Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Books I Read In 2014.  I've got three books on the go at the moment, but I kind of doubt that any of them would make it onto this list, anyway.  So here goes!  These are the novels that got the highest ratings this year (I reviewed some picture books that got high ratings, too, but nobody seems to care about those):

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson - This verse memoir comes in at #10, but I think it probably wins for my favourite cover of the year.  It's one of three verse novels that made it into my top ten this year, all of which were historical fiction.

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Surrender by Sonya Hartnett - I had no idea when I started this book that it would mess with my mind as much as it did.  What really happened in that small Australian town?  Who was Finnigan, really?  The setting was written so well that I could actually imagine myself there, and the characters kept me guessing.  It was also one of the few books I read this year with a male narrator.

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The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle - I don't think I've ever read a book set in Cuba before... and I've certainly never read a book set in Cuba in the 1820s.  This lovely historical verse novel is narrated by Tula, a young girl who yearns to become a poet.  Her ideas about abolitionism and feminism are quite revolutionary for the time, and I enjoyed the free verse that was used to describe Caribbean life in the 19th century.

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Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor - I think this book would've made my top ten list no matter what year I'd read it.  It really was a good, satisfying ending to a young adult series... and there are very few books that I can say that about.  The author's writing, combined with the fascinating cast of characters and amazing world-building, took this book to a whole other level.  If she writes another series, I'm definitely going to give it a try!

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All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry - I'm still not sure whether to class this as historical fiction or not.  It takes place in a world that seems much like colonial New England, though the location and time period are never specified.  No matter; it's the story that's important, and this is an interesting one, a mystery that just begs to be solved.  The narrator starts out as mute, but she has a lot to say... if only she can figure out how to do so.

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Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse - This was the best verse novel I read in 2014, though it's the one that's been out for the longest.  I really enjoyed the story, and the setting of the Dust Bowl was something I wasn't that familiar with.  Though I might hesitate to recommend it to younger children because of some of the subject matter, I do think it's a really strong book and a must-read for fans of historical fiction.

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Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver - Despite my assertion that fantasy is my favourite genre, there really isn't a lot of it on this list!  But I did really enjoy this middle grade novel from Lauren Oliver, who also wrote Before I Fall, one of my favourite books of all time.  This charming story about a girl, a boy, and a couple of ghosts reads like a classic children's novel from another era.  It has the most adorable illustrations, too!

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Free as a Bird by Gina McMurchy-Barber - I truly never expected to like this book as much as I did.  I chose to read it because it was short, and because it had a local setting.  But then I ended up falling in love with Ruby Jean's voice, and that really made the book work for me.  It's historical fiction about a girl with Down syndrome whose mother dumps her in the provincial asylum.  Not exactly light reading, but Ruby Jean's unique view of the world helped lighten what would otherwise be unbearably dreary subject matter.  The author's notes at the end about the actual "school" where Ruby Jean was placed were almost as interesting as the story itself, and well worth reading.

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Stolen by Lucy Christopher - I really enjoyed this book, even though it's not the sort of thing I normally gravitate towards.  Like Surrender, this one is also set in Australia... but this time, it's the Outback.  Gemma is kidnapped by a young man and taken out to a remote homestead where there is no chance of escape.  While the ending is somewhat of a foregone conclusion (after all, the whole book is written in the second person point of view as a letter to Gemma's captor), the story itself is really kind of amazing.  The character development of the villain was especially skillful.

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Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor - Two Laini Taylor books on one list?  Yes... and there probably would have been three, had I not read the first book in the series in 2013.  I actually thought this second book was the strongest of the three, though maybe that was because it had the most development for two of my favourite characters, Hazael and Ziri.  In any case, the book was great, the series was great, and Laini Taylor is kind of a genius.

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What were the top books you read this year?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fairytale Retelling Challenge 2015

The Daily Prophecy

I feel like reading some more fairytale retellings, so I thought doing this challenge next year would be a good way to encourage me to do that.  There are some interesting books coming out next year that fit into this category, and there are also quite a few in my TBR pile and on my want-to-read list that would work, too.

This challenge is hosted by Mel over at The Daily Prophecy.  I'm not going to stress myself out with an unattainable goal, but I'm hoping to get through a few retellings next year... so I'm going to go with the Magic Mirror level, which is 5-9 books.

Here are books I've read (to be added as I finish them):


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weekly Recap - December 7-13, 2014

Here's what I blogged about over the last seven days:

Monday - I shared some of my thoughts on ghostwriting and the Girl Online/Zoe Sugg issue.

Tuesday - I participated in the Top Ten Tuesday meme.  This week's topic was the top new-to-us authors we've read in 2014.

How was your week?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014.  I think most of the books I read this year were by authors who were new to me!  Here are the new-to-me authors who garnered the highest ratings from me so far in 2014:

Aaron Becker - Journey - Though Journey doesn't have any words, it nevertheless tells a good story.  It's gotten my highest review of the year so far, despite it being a picture book.  I am so happy to know there is a sequel out there; I hope I get a chance to "read" Quest in 2015.

