A Very ARC-ish Readathon | TBR

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Graphic made by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks.

A Very ARC-ish Readathon is hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks. You can find the information and instructions here.

I have literally never completed a readathon before, but I do have ARCs that I plan on trying to read, at least as many as I can before school starts on its neverending plan to destroy me and my will to read for pleasure or do anything else I enjoy.

Anyway, here is a preliminary TBR for the readathon that is going to definitely be subject to change, just because I get very wishy washy about book lists like this. I’ll probably keep my Twitter account (@completelybkd) updated with my progress so check there to see how I’m doing (poorly).

Titles:

  1. The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
  2. Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
  3. If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
  4. Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
  5. Say No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson
  6. Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor
  7. What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
  8. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

4 Otome Games to Play If You’ve Never Played an Otome Game Before

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Pirates in Love is the very first otome game I’ve played. 

I love otome games so much. I’ve been playing them since my senior year of high school when barely any existed in the App Store on my phone (my first one was Voltage’s Pirates in Love and I’m not sure it still holds up, to be honest). Otome games or “maiden games” as Wikipedia tells me the term translates to are games made for women (unfortunately they are very much cis-hetero, although some allow women to date other women but still, they are mostly cis) that kind of remind me of romance novels. They are called visual novels or dating sims and they’re basically story games with choices you can make and multiple characters you can fall in love with, usually with stock personalities: the big-brother type (as in your friends older brother who you’ve had a crush on, not 1984), childhood friend, tsundere, childish guy no one takes seriously, etc., etc. Once you start playing, you’ll see the patterns. They’re a really good crash course in romance tropes, if you’re interested in that kind of thing, even if they’re a lot less useful in real life romance. They have one for pretty much every setting you could possibly be interested in seeing, which is actually pretty fun.

Anyways, I plan on reviewing and playing otome games sometimes because they’re technically stories and have the word “novel” in their descriptions. You’re almost always a Japanese woman (although sometimes you’re not, but very rarely), the character usually has pale skin and dark to light brown hair. Usually, they don’t show her eyes in the character stills for “immersion” even though it just looks creepy and doesn’t make me feel any more that the character is like me and she ranges from kind of useless (especially if it’s in an adventure setting) to sad to way too nice. But sometimes she’s okay. There’s still a lot of work that can be done on better characters and representation but they’re kind of a guilty pleasure for me. I will definitely say that they’re kind of problematic, especially with the way the main character is kind of irritating at times, but it really depends on which one you’re playing.

Anyways, if you want to start playing otome games, these are my recommendations for first time players or people who have played but are looking for more games to play that they might not have heard of.

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(L to R) – Jumin, Yoosung, Jaehee, Seven, and Zen

001. Mystic Messenger (Cheritz Co., Ltd)

Price: Free (but in-app purchases allow you to buy hourglasses to progress through stories faster or play through chats you may have missed)

App Store Description: “Downloading a messenger will lead to chatting with hot guys!?” A new type of female-oriented mobile game that you can experience a love story through an interactive messaging app. Receive phone calls and texts depending on how intimate you become with the game characters!”

Favorite Story: Seven‘s is good but I would probably recommend it last. Jumin and Zen both have interesting stories with interesting possible endings.

Mystic Messenger is a weird choice to include first but it’s the most recent one that I’ve played. Its format is very different to most otome games because it takes place in the form of an app that allows you to talk to cute guys (and one girl) but it’s a story that involves way more than just falling in love. The character interactions are great and it’s full of suspense, mystery, romance, and there’s drama and this game made me cry. Technically, this game is Korean and not Japanese but it’s still a fun otome game and it comes up when you search otome games, so I’m counting it. You play by opening the app at specific times to chat with the characters over the course of your day. There are also in-game texts and voice acted in-game phone calls. For the most part, you can play for free, but if you don’t want to wait, you can buy hourglasses to speed things up. Like I said, this isn’t the normal format for an otome game, but it’s really fun and it’s definitely worth it. I loved this game and while it’s goofy and there are plot holes, this is a good choice, but maybe after you’ve played a couple first.

