Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@asiegemundbroka @wibbs_ink @puffinbooks]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



ALWAYS NEVER YOURS by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?



published May 22nd by Speak

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?

My reasoning for this one's pretty simple: it sounds cute and fun. Plus, I don't thin  I have read an YA contemporary romance lately, I have been reading a lot more fantasy and scifi and  darker books lately; the change of pace (and tone) sounds appealing.

(Also: Emily Wibberley's Goodreads bio mentions Buffy, so . . .)

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR


This week's Ten:
10  Books on My Winter TBR

Here are the ten books being published in December, January, or February that I am most looking forward to reading:


Daughter of the Siren Queen (#2) by Tricia Levenseller
 Goodreads

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

Into the Black Nowhere (UNSUB #2) by Meg Gardiner

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James


The Cruel Prince (#1) by Holly Black

Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire

Busted by Gina Ciocca

And She Was by Jessica Verdi

American Heart by Laura Moriarty

Love & Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen





Please leave a comment and let me know what books are on your Winter TBR list!

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Girl Who Saved Christmas ~ Matt Haig (earc) review [@matthaig1 @randomhousekids @chrismouldink]

The Girl Who Saved Christmas
illustrated by Chris Mould
Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers
October 31, 2017
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


From the bestselling author of A Boy Called Christmas comes a hilarious and heartwarming holiday tale for fans of Roald Dahl and Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol that imagines the story of the first child to ever receive a Christmas present.

"Matt Haig has an empathy for the human condition, the light and the dark of it, and he uses the full palette to build his excellent stories." --Neil Gaiman, Newbery-winning author of The Graveyard Book


Amelia Wishart was the first child ever to receive a Christmas present. It was her Christmas spirit that gave Santa the extra boost of magic he needed to make his first trip around the world. But now Amelia is in trouble.

When her mother falls ill, she is sent to the workhouse to toil under cruel Mr. Creeper. For a whole year, Amelia scrubs the floors and eats watery gruel, without a whiff of kindness to keep her going. It's not long before her hope begins to drain away.

Meanwhile, up at the North Pole, magic levels dip dangerously low as Christmas approaches, and Santa knows that something is gravely wrong. With the help of his trusty reindeer, a curious cat, and Charles Dickens, he sets out to find Amelia, the only girl who might be able to save Christmas. But first Amelia must learn to believe again. . . .

""With a little bit of naughty and a lot of nice, this Christmastime yarn is a veritable sugarplum." --Kirkus Reviews

"Do you know how magic works? . . . Hope. That's how. Without hope, there would be no magic."
(pg 1)


The Girl Who Saved Christmas was such an enjoyable read. I did not realize that it was the second book when I read it, so even if you haven't yet read A Boy Called Christmas, you can absolutely read this one. The story is sweet and charming and magical while still showing some of the darker, more painful parts of Victorian life, while still being appropriate for its intended readers.

 The ideas at the heart of this story, about Amelia and Christmas and magic and hope make the story applicable beyond the holiday season. Of course, it's much more fun to read about reindeer and (kind of weird) elves making toys during the holidays, but this book isn't only good around or because it's about Christmas.

Heig's portrayal of Amelia's life as a chimney sweep and then in the workhouse shows us more of the harsh reality of life then for someone poor, and not the romanticized version we often get. It's not just honest, it also makes Amelia's hope - or lack thereof - that much easier to understand and powerful.

The story stays hopeful and sweet and charming, though, thanks to the author's writing. This is an incredibly funny, witty novel. From things like elf time, "It's a quarter past Very Early Indeed," (pg 33) and the descriptions of people or sounds, there is a great balance between the despair of Amelia's situation the worry in Elfhelm and the humor present in character's reactions or seen around them.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas is a fantastic mix of despair and hope, harsh realities and magical possibilities and should, thanks to wonderful writing, appeal to readers of all ages.




Books 1, 2, 3 in Matt Haig's Christmas Series




digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street ~ Lindsay Currie (earc) review [@lindsayncurrie @simonkids]

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street
Aladdin
October 10, 2017
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street is a fun ghost story and story of friendship. Tessa has to deal with a mix of both the normal things (new school and new friend anxieties, missing her best friend, cold weather, everything being unfamiliar) and the not so normal (flickering lights, drawings appearing on her sketchpad, strange noises) when her family moves from Florida to Chicago.

