So, this feature is intended to spotlight the galleys I peruse. I will read 25 pages or so and judge from there whether I will choose to: Buy, borrow, add to the wishlist, forget about, or delete and never look back.
So, let’s take a peak:
Hidden (Avena #1) by Marianne Curley
Expected publication: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Genre: YA Fantasy
For as long as Ebony can remember, she’s been sheltered. Confined to her home in a secluded valley, home-schooled by her protective parents, and limited to a small circle of close friends. It’s as if she’s being hidden. But something is changing in Ebony. Something that can’t be concealed. She’s growing more beautiful by the day, she’s freakishly strong, and then there’s the fact that she’s glowing.
On one fateful night, Ebony meets Jordan and she’s intensely drawn to him. It’s as if something explodes inside of her–something that can be seen from the heavens. Ebony still doesn’t know that she’s a stolen angel, but now that the heavens have found her, they want her back.
My quick take: Angel novels have to be really good or really different for me to get into them- and the darker the angel the better. Hidden missed the mark for me in so many ways. The characters are all very cliche and the main girl is just one of those kind of girls I would never have been friends with. The love triangle was absolutely agonizing and complete insta-love that felt like whiplash while reading it. I shelved this one as soon as I made it through about 50 pages, hoping it would get better. It didn’t. It has been done before, and much better at that.
The Verdict: Delete it and do not allow the pretty cover to tempt you
Linked by Imogen Howson
Publication date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.
My quick take: Linked has everything in it to have the makings of a great Sci-Fi read. Somehow, though, those elements are not used as they could have been. The characters are boring. In fact, I found myself not even caring about the horrific things that had happened to the leading lady. The writing is slow for a sci-fi novel, and I actually found myself dozing off every time I tried to read too far. I think it has potential, I’m just not sure it is using it well.
The Verdict: Borrow
All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
Publication date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Fantasy
The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.
Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.
And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.
My quick take: Right away there is a dark tone to this book, and drew me right in. The characters are real and the dialog flows really well. The concept is just enough different from a lot that is out there right now that is is intriguing- and even more so with the backdrop of the 1990′s music scene. I love the setting, as there are not many set in that place and time in YA (actually, none that I can think of). For me, I was able to connect right away because I was one of those girls. I love the gritty feel, the lush and descriptive writing that does not go overboard, and the cultural references of the time. I am definitely hooked.
The Verdict: Buy it