Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading in Early 2017

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017.  For me, this list includes not only 10 upcoming 2017 releases, but also a couple of books where I’m playing catch up on series in anticipation of their latest installments coming out this year.  I’m sure this list will grow, but as of right now, these are my most anticipated reads for 2017.

Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To Reading in Early 2017

* * * * *

1. Gilded Cage by Vic James 

(expected publication:  February 14, 2017)

gilded cage

Goodreads Synopsis:   Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?   (Read more…)

 

* * * * *

2. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

(expected publication:  May 16, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?  (Read more…)

* * * * *

3. A Gathering of Shadows & A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

(expected publication of 3rd book:  February 21, 2017)

One of my primary goals for early 2017 is to get caught up on this series before the third book comes out in February.

Goodreads Synopsis: The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab

London’s fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.  (Read more…)

 

* * * * *

4. Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaram

(expected publication:  January 10, 2017)

lucky boy

Goodreads Synopsis:  Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin’s doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.

Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents’ chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya’s mid-thirties. When she can’t get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya’s care. As Kavya learns to be a mother–the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being–she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.

Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon valley, author Shanthi Sekaran has taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

5. A Court of Mist and Fury & A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

(expected publication of 3rd book: May 2, 2017)

 

Goodreads Synopsis: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. (Read more…)

 

* * * * *

6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

(expected publication:  February 28, 2017)

Goodsreads Synopsis:  Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star(Read more…)

* * * * *

7. Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia

(expected publication: January 3, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?  (Read more…)

* * * * *

8. The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

(expected publication:  January 10, 2017)

07

I recently received an e-ARC from Netgalley and this one also piqued my interest because of the praise from Anthony Doerr.

Goodreads Synopsis:  A captivating debut novel for readers of Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep, The Most Dangerous Place on Earth unleashes an unforgettable cast of characters into a realm known for its cruelty and peril: the American high school.

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

9. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

(expected publication:  January 17, 2017)

Goodreads Synopsis:  Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another. (Read more…)

* * * * *

10. The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney

girl before

Goodreads Synopsis:  In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.  (Read more…)

* * * * *

Question:  What books are you most looking forward to reading in 2017?  Playing catch up on any series like I am?

Waiting on Wednesday – Spotlight on Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which encourages fellow bloggers to spotlight upcoming releases that we’re excited about.

My “Waiting On” Wednesday selection for this week is Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran.  I was drawn to this book because it just sounds like it’s going to be a moving and emotional read.  I also think it’s going to be a timely read based on how much immigration, and especially illegal immigration, has been in the news recently.

ETA:  I actually just won an ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway last week so I’m stoked that I’ll get to read this sooner rather than later.  Thanks to Goodreads, the publisher, and the author!

Lucky Boy

by Shanthi Sekaran

lucky boy

Publication Date:  January 10, 2017

From Amazon:

A gripping tale of adventure and searing reality, Lucky Boy gives voice to two mothers bound together by their love for one lucky boy.

Eighteen years old and fizzing with optimism, Solimar Castro-Valdez embarks on a perilous journey across the Mexican border. Weeks later, she arrives in Berkeley, California, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. Undocumented and unmoored, Soli discovers that her son, Ignacio, can become her touchstone, and motherhood her identity in a world where she’s otherwise invisible.

Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life in Berkeley, but then she can’t get pregnant and that beautiful life seems suddenly empty. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Ignacio comes under Kavya’s care, Kavya finally gets to be the singing, story-telling kind of mother she dreamed of being. But she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.

“Nacho” to Soli, and “Iggy” to Kavya, the boy is steeped in love, but his destiny and that of his two mothers teeters between two worlds as Soli fights to get back to him. Lucky Boy is a moving and revelatory ode to the ever-changing borders of love.

Check out this Advance Praise for Lucky Boy!

“A fiercely compassionate story about the bonds and the bounds of motherhood and, ultimately, of love.” –Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans

* * * * *

I’d love to hear what upcoming book releases you’re waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by and check out your WoW selection for this week. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Authors New to Me in 2016

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016.  This is a fun topic for me because one of my goals with starting my blog this year was to branch out and read a lot of new authors this year.  These ten authors were some that I found to be the most entertaining, but this list is just the tip of the iceberg for me.  I also read so many phenomenal debut authors as well, but I’ll share those in another post sometime.

Ten Authors I Read for the First Time in 2016

 

1. Emma Donoghue

25989448  the-wonder

I had never read Emma Donoghue prior to 2016, but I enjoyed her writing so much that I not only read both Room (Click to read my Review) and The Wonder (Click to read my Review), but I also just recently purchased a copy of Frog Music.

