The Next Competitor by KP Kincaid
It’s the all-important Olympic season and eighteen-year-old American figure skater Alex Grady is discovering that there are many obstacles along the way on his quest to win a gold medal. For starters, he has to get through endless hours of practice under the watchful eye of his stern and slightly terrifying Russian coach. Then he has to contend with his all-American rival, Tanner Nielsen. Tanner has the talent, looks, poise and picture-perfect girlfriend that make him the ideal poster boy for United States figure skating. Alex has the talent and his looks aren’t bad, but the filter between his brain and his mouth is missing, and he definitely doesn’t have a girlfriend. He doesn’t have a boyfriend either, although he finds himself thinking far too much about pairs skater Matt Savelli, which is ridiculous, since goody two-shoes Matt is totally not his type. Besides, Alex doesn’t have time to worry about dating, not with the Olympics looming, right? Can he find a way to go for the gold and still remain true to himself?
The Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon
It’s true: After 17-year-old Ben’s father announces he’s gay and the family splits apart, Ben does everything he can to tick him off: skip school, smoke pot, skateboard nonstop, get arrested. But he never thinks he’ll end up yanked out of his city life and plunked down into a small Montana town with his dad and Edward, The Boyfriend. As if it’s not painful enough living in a hick town with spiked hair, a skateboard habit, and two dads, he soon realizes something’s not quite right with Billy, the boy next door. He’s hiding a secret about his family, and Ben is determined to uncover it and set things right. In an authentic, unaffected, and mordantly funny voice, Michael Harmon tells the wrenching story of an uprooted and uncomfortable teenaged guy trying to fix the lives around him–while figuring out his own.
Leverage by Joshua Cohen
The football field is a battlefield
There’s an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on – and off – the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy – including the most innocent bystanders.
When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school’s salvation.
Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes.
Jesus Potter Harry Christ by Derek Murphy
LET’S SKIP THE INTRODUCTIONS. You don’t need me to tell you that Jesus Christ and Harry are two of the most famous celebrities in the world, whose stories have been translated into dozens of languages and found international support in diverse cultures. What you may not be aware of, however, is the mysterious, complicated and intriguing relationship between them. For example, did you know that the topics “I read Harry Potter and Jesus still loves me,” “Even Jesus reads Harry Potter” and “Harry Potter will return sooner than Jesus” each have their own Facebook group, or that Wikipedia has a page dedicated to “Religious debates over the Harry Potter Series”? Much more remarkable than their respective popularity is the significant tension – and unexpected affinity – between them…
At first glance it may seem that J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard and the crucified Jesus prophet who became the Christian savior have absolutely nothing to do with each other – and yet the unease and sometimes outright animosity between the followers of these two figures suggests otherwise. Harry has been banned, burned, and abused by religious fundamentalists for over a decade. At the release of Rowling’s final book, however, many readers were surprised to discover parallels between Jesus and Harry that, in such apparently diverse world-views, had no right to be there.
As a result, recent years have witnessed a revolution in Christian responses to Harry, with many groups, writers and religious leaders praising Rowling’s young sorcerer as ultimately Christian and a clear metaphor for Jesus Christ. And yet the most spine-tingling question has so far been ignored: Why do these similarities exist at all? Although it is easy to accept that Rowling crafted the literary character of Harry Potter after the figure of Jesus, shouldn’t it pique our interest that Jesus – a monumental figure in modern world religion generally believed to have been historical – has so much in common with the obviously fictional fantasy world and character of Harry Potter?
The main distinction, it will be argued, is that Jesus Christ is real: Jesus has traditionally been viewed as a historical figure, while Harry is instantly recognized as fiction. But does this distinction apply to the many seemingly mythical elements in the gospels? Can Jesus’ miracles be separated from Harry’s magic tricks because they really happened – or will we allow that certain features of the gospels were exaggerated or intended to be literary. And if so, where do we stop? What protects Jesus from the claim that he is, like Harry, a fictional character?
This is the starting point of Jesus Potter Harry Christ; an innovative treatise into religious history, comparative mythology, astrological symbolism and contemporary culture. From ancient mystery religions to modern fairy tales, from fictional Hogwarts to the ruins of Jerusalem, Derek Murphy, PhD in Comparative Literature at one of the world’s top universities, narrows in on one crucial question: How do we separate the obviously mythical literature of Jesus Christ from the historical man himself?
