Sunday, June 24, 2018

Science in Fiction (#41): Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein

Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm featuring Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein!

I haven't read Chemistry Lessons, but I've seen it around. It is a new release from HMH Teen, and it deals with a high school student who is an intern at MIT and will be going to college soon. Maya's mother was a scientist; by chance, Maya discovers that her mother was researching pheromones, and how to increase human attraction. 

Today I'm going to talk about pheromones! What a fun topic, right? defines pheromones as "any chemical substance released by an animal that serves to influence the physiology or behavior of other members of the same species." There have been little evidence to support the existence of pheromones in humans (boooo!), but pheromones are quite common in animals and plants. Pheromones can be used for things like pest control. 

In an article published by on June 7th, 2018, it was detailed how sex pheromones would be used as a form of pest control. Scientists have isolated a specific type of sex pheromone that will attract pesticides, thus protecting the plants. This will hopefully prevent crop loss, something that the world has been experiencing more and more of, especially with rising immunity to pest control.

Another use of pheromones that will be implemented in the future is to control the lamprey population in the Great Lakes. Lamprey are an invasive species in the Great Lakes, and the population is out of control. They are super ugly and dangerous. Scientists have been researching sex pheromones that would lure the lamprey into traps. 

Lamprey are native to the Atlantic Ocean and are highly invasive in the Great Lakes. They have suction cup-like mouth that latches onto their prey. They have no natural predators and so their population is free to grow at will. Pheromones is definitely one way to reduce the population. Check out more on MPR News.

Image result for lamprey great lakes
 Lamprey. Source: Wikipedia

In Australia, researchers are using pheromones to lure and trap a specific swarm of bees that are thought to carry varroa mite, a virus deadly to bees. The bees that are caught by the pheromone traps are studied to learn more about the virus.

Bottom line: it would be cool if humans have pheromones, but it's really cool how pheromones are used in a science-y way. Whether it's to control a population of invasive species, or to increase crop yield, the use of pheromones can be beneficial to humans and natural ecosystems. Do you agree?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#287)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, June 17th to Saturday, June 23rd?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

The last two are from Jaime (thank you!), but the others are unsolicited from pubs. Thanks to all!

Reviews from this week:

(Click on the cover to go to my review!)

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

I have a new Instagram account! It's a personal account; the handle is @alyssasadventuresinwonderland. You know I had to include a literary reference somehow. =) Please follow if you feel inclined!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Cover Reveal: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Hey fam! Today I'm sharing the cover of Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry! This cover was revealed yesterday, but if you haven't seen it... now you will. :D

This book will publish in January 2019! Are you ready for the cover?

Here it is!

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Official Summary:

Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.

Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.

Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no.Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.

About the Author:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#282): Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken!

I stood on my toes again, bracing myself against his strong form, and pressed my lips against the smooth skin of his cheek.

"For luck," I explained.

"Thank you," he said.

I waited until he had disappeared completely from the tent before moving. I sat down heavily on the bench, my face in my hands, as anger, love, and fear all fought to rise up inside of me.

The tent flap banged open. I brought my head up, and there was Wayland North.

I was on my feet in an instant, but he had crossed the distance between us in two long strides.


He pulled me to him, grasping my face between his hands. And then he was kissing me, kissing me so deeply, so fiercely that I could feel my toes curling my shoes. The world spun away, and it was just the two of us.

- Kindle copy, page 328

One of my favorite books of all time. I was rereading it this weekend and couldn't resist sharing this scene!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#286): A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 29, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

I can't waaaaaaaait! I love Brigid's books and Brigid is super sweet. I'm so excited for this!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (16)

Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is: 

 Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach 
(This can also serve as your summer TBR)

I'm going the summer TBR route! Here are books I have for my summer reading:

A few of these are from the previous season or older, so I'm a little behind, but I can't wait to read all of these! It's a good mix. =)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Double Review: Ōkami and Yumi by Renée Ahdieh

Ōkami by Renée Ahdieh
Book 1.25 of the Flame in the Mist series
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased Kindle copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

At the close of Flame in the Mist, to end a bloodbath between the Black Clan and imperial soldiers, Ōkami allows himself to be taken prisoner by Prince Raiden, Mariko’s betrothed. For someone who doesn’t believe in heroes, it’s a surprising choice: to trade his life for the lives of his friends and the one he loves. For he will surely be killed when he arrives in the Imperial City. But he decides if his life is the cost of love, it may not be too high a price after all.

What I Liked:

This is going to be super short because this short story was super short! Like maybe a chapter's worth of content or less. But I can't complain because (1) it was $0.00 and (2) it's all about Ōkami. This short story takes place immediately after the ending of Flame in the Mist, with Ōkami being captured by Prince Raiden and Kenshin, and Mariko also sacrificing herself and going with them. It's basically one scene that is shared Ōkami's POV, and he reflects on many different things. As you can imagine, Ōkami is not a happy camper, not with being captured, not with his friends dead, not with Mariko agreeing to marry her fiance, Prince Raiden. This short story sets up things nicely (well, "nicely") for Smoke in the Sun. I can't wait to start reading the conclusion!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing specific!

Would I Recommend It:

Well, this short story is free, and it was quite insightful, so I'd definitely recommend it. I love getting into Ōkami's head and it was really fun to read. The tension and rage is boiling within Ōkami, so you know some sort of showdown is coming, in Smoke in the Sun


4 stars. Thank you, Renée Ahdieh and Penguin, for making this short story happen! I really hope that the author writes more short stories (besides Yumi's which I'm about to review next), and there is some sort of novella bindup. Everyone, please "buy" these free short stories!

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Yumi by Renée Ahdieh
Book 1.75 of the Flame in the Mist series
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased Kindle copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Yumi receives word of the battle led against her brother and the Black Clan by Prince Raiden and the Dragon of Kai, and of Ōkami’s sacrifice, she resents the bars of her gilded cage all the more. She’s tired of being a sheltered bird, protected in the Hanami. What Yumi really wants is to strike a blow against all the forces that control her life. The time has come.

What I Liked:

Honestly this short story got me even more about Smoke in the Sun than Ōkami’s short story did. This is about Yumi, who is his sister, who he guards fiercely and makes sure that she is well taken care of and out of harms way. But this short story takes place immediately after Flame in the Mist, and Yumi receives a message which details Ōkami’s situation. Yumi has always protected and shuffled around, but now she is going to take matters into her own hands, and write her own fate. Yumi wasn't really a major player in Flame in the Mist, but I have a feeling she will be very important in Smoke in the Sun. This short story hinted at a lot of girl power to come, from Yumi and likely from other female characters. I can't wait!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing specific!

Would I Recommend It:

Like Ōkami’s short story, this short story is free, and it's also very engaging and worth the read. It may be short - like 8 pages or less - but the scene is worth it. To get into Yumi's head is absolutely worth it. And to get such strong foreshadowing of Smoke in the Sun is also worth it.


4 stars. One more short story that would have been neat is Kenshin's! But I'm excited for book two nonetheless. I do hope these short stories (and any others that the author decides to write) will be put into a print bindup edition. Fam, please go and "buy" these short stories from Amazon!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!