Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Countdown (The Taking #3) by Kimberly Derting | Harper Teen Summer 2016 Blog Tour Spotlight & Giveaway

HarperTeenSummer2016Tour

You know that amazing Harper Winter tour that I was a part of a couple months ago?  Well look at this!  I was lucky enough to be chosen as part of the Summer tour and I’m here to promote one of my favorite authors! Stick around, find out a little about The Countdown, and prepare to enter some epic giveaways.

Oh and don’t forget to check out the other blogs that are part of the tour as they will be spotlighting the rest of Harper Teen’s Summer catalog.

Hitting Shelves May 10, 2016

the countdown

She may no longer be human…but she’s their only hope.

In the concluding book in the otherworldly Taking trilogy, Kyra struggles to understand who she is as she races to save the world from complete destruction.

Ever since Kyra was abducted by aliens and then returned to earth, she has known there was something different about her. Now she knows the truth: she is an alien too. Her alien captors replaced all her human DNA with their own—gifting her with supernatural powers like incredible healing, enhanced eyesight, and telekinesis. But when she’s captured by an unexpected enemy, Kyra begins to wonder if her abilities are also a curse. And is she, as her enemies believe, meant to play some key role in helping an impending alien invasion? Is it programmed into her, something inescapable? Or can she fight that destiny?

No matter what the truth is, Kyra is sure of one thing: She just rescued the love of her life, Tyler, and she is not going to stand by and let anyone hurt him or her friends. Whatever it takes, Kyra will do everything in her power to save the world…even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Giveaway time!

#1 – A Harper Teen Summer 2016 Catalog prizepack of 45 books*.

*Titles not included: The Crown by Kiera Cass, Escape from Asylum by Madeline Roux, Sing by Vivi Greene, The Countdown by Kimberly Derting, & United As One by Pittacus Lore

In addition to the one massive prize winner, we will also have 4 winners who will be able to select 3 titles they want from the Summer 2016 Catalog.

US Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#2 – 5 Finished Copies from the Harper Teen Winter 2016 Catalog

5 books are: Front Lines by Michael Grant, Revenge & the Wild by Michelle Modesto, The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks, Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, & The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

US Only

How to enter:
Collect the daily word from each blog stop during the Harper Summer 2016 Tour (a total of 50). Once you’ve collected them all, email the complete saying to: HarperTeenTour@gmail.com

Prize Rules:
1.) Winner must have a valid US mailing address to receive the prize
2.) Winner must be over 13
3.) Only one (1) entry per person for Prize #2 – duplicates will be deleted.
4.) Only a completed phrase will be accepted as an entry – do not email each word/phrase daily. Wait until you have the complete saying and then email in.
5.) All email submissions must be received by 11:59 PM EST 3/31/2016.
6.) Winners will be selected 4/1/2016 and will have 48 hours to claim their prize before another is selected.
7.) Participating blogs and bloggers are not responsible for unsent, damaged, and/or stolen prizes offered by the publisher.

#3 – Leap Year Giveaway – 4 of the most anticipated ARCs from Summer 2016

Books are: My Lady Jane, Ivory & Bone, The Crown’s Game and This Savage Song

US Only

How to enter:
This giveaway will only run on February 29, 2016. The rafflecopter form will work for 24 hours and a winner will be chosen on March 1, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lastly, don’t forget about our amazing Facebook Author Chats where you will have chances to win more prizes and books! The first chat will be 2/16/16 at 8 pm EST!

RSVP TODAY
Or CLICK HERE for more info!

Check out the other stops on the blog tour!

This is the rest of the Harper Summer 2016 tour!  Don’t miss a single stop


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin | Review

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin | ReviewWolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #1
on October 20th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 388
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

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I am pretty much the biggest history buff ever.  I have a very weird fascination with anything Nazi Germany related (probably something to do with my History minor) so Wolf by Wolf was added to my TBR as soon as I heard about it.  Ryan Graudin had been on my radar since I heard about her debut novel, The Walled City, so I had pretty high expectations for this one.  I’m happy to say that this definitely met my expectations and left me dying for more.

