Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Memes: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

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:
There was a corpse in my neighbor's front yard.
Friday 56:
"I'm the asshole?" It was Kaz's turn to be incredulous, his impossibly long, black eyelashes fluttering dramatically.
This week I am reading Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig. I got this ARC from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Here is the description from Amazon:
Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking question he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn―as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

ARC Review: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

The Lovely Reckless
Author: Kami Garcia
Publication: Imprint (October 4, 2016)

Description: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia, a contemporary romance full of loss, love and redemption…

Seventeen year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad―an undercover cop. She transfers to public school in the Downs, where fistfights in the halls don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him…and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

Your own heart will race with each page turn of this heart-stopping star-crossed love story.

My Thoughts: Frankie Devereux is having a hard year. She was present when her boyfriend Noah was beaten to death outside a popular club but suffers from PTSD and can't remember the face of the person who beat him. She has changed from a good student, excellent pianist, and future Stanford student to a girl who doesn't care about anything and is reckless.

After being charged with a DUI, she is moved from her mother's home in the rich part of town where she lived with her socialite mother and despised step-father to her father's home in a poorer part of town. Her father is an undercover cop whose job is to track down car thieves and a carjacking ring. He is a black and white thinker who hasn't had much contact with his daughter.

Frankie finds herself at a new school where she meets Marco Leone who has a bad reputation. They fall in love despite many challenges.

I liked this story a lot. I loved the emotional intensity and the depiction of Frankie's grief and her determination to live her life her own way. I loved Marco and thought he made a great romantic partner for Frankie.

I found many parts of this book similar to Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series. This would be a great book to pass along to students who loved those.

Favorite Quote (from Frankie's journal):
At fifteen, Noah told me I shouldn't trust a boy if he said he loved me (because high school boys only wanted one thing).

But the night of his sixteenth birthday, he was the boy who said it.

Noah was beautiful, athletic, funny, and smart.

Everyone said it would never last.

They were right.

Noah died at seventeen, a week before his eighteenth birthday.
I got this ARC from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ARC Review: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

Like a River Glorious
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Gold Seer Trilogy (Book 2)
Publication: Greenwillow Books (Sept. 27, 2016)

Description: The sequel to the New York Times–bestselling and National Book Award longlisted Walk on Earth a Stranger.

After her harrowing journey west to California, Lee Westfall has finally found a new home—one rich in gold, thanks to her magical power, a power that seems to be changing every day. But this home is rich in other ways, too: with friends who are searching for a place to be themselves, just as she is, and with love. Jefferson—her longtime best friend—hasn’t stopped trying to win her heart. And Lee is more and more tempted to say yes.

But her uncle Hiram hasn’t given up his quest to get Lee and her power under his control. When she’s kidnapped and taken to him, Lee sees firsthand the depths of her uncle’s villainy. Yet Lee’s magic is growing. Gold no longer simply sings to her, it listens. It obeys her call. Is it enough to destroy her uncle once and for all?

Rae Carson, acclaimed author of the Girl of Fire and Thorns series, takes us deep into the gold fields as she continues this sweeping saga of magic and history, and an unforgettable heroine who must come into her own.

My Thoughts: This second book in the Gold Seer trilogy sees Lee and a group of ragtag survivors of their wagon train in California. Lee uses her talent for feeling where gold is to stake out claims for each of them. They gradually built a cabin and some shanties and begin taking gold out of the ground. Becky has begun feeding nearby miners and is really busy despite the fact that she is a terrible cook.

But Uncle Hiram and his henchmen have not given up on getting Lee under his control. The first action that Frank Dilley takes is to try to burn them out. When that doesn't work, he tricks Lee, her friend Jefferson, and one of the college boys, Tom, into trying to meet Hiram in Sacramento. Frank kidnaps them along the way and drugs them with laudanum as he takes them to the mining camp her uncle has set up.

Tom and Jefferson are mistreated and held as hostages to Lee's behavior. She is forced to tell her uncle where to mine to keep them safe. Lee watches as Hiram and his white foremen abuse the Indians and Chinese who are working in the mine. Together, Lee, Jeff, Tom, the leader of the Indians, and Mary, a Chinese girl who is the camp prostitute, come up with a plan for all of them to get away.