* * * * *

2. V. E. Schwab

03

I don’t know how V.E. Schwab was not on my radar prior to 2016, but thanks to winning a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic (Read my review here), I’m now a huge fan of hers.  I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series because I just adored Lila and Kell, and then I also have This Savage Song on my TBR for 2017.

* * * * *

3. Colm Tóibín

brooklyn

Colm Tóibín is another author who I read for the first time this year.  I read his novel Brooklyn and just thought it was such a lovely coming of age story.  I don’t have a proper review for the book up on my blog because I actually read it before I started blogging, but you can read the Goodreads synopsis here.

* * * * *

4.  John Connolly

27276293

Another new author to me in 2016 was John Connolly. I read one of his Charlie Parker novels, A Time of Torment, and reviewed it for my blog (Read the review here) . I enjoyed reading it enough that I’ve since added The Book Of Lost Things to my TBR for 2017.

* * * * *

5. Colson Whitehead

underground railroad colson whitehead

I’m actually reading Colson Whitehead for the first time right now.  I had purchased a few of his earlier works at a book fair this summer, but decided to dive into his latest work instead since it has become such a big hit.  It’s a great read so far.  Read the Goodreads Synopsis.

* * * * *

6. Sarah J. Maas

acotar

I’m probably the last person on the planet to get around to reading Sarah J. Maas, but I finally bit the bullet and dove into the ACOTAR series. LOVED it!  You can read my review for that here.  I enjoyed this book so much that I’ve gotten the second book in the series and plan to read that as soon as possible. A couple of the Throne of Glass books are also in my TBR so 2017 promises to be the Year of Maas for me.

* * * * *

7. Curtis Sittenfeld

eligible

I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, so what drew me to Curtis Sittenfeld for the first time was her novel Eligible, which is a modern retelling of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  This was such an entertaining read for me (My Review) that I’ve since gone out and purchased Sisterland and really look forward to reading it soon.

* * * * *

8. Rainbow Rowell

fangirl-cover

I had my first experience with Rainbow Rowell this year as well, and boy was it amazing?!  I read Eleanor and Park prior to starting my blog and fell in love with that book, but by far, one of my favorite reads of 2016 has to be Fangirl.  As you’ll see from my review, I just loved everything about it. I have Landline in my TBR pile now so there’s definitely more Rowell in my future.

* * * * *

9. Pierce Brown

red-rising

2016 was my first exposure to Pierce Brown as well.  I finally read the first book in the Red Rising series and thought it was amazing. (Read my review here).  I recently snagged the second book in the series for a great price at a local book fair, so I’m looking forward to continuing the series soon.

* * * * *

10. Haruki Murakami

haruki

I read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle prior to starting my blog, so I don’t have a proper review up for it. Murakami was a challenging read for me, and at times, I didn’t particularly care for the writing but at other times, I very much enjoyed it.  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle wasn’t really for me, but I still purchased a copy of IQ84 because I’d like to continue to explore this author’s whimsical writing style.

* * * * *

Question:  Were any of these authors new for you in 2016?  If not, who did you read for the first time this year?

Book Review: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Book Review:  Girl in Pieces by Kathleen GlasgowGirl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
five-stars
Published by Delacorte Press on August 30th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 416
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever.  Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

My Review of Girl in Pieces:

Girl in Pieces is one of those books that I literally could not put down once I got started. Kathleen Glasgow shows us a raw and unflinching look inside the world of those who self-harm.  Girl in Pieces centers around Charlotte Davis (or Charlie as she is known).  Charlie has been through more in her short seventeen years than most of us go through our entire lives. Both her dad and her best friend have died, she has ended up homeless for a year, been exposed to drugs, alcohol, and witnessed sexual abuse while living in what was basically a sex house, and that merely scratches the surface of all that she has experienced.  Reaching the breaking point and attempting to end her life lands Charlie in a hospital where she finally gets much needed help and begins her road to recovery.  Most of the novel focuses on Charlie’s journey to recovery and all of its ups and downs.

* * * * *

What Did I Love?

  • Charlie:  My love for this book centers directly around Charlie.  I was drawn to Charlie from the moment we meet her in the hospital, where she is so traumatized that she can’t even speak.  I felt an immediate connection with her and was just so heartbroken by the state she was in.  Once she began to speak and talk about what was going on in her mind and then especially when she is released from the hospital and subsequently handed a bus ticket to Arizona by her mom who basically washes her hands of Charlie, I just loved Charlie all the more and wanted her to succeed in her recovery efforts.  I mean how can you not feel sympathetic towards someone who is basically abandoned by their mom when they probably need them the most?

