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Monday, April 29, 2013

Top Ten Topics That Instantly Make Me Pick Up A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is...

Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book

Unique Magic Systems
I'm always on the lookout for a good, UNIQUE idea for the magic systems in the fantasies I read. I want to be WOWed with concepts for magic I have never heard before.
Examples: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, White Cat by Holly Black, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This was an easy choice. I mean, because who doesn't like the recent trend of books with assassins? They're just plain cool.
Examples: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Foreign Settings
Foreign settings are in instant win for me. What better way to add interest to a contemporary setting than to make it international and completely new (to me)?
Examples: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Court Intrigue
I really wasn't sure I was going to enjoy reading a book with lots of court/political intrigue before I read Grave Mercy. It was then that I found out it could actually be a very intriguing theme.
Examples: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Boarding Schools (esp. magical)
I know, I know, this was an obvious choice for me. But you can't deny its appeal! Think of all the shenanigans you can get up to in a boarding school without parental supervision... And now throw in magic!
Examples: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Parallel Universes/Time Travel
Dude, I love how parallel universe and time travel concepts can play with your mind! I love contemplating all the fictional scenarios in books with these concepts and thinking about how they would play out IRL.
Examples: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris, Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Fantasy Settings (esp. if it comes with a map)
Ohh, do I ever love me a fantastical fantasy setting that's going to stretch the limits of my imagination and leave me mesmerized at the wonder of it all! The best is when they come with a handy map!
Examples: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Good Friendships
We are bombarded with many great romantic relationships in fiction, but seemingly very rarely do we get to read stories based on pure platonic friendships and nothing else - which I love!
Examples: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Animal Friends
As a supreme animal lover, I can't help but appreciate stories in which the protagonist has an animal friend to bond with and to make it through the hard times.
Examples: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Stream of Consciousness Writing
I know a lot of people actually really hate/are afraid of stream of consciousness writing, but I've personally had nothing but good experiences. I really love how it adds so much to the character's voice and the overall tone of the book! (EDIT: This is actually a complete LIE! I only just remembered that I hated the stream of consciousness writing in Mind Games by Kiersten White)
Examples: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (12) and Vlog (9)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to showcase any books that I have received for review, bought, borrowed, or won to read.

Sorry about my shlumpiness in this vlog, but I just couldn't be bothered, to be honest!

As I mentioned in my vlog, this will be the last book haul/vlog post I will do for a while, as I am going to be making a more concerted effort at reducing the number of books I take in. I want to make a dent in the books I already have to read on my shelf as I will be going back to school again in the fall and won't be able to take those books with me.

For Review:
The Originals by Cat Patrick (Thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada!)
Icons by Margaret Stohl (Thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada!)
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Thanks to Penguin!)
The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Thanks to Strange Chemistry!)

Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

Posts mentioned:
My review of Requiem
My review of Clockwork Princess
The End Games ARC Giveaway

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Hachette Summer 2013 Catalog

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine in which upcoming, eagerly anticipated releases are highlighted on the blog.

This week, I've chosen to feature a few picks from the Hachette Summer 2013 Catalog:

Half Lives by Sara Grant
Date: July 9, 2013
Add to Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Icie's parents have given her $10,000 in cash, a map of a top-secret bunker, and instructions to get there by any means necessary. They have news of an imminent viral attack and know that the bunker is Icie's only hope for survival. Along with three other teens, she lives locked away for months, not knowing what's happening in the outside world or who has survived. And are they safe in the bunker after all?
Generations in the future, a mysterious cult worships the very mountain where Icie's secret bunker was built. They never leave the mountain, they're ruled by a teenager...and they have surprising ties to Icie.
This high-stakes, original, and thought-provoking adventure from Sara Grant follows two unlikely heroes, hundreds of years apart, as they fight to survive.

I love the idea that Half Lives has two different stories that are connected but take place hundreds of years apart. I'm definitely intrigued at this original premise!

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Date: August 13, 2013
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Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

The premise of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock reminds me of Thirteen Reasons Why (which I admit I haven't actually read yet). I think it has the potential to be a truly inspired story!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Date: September 17, 2013
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Coldtown was dangerous, Tana knew. A glamorous cage, a prison for the damned and anyone who wanted to party with them.
Tana lived in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

I do think I am a bit overexposed to vampires in fiction, but I am hoping The Coldest Girl in Coldtown will bring something new and original. I know I have complete faith in Holly Black's writing talent, at least!

