Become the Hero of Your Own Percy Jackson-Style Adventure!

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As part of the Percy Pack, today I am thrilled to help share the exclusive news with you, fellow Percy Jackson fans, about a brand-new e-book coming from author Rick Riordan, which gives readers the chance to experience their own Percy-like adventure! Check out the deets:

The Demigods of Olympus: An Interactive Adventure

DemigodseBookPrice: $8.99 / $7.99
On-Sale: July 14, 2015

Your quest begins! Use your demigod skills in this interactive and customizable adventure story written by New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan. Combining four short stories, The Two-Headed Guidance Counselor, The Library of Deadly Weapons, My Demon Satyr Tea Party, and My Personal Zombie Apocalypse, your choices will have consequences in this first interactive demigod adventure.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are TWO MORE books coming from Riordan later this year that Percy fans will adore. Here’s the scoop on both of them:

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
On-Sale: October 6, 2015

MagnusChaseCoverMagnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarök, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Read a sneak peek HERE!

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes
On-Sale: August 18, 2015

GreekHeroesWho cut off Medusa’s head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy, ( I’ve had some bad experiences in my time, but the heroes I’m going to tell you about were the original old school hard luck cases. They boldly screwed up where no one had screwed up before. . .) and enhanced with vibrant artwork by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco, this story collection will become the new must-have classic for Rick Riordan’s legions of devoted fans–and for anyone who needs a hero. So get your flaming spear. Put on your lion skin cape. Polish your shield and make sure you’ve got arrows in your quiver. We’re going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we’ll die painful tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let’s do this.

Pre-order Greek Heroes:

RICK RIORDAN ONLINE

Visit the Official Website

Follow Rick Riordan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

#ReadRiordan

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for providing all this great content — with more goodies on the way throughout the rest of this year, including more chances for you to win cool prizes!

New YA Releases: June 30, 2015

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Here’s a look at today’s new YA releases:

shadowshaperShadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.

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.

between us and the moonBetween Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

faking perfectFaking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips

When Lexi Shaw seduced Oakfield High’s resident bad boy Tyler Flynn at the beginning of senior year, he seemed perfectly okay with her rules:

1. Avoid her at school.
2. Keep his mouth shut about what they do together.
3. Never tease her about her friend (and unrequited crush) Ben.

Because with his integrity and values and golden boy looks, Ben can never find out about what she’s been doing behind closed doors with Tyler. Or that her mom’s too busy drinking and chasing losers to pay the bills. Or that Lexi’s dad hasn’t been a part of her life for the last thirteen years. But with Tyler suddenly breaking the rules, Ben asking her out, and her dad back in the picture, how long will she be able to go on faking perfect?

For the comments: Which of today’s new releases are you most excited about?

Book Review: The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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A stunning and seductive story about love, betrayal, and sacrifice, The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh will leave readers gutted and begging for more.

wrath and the dawnEvery dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Let’s start with the wonderful characters. It is easy to see why Khalid is so intrigued by Shahrzad — as readers, we are as pulled into her charisma and verve as the Caliph is. Likewise, we are intrigued by this “monster boy-king” and the mysterious torment that plagues him; clearly there is more to his story than he lets his people believe — and, like Shahrzad, we are drawn to him and to the desire to know why he has done these monstrous things.

And while Shahrzad and Khalid are at the center of the story, Ahdieh has filled The Wrath & the Dawn with a bevy of supporting characters who really bring the story into vivid detail. This book would not be so richly rewarding to read were it not for ALL of these characters; Jalal and Despina and Tariq and the Rajput and the General and more. These are the characters that give meaning and purpose to everything that Shahrzad and Khalid must face.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that The Wrath & the Dawn is just beautifully written. Each description is so sumptuous, readers will be transported to Khorasan — and will see this fictional world come to life before them. (And if you’re anything like me, you’ll also be craving some delicious Middle Eastern feasts — the FOOD in this book! I was so hungry while reading this!!!)

But what really clinched my love of this book is the chapter titled, “Oblivion.” It falls on page 342 in the hardcover, and it’s the point where The Wrath & the Dawn becomes a truly extraordinary book; where every expectation you might have had about where things were going will be shattered. I literally cried out, out loud (sorry, sleeping husband!) at one point — and fought back tears as I continued reading. This chapter changes everything. And the book was already fantastic to begin with — but this is the major turning point, where in any other writer’s hands, the book could have gone one of several predictable routes and become mundane, even ruining what had already been written to this point. But no, Ahdieh shifts her players and her characters in unlikely ways, and the result is a gut-wrenching and achingly beautiful portrayal of what true love really means.

This book — and this chapter in particular — left me gutted in the best possible way, and I’m still not over it (nor do I wish to be). The Wrath & the Dawn is in stores now.

