Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ARC Review: A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights
Author: E, K. Johnston
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (October 6, 2015)

Description: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.


My Thoughts: This story is told by a young woman who steps in for her beloved sister when Lo-Meklhiin comes to their desert village in search of another wife. He has has more than 300 hundred brides and they have all died. Our heroine believes that she will soon die too but feels that it is worth it if her sister survives.

She is taken to his city where she feels alien. It is so different than life in the desert. Also, no one really wants to get to know her because they have already seen so many wives come and then die. But our heroine survives the first night and subsequent nights too. She learns that she has some power that keeps her groom from draining her life.

At home, her sister has set up a shrine to her and has encouraged her father and brothers to spread the shrines to all the places they go with their caravans. The shrines are marked with bits of purple cloth like the cloth of her wedding garment. Our heroine isn't completely comfortable with being worshiped as a smallgod but is grateful for the power that comes to her which lets her resist her husband's energy drains and helps her ameliorate some of his actions to his people.

The story is lyrical without being florid and really gives the feeling of place. The desert almost becomes another character in this novel. It wasn't until I was reading the Author's Notes at the back that I realized that none of the characters were named. Our heroine is referred to as Sister or Lady-bless depending on where she is. She talks about her Sister, her Mother, her Sister's Mother, but no one is named.

This was an engaging story that I couldn't put down. Fans of fairy tales will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
Always, it seemed, men would overlook unpleasant things for the sake of those that went well. The statues' eyes for the melodious sounds of the fountain. The deaths of their daughters for the bounty of their trade.
I got this ARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Spinning Starlight by R. C. Lewis

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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:
As she went to climb to the top of the slide again, her little face screwed up and she waved a hand by her ear like she was shooing a bug away.

Her father spotted it though. Not a bug.
This week my teaser comes from Spinning Starlight by R. C. Lewis. I got this eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates  the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family  in the galaxy, it's hard to escape it. So when a group of men shows up  at her house uninvited, she assumes it's just the usual media-grubs.  That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes,  only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than  she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as  well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor  implants a device in Liddi's vocal cords to monitor her speech, their  lives are in her hands: One word, and her brothers are dead.

Desperate  to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another  world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help  her bring her eight brothers home-a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But  without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to  convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the  planets deeply intertwined with her brothers' survival, just how much is  Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?

Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans  fuses all the heart of the classic tale with a stunning, imaginative  world in which a star-crossed family fights for its very survival.

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 28, 2015)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme begun by Sheila at Book Journey. 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...

Baseball is winding down with my Atlanta Braves out of the post-season this year but The Voice has begun its new season. I was hoping that my reading time would increase but it looks there will be as much viewing as before. I am also eager to watch some of the new programs debuting this fall. I watched the premiere of Blindspot after The Voice last week and enjoyed it. 

Our weather this past week was delightfully summer-like. I took lots of long walks after school before settling down in front of my computer. Unfortunately, the forecast for next week, which happens to be Homecoming week at school, is looking more fall-like. I think they are predicting rain for every day. Since I'm a fair weather walker, my step count will likely go down. On the up side, my reading time will increase.

Read Last Week
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine begins a new fantasy series. I enjoyed the world building and the characters. I am eager to read the next book. My review will be posted on November 26.

When I couldn't get into the next book on my review stack, I turned to my TBR mountain and decided to read The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry which had been there since 2010. I enjoyed this fantasy retelling reminiscent of Cinderella. My review will be posted on November 28.

Currently
Next up on my stack is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.

Next Week
I hope to get a chance to read The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh next week.

My next review book is Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood which is an eARC from NetGalley that will be released on December 8.

Reviews Posted

Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

I added one review book to my stack this week.
Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin will be released on April 19. I got this eARC from Edelweiss.

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

State of the Stack (September 28, 2015)


This is my monthly State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. I take a look at my review commitments on the last Monday of each month. Please feel free to join in and let me know the state of your stack.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet I list them in publication order and sort them by month. I can quickly see how many books I have for each date. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books. Check my spreadsheet to find out where I got each book.

I also do this post because sometimes (frequently) review books sit on my stack for a while before I read and review them. I try to read and review books within two weeks of publication date. Sometimes I can't, though, if too many books are releasing on the same date or if the book arrives too near its publication date and my calendar is already full.

