seemed to me that she knew what was at stake. She knew that we’re fighting a war. And in war there are sacrifices. Casualties.”
“Easy for us to say. We’re alive.” I bite my lip and pull my arm away from Lexa. “You think— Shit, Lexa. You think any of that cold-ass pragmatic talk is going to make it easier for the others? For John?”
“Has anything ever been easy for any of you?” Lexa asks, looking up at me. “Why would it start now? This is the end, Six. One way or the other, we’re closing in on the end. You do what has to be done, and you feel bad about it later.”
I exit the cockpit with Lexa’s words ringing in my ears. I want to feel anger. Who is she to tell me how to act? The Mogs weren’t hunting her. She hid for years without ever trying to contact us. She only showed up now because she realized how desperate our situation had become, that it was all hands on deck. Telling me what to feel.
Thing is, she’s right. She’s right, because the truth is, I wouldn’t change what I did. I’d take my shot at Setrákus Ra, even knowing what would happen to Sarah. Potentially billions of lives are on the line.
I had to do it.
In the main cabin, someone has used the touch-screen walls to command cots to emerge from the floor. Those are the same cots we slept on all those years ago when we first came to Earth. I carved my number into one of them.
Sarah’s body rests on that one, because the universe has a sick sense of humor.
Mark sits next to Sarah’s cot, chin against his chest, asleep. His face is puffy, and he’s covered in dried blood, like pretty much all of us. He hasn’t left Sarah’s side since it all went down. Frankly, I’m glad he’s finally asleep. I couldn’t handle many more of the accusatory looks the guy has been throwing around. I know he’s angry and hurting, but I can’t wait to get off this cramped ship and away from him.
Bernie Kosar lies on the floor next to Mark. He watches me emerge from the cockpit and quietly stands. The beagle comes over and nuzzles against my leg, whining quietly. I reach down to scratch absently behind his ears.
“Thanks, boy,” I whisper, and BK whines again, softly.
I move farther back. Ella is curled up on one of the cots, her face turned towards the wall. My gaze lingers on her for a second, just long enough to make sure that she’s still breathing. Ella was the first person I watched die yesterday, except she somehow managed to come back to life. When she tossed herself into that pillar of Loric energy at the Sanctuary, she broke the charm that Setrákus Ra had placed on her. Apparently, there are side effects to bathing in a bunch of Loric energy and briefly dying. Ella’s returned to us as . . . well, I’m not entirely sure.
At the very back of the ship, I find Adam sitting on the edge of another cot. Looking at the dark circles around his eyes and his increasingly pale skin, I know for sure that Adam hasn’t slept. Instead, he’s been keeping his eye on Marina. She’s strapped down on the same cot Adam sits on, her eyes closed, her face horribly bruised, blood still crusted around her nostrils. Setrákus Ra smashed her into the ground over and over, and she hasn’t regained consciousness since. She’s holding on, though, and hopefully John will be able to heal whatever’s wrong with her.
Adam manages a weak smile as I sit down across from him. Another one of our wounded friends is bundled in his arms. Dust was nearly killed back at the Sanctuary. Although he’s still twitchy and weak, Dust has regained some of his movement and has at least managed to change his shape into that of a wolf cub. Not exactly ferocious, but a step in the right direction.
“Hey, doc,” I say to Adam, keeping my voice quiet.
He snorts. “You’d be surprised how little practical medical training we Mogadorians receive. It’s not a priority when most of your soldiers are disposable.” Adam turns his head to regard Marina. “Her pulse is strong, though. Even I can tell that.”
I nod. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. I reach across the gap between us and scratch Dust on his nose. One of his back legs starts to pump in response, though I’m not sure if it’s from enjoyment or the lingering effects of his electroshock.
“He’s looking a little better,” I say to Adam.
“Yeah, he’ll be howling at the moon in no time,” Adam replies, looking me over as he does. “What about you? How are you feeling?”
