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:

three-sides

Three Sides of a Heart

Release date: December 19th 2017

Goodreads: The anthology explores the myriad tragic, frustrating, humorous possibilities of the teen love triangle, and features 15 new stories by these authors.

Why I’m excited: Usually I wouldn’t be too excited for a book about love triangles but the authors listed, I just need to read this now.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

I think the snow just might be over. Here’s hoping.

Currently reading: vigilante

Finished reading: star-cursedstrange-the-dreamerpiper-perishetiquette-and-espionage-big

Reviewed: heartbeats-of-wing-jonesjust-another-girl

What I’m hoping to get to next week: queens-of-geekcurtsies-and-conspiracies to read

strange-the-dreamergoodbye-days to review

Books read it 2017: 30

Debut authors read in 2017: 9

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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 I love more/less than I thought I would. I put a slight spin on it and chose books that I was highly anticipating or had a lot of hype so I was very happy I loved them.

10. Caraval Caraval – Stephanie Garber. This was one of my most anticipated for 2017 and I was so happy to fall in love with the characters and the whole mysterious circus setting.

9. the crown's game The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye. The sequel to this one is on my most anticipated for 2017 list. I’d heard a lot of good things about it before I read it but I never expected to fall in love and hurt this much.

8. orphan queen The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows. I’d heard great things about Jodi Meadows but had never read one of her books until The Orphan Queen. It blew me away and I couldn’t wait until The Mirror King came out.

7. challenger deep Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman. I loved Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series so I went in with high expectations and they were blown apart but this amazing book.

6. salt to the sea Salt to the Sea – Ruta Sepetys. This author gets so much love that it kind of scared me away from picking up one of her books. When I did, it was Salt to the Sea and I never regretted it. Well, my heart did but it was amazing.

5. all the bright places All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven. This book was getting such high praise and it definitely lived up to the hype for me. Even if it did break my heart.

4. throne of glass big Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas. Throne of Glass was one of my first, if not my first, big YA fantasy series. So many people were saying how amazing it was, which meant I had to buy it. I blame this book for my shelves so rapidly filling with YA fantasy.

3. the-hate-u-give The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas. The hype is everywhere with this book and it’s all very deserved. It blew away every expectation I had and I would have kept reading if there had been more pages.

2. under a painted sky Under a Painted Sky – Stacey Lee. I love history and westerns so this book was highly anticipated and lived it up it all and more.

1. harry potter Harry Potter – JK Rowling. I don’t think I could have predicted the impact this series would have on my life.

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Book Review: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

heartbeats-of-wing-jones

The Heartbeats of Wing Jones

Release date: March 14th 2017

4 stars

Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshiped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not.
Until the night everything changes when Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry. She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother and grandmothers’ grief. In addition to all this, Wing is scared that the bank is going to repossess her home because her family can’t afford Marcus’s mounting medical bills.
Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team. And better still, an opportunity at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?

I’ve read a couple books with a similar plot in the last year but this one used a touch of magical realism to set it apart. I got attached to Wing as a character quite quickly and loved her family dynamics, especially with her two grandmothers. There were quite a few themes happening throughout the book but I thought the author handled them all well and did so without making any of them feel shoehorned into the plot.

Wing was a very easy character to relate to. She felt overshadowed by her superstar brother, was bullied at school and the bullying got worse after the accident, felt like she was treated like a kid by her grandmothers, and felt the strain the accident was putting on her family. Her connection to running was amazing to read and I loved her growth through the book. She was someone you wanted to root for to overcome all the obstacles in her way, to help her family, to get the boy she liked, to make the team, to get that scholarship.

Family and bullying were the two main themes in the book. I loved getting to see three generations living under the same roof and Wing’s grandmothers brought a lot of humour to the book. Wing was bullied before the accident but it got worse after, with her being an easy target for everyone to take their anger and hurt out on. I did also enjoy the romance. It was sweet without overtaking the plot. I also really enjoyed Wing’s plot with running and how she connected with it.

The writing style was beautiful. The descriptions were very vivid and it made it easy to get a clear picture of the setting. I enjoyed how the magical realism tied into Wing’s culture and how it was present through the book without feeling overwhelming. It made the book feel like a good option for someone looking to try a book with magical realism. This book has me really excited to see what Katherine Webber releases next.