Julie Berry - All the Truth That's in Me - Without realizing it, I'd already put one of this author's other books (The Amaranth Enchantment) on my want-to-read list.  After finishing All the Truth That's in Me, I had a look at some of her other works... and my want-to-read list got even longer.

M. G. Buehrlen - The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare - This book had one of the best cliffhanger endings of the year.  Instead of my usual reaction ("Oh, great.  A cliffhanger."), I got kind of excited about this one.  I really want to see where the author takes this series.  I'm glad the second book is coming out next year!

Lucy Christopher - Stolen - I wasn't sure I even wanted to read this book, as I wasn't sure it was really my thing.  But I ended up really enjoying it.  The characters were developed really well, and the second-person narration was unique.  The desolation and desperation of the setting are almost another character in themselves.

Anna Dewdney - Llama Llama Red Pajama - This was a fun find.  These picture books featuring a preschool-aged llama are so cute... and I really wish they had been around when I was a little kid!  Each one imparts a reassuring lesson.  The illustrations are absolutely adorable.

Margarita Engle - The Lightning Dreamer - This author appears to write some interesting historical fiction.  The Lightning Dreamer was one of my favourite verse-novel reads of the year (and I did read a few of this type of book).  1820s Cuba is not exactly a common setting for YA, so it was nice to see.  I like reading books that introduce me to an entirely new setting or type of character.

Sonya Hartnett - Surrender - I liked this book.  I think I liked this book.  I'm still not sure if I understand this book.  But I do like it when a book can make me wonder and think about the characters long after I've finished it.

Gina McMurchy-Barber - Free as a Bird - I didn't really expect to like this book as much as I did.  I chose it mainly because it was short, and because it had a local setting.  I wasn't sure I liked the phonetic spelling in Ruby Jean's narration at first, but it was done so skillfully that it helped build the character more than it was an annoyance (as it might have been in another author's hands).

Neal Shusterman - Resurrection Bay - This was just a short story, but it was my first introduction to this author.  I really enjoyed it, so now I'm thinking I might have to read some of his full-length books.  I've heard good things about Unwind.

Jacqueline Woodson - Brown Girl Dreaming - I'd never actually read any of the author's other books, so it might be a little bit strange that my first exposure to the author was through a memoir written in free verse!  I did enjoy Brown Girl Dreaming quite a bit; it reads like really interesting historical fiction, though it's about a fairly recent time in history.

These authors took me all over the world, and to very different time periods.  Through reading their books, I got to travel to fantasy worlds created through imagination, as well as colonial New England, 1920s Chicago, the Australian outback, 1820s Cuba, a small Australian town, a mental institution in British Columbia in the 1970s, the glaciers of Alaska, and the American South following the Civil Rights era.  That's some diverse literary travelling!

What authors did you read for the first time this year?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Everybody's an author. Even those who aren't.

There's quite a bit of buzz right now about a particular book by a first-time author that's managed to break the all-time record for the most copies of a book sold by a debut author in a week.  Yep, Zoe Sugg managed to beat out heavyweights like J. K. Rowling, Dan Brown, and E. L. James to claim that title with her debut novel, Girl Online.

The only problem is, she didn't actually write the book.  A ghostwriter did.

I don't really have anything against ghostwriters, per se.  I've read and enjoyed ghostwritten books.  The Nikki Heat series by Richard Castle is ghostwritten by necessity... since Richard Castle doesn't actually exist.  I find this less annoying than, say, some of the current crop of new "authors" who are little more than celebrities who are looking for yet another way to cash in.  (That's the main reason I never read Elixir, even though its subject matter sounds like something I might enjoy.)

What really bothers me about this whole situation, though, is how some people are viewing it.  (As if readers needed another divisive issue...)

Some of the comments from a few of the more rabid defenders of Ms. Sugg actually suggest that books aren't about the writing.  They're all about the idea for the story and the characters.  The actual writing isn't important at all, and that's why the ghostwriter doesn't get any credit.

Wait a sec.  You mean, if I could convince one of my favourite authors to take one of my ideas and write a book with it, I could put my name (and only my name) on it and collect all the royalties?  Awesome!

Oh, wait.  I'm not famous.  Drat.

In all seriousness, though, ideas and ideas for characters are just that: ideas.  They'll turn out differently depending on which author fleshes them out with actual words.  Just look at Wizard's Hall and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.  Or Twilight and Evermore.  If the idea was the only important thing, then the world would've been satisfied with Jane Yolen's take on the wizarding world and Stephenie Meyer might've sued Alyson Noël into oblivion for ripping off... well, pretty much everything.

What's even sadder are the comments from people who claim that "most authors" use ghost writers.  I'm sure that would come as a surprise to those who spend countless hours toiling in front of a blank page or computer screen, trying to get the words just right, so they can share their creations with the world.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  Most debut "authors" don't get an editorial team holding their hand every step of the way, let alone someone writing their book for them.  Celebrity has its perks, and it appears that Ms. Sugg took advantage of them.  And while she was open about the fact that she had help, I still find the reaction of her fans disturbing; it's an insult to all the authors out there who worked hard and actually wrote their own books.  Not only do instances like this make people think that anyone can "write" a best-selling book and get it published, it makes them think that it's easy to do.

