Top Fives: Simon and Schuster Fall 2018 Preview #sskidspreview

Last week Simon and Schuster hosted their Summer 2018 preview to talk about upcoming titles.

If you want to see all of the tweets from the preview, you can check out of the #sskidspreview tag on twitter. (You can also find all of my tweets from the preview too!)

Here are the top five titles I’m excited about from the preview:

Picture Books

  1. How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Gugliemo, illustrated by Giselle Potter: was too engrossed in the pictures to take notes during this presentation! A picture book bio about Temple Grandin’s invention of the squeeze machine as a child. (This book also got Grandin’s blessing!) Publishing August 2018.
  2. Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood, illustrated by Ella Okstad: Sophie Johnson is the world’s foremost authority on unicorns. But even Sophie can’t seem to find the unicorn right under her nose. Or can she? Publishing November 2018.
  3. Stop That Yawn! by Caron Levis, illustrated by Pham Leuyen: Whatever you do, don’t yawn while reading this silly and delightful new picture book. Pham Leuyen’s artwork was inspired by The Night Kitchen. She knew she had to do this project when her young sons cracked up while listening to it!
  4. An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin and Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution by Beth Anderson, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley: Nonfiction picture book about Benjamin Franklin and Noah Webster’s attempt to revolutionize the English alphabet. Publishing September.
  5. Imagine! by Raul Colon: Wordless picture book from Raúl Colón about art, imagination, and a magical museum visit. I think this might be the book I’ve been waiting for from this author/illustrator. Publishing September 2018.

Middle Grade

  1. I’m Ok by Patti Kim: Ok is sure that he’s just one get-rich-quick scheme away from a life of luxury and helping his Korean family make ends meet in this funny and optimistic about a boy who just keeps trying. Publishing October 2018.
  2. Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo: The Lightning Thief meets The Story Thieves in this middle grade debut inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian peninsula and Central and South America. Publishing October 2018.
  3. Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner: This graphic novel middle grade debut is follows a middle schooler who thinks he’s met a Bella only to discover she’s more of a Buffy—complete with the fight to save town! Publishing September 2018.
  4. Dear Sister by Alison McGhee: The story of two siblings. Told entirely in notes written by a boy to his younger sister explaining how annoying she is. Inspired by real letters McGhee found that her son had written to her daughter. Publishing October 2018.
  5. Your Amazing Skin From Outside In by Joanne Settel, illustrated by Bonnie Timmons: A nonfiction book about skin. Written as poems. Illustrated by Bonnie Timmons who used to illustrate for American Girl which yes is why I recognized her work! Publishing September 2018.

Young Adult

  1. Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton: Love, lies, and sacrifices loom large in Gratton’s newest YA fantasy. I had the best time gushing about how excited I am for this book with Tessa’s editor and I just can’t wait to read it. If Tessa Gratton isn’t on your radar yet, I think this is going to be the book that makes her a household name. Publishing September 2018.
  2. People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins: On any given day ninety-six people are killed by guns. Seven of them are children or teens. Violence narrates this story of six teens as they decide whether or not they will pick up a gun and fire. I’ll be honest, Ellen Hopkins isn’t always my bag but I think this verse novel is going to be timely and powerful. Publishing September 2018.
  3. The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody: One girl. One classic car that needs to be sold. One boyfriend who can drive it. One epic road trip about trading up and forgiving. Publishing October 2018.
  4. A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti: Can a girl outrun her demons? A timely and universal novel about the sense of helplessness in the face of violence and a girl forced into activism. Publishing September 2018.
  5. Annalee in Real Life by Janelle Milanes: A story about the spectacular things that can happen when you go after what you want. Featuring a Cuban American girl into an MMOPRG! Publishing September 2018.
  6. 500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario: A verse novel about a girl who tries to save her reputation by writing college essays for her Ivy League obsessed classmates. Comped to Gayle Forman and Sonya Sones. Publishing September 2018.

I Capture the Castle: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

cover art for I Capture the Castle by Dodie SmithSeventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain and her family have lived in the castle for years. It had been different when her father was still writing and her mother was alive. There had been plans to fix up the castle then.

Everything is different now. Mortmain stopped writing after his time in prison and his second wife, Topaz, is at her wit’s end for ideas to get him to start again. Her work as an artist’s model is far from enough to support the entire family. Even with money from their sometimes servant and friend Stephen, there is no denying that the family’s situation is dire.

Cassandra’s older sister is certain that she can change her family’s fate if only she can find the right sort of man to marry. But as the eccentric, poverty-stricken neighbors, it isn’t easy to attract the right sort of man at all. Thomas, the youngest, is still in school but his prospects are unlikely to help any.

Without any clear way to change their fortunes, Cassandra settles instead to chronicle the day-to-day happenings within the castle in a hope to capture the strange circumstances that have become quite ordinary to her.

Little does Cassandra know as she sets out to document life in the castle, her family is about to embark on a momentous year filled with delightful surprises, momentous changes, and maybe even first love in I Capture the Castle (1948) by Dodie Smith.