Charlie is an immensely likeable character that I think most everyone will relate to.  Either she’ll remind them of themselves or of someone they know.  Because she’s so familiar and so relatable, her journey is all the more real and all the more shocking because it makes you realize that anyone around you at any time could be going through a similarly rough time, fighting inner demons that you can only begin to imagine.

What I really liked about Charlie was her determination.  She gets off the bus in Arizona and immediately sets out to make her way in the world, taking things one step at a time, one day at a time.  Sometimes it takes everything in her to fight the fear of being alone so that she can function, but she does it. She secures a job at a coffee shop, finds herself a low budget room to rent, and slowly but surely begins to build a life for herself.  Now that’s not to say everything is sunshine and roses for Charlie just because she has a job and a place to life.  There are still plenty of ups and downs, especially once Charlie begins a relationship with a coworker named Riley, who has a drug problem and whose behavior is becoming increasingly erratic the longer Charlie knows him.  Because Riley is so caught up with his own issues, he’s not exactly the ideal support system for Charlie and her dependence on someone who cannot be relied on leads to some occasional dark moments for her.

But as I said, Charlie has a lot of determination to make it through the darkness.  She is not just a girl in pieces, as the title indicates, broken by all that has happened to her. She’s also a girl who is seeking to discover all of the pieces that make her who she is, both the good and the bad, so that she can fit them all together and better understand who she is so that she can make peace with it and move forward.  Charlie is an artist and ultimately it is through her drawings that she finally begins to find her sense of self and to feel more whole.

  • The Book’s Messages:  The book is filled with important messages that really resonated with me as I was following Charlie on her journey.  Like Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places, it’s a book that seeks to remove the stigma that is often associated with mental illness.  If you know someone who self-harms, I think this book will allow you to come away with an idea of what the person is going through — what is driving them to harm themselves — so that you can better understand what they’re up against.

Perhaps its most important messages are for those who self harm.  Girl in Pieces lets those who self-harm know they aren’t alone – that others are going through what they’re going through.  We see it first in the hospital where Charlie encounters many other girls like her and then throughout the book, Charlie meets a few other people she would never have guessed were self-harmers until she sees their scars and realizes that it’s not just her.  Girl in Pieces also conveys the message that there are also people out there who care and who want to try to help.  Even though Charlie’s mother is no help at all, Charlie has many friends, both old and new, who genuinely care about her and want to see her succeed.

Girl in Pieces also shows that the path to recovery is a long and sometimes never-ending journey and that it will have ups and downs.  When Charlie relocates to Arizona, finds herself a job and a place to live, for example, she still brings along the kit that she uses to cut herself with, just in case she needs it.

Even if you’re doing great one moment, something could happen that triggers a relapse.  The message of the book is to realize that setbacks are normal and that they are just that – setback.  They are not failures, and they do not define you and no matter how many setbacks you have, you should never lose hope of someday reaching a point where you no longer feel the need to engage in self-harming behavior or to keep that cutting kit with you – just in case.

  • The Writing.  Not only is this an important book, but it’s a beautifully crafted book as well.  The subject matter is dark, but the writing is gorgeous, almost poetic at times and as painful as Charlie’s journey is at times, the story is still so captivating that you won’t be able to put it down. I also think Glasgow does a wonderful job of handling such a sensitive subject matter with a great deal of respect, and I commend her for that.

* * * * *

Anything I Didn’t Like?

At first, I had Charlie’s relationship with Riley in the “Don’t Like” category.  Riley is a former musician who is very charming and charismatic, but whose life is in just as bad a place as Charlie’s is.  Because of that, their relationship is pretty toxic and I constantly wanted to scream at Charlie to just get away from him.  Ultimately, however, I came to terms with the fact that toxic relationships are quite likely to occur when someone is on the path to recovery.  Looking at it from that perspective, I think Charlie’s experiences with Riley therefore only further add to the authenticity of Glasgow’s story.  While Riley himself may initially be considered somewhat of a negative, he ultimately ends up being a very important part of Charlie’s journey and so I’m going to pull him out of the “Don’t Like” category and let’s just leave it at “It’s complicated.”

 * * * * *

Who Would I Recommend Girl in Pieces to? 

Honestly, I think Girl in Pieces is one of those books that everyone should read.  It’s raw, honest, brave, haunting, and without a doubt, one of the most powerful books I’ve read this year.  I would temper my recommendation just to say that I’m sure some of the topics covered would be considered triggers to those who self-harm, so they’d have to determine for themselves if the book is a good fit for them.

 * * * * *

Rating:  5 Stars

five-stars

About Kathleen Glasgow

Kathleen Glasgow is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel, Girl in Pieces.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona and is a researcher for The Writer’s Almanac. Girl in Pieces has been named to “best of lists by Goop, TeenVogue, BN Teen, Refinery29, EW.com, TeenReads, and more.