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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Review: Me Before You By Jojo Moyes

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Me Before You

By Jojo Moyes

Rating: 5/5 Stars

     Louisa Clark has lost her job after working for six years at a local cafe.  Now after leaving or turning down multiple temp jobs and her family beginning to feel the financial strain of losing her income, Lou takes the next available job.  She begins working as a companion for a young man who is a quadriplegic as the result of an accident.

     Will Traynor, no longer recognizes the life he is living, after a tragic accident has forever taken his lavish and adventurous lifestyle away.  He no longer sees the point of living, until Louisa sweeps in and makes it her mission to show him how much he still has to live for.

Review: From watching the trailer for this upcoming movie, it is pitched as mainly a love story, but for me, the love aspect in this book takes a back seat to so many more important themes.  How do we measure someone’s quality of life?  If someone is rendered incapable of ending their own life, is it the duty of those who love them to assist in their efforts? Or disregard their wishes in favor of life and the law?

Even the love story turns traditional portrayals on their head.  In this story Lou’s boyfriend has the qualities most people would say make him ideal.  He is attractive, charming, sociable. However, Lou is drawn to Will, whose body is breaking down and never seeks to make others feel comfortable in his presence.  I think Moyes does a great job of taking a heart felt story and leaving the readers with a lot more than simple entertainment.

I highly recommend reading Me Before You before seeing the movie, and can’t wait to read its sequel and watch how the adaptation plays out.

Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Title: Wolf by Wolf

Author: Ryan Graudin

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

In an alternate history, where the Axis Powers were the victors of WWII, there are those who still hope to  free Europe from Germania’s clutches.  Yael is one of those underground rebels.

Every year, Germania and Japan host a motorcycle race spanning their empires, in celebration of their WWII victory.  Yael is entered into this race, and assigned the task of winning and assassinating Hitler at the Victory Ball.  Thanks to Nazi experimentation, Yael now has a very special ability that makes her the only candidate that can take on this task for the rebels.  Part historical fiction, part science fiction, this novel makes a history that never happened feel all too real and present.

Review: I don’t know if I can say that I enjoyed reading about a Nazi occupied Europe, but I do commend Graudin for writing this novel.  The research and time that was dedicated to this world is very apparent, and as I was reading it felt as if this truly was the outcome of WWII.  From the experimentation to government protocol, everything that occurred in Wolf by Wolf is grounded in Nazi history.  Yael is a strong, passionate character, who faces many conflicts head on with the intuition of someone who has grown up in a cruel world.  However, Graudin also effectively portrays her as a 17 year old who is their first mission.  Yael stumbles, makes mistakes, and often questions her actions, all the while feeling that her duty is more important than any moral apprehension she has about the actions she takes to achieve her goals.  This is a book full of action, that really is unlike anything I’ve read before.

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 🙂

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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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Stone Field by Christy Lenzi

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 week’s WoW book is Stone Field by Christy Lenzi!

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Stone Field is a historical fiction retelling of Wuthering Heights. Set right before the Civil War, it is a love story about Catrina and Stonefield.  They first meet when Catrina stumbles upon a man with no memory of who he is or what he was doing before they met each other.

Despite the war, the town’s opinion, or Stonefield’s amnesia, the two fall in love and want nothing more than to live by themselves and shut out the horrors that come with war.  However, the past doesn’t disappear, and with war approaching, events are set in motion that are out of Catrina and Stonefield’s hands.

This book seems to capture the spooky mystery of Wuthering Heights really well, and I can’t wait to see what has been adapted and imagined to make Stone Field it’s own intriguing read.

Stone Field comes out March 29th 2016, and is published by Roaring Books Press.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

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 week’s WoW book is The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith!

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The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, follows Eden’s life as she goes through 4 years of high school.  In the beginning of her Freshman Year Eden is sexually assaulted by her brother’s best friend and someone she used to trust.  This novel follows Eden after she decides not to tell anyone of the attack and relive the nightmare.  It describes her high school friendships and first romantic relationships, the hardships of high school, and the lasting effect that trauma can have on someone despite the great strength they show in trying to take back their life.

I always appreciate and am interested in reading stories detailing how victims overcome their trauma and grief.  While this is sure to include some steps backward and times when they feel hopeless, this time is filled with victims making choices for themselves after they have been forced into a situation where all choice has been taken away.  The Way I Used to Be looks to be following a hopeful trend I have noticed, where authors choose to not focus so much on the abuse or attacks, but on the victims and their recovery instead.