The Vanishing Island Blog Tour: Flash Questions with Barry Wolverton

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Today, we are so pleased to be hosting a stop — the FINAL stop — on the official blog tour for The Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton.

For today’s stop, Barry stopped by with his responses to some of our favorite FLASH QUESTIONS! Check out his answers below, then keep reading to learn more about The Vanishing Island, in stores September 1st.

Barry Wolverton Author PhotoFavorite villain?

Montgomery Burns, The Simpsons

Pen or pencil?

Pen

Favorite piece of clothing?

A vintage-thrift-store-find Schott NYC leather jacket

Song you can’t get out of your head right now? Autumn Leaves (the Miles Davis recording)

Most recent vacation?

New York, in February, for my girlfriend’s birthday

5 things that are always on your desk or in your backpack?

On my desk: Paper & Clay handmade ceramics; Macbook; Peterson Field Guide to Birds of the Eastern U.S. + binoculars (my office looks out into my wooded backyard); books; Charlie, aka Mr. Grey, my cat who helpfully keeps papers and whatnot from flying off my desk by sprawling all over them.

about the bookvanishing islandDoes  the Vanishing Island really exist? And if so, what treasure—or terrible secret—was hidden by its disappearance?

It’s 1599, the Age of Discovery in Europe. But for Bren Owen, growing up in the small town of Map on the coast of Britannia has meant anything but adventure. Enticed by the tales sailors have brought through Map’s port, and inspired by the arcane maps his father creates as a cartographer for the cruel and charismatic map mogul named Rand McNally, Bren is convinced that fame and fortune await him elsewhere. That is, until his repeated attempts to run away land him a punishment worse than death—cleaning up the town vomitorium.

It is there that Bren meets a dying sailor, who gives him a strange gift that hides a hidden message. Cracking the code could lead Bren to a fabled lost treasure that could change his life forever, and that of his widowed father. But to get there he will have to tie his fate to a mysterious Dutch admiral obsessed with a Chinese legend about an island that long ago disappeared from any map.

Before long, Bren is in greater danger than he ever imagined, and will need the help of an unusual friend named Mouse to survive. Barry Wolverton’s thrilling adventure spans oceans and cultures, brings together the folklore of East and West, and proves that fortune is always a double-edged sword.

about the authorbarry wolvertonBarry Wolverton is the author of Neversink. He has more than fifteen years’ experience creating books, documentary television scripts, and website content for international networks and publishers, including National Geographic, Scholastic.com, the Library of Congress, and the Discovery Networks. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee. You can visit him online at www.barrywolverton.com.

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Be sure to visit the rest of the blog tour stops for more great content & chances to win a signed advanced copy of The Vanishing Island:

6/15/2015 Blue Stocking Thinking                  bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com
6/16/2015 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia    hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
6/17/2015 Small Review                               smallreview.blogspot.com
6/18/2015 Maria’s Melange                         www.mariaselke.com/
6/19/2015 Unleashing Readers                    unleashingreaders.com
6/19/2015 The Hiding Spot                             ​thehidingspot.blogspot.com
6/22/2015 This Kid Reviews Books              thiskidreviewsbooks.com
6/23/2015 Mundie Kids                                http://mundiekids.blogspot.com/
6/24/2015 Page in Training                        https://pageintraining.wordpress.com
6/25/2015 Novel Novice                              novelnovice.com

Book Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

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The highly-anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson will leave readers anxious for the next installment in Lia’s epic story.

heart of betrayalIntrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.

The Heart of Betrayal  was not as easily captivating to me as The Kiss of Deception (perhaps because there was no big mystery reveal to anticipate?) — and the story was slow for much of the book. (It also probably didn’t help that the book does very little to jog the reader’s mind about things that took place in Book 1. Having been a year since reading Kiss of Deception — and being old — I had a hard time remember a lot that happened.) That being said, I’m still eager for the third book in The Remnant Chronicles.

Despite a relatively slow pace, the book reveals many new layers to Lia’s world — including a secret conspiracy that will change everything to come next. And when it comes to a climactic ending, The Heart of Betrayal does not disappoint. The action really culminates in the book’s final scenes — and BOY HOWDY, is it intense … right up to a very cruel cliffhanger of an ending.

The Heart of Betrayal is in stores July 7th.

New YA Releases: June 23, 2015

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Here’s a look at today’s new YA releases:

emmy and oliverEmmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

rules, theThe Rules by Debbie Viguie & Nancy Holder

Narrated by alternating unreliable narrators, this dark thriller will have readers on the edge of their seats. No one is safe and everyone is a suspect. It’s Saw meets I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Junior Robin Brisset has no idea what she’s in for when she accepts an invitation to one of Callabrese High’s most exclusive parties. And when the trademark scavenger hunt begins, Robin must go against every rule she’s lived by to survive.

rise and fall of a theater geekThe Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek by Seth Rudetsky

Broadway, New York.

