Waiting on Wednesday: Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

Waiting on Wednesday is a topic hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about books that they are looking forward to being published in the near future 🙂

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Traitor Angels is a work of historical fiction that follows John Milton’s daughter Elizabeth.  As he works to complete Paradise Lost, John Milton is arrested King Charles II’s men and Elizabeth must put to work her secret training in order to save him.  Along the way, she learns that hidden within Paradise Lost her father has embedded a coded-secret that could destroy the monarchy, and Elizabeth must figure out in order to save her father.

I love how Blankman creates characters that are so close to well-known historical figures.  This premise seems so exciting and I think there is a lot of potential for intrigue and adventure.

Traitor Angels comes out May 3rd, 2016, and is published by Balzer & Bray.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Waiting on Wednesday is a topic hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about books that they are looking forward to being published in the near future 🙂

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Wanderlost centers around 17 year old Aubree, who is spending her summer in Europe impersonating her sister.  After getting into trouble, Aubree’s sister, Elizabeth, asks Aubree to take her place at her new job.  It is because of this that Aubree finds herself serving as a guide on a tour bus across Europe.    Aubree is now experiencing her first adventure and seeing things that would not have been possible back home under her parents roof.

This sounds like a great summer time read with a laid-back feel.  From the description I feel like this could have the same atmosphere as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series.

Wanderlost comes out May 31st, 2016, and is published by HarperTeen.

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie-Landau Banks

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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

by E. Lockhart

Rating: 5/5 stars

     Upon entering Sophomore year at a competitive boarding school, Frankie is not the same girl as the previous year.  After pending a summer in the sun and growing into some of her more awkward features, she is the girl that everyone is beginning to notice.  After the year kicks off with her dating a popular senior, Frankie thinks she has high school figured out.  However, she soon realizes that she doesn’t love the way she is treated as a trophy without independent thoughts or that she is excluded from the school’s secret society just because of her gender.

     It doesn’t take Frankie long to come up with a plan to show everyone that she is just as capable as one of the boys.  Leading to an infamy filled school career, Frankie is willing to sacrifice everything to place herself on equal footing with the Boys’ Club at her school.

Review: I love this book that’s filled with all sorts of Girl Power goodness!! I most appreciated how Lockhart chose to take on the more subtle occurrences of sexism and misogyny that girls face.  The frustration that Frankie feels when her words are disregarded simply because they are coming from her, or that they need to be validated by a male in the group in order to be considered valid is written so clearly that the reader becomes equally frustrated.  Even with something as innocent as a male friend “looking out for her” and warning her off certain guys because people think she looks better than last year, Lockhart drives home the point that there is something inherently wrong with that being necessary.

While this book does primarily highlight Frankie’s discontent, I also appreciated the inclusion of other female perspectives on these issues.  It shows that sexism is not a clear girls against boys problem.  There are some girls in this book who are fine with the established norm regardless of the inequality, and their feelings are just as justified as Frankie’s.

I think this is a contemporary book that should be on every school library shelf, and wish it was one I had read when I was in high school.

Before and After: The Girl From Everywhere

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The Girl From Everywhere

By: Heidi Heilig

Rating: 2.5 stars

   Nix is a 16 year old girl who has had a very unusual upbringing.  Due to her father’s gift of traveling by ship to any time on Earth, in reality or myth, Nix has seen firsthand what many people only read about.  Unfortunately for Nix, her father only uses this skill in an effort to return to a time before Nix was born in order to save her mother from dying in childbirth.  While Nix wishes to see her father happy, she can’t help but fear for her own life and what will happen if events are altered too much so close to her birth.  While life aboard a ship and spending time with her closest friend Kash has helped lift her spirits in the past, Nix spends more time focusing on her mortality as her father’s success seems more imminent.  On top of these issues, Nix is starting to notice a change in her friendship with Kash just as she meets and begins to develop feelings for another boy.

Review: When I first heard about this book, I was really excited for an adventure, almost pirate-esque book that had the unique twist of being able to take place at any point in history.  And that is what I got, in the very beginning and the very end.  Much of the rest of the book was pretty stationary on land and seemed to focus a great deal on the new love triangle in Nix’s life.

The things I loved:  It is very obvious that Heilig put a lot of research into making sure that the time periods and the places she was portraying were accurate, which was greatly appreciated.  I also loved the idea that the ship had the ability to travel into mythic realms as well as reality.  I thought this was really creative and would have loved to see more of that.

Things I didn’t get on board with:  The love triangle.  For me this was a really intriguing story all on its own, and the issues Nix is already facing would have created a great story.  I also felt like one of the love interests didn’t really feel like a character to me so much as a plot device to reveal key information to Nix.

Final Thoughts:  I love the premise of this book, but would have loved to see more traveling and adventures.  At times TGFE almost felt like a prequel for all the traveling Nix could do in future books.  TGFE was an alright read for me, I might pick up future installments, but I’m not in a huge rush to see what happens next.

Review: The Prince of the Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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The Prince of Mist

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Rating: 5/5 stars

    It’s Spain during WWII and 13 year old Max Carver is forced to move with his family to a beach house in order to avoid the conflict from the war.  No one in the family besides Max’s dad is excited about this move, but their lackadaisical attitudes are snapped to attention when strange occurrences begin.  Soon after, Max begins questioning his surroundings he learns that the previous owners had a son who drowned in the ocean, and Max is certain his death is connected to his family’s experiences.  With the help of a native boy named, Roland, Max and his sister set out to find answers.  They soon discover that their is a malicious spirit terrorizing their family, until he collects a debt he was promised many years before.

