Round 2 is already here! I’ve seen a few more things on NetGalley in the “Read Now” section and couldn’t help myself. If you haven’t my first round, I’ll link it at the bottom of this post. This will follow the first post; these are listed in the chornological order that I read them. Since this one contains a Buzz Books issue, I’ll list star ratings for each sample I read with an average rating at the end. Let’s get going!
1. All The Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry
Expected Publication Date: October 10th, 2017 by Algonquin Young Readers
Read on May 17th & 18th
**This Sneak Peek is the first 50 pages of the novel**
Goodreads Synopsis: Sarah Jacqueline Crow and James Holt work in the vast maguey fields that span the bone-dry Southwest, a thirsty, infinite land that is both seductive and fearsome. In this rough, transient landscape, Sarah Jac and James have fallen in love. They’re tough and brave, and they have big dreams. Soon they will save up enough money to go east. But until then, they keep their heads down, their muscles tensed, and above all, their love secret.
When a horrible accident forces Sarah Jac and James to start over on a new, possibly cursed ranch called the Real Marvelous, the delicate balance they’ve found begins to give way. And James and Sarah Jac will have to pay a frighteningly high price for their love.
My Thoughts: I was blown away by this sample! I haven’t her debut novel A Fierce and Subtle Poison yet, but this is one release to really watch out for. Mabry captures this harsh dessert environment, filled with secrets, thirst for water and the nervousness to survive. The writing is so stunning and worthy of many amazing quotes. I highlighted a few on my Kindle that really stood out to me. If you love magical realism, dessert environments or even looking to branch out in your reading, put a spot on your TBR for this one. This is a fantastic set up to what could be a dark, creepy and dusty story. I didn’t like a bit of the language used in this, but just a small personal preference. A full review will be forthcoming once I read the full length book 🙂
2. Buzz Books 2017: Young Adult Fall/Winter
Read: May 18th through May 21st
Overview: This is a bi-annual compilation of upcoming YA releases. This release has excerpts from the following authors: Marie Lu, Kwame Alexander, Jen Lancaster, Sara Holland, Marieke Nijkamp, Kathryn Berla, Will Kostakis, Lauren Miller, Tochi Onyebuchi, Jessica Pennington, Adrianne Finlay, Melissa Bashardoust and Gregory Scott Katsoulis. I’ll include a brief synopsis from the Buzz Books (some will be edited since some are very long) and give both my rating and brief thoughts.
- Solo Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess (August 2017 release)
Synopsis: Written in free verse, this tells the story of 17 year old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling with just about every addiction under the sun-including a desperate desire to make a comeback.
Rating: 3 stars, somewhat excited
I don’t read novels written in free verse. I studied different poetry formats in college, but it’s not my niche in reading. For me, the breaks in the lines seemed random and had an okay rhythm and flow to it. But the ending was a great way to end the sample and does persuade the reader to be curious of what will happen next. I like the idea of a young man whose dad really wants to make a comeback, but battling addiction. Again, I’m not a major fan of free verse, but I could get it from my local library if they get a copy.
2. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (September 2017 release)
Rating: 1.5 stars, nope
Synopsis: Being pitched as a feminist re imagining of Snow White, it’s the story of two girls doomed to be rivals. Only one can win all, while the other must love everything-unless they can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
This was very boring. The writing was stale and didn’t draw me in at all. I skim read most of this sample and never every made me feel anything. The main character watches the other girl from a tree in the courtyard and follows her into the castle to see why the girl is here. It just like “this happened, these feelings were felt and then this happened.” I never got a real sense of the plot, so overall, I’m not interested in reading the full book.
3. The House at 758 by Kathryn Berla (October 2017 release)
Rating: 3.75 stars, excited
Synopsis: Originally having been published in Spain, this is a contemporary about a girl whose struggling with her dad’s new girlfriend moving in after her mother died.She’s also spends most of her time in front of the house at 758. But when her grandfather comes to the states, she starts to learn how to let things go.
