Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser (from 10% in the eARC):
If they were sheep, the mudback captain was the sheepdog, by turns leading them into the fray, turning them away from danger, snapping at their heels, calling them to order when they fell apart.
This week I am reading Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
From New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima, this is a thrilling story of the unfathomable costs of war, the allure of dark magic, and two principled and conflicted characters drawn together despite everything they stand to lose.

Alyssa ana’Raisa, the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, feels more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, Lyss goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn’t pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne. Across enemy lines in Arden, young rising star Captain Halston Matelon is being sent on ever more dangerous assignments. Between the terrifying rumors of witches and wolfish warriors to the north and his cruel king at home, Hal is caught in an impossible game of life and death.

Lyss and Hal’s intricately linked fates become inseparable when they fall under the shadow of a new enemy—a force that threatens to extinguish the last rays of hope in the Shattered Realms.


Monday, March 27, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 27, 2017)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted at The Book Date.  Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts have given it a kidlit focus.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading...

This was a quiet week with cooler than normal temperatures which kept me inside.

I had a woman call and want to take a look at my house even though it won't go on the market officially until late in May. She liked it and thought it would work well for her and her two kids. She called the next day because her banker wanted information about the taxes. Seems like she could be a serious buyer for my house. My fingers are crossed that she can get everything in order to buy the house.

I also met with the painter who is going to paint the place from top to bottom. His bid came late in the week. Our original plan was to have it painted April 24-28 but I called and postponed until May 22-26. It will give me more time to get things in boxes and less time to scuff up the paint during my sale and moving. I'm hoping to sell enough to make some room for him to move around.

Last Friday a friend came over and we tackled my office. My office supplies closet is now empty with most things going into the rummage sale pile. Next Friday we are going to start packing books. Hopefully we'll get the ones in my family room and office boxed up. The main problem in that books in boxes take up much more room than books on shelves. But the bookshelves need to be empty and detached from the walls before the painter can do his job. We're going to save the wall of books in the Master Bedroom until after the rummage sale and the painting because those bookshelves are remaining, have backs, and can be painted around. Another large basket of clothes were discovered when we went through a couple more closets and were taken to the Salvation Army on Saturday.

Meanwhile at work, this coming week is the last week of the third quarter and will be filled with report cards for my 300+ students. I'm down to less than 50 work days remaining until retirement.

Read Last Week
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer was an interesting contemporary about a 16-year-old who finds herself pregnant without knowing how or when it happened and the results of her pregnancy on her father's campaign for Congress, her relationship with her boyfriend, and various other parties. My review will be posted on April 8.

While wandering around my high school media during times when my students were working independently and didn't need me, I grabbed a few books from the shelves the caught my attention. I've added some quick thoughts about each of these to LibraryThing and GoodReads but won't be writing reviews for the blog.
  • Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm was an engaging graphic novel with a young heroine dealing with spending the summer at her Grandfather's retirement home.
  • Woolvs in the Sitee by Margaret Wild was a sort of spooky, post-apocalyptic graphic novel the packed a lot into just a few pages.
  • Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer was a novel in verse telling about one year in the life of Josie who deals with her cerebral palsy and finds a friend.
Currently
Missing by Kelley Armstrong (April 18)

Next Week
Reviews Posted
 
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I got a surprise review book in my mail this week. We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan will be released on June 13.

You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

ARC Review: 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent

100 Hours
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: 100 Hours (Book 1)
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (March 28, 2017)

Description: In this sexy, pulse-pounding new duology by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent, a decadent spring break beach getaway becomes a terrifying survival story when six Miami teens are kidnapped.

Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.

While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.

But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her.

Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t thwart their captors’ plan, no one will make it out alive.

Tapping into our darkest fears while exploring issues of injustice, loss, and the courage to fight for what matters most, this thrilling read is perfect for fans of Nova Ren Suma, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

My Thoughts: This was an exciting, fast-paced thriller with intriguing characters. Genesis, whose father own a large shipping company, is the leader of her crew which includes her cousins Ryan and Maddie, her boyfriend Holden, and her friends Pen and Neda. Instead of spending their Spring Break in the Bahamas, Genesis decides that Colombia would be a better choice. Her grandmother lives there, her father was born there, and Ryan and Maddie's father was killed there.

The story begins with two people running from a woman toward the beach and the hope of freedom. Then the story counts down the previous hundred hours from the alternating viewpoints of Genesis and Maddie as the group are kidnapped by strangers they later learn are both terrorists and drug smugglers.

I found Genesis's viewpoint fascinating though I didn't like her at all at first and gradually came to understand her better as the story progressed. I also liked Maddie's viewpoint as she discovered strengths and talents that she didn't know she had.

Fans of thrillers will enjoy this one and wait eagerly for the book which completes the duology.

Favorite Quote:
Luke shrugs. "It's clean. It's the only thing I had that was small enough to fit into his mouth. Not that my underwear is small." His face turns bright red. "Not that it's big either. I mean..." Finally he gives up with a sigh. "Stop talking while you're ahead, Luke," he mumbles.

"I'm not sure you were actually ahead."
I got this one for review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Memes: 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
"She's getting closer!"

I glance over my shoulder, and the movement throws me off balance. My cousin grabs my arm before I can fall, then she's in the lead, clutching the cell phone in one hand.
Friday 56 (from 56% of the eARC):
I'm starting to think they're going to march us all night.
This week I'm reading 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
In this sexy, pulse-pounding new duology by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent, a decadent spring break beach getaway becomes a terrifying survival story when six Miami teens are kidnapped.

Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.

While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.

But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her.

Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t thwart their captors’ plan, no one will make it out alive.

Tapping into our darkest fears while exploring issues of injustice, loss, and the courage to fight for what matters most, this thrilling read is perfect for fans of Nova Ren Suma, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

ARC Review: Shadow Run by Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland

Shadow Run
Author: Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland
Publication: Delacorte Press (March 21, 2017)

Description: Firefly meets Dune in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can't resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he's a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they're more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev's mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she'll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power--and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.

My Thoughts: This is fast-paced, action filled space opera. Qole, her brother Arjan, and their crew mine Shadow which is a very dangerous power source. They pick up a new crew member in Nev who has a hidden agenda for being on their ship.

Qole and her brother come from a family that has been involved in Shadow for a long time and, thus far, Shadow has proved to be fatal to most of the family. Qole is only sixteen and has charge of the ship because her parents and her older brother all went mad from too much Shadow and died. Qole feels that that will likely be her fate too. However, Shadow does have some benefits. She is stronger, faster, and a much better pilot than anyone else her age.

Nev has been sent by his family who are among the Royals who control everything to bring Qole back so that they can learn about her affinity with Shadow and how to use it. He doesn't realize that his father the King and his uncle the mad scientist are willing to dissect her to find out her secrets. He comes to a rude awakening when he learns that all the high ideals about honor and service to the people were just lies that his family told him.

When Qole and Arjan are kidnapped to be experimented on, Nev has to break from his family to rescue the young woman who deserves his loyalty.

The world building in this one was intriguing. It takes place after the collapse of the gates that allowed interstellar travel which has isolated many planetary systems. Qole's own home planet is an ice-covered planet that has been mined out by drones owned by Nev's family. The drones still exist but no one knows how to program them anymore. Now they are mainly hazards to Shadow fishers.

I liked the relationship that grew between Nev and Qole. I liked that both of them had to come to terms with who they wanted to be. Qole has to learn more about Shadow and learn how not to be overwhelmed by it. Nev has to learn to forge his own path since he can no longer follow his father's orders blindly.

The story has lots of adventures as Nev has to first rescue Qole and then Nev, Qole and the rest of the crew have to mount a rescue of Arjan. They need to battle the combined forces of the king to win through.

Favorite Quote:
If the other Qole was dangerous as a meteor, this Qole was dangerous like Shadow, an unknown element to the people around her, and they stayed well away, casting sideways glances.
I got this one for review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ARC Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Blood Rose Rebellion
Author: Rosalyn Eves
Series: Blood Rose Rebellion
Publication: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 28, 2017)

Description: The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

My Thoughts: BLOOD ROSE REBELLION was an excellent historical fantasy about a society that hoards magic to itself and a girl born to that society who has no magic. Anna Arden is the middle child. The story begins at her older sister's debut - a time when a young woman shows off her magic to secure her place in society. Anna's sister has ordered her not to be anywhere close because, not only does Anna have no magic but, she is sometimes able to disrupt another person's spells.

When she catastrophically and thoroughly disrupts her sister's spells, she comes to the attention of the Society who want to study her. They fear that she might be able to disrupt the Binding Spell which keeps them in power.

To protect her, her father sends her with her Grandmother to Hungary to get her away from the Society. But the Society isn't willing to let her go. Anna arrives in Hungary feeling that she has been exiled from the life she wants. Her viewpoint changes when she meets her cousin and a young Romani man. In Hungary, Anna is exposed to many new ideas as she mingles with revolutionaries who want the Binding Spell gone. She sees how many people are oppressed by the current power structure.

Anna becomes the focus for those who want the Binding Spell gone and for those who want to preserve it. She has to decide which she wants more: the life she had or the new possibilities. This isn't an easy decision. Whichever path she chooses will cost almost more than she can survive.

I loved watching Anna grow throughout this story. The world building, based on the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, was well done. The characters were richly detailed and interesting people. I recommend this story to fantasy lovers. The story feels complete. There were no glaring cliffhangers, but the Epilogue does give intriguing hints for a possible sequel.

Favorite Quote:
I should feel jubilant as well -- and vindicated. I had set out to prove what I could do, and I had done it. But I felt neither: my stomach curled tight and I pressed my arms against my sides, my hands folded protectively before me. It was one thing to be a spell-binder, to shape air and light into illusions, to heal. It was something else entirely to destroy those spells, to turn gifts into curses, to release shadows into daylight.
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Shadow Run by Michael Miller

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser (from 10% of the eARC):
"If you suck up any harder, I'll think we're already back out in the vacuum of space." Qole's lips twitched, her eyes still focused on out path between the buildings. I felt a glow of pleasure at that small reaction.
This week I am reading Shadow Run by Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland. I got this eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
Firefly meets Dune in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can't resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he's a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.

But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they're more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.

Nev's mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she'll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power--and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.