Waiting on Wednesday #31: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Hi everyone! Welcome to another "Waiting on Wednesday" post (meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!). 

This week I am waiting on:

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
October 17th 2017, Crown Books for Young Readers
YA Contemporary
Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget. 
I had seen this book around on social media (mostly on Twitter) but it wasn't until a few days ago that I read its blurb and realized how much I want and need to read this book. It sounds incredibly good and... I don't know how to say it. Important. Relevant. Such a necessary read. Cannot wait for it!!!

What are you waiting on this week? :)

Book Review: The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson

Title: The Sandcastle Empire
Author: Kayla Olson
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  June 6th, 2017
Page Count:  464 pages
Format: ARC
Source: From publisher via YA Books Central

When all hope is gone, how do you survive? 

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected. 

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 5/5 stars
.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. Kayla's voice is flawless, the story gripping, and everything else alarmingly possible. I can see why this book has been optioned for film and I cannot wait to be first in line to see it!

What I Loved:

The Sandcastle Empire is a book that surprised me in so many good ways. The mystery and intrigue of Sanctuary Island was one of the things I didn't expect to love so much. This is one of those times when the setting becomes a character of its own and that thrilled me to no end. I loved not knowing what the island was hiding or how things worked. Every step towards uncovering its secrets had me at the edge of my seat, crossing my fingers that no harm would come to my new friends, but at the same time that things would come to happen (and they do!).

The world in The Sandcastle Empire is a terrifying future that we might come to live, dominated by people who keep a strong hold in our world's resources, calling themselves Wolves. What was interesting for me to learn about was how the main character's father is one of the people to blame for how things turn out, as he discovered a way to adapt cities even when the environment is trying to drown us out. His intentions are well-meant, but those who have the power use it for their own ways and incite a war from those who could not afford.
"Fear mixed with bitterness never ends well, and fear mixed with power? Ends worlds."
My copy of The Sandcastle Empire is full of sticky notes highlighting my favorite passages. Kayla Olson has an amazing voice and her wise thoughts had me nodding constantly and falling deeper in love with the book. Some made me tremble, some lifted my soul, but all of them equally significant:
"If there's one thing I'm learning, it's that possibility won't be confined to a cage. It will bend bars, break locks, and fly away when you're not looking."

Oh, but I loved how effortlessly Kayla Olson would switch timelines in her book, from present-day to the main character's memories before the war, and how those memories at the end would relate to what Eden was going through at the moment. Like life lessons that apply to certain moments no matter the time and place. I think that's my favorite thing about The Sandcastle Empire, a style I rarely enjoy in books yet it drew me in completely in this one.

Lastly, I must not forget to mention how much I loved the characters. They were all so interesting and fierce, driven by their need to survive and adopting whatever measure they needed in order to escape the world they were thrown in. You must meet them!

Final Verdict:

The Sandcastle Empire is a book I cannot recommend enough and one that should be read by everyone. The awesome thing is that it's a standalone novel so your journey starts and ends here, but I promise it will leave you thinking right after you turn the last page.

The Week's Entrée #156

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

Guys, can you believe that I finished FOUR books over the weekend? I hardly can! I finally feel that I am out of my slump and I have this need to read everything which is good news.  My mind and soul are super happy but MAN, my back and elbows disagree. OH WELL, it's a price I'm willing to pay. :D

This gif has nothing to do with this post BUT ISN'T THIS THE SWOONIEST THING EVER? I'm in love. Aaaaand YOU'RE WELCOME. ;)

Hahaha, hope you guys have a wonderful week! Now read on for all the bookish stuff :D
New books!
{For review}
From publishers, authors, Netgalley/Edelweiss, etc.

Huge thanks to Tara & HMH Teen for sending me an ARC of Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke. I love the cover so much and I'm super excited to finally meet Jane!


I finally got myself copies of Non-Heir & First Year by Rachel E. Carter! I've been meaning to start this series for a while and since the first book was on sale for $0.99 on Amazon and the prequel novella free, I  thought it was time to do so. Cannot wait to read them!!! (I LOVE the covers).
To Read This Week:

I'll be reading Now I Rise by Kiersten White and The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee this week. I'm actually reading The Gentleman's Guide first because just look at it! How could I not make it top priority ;) Both books release tomorrow so I am definitely trying to read as fast as I can.

And that's it for The Week's Entrée! What are you all reading? :)

The Color Project Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Today I'm super thrilled to participate in the blog tour for The Color Project by Sierra Abrams, hosted by Booknerd Addict Blog Tours! The Color Project is a super cute YA Contemporary novel that will be releasing on July 18th from Gatekeeper Press and it has swoons and kissing and donuts, while telling a heart-breaking tale about family  & tragedy. Below you can find an awesome excerpt of The Color Project and at the end of this post a giveaway for a beautiful tote bag inspired by The Color Project. Thanks for stopping by & enjoy!

The Color Project by Sierra Abrams
YA Contemporary
July 18th, 2017 from Gatekeeper Press
Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn't want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee's summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

For fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson, THE COLOR PROJECT is a story about the three great loves of life—family, friendship, and romance—and the bonds that withstand tragedy.
Barnes & Noble Amazon | Book Depository


INTRO: "In this scene, Bee has just received the news that her car is ready for pickup and she's dragged her brother with her to get it.  Little does she know....she'll be forced to meet The Boy she awkwardly stared at a few days before."

The repair shop is dark when Tom and I pull up in his car.  Everything is closed down except for one of the garage doors, where a single car is raised.  Two legs stick out from underneath.
My brother parks in front and nods.  “There’s Levi.”
I peer into the dim light of the parking lot, trying to better see the man under the car.  “I’m rather put off that everyone knows him and forgot to introduce us,” I say.
Tom snorts.  “He’s been at the shop for three months and you haven’t met him?”
I’m about to retort, but then Levi is climbing out from under the car, standing, wiping his hands on his orange sweater—
The Boy.
I nearly shriek.  “Tom, I can’t go in there.”
“What?”  He looks rather alarmed.  “What’s wrong?”
“I was staring at him, oh dear God, I was staring right at him three days ago, and he smirked at me, and I feel so awkward.”
Tom looks at me, completely blank-faced for exactly three and a half seconds before he bursts out laughing.  His buzzed head tips back with perfect glee.  If it were possible to roll around in a car, Tom would be doing it right now.
“What?” I hiss.
“You think he’s cute,” he says between gasps.
It’s not a question, not one bit.  My brother knows me too well, and I swear I will punch him so hard if—
“Come on, Bee.  He probably sees so many people come through here every day that he won’t even remember.”
“I’m not stupid.  He knows Michael is my friend, he saw me talking with all the guys, and Michael told him I was coming tonight.  He knows.  He knows!”  I’m hissing again, which means I’m about to overload on excitement.  (Not the good kind.)
Tom gets out of the car and comes around to my side.  He grabs my arm and helps—no, yanks—me to my feet.  “Stop being such a wuss.  He’s just a boy.  Since when do you give a crap about what boys think of you?”
He’s right.  I’m being irrational.  I’m fine.  I’m fine.
I straighten my coral cardigan and brush my hands down my dark wash jeans and take a deep, deep breath of serenity.
Levi greets us as we approach, his sweater and dirty jeans clinging to his form, hair mussed and twisted every which way.  He shakes my brother’s hand like he knows him, like they’ve been friends forever.  I’m tempted to shrink back behind Tom and just die, but then Levi is looking at me and holding out his hand, and his eyes tell me I was right: he knows.  I probably look like a lost chicken, plucked clean of feathers, being placed on the chopping block.
I shake his hand anyway.
“I’m Levi,” he says.
“…Bee.”  I manage to get the word out, chiding myself instantly for my ridiculous lack of control.  But gosh-darn-it, he is beautiful.  Even more so up close.  (And I really want to touch his hair.)
“Your car is good and ready,” he says, smiling.  (Oh, yes, he has a brilliant smile.)  “We took care of her.  Michael said, in these exact words, ‘Bee’s very in love with her car.’”
I nearly whimper, but hold back the tiny sound before it comes out of my mouth.  “He did?” I laugh, breathy and unsteady.  “Well, I do love my car.”  
Do I sound like an idiot?  Yes.  Does Levi notice?  I’m not sure.  He just smiles at me and waves us around to the back, pulling my key out of his pocket.  His nice sweater looks like it needs a good washing, and I’m seriously tempted to ask why he’s wearing it.  But Tom is here, and Tom doesn’t seem confused or curious.  I’d rather not be the one to ask a question when the obvious answer is lost only to me, so I press my lips together.
Levi unlocks my car and grabs some paperwork off the dashboard, then hands me my key.  “Everything’s set to go,” he says.  The light from the streetlamps along the road is a nice accent to the sharp features of his face.  He grins.
“Thanks, dude.”  Tom shakes his hand again and pats my shoulder.  “Bye, Bee.”
When Tom is halfway across the lot to his car, I realize I’m still staring after him and that Levi is staring at me.
I face him, thankful for the semi-darkness to hide my blushing skin.  “Thanks, Levi.  I appreciate you staying late and everything.”
He shrugs.  “It’s nothing.  I was already going to be here.”
I smile, hold up the key, and reach for the door handle.  “I’ll let you get back to it, then?”
He presses his lips together in a thin smile and doesn’t let go of my gaze.  “Do you have a name for your car?”
I am completely taken aback by this question.  “Oh, um.  No?”
“Well, good.  We started calling her Sylvie around the shop—because she’s silver.  Just wanted you to know, in case she doesn’t come when you call anymore.”
It takes me a second too long to catch the joke.
Oh, he’s good.  Really good.  So charming that I’m lost to his actual words.  “Well, I suppose that settles it?”  Bee, stop with the questions that are supposed to be statements.
He nods with finality.
I roll down my window and close the door, but he hasn’t left yet.  I hook up my iPhone and ask, “So, how do you like working here?”
Look at me, making conversation with a cute boy all by myself!
“It’s a good time.  Keagan got me the job—he knows I grew up on cars.”
“The guys are good company.”
Levi’s smile agrees with me (in more ways than one).  “How come I’ve never seen you here?” he asks, as if he’s genuinely interested.
“Oh, just, graduation and a new job.”  I smile at him as sweetly as I can, but inside…I swear there’s an angry gorilla in my chest, pounding out a jungle rhythm.  “Thanks again,” I say.  I need to get out of here.  He’s so distracting, dammit.  Distractingly beautiful.  (Beautifully distracting?)  Besides, I talk way too much when I’m nervous.  I’m about to start babbling, and that will be the worst thing imaginable.
He understands I want to leave (Oh dear, I hope I’m not being rude) and backs up.  “See you around, Bee,” he says, his voice lazy in that California way.  I want to box it up and save it for a sad day.
Then, just like a snap of my fingers, he’s heading back to the shop, and I leave him behind.

See you around, Bee.

A Tote from The Life of a Booknerd Addict tours. 

Follow the tour!

Monday June 19
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Interview - Brittany´sBookRambles
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - Review - ReadsandThoughts
Tuesday June 20
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Excerpt of The Color Project - TheYABookTraveler
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - Review - TheHermitLibrarian   

Wednesday June 21
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Review - YAandWine
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST -Guest Post - LimeLightLiterature
Thursday June 22
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Review - AvdReader
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - DIY: The Color Project Bookmarks - LoisReadsBooks
Friday June 23
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Excerpt of The Color Project - TheReader&The Chef
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - Mini Review & Favorite Quotes - TheLifeOfABookNerdAddict

Saturday June 24
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Interview - CurlyHairBibliophile  
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - Mood Board - WonderfullyBookish
Sunday June 25
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Review - MorrissaReads
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - Guest Post - AThousandWordsAMillionBooks 

Monday June 26
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Ways To Support Your Favorite Causes - TalesOfTheRavenousReader
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - Review - InkDin

Tuesday June 27
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Review - ILoveBooksGirl
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST -  Interview - Brooke-Reports

Wednesday June 28
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Book Hangover  - FablesandFae
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST -  Guest Post - Tiffthebooknerd
Thursday June 29
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Review - BookWyrmingThoughts
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST - Excerpt - SimplyNicollette

Friday June 30
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Review - LittleRedsReviews
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST -  Creative Post - LostInEverAfter

Saturday July 1st
In The Morning at 8:00 AM EST - Review - Biscottosbooks 
In The Afternoon at 1:00 PM EST -  Interview - ANewLookOnBooks

About Sierra Abrams
At 7 years old, Sierra Abrams decided that one day she would publish a book. For over a decade, in between exploring other career options, she kept coming back to that very first dream. Now her life consists of writing books of all kinds... Kissing books, angsty books, killing books, whimsical books, and sometimes books that are all of the above. When she's not writing, you can find her reading, traveling, consuming sushi, or daydreaming about Henry Cavill.