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.

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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.

Waiting on Wednesday: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

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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Paper and Fire is the second installment of the Great Library Series, that imagines a world where the Library of Alexandria has survived and now rules the world.  In the first of of this fantasy world, we were introduced to Jess whose excitement about the opportunity to work for the  Great Library was erased after seeing the inner turmoil and corruption.  Paper and Fire continues telling his story, in which he is not just trying to save those he is close to from the Great Library but he is also fighting time as the Welsh army comes to invade his home.

I loved Ink and Bone! I thought is was creative and unexpected, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Jess and the allies he has made along the way.

Paper and Fire comes out July 5th, 2016, and is published by NAL.

Review: Front Lines by Michael Grant

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Front Lines (Soldier Girl, #1)

by Michael Grant

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Front Lines is an alternate history of World War II, exploring what could have happened if women were allowed to fight on the front lines of battle.  This is a multiple perspective book that details the lives of 3 girls who have enlisted for a variety of reasons.  One is a black medic, who must overcome sexism as well as racism in order to serve her country.  Second is a Jewish girl from New York, who works in army intelligence. And the third perspective, is from a girl who is forced to re-examine who she believes she is in order to accept her new talents to further the USA’s goals in Europe.  All three of these girls have very different experiences, and provide the reader with a glimpse into previously unexplored possibilities while still accurately describing the true horrors of war.

Review:  I received this ARC from EpicReads! in exchange for an honest review.  I have mentioned this book previously on my blog and was very excited to finally read it.  Within the first couple of pages, I fell a little bit in love with this story.  It opens with an unknown, almost omniscient, narrator who introduces the characters to the reader.  It gave me chills and reminded me a lot of the narrator used in The Book Thief.  However, I was a little disappointed to discover that this narration occurs for only about 10 pages of the entire novel.

I also would have loved to hear more from the perspective of the soldier working in intelligence throughout part I of the novel, when they are receiving their training.  This was such a unique perspective and I feel like it could have used more fleshing out and attention.

Although the beginning of the novel dragged a bit in some places, I was really impressed with Grant’s writing during the conflict scenes, and started flying through pages once Part II arrived.  Now that the girls have officially transitioned into combat life, I could easily see myself enjoying the next installment of this series.  I found this to be a great start to a very intriguing series.

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.

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.

 

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.

#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!

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

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My True Love Gave To Me

Edited by Stephanie Perkins

Rating: 3/5 stars

    My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve short stories written by different popular YA authors.  I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection but there were a few that stuck out to me. Instead of doing a typical review, I’m just going to talk about those stories for a few minutes 🙂

“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell – The book kicks off with a Rainbow Rowell story and it was such a great start.  This book is really sweet and makes me wish Rowell had another YA novel out that I haven’t read yet.  This is a story about two friends over the course of 4 years, but it only pans in on the relationship every New Year’s Eve.  I think it is a creative idea and Rowell did a great job of showing how the characters have grown from year to year.

“It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins – This was the story that did the best job of putting me in the Christmas spirit.  This story follows Marigold, a young girl who has been living a pretty stale life with her mom since her dad has left, and North, the boy who sells Christmas tress in the lot next to their apartment.  Marigold seeks North out to ask him a favor and he ends up shaking more things up in her life than she expected.

“Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White – This story does have a romantic element like all the others, but my favorite part of it is the main character’s family and how their drama plays out.  Maria feels like she is stuck in her hometown of Christmas, CA and has been working for years to save money, graduate, and get away.  She has a job she hates and lives with her mom and stepdad Rick, who makes her feel like a nuisance and visitor in his home.  After a new cook arrives at the diner she works at, Maria begins to notice that the people of her town are much more optimistic once they try the new unorthodox menu.  The cook, Ben, is pretty easy going and makes it his life’s mission to figure out people’s signature meal.  He helps Maria see her situation in a new light and makes her realize that not everything in her life is as it appears.

“The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor – This story is probably the least holiday related and is more fantasy than all the other stories.  This one takes place in a small village where the rules of marriage dictate that suitors who are interested in proposing to a girl should do so by leaving a gift on her porch every night of December.  On Christmas, if the girl has accepted,  the wedding will take place in a group ceremony.  When one girl becomes the intended of the town reverend, she becomes scared for her life. This is a man who has been married three times already and all of his wives ended up in early graves.  The girl ends up praying to an ancient god called a Dreamer. The Dreamer is determined to help the girl in return for waking him up from a sleep that has lasted thousands of years.  This story was very different from the others but I flew through it and really enjoyed reading it.

This is just a description of some of my favorite stories from this anthology, but I definitely think all of them are worth a read.  After this I am excited to read the set of summer stories Perkins is editing that is being published later in 2016.