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Recently in Book Mail

IMG_5235Something new I’m trying to do is write frequent blog posts about all of the fantastic books that appear in my mailbox. As I’ve shown you in the Houghton Mifflin Fall 2015 Roundup post and the Macmillan Fall 2015 Roundup post, I get a lot more than I can/choose to review. Here are the things that have arrived in recent weeks. Keep your eyes out for reviews of many of these titles.

 

 

last nightLast Night at the Circle Cinema by Emily Franklin (ISBN-13: 9781467774895, Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group, Publication date: 09/01/2015)

Olivia, Bertucci, and Codman are a trio-an impenetrable triangle of friendship. Beyond friendship, they share a love of the Circle Cinema, a once thriving movie theater now facing the wrecking ball, about to be forgotten forever-which is, as far as Olivia and Codman can tell, what’s going to happen to them after graduation.

Bertucci convinces Olivia and Codman to spend their last night before graduation locked inside the Cinema’s concrete walls. None of them can open the box before sunrise. The trio is then forced to face each other, the events of the past year, and whatever is to come when the new day dawns.

 

A 52-Hertz Whale by Bill Sommer and Natalie Tilghman (ISBN-13: 9781467779173, Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group, Publication date: 09/01/2015) 53 hertz

Fourteen-year-old James is worried that the young humpback whale he tracks online has separated from its pod, so he emails Darren, the twentysomething would-be filmmaker who once volunteered in James’s special education program. Of course, Darren is useless on the subject of whales, but he’s got nothing but time, given that the only girl he could ever love dumped him. Predictably, this thread of emails leads to a lot of bizarre stuff, including a yeti suit, drug smuggling, a graveyard, damaged echolocation, choke holds, emergency dentistry…and maybe ends with something like understanding. See, the thing that binds people together most is their fear that nothing binds them together at all.

 

Ritter_BeastlyBones_jkt_COMP.inddBeastly Bones (Jackaby Series #2) by William Ritter (ISBN-13: 9781616203542, Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Publication date: 09/22/2015, Ages 12 up)

“I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality . . .”

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural.

First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, a nd a murderer.

Beastly Bones, the second installment in the series, delivers the same quirky humor and unforgettable characters as Jackaby, the book the Chicago Tribune called “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

 

Madly by Amy Alward (ISBN-13: 9781481443784, Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, Publication date: 09/29/2015) madly

Samantha may be falling for the beloved of the princess she is sent to save in this start to a hilarious, adventurous, and sweetly romantic trilogy.

When Samantha is summoned to the royal court of Nova for a secret mission, it’s her chance to put her training to the test: Princess Evelyn has taken an illegal love potion with disastrous effects, and Samantha, like her ancestors before her, is great at mixing potions. She may not be one of the naturally Talented—those who can heal or transform at the wave of their hands—but she is skilled nonetheless, and determined to find an antidote and cure Princess Evelyn.

The problem? Princess Evelyn took the love potion to make her best friend Zain fall for her—and it’s Zain who Samantha keeps encountering on her hunt for antidote ingredients. As forbidden sparks between them fly, Samantha is forced to wonder: will curing Princess Evelyn doom her own chance at love?

 

if you're luckyIf You’re Lucky by Yvonne Prinz (ISBN-13: 9781616204631, Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Publication date: 10/20/2015, Ages 14-17)

Is Georgia’s mind playing tricks on her, or is the entire town walking into the arms of a killer who has everyone but her fooled?

When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life?

Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying.

As the chilling narrative unfolds, the reader must decide whether Georgia’s descent into madness is causing her to see things that don’t exist–or to see a deadly truth that no one else can.

 

Don’t Feed the Geckos (The Carver Chronicles #3) by Karen English and illustrated by Laura Freeman don't feed the(ISBN-13: 978-0-544-57529-5, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publication date: 12/1/2015, Ages 6-9)

Carlos isn’t sure how he feels about the news that his cousin Bernardo will be joining his class at Carver Elementary. But when Bernardo comes to live with him temporarily, taking over Carlos’s top bunk, his spot on the school soccer team, and even his Papi’s attention, Carlos knows he isn’t happy. Worse, Bernardo starts messing with Carlos’s pet geckos! Carlos tries to see past his cousin’s annoying ways, but Bernardo sure doesn’t make it easy. Will Carlos—and his geckos—survive Bernardo’s visit? Can he keep the peace for his family’s sake?     Emerging and newly independent readers are sure to recognize themselves in this humorous school and family story.

 

 

 

murphyBreakthrough!: How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy (ISBN-13: 978-0-547-82183-2, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publication date: 12/8/2015, Ages 9-12)

In 1944 an unprecedented surgical procedure repaired the heart of a child with blue baby syndrome—lack of blood oxygen caused by a congenital defect. This landmark operation opened the way for all types of open heart surgery. The team that developed it included a cardiologist and a surgeon, but most of the actual work was done by Vivien Thomas, an African American lab assistant who was frequently mistaken for a janitor.

 

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (ISBN-13: 9780544534292, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publication date: 12/22/2015, Ages 14 up) this raging

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

 

 

 

radioactiveRadioactive!: How Irene Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World by Winifred Conkling (ISBN-13: 9781616204150, Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Publication date: 01/05/2016, Ages 12-17)

The fascinating, little-known story of how two brilliant female physicists’ groundbreaking discoveries led to the creation of the atomic bomb.

In 1934, Irène Curie, working with her husband and fellow scientist, Frederic Joliot, made a discovery that would change the world: artificial radioactivity. This breakthrough allowed scientists to modify elements and create new ones by altering the structure of atoms. Curie shared a Nobel Prize with her husband for their work. But when she was nominated to the French Academy of Sciences, the academy denied her admission and voted to disqualify all women from membership. Four years later, Curie’s breakthrough led physicist Lise Meitner to a brilliant leap of understanding that unlocked the secret of nuclear fission. Meitner’s unique insight was critical to the revolution in science that led to nuclear energy and the race to build the atom bomb, yet her achievement was left unrecognized by the Nobel committee in favor of that of her male colleague.

Radioactive! presents the story of two women breaking ground in a male-dominated field, scientists still largely unknown despite their crucial contributions to cutting-edge research, in a nonfiction narrative that reads with the suspense of a thriller. Photographs and sidebars illuminate and clarify the science in the book.

 

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (ISBN-13: 9781250075963, Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Publication date: 01/05/2016) firsts

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn‘s Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

 

assassin's masqueAssassin’s Masque (Palace of Spies series #3) by Sarah Zettel (ISBN-13: 978-0-544-07408-8, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Publication date: 1/12/2016, Ages 12 up)

Things are turning around for seventeen-year-old Peggy Fitzroy, a once-orphaned spy. Her father is back from the dead, and her unwanted engagement has been called off for good. But when a mysterious veiled woman shows up, Peggy uncovers a fresh slew of questions about her past, present, and future.
Now Peggy is back at the palace, unsure of the loyalties she thought she held. With the Jacobite uprising stalking ever closer to the throne, it’s imperative that Peggy discover who she can really trust. Can she save herself and the royal family, or is she doomed as a pawn in this most deadly game?

 

 

sanctuarySanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz (ISBN-13: 9781250051363, Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Publication date: 01/19/2016)

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

In this genre-bending YA thriller, Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, Sarah’s new school may seem like an idyllic temple of learning, but as she unearths years of terrifying history and manipulation, she discovers this “school” is something much more sinister.

 

Games Wizards Play (Young Wizards series #10) by Diane Duane (ISBN 13: 978-0-547-41806-3, Publisher: games wizards playHoughton Mifflin Harcourt, Publication date: 2/2/2016, Ages 12 up)

Every eleven years, Earth’s senior wizards hold the Invitational: an intensive three-week event where the planet’s newest, sharpest young wizards show off their best and hottest spells. Wizardly partners Kit Rodriguez and Nita Callahan, and Nita’s sister, former wizard-prodigy Dairine Callahan, are drafted in to mentor two brilliant and difficult cases: for Nita and Kit, there’s Penn Shao-Feng, a would-be sun technician with a dangerous new take on managing solar weather; and for Dairine, there’s shy young Mehrnaz Farrahi, an Iranian wizard-girl trying to specialize in defusing earthquakes while struggling with a toxic extended wizardly family that demands she perform to their expectations.

Together they’re plunged into a whirlwind of cutthroat competition and ruthless judging. Penn’s egotistical attitude toward his mentors complicates matters as the pair tries to negotiate their burgeoning romance. Meanwhile, Dairine struggles to stabilize her hero-worshipping, insecure protégée against the interference of powerful relatives using her to further their own tangled agendas. When both candidates make it through to the finals stage on the dark side of the Moon, they and their mentors are flung into a final conflict that could change the solar system for the better . . .or damage Earth beyond even wizardly repair.

 

In Real Life by Jessica Love (ISBN-13: 9781250064714, Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Publication date: 03/01/2016) InRealLife1

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn’t the only thing he’s been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

 

original fakeOriginal Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills and E. Eero Johnson (ISBN-13: 9780399173264, Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group, Publication date: 04/19/2016, Ages 12 up)

In this Banksy-inspired illustrated novel, an escalating sibling rivalry train wrecks and vengeance is a street-art act of war

Introvert Frankie Neumann hates his life, and understandably so. He’s got a weird, tutu-wearing sister, Lou, and even weirder parents, Bridget and Brett—Frank Sinatra and Dr. Frank-N-Furter impersonators, respectively. And, he’s just the guy who makes pizza at Pizza Vendetta. Though he has secret artistic aspirations of his own, his over-the-top family makes him want to stay in the background. But Frankie’s life is about to change—becoming way more interesting, even a little dangerous, but definitely cool.

After his shift at the pizzeria one night, Frankie meets David and Rory, cousins and errand runners for the mysterious Uncle Epic, a legendary anonymous street artist and Frankie’s absolute idol. Little could Frankie dream that his new adventures with Uncle Epic would lead to the perfect opportunity to strike back at his insufferable sister for a lifetime of torture. But things go haywire quicker than you can say “street art kicks righteous ass,” and the lines are suddenly blurred between art and Frankie’s real life.

(Learn more about this book in our previous post with the cover reveal)

 

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