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  • Ligia, Lists, Music, NZ Music Month

    All about Music

    28.05.15 | Permalink | Comments Off on All about Music

    To mark the New Zealand Music Month why don’t we read books related to music? It’s a subject that I love and the first two books in the list are my favourites.

    Syndetics book coverEleanor & Park / Rainbow Rowell.
    Bono met his wife in high school, Park says. So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers. I’m not kidding, he says. You should be, she says, we’re 16 . What about Romeo and Juliet? Shallow, confused, then dead. I love you, Park says. Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers. I’m not kidding, he says. You should be.
    Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits–smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” (Syndetics summary)

    Syndetics book coverPlaylist for a broken heart / Cathy Hopkins.
    “When Paige finds an old mix CD in a local charity shop, she can’t help but wonder about the boy who made it and the girl he was thinking of when he chose the songs. The tracks tell the story of a boy looking for his perfect girl, a story of being alone, being let down, misunderstood and not knowing where to turn. Following the clues of the music, Paige sets out to find the mysterious boy, going from gig to gig and band to band, hoping to track him down. But will who she finds at the end of the trail, be the boy she’s imagined?” (Syndetics summary)

    Syndetics book coverHold me closer : the Tiny Cooper story / by David Levithan.
    “Especially for those of us who ordinarily feel ignored, a spotlight is a circle of magic, with the strength to draw us from the darkness of our everyday lives. Watch out, ex-boyfriends, and get out of the way, homophobic coaches. Tiny Cooper has something to say–and he’s going to say it in song. Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers, Hold Me Closer is the no-holds-barred (and many-bars-held) entirety of the beloved musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson , the award-winning bestseller by John Green and David Levithan. Tiny Cooper is finally taking center stage . . . and the world will never be the same again.” (Syndetics summary)

    Syndetics book coverCoda / Emma Trevayne.
    “Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem-the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid. Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and freewill. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?” (Syndetics summary)


  • Books, Graphic Novels, Great Reads, Movies, Music, NZ Music Month, Playlists, Rachel

    Music is my boyfriend

    27.05.14 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    so claims a song by CSS (they’re pretty rad).

    For some people, music is what keeps them going. It can be an essential part of coping and survival and can help people in ways even they can’t understand. It could be the melody, an intense beat or the maybe lyrics blasting through your headphones which make you think the song was written just for you. For whatever reason, music makes us feel things both good and bad. For some characters in the books below, music is what keeps them going through some especially difficult times.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

    “Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” (goodreads.com)

    Eleanor has a pretty difficult home life, and Park enables and encourages her obsession with music. It helps her get through some pretty traumatic times and the 80s tunes Eleanor connects with relate just so to her life and surroundings. AND Rainbow Rowell herself published some playlists on her blog that inspired and represent each of the main characters, so you could listen to those while you read this amaaaazing book and truly immerse yourself in the experience! Just a suggestion. (You can find the playlists here at Rainbow Rowell’s blog)

    P.S. We also have this as a book on cd!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

    “It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.” (goodreads.com)

    Nick and Norah’s first connection is formed via the playlists Nick makes for his then-girlfriend Tris, who is also Norah’s friend. Tris couldn’t care less about the thought and effort put into these playlists for her, but Norah feels a connection to the person who compiled them and… well you’ll see when you read it 🙂 We also have the dvd, which is just 80c to issue using your YA library card!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

    “Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.” (goodreads.com)

    We have the movie version of this too! These music books sure lend themselves well to film adaptations, huh?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Vinyl Princess, Yvonne Prinz

    “Allie, a sixteen-year-old who is obsessed with LPs, works at the used record store on Telegraph Ave. and deals with crushes–her own and her mother’s–her increasingly popular blog and zine, and generally grows up over the course of one summer in her hometown of Berkeley, California.” (WCL catalogue)

    The Vinyl Princess covers a bunch of niche areas – LP collecting, zine-making, blogging (although these are all becoming pretty ubiquitous) – so if you relate to any of these pasttimes, this may just be the book for you!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFat Kid Rules the World, K. L. Going

    Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius. Soon, Curt has recruited Troy as his new drummer, even though Troy can’t play the drums. Together, Curt and Troy will change the world of punk, and Troy’s own life, forever. (edited from goodreads.com)

    Fat Kid Rules The World achieves something great in the way music, and particularly the energy of drumming is described. It could so easily fall flat, but Going really captures the energy and essence of a punk drummer.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChopsticks, Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral

    This one looks like it’ll all be sunshine and happiness, but don’t be fooled: “In a love story told in photographs and drawings, Glory, a brilliant piano prodigy, is drawn to Frank, an artistic new boy, and the farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness until the only song she is able to play is ‘Chopsticks.'” So it’s kind of a graphic novel – there’s something for everybody!

    We hope you’ve enjoyed NZ Music Month 2014, maybe came to one (or more!) of our library music events and we look forward to doing it all over again next year! If there were any highlights of NZMM that you’d like to tell us about, please do so in the comments! I’ll be back to regular scheduled posting next week – who’s excited for TFIOS? 😉


  • Librarian's Choice, Music, New Zealand, NZ Music Month, Rachel, Wellington

    NZ music highlights

    13.05.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on NZ music highlights

    Hopefully you’re celebrating NZ Music Month with us by listening to more local artists! I thought I would highlight a few recent-ish NZ releases we have in our collection, with some help from very music-savvy fellow librarian Kim. Let us know what you agree or disagree with, and please leave us some of your favourite NZ artists in the comments!

    The Love Club EP by Lorde

    Dating earlier than her hit album Pure Heroine, The Love Club EP (first released for free on SoundCloud) contains the ubiquitous ‘Royals’ along with four other songs not on her full length album. ‘Bravado’, ‘Biting Down’, ‘Million Dollar Bills’ and ‘The Love Club’ are all excellent songs, and have a slightly different sound to Pure Heroine – perhaps a little cheekier? In any case, any Lorde fan needs to listen to this EP.

    Brightly Painted One by Tiny Ruins

    I saw Tiny Ruins a.k.a Hollie Fullbrook when she opened for Calexico last year and they were both excellent! Morphing from gentle and folky to classical-sounding with strings and looping back around again, Tiny Ruins keeps it interesting. She has been compared to Beth Gibbons from Portishead AND Nick Drake, so if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.

    Goin’ Steady by Newtown Rocksteady (adult collection, costs $1)

    13-piece Newtown Rocksteady’s extended EP documents their musical progression over the last four years, representing and reinventing the 60s Jamaican vibe known as rocksteady. Rocksteady mixes together reggae, dub, ska and dancehall music, all perfect for a good boogie which they provided in droves at the Newtown and Womad festivals earlier this year. If you get the chance to see them live, do! They provide amazing entertainment and you’ll be blown away by their collective talent, not to mention their 5-piece horn section.

    Louis Baker by Louis Baker (adult collection, costs $1)

    Wellington local Louis Baker is sometimes mellow and completely soulful. His sound has been compared to Jeff Buckley – these are some amazing comparisons being made to our local talents! He’s very talented and grew up in Coromandel Street, Newtown. His self titled EP made it to number 8 in the NZ charts, check it out for yourself!

    And then we have some faves that don’t have CDs out in the library yet:

    Brockaflower Saurus-Rex (and the Blueberry Biscuits)

    This 9-piece band’s first album is full on but spacious, allowing everyone their own instrument space – an impressive feat with so many people and instruments demanding attention. But they make it work, and very harmoniously, too. As for genre, they’re a bit funk, a bit psychedelic and a bit “neo-soul” (who even names music genres these days?) and they’ll keep you grooving with each song full of energy. They have an album out titled “Build It” but we sadly don’t have it in the library. You can listen to it in full here on SoundCloud though!

    Estère

    Speaking of genre names, Estère’s probably takes the cake – “electric blue witch hop”. She is a singer/songwriter/beatmaker/producer from Wellington and this whole album was made and recorded in her bedroom. She uses loops of live instruments, has an MPC named Lola and has been likened to Erykah Badu with her sometimes raspy and always stunning vocals. Although we don’t have her album here in the library yet, you can listen to it on SoundCloud for free, and even download it for free from Estère’s Bandcamp page!


  • Books, Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: March 2014

    04.03.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: March 2014

    These are the 10 most reserved Young Adult titles for the month. Happy reading!

    1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [no change] * **
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change] *
    3. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1] * **
    4. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
    5. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [no change, on order]
    6. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 1]
    7. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [down 1] **
    8. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [down 1] * **
    9=. Looking for Alaska, John Green [back] **
    9=. The One, Kiera Cass [new, on order]

    * We also have this as a book on CD.
    ** We also have this as an eBook/eAudiobook.


  • Library Serf, Movies, Music, News

    More Divergent countdown trivia

    26.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on More Divergent countdown trivia

    In anticipation of the Divergent movie coming out, there’s also the Divergent soundtrack to look forward to. It’s available a couple of weeks before the movie, and the tracklisting is:

    1 ‘Find you’, Zedd, ft. Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant
    2 ‘Beating Heart’, Ellie Goulding
    3 ‘Fight for You’, Pia Mia, ft. Chance the Rapper
    4 ‘Hanging On’ (I See MONSTAS remix), Ellie Goulding
    5 ‘I Won’t Let You Go’, Snow Patrol
    6 ‘Run Boy Run’, Woodkid
    7 ‘Backwards’, Tame Impala and Kendrick Lamar
    8 ‘I need you’, M83
    9 ‘In Distress’, A$AP Rocky, ft. Gesaffelstein
    10 ‘Lost and Found’ (ODESZA remix), Pretty Lights
    11 ‘Stranger’, Skrillex, ft. KillaGraham From Milo & Otis & Sam Dew
    12 ‘Dream machines’, Big Deal
    13 ‘Dead in the water’, Ellie Goulding

    The big winner is Ellie Goulding!