“Like shit.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t do more,” Adam says. When the battle at the Sanctuary came to an end, it was Adam and Mark who got Marina onto Lexa’s ship before Setrákus Ra could finish her off. That’s how it came to be me and Sarah facing Setrákus Ra alone.
“You did enough. You saved Marina. Got her back here. I . . .”
My gaze involuntarily drifts towards Sarah. Adam clears his throat to get my attention back. His eyes lock onto mine, wide and steady.
“That wasn’t your fault,” he says firmly.
“Hearing that doesn’t make it easier.”
“It still needed saying.” Now it’s Adam’s turn to break eye contact. He looks over at Ella’s huddled body and frowns. “I hope you killed him, Six. The thing is, knowing you, if you’d have known the consequences, you would have stopped.”
I don’t interrupt Adam, even though what he’s saying about me might not be true. It’s weird to feel hope that I killed Setrákus Ra at the same time as the guilt for what happened to Sarah, all of it worsened by an undercurrent of dread that I accomplished nothing at all. I’m a mess.
“I respect that about you guys,” Adam continues. “Most of you Garde, it’s like they built strength and compassion into you. It’s the opposite for my people. I . . . I would’ve pressed on no matter what happened.”
Back at the Sanctuary, Adam had a moment when he’d got the drop on Setrákus Ra. This was back before Ella broke the charm that bound her life to her evil great-grandfather’s. Even knowing that it would kill Ella, Adam went right for Setrákus Ra’s jugular.
“Your people,” Adam continues after a moment, “you consider the costs, you mourn your losses, you try to do what’s right. I envy that. The ability to know what’s right without—without having to fight against your nature.”
“You’re more like us than you realize,” I tell him.
“I’d like to think that,” Adam replies. “But sometimes I don’t know.”
“We all regret things,” I say. “It’s not a matter of nature. It’s a matter of moving on and being better.”
Adam opens his mouth to respond, but no words come out. He’s looking past me. A soft blue glow emanates from over my shoulder.
I turn around to see Ella has sat up on her cot. She still crackles with Loric energy, her brown eyes completely replaced by roiling orbs of cobalt blue. When she speaks, her voice has that odd echoing quality, like it did when Legacy was speaking through her.
“You don’t have to feel guilty,” she tells Adam. “I knew what you were going to do as soon as I got off the Anubis. I was rooting for you.”
Adam stares at Ella. “I didn’t—I didn’t even know what I was going to do when you got off the Anubis.”
“Oh, you did.”
Adam looks away, clearly uncomfortable under Ella’s stare. If he’s relieved that Ella let him off the hook for what happened at the Sanctuary, it doesn’t show.
“And Six.” She turns to me now. “As she left this world, Sarah thought about many things. Mostly about John and her family. But also she thought about you, and how she was glad you would be here to take care of John and the rest of us.”
“You were in her head when she died?” I ask Ella, still trying to get a grip on her new and expanded Legacies.
She pinches the bridge of her nose and shuts her eyes, which causes the room to get a little darker. “I’m still getting used to what I can do. It is hard sometimes to . . . tune out.”
“Is that all she was thinking about?”
The question comes from Mark. I’m not sure how long he’s been awake and listening to our conversation. He looks at Ella with desperate hope, and I notice that his lower lip shakes. Ella looks back at him coolly, and I wonder if some emotional wiring got fried during her encounter with Legacy.
“What do you really want to ask me, Mark?” Ella says calmly.
“I . . . nothing. It’s not important,” Mark replies, looking back down at the floor.
“You crossed her mind, too, Mark,” Ella says.
Mark swallows hard when he hears this and nods, trying not to show any emotion. Studying Ella, I’m not sure if she’s telling the truth or just trying to make Mark feel better. Her electric eyes are unreadable.
“We’re here,” Lexa announces over the intercom. “I’m bringing us down.”
Lexa lands the ship in a wide-open field next to a small log cabin. Looking out the window at the place, it’s hard to believe that this is where the government is planning its counterattack against the Mogadorians. I guess that’s sort of the point. With the sun just beginning to rise over Lake Erie, pink flares of light bend across the surface of the water. It’s a tranquil scene and would look totally like some hippie yoga retreat if not for the presence of the armed soldiers and their Humvees camouflaged in the tree line.
