Rummanah Aasi
 If you like Greek mythology, New Adult romance and a touch of the paranormal, check out The Chrysomelia Stories by Molly Ringle. The story centers around Sophie Darrow - a normal college freshman - who is abducted by a man she’s never met before and tricked into eating some pomegranate. What follows is her realization that she is no other than Persephone and her kidnapper – Hades himself.

As the official release date (June 27) of Underworld’s Daughter approaches, the second book in the series after the very successful and well received Persephone’s Orchard, we are very happy to point you towards an awesome giveaway!

The lucky winner will be receiving:

• Signed copies of both books
• 1 oz Persephone’s Pomegranate Blend looseleaf tea by Dryad Tea (black tea with pomegranate and vanilla)
• 25 plantable paper mini-flowers with wildflower seeds, by PaperSprouts (on Etsy)
• $5 Starbucks card
• Pegasus Greek coin pendant necklace from PartsForYou (on Etsy)

To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter below. If not, never fear, the publisher will be offering more awesome giveaways like this one in the coming weeks.

And if you haven’t read Persephone’s Orchard yet, there’s good news there too since the ebook will be only $0.99 on all major bookstores for a limited time starting on June 27!

About the books:

The Greek gods never actually existed. Did they? Sophie Darrow finds she was wrong about that assumption when she's pulled into the spirit realm, complete with an Underworld, on her first day at college. Adrian, the mysterious young man who brought her there, simply wants her to taste a pomegranate.

Soon, though she returns to her regular life, her mind begins exploding with dreams and memories of ancient times; of a love between two Greeks named Persephone and Hades. But lethal danger has always surrounded the immortals, and now that she's tainted with the Underworld's magic, that danger is drawing closer to Sophie.

New immortals are being created for the first time in thousands of years thanks to the tree of immortality discovered by Persephone and Hades. But Sophie Darrow is not one of them. Nikolaos, the trickster, has given the last ripe immortality fruit to two others, the reincarnations of the gods Dionysos and Hekate: Tabitha and Zoe, currently Sophie's and Adrian's best friends.

While the disappointed Sophie struggles to remember Hekate and Dionysos from ancient Greece, she must still face her daily life as a mortal university freshman. Tabitha and Zoe have their own struggles as they come to terms with being newly immortal and their own haunting dreams of past lives and loves. The evil committed by Thanatos invades all of them in heartbreaking memories, and worse still, Sophie and her friends know their enemies are determined to kill again. And even the gods can't save everyone.

Rummanah Aasi
  I've seen books by Joshilyn Jackson taken out quite frequently at my library, but I never read her books before. When I saw her latest book, Someone Else's Love Story, the premise and the reviews sound promising. I thought I would give it a shot.

Description: I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K
For single mom Shandi Pierce, life is a juggling act. She's finishing college; raising her delightful three-year-old genius son, Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo; and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced Christian mother and Jewish father. She's got enough to deal with before she gets caught in the middle of a stickup in a gas station mini-mart and falls in love with a great wall of a man named William Ashe, who steps between the armed robber and her son to shield the child from danger.
Shandi doesn't know that her blond god has his own baggage. When he looked down the barrel of the gun in the gas station he believed it was destiny: it's been exactly one year since a tragic act of physics shattered his universe. But William doesn't define destiny the way other people do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in science and numbers, destiny to him is about choice.
Now, William and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head-on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Review: Someone Else's Love Story is an enjoyable read though there are parts that I had issues with the story. The novel captures the ambiance and customs of a Southern life. It is part of a coming of age story though the main character is well in her twenties and part of a love story though the identity of the love interests are a bit of a mystery. Shandi is a young woman preparing for college but finds herself caught up in a real-life drama. Shandi has a miracle baby named Nathan, but she and her BFF, Walcott, call the precocious 3-year-old genius Natty. The events leading to Natty's birth and Natty's biological father is a mystery and it is slowly unveiled as the story progresses.
  I didn't get the sense that Shandi is in her twenties, but I pictured her more like sixteen. Her voice is very young and she still seems to be a pawn used in the chess game of her parents' divorce. As Shandi moves out of her mother's home to her successful physician father's condominium in Atlanta, she, Walcott and Natty become caught up in an armed robbery. It's during this robbery that Shandi meets William Ashe, a giant of a man with a palpable, lingering sorrow. When William takes a bullet during the robbery, Shandi decides to take on William and starts caring for him on the day he leaves the hospital. The instant love for Shandi made me roll my eyes a bit, but I was more interested in learning about William and his tragic loss. In fact I was hoping these two characters would not get together because then it would ruin the character building both characters have as they both help each other cope with their dilemmas.
  As I continued to read the story, I wanted to know about the mystery surrounding Shandi's pregnancy. When the truth was revealed, I was a bit alarmed at how a serious issue was dealt with so matter of factually. I don't agree with how this plot line was handled and it made me lower my rating. Perhaps I'm over thinking about it and not understanding that forgiveness is the higher road taken. Overall, Someone Else's Love Story feels like a summer read though you may be a bit irritated with the main character. Despite my issues I did like it enough to recommend it to others. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is an allusion to sexual assault, sexual situations, and some language. Recommended for older teens and adults.