This story was filled with adventure and filled with the hardships that settlers faced as they tried to carve out new homes in California. It talks about the prejudices that were common regarding the native inhabitants in the land the the Chinese immigrants.

This is also a story a building a family from among the people Lee encounters. Lee has not had much happiness in her birth family since her uncle killed her father and mother. She learns that she can find happiness with the people who have the same goals and hopes as she does. Her romance with Jefferson grows in this book.

I can't wait to read the third book in this trilogy to find out what happens next for Lee, Jefferson, and all of the family they have gathered.

Favorite Quote:
"Lee, what's wrong? I thought you'd be happy!"

"I'm fine! It's just..." Another deep breath. "I've spent my whole life witching up gold. It's how I fed my family. It's how I was supposed to become rich. I thought..." My voice turns sheepish as I admit this. "I thought my magic would save us all. But it turns out, all the magic in the world is rubbish compared to good people who take care of their own."
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

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:
Without the bleeding linebacker next to us, I'm the main attraction. Just what I need on my first day at a new school. On the upside, getting knocked on my a** distracted the crowd. Hopefully, no one noticed me zone out.
This week I a reading The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia. I got this ARC for review from Macmillan. Here is the description from Amazon:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia, a contemporary romance full of loss, love and redemption…

Seventeen year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad―an undercover cop. She transfers to public school in the Downs, where fistfights in the halls don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him…and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

Your own heart will race with each page turn of this heart-stopping star-crossed love story.


Monday, September 26, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 26, 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...

Last week was a quiet, rainy week. I was busy watching the final games of the Atlanta Braves baseball season and the first week of The Voice. I also had an eye exam and picked out new glasses. For the first time since I began wearing glasses at age 10, my vision was better than the previous exam. I am still very nearsighted but just about did my happy dance in the eye doctor's office. Other than driving 13 miles home from my eye exam with very dilated pupils, my week was drama free.

Next week looks more exciting. I will be driving up to Duluth after work on Tuesday so that I can attend the Celtic Thunder concert at the DECC. I took Wednesday off because I had no desire to drive 4 hours back Tuesday night after the concert. I'll be eager to catch up with my brother on new house stuff since I have only had one email from him since school began. I plan to bring a basket load of towels, etc. to begin moving in. To the best of my knowledge right now the only thing in the new house is a lawn chair that I left there on Sept. 3 so that I had something to sit on while I was cleaning.

Read Last Week
Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape by Ron McGee was an excellent thriller with great middle grade characters. My review will be posted on Oct. 20 for this Oct. 25 release.

The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby was also a mystery. Nico's older sister Sarah returns after disappearing four years earlier. However, she returns with amnesia and remembers nothing of what happened to her. This one had an interesting twist. My review will be posted on Oct. 22 for this Oct. 25 release.

Currently
Having finished all my October review books, I decided to dig into TBR mountain for a book that has been calling my name - Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.

Next Week
Also calling my name is Undertow by Michael Buckley which has been on my Kindle since Jan. 1, 2016.

Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book Review: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Series: Ship Breaker (Book 1)
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (May 1, 2010)

Description: In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. . . .

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

My Thoughts: SHIP BREAKER was an engaging futuristic science fiction story. The earth has experienced global warming melting the polar ice and drowning the coastal cities. The gulf of Mexico sees frequent super storms. Fossil fuels have been depleted.

The story begins with a boy named Nailer who is part of a light screw scavenging old freighters for any usable bits - copper wire, aluminum. He is part of a crew who works in dangerous conditions without adequate safety precautions to make their quotas. They are mostly hungry and live in sorts of gangs.

Nailer's father is an alcoholic and drug user who is violent most of the time. He takes refuge with friends when he can get away from his father.

One day, when out scavenging, Nailer and a friend discover a wrecked sailing ship and a passenger who is almost dead. The friend suggests that it would be better if the girl were dead but Nailer wants to rescue her. Nita is a Swank. Not only is she rich but she is heir to one of the biggest surviving corporations. However, she is on the run from the part of her family that wants to overthrow her father.

Nailer, a half-man named Tool, and Nita decided to go to Orleans to see if they can find some ships loyal to Nita and her father. They need to jump on a moving train to get there which just starts their adventures.

The story is filled with sailing ships, sea-going battles, treacherous people, and ones that can be trusted though sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. I liked that Nailer got a chance to see what was out there in the bigger world.

