Book Birthday Twofer: CARAVAL and EDGE OF EVERYTHING

With two books we love coming out on the same day, we debated what to do. Give one book the spotlight today and feature the other another day? Arm wrestle for the blog spot? (That would be a pathetic sight!) But our own birthdays are only a week apart and we celebrated them together with a glass of bubbly—after a morning of talking through fixes for problems in our manuscripts. So it felt right to celebrate the birthdays of these two awesome books together.

We’re wishing happy book birthdays to both The Edge of Everything and to Caraval. And sending congratulations to both Jeff Giles and Stephanie Garber!

Stephanie Garber’s Caraval pulls the reader into a world of magic. Scarlett desperately wants to escape her violent and controlling father and to take her younger sister, Donatella, with her. Scarlet hopes marriage to a man she’s never met, a marriage arranged by her father, will save them. Donatella doesn’t believe it will, so she persuades a handsome sailor to transport them off their island home and to Caraval, a legendary once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show. This year’s audience will compete to solve a puzzle and the winner will be granted a magical wish — exactly what Scarlett and Donatella need.

Find Rebecca’s review of Caraval, originally published January 13th, here.

The Edge of Everything: When 17-year-old Zoe plunges into a snowstorm to find her brother, she’s set upon by a crazed murderer, only to be saved by the mysterious X, a handsome bounty hunter from the hell-like Lowlands who must take the killer’s soul back with him. But when Zoe asks for mercy for the killer, she unknowingly sets in motion a series of events that will have her questioning the circumstances of her father’s death, who she is, and what it means to fall for a boy from Hell.

Read an interview in which Jeff describes his inspiration for the story here.

IMG_1617 GITA TRELEASE writes YA historical fantasy. Her current project takes place during the French Revolution—gambling and desperate games, decadence and dark magic. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Photo by Pam Vaughan

 

REBECCA J. ALLEN writes middle grade stories that blend mystery and adventure and young adult thrillers with heroines much braver than she is. She’s on Twitter and her website is here.

 

 

 

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Shout out for Stephanie Garber’s CARAVAL

Caraval is the story of Scarlett, a girl who is desperate to escape her violent and controlling father and to take her younger sister, Donatella, with her. Scarlet hopes marriage to a man she’s never met, a marriage arranged by her father, will save them. Donatella doesn’t believe it will, so she persuades a handsome sailor to transport them off their island home and to Caraval, a legendary once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show.

But even before Scarlett reaches the gates to Caraval, Donatella disappears. Legend, the mysterious showman who runs Caraval, has made finding Donatella the puzzle every player will try to solve. Whoever finds her first wins the prize, the granting of a wish. Scarlett must follow the clues in Legend’s game to find her sister, but winning won’t be easy. In Caraval, no one is what they seem.

There are several things I love about this story. The rich, magical world of Caraval, the tight bond of love between sisters that pulls Scarlett deeper into the game even as she’s desperate to head home for her wedding, and Scarlet’s growing attraction to Julian, the sailor. This story will pull you in, but remember, it’s only a game.

I received an advanced reader copy of Caraval in a Goodreads giveaway and was asked to review. I also purchased a copy for myself and another for my niece for Christmas because…love!

Caraval will be released January 31st. There’s a great pre-order giveaway. Details here (preorder and submit receipt by January 31, 2017).

Find Caraval at:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound

Photo by Pam Vaughan

REBECCA J. ALLEN writes middle grade stories that blend mystery and adventure and young adult thrillers with heroines much braver than she is. She’s on Twitter and her website is here.

A Book to Pull in Reluctant Readers: Neal Shusterman’s SCYTHE

Normally, I don’t write reviews for books by established authors. Scythe was published in November 22nd, 2016 and already has 1,994 reviews on Goodreads, so my 1,995th is not going to have a big impact on Shusterman’s sales. But as a mom with one bookworm and one reluctant reader, I am always on the lookout for books that will pull in a tween/teen boy. This is one. My son picked it out and after he’d finished it, he literally pulled the book I was reading out of my hands, put this one in it, and said, “Read this first.”

Scythe is set in a Utopian world where death, disease and war have been conquered. “Splatting” or jumping from great heights to feel the thrill of an adrenaline rush, only to be revived afterwards, has become a thing. Because where there is no fear of death, life also has less joy and purpose.

But population levels still need to me managed. This is done through scythes, men and woman who humanely reduce the population. Scythe is about two teens, one girl and one boy, who are chosen as apprentices to a scythe, and about their struggle to learn the “killtrade” and grapple with the task of selecting humans to “gleaned.”

This topic sounds gruesome, and there are certainly scenes involving killing. But Shusterman focuses not on the blood and guts but on the moral dilemma that the apprentices face. He shows the “gleaning” process for several different scythes, helping readers to draw their own conclusions about the ethical implications of the different methods.

But the real draw for this story is the two teen apprentices, Citra and Rowan. The teens feel genuine. Readers will feel their tension as they come to see that the scythe is a necessary profession in this world and is best done by the people who are least drawn to it, those who place the highest value on human life. When Citra and Rowan discover a bigger problem facing their Utopian world and try to right it, it leads to action, adventure, and plot-twists that keep the pages turning.

Scythe was released November 22, 2016.

Find Scythe at:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound

Photo by Pam Vaughan

REBECCA J. ALLEN writes middle grade stories that blend mystery and adventure and young adult thrillers with heroines much braver than she is. She’s on Twitter and her website is here.

Happy Book Birthday to THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT by Chelsea Sedoti

 

Happy Book Birthday to The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett! I love the voice of Hawthorne Creely and want to welcome her into the world! For the recommendation of this young adult novel by Chelsea Sedoti originally posted in August, click here.

 

 

Photo by Pam Vaughan

REBECCA J. ALLEN writes middle grade stories that blend mystery and adventure and young adult thrillers with heroines much braver than she is. She’s on Twitter and her website is here.

 

Thumbs Up: THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT by Chelsea Sedoti

Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is all anyone at Griffin Mills High School can talk about. Hawthorne Creely can’t believe all the attention Lizzie’s getting. She was a cheerleader and homecoming queen. Nothing bad ever happens to people like Lizzie. Plus,  she graduated and moved away three years ago. Don’t people have something better to obsess over? Hawthorne imagines Lizzie somewhere safe, laughing as hundreds of people show up for her vigil.the hundred lies of lizzie lovett

But as everyone else moves on from the gossip and the search parties, Hawthorn becomes more intent on finding the truth. She stumbles into Lizzie’s old job as a waitress in a diner, then starts hanging out with her boyfriend and searching for clues to the disappearance.

While book’s title and the search parties focus on Lizzie Lovett, this story is really about Hawthorne, a girl who’s disappointed by high school’s failure to live up to its billing as “the best years of your life” and unsure of her future. Hawthorne is the perfect combo of girl who doesn’t fit in and snarky commentator on high school life. She pulls the reader into the story with her keen insights on the shortcomings of the people around her as well as her obliviousness to her own shortcomings. She’s someone anyone in high school or who’s been to high school can relate too. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is a fun and absorbing read. Hawthorne will drag you with her on her search for the truth about Lizzie, and along the way, find the truth within herself.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett will be published January 3, 2017. You can find it here:

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Indiebound

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Photo by Pam Vaughan

REBECCA J. ALLEN writes middle grade and young adult stories that blend mystery and adventure. Her best story ideas come from her two crazy kids. She’s on Twitter and her website is here.