Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (307)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Defy the Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

In her most epic and ambitious work to date, bestselling author Claudia Gray takes readers on an interstellar journey exploring what it means to be human.

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that's now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth's robotic "mech" armies for decades with no end in sight. 

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel's programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis--even though her plan to win the war will kill him. 

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel's devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

Sci-fiiiiiii. Super epic sci-fi with robots and mechs and questions of morality and humanity and programming. Yessssssss.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Me on All In

Title: All In
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days. After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team's unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes. Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there's been a break in her mother's case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.

All In continues the overall theme and mood from the first two books, continues the tension and the mystery, the intrigue and the danger. There's always a killer out there waiting to be caught, there are always clues left behind in the things they do, the people they kill, and there's always someone watching and piecing it all together.

It doesn't take long for Cassie to get slammed by painful memories again. The loss of her mother, the lack of knowledge as to what really happened to her, if she's really dead or just missing. But then she gets some news. They think they found her body. But Cassie doesn't have time for grieving all over again. Not when she and the other Naturals are on their way to Las Vegas in order to help with an ongoing case. No more cold cases.

Everyone's demons creep out a little here, reminding the reader that Cassie isn't the only one with skeletons in her closet. There's Michael's... relationship with his father, Sloane's issues stemming from her past before the Naturals program, Dean still coming to terms with his childhood and what his father made him do (but he is getting better with that, being supportive with Cassie). And as always, Lia being Lia. Cassie is the glue that holds them all together. She knows that. But can she keep it up after all this new information about her mother?

I regret that I didn't pick this up sooner because I couldn't stop reading it. Like Cassie and the others, I had to find out who the killer was. I had to know who did it and why, what their reasoning was, what the patterns meant. And the twist at the end? Fans of the previous two books will certainly enjoy this one and scramble to read the fourth once they finish.

(I borrowed an e-book of this title from the library.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (234)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Not much to talk about this week. Every day felt the same this past week. Maybe next week will feel different?

Reviews going up this week will feature All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Tuesday) and A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (Friday). :)
The Reader by Traci Chee (borrowed from the library)
A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken (borrowed from the library)

Friday, November 25, 2016

Me on Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling

Title: Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling
Author/artist: Tony Cliff
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: First Second (Macmillan imprint)

After being falsely accused of spying by the nefarious Major Merrick, Delilah Dirk and Mister Selim sail to England to clear her name (and beat the tar out of the Major while they're at it). But once on her home turf, Delilah encounters an adversary mightier than the entire British Army: her mother.

Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling is a brand new adventure with a familiar adventurer and her practical companion. But the situation is far stickier this time around, and it won't be as easy to escape from.

Delilah Dirk is back at it, righting wrongs and investigating treasure and inconveniencing Mister Selim. This time, the story starts in Portugal with the saving of a young boy from his controlling and battle-hungry father. But then, like always, Delilah and Mister Selim fall into a dangerous situation and have to fight their way out of it. Things are different this time around, there's a lot more to do with revenge and Delilah's personal feelings about the scum they come across. And then there's the added struggle of her having to navigate her investigating and adventuring around her unsuspecting mother.

There are hints of why Delilah has made a name for herself in Europe and around the world, why she's spent her days adventuring. She's not the kind of young woman who would sit around at luncheons, flit about at balls and dinners. She needs excitement in her life, she needs to do something. She won't be tied down.

There's some more plot going on in this book, compared to the first one. The first was certainly about Mister Selim and how his life changed after meeting Delilah. Now, things are complicated. The two have fallen, rather handily, into the gaze of an English Major looking to place some blame and espionage onto someone that isn't him.

The artwork is just as it was in the first book, the colours slightly muted once Delilah and Mister Selim arrive in England, the characters' faces expressive and constantly changing. It was obvious whenever Delilah was frustrated or Mister Selim feeling put out or inconvenienced by Delilah's decisions. A good follow-up to the first, a great showing at expanding this world, the time period and its problems, and an intriguing ending that hints at some possible revenge in the future. If you enjoyed the first book, you'll enjoy this.

(I received a finished copy of this book to review from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (306)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Pyromantic
Author: Lish McBride
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

Ava is having a rough time. Getting rid of Venus didn’t set her free—she’s still Coterie. Her new boss seems like an improvement, but who knows if he’ll stay that way? The Coterie life changes people. And since she’s currently avoiding her friends after (disastrously) turning down a date with Lock, well, everything kind of sucks.

