Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Circe by Madeline Miller

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Published: April 10, 2018 by Lee Boudreaux Books

Synopsis: In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.

Why I'm Waiting:

I loved The Song for Achilles. Madeline Miller did an amazing job of taking Greek  mythology, ancient history, fantasy. and something completely new and interesting and combining it to make a truly memorable story. I have no doubt that she will do the exact same thing with this book as well. I love the fact that she is staying within the same general theme but doing a completely different book. I'm sure she will do the story of Circe justice and make it fantastic.

Speaking of Circe, I am really excited to see what Miller does with the character. She's definitely an interesting figure in Greek mythology. She is often painted as a villain, being a witch who turns men into pigs. I'm excited for some Circe backstory and to see her get a little justice.
I am definitely going to get myself a copy of this book. I will honestly probably listen to the audiobook. I heard really good things about the audio for The Song for Achilles and while this is a completely different story I feel like the author's style of writing will translate really well to an audiobook format.

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on Circe along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Can't Believe I Read

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1.) 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James
I mean I'm going to assume this will be on a lot of lists today. For me, I read this book out of pure curiosity even though I don't like contemporary romances and I really don't like erotica. And this book did not change my opinion. I still don't like those things.

2.) The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai Gogol
I read this book because Rory on Gilmore Girls read Dead Souls and I wanted to read some Gogol as well. I tried Dead Souls and it was weird and slow. So was this book and I don't even like short stories.

3.) My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al
Speaking of short stories and contemporary romances, I read this book which combines those two things, things I don't enjoy. But this was one of my book club books and I gotta say, I kind of enjoyed it. Some stories more than others, but still.

4.) I'll Meet You There by Heather Demitrios
I did not love the first book I read from this author but this was another one of my book club books and I had heard good things. I also can't believe I read this because I don't usually read more serious contemporaries. But I actually kind of loved this book.

5.) Girl in Disguise by Greer McAllister
I didn't love the first book I read from this author even though it was a total me book. And yet I decided to read another one of her books. I had all the same problems with it. Burn me once shame on me, burn me twice and I won't read another of your books.

6.) Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper
The reason I can't believe I read this book is because I actually DNF'd it like two years before I tried to read it again. And yet I read it again. And I didn't like it anymore the second time. But I did finish it and I was wrong about what would happen.

7.) More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
I can't believe I read this book because again I don't like comtemporaries, especially ones that are more serious. Even more than that, this book involves suicide and I really don't like reading books about suicide. But this book was okay all things considered.

8.) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
I don't really read non-fiction but everyone seems to poop their pants when it comes to Malcolm Gladwell so I picked this up at a train station once. I kind of enjoyed it. It talked about Paul Revere, and gave me further reason to not like him, and Ron Popeil.

9.) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
So I actually can believe I read this book because I've enjoyed some Patrick Ness books that I read. But this book had aliens and like that is my biggest irrational fear. And even though I realized that partially through the book I finished it.

10.) Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Remember how I said I don't read contemporaries that are more serious. I really don't like books which involve cancer but this one seemed different enough. And I am really glad that I did because I really enjoyed it and all the other Julie Murphy books I've read.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Audiobook Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Series: Wayward Children #3
Written by: Seanan McGuire

Published: January 9, 2018 by Tor Book (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

I have been absolutely loving this series. I had been meaning to read the first book for ages and when I finally did I was glad that I could marathon the rest of the series and this was another great offering in a series that I am loving more and more with each book.

On of the best parts of this book is the setting. Not only do we get to return to Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children but we also get to explore who more worlds of the students. First, I really being able to return to Eleanor West’s after a book completely away. The school is definitely interesting and I want to learn more about it and its inhabitants so it was nice to be back. But the real treat was being able to see two more world. First we get to go to the Land of the Dead, Nancy’s world. We didn’t spend a lot of time there but it’s definitely an interesting world and it was fun to see the place where Nancy belongs.