And if you're not a famous vlogger, it's probably not.

Where do you stand on ghostwriters and ghostwritten books?  What about celebrities who use their status to land a publishing deal?  Do you feel that's okay... or is it unfair?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

New to the TBR Pile (12)

Borrowed from the library:
And We Stay
by Jenny Hubbard

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

Bought from Amazon.ca:
And This Is Laura
by Ellen Conford

Twelve-year old Laura is an ordinary person in a family of superstars. Her beautiful older sister is a talented actress, her older brother writes and performs music, and her little brother can recite every commercial on television from memory. Her parents are gifted, too—her mother is a famous author, her father a brilliant scientist. However, everything changes for Laura when she discovers that she has the ability to see the future. Suddenly, she has popularity, attention from her parents, even media coverage. It’s all new and so great—until her visions grow dark, and Laura realizes that her gift could turn out to be a curse!

Defy (Defy #1)
by Sara B. Larson

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities #1)
by Shannon Messenger

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Switched (Trylle #1)
by Amanda Hocking

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

The Wide-Awake Princess (Wide-Awake Princess #1)
by E. D. Baker

In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.

But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family... and perhaps even find a true love of her own.

What's new to your TBR pile this week?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To In 2015.  These might not be the "top ten"... but they're the first ten I found on my Goodreads "to read" list that will be published in 2015.  That list is getting unwieldy.  (I'm going to use larger images for this post than I usually do; 2015's crop of books has some absolutely gorgeous covers that must be seen!)

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein - I really haven't read a lot of jinn fiction.  Actually, I can only think of a handful of books in my TBR pile that feature this sort of paranormal creature... and the number of books I've read with jinns is even smaller.

Synopsis: Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters,” Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn... and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman - This one is intriguing.  At first glance, it looks like a contemporary... but then we've got a spell that erases memories, so maybe it's contemporary fantasy.  In any case, it looks like an interesting read!

Synopsis: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.

What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari's boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.

Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick - This one sounds a bit like Cloud Atlas, with its broad scope and a story that stretches throughout history.

Synopsis: A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.

Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet's obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book's final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick's gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai - This book looks like it might be either a companion or a sequel to Inside Out & Back Again.  That book was the first verse novel that I read and reviewed for this blog... and I've been loving that format ever since.  There's not much of a synopsis for this one yet, but if it's similar to the other book, it'll be contemporary or historical fiction.  (This author's books get the loveliest covers.  The cover for Inside Out & Back Again is similarly pretty, with soft colours and silhouettes.)

Synopsis: Listen, Slowly features a 12-year-old Southern California girl who reluctantly takes a summer trip to Vietnam.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley - Though the synopsis describes it as "Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars" (because any book that deals with illness is going to be compared with the latter), I'm still intrigued by the sound of this story.  I like books where the real world collides with a bit of fantasy.

Synopsis: Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy rich with symbolism and steeped in allegory. Her John Green–meets–Neil Gaiman approach to character development and world building will draw readers of all genres, who will come for the high-concept journey through the sky and stay for the authentic, confused, questioning teen voices. Jason and Aza’s fight to find each other somewhere between sky and earth is the perfect anchor for Headley’s gorgeous, wildly vivid descriptions of life in Magonia.

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell - What is this?  Steampunk Cinderella?  Yes, please!  (And look at that cover!  It's pretty enough to hang on a wall as a piece of art.)

Synopsis: Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince... but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes - This one is actually a fairy tale retelling, but it looks like it might have some similarities with Julie Berry's All the Truth That's in Me, which I really enjoyed.

Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Minnow stumbles out of the woods one winter morning, she is haunted and handless and covered in someone else’s blood. She has just escaped the strict religious commune run by a cruel man named the Prophet. In exchange for freedom, she leaves behind her family, her home, and Jude--an outsider boy who changed everything.

But the real world isn't the sanctuary Minnow imagined. Soon, she gets arrested and placed in juvenile detention. Now, Minnow is being questioned by an FBI psychiatrist about the night she escaped, the same night the Prophet was burned to death in his own home—a murder Minnow may be responsible for.

A modern retelling of the Grimm fairy tale, "The Handless Maiden," in which the Devil orders a girl's hands cut off, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is the story of a girl growing out of the wreckage of corrupted faith.

The Third Twin by C. J. Omololu - This one just looks like an interesting premise.  It looks kind of thrilling, actually.

Synopsis: Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It's Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia's guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they'd never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn't exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer... or Alicia is real.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - Not to be confused with Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi!  It seems that many of the books I've enjoyed lately have been historical fiction... so I really should try to read more of it.  This book looks quite good... and the cover is lovely!

Synopsis: A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity

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.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver - How can I not read this one?  I've really enjoyed the other books I've read by this author... and this one looks really good, too.

Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

What books are you looking forward to in 2015?