The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Leslye Walton’s magical realism novel promises to take you on a unique journey into the magical and the ordinary, an elixir of both.

How many of us can relate to this line in the story: Love makes us such fools? But the story moves on to show sometimes it’s a matter of opening our eyes.

The women in Ava Lavender’s family have been anything but lucky in love. It has affected everyone down to sixteen-year-old Ava who is born with the wings of a bird and her twin brother, Henry, who is mute. Because they are different, their mother keeps them sheltered at home away from the town’s critical eyes.

Ava’s grandmother, Emilienne, throws herself into her work at the bakery, believing love is something to be warded off.

Ava’s mother, Viviane remains heartbroken over her first love, ignoring the love that appears right before her.

Teenage Ava dreams about being a normal girl, not a creature with wings that makes people think she is everything from a freak to an angel. Then one day, Ava makes a friend who talks her into coming out to the reservoir, the place teens congregate at night. Her life will never be the same.

But it is Henry, who speaks only when it is of utmost importance, who warns the family of the tragedy to come. Will they listen before it’s too late?

Guideline only: School Library Journal rates this book Grade 9 and up.

Follow me on Instagram at lucindastein.  Check out the picture I created for this book!

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A Peculiar Story

I picked this book up, not knowing what to expect except this story would be unusual. Peculiar is a perfect word for it! Sixteen-year-old Jacob has heard weird stories from his grandfather for years. When Jacob was little, he believed in these strange characters–children with special abilities, but as he grew older, he realized the tales were mere fairy tales.

When Jacob finds his grandfather gravely injured outside in the dark, he also sees a monster in the shadows. Or does he? Jacob’s parents send him to a psychologist, thinking he’s having trouble with his grandfather’s death.

But Jacob remembers his grandfather’s dying words, as strange and coded as his many stories, and Jacob is determined to go to the remote island where his grandfather lived as a boy–Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. There he finds the ruins of the building, walls crumbled from an air attack during WWII. But soon he realizes the house is not abandoned!

You’ll enjoy the many real–strange–photographs in the book. The author, Ransom Riggs, perused through vintage photos in flea markets and antique stores, which he used in writing the story. I found myself intrigued with the book, turning page after page. Read the book before you see the movie! If you like series, two sequels to this book are already available: Hollow City and Library of Souls.

Follow me on Instagram at lucindastein. Check out my bookstagram pic for this book!

Jadeite’s Journey

When romance turns deadly…

Jadeite’s world comes crashing down on her. In futuristicjadeites-journey-final-cover United Society, her only problem has been how to act around the cute boy on the air shuttle. But Jadeite’s life changes when she comes across a man who looks alarmingly like her father. Clones were declared illegal years ago. When she sees her father, a robotic engineer, headed to the Dark Edge of United Society, she follows him and uncovers her father’s secret life.

Jadeite shadows her father past the boundary of United Society and into a primitive world of canyons and high deserts. She learns her father is a Ridge Runner passing between the two worlds. Even more alarming, she discovers her younger brother, Malachite, is sick and requires medicine only available from over the Ridge. After her father is arrested, Jadeite takes his place in order to save her brother’s life.

But her world turns even more precarious after she breaks up with her obsessive boyfriend, Mattie. Jadeite soon learns his threats are more than words—and her life is in jeopardy.

Lucinda Stein is the award-winning author of several adult novels and short stories. Jadeite’s Journey is her first YA novel.

Available:

amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

KOBO

Send me a pic of you reading Jadeite’s Journey and I’ll post it! (send to lucinda@lucindastein.com) Follow me on Twitter at @lucindakstein and on Facebook.

I hope you enjoy Jadeite’s Journey!

Happy reading,

Lucinda

 

 

Butterfly Bones

Butterfly Bones: The Metamorphosis Series Book #1 by Rebecca Carpenter

Be prepared for a story unlike any you’ve ever read. Fifteen-year-old Bethany suffers from a rare bone disorder and looks years younger than other kids her age. She’s often mistaken for an Butterfly Bones Cover Ebookelementary student. Her only friend is a handsome boy who’s the star quarterback at Springs High School. Bethany has a big crush on Jeremiah, but she realizes the sexy teen only views her as someone to rescue. Despite reality, she daydreams about her first kiss with Jeremiah.

