Review: In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

in the afterlight alexandra bracken
in the afterlight alexandra bracken

Title: In The Afterlight  
Author: Alexandra Bracken  
Series: The Darkest Minds #3 
Genre: Fantasy, YA  
Publication date: October 28, 2014 
Rating: ★★★★★ 

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids. Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

It rained the day they brought us to Thurmond. 
And it rained the day I walked out.

It was always my intention to write a review for this book, but somehow years passed and I never got around to it. Until I got to the point where I didn’t even remember enough to write an honest and coherent recap of the story. But this year I’m taking the time to revisit old favorites and The Darkest Minds is definitely that. A favorite. So here I am.

This book is long and intense. The pacing is slower than we’re used to from Alexandra Bracken but while in some moments it may feel as if nothing much is happening, there are actually a whole lot of wheels spinning in the background. A huge chunk of this book focuses on the relationships between all our favorite characters. And to say those are strained would be an understatement.

Ruby is struggling with her position as a leader of their new-formed side branch of the Children’s League. She learns that it is impossible to keep everyone happy and has to deal with the pressure of being relied upon. There is not much room for failure but she’s constantly doubting herself, feeling like she’s not strong enough to live up to everyone’s expectations. And then of course there is the tormenting guilt over losing Jude, bringing Liam back into the League and every other harmful consequence she is responsible for. These insecurities along with her search for justice, drive her towards the one person who seems to understand what she’s going through. And that person is no longer Liam. It’s his brother Cole who knows what it’s like to step up and take control, who knows what is at stake and is willing to do what it takes to break into the camps and save the children Ruby so desperately wants to free. Spending so much time with Cole inevitably puts a strain on her relationship with Liam. Cole and Liam can barely stay in the same room together, let alone ever see eye to eye. It puts her in the middle, constantly threading a careful path between the two brothers, trying to keep the both of them (along with everybody else) happy, while trying to set her own agenda in motion.

Black is the color that is no color at all. Black is the color of a child's still, empty bedroom. The heaviest hour of night-the one that traps you in your bunk, suffocating in another nightmare. It is a uniform stretched over the broad shoulders of an angry young man. Black is the mud, the lidless eye watching your every breath, the low vibrations of the fence that stretches up to tear at the sky. It is a road. A forgotten night sky broken up by faded stars. It is the barrel of a new gun, leveled at your heart.The color of Chubs's hair, Liam's bruises, Zu's eyes.  
Black is a promise of tomorrow, bled dry from lies and hate. Betrayal. I see it in the face of a broken compass, feel it in the numbing grip of grief. 
I run, but it is my shadow. Chasing, devouring, polluting. It is the button that should never have been pushed, the door that shouldn't have opened, the dried blood that couldn't be washed away. It is the charred remains of buildings. The car hidden in the forest, waiting.
It is the smoke. It is the fire. The spark.  
Black is the color of memory. It is our color. The only one they'll use to tell our story.

They say no one is perfect but here that’s about two hundred percent true. As they all had to live in close quarters, tension rose and all of them made bad decisions. I love Ruby. I love Cole. I love Liam. I even like Clancy in some twisted way. Yet they all did and said things that made them seem like jerks. Ruby kept too much information hidden from Liam. Cole should have given his brother an honest chance. Liam shouldn’t have been so resentful. Except this is exactly what made these characters so very human. Put a group of people together in this particular set of circumstances and of course there are going to be disagreement, distrust and infighting. It’s a natural course of events. So I’m here for it. If anything, it made me so much more invested. This book has some seriously great character development.

And man, I love Cole. Love, love, love Cole. From the moment I met him I was trash. I’m not even sure I can pinpoint when exactly it happened, but there’s no denying my attraction. While I have always loved Liam, it’s Cole that holds my heart hostage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily shipping him with Ruby (I think she and Liam are adorable together), but he’s just such a great character. And damn did he deserve better. All this pain and anger bottled up in him, only to finally find release, to finally find acceptance and then… I won’t spoil, I promise I won’t but dammit.

They don't burn, do they? Not like us.

In The Afterlight is worthy of its high rating. Despite the rather slow start there is a great deal of action and a lot of beautiful scenes between the characters we’ve all grown to love. Zu, Chubs, Vida, Nico… Even Clancy had his moments. But be warned, it fucks with your feelings. Big time. There is some serious heartache, so much pain. I cried so hard, you should have seen me, even if the ending is sort of perfect. Even if it all plays out in the only way it could. Alexandra Bracken is cruel, which we leaned in the previous books, but she’s a wonderful story crafter and after rereading the entire series, I’m still convinced of its greatness. 

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

red rising pierce brown
red rising pierce brown

Title: Red Rising  
Author: Pierce Brown  
Series: Red Rising #1  
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, YA  
Publication date: January 28, 2014 
Rating: ★★★★ 

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Steel is power. Money is power. 
But of all the things in all the worlds, words are power.

I’m awfully late to this party… and maybe for once that’s a good thing. In the years it took me to finally pick this up, I’ve seen both rave and disappointing reviews. I think it was good not to read this in the direct aftermath of the whole dystopian hype. To give it some time to become its own story and not ‘the next…’. It did not disappoint!

