Saturday, July 30, 2016

Book Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls (Book 3)
Publication: Scholastic Press (July 12, 2011)

Description: The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this semi-conclusion to this series. (SINNER is on my Kindle to read in a while.) This book has been sitting on my stack since 2011. So it would be safe to say that the details of the first two books in this series were quite hazy in my mind. Fortunately, I didn't have any trouble picking up the story again.

The book is told in four unique viewpoints: Sam's, Grace's, Isabel's and Cole's. Each one shades the story through their perceptions and together we get a complete picture.

When the story begins, Sam is "cured," Grace is spending most of her time as a wolf, Cole is desperately trying to find a "cure," and Isabel is dealing with her feeling for Cole, grief for her brother's death, and her friendship with Grace.

Things are getting hard for the wolves as Isabel's father is determined to get the wolves removed from protected status and organize a helicopter hunt to exterminate them. Sam is coming to terms with his relationship with Beck as he learns things that change what he thought he knew. I really liked getting to know Cole better through this story. I also really liked Sam and Grace's romance.

Though the ending is somewhat ambiguous, I am going to believe that Sam and Grace live happily ever after.

Favorite Quote:
There is not better taste than this: someone else's laughter in your mouth.
I bought this one October 4, 2011. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Memes: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

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:
I can be so, so quiet.
Friday 56:
I asked, "Did your dad shoot all these?"

Isabel made a face. "Not all. Some of them he probably lectured to death."
I dug into my TBR mountain to find Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. I bought this one in October of 2011. I read the first two books in this series sometime in 2011. Here is the description from Amazon:
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

ARC Review: The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

The Gilded Cage
Author: Lucinda Gray
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (August 2, 2016)

Description: After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper class England in the 1820s, is shattered when she discovers the corpse of her brother George in a lake on the estate-the tragic accidental drowning of a young man, the coroner reports, despite the wound to George's head.

Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident. A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham.

Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?

My Thoughts: What a lovely Gothic novel! Katherine Randolph grew up in Virginia with her brother George. They were orphaned but taken in by a kind neighbor family. Their lives change immensely when a lawyer comes to call tell them that they have inherited Walthingham Hall in England after the death of a grandfather they never met.

They are made welcome by their cousins Henry and Grace Campion but strange things start to happen. There are rumors of beasts in the woods nearby. Almost immediately after their arrival, George is found dead. Katherine suspects foul play the but the older, wiser men including the local magistrate and her cousin are convinced that it was an accident.

Katherine is alone with no support except her loyal maid and a footman but both of them are threatened with being let go. She makes a friend with the magistrate's daughter Jane who is in love with Cousin Henry. When her loyal footman suffers an "accident" when out hunting, Katherine knows that she is correct that her brother's death was not an accident.

Many exciting things happen before the villain is unveiled and gets his comeuppance but Katherine manages to stay strong, smart, and intrepid despite the things that happen to her. This was a nice romance and had all sorts of scary moments, too.

Favorite Quote:
There—in the corner—something crouches. A dark shape, too hunched to be a man. As I adjust to the blackness, my sight sharpens, and I see two yellow eyes watching me. My breath stops in my throat. This can't be happening. Keeping my eyes on the thing, I move my legs to the floor, carefully, carefully. It keeps its terrible gaze trained back on mine.
I received this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan 
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Leviathan (Book 1)
Publication: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (August 10, 2010)

Description: It is the cusp of World War I. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ genetically fabricated animals as their weaponry. Their Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet.

Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.

My Thoughts: This story is a combination of alternate history and steampunk. It takes place in 1914 when Europe is on the verge of war. It stars Deryn Sharp who has disguised herself as a boy now named Dylan and joined the air corps. She finds herself as a middie on the Leviathan which is a living ship made up of a number of fabricated animals. Deryn and her people are Darwinists because, in this world, Darwin discovered DNA and a craze for creating all sorts of new living beings began.

It also stars Aleksandar who is the son of Archduke Ferdinand. It begins when the Archduke and his wife are assassinated and Alex's loyal subjects are trying to get him to Switzerland and safety. Austia-Hungary is the land of the Clankers. Alex's people have developed all sorts of interesting machines. In fact, they flee in a walker which is sort of like a tank with legs.

