YA March 2015 Releases!!!

Monday, March 2, 2015
There are so many new books coming out this month. Here's a quick list of the novels I'm most excited to read! 

March 3rd
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
pub: Farrar Straus Giroux
genre: YA Historical Fantasy
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love. The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret. As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier
pub: Soho Teen
genre: YA Historical Fiction > Western, Paranormal > Ghosts
In the vein of The Diviners and The Petal and the WhiteRazorhurst reimagines the notorious history of a mob-controlled Sydney—with a paranormal twist.
Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and homeless, is blessed (and cursed) with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts. They tell her secrets the living can’t know about the cracks already forming in the mobs’ truce. 
Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell, a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” because none of her beaus has ever survived knowing her. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and she knows that Gloriana’s hold is crumbling one henchman at a time. As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens the two girls at every turn, Dymphna is determined not only to survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.

other releases:
The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles) by Becky Wallace
pub: Margaret K. McElderry Books
genre: YA High Fantasy

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
pub: Disney-Hyperion
genre: YA Mystery-Thriller, Historical Fiction > Golden Age Hollywood

March 10th
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
pub: Katherine Tegen Books
genre: YA High Fantasy
The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1)
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.
She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.
She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others
Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone, #2)The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2) by Lori M. Lee
pub: Skyscape
genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi > Dystopia
The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.

Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.

To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.

In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.
Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2)
pub: Simon & Schusters Books for Young Readers
genre: YA Sci-Fi > Dystopia
Burning Kingdoms (Internment Chronicles, #2)
Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.
After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.
The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.
It is also a land at war.
Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?

Rivals in the City (The Agency #4) by Y.S. Lee
pub: Candlewick Press
genre: YA Historical Fiction, Mystery
Rivals in the City (The Agency #4)
In a tale steeped in action, romance, and the gaslit intrigue of Victorian London, Mary Quinn’s detective skills are pitted against a cunning and desperate opponent.
Mary Quinn has a lot on her mind. James Easton, her longtime love interest, wants to marry her; but despite her feelings, independent-minded Mary hesitates. Meanwhile, the Agency has asked Mary to take on a dangerous case: convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and Mary must watch for the return of his estranged wife, an accomplished criminal herself who has a potentially deadly grudge against James. Finally, a Chinese prizefighter has arrived in town, and Mary can’t shake a feeling that he is somehow familiar. With the stakes higher than ever, can Mary balance family secrets, conflicting loyalties, and professional expertise to bring a criminal to justice and find her own happiness?
other releases: 
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
pub: HarperCollins
genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
pub: Random House Children's Books
genre: High Fantasy > Dragons

Under a Painted SkyMarch 17th
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
pub: Putnam Juvenile  
genre: YA Historical Fiction, Western
A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity 
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail. This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carrier
pub: Orbit
genre: YA Paranormal > Werewolves, Vampires; Steampunk
Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1)
When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances - names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone's secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?
Duplicity by N.K. Traver
pub: Thomas Dunne Books
genre: YA Contemporary, Thriller

Written in the StarsMarch 24th:
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
pub: Nancy Paulsen Books
genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, Setting > Middle East
This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny? Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.
March 30th:
The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
pub: Harper Collins
genre: YA Mystery, Horror

The Cemetery Boys
When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.
Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.
Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.
King (The Dragon King Chronicles, #3)March 31st:
King by Ellen Oh
pub: HarperTeen
genre: YA Fantasy, Setting > Korea

Girl warrior, demon slayer, Tiger spirit of the Yellow Eyes—Kira is ready for her final quest. In this thrilling finale to the Prophecy trilogy, fans will get even more of the fierce Kira and her quest to save her kingdom!

All eyes are on her. Kira, once an outcast in her home village of Hansong, is now the only one with the power to save her kingdom. She must save her cousin, the boy fated to be the future king, uncover the third lost treasure, and face innumerable enemies in order to fulfill the famed prophecy.

Kira braves a sea of tigers and battles armies of demons as she musters her inner strength and learns to trust herself, the romantic feelings for Jaewon that are growing within her, and the destiny that must be hers.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Heroines of All Time (in books and pop culture)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week we’re listing our…

Top Ten Favorite Heroines of All Time in books and pop culture

I would not be the person I am today without these heroines in my life. Each and every one of them is strong-willed, vulnerable, intelligent & courageous. 

the girl with the silver tongue
Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials Trilogy (novel)

the girl who saved the beast
Belle from Beauty and the Beast (fairy tale)

the girl who would be queen of the world
Relena Peacecraft from Gundam Wing (anime)

the girl who bleeds red on the battlefield
Lagertha from Vikings (tv series)

Miyazaki's first and most beloved heroine
Princess Nausicaa from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (manga)

the girl with the steady heart
Oh Ha Ni / Yuan Xiang Qin / Kotoko Aihara from Playful Kiss / It Started with a Kiss/ Mischievous Kiss (asian drama)

the girl in the moving castle
Sophie Hatter from Howl's Moving Castle (novel)

the girl who traveled across the country to kill her one true love
Toko from Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince (novel)

the girl on the wrong side of a revolution
Eliste vo Derrivale from Illusion (novel)

the girl who traveled to another world
Hitomi Kanzaki from Escaflowne  (anime)

Who are your favorite heroines?