The Way I used to Be comes out March 22nd 2016, and is published by Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan

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 week’s WoW book is The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan!

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Middie is finding the strength to make it happily through the next year while her boyfriend, Nate, spends the year after graduation volunteering in Central America.  This becomes much more difficult for Middie after a tragic accident leaves her reeling. Feeling isolated in her grief, Middie turns to solace in the most unlikely of places, Nate’s best friend, Lee.

Though the two haven’t gotten along in the past, Lee and Middie find they can lean on each other in order to find their way forward again.

I am interested to see how Cat Jordan portrays Lee and Middie’s grief in The Leaving Season.  I feel like this is a common time in life when people experience and process loss for the first time and there are so many different outlets that people use to express their emotions.  I could easily see this being a very heartbreaking and healing story.

The Leaving Season comes out March 1st 2016, and is published by Harper Teen.

Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

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Made You Up

by Francesca Zappia

Rating: 2.5-3/5 stars

After being run out of her previous school, Alex is determined not to let anyone realize she has a secret at her new school.  Alex has schizophrenia and in order to keep track of who is actually in front of her, she constantly takes pictures to review.  However, she is not sure if her precautions will be enough once she meets Miles, a boy who reminds her of one of her childhood delusions.  Or at least she thought he wasn’t real, but now she can’t be sure.  All Alex wants is to graduate high school, go to college, and beat back her disorder long enough to accomplish these goals, but trying to navigate the uncertainty of high school is hard enough, factor in having to discover who is real or not makes it seem impossible.

Review: Zappia does a great job of writing to make the reader really feel Alex’s confusion and frustration.  I could not imagine having to second guess what I am seeing all the time, and it is easy to see why Alex is paranoid about many things.  However, I did have some issues with the plot.  For the first half of the book, things were really slow and it didn’t seem like much was happening.  I wasn’t really fired up to pick this book up each time I went to read it.

Once the plot did start to move, Alex becomes involved in something much bigger than she anticipated.  This plot twist and mystery that Alex became involved in was a huge leap for me, and pretty unbelievable.  It had to do with the school principal being kind of crazy and having an inappropriate relationship with a student.  I know part of that was to make the reader doubt whether the events were actually happening of if it was all in Alex’s mind.  But it was just really out there, and I find it hard to believe that no one was suspicious of the school principal in the years leading up to Alex’s attendance.

For me this book was really enlightening and informative, but I wasn’t super entertained.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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Uprooted

by Naomi Novik

Rating: 5/5 stars

     A unique Beauty and the Beast retelling, Uprooted primarily takes place in a magical valley that is overseen and protected by a Lord known to the villagers as the Dragon.  On the border of the valley is a mystical Wood that is full of evil power.  In exchange for the Dragon’s protection, the villagers must sacrifice one of their girls to work in his servitude for 10 years.  After which, she will be released and a new girl will take her place.

     By the time Agnieszka is 17 years old and now eligible to be the Dragon’s next servant the rumors of what happens to these girls has spread and grown throughout the valley.  With none of these rumors being positive, the only thing dampening Agnieszka’s fear is the fact that everyone knows her best friend Kasia is the girl who will be chosen.  With Kasia being the most beautiful and accomplished girl in their valley, there is little doubt that the Dragon won’t look at the other girls.  He does however, and when he sees Agnieszka, he sees something that none of the other girls have and he has little choice but to take her back with him as the chosen girl.

Review:  I loved so many things about this story!!!  First, I love Fairytale retellings, but what is especially great about Uprooted is that is has shades of Beauty and the  Beast but is still unique enough to be its own story. Novik still inputs plenty of her own creativity to really bring this story to life.

I also loved the gender equality in this novel.  I don’t want to give much away because I think it is story that is more enjoyable with less knowledge, but there is some fighting and such that goes on, and the female characters are just as active in the fighting as the men.  Also I applaud Novik on the amount of principal female characters in this novel.  Aside from the Dragon, the rest of the main characters are women in positions of power, which was really awesome to see.

Finally, I really enjoyed the romance aspect.  This story wasn’t about falling in love with the Dragon and trying to change him or Agnieszka being attracted to the “bad boy”/abusive aspects of the Dragon’s character.  When she first goes to his home and his treatment of her is awful, she can’t stand him and wants to leave more than anything.  It isn’t until he begins making changes on his own and Agnieszka notices them that their relationship begins to take shape.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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

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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!