Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

frost blood

Frost Blood

Release date: January 17th 2017

Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Why I’m excited: Because this one sounds right up my alley with the types of books I’ve been reading lately. Fantasy, magic, dueling, yes please.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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I’ve been marathoning Psych all week in between my reading binges. I love that show.

Currently reading: three dark crowns

Finished reading: rogue wavegirl mans updeep bluefemale of the species

Reviewed: as i descendeddiplomatic immunity

What I’m hoping to get to next week: girl on a planecat king to read

female of the speciesgirl mans up to review

What this means for my 2016 challenges:

  • 147 books read in total
  • 76 contemporary books read
  • 55 paranormal/fantasy books read
  • 41 2016 debut authors read
  • 85 reviews posted

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s topic is Top Ten books that have been on my shelf since before I started blogging.

10. Laney Laney by Joann Martin Sowles. I added this one way back when vampires were still the popular thing and never got around it to. I will probably pick it up one of these days.

9. land of stories The Wishing Spell – Chris Colfer. I remember adding this one out of curiosity since I was watching Glee when it came out but I never got around to actually buying it or reading it.

8. hourglass Hourglass – Myra McEntire.This one has no excuse other than I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

7. article 5 Article 5 – Kristen Simmons. This one was added back when dystopian was a huge thing but now that it’s not, I keep passing it by.

6. incarnate Incarnate – Jodi Meadows. I cover-added this one and have since read some Jodi Meadows books so this one if one on the list that will likely get read soon.

5. city of a thousand dolls City of a Thousand Dolls – Miriam Forster. I added this one when I got it as a present and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf ever since.

4. rift big Rift – Andrea Cremer. I read the Nightshade trilogy and liked it so I added the prequels. And never read them.

3. forsaken The Forsaken – Lisa M Stasse. Another one I added when dystopian was huge and just never got around to reading before I went off in a different genre.

2. from ashes From Ashes – Molly McAdams. This is one I will probably end up deleting off my TBR. I didn’t enjoy the other books I’ve read by her so it’s on the list but not likely to be read.

1. gameboard of the gods big Gameboard of the Gods – Richelle Mead. I love Richelle Mead but have been hesitant to jump into this adult series. I probably should just go for it.

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Book Review: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton

diplomatic immunity

Diplomatic Immunity

Release date: September 6th 2016

3.5 stars

Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story’s main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.
Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity…it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.
Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.
Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.
The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

I was really excited to pick this book up. I’ve enjoyed the other books I’ve read from Brodi Ashton(Everneath series plus the co-written My Lady Jane) and one about an ambitious teenage reporter wanting to expose the double standards between the regular kids at her school and the kids with diplomatic immunity seemed right up my alley.

I really liked Piper’s ambitious spirit and her focus on first getting into her dream school and then winning a prestigious award she’d wanted for years. It did make her a little blind toward the after-effects of her news stories and it made for a few times of wanting to shake her to make her think about what she was doing. She was very protective of her little brother and they had a sweet relationship. She could also be very judgmental toward those who were rich and privileged and while her judgments could be understandable since she would get frustrated, she could also be unfair.

Most of the plot centered on Piper and her drive to win the Bennington scholarship, something she would need to go to her dream school. The closer she got to Rafael, a bad boy who seemed to like her and was her in into the exclusive crowd, the more she questioned herself about her story. Writing it would hurt Rafael and his family but not writing it meant not getting the scholarship she needed. The romance between them was slow and I liked them discovering the things they had in common. Rafael could definitely be frustrating as he took advantage of the privileges offered to him but he was also a decent guy under it all.

The ending did seem a little abrupt. I was left with some questions but none of them burning questions that needed to have a definite answer in order to have enjoyed reading this book. Most just answers that would have been nice to have out of curiosity.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

as i descended

As I Descended

Release date: September 6th 2016

3 stars

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.
Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.
Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.
But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.
Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.
But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

I knew going in that this was a modern take on Macbeth and I was excited for it. I did find that I had a hard time getting into it. The modern boarding school setting, the teens with a Ouija board, the taking down the mean girl plot, it all seemed so familiar and I kept waiting for something to draw me in. I was having a hard time connecting with a lot of the characters as well.

The main character was Maria but the story was told in other characters’ POVs as well. Maria was the one with the most POVs and most of the plot centered on her. She was someone was worked very hard to get where she was, top grades, spot on the soccer team, in the running for the elite Kingsley scholarship, but it seemed like all she could focus on was the one girl who kept beating her. She was together with her roommate Lily, and for some reason they both viewed the Kingsley prize as the only way they could be together after high school because the prize was so elite the recipient pretty much got their choice of college and Lily was going to Stanford so Maria needed to go to Stanford. I didn’t really feel a love connection between them so it made it difficult for me to care if Maria got the prize.

We also see the POVs of Lily, of Maria’s best friend Brandon, his boyfriend Mateo. I did find myself liking Brandon and Mateo. Their relationship felt like they had a developing connection that had the potential to grow into something special.

The book started off with a Ouija board scene and got progressively creepier and darker. Robin Talley did a good job at bringing the chills down your spine at a page’s turn. She also did a great job addressing a lot of issues: sexuality, racism, privilege being among them and making them fit into the plot without overcrowding it or taking away from the horror aspect.

