Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (357)

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

Title: Lost Crow Conspiracy
Author: Rosalyn Eves
Release Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year old Anna Arden was once just the magically barren girl from an elite Luminate family. Now she has broken the Binding—and Praetheria, the creatures held captive by the spell, wreak havoc across Europe. Lower-class citizens have access to magic for the first time, while other Luminates lose theirs forever. Austria and Hungary are at odds once more.

Anna Arden did not know breaking the Binding would break the world.

Anna thought the Praetheria were on her side, content and grateful to be free from the Binding. She thought her cousin Matyas's blood sacrifice to the disarm the spell would bring peace, equality, justice. She thought her future looked like a society that would let her love a Romani boy, Gabor.

But with the Monarchy breathing down her neck and the Praetheria intimidating her at every turn, it seems the conspiracies have only just begun.

As threat of war sweeps the region, Anna quickly discovers she can't solve everything on her own. Now there's only one other person who might be able to save the country before war breaks out. The one person Anna was sure she'd never see again. A bandit. A fellow outlaw. A man known as the King of Crows. Matyas.

I rather enjoyed the first book Blood Rose Rebellion, even though it wasn't quite what I'd expected. In a good way. :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Me on The Speaker

Title: The Speaker
Author: Traci Chee
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive. With Sefia's help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer's fate to her parents' betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard's plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

The Speaker is continuing an epic tale of danger, magic, and an attempt at changing destiny. This is a story about fate, about the ways we try to run from it and the ways it surrounds us, making sure we never escape. Because the story's already been written.

Sefia is continuing her journey. A journey towards the truth, towards what the Book shows her. A journey towards penance, towards an attempt at making things right, because the Book has shown her some troubling things. Like early stories of her parents, of their betrayal to the Guard and their thievery. Of their plans, their creations and searches for a boy with a scar. This is her chance to right their wrongs, save the lives of those taken and forced into painful situations. But will it be enough?

Archer is free from the impressors, on the run with Sefia, but the horrors he was forced to do still plague him. Haunt his dreams. So much damage was done to him, him and so many other young boys taken by the impressors, trained to fight to the death for a chance for glory. Along with Sefia and the Book, they can find the impressors. Take them down. Free the other boys. But there are some fights where the bloodlust takes hold and Archer finds it harder and harder to not be who he once was.

As with the first book, I was in awe of this second offering. How it takes books and words and gives them such power, how it makes them such wondrous things with the ability to create and destroy on such an immense scale. Words have power, yes. We see this in our daily lives. But what if we could use words like magic, make the impossible possible? And what if, in order to keep the world from destroying itself, we had to destroy books? Eliminate all words? The tension is building, forces are moving. Searching. Sefia and Archer's story has already been written, it's all somewhere in the Book. It's destiny. But that doesn't mean they can't try everything in order to change it. I can't wait for the next book, to see how it will all turn out.

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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (285)

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. ;)

Hi all! Sorry these posts aren't longer. It's hard to think of things when it's rainy and dreary and the lack of sun brings me down.

Reviews going up this week will feature The Speaker by Traci Chee (Tuesday) and Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (Friday). :)
The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey (borrowed from the library)
Across the Indigo by Elsie Chapman (e-galley from Amulet Books through NetGalley)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Me on Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books (Macmillan imprint)

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she'd always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king's heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she'll have to become a stepmother. Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen's image, at her father's order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she's ever known… or else defeat her once and for all.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is full of sorrow and strength, full of searching. Searching for love, for a place to call one's own.

Lynet is inquisitive and compassionate. Curious about the people that visit the castle, because she's never left the wintry world that surrounds Whitespring. She's a sheltered princess looking for something that's hers, something that can only be hers. Something that means she can come out from her deceased mother's shadow that so many people keep her under. People like her father. Her stepmother Mina is the only one who understands, the only one who sees her as herself. But when Lynet discovers the truth about herself, that she was crafted from snow and blood, she wonders what else was kept from her. If she will ever be able to be her own person.

Mina is lonely, unloved and uncared for. Her father only raises her because she owes him her life, that without him crafting her a heart of glass she would've surely died as a child. But what about love? Mina craves a place that's hers, a love that's hers. Isn't she worthy of being loved, even if she has no heartbeat? And when she finally has something that's hers, what will she do when it's taken from her?

I found the premise of this to be rather intriguing, a Snow White-esque retelling all about the princess and her stepmother, the circumstances of their situations and the evolution of their characters. It's so interesting, how they were each crafted of something both fragile and strong. The way glass shatters, the way snow melts, but the way glass reflects and reveals, the way snow can compact and protect. This was surprising, it's all about these young women discovering who they truly are, discovering what makes them strong, and the compassion that runs through them. I would definitely recommend this to those looking for unique fairy tale retellings.

