A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and ever herself.
Steph: I kind of like how the gelatos are hearting one another… hehehe. It’s a cute cover that promises a quirky story. The back copy also hints at something quirky and not totally romance centred although I’m getting a Mama Mia vibe from the plotline. Is she an Italian princess? Or the daughter of a mob boss!! I am curious…
Janet: The cover is kind of cute. It doesn’t grab me, but then again, gelato… <3 The back copy matches the front vibe: gentle, romantic in a soft sort of way, sweet. (Haha)
Yash: I really like this. This is the kind of thing I’d want with me on a particularly stressful journey with too many transit hours. Yes. Cute title, cute cover, cute colours, and cute summary. Yep. I am ready for all the cute.
Perfect for fans of Mockingbird and Counting by 7s, Caela Carter’s middle grade debut is a story of one girl’s strength and courage as she decides who she is and what she will believe in.
Behind the white-washed walls of the compound, life was simple. Follow the rules, “live in the Light,” and all would be well. Zylynn was excited to turn thirteen and begin the work of bringing others into the light, to save them from the liars and the darkness of the outside world. But when she is taken away by a man who claims to be her father, Zylynn is confused and desperate to return to her home.
Zylynn resists her new life—until she finds small comforts like shampoo, the color pink, and strawberries. But as her thirteenth birthday approaches, Zylynn must make a difficult decision—to stay with the enemy or find her way back to the light. And neither may be what it seems.
Steph: The cover art is very appealing, I like the girl walking down a dark hall and into the light. I don’t really like the colourful font because I think that hints at a light-hearted story and that isn’t what the back copy tells us we’re going to get. I’m unsure how I feel about the whole premise, it feels almost like the story of an Amish girl who has to choose to leave her community or become a permanent member of the church/community. While it walks on thin ice, it also sounds very interesting… I’m not sure.
Janet: The rainbow layers of the title appeal, but the rest of the cover is vague in contrast with the synopsis, which promises a harder edged girl-escaping-cult story. On the other hand, since Zylynn is 12, this may be a good way to draw readers into a MG story that asks hard questions without raising too much doubt as to her ultimate survival and happiness.
Yash: Yikes, this is terrifying! I mean, yes, the cover is kind of stark, despite the colours used for the title and the title itself is ominous but the synopsis is a whole new level of creepy. I generally stay away from books about cults (and also the kidnapping of young girls) and I don’t know if my emotions can handle this, but … I am curious.
The start of a spooky yet romantic dark paranormal horror series from Glimmerglass author Jenna Black
The night is the enemy, and the city of Philadelphia is its deadliest weapon.
Becket is an ordinary teenage girl, wrestling with the upheaval of her parents’ divorce. Her biggest problems to date have been choosing which colleges to apply to, living up to her parents’ ambitious expectations of her, and fighting her secret crush on her best friend’s boyfriend. That all changes the night she tries to save an innocent life and everything goes horribly wrong.
Becket has been tricked into opening a door between worlds. As dark magic trickles into Philadelphia, strange creatures roam the streets and inanimate objects come to life, all of them bloodthirsty and terrifying. The city returns to normal when the sun rises each morning. The moment the sun sets, most citizens shut themselves in their houses and stay there no matter what they hear.
The magic is openly hostile to most mortals, but there are some it seems to covet, trying to lure them out into the night. While Becket struggles to protect her friends and family from predatory creatures of the night, she is constantly tempted to shrug off her responsibilities and join them.
Steph: Yes? I think? I like the cover and all the whimsical and scary objects – the curvy busty figure in the fog/smoke is not great but I can deal with it. The only thing that the cover and the back copy leave me wondering is what is the audience – there is a mention of romance but the cover is both scary and kind of… bright? clean? playful? middle-grade-y? This kind of magic is appealing and I like how our main character will not be the only mortal coveted by this magic (so she’s special, but not the only one who can save the world *cue dramatic john williams music*). I’m in and I’ll let y’all know what I think when it finally comes out in 2016.
Janet: The cover looks kinda plastic for a horror story. But then, maybe this will appeal to people who like horror? I do like that the synopsis ends on the note of Becket’s temptation. This has the effect of making the temptation real, and Becket herself a lot scarier than she seems otherwise.
Yash: Don’t know why this reminds me of another series of covers we did. What was it? That sleek sci-fi one that refers to Murder on the Orient Express? Anyway, though the cover doesn’t appeal to me particularly, I can see it appealing to a lot of people! The hungry looking sewer kind of reminds me of the hellmouth from Buffy! And the smoke is interesting– kept trying to make out shapes in it, completely ignoring the people. There’s just something too sleek about this cover that bugs me. Wish I could articulate it better, but yeah, this is a maybe-someday-if-I-hear-good-things kind of book for now.
What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?
Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.
Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naïve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.
For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.
In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.
Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.
Steph: The cover is cute and very whimsical for the very dramatic and heavy story we get on the back copy. I think that the back copy does a good job of telling us some but not too much and drumming up the excitement and anticipation but… for some reason I am just not drawn to this at all. I can’t put my finger on it exactly. Maybe it’s the “honeyed eyes” that makes me fear what kind of prose I’ll be sifting through, or maybe it’s the “change the world” storyline or all the drama of these many hardships… maybe it’s that the boy’s name is Kettle? Anyway, I leave it to others to review.
Janet: Kettle? Seriously, a boy named Kettle and a girl with “honeyed eyes”? *chokes* So. Yay for stories about the internment and about abusive parents. And yay for a pretty cover. But the two do not match at all, and, like Steph, I just don’t feel the appeal.
Yash: As someone who is not very interested in Peter Pan or any of its adaptations, I’m not feeling this. And the steaming kettle on the swing makes me nervous.
The extraordinary story of a little girl raised in a circus who is about to embark on a boarding school adventure. Featuring an ancient Egyptian curse, two best friends (one who wants to be taller and one who knows everything), secretive teachers, dangerous accidents, a mystery to be solved and a menagerie of circus characters.
Steph: Yup. Gimme. Cover is fun, bright and whimsical (also not your typical middle grade cover which is refreshing) and the back copy is succinct and gripping. Now. I want it now.
Janet: Those ancient Egyptians, huh? Just couldn’t resist a good curse. Oh goodness. The cover is a bit too… I don’t know, bright? extroverted? for my taste but I like that the synopsis gives a taste of the story without revealing anything – admirably brief. I probably would have leapt at it fifteen years ago. The rather stereotypical AEC (Ancient Egyptian Curse) gives pause; I’ll wait for Steph’s thoughts on the writing.
Yash: AHAHAHA! Janet’s first line! Basically, my reaction. My whole reaction to be honest. It started out okay. I was scrolling down and OOooh! Look! Red and yellow! And Poppy Pym! What a delightfully MG name! Love it! And … oh. Oh, a curse. Okay. Oh! I think my coffee beckons! What’s that, my dear coffee mug? *sidles away*