Richelle Mead Book Signing

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Hey guys. Recently I went to a book signing for Richelle Mead over at my local Barnes and Noble. I thought I'd share some of the notes I took on her Q&A. Enjoy!

First off, I arrived a little late (b/c I'm the worst) and there was already a packed crowd (est. 200).  Richelle Mead did a Q&A session for 30 minutes, and then proceeded to sign books. 

"Sometimes my characters will tweet me, which is a little weird." 
"Vampire Academy wasn't expected to do well. Which is why the 4th book started in hardcover. Publishers look for numbers." - When asked if there would ever be hardcovers of her first 3 VA novels. There is a rare, special edition hardcover of the first VA books, but no hardcovers (or planned for hardcovers) of the second & third.
**Next novel to-be-released is titled Soundless, and it is a stand-alone YA novel w/ a release date in November.

**Next project(s) will be a big multi-book series, soon-to-be-announced

**Writing process - "Before kids, I would write whenever I wanted to (Shadow Kiss was written on Fruity Pebbles and coffee)". Now, she "writes in those 8 hours" her kids are in school, which means there's no time for procrastination. "I'm an outliner. I write detailed outlines, chapter by chapter; [which I use as] a roadmap each day."

**Decided to do a spin-off about middle of writing the VA series. Jill had originally been the protagonist of new series. Sydney is the opposite of Rose. Thought it important to see a woman who battled with her wits, too.

**The Ruby Circle is so much skinnier than Last Sacrifice: "To get the book in on time, I couldn't finish up every single character sub plot." At the time she was writing RC, she was pregnant/had a newborn.

**No one thing inspired VA; synthesis of things. Took a class in college on Eastern European folklore.
"Writers love stories and observing the world."
It was awesome seeing Richelle Mead at the signing. Unfortunately, I did not stay to get my book signed. There were just too many people and I thought seeing her speak was enough. She's so lovely! Excited for this new multi-book series she hinted at. Apparently it has nothing to do with the VA series, but is something new entirely. Give me now!

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Tropes in Novels & Pop Culture

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week we’re listing our…

Top Ten Romance Tropes

1. Second Chances
Characters who are separated for a long time are reunited. They've changed. Pasts come back to haunt. But love stays true!
Novel(s) that feature this trope: Persuasion by Jane Austen, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

2. Unrequited Love

Love is one-sided. The hero/ine longs for someone, for years.
Novel(s) that feature this trope: Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, After the Night by Linda Howard, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Pop culture that features this trope: Playful Kiss (Korean Drama)

3. Forbidden Love/Falling in love with the Enemy
Love that faces nearly impossible circumstances due to a variety of reasons; incl: family feuds, race, or social differences. I did a post on this, check it out: here.
Novel(s) that feature this trope: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare, Into the Dark Lands by Michelle Sagara West

4. Class Warfare
This goes along with the Forbidden Love aspect, but not as dramatic. People of different social classes, falling in love.
Novel(s) that feature this trope: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pop Culture that features this trope: The Notebook (film), Boys Over Flowers (K-Drama), The Heirs (K-Drama)

5. December/May Romance, Age-Gap Romance
This is a really popular trope in Korean dramas, where an older woman falls in love with a younger man.
Hey, technically Edward & Bella was a May/December romance considering he's about 100 and she's 16 years old. 
Novel(s) that feature this trope: Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Pop Culture that features this trope: I Can Hear Your Voice (K-Drama), Sailor Moon (Anime)

6. Love is Equal

It extends beyond friendship. Both are equal in power and can exist outside of the other, but are able to work together TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS. Also, I just realized I put Charlie Hunnam & Travis Fimmel gifs together coincidentally. Google them. They look like the same person. MORESO both the female characters in these gifs--Mako Mori & Lagertha--ARE AMAZING.

7. Girl Disguised as a Boy
Girl dresses up as boy...for reasons. Antics ensue. I did a whole post on this trope, check it out: here. Apparently I've read a lot of "girls disguised as boys" books. Who knew?
Novel(s) that feature this trope: Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce, The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley
Pop Culture that features this trope: To the Beautiful You (K-Drama), You're Beautiful (K-Drama)

8. Friends to Lovers
Novel(s) that feature this trope: On the Fence by Kasie West, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

9. Fairytale Re-tellings
Who else loves a good fairy tale re-telling? You already know the ending, so there's less anxiety, haha. And the stories are beloved.

10. Love Triangle
Even though the love triangle can be...frustrating, it's undeniably a fun ride. 

gifs & pictures used in order of appearance: Chihiro & Haku from Spirited Away, anime drawing from Pixiv, gif from Akdong Musician's 200% music video, still from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet w/ Leo Dicaprio & Claire Danes (1996), The Notebook, stills from I Can Hear Your Voice, Lagertha & Ragnar gif from Vikings, gif from Pacific Rim, pic of Park Shin Hye as Go Mi Nam from You're Beautiful, gif from Shut Up Flower Boy Band, illustration by Nadezhda Illarionova, meme from Heirs

Phew. That was epic. If you have any favorite romance tropes in books, please let me know in the comments below. OR if you know of a novel/film that features one of these tropes, TELL ME, and I will READ/WATCH IT!
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