If you like this book try: Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, The Whole Golden Egg by Kristina Rigggle, The Book of Someday by Dianne Dixon
Rummanah Aasi

Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She will be publishing a brand new upper YA / Sci-Fi romance series: the “Starlight Saga” with scorching-hot character chemistry, exciting suspense, and epic romance on June 26, 2014.

  To help promote this interstellar love story, Lost in Starlight, Sherry is doing this fun guest post to share the news with fellow booklovers. Today, Sherry has decided to interview her main character.

Meet Sloane Masterson, the heroine of the Starlight Saga!

If a headstrong, gutsy, and imperfect heroine, with an eccentric fashion sense appeals to you, then you'll love Sloane. If you’ve already read the novel, this interview should be amusing and insightful. And if you haven’t read Lost in Starlight yet, hopefully this fun character interview will pique your interest.

Things that I think make my protagonist unique and not your typical (“perfect” YA heroine):

Zombie fangirl
A girl with major curves
Horror Movie reviewer
Self-esteem issues
Geek magnet with a rather large bosom
A chick who favors the dark-side in appeal

Please state your name:  Sloane Elizabeth Masterson

Astrological sign: Taurus

Age: 17

Height: 5’4”

Weight: About 140 or so…

Hair /Eye Color: I have longish blond hair dyed a bright purple and hazel eyes.

Job: High School student and reporter for the Haven Gazette with my own horror movie column

Vehicle: VW Jetta

Dog/Cat: I have a fluffy black cat named Jinx.

Favorite food: Cheeseburgers with extra mustard

Describe yourself in three words: Dependable, Independent, Sensitive

Greatest flaw? I guess I can sometimes be somewhat obnoxious at times and I can be extremely opinionated. My BFF says that I’m offensively curious because of my job as a HS reporter.

Best quality? I think I’m very trustworthy, genuine, open-minded, and fiercely independent

Person you admire most?
Abigail “Abby” Sciuto from the TV show NCIS, and writer and director, Andrés Muschietti.

Hobbies? Watching movies, shopping, posting reviews of horror flicks, and reading.

What frightens you most? Fear of the unknown. And the thought of being normal and boring.

Favorite color? Purple—duh!

What do you think would make a perfect first date?
Cuddling with a cute boy while watching a zombie flick with a tub of buttery popcorn!

Thanks for answering all of my questions, Sloane.

Thank you so much for hanging with Sloane and me today. It’s been an honor to reveal a different side regarding one of my favorite characters with all of you. If you haven’t seized your copy of this interstellar love story, Lost in Starlight yet, please do so.

Please mark your calendars to buy your copy of Lost in Starlight on June 26th 2014!
Read the first five chapters for free on wattpad!

High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.
Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.
They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.
Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life....

Places you can find Sherry Soule:

Official Blog
Twitter @SherrySoule:
Please add Lost in Starlight to your TBR on goodreads
The awesome book cover was designed by the talented, Kristen Thompson-Oh of KCT Designs
Eager to read the first five chapters on your Kindle? FREE every Friday from Amazon
Rummanah Aasi
 Readers, I would like to introduce you to a brand new YA author, Mary Jean Harris, whose debut historical fantasy novel, Aizai the Forgotten, is being released today!

About Aizai the Forgotten:

With an otherworldly horse borrowed from an astrologer, and armed with a strange magical device, seventeen-year-old Wolfdon Pellegrin sets off through seventeenth-century France and Spain to fulfill his dream of finding the forgotten realm of Aizai.
   One obscure book, by the philosopher Paulo de la Costa Santamiguero, has given him a lead to start his journey—go to the northern coast of Spain, where a portal to Aizai supposedly exists.
Though death and danger loom ever near, nothing can dim the longing for Aizai kindling within Wolfdon’s heart. Yet even as he strives to discover the mysterious realm’s secrets and fate, a frightening truth becomes clear—one that may cost Wolfdon everything, including the future.

About the Author (from her Goodreads page):

I write and read fantasy and historical fiction, both novels and short stories. I'm interested in most fantasy, historical, and esoteric books, and I love old books too. I love reading lots of books at once, though I usually only write one story at a time.
I am also a student at Carleton University studying theoretical physics with a minor in philosophy. I love ancient philosophy, especially Plato, Plotinus, and Lao-Tzu.


In honor of releasing her debut novel, Ms. Harris has generously offered to giveaway one (1) ebook copy of her book to a lucky reader. This giveaway is open internationally and will run through Saturday JULY 5th. To enter, simply leave your name along with an email address in the comments so I can direct the winner to Ms. Harris. Good luck!
Rummanah Aasi
  Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman has an attention grabbing premise: What would happen if a wealthy couple with everything they could possibly imagine came across a so-called "feral child" in a tawdry Nevada sideshow and decides to bring her back to New York and convert her into a society belle? Though light on the suspense, Savage Girl is an intriguing historical fiction.

Description: Bronwyn, a very smart eighteen year-old girl raised in the wild by wolves in Nevada, is adopted in 1875 by the Delegates a wealthy Manhattan couple, and taken back East to be civilized and introduced into high society, but the men who seek to be her suitors start turning up dead.

Review: Savage Girl is marketed as a historical fiction/murder mystery and its blurb grabbed my attention right away. Set in the 1870s post-Civil War America, the book's plot centers around a serial killer whose rampage ranges from a rough mining community in Nevada to upper-class Manhattan. Our narrator Hugo Delegate, Harvard-educated son of one of New York's wealthiest and most socially connected families, is locked up for the gruesome murder of another New York dandy. He willingly claims his guilt, but we can easily tell that he is taking the blame for someone else who has committed the real crime. Sensing a story folded in a Hugo's confession, Hugo's expensive lawyers demand he tell them the true story from the beginning.
  Hugo starts with his family's visit to Virginia City, Nev., home of his father Freddy's silver mine. Soon, Hugo's parents, eccentric liberals interested in the nurture/nature debate raised by Darwin, are eager to adopt a young girl they have discovered in a Virginia City freak show, the girl's owner of which claims she was raised by wolves. Of unknown origins, she speaks Comanche as well as a smattering of English, and her performance involves a set of mechanical claws and a swimming tank.
 The unknown girl, whose name turns out to be Bronwyn, travels on the Delegates' private train to New York, where the Delegates plan to give her a makeover a la My Fair Lady and show her off as their prized possession and a symbol of compassion and philanthropy. Bronwyn captivates her audiences, particularly males and never manages to shake off her mysterious aura. Soon one grisly murder after another seems to follow in Bronwyn's wake, the victim always a man who has shown his attraction to Bronwyn's considerable charms. Is Bronwyn, with her animal-like instincts, the killer? Or is it Hugo, with his past mental problems, his capacity to black out and his love for Bronwyn that borders on jealous insanity?
  I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this book. Zimmerman zeroes in the the mannerisms and social issues of the late 1800s much like Edith Wharton did, which for me, was the highlight of this book. I was shocked to find out that cases of feral children being sold and "trained for society" was common especially when a bloody Civil War about slavery was recently over. Unfortunately, the mystery surrounding the serial killer is not as prominent in this book and it felt underdeveloped with new clues and a hurried solution appearing at the end of the book, which made me disappointed. I would still recommend it to those who enjoy a well written historical fiction and are interested in learning the social, political, and philosophical issues that are the driving issues of post Civil War America.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There are allusions to sexual assault and sexual situations though never explicit. There are some disturbing images such as mutilated body parts in the book and some language. Recommended for adults.

