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.

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#RockMyTBR 2016 Reading Challenge

Rock my TBR

Like many readers, I have a problem where there are simply not enough hours in a day to read all of the books I plan too! As a result, I have acquired quite a pile of unread books that have been lying around…for years in some cases.  That is why I LOVE the #RockMyTBR challenge that Sarah over at The YA Book Traveler has created!  Here are the books that I’ve added to my shelves over the last couple of years that I  hope to read in 2016:

Sabriel – Garth Nix

Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

Furies of Calderon – Jim Butcher

Under the Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer

Assassin’s Aprrentice – Robin Hobb

In the Afterlight – Alexander Bracken

Assassin’s Curse Duology – Cassandra Rose Clarke

Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta

Some Boys – Patty Blount

First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Clare North

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone – Kat Rosenfield

Kingdom of Little Wounds – Susann Cokal

Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides

Bossy Pants – Tina Fey

March – Geraldine Brooks

Midwinterblood – Markus Sedgwick

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landou-Banks – E. Lockhart

Girl in the Woods – Aspen Mathis

Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Gaudin

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

This Star Won’t Go Out – Esther Earl

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Rebel Spring – Morgan Rhodes

So hopefully, I’ll be able to knock 2-3 of these out a month (give or take) and by this time next year my TBR should look a bit thinner 🙂

If any of these are on your list and you want to do a buddy read, let me know!

Waiting on Wednesday: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

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 🙂

New WoW

This week’s WoW book is A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro!

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As someone who spent most of their 7th grade English class reading Sherlock Holmes novels, the idea of a contemporary Holmes themed novel is too intriguing to pass up.  In this book, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson’s descendants meet at a Connecticut prep school but lack the chemistry their forefathers’ had.

Jamie Watson enters Sherringford Prep School intrigued by Charlotte Holmes.  He quickly realizes though, that with her great-great-grandfather’s odd quirks, Charlotte is very hard to get along with.  Despite their antagonistic relationship, they are forced to work together to clear their name when a student is found dead and Holmes and Watson are the prime suspects in the suspicious death.

This sounds like a really fun take on an old classic.  With the prep school setting I can’t wait for a setting the will have a ring of the old Holmes stories with an injection of contemporary YA characters and technology.

 

A Study in Charlotte comes out on March 1st 2016, and is published by Katherine Tegen Books.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine book blog!

New WoW

This week I can’t wait to read The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig!!

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This book follows a girl, Nix, who can travel to any time and place with her father and his ship.  Although she loves her life, this ability may put everything in jeopardy when her father goes back in time to try and save her mother from dying in childbirth.  No one knows what will happen to Nix with her father trying to change history so close to her birth, but ending her father’s heartbreak may cost Nix everything.

This sounds like a totally unique and interesting story.  I can’t wait to read about all the interesting time periods that are visited in this novel and how Heilig has the people aboard the ship interact with those that are stuck in their own time and place.  There are so many cool directions that this book could go and I’m excited to see what happens and what kind of help Nix discovers along the way.

The Girl from Everywhere comes out February 16th, 2016 and is published by Greenwillow Books!

Top 5 Wednesday (on Friday): 5 books we are thankful for

Hi All! Top 5 Wednesday is a tag created by GingerReadsLainey over at Booktube, and this weeks topic is “5 books we are thankful for”.  This is going to be a mix of children’s and adult lit. But other than that it doesn’t really follow a theme.

  1. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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When I was younger, reading with my mom before going to bed was an everyday thing.  For some reason this book (and series in general) really stands out for me.  I loved reading these stories, and I think this series is one on of the main reasons I became a more independent reader of larger chapter books in second and third grade.