Pros:

  • Writing:  Ryan Graudin’s writing is seriously beautiful.  You have to know going into the story that it’s going to be depressing.  Yael is a Jew who watched everyone she loved die because of Hitler.  Some of the chapters take place in the concentration camp that she is imprisoned in and it’s extremely hard to read.  Ryan Graudin’s writing honestly adds to the depressing air but also shows the beauty in everything Yael goes through.
  • Characters: Yael is obviously the main focus of this story but there are many more characters who fill the pages with her.  The depth that went into each character was pretty fantastic.  Yael is this badass who was raised in a terrible situation.  She spent time in a concentration camp and had to see most of the people she loved die.  Even when she left the concentration camp, she couldn’t escape death.  It seemed like that was a big reason for why she chose to take on the task of killing Hitler.  Having lost so much, she didn’t want to see anyone else suffer like that.  She also wasn’t afraid to die.  She knew it was a strong possibility when she took on Adele’s life.  I had some mixed feelings towards the people who put her in that situation though.  Everyone in the resistance wanted one thing and that was to rid the world of Hitler.  They knew that they would lose people to the cause and they were willing to take that chance with Yael’s life.  I truly think they loved her but they were more concerned with the world than with just one person.  It was hard for me to think of it that way but I understood why they were willing to put her life so at risk.
  • Romance: The romance in Wolf by Wolf is really subtle and I loved that about it.  Yael is posing as someone who has a history with Luka so of course there has to be something there.  However, it’s hard to tell where things are going to go with them.  Luka and Adele have a history (that no one knows all the details about, including the reader) so Yael has to figure out that history and guess how she needs to act with Luka.  Luka doesn’t make any of these things easy for Yael.  He’s kind of an ass but I have a feeling that has something to do with Adele’s actions in the past.  Their interactions with each other were really pretty great.  They had some serious chemistry and the banter between the two of them was perfect.  I really thought it helped lighten the mood at times.
  • Family: I have to mention how much I loved Felix.  I know he was trying to stop Adele and bring her home to their family but it was because he loved her and feared for her safety.  He was a good brother and he always meant well.  That wasn’t the only family in the book though.  I have to say that while Yael lost her real family, the resistance pretty much adopted her.  She created a family within in the resistance and even though they were willing to risk her safety, they loved her.  Family doesn’t always have to be about the ones who share your blood.

Con:

  • Unanswered Questions: I really only have one complaint about Wolf by Wolf and it’s the mystery surrounding Adele and Luka’s history.  I know that it will eventually be explained (in the novella or sequel) but I really think it would have added to this story.  I just kept wondering what could have led up to their end of the first race.  I think I’m just being nitpicky now because I truly did love this book.

Overall, I can’t recommend Wolf by Wolf enough.  I know it’s been getting a lot of praise and it deserves every bit of it.  Even if historical fiction isn’t really your thing, you should give this one a chance.  I don’t think you will regret it one bit.

What others are saying about Wolf by Wolf:

Prettybooks’ review: “Wolf By Wolf is a clever and impressive combination of alternate history and fantasy.”

Please Feed the Bookworm’s review: “I was on the edge of my seat for this entire read!”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Blogs That Inspire Me

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday was a freebie so I decided to branch out a bit and talk about some amazing blogs that inspire me to try and be a better blogger.

1. The Perpetual Page-Turner

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I have been following Jamie’s blog for years and I am constantly impressed by everything she does.  Her creativity knows no bounds.  I really want to try and bring some more personal posts to my blog like she does.  I’d also like to create just one feature as awesome as all of hers.  I love her Save The Date posts, If We Were Having Coffee posts, and of course Top Ten Tuesday.

2. A Perfection Called Books

A Perfection Called Books

Where do I even begin with Rachel’s blog?  I adore everything about it but I think it’s her support for debut authors that really impresses me.  I always attempt to participate in debut challenges but Rachel just takes it above and beyond.  It also doesn’t hurt that she has awesome discussions on her blog.  I want to be able to come up with great discussion topics like she does.

3. Icey Books

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Hafsah is a blogger that I have followed since the very beginning and over the years the things she has done with her blog have shocked and impressed me.  She is always coming up with creative new features and her Waiting on Wednesday posts always manage to feature books that I know nothing about.  Also, she has an amazing design site and yet she still manages to keep up her blog.  That takes dedication.

