Waiting on Wednesday: Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Chaotic Good
by Whitney Gardner
Coming March 13, 2018

Cosplay, comic shops, and college applications collide in this illustrated novel, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Noelle Steveson!

Cameron's cosplay--dressing like a fictional character--is finally starting to earn her attention--attention she hopes to use to get into the CalTech costume department for college. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans.

When Cameron's family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town—her main destination for character reference—is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother's suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she's shocked at how easily she's accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her "secret identity" gets more and more entrenched, Cameron's portfolio falls by the wayside--and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious.

Why I Want It:
I'm loving the increase in "geek" books: books that are unashamed love letters to fandom and include things like cosplay✔, cons, and gaming✔. Plus, I'm all about books that confront dudebros who think that women have to earn cred for their interests, especially when it comes to geeky hobbies or sports. And I haven't played D&D in YEARS, but it was super fun, and I'd love to read a book with a fun campaign in it.

Why I think you should want it:
ALL HAIL FEMINIST GEEKS! Plus, Whitney's writing comes highly recommended.

Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult contemporary realistic fiction
Format/Source: hardcover, from the publisher for the Instagram tour
Status: standalone

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.

Waiting on Wednesday: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

A Reaper at the Gates
An Ember in the Ashes #3
by Sabaa Tahir
Coming April 24 May 22, 2018

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion—even at the cost of his humanity.

Why I Want It:
First of all, I love Helene so seeing my girl front and center on this cover? GIMME IT RIGHT EFFING NOW. I think she's even more stuck than the others—like obviously Laia wants to fight the Empire and she CAN outright rebel, and Elias is the golden boy so he just does whatever the heck he wants, but Helene... Helene already watched [spoiler: that Thing that happened in Torch] and she's just stuck being Blood Shrike for this total asshole douche of an Emperor. And Torch did NOT answer some questions I had burning from Ember and in fact, gave me MORE questions so DANG IT, I NEED ANSWERS. *bangs fist emphatically on desk*

Why I think you should want it:
This series is so cool. It's a Roman-inspired fantasy with dueling people, teen gladiators, a deadly Triwizard/Hunger Games-esque tournament where even the winners are losers, and lots of magic. Plus, it has one of the most evil and awful and fantastic love-to-hate-her villains since Voldemort/Bellatrix Lestrange. You've never rooted so hard for an evil bitch to get what's coming to her.

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: arc, ALA
Status: standalone but When Ashish Met Sweetie is its companion

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Listmania Monday: Books in Space

Welcome to a new edition of a very old feature here on Mary Had a Little Blog. The oldest feature, in fact. This is Listmania Monday, and today I have brought you a new topic: books set in space!

It should be no surprise that I adore space books, and some of these books are among my all-time favorites so I wanted to share the list of teens-in-space books that I've compiled with all of you. And I do mean teens IN space. I'm not including books where aliens have come to earth (Lux, The 5th Wave, AdaptationLorien Legacies, etc). I've also made note of future titles if you're looking for upcoming releases.

If you ever check one of my lists and see a grievous error or a book missing, please let me know! I want these lists to be used as a resource if you're ever looking for a specific kind of book or story. You can find the rest of the Listmania Monday posts at the bottom of my Review Archive at the top of the site or by clicking on the listmania label at the end of this post or at the bottom of the page.

* denotes a series. If you're not seeing a book where you expect it to be, please note that I'm going by series name, not individual book titles. That includes those 2018-2020 releases. So I'm not listing Obsidio as a 2018 release; instead I'm just marking The Illuminae Files that it has a book releasing in 2018.