When a new student, beautiful Zoey, mistakes her for a lost little girl, Bethany is afraid to correct the well-meaning teen. Later when Zoey discovers the truth and becomes the laughing stock on social media, she’s out to make Bethany’s life miserable. Like a true bully, Zoey takes great enjoyment at making others laugh at her victim. Though weak on physical strength, Bethany has no shortage of witty comebacks. This only provokes Zoey to further torture Bethany in and out of school. Life is difficult enough as a teen, but it’s intolerable when you’re considered a freak.

Bethany never knew her mother, who died when Bethany was only a toddler. Her father is an obsessed scientist who is working on a cure for her bone disorder. He uses B. selene3 hormone made from Boloria selene butterflies to keep the disease under control. Unexplainably, the butterflies appear to have a strange connection to Bethany and surface at the most unexpected times in her life.

When her father uses accelerated doses of the hormone, the results spin out of control, placing Bethany’s life in danger. Like the mice in his home laboratory, she realizes her own father has used her as a test subject. He warns her that her body will soon enter into metamorphosis and a chrysalis will form around her body. She will fall unconscious and plunge into a coma. Even worse, her father admits Bethany might not survive this unprecedented procedure. She may never live to be sixteen or experience Jeremiah’s kiss.

This SciFi novel has it all: suspense, gore, death, romance, and secrets. This debut book in the Metamorphosis Series from Lakewater Press is available at Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble. A must read!

The Weight of Feathers

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB every Monday. This is a weekly meme where participants have to answer one of the pre-set questions plus a random question.

AM CURRENTLY READING…

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore. One of the reasons I am enjoying feathers-coverthis book is the fact the story comes as a refreshing change from the paranormal and fantasy novels I’ve been reading and reviewing. The storyline is definitely unique. Two gypsy-like families, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have feuded for years. Both family acts travel throughout the countryside, the Palomas dressing like mermaids and performing in the lake; the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, presenting escapades in tall trees.

That in itself creates a unique story, but both families also possess fantastical traits. The Palomas are born with escamas, dime-sized scales that shine like abalone (fits the mermaid aspect, doesn’t it?). The Corbeaus have black feathers that grow beneath their hair. When these feathers loosen and float on the breeze, the Palomas consider it part of the Corbeaus’ black magic.

Fate brings Lace, a Paloma girl, and Cluck, a Corbeaus, together when a tragedy at the local chemical plant sifts a cloud of chemicals over the small town where both families are performing. Not understanding the danger, Lace is caught outdoors, the chemicals blazing through her skin when Cluck comes upon her. He understands full well the dangers of the chemicals because his grandfather used to work at the plant. Cluck tears at her clothes, knowing the chemical has a violent reaction to cotton material. He brings Lace, severely burned, to the local hospital.

One of the burns forms in the shape of a feather, leaving Lace to think she was cursed by Cluck. She believes the only way to erase the curse is to seek out the Corbeaus who touched her. He is unaware that she is a Paloma and gives her a job applying makeup for the Corbeaus girls before their performance.

Another wonderful aspect of the book is the often lyrical and literary language. Here’s an example from page 158:

“His own words hovered in the air like dragonflies. Even when he went out the back door to hang up his shirt, he could hear the humming of their wings.”

By page 163, where I am currently in the book, romance is heating up between the two rivals. At this point of the story, I have no idea how this can turn out. After all, the families remain fierce rivals and enemies. I’m looking forward to discovering how the story progresses. Even though I’m only a little over halfway through the story, I highly recommend this magical-realism book.

RANDOM QUESTION:

If you were a character, which author would you trust with your life (to write your story)?

I would trust author, Bonnie Jo Campbell, to tell my story. Campbell has a true talent to get into a character’s mind and soul. But what I especially appreciate is the once-upon-a-riverunderlying empathy she holds for all her characters, shallow to complex, good to bad, Campbell will reveal how that character’s life experiences have molded him or her. She would pull out things from my character that I may not be conscious of and would probably surprise even me. Her literary style is, at the risk of an old cliché, the cherry placed on top of her whipped-cream writing. If you haven’t read her work yet, I recommend Once Upon a River and Q Road.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Nineteen-year-old Feyre resides in a village with two sisters and a crippled father at the edge of a magical land called Prythian—a land of faeries. Living in poverty after her father lost his fortune, Feyre hunts for their food, keeping the family from starving. While out hunting one day, she kills a wolf.

Later a fearsome creature breaks into their cottage, seeking revenge for the death of one of its own kind. The wolf Feyre killed turns out to be a shapeshifter who was actually a faerie. The creature called Tamlin drags Feyre away and across the border to Prythian. At his estate, Tamlin allows her free access of his mansion and estate grounds. Instead of killing her, she’s allowed to live according to the regulations of an ancient treaty. However, she can never return to her family. Ever.

Feyre panics over her family’s survival, but Tamlin assures her he has taken care of her family. Over time, she realizes Tamlin truly means her no harm and slowly finds herself attracted to the lethal, immortal High Fae.

She learns that a blight across Prythian endangers the High Fae and has lessened his magical powers. Tamlin’s estate and even his life is in danger. To protect Feyre’s life, he sends her home. But Feyre’s love for Tamlin leads her back to incredible danger and deeper into the secrets of Prythian.

In an intriguing version of Beauty and the Beast, Sarah Maas leads the reader through a story of magic, war, and fated love. Well written, the book contains plenty of conflict and mystery. Due to scenes of sexual and violent nature, I recommend this book for New Adult or older YA readers.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, ©2015, Bloomsbury

 

 

Under a Painted Sky

Fifteen-year-old Samantha kills someone. She wonders if killing the man who tried to rape her counts as murder. All she knows is: it was him against her. Samantha finds herself alone after her father’s dry-goods business is destroyed and her father dies in the suspicious fire, leaving Samantha alone on the streets of St. Joseph, Missouri.

“Still the black snow fell,

bits of my life flaking down on me.”

Now the law is looking for Samantha, a young Chinese girl, who murdered the unscrupulous businessman. She escapes with another girl, Annamae, a slave to the same man. The two girls dress as boys, hide in the back of a covered wagon, and head for the Oregon Trail, hoping they can escape the reward put up for finding the two escapees. The girls refer to themselves as Sammy and Andy and must learn how to talk, walk, and act like boys.

They join up with an unlikely group of young cowboys. Sammy likes the boy called West, but of course, she must maintain the secret of being a girl, not an easy thing to do when she’s falling in love with the handsome cowboy.

“And West, with light from the campfire dancing around his face,

who will never know how much I love him.”

Sammy’s dream of becoming a musician is at risk. Her adventure heading West in 1849 is filled with hazards—outlaws who break people’s hands, that is, if they don’t kill them first, snakes, horrible diseases, and people who are quick to hang an escaped black slave or a Chinese girl accused of murder. Under a Painted Sky reveals how dangerous the frontier was during this period while at the same, portrays the awesome courage of people who struggled for a better life against all odds.

Under a Painted Sky is not your old-fashioned historical YA novel. Author, Stacey Lee, writes with turn-the-page action, genuine teen emotion, and beautiful writing at the same time. I highly recommend this book!

 

Six of Crows

six-of-crows-coverSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The chatter on Twitter had me curious about the fantasy book, Six of Crows. It’s an ambitious book at 462 pages and packed with adventure, violence, and intrigue. A motley group of six outcasts attempts an impossible heist to abduct a prisoner from the impenetrable Ice Court. By the second chapter, a confrontation between two gangs erupts, and the high action of this story is on!

If you find the sheer number of characters confusing, hang in there and the story will soon come together.

Kaz is the leader of this group of young criminals and outcasts. Some say he’s a devil, others call him Dirty Hands. As an orphan, he came from the streets and worked his way up to be a gang leader. He also runs the Crow Club. He’s known for being cold and ruthless.

Inej is call the Wraith for her exceptional power to move undetected. She works as a spy for Kaz.

Nina is a beautiful Grisha Heartrender, who has the supernatural power to burst the heart in your chest, steal your breath, and rupture your cells. She escaped a slave ship and now works for Kaz.

Matthias is a drüskelle, a member of the military who abduct and kill Nina’s kind. He calls Nina a witch.

Jesper is a lanky teen who loves his pearl-handled revolvers. He has a compulsion for gambling to the point that he’s in hock up to his neck.