I think if I had connected more to Maria and Lily I would have enjoyed this book a lot more. I liked the creepy factor and it almost read like an old urban legend warning tale.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

long way home

Long Way Home

Release date: January 31st 2017

Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.
It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.
But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.
Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

Why I’m excited: This series has so far just been getting better and better. I’m interested and excited to see where the whole series goes but even alone, this book sounds like one I would pick up.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

I keep looking at all the books coming out in September and getting worried that I will never feel close to caught up again.

Currently reading: female of the species

Finished reading: as i descendeddiplomatic immunitytakenforest of ruin

Reviewed: the fixertell me something real

What I’m hoping to get to next week: girl mans updeep blue to read

as i descendeddiplomatic immunity to review

What this means for my 2016 challenges:

  • 143 books read in total
  • 74 contemporary books read
  • 53 paranormal/fantasy books read
  • 40 2016 debut authors read
  • 83 reviews posted

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week’s topic is Top Ten books with X setting. I’m doing Top Ten books set in a mythical world/town/school I would visit.

10. girl of fire and thorns big Joya d’Arena from the Fire and Thorns series – Rae Carson. The descriptions of this kingdom sound amazing.

9. great hunt Lochlanach from the Eurona duology – Wendy Higgins. I wouldn’t do so well if I met up with the beast but it has a monarchy that seems to truly care about everyone in the kingdom.

8. orphan queen Aecor from The Orphan Queen duology – Jodi Meadows. We don’t get to see too much of Aecor in this series since it’s the kingdom the main character is trying to reclaim but from what we do get to see, it seems like an amazing place to see.

7. hobbit The Shire from The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien. Who doesn’t want to live in a hobbit hole in the Shire?

6. lion Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis. My wardrobes were never as cool as Lucy’s.

5. fires The Core from the Balance Keepers series – Lindsay Cummings. Living at the center of the world, so many cool mythical creatures.

4. vampire academy big St Vladimir’s Academy from the Vampire Academy Series – Richelle Mead. Only if I was a vampire of course. I don’t think I could visit as a feeder.

3. nightmare affair Arkwell Academy from the Arwell Academy series – Mindee Arnett. It’s a school full of mythical creatures.

2. born at midnight Camp Shadow Falls from the Shadow Falls series – CC Hunter. This might be the only time I would enjoy camping.

1. harry potter Hogwarts from the Harry Potter lifestyle – JK Rowling. Like any other place was going to be number one.

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Book Review: Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

tell me something real

Tell Me Something Real

Release date: August 30th 2016

3.5 stars

Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.
There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.
Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…

I was prepared going into this book to get emotional and I’m definitely glad I was prepare because there was definitely the potential to be completely wrecked. I had a bit of a hard time connecting with the main character at the beginning but if I had immediately, I’m sure I would have been in so many tears I wouldn’t have been able to see the pages. It didn’t shy away from how a diagnosis can bring a family together or how it each person can have a very different reaction.

The main character, Vanessa, was the middle sister and was just trying to keep everything together as the family was facing her mother’s cancer treatment. She had a huge passion for music, which was something I did connect with, and even when they were annoying her, she loved her family. She could be selfish but she was also dealing with a lot. There was a bit of a romance with a boy named Caleb that happened a little fast but they were cute together.

I wasn’t expecting so many twists in this book. It ended up being so much more than a girl dealing with her mother’s terminal diagnosis. It’s hard to say too much without giving anything away so I’ll end with this is definitely an author to watch out for.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

the fixer

The Fixer

4 stars

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.
And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

I was hooked the second I saw it described as Scandal meets Veronica Mars. Yes please. Two addicting shows would have to add up to an addicting book, right? It did. I could see immediately where the comparisons came from, with Tess’ sister being what they called a “Fixer”, an Olivia Pope of this book world. Tess’ determination to help her friends and figure out the plot of a murder was very Veronica Mars-like. It made for a great read.

Tess was a sarcastic character that I found myself relating to quite easily. She resented her older sister for disappearing from her life and she struggled to take care of her grandfather and his declining health. She didn’t want to move in with her sister and all the secrecy about her sister’s job and her connections to political elite was driving her crazy. She couldn’t help but want answers and, even after promising to leave things alone, she would get involved. There were many times she reminded me of Veronica Mars, which just made me love her more each time.

I loved the friendships she made at her new school. Vivie was her first friend and was a bright presence in the book. Asher was a trouble-maker but one you couldn’t help loving and smiling at his antics. Henry took a little while to warm up to since he was aloof toward Tess for so long but he was also very protective of those he did call friends. Bodie, Ivy’s driver and bodyguard, was older but also more than willing to always lend an ear to Tess when she needed it and gave off some big brother vibes. Ivy was the one Tess had the most complicated relationship with, understandably, but it was interesting and had a lot of give and take.

The mystery plot was intriguing and had enough twists to keep me guessing. It balanced scenes with lighter moments with the tension-packed scenes well so that the shift in tone didn’t feel abrupt or interrupt the flow to take the reader out of the book. I didn’t even realize I was so close to the end until the action started to wrap-up. I will definitely be picking up the sequel.

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