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (356)

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

Title: Leah of the Offbeat
Author: Becky Albertalli
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

I'm so exited for this! I love Becky's books, they're honest and hard but in such a supportive way. I can't wait to read this.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Me on Not Now, Not Ever

Title: Not Now, Not Ever
Author: Lily Anderson
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Publisher: Wednesday Books (Macmillan imprint)

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards. What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family's expectations. Because why do what's expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you're sure your family will consider a complete waste of time? This summer's going to be great.

Not Now, Not Ever is clever and fun, the story of a teenager trying to escape to and find her place in before time runs out. But events never happen as they're planned out.

Elliot's looking for a place to escape to. A place where she doesn't have to worry about what other people want from her, what they expect her to do in the future. What about what she wants to do? Sure, the Air Force is in her family, but she's not exactly sure if she wants to enlist. So she takes a chance when she gets it, heading off to a somewhat stress-filled academic competition in order to win a scholarship to a college she'd love to attend. Not just because it's not the air force or pre-law, but because it could mean studying science fiction. But the camp is far more tense and competitive than she thought it would be, and her campmates are far weirder than she'd expected.

This book is fun, it had moments of genius teen snark and attitude, nerdy pop culture references, and teenage romance. I'd never read Wilde, so while I did look up the plot of the play beforehand, I imagine there were a few The Importance of Being Earnest references that I missed. It was nice to read another Lily Anderson book, to read about characters having abstract or geeky interests and acting like real people with flaws, dreams, and heaps of confusion. While I didn't necessarily like this one as much as the first book, this was still enjoyable.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Wednesday Books through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (355)

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

Title: The Belles
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

From Goodreads:

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

I've heard a bunch of good things about this book so I'm curious as to how it will go. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Me on The Fallen Kingdom

Title: The Fallen Kingdom
Author: Elizabeth May
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Deep in a forest, Aileana Kameron claws her way out of the earth. Back from the dead with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, the Falconer now possesses even greater otherworldly powers and a ruthless instinct to kill—and the one piece of knowledge that can change everything. Two fae monarchs, Aithinne and Kadamach, stand on the brink of war, and according to an ancient curse, one must die at the hand of the other or all the worlds will perish. Once, Kadamach was known as Kiaran, and he was mentor, protector, and lover to Aileana. Now, under the grip of the curse, his better nature seems lost forever. Aileana's only hope lies in the legendary Book of Remembrance, a book of spells so powerful that it can break the fae curse and even turn back time. But the book has been lost for centuries, and many are looking for it, including its creator, the Morrigan—a faery of terrifying malevolence and cruelty. To obtain the book and defeat the Morrigan, Aileana must form an unthinkable alliance, one that challenges every vow she has made to herself—even as the powers that brought her to life are slowly but surely killing her.

The Fallen Kingdom is the conclusion to a series steeped in fae magic and blood, danger and destruction. It's the end of Aileana Kameron's story, her journey of hunting and searching, of anger and sadness, and unless she finds what she's looking for, it'll be the end of the world.

Aileana has returned. Somehow. Because she has to save the world from what it has become, and from what it may become. A battlefield, with Kiaran leading one side and Aithinne leading the other, siblings destined to kill each other to keep all the words from collapsing into nothing. With strange and powerful fae magic running through her, Aileana and those she holds close are racing against time, racing to find a book that can turn back curses. But darkness lingers and enemies are everywhere. Enemies ready and waiting to have their own way. But Aileana will not stop. Even if it means her own death. As long as those she cares about are safe.

As always, when a series ends, I find myself looking back on it as a whole. This is a trilogy of magic, of impossibility. Of life and death. Of compassion, redemption, and vengeance. Of the strength we find in ourselves when we are at our most vulnerable. It's lush with hope and sorrow, with connections to those we call friends and family in those darkest hours. I've found it to be an amazing series to read and I couldn't be happier with how it ended.

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (284)

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. ;)

Hi! So much rain. *floats on down the street*

Reviews going up this week will feature The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May (Tuesday) and Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (Friday). :)
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston (bought)
Warcross by Marie Lu (e-book borrowed from the library)
The Speaker by Traci Chee (e-book borrowed from the library)
Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett (e-book borrowed from the library)
Seeker by Veronica Rossi (e-book borrowed from the library)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (e-book borrowed from the library)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Renegades

Hi there! Welcome to one of today's stops on the blog tour for Marissa Meyer's newest book, Renegades!
It's all about superheroes, about good and evil and the spaces in between. About what pushes us to help or to hinder. About what makes a hero, what makes a villain. To celebrate Renegades, enjoy this post that has both my review and a question answered by the wonderful Marissa Meyer herself. :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (354)

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

Title: The Defiant
Author: Lesley Livingston
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada (US publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Random House)

From Goodreads:

The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life.

