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Book Scoop December 7- December 14, 2018

December 14, 2018
InToriLex, Book Scoop, Weekly Feature

HEADLINES


BOOK RELEASES

The Girl in the Corner by Amanda Prowse
The Girl in the Corner, Amanda Prowse, InToriLex
The Girl in the Corner~Amazon~
Rae-Valentine and Howard were childhood sweethearts. They’ve shared twenty-five peaceful years since they were brought together by Dolly, Howard’s larger-than-life sister. But now, on the night of their wedding anniversary, Howard reveals a shocking betrayal that leaves Rae reeling.
Heartbroken, she takes Dolly on her would-be anniversary trip to Antigua and the two women drink and dance and talk like they haven’t in years. But in the break from real life, Rae realises her choices have always been made for her, and suddenly she’s questioning not only her fragile marriage but also her one-sided friendships. Is she really the pushover everyone else sees?
Broken Lands (Broken Lands #1) by Jonathan Maberry 
 Broken Lands, (Broken Lands #1), Jonathan Maberry
Broken Lands (Broken Lands, #1)~Amazon~When Howard comes looking for reconciliation, Rae has a choice to make: keep the peace, as she always has, or put herself first for once and find out who she really is.
Ever since her mother’s death, Gabriella “Gutsy” Gomez has spent her days flying under the radar. But when her mother’s undead body is returned to her doorstep from the grave and Gutsy witnesses a pack of ravagers digging up Los Muertos—her mother’s name for the undead—she realizes that life finds you no matter how hard you try to hide from it.
Meanwhile, Benny Imura and his gang set out on a journey to finish what Captain Joe Ledger started: they’re going to find a cure. After what they went through in the Rot and Ruin, they think they’ve seen it all, but as they venture into new and unexplored territory, they soon learn that the zombies they fought before were nothing compared to what they’ll face in the wild beyond the peace and safety of their fortified town.
Crow Flight by Susan Cunningham 
Crow Flight, Susan Cunningham, InToriLex
Crow Flight~Amazon~Gin trusts logic a little too much. She even designs programs to decide what to eat and how to spend her time. All that changes when she’s paired with a new transfer student, Felix, on a computer modeling assignment to explain certain anomalies in the behavior of crows.
As she enters Felix’s world and digs further into the data behind crow behavior, Gin uncovers a terrible secret. And the wrong decision could equal disaster squared . . .



This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher
This Lie Will Kill You, Chelsea Pitcher, InToriLex
This Lie Will Kill You~Amazon~One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.
But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.
Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.
Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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Review: Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri

Black Queer Hoe, Britteney Black Rose Kapri, InToriLex
Published By: Haymarket Books on September 4, 2018
Format Read: Paperback Edition (120 pages)
Genre: Poetry/ Feminism/ LGBTQ
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS

Black Queer Hoe (BreakBeat Poets)~Amazon~ Women’s sexuality is used as a weapon against them. In this stunning debut, Britteney Black Rose Kapri lends her unmistakable voice to fraught questions of identity, sexuality, reclamation, and power, in a world that refuses Black Queer women permission to define their own lives and boundaries.

VERDICT:


Content Warning: Racism, Feminism, Sexually Explicit Language

REVIEW:

From the introduction to the last page this collection of poems entertained, enlightened, and challenged me. The topics of the poems ranged from serious explorations on race, body image, hoeness, and queerness. I related to this book in a multitude of ways because of the honesty and humor. I have already reread poems and keep thinking about certain lines. The ability of this author to compelling be herself and own her full identity without compromise, challenged me to take a closer look at myself. It is easy to forget to practice self love and ignore the many ways society wants to limit who women are.
i'm not your black friend. not your hero. this book isn't for you. its a celebration of my Blackness, my Queerness, my Hoeness, none of which exists without the other
The tragic cost of being black, poor and male is deftly explored in the poem for Colored boys who considered gangbanging when being Black was too much. The title alone speaks volumes about the reality's and choices people face because of racism. There are far too many people who treat racism like a series of isolated incidents instead of a systematic problem. This book challenges readers to reexamine how they overlook and confront oppression in all of its forms. It also explores sexuality in a unflinching celebratory way, which I cheered on loudly. I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys modern poetry.
but we don't talk about it. because its ugly. and we are taught to bury our ugly in lovers who have already seen us
Recommended for Readers who
- readers who want to think more deeply about racism, sexuality and womenhood
- enjoy well crafted poetry from own voice authors
- want to consider changing the way they approach allyship

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Britteney Black Rose Kapri
Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a poet, teaching artist, petty enthusiast and Slytherin from Chicago. Currently she is an alumna turned Teaching Artist Fellow at Young Chicago Authors. She is a staff member for Black Nerd Problems and Pink Door Women’s Writing Retreat. Her first chapbook titled “Winona and Winthrop” was published in June of 2014 through New School Poetics. She has also been published in the Breakbeat Poets volume One & Two, Poetry Magazine, Vinyl, Day One, Seven Scribes, The Offing, Kinfolks Quarterly and her number on many dive bar bathroom walls. She is a 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers Award Recipient. You can probably find her on twitter talking shit about all the things you love, in a classroom talking shit about your kids or at a barstool just talking shit.
WEBSITE 
TWITTER

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Review: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

December 10, 2018
Thunderhead, (Arc of a Scythe #2), Neal Shusterman, InToriLex
Published By: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on January 9, 2019
Format Read: Hardback Edition (504 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Dystopia/ Sci-fi
Series:Book Two of Arc of a Scythe
Source: Purchased
Rating:FIVE STARS
~Amazon~                                                         Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.
Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Torture, Graphic Violence

REVIEW:

The Thunderhead is an all knowing AI that you love, fear and can't escape. In this world of immorality the Thunderhead is determined to make earth, humanity and society function optimally. However because the Scythe's and Scythdom is out of the Thunderhead's domain, Rowan and Citra have to find creative ways to fight the corruption of the Scythedom. Neal Shusterman knows how to seamlessly make you think more deeply about the world around you while you contemplate the morality of this world. Citra and Rowan have to adjust to dealing with the Scythedom on their own terms. The characters are dynamic, the world building is fantastic, and I enjoyed every bit of suspense, humor and action this book has to offer.
"Society gorges itself, and rots. Permission is the bloated corpse of freedom."
Plot points and characters surprised me. The villain of this story was flipped and changed a few times throughout the book. The Scythedom's political intrigue is processes are more multi-faceted than I  imagined. I was happy to learn more about the underground world of Unsavories, people intent on getting into trouble and their function in this wold. The use of vignettes of the Thunderhead's thoughts led you to empathize with a being that beings to understand the frustration of living in a world you cannot control. Our main characters find themselves in more danger with higher stakes than ever before. This sequel solidified how amazing this world and these characters are.
How ironic, then and how poetic, that humankind may have created the Creator out of want for one. Man Creates God, who then creates man. Is that not the perfect circle of life? But then if that turns out to be the case, who is created in whose image?
Although this is a young adult novel, the themes of life, death and purpose can resonate with any reader. I cheered,  laughed and worried many times while reading this book. If you enjoyed the world of Scythe, do not hesitate to continue on with the series.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy Dystopia's with a funny and all knowing AI
- appreciate action packed books with well developed characters
- enjoyed Scythe and want more twisty plot, humor and philosophy

Reviews For Books In Series
Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script
In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal's talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful "How to Host a Mystery" game for teens, as well as seven "How to Host a Murder" games.
As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the "Goosebumps" and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.
TWITTER
WEBSITE
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Book Scoop November 30- December 7, 2018

December 7, 2018
Book Scoop, InToriLex, Weekly Feature
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful, Arwen Elys Dayton, InToriLex
Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful~Amazon~
For fans of television shows Black Mirror and Westworld, this compelling, mind-bending novel is a twisted look into the future, exploring how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimen and what it means to be human at all.
Set in our world, spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a novel made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of "human."
This extraordinary work explores the amazing possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances. The results range from the heavenly to the monstrous. Deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed, Arwen Elys Dayton's Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is groundbreaking in both form and substance.
At the End of the Century: The Stories of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
At the End of the Century: The Stories of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, InToriLex
At the End of the Century: The Stories of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala~Amazon~                                                                                      Nobody has written so powerfully of the relationship between and within India and the Western middle classes than Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. In this selection of stories, chosen by her surviving family, her ability to tenderly and humorously view the situations faced by three (sometimes interacting) cultures—European, post-Independence Indian, and American—is never more acute.
In “A Course of English Studies,” a young woman arrives at Oxford from India and struggles to adapt, not only to the sad, stoic object of her infatuation, but also to a country that seems so resistant to passion and color. In the wrenching “Expiation,” the blind, unconditional love of a cloth shop owner for his wastrel younger brother exposes the tragic beauty and foolishness of human compassion and faith. The wry and triumphant “Pagans” brings us middle-aged sisters Brigitte and Frankie in Los Angeles, who discover a youthful sexuality in the company of the languid and handsome young Indian, Shoki. This collection also includes Jhabvala’s last story, “The Judge’s Will,” which appeared in The New Yorker in 2013 after her death.
The profound inner experience of both men and women is at the center of Jhabvala’s writing: she rivals Jane Austen with her impeccable powers of observation. With an introduction by her friend, the writer Anita Desai, At the End of the Century celebrates a writer’s astonishing lifetime gift for language, and leaves us with no doubt of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s unique place in modern literature.
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
Once Upon a River, Diane Setterfield, InToriLex
Once Upon a River~Amazon~                                                                                               A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.
Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.
Is it a miracle?
Is it magic?
Or can it be explained by science?