The world building was well done and the plot was entertaining. I liked Nailer and liked watching him grow through the book.

Favorite Quote:
The blood bond was nothing. It was the people that mattered. If they covered your back, and you covered theirs, then maybe that was worth calling family. Everything else was just so much smoke and lies. 
I bought this one Oct. 24, 2010. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Memes: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

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:
Nailer clambered through a service duct, tugging at copper wire and yanking it free.
Friday 56:
Silence stretched between them. "Lost it, huh?" was all his father said, but Nailer could tell that dangerous gears were turning now, fueled by the rattle of drugs and anger and whatever madness caused his father's bouts of frenzied work and brutality.
This week I am reading Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. I bought this book Oct. 24, 2010. Here is the description from Amazon:
In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. . . .

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

ARC Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire (Book 1)
Publication: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 20, 2016)

Description: I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettably heroine, and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. Hand to fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.

My Thoughts: Henrietta Howel is an orphan, abandoned by her aunt, at a grim school in Yorkshire. Her main friend is a servant boy named Rook who is considered Unclean because he was attacked by one of the Ancients and survived. Henrietta has a secret: she has control of fire. Unfortunately, that could make a her witch and witches are executed it discovered. But Henrietta is discovered by a sorcerer who decides that she is the promised one in some prophecy that will bring about the defeat of the Ancients.

She and Rook are taken to his home in London where she will be trained to become a sorcerer and defend England from the Ancients. She is the only female to be in training which means that there are lots of male sorcerers and trainees who deeply resent her. She does manage to make a friend of one of her fellow trainees but she has a mixed relationship with most of the others. Her most troubling relationship is with Lord Blackwood who is another trainee. Her school was under his protection but she had never met him.

Henrietta isn't a very successful trainee until she meets a magician who knew her father. Magicians need to work in secret because they, along with the witches, are blamed for allowing the Ancients into the world. The magician tells her that her father was also a magician and that she has powers from both the magician line and the sorcerer line. She needs to keep this a secret because magicians are killed when caught.

This was an engaging fantasy with interesting worldbuilding. Henrietta was also a fascinating character. I really liked her loyalty to her friend Rook. I liked the way she built relationships with her fellow trainees. I can't wait to read the next in this interesting series.

Favorite Quote:
"Seven are the Ancients, seven are the days,
Monday for R'hlem, the Skinless Man,
On-Tez on Tuesday, the old Vulture Lady,
Callax is Wednesday, the Child Eater,
Zem the Great Serpent crisps Thursday with his breath, 
On Friday fear Korozoth, the Shadow and Fog,
Never sail on Saturday say Nemneris the Water Spider,
And rain on Sunday brings Molochoron the Pale Destroyer."

When I'd finished, Agrippa applauded.

"Very nice," he said. "Not much of a rhyme, though."
I got this one for review at NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review: Trace Evidence by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Trace Evidence
Author: Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs
Series: Virals
Publication: Puffin Books; Dgs edition (February 2, 2016)

Description: A collection of four short stories based on the Virals series from New York Times bestselling authors, Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs!

Fans of the Virals series will be thrilled with this companion volume that includes three short stories originally published as eSpecials as well as an all-new, never-before-seen Virals adventure! ShiftSwipeShock and the new story Spike give further glimpses of the Virals' world as they work with Tory's famous great aunt, Temperance Brennan, to solve more mysteries, take look at where it all started before they became Virals, and get to the bottom of an attempted sabotage at Kit and Whitney's wedding.

My Thoughts: TRACE EVIDENCE collects four novellas in the Virals universe. The first is SHOCK which tells the very beginning of the story when a grief-stricken Tory meets Kit, Ben, Hiram, and Sheldon for the first time. I liked the way the kids became fast friends and I liked learning how they discovered their clubhouse.

SHIFT and SWIPE tell about other mysteries the kids use their Viral powers to solve. SWIPE is particularly entertaining because it takes place at San Diego ComicCon and also stars Tory's great-aunt Tempe.

SPIKE is the final story in this collection and takes place at Kit and Whitney's wedding which seems to be beset by a number of "accidents." These are the post-Virals versions of the kids who are growing up. Ben has graduated from high school and is planning to go away to college.