There are two groups waiting for us outside the cabin and, even in my rattled state, it’s easy to read the situation based on the distance between the factions. The first group is our people—John, Sam, Nine, Malcolm, and a girl who I recognize from Ella’s telepathic summit but whose name I don’t know. Behind them, separated by about thirty yards, is a contingent of military personnel who watch our ship with keen interest. It seems to me that even though the military is working together with the Garde, they’re still very much keeping an eye on us. Together, but apart.
In that group of soldiers, I recognize Agent Walker. As I watch, she nervously stubs out a cigarette and turns to answer a question posed by the older man standing next to her. He’s clearly in charge. The guy sports a silver buzz cut and a leathery tan, like they just pulled him away from the golf course. He looks like one of those senior citizens who’s still out there running marathons, all rigid posture and stringy muscles. He wears formal military attire covered with a stupid amount of medals. He’s surrounded by a half dozen soldiers with assault rifles—for our protection, I’m sure. Two guys in his retinue stand out; they’re twins if I’m not mistaken, and look to be about my age, too young to really be enlisted soldiers, although they wear the starched light-blue uniforms of cadets.
I observe all this during the few seconds it takes Lexa to extend the exit ramp and power down the ship. Surveying our surroundings is a good distraction, a way to avoid looking at John. His face is a mask, his gaze icy, and I still haven’t figured out what the hell I’m going to say to him.
Our battle-ravaged group slowly walks down the ramp. I hear mutterings from our military observers and can’t help noticing the cringing looks on our friends’ faces. We’re covered in blood and dirt, beat up, exhausted. Plus, Ella is giving off that faint glow of Loric energy. We look like hell.
Malcolm’s got a gurney, and he pushes it across the grass to meet Adam, who is carrying Marina in his arms. It takes me a second to notice that Mark hasn’t gotten off the ship; he’s staying with Sarah’s body.
Before I can stop him, Sam has me wrapped in a hug. Only when his arms are around me do I realize how badly I’m shaking.
“You’re all right now,” he whispers into my tangled mop of hair.
I steel myself, trying not to break down even though I very badly want to, and wiggle out of Sam’s arms. I look towards John, but he’s already standing over Marina, his hands glowing softly as he holds her head. There’s a look of deep concentration on his face as he heals her, and it takes so long that I start to hold my breath, worried that the damage Setrákus Ra inflicted is too great. After a long moment where everyone watches in total silence, John steps back with a drained sigh. Marina shifts a bit on her gurney but doesn’t wake up.
“Is she . . . ?” Adam starts to ask.
“It was bad, but she’ll be okay,” John replies, his voice completely neutral. “She just needs some rest.”
With that, John steps away from the group and walks up the ramp of the ship.
“John, hold on,” I hear myself say, even though I’ve got no idea what my follow-up is going to be.
He pauses and looks over his shoulder at me, although he doesn’t meet my eyes.
“I’m sorry that we couldn’t—that I couldn’t protect her,” I tell him, my voice getting shaky and, even though I’m mortified to hear it, a little desperate. “I swear I killed him, John. I put one right in his goddamn heart.”
John nods, and I can see a vein in his neck twitching, like he’s trying to control himself.
“We aren’t to blame for the actions of our enemies,” John replies to me, and the line sounds canned, practiced, like he knew this conversation was coming. Without another word, he climbs the ramp and disappears into Lexa’s ship.
A somber silence follows. The military personnel return to the cabin, which must have some pretty major underground levels to accommodate them all, and Nine starts to lead our group inside after them. I gaze after John, Sam lingering at my side.
“I’m sorry, Six, but you didn’t.”
It’s Ella. She stands next to me, looking up at me with those eyes empty of everything but swirling Loric energy. I must look shaky again, because Sam puts his arm around me, holding me up.
“Didn’t what?”
“Kill him,” Ella replies. “You hurt him bad, but . . . I can still feel him out there. Setrákus Ra is alive.”