Even if everything were normal, with no paranormal happenings, the move would be a lot for the twelve-year-old. Add in the weird occurrences and she's ready to go back to Fort Myers.   If her new friends can help, maybe she can stay - and like it.

I really enjoyed the blend of Tessa's adjustment to a new town, new house and new school with the supernatural elements. The way they worked together from how Tessa's feelings about her house impacted her feelings about Chicago to it all gave her something to talk to her potential new friends about, was done very well.

There were a few inconsistencies or inaccuracies that pulled me out of the story a bit. They were not things that really affected the story but they were distracting.

The relationship Tessa has with her parents was nicely done. Though her character could, at times, feel younger than twelve, I liked how the situation (the move first, then the weird events at the house) allowed us to see different aspects of their relationship than we otherwise would have. The author also did a nice job including different types of parenting while having them all be loving and involved.







digital review copy received thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

Waiting On Wednesday [@epicreads @shhenning]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



SEA WITCH by Sarah Henning

Everyone knows what happens in the end.
A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.
But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.
One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.



published July 31st by Katherine Tegen Books

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?

I love the idea of an origin story for a villain (as in Marie Lu's The Young Elites). Readers get a character that we know who and what they become, and finally get to see the how.


Most of us already know Ursula from Disney's The Title Mermaid or maybe you know the witch from reading the fairy tales, either way Sea Witchis going to tell the part of her story we don't already know. Since this is a 'villain' that is already familiar to me, I am really intrigued to find out how much works backward from what we know of who she becomes and how much shows us parts about her character that we never knew - past or future.

It can be so much fun to know a character's end point but to, now, get to see the journey to that point, both where the character started, who they were then, and what it was that happened to them or that they did that set their course.



That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Not Now, Not Ever ~ Lily Anderson (earc) review [@ms_lilyanderson}

Not Now, Not Ever
Wednesday Books
November 21, 2017
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.

1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer's going to be great.

Just when I was starting Not Now, Not Ever I got a bit of news that felt sort of like .  . .well this:


Which wouldn't matter except that I think it's why I didn't realize how this book and The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You connected. I knew they were supposed to but somehow I did not connect the characters from the first book with those (now older) ones here. That lets me tell you that I did not love these characters simply because of their connection to or presence in the earlier book. 

But I did really, really, really love them and I love the book as a whole more now that I do remember. So, you do not have to read The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You first - this is much more a companion book than a sequel - but I recommend that you do. Actually, read them one right after the other for maximum: 


I have so, so much love for Ever. From her take on time travel and it's issues around language (Then again, I wanted an Oxford linguistics textbook because of something Doctor Who made me look up . . . .) to her math grade ("I knew I was smart, but I'd only pulled a B minus in geometry.") to her desire that science fiction and fantasy not mix (at least on bookshelves).

The mix of familial expectations, personal goals and dreams, a camp of geniuses, and the contrast between the military discipline of parts of Ever's family and the summer at Rayevich College made for a very full, enjoyable, memorable and compelling story.

There was a great collection of characters - both those you may already know from TOTWTMIY and new ones - with a myriad of reasons for attending the summer program. Their personalities, how seriously they took things, their motivation for being there and how they interacted with each other made for a lot of fun but also for believable, realistic relationships and frictions.

Now Now, Not Ever is a fantastic second novel that does a really great job bringing in characters from Anderson's first book but making them older so they can play a different role in this story and so that the focus is really on Ever (and that boy on the cover, too!). Lily Anderson's characters are brilliant and

 I would absolutely read a dozen more books with these characters, or a mix of these and new ones like TOTWTMIS and Not Now, Not Ever.




Oh, and of course Ever can like Firefly but not Buffy but, I do so here's a random Buffy GIF::











digital review copy received via NetGalley thanks to publisher

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to be Thankful For [j@uliebux @ChessieZappia @MyraMcEntire]


This week's Ten:
10 Books for Which I'm Thankful


When I was just starting one of these books (Not Now, Not Ever - review coming in about an hour!) I got some Huh-Who-Wait-What-Hunh?! news that left me both upset and unsure about a lot of things but it made me realize just how thankful I really am for books that can take my mind off of things and make me happy. (There are definitely the emotional, painful, thought provoking ones, too but for this list I chose the happiness inducing ones.)

Oh, it's also technically more than ten books but some are serious/companions/the same author, so . . .


The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson

Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson
review (live later this morning)





These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Goodreads


Artemis by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir




Made You Up by Francesca Zappia




Lola & the Boy Next Door (Anna & the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins




Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire




Blackhearts (#1) by Nicole Castroman

Blacksouls (#2) by Nicole Castroman




These Vicious Masks (#1) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

These Ruthless Deeds (#2) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas




Love, Lies & Spies (#1) by Cindy Anstey

Duels & Deception (#2) by Cindy Anstey


What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
(I really should review this one)




Please leave a comment and let me know some of the books you're thankful for right now!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

All Rights Reserved ~ Gregory Scott Katsoulis review [@HarlequinTeen ]

All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1)
Harlequin Teen
August 29, 2017
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford.

But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speech - rather than say anything at all - she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

All Rights Reserved is a book that will make you think, if not about what you say, then about your ability to say it. Or the different movements and gestures you make throughout the say.

In Speth Jime's world it is absolutely astounding how many things, how many little aspects of daily life have been monetized. Nearly everything - every word or gesture is trademarked, ads are everywhere and everything from buzzing someone's apartment to medical procedures requires agreeing to Terms of Service.- is a transaction. It's not a fair economy either.

People like Speth and her family have to pay for every word they say, trying to live a life while avoiding Collection.

Ordinarily, I want background on dystopian worlds, to know how things devolved from what we know now - or can foresee - and what the characters are experiencing. It was one hundred percent for the better, though, that we don't get that in All Rights Reserved. The story is told by Speth, which is necessary given that she doesn't speak, and to her the world is what it is. Those in Speth's world don't have a US history class that teaches them about freedom of speech, so they can't wonder, let alone know how things got so bad.

Having the characters not aware of how different their world is from ours, really allows readers to experience their world and lives. We don't get that objective view point saying, "Well this is wrong," or, "Here's how this came to be," Instead you get things from Speth's view point. And it's that much more rewarding and exciting as her knowledge and view evolve and grow.

I am really eager to see what the sequel Access Restricted holds for Speth and the others and if we get more of that background information.





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@kris10writes @torteen]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



PACIFICA by Kristen Simmons

Marin is cosario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him. Sailing the ocean to chase adventure is in her blood. But these days no one cares that the island town her people call home is named after her grandfather. They have a new leader, one who promises an end to their hunger – and one who thinks that girls are meant for the kitchen or the brothel. Marin knows she's meant for more than that, and with the sudden influx of weapons on the island, and rumors of a pending deal with the enemy oil nation in her wake, she knows a big score to gain the council's favor is the only way to save her people, and herself.

Ross lives a life of privilege. As the president's son he wants for nothing, but he longs for a life of adventure. On a dare, he convinces his best friend Adam to sneak out to the Docks, the site of local race riots between the poor Shorlings and the upper class. But when Adam is arrested along with the other Shorlings, and not even the president is willing to find him, Ross finds himself taking matters into his own hands. He journeys back into the Docks, ready to make deals with anyone, even a beautiful pirate, if it means Adam's safe return.

When Marin and Ross meet in dangerous Shoreling territory he sees a way to get his friend back and she sees her ticket home. The ransom a president’s son would command could feed her people for years and restore her family’s legacy. But somewhere in the middle of the ocean, Marin must decide if her heart can handle handing over the only person who has ever seen her as more than a pirate.



published March 06th by Tor Teen

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?


I love pirates - at least the fictional ones - and really love tough, female pirates. I am especially intrigued by how Pacifica seems to be a mix of pirates, politics, family, friendship and maybe romance.

With both the inclusion of pirates and a presidents's son, 'oil nation,' I am very curious to see where and when Pacifica is set. (And how that affects gender roles and stereotypes, how Marin was raised and what's expected of her,  if it makes life for her as a pirate different from an ordinary young woman, etc.)

(Plus, I loved Article 5 and the the world and characters Kristen Simmons created there.)

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!
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