Review:  To begin with a disclaimer.  Had I read this book, rather than listening to the audiobook, I probably would have been more likely to rate it as a 3-3.5.  But the recording was so well performed, that I sped through this entire book in a single day!  This story was super creepy and I think it is a great Middle Grade book, that anyone could enjoy.  The music and sound effects did wonders in creating a spooky atmosphere and I would love to know if the other audiobooks were recorded in a similar format.

Waiting on Wednesday: Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood

Waiting on Wednesday is a topic hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about books that they are looking forward to being published in the near future 🙂

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In Wild Swans, Ivy has spent her life inventing outrageous stories about the women in her family, specifically her mother who she hasn’t seen since childhood.  According to Ivy’s grandfather, the Mildbourn women are known for their tragically short but utterly amazing lives.  While all Ivy wants to do is ignore this legacy and enjoy the summer of her senior year, all plans and expectations are sidetracked when Ivy’s mother returns in an unexpected way.  When her mother returns with two more young daughters in tow, Ivy is further heartbroken by her mother’s abandonment.  Ivy now spends the summer replacing the adventurous mother she’s imagined, with the actual woman who has finally come home.

I am very excited about this book describing the realities of growing up and leaving childhood behind in order to face harsh reality.  This has lots of potential to pull at some heartstrings and I can’t wait!

Wild Swans comes out May 1st, 2016, and is published by Sourcebooks Fire.

Top Ten Tuesday: Anti-Valentine’s Day Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a tag created by The Broke and The Bookish! Each week there is a new topic for book bloggers to discuss that features a variety of books.

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This week’s topic surrounds Valentine’s Day!  I chose to recommend 10 books that I consider to be Anti-Valentine’s Day Reads, and they go into a few different categories.

These first set of books are ones that are not anti-love, they just have a plot that surrounds something other than romance and really don’t dive into any relationship nonsense!

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Next up, are books that have a love story that is central to its plot, but because of the nature of the love story or how things play out, the reader is in no hurry to dive into a relationship!

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Finally, are the books that teach the reader about the strength of independence and friendship, rather than the importance of a romantic relationship.  I guess you could call these the Galentine’s Day Recommendations 🙂

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Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

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The Bone Season

by Samantha Shannon

Rating: 3/5 Stars

     Set in an alternative future London, The Bone Season follows Paige Mahoney who works for a street lord named Jaxon by discovering other people’s secrets.  Discretion is Paige’s biggest ally, not only for the sake of her job, but also because she commits treason just by existing.  Paige is a clairvoyant, who is able to see into people’s dreams to gain information.  In this world, the government hunts these people down and they disappear from society.  At the start of the novel, Paige is captured and taken to an abandoned part of the city, where she is assigned a Warden.  The Wardens are an alien race who control the human government and enslave those with extra abilities.  Paige must use her training and instinct to learn as much as she can about these people so that she can make her escape.

Review: So I picked up this book when I was participating in TBR Takedown 3.0 and trying to complete my reading outside my comfort zone challenge.  The Bone Season definitely fit into this category.  I’m not even sure what genre this novel fits into, it seems part dystopian, part sci-fi, part something else altogether.  Needless to say, I was very wary, going into it.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised.  While at times I might have gotten lost in the specialized language, for the most part I was engaged and excited to see what happened to Paige next.  Because this book fits into so many different genres for me, it also brought several different experiences to the reader.  There is the mystery of discovering who this alien race is and what their purpose is.  There is a very slow-burning romance that kept my interest when other parts dragged.  The reader gets to see the inner workings of how Paige’s powers work, which was really interesting.

Because it was out of my comfort zone, this was an entertaining read but I don’t feel the need to rush out and read the sequel.  Overall, I do want to keep reading this series, but its one that I will probably read over several years, when I’m looking to read something different than my norm.

Waiting on Wednesday: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Waiting on Wednesday is a topic hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about books that they are looking forward to being published in the near future 🙂

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This is a fictionalized accounting of Lady Jane Grey’s life as she is about to be married and take the throne.  This sounds like it is going to be an awesome light hearted read about a time in history that has been retold hundreds of times.  I am very interesting to get this altered, spoof, version of the events.  The description states that it is perfect for fans of The Princess Bride, which is right up my alley!

My Lady Jane comes out June 7th, and is published by Harper Teen.

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Settings I Love Reading About

Top Ten Tuesday is a tag created by The Broke and The Bookish! Each week there is a new topic for book bloggers to discuss that features a variety of books.

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I love historical fiction so this was a topic that I am really excited about!!!

Medieval Times- I love reading anything about the Medieval Times, from the political intricacies to the activities of average people during this time. It is just so other from what I am used to that I can’t learn enough about it.

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The Victorian Era- Austen is probably my favorite classics author to read, so it makes sense that I love reading any kind of historical fiction also taking place during this time period.  The rigidity of society is so complex and stifling.  I love reading about Main characters breaking through these barriers to accomplish their goals.

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1940s/WWII Era- this was such a tumultuous time that caused such shifting in history, I’m convinced there are an endless amount of history/historical fiction books that can be written set during this time

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Trail-walking/Journey-This isn’t historical necessarily, but too many of my favorite books fit into this category that I couldn’t resist throwing it into the mix.  I love when characters decide to test their physical strength and mental fortitude by embarking on a long journey!

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The US Frontier-Probably because my favorite series as a kid was Little House, but I can always appreciate a story about settlement in the west.

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Middle Eastern/Persian- I can read these for the description alone! The art and culture of the Middle East is amazing and I love reading stories that are set their.

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