Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Blog Tour: When the Moon Was Ours Excerpt

When the Moon Was Ours 
Below is an excerpt of When the Moon Was Ours, which looks like an amazing and beautifully written book.

sea of clouds

As far as he knew, she had come from the water. But even about that, he couldn’t be sure.     
It didn’t matter how many nights they’d met on the untilled land between their houses; the last farm  didn’t rotate its crops, and stripped the soil until nothing but wild grasses would grow. It didn’t  matter how many stories he and Miel had told each other when they could not sleep, him passing on his mother’s fables of moon bears that aided lost travelers, Miel making up tales about his moon lamps falling in love with stars. Sam didn’t know any more than anyone else about where she’d come from before he found her in the brush field. She seemed to have been made of water one minute and the next, became a girl.

Someday, he and Miel would be nothing but a fairy tale. When they were gone from this town, no one would remember the exact brown of Miel’s eyes, or the way she spiced recado rojo with cloves, or even that Sam and his mother were Pakistani. At best, they would remember a dark-eyed girl, and a boy whose family had come from somewhere else. They would remember only that Miel and Sam had been called Honey and Moon, a girl and a boy woven into the folklore of this place.

This is the story that  mothers would tell their children:
There was once a very old water tower. Rust had turned its metal such a deep orange that the whole tank looked like a pumpkin, an enormous copy of the fruit that grew in the fields where it cast its shadow. No one tended this water tower anymore, not since a few strikes from a summer of lightning storms left it leaning to one side as though it were tired and slouching. Years ago, they had filled it from the river, but now rust and minerals choked the pipes. When they opened the valve at the base of the tower, nothing more than a few drops trickled out. The bolts and sheeting looked weak enough that one autumn windstorm might crumble the whole thing.

So the town decided that they would build a new water tower, and that the old one would come down. But the only way to drain it would be to tip it over like a cup. They would have to be ready for the  whole tower to crash to the ground, all that rusted metal, those thousands of gallons of dirty, rushing  water spilling out over the land.

For the fall, they chose the side of the tower where a field of brush was so dry, a single spark would catch and light it all. All that water, they thought, might bring a little green. From that field, they dug up wild flowers, chicory and Indian paintbrush and larkspur, replanting them alongside the road, so they would not be drowned or smashed. They feared that if they were not kind to the beautiful things that grew wild, their own farms would wither and die.

Children ran through the brush fields, chasing away squirrels and young deer so that when the water tower came down, they would not be crushed. Among these children was a boy called Moon because he was always painting lunar seas and shadows onto glass and paper and anything he could make glow. Moon knew to keep his steps and his voice gentle, so he would not startle the rabbits, but would stir them to bound back toward their burrows.

When the animals and the wild flowers  were gone from the brush field, the men of the town took their axes and hammers and mallets to the base of the water tower, until it fell like a tree. It arced toward the ground, its fall slow, as though it were leaning forward to touch its own shadow. When it hit, the rusted top broke off, and all that water rushed out.

For a minute the water, brown as a forgotten cup of tea, hid the brush that looked like pale wheat stubble. But when it slid and spread out over the field, flattening the brittle stalks, soaking into the dry ground, every one watching made out the shape of a small body.

A girl huddled in the wet brush, her hair stuck to her face, her eyes wide and round as amber marbles. She had on a thin nightgown, which must have once been white, now stained cream by the  water. But she covered herself with her arms, cowering like she was naked and looking at every one like they were all baring their teeth.

At first a few of the mothers shrieked, wondering whose child had been left in the water tower’s path. But then they realized that they did not know this girl. She was not their daughter, or the daughter of any of the mothers in town.

No one would come near her. The ring of those who had come to see the tower taken down widened a little more the longer they watched her. Each minute they put a little more space between her and them, more afraid of this small girl than of so much falling water and rusted metal. And she stared at them, seeming to meet all their eyes at once, her look both vicious and frightened.

 But the boy called Moon came forward and knelt in front of her. He took off his jacket and put it on her. Talked to her in a voice soft enough that no one  else could hear it.

Everyone drew back, expecting her to bite him or to slash her fingernails across his face. But she looked at him, and listened to him, his words stripping the feral look out of her eyes.

After that day, anyone who had not been at the water tower thought she was the same as any other child, little different from the boy she was always with. But if they looked closely, they could see the hem of her skirt, always a little damp, never quite drying no matter how much the sun warmed it.

This would be the story, a neat distillation of what had happened. It would weed out all the things that did not fit. It would not mention how Miel, soaking wet and smelling of rust, screamed into her hands with every one watching.  Because everyone was watching, and she wanted to soak into the ground like the spilled water and vanish. How Sam crouched in front of her saying, “Okay, okay,” keeping his words slow and level so she would know what he meant. You can stop screaming; I hear you, I understand. And because she believed him, that he heard her, and understood, she did stop.