The best world however was Confection, the world that Sumi went to. Confection is such a strange and interesting place. It’s as if Candy Land and Narnia had a crazy baby made of nothing but baked goods. It’s the first “nonsense” world we have been able to visit which in and of it self was cool. Because seriously, this world was nonsense and had all kinds of crazy rules. But it did have rules which I appreciated. It was fun and strange but it made sense in its own weird way. I also really liked the way it tied back to the larger world of this series. There was a lot more big picture stuff to this world and this book which I liked.

Speaking of big picture stuff, the plot of this book was fantastic! My criticism of the last book was that it didn’t really have much of a story but this one definitely did. It was much more of a high stakes adventure. It had that classic high fantasy vibe where it contained this epic journey to save the world and the person you love thing going for it. This one definitely reads most like a classic world within a world fantasy story. But it was also the story in the series that had the most cohesion. It had a very distinct start and a clear resolution. It was an independent story and impacted the larger plot of the series. As a plot-driven reader I really liked this about the book.

As far as the characters they too were fantastic. This series is full of diverse and complex characters that you cannot help but fall in love with. Going back to Eleanor West’s meant we are able to check back in with some of the characters we met back in book one. I loved being able to see more from Kade and Christopher. They both have interesting backstories and fantasy worlds that I would like to visit. But the character I liked most in this book was Cora. She’s a new student at the school and insanely relatable. She’s plus size, insecure, and anxious. Being in her head hit very close to home sometimes. But what I liked most about her was that she wasn’t a stereotype. She was constantly surprising people with her inner and our strength and I loved that about her. She’s just one example of a great character in this series.

The other cool this about this book is that it’s the first time that we got a main character who is from a world beyond Earth. In this book we had Rini, who is Sumi’s daughter and is from Confection. It was so fascinating seeing how she is different and similar to her companions from the school. Plus in general she was really fun and bubbly, but still vulnerable. Through Rini we explored one more idea of belonging. I mean throughout this book she is literally being removed from existence. Plus through her we also had a lot of exploration of family and friendship which I enjoy about this series.

I seriously loved this book. It might be my favorite in this series. It had some of he things I loved about the first book combined with things I loved about the second book. It’s got amazing worlds, a thrilling plot, and complex and relatable characters. The series is getting better and better and I really hope there is more coming because I am not ready to let it go.

I give Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! If you liked the first two books in this series then definitely read this one. I think you will enjoy the direction it is going in. I know I did. But if you haven’t read this series I would totally recommend it to fans of fantasy.\

Have you read Beneath the Sugar Sky? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

ARC Review: This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell

Title: This Is Not a Love Letter
Written by: Kim Purcell
Published: January 30, 2018 by Disney Hyperion

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: One week. That's all Jessie said. A one-week break to get some perspective before graduation, before she and her boyfriend, Chris, would have to make all the big, scary decisions about their future--decisions they had been fighting about for weeks.

Then, Chris vanishes. The police think he's run away, but Jessie doesn't believe it. Chris is popular and good-looking, about to head off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. And he disappeared while going for a run along the river--the same place where some boys from the rival high school beat him up just three weeks ago. Chris is one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, and Jessie is terrified of what might have happened.

As the police are spurred to reluctant action, Jessie speaks up about the harassment Chris kept quiet about and the danger he could be in. But there are people in Jessie's town who don't like the story she tells, who are infuriated by the idea that a boy like Chris would be a target of violence. They smear Chris’s character and Jessie begins receiving frightening threats.

Every Friday since they started dating, Chris has written Jessie a love letter. Now Jessie is writing Chris a letter of her own to tell him everything that’s happening while he’s gone. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit.

Every once and awhile I like to shake things up, take a break from the genre fiction, and read a contemporary. I decided to do just that and read this book in January. And while it was an interesting book, it wasn’t my kind of read.

Typically when I read a contemporary they are more lighthearted. They don’t have to be fun and fluffy books, but I prefer when they balance the more intense moments with more lighthearted ones. This book did not do that. It was a much more serious kind of read than I usually read. It’s not that this was was an issue book, or a really complex and deep book, it just didn’t have that balance for my tastes. It addressed some really serious issues about humanity, which would have been fine, but I also feel like it didn’t give that its due. I think I maybe would have enjoyed it more, or been able to DNF it if I had known that earlier. It just kind of had a serious and complex issue as part of it’s plot.