    We will be getting this! We have other movie soundtracks in the Young Adult collection also: The Great Gatsby, Catching Fire, City of Bones, Avengers, Glee (lots of Glee, lots and lots of Glee) and much more.


  • Books, Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: February 2014

    14.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: February 2014

    These are the 10 most reserved Young Adult titles for the month. Hollywood rules: if they’re making movies of you (or your series) you’re onto a good thing. We’re really looking forward to The Fault in Our Stars (June) and Divergent (April).

    1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [up 3]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [down 2]
    4. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1]
    5. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare [new, on order]
    6. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [down 3]
    7=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    7=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [up 2]
    7=. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [back]
    10. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]


  • Books, Grimm, New

    Upcoming!

    05.02.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Upcoming!

    A new music series, short stories for people with Divergent-withdrawal (if you can wait a few months), and time travel.

    Rock War, Robert Muchamore – a new series (Rock War) by the creator of CHERUB. “Meet Jay. Summer. And Dylan. Jay plays guitar, writes songs and dreams of being a rock star. But his ambitions are stifled by seven siblings and a terrible drummer. Summer works hard at school, looks after her nan and has a one-in-a-million singing voice. But can her talent triumph over her nerves? Dylan is happiest lying on his bunk smoking, but his school rugby coach has other ideas, and Dylan reluctantly joins a band to avoid crunching tackles and icy mud. They’re about to enter the biggest battle of their lives. And there’s everything to play for.” (goodreads.com)

    Four, A Divergent Collection, Veronica Roth (Juneish) – five short stories from Four’s perspective (“The Transfer,” “The Initiate,” “The Son,” “The Traitor,” and “Free Four”). Find out what Four thinks really happened.

    The 57 lives of Alex Wayfare, M. G. Buehrlen – “For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories. Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever. And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.” (goodreads.com)


  • Books, Library Serf, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: January 2014

    07.01.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: January 2014

    The Book Thief has raced up the reserves list since New Year’s. It’s got staying power: first published in 2006, it was on our most wanted list in 2009 – 2010, and has been on the New York Times bestsellers list continually for a very long time. It’s also one of 5 movie books on our list this month.

    1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [no change]
    4. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak [back after 4 years]
    5. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 4]
    6=. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [down 2]
    6=. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
    6=. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [no change]
    9=. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    9=. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [down 3]


  • Books, Grimm, Most Wanted

    Most Wanted: December 2013

    05.12.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Most Wanted: December 2013

    These are the 10 most requested items in the Young Adult collection for this month. Because Catching Fire the movie ends on such a cliffhanger, everyone’s naturally wanting to re-read Mockingjay to remember what happens next – reserve yours now if you haven’t got around to it yet, so you don’t have to wait ages! See you next year.

    1. Allegiant, Veronica Roth [no change]
    2. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green [no change]
    3. Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins [back]
    4. The Fall of Five, Pittacus Lore [down 1]
    5. Black Friday, Robert Muchamore [down 1]
    6. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins [up 2]
    7. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins [down 1]
    8. 1D: One Direction: Forever Young [down 3]
    9=. Divergent,Veronica Roth [up 1]
    9=. Insurgent, Veronica Roth [no change]
    9=. Champion, Marie Lu [up 1]


  • Books, New, Rebecca

    New Books

    21.10.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    a rather grisly theme this week, these new books all have a dead character in the premise.

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKilling Rachel, Anne Cassidy (313 pages) – Rose’s mother and Joshua’s father have disappeared. Police inquiries have gone nowhere and the case, it seems, is closed: Rose and Joshua have been told that the police believe their parents are dead. But Rose and Joshua still hold out hope that they are alive. Joshua is determined to follow up his own inquiries, which includes working out the meaning of the cryptic notebooks – the murder notebooks – they have discovered. Then Rose is distracted by odd, desperate messages she receives from Rachel, a former best friend from her school, followed by the terrible news that Rachel is dead. But perhaps Rachel’s death will provide one more piece of the puzzle about what has happened to Rose and Joshua’s parents.