How about you? Are you waiting on any of these Hachette Summer 2013 reads? Are there any upcoming books from the Hachette Summer 2013 Catalog that I didn't include here that you feel I should add to my list?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: Unbreakable (Unraveling #2) by Elizabeth Norris

Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: April 23, 2013
Pages: 496
Source: For Review from HarperCollins Canada
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.
And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

In short: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris is a strong and riveting sequel to an intensely thrilling duology.
Unraveling was a fantastically thrilling mystery with a super cool sci-fi twist, so I knew I needed to get my hands on Unbreakable, the sequel to this duology. There was some worry from me that Elizabeth Norris was not going to be able to bring the same level of intense action scenes and involved mystery that she brought in Unraveling, but in the end I needn't have worried at all: Unbreakable was just as exciting and electrifying as Unraveling. Elizabeth Norris has a true talent for crafting weighty and ambitious story lines and she handles them exceedingly well.

Part of what makes Unbreakable so riveting is its breakneck pacing. Like Unraveling, Unbreakable is a chunky book, but you would never know it: super short chapters, near constant action scenes, and a race against a countdown clock ensure that you will fly through this read. I mean, GOOD GRIEF it was kind of insane how non-stop the action was. Unbreakable is the kind of book that left me with my knees hurting from how much I had been tensing them. But what I think I loved even more is that the insane and numerous action scenes were never at the expense of character growth and emotion in Unbreakable, as they are with most action-packed books.

I continue to love Janelle for her independence, level-headedness, and quick thinking mind. But part of me actually feels crappy because I feel so lame in comparison. I mean, because Janelle really is pretty freaking awesome. Her endurance and perseverance in the face of all that she has had to endure, both in Unraveling and in Unbreakable, is pretty remarkable. And of course, I continue to love Ben and I continue to love Janelle and Ben together. SO MUCH FONDNESS! I was rooting for them for the entire series.

If you haven't given Unraveling a try yet, I would absolutely recommend it. As I mentioned, Elizabeth Norris is an ambitious story teller with some great ideas. It's no surprise to me that Unraveling has actually been optioned as a TV show by MTV as I think it would be well suited to such a medium and would be loved by fans of Fringe and The X-Files. I'm sad to see this series end, but maybe having a TV series will help me deal with the loss.

Previously, my review of Unraveling.

Other Reviews:
The Nocturnal Library
Once Upon a Twilight

Author Links:
HarperCollins Webpage

Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: March 19, 2013
Pages: 592
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 Stars

Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Timesbestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

This review is spoiler-free

In short: I felt that Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare was the perfect ending to an amazing series and its beloved characters.
Overpowering happiness and emotional devastation - is it possible to feel such entirely different emotions over the ending of a series? Because with Clockwork Princess, the final book in one of my most favourite and beloved series, I sure felt that way. Clockwork Princess was a mixed bag of thrills and laughs, anguish and dread. I felt much the same about Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince, but Clockwork Princess kicks it up a notch definitely. I could not think of a more perfect outcome and ending for this amazing series and its beloved characters.

The same thing that I have always said about Cassandra Clare's characters holds true: they are some of the most engaging, endearing, and interesting characters I have come across. Every character, whether main or side, has their own unique personality and backstory and I have SUCH fondness for them all! Which makes it all the worse when they inevitably have to deal with ALL THE CRAP as Cassandra Clare systematically goes through each and every one of them and bestows drama and anguish and shite on them all. Cassandra Clare has proven time and time again that she has no problem playing with her readers' emotions and I suspect she in fact enjoys seeing us fall madly and deeply in love with her characters only to reduce us to puddles of despair and heartbreak by torturing them. Damn her! Works. Every. Time.

"How could three people who cared for one another so much cause one another so much pain?" -pg.175

One of the main sources of this heartbreak is of course the love triangle. But it is a love triangle that actually WORKS. I am still kind of in awe of Cassandra Clare's ability to craft a love triangle that does NOT make me want to cut somebody. But there it is: a TRUE love triangle in which everyone involved feels an equal amount of affection and respect for each other and in which no one comes out of the affair looking bad. Something of a rarity for love triangles. And I love that Cassandra Clare gave Will and Jem's bromance as much emphasis as she gave to the main romantic relationships. For the first time ever, I feel as though a love triangle has been handled effectively and gracefully. And I am so thankful of that.