I liked that the stories were told from a variety of viewpoints with all the Virals taking a starring role. Sometimes it was a little hard determining whose viewpoint the reader was seeing the story from when the viewpoint changed at a chapter break. A few times I had to figure it out by who was being described.

This whole series was a fun science fiction series that was also a great story about families and friendship.

Favorite Quote:
The man was dressed as RoboCop, armored head to foot by interlocking metal panels.

Impressive, had he not been the one screaming hysterically like an eight-year-old girl with a spider in her hair.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

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:
Finally, it was the day of our arrival. I leaned out the window with a thrill of anticipation. As we neared the city proper, however, my excitement faded. I paled at the horror that lay before me.
This week I am reading A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess. I got the eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she's shocked when instead of being executed, she's invited to train as one of Her Majesty's royal sorcerers.

Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.

But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

Exhilarating and gripping, Jessica Cluess's spellbinding fantasy introduces a powerful, unforgettably heroine, and a world filled with magic, romance, and betrayal. Hand to fans of Libba Bray, Sarah J. Maas, and Cassandra Clare.

Monday, September 19, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 19, 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...

Last week was another great week at school. The weather was nice for walking and I managed 10,000 steps most days. I also managed to fit in after-school naps on a number of days. I think I'm so tired because I am trying to get up half an hour earlier each day so that getting ready for school isn't so rushed. I am NOT a morning person and getting up earlier is quite hard to do.

Read Last Week
I read The Emerald Tablet (Five Elements) by Dan Jolley. It is the beginning of a new middle grade fantasy series that had lots of monsters, lots of action, and nice relationships between the four main characters. My review will be posted on October 13.

The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz is a science fiction story better suited to older YAs because of the graphic violence. It tells the story of an alien invasion that first targets all the adults and leaves kids fighting for survival. I loved the fast-paced story and the engaging characters. My review will be posted on October 15.

Currently
I am currently reading Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff from my TBR mountain. It is the second in a series I began this past summer.

Next Week
I have two books from my review stack for next week:
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
To catch up, I bought Blood Passage by Heather Demtrios for my Kindle. I read and reviewed the first in the series earlier and just got the third to review.

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

Saturday, September 17, 2016

ARC Review: Finn's Choice by Darby Karchut

Finn's Choice
Author: Darby Karchut
Series: The Adventures of Finn MacCullen (Book 4)
Publication: Spencer Hill Middle Grade (September 20, 2016)

Description: Just when Finn MacCullen thought fate couldn’t kick him any harder after the events of the Festival of the Hunt, it does. Now, he must overcome a series of nearly impossible trials to prove his worth as an apprentice, or lose his place at his master Gideon’s side.

But Finn and Gideon, and their friends, are determined to boot fate right back. They’re going to do whatever it takes to succeed, including teaming up with a sorceress and a certain teen angel.

However, Finn’s life has as many twists as a Celtic knot, and master and apprentice find themselves in their ancestral homeland of Ireland with only their wits―and a fair bit of the Black Hand’s charm―to protect them from the vengeful Celtic goddess known as the Sc├íthach.

In this heart-stopping finale of the award-winning series, it’s going to take every scrap of Finn’s Irish luck and pluck to save himself, and his master, from death. Or worse.

My Thoughts: Just when Finn in settling in as Gideon's apprentice after the events told in the previous book, his security could be ripped away from him by the Scathach, a Celtic goddess known for training warriors, who wants to make Finn her next student. If he can't complete four almost impossible tasks, he will have to leave Gideon and go with her.

Finn and Gideon need to gather their friends and allies to win the right for him to stay with Gideon. Mac Roth and his apprentice Lochlan are quick to offer help as are Kel O'Shea and her apprentice Tara. They even get help from a witch named Iona of the Hills and a couple of Terrae Angeli - Basil and Griffin. (Yes, the same Griffin from Karchut's YA series.)

This story which concludes the Adventures of Finn McCullen has fewer battles with the goblin-like creatures that they usually fight. This story is more about teamwork and working together to outsmart a goddess. The book also spends a lot of time on Finn and Gideon's relationship as they get closer and closer and more like father and son than master and student. I liked the way the three apprentices act like real middle school age kids with teasing and jealousies and friendship.

This is a great middle grade adventure series with a lot of heart.