All Lost Things by Josh Aterovis
Killian Kendall’s life is changing faster than he can keep up. He’s graduating from high school, breaking up with his boyfriend, and starting a new job with a private investigator. He’s barely settled at his new desk when his ex-boyfriend calls with a desperate plea for help. He wants Killian to prove his new boyfriend is innocent in the shockingly violent murder of his abusive father. Killian reluctantly agrees to take the case, little knowing how complicated – and dangerous – things will become before it’s over. On the home front, Killian’s surrogate parents decide to buy a historic mansion and turn it into a bed and breakfast. The house comes with a rich history… and maybe a ghost or two. Killian doesn’t want to believe in such things, but he’s quickly becoming convinced that something terrible happened to the home’s original owners. The century-old mystery both terrifies and tantalizes Killian. In the end, he may be the only one who can uncover the truth.
Freak Show by James St. James
Meet Billy Bloom, new student at the ultra-white, ultra-rich, ultra-conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy and drag queen extraordinaire. Actually, “drag queen” does not begin to describe Billy and his fabulousness. Any way you slice it, Billy is not a typical seventeen-year-old, and the Bible Belles, Aberzombies, and Football Heroes at the academy have never seen anyone quite like him before. But thanks to the help and support of one good friend, Billys able to take a stand for outcasts and underdogs everywhere in his own outrageous, over-thetop, sad, funny, brilliant, and unique way.
Every Last Kiss by Courtney Cole
Born a goddess. Controlled by the Fates. Can Macy’s love for her soul mate survive the bonds of time… and death?
17-year old Macy Lockhart is as far from normal as any one girl can be. The problem is, she doesn’t know it yet.
After a bloodstone pendant is mysteriously left on her door, Macy’s life begins to change in ways she’d never dreamed. And while she will eventually come to realize that nothing is ever what it seems, that her life is a tangled web of lies and the Fates themselves pull the strings, for now she is left with only the explanations that they offer her.
Macy is led to believe that if she doesn’t return to a previous doomed life, one in which she served as Queen Cleopatra ‘s handmaiden, the fate of the entire world will be threatened in a way that would destroy history as we know it. She learns that she has lived thousands of lives, each one ending tragically…but none as tragic as this one.
After returning to ancient Egypt, she is faced with heart-wrenching decisions. Unless she interferes with Fate’s plan, the very thing she was born to protect, her soul mate will die leading Marc Antony’s forces against Rome. Can she really stand aside and watch the love of her life die all over again?
In this fascinating novel-length prequel to The Bloodstone Saga, Courtney Cole sets the stage for an epic journey that will have readers holding their breath until the very last page of the very last book has been turned.
What would you do if you held Fate in your hands?
Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren
What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?
Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds…until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.
Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.
Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper
The Book of Eador, Abjurations 12:14, is very clear: Suffer ye not the life of a witch. For a thousand years, the Church Knights have obeyed that commandment, sending to the stake anyone who can hear the songs of the earth. There are no exceptions, not even for one of their own.
Novice Knight Gair can hear music no one else can, beautiful, terrible music: music with power. In the Holy City, that can mean only one thing: death by fire—until an unlikely intervention gives him a chance to flee the city and escape the flames.
With the Church Knights and their witchfinder hot on his heels, Gair hasn’t time to learn how to use the power growing inside him, but if he doesn’t master it, that power will tear him apart. His only hope is the secretive Guardians of the Veil, though centuries of persecution have almost destroyed their Order, and the few Guardians left have troubles of their own.
For the Veil between worlds is weakening, and behind it, the Hidden Kingdom, ever-hungry for dominion over the daylight realm, is stirring. Though he is far from ready, Gair will find himself fighting for his own life, for everyone within the Order of the Veil, and for the woman he has come to love.
The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.
But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.
Love is in the Title by RJ Scott
RJ Scott’s first story for Young Adults
Luke requests songs for the late show with Roscoe. Songs that mean something to him and the people around him. Lately he has been requesting songs for the boy he watches from afar. The gorgeous dark haired blue eyed captain of the football team, Cameron.
One night, and the last request, and all of Luke’s secrets spill. It seems though, that he isn’t the only one with secrets.
Shadow Magic by Jaida Jones, Danielle Bennett
Led to victory by its magic-fueled Dragon Corps, Volstov has sent a delegation to its conquered neighbors to work out the long-awaited terms of peace. Among those in the party are the decorated war hero General Alcibiades and the formerly exiled magician Caius Greylace. But even this mismatched pair can’t help but notice that their defeated enemies aren’t being very cooperative. The hidden truth is that the new emperor is harboring a treacherous secret—and once it is revealed, Alcibiades and Caius may be powerless to stop it.
With their only ally an exiled prince now fleeing his brother’s assassins, the countryside rife with terror, and Alcibiades and Caius all but prisoners, it will take the most powerful kind of magic to heal the rift between two strife-worn lands and unite two peoples against a common enemy: shadow magic.
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin’ do.
Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.
The Cat’s Meow by Stormy Glenn
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not always a bad thing…
Noah Anderson is odd and he knows it. He has a strong obsessive compulsive disorder that keeps him organized but distances him from the world around him. He doesn’t have any friends, family, or even a lover. He’s never had a lover.
When he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time, Noah discovers that the dangers posed by having sex for the first time pale in comparison to having sex with the assassin that comes to kill him, even if it means his life.
Gage Tynan is a killer. It’s what he’s always been. And he excelled at his job until he jumped into the car of a passing motorist when his latest mission goes wrong. The man driving is so odd that Gage suspects he might have been sent to harm him. Gage has no idea that the little man that asks him to take his cat will change his life in ways he has no clue of.
Gage is dragged into a world of shifters and exiled kings, one where his strength will be called upon to keep Noah safe from the pride soldiers sent to keep him from taking the throne.
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter’s marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds. Like her House Rules and several other previous Jodi Picoult novels, Sing You Home grapples with hot button issues. The novel also includes a CD of songs, each matched with a chapter in the book. Perfect for book clubs.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins is not an atheist who sits quietly in the pews. The scientist Discover dubbed “Darwin’s Rottweiler” refuses to regard religion as mere harmless nonsense; he views it instead as one of humanity’s most pernicious creations. In The God Delusion he attacks arguments for the existence of God; accuses religions of fomenting divisiveness, war, and bigotry; and castigates believers in intelligent design.
And it’s a new year, so I think I’ll go back and start at the top of the list again.
Touch me Gently by JR Loveless
Always hiding his tormented past along with his scarred body, Kaden James finds it difficult to keep a job. Luck finally turns his way when he finds a job as a cook on a Montana ranch, where he meets terrifyingly handsome Logan Michaels. Logan is different from any man Kaden’s ever met, and before long, he finds himself falling in love with the big cowboy.
But Kaden’s nightmares won’t let go of him so easily, and he’s not just jumping at shadows. He has nearly a lifetime of abuse, horrifying memories, and pain addiction to overcome. Can Logan’s gentle touch help Kaden heal inside?
Lord of the White Hell, Book Two by Ginn Hale
Kiram fought his family and Cadeleonian bigots to remain in the Sagrada Academy to prove himself as a mechanist and to dispel the deadly shadow curse that threatens to destroy his upperclassman, Javier Tornesal. But when his efforts provoke retaliation, Kiram’s family and home are endangered. Both Kiram and Javier risk everything in a desperate gambit to combat the curse. But they never imagined their battle with come so soon, or that it would be lead by the one person they trust most of all.
Details of the Hunt by Laura Baumbach
A 26th century, time-traveling, bounty hunter snatchs a 18th century Earth pirate in a deal to enrich the archeological knowledge of Earth’s mankind, but as the bounty hunter develops an attraction for his likable, free-spirited prey, he attempts to alter the deal, threatening both his own personal code of honor and the strict rules of conduct of his Oracan warrior race. Will the love of a wily, cock-sure, young human pirate be enough for the stoic hunter to risk exile from his own people?
Well, this is the final installment of WW for 2011, as crazy as it sounds. And yes, I managed to drag myself away from Skyrim long enough to make this post. Just kidding, though. I got the game for Christmas, and I love it, but I only play it at night when everyone else has gone to bed. I’m not very good at video games in general, so I try to avoid situations where people would laugh at me for attempting to play such a popular game. Plus, my brother is on Christmas Break and hardly stops playing the Xbox during the day. I don’t blame him, though, since our parents just got a new flat screen TV as their Christmas gift to each other. It’s so nice…
Anyway, to the actual point of this post.
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”
If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.
Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.
Mongrel by KZ Snow
Hunzinger’s Mechanical Circus, a rollicking seaside carnival where imagination meets machinery, seems like the only bright spot in the dreary city of Purinton. But a shadow is cast there one day by a tall, cloaked figure striding down the boardwalk and behaving in a most eccentric way — a man with strange eyes and strange ears and a mark at the base of his throat. He’s Fanule Perfidor, commonly known as the Dog King, and he isn’t welcome at the Circus. No resident of Taintwell is. They’re all Branded Mongrels, and they’re officially shunned.
So it’s understandable that Will Marchman, a young patent-medicine salesman, is wary when Perfidor approaches his stand and begins asking questions. Much to his chagrin, Will is beguiled as well. When the two men meet again at a public house in the city’s seediest district, all prejudice falls away. Lust takes over, then affection. An affair is born.
The naive but plucky pitchman soon becomes embroiled in a dangerous quest. Fanule suspects that Alphonse Hunzinger and Purinton’s civic leaders are responsible for the disappearance or incarceration of countless Branded Mongrels. But why? As Will’s passion and regard for his tormented lover grow, he’s determined to help Fanule get answers and prevent any further persecution…or worse.
With the aid of a dead and dismembered witch, a vulgar bounty hunter, and a dapper, voracious vampire, Fan and Will take on a group of ruthless enemies. If only they can stay together and stay alive long enough to see their plan through…
Melusine by Sarah Monette
Melusine – a city of secrets and lies, pleasure and pain, magic and corruption – and destinies lost and found.
Felix Harrowgate is a dashing, highly respected wizard. But his aristocratic peers don’t know his dark past – how his abusive former master enslaved him, body and soul, and trained him to pass as a nobleman. Within the walls of the Mirador – Melusine’s citadel of power and wizardry – Felix believed he was safe. He was wrong. Now, the horrors of his previous life have found him and threaten to destroy all he has since become.
Mildmay the Fox is used to being hunted. Raised as a kept-thief and trained as an assassin, he escaped his Keeper long ago and lives on his own as a cat burglar. But now he has been caught by a mysterious foreign wizard using a powerful calling charm. And yet the wizard was looking not for Mildmay – but for Felix Harrowgate.” Thrown together by fate, the broken wizard Felix and the wanted killer Mildmay journey far from Melusine through lands thick with strange magics and terrible demons of darkness. But it is the shocking secret from their pasts, linking them inexorably together, that will either save them, or destroy them.
Scarlet and the White Wolf by Kirby Crow
Scarlet of Lysia is an honest peddler, a young merchant traveling the wild, undefended roads to support his aging parents. Liall, called the Wolf of Omara, is the handsome, world-weary chieftain of a tribe of bandits blocking a mountain road that Scarlet needs to cross. When Liall jokingly demands a carnal toll for the privilege, Scarlet refuses and an inventive battle of wills ensues, with disastrous results. Scarlet is convinced that Liall is a worthless, immoral rogue, but when the hostile countryside explodes into violence and Liall unexpectedly fights to save the lives of Scarlet’s family, Scarlet is forced to admit that the Wolf is not the worst ally he could have, but what price will proud Scarlet ultimately have to pay for Liall’s friendship?
Bloodspell by Amalie Howard
The spell was simple…
Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)
But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?
Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds — much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.
What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own…
Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?
Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
Belimai Sykes is many things: a Prodigal, the descendant of ancient demons, a creature of dark temptations and rare powers. He is also a man with a brutal past and a dangerous addiction. And Belimai Sykes is the only man Captain William Harper can turn to when faced with a series of grisly murders.
But Mr. Sykes does not work for free and the price of Belimai’s company will cost Captain Harper far more than his reputation. From the ornate mansions of noblemen, where vivisection and sorcery are hidden beneath a veneer of gold, to the steaming slums of Hells Below, Captain Harper must fight for justice and for his life.
His enemies are many and his only ally is a devil he knows too well. Such are the dangers of dealing with the wicked.
Anathema by Megg Jensen
Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny.
Sheltered from the outside world with no hope for escape, slave girl Reychel dreads her fifteenth birthday – when her master’s symbol is burned on the back of her bald scalp. Her best friend disappears the night before, leaving her to face the branding ceremony alone. She soon discovers nothing is as it seems when people desperate for freedom beg for Reychel’s help.
Can Reychel learn to believe in herself?
Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon
Dashing soldier of fortune Valentine Strange, late of his Majesty’s 21st Benhali Lancers needs money. Happily, the wealthy Holy Orders of Harappu are desperate to retrieve the diadem of the Goddess Purya from an ancient temple deep in the White Mountains–a dangerous territory Strange knows well. The pay is too good and the job sounds too easy, but Strange is not in position to refuse. When Master Aleister Grimshaw, a dangerous witch with a traitorous lineage joins the expedition, Strange begins to suspect that more is at stake than the retrieval of a mere symbolic relic. Grimshaw knows an ancient evil surrounds the diadem. The same evil once hunted him–and still haunts his dreams. However, experience has taught him to keep his suspicions to himself or risk being denounced as a madman. Again. Harried by curses, bandits, and unnatural creatures, Strange and Grimshaw plunge onward. But when a demonic power wakes and the civilized world descends into revolution, their tenuous friendship is threatened as each man must face the destruction of the life he has known.