If you like this book try: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawson, The Ghost of Mary Celeste by Valerie Martin
Rummanah Aasi
  I've had books by Joan Bauer on my to be read shelf for quite some time. It's not until finishing and loving Almost Home did I realize how much I am missing by not picking up her books sooner. Don't be fooled by the book's adorable cover, Almost Home addresses serious issues but it also features a very strong and likable heroine named Sugar Mae Cole and a wonderful uplifting story of hope and resilience even when facing the darkest moments in ones life,

Description: When twelve-year-old Sugar's grandfather dies and her gambling father takes off yet again, Sugar and her mother lose their home in Missouri. They head to Chicago for a fresh start, only to discover that fresh starts aren't so easy to come by for the homeless. Nevertheless, Sugar's mother has taught her to be grateful no matter what, so Sugar does her best. With the help of a rescue dog, Shush; a foster family; a supportive teacher; a love of poetry; and her own grace and good humor, Sugar comes to understand that while she can't control the hand life deals her, she can control how she responds.

Review: Almost Home is a moving and powerful story of a young girl who overcomes adversity. Through months of homelessness and her mother's breakdown, sixth-grader Sugar Mae Cole and her puppy, Shush, demonstrate what it means to be sweet and resilient. It only took me just a few pages to love and root for Sugar, the writer of thank-you notes and poetry, dog-walker, parent-educator and trust-trainer who is forced to grow up quickly despite her very young age. Through her first-person narration with notes, emails and poems we are introduced to Sugar's family problems: an unreliable, gambling addict and alcoholic father and her enabling mother who has low self esteem and acts like a child. In addition to the problems at home, she is faced with the fact that she is homeless and without the support of her beloved teacher.
  While these serious topics could easily make Almost Home dark and filled with melodrama, Bauer addresses many important and sensitive issues with grace and frankness. Through her wonderful and heart wrenching poems, Sugar tries to sort out her own mixed emotions about how her life is unraveling right before her eyes. Thankfully, Sugar has adult role models who support her and give her glimpses of light in her dark world such as her grandfather, King Cole; Mr. B., the sixth-grade teacher who encourages her writing and stays in touch; and, finally, Lexie and Mac, experienced foster parents who provide a safe haven but know when to let go.
  Sugar's voice is convincing and realistic, both as storyteller and young writer; her natural good humor shines through despite the dark undertones of her story. There are many times when Sugar's poems or internal dialogue had me choked up with emotion and wanting to grab her from the pages and give her a hug. I'm grateful that Bauer did not shrink away from approaching tough issues and offers a great opportunity for a discussion. Quirky supporting characters, both human and dog, add to the book's appeal. Sugar is a very strong heroine that will be admired by both young and adult readers alike.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: Mature themes such as alcoholism, gambling addiction, depression, and domestic abuse are addressed in the book. Recommended for strong Grade 5 readers and up.

If you like this book try: Also Known as Harper by , How To Steal A Dog by Barbara O'Connor, Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor, Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voight, Hound Dog True by Lisa Urban, and Keeping Safe the Stars by Sheila O'Connor
Rummanah Aasi
  If you are reluctant to pick up a nonfiction book in fear of being bored to tears, look no further than Steve Sheinkin's award winning book, Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon, as this book reads like a classic spy thriller which so happens to be a true story.

Description: In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

Review: Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon weaves together tales of scientific and technological discovery, back-alley espionage, and wartime sabotage in a riveting account of the race to build the first atomic weapon. I found this book very hard to put down even though there is no big surprise on how this story ends. I was enraptured by the storytelling and how the famous and the infamous cast of characters such as Robert Oppenheimer and spy Harry Gold are brought to life in this book.
  Black and white portraits of key players appear in photo-montages that begin each of the book's four sections. The author pulls information from numerous sources to supply every chapter with quotations that swiftly move the narrative forward. Suspenseful play-by-play moments, particularly when focusing on intrigue and spies, will captivate the reader. Though I knew the story of the making of the bomb, I didn't realize how much intrigue and spying was involved. The epilogue also brings the reader up to speed on how the creation of the atom bomb doesn't just stop at the end of World War II, but also has consequences throughout other parts of history such as the arms race during the Cold War and the potential of nuclear war in volatile countries will give readers pause and goose bumps.
 Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon is a must-read book and definitely one of the best books I've read thus far this year. I highly recommend it to middle schoolers, teens, and adults especially if you enjoy the spy and thriller genres or if you are curious about history and science. There are lots of notes and biographical references found in the back of the book if you would like to learn more.

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and mature themes in the book. Recommended for strong Grade 7 readers and up.

If you like this book try: The Ultimate Weapon by Edward Sullivan, The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages, The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit
Rummanah Aasi
 Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers. There are only five more volumes left in this series! I'm curious to see how this series ends.

Description: Mysterious men have knocked out Tsukushi and her boyfriend Tsukasa. The two awake to find themselves alone on a boat, a situation that reeks of the diabolical handiwork of Tuskasa's maniacal mother Kaede. Will the two of them survive this insane twist of fate?

Review: Volume 31 begins with what might seem like another diabolical plan created by Kaede, Tsukasa's mother, to separate our love birds yet again. Tsukasa and Tsukushi are kidnapped and placed on a boat with no one else on board. The two quickly start to bicker about who is responsible for this set up. What seems to be dangerous situation actually turns quite comical as the real people behind this master plan is revealed.
  Having Tsukushi and Tsukasa isolated from everyone else was actually quite nice to read. Both of these characters have fought very hard to show other people that they are serious about their relationship, however, both harbor their own insecurities such as "why do you like me?" or "do I have the capabilities to make you happy?" While it was definitely very far fetched to believe these characters having deep discussion and thoughts about their relationship instead of freaking out about being kidnapped and on a deserted island, I did like these quiet, honest moments between Tsukushi and Tsukasa.
  This volume ends in a cliffhanger as Tsukasa's kidnapping was televised all over Japan. When he is spotted, there is a huge swarm of media and press trying to ask him questions for their interviews. In a quick moment Tsukasa is falls forward and is bleeding. He has been attacked by someone in the large crowd and rushed to the hospital! Good thing I have the next volume on hand to see what happens next.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some crude humor, minor language, and a few scenes of underage drinking. Recommended for teens and up.

If you like this book try: Boys Over Flowers Vol 32 by Yoko Kamio, Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda, Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
Rummanah Aasi
   Reading a beloved book series is like coming home to friends and family. Night Broken is the latest book in the Mercy Thompson series. With new characters, mythology, and villain, Night Broken is one of the highlights in this series.

Description: An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from her new boyfriend. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right. Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.
  Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s ex is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

Review: Night Broken is the eighth book in the fabulous Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs. I highly suggest reading this series in order in order to get a better appreciation of the character growths and plot arcs of this story. Mercy and Adam aren't known for their relationship dramas and any misunderstandings between them get aired out quickly, which is one of the reasons why they are one of my favorite couples. When the synopsis of this book came out, particularly the mere mention of Christy, Adam's ex-wife I was really curious to see how Briggs would create a bump in the road for Mercy and Adam without being overly melodramatic. I was very pleased to find out that not only did the Christy subplot added much needed tension in the wolf pack, it actually moved things forward both plot and character growth wise. Instead of resulting to sulking and jealousy, Mercy takes Christy's surprise visit with grace and lots of patience, more than any of her fans can muster. Mercy remains in control and proves to the pack that she is indeed the wife of the Alpha. The dynamics of the wolf pack were really interesting to read as they struggle to figure out their own loyalties and preconceived notions. I was really surprised by the development of Honey, whom I really liked in this book.
  In addition to the Christy's sudden arrival and the mystery behind her stalker, we are introduced to a new coyote walker who has a lot of things in common with Mercy. I can't wait to learn more about him and his connection to Mercy. We also get more sightings of Coyote, the trickster and father of Mercy who always manage to make an appearance at the wrong place and wrong time.
  Unlike the previous books, Night Broken is filled with nonstop action, few unexpected surprises, and it was hard to put down. With the series possibly coming to an end, I'm really curious to see where Briggs takes her character and world to next.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, strong fantasy violence, and disturbing images. Recommended for mature teens and adults.

If you like this book try: Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs, Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, Chicago Vampire series by Chloe Neil
Rummanah Aasi
  I was very much looking forward to reading E. Lockart's latest novel, We Were Liars, this year. I've heard nothing but great things about the book yet stayed away from reviews in fear of spoiling the surprise ending. I started this book with no preconceived notions and I think that really helped my enjoyment of it. My only qualm about the book is that is too short and I wanted more in the end. Many thanks to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.

Description: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Review: We Were Liars is a quick yet nuanced read that will equally appeal to adults as well as teens. Cloaked in secrets, greed, and deception, it is best to read We Were Liars without knowing anything about the book. On her fifteenth summer at her family summer cottage, Cady's life is torn apart. Cady Sinclair's family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Those who fall outside of these three categories are not recognized nor deemed worthy individuals by the family patriarch. Cady's cousins and aunts are reunited each summer by her mother's father on his private island. Everyone leads a charmed, fairy-tale lives which is a clever idea that is reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady's reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story; however, these fairy tales aren't the Disney-happily-ever types but rather much more cut throat and dark like the original Grimm tales.
  After a nice setup, we begin to examine all the skeletons in the Sinclair's palace closets and the various personal sacrifices that are made to keep the pristine image upright. What I loved most about this book is the author's refusal to simply make her characters pure evil or pure good, each of the characters have their own motive, which might make the family's foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved.  
   Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible--if they have the courage to act thus creating the suspense about how the four teens acted and which version of their actions is the real truth. Their sincere hopes and foolish naivete make the teens' desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic. You can argue as to who are the winners or losers in this book, which for me makes this book a great choice for a book discussion. Riveting, brutal and beautifully told, We Were Liars is hard to put down and much harder to forget.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, and mature themes. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Rummanah Aasi
Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers. There are only six more volumes left in this series! I'm curious to see how this series ends.

Description: Just as Tsukushi thinks she can attend school unnoticed, the entire school starts bullying her and she finds herself in a love triangle with the two most popular boys, that’s when the real trouble begins!
 Tsukushi is drawn into the drama of the business affairs of the rich Domyoji family. This puts Kaede, Tsukushi's sworn enemy and Tsukasa's mother, in the tough position of having to show Tsukushi gratitude. Tsukushi's trip to New York takes another shocking turn when someone close to her admits his true feelings for her!

Review: Before I started reading Volume 30 of Boys Over Flowers, I was worried that this volume would ruin my enjoyable reading experience of this series. The foreshadowing of love triangle rearing its ugly head was high on the horizon as Rui became closer to Tsukushi and the drama between Tsukushi and Tsukasa took another turn when Tsukusa told Tsukushi go back home to Japan and forget him. I was so angry at Tsukasa at the end of the previous volume, but I knew there had to be a reason behind his aggravating decision and in this volume we find out why.
  While the drama is still on full force in this volume, we can see how much our characters have grown. Tsukushi doesn't waffle her feelings between Tsukasa and Rui and is upfront, honest when telling Rui how she really feels. Similarly, Rui accepts Tsukushi's decision and tells Tsukasa to not throw away his chance at happiness. Unlike Tsukushi and Rui, Tsukasa is not happy with his choice to turn Tsukushi away. He regrets his decision and tries to find Tsukushi. We find out that though he wants to be responsible and spear head his family's business, he doesn't want to do it on his mother's terms but on his own. I was surprised that I ended up liking this volume and I am sure there is more drama still to come.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language in this volume. Recommended for teens.

If you like this book try: Boys Over Flowers Vol 31 by Yoko Kamio, Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda, Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
Rummanah Aasi
  There are very few books that are happy without being overly sappy or saccharine. A Snicker of Magic, Natalie Lloyd's debut middle grade novel, is a book you would definitely pick up if you looking to lose yourself in a book. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it. Many thanks to Scholastic and Netgalley for allowing me to read an advanced reader's copy of this book.

Description: Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.
  But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.
  Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she'll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that's been cast over the town . . . and her mother's broken heart.

