Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (252)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse (6/5/2018):

Description on Goodreads:
A swoon-worthy story about five best friends on a whirlwind trip through Europe, perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith.

American expat Aubrey has only two weeks left in Europe before she leaves for college, and she's nowhere near ready. Good thing she and her best friend, Rae, have planned one last group trip across the continent. From Paris to Prague, they're going to explore famous museums, sip champagne in fancy restaurants, and eat as many croissants as possible with their friends Clara, Jonah, and Gabe.

But when old secrets come to light, Aubrey and Rae's trip goes from a carefree adventure to a complete disaster. For starters, there's Aubrey and Gabe's unresolved history, complicated by the fact that Aubrey is dating Jonah, Gabe's best friend. And then there's Rae's hopeless crush on the effortlessly cool Clara. How is Rae supposed to admit her feelings to someone so perfect when they're moving to different sides of the world in just a few weeks?

Author Cecilia Vinesse delivers a romantic European adventure that embraces the magic of warm summer nights, the thrill of first kisses, and the bittersweet ache of learning to say goodbye to the past while embracing the future.
Why I’m Waiting:
Perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith? Yes, please! This sounds so good. I love books that take place in other countries. I also love friendship stories and summers away. The romance drama of this sounds amazing. Really, this just sounds like the perfect book for me. It’s made up of so many of the things I love. I just have to wait all the way to June to read it.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Summary from Goodreads:

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?
Wow! That ending! In the span of 10 minutes, I was outraged, I shed one tear, I laughed out loud, and then my jaw dropped. Neal Shusterman is a genius for coming up with this, and he expertly manipulates all my emotions. I need the next book now!
Above the ending, this was just a purely fun, adrenaline rushing kind of read. It’s a rare occasion that my boyfriend and I will read the same book, let alone love the same book. It’s even rarer that he will read a YA book before me. He beat me to this one. We were both super excited for this second installment. And thankfully, it did no disappoint.
It was basically one plot twist after another, and there was never one truly good moment to put the book down. It’s one of those books that made me dread going to work, not because there was anything to dread there, but because I wished I could devote all my time to reading. 
The story moved along super fast. I loved getting to know the Thunderhead, and through the Thunderhead, the world. A lot of plot holes and important questions were answered from this point of view. It was also super fascinating. It was like continually getting the point of view of God (if God were actually a super computer). Needless to say, there was never a dull moment.
I did continue to feel worse and worse for Rowan. He never seems able to catch a break. Between the events of the last book and this one, it’s shocking to see that he still has so much hope. Also, in true Shusterman fashion, there was one element to the story where I was just appalled that something happened. It reminded me of Unwind, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. It had me second guessing things, and wondering where the ethical line was. 
All in all, this was a fast-paced, intense, plot-twisty book.  Lots of plot holes and questions from book 1 were answered. The ending was one crazy, finale of action. The politics and Thunderhead character were super interesting. It was well worth the wait. I give it a 9/10.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Good Week in Books (178)

I had a nice book week. I finished a sequel I was highly anticipating. I read a new graphic novel. And I’m in the middle of a really great mystery, and a fun fantasy audio book. I also received 2 new graphic novels for review (Thank you, Macmillan).
The pretty new books:

Wires and Nerve Vol. 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer and art by Stephen Gilpin
Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge
How was your week in books?

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz and read by the author and a full cast

Summary from Goodreads:
1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor's Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.

As I said on Goodreads, this is probably one of the best middle grade books I have ever read. The storytelling component was unbelievable. The story was unlike any other middle grade book out there. The closest thing this resembles is the classic, Canterbury Tales. It actually has very similar humor to Canterbury Tales, filled with fart jokes and other things sure to make kids laugh out loud. It's both weirdly kind of religious, and kind of not religious at all because it's really about accepting all different people with all different faiths.