CHAPTER THREE 

As soon as I’m on board the ship, Bernie Kosar steps in front of me. His tail droops between his legs, and he stretches his front paws out, arching his spine low, his head down. It’s like he’s bowing to me, or expecting me to swat him with a rolled-up newspaper. From deep in his belly, he lets out a low, mournful howl.
It takes me a second to realize why he’s doing this. Back in Chicago, the last time I saw Sarah, I’d sent BK with her. I’d told BK to keep her safe.
Oh God, BK, it’s not your fault, I say to him telepathically. I kneel down, put my arm around his furry neck and hug him close. BK slobbers wetly against my cheek and whines. Tears string the corners of my eyes, the first ones that have come since I heard Sarah’s fading voice piped over my satellite phone.
The tears aren’t for me. First Six, now BK—the guilt they’re feeling, it wrecks me. Sarah was their friend, too. They’re feeling this loss just like I am, and it’s compounded by the fact that they both think they let me down, that I’m going to blame them. I should’ve spoken to Six, should’ve said something more, but I just couldn’t find the right words. I should’ve told her that there are only two people I hold responsible for what happened to Sarah.
Setrákus Ra.
And myself.
I’ve never been good at expressing those kinds of feelings, talking about myself, my fears and weaknesses. Really, there’s only one person I’ve ever felt truly comfortable opening up to about that stuff.
Sarah.
I stand up, walk farther into the ship and see her. In the ship’s dim lighting, stretched out on a cot, a sheet pulled up to her chin—she could be sleeping. Her blond hair is fanned out on the pillow beneath her. Her skin is pale, so pale, the color drained from her lips. I walk forward feeling like I’m in a dream.
Mark James is here, too, sitting next to Sarah’s bed. He stands up when I walk forward, and I’m vaguely aware of a murderous look on his face. For a second, I think he might get in my way. Looking at me he must think better of it, because he steps aside in a hurry. The anger in his eyes is replaced by curiosity, like I’m some strange animal.
Or like I’m an alien, capable of things he can’t possibly understand.
He doesn’t say anything when I kneel down next to Sarah. I pull the sheet back from her body, and it sticks to her side where the blood from her wounds has dried. She’s all torn up.
I feel like I should cry. Or scream. But all I feel is empty.
And then my hands reach forward, unthinking, acting on some combination of instinct and desperation. I press down on her wounds, her skin cold beneath my fingertips, and let my healing energy flow into her.
When Sarah and Ella were riddled with blaster fire at Dulce Base, I managed to heal them. They were close to death, and I pulled them back. Maybe . . . maybe there is still hope now.
My hands heat up. They glow. Sarah’s pale skin is suddenly tinged pink, and my heart skips a beat.
It’s a trick of the light. My Legacy isn’t working. There’s no spark in Sarah left to rekindle.
I let the power seep away. Now that I’ve seen Sarah’s wounds firsthand, the horrific visions that haunted me during the hours I’d waited are gone. It’s become re­ality. With shaking hands, I cover Sarah’s body with the sheet.
The morbid details aren’t what I find myself focusing on. They aren’t what will stick with me. It’s her face—tinted blue in the muted light. She doesn’t look like she’s in any pain; there are no lines creasing the skin and her eyes are closed. Sarah’s lips are forever pursed into an almost-curious smile. I lean down and gently kiss that smile, not surprised by how cold her lips are. Then I put my head down, rest it on her chest. It probably looks like I’m listening for a heartbeat, but I’m just saying good-bye.
I don’t cry. She wouldn’t want me to do that. But the insomnia I was feeling before, it’s gone now. I feel like I could finally rest, right here, with Sarah.
“Is that it?”
Mark. I’d completely forgotten he was in the room with me.
I lift my head and turn around slowly, without standing up. Mark’s head is cocked; he stares at me, his fists clenching and unclenching.
“What?” I ask, surprised by how tired I sound.
“I said, is that it?” he repeats, the words harsher now. “Is that all you’re going to do?”
“There’s nothing else I can do, Mark,” I reply with a sigh. “She’s gone.”
“You can’t bring back the dead?”
“No. I’m not a god.”
Mark shakes his head like he expected that answer and is disappointed all the same. “Shit,” he says to himself, then looks me right in the eye. “What the hell are you good for?”
I’m not going to do this with him. Not here. Not ever. I stand up slowly, take one last look at Sarah and walk wordlessly towards the ship’s exit ramp.
Mark gets in my way.
“I asked you a question,” he says.
For a moment, his tone brings me back to Paradise High. I know this isn’t the same jock who tormented me and Sam—now he’s got a wild and haunted look in his eyes, unkempt hair and filthy clothes that would’ve embarrassed the hell out of the old Mark James. But he’s still a master of that alpha-male voice. It makes him seem bigger than he is in reality.
“Mark,” I say warningly.
“You don’t get to just walk away from this,” he replies.
“Get out of my way.”
He shoves me. The contact actually surprises me and causes me to stumble back a few steps. I stare at him.