The story at the heart of this series is one that will never ever fail to move and amaze me. In short, a lowborn nobody is selected to infiltrate the upper class of society to live and fight among them. To gain their trust only to tear the system apart from the inside out. And man, HELL YES. The moment I realised the particular way the story was going, I went all in. I love a good underdog story. I love it when people who come from nothing climb up and then tear the whole gorydamn world apart to find justice. I have no clue how all of this is going to play out by the time we reach book four, but CONSIDER ME INTRIGUED AND VERY EXCITED!

Darrow is a miner in a world where people are divided into groups of colour. He was born into an unremarkable Red family, the lowest of the lowest in the class system the Society has established to keep order in their intergalactic empire. For a long time, he believed the lie the Golds of the upper class fed him, that he was a pioneer of Mars. That his labour and that of his fellow Reds was crucial for the survival of humanity on Mars. But not everyone is as docile and optimistic. Darrow’s wife Eo tries to convince him there has to be more to life than blindly following orders. Than slavery. Darrow doesn’t want to see it. Until Eo does the unimaginable. Until the girl of his dreams sacrifices herself to show that they were made for something more. Until she dies to become a martyr.

Everything changes then. His anger and pain give him the strength to break free of his bonds. With the help of the Sons of Ares, an organisation hell bent on changing the system, he becomes a gold in everything but blood. He forsakes everything he’s ever known and everything he’s ever been so he can help shape his wife’s dream.

Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it.

The characters are wonderfully complex and clever. All of them different and multi-layered, all of them intriguing. Besides Darrow, Mustang is my absolute favourite. She’s a really strong character with a sharp head who doesn’t take shit from anyone. But there’s honestly not a single character I didn’t like. Even the absolute bad guys I enjoyed, and especially the good ones with evil twists. They worked so well together. Well, they didn’t, but that’s exactly what made it perfect. I loved how evil Golds got human faces. How I started caring for them. How I really hope some of them will turn over eventually because I really need them to join the cause. I like the Golds more than the Reds at this point, which I suspect is exactly what Pierce Brown set out to do, and it makes me scared for the future.

The writing is beautiful, even if it took some getting used to. It’s honest and vivid. New vocabulary is seamlessly slipped it and that was both challenging and entertaining. But I loved the flow of the words and sentences. Although the pacing is rather slow. Lucky thing I’m not easily bothered by that. In fact, I might even like it.

You do not follow me because I am the strongest. Pax is. You do not follow me because I am the brightest. Mustang is. You follow me because you do not know where you are going. I do.

And then there was the Institute and the Passing and everything else that followed on Darrow’s road to glory. If I hadn’t been sold before, I definitely was now. I don’t know what it is that makes these things so damn irresistible. Initiations. Training. Challenges. Bonding. Alliances forming. Alliances breaking. Friends becoming enemies. Enemies becoming friends. And the game. UGH, THE GAME. To complete their training to become a Peerless Scarred, the young initiates have to do this game that is basically every tactical board game ever combined but in real life and all I could ever think was MAN, I WANT TO PLAY THIS THING. I would have lasted a full two minutes, I’m sure, but I absolutely love this kind of strategic challenge. Especially when there is inhouse rivalry and plotting. And hey murder and backstabbing and the whole party. Such fun ahahhaaha.

But however great some parts were, I did say I understood where the criticism is coming from as well. Darrow, for all that I love him, is just a little too perfect. It’s like nothing can go wrong for this kid. He’s a prodigy, I get that, but everything came so easy. It’s a good thing that I liked him. If not, it would have bothered me a lot more than it did now. I hope this is somethings that will change, there’s nothing like the anguish of seeing your heroes fail to make you root for them even harder.

Also, the world building is decent but not excellent (yet). There are holes in this system that are conveniently covered up. Things that feel… too mhm, easy. Like the way Darrow’s transition to a Gold is handled. It took not enough effort. The way his intelligence was augmented, his body was modified… I also didn’t think Eo’s sacrifice made a whole lot of sense. Too cheap a move for a girl who dreamt of changing the world, not what a fighter at heart would do. At least not as a first act of rebellion. But of course it served the story very well. You can shape a world however you like of course, but some things just felt a little off. Three more books to prove me wrong, Brown. Three more books.

But, as I said, I’m camp rave on this one! I’m very excited to find out what else is about to happen and I’m reading Golden Son as we speak. I hope those damned Golds get wat they deserve. There is a true rebellion here and it’s dark and vicious and I can’t wait for it to break loose.

Break the chains, my love.