Then she gets sent to handle two local thugs with were-hare Sid. But when they arrive, the thugs are dead and a necromancer has raised them as mindless, aggressive zombies. Ava is faced with an epidemic—something is turning normal creatures into killing machines. Unfortunately, this means she has to work with Lock and his new girl. Worse than that, she has to work with her ex, Ryan. Compared to facing such emotional turmoil, she’d rather take on an entire herd of flesh-eating kelpies . . . or she could just do both. Isn’t she just the lucky gal?

Yessssssssssss. Want. I like Ava, she's so complicated and sort of screwed up. It's interesting seeing her trying to solve situations of the Coterie and supernatural sort while trying to be a normal girl with a social life and a boyfriend. But you're not normal, Ava.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Me on Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Title: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Author/artist: Tony Cliff
Release Date: August 23, 2013
Publisher: FirstSecond (Macmillan imprint)

Lovable ne'er-do-well Delilah Dirk has travelled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she's picked up on the way, Delilah's adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan's guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life.

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a thrilling adventure across foreign lands, led by an exciting and troublesome heroine.

At first glance, and perhaps the second and the third, it seems that Delilah Dirk is a magnet for trouble. No matter where she goes, who she talks to, she seems to end up running for her life with a bag of treasure in her hand. But why? Why does she do this? Why the travelling, the adventuring? Because of her upbringing? Because she has a deep desire to see everything the world can offer? Who knows.

But it seems like the book is more about Erdemoglu Selim, the Turkish Lieutenant, than it is about Delilah. Instead of an account of her adventure in Constantinople, it's more of an account of Mr. Selim and what becomes of her life after meeting her, after travelling with her, after getting into scrapes and battles with her. He's a simple man, looking for something more but stuck in his present role in the Turkish Janissary Corps. A personable man who can brew a fine cup of tea. A man not looking for too much trouble, which is what seems to follow Delilah Dirk around the world. But, what can you do?

Even as I say that this isn't about Delilah, it is. This book is all about what she does to the places she visits, the people she meets. The things that change after she sweeps through like a sudden storm. As she travels, searching and meeting and running and stealing, she has a substantial impact on every she comes across.

The artwork is bright and expressive, detailed when it needs to be. The changes in the characters' expressions were great, it was rather obvious to see when Delilah was annoyed or when Mr. Selim was confused or perturbed. When both would savour a good cup of tea. This definitely reads like the start of an epic adventure and I'm eager to know where they end up next, what trouble they'll get into.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (233)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello! Another week has come to an end. Whether it was good or bad, stressful or not, it's a good chance to take the time to relax, do something for yourself.

I've been reading the A Wrinkle in Time books lately, half because of the movie and half because I've had the third book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, for years and have wanted to know where the stories started. So far I like them, I can see what they're doing in terms of good and evil, in terms of character confidence and fate. I hope the movie will be good.

Reviews going up this week will feature Delilah Dirk & the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (Tuesday) and the sequel/continuation of Delilah's adventures, Delilah Dirk & the King's Shiling (Friday). :)
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman (ARC from Penguin Random House Canada)
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (e-galley from Raincoast Books)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Me on Of Fire and Stars

Title: Of Fire and Stars
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden. Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria's formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed. When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there's more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna's intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare's independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more. But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Of Fire and Stars is full of mystery and danger. Secrets and hidden plots and plans circle Denna and Mare, surround them, and they become just as wrapped up in them as they do with each other.

Denna is kind, a gentle and soft around the edges kind of princess. She's hoping she'll find a place of her own in this arranged marriage, in this new home of strangers. But she has some worries. Like the magic that flickers like flame at her fingers. Now that she's in a country where magic is forbidden? Where people with magic are seen as heretics that must be jailed or executed? She's worried for her life, for the future of this agreement between the two countries that depend on this marriage arrangement. Even as Denna fears her magic, she knows she needs to know more about it. How to control it. But there are plots about, dangerous plots that could reveal her secrets.

Amaranthine is bold and brash. With her brother as the heir to their father's throne, she's had the chance to run wild, to do what she wants. And what Mare wants is to work with horses, spend her days training them, riding them. Not wear foolish dresses and attend meaningless tea parties. She cares deeply for her family, her father and brother, but it's hard when they can't see past the ends of their noses. When all they can think of is how to keep others from taking from them, be it land or people or power.