Speaking of the plot, there was a lot to the plot of this book. I think maybe this is one of those books where it bit off more than it could chew. Was it an issue book? Was it a coming of age story? Or was it a mystery? Was it all these things or none of them? To be honest, I’m not sure I can answer that question. I think that it was just trying to be all of these things and in that attempt it ended up being none of them. Personally, I wish it had been more of a mystery. There were some really interesting mystery elements that had me curious and questioning, and even some twists I was able to predict which was cool. Just on the whole it never crossed the finish line to being one specific thing and I think that was to its detriment.

The one thing I did like however was the characters. This is a book that had complex and likable characters. The main character of Jessie is someone that it doesn’t take much to connect with. Things are definitely not easy for Jessie but the book does a great job in making her relatable. You want to see her succeed. She was committed to finding out what happened to Chris and making things right with him. You felt her pain, her frustrations, and her worries. Being in her head was an interesting layer to the story that added a lot of interest.

On the whole, I just think this book wasn’t for me. I prefer my contemporaries to go full mystery or have more lighthearted moments to balance out the serious. This was just a full-on serious book. That's not what I typically enjoy and unfortunately this book didn't break me of that.

I give This Is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell 7.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you are someone who is a hug fan of contemporaries, especially ones that are more serious then you will probably enjoy this book. But for me, it didn’t quite fulfill its potential.

Have you read This Is Not a Love Letter? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Five Star Reads I Can't Remember Anythign About

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

You would think that this is the perfect category for me. I mean I'm so notorious for forgetting things about books as soon as I read them that I wrote a whole post on bookish amnesia. But this actually was really hard.

1.) Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh - My Review
I remember that it had a super surprising ending and an amazing world but that's about it. I mean I only vaguely remember what that twist was. This was one of my favorite books of last year and I forgot like all the details.

2.) Nevernight by Jay Kristoff - My Review
When I read Godsgrave I was so confused because seriously I remember very little about this book. Like I didn't even remember one of the major character's name. I was talking to my friend Pili about it and I said this theory I had which actually happened in book 1.

3.) Carry On by Raimbow Rowell - My Review
I remember that Baz is a vampire and that I ship him and Simon but that's basically it. Oh wait, I remember the magical system was super cool and basically nursery nursery rhymes. Yeah, now I'm out.

4.) Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - My Review
I remember a lot about Six of Crows but when it comes to Crooked Kingdom all I remember is that I really wanted Kaz and Inej to hold hands. Also I remember being devastating by one thing that happened. But that's all.

5.) Uprooted by Naomi Novik - My Review
I remember the fact that the trees were the antagonist and that were actually super creepy and I remember that the main characters name was super unique. Also there was a wizard named The Dragon and she had to work with him and he wasn't as bad as people thought.

6.) The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich - My Review
I remember that this book was told in an epistolary format and that I was so confused by the ending because it messed with my head but that's it. I mean I also know that this was a pretty cool horror and that there were maybe two sisters.

7.) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - My Review
There is a sequel to this book coming out this year, I think, and I am definitely going to have to reread this one because I remember almost nothing about it. I do know that it was a great setting a super atmospheric but nothing plot wise.

8.) The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock - My Review
I remember really liking this book and that it was one of my favorite debuts of two years ago but other than that it takes place in Alaska and that it had multiple perspectives.

9.) Court of Fives by Kate Elliott - My Review
I read the final book in this series last year and I really should have reread the first two books because there was so much that I had forgotten. I think it even referenced some stuff from earlier books from earlier in the series

10.) The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace - My Review
I loved this book when I read it a few years ago. I remember stuff about the world and the fact that it wasn't your typical YA fantasy except that it was plot wise. I mean I remember very little about the plot because I think it blended in with other books.