Review: If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

if there's no tomorrow jennifer l armentrout
if there's no tomorrow jennifer l armentrout

Title: If There's No Tomorrow 
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Contemporary, YA 
Publication date: September 5, 2017 
Rating: ★★★½ 

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances. Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything. Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened. For what she let happen. With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

illuminae amie kaufman jay kristoff

Title: Illuminae  
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  
Series: The Illuminae Files #1  
Genre: Science Fiction, YA  
Publication date: October 20, 2015 
Rating: ★★★★★ 

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

the cruel prince holly black

Title: The Cruel Prince  
Author: Holly Black  
Series: The Folk Of The Air #1  
Genre: Fantasy, YA  
Publication date: January 2, 2018 
Rating: ★★★★½ 

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

shatter me tahereh maxi
shatter me tahereh mafi

Title: Shatter Me  
Author: Tahereh Mafi  
Series: Shatter Me #1  
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, YA  
Publication date: November 15, 2011 
Rating: ★★½ 

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now. Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Someone picked up the sun and pinned it to the sky again, but every day it hangs a little lower than the day before. It's like a negligent parent who only knows one half of who you are. It never sees how its absence changes people. How different we are in the dark.

Upcoming Releases: September 2017

upcoming releases september

I feel so honoured presenting you the september young adult releases. So many of my deeply beloved authors are publishing this month. Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Adam Silvera, Jay Kristoff, Jennifer L. Armentrout and even Stephanie Perkins. The only one truly missing is John Green but since he's publishing next month I won't even go there. I MEAN LOOK AT THEM. They're stunning, aren't they? All I want to do is cuddle these precious babies. I've heard mixed reviews about all of them, but I'm giving each and every single one a fair chance to impress me. I want to be impressed. It's been so long since I got blown away by a book. This is an excellent month to get back on track. I need to finish my reread of Empire Of Storms, but then I'm all set to dive in. Head first.

Upcoming Releases: August 2017

August dear friends, august. Summer is halfway gone. Or there's still a month to go glass half full, half empty blab. If all is well I'm enjoying the heavenly weather, nature and food baguettes of France at the moment. As always I packed tons of books, but the ones below will have to wait until I return to the reality of a very glum Belgium. Got to say, August has some serious cover porn going on. Luckily there are interesting blurbs as well, because I basically clicked the add buttons based on cover alone. I should really stop doing that but hey what else is new. Most of these books are by authors I don't know very well, which is both exciting and terrifying. An awesome premise doesn't always make for a good book. But since I'm on vacation and the sun is HOPEFULLY, fingers crossed shining, I'm going to be an optimist about this. (Bastille tunes) And we can count on Leigh Bardugo never to disappoint, right? RIGHT? God, she better not. The Wonder Woman movie hyped me up even more so gimme, gimme, gimme! I'm also excited for Renee Carlino's new book. I discovered her last year and I have no regrets.

What are you guys up to this summer? Read anything exciting?

secondborn amy a bartol


Author: Amy A. Bartol
Series: Secondborn #1
Genre: Dystopia, NA
Release date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 321 pages

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?

shimmer and burn mary taranta

Shimmer And Burn 

Author: Mary Taranta
Series: Shimmer And Burn #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Release date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 352 pages

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.

little & lion brandy colbert

Little & Lion 

Author: Brandy Colbert
Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Contemporary, Lgbt, YA
Release date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 336 pages

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.

this is not the end chandler baker

This Is Not The End 

Author: Chandler Baker
Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Release date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 384 pages

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both. The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice. Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet. The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished. Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong. Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can't move on?

wish you were here renee carlino

Wish You Were Here 

Author: Renee Carlino
Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, NA
Release date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 320 pages

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, floating from interest to interest, job to job, and guy to guy, searching for a spark but never quite finding it. All she knows is that she won’t discover it working as a waitress at a pies-and-fries joint in Los Angeles or living with her fun but aimless best friend in a tiny apartment in the Arts District. Then Charlotte collides with Adam, a gorgeous and soulful painter who seems just as lost as she feels. Their instant connection turns into a midnight drink… and a whirlwind night of champagne, Chinese food, and the kind of conversation that only happens in romantic comedies. But the next morning, Adam gives Charlotte the cold shoulder, leaving her confused and hurt—and wondering if the few odd moments between them the night before were red flags in disguise. Months later, Charlotte hasn’t been able to shake Adam, so she decides to find out what happened the morning after their magical night together. This fateful decision rewrites their wild love story, but what Charlotte doesn’t know yet is that the ending has already been written.

a map for wrecked girls jessica taylor

A Map For Wrecked Girls 

Author: Jessica Taylor
Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Release date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 368 pages

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. 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. 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?

wicked like a wildfire lana popovic

Wicked Like A Wildfire 

Author: Lana Popović
Series: Hibiscus Daughter #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Release date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 416 pages

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love. But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

tiger's watch julia ember

Tiger's Watch 

Author: Julia Ember
Series: Ashes Of Gold #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Release date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Pages: 173 pages

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander. Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian. When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn't question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

the rattled bones sm parker

The Ratled Bones 

Author: S.M. Parker
Series: Stand-alone
Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, YA
Release date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304 pages

Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell. Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant. Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the ghostly girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores. As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.

wonder woman leigh bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer 

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: DC Icons #1
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, YA
Release date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Pages: 384 pages

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.

the dazzling heights katharine mcGee

The Dazzling Heights 

Author: Katharine McGee
Series: The Thousand Floor #2
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Release date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 432 pages

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….

mask of shadows linsey miller

Mask Of Shadows 

Author: Linsey Miller
Series: TBA, #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Release date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 384 pages

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.

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