The two kids converge on a glacier in Switzerland which is where the Leviathan is forced to land after being attacked by German airships. Alex and his cohorts have a secret base there where his men hope he will spend the war. But he has to see if he can help when the ship comes down.

They have to work together when the forces searching for him and for the Leviathan converge. Add to this a science boffin named Nora Darwin Barlow who has an urgent need to get some egg to the Ottoman Empire and you have all sorts of action.

I loved all the steampunk details both of the Clanker's technology and the Darwinist's beasties. I also like the friendship that grew between "Dylan" and Alex. Deryn was a great character who is determined to be who she wants to be despite the handicap of her gender. She is brave, smart and adventurous.

The story continues in BEHEMOTH and I can't wait to read it.

Favorite Quote:
Newkirk looked down, shuddering a little. "Don't like those beasties either."

"You don't like any beasties," Deryn said.

"Aye, but the crawly ones are the worst."
I bought this one October 24, 2010. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. 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:
"I think we have a tumbler!" bellows Lord Flint. His wife beside him lets out a peal of laughter.
This week my teaser comes from The Gilded Gage by Lucinda Gray. I got this book for review from Macmillan. Here is the description from Amazon:
After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper class England in the 1820s, is shattered when she discovers the corpse of her brother George in a lake on the estate-the tragic accidental drowning of a young man, the coroner reports, despite the wound to George's head.

Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident. A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham.

Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 25, 2016)

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...

My stretch of quiet weeks ended this week. We had some weather excitement when a line of very strong thunderstorms came through late Wednesday night. We lost power for about 6 hours and are lucky. I'm writing this on Saturday afternoon and there are still substantial parts of Duluth that aren't expected to have power restored until Tuesday afternoon because of so many downed power lines and power poles. We also lost cable access. So I had no TV, house phone or internet until 3:30 on Thursday and it has been dropping off unexpectedly since for hours at a time.

We lost part of a tree in the storm which neighbors have already helped fix by bringing their chainsaws and cutting off the broken portion and cutting up the fallen part into usable chunks for disposal and fire pits. We also lost a large section of shingles and some of the facing from the roof. Insurance adjusters are scheduled to come look early this coming week.

The house hunt continues. I had one I was very interested in that was sold before my agent could get me in to see it. I have started to look for land to build my own here in Duluth. The thing about building though is that it takes so long and I am 250 miles away for most of the next year. It looks like there are lots of stressful decisions in my future.

Read Last Week
Vicarious by Paula Stokes was an interesting psychological mystery with some elements of science fiction. I liked the story very much. My review for this August 16 release will be posted on August 11.

Then I chose a few from my TBR mountain.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff was also science fiction. This one is a unique reading experience told in memos, IMs, hacked reports, and other interesting graphic presentations of the after-effects of a planetary invasion. My review will be posted on August 24.
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is an epic fantasy story that is also post-apocalyptic. Its setting in Japan. I liked that it mined a relatively unused mythology for its base. I also thought it was action-packed and entertaining. My review will be posted on August 25.

Shadows by Robin McKinley was also a fantasy. I enjoyed the main characters adventures as she discovers that she has magic and that what she has been told about it by her government is both wrong and dangerous. My review will be posted on August 27.

Currently
I added The Strange Maid by Tessa Gratton to my TBR mountain on July 21, 2014. I remember enjoying the first book in this series which mines Norse mythology for its fantasy setting.

Next Week
It is time to start tackling the September releases on my Review Stack.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I bought a copy of The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton this week because it sounded good.

I got a PDF review copy of Vicarious by Paula Stokes from her publicist.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Book Review: Seizure by Kathy Reichs

Seizure
Author: Kathy Reichs
Series: Virals (Book 2)
Publication: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (October 18, 2011)

Description: Lost treasure. Perilous adventures. Deadly foes.

Tory and her friends are just starting to get a handle on their super-heightened wolf-like capabilities—contracted during a medical experiment gone horribly wrong—when they find out funding is being pulled from the institute where their parents work. The pack now faces its greatest fear—separation. So when Tory stumbles across ancient lore hinting at a lost pirate treasure, the Virals devise a risky plan that pits them against fiendish traps, headless corpses, and deep underground tunnels. But they're not the only ones looking, and the competition could be lethal. They'll need to work as one mystery-solving canine force if they to hope to uncover the lost fortune, save the institute, and stick together!