There you have it. Those are the ten books I loved but don't remember anything about. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Series: Wayward Children #2
Written by: Seanan McGuire
Published: June 13, 2017 by Tor Books (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

I really loved Every Heart a Doorway. It had been on my list to read for awhile and I wish I had read it sooner. But the benefit of reading it now is that I can marathon the series. And that's exactly what I did. I started this book almost immediately after finishing book one. And this one was just as good.

One of the things I found missing from Every Heart a Doorway is more information about Jack and Jill. They were two of the most intriguing characters in the first book in the series and I wanted to know so much more about them their motivations, for obvious reasons. So I was incredibly excited to find out this was a book about them and their backstory. We learn a lot more about them including their upbringing, what led them to their fantasy world, and what it was like there for them. Most of the book is from Jack's perspective, which was fine, but I do kind of wish we got a little bit more from Jill. She's totally fascinating in that love to hate kind of way. But Jill is pretty cool as well. She definitely became very sympathetic in this book.

I think part of what made these characters so likable and interesting is the deeper themes that are explored when it comes to the characters and their relationships. This is definitely a series that explores the idea of belonging. That continued in this book and you really feel that overarching theme when you see if from more perspective.  But it also does a really great job with the concept of identity. So much of the characterizations here were about the characters figuring out who they are and who they want to be. I always find that to be an incredible relatable concept, no matter who you are or what your background. I really liked the way Jack and Jill were kind of forced into being one thing and then that shifted in a way that actually felt genuine. It wasn't a complete 180, it was a natural  progression, which made it all the more engaging.

But honestly, I wanted a little bit more from the plot of this book. It's definitely a character driven story, it's about Jack and Jill and how they became the young women we met in Every Heart a Doorway. Which is a great concept and one I was totally on board for. It should have been a little villain origin story, a little Hero's Journey, a little coming-of-age story. But it never really sold either of these concepts. I know it is a short book but I think it could have taken a little more time developing this stuff more. I think this is really the only thing that kept me from fully loving this book.

But one thing that I did love was the world. In Every Heart a Doorway I said I really wish we were able to explore the fantasy worlds, and here I got my wish. But even better than that, we were able to explore The Moors, one of the worlds I was most interested in. The Moors is a Gothic fiction fan's dream come true. It's dark and ominous with the perfect combination of horror and mystery. There were dubious characters and the perfect amount of gore. It's not really a place would want to visit myself but I found it totally fascinating and the perfect setting for this kind of book. it was atmospheric and pulled you in adding a level of suspense and interest. I honestly want more from this world. I want a whole novel from this world. I want a book about the Doctor and the Master. What's their story?

But that's probably pretty indicative of how I feel about this series in general. It's really good but I want so much more. There is another book and I can't wait to dive into it but I wish these were full length novels and not just novellas. They are so good they deserve the full book treatment.

I give Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are like me and you enjoyed the first book in this series but wanted to learn more about the characters and the fantasy worlds then definitely check this book out.

Have you read Down Among the Sticks and Bones? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

ARC Review: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Title: Unearthed
Series: Unearthed #1
Written by: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published: January 9, 2018 by Disney Hyperion

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

I’ve been excited about this book since I first learned about like a year ago. Not only is it an amazing concept, Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones in space, but it’s written by two authors I love who I am excited are writing together again. And I was not disappointed by this book. It was a thrilling read with a fascinating world and so many surprises.

One of the things that I think Amie and Meagan do so well is plot. This book proved that for sure, because it is a book that is incredibly gripping and full of excitement. That should probably come as no surprise considering the comparison between Lara Croft and Indiana Jones. It definitely has that exploration and adventure story kind of vibe. So many moments had me on the edge of my seat as the characters attempted to escape whatever trap or challenge they had before them. It’s definitely exciting and full of action.

But I think the thing that surprised me most about the book is the amount of mystery. It’s not a mystery in and of itself, but it still had so many mystery elements. It’s not even like there is anything to solve and yet I still wanted to solve everything. I wanted to know everything and figure out everything. About a two-thirds of the way into the book the tone changed a little bit as things started shifting to a new mystery and twist. I often get annoyed at books for changing things so drastically so late but here I think it worked. It added a level of interest and mystery to the book. And holy crap that ending! The way it left off was incredible but seriously so mean! I need book two ASAP.

