Review: Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

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Sacrifice
by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elementals, #5
Released on: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (AUS)/ Kensington Teen (US)
Rating: 2 stars
Word Rating: Why you disappoint me?
Reviewed by: Mel

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Earth. Fire. Air. Water.

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He's the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he's all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She's got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael's defiance, his family's 'bad luck'. Before he knows it, Michael's enemies have turned into the Merricks' enemies, and they're armed for war.

They're not interested in surrender. But Michael isn't the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Since You've Been Gone
by Morgan Matson
Series: None
Released on: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: Best by Matson so far
Reviewed by: Mel

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The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

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Stray
by Elissa Sussman
Series: Stray, #1
Released on: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow
Rating: 1.5 stars
Word Rating: I'm so confused I don't even care anymore
Reviewed by: Mel

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“I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.”

Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.

When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.

But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.

After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

STRAY is the first in a collection of intertwined stories, all set in a world where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict doctrine called The Path. A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in, this original fairy tale will be released October 7th, 2014 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.

Waiting on Wednesday - The Last Time We Say Goodbye

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye
by Cynthia Hand
Series: Standalone
Released on: February 10th, 2015
Published by: HarperTeen
Waited on by: Mel

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There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

Review + Giveaway: Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

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Don't Touch
by Rachel M. Wilson
Series: None
Released on: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 4.5 stars
Word Rating: Truly TOUCHing (Yes I know, I'm hilarious)
Reviewed by: Mel

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A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

#IslaIsComing Tour Stop: Lola Nolan's "Bag"

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GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS Isla is (officially) coming out TOMORROW. Can you believe it? Because this is clearly one of the most anticipated books in the entire blogosphere and beyond, this quintet of fantastic ladies known as Meg, Judith, Jamie, Lindsey and Andi took the amazing initiative of Isla Is Coming. I'm sure you've heard of it somewhere. More details on the entire ordeal here




Finding Bliss in Books has the honour of closing out Lola week, which is excellent because it's my (Ellis) favourite book. Full disclosure: I haven't read Isla yet so anything is possible, really. For all things Lola, and some seriously fabulous shoes, check out the Lola kick-off post

If you've read Lola, you know she's just this teensy bit obsessed with what's going on in Cricket's room. One such moment, for instance:

His curtains are still open, and his bags are still on his floor. I’ve been strangely fascinated by the shoulder bag. It’s an old, brown leather satchel, the kind that should be worn by a university professor or a jungle explorer. I wonder what’s in it. Probably just a toothbrush and a change of underwear. 



For all the curious souls out there, this happens after the HORRIBLY EMOTIONAL RECORD SHOP RUN-IN. 

Ahem.

So we started wondering: what would be in Lola Nolan's bag/purse/handheld accessory of the day? Here's a tentative, obviously non-exhaustive list of LNNs (Lola Nolan necessities) Blythe and I came up with. Feel free to add anything you think is Lola crucial!

Waiting on Wednesday - The Blood of Olympus

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan.

The Blood of Olympus
by Rick Riordan
Series:The Heroes of Olympus, #5
Released on: October 7th, 2014
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Waited on by: Mel

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Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.