My Thoughts: This second in the Virals series has the team - Tory, Ben, Shelton and Hi and Tory's wolf dog Cooper - facing a pretty big problem. They are just starting to understand the powers they acquired when given a virus that added canine DNA to their own DNA when bad news comes. The research center where most of their parents work is being closed and sold off.

The kids are determined to find a way to save the center so that they can stay together. Since the research center is on an island near Charleston, South Carolina, it doesn't take long for them to decide to search for pirate treasure. Anne Bonny is reputed to have buried some somewhere in the area. The kids aren't the only ones who want Anne Bonny's treasure and soon find themselves dealing with a number of enemies.

The kids use their various talents to track down the clues and use their Virals powers to get themselves out of a number of dangerous situations. This story was action-packed and should keep any middle grader on the edge of their seat. Along the way, they'll also learn quite a bit about Anne Bonny and the area around Charleston.

I liked that Tory was the alpha of her new pack despite being the youngest of the teens. I also liked that Tory had to juggle her dad's new girlfriend's plan to have Tory take part in Cotillion along with the more adventurous parts of the story. Even Virals have to deal with bullies!

This is the second of a five book series which also has four novellas. I look forward to reading lots more about Tory and her friends.

Favorite Quote:
"I'll just say it." Hi gestured to the ghostly stretch before us. "This is the creepiest place in the world. So glad we came in the middle of the night."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.
 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Memes: Seizure by Kathy Reichs

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:
Cannons thumped in the distance.
Friday 56:
My senses vaulted into overdrive, exploding all at once, like a car started with the stereo on full blast. System overload.
I dug deep in TBR mountain to find Seizure by Kathy Reichs. I added this one to LibraryThing on Oct. 11, 2011. Here is the description from Amazon:
Lost treasure. Perilous adventures. Deadly foes.

Tory and her friends are just starting to get a handle on their super-heightened wolf-like capabilities—contracted during a medical experiment gone horribly wrong—when they find out funding is being pulled from the institute where their parents work. The pack now faces its greatest fear—separation. So when Tory stumbles across ancient lore hinting at a lost pirate treasure, the Virals devise a risky plan that pits them against fiendish traps, headless corpses, and deep underground tunnels. But they're not the only ones looking, and the competition could be lethal. They'll need to work as one mystery-solving canine force if they to hope to uncover the lost fortune, save the institute, and stick together!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

ARC Review: The Ministry of SUITS by Paul Gamble

The Ministry of SUITS
Author: Paul Gamble
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (July 26, 2016)

Description: Memo: For Ministry of Strange, Unusual, and Impossible Things Operatives Only

A series of strange incidents have been reported in Belfast:
* Oddball kids are going missing
* There are several unconfirmed signs of pirates.
* A wild bear known to be a very sore loser at musical statues has escaped from the museum and is on the rampage.

Fortunately, our newest recruits, Jack Pearse, a curious boy skilled at logical thinking and seeing what's actually there, and Trudy Emerson, the most dangerous girl in his school, are on the case. As per Ministry policy, they are currently being trained in the use of The Speed (patent pending) and will have full access to Ministry supplies (assuming they manage to navigate the paperwork without going insane), so we are confident that they will succeed in their mission to discover and foil this villainous plot.

Please provide all assistance possible, as a) they don't know who they are actually up against, b) the world is much stranger than they realized, and c) they are only 12 and have to be in bed by 10 p.m.

P.S.-Could all Ministry operatives who have borrowed dinosaurs in the past two weeks please return them? We're running low on inventory.

My Thoughts: This middle grade adventure was one of the silliest books I have ever read. Twelve-year-old Jack becomes an agent for the Ministry of SUITs (Strange, Unusual and Impossible Things) when he saves his friend from being attacked by a bear by using a chair from a bistro to hold him off. According to this story, bears are afraid of wooden chairs because trees are one of the few things they can't overpower.