But I think the most engaging thing about this book was the world. Amie and Meagan do science fiction so well. They have this great way about adding science to the books without getting bogged down in the specifics. I really liked the way that there was a background here too. It wasn’t just about the future, it was about what happened in the past to get to where we are. It grounded the book which I appreciated. The other fantastic thing about this world was the planet they were exploring. It was so interesting. It had a really cool archeology, ancient temples, kind of vibe which I found amazing. But it also gave me flashbacks to the time I did an Escape Room. The puzzles and the way they incorporated all of that in the actual setting was so cool. All of this really combined to draw you into the world and added as much to the plot as it did to the setting.

As for the characters, I did liked but I’m not sure they were exceptional. It’s a book that had multiple perspectives which was fine, it added a layer to the story to be able to see things from different sides and get to know the main characters on a more personal level. But I don’t think it’s a book that needed multiple perspectives. It would have been just fine if we saw things from either Jules or Mia’s P.O.V. I do think they were likable characters though. Both had their own reasons for doing what they were doing and they were motivated by something personal which made them easy to root for. Plus I liked the way they played with gender roles a little bit by making Jules the academic who is slightly helpless and Mia the adventurous and strong one. Plus they did have layers to them and were interesting.

My biggest reservation withy he characters, and honestly the reason I didn’t love them as much as I would think, was the romance. I am very surprised to report that there is an Amie and Meagan unlikely duo that didn’t have me shipping them. Maybe I’m just getting more picky with my romance or maybe it was something else. It just kind of felt like a lust sort of scenario. Throughout the book there kept being moments where the characters talked about how they thought the other person was cute but I just didn’t feel it went any deeper than that. I think they were a great team and seemed to have affection for one another but I’m just not all in when it comes to the romance. I would have preferred it there was more of a built up to something more. But they made the romance part of the plot and characterization and that’s where I think they lost me. But that is completely a personal preference. I’m okay with romance but I don’t really like it to be a plot line.

But all in all this was a fantastic read. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and I couldn’t put it down. I read this over the weekend as I was just feeling better from being sick and I am so glad I was able to devour it because it was that good. It has a thrilling plot, an engaging world, and complex characters.

I give Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you like science fiction or are looking for a book full of adventure and mystery definitely check this one out. And anyone who was a fan of the Starbound trilogy will love the triumphant return of Amie and Meagan back together. I know I did.

Have you read Unearthed? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Not if I Save You First
Author: Ally Carter
Published: March 27, 2018 by Scholastic

Synopsis: Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president's son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie's dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

No phone.
No Internet.
And not a single word from Logan.

Maddie tells herself it's okay. After all, she's the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full. Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.

But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly. Maddie still really wants to kill Logan. But she has to save him first.

Why I'm Waiting:

I really enjoy Ally Carter. I have not read all her books but every book from her I have read I really enjoyed. I love the idea of this one because it seems to find of combine some elements from all the other series. It's not quite a spy novel like Gallagher Girls but I'm sure there will be elements of that. It's not quite a heist novel like The Heist Society but it's a rescue mission so I'm down. And it's not quite a political thriller like Embassy Row but the president's son does go missing so I'm sure there will be some politics involved. I hope.

Anyway, either way, I'm very excited. This book sounds fun and with a really fantastic mystery/thriller. Plus it's Ally Carter so probably there will be a lot of humor. I'm really excited to read it and I am sure it will be amazing and fun.

I am definitely going to get myself a copy of this book. I still haven't decided which new releases to get this winter but I know this one will be among them. I meant to request a review copy but I totally forgot and probably now it is too late. But that's fine. I'll read this book regardless because it sounds so good.