2. Quiet by Susan Cain

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I read Quiet right after I graduated from college and it was so beneficial to me.  I have always been an introvert and it has never seemed like a positive thing.  Reading this novel altered that perspective.  It provides plenty of examples of introversion leading to positive results, as well as how to use those characteristics to become a better leader and advocate.  It was super beneficial to me when I was in my post-college flounder 🙂

3. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (or any Seuss in general)

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The Lorax is my favorite Seuss book but really any of them can be counted among my favorites from childhood 🙂

4. Shel Silverstein

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I love how creative and silly Shel Silverstein is with his poetry while still being able to deliver a pretty important message.  Rarely do his poems make much sense but I am always up for a re-read if I find one of his books in my vicinity.

5. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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This book is one that I could read repeatedly and still feel like I am reading it for the first time.  There is so much to take in and so many personalities to understand, that I encounter something new with every re-read.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

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The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)

by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Demon King is a dual perspective fantasy that surrounds the city of Fellsmarch.  It alternates chapters between Hans Alister, a former streetlord, who is now reformed and Raisa, who is heir to the queendom.  As the story picks up, Hans now provides for his family as a runner between the people in the city and the clans and vagabonds who live in the surrounding lands. After taking a magical amulet from three young wizards in a confrontation, Hans spends the remainder of the novel, thrown into a polarized political war between wizards, royalty, and the clans that control magical objects.

Meanwhile, Raisa is at the center of this political strife.  She is about to celebrate her 16th birthday, which is also the time when she is eligible for marriage.  Trying to delay any proposed matches her mother would like to make used to be her primary concern.  However, several events reveal to Raisa how little she knows the people and queendom she will one day take over.  This spurs on a personal mission to become a more involved and knowlegdable queen than her mother.

Although from completely separate backgrounds Raisa’s and Hans’ paths interwine as they both fight to discover their destiny in this murky political uncertainty.

Review:  This novel was really enjoyable after getting through the first 75 pages or so.  It takes a while for the plot to reveal itself, and the reader has to be patient as all the pieces are put in place for the action to begin.  It was enjoyable reading from Hans’ perspective, especially once he took on his streetlord persona.  I found him to be charismatic and interesting.  I liked that the fantasy is set in a queendom, and I hope that before the series ends, I’m able to see a strong female character leading the country.  Overall, I do hope to continue this series but I’m not sure when that will be.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson Playlist

Here is a playlist for The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson:

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Gods & Monsters – Lana Del Rey

Nothing to Remember – Neko Case

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Greg Laswell

Broad-Shouldered Beasts – Mumford & Sons

Fear – X Ambassadors

Run Daddy Run – Miranda Lambert

Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan

The Impossible Knife of Memory Spotify Playlist

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Finding Audrey

by Sophie Kinsella

Rating: 4/5 stars

 Audrey is a high school student who has taken a medical leave of absence from school due to her severe anxiety disorder.  As she puts it, her “lizard brain” (the portion responsible for fight or flight responses) is overactive and she constantly has to talk herself down in situations as harmless as having her brother’s friends coming over to visit.  Something happened to Audrey in school between some other girls that has resulted in her being extremely wary of people outside her comfort zone.

As part of her therapy, Audrey takes active measures to improve her disorder as the date for her re-enrollment in school looms closer.  This begins with her brother’s friend Linus.  When he comes over to play video games, Audrey and him begin a shaking friendship that gives her the encouragement she needs in order to attempt interacting with strangers and the world outside her home.  With a promising start Audrey is excited to be “cured” and begins attempting bigger challenges to prove that her need for medication and extra care is unnecessary. However, Audrey must learn that she, just like everybody, will have some set backs in life and that those set backs do not mean that things aren’t improving overall.

Review: I thought this was an utterly adorable story. Kinsella highlights a very serious condition, showing how it can definitely affect someone’s quality of life while also maintaining the natural sense of humor that Audrey had prior to her breakdown. Although I found Audrey’s mom to be a bit obnoxious when I first started the novel, she quickly grew on me and I found many of her antics really hilarious as the story unfolded.  I also felt that the mom’s overbearing concern with computer games, junk food, and whatever else the media says is bad for kids, shows how almost helpless her mom felt.  As much as she tried to set her daughter up to have the happiest life possible, factors beyond her control resulted in her having to watch from the sidelines as Audrey worked through her anxiety.