4. Lost In Literature

Lost In Lit

Lisa and Becca are both amazing bloggers and Instagrammers.  I don’t know how they both manage to read so many books but it seems like they are always posting about the hottest new releases.  I love that their reviews are written in a more informal style and invite readers to chat about them in the comments.  I really want to open discussions in my comments like they do.

5. The Irish Banana Review

IrishBanana

Hannah is the blog tour queen!  She runs Irish Banana Blog Tours and she participates in a ton of the blog tours that she puts together.  I have no clue how she does it.  I also really want her to do my makeup.  She has incredible taste in makeup and I love how she incorporates it into her blog.  I’d love to figure out how to incorporate some of my other loves into my blog.

6. Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

Cuddlebuggery

Cuddlebuggery manages to post all the things!  They post reviews, TV reviews, bookish news, and so much more.  Not only that, they might post some of the snarkiest, funniest posts ever!  The amount of personality in one blog seriously blows my mind.

7. Bookiemoji

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Crystal and Jenna impressed me long before they got together and created Bookiemoji but I can’t tell you how excited I became when two of my favorite bloggers got together and created one epic blog.  Their use of GIFs is just plain perfect and I love how their reviews include just enough info to entice me without feeling like too much.  One day I hope to find someone I connect with as much as Jenna and Crystal do.

8. Maji Bookshelf

Maji Bookshelf

I can’t tell you how many recommendations I have gotten from this blog.  I might be partial to it because we seem to like a lot of the same books but that’s not the only reason.  Their graphics are gorgeous and their posts are always fresh and quick reads.  They don’t just post reviews but they also don’t just post memes.  There is the perfect mix of posts and I admit that I haven’t yet found that perfect mix for my blog but I’m working on it.

9. My Friends Are Fiction

my friends are fiction

Lego Cover Art.  What more do I need to say?  Seriously, though.  How creative and fun is that?  Kristen is incredibly nice and she also posts a ton of interviews, something I don’t think there are enough of these days.  I’m also seriously impressed by her interview questions.  They are so thoughtful and I always end up learning new things from her posts.

10. My Not So Real Life

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Last but definitely not least I have to give a shoutout to Aneeqah.  Her discussion posts are amazing and insightful and give me all the thoughts.  Her recent post about book bloggers making money sparked quite the discussion and I want to be able to do that with my discussion posts.  And to top it all off, she’s applying for colleges.  I don’t know how she manages it all but she does.  I need to take a page out of her book!

I can’t do justice to these bloggers but if you don’t already follow them, please do.  You will not regret it.  I’m going to continue taking inspiration from their blogs and hope that some of their creativity rubs off on me.

Who are some bloggers that inspire you?

Monday, January 25, 2016

7 Years| Looking Back and Moving Forward

7 yearsI don’t really know how this happened.  I never thought my 7 year anniversary would come.  I’ll be honest, I figured I would blog for a few months and then give it up just like everything else I had tried as a hobby.  I tried sports, dance, crafts, scrapbooking, and so on and so forth, and nothing ever stuck.  Who knew that blogging would be the thing that never lost it’s appeal to me?

I figured for this pretty epic blogoversary, I’d look back at my blog and see what all I’ve accomplished.  I don’t know about you guys but my blog is a huge thing for me.  I’m extremely proud of what I’ve done here and I’m not afraid to admit that.

  • I’ve attended BEA four times and I’ll be attending for my fifth time this May.
  • I’ve attended both ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual.  I think this summer will be my fifth time for ALA as well.
  • I’ve met some of my favorite authors such as Veronica Roth, Victoria Schwab, Alexandra Bracken, Sarah J. Maas, Marissa Meyer, and Leigh Bardugo.
  • I’ve met some amazing fellow readers/bloggers.  I can’t even begin to name them off but y’all would love them all!
  • I’ve posted 2,248 posts.
  • I’ve received 22,576 comments.
  • I would love to tell you how many page views my blog has had over the years but I switched to WordPress and can’t even remember how many I had before that but I know it’s over a million!
  • I’ve been part of promotions for Divergent, The Hunger Games, and many other exciting books.
  • I’ve toured multiple publishing houses.

I could go on and on about the things that have happened to me all because of my blog.  I never thought that my blog would come to mean so much to me or open up so many doors for me.  I’m pretty excited to see where things lead from here on out and these are only a few things I have planned for this year.

  • I’m opening up advertising options to see if I can make this more of a career.
  • I’m heading to Chicago for BEA and planning to hang out with some amazing book lovers.  (And also eat pizza.)
  • I’m attempting to use Instagram to reach a new audience of readers.
  • I’m incorporating some new posts to shed some light on other details of my life.
  • I’m branching out and using skills I’ve made online to make some new friends in real life.

I have no idea what this year will bring me but I know it’s going to be epic.  I want to thank everyone who has found this blog and kept me company on this crazy journey.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Monday, January 25, 2016

7 Years| Why I Love The Blogging Community

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Guys, I’m about to get personal so if you don’t like that, you’ve been warned.

I started Katie’s Book Blog 7 years ago.  I was a senior in high school at the time.  I was just as nerdy back then as I am today but I didn’t accept that part of me.  I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere and I had some people in my life who only made that worse.  I was severely bullied my last year of high school by people I had called my friends for the previous 2 years.  They didn’t like that I was graduating a year early and they thought I thought too highly of myself because I was smart enough to do that.  It didn’t matter that I had to graduate early to move across the country with my family.  They knew everything about me, my strengthsm my weaknesses, and all my insecurities.  One of my biggest insecurities was what people would think of me if they knew how nerdy I really was.  They did everything they could to make me ashamed of my love of literature and knowledge and my smarts.  I missed so much school because I was afraid to face them.  I went home in tears so many times.  I missed a lot and those girls succeeded in pushing me even further into my shell.  However, Katie’s Book Blog got started because of that shell.  I was afraid to share my love of books with people in my life so I decided to share it with strangers on the internet.  It was a pretty great idea, if I do say so myself.

So here we are, 7 years later, and my life is so different.  I literally wear my love of books on my sleeve (I have a Harry Potter tattoo on my wrist.)  I couldn’t be more proud of all the reading I do and the love I have for authors and publishers and fellow readers.  I keep my business cards handy for anyone who might need some book recommendations.  I wouldn’t say I’m extroverted or anything that drastic but I’m not afraid of people anymore.  I’m not afraid to be myself anymore.  All of these things are because of the people I’ve met through my blog.

Nobody in this community looks at my like I’m weird.  Nobody tries to make me feel bad for my intelligence.  Nobody tries to tell me what is cool and what is not.  Nobody judges me if I love a book and don’t want to shut up about it.

Everybody encourages me and lifts me up.  Everybody tries to put a smile on my face if I’m having a bad day (no matter how crappy their own day might be.)  Everybody makes me feel welcome and loved and that was not something I ever thought I’d find.

This community is my home.  It’s where I can be who I’ve always been and always wanted to be.  It’s where I can grow and learn and not be afraid and I love you guys for that.  Thank you for 7 years of acceptance and here’s to many more.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (34)

Stacking the Shelves

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a Stacking the Shelves.  It seems like these days I just post pictures of my books on Instagram but then I have to remind myself that not everyone uses Instagram.  I’m going to try to post a weekly Stacking the Shelves from now on!

For review:

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

Unforgivable (Invincible #2) by Amy Reed

Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

Lost in Love (City Love #2) by Susane Colasanti

Night Speed by Chris Howard

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Hepperman

A Walk in the Sun by Michelle Zink

Longbow Girl by Linda Davies

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

All the Feels by Danika Stone

The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Are any of these on your TBR?  Have you read any yet?  What books were stacking your shelves this week?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blog Tour: High School Horror + Giveaway

Blog Tour: High School Horror + Giveaway

Blog Tour: High School Horror + GiveawayTeen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker
Published by Feiwel & Friends on January 12th 2016
Genres: Horror
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

High school meets classic horror in this groundbreaking new series.

It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hit someone with her car. And killed him. But all is not lost--Tor, being the scientific genius she is, brings him back to life...

Thus begins a twisty, turn-y take on a familiar tale, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.

Hey guys! I’m super excited to be part of the High School Horror blog tour for Chandler Baker’s new novel, Teen Frankenstein.  I’ve got an awesome guest post from one of the team members over at Macmillan and stick around until the end to win a copy of the book.

 

High School Horror Guest Post

 

This is a cautionary tale about underage drinking. I’m not referring to the associated health risks, driving dangers, and potential negative impact on grades. I’m referring to the potential to embarrass yourself in the WORST WAY HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

I did not grow up in a family where alcohol was a major part of family gatherings. My primary knowledge of alcohol in any capacity was based on Donna Martin’s ill-fated experience at the prom on 90210. So when I went to the sleepover at my new friend Alice’s and someone brought out a giant bottle of (what I now know to have been) extremely cheap gin, I had no idea what to do with it. I just knew that it was ninth grade, these were new friends, and I wanted to seem cool.

And it turned out that these friends weren’t actually much more daring than me- they wanted to ‘live on the edge’ by drinking gin too, but also didn’t know what to do with it. I did vaguely recall (from Snoop Dogg) that gin was supposed to be mixed with juice, so I grabbed a bottle of fruit punch and decided to take over as chief mixologist. Except I didn’t realize that the ratio of alcohol to mixer was NOT supposed to be 1:1. And I poured each of us a glass that was exactly one half gin, and one half punch. And then we drank them.

At first, it was all fun and games and sing-alongs. And then we started talking about crushes. And when I confessed mine (Alex Green),  I learned that he happened to work at a crab shack that was walking distance from Alice’s house. You see where this is going…

We decided to sneak out and walk (stumble) to the crab shack, in hopes that he’d be finishing his shift. What we actually expected to accomplish was a bit unclear (as are my memories of that night), but I believe the end goal was for us to fall in love. And as luck would have it, he WAS there, and he was just getting ready to ride his bike home when we approached. He looked at us as if he was wondering what we were doing there and then suddenly, my friends were gone. They’d left me there alone (in reality, they were hiding behind an SUV, giggling at me). I opened my mouth to attempt to spit some game…and that’s when it happened. Full-on, projectile vomit. The kind you don’t even see coming, so you can’t find a covert way to do it. And thanks to the laws of science, it landed ALL OVER poor Alex Green, who was horrified, and who avoided me the entire remaining time we were in high school.

So there you have it, kids. Not only is underage drinking foolish for any number of other reasons, it can also kill your game…forever.

Author Links/Info

Add High School Horror: Teen Frankenstein to your to-read list on Goodreads.

Join in on social media with #HighSchoolHorror

Visit Chandler’s website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Full Blog Tour Schedule
11-Jan
Fierce Reads
12-Jan Good Books and Good Wine
13-Jan Jana’s Book List
14-Jan Booki Emoji
15-Jan Sci Fi Chick
16-Jan Novel Novice
17-Jan Word Spelunking
18-Jan XPresso Reads
19-Jan Working for the Mandroid
20-Jan Katie’s Book Blog

Giveaway

One US/CA reader will win a copy of Teen Frankenstein

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR

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I am the worst when it comes to adding books to my TBR.  It doesn’t help that the ALA MW conference took place a few weeks ago.  I went through everybody’s book hauls and added so many new titles to my TBR.  Oops.  Here are 10 recent adds.  Hopefully you find something new to add to your TBR.

1. The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies

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I adore the cover of this one and it sounds like my kind of book.  Four former friends embark on an all night adventure the night before the SATs during a crazy thunderstorm and there is romance and friendship.  I don’t know the exact release date but it’ll be out sometime this year from Simon Pulse.

2. This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

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Once again, this was a cover add but it also has an amazing synopsis.  Five boys go hunting and only four return.  The fifth was shot and killed on the trip and none of the boys will admit what happened.  Kate, the main character, takes it upon herself to find out the truth and uncover the mystery of who killed Grant and why.  This one will be out in November from Disney Hyperion.

3. Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Wild Swans

I adored Jessica Spotswood’s debut and while this is a completely different type of story, it sounds really great.  It’s contemporary with a runaway mom coming back into her daughters life and bringing two more daughters with her.  This one will be released in May from Sourcebooks Fire.

4. Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Going Geek

There isn’t much of a synopsis for this one but I love the cover.  A girl is kicked out of her friend group and she begins to hang out with the “fringe crowd” at school.  Going Geek will be out in September from Random House.

5. Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer

Save Me Kurt Cobain

This one is a debut and the synopsis is a bit confusing but it intrigued me.  I won’t even try to explain it.  Just check it out on Goodreads.  This one will be released in March from Random House.

6. Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Future Shock

Time travel.  What more do I have to say?  This one will be released in April from Albert Whitman & Company.

7. Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu/Anne Greenwood Brown

Girl Last Seen

A famous girl goes missing and her former best friend is the prime suspect?  I’m all over that.  Girl Last Seen will be released in March from Albert Whitman & Company.

8. Hurricane Kiss by Deborah Blumenthal

Hurricane Kiss

Everything about this book (except maybe the cover) appeals to me.  A hurricane is coming and two neighboring families evacuate together.  One of those people just happens to be the former quarterback who went to juvie and came back a changed person.  I’m assuming there is going to be romance with this bad boy neighbor.  Hurricane Kiss will be released in May from Albert Whitman & Company.

9. On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

On The Edge of Gone

I’m not a huge science fiction fan but this one sounds interesting, especially since the main character is autistic.  This one will be out in March from Amulet Books.

10. Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby

Some of the Parts

I admit that I just added this one because I was adding almost all of Random House’s upcoming releases to my TBR but after reading the synopsis, I really do think I’ll like it.  A girl’s brother dies and months later she finds out he was an organ donor and wants to track down the people his organs went to.  It will be out in February from Random House.

I know I totally have a problem when it comes to adding books to my TBR but don’t they all look amazing?  Are any of these on your TBR?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard | Review

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard | ReviewTruthwitch by Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #1
Published by Tor Teen on January 5, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

picadillyblueI contemplated writing a one sentence review for Truthwitch. Basically, I was just going to say ‘go buy the book.’  At this point it seems like that is the only coherent thing I have to say about Truthwitch.  I figured you guys might not appreciate that though so here goes nothing.

Truthwitch is your typical fantasy novel, at first.  It takes some to build up the world and it took me some time to figure out what all the words meant and how to pronounce things.  However, after that, it’s completely unique.  Susan Dennard has crafted a story full of wonderful new characters, creative abilities, and there are even clever curse words.  How can I start using ‘goat tits’ on a regular basis?

Safi and Iseult have a special relationship.  They are ‘threadsisters’ meaning they might as well be actual sisters.  They have a bond that is tested constantly but never breaks.  Safi would give up her life for Iseult and Iseult would do the same for Safi.  They couldn’t be more different though.  Safi is hot-headed and a smartass.  She was born into a powerful family but she wants nothing to do with them or her legacy.  Iseult ran from her tribe and Safi, Mathew, and Habim are her family now.  She’s quiet and methodical but she has a tendency to panic when Safi isn’t by her side.  Together, they make one great team.  They are strong apart but they are unstoppable together.  They also manage to get into a ton of trouble together.

Safi and Iseult spend much of their time on the run.  From the start of the book you know that they are in serious trouble and it only gets worse.  They have a vindictive Bloodwitch out to get them and he’s not the only one trying to find them.  They are on the run from tons of people and it’s up to the people on their getaway ship to keep them safe.  That’s not the ship crew’s only priority though.  Prince Merik, the captain of the ship they are on, as well as the Prince of Nubrevna, is out to save his people.  Safi is not his first priority and Iseult is even further down his list of people to worry about.  He’s not a bad guy, by any means, but he has a lot of worries without having to deal with Safi and Iseult.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t come to care about the two of them though.  Let me just say, Safi and Merik have two very crazy tempers between the two of them and it makes for some explosive encounters.  Their first meeting is very memorable and they only get better from there.

The abilities that some of the characters are gifted with also help make this a completely unique book to read.  Not all people have a gift and some have gifts that are more rare than others.  Safi, for example, is  a Truthwitch.  She can tell truth from lie and she is one of the only (if not the only) Truthwitch.  Merik is a Windwitch which is more common.  Not only do the abilities differ by person but so do the powers that come with their abilities.  Some are much stronger than others.  It all depends on the person.  I look forward to finding out a lot more about the abilities of each character and exactly what they can do with those abilities.

The relationships in Truthwitch are varied and complicated.  Safi and Iseult have one of the easiest relationships of the book.  They’d do anything for each other and that’s all that matters.  Then there is Iseult and Evrane.  Evrane saves her life more than once and there is some kind of tie there that I hope will be expanded upon in future books.  Then there is Evrane and Merik.  They are family but they have a very strained relationship.  There is history there that I look forward to finding out about.  Then there is Merik and Safi.  Holy sexual tension, you guys! Like I said, they are kind of explosive and I meant that in more ways than one.  There is also Merik and his first mate, Kullen.  They have a bond very similar to Safi and Iseult’s.  They love each other like brothers and I think it hurts Merik more to see Kullen hurt than it would for him to deal with his own pain.  My heart broke for their struggles.  And don’t even get me started on how the Bloodwitch Aeduan ties into everything.  I didn’t think Susan Dennard could surprise me any more by the end of this book but she totally did.

Overall, Truthwitch has everything I could have wanted and more.  It’s a story featuring strong female and male characters, romance, magic, and secrets.  I’ll stop gushing now but guys, read this book.  Seriously.  It’s an epic start to what promises to be a unique and captivating series.

What others are saying about Truthwitch:

The Soul Sisters’ review: “You will not know what to expect with Truthwitch and when you finally dive into it and devour its words, sentences, and pages, it will blow out every expectation you have with its quickly paced and smooth story-telling, amazing, amazing characters and freaking out of this world magic-filled fight scenes, you will seriously be left begging for more.”

Vilma’s Book Blog’s review: “It’s a tale rife with magic, action, conflict and political intrigue, but at it’s core,  it’s a story of unshakeable friendship.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top Ten Books I Meant To Read in 2015

top ten tuesday 4

I was really bad about sticking to my TBR for 2015 and I missed out on a bunch of books that I had planned on checking out.  Here are 10 that I didn’t make it to that I hope to get around to this year.

1. For The Record by Charlotte Huang

for the record

I’ve had this book on my wish-list for a couple years and I planned on buying it and reading it as soon as it hit shelves but that did not happen for some reason.  I still don’t have a copy but I hope to get it sometime this year.

2. The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus

the death and life

I actually had this one on two TBRs last year, November and December.  I was certain I would get to it one of those months but clearly I was a little too ambitious.  Now I’m just hoping to get to it soon since it looks so awesome.

3. Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

black widow

I waited in a crazy line at BEA to pick this one up because I’m such a huge Marvel fan.  However, when I got back from BEA I tried to be a good blogger and read books that were already on my TBR and this one just got pushed aside.

4. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

this monstrous

This book got some rave reviews from some blogger friends of mine so I had to add it to my TBR.  I also happen to love the cover so that didn’t hurt my chances of picking this one up.  Too bad I fail at things and didn’t actually read it.

5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

the fill in boyfriend

I’m a little ashamed to admit that I haven’t read this one.  I try to read a Kasie West book every year because they are just so perfect.   I guess that just means that I’ll have to read more than one Kasie West book this year.

6. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

crimson bound

I absolutely adored Rosamund Hodge’s debut, Cruel Beauty, so when I saw she was writing another retelling, I immediately added it to my TBR.  I got an ARC and everything and yet I still didn’t read it.  I need to get my priorities straight.

7. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdiehthe wrath

I picked up an ARC of this at ALAMW last year because I was that excited for it.  I’d heard some good things about it and it just sounded so unique that I wanted to check it out.  Here we are a year later and I have not read it because I suck.

8. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

the girl on the train

I was hoping to read more adult books last year and this was at the top of that list.  Everyone was talking about this book and I even managed to find a hardcover copy of it at the thrift store.  It seemed like it was meant to be but now it’s just another unread book on my shelf.

9. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Red, vintage, neon motel sign on blue sky; Shutterstock ID 95002717
I’ve read and loved all of Heather Demetrios’ books and I was excited to get this one.  I preordered it and everything but it just got put off for review books.  That is not going to happen this year, that’s for sure.

10. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

the last time we say goodbye

I was really excited to see that Cynthia Hand had a new novel coming out.  I adored her Unearthly series and since I’m such a contemporary junkie, I was eager to check this one out.  I definitely need to pick it up this year or I’m going to end up hating myself next year.

What are some 2015 releases that you were hoping to read but missed out on for some reason or another?