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on Not if I Save You First along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish and Blogging Resolutions of 2018

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Reading Goals

1.) Read 120 Books
Last year I had to lower my goal after a very slow fall. I came close to my original goal of 150 books but I did not meet it. I though this year instead of setting a high goal and having to lower it, I would set a lower goal and raise it.

2.) Read 20 debuts
I'm not doing any formal challenges this year. I feel like not meeting them isn't great for morale. But I always really like reading debuts. Sometimes my favorite books of the year are debuts, plus I liker being up on the new reads.

3.) Read 25 books from Netgalley/Edelweiss
Speaking of new reads, I have not been very good at reading e-ARCs. Partially this is because I don't have a ton because I'm not really spending as much time checking it as I used to, and maybe it's just because I don't have time to read on public transportation anymore.

4.) Read 15 backlist books 
In the past few years I wanted to read like 25 backlist books and I have never met that goal. So while I still want to read books that are not new releases I think I need to set a more realistic goal.

Blogging Goals

5.) Post four times a week
At one point in time this was not very difficult, but these days it kind of is. I'm lucky some weeks if I can post three times I week. But I want to get back to posting more often. I have been reading more so I think this is doable if I make sure to other posts.

6.) Write more discussion posts
Which brings me to my next goal. Last year I was doing the discussion post challenge and I did not complete it. I need to be better about doing more discussion posts. It's one of the things I love reading most and always have fun writing.

7.) Comment on blogs daily 
Part of the problem with my new job is that I can't spend all day on social media and reading blog posts. Because of that I have to make time to read and comment on blogs. This year I am resolved to do just that.

8.) Redesign my blog.
This is something I say basically every year. But I am once again getting to the point where I want my site to look different. And I think that now is a good time to make a new design that is more my own and not a template.

Other Goals

9.) Go to ALA and some more signings in Boston. 
I thought there weren't very many book signings in Pittsburgh but there are so many less in Providence. But there are plenty in Boston. I want to go to more. I also want to go to ALA again. because not only was it super fun but it's in New Orleans this year.

10.) Finishing writing something.
I have started plenty of writing projects but I have never actually finished anything. This year I am determined to finish something. And I won't let myself start something else until I do that.

There you have it. All my goals for 2018. What are your goals? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Audiobook Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Title: Every Heart a Doorway
Series: Wayward Children #1
Written by: Seanan McGuire
Published: April 5, 2016 by Tor Books (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

This book was such a short, weird, totally engaging read. It’s been on my TBR for quite some time but after getting the audiobook on an Audible sale I finally took the time to read it. And I’m glad that I did because it was really interesting.

I was initially attracted to this book because of the concept. I love the idea of people who had been to fantasy worlds not being able to function when they return to normal society and them having to go to a boarding school to cope. And the author did a great job of establishing that concept and making it engaging. It became so much more about belonging than I expected but it totally worked. Because of that it grounded the book and the characters.

Speaking of the characters they were one of the best parts here. I don’t like to refer to characters as quirky very often but oh man these were some quirky and weird characters. They had all been to magical worlds of some kind and it had definitely affected them. Some had been to nonsense worlds ala Wonderland others more darker places. But all the characters were strange in the most endearing way. Plus this book had diverse characters. Not only did we have an on the page asexual explaining what that meant and how she feels but we also had a transgender character and racial diversity. These were definitely interesting characters and characters I was rooting for.

As far the plot goes, it was interesting but I wanted more. This book did a really good job of balancing the character-driven with more plot-driven elements. There was the story of belonging and who you are after a “trauma” but there was also a pretty good mystery. However, the mystery elements just didn’t get as much attention as I would have hoped. It almost felt like an afterthought. There wasn’t really much to solve and even when things were revealed it was just kind of glossed over. I definitely found the twist a little surprising and I just wish they had allowed it to sink in before they had moved on. I know there are more books in the series so I am hoping there is more to learn and see.

One of the more interesting things about this book is the world. I don’t know how the author has managed to develop multiple worlds without is ever having been there but she did. It made me very curious about these worlds. I kind of hope in future books we get to go to more of the fantasy worlds. Maybe because they were so interesting and maybe because I was expecting more of a low fantasy world within a world kind of read and I got a mystery.

I definitely enjoyed this book. It was a short and sweet read that was super interesting. It had a fascinating concept with a mystery grounded in a character-driven story. I was hoping for more from the plot and the world.

I give Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are a fan of world within a world fantasy and are looking for an interesting and short read that plays with the genre tropes then definitely check this one out.

Have you read Every Heart a Doorway? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, January 12, 2018

ARC Review: Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely

Title: Gunslinger Girl
Written by: Lyndsay Ely
Published: January 2, 2018 by Jimmy Patterson (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: James Patterson presents a bold new heroine—a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow's West.

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity "Pity" Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She's been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great....

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity's struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

I love a good YA Western! This is one of my most anticipated debuts of 2018 and I was ecstatic to get a copy at ALA/ I was so excited to read another one, especially one with a post-apocalyptic setting. And I am happy to report that this was a fantastic read with a great plot and an engaging world.

I think the thing I was most excited and most nervous about this book was the world.
Westerns are such a great setting that is rife for action and adventure. But they are also sometimes hard to do well. This one I think was done well. What I liked about it was that it wasn’t too over the top. It had elements of Westerns like lawlessness, a saloon style setting, six-shooters, and more but it wasn’t trying to be a historical fiction which I actually enjoyed. This book balanced the elements of Westerns with science fiction naturally. It made for a much more complex world which I really enjoyed.

But this book also had a ton of political intrigue. If you know me, I love when books have political intrigue. And like a lot of things about this world it wasn’t too overwhelmingly. It didn’t get bogged down with details about the second Civil War, it was just one elements that added to the world. It just kind of touched on what happened and why the world is this way. Then it added more to the world with the current political climate. It could have easily gotten too complicated and confusing. It really just added a lot of drama to the world and plot of this world.

Speaking of the the plot, I really enjoyed the plot of this book. It was a book full of action, adventure, and mystery. It’s the kind of book where you are instantly pulled in with the plot. I read most of this book on two flights and it was the perfect book for travel. It’s a fast paced and exciting read. I honestly didn’t want to put it down. Usually when that happens it’s because I am curious about what is going to happen next. I don’t think that was necessarily the case, it was still just very engaging. And I am so interested to see what happens next. Because this book did that rare thing where it concluded the current book and left things wide open for the future.

As for the characters I found them engaging but a little basic. I did connect with Pitt pretty quickly in the book. She had a seriously rough upbringing and came out of it tough, determined, and still compassionate. I wanted to see her get out of that all and have the life she wanted to. As for the rest of the characters they were pretty odious but they didn’t quite make me feel how I usually do with those kinds of characters. I think maybe I just didn’t connect with them so some of the twists and surprises fell a little flat. The characters were likable I was just hoping they could maybe be more complex, but that’s just a personal preference.

All in all I really enjoyed this book. It was everything I was hoping it would be. It had an interesting world, an exciting plot, and likable characters.

I give Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you like YA Westerns or are looking for a unique dystopian definitely check this one out. It is a fantastic debut and worth a read.

Have you read Gunslinger Girl? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

ARC Review: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart
Series: Valkyrie #1
Written by: Amanda Hocking
Published: January 2, 2018 by Wednesday Books (St. Martins)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

I was so excited to read this book. I have been wanting to read more books about Vikings and Norse Mythology. So when I heard there was a book about Valkyrie I was over the moon. And I was even more excited to get a review copy. I made this my first read of 2018 because I was so excited. And while this was a good read it didn't blow me away.

One thing I did really like about this book is the plot. I am constantly reminding you all how much of a plot driven reader I am and this was perfect fodder for people like me who want a book with a strong and specific plot. In fact I think this book may have even had too much plot. So much happened in this book. There were surprises, thrills, action scenes, and lots and lots of adventure. The book definitely built to an exciting conclusion. But like I said, there was almost too much. It's one of those books where so much happens that it has to move super quickly from moment to moment. Because of that I think there was a lack of impact here. Everything was really good but I wasn't able to let it all sink in before we had already moved. I wish that it just had a little bit more of a weight to everything.

I also liked the world of this book despite the fact that it wasn't really what I was expecting. Because this book is definitely urban fantasy. I have not read any Amanda Hocking but I think this is probably what she does well. I don't read a ton of urban fantasy but it's nice every once and a while to read a book like that. This is a world that mostly combines elements from Norse Mythology. But what I appreciated is that it also pulled in some other mythologies as well. Most of the immortals were really interesting and unique which I really appreciated. Plus this book had that show instead of tell style of world building. There were multiple times where I found myself looking up the mythological figures that were mentioned to find out who they were. This was definitely an engaging world and one that was perfect for this kind of read.

As far as the characters go these ones were okay but I didn't totally connect with them. Malin was a fan main character. I appreciated her desire to make a difference and think she was tough and resilient but I finished the book a few days ago and honestly I remember very little about her, she just didn't make that strong of an impression. I do remember she had some complicated relationships with her family. Her mother was only minimally involved but I think their relationship was interesting. She was definitely was searching for approval from her because she admired her so much but she wasn't really getting that. It made for an interesting dynamic that's for sure but it didn't make for super interesting characters.

But I think my biggest problem with the characters and this book in general was the romance. I know I am really hard to please in the romance category but I just was not impressed with this book. One thing I did appreciate was that it has an on the page bisexual character. You saw her not only be attracted to both men but also women. But that just made for a weird love triangle situation. And neither of them I was really very invested in despite the fact that she seemed to be invested in both. I appreciate that she was so sex positive but I was just not into the romance and it kind of impacted my feelings on the rest of the book to be honest.

In general I think this was a good read. It had a great plot and an interesting world but I didn't love the characters but the overblown romance and super complicated plot just kept me from totally enjoying it. It had a lot of promise but it didn't completely live up to that.

I give Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you are a fan of urban fantasy and are looking for a YA with a sex positive bisexual romance than maybe check this one out. It was interesting it just didn't super impress me.

Have you read Between the Blade and the Heart? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wanted to Read in 2017 and Didn’t

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1.) This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis - Add to Goodreads
I read my first Mindy McGinnis book last year and I really liked it and wanted to read more. Despite the fact that I got a copy of this book at ALA I never read it. I want to read it.

2.) One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake - Add to Goodread
I also read my first Kendare Blake book last year. It was Three Dark Crowns, which I really liked. I got a copy of this at ALA but I never read it.

3.) The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury - Add to Goodreads
I bought a copy of this book before it came out in the US so I could read it and I never did. I really need to finish this series. I'm super curious about it.

4.) The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes - Add to Goodreads
Michelle let me borrow this and I planned to read it in both October and December but I never read it. It sounds like a total me book and Michelle knows my taste so I really trust her recommendation.

5.) Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller - Add to Goodreads
I've heard good things about this book. I started reading it even but didn't take the time to finish it. I really would like to read it.

6.) That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnson - Add to Goodreads
I've enjoyed both of the E.K. Johnson books that I read and this one sounds really good and like a book that I would enjoy. I planned to read it a few times but always read other books.

7.) Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy - Add to Goodreads
I have read every single Julie Murphy book and she is one of my favorite contemporary authors and I still haven't read this one. I planned to get myself a copy but never did. I really need to get on that though. Maybe I'll listen to the audio.

8.) Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Katherine Ormsbee - Add to Goodreads
This is another book I wanted to get myself a copy of but never did. I love the concept and I heard that the main character is asexual which for my romancephobic heart sounds amazing. I really should read this book.

9.) Library of Fates by Adhita Kohri - Add to Goodreads
And yet another book that I wanted to get myself a copy of but didn't. I think this book sounds amazing and I really wanrt to read it but I never picked up a copy.

10.) In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan - Add to Goodreads
I have not read any Sarah Rees Brennan but I have heard really good things. This book is also totally up my alley so it is probably a good one to start with.

There you have it, all the books I had wanted to read last year but didn't. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!