All of the characters in this novel supported Audrey in their own way.  It was a truly heartwarming story that showed that despite her disorder, Audrey had the strength and support to stand up on her own two feet again.

Top 5 Friday: 5 YA Characters I Want to be Friends With

These are the Top 5 primary or secondary characters from various YA novels that I would love to be friends with in real life:

     1. Jace from The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

Although the series overall ran a little lukewarm for me and I was only able to get through the first 2.5 books, I really like Jace’s character.  Especially in the first novel, he is such a sarcastic and laid-back character that I could easily get along with him.  And for those times when he was a bit broody, I would just leave him to his demon hunting things until he blew off enough steam 🙂

2. Thomas Schreiber from Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Thomas is quite simply a really solid and reliable friend. He is a genuinely great guy, who wants to see the best in everybody and improve the lives of those around him, without any ulterior motives.  With a friend like this, how could your life not vastly improve just through proximity alone.

3. The Tucks from Tuck Everlasting

This may be cheating because it isn’t just one person, but the Tucks are such an awesome and grounded family.  They focus on creating positive experiences despite the negative effects immortality can have on one’s outlook on life (with the exception of Miles at times).  I feel like spending time with them would feel like a constant potluck, a party with close friends where there is total acceptance and no need to be anything less than authentic.

4. Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Levi has a quirky charm that is not over the top and makes him super realistic.  I could easily see him on the campus of the college I attended.  Reading Fangirl, I was super jealous of the easy friendship that his personality enabled between Levi and Cath at the beginning of the novel.

5. Nanny from The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin

I though Nanny made hilarious observations throughout this entire novel and loved her perspective on her job and current situation.  I cannot imagine an afternoon hanging out with her being boring or taken too seriously.

So after making this list I noticed that there are not many female characters that I would want to be friends with.  I think this is because I have a pretty laid-back personality, when I think of hanging out with friends I want to relax and anticipate sore ab muscles from the amount of laughing I will be doing.  It seems like female characters are often mired in crisis or serve as a moral compass for the protagonist.  Can anyone point me to any YA novels that have a solid laid-back female protagonist or a friend that serves as comic relief without being catty or angsty?

Rook – Sharon Cameron

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Rook

by Sharon Cameron

Rating: 4/5 stars

Rook is a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, a story published in 1905 and set during the time of the French Revolution.  I had not heard of the original story until I came across Rook, but apparently it is the first story ever written about a masked vigilante.  Basically, the original Batman or Zorro.

Rook takes place in a future Paris, where technology has failed mankind and people are reduced to a lifestyle that would have been common during the early 19th century.  In fact, the new government that is in charge, expressly forbids anyone from using any type of technology from our current times. A large part of this novel focuses on the theme of history repeating itself, so just like the French Revolution, the government gives the general public someone to blame for their current destitution and appeases them with very public executions of the wealthy.  Regardless, of whether the current state of affairs is their fault or not.

This is where the Rook comes into play.  The Rook is a vigilante who frees prisoners just before their execution and nobody knows who he/she is because all that is left behind is a single red tipped feather of the Rook.

It is revealed early on that the Rook is a wealthy young woman, named Sophia, who must conceal her identity, while also trying to save her family’s home from being seized for debts by marrying a foppish Parisian who she cannot stand.  While the law slowly closes in on her and her fiancee begins questioning her bizarre behavior, Sophia must make sacrifices to protect those she is closest to and use precise judgement to determine who can be trusted with her secret.

Review:  This novel had so many plot twists and so much going on that I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire story.  Cameron works hard to make all the characters’ actions and motives known without overwhelming the reader too much.  I was really impressed with her ability to keep enough hidden from the reader to continue to make them question how the book was going to resolve while also giving us enough background information so we weren’t bogged down in confusion.  All of the characters had a specific end goal in mind and were driven by a wide variety of motives that helped diversify all the players.  This, with an interesting premise and setting made Rook a fantastic dystopian read, that was really different than any other book I have read recently in this genre.