Book Finds: Fate of Flames & A Shadow Bright and Burning

Inspired by the weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine, BOOK FINDS is a regular feature here that spotlights upcoming book releases that I am looking forward to read.

I haven't done a Book Finds post in a long time now, and I miss it so much that it hurts. So, I have today two fantasy books that I cannot wait for you to wait. Add away friends. 

Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
PUBLICATION DATE. November 22, 2016
PUBLISHER. Simon Pulse

SYNOPSIS. Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.

When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.

But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.

Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.

Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.

Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?

WHY I'M WAITING FOR FATE OF FLAMES? The fact that this book has a cover to die for and an exciting blurb pitched as Pacific Rim meets Sailor Moon already makes me a happy kid. But you know what's so common with this book and other books out there? It's written by another Sarah. Have you ever notice how some brilliant young adult and fantasy books were all written by authors whose names begin with Sarah? Because every Sarah book I've read hasn't let me down. Please, let this not be the first Sarah book that would fail my Sarah hypothesis.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
PUBLICATION DATE. September 20, 2016

SYNOPSIS. Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.

Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.

As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces Henrietta Howel, a powerful, unforgettable heroine, and an entertaining world filled with magic, monsters, and mayhem.

WHY I'M WAITING FOR A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING? The Infernal Devices anyone? I think this book and I will have a great time together.

What books are you looking forward to read?

Book Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
PUBLISHER. Delacorte Press
PAGES. 336
AGE GROUP. Young Adult
GENRE/S. Contemporary Romance

SYNOPSIS. Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

THOUGHTS. I approached this book blindfolded, with zero expectations at all. I read this book for the sake of reading (and for the heart-shaped waffles on the cover) but I didn’t know that I would swallow this book whole—pardon the pun—in one sitting. Now, I feel lost. Terribly lost on this book hangover I’m still reeling in. Terribly lost at words. Oh man, where and how do I even begin? But honest to goodness, I’d never exchange this feeling for another. Tell Me Three Things is a mouthful of waffles, the delicious and warm kind, topped with fresh berries—lots and lots of berries—and drizzled with honey.

To begin with, Tell Me Three Things is a multilayered story. I am greatly impressed with Buxbaum’s writer skills. She’s able to contain several elements and subplots into the story without overwhelming one another. There’s a mystery added into the plot that didn’t overarch the other elements. Although the mystery was not mind-blowing or surprising to be exact—I had a few whodunits and already had an idea on the onset of the novel—it was gripping enough to keep me turning the pages. And, although the author deliberately prolonged the conundrum it didn’t feel dragging at all. There’s also romance, though which have taken the most part in the story, like the others, worked very well with the other elements. It’s undeniably exuberant and tangible enough that will leave readers with long-lasting feeling of kilig—yes, even boys do feel kilig IRL. I’d also like to stress the underlying message about internet trust in the book. It’s hard to trust anyone anymore over the internet. Anything and everything can be easily manipulated especially if someone is not in the right state of mind. Buxbaum fiddled with grief and internet trust which was done honest-to-goodness. I hand it over to Buxbaum for writing a believable apropos of what’s happening today.

The novel wouldn’t be quite perfect as it is if not for the pitch-perfect voice of Jessie Holmes, the lead star of Tell Me Three Things. Her voice seemed to sing and soar as I was tout de suite pulled into her world. Jessie Holmes has one of the most endearing and genuine teenage voices I’ve ever read. She’s unpretentious, raw, honest, fallible, and resilient, a real person with real issues. Her humor is wry and rings true to the heart. This girl, Jessie Holmes, she gets me. She resonated to me and for sure will resonate to all readers, teens and adults alike. Buxbaum perfectly captured her character and her beautiful, funny, and at times painful narrative of adolescence, loss, and love.

There is so much honesty in this novel that is also evident in other characters in the story who are equally adorable and well-developed. There’s the cliché set of friends but remarkably so whom you'd wish to be squad with; dysfunctional blended families; a sardonic stepbrother who you can’t decide to love or hate but love still; charming and unpredictable suitors; and the enigmatic tongue-in-cheek virtual guardian. Buxbaum crafted lifelike characters with diverse and complicated personalities that added more life and color to the story.

Tell Me Three Things is a familiar world. It delves into serious issues which everyone can relate to: grief, blended families, high school, bullying. But it doesn’t let us wallow in sadness or drama. The author injects humor that is spot-on and genuine, that carries the story to a whole new experience. Unlike other books that tackle the same hard issues, it doesn’t read as heavy and dark. It’s comfortable to lose yourself into the story because it makes you feel light and unladen in the inside.

With an absorbing kilig-to-the-bones mystery romance, unabashed portrayal of teenage and family issues, unforgettable and charming band of characters who matters, humor-filled dialogues, Tell Me Three Things is set to win many readers’ hearts in a whim. Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Rainbow Rowell will love this book.

Julie Buxbaum

ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Julie Buxbaum is the author of the critically acclaimed THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE and AFTER YOU, and her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. TELL ME THREE THINGS is her first young adult novel. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish.

Book Finds: Truthwitch & Hunter

Welcome to another edition of BOOK FINDS where it spotlights upcoming book releases that everyone's excited about!

There are so many books that you dream you can get your hands on impromptu! Sigh. But for now let us just drool over the gorgeous covers of these upcoming 2015 books and their wicked synopsis and perhaps shout Accio with me! Don't forget to add them to your Goodreads list so as not to miss them!

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
RELEASE DATE. January 2016

SYNOPSIS. On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble--as two desperate young women know all too well. Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her--but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

RELEASE DATE. September 1, 2015
PUBLISHER. Disney-Hyperion

SYNOPSIS. Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

What books are you looking forward to read? Share your thoughts below.


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