Spotlight Friday (126)

Hello my lovelies!  Oh, it’s so good to be back to writing like this!  I’m finding that the longer I’m a teacher, the more I just want to share all kinds of things like advice, stories, and great new books!  OH WAIT… 🙂  (Again, this is why my students think I’m lame…but really, I’M AWESOME.  And apparently in a very good mood today at that.)  On with the books!

Red by Alyxandra Harvey

Release Date: March 10, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

Bad girls burn hot…

Red is the color of Kia Alcott’s hair.
It’s her temper, which blazes hot and always gets Kia into way too much trouble.
And it’s the color of fire. Fires that Kia can start…just by thinking about them.

When her latest “episode” gets her kicked out of school, Kia is shipped off to her grandmother, who works for the wealthy Blackwoods. It’s an estate shrouded in secrets, surrounded by rules, and presided over by a family that is far from normal…including the gorgeous and insolent Ethan Blackwood.

Ethan knows far more about the dangers of the forest surrounding the estate than Kia can ever imagine. For this forest has teeth, and Ethan is charged with protecting the outside world from its vicious mysteries.

But inside, even the most vibrant shade of red doesn’t stand a chance against the dark secrets of the Blackwood family…

What’s To Like: Even though, to some extent, I feel like I know how this book is going to turn out, I’m still interested.  First, I’ve never met an Alyxandra Harvey book I didn’t like.  Second, all this mystery surrounding the estates sounds awesome.  Third, she can start fires by just thinking about them?  What other powers might people have?  She can’t possibly be the only one, right?

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Release Date: March 17, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads)Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

What’s To Like: I love how original this story is!  I think I rarely ever see stories about the Oregon Trail, much less with protagonists who are Chinese and African-American.  The diversity in this already is awesome.  I am so interested in this it’s not even funny.  Plus, is that cover not the most gorgeous thing ever?  I absolutely love skies that look like that.

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Release Date: March 24, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads): Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

What’s To Like: Well, speaking of diversity, this one totally has it too.  I’m really happy that more diverse stories are coming into YA lit.  I think it’s really cool that I can learn about different cultures through books like this.  I think I already like Naila, who I’ve mentally pictured as being quiet yet strong-willed.  Should be a fun adventure, right?  (Another unintentional similarity to the last book is that they are both titled with titles relating to the sky.)

My review of Written in the Stars

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