This is a fantasy world that seems rather familiar. Kings and queens, secrets and intrigue. Gods that are worshiped and magic that's feared and banned. But there are bits and pieces that make it different. The customs of the kingdoms. That Dennaleia's sister became queen while Thandilimon, even though he is younger than Mare, will become king. Their treatment of those with magical abilities, avoidance versus outright fear and hatred. The brief mentions to an acceptance towards same-sex couples, something that can be rare to see in fantasy. Because of those differences, those customs, I was intrigued by this world.

This was familiar fantasy, yes, but it felt fresh and new. It felt tense and secretive. It's certainly been standard for the books I've come across that in fantasy settings the princess and the prince fall in love. This smashed that to dust, and I hope there are most fantasy novels like this. More intersection in fantasy. Gay and lesbian and bisexual characters, trans characters. Disabled characters. If you've been waiting for a fantasy novel where the princess falls for the prince's sister, then here is your book.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (305)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Piper Perish
Author: Kayla Cagan
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books

From Goodreads:

Now is the time for fearlessness.

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power, even if it means giving up what she’s always known?

I'm curious as to how this one will go. I know it's written in a journal or diary style, but I wonder if there's going to be anything extra, like a mixed medium kind of book with art inside.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Me on Boy Robot

Title: Boy Robot
Author: Simon Curtis
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

In a single night, Isaak's life changed forever. His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin. An origin he doesn't want to believe, but one he cannot deny. Isaak is a Robot: a government-made synthetic human, produced as a weapon and now hunted, marked for termination. He and the Robots can only find asylum with the Underground—a secret network of Robots and humans working together to ensure a coexistent future. To be protected by the Underground, Isaak will have to make it there first. But with a deadly military force tasked to find him at any cost, his odds are less than favorable. Now Isaak must decide whether to hold on to his humanity and face possible death... or to embrace his true nature in order to survive, at the risk of becoming the weapon he was made to be.

Boy Robot is fast-paced, full of danger, discovery, and near-death encounters. It's a question between embracing humanity or embracing purpose. But to me, something was missing.

(Warning for readers that this book does contain scenes/memories of rape and child abuse.)

Issak, a kind, introspective young man. When his story begins he wonders if there's more to life, if he'll ever get to leave his small town and see the world. But then the headache comes, then his awakening comes, and he learns that he's not exactly human. He's a Robot, created by a secret government project looking to craft highly intelligent weapons. And now he's on the run. But he's not the only one. And soon enough, he's not alone.

With Issak and the others like him, their different abilities and powers, there's a big X-Men vibe. Teens with unimaginable powers being hunted down and eliminated, hoping to meet up and rise up so they can fight back on their own terms. Stripped down, this is a very familiar struggle. For survival, for humanity. For respect and acceptance.

I was intrigued by the premise, even though it sounded so familiar: teen with sudden and unexplained powers on the run towards a resistance group and from a military-type elimination team. The idea of the synthetic human, the real life person mixed with the futuristic technology, hooked me. Something that very vaguely reminded me of Margaret Stohl's Icons. But then a number of things occurred. The flashback scenes, the interludes in different points of view, were interesting, but they were all origin stories of pain, intense abuse, and death. During the race across the country, Issak is trying to figure out what he is and what his new abilities are, but no one really bothers to teach him what it is he can do. There's a lot of running and hiding. Issak's a kind, caring guy, but no one seems to want him for himself. Because of who he is as a person. It's all about what he can do, what he can be used for. How he can help other people run or hide or fight back. Yes, he's a Robot, but what was the point in giving him a personality if almost everyone was going to treat him like a tool? I wanted to like this book, but in the end it just wasn't for me.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Simon & Schuster Canada.)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (232)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

This was a hard week for a lot of people. It's time to stop, listen, and make plans on how to make things better. How to help. Time to step back and breathe, care for yourself if you're over-whelmed and worried.

Reviews going up this week will feature Boy Robot by Simon Curtis (Tuesday) and Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (Friday). :)
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (ARC from HarperCollins Canada)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Me on Seriously Shifted

Title: Seriously Shifted
Author: Tina Connolly
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: TorTeen

Teenage witch Cam isn't crazy about the idea of learning magic. She'd rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother's wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them. Now Cam's learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don't get him first, that is. Can't a good witch ever catch a break?