This book is filled with all sorts of silly things told in footnotes and in pages from the manual of the Ministry of SUITs. I'm not quite sure how much of this is middle grade humor but I did find myself chuckling as I read this one. The Tooth Fairy is a big, burly guy who runs around in a pink tutu and who claims any teeth found under pillows whether or not they have come out of the mouth they grew in.

Jack and his new partner Trudy find themselves up against pirates, dinosaurs, and other strange creatures as they try to figure out who is taking odd kids (including Jack's best friend David) and why they are being taken.

This one was fun and there is room for sequels. I'll be looking for them.

Favorite Quote:
"Does the Minister know what's going on?"

"Probably not," said Grey. "But he will at least make you confused in a different way. Now follow me."
I received this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

ARC Review: Trapped by S. A. Bodeen

Trapped
Author: S. A. Bodeen
Series: Shipwreck Island #3
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (July 26, 2016)

Description: It's up to Sarah Robinson to save her shipwrecked family from a time-traveling "curator" of souls and a treasure-hunting criminal in Book 3 of the Shipwreck Island series.

Sarah Robinson and her family are shipwrecked on a remote and mysterious island. Their food is scarce and there's no sign of rescue. They have seen strange creatures, rescued a mysterious girl, and found The Curator, who has captured Sarah's father and stepbrother to use in a bizarre time-travel experiment. And then the only man who knows about the island comes back--he's looking for buried treasure and won't leave without it, even if it means leaving the Robinsons stranded. Sarah knows an important key to finding the treasure, but will she keep it a secret?


My Thoughts: This is the third book in the Shipwreck Island series. In this episode, Marco and Sarah meet the mysterious Curator and hear the story of why he is on Earth. They also manage to rescue Sarah's father, Marco's brother, and their dog Ahab.

They discover that they have the other half of the device that the Curator, who is a young humanoid, has been searching for and that he needs in order to complete his mission and return home. However, there is a treasure hunter who would also like the device and who is willing to hurt Sarah and her family to get it.

I liked that Sarah and Marco are, mostly, learning to work together. Marco's mother's pregnancy has finally convinced each of them that the marriage between their parents isn't something temporary.

This story has lots of excitement packed into its brief length. Middle graders will enjoy the adventure and the dynamics between the characters.

Favorite Quote:
Maybe Sarah was right. When he held the weapon, he was in charge. But only because he held the weapon. Not because he knew the most or had the best plan. Maybe this would turn out better if they had to rely on something other than a weapon's threat.
I received this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Ministry of SUITS by Paul Gamble

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. 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:
David had known Jack long enough that he knew when he was going to ask a question that would get them both into trouble.
This week my teaser comes from The Ministry of SUITS by Paul Gamble. I got this ARC from Macmillan. Here is the description from Amazon:
Memo: For Ministry of Strange, Unusual, and Impossible Things Operatives Only

A series of strange incidents have been reported in Belfast:
* Oddball kids are going missing
* There are several unconfirmed signs of pirates.
* A wild bear known to be a very sore loser at musical statues has escaped from the museum and is on the rampage.

Fortunately, our newest recruits, Jack Pearse, a curious boy skilled at logical thinking and seeing what's actually there, and Trudy Emerson, the most dangerous girl in his school, are on the case. As per Ministry policy, they are currently being trained in the use of The Speed (patent pending) and will have full access to Ministry supplies (assuming they manage to navigate the paperwork without going insane), so we are confident that they will succeed in their mission to discover and foil this villainous plot.

Please provide all assistance possible, as a) they don't know who they are actually up against, b) the world is much stranger than they realized, and c) they are only 12 and have to be in bed by 10 p.m.

P.S.-Could all Ministry operatives who have borrowed dinosaurs in the past two weeks please return them? We're running low on inventory.

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 18, 2016)

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...

This was another quiet week. I didn't do anything or go anywhere. I concentrated on my reading by finally finishing the Pink Carnation series (reviewed eventually on my other blog). Lack of Atlanta Braves baseball to watch because of the All-Star Break gave me even more reading time.

I seem to be hearing about once a week from my realtor who has just one house to share. I liked the last one but, without a 3 car garage, it went in the discard pile. I don't think the housing market here in Duluth is going to have what I need. I may have to consider building.