I am very grateful to the authors and publishers who support my reading habit.

My Review Pile

December
 In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler (Dec. 1)
Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood (Dec. 8)
Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz (Dec. 8)
Haunting Investigation by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (Dec. 31)

January
 The Eighth Circle by Sarah Cain (Jan. 12)
Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire (Jan. 12)
 Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (Jan. 12)
Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan (Jan. 19)
Friday Barnes Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt (Jan. 19)
The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos (Jan. 26)

February
 Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers (Feb. 2)
Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh (Feb. 2)
 Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (Feb. 9)
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (Feb. 16)
The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine (Feb. 23)
Tumbled Graves by Brenda Chapman (Feb. 27)

March 
 Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie (March 1)
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (March 1)
 The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins (March 8)
A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann (March 15)
The Inn Between by Marina Cohen (March 22)
The Girl in the Tower by Lisa Schroeder (March 29)

April
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima (April 5)
Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin (April 19)

I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
  1. The August 5 by Jenna Helland (Nov. 5) 
  2. Soundless by Richelle Mead (Nov. 7) 
  3. On the Run by Tristan Bancks (Nov. 12)
  4. The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst (Nov. 14)
  5. Silent City by Carrie Smith (Oct. 7) 
  6. Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank (Sept. 16)
  7. Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts (Nov. 4)
  8. Cast in Honor by Michelle Sagara (Nov. 19)
  9. The Bad Boy CEO by Sugar Jamison (Nov. 5) 
  10. Sinner's Steel by Sarah Castille (Oct. 3)
Read Previously, Reviews Posted This Month
  1. The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (Sept. 1)
  2. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn (Sept. 2)
  3. Lady of Magick by Sylvia Izzo Hunter (Sept. 3)
  4. Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (Sept. 3)
  5. Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas (Sept. 5)
  6. Primal Force by D. D. Ayres (Sept. 5)
  7. Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales (Sept. 9)
  8. Dark Waters by Chris Goff (Sept. 9)
  9. Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty (Sept. 10)
  10. Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong (Sept. 10)
  11. Screwball by Linda Morris (Sept. 13) 
  12. The Fall by James Preller (Sept. 16)
  13. Walk the Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson (Sept 17)
  14. The Heat of the Moment by Katie Rose (Sept. 17)
  15. Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague (Sept. 19)
  16. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (Sept. 23)
  17. Breaking a Legend by Sarah Robinson (Sept. 24)
  18. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler (Sept. 24) 
  19. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee (Sept. 26)
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date published is listed in parentheses.
  1. Silent City by Carrie Smith (October 13)
  2. Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh (Feb. 2)
  3. Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank (Sept. 15)
  4. Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts (Nov. 3)
  5. Cast in Honor by Michelle Sagara (Nov. 24)
  6. The Bad Boy CEO by Sugar Jamison (Nov. 3)
  7. Untimely Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan (Nov. 10) 
  8. The Eighth Circle by Sarah Cain (Jan. 12)
  9. Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire (Jan. 12)
  10. The Girl in the Tower by Lisa Schroeder (March 29)
  11. The Inn Between by Marina Cohen (March 22)
  12. High School Horror: Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker (Jan. 12)
  13. Friday Barnes: Girl Detective by R. A. Sprat (Jan. 19)
  14. Sinner's Steel by Sarah Castille (Oct. 6) 
  15. Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz (Dec. 8) 
  16. Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin (April 19)
Next Month's Plan

I added more than I read this month but the release days are way out to April. My review stack is pretty managable right now since December is kind of a release wasteland. I only have four December releases on my stack. I am staying ahead on my reading.

What is the state of your stack? 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

ARC Review: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (September 22, 2015)

Description: A wildly creative Gothic fantasy retelling of Frankenstein, This Monstrous Thing is a wholly new reimagining of the classic novel by Mary Shelley and is perfect for fans of retellings such as Cinder by Marissa Meyer, fantasy by Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare, and alternative history by Scott Westerfeld.

In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.

But the resurrection does not go as planned, and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together—or ruin them forever.