Note: Jaehee has a story you can play but it’s platonic. Unfortunately, you cannot date her.

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002. My Forged Wedding (Voltage Inc.)

Price: Free prologue, but every story is $3.99, plus the prologues, second chapters, etc. The whole game is made of DLC, pretty much.

Favorite Story: I really like Ren (the quiet one) and Takao (the big brother type), but they’ve added a ton more characters since I’ve last played and I haven’t played them all. Will update you if anything changes.

App Store Description: A sudden proposal to enter a fake marriage. Pretending to be newlyweds started out as a dreadful task, but as you spend each day together, you slowly become drawn to his charm. Will what started out as lie turn out to be true love?

My Forged Wedding is one of my favorite otome games. I don’t really like the fake relationship trope but I really do love this game. Basically, your “uncle” (who the game allows you to date in this story for some reason, I guess because he’s not your “real” uncle but you spend a lot of time calling him that, so…) owns a bar and he and his friends chill out there. In exchange for helping you get a job, you have to help one of his friends with something. Is your “uncle” pimping you out to his friends? Yes. Like I said, otome games are problematic. Anyways, you agree because you’re way too nice and you really need a job because even Japan’s economy isn’t doing too great these days and your uncle says these guys really need your help (some more than others). Depending on the guy you choose, you’re going to need to stay pretend married to them for different reasons: one needs you to pretend so that he can get married before his sick grandmother dies, one needs your help because he’s looking for inspiration for a show he’s writing about a married couple, one is a prince who doesn’t want to go back home yet for…reasons, one is looking for his father who abandoned his mom. Like I said, there are other guys added outside of the main five and the uncle’s story is kind of creepy, but this is definitely one that I’d recommend.

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003. Be My Princess (Voltage Inc.)

Price: Same as MFW, prologue is free, but main character stories cost 3.99 a piece (although sometimes there are sales)

Favorite Story: I really like all of these ones for different reasons. Wilfred, Keith, and, Joshua are my personal favorites. Also, the mini-story where you can kind of date the butlers is really good.

App Store Description: You, a regular college student, run into a prince on a street corner.

You then get invited to a party, where you encounter the princes of six kingdoms, and suddenly find yourself closer to royalty than you ever expected!

What will be the fate of a love between you and a future king who carries the fate of his country?

Be My Princess is such a cute game and I was immediately reminded of it when I read that news article about how Prince Harry is going to hire interns or something. You’re a regular girl who gets to fall in love with one of six princes of six countries that are analogous for real places, even ones that don’t have royalty at all: Price Keith of Liberty (*cough* America), Prince Joshua of Leiben (if I remember correctly, which is definitely Germany), Prince Wilfred of fictional England, Prince Roberto of Altaria (which is fictional Italy, maybe), Prince Edward of fictional France, and Prince Glenn of fictional Japan. There are fancy parties and dinners and drinks and general awkwardness. Do you go to school? Sometimes. It really depends. Do you have any friends outside of your love interest? Not that I remember. Are you innocent and naive? Of course you are. But this game is cute and fun and if you’ve ever wanted to be a princess, it’s definitely worth it. I recommend it 100%.

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004. In Your Arms Tonight (Voltage Inc.)

Price: Same as MFW, prologue and first chapter is free, but main character stories cost 3.99 a piece (although sometimes there are sales)

Favorite Story: I can’t remember names right now, but your pro soccer player ex-boyfriend is really good, your co-worker is cute, and the one with the art student who’s a bit younger than you is good.

App Store Description: It’s your third month of marriage. You were supposed to have reached the height of happiness at home and work, but this happiness crumbles when you witness your new husband engaged in an affair! In this state, gentle encouragement comes from the man you least expect…

So, In Your Arms Tonight is more adult than the other two Voltage games and deals with more serious stuff, like how to recover after an affair. The protagonist is significantly older, has her own job, and struggles to get herself back together after this devestating discovery. After this heartbreak, she finds herself being pursued by a number of men from her boss, her co-worker (who is so sweet, I adore him so much! Play this story!), and a number of other options. The story changes a bit depending on which one you choose, in some your character divorces her husband and moves out, in some, she tries to work things out but her hearts not really in it, etc., etc. This one didn’t make me cry but it did make me sort of emotional, so if you’re looking for something a bit more mature, then this is the one for you.