Seriously Shifted is clever and magical, an entertaining continuation from the first book but able to stand on its own.

Cam's back, ready to try and be as normal as possible. She still sees herself as suffering but not as much as before. Before Sarmine turned out to be her real mother, before she vaguely accepted her magical leanings. But only when it's ethical, which means no evil things and no killing creatures for ingredients. The thing is Sarmine isn't the only wicked witch out there, especially when some of her old school friends show up looking to cause some mayhem. Now Cam's on the case, trying to figure out who their targets are and saving the day while being a good witch about it.

It was interesting when Cam brought ethics into spellcasting and ingredient-gathering. She's surrounded by wicked witches, scrambling to get all her minion chores done before Sarmine tries to take over the world, and she's sure she can find a plant-based ingredient that works just as well as newt eyes or powdered pixie bone.

I think this is a great read for those looking for a mixture of magical troubles and contemporary teenage problems. Cam has to juggle a lot of things, like working spells and friendships and classmates and a boyfriend. It's a good combination of the fantastical and the realistic. And Cam and Jenah's friendship is still great, still supportive and solid but willing to give when one screws up. Sarmine is still evil, but she's trying to teach Cam about being a witch as best as she can. There are hints of a tenuous truce between the two of them. If you enjoyed the first, then make sure you pick this up.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Me on Waiting in Wednesday (304)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Given to the Sea
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Putnam's Childrens (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twins' adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Me on Seven Tears at High Tide

Title: Seven Tears at High Tide
Author: C.B. Lee
Release Date: October 15, 2015
Publisher: Duet Books (Interlude Press imprint)

Kevin Luong walks to the ocean's edge with a broken heart. Remembering a legend his mother told him, he lets seven tears fall into the sea. "I just want one summer—one summer to be happy and in love." Instead, he finds himself saving a mysterious boy from the Pacific—a boy who later shows up on his doorstep professing his love. What he doesn't know is that Morgan is a selkie, drawn to answer Kevin's wish. As they grow close, Morgan is caught between the dangers of the human world and his legacy in the selkie community to which he must return at summer's end.

Seven Tears at High Tide is sweet and heartfelt, a story about young love and secrets, about wishes. About the possible and the impossible.

Kevin is a smart young man. A wounded young man. Recently cast aside by someone he thought was his friend, was his boyfriend. His family is supportive and loving, they'd do anything for him and vice versa, but that's not what he's looking for right now. He wants to be loved in a romantic way, in a way that doesn't make him a secret to be tucked away in the shadows. He wants someone he can be happy with, someone he can watch movies and go rock hunting with. With Morgan he finds this happiness, he's expressive and excited. He doesn't know what secrets Morgan is hiding.

Morgan is kind and thoughtful, maybe a little naïve (maybe a lot). But how could he not be? He's a selkie, a creature who lives in the sea, travels across the sea with his family group, and so rarely has the chance to change into his human form. Kevin's Request is something the family group takes seriously, as so few Requests are made, and Morgan is the one who will fulfill it. How could he not love Kevin and his pure heart? But he's still a selkie, and Kevin's Request was only meant for the summer. What will he do when the summer ends?

There's a sweetness and a sadness to this book. A sweetness that sings in Kevin and Morgan, in their joy and awkwardness as they laugh and learn during their summer together. As Morgan learns all about the wonder that is fried food. A sadness that nudges at the edges, reminding them that summers end, that their time will end. I rather enjoyed this story about love, time, and wanting.

(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (231)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello there! It's getting brisk and chilly now, some rain but also just some cold air. I need to dig out my gloves soon.

I've noticed that good chuck of my days are spent reading through smart threads on Twitter, threads about mental health and diversity and racism written by people trying to voice their thoughts from a place of struggle and anger and frustration. It's certainly not what I thought I'd get from Twitter when I first logged on, but I do like it. It's a learning experience, as toxic and horrible as it can get some days. It's best in small doses with an open mind and a pen and paper in order to take notes.