Wylan is the son of a powerful mercher. He had all the privileges of the wealthy but chose to run away from home.

Kaz’s crew attempts the heist of the century, knowing full well the odds are against them. If they succeed, they will all be very rich. Violence is a way of life in the Barrel where poverty nips the heels of those trying to survive and make money at any cost. To add to the intrigue, Kaz who is known for being coldhearted, has feelings for Inej but refuses to act on them. Sparks fly between Nina and Matthias, who are mortal enemies.

It isn’t just for the money that Kaz accepts the challenge of the Ice Court heist. A thirst for revenge for wrongs done in his past motivates him to risk all their lives. Some say he has claws, but the real reason Kaz always wears gloves is even stranger! The ending of this story opens the door for the upcoming sequel. I can definitely see this becoming a movie. Read Six of Crows for yourself and see what all the talk is about!

 

 

When Dreams Are Put on Hold

This new-adult novel deals with the challenging choices a young adult struggles with after high school. FYI: This book contains strong language and sexual scenes. Skylar I'll Meet You ThereEvans can’t wait to leave her hometown after graduation. The small town of Creek View has little to offer other than a run-down trailer park and one eccentric motel, the Paradise, where she works. Skylar has a pact with her male friend, Chris, that they will both leave Creek View and attend college. Her best friend, Dylan, has gone the route of many girls in Creek View, becoming pregnant in high school. Dylan is now raising her son, Sean.

Skylar’s father died in a car accident, and her mother is not coping well—she loses her job at Taco Bell and drinks all the time. Skylar starts to reconsider her decision to attend college, a dream she’s held for years. Someone has to take care of her mother.

Skylar’s life becomes even more complicated when she attends a party for Josh Mitchell, a Marine home from Afghanistan. Josh’s life is changed forever after he loses one leg in the war. She starts to fall for Josh, but wonders if it’s pity or real attraction drawing her to him.

The summer after graduation proves full of complications for Skylar. Her longing to study art is threatened by her mother’s downward spiral, and Skylar’s growing feelings for Josh. The night she finally admits she’s in love with Josh, he cheats on her. She’s devastated—her first love and he has betrayed her. Skylar’s life has become totally unraveled.

I’ll Meet You There tackles tough problems that can occur in a young adult’s life. The author realistically paints the pain of difficult issues while maintaining a broad stroke of hope. A person’s choices and attitude—along with a little help from friends—can overcome the worst heartbreaks and even the most dismal situations.

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Surrounded by a psychic family, Blue is the only member of her eccentric family who has no psychic ability. She does however make psychic power stronger in those who have it. Blue’s been told for years that she can’t kiss a boy because a kiss to her true love would kill him. She decides to never kiss any boy.

The first chapter draws you in, but it takes more persistence to stick with the story of the Raven boys, who attend Aglionby Academy, a nearby private school. The boys’ complicated relationships take a while to unfold, but if you stick with it, your reward will be an intriguing paranormal story. There’s Ronan, an angry boy who skips classes and gets into fights with his older brother. There’s Adam, a good-looking teen, who unlike the others, comes from a poor family and struggles to stay in the expensive school. His abusive father hates his son’s motivation to better himself and has no problem beating his son. And there’s shy Noah who remains in the background, who holds a secret that none of them could ever imagine.

Coming from a wealthy family, Gansey, the leader of the Raven Boys, has been looking into ley lines—places where spirits travel—for a long time as he searches for the grave of a Welsh king, Glendower, who legend claims will grant a reward to the one who awakens him. An instructor at Aglionby Academy is also searching for Glendower and will do anything to find it—including murder.

Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys when Adam expresses an interest in her. Though attracted to him, she worries how the relationship will develop, knowing the curse that’s connected to her. She joins their venture of locating Glendower’s grave. Later, Blue and Gansey discover a body near an ancient church. This body is of their time period. Decayed, there’s not much left to identify the corpse. Gansey finds a billfold. Inside, the driver’s license photo turns out to be someone they all know. They soon discover that danger lurks within their grand adventure, threatening each and every one of them.

This is the first title in a series of four books.

For fun check out: How to graffiti a car in just under 3.5 minutes (You Tube by Maggie Stiefvater)