[Cassandra Clare wrote a really excellent (and completely spoilerish) blog post about the love triangle/epilogue that sums up my feelings perfectly, by the way]

I don't think Clockwork Princess was technically perfect; I had some minor, passing issues. But what do they matter when this finale affected me so profoundly and emotionally? I was very much saddened to have to say goodbye to this series and its cherished characters (though as we have come to expect from Cassandra Clare, this is not necessarily the case). I think Cassandra Clare came up with a practically perfect ending for The Infernal Devices that will hopefully satisfy the majority of readers - it did for me, anyways.

Previously, my reviews for Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince.

Other Reviews:
Escaping with Books
Paranormal Indulgence
Sweet Tidbits

Authors Links:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Giveaway: The End Games ARC

I ended up with an extra ARC of The End Games by T. Michael Martin and as excited as I am about the book, I only need one copy to read it - so I'm giving away my other copy!


It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

The End Games by T. Michael Martin will be released May 7, 2013 by HarperCollins.

Sound like something you would be interested in reading? Then enter below:

1. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below
2. Open to US/Can only due to shipping costs, unfortunately. I will do another International giveaway sometime soon!
3. Ends April 28 at 11:59 PM EST
4. Entrants must be at least 13 years old
5. The winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Penguin Summer 2013 Catalog

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine in which upcoming, eagerly anticipated releases are highlighted on the blog.

This week, I've chosen to feature a few picks from the Penguin Summer 2013 Catalog:

Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey
Date: June 27, 2013
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Liam MacGregor is cursed. Haunted by the wails of fantastical Bean Sidhes and labeled a demon by the villagers of Dòchas, Liam has accepted that things will never get better for him—until a wealthy heiress named Annabel Leighton arrives on the island and Liam’s fate is changed forever.
With Anna, Liam finally finds the happiness he has always been denied; but, the violent, mythical Otherworlders, who inhabit the island and the sea around it, have other plans. They make awager on the couple’s love, testing its strength through a series of cruel obstacles. But the tragedies draw Liam and Anna even closer. Frustrated, the creatures put the couple through one last trial—and this time it’s not only their love that’s in danger of being destroyed.

I love that Ashes on the Waves is based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem, Annabel Lee. I think Edgar Allan Poe's writing is a good base for a haunting gothic novel like this one promises to be!

The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
Date: July 11, 2013
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Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad.
Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love.

The words "shaman panda" stand out to me. I love whimsicality and eccentricity in my novels and The Theory of Everything, with its marching band pandas, seems to have those elements in abundance!

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Date: July 30, 2013
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Love, fate, and power collide in this new series by #1 New York Timesbestselling author Aprilynne Pike!
Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon to discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.

I love LOVE the concept of Earthbound - that the protagonist is able to create matter out of nothing is beyond cool to me. That premise has a ton of potential and I hope it is used to its full capacity!

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea 
by April Genevieve Tucholke
Date: August 15, 2013
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You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.
Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.

Admittedly, it used to be only ever the breathtaking cover that I would see when I saw this book featured. Now, I've finally taken the time to look past the cover and read that intriguing blurb - and now I am even more stoked to read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea!

How about you? Are you waiting on any of these Penguin Summer 2013 reads? Are there any upcoming books from the Penguin Summer 2013 Catalog that I didn't include here that you feel I should add to my list?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: February 12, 2013
Pages: 371
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 3 Stars

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.
Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.
In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

This review is spoiler-free

In short: Fever was disappointing in that it was lacking a bit in plot, character development, and believability, but I still cannot help but be swept away by Lauren DeStefano's beautiful prose.
I loved Wither when I read it in 2011; it was a darkly atmospheric and beautifully described dystopian and I loved the enigma of the mansion. Fever was a rougher read for me as I felt it had lost a lot of the intrigue that had carried Wither. I had my suspicions that I would feel the same way about Sever as I did Fever, but as I am not someone who ditches series lightly, I felt committed to seeing the series through. Unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed: like Fever, a significant portion of Sever felt disappointingly aimless and pointless and this nothingness in the plot killed any tension. There were a number of twists introduced and I appreciate the effort to add interest, but unfortunately, they all seemed forced and predictable due to heavy foreshadowing.

