Waiting on Wednesday: Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

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

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Lennie always assumed that when her uncles referred to the “family business” they were talking about bootlegging. Unfortunately they were talking about the wish granting effect that their homemade moonshine has.  Because of this misunderstanding, chaos erupts as Lennie grants more wishes in one night than her uncles would grant in an entire year.  This includes Lennie’s personal wish, the return of her best friend who was kidnapped and murdered just six months ago.  She must find a way to fix this mistake, when the rules state that a wish can’t be unmade.

This sounds like it is going to be a really eerie book, that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Down with the Shine comes out April 26th, 2016, and is published by HarperTeen.

Waiting on Wednesday: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

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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After burning through The Silver Linings Playbook, I’ll give anything by Matthew Quick a shot.

In Every Exquisite Thing, Nanette has always met the expectations of those around her.  From her excellent grades and star performance in sports to her following all the rules set out by her parents.  That is until she comes across a cult-classic novel that changes her view of the world and her place in it.  As Nanette befriends new people and begins to discover who she wants to be, she must also learn that breaking out of the roles she has been placed in for so long has a cost.

Every Exquisite Thing comes out May 10, 2016, and is published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers.

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 🙂

New WoW

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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.

Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

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Challenger Deep

by Neal Shusterman

Rating: 3/5 Stars

    Challenger Deep is a truly unique story depicting Caden Bosch and his struggle with mental illness.  Half of the novel takes place aboard a ship that is headed towards Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the ocean.  On this ship Caden is struggling to determine who is his ally and who is using him in order to put forth their own agenda.

     The chapters alternating between those on the ship show Caden’s experiences at school and home, where the people closest to him are starting to notice his odd behavior.  In order to cope with their questions and the threatening looks he is getting from strangers, Caden begins walking for hours everyday after school.

Review:  Shusterman depicts mental illness in such a unique but very personal way within Challenger Deep.  I have never been able to better understand the confusion, fear, fogginess, and frustration, that someone dealing with mental illness experiences than when I was reading this book.  When I was reading about how Caden felt when he was on medication everything became clearer about why someone may not want to take medication despite the fact that it could help them.

Parts of the novel were really confusing, and I had to push to get through them.  But this wasn’t due to poor writing, it was because Caden felt just as confused by his experiences.  This confusion as a reader began to clear up as Caden’s experiences on the ship began to match up with his experiences in the hospital.  Despite half of the novel taking place on a ship in Caden’s mind, this book is a very realistic depiction of mental illness, and makes me appreciate the struggle people experience to overcome this difficulty so much more.

Waiting on Wednesday: Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black

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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Devil and the Bluebird is described as a YA take on the “Deal with the Devil” folklore.  In this novel, Blue Riley has been struggling to come to terms with her mother’s loss to cancer.  Amidst this struggle she comes across a devil who she makes a deal with, in order to save her sister who has runaway.  After making this deal, Blue strikes out west with the bare necessities, a guitar, and a pair of magical shoes that she hopes will help her find her sister.

From the description and cover of this book I get a bit of an Americana/Appalachian vibe that I am very excited about.  I can’t wait to see how Moson-Black depicts this rare retelling!!

Devil and the Bluebird is published by Amulet Books, and comes out on May 17th, 2016.

 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

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 The Last Boy and Girl in the World!

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After disaster strikes, Keeley Hewitt seizes the opportunity to finally take the risk on the boy she has always liked.

When a massive storm decimates Keeley’s town, everyone she knows is getting ready to start over far away from each other.  With nothing left to lose, Keeley feels a sense of bravery and decides to finally approach her longtime crush, knowing their will be almost no social blowback or heartbreak with her leaving town so soon.  With so much up in the air already, is adding more uncertainty to her life really what Keeley should be doing though?  Would it be better to just cut all ties with the town, and start anew somewhere else?

This novel reminds me a lot of We All Looked Up, the idea that social embarrassment and rules are negligible when faced with your own mortality and sense of physical security.  It will be interesting to see if Keeley’s bravery will pan out or if it will make any difference with her and the boy she likes having to relocate.  I also wonder if this will be a story where Keeley’s social concerns get pushed aside or put in perspective, with all the destruction caused by the storm.

The Last Boy and Girl in the World comes out April 26th 2016, and is published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Top 10 Books of 2015

The books I listed as my Top 10 are just some of many amazing books that I read this year.  The books I selected for my Top 10 are the ones that I am most likely to recommend to someone, or re-read myself in the future.  I tried to get a solid mix of genres into this list as well.