Review: A Snicker of Magic is a delightful, inspiring, and heartwarming book. Felicity Pickle along with her mother and little sister Frannie Jo, live like nomads moving from town to town in their battered van thanks to Felicity's mother's wandering heart. For the first time, Midnight Gulch feels like home, and not just because it's where Mama grew up but because there just might be magic.
  There are many things that I loved about this book. I love how the author uses words as magic and not fairy dust or the occult. The writing is magical and it easily stirs up your emotions which clearly demonstrates the love for words. I also really enjoyed the setting of Midnight Gulch, which reminded me a lot of Stars Hollow in my favorite tv show Gilmore Girls where everybody knew everybody in this quirky town. Though there is a large cast of characters, I felt as if I got to know everyone such as the gruff yet soft Aunt Cleo, Oliver and Ponder, the vendors of unusual ice cream and baked goods, respectively, which have to ability to invoke memories, Jewell Pickett, hair-stylist and auto-mechanic extraordinaire; and her son Jonah, my favorite secondary character, who has the amazing ability to make things better for anybody, despite his own difficulties. And of course there is our adorable, spunky, Felicity, who sees words everywhere and uses them in remarkable ways. She's a girl who loves deeply and openly, and who creates her own kind of magic. As if these were not enough to make me enjoy A Snicker of Magic, there are folkloric backstories about feuding brothers, intrigue, doomed romances, mysterious do-gooders, lost children, and a curse.
  A Snicker of Magic is not to be missed and can be enjoyed by younger and older readers alike. I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy books that have magical realism or those who are a bit reluctant to try a fantasy read. This book is guaranteed to make you smile the all the way through and feel great. It's definitely one my favorites from this year. 

Rating: 5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Savy by Ingrid Law, A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
Rummanah Aasi
  You can find many books about sibling relationships, but many of them often feature rivalries. We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt features a complex relationship between two sisters where one sister is trying to find her own voice while the other harbors a dangerous secret. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read the advanced reader's copy of this book.

Description: Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.
  When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

Review: From a very young age Nell has adored and admired her near-perfect sister Layla. When Nell starts high school in San Francisco, she plans to follow in the footsteps of her near-perfect sister Layla, whom she loves with a devotion that approaches adulation. The sisters have been close and have gotten closer since their parents' divorce, but Layla is becoming distant and harbors a dangerous secret that could threaten the sisters apart and put the family in jeopardy.
  Many reviewers have indicated that the reveal of Layla's secret was a bit anticlimactic, which may be true but I don't think unveiling the secret was the purpose of this book. Instead of the emphasis on the melodrama, Reinhardt focuses on Nell's self discovery and shattering the image of her perfect sister in her confession which is a unique blend of first- and second-person, past- and present-tense narration. I found myself engrossed in Nell's voice and observed her as she struggled to come out of her sister's shadow. I think many readers who have siblings can understand Nell's hesitancy to break the unsaid sisterhood code and you can feel her mixed emotions as she addresses her sister directly, spilling out her thoughts as she prepares to confront Layla and bring the secret out into the open.
  In addition to the different narrative style, I really enjoyed reading Nell's inner dialogue with two boys, brothers who died within a year of each other, and thought it worked well as a framework for Nell to process the truth, while her best friend, Felix, provides real-life emotional support and a striking contrast to Layla's situation. Since the book is mainly written in Nell's point of view, we are kept in suspense about Layla's whereabouts though there are many allusions sprinkled about. Although I wished we found out what after Nell brings Layla's secret out in the open, but Reinhardt's skillful exploration of the dynamics of sibling relationships is what stands out in this book.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, and implied sexual situations. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfield, The Last Summer of Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly
Rummanah Aasi
 Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers.

Description: Things are going fairly smoothly between Tsukushi and her on-and-off boyfriend Tsukasa, but the bliss can't last for long... Deep in the heart of New York City Tsukasa's conniving mother is cooking up another evil plan to destroy her son's relationship with our beleaguered heroine. How far will Tsukushi go to be with her hardheaded beau?

Review: Tsukushi and Tsukasa have been happy for the past few volumes so it is no surprise that they run into trouble in this volume. Tsukasa and Tsukushi want to date openly, but due to the surveilance of Tsukasa's mother's security guards the couple can't. In a moment of teenage rebellion, Tsukasa and Tsukushi sneak out and go on a New York City at a baseball game that is apparently aired internationally. There are many cute moments in this novel as we see Tsukasa and Tsukushi become more comfortable around each other.
  Of course Tsukasa's mother and everyone else finds out. What steps does Tsukasa's mother take this time to ensure they no longer see each other is quite smart. She definitely knows her son and plays to his weaknesses. I was a bit upset how this volume ends since it is a bit of a cliffhanger, but I'm glad that I had the next volumes to read to see what happens next. My only hope is that there is no love triangle brooding.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Some language and mild crude humor. Rated T for teens.

If you like this book try: Boys Over Flowers Vol 30 by Yoko Kamio, Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda, Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
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