I am left disappointingly unimpressed by Rhine's character and her romance with Gabriel - they are just SO bland. I was also incredibly frustrated with Rhine's questionable decisions and her inaction for much of Sever. Opportunities came her way to say something, do something, and make a difference, but she seemed to just let them all pass her by. My main interest actually lies with the secondary characters of Sever: the fiery Cecily, the clueless but sweet Linden, and the cunning and villainous Vaughn are all infinitely more intriguing to me than Rhine and Gabriel.

One of my biggest offenses with The Chemical Garden Trilogy lies with the world building and premise of the disease. That is, it makes no sense. I found myself questioning how realistic it was after each new piece of information was revealed. The bio major in me was pretty frustrated at the silly and flat out inaccurate explanations presented about the disease. It was very apparent to me that Lauren DeStefano knows next to nothing about immunology and epidemiology and made no efforts to understand it. This likely won't bother most readers, but as someone with a heavy science background, the lack of scientific accuracy was a major problem for me.

The one real saving grave of Sever - as well as for Fever - is Lauren DeStefano's writing. She has a real talent for sculpturing this dark and dreary atmosphere that makes you feel like you are drowning in the gloominess. And yet, she somehow is able to find beauty within the terribleness and it's so absorbing that it's hard not to to get sucked in and swept away by it. So overall, I was pretty disappointed with the lack of plot, character development, and believability of the premise in Sever, but could at least still appreciate Lauren DeStefano's beautiful prose. Though I was frustrated at the unrealistic science, I do think the ending felt "right" for the story and it was satisfactory overall.

Previously, my reviews of Wither and Fever.

Other Reviews:
Avery's Book Nook
Just Another Story
YA Booklover Blog

Authors Links:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: HarperCollins Summer 2013 Catalog

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine in which upcoming, eagerly anticipated releases are highlighted on the blog.

This week, I've chosen to feature a few picks from the HarperCollins Summer 2013 Catalog:

Asylum by Madeleine Roux
Date: August 27, 2013
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For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program--it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum--a last resort for the criminally insane.
As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.
Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

Asylum is a creepy photo-novel much in the same vein as Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I loved the integration of the freaky photos into the plot of Miss Peregrine's, so I'm thinking I'll also love - and be sufficiently freaked out by - the inclusion of images of abandoned asylums in Asylum.

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Date: September 10, 2013
Add to Goodreads

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.
Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.
Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

Admittedly, I have only read one of Kiersten White's books - Mind Games - and I was not in love with it. But when I heard that The Chaos of Stars would be about Egyptian gods and when I saw that GORGEOUS cover, I knew I would be willing to give her a second chance.

Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson
Date: Septmber 10, 2013
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Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors. She particularly enjoys defying authority, especially if that authority orders her to wear a petticoat. She wouldn’t be caught dead eating tiny, crustless sandwiches, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There’s only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.
Girls belong at Miss Pimm’s Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, learning to waltz, faint, and curtsy. But Hilary and her dearest friend, the gargoyle, have no use for such frivolous lessons— they are pirates! (Or very nearly.)
To escape from a life of petticoats and politeness, Hilary answers a curious advertisement for a pirate crew and suddenly finds herself swept up in a seafaring adventure that may or may not involve a map without an “X,” a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.
Will Hilary find the treasure in time? Will she become a true pirate after all? And what will become of the gargoyle?

You know I love me some cute new Middle Grade reads. But when you add pirates into the mix? Well, that's just perfect. I have a good feeling about Magic Marks the Spot, the first book in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Date: September 17, 2013
Add to Goodreads

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…
Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.
Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to revenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.
But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Look at that cover! J'ADORE!! I just can't seem to get enough of these high fantasy novels that seem to be trending in books these days, with all their magic and prophecies and evil tyrants. The Burning Sky sounds exactly like my kind of book!

How about you? Are you waiting on any of these HarperCollins Summer 2013 reads? Are there any upcoming books from the HarperCollins Summer 2013 Catalog that I didn't include here that you feel I should add to my list?