“You’re angry; you’re hurting . . . ,” I say to Mark, keeping my voice measured even though I want to scream at him. Like I’m not feeling the same way. Like I don’t want to punch through a wall. “But this—us? Fighting for no reason? That’s not happening.”
“Oh, spare me your bigger-man routine, John,” Mark says. “I was there when she died. Me.Not you. She spent her final moments on the goddamn phone with you, giving you a pep talk. You. The guy who got her killed.”
It stings to hear Mark say what I’d already been thinking.
“We were in love,” I tell him.
Mark rolls his eyes at me. “Maybe. Maybe you really were. But—come on. Mysterious new kid rolls into the small town, and oh, he’s got superpowers. And oh, he’s trying to save the world. What girl wouldn’t fall for that shit, huh? Hell, look at me, standing here. Look at dumb-ass Sam Goode. We all got sucked into your vortex of suffering.”
“She didn’t fall for anything. I didn’t trick her.” My words are sharper now. He’s starting to get under my skin. “We were in love before—before she even knew about me and what I am.”
“But you knew!” Mark yells, taking a step towards me. “You always knew what it meant to be around you and you—you went for her anyway! In all those towns you traveled to before Paradise, how many—how many other girls were there?”
I shake my head, losing the thread of what Mark’s trying to prove. “There weren’t—”
“Exactly! You kept it in your pants because you knew that being around you is a death sentence. Until Sarah. You just couldn’t leave her alone. You got selfish, or lonely, or whatever, and you—you got her killed. She’d be alive and happy if you had just gone to another town, John. Yeah, this whole invasion would still be happening, but I got a feeling the Mogadorian warships are a long way from Paradise. Without you, without your needy bullshit, she at least would’ve had a chance.”
I don’t know how to respond. Part of what Mark’s saying is true, but it ignores so much of what Sarah and I shared. Maybe it was selfish of me to involve her, except that every time I pushed her away she would come back. She made her own decisions. She was strong and made me stronger. And she was the first person on Earth who made it feel like I actually had a chance at a normal life, like there was something more than just endless running and fighting. Sarah gave me hope. But I don’t have the words to explain that to Mark, and I don’t even want to. I don’t need to defend myself.
“You’re right,” I say coldly, hoping that’s enough to end this.
“I’m—I’m right?” Mark asks incredulously, eyes widening. “You think that’s what I want to hear?”
I sigh. “Mark, the truth is, I don’t care what you want. I never have.”
He hits me then. I see the punch coming a mile away, but I don’t bother defending myself. It’s a short uppercut that catches me right in the stomach and causes me to suck in a sharp breath. It’s not the first time that Mark has punched me, and he hits hard—maybe a little harder than I remember. But I’ve taken a lot of shots over the last few months, ones harder than Mark could begin to imagine, and this one I barely feel.
When I don’t react to the first punch, Mark tries another. His heart isn’t in it, though. He throws a haymaker at my head but seems to change his mind at the last moment, and his fist simply glances off the corner of my jaw. The force of his own punch carries Mark to the side, where he stumbles over one of the empty cots, landing in an awkward sitting position.
He stays there, staring at the floor, and takes deep, heaving breaths. I can tell he’s trying not to cry.
“Do you feel better?” I ask, rubbing the middle of my chest.
“No,” he replies. “No, I don’t.”
“What about when we end this war and destroy every Mog that stands in our way? Will you feel better then?”
Marks looks up at me, and what I see on his face surprises me. It’s pity. I realize what I just said wasn’t really a question for him. It’s a question for me. I’m a little afraid to find out the answer.
“That won’t bring her back,” he says.
I don’t respond. I take one last look at Sarah and walk back towards the ship’s exit. In the doorway, I pause and half turn.
“Will you do something for me?” I ask him, my voice low, all the feeling sapped out.
Mark works his thumb across his raw knuckles. “What?”
“I’m going to get our military friends to loan us a vehicle. We’re only a few hours away from Paradise. Would you . . . ?” My voice catches, and I brace one hand on the cool metal of the doorway. “Would you bring her home?”
Mark snorts. When he speaks, that bitterness is back in his voice. “Sure, John. I know you’re busy, so I’ll do the hard part for you. Should I tell her mom you say hi?”
I close my eyes, take a deep breath and let it go.
“Thank you, Mark,” I say without feeling, and then I’m leaving him and Sarah’s body behind. I stride down the ship’s ramp and across the lawn, heading back to the unimposing cabin that currently hides humanity’s best hope for survival. The sun is coming up, a bright orange slash on the horizon, heating the cool blue of the lake. I think of Sarah’s pale face, her icy lips, and then I remember how the sun would filter through her blond hair and she would’ve turned to me during a moment like this and squeezed my hand in that way of hers, and we would’ve shared it together.
I put the memories away. Bury them down somewhere deep. I head inside the cabin with one purpose and one purpose only.
I used to think there could be more for me than running and fighting.
Now all that’s left is killing.