The shows, the neon lights . . . the cute chorus boys! It’s where Justin has always wanted to be–and now, with a winter internship for a famous actor, he finally has his chance to shine. If only he could ditch his kind, virtuous, upright, and–dare he say it?—uptight boyfriend, Spencer. But once the internship begins, Justin has more to worry about than a cramped single-guy-in-the-city style. Instead of having his moment in the spotlight, he’s a not-so-glorified errand boy. Plus, Spencer is hanging out with a celebra-hottie, Justin’s best friend Becky isn’t speaking to him, and his famous actor boss seems headed for flopdom. Justin’s tap-dancing as fast as he can, but all his wit and sass might not be enough to switch his time in New York from nightmare-terrible to dream-come-true terrific.

Seth Rudetsky’s second YA novel is endearingly human, laugh-out-loud funny, and for any kid who’s ever aspired to Broadway but can only sneak in through the stage door.

calling maggie mayCalling Maggie May by Anonymous

A dark and edgy first-person cautionary tale about how one girl’s seemingly minor choices quickly spiraled into a life as a sex worker in the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky.

She had a normal life, until one small decision changed everything. Suddenly, there were new possibilities and new experiences.

But not all of those experiences were good.

Read her shocking story in the diary she left behind.

book of spirits and thievesA Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her father’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspeare Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.

girl undone, aA Girl Undone by Catherine Linka

On the run with deadly government secrets, Avie must decide if she can live up to her name and truly become fearless for the cause or if it’s better to just give in.

The sequel and explosive conclusion to A Girl Called Fearless.

Having survived a violent confrontation with the US government, Avie is not out of danger. Both she and the young man she loves, Yates, have been declared terrorists, and Yates is hospitalized in critical condition, leaving Avie with the perilous task of carrying information that can bring down the Paternalist party, if she can get it into the right hands.

Forced on the run with handsome, enigmatic woodsman Luke, Avie struggles when every turn becomes a choice between keeping the two of them alive or completing their mission. With her face on every news channel and a quarter million dollar reward from the man who still owns her marriage Contract, Avie’s worst fears are about to come true.

Equal parts thrilling and romantic, A Girl Undone is sure to keep your heart racing right until the very end.

tangled websTangled Webs by Lee Bross

London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.

Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn’t easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London’s slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city’s criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

leveller, theThe Leveller by Julia Durango

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

For the comments: Which of today’s new releases are you most excited about?

Book Review: Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White

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A story about what courage really means, Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White is the heartfelt story of two sisters facing tragedy upon tragedy — and the strength they must find to persist in the face of overwhelming odds.

survival strategies of the almost braveAfter their mother’s recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven’t seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station.

Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations.

When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave is a beautiful story about the unique bond between sisters — and the lengths they will go to protect each other. Liberty and Billie’s situation is heartbreaking, but it is empowering to see the girls come together against the odds and continue fighting to find their way home.

The girls’ circumstances make the story difficult to read at times, but those hardships make the book’s ultimately uplifting ending all the more powerful and empowering. Because this truly is a story about being brave, and finding the inner strength you didn’t know you had. It’s also about how you can find love and family and hope in the most unlikely of places.

Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave is in stores now.

Book Review: The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson

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A fantasy adventure filled with heart and humor, The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson introduces a charming cast of characters and sets the stage for many more hijinks to come.

Dungeoneers cThe world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler’s earnings, Colm can’t help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It’s just a question of how far you’re willing to go to get it.

In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery, or he can become a member of Thwodin’s Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will. Colm soon finds himself part of a family of warriors, mages, and hunters, learning to work together in their quest for endless treasure. But not all families are perfect, and even as Colm hones his skills with fellow recruits, it becomes clear that something from outside threatens the dungeoneers–and perhaps something from inside as well.

Indeed, Thwodin’s Castle is reminiscent of a more criminally-minded Hogwarts — wherein students learn “dungeoneering” — that is, how to raid dungeons for gold and other assorted treasure. And while Colm focuses his lessons on being a “rogue,” his fellow students study the likes of magic, hunting, and more. Not so noble as the school for witchcraft and wizardry, but certainly filled with colorful teachers and dangerous situations.

The story is quite slow to unfold — and this is, perhaps, I think where my adult taste kept me from fully enjoying this book as much as a younger reader would — with lots of time spent developing characters, establishing the world, and following Colm and his friends as they learn the ropes at Thowdin’s Castle.

That said, the action really does pick up towards the end — and shows promise for more adventures for Colm and his friends in possible future books in the series. And these characters are what really make The Dunegoneers so delightful — they give the story meaning, purpose, and heart.

Look for The Dungeoneers in stores June 23rd.

Book Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

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The perfect summer book, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler is a story about life, love, family, and courage. It’s about finding your voice, and the strength to use it. And it’s also a shining example of what makes the Oregon coast so spectacularly magical.

summer of chasing mermaidsThe 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 . . .

I’ll be honest — though I was already intrigued by the premise of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, when I found out it was set on the Oregon coast (one of my favorite places on earth), I HAD to read it immediately. And I’m so glad I did. The book is like a manifesto about why the Oregon coast is such a magnificent place, and Ockler’s descriptions brings the sometimes-sunny, sometimes-overcast seaside setting to life in brilliant technicolor. I was actually on the Oregon coast just recently, and it made me want to read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids all over again.

Of course, beyond its seductive setting, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is filled with everything you’d expect from Sarah Ockler, and the perfect summer reading experience: romance, drama, and beautifully written characters. It’s not just Elyse and Christian who are so captivating; a very strong cast of supporting characters really heighten the story and bring it to life. They are fully realized, and brilliantly written — and I’d happily spend time reading about their stories, as well. (Hint, hint.)

Whether you can hit the beach or not, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids should be the one summer-themed book you read this year. It’s magical, romantic, and honestly raw. It’s in stores now.

New YA Releases: June 16, 2015

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Here’s a look at today’s new YA releases:

every last wordEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

glittering shadowsGlittering Shadows by Jaclyn Dolamore

The revolution is here.

Bodies line the streets of Urobrun; a great pyre burns in Republic Square. The rebels grow anxious behind closed doors while Marlis watches as the politicians search for answers—and excuses—inside the Chancellery.

Thea, Freddy, Nan, and Sigi are caught in the crossfire, taking refuge with a vibrant, young revolutionary and a mysterious healer from Irminau. As the battle lines are drawn, a greater threat casts a dark shadow over the land. Magic might be lost—forever.

This action-packed sequel to Dark Metropolis weaves political intrigue, haunting magic, and heartbreaking romance into an unforgettable narrative. Dolamore’s lyrical writing and masterfully crafted plot deliver a powerful conclusion.

deadfallDeadfall by Anna Carey

In the compelling sequel to Blackbird, Anna Carey delivers a gritty and adrenaline-filled story of a girl desperate to escape her mysterious and terrifying assailants. Told in second person, this heart-pounding thriller puts the reader in front of the target.

A week ago, you woke up in Los Angeles with no memory of who you are. The only thing you knew: people are trying to kill you. You put your trust in Ben, but he betrayed you and broke your heart. Now you’ve escaped to New York City with a boy named Rafe, who says he remembers you from before. But the two of you are not safe. The same people who are after you are tailing Rafe as well. As the chase heats up, your memory starts to return, but your past cannot save you from the terrifying circumstances of your present, or the fact that one wrong move could end this game forever.

With enemies on every side, and not a reprieve in sight, Deadfall will grab readers and refuse to let go. Perfect for fans of the Maze Runner series and the Legend series.

Untitled-4The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi

A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

between the notesBetween the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

after hoursAfter Hours by Claire Kennedy

Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn’t just about waiting tables. It’s about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it’s about Tips.

Tips–the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember.

Isa is the new girl with an embarrassing secret, and as long as she stays on top of her game, she sees no reason why anyone could ever find out.

Xavi will do anything for the money…absolutely anything.

Peter, Xavi’s stepbrother, has been in love with her for years, and he thinks the game is the perfect time to confess his feelings.

Finn is in the game just for the thrill. He has enough tips coming in to keep him happy…even if those tips come with some conditions.

From seduction to stealing to threats, the dares are a complete free-for-all, and only the best can win.

The sophisticated Waterside Cafe is anything but classy behind the scenes…and things are about to get dirty.

last of the spiritsThe Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley

Sam and Lizzie are freezing and hungry on the streets of Victorian London. When Sam asks a wealthy man for some coins, he is rudely turned away. Months of struggle suddenly find their focus, and Sam resolves to kill the man. Huddling in a graveyard for warmth, Sam and Lizzie are horrified to see the earth around one of the tombs begin to shift, shortly followed by the wraithlike figure of a ghostly man. He warns Sam about the future which awaits such a bitter heart, and so begins Sam’s journey led by terrifying spirits through the past, present and future, after which Sam must decide whether to take the man, Scrooge’s, life or not.

A perfectly layered, tense and supremely satisfying twist on one of Dickens’ most popular books, cleverly reinvented to entice a younger readership.

blood will tellBlood Will Tell by April Henry

When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a hundred feet away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland’s Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. How is this even possible? And can Alexis and Ruby find a way to help clear Nick’s name before it’s too late?

April Henry weaves another page-turning, high stakes mystery in Book 2 of the Point Last Seen series.

For the comments: Which of today’s new releases are you most excited about?