My Thoughts: This re-imagining of Frankenstein set in a steampunk world was fascinating and filled with characters I cared about. Alasdair Finch is a Shadow Boy. He and his family - father, mother and older brother Oliver - have fled from place to place in Europe because combining medicine with mechanics is reviled. He and his family secretly help those who are injured by creating clockwork limbs.

When his brother Oliver dies in an accident, Alasdair goes a step further and brings him back to life with clockwork parts. He hides Oliver in a castle outside Geneva. Prejudices in Geneva are especially bad regarding anyone with clockwork parts. The head of the police Jiroux is determined to rid the city of them.

Exacerbating matters in all of Europe is the publication of Frankenstein by an anonymous author. Alasdair reads enough to know that it is telling his and Oliver's story. He wonders who wrote it. He thinks it might have been Oliver. Or perhaps it was Geisler, the scientist who started his father on the path of being a Shadow Boy. Or it might have been Mary Godwin. Two years earlier Mary, Alasdair and Oliver spent a summer together. Mary was staying in a villa near Geneva. Alasdair begins to fall in love with her until she tells him that she is already engaged to be married to Percy Shelley.

After Oliver's accident, it is Mary who helps Alasdair dig up his grave and reanimate him. Then she disappears.

I ached for Alasdair who wanted the life his brother despised. He wanted to be Geisler's student and attend the university in Ingolstadt while his father was pushing that future on Oliver. When Oliver died, Alasdair didn't think of the far-reaching consequences, he just wanted the brother he loved back with him again.

And, poor Oliver - reanimated and without his memories, in a body he despises and forced to stay in hiding. He is so very angry. While he was always reckless and impulsive, he had a loving heart. Now that part of him seems not to have been resurrected.

This was a wonderful story both for people who have read Frankenstein and for those who have not. I recommend it.

Favorite Quote:
My father liked to say that prejudice didn't have to make sense, but I'd still never worked out how anyone could think what we did was wicked. People like Jiroux thought that as soon as metal was fused to bone and muscle it took something fundamental and human away, and that men and women with mechanical parts were machines, somehow less than the rest of us.

The clockwork men either lived broken, or hated. It was a shitty choice.
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Memes: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

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.

This week I am spotlighting This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee which is a retelling of Frankenstein. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
A wildly creative Gothic fantasy retelling of Frankenstein, This Monstrous Thing is a wholly new reimagining of the classic novel by Mary Shelley and is perfect for fans of retellings such as Cinder by Marissa Meyer, fantasy by Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare, and alternative history by Scott Westerfeld.

In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.

But the resurrection does not go as planned, and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together—or ruin them forever.
Beginning:
My brother's heart was heavy in my hands.
Friday 56:
"God's wounds. You'd think they'd be pleased you weren't dead."

"To them, I was. Being mechanical is as good as dead, and I'm worse because I can't survive without clockwork in me. I've never met anyone else like that."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

ARC Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Publication: HarperTeen (September 22, 2015)

Description: Critically acclaimed memoirist Aaron Hartzler, author of Rapture Practice, takes an unflinching look at what happens to a small town when some of its residents commit a terrible crime. This honest, authentic debut novel—inspired by the events in the Steubenville rape case—will resonate with readers who've ever walked that razor-thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

The party at John Doone's last Saturday night is a bit of a blur. Kate Weston can piece together most of the details: Stacey Stallard handing her shots, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early. . . . But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills's shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn't have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate's classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can't be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same questions: Who witnessed what happened to Stacey? And what responsibility do they have to speak up about what they saw?

National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti calls What We Saw "a smart, sensitive, and gripping story about the courage it takes to do what's right."

My Thoughts: What happened at that party at Dooney's that Saturday night? Junior Kate Weston doesn't know. She got drunk early and her friend Ben Cody took her home. She didn't even see any texts or hear anything about it until Monday. She was busy visiting her old friend Ben who has somehow gone from being her best friend when they are five, to someone who went his separate way for several years, to being a boy who could be a boyfriend.

When Stacey Stallard is absent on Monday, Kate wonders because she spent some time with her at the party. Then the rumors started, something happened that involved some of the members of the basketball team - the State-bound basketball team. Ben is a star on the team and is depending on getting noticed by college scouts for his way out of this small, economically-depressed Iowa town.