It would leave out the part about the Bonner  sisters. The four of them, from eight-year-old Chloe to three-year-old Peyton, had been there to see the water tower come down, all of them lined up so their hair looked like a forest of autumn trees. Peyton had been holding a small gray pumpkin that, in that light, looked almost blue. She had it cradled in one arm, and with the other hand was petting it like a bird. When she’d taken a step toward Miel, clutching that pumpkin, Miel’s screaming turned raw and broken, and Peyton startled back to her sisters.

Once Sam knew about Miel’s fear of pumpkins, he understood, how Peyton treating it like it was alive made Miel afraid not only of Peyton but of all of them. But that part would never make it into the story.

This version would also strip away the part about Sam trying to take Miel home like she was a stray cat.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

October Releases I'm Most Excited For

October 4th:
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig - This looks like a good mystery and thriller type book.
Wrecked by Maria Padian  - This looks like it will be a powerful book about rape culture on college campuses.

Last Seen LeavingWrecked

October 11th:
Beast by Brie Spangler - This looks like it will be an interesting retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is a story that I love.


October 25th:
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith - This looks like an interesting and unique story of time travel.

A Darkly Beating Heart


Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Releases I'm Most Excited For

September 6th:
As I Descended by Robin Talley - I'm excited to read this retelling of Macbeth by Robin Talley, though I haven't actually read Macbeth.
Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow - This book is about a tough topic (cutting) and it looks like it will be really good.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova  - This sounds like a really good diverse fantasy book.

As I DescendedGirl in PiecesLabyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)

September 13th:
Into White by Randi Pink - This looks like a book that will really address race and racism in an interesting way.  The premise of a black girl becoming white is quite unique.
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner  - This looks like a powerful read with good friendship and romance.  I have seen many good reviews of this one.
Radical by EM Kokie  - I have read EM Kokie's first book, which was good, and this book looks like it will be really interesting and unlike anything I've read before.

Into WhitePhantom LimbsRadical

September 20th:
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis - This sounds like it will be a powerful read about rape culture.

The Female of the Species


Thursday, August 25, 2016

ARC Review: After the Woods by Kim Savage

After the Woods Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

My Review: 4 Stars

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I had started reading this book back before its release date and then I got very busy with school and had to set it aside.  I'm glad I finally got back to it and read it now.  This is an interesting mystery with fascinating characters.

Julia is the main character, and I really liked her.  She's the type of person who will save her best friend, even if it gets her into trouble, and she's also the type of person who wants answers, even if it means revisiting a night that could hurt her to remember.

Liv is Julia's best friend and the relationship between the two is very complex.  I felt really bad for Liv, even though she made many questionable choices.  Her mother, Deborah, was absolutely awful, and made her feel like she could never be good enough.  I can understand why she did what she did in a quest to prove her mother wrong, even if the choices were really bad ones with awful consequences. 

There is a side romance between Julia and Kellan (the police detective's son) that is cute.  It is a good romance but it is very much not the main part of the book.  Kellan isn't in the book very much, but he's a good guy who clearly cares about Julia, even if they have their ups and downs in the relationship.

If you like YA contemporary mysteries, read this book.


Monday, August 22, 2016

ARC Review: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

My Review: 5 Stars

I won an ARC of this book from the author, and I read it within a bit over a day and loved it so much.  This book does a good job at developing all of the story arcs with nuance.  The characters are also complex and well developed, from the main characters down to most of the secondaries. 

I loved the family relationships between Joanna, her dad, and her new stepmom.  The relationship between Joanna and her dad is strained due to him telling her to go back into the closet at their new town for her senior year.  He knows that asking her to hide part of herself like that is wrong, yet he does it anyway because he's more worried about what his in-laws think than he is about showing his daughter that he supports her unconditionally.  Despite this mistake, Joanna's dad is not a bad guy, and he is really trying to make things better.  I also loved the relationship between Joanna and her new stepmom.  At the beginning, she calls her Three, since she's her father's third wife, and she doesn't expect the marriage to last.  By the end, Elizabeth (the stepmom's name) has become a true mother figure to Joanna.  She is very supportive of her, and the two have a few heartwarming moments.
I loved the development of the relationship between Joanna and Mary Carlson.  The two become close friends pretty quickly, and Joanna has a crush on her almost immediately too.  There are many moments before they are out to each other that seem very charged between them.  It makes Joanna wonder if Mary Carlson could possibly feel the same way.  I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Joanna's crush on Mary Carlson is mutual.  The road to their relationship isn't necessarily easy, especially since Joanna pretends to be closeted and doesn't admit for a long time that she actually used to be out in Atlanta.  The two are super cute together as a couple though.

I loved how many of the secondary characters were well developed as well.  BTB quickly becomes friends with Joanna.  He is a boy in the special ed class at school who loves elephants and is Mary Carlson's brother.  He is a really sweet and nice guy.  George is a boy from Joanna's class and youth group who develops a crush on Joanna.  She comes out to him after he admits to her that he has two moms.  Then there are the three other girls from Mary Carlson's friend group, Jessica, Betsy, and Gemma.  Of the three, Gemma is probably the most important to the book, but the others have their own stories and personalities as well.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.