Reviews going up this week will feature Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee (Tuesday) and How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington (Friday). :)
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Freya by Matthew Laurence (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly (ARC from Raincoast Books)
The Mesmirist by Ronald L. Smith (ARC from Raincoast Books)
All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (e-book borrowed from the library)
A Shadow Burning and Bright by Jessica Cluess (e-book borrowed from the library)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Me on Blood for Blood

Title: Blood for Blood
Author: Ryan Graudin
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Groups imprint)

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost. But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

Blood for Blood is a fight for survival and freedom, a mission to uncover the secrets of the most dangerous man and reveal them to the world. But the truth isn't always what it seems.

For Yael, the race is on. A far more important, more deadly race than the previous one she just rode through fields and over mountains. It's time to warn the Resistance, to let them know they plan didn't quite work out how they thought it would. It's time to find answers. Why? How? What now? How many will die because of what happened, because some weren't ready? Because some were traitors and some were worried about their families. It's up to Yael now to go back to Germania, to uncover the secrets behind her own experimentation and reveal the truth. Even if it costs her her life.

It's easy for me to read this and feel horrified, feel disgusted at the atrocities committed in this fictional version of our history. It's easy to condemn most of the German soldiers, easy to sympathize with Yael, with her cause and her mission. Her suffering. It's easy to be afraid of something like this happening now, considering the current political climate of certain large and powerful countries. The worry is thick, a sour taste in the back of my throat. People are being taught to hate those with a different skin colour than theirs, a different religion than theirs. Book like this show how close the line between reality and fiction are blurring faster than we thought they would, and how we need to stop the hate. Fans of the first book will surely be eager to see how Yael's journey ends.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (303)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Crooked Sixpence
Author: Jennifer Bell
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

For fans of the Apothecary series and "The Doldrums" comes the first in a fantasy trilogy where a city beneath London hides objects endowed with magical powers!

When officers brandishing toilet brushes arrive at their door, eleven-year-old Ivy Sparrow and her older brother, Seb, go tumbling into Lundinor, a secret underground city. The siblings find themselves in a world of enchantment, where uncommon people, alive and dead, trade in uncommon goods belts that enable the wearer to fly, yo-yos that turn into weapons, buttons with curative properties, and other enchanted objects capable of extraordinary feats.

But the charm wears thin when Ivy and Seb learn that their family is connected to one of the greatest uncommon treasures of all time and if they don t find it, their parents lives are forfeit. It s a race against time as Ivy and Seb attempt to unearth the treasure and rescue their parents.

Debut novelist Jennifer Bell delivers a world of wonder and whimsy in the start of a richly uncommon series.

Since I've been super enchanted by middle grade this fall, I'm looking forward to this. Mysterious middle grade with weird magic and running and outsmarting enemies? Yes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Me on Timekeeper

Title: Timekeeper
Author: Tara Sim
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (Skyhorse Publishing imprint)

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely. It's a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors. And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny's new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower's clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield's time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he's fought to achieve. But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he'll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Timekeeper is intriguing, enthralling, mysterious, and more than a little somber. It's a story about lonely souls and missing hours, of hope and love and selfishness.

Danny is sweet and kind. Skilled at his work as mechanic, repairing clocks and helping right time. He's also lonely, bruised and wounded after an accident and after the loss of his father in a Stopped town. He's hiding from his nightmares, from the past, and looking for something that will give him hope in the future. He seems run-down and weary, tired. Then he goes to Enfield. Then he discovers the clock spirit. Then he discovers something bigger than the two of them is happening.

I was intrigued by the world-building here, by the need for advancement in clock mechanisms because of the changes to time. Because of time being something slightly tangible, something that can be reined in and controlled. Something that stems from mythology, from the gods and goddesses of ancient times. I thought it was intriguing and new, the manipulation of time and the clock spirits. I also liked how the author altered other parts of history, like this world's views of homosexuality. Danny isn't ridiculed or hated, but it's the default of most he comes across that, when they ask if he's seeing anyone, they assume he'd date a girl.

As I read this I was struck by a sweet, melancholy tone that carried me along, rising and falling as Danny worked on the clock tower in Enfield and uncovered more and more behind the bombings and the Stopped towns. At times I chuckled and at times I wanted to cry. There were some interesting pokes and prods at a deeper mystery going on, one Danny brushes up against near the end, and so I'm curious as to where the second book will go and what will be revealed. Also if any side characters will appear again, if their roles will get a little bigger. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Skyhorse Publishing.)