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

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Book Review: Just Another Girl by Elizabeth Eulberg

just-another-girl

Just Another Girl

Release date: March 28th 2017

3 stars

Hope knows there’s only one thing coming between her and her longtime crush: his girlfriend, Parker. She has to sit on the sidelines and watch as the perfect girl gets the perfect boy . . . because that’s how the universe works, even though it’s so completely wrong.
Parker doesn’t feel perfect. She knows if everyone knew the truth about her, they’d never be able to get past it. So she keeps quiet. She focuses on making it through the day with her secret safe . . . even as this becomes harder and harder to do. And Hope isn’t making it any easier. . . .
In Just Another Girl, Elizabeth Eulberg astutely and affectingly shows us how battle lines get drawn between girls — and how difficult it then becomes to see or understand the girl standing on the other side of the divide.
You think you have an enemy. But she’s just another girl.

This is a book where I really liked the concept of it because it rings very true. There’s so many mediums where the reader or viewer see one girl or a group of girls vilifying another girl for some reason that looks petty in hindsight and without ever really knowing anything about the poor girl. I liked the idea of getting to see both sides. Hope, who had a huge crush on her best friend Brady and hated his girlfriend, and Parker, Brady’s girlfriend who was struggling with a lot of things and really didn’t need Hope’s hatred on top of it all.

The book alternated their POVs to give the reader both sides of the drama. I found myself enjoying Parker’s chapters more than Hope’s for the main character but Hope’s chapters more than Parker’s for the supporting characters. Parker’s parts were more focused on her struggle to keep her secret and her stress that Hope might succeed in stealing Brady from her. Hope’s parts were focused on her plan to steal Brady but also involved her and her club mates in the Rube Goldberg machine group she started. I fell in love with those guys. We also got to see a lot of Hope’s mother and her best friend.

With the book being so short, it didn’t feel like there was a lot of time spent on developing a lot of the characters. The plot stayed pretty straight forward and predictable. I could see where the build up was going but once it got there, it fell a bit flat. It definitely had a lot of potential and there’s an author’s note included that is a must read, but overall it just fell flat for me.

*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:

traitors-kiss

The Traitor’s Kiss

Release date: May 9th 2017

Goodreads: An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

Why I’m excited: I love high fantasy with girls who can kick ass so this seems like it will fit right into that.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

So. Much. Snow. And more coming tomorrow. Fun times.

Currently reading: etiquette-and-espionage-big

Finished reading: heartbeats-of-wing-jonesjust-another-girlsecret-pathgoodbye-days

Reviewed: kings-cagewayfarer

What I’m hoping to get to next week: strange-the-dreamerpiper-perish to read

just-another-girlheartbeats-of-wing-jones to review

Books read it 2017: 26

Debut authors read in 2017: 8

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Book Review: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

kings-cage

King’s Cage

4 stars

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?
Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

The Red Queen was one of my favourite reads the year it came out and it set up some high expectations for the rest of the books. Glass Sword ending up falling a little short of those but with King’s Cage, it felt like a return to form. Red Queen is still my favourite but King’s Cage is a close second and it really has me excited for the last book. And also really nervous about the last book because it’s the last book.

No matter the relationship between them, I always find myself drawn to the dynamic between Mare and Maven. They make great allies. They make great enemies. They just make the scenes they share so entertaining or so twisted to read that I can’t help but get pulled right in. I think the author’s doing a great job balancing their relationship from what is was to what it became. We have reasons for Maven’s behaviour instead of excuses and their relationship wasn’t healthy for either of them, but that didn’t take away the fact that there were good feelings between them once.

There were so many themes going on in this book but they worked together for the overall story. My favourites were the symbolism of the cage, Mare may have been in a physical cage but so many were trapped in cages by circumstances, by birth, by their own making. My other favourite theme was that people could be manipulated and groomed to be a certain way, whether good or bad, and that no one was black or white. They could set up some really interesting themes for the last book.

We got more POVs in this one. It’s another thing that worked well since it meant we got to see what was happening with other characters while Mare was being held prisoner. Mare’s imprisonment was hard to read and it was slow(though I didn’t find it boring) and inserting other POVs to other locations broke that up and added some more action. The book was slower than Red Queen but paced better than Glass Sword. There was a lot of political talks, some history lessons, a lot of planning, but it all felt like it was leading up to an epic conclusion.

