Thursday, February 7, 2013

Countdown: May 2013

So for me and most others, May marks the beginning of Summer, Memorial Day weekend has always been a favorite of mine.  Friends and I have always headed down to the beach and spent the weekend basking in the sun (hopefully), enjoying the beach and getting excited that Summer is here and it means the end of cold weather, the start of vacations for most, and a lot of other good things.  Last year it marked the beginning of wedding season for my friends and me as a member of their wedding parties.  While that was a lot of fun it was also complete craziness and didn't leave a lot of time for reading and checking out new books to review.  This year I'm hoping and crossing my fingers that I'll get a real vacation in and a whole lot of quality time with my books and hopefully a lot of these future new releases scheduled to hit the shelves!

Countdown Pick #1:  Icons (Icons, #1) by Margaret Stohl (05/07/2013)

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.

I love the sound of this one!  Hello, new dystopian series, yay!  I've always been a fan of Stohl's writing and now with this new series I think my fandom might just have gone up another notch and I haven't even cracked the cover.  I will definitely be adding this title to my shelves as soon as it becomes available.

Countdown Pick #2:  The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr (05/07/2013)

Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.

That was all before she turned fourteen.

Now, at sixteen, it's over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano -- on her own terms. But when you're used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr takes readers inside the exclusive world of privileged San Francisco families, top junior music competitions, and intense mentorships. The Lucy Variations is a story of one girl's struggle to reclaim her love of music and herself. It's about finding joy again, even when things don't go according to plan. Because life isn't a performance, and everyone deserves the chance to make a few mistakes along the way.

Doesn't this one sound like a journey you guys all want to witness for yourselves?  That's how I felt when I first read this book's description.  I'll admit that I've always had a large respect and a healthy dose of interest in all thing music related.  Not much in the musically talented department myself, I've always envied concert level musicians and enjoy going to as many performances as I can get to.  So the chance to see inside this world and all that goes into it is a chance that I won't be able to pass up.

Countdown Pick #3:  Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield (05/07/2013)

Lucy’s Chantress magic will make her the most powerful—and most hunted—girl in England.

“Sing, and the darkness will find you.” This warning has haunted fifteen-year-old Lucy ever since she was eight and shipwrecked on a lonely island. Lucy’s guardian, Norrie, has lots of rules, but the most important is that Lucy must never sing. Not ever. Now it is 1667, Lucy is fifteen, and on All Hallows’ Eve, Lucy hears a tantalizing melody on the wind. She can’t help but sing—and she is swept into darkness.

When she awakes in England, Lucy hears powerful men discussing Chantresses—women who can sing magic into the world. They are hunting her, but she escapes and finds sanctuary with the Invisible College, an organization plotting to overthrow the nefarious Lord Protector. The only person powerful enough to bring about his downfall is a Chantress. And Lucy is the last one in England.

Lucy struggles to master the song-spells and harness her power, but the Lord Protector is moving quickly. And her feelings for Nat, an Invisible College apprentice and scientist who deeply distrusts her magic, only add to her confusion…

Time is running out, and the fate of England hangs in the balance in this entrancing novel that is atmospheric and lyrical, dangerous and romantic.

Sign me up please!  I love this kind of read that's chalk full of mystery and intrigue, not to mention maybe the possibility of some romance too?  Regardless if there is romance blooming or not, this short teaser has me hooked and I'm wishing May wasn't so far away so I could dive right in.

Countdown Pick #4:  The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble (05/14/2013)

“I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.”

So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.

Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her. Beatified. Literally. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that Casey didn’t survive the accident at all. He’s an “A-word.” (She can’t bring herself to utter the truth.) Soon they discover that Jenna isn’t just dying: she’s being poisoned. And Casey has been sent back to help solve the mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and father’s disappearance.

Normally I don't delve into reads where the main characters aren't at least of high school age, they're just normally not my thing.  But I couldn't resist adding this one to my countdown for May for several reasons.  The characters sound witty, there seems like there could be some dry humor thrown around which I love, and then there's the mystery and apparently dangerous person on the loose that readers will get to tag along while these characters do their best to solve the crime before it's too late.

Countdown Pick #5:  The End Games by T. Michael Martin (05/07/2013)

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

T. Michael Martin’s debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.

Goodreads has a giveaway of five advanced copies of this future release going on right now!  The last teaser for this book hits the nail on the head.  I was sold when we're told that we can look forward to action, emotional insight and unexpected romance.  I'm worried this book may in fact give me nightmares, but I'll take that chance this time around!

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