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:

This Darkness Mine

This Darkness Mine

Release date: October 10th 2017

Goodreads: Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.
But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?
Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Why I’m excited: Every Mindy McGinnis book I’ve read has been better than the last and if this one is better than The Female of the Species, it’s going to potentially be the best book I read this year. Yes, high expectations.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

This week has been full of reading books and listening to Broadway music. It’s been a good week.

Currently reading: after-the-game

Finished reading: Bad RomanceWho's that girlLittle WrecksProject Semicolon

Reviewed: Ginny Moonthis-is-how-it-happened

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Everything All At OnceLetters to the Lost to read

Who's that girlBad Romance to review

Books read it 2017: 86

Debut authors read in 2017: 26

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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 is a Top Ten Summer freebie so I’m doing Top Ten books I plan on reading Poolside this summer.

10. Romancing the Throne Romancing The Throne – Nadine Jolie Courtney. This seems like a light romance with some sibling rivalry over a boy that will either annoy me or amuse me.

9. Always and Forever Lara Jean Always and Forever, Lara Jean – Jenny Han. Loved the first two and can’t wait to read this last one.

8. Unlikelies The Unlikelies – Carrie Firestone. This book has a The Breakfast Club vibe. Needs to be read.

7. Season of Daring Greatly A Season of Daring Greatly – Ellen Emerson White. Baseball is very summer-y.

6. Dramatically Ever After Dramatically Ever After – Isabel Bandeira. Loved Bookishly Ever After so this one is a must read.

5. Internet Famous Internet Famous – Danika Stone. Loved All the Feels so this one is another must read.

4. Trusting You and Other Lies Trusting You and Other Lies – Nicole Williams. That cover looks so summer-y.

3. lucky-in-love Lucky in Love – Kasie West. Kasie West is perfect for summer.

2. Dazzling Heights The Dazzling Heights – Katherine McGee. Hopefully this one is just as addicting as the first.

  1. When It's Real When It’s Real – Erin Watt. I’ve heard good things about this author.

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Book Review: This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

this-is-how-it-happened

This Is How It Happened

Release date: July 11th 2017

4 stars

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.
As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Paula Stokes has been on my auto-buy authors list for a while and books like this one is the reason why. Her ability to write characters that are easy to relate to, flawed and lovable, relationships that are sweet and believable, and plots that are addicting to read, is why she has become one of my auto-buy authors and when this book comes out in physical form, I will be buying it.

Gen was a character I found easy to relate to, not because I’d ever been in her situation, but because I could see myself having the same sort of reaction if I were to ever be in her situation. Her whole world had been flipped upside down with the accident and the loss of her boyfriend and with the media and his fans and everyone wanting answers, there was no time for her to really grieve his death. She was grieving and she was scared and the flashes of memories were leading her to a conclusion she had no idea how to deal with. She went through a lot and she grew a lot through the book.

The book dealt with grief but it also dealt with internet shaming and how easily it can destroy a person’s life. The use of online articles and their comments section, the way people happily tore apart the guy accused of the accident even before all the evidence was in, was something to can be found online on most sites on any day. I found it very easy to understand why Gen would be terrified of her memories making her wonder if she was the cause of the accident, to have the online mob turn on her.

I also really appreciated the family dynamics in this book. Her parents were divorced and Gen hadn’t really gotten to know her father’s new wife so going out to stay with them to escape the media circus gave her the chance to warm up to her. Both her parents were doctors so she felt a lot of pressure to be perfect and it made admitted when she had made mistakes very difficult. It was very clear how much they did love each other though. I really loved her friendships with the two teens on her stepmom’s team at the Zion National Park.

Paula Stokes has definitely done it again. Every time I read a new book by her, it’s even better than the last. I didn’t think it would happen this time with how much I loved Girl Against the Universe and those two are very, very close. It’s definitely one of those situations where either could eek out top spot depending on my mood that day.

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

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Book Review: Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Ginny Moon

Ginny Moon

4 stars

Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret…
Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up….
After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her.
Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape.
Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right…

I love a book with a unique narrator and this one certainly had a very unique narrator in Ginny Moon. This was a book that was so easy to start, thinking I would read a few chapters before going to bed, and then suddenly it was three am and I was turning the last page. Ginny Moon’s unique voice made this a book that was impossible to put down and one that will be memorable.

The story unfolded in a way that gave the sense that the author has personal experience with autism. Ginny was written in a way that never made her feel less than or like there was something wrong with her. She simply was Ginny Moon. She loved Michael Jackson. She need to have nine grapes with her breakfast. I thought the author did a great job showing Ginny’s frustration at not being able to make the adults understand her, as well as the adults’ frustrations at their inability to make Ginny understand when she was doing something dangerous.

The book also showed the love of a family, that family doesn’t have to be blood-related, and how a family can change with a new addition. The family dynamic was the second most intriguing aspect of the book(with Ginny Moon being the first) and was a huge part of the reason I kept reading until the very last page even when I should have gone to bed. This is a book I can easily see myself recommending to anyone looking for a great read.

*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:

Before She Ignites

Before She Ignites

Release date: September 12th 2017

Goodreads: Before
Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.
But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.
After
Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.
No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

Why I’m excited: A new fantasy series from Jodi Meadows? I don’t ever need to read the summary to know I want it. But the summary sounds great.

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Weekly Reading Recap

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May has been full of TV cancellations, cliffhangers, and character deaths. I am consoling myself with books.