Across the Galaxy - Heather Hildenbrand
Across the Universe trilogy - Beth Revis*
Alienated trilogy - Melissa Landers*
The Androma Saga (Zenith) - Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings (2019)*
Andromeda Aurora Cycle - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (2019)*
The Australia trilogy - J.P. Smythe*
Avalon duology - Mindee Arnett*

Beyond the Red trilogy - Ava Jae*
Brightly Burning - Alexa Donne

The Cage trilogy - Megan Shepherd*
Carve the Mark duology - Veronica Roth*
Cassiel Winters series - Lesley Young*
The Celestial Trilogy - Sangu Mandanna (2019)*
Century Next Door series - John Barnes*
Chaos Walking trilogy - Patrick Ness*
The Color of Rain - Cori McCarthy
A Confusion of Princes - Garth Nix
Contagion duology - Erin Bowman (2019)*
Constellation series - Claudia Gray (2019)*

Dare Mighty Things duology - Heather Kaczynski*
The Diabolic trilogy - S.J. Kincaid (2019?)*
The Disasters - M.K. England
Dove Chronicles - Karen Bao*

Empress of a Thousand Skies series - Rhoda Belleza*
Ender's Saga - Orson Scott Card*
Entangled series - Amy Rose Capetta*
The Evaporation of Sofi Snow series - Mary Weber*
Exo series - Fonda Lee*
The Exo Project - Andrew DeYoung
Extraction trilogy - Stephanie Diaz*

Feed - M.T. Anderson
The Final Six - Alexandra Monir (2020)*
Freefall - Joshua David Bellin

Heart of Iron duology - Ashley Poston (2019)*
The Honors series - Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre*
Hullmetal Girls - Emily Skrutskie

Ignite the Stars duology - Maura Milan (2019)*
Inherit the Stars duology - Tessa Elwood
The Illuminae Files - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff*

The Jupiter Pirates series - Jason Fry*

The Kaitan Chronicles - AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller*

The Last 8 series - Laura Pohl (2020)*
The Last Girl on Earth - Alexandra Blogier
Last of Her Name - Jessica Khoury
Legacy Code series - Autumn Kalquist*
Light Years series - Kass Morgan (2019)*
Linked duology - Imogen Howson*
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe - Lauren James
The Lunar Chronicles - Marissa Meyer*

Mars One - Jonathan Maberry
A Million Worlds with You - Claudia Gray (I'm only including this one instead of the entire trilogy because I think it's the only one with actual space travel. Please correct me if this is wrong!)
Mirage trilogy - Somaiya Daud (2019)*

The Night Lily - Julie Tuovi (unknown release date)
The Nightside Saga (27 Hours) - Tristina Wright (this was supposed to be a series, but the publication of future books has been cancelled)
The Nyxia Triad - Scott Reintgen*

Once and Future series - Cori McCarthy & Amy Rose Capetta (2020)*
The 100 series - Kass Morgan*
The Other Side of the Sky duology - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (2020)*

Paradise Reclaimed trilogy - Aubrie Dionne*
The Pioneer - Bridget Tyler*
Pitch Dark - Courtney Alameda

The Raging Ones duology - Krista & Becca Ritchie (2019)*
Red Rising Saga - Pierce Brown (2019)*

Salvage duology - Alexandra Duncan*
Satellite - Nick Lake
Sanctuary duology - Caryn Lix (2019)*
Seven Devils series - Laura Lam & Elizabeth May (2020)*
Sky Chasers series - Amy Kathleen Ryan*
Skyward series - Brandon Sanderson (2019)*
Space Runners series - Jeramey Kraatz (2019)*
Spectre War series - Margaret Fortune*
Split City series - Heather Hansen*
Star-Crossed duology - Pintip Dunn (2019)*
The Starbound trilogy - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner*
Starflight duology - Melissa Landers*
Starglass series - Phoebe North*
Stars Fall Circle series - Abby J. Reed (2019)*
The Stars We Steal - Alexa Donne (2020)
Stitching Snow duology - R.C. Lewis*
System Divine duology - Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell (2020)*

The Taking trilogy - Melissa West*
This Splintered Silence - Kayla Olson
The Tomb - S.A. Bodeen
Toxic - Lydia Kang
Tracked duology - Jenny Martin*

Unearthed duology - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner*

Waste of Space - Gina Damico
We're Not From Here - Geoff Rodkey
What Goes Up - Katie Kennedy
The Whitecoat's Daughter series - Olivia Cole*

Zodiac series - Romina Russell*

You might have noticed a number of missing space-y titles, and if you did: good job, nerd! I decided to list any Star Wars-specific YA and MG titles down here.

Ahsoka - E.K. Johnston
Cobalt Squadron - Elizabeth Wein
The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? - Adam Gidwitz
Guardians of the Whills - Greg Rucka
Join the Resistance - Ben Acker & Ben Blacker
The Legends of Luke Skywalker - Ken Liu
Leia, Princess of Alderaan - Claudia Gray
Lost Stars - Claudia Gray
Most Wanted - Rae Carson
Moving Target: A Leia Skywalker Adventure - Cecil Castelluci & Jason Fry
A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy - Alexandra Bracken
Rebel Rising - Beth Revis
Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! - Tom Angleberger
Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure - Greg Rucka
Star Wars: Before the Awakening - Greg Rucka
The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure - Jason Fry

Did I leave anything out? Please let me know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Unearthed #1
by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Coming January 9, 2018

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

Why I Want It:
Four years ago, I read one book that would become an instant favorite and introduce me to two amazing authors and a genre that I adore. I've always enjoyed space in general, but These Broken Stars was the first book that showed me how much fun YA space operas can be. Now I'm hooked! Amie and Meagan are an unstoppable duo, and as long as they're writing, I'm going to devour their work! I actually have an ARC of Unearthed, and I don't know how much longer I can keep my hands off it.

Why I think you should want it:
Amie and Meagan write amazing action and adventure that keeps your blood pumping as you read. But they also write tough girls, swoony boys, and lovely romance. Also, Unearthed was pitched as "Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft in space" so if that doesn't do it for you, I honestly don't know what will.

Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: hardcover, from my library
Status: book 3 of the To All the Boys trilogy

Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Waiting on Wednesday: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Heart of Iron
by Ashley Poston
Coming February 27, 2018
Balzer & Bray

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

Why I Want It:
I absolutely fell in love with Ash's writing and style when I read Geekerella so I knew I wanted to read more of her work. Then I discovered Heart of Iron is an Anastasia retelling AND it's set in space, and those are two of my very favorite things! Also, Ash is a boss person, and I adore her. 

Why I think you should want it:
ANASTASIA IN SPACE, Y'ALL!!! Also, I heard this book will break you in the greatest way possible. How can you NOT want to sign up for that??

Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Imprint
Genre: young adult fantasy, fairy tales
Format/Source: hardcover, purchased from SEVERAL stores
Status: part of the Grishaverse

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves. 

Waiting on Wednesday: Batman: Nightwalker

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Batman: Nightwalker
DC Icons #2
by Marie Lu
Coming January 2, 2018
Random House Books for Young Readers

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Why I Want It:
Man, I loved Batman as a kid. I adored the animated show and Batman Forever (yes, really. It was the only one of the Batman movies I watched as a kid), and I loved our broody bad boy superhero. He's not my favorite superhero now, but I also love Marie Lu. You know how people always talk about authors whose grocery lists they'd read? Yeah, Marie is on my grocery list author list. She's so talented, and I think she does an AMAZING job writing morally ambiguous characters and spotlighting the good and bad in people. My body is READY.

Why I think you should want it:
Batman is one of the most fascinating superheroes. First of all, he's a normal dude (although rich af) and not super-powered. Instead, he uses his money, connections, and intellect to fight crime. Secondly and more interestingly, he's a good guy, but he's all about the revenge. Guys like Superman and Captain America are the goody two-shoes guys who are altruistic and boy scout-y. Bruce isn't like that. He helps people, yes, but he only got into the game to avenge his parents' murder. Still, not-great intentions or no, Batman does a lot of good. I don't know much about the actual comics, but in the movies, the focus is always on adult Bruce or kid Bruce, but there's very little in the way of teenage Bruce. I think it's really interesting that Gotham is currently exploring that age and now we can add Nightwalker to the mix. Plus, it's Marie Lu. You should want to read her grocery lists too.