Countdown Pick #1: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by R.L. LaFevers (03/07/2012)
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
I love the sound of this one. Not only with there be some major girl power but there will also be romance and intrigue. Court life is always a fun backdrop in any book, just like boarding school scenes or campfires, ya know? So for this one to see the training of an assassin and what it all entails has my curiosity piqued but I can already see myself getting attached to her would-be target. I'm always a sucker for unrequited love stories and theirs will surely be the ultimate test for our main character. Who doesn't want to pick up this read come March? I mean come on, assassinations, romance, sneaking around and deciphering lies and manipulations? Yep, I'm definitely on board and I don't think I'll be the only one with this title under my arm as I make my way to the registers.
Countdown Pick #2: When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen (02/28/2012)
After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend Ilven kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it.
So while there is a description for this book and it's not just a one line teaser, I'll admit I'm still a little lost. Obviously we're in a fictional place and one where I'm assuming there are still arranged marriages common enough for our main character to begin to panic. But I wish there was a little bit more of a background snippet for what kind of world these characters live in, does that make sense? Am I alone in this? Well either way and despite the lack of a background on this synopsis, I'm still excited. The cover alone looks pretty ominous and the idea of a love triangle has me intrigued. Which guy will we be rooting for Felicita to choose? What other choices will she have to make, all in good time.
Countdown Pick #3: Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis (04/17/2012)
What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?
And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?
When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.
Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.
Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.
Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up with no memory of who you are or anything else for that matter? I'm not sure I'm strong enough to deal with something like that and to be honest I hope I never find out if I'm right or wrong. It sounds just awful and Marsh and Eylse, despite having each other to lean on sound like they're in a very bad spot. Zombie like townspeople? No thank you. I'm all for forgetting all the bad that's happened in our lives but at what cost, right? Too much pressure if you ask me is on their shoulders and I'm hoping that they make it through and with a happy ending for them both please. What could they possibly find out though after digging around that could mean the death of everyone around them? Scary stuff right? I'm not familiar with Kitanidis' work but I'm looking forward to checking it out for myself and seeing if she can live up to this fabulous sneak peek.
Countdown Pick #4: Arcadia Awakens (Arkadien, #1) by Kai Meyer (02/14/2012)
To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn begins to fall apart, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where centuries of family secrets await her. Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both fascinate and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem. Hidden caves, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a history of familial bloodlust mean that Rosa can’t trust anyone. Torn between loyalty to her family and love for their mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love…or run as far and as fast as she can.
Hello modern day twisted Romeo and Juliet! It sounds like we might have a shape shifting, mafia, star crossed lovers scenario in the works readers. How exciting! These two characters come from complicated families with even more complicated mysteries and pasts. It seems like Rosa is going to have to adapt and think fast because otherwise I'm sure she won't last very long under these circumstances. And the cover has me even more confused and yet excited as well. If her guy could possibly be the tiger (or at least that's the way I was thinking) does the cover indicate she might a snake charmer or the snake itself? Questions, questions and no answers until February. What do you guys think about this one? I know I'm excited but did you guys pick up anything from the snippet that you think gave away some more clues? I might have missed them so feel free to share! There's a contest to win yourself a free copy of this one over at Goodreads, so be sure to enter for your chance if you haven't already!
Countdown Pick #5: Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg (04/01/2012)
From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom and Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.
Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.