CHAPTER FOUR

When I wake up, it takes me a moment to realize where the hell I am. Some bad motel art stares down at me from the wood-paneled walls. I’m all tangled up in a scratchy sheet. Must have been tossing and turning like crazy. It feels like I’ve only slept for a few hours.
The Patience Creek Bed & Breakfast. An old spy hangout from the Cold War era. Sam filled me in on the details while he half carried me through the halls. I was so spent and delirious, I’m a little amazed that I retained any of what he’d told me.
Sam.
He’s next to me. On the other side of the bed. Already awake and sitting up, his feet on the floor, back to me. He hasn’t noticed that I’m stirring yet. Sam scratches his neck and yawns. He took off his shirt to sleep, and I watch him reach out towards the worn gray T-shirt where it hangs over the back of a chair, concentrate and float the shirt towards him with telekinesis.
I smile drowsily. It’s hard to believe this is the same kid who bumbled around the halls of Paradise High School nearly getting himself killed the night we first met. That wasn’t so long ago, but so much has changed. Sam’s still skinny and a little on the gangly side, yet there’s a scrappy layer of muscle on him now. And then there are the scars, fresh pink and upraised on his wrists and forearms, the results of Sam’s time getting tortured by Setrákus Ra.
I put my hand on Sam’s back and trace down the bumps of his spine. He jumps, loses his concentration, and his T-shirt flops out of the air.
“Good morning,” I say quietly. “It is morning, right?”
“Almost noon,” Sam replies as he turns around to look at me with a smile. His eyes linger on me for a moment but then he catches himself, flushes and shyly looks away.
It occurs to me then that I’m not wearing any clothes.
Now I remember what happened. After Ella broke the news to me that I didn’t kill Setrákus Ra, I about broke down. Once Sam got me to his room, he strongly encouraged that I take a shower, and I did, washing off the gray-green dust of what used to be the Sanctuary along with Sarah’s dried blood. I remember very clearly the way that the grime pooled around my toes and circled down the drain. I inhaled steam and pressed my forehead against the cool tiles, let my skin wrinkle and turn bright red from the heat.
And then, at some point, I crawled into bed. Sam had tried to stay awake, I think, but he couldn’t pull it off. He hadn’t left me anything clean to wear, so . . .
“I put some clothes on the desk,” Sam says cautiously.
“Oh, I guess you did,” I say out loud. A loose-fitting flower-print tunic and some jeans that looked dangerously close to bell-bottoms wait for me across the room. I guess we’re picking from whatever leftover garments are floating around the hideout. At least they’re clean.
“I, uh, well, you just kinda fell asleep in here . . . ,” Sam proceeds awkwardly. “I didn’t want to wake you up. Sorry if it’s— Uh, anyway, we can get you your own room. . . .”
“It’s okay, Sam. Relax,” I reply as I sit up, not feeling very modest. I sidle over to him, drape one arm over his shoulder and hook the other around his waist, hugging him close. His skin is warm against mine.
“After what happened, I thought you would . . . I don’t know. Push me away again,” Sam says quietly, half-distracted, probably on account of me kissing the back of his neck.
“Nope,” I reply.
“Good,” he mumbles.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t the most appropriate time. I’ve still got a lot on my mind and on my conscience, but if I learned anything from John and Sarah, it’s that you have to embrace these moments, not run from them. You never know when it might be your last chance.
Of course, we’re interrupted about two minutes later by a knock on the door. Sam leaps off the bed like he’s going to get in trouble, pulls on his shirt and goes to the door. He looks back at me, and I smirk, pulling the sheet up to my chin.
Sam opens the door a crack. I’m surprised to see the young buzz-cut twins who I noticed when we arrived, the ones who were with that General Lawson dude who Sam told me is in charge.
One of them just stares at Sam, completely deadpan. The other, a little friendlier but still economical with his words, announces, “There’s a meeting.”
“All right,” Sam replies. “We’ll be out in a minute.”
The twins raise an eyebrow in unison at Sam’s use of “we.” He shuts the door in their faces.
“Guess we’re on,” he says to me.
“Back to the war,” I reply with a bittersweet smile.
As I begin to get dressed, I nod my head in the direction of the door. There’s a lot about our situation that I still don’t know. Better to get my questions out of the way before we head off to this meeting with the military.
“What’s with the twins?”
“Caleb and Christian.” Sam tells me their names and shrugs. “They’re a couple of military school kids. They’re LANEs.”
