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.

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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