Diversity Spotlight Thursday # 3

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a meme hosted by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. It takes place every Thursday, and it will be featuring three books in any given week:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

The aim of Diversity Spotlight Thursday is to spotlight diverse books that are out or are coming out and that we want to share with others or want other people to know about. It’s also a way for people like me who are trying to diversify their reading habits and support diverse authors to learn about books that they may not otherwise have found out about.

A BOOK THAT I’VE READ


Saga_vol1-1Saga, Vol. 1 
by Bryan K. Vaugan and Fiona Staples

Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults.

 

 

 

 

A BOOK ON MY TBR

28503698.jpgEveryone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett

For fans of Jandy Nelson and Jenny Han comes a new novel that asks, can you possibly know the person you’re becoming if you don’t know the person you’ve been?

Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.

Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased.

But why? Who was that boy, and what happened that was too devastating to live with? And even if she gets the answers she’s looking for, will she ever be able to feel like a whole person again?

AN UPCOMING RELEASE

30256109.jpgAmerican Street by Ibi Zoboi

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

 

 

Book Traveling Thursday #5 – A Book That Made Me Emotional [12/8]

Well, hello there everyone, it’s Thursday, which means it’s that time again. That’s right, it’s time for Book Traveling Thursday, which is a weekly feature hosted by Cátia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much and Danielle @ Danielle’s Book Blog. Every week, you choose a book that relates to the chosen theme (which is posted at the beginning of every month) and look at the covers that the book has from all around the world. You can find more information about it at the BTT link I posted above.

This Week’s Theme: Some books make us cry… Choose a book that made you emotional!

My Choice: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is one of my favorite books of all-time. It’s dystopian fiction but it doesn’t read like your average dystopian novel. It’s overall a very hopeful view of the apocalypse and what becomes of humanity after everything falls apart.

Summary (From Goodreads): An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Twenty years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

US Cover 

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This is the cover I own and it’s absolutely lovely. I know that they re-released copies of Emily St. John Mandel’s books to match this one and I absolutely love it.

My Favorite Covers

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My Least Favorite Covers

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Book Blitz: The Blazing Star – Imani Josey Excerpts & Giveaway!

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32182684Title: The Blazing Star

Author: Imani Josey

Publication Date: December 6, 2016

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Inclusion of Diversity: Features African-American protagonists

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult

Page Count: 239

e-ARC provided to me via Rich in Variety Blog Tours

“Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.”

Excerpts

  • “His words ran together, muffling as if underwater. Enunciate, I wanted to tell him—we had that kind of relationship—but my mouth was the driest sand. My heart raced as needling ripples spread across my palm, tiny pinpricks followed by pulsating heat. My classmates watched Mr. Pomey, oblivious to my discomfort as the scarab’s shine amplified to painful brilliance, its blue like gleaming waves crashing overtop each other. And in this blazing sheen the tiny figures on the scarab, the ancient hieroglyphs, became comprehensible script. To my beloved, the blessings of Amun, I read, as that uncomfortable heat ignited me from the inside out.”
  • “The sound cutting through the quiet may as well have been thunder crashing in a summer storm. Still within hearing distance, the soldier immediately stopped. His hand found the hilt of his sword as he looked about him. “Who’s out there?” he called. “By Ma’at, I won’t harm you if you are peaceful.” I sat in the mud for a moment, holding the sides of my head to steady it. My fingers massaged my temples before running through my hair. Thick texture greeted my hands, my short hair having reverted to its springy coils. I’d laid in the mud and dampness too long. So much for my press, I thought.”
  • “Sikara’s index finger moved across my skin. Her touch was lighter than expected but still sent a painful shiver through me. I yelped and withdrew my hand before we locked eyes. The gaze that met mine was stunning, prettier than even my twin’s. Gold specks glowed through her dark irises like hungry embers in ash, and she regarded me with raw fascination. I held her stare, watching those embers crackle. “Heka,” she said, more calmly than before. “Tasherit, please.” Tasherit bowed gracefully and slipped out of the room. When she’d gone, I once again became that bruised melon in the market—though perhaps now a unique bruised melon. Sikara stepped away from me, returning to the business at her table. “Only heka achieves what you did,” she said.”

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

imani josey.jpgImani Josey is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. In her previous life, she was a cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA. Her one-act play, Grace, was produced by Pegasus Players Theatre Chicago after winning the 19th Annual Young Playwrights Festival. In recent years, she has turned her sights to long-form fiction. She now spends the majority of her time working on backstory, teaching dance fitness classes, and cuddling with her American bulldog, Thor.

The Blazing Star is her debut novel.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Waiting on Wednesday #14 – Royal Bastards and The Disappearances

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that showcases upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating. Here at Completely Booked, this week’s picks for  Waiting on Wednesday are:

royal-bastardsTitleRoyal Bastards

Author: Andrew Shvarts

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

Summary (From Goodreads): Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey…

Thoughts: I’m 99% sure I added this book to my Goodreads TBR when it was called The Bastard Table or something similar and I didn’t really know anything about Andrew Shvarts, I just really liked the plot. The main character, Tilla, sounds like a badass, as do the rest of her band of merry little bastards and I decided that I needed this book. It’s only a bonus that Andrew Shvarts seems like the coolest human being and that he works on Pixelberry games, which I love more than anything. I mean, bastards, royalty and badass female characters sounds like the recipe for an amazing book.


the-disappearancesTitleThe Disappearances

Author: Emily Bain Murphy

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Publication Date: July 4, 2016

Summary (From Goodreads): What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

Thoughts: I love contemporary fantasy as a genre. I don’t know if it’s exactly magical realism, but I love contemporary novels with realistic settings that have mysterious magical happenings. If you read this Top 10 Tuesday post I wrote about books set in small towns, this seems like a book that I would love. Plus books about discovering the mysterious past of one’s parents and how they fit in to the grand scheme of things is one of my absolute favorite types of plots.

What books are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Authors That I Read for the First Time in 2016

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Welcome back to my blog for another round of Top 10 Tuesday, one of my favorite weekly memes, hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke and The Bookish.

This week the theme is: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016, which to be honest, should be for more than ten. I know this says top 10, but honestly, I read a lot of authors this year for the first time and the ones I’ve included on this list aren’t really in any particular order except that this is the order that they came to mind (or more realistically appeared to me when I looked them up on Goodreads to remember what I read this year).

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001. Daniel José Older

22295304Book: Shadowshaper – Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.

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002. Helen Oyeyemi

winyinyBook: What Is Yours Is Not Yours – The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret—Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. In “Books and Roses” one special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fates. In “Is Your Blood as Red as This?” an unlikely key opens the heart of a student at a puppeteering school. “‘Sorry’ Doesn’t Sweeten Her Tea” involves a “house of locks,” where doors can be closed only with a key—with surprising, unobservable developments. And in “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don’t You Think,” a key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason).

Oyeyemi’s tales span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities. Is a key a gate, a gift, or an invitation?

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003. Robin Talley

as i descendedBook: As I Descended – Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

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004. Renée Ahdieh

thisBook: The Wrath and the Dawn – In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

imani-josey

005. Imani Josey

32182684Book: The Blazing Star – Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

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006. Sarah Ockler

the summer of chasing mermaidsBook: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom – until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: an ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry – except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy – insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother, Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though – swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them…

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007. Julia Ember

unicorn-tracksBook: Unicorn Tracks – After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

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008. Toni Morrison

292327.jpgBook: The Bluest Eye – Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.

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009. Ruth Ozeki

tb-cover-993x1500.jpgBook: A Tale for the Time Being – In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

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010. Danielle Paige

dorothy must dieBook: Dorothy Must Die – I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.