This was magical. I almost didn't read it because of the initial sad story of the dog. But, the dog comes back to life and I'm so glad I didn't stop. I also had the pleasure of listening to the audio (read by a full cast) and it was like seeing an amazing play. I highly recommend this one, especially the audio.
This wasn’t what I was expecting. It was better. I knew it would be about 3 special kids. I had no idea the scope of what this author was trying to accomplish. He really made a story about three underdog saints interesting to an Atheist Jew. Granted, one of the saints was Jewish. And another was a peasant girl (loosely based upon Joan of Arc). And a major plot point was them attempting to prevent the burning of thousands of Jewish texts.
It was a story really about 3 drastically different people learning to see beyond their differences. It was a story of friendship. And it was also a story of faith (faith in whatever God the character believed in), but also faith in knowing to do the right thing.
There’s also the ever-present mystery of who the narrator is. I had no idea! And how on earth the nun could know so much information. And how exactly was it possible for the greyhound to come back from the dead. You learn all these things at the end. And I was genuinely surprised. I loved that the author was not who I thought at all. And there are enough twists in here to keep any plot reader pleased.
I loved the setup for the stories and how different characters got to share their piece of the pie. I loved seeing how different people in France viewed and felt about the children. I love books that have stories within stories. It really highlights the significance of storytelling.
All in all, this was a masterpiece. The plot was action-packed and moved at a nice pace. The characters were mysterious and fascinating. The world was scary, yet real. The humor was over-the-top, but in a delightful way. The strong emphasis on story was super appealing to me. I also loved that it was a friendship and acceptance story at its core. The research that must have been involved is nuts. I’m extremely impressed here. I give this a 10/10.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Summary from Goodreads:
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
Oh, how I’ve missed Holly Black. I wish it didn’t take so many years for her to write books. This book had been on my radar for some time, and I was number 1 on the list at the library for it. That being said, I don’t know why I was so hesitant to start it. I always second-guess my love for this author, and I have to stop doing that and accept the fact that I will probably always love her books. I love how dark they are. And I love how strong her characters are.
This one did no disappoint. The darkness was at an all time high. The stuff the main character endured at the hands of the court and the mean fairies was just awful. And for some reason that’s even worse than her watching her parents be murdered at a young age. I guess the memory of that was more abstract than the every day bullying and demeaning behavior.
Jude is just so strong! I wish I had half of her fierceness. She was probably the fiercest Holly Black character yet. I found her and all of the political background of this world to be utterly fascinating. This is a book for people who love great world building. The plot started off kind of slow (after the initial moments of remembering her parents’ murder). But, it picked up and escalated rather quickly later.
I liked the different aspects to all the characters. No one was purely bad or good. Well, maybe some of the fairies were pure evil, but mostly they weren’t. The character I loved to hate the most wasn’t even a fairy; it was her twin sister. I really hated her twin and I was secretly glad each time Jude talked about not seeing her again. Seriously, there wasn’t anything that redeeming about her. She was cowardly, easily manipulated, prone to ignoring mean things happening to her twin, and way too okay with the idea of marriage to someone not nice. Ugh. I hated her. I did like the older sister (who was only half human). She was both interesting and had redeemable qualities.
I also loved the plot twists in this book. The final one actually surprised me. I loved the ending. It reminded me of the ending to Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (one of my all time favorite books/and cliffhanger endings).
All in all, I loved this. It was dark, twisty, violent, and surprising. I loved the characters (most of them any way). And I loved the messed up world this all takes place in. I cannot wait to see what happens next. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait a few years for book 2. I give this one a 9/10.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (251)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on Royals by Rachel Hawkins (5/1/2018):

Description on Goodreads:
Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.
Why I’m Waiting:
I love this author. Sometimes a girl just needs something a little over the top and fluffy to read, and this author never disappoints. I always love her characters. Add that to the royal setting and well, this might as well be wrapped in corgi themed wrapping paper with a card that says it’s just for me. I can’t wait to start a new series by this author. Is it May yet?
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Good Week in Books (177)

I had a decent book week. I received 2 new books for review, courtesy of Macmillan. I finished one awesome fantasy novel and one amazing Middle Grade audio book. I also had the wonderful opportunity to book-talk (convince others to read) a couple of YA books at work this week. All in all, it’s a good week.
The new books:

The Forgotten Book
by Mechthild Glaser (It has such a pretty cover!)
All That Was by Karen Rivers
How was your week in books?