This was a fun and intriguing story. Krista is a prickly character whose understandably so; her father’s distant and prompt personality makes Krista feel like she can’t talk to him. Her best friend is going away for the summer and she’s becoming very interested in the house at 758. I liked reading about her thoughts about what to do for summer, as well as her own feelings about her dad’s new girlfriend moving in. While you don’t see any major changes in her as a character in the sample, I have the feeling that there’s great potential for a fun contemporary story with some family focus as well. It feel a little overlong, which is why I docked it down a bit from 4 stars. But since I’m getting into contemporary books, I’m excited to see what happens next.
4. Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay (February 2018 release)
Rating: 2 stars, meh
Synopsis: Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack? Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives.
I wasn’t into this sample as much. The sci-fi elements of clones has always fascinated us as people. But immediately, you see the trope of a girl who “feels different and doesn’t follow the common thoughts of society and falls for the guy whose not like everybody else.” We’ve seen this trope before. The trope of a human and a other species falling in love is one we’ve seen before. The writing was also stale and dense; I was never fully engaged in the story. It felt way too simple and didn’t add any flourish to this science fiction world. Also, if these clones are so perfect, why do they act so much like the humans who came before them? They read like stupid human teenagers instead of advanced clones. Not excited for this one.
5. Everless by Sara Holland (January 2018 release)
Rating: 4.5 stars, NEED IT
Synopsis: In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jule’s father is reaching his last hour, and so she will do anything to save him.
Talk about a chilling and refreshing concept! Time and blood being used as currency? I’ve been waiting for another unique and original YA fantasy! This sample was simply amazing. When Jules is in the forest hunting for food, I got major feelings similar to Hunted by Meagan Spooner. Those feelings of the quiet, cold isolation and the need for food to survive. I loved how both her and her father are stubborn and selfless to sacrifice for one another. There’s also small hints about a past that begs to be known in the background. The writing was great, awesome main character and January can’t some soon enough. Put this debut novel on your TBR and read this sample in this compilation 🙂
6. All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis ( 2017 release)
Rating: 4 stars, pretty excited
Synopsis: In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.
How terrifying does that sound? Every word you say is trademarked, patented and you have to pay for it? This science fiction type book was very original, kinda scary but inviting and fun to read. It sounds like something in that matter could possibly happen with all the ads and advancing technology around us. While this does sound like a dystopian novel, it didn’t have the typical tropes that have many of us sick of the genre. Definitely keep your eye on this one!
7. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis (2017 release)
Rating: 1.5 stars, nope
Synopsis: Ryan, Harley and Miles aren’t friends. They’re just three guys with the same best friend Isaac. When Isaac dies, they’re thrown. Told in three parts, this is the story of three teenage boys dealing with the grief over the death of their best friend.
This was just too weird for me. This felt like a major indie/hipster type of book that didn’t appeal to me. I was confused that we get the news of Isaac’s death so early, but then zipping around to many random thoughts and very odd dialogue. I could sense that they were grieving in their own way, but the writing just felt distant and too quirky for me to enjoy it. I know this is pretty popular in Australia, but I didn’t get it.
8. The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster (2017 release)
Rating: 2.5 stars, unsure
Synopsis: A seemingly perfect small town is rocked by a student’s suicide that turns into a suicide cluster and students form a watchdog group called the Gatekeepers–named for the patrolman of the Golden Gate Bridge who prevented more than two hundred suicides–to prevent more tragedy.
This opens with a couple obituaries of the recent teens who took their life, describing their talents and hobbies. These sad to read, since this is a relevant topic right now. But then it ventures off into a stupid food eating contest, confusing dialogue and other random things. While I know the dialogue and text messages do reflect our culture now, it felt like it was way too much. I feel like the sensitivity in the obituaries gets looked over once it switches to the main characters and it felt a bit wrong. I’ll see what other people say about this when it’s out, but I’m unsure about this one.
9. Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu (2017 release)
Rating: 5 stars, NEED IT
Synopsis: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a same–it’s a way of life. Teenage hacker Emika Chen is a bounty hunter who tracks down people who do illegal betting in the game. But when she glitches herself into an international competition, and becomes an overnight sensation, she’s not sure who to trust as the sinister plot unravels…
This was the first thing I ever read by Marie Lu. She’s been very popular over the last few years, but I haven’t gotten around to her stuff yet. But I was blown away by this sample! I got some Sword Art Online vibes from this sample, since we’re getting very involved into VR and other high forms of technology for gaming. Emika was a great character and we got an awesome scene with her trying to snatch a guy in public. The action is great, a fun and layered heroine and a peek at this fascinating world that’s obsessed with gaming. The length of this sample was perfect; you witness this tense and gripping scene unfold, while sensing the greater adventure in the background. I can see why many people are stoked about this; can’t wait for September!
10. All Things New by Lauren Miller (2017 release)
Rating: 2.5 stars, maybe
Synopsis: Seventeen year old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn’t help, the anxiety meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble. Jess goes to Colorado to live with her dad, falls for a boy named Marshall, who has a heart defect and wonders if she’ll ever heal.
The premise about this one sounded great while reading it. I don’t see many YA books surrounding someone who already has a difficult condition, then suffers a major accident and the consequences of that. But as I was reading, this was confusing right from the beginning. The opening paragraph was the most confusing opening I’ve ever read. It felt like a clunky early draft of a first page. There was also a lot of italicized text, which usually shows the character’s inner thoughts, that was all lower cased and filled with random words that didn’t get an explanation. It was very hard to follow and connect to this character, since I never felt her personality past her condition. I also am nervous that this will be a book that shows a negative light on therapy and having “a boy fix the problem” type thing. I’ll look into other people’s thoughts closer to the release date, but this felt troublesome from the start.
11. Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp (2018 release)
Rating: 2 stars, meh
Synopsis: Days before Corey is return home to the snow and ice of Lost Creek, Alaska, to visit her best friend, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. Corey knows something is wrong. Lost is keeping secrets–chilling secrets.
This started out good, but like with some others, got confusing and a bit over dramatic. I liked that this was going to be set in Alaska in a small community. But Corey and Kyra as characters felt too cheesy for me and I never really felt any emotion out of the sample. I skimmed most of it and wasn’t grabbed by anything. I don’t read thrillers at all, so I think that the genre and the type of storytelling just isn’t for me.
12.Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (2017 release)
Rating: 5 stars, NEED IT
Synopsis: In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts–lethal creatures spawned from feeling of guilt. Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrown into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos.
Oh man, this Nigerian influenced fantasy was amazing! I love reading about other cultures and always excited to check out more titles that have cultures other than the classic European tropes and plot lines. This world felt dusty, dangerous and filled with a strange and exotic atmosphere. The author shows the Nigerian culture, religion and symbolism for this world so well. You don’t get confused; instead, I was sucked in as Taj talks about the aki, how they’re treated and the dangers of the sin-beasts. I cannot recommend reading this sample enough. Keep an eye out for this debut novel.
13. Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington (2018 release)
Rating: 3.5 stars, excited
Synopsis: It’s summer romance that stays in your head, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget. Two years after a rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking for a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for a dream internship on tour. Until she learns that she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam, her first love and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems.
The plot alone of this book sounds summery and fun. Since I’ve been more into contemporary books, this was a good and solid sample to read. Vee was a fun character that has some complicated feelings about this trip. The two different perspectives of Vee and Cameron sound different from each other, which is always a plus. While it didn’t quite keep my attention sometimes, I’m definitely gonna check this out once it comes out.
Overall Rating: 1/2
There we go! Thanks for sticking with the long post. It was fun reading a ton of samples again. If you don’t read the Buzz Books, I highly recommend them. It’s great to see a variety of upcoming releases and potential gems that we can’t wait for. While I think that the Spring/Summer 2017 issue was better as far as selection, I still found a few great ones. Let me know if any of these books sound like something you can’t wait to read and other releases you’re excited for. Have a great day everyone 🙂