These aren’t listed in any kind of particular order:

The Winner’s Curse

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I loved Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse and can’t wait to continue reading this serious.  Kestrel is a wonderful and unique female protagonist.  I love that her weaknesses are often the strengths of protagonists in similar books.  The antagonistic relationship between Kestrel and Arin is not only super entertaining to read about, but it also is a great way to personalize the larger political unrest that is occurring throughout the book.

You can read my full review here.

None of the Above

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None of the Above is a novel that had me embarrassingly weeping in front of my family while I was on vacation.  It is such a heart-wrenching and necessary book.  Kristin’s tumultuous feelings after discovering she is intersex and the additional loss of control she faces when this information is shared with the community by someone other than herself, is written in a way that is intimate and immediately makes the reader sympathize with Kristin.  I applaud Gregorio on her handling of the facts, and the lack of embellishment or confusion in the story.  She manages this, while also boldly displaying the prejudice and discrimination that can occur to someone who is already trying to work through a very difficult issue.  If you like contemporary and haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend it.

The Game of Love and Death

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The personification of Love and Death in an epic never-ending challenge was what initially drew me to this story.  In this way, it is really similar to The Night Circus, which is one of my favorite novels.  The scenes when Love and Death interacted with each other were some of my favorite and helped tie a much larger story to the brief one depicted in Brockenbrough’s novel.  I feel like this is a book that didn’t get much attention this year, and I wish more people would read it.

You can read my full review here

Falling Kingdoms

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I am so glad I picked up this series after hearing about it from Lainey over at Gingerreadslainey Booktube channel! It is a great starter series for someone whose looking to begin reading fantasy.  Falling Kingdoms was a fantastic opener to this six book series.  Although I am excited to find out what happens next, I am definitely taking my time to get through these books because the fourth book has only just been released.

You can read my full review here.

Second Chance Summer

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This was another recommendation I found on Booktube. Shannon from Leaning Lights did a video about her favorite family depictions in YA literature and couldn’t get through this recommendation without tearing up.  I’m a bit of a sucker for a good tear jerker, and Second Chance Summer did not disappoint.  Although there is a romantic aspect to this book, you really read it for the family.  This one I managed to read right towards the end of the year and it was a great way to round things out.

Legacy of Kings

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I really appreciate when an author takes the time to research and really understand the world they are writing about, and Eleanor Herman excelled at this in Legacy of Kings.  The attention to detail was astounding in this book about Alexander the Great.  I am very ready to read the next installment from this series, that is set to be published in the Fall of 2016.

You can read my full review here.

Name of the Wind

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What a wonderful but super chunky book!  Although my copy of this book is upwards of 800 pages, it never felt bogged down and I was always caught up in Kvothe’s story.  I loved the storyteller narration in this novel, and appreciated the lyrical style of some of Rothfuss’ passages.  Like Falling Kingdoms, this is another unfinished series, so while I am very excited to dive back into Kvothe’s world, I’m taking my time getting to The Wise Man’s Fear.

Saint Anything

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Saint Anything really snuck up and surprised me.  I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, because the only other Dessen book I had read before this was This Lullaby and for some reason it didn’t grab me as much as it seems to other people.  But Holy Smokes! I loved this story! I loved the attention Dessen gives to all of the characters, and the plot is something that had my attention from the beginning.  I don’t often reread stories, but this is definitely one I want to pick up again.

You can read my full review here.

Six of Crows

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I would re-read this book again just for the awesome quotes!! The banter Bardugo creates between the characters is my favorite I read all year.  I loved the way the six lead characters fit together in this awkward amalgamated clan that should never really work together but manage to through Kaz’s leadership.  Everyone in this story has a really murky, gray characterization that made it difficult for me to decide how I felt about them, but there is no doubt that I am going to be continuing this series to find out what happens next.

A Step Toward Falling

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I will read anything that Cammie McGovern writes and A Step Toward Falling only solidified that claim.  This was a powerful contemporary, that has some breathtaking quotes. I loved how McGovern depicted and did justice for all of her characters, especially those shown with disabilities.  She didn’t shy away from portraying reality, but remained respectful in each scene.  This book provides great insight into a population that is just beginning to be featured more in YA fiction, and I can’t wait to see what McGovern writes next.