    First lines: “Rose was hiding. It was dark and cold and she was in a shop doorway staring at two people across the road. The street was busy and a stream of people passed without noticing her, wrapped up against the cold night air.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDead Silence: a body finder novel, Kimberly Derting (389 pages) – Violet thought she’d made peace with her unique ability to sense the echoes of the dead and the imprints that cling to their killers. That is until she acquired an imprint of her own. Forced to carry a reminder of the horrible events of her kidnapping, Violet is more determined than ever to lead a normal life. However, the people who run the special investigative team Violet works for have no intention of letting her go. When someone close to Violet becomes a suspect in a horrific murder, she finds herself pulled into a deadly hunt for a madman with an army of devoted followers. Violet has survived dangerous situations before, but she quickly discovers that protecting those closest to her is far more difficult than protecting herself

    First lines: “Jay hit the door with his shoulder, but it didn’t splinter beneath his weight or anything quite so dramatic. The handle, which was probably old and in disrepair anyway, fell apart on impact and the door shot open, banging against the wall on the other side. The crashing noise filled the dark house, echoing off the walls.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDeviant, Helen FitzGerald (248 pages) – When 16-year-old Abigail’s mother dies in Scotland she leaves behind a faded photo, a weirdly cryptic letter, and a one-way ticket to America. Abigail’s mother gave her away when she was a baby, leaving her to grow up on an anti-nuclear commune and then in ugly foster homes. But the letter is a surprise in more ways than one: Her father is living in California. What’s more, Abigail discovers she has an eighteen-year-old sister, Becky. And the two are expecting Abigail to move in with them. Just as Abigail grows close to her newfound sister, Becky is found dead, the accidental victim of an apparent drug overdose. As Abigail wrestles with her feelings and compiles a “Book of Remembrance” of her sister’s short life, she uncovers a horrifying global plot aimed at controlling teen behavior: one that took her sister’s and mother’s lives, with vast implications.

    First lines: “The guy facing Abigail across the desk wasn’t her parent and he wasn’t her friend. “Sit down, Abi,” he said, in a voice that tried to be both. He wasn’t a social worker either, more an unqualified asshole.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDangerous Girls, Abigail Haas (388 pages) – It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love. Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined

    As a side note, go read the reviews on Goodreads, they’re full of people exclaiming about how good this book is and what an incredibly masterful storyteller Abigail Haas is. I completely agree with them.

    First lines: “”Shots! Shots! Shots!” We yell it together, slamming our hands on the sticky wooden table. The dreadlocked waiter pours a row of something lurid, neon blue. It’s our first night on the island, and the music is almost too loud for me to think; some European dance-pop thing that shakes the crowded beach club, making the glasses quiver and the blood vibrate in my chest.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKill the Music, Nansi Kunze (280 pages) – Most people would love to be Lorna Powell, travelling the globe with her brother and his mega-famous band. Then again, most people don’t realise just how annoying four handsome rock stars can be. A new home and a new school seem like the start of a normal life – until Lorna overhears a chilling plot to silence the band forever. Soon Lorna is drawn into a frantic attempt to identify the killer before they strike. But it’s not easy to track suspects around the world when she’s got homework to do and secrets to protect. And when gorgeous lead singer Marius starts to act strangely, Lorna wonders if she’s had the wrong idea all along.

    First lines: “The spa bubbled softly as I stepped into the green marble pool. Scented steam rose from the water; the faint note of a bird chimed in the air. I closed my eyes and sank into the warm depths.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMore than this, Patrick Ness (480 pages) – A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this.

    First lines: “Here is the boy, drowning. In these last moments, it’s not the water that’s finally done for him; it’s the cold. It has bled all the energy from his body and contracted his muscles into a painful uselessness, no matter how much he fights to keep himself above the surface.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAcid, Emma Pass (429 pages) – The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

    First lines: “The first time I notice the new inmate is when we’re all lined up outside our cells for morning head count. He’s standing five doors down from me, sneaking glances at the rest of us as the guards wave their wrist-scanners across our hips to read the spytags that are implanted when we first get here.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis is W.A.R., Lisa & Laura Roecker (278 pages) – Everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club saw Willa Ames-Rowan climb into a boat with James Gregory, the Club’s heir apparent. And everyone at Hawthorne Lake Country Club watched him return. Alone. They all know he killed her. But none of them will say a word. The Gregory family is very, very good at making problems go away. Enter the W.A.R. – the war to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan. Four girls. Four very different motives for justice and revenge, and only one rule: destroy the Gregory family at any cost.

    First lines: “Willa Ames-Rowan never thought she would die. She firmly believed white should be worn before Labor Day, champagne was best enjoyed on an empty stomach, and sleep was for the weak. If it weren’t for the inky black water tugging at her limbs, clawing its way into her mouth, she might have welcomed the dark solitude of Hawthorne Lake. She might have floated on her back, counting stars, dreaming about what it would be like to wake up next to her future husband.”

    book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn the Shadows of Blackbirds : a novel, Cat Winters (387 pages) – In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

    First lines: “I stepped inside the railroad car, and three dozen pairs of eyes peered my way. Gauze masks concealed the passengers’ mouths and noses. The train smelled of my own mask’s cotton, boiling onions, and a whiff of something clammy and sour I took to be fear.”


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