Favorite Quote:
Finn thought back to the first time he had met Gideon. He scared the peat moss out of me. But that was before I got to know him better. He recalled when his master had told him about his dead wife and son. Gideon's sadness while he told the story had made Finn's own loss of mother and father easier to bear, and in a subtle way, had made him feel closer to his master. Closer than I do with my aunt and uncle and cousins.
I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Memes: Finn's Choice by Darby Karchut

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:
The journal of Finnegan McCullen: Sunday, October 13

The problem with being an immortal Celtic warrior—okay, an apprentice immortal Celtic warrior—is that fate has a long time to mess with me. In a bad way.
Friday 56:
"That's what I told her, but she said Dad got done early with meetings and just pulled into the driveway." Rafe stood up and shoved his phone in his pocket. "Parents. They're never where you want them to be. Or they show up when you don't want them to."
This week I am reading Finn's Choice by Darby Karchut. This is the last book in her Finn McCullen urban fantasy series. Here is the description from Amazon:
Just when Finn MacCullen thought fate couldn’t kick him any harder after the events of the Festival of the Hunt, it does. Now, he must overcome a series of nearly impossible trials to prove his worth as an apprentice, or lose his place at his master Gideon’s side.

But Finn and Gideon, and their friends, are determined to boot fate right back. They’re going to do whatever it takes to succeed, including teaming up with a sorceress and a certain teen angel.

However, Finn’s life has as many twists as a Celtic knot, and master and apprentice find themselves in their ancestral homeland of Ireland with only their wits―and a fair bit of the Black Hand’s charm―to protect them from the vengeful Celtic goddess known as the Sc├íthach.

In this heart-stopping finale of the award-winning series, it’s going to take every scrap of Finn’s Irish luck and pluck to save himself, and his master, from death. Or worse.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

ARC Review: The Initiation by Ridley Pearson

The Initiation
Author: Ridley Pearson
Series: Lock & Key (Book 1)
Publication: HarperCollins (September 20, 2016)

Description: The New York Times bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers and Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson, brings us the riveting first tale of the Lock and Key trilogy about the origins of the rivalry between literature’s most famous enemies—Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, told from the perspective of James’s observant little sister, Moria.

Before James grew up to be a ruthless, remorseless villain, he was a curious boy from Boston, with a penchant for trouble and an acid tongue. Thrown into a boarding school against his wishes, James winds up rooming with a most unlikely companion: a lanky British know-it-all named Sherlock Holmes (“Lock” to his friends). An heirloom Bible, donated by the Moriarty family more than a hundred years ago, has gone missing, and it doesn’t take long for the two to find themselves embroiled in the school-wide scandal.

The school is on lockdown until it’s found, strange clues keep finding their way to James, and a secret society lurks behind it all. It’s a brave new reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes series as only master of suspense Ridley Pearson could envision. As Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, says, “This tale will change the way you see Sherlock Holmes and leave you dying to know more.”

My Thoughts: This story moves Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty to high school in the present day. This story is told by James's younger sister Moria who seems just as smart and sneaky as James but with, perhaps, a stronger sense of morals and ethics.

James and Moria find themselves sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy but their somewhat remote father. James really doesn't want to go but his father insists as it is family tradition to attend. Moria wants to go anywhere where she can stay with her brother and best friend.

The first thing that happens is that James meets his new roommate, a quirky young man named Sherlock Holmes. The two do not get along. James is an angry young man and Sherlock's personality is particularly grating for him. The second thing that happens is the change in his relationship with his sister. James distances himself from her which encourages Moria to spy on him.

James finds himself on a treasure hunt when a red envelope with a clue is left for him. James wants to search alone but Sherlock and Moria are determined to help him whether he wants their help or not. Things become even more complicated when the Moriarty family Bible is stolen from the school's chapel and when James and Moria's father dies in an "accident."

This story has mysterious clues, a secret society, lots of problems to solve and interesting characters to solve them. I look forward to reading the rest of this trilogy too.