“Yeah, they seemed like lames.”
Sam laughs. “No, not ‘lame.’ ‘LANE.’ L-A-N-E. Not sure why I’d expect you to know brand-new acronyms that the government just invented. It means Legacy-Afflicted Native Earthling.”
“Afflicted?” I pause while pulling on my shirt. “They make it sound like a bad thing.”
“Yeah, they use ‘augmented’ instead of ‘afflicted’ when you Garde are around, but my dad saw one of the internal emails.” Sam shrugs apologetically, like he’s the ambassador for all humanity. “I guess the people in charge aren’t entirely sure yet if Legacies are a good thing for a bunch of human teenagers to develop. They’re concerned there could be drawbacks or side effects.”
“Yeah, one of the side effects is that it makes it a lot harder for the Mogs to shoot you in the face.”
“Come on, I know that,” Sam replies. “For your average human, though? This is a lot to take in. I mean, we’ve got two brand-new types of intelligent life to wrap our heads around, and that’s before we even get to how you Loric mutated us.”
I raise an eyebrow.
“Mutated in a good way,” Sam adds.
“So what do those twins do?” I ask, circling back.
He shrugs. “Only telekinesis, as far as I know.”
I’m fully clothed, but I’ve still got more questions. I stand in front of the doorway with my hands on my hips.
“So that Lawson guy. What’s his deal?”
“He was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs back in the nineties, I guess. Retired.”
I give Sam a blank look.
“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is, like, the highest military posting in America. Reports directly to the president, yadda yadda yadda.” Sam rubs the back of his neck. “I didn’t know what it was either, and I was actually born on this planet.”
“Okay, so what happened to the current chairman?”
“He was MogPro. They brought Lawson back because he’d been retired so long, no one bothered corrupting him. He’s like the human version of this place.”
“Speaking of MogPro, I saw Agent Walker hanging around last night, too,” I say, a little edge to my voice. “You trust her? You trust this Lawson guy?”
“Walker’s all right. She fought alongside us in New York. As for Lawson . . .”
Sam frowns. “I don’t know. Hard for me to trust any kind of organization after MogPro, but they’d have to be crazy to turn on us now—”
While Sam speaks, an old TV set perched on a stand against the far wall suddenly comes to life with a burst of static. We both turn in that direction.
“What the hell?” I ask.
Sam rubs his temples. “This old place is wired weird or something. That TV’s probably filled with spiders.”
“Or hidden cameras.”
Sam smirks at me. “I hope not. Anyway, I don’t think they’re organized enough to be spying on us yet.”
Sam wanders over to the TV and hits the button to turn it off. Nothing happens.
“See? Broken,” he says, before smacking the side of the TV. “Come on!”
When Sam speaks, all the electronics in the room—the TV, the nightstand lamp, the ancient rotary phone—they all flare to life for a second. A burst of static from the TV, a flicker of light from the lamp, a shrill ring from the phone. Sam doesn’t notice. He’s too busy unplugging the TV from the wall, which finally turns it off.
“See? Crazy. Whole place is nuts.”
I stare at him. “Sam, it’s not the wiring. It’s you.”
“What’s me?”
“You did that just now with the electronics,” I tell him. “I think you’re developing a new Legacy.”
Sam’s eyebrows shoot up, and he looks down at his hands. “What? Already?”
“Yeah, they come on quick once the telekinesis manifests,” I reply. “You saw that kid in Ella’s dream-share thing. The German.”
“Bertrand the Beekeeper,” Sam says, reminding me of his name. “Daniela got one, too. I guess I didn’t think it would happen so soon for me. I’m still getting used to being telekinetic.”
I don’t know who Daniela is, but I nod along anyway. “The Entity knew the world needs protecting in a hurry.”
“Huh,” Sam says, mulling this over. “So, it’s something to do with electronics.”
He turns back to the TV and thrusts his palms at it. He succeeds in emitting a telekinetic burst that knocks the TV off its stand and to the floor with a loud crash.
“Oops.”
“Well, you’ve got the telekinesis down at least.”
Sam turns to me. “If you’re right, how do I get it to work?”
Before I can tell Sam that I have no idea, we’re interrupted by another knock on the door. A second later, one of the twins’ muffled voice reaches us.
“Uh, whatever you guys are doing in there, could it wait? General Lawson told us if we didn’t round everyone up by oh-nine-hundred, it’d be our asses.”
I exchange a look with Sam. “We’ll talk about this later,” I say.
He nods, and we open the door to join the two sullen military cadets. As we head down the hallway, Sam stares at every overhead light like an enemy that needs to be conquered.

What did you think of the excerpt of United As One? Tell us your thoughts on the chapters you just read in the comments below! Can’t wait for more? Buy a copy from your favorite indie bookstore or online here

Book Review: Other Broken Things by Christa Desir

other-broken-thingsBook Review: Other Broken Things by Christa Desir

Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
Published by Simon Pulse on January 12th, 2016
Genres: contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: Bought

From the author of Bleed Like Me, which Booklist called edgy, dark, and turbulent with passion comes another compelling and gritty novel about addiction and forbidden romance, starring a fearless, unforgettable heroine.

Natalie’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like getting in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.

Unfortunately, her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.

But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life, and things start looking up. Joe is funny, he’s smart, and he calls her out in a way no one ever has.

He’s also older. A lot older.

Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming, but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she’s been desperate to forget.

Now, in order to make a different kind of life, Nat must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself

MY THOUGHTS:

Nat is dealing with adult issues, the pressure of bad decisions breathing down her neck, and in court ordered AA meetings. She is trying to turn her life around but it does not get any easier because her old group of friends aren’t supportive, and only wants party girl wild Nat back. then there is also the forbidden romance aspect when she meets a much older guy, but one who seems to get her.

I don’t know how Desir does it. She manages to keep readers hooked from beginning to end. She weaves complex characters into a raw & gritty story that takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. I thought for sure I’d be creeped out by Joe, given his age. But I wasn’t. I really thought that he was a good balance of reality for her since he has been in the position that she is in and what it takes to get better. I was okay with him & Natalie. Yes Joe was considerably older than her. Yes, he was in recovery, and had been for several years. But I was rooting for them as a couple. Yet, by the end I knew that he had made the right decision for the both of them. I understood the possibility that Natalie was just switching one addiction for another. She was switching addiction to alcohol to an addiction to love, to sex. There was something about Joe that made him seem younger than he really was even though he has been  through a lot.

I really love the character development in this one. Natalie begins to realize a lot about her life and limits on the how to let her mom in and when to Start becoming the young adults and she is and taking responsibility for what she needs to. I like that she keeps her personality that she doesn’t become a rule follower or someone who just goes along with what someone else. But she keeps her strong woman quality, but realizes she has to put in hard work to be the kind of person deep down she has always wanted to be. I liked where it left her. She had accepted she had problems, She formed relationships and she knows that she has a long road ahead of her. the overall story was amazing and this is a definite “to read”. I would love to see a sequel to this book to see where Nat lands. Definitely go pick up your copy, this was a good decision for me and a great read.

I look forward in reading more from C. Desir. HAPPY READING 🙂