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.

Considering the first, the battles and the harsh reality of Fallon's situation and the manipulation, this will probably be just as brutal.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Me on Retribution Rails

Title: Retribution Rails
Author: Erin Bowman
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)

When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece's path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

Retribution Rails is all about investigation and redemption, a story about two people willing to use each other to get free of terrible situations and the truths they discover along the way.

Reece was once lost but now part of a group. Which at least means safety, even if they are a gang of bandits and thieves. Murderers. Robbing trains and carriages, stealing. Taking in order to survive. Not the Reece necessarily wants to be there, but he has no choice. Not until he finds the man who gave him a strange gold coin. Then he'll be free. Then he'll be able to forget about all the things he's done, all the people he's hurt. But you can't run from the past.

Charlotte is intelligent and persistent. She'll stop at nothing to uncover the truth, to tell the story as it is. The truth is absolute, no matter who it'll hurt. Who she'll manipulate in order to get her story. Especially if she wants to survive a train robbery and an accidental kidnapping. Even if she stumbles across the best story she's ever heard. But there's the truth as it happened and the truth people want to believe, and sometimes the latter needs to be told instead of the former.

This definitely holds up as a companion to Vengeance Road, but I think you can read this without reading the first. Reading the first certainly provides some backstory to some somewhat important characters but not the main ones of Reece and Charlotte. They're like oil and water when they come together, ready to use each other in order to stay free or alive. The western setting is harsh and unforgiving, cold and painful, where consequences often lead to being on the wrong end of a gun barrel. This is very much a story about two people willing to do anything they can to be free f their circumstances, and the harsh reality that their actions have real consequences for both them and others they never meant to hurt. For readers who enjoyed the first book and readers looking for more western-set YA, I would suggest this.

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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (283)

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. ;)

Hi! It snowed! Which was terrible. But not that much. But still. It doesn't give me hope that the winter won't be as cold and snowy as it was last year. It's not supposed to be that cold and snowy here in the winter. Curse you, climate change. *shakes fist*

Reviews going up this week will feature Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman (Tuesday) and a blog tour featuring Renegadess by Marissa Meyer (Thursday). :)
A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess (borrowed from the library)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Me on Last Star Burning

Title: Last Star Burning
Author: Caitlin Sangster
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That's the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation. Now her mother's body is displayed above Traitor's Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she's more valuable alive than dead. When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev's only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman's son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can't help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother's crimes—than he lets on. But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev's life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Last Star Burning is a layered story, a story of fear and sickness and rebellion. A story about a girl wanting to prove she's more than her traitor mother and the places she's forced to go in order to stay alive.

Sev knows her place in the City, even as she hates it. Hates what her mother did years ago. Hates that no one can look past her name, her scar that marks her as a traitor, her face that looks so much like her mother's. But she's hoping that one day, maybe, she'll prove her place as someone useful. But then there's an attack and Sev's on the run to stay alive, afraid the City will finally punish her like they did her mother. But then she meets Howl, who knows more about her and her mother than she expects, and discovers so many things she thought she knew were lies.

This was interesting to read. I could see where the author drew inspiration from Chinese history and culture, but it's very much set in a slightly ruined futuristic fantasy dystopian setting. I kept waiting for something different to happen, something to happen to Sev because of her illness and her delusions. It's a story that seems to be all about the people in it, their decisions, their plots and plans. Some twists were predictable, but some weren't. There were times when I felt it dragged, where it was slow. It was something a little different than past dystopian books, and I was interested in some parts, but it was a bit too slow for my tastes.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Simon & Schuster through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (353)

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

Title: Robots vs. Fairies
Editors: Navah Wolfe & Dominik Parisien
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Saga Press

From Goodreads:

Get ready for the ultimate deathmatch between the mechanical and the magical.

Travel with us to distant stars, step sideways into worlds under the hill, journey across ruined landscapes at the end of the world, solve riddles in the Old West, and follow that strange music to the dive bar down the road. The robots and fairies are waiting for you there, they are waiting for you everywhere. And now the time has come to choose a side. Old stories will be upgraded, worlds will collide, science will give way to magic and magic will become science.

Join 18 bestselling, award-winning and up and coming authors as they pick a side and take a stand to answer the question on everyone’s mind: when the lasers cease firing and the fairy dust settles, who will triumph in the epic battle between the artificial and the (super)natural?

I WANT. That is all. ;)