 

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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 romance freebie. I went with Top Ten YA romances I would read over going out for Valentine’s Day.

10. by-your-side By Your Side – Kasie West. Really, anything Kasie West would be perfect to cuddle up with in front of the fire with a blanket and some hot chocolate that I wouldn’t have to share. This one is one of my favourites for the getting trapped in the library aspect because who doesn’t want to be locked overnight in a library?

9. start of me and you The Start of Me and You – Emery Lord. This one cuts a little deeper than a fluffy romance but it’s so worth it. I love the slowburn romance and how they both support each other.

8. anna big Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins. No matter what happens, I think this will remain one of my favourite trilogies for contemporary. I loved getting to see Anna fall in love with Paris and with Etienne.

7. first and then First & Then – Emma Mills. I’m not a huge football fan in life but with books, movies, and TV shows I love it. The combination of football and the slow romance was perfect.

6. paper-princess Paper Princess – Erin Watt. This one is on my TBR but what better time to cross it off than Valentine’s Day. Especially when it’s been storming for so long outside. A little stormy plot might be preferable.

5. geekerella Geekerella – Ashley Poston. This is another one I want to read soon. Plus, Geek culture and fairy tale retelling seems like something I will definitely enjoy.

4. unexpected everything The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson. My favourites by her are her heartbreakers but this one is so perfect for cuddling up with.

3. nowhere but here Nowhere But Here – Katie McGarry. I didn’t think she would be able to top my love for Pushing the Limits(and two of my favourite book boys are in that series) but I’ve fallen for the Thunder Road series even harder. Maybe it’s the bad boys thing.

2. Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071] Lost & Found – Nicole Williams. Like Paper Princess, this one is more New Adult than YA but it involves a ranch and cowboys and I absolutely fell in love.

1. upside-of-unrequited The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli. I loved Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda so a follow up with companion characters is a must read.

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Book Review: Wayfarer by Alexandra Backen

wayfarer

Wayfarer

4.5 stars

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.
Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.
As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

Last year I really fell in love with the time travel and characters in Passenger so reading the sequel when it came out was a must. When I love the first book, I’m usually happy if the second book comes close to giving me the same feeling. For this one, I loved it even more than Passenger. It added some new characters that I loved, developed some of the minor characters from the first, and between the dynamics of the two groups of characters and this sequel added new elements to plot, both in regards to time travel and the fight against Ironwood.

The book was told again in the dual POVs of Etta and Nicholas, picking up where the first book left off. With them being separated, I was a little worried the plot would feel like it was dragging in the same direction too much, too much focus on them trying to find each other through time. Instead if gave both characters a chance to really develop on figure themselves out on their own while giving them new characters to interact with, or focusing more on the dynamics we saw little of in the first book. Nicholas and Sophia’s testy history was really pushed to the forefront as they were forced to work together and I really enjoyed seeing them work together for their different goals. I also enjoyed the addition of Li Min to their group. She was this unknown element who could match Sophia burn for burn and flirted with her, but also added a ‘can she be trusted’ aspect to the group.

My favourite was the growing dynamic between Etta and Julian. She was so determined to reach her goals, of finding out what happened to her, of finding Nicholas, of stopping Ironwood, of finding answers, but she knew she couldn’t do it alone. Julian walked the line of being annoying in his rich privilege and being terrified without knowing how to protect himself. I loved the banter between him and Etta as they kept being forced together by circumstances and that the growth between them stayed platonic(no love triangles!). I also loved that we saw growth in Julian’s character through his journey with Etta and he got to a point where I would definitely pick up a book with his story in it.

The plot, like in the first book, unfolded slowly, and it was something that I enjoyed. Sometimes I prefer fast paced books that really grab me and sometimes I prefer slowly paced books where I can really get absorbed into a complicated plotline. I thought this book, this duology, did a great job in keeping me pulled into the storyline and invested in the characters. I enjoyed the twists and the additional world-building in this one, plus traveling within the book to so many historical places, some which of were altered because of Ironwood. I could definitely understand the need to stop him no matter what the cost.

I would definitely read more books in this universe if they were written. It works so well as a duology but if there were short stories about the minor characters, I would be there. I’m not quite ready to leave this time traveling world behind.

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