When four of the players are arrested and charged with sexual assault of a minor and dissemination of child pornography, the town become polarized. The principal and basketball coach stand up for these upstanding young men from good families. Some of the students think that they way Stacey dressed and acted made the rape her fault. Kate wanted to know the truth but she was afraid to ask the boy she was coming to love, and who loved her, what he knew about that night.

The kids, the school and the town all chose sides. No one who was at the party would come forward to tell what they saw. Then the news of a video surfaced. Despite a number of people trying to make sure that all copies were deleted, Kate saw the video and decided that she had to tell what she saw no matter what or who it would cost her.

This is a very timely story that will give thoughtful readers lots to ponder. It is a story that needs to be told and Hartzler did an excellent job of showing the ways various people reacted.

Favorite Quote:
He takes both of my hands in his. "I get it, Kate."

"Do you?" I ask. "Why does it feel like I'm the only one who cares about this?"

"I care. But I haven't seen that video," he says. "And I don't want to. I have to play on Friday and Saturday. I have to show the scouts what I can do." He brings my hand to his lips and kisses it. "I have to get out of here."
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ARC Review: Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Crenshaw
Author: Katherine Applegate
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (September 22, 2015)

Description: In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

My Thoughts: CRENSHAW is a heart-breaking but hopeful story told by fourth grader Jackson about his family and his imaginary cat. Jackson's family has hit some hard times. His dad has MS and his mom has lost her job as a music teacher. There isn't enough to eat and they are getting close to losing their home.

When Jackson was in first grade the family lost their home and lived in their mini-van for fourteen weeks until they found their current apartment. While they were living in the van, Jackson met a black and white skateboarding cat that he named Crenshaw. Crenshaw kept him company and was his friend during that difficult time.

Now, Crenshaw is back. Seeing Crenshaw is difficult for fact-loving Jackson. He's sure that he is too old for an imaginary friend. But Crenshaw helps him deal with the yard sale they have to sell all of their things but a few keepsakes.

While times are hard for Jackson, his sister Robin and his parents, the one thing that isn't missing is the love that they all have for each other. I liked the hopeful ending of the story.

Favorite Quote:
Facts are so much better than stories. You can't see a story. You can't hold it in your hand and measure it.

You can't hold a manatee in your hand either. But still. Stories are lies, when you get right down to it. And I don't like being lied to.
**********
"Imaginary friends are like books. We're created, we're enjoyed, we're dog-eared and creased, and then we're tucked away until we're needed again."
I got this ARC from Macmillan via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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:
Ben squints into the sky as if deliverance from the puzzle of his mother's addiction might indeed be coming in the clouds.
This week my teaser comes from the eARC of What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. I got this review book from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
Critically acclaimed memoirist Aaron Hartzler, author of Rapture Practice, takes an unflinching look at what happens to a small town when some of its residents commit a terrible crime. This honest, authentic debut novel—inspired by the events in the Steubenville rape case—will resonate with readers who've ever walked that razor-thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

The party at John Doone's last Saturday night is a bit of a blur. Kate Weston can piece together most of the details: Stacey Stallard handing her shots, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early. . . . But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills's shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn't have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate's classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can't be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same questions: Who witnessed what happened to Stacey? And what responsibility do they have to speak up about what they saw?

National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti calls What We Saw "a smart, sensitive, and gripping story about the courage it takes to do what's right."

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 21, 2015)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme begun by Sheila at Book Journey. 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...

Our first full week of school also went great. The weather is pleasant. The construction at the elementary building is going well and isn't disrupting my part of the school at all. It will be nice when it is all finished in December and the people who have been displaced are all able to move into their permanent locations. Since the office has moved into the teachers' lounge, it will be nice to have our lounge back.

I spent Thursday afternoon at the dentist. I had a cavity under a crown and needed to have the crown removed, the cavity taken care of, and then all the prep work for a new crown. Since I have an extremely strong gag reflex, this wasn't a fun afternoon for me or for my dentist. Now I have to go back in a couple of weeks to get my new crown. Meanwhile, I have a temporary plastic crown and have been told to try to chew on the other side. 

I have been trying to walk at least 8000 steps a day and most school days I easily make that goal. Friday afternoon I missed my walk though because I was waiting for phone calls. I still need to work on getting more walking in during the weekends. Reading, blogging, housework and errands don't make me feel like going out for a walk.  

Read Last Week
I had a chance to read a couple of books from my TBR mountain this week.

I had heard great things about Court of Fives by Kate Elliott and was pleased to find that all of them were true. I really enjoyed this high fantasy which begins a series. My review will be posted on November 21.

I am a big fan of Rachel Vincent and was also happy to read The Stars Never Rise. This one also begins a new series that is part dytopia and part fantasy. My review will be posted on November 25.

Currently
I have had Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine on my TBR mountain since it was released. I am eager to finally get a chance to fit it into my reading calendar.

Next Week
The next two review books on my stack are The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers by Alexander Gordon Smith and Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood. Both are being released in early December.
I hope to also fit in a couple more from my TBR mountain. I got both The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir in July.

Reviews Posted

Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

I got a box of review books from Macmillan on Friday. Most of these are middle grade books.
Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire will be released on Jan. 12.
High School Horror: Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker will also be released on Jan. 12
Friday Barnes Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt will be released on Jan. 19
The Inn Between by Marina Cohen will be released on March 22
The Girl in the Tower by Lisa Schroeder will be released on March 29

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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

ARC Review: Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

Connect the Stars
Author: Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
Publication: HarperCollins (September 22, 2015)

Description: From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes a heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits discovering the importance of just being themselves.

When thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Audrey meet at a wilderness camp in the desert, they think their quirks are enough to prevent them from ever having friends. But as they trek through the challenging and unforgiving landscape, they learn that they each have what it takes to make the other whole.

Luminous and clever, Connect the Stars takes on some hefty topics of the day—bullying, understanding where you fit in, and learning to live with physical and mental challenges—all in a joyous adventure kids will love!

My Thoughts: This is a story about a group of misfit kids who are sent to a dessert survival camp because their parents want to help them change. Audrey has become a hermit because she can tell any time people are lying which makes it hard to be around people. She can't think of any reason why anyone should ever tell a lie and gets really upset when anyone does. Aaron has a head full of facts. He remembers everything he reads, sees, or hears and comes out with those facts on any occasion. this makes him great at Quiz Bowl until they ask a question about feelings. He can't do feelings. They are completely baffling to him.

Audry and Aaron and teamed up with Kate who seems overwhelmingly sad but who has the ability to walk in someone else's shoes and Louis whose senses are hyper and who is afraid of many things. The four of them have to team up to survive the challenges set them by the crazy camp leader Jare. Of course, they also have to team up to survive the bullying of Daphne and Randolph.

Over the course of the two and half weeks that the camp lasts, the kids learn to play to their strengths and adjust for their weaknesses. And Audrey, despite her determination not to, makes friends who will last a lifetime.

I think that middle schoolers will enjoy this story both for the desert setting and challenges that the kids face to survive. I also think that they will see themselves in the characters and will enjoy getting to know them.

Favorite Quote:
I smiled at this. I couldn't help myself. After I did it, I let out a groan, and this time, it wasn't because of the heat or the hike. I saw that it was starting: we'd all keep talking and arguing and shoving and smiling at each other and interacting, and soon these people would stop being Ketchup Hair and Sad-Eyed Girl and Skinny Kid. Soon they would have names; soon they'd be full-fledged people, like Lyza, like Janie, and I knew that's when the real trouble would start.
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Memes: Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

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.

This week I am spotlighting Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague. I got the middle grade eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes a heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits discovering the importance of just being themselves.

When thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Audrey meet at a wilderness camp in the desert, they think their quirks are enough to prevent them from ever having friends. But as they trek through the challenging and unforgiving landscape, they learn that they each have what it takes to make the other whole.

Luminous and clever, Connect the Stars takes on some hefty topics of the day—bullying, understanding where you fit in, and learning to live with physical and mental challenges—all in a joyous adventure kids will love!
Beginning:
I was thirteen years old, and I could have written a book on lying. 
Friday 56:
I heard Kate struggle with the lid to the bottle, and then someone must have gotten it off because suddenly the inside of my nose was prickling with a medicinal smell. It wasn't bad, really. I mean, you wouldn't want to use witch hazel as a perfume, but at least it smelled powerful, and I was hoping for a powerful cure.