Currently reading: Project Semicolon

Finished reading: They Both Die At the EndGinny Moonthis-is-how-it-happenedSigns point to Yes

Reviewed: gentlemans-guideArt of starving

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Little WrecksWho's that girl to read

Ginny Moonthis-is-how-it-happened to review

Books read it 2017: 81

Debut authors read in 2017: 24

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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 is a Top Ten Mother’s Day theme freebie so I chose to do Top Ten YA Books I would recommend to my mom. My mom tends to prefer fantasy over everything else, and especially loves when the main character finds out he or she has a magical ability and a destiny. She will try Sci-Fi and dystopian but isn’t one for contemporary unless it’s extremely engaging. Luckily there’s quite a bit to choose from. She also prefers all the books being released before she starts a series.

10. Ginny Moon Ginny Moon – Benjamin Ludwig. I just finished this one and it’s already making a recommendation list. My mom loved Room by Emma Donahue so I think she would enjoy this one.

9. throne of glass Throne of Glass series – Sarah J Maas. This is a recommendation for later when it’s closer to all the books being released and I know she won’t catch up before the last one comes out. She would love the characters and the world.

8. young elites The Young Elites – Marie Lu. I think my mom would enjoy the darker tone of this series and all the twist that happen through the books.

7. red queen Red Queen series – Victoria Aveyard. Again, this is one completely up my mom’s alley but only once it’s closer to being finished. She would love the whole red blooded girl with powers rising up against the silvers plot.

6. Sabriel The Old Kingdom series – Garth Nix. To me, this book just screams “read me” to my mom. The Old Kingdom is definitely a world she will fall in love with.

5. the crown's game The Crown’s Game/Fate – Evelyn Skye. Just a duology when she prefers long series but I know she would love the magic and the dueling in this book.

4. falling kingdom Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes. My mom loves the show Game of Thrones but found the books too detailed and too long. This series has a similar vibe as G.O.T. but without feeling like it’s dragging on and on.

3. challenger deep Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman. Even though she doesn’t read a lot of contemporary, I think this is one she would stick with right to the end. It’s engaging and very insightful. Plus it’s Neal Shusterman.

2. orphan queen The Orphan Queen Duology – Jodi Meadows. This is one I know she would love for the magic, the rebellion, the underdog story line. She might not like that there’s only two books though.

  1. snow like ashes Snow Like Ashes series – Sara Raasch. I love the intricate world building and I think my mom would fall in love with it as well. Plus the main character is exactly what she looks for in a book.

 

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Book Review: The Art of Starving by Sam J Miller

Art of starving

The Art of Starving

Release date: July 11th 2017

4 stars

Matt hasn’t eaten in days.
His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal. But Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away.
Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have . . . powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space.
So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe?
Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger… and he isn’t in control of all of them.

This was a book I was a little hesitant going into since it involved a boy thinking that starving himself was giving him superpowers. I’m very glad I gave it a chance because the book was full of quirky characters, an interesting family dynamic, and a plot that would be really interesting to see debated on if it was more magical realism where Matt did have superpowers or if his mind was trying to validate his choice of not eating by making him think he had superpowers.

Matt was a likeable character who could be frustrating in that he was hypocritical at times and sometimes just wasn’t that nice. He was also hurting because his older sister had run off and he had no idea where she was or what had driven her to take off. Part of the plot focused on Matt trying to discover her reasons, blaming a few fellow high schoolers for his sister’s disappearance. I liked how determined Matt was to find out what had happened to his sister and how much he cared about his mom, who worked so hard in an effort to keep their roof over their head and food on their table. I also liked the developing relationship between Matt and Tariq as Matt got closer, trying to figure out if Tariq was responsible for his sister’s disappearance.

I really appreciated that there wasn’t any romanticizing of Matt’s eating disorder. If the powers were real, I would have liked more background on them. Where did they originate? How did they work? Were there a lot of others out there like Matt? But then that would mean knowing for certain if the powers were real or if they were from Matt trying to justify not eating. I like the idea that it could be argued that either theory is valid based on how the reader saw the events. Matt’s powers reminded me a bit of the aliens in We Are All Ants, as I was also questioning if they were real or part of the character’s coping mechanism.

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

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Book Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

gentlemans-guide

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Release date: June 27th 2017

4 stars

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Reading this as an e-arc then seeing the page count listed as over 500 pages was a bit surprising. I knew it was a long book but it didn’t feel like 500 pages. I was really drawn into the story. It was a slower pace but the characters and the banter and their adventure kept me completely engaged through the whole book. The dynamic between the three, Monty, Percy, and Felicity, was amazing and entertaining.

The story was completely Monty’s POV as he and his best friend/crush Percy embark on what was supposed to be their Grand Tour. It was supposed to be one last celebration before Monty took over his father’s estate and became a proper gentleman. With Monty’s track record his father decided to send a chaperone and they would also be escorting his little sister to a boarding school along the way. This ruined Monty’s plans of drinking and partying his way through Europe and his plans of flirting with Percy the whole time. There were times when I could understand everyone’s frustrations with Monty since he was very privileged and took for granted a lot of the opportunities he was afforded that Percy and Felicity were not but there was still sometimes quite charming about him, so it was easy to see why people would still flock to stay by his side.

I honestly would have been more than happy with simply reading about the adventures Monty, Percy, and Felicity got up to on their Grand Tour but I also really enjoyed the addition of them on the run after Monty made a reckless decision that turned their Tour into them being hunted through Europe. It put a strain on friendships, showed them in a new light to each other, and gave them all a chance to confront some issues that desperately needed confronting. And each time the people hunting them got closer, the pacing would pick up and I would find myself reading ever faster.

Between this one and This Monstrous Thing, I am really excited to see what Mackenzi Lee does next.

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

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