I Capture the Castle only came to my attention when I saw the newest edition from Wednesday Books with a forward from Jenny Han. In her forward Jenny talks about accidentally becoming a collector of first editions of this book and her decision to buy it from her college bookstore based on the strength of JK Rowling’s blurb. I similarly was drawn to this book on the strength of Jenny’s forward and can confirm that if you are a fan of her cozy contemporary novels, this is a perfect classic to pick up.

The novel is presented as Cassandra’s journal, written over the course of three notebooks and one turbulent year. Cassandra narrates events as she sets them down in her notebook with sly observations and wit. Her narrative voice is breezy and the dialogue included is snappy.

I won’t say too much about the plot except to share that it was surprisingly unpredictable and kept me guessing–things I didn’t expect from a classic. By the time I got to the third act of this book, I couldn’t read fast enough. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

Vivid descriptions bring the eccentric castle and its residents to life drawing readers even further into this story. Although it was first published seventy years ago, I Capture the Castle is a timeless story. Cassandra’s struggles and triumphs feel as fresh and immediate as if they happened today.

Possible Pairings: Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstley, A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl, Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel, A Map For Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor

*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

July 2018 Reading Tracker

I finally read all of the books I had set aside to read this month. I’m also getting to a lot that have been lingering as books I sort of wanted to read soon but never got to. Here’s how it all shook out:

Books I Read:

  1. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
  2. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  3. Spill Zone: The Broken Vow by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland
  4. Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling
  5. The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw
  6. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
  7. Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll
  8. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
  9. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Ademeyi
  10. Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
  11. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  12. Letting Go of Gravity by Meg Leder
  13. Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser
  14. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
  15. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
  16. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
  17. The Supervillain and Me by Danielle Banas
  18. Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre

Books I Had Planned to Read:

What are you hoping to read this month? 📚 These are the books I’m planning to get to. I’m halfway through Unclaimed Baggage but I’ve been savoring it as I read with a friend. I’m also hoping to buddy read Grace and Fury later this month with @cassieopiabooks. 📚 Since some of these books are rather large I’m going for a trimmed down tbr for the month. Wish me luck! 📚 (And remember you can always check my profile here to see what I’m currently reading listed in my bio!) 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #fairyloot #booksandfunko #toread

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Books Bought:

  1. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (July Uppercase)

ARCs Received:

  1. The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester (requested)
  2. Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre (not requested)

You can also see what I read in June.

The Darkest Legacy: A Review

“In darkness, you only needed to see just as far as your headlights extended. As long as you kept going, it was enough.”

“We’ve inherited the darkest legacy, but they don’t know that we’ve learned how to thrive in shadows and create our own light.”

Five years ago Suzume “Zu” Kimura and her friends helped end President Gray’s corrupt administration and the camp system that imprisoned the child survivors of IANN while claiming to rehabilitate them and “cure” their psychic abilities. Back then it had been easy to believe that change was possible.

But now Zu is seventeen and after watching Chubs and Vida try to work within a governmental system that fears them, she isn’t sure if true change–or true freedom–is possible. As a spokesperson, Zu tries to convince the public that the government is helping even as new legislation continues to restrict Psi rights.

When she is framed for committing a terrorist attack, Zu has to clear her name before her supposed guilt becomes an excuse to punish other Psi. Zu forms an uneasy alliance with Roman and Priyanka–two Psi who say they want to help her but might just as easily betray her. As they grow closer Zu realizes that Roman and Priyanka’s secrets are key to understanding the darkness that’s been allowed to fester while the interim government works to restore order.

With no one left to trust, Zu has to depend on herself and her voice as she tries to save the friends who once rescued her and effect real change in The Darkest Legacy (2018) by Alexandra Bracken.

The Darkest Legacy is a tense, frenetic return to the world of Bracken’s Darkest Minds trilogy (soon to be a motion picture staring Amandla Stenberg). Zu’s story is self-contained and largely independent from Ruby’s arc in the original trilogy. Familiarity with the previous books will give readers a larger appreciation for this standalone installment. The novel starts with Zu’s found family fractured over whether they should work within or outside of the government–a moral issue Zu struggles with both in the present story and in flashback chapters.

Zu’s Japanese-American heritage is thoughtfully portrayed and informs her lingering anger and post-traumatic stress from being in a Psi camp. The rest of the cast is equally inclusive including non-American characters who bring a different perspective to the Psi situation in the United States.

Zu has grown a lot since her time in the camp and with the Black Betty gang. She is desperate to convince her friends, and herself, that she is fine–that she’s not the girl who stopped talking for a year anymore. But it’s only when she acknowledges past traumas and hurts–both her own and those of other Psi–that she begins to understand her own strength as a survivor.

As Zu learns more about the government’s misdeeds and her own role in advocating for them, she realizes she has to question everything she believes about the government and herself as she tries to find her own way–and her own moral code–to make a place for Psi in a society that doesn’t always want to acknowledge or accept them.

The Darkest Legacy is an empowering story of independence, resilience, and one girl’s decision to act even in the face of impossible odds and indifference. A must-read for fans of the series and a nail-biting introduction for readers discovering it for the first time.

Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, White Cat by Holly Black, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, False Memory by Dan Krokos, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration at BookExpo 2018*

*A more condensed version of this review was published the the DATE TK issue of School Library Journal*

Week in Review: July 28

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

This has been such a full moon week lol. I am feeling on a more even keel after surviving Mock Printzmas in July (my book got an honor woot!).

Also: I have news!

I’m hosting a reading challenge in August. Are you in?

Here are two of my favorite posts I shared on Instagram this week:

You can only choose one: Pirates or ninjas? ▪️▪️▪️ My answer is always pirates. I’m currently reading Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser. It’s the sequel to Song of the Current—book I discovered last year when my friend @edenn85 reviewed it for SLJ and when I got a copy in one of my first @uppercasebox subscriptions. ▪️▪️▪️ While this story isn’t as contemplative as book one (I’m 51 pages in and there have already been three assassination attempts!), I’m excited to return to the world of the Riverlands and see what’s in store for ship captain Caro and Markos as he tries to reclaim his throne. ▪️▪️▪️ #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #sarahtolcser #songofthecurrent #uppercasebox

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What’s one of your favorite book tropes? ▪️ I love books where characters start out hating each other only to become friends. It’s why Foolish Hearts is a favorite of mine and why I’m already loving The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo. ▪️ Clara Shin is used to being in trouble. It comes with the territory when you’re a practical joker. But whatever. It’s always worth the laughs, right? ▪️ At least it is until the joke Clara pulls at junior prom goes too far ending with a fight and a fire. ▪️ Now instead of coasting through the summer and hanging out with her influencer mom for two weeks in Tulum, Clara is spending the summer working on her father’s food truck with her nemesis Rose Carver. ▪️ Working on the KoBra all summer with Rose is sure to be a nightmare. But it might also be the wake up call the both Clara and Rose need. ▪️ #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #thewayyoumakemefeel #maurenegoo #uppercasebox

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How was your week? What are you reading?

Get ready for #missprintbookaday on August 25

Big news, everyone!

I’m hosting a reading challenge this August. I’m hoping to make it a monthly thing so stay tuned for updates.

The challenge can be done on your blog, Twitter, Instagram, or a combination of all three. It’s part reading challenge or read-a-thon, part photo challenge, and maybe even a Twitter chat. It’s also really low key.

Here are the details for my first ever Miss Print Book-A-Day Challenge

  • When: August 25 to August 31 (if this goes well it will be back!)
  • Where: Anywhere you want. You can share updates on Twitter or Instagram as well as on your blog.
  • How: Between August 25 and 31 you commit to reading one book a day and talking about it. Use the hashtag #missprintbookaday to share titles, updates, anything you want.

I’ve made a handy graphic you can use for photo prompts if you need them (or make up your own!):

My vision is for the challenge to be low key–you can read as many or as few books as you want.

Since it’s my blog birthday month, I’ll also be doing a small giveaway for someone who participates every day of the challenge so be sure to use the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram so I can see your updates.

Questions, comments, other concerns? Let me know in the comments! (Or just let me know if you’ll be joining the fun!)

My So-Called Bollywood Life: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Winnie Mehta’s future is all planned out. At least it was according to her family’s pandit. According to his star chart readings Winnie would meet the love her life before her eighteenth birthday. His name would start with the letter R and he would give her a silver bracelet.

The signs couldn’t have been clearer that Winnie’s true love was Raj. He meets every qualification.

Until Winnie comes home from a summer at film camp and finds out that Raj decided their break was more of a breakup.

Obviously Winnie is never going to love anyone ever again and the stars are liars.

Winnie can’t even lose herself in film club work at school when Raj ends up stealing her spot as chair of the student film festival.

Suddenly nothing about Winnie’s future is mapped out and her life seems to be taking a dramatic turn from her promised Bollywood style happy ending.

Fellow film geek Dev might be the only one who might understand and be able to help Winnie get back on track. Dev is funny, charming, and helps Winnie try to see beyond her prophecy. But as Winnie starts to fall for Dev she wonders if choosing him means she has to give up on her happy ending in My So-Called Bollywood Life (2018) by Nisha Sharma.

Sharma’s debut YA novel is a zany contemporary romance sure to appeal to movie lovers. Each chapter starts with a snippet of a Bollywood movie review from Winnie’s blog. Back matter at the end of a book gives a rundown of all of the movies mentioned in the story and more.

Winnie is a smart, driven character but she is also prone to melodrama and quick decisions. (The novel opens with Winnie literally burying her past by digging a grave for all of the gifts she gave to her ex-boyfriend in the last three years.) This rash behavior leaves ample room for humor and misunderstandings befitting a book that is partially an ode to Bollywood films.

Winnie’s family speaks Punjabi and Hindi and the combination of cultures and customs imbues Winnie’s life and informs the story as much as her love of Bollywood films. Sweet romance, drama, and action make this novel pure escapist fun at its finest.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is a must read for movie lovers, Bollywood aficionados, and anyone looking for a great high school romance that has as many laughs as it does swoons.

Possible Pairings: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon, Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, Lucky in Love by Kasie West, Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods