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:

STS34

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

top ten tuesday 4

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?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blog Tour: Zero Day by Jan Gangsei | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Zero Day by Jan Gangsei | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Zero Day by Jan Gangsei | Review + GiveawayZero Day by Jan Gangsei
on January 12th 2016
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Eight years ago, Addie Webster was the victim of the most notorious kidnapping case of the decade. Addie vanished—and her high-profile parents were forced to move on.

Mark Webster is now president of the United States, fighting to keep the oval office after a tumultuous first term. Then, the unthinkable happens: the president’s daughter resurfaces. Addie is brought back into her family’s fold, but who is this sixteen-year-old girl with a quiet, burning intelligence now living in the White House? There are those in the president’s political circle who find her timely return suspicious.

When the NSA approaches Darrow Fergusson, Addie’s childhood best friend and the son of the president’s chief of staff, he doesn't know what to think. How could this slip of a girl be a threat to national security? But at the risk of having his own secrets exposed by the powerful government agency, Darrow agrees to spy on Addie.

It soon becomes apparent that Addie is much more than the traumatized victim of a sick political fringe group. Addie has come with a mission. Will she choose to complete it? And what will happen if she does?

My Thoughts:

Zero Day is one of those books that automatically got added to my TBR when I read the synopsis.  I didn’t care about other reviews, that the author was a debut, none of that.  Suspense featuring the daughter of the President of the United States who also happens to be a kidnapping victim?  I was sold.  Jan Gangsei’s debut novel surprised me in many ways and was definitely worth the read.

Pros:

  • Suspense: The suspense in Zero Day was strong.  I grew up reading James Patterson, Harlan Coben, and many other adult crime writers that were fabulous at suspense.  I’ve only found that same caliber in a few young adult authors so I was a bit skeptical going into this one.  While I did manage to guess a few things, it was usually only right before they were about to be revealed anyway so it didn’t take away from my enjoyment.
  • Romance: I was iffy about this romance for a while.  Darrow and Addie grew up together and Darrow pretty much held himself responsible for Addie’s kidnapping.  He was also 9-years-old at the time so there really wasn’t anything he could have done but try telling him that.  When Addie is returned, he pretty much automatically has feelings for her.  I couldn’t tell if it was because of what they went through or not but he grew on me and I liked seeing him with Addie.  As for Addie’s side of the relationship, it was really hard to judge.  If you read the book you’ll understand what I mean but her personality was so odd that I had a hard time telling if she meant things or if she was attempting to play someone.  I wanted her to like Darrow and at times I felt that she did but other times I was a bit hesitant.  It was odd.
  • Characters: Where do I even begin with these characters?  I have some really mixed feelings about some of them but overall I loved the development of them and the complexities to all of them.  Just look at Addie.  She was all over the place with her feelings and thoughts.  I couldn’t tell from page to page what was coming next with her.  She obviously went through a ton of crazy stuff in the eight years that she was held captive but that wasn’t really what fascinated me about her.  I wanted to know more about what motivated her when she got home.  You will understand what I mean if you read the book.  Her parents were both good parents and bad ones.  They cared so much about public opinion and they couldn’t see how that was affecting their daughters.  Then again, they would spend private time with them and be completely wonderful.  I guess that’s how politics works.  And I won’t spoil anything about Addie’s captors but I will say that they were seriously messed up.  Very twisted.
  • Setting: I don’t know if it’s so much the setting that I loved but what comes along with the setting.  A lot of the story takes place in and around the White House and also at Addie and Darrow’s very classy high school.  Taking a peek inside the world of the offspring of high up government officials was really interesting.  I can’t tell you how accurate it is but I enjoyed it.  I love reading about the lifestyles of the rich and famous so that definitely appealed to me.

Pro/Con:

  • Story: The story had good and bad things going for it.  I loved the idea of the story but the execution left some things to be desired.  I read a majority of the book before I even realized what exactly Cerberus was hoping to gain from their terrorist attacks.  Also, once I figured it out, I couldn’t really see how what they were doing was going to achieve that goal.  It confused me.  However, the idea of someone on the inside of the White House working with terrorists really appealed to me and kept me very intrigued.  Things tied up pretty nicely at the end but I could see how there might be room for a sequel and I wouldn’t say no to reading that.

Cons:

  • Writing: The writing was a bit heavy.  I honestly can’t put my finger on what exactly about it caused the book to drag more than it should have but there was just something about it.  I was hoping that as  I read more of the book, I would get used to the style and the pace would pick up but that didn’t happen.  It’s also weird because the book features short chapters which tend to speed things along for me but that didn’t happen with Zero Day.  The story was interesting enough though that I didn’t every feel like giving up on it.

Overall, Zero Day had it’s flaws but it’s good parts far outweighed those.  It’s a great read for fans of suspense with hints of hacking and politics as well as a peek at the lifestyles of the rich and famous.  I will be keeping an eye out to see what Jan Gangsei does next.

What others are saying about Zero Day:

Bookish Babes’ review: “Zero Day by Jan Gangsei is a pulse pounding YA thriller that kept me guessing until the end.”

Kovescence of the Mind’s review: ” The strong female lead provides a refreshing addition to the realm of technology and mystery in young-adult fiction.”

Looking for something similar? Check out Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano!

Giveaway

Enter to win one of three copies of Zero Day!

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken | Review

Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken | ReviewPassenger (Passenger, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
on January 5th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

passage, n.i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.ii. A journey by water; a voyage.iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

picadillyblue

Why do I continue to do this to myself?  I swear, I think I just like torturing myself.  I knew better than to read an Alex Bracken novel without having the sequel in my greedy little hands.  Passenger is just as amazing as I’d hoped but my heart broke when I reached the end and found out I was going to have to wait another year for the sequel after that seriously major cliffhanger.  I knew better.  Really.  I did.  However, if you’re like me and just can’t wait when a favorite author has a new book out, here are the good things about Passenger.

Pros:

  • Characters: I can honestly say that every character in this book held some appeal for me.  Even the bad guys were awesome.  It’s not that I liked them all but every single character had serious depth and the ability to surprise me.  Nicholas was definitely my favorite though.  He lived through so much hardship and adversity and yet he was still such a good person.  The same could not be said for Sophia.  That girl is on my shit list.  As for Etta, she was pretty bad ass.  She was thrust into so many different time periods and places that she knew nothing about and she took it all in stride.  Not only that, she did it all under serious pressure.  She was impressive.
  • Romance: I’m a sucker for romance and Nicholas and Etta’s was adorable.  Nicholas didn’t think very highly of himself and he couldn’t have imagined a girl like Etta ever falling for him so it was tough for him to take in.  I think that made me like him even more.  He didn’t take her for granted or her interest in him.  As for Etta falling for Nicholas, I can’t blame the girl.
  • Setting:  I guess this one would be better classified as settings.  Passenger takes place over many years and in many different places.  Alexandra Bracken did an amazing job setting up each place and time.  I honestly don’t know how she managed it.  The amount of research that had to go into each setting just boggles me.  Each different place and time period was full of so much history and depth.  It’s not just that she chose amazing places but she also chose to have Nicholas and Etta be in these places during some crazy time period like London during the war.  I have to give her props for the setting above everything else.
  • Story:  I truly didn’t know how anything was going to come together but it all fit together so seamlessly.  I love time travel stories but I’m also typically scared to read them because they can come across so choppy and undeveloped.  That was not the case with the story in Passenger.  The passages, the settings, the clues; everything somehow just fit and worked for the story.  There were no extraneous details and while things were a little confusing at first, it makes sense as you read more of the story.
  • Writing:  Alexandra Bracken became one of my favorite authors because she is such a fabulous writer and Passenger really cements that.  I find that with historical novels like this one (calling it that because a lot of it takes place in the past) the writing can either make or break the story.  Alexandra Bracken’s beautiful writing made this story come to life in my head.

Cons:

  • History: I’m a history buff and I’m not afraid to say it.  However, even to me some of the history seemed a little heavy.  It was pretty much just in the beginning of the book and I feel like it maybe just felt that way because the pacing is a bit slower to start but I was a little confused at some parts.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the history that was woven into the story but when I was just trying to figure out the time travel and the plot, it added a bit more confusion for me.  Once I got past maybe the first 100 pages though it stopped feeling that way.
  • Pirates?: I can’t really say this is a terrible thing but I was hoping for a story with pirates and more ships.  Technically, Nicholas is a pirate but he’s not the kind I was thinking of.  And yes it starts out on a ship but not much of it actually takes place there.  This point is more just for me though because the cover had my hopes up.  Also, this point didn’t really take anything away from my enjoyment of the book.

Overall, Passenger is a hefty book that you will honestly wish there was more of when you finish it.  Nicholas and Etta’s story is really just beginning and I’m dying to see where it goes next in Wayfarer.  You can bet your butts I’m going to be getting that one the day it comes out.

What others are saying about Passenger:

Christina Reads YA’s review: “If you’re a The Darkest Minds fan, I do think that you’re going like Passenger; there’s a similar blend of cinematic action, romance, suspense, and emotionally charged situations.”

Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s review: “If you are looking for a brilliant adventure with a little swoon, I invite you to book your passage on the Passenger.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Where the heck I’ve been…

I’m gonna start off by saying that I know I have been absent lately or at least been posting very sporadically.  I keep making plans to schedule a ton of reviews or other posts and then I never do.  I have to admit, I don’t exactly know what I’m doing right now as far as the blog goes.  This has been a weird year for me and the blog had to take a backseat to everything else.   January 2016 will be 7 years for me and while I don’t want to quit blogging, I think I need to figure out a different direction.

It’s not that I don’t love blogging anymore because I do.  It also has nothing to do with reading.  I’ve been reading a ton and loving a lot of books.  I want to share those books with everyone, I just don’t know how anymore.  I haven’t written a review in ages and I’m not exactly proud of the ones I have written.  Not only that, it’s gotten extremely tough for me to write a review.  I just don’t know what I want to say and I don’t know how to get started.  I’ve gotta get my groove back and it’s gonna take some time and experimentation to do that.

I hope you guys understand that it’s not you, it’s me.  I’m still posting a lot on Twitter and I’ve been attempting to utilize my Instagram more so if you want to see what I’m reading or what I’m up to, make sure to follow me on those accounts (@katiesbookblog for both).  I really hope to find my blogging mojo again soon and I love all of you guys for sticking with me through this.

Oh and happy holidays!

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer | Review

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer | ReviewWinter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 10th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 827
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

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How do I write a review for 823 pages of awesome?  Winter was a highly anticipated book for me and I’m so pleased to say that Marissa Meyer did not let me down.  Everything that’s been building up since Cinder has finally come to a head and Marissa Meyer left no loose threads in this final installment in the Lunar Chronicles.

I refuse to spoil this book or anything about it so I’m sorry if this review is all over the place.

First off, I have to applaud Marissa Meyer’s ability to weave together so many storylines that have been building up for four books (five if you count Fairest).  Readers finally get to see all the characters together in one place and how they interact.  The revolution that kept being hinted at in the first 3 books has finally arrived.  I was a little disappointed by the fact that there was so much build up to this revolution and it seemed a little unorganized but I guess Cinder didn’t really have time to plan much.

Of all the characters, I’m pretty sure Winter just cemented the fact that Iko is my favorite.  Her sense of humor is just amazing.  Winter was an extremely crazy book but Iko always managed to lighten the mood.  I also loved her loyalty to Cinder.  She was more like a sister to her than a friend.  That’s not to say that the other characters weren’t amazing and that Cinder didn’t have some amazing friends.  At this point, I feel like these characters are my friends too and I’ve come to care so much for each one of them, even Winter and Jacin.  They weren’t as well known to me before reading Winter but when you have 800+ pages to get to know someone, you really get to know them.

I didn’t care much for Jacin in the earlier books (he wasn’t exactly the best ally for Cinder and her friends) but I really felt like I started to understand his motives in Winter.  He was raised beside Winter and his loyalty was to her.  He cared so much for her and he knew that she was not safe under Levana’s care.  To be completely honest, Winter wasn’t even safe by herself.  She was severely affected by the fact that she refused to use her lunar gift.  Her craziness was kind of endearing but dangerous at times.  It was understandable why Jacin did so much to get back to her.

Cress, Thorne, Scarlet, Wolf, Kai, and Cinder were just as fantastic as ever.  Cress has stepped up her game and I was impressed by her bravery all throughout Winter.  I admit that I didn’t exactly love her in Cress since she seemed so naive and a little weak.  Spending time with the crew of the Rampion has definitely changed her.  She’s become a strong woman who still had moments of naiveté and nervousness but those were understandable.  Thorne is still his charming self.  Pretty much every time I was reading about him I had a smile on my face.  He and Iko definitely provided some comic relief.  Scarlet and Winter’s relationship was a new addition that I really came to like.  I wasn’t sure how Scarlet was going to feel about her since Winter did keep her as a pet for a while but they grew past that.  Wolf has been one of my favorite characters since I first met him and that did not change this time around.  My heart broke for him so many times.  Kai didn’t play a huge role in Winter which was kind of disappointing to me but I understand that he couldn’t exactly be right in the middle of the revolution with the rest of them.  And what do I even say about Cinder? She’s strong, smart, funny, kind, and willing to do whatever it takes to take down Levana.  She’s determined to save the world.  She’s pretty damn impressive.

I want to say that while this book is huge, not one page is wasted with excess information.  Everything included in Winter is necessary to the story.  So much has been leading to this finale and there were so many little things that had to be tied up.  Marissa Meyer succeeded in leaving no loose ends.  All the romances, the fights, the villains, the heroes, everything is there.  I also want to mention that I love the futuristic twist to Snow White.  There are some parts of the book that really reminded me of the original story but with a unique twist that made it all Marissa Meyer’s.

Also, I hate Levana.  Hate her so much it’s not even funny!  She is psychotic and horrendous.  I wanted to reach into the book and punch her so many times I lost count.  She took pleasure from hurting others and they were people that I had come to care about so much over the course of the series.

Overall, I feel like I should probably stop gushing and let you read the book for yourself.  Winter is the perfect conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles.

What others are saying about Winter:

Literary-ly Obsessed’s review: “Overall Winter was an absolutely fantastic ending to unique and imaginative series.”

Mostly YA Lit’s review: “The other thing I will say about the book is that in spite of a backdrop of revolution, of serious action…every one of our beloved characters develops in this book and becomes stronger.”

Monday, December 14, 2015

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas | Review

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas | ReviewQueen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
on September 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 648
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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If you have not read the other books in this series, this review will contain spoilers.  There is just no avoiding that.  However, I will not be spoiling any part of Queen of Shadows.

I’m gonna start off by saying that it’s been a month or so since I actually read Queen of Shadows so bear with me if this review is all over the place.  That being said, I’m still thinking about Queen of Shadows and all the twists Sarah J. Maas threw at readers this time around.  I wasn’t sure there was a whole lot left that she could shock me with but boy was I wrong!

I read the first four books (I’m including The Assassin’s Blade in that count) about two months before Queen of Shadows and I’m glad I took so long to read them.  This series has so much going on that it’s actually pretty important to remember what happened in the previous books.  All the books include hints of what is to come and I love that Sarah J. Maas plans everything so far ahead.  I know there are definitely some things that I missed but hopefully I’ll catch some more things next year when I reread the series to prepare for the next book.  That’s not to say that you have to reread the first few books every time a new one comes out but having a summary of what happened in the previous books is good so you can stay caught up.

Can I just say that Queen of Shadows was everything I hoped for and more?  Is that good enough for you guys?  I imagine most of you have already read it (I mean, who could wait?) but if you haven’t you should just stop reading my review now and go pick it up.  Sarah J. Maas managed to answer a few questions while posing some new ones that I hope to get answers to in future books.  I’m honestly amazed at her skill with weaving all these storylines together.  I don’t know how she does it (one of many reasons she is the writer and I am not.)  Everything from the first four books has been leading up to this one and I’m sure it will be the same with the next one.  While some huge things went down, there is still so much left for Aelin and her crew to do.  This series is far from over and I feel like the wait for the fifth book is going to be torture.

I loved all the characters (even Chaol) but Dorian definitely held a special place in my heart this time around.  After what happened to him at the end of Heir of Fire, I wasn’t sure what state he would be in when Chaol and Aelin saw him next.  I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say that my heart broke every time I got to a chapter from his POV.  I died a little inside every time I thought about what might happen to him.  He is the reason I spent so much of this book crying.  Just thinking about it now makes me want to tear up.

I did mention Chaol and I want to mention him again.  I loved him early on in the series but that did not last long.  I know some people love him but I was not one of those people and I’m still not really.  I like him and Dorian and Aelin as friends and that’s all I like them as.  Chaol had some serious growing up to do.  He needed to see that Aelin couldn’t just close off parts of herself because he didn’t like them.  She was a very independent woman and he needed to learn to accept that.  I did see progress on that front in Queen of Shadows and he really started to impress me again.  I also can’t fault him for his loyalty and friendship to Dorian.  They are more like brothers than friends.

I don’t even really want to say anything about Aelin because she’s just as badass and awesome as ever.  And as for who she ends up with, I’m not even going to say anything about it except that he is perfect for her.  I think Sarah J. Maas really took time to see how each guy would match up with Aelin and she chose the one that not only was good with her but was also good for her.

One of the best things about Queen of Shadows was the development of Manon and the Thirteen.  I wasn’t sure about them when they were first introduced in the series but they have grown on me and I see how they are going to play a huge role in the battle to come.  Now don’t get me wrong, I always thought they were awesome I just didn’t want anyone that awesome on the side of the bad guys.  I’m not saying they are good but I think Manon has finally realized that she needs to look deeper into what’s going on and decide for herself who she wants to side with.

Last but not least, the plot!  Things move quickly in Queen of Shadows and they build up to a huge battle.  That battle scene was just brilliant and epic!  I might have had some issues reading it since I was crying at the same time but I still know it was awesome.  A lot of huge twists happened during that battle and my jaw dropped more than once.  Sarah J. Maas is one of those authors who isn’t afraid to kill her characters and that battle had me worried for more than one of my faves.

Overall, Queen of Shadows is just plain amazing.  If you haven’t read it yet, get on it!  I know the wait for the next book seems like forever but just join me in misery while we wait together!

What others are saying about Queen of Shadows:

Beauty and the Bookshelf’s review: “Queen of Shadows had some scenes that were just stellar: an epic girl fight, a reunion, a (bloody) witch savior, fucking badass witches, an insane finale, a tear-inducing but happy ending, death (obviously), the exploration of the “who is the monster and who is the man” concept, and discussions about nightgowns and underthings.”

Fictional Darkness’ review: “Sarah J. Maas has a special talent when it comes to sculpting characters.”