Read Last Week
I read The Silence of Murder by by Dandi Daley Mackall which was an excellent mystery. I shouldn't have been surprised since it won the Edgar for best YA Mystery in 2012. I bought it then and set it on my TBR mountain. My review will be posted on August 20.

Currently
I started Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff but had to set it aside when I was approved Friday evening for a review book that is going to be released on Tuesday. I am fascinated by the first 80 pages and am eager to get back to it.

Next Week
The next two I plan to read are both from my TBR mountain.

I got Shadows by Robin McKinley on September 27, 2013 and just set it on the mountain.

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff was added to the mountain on January 2, 2013.

Reviews Posted
This week I reviewed:
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I downloaded both SYNC audiobooks this week.
I also succumbed to a Kindle deal and purchased Uncaged by John Sandford and Michele Cook.

Erased by Jennifer Rush arrived this week too. It is the second book in the Altered trilogy.

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

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication: St. Martin's Griffin (October 6, 2015)

Description: Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here--it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

My Thoughts: I have to start by saying that while I have read FANGIRL it was a long time ago. I didn't remember much about Simon, Baz, Penny and Agatha from that book. For me that story was about Cath and Levi. I also felt that Simon as a Chosen One was eerily similar to another Chosen One of book, movie and theme park fame. However, as I read further and got to know him, I grew to really like Simon Snow.

I liked that this story was told from multiple viewpoints. Seeing how each of their views of each other changed through the course of this book was fascinating. Simon's struggles with his magic and Baz's struggles with his new life and with his growing attraction to his enemy Simon were perfectly clear when viewed through their own eyes and in their own voices.

Everyone's belief that Simon was the answer to a long-held prophecy put great pressure on him. Especially when his own magic was immense but not at all in his control. His hero - the Mage - was a person of mystery. Seeing him through the eyes of those who knew him when he was young and the eyes of someone who loved him helped paint the picture of a man in the grip of an obsession that could destroy the whole magical world.

I liked the romance between Baz and Simon too. It grew steadily throughout the story and came to a satisfying conclusion. I also liked Simon's relationship with his friend Penny.

I might recommend reading FANGIRL before reading this one because I'm sure there were nuances that I missed. But it was a great epic fantasy and romance with achingly real characters and stands quite well on its own.

Favorite Quote:
Sharing a room with the person you hate most is like sharing a room with a siren. (The kind on police cars, not the kind who try to entrap you when you cross the English Channel.) You can't ignore that person, and you never get used to them. It never stops being painful.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Memes: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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:
I walk to the bus station by myself.
Friday 56:
I strip off my shirt and give the gold cross around my neck a rub. I'm not religious - it's a talisman.
This week I am spotlighting Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. This one has been sitting on TBR mountain for a while. Here is the description from Amazon:
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here--it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

ARC Review: What the Dead Want by Norah Olson

What the Dead Want
Author: Norah Olson
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (July 26, 2016)

Description: Haunting photographs and dark family secrets make this second spine-tingling novel from Norah Olson the perfect read for fans of creepy, suspenseful teen fiction.

A love of photography, an old camera, and countless questions—these are all that sixteen-year-old Gretchen has left of her mother, who mysteriously disappeared years ago.

Now she must return to the place where her mom vanished—a decaying mansion that Gretchen has suddenly inherited from her great-aunt Esther. However, Gretchen won’t find the answers she’s seeking without unraveling the secrets that lurk inside the house. There are stacks of photographs and letters from her ancestors that go back centuries, pointing to some kind of haunting past. But when proof of the mansion’s dark history appears to Gretchen in the form of ghostly visions and the soft, eerie whisper of her mother’s voice, there’s no doubt that something sinister has taken place there.

No matter how scared she might be, Gretchen must somehow uncover the reasons why this indescribable force has descended upon her family and find a way to set everyone—even the dead—free.

My Thoughts: Gretchen's adventures begin when she receives a phone call from a great-aunt she doesn't remember inviting her to come visit the mansion in upstate New York that she will be inheriting. Gretchen is eager to visit, grabs her camera and takes off. But things are not what she expects. The mansion is falling to pieces but also stuffed with family history - and ghosts, lots and lots of ghosts.