Favorite Quote:
I wondered why Sherlock's opinion of me mattered so much, but it did. I wanted him to like me as much as I like him, and that was without knowing why I liked him in the first place. He was a stuffed shirt, an arrogant boy with an inflamed sense of his own importance. But he was also brilliant, quirky, and gun to be with. Worst of all, he had kind eyes.
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Review: Terminal by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Terminal
Author: Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs
Series: Virals (Book 5)
Publication: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (March 1, 2016)

Description: The Virals are back—but they’re not the only pack in town anymore. Terminal finds Tory Brennan and the rest of the Morris Island gang tracking a pack of rogue Virals who call themselves the Trinity. The new pack was infected by a strain of supervirus created by Tory’s nemesis and sometimes-crush, Chance Clayborne, who accidentally infected himself, too.

These red-eyed Virals have openly challenged Tory’s pack for domination of Charleston, and they’ll stop at nothing to bring their rivals down—even if that means giving them up to a shadowy government agency intent on learning the secret to the Virals’ powers. Surviving it all is going to test the limits of the gang’s abilities.

In the riveting conclusion to the Virals series, Tory and the others are nearing an impossible choice—and the ultimate showdown.

My Thoughts: This last Virals novel sees the kids facing a group of rival Virals and trying to escape agents of some secret government agency that wants to uncover their secrets. The first thing Tory, Hi, Shelton, and Ben have to do is find out who the other Virals are. Those Virals have set a number of traps for our heroes with the goal of turning them over to the government agents.

Their first suspicion is that Chance is one of these new Virals. After all, he has connections to the same illegal research that created them in the first place. Also, to keep herself and her friends safe, Tory had convinced him that what he saw when they were flaring were signs of his mental illness. Besides wanting to prove his own sanity, Chance is fascinated with Tory. His research led to his becoming a viral with his fired lab partner as another Viral.

Besides trying to outwit government agents, Tory has to deal with a few personal issues. Both Ben and Chance want to be her boyfriend and they are constantly fighting and distrusting each other. Tory can't convince them that this is the absolute wrong time to pick a boyfriend. Also, Kit has proposed to Whitney and Tory is faced with having a woman she doesn't connect with as her stepmother. Tory is just getting used to the idea that Kit is her father. This is one more big change that she really doesn't need in her life.

The Virals need to make some very tough decisions in this one. I liked that they had to weigh lots of options and that the decision had consequences. This was a great conclusion to an engaging series.

Favorite Quote:
Impulsively, I stepped forward and hugged Whitney. "Thank you."

I caught a flash of surprise in her eyes before they closed as she squeezed me back. Then I pulled free, feeling my own emotions roil.

No one could ever replace my mother.

But that didn't mean I couldn't let others in.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Initiation by Ridley Pearson

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:
"Accepted. Now listen, James, attendance at Baskerville is of the utmost importance. I can hardly travel the way I must while leaving you and your sister with only Lois and Ralph to look after you. As it is, you two give Lois nothing but problems. You two are not yet old enough to be left alone. Do you understand?"
This week I am reading The Initiation by Ridley Pearson which is the first book in the Lock & Key trilogy. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
The New York Times bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers and Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson, brings us the riveting first tale of the Lock and Key trilogy about the origins of the rivalry between literature’s most famous enemies—Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, told from the perspective of James’s observant little sister, Moria.

Before James grew up to be a ruthless, remorseless villain, he was a curious boy from Boston, with a penchant for trouble and an acid tongue. Thrown into a boarding school against his wishes, James winds up rooming with a most unlikely companion: a lanky British know-it-all named Sherlock Holmes (“Lock” to his friends). An heirloom Bible, donated by the Moriarty family more than a hundred years ago, has gone missing, and it doesn’t take long for the two to find themselves embroiled in the school-wide scandal.

The school is on lockdown until it’s found, strange clues keep finding their way to James, and a secret society lurks behind it all. It’s a brave new reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes series as only master of suspense Ridley Pearson could envision. As Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, says, “This tale will change the way you see Sherlock Holmes and leave you dying to know more.”


Monday, September 12, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Sept. 12, 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...

The first week of school is under my belt and I have had a chance to meet all my new classes. Everything went great. I just wish the "honeymoon period" would last all semester. I really like this semester's schedule which has me finishing my work day at 11:30 AM.

I am all nicely settled in back here at home. I have begun my purging in anticipation of moving next June by going through just one closet of clothes I seldom wear. I brought a load of bags to the Salvation Army this week. I have also begun listing what foods I have in my freezer and cupboards both to refresh my memory about what I already have and to keep track of what I use. I'm hoping to not buy still another can or jