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Top Ten Tuesday: February New Releases

Tomorrow is the first day of February!  As always, new months bring new books, which makes me very happy! Today’s top ten tuesday is spotlighting some of the new February releases in YA/MG fiction.  Obviously, this is only ten titles out of the many that will be published this month.  Enjoy!

The Girls of No Return by Erin SaldinThe Girls of No Return by Erin Saldin (Feb 1) YA

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area stretches across two million acres in northern Idaho. In its heart sits the Alice Marshall School, where fifty teenage girls come to escape their histories and themselves.

Island of Shadows by Erin HunterIsland of Shadows (Seekers: Return to the Wild 1) by Erin Hunter (Feb 7) MG

Toklo, Kallik, and Lusa survived the perilous mission that brought them together, and now it’s time for them to find their way home. Kallik and Lusa are ready to be among their own kinds again, but Toklo, devastated by the loss of their companion Ujurak, feels hopeless and afraid of what’s to come.

Dead to You by Lisa McMannDead to You by Lisa McMann (Feb 7) YA

Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It’s a miracle… at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn’t going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he’d be able to put the pieces back together. But there’s something that’s keeping his memory blocked.

In Too Deep by Amanda GraceIn Too Deep by Amanda Grace (Feb 8) YA

I never meant for anyone to get hurt. All I wanted to do that night was make a play for Carter Davis. His heartless rejection was mortifying, but people got the wrong idea when they saw me leaving his bedroom, crying. That’s how rumors of rape started.  Now girls at school are pouring out their sympathy to me. Guys too. But not everyone’s on my side. The school has become a war zone and the threats are getting scary. What began as poetic justice has morphed into something bigger-forcing me to make a terrible choice.

Pure by Julianna BaggottPure by Julianna Baggott (Feb 8) YA

And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Quest for te Secret Keeper by Victoria LaurieQuest for the Secret Keeper (Oracles of Delphi Keep #3) by Victoria Laurie (Feb 14) MG

The Royal Navy has taken the keep to use as a hospital and the tunnels running under the keep and the castle are ideal to set up a central communications outpost for the approaching war. The earl is happy to help the effort, but now the keep is no longer safe for the orphans and they must be evacuated to his winter residence.
Ian, Theo, and Carl know that if they’re sent away, they’ll no longer be protected. But more important than their safety is deciphering the third prophecy. All clues point to a quest. The orphans don’t know where they must go, but they know they must rescue the Secret Keeper.

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCourThe Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (Feb 16) YA

Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev’s band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she’s abandoning their plans – and Colby – to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev’s already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what’s next?

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa JensenThe Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen (Feb 16) YA

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that’s just fine by her. She’s got her friends – the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She’s got her art – and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it’s hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they’re dating?

Fever by Lauren DeStefanoFever (Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano  (Feb 21) YA

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.  The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous.

Pandemonium by Lauren OliverPandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver  (Feb 27) YA

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, like Raven taught me to do. The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame.

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Tuesday Top Twenty: I Know What you Read this Summer!

Well,  I don’t know what you read this summer, so I can’t write about that.

But, I do know what I read this past summer.  I was busy alright!  This is not a Top Ten today, it’s a list of the twenty (yes twenty) books I read this summer.

1. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

2. Rumors by Anna Godbersen

3. Dark Life by Kat Falls

4. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

5. The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

6. Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid of Westminster by Berkley Breathed

7. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

8. Pemba’s Song: A Ghost Story by Tonya Hegamin and Marilyn Nelson

9. Scat by Carl Hiaasen

10. Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted

11. The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

12. Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

13. Bystander by James Preller

14. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

15. Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival by Arther Slade

16. Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor

17. Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

18. One False Note by Gordon Korman

19. I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

20. The Help by Katheryn Stockett  (The only adult fiction I read all summer!)

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There Was a Curse: The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

“There was a curse. It was reversed. This is the boy who did it.”

It is fall 2004 and twelve-year-old Oscar Egg loves the Red Sox. In fact, he loves them so much because he believes that both he and the Red Sox are cursed. Oscar, an orphan, was dumped by his birth parents as a baby and always felt slightly unwanted by his adopted parents because he’s biracial. He sometimes even wonders if his skin color is the reason his parents separated.

When Oscar’s mom leaves him with his father, so she can spend time with a new boyfriend, all of Oscar’s fears and insecurities come back to haunt him. But soon, Oscar realizes that his strange and sickly dad has a secret. His father lives below Fenway Park and is actually a member of the Cursed Creatures a group of doomed magical creatures forced to live under the park until the curse is broken or reversed.

Oscar soon learns that he just may be the only one with the strength, talent and knowledge who can break the eighty-six year old Red Sox curse. If he can the Cursed Creatures will be free and he’ll make it possible for the Red Sox to finally win a World Series.

A fantasy about sports? This was a very strange concept to me at first. But as I read it I found myself actually enjoying the story.

Two things I liked about the story were the different cursed creatures roaming the tunnels below Fenway and theme of personal identity. There’s the Weasel-man with his pack of weasels, the Pooka and Banshee, his three fairy aunts and other horned magical characters. The characters, although not entirely fleshed out are pretty creative and interesting to read about. Each, as Oscar learns, as their position to play in the game.

Additionally, Baggott explores the theme of personal identity, specifically one’s racial identity. Oscar is biracial (black and white) and he always feels as though its a curse or problem. He fears that his parents wouldn’t have adopted him had they known his skin would be darker than their own. He fears bullies at school who harass him with questions like, “Who’s your daddy?” And he ultimately fears that he’s unwanted and not special. Readers, will be able to identify with Oscar’s feelings and insecurities, even if they don’t stem from the same reasons, because that what all of us fear at that age; “What if I’m not wanted?”, “What if I’m not special?”.

As, someone who isn’t a huge sports fan, I was a little bored with the baseball talk. Especially during the end of the book (to be honest, I skimmed the last few chapters). However, I do think this book would appeal to sports lovers, especially baseball fans, before it would appeal to fantasy readers. The Prince of Fenway Park could be a hook that gets readers who normally wouldn’t pick fantasy novels interested in a genre that’s new to them.

All in all a cute read.