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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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.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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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The Leaving begins when 5 kids who were taken when they were Kindergarteners and return to their hometown at 16 years old and are physically fine.  The problem with their return is that they cannot remember where they have been or what happened to the 6th child that went missing with them 11 years earlier.  This story unfolds as the kids try to cope with a return to their lives, while trying to remember where they have been, and the still missing boy’s sister works harder than ever to find her brother.

The Leaving comes out June 7th, 2016, and is published by Bloomsburg.

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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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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Settings I Love Reading About

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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I love historical fiction so this was a topic that I am really excited about!!!

Medieval Times- I love reading anything about the Medieval Times, from the political intricacies to the activities of average people during this time. It is just so other from what I am used to that I can’t learn enough about it.

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The Victorian Era- Austen is probably my favorite classics author to read, so it makes sense that I love reading any kind of historical fiction also taking place during this time period.  The rigidity of society is so complex and stifling.  I love reading about Main characters breaking through these barriers to accomplish their goals.

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1940s/WWII Era- this was such a tumultuous time that caused such shifting in history, I’m convinced there are an endless amount of history/historical fiction books that can be written set during this time

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Trail-walking/Journey-This isn’t historical necessarily, but too many of my favorite books fit into this category that I couldn’t resist throwing it into the mix.  I love when characters decide to test their physical strength and mental fortitude by embarking on a long journey!

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The US Frontier-Probably because my favorite series as a kid was Little House, but I can always appreciate a story about settlement in the west.

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Middle Eastern/Persian- I can read these for the description alone! The art and culture of the Middle East is amazing and I love reading stories that are set their.

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

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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The Crown’s Game is a YA novel that takes place in Russia, and surrounds a competition between a young man and woman who are vying for the right to be the Tsar’s Imperial Enchanter and Advisor.  However, complications begin when a love triangle arises between the competitors and the heir to the throne.  While the principal players are working through the competition and these new relationships, the empire continues to be threatened, and is in jeopardy of crumbling.

So this is a novel I am being very hopefully optimistic about.  On one hand, I read a review on Goodreads that said this book reminded them of a cross between Anastasia and The Night Circus.  Which makes me think I will probably burn through this book in two seconds flat.  However, I am a little wary of the love triangle aspect of this story.  I’m hoping that plenty of attention will still be given to the setting and magical aspects of this novel.  Regardless, I cannot wait for May to get here so that I can finally get a chance to experience The Crown’s Game for myself 🙂

The Crown’s Game is published by Balzer and Bray, and comes out on May 17th, 2016.

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.

 

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.