The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone
The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone, InToriLex
The Mansion~Amazon~
After two years of living on cheap beer and little else in a bitterly cold tiny cabin outside an abandoned, crumbling mansion, young programmers Shawn Eagle and Billy Stafford have created something that could make them rich: a revolutionary computer they name Eagle Logic.
But the hard work and escalating tension have not been kind to their once solid friendship—Shawn’s girlfriend Emily has left him for Billy, and a third partner has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. While Billy walks away with Emily, Shawn takes Eagle Logic, which he uses to build a multi-billion-dollar company that eventually outshines Apple, Google, and Microsoft combined.
Years later, Billy is a failure, beset by poverty and addiction, and Shawn is the most famous man in the world. Unable to let the past be forgotten, Shawn decides to resurrect his and Billy’s biggest failure: a next-generation computer program named Nellie that can control a house’s every function. He decides to set it up in the abandoned mansion they worked near all those years ago. But something about Nellie isn’t right—and the reconstruction of the mansion is plagued by accidental deaths. Shawn is forced to bring Billy back, despite their longstanding mutual hatred, to discover and destroy the evil that lurks in the source code.
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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Review: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

December 4, 2018
 Empress of All Seasons, Emiko Jean, InToriLex
Published By: HMH Books for Young Readers on November 6, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (371 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy/ Own Voices
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Publisher Request
Rating: FOUR STARS
Empress of All Seasons
~Amazon~ 
In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

VERDICT:


Content Warning: Graphic Violence, Slavery, Death 

REVIEW:

This action packed fantasy helped me crawl from the depths of an awful reading slump. Mari is a bad ass protagonist who is a skilled fighter, a yōkai and a caring friend. She sets out to compete to become Empress by facing seasonal rooms meant to break her in mind and body. Mari has to hide her identity from prince Taro and everyone in the competition because all yōkai in the city are forced into slavery. Akira is an outcast who is Mari's best friend and sets out to protect her in any way he can while she competes. This multifaceted world of yōkai, priest  and  humans was developed phenomenally, so I felt fully immersed in Honuku. 
I am a lean tiger in winter, come for me. I dare you.
Copyright Kill Bill, InToriLex

The characters were well developed and every time they were in danger I felt genuine concern (no one is magically never hurt). The powers yōkai had throughout the book were fascinating and included supernatural features I have never imagined before. For example there are yōkai that can turn into spiders, flying beasts and giant red fleshed demons. As Mari faces the contest to become Empress she has to count on her training and experiences in her village. While beauty is a tool for her village of Animal Wives, she is described as plain but trains to be a talented fighter by difficult means. 
Do not let fear decide your fate.
When character's take a break from trying to survive or defend themselves,  there is genuine romance well described. This book offers a hopeful message to young readers about learning to accept yourself to reach your full potential. The folklore, ninjas, settings and Palace of Illusions kept me engaged with the book the whole way through. I would recommend this for fans of fantasy who want to read about a culture inspired by East Asian folklore in a non-western setting. The diversity, message and writing is something everyone can enjoy. 

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy fantasy featuring diverse people, species and relationships
- want to read young adult romance with realism
- appreciate intricate world building and characters you will root for and despise

**I received this ARC from HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. **

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Empress of All Seasons, Emiko Jean
When Emiko is not writing, she is reading. Most of her friends are imaginary. Before she became a writer she was an entomologist (fancy name for bug catcher), a candle maker, a florist, and most recently a teacher. She lives in Washington with her husband and children (unruly twins). She loves the rain.      TWITTER                     WEBSITE 
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