Gretchen's mother who disappeared almost five years earlier was a photographer who collected sample of Victorian spirit photography. Her mother believed that the camera could sometimes see things that the naked eye cannot. Gretchen is also a photographer who shares some of her mother's beliefs.

Shortly after Gretchen arrives, her aunt commits suicide leaving her with the task of laying those many ghosts to rest. Gretchen is exploring some of the family history, particularly the diary of Fidelia who lived around the time of the Civil War and who was deeply involved in the Underground Railroad. We also learn what it was like for a woman living in the time and place with no freedom, no opportunities, and no choices. Excepts from Fidelia's journals are salted through this story. The book also has a number of photgraphs (only some of which made it to my Kindle eARC) that enhance the moody and spooky atmosphere of this story.

Aiding Gretchen in her quest are neighbors Hope and Hawk who are orphaned descendants of some of the blacks who settled in the area after escaping slavery. One of their ancestors was Fidelia's best friend. The kids are in something of a time crunch. The anniversary of a fire that destroyed a local integrated church and killed Fidelia, her friend, and Fidelia's daughter and her friend's daughter along with many of the black residents of the area is coming soon and ghostly activities are becoming more frequent and more dangerous.

This was a great story. I enjoyed this peek into a part of America's history that needs to me made more visible. As one of the characters says, "We learn history so we can break with the past, not repeat it."

Favorite Quote:
Of all the frightening things that had happened in the last two days, what terrified Gretchen the most was the idea that she was imagining all of it—that there were no little girls, no swarm of wasps, no ghosts, just an abandoned house.
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ARC Review: Flying by Carrie Jones

Flying
Author: Carrie Jones
Publication: Tor Teen (July 19, 2016)

Description: New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones introduces sassy alien-hunting cheerleader Mana in Flying, the launch of a sparkling new YA Science Fiction series.
People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She's used to being coddled, being an only child, but it's hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother's babying gets more stifling than ever, she's looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while.

But that night, Mana's life goes haywire.

First, the hot guy she's been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she's always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective.

It turns out, Mana's frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she's missing--taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother--and maybe the world--and hope she's up to the challenge.

My Thoughts: This was a fun science fiction story. Mana is an ordinary cheerleader with an ordinary mom until the day the hottie she had been crushing on starts spitting acid and she does amazing ninja leaps to get away from him. Heading home she finds that her house has been trashed and her mom has disappeared.

When she meets China, who claims to be her mom's partner, Mana is introduced to a world of aliens and Men in Black and she doesn't know who she can or should trust. Luckily, she has the support of her best friend and potential love interest Lyle in the hunt for her mother.

This story is a race to find out what is going on and find Mana's mother before something awful happens to her. Along the way Mana learns more about herself, her world, and her best friend.

Fans of science fiction with humor will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
One time I came down funky from a twist and knocked Seppie's nose with my shin, and it started bleeding all over the mat. Mrs. Bray passed out.

"Oh, don't pass out, Mrs. Bray," I say, rushing toward her.

But of course she doesn't listen. No way. Because that would be what would happen on a good day, and today is definitely not that. 
I got this ARC for review from a publicist at Tor Teen. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: What the Dead Want by Norah Olson

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. 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:
Mona's life's work could more accurately be described as "afterlife works." And she was prone to saying things about spirits.
My teaser comes from What the Dead Want by Norah Olson. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
Haunting photographs and dark family secrets make this second spine-tingling novel from Norah Olson the perfect read for fans of creepy, suspenseful teen fiction.

A love of photography, an old camera, and countless questions—these are all that sixteen-year-old Gretchen has left of her mother, who mysteriously disappeared years ago.

Now she must return to the place where her mom vanished—a decaying mansion that Gretchen has suddenly inherited from her great-aunt Esther. However, Gretchen won’t find the answers she’s seeking without unraveling the secrets that lurk inside the house. There are stacks of photographs and letters from her ancestors that go back centuries, pointing to some kind of haunting past. But when proof of the mansion’s dark history appears to Gretchen in the form of ghostly visions and the soft, eerie whisper of her mother’s voice, there’s no doubt that something sinister has taken place there.

No matter how scared she might be, Gretchen must somehow uncover the reasons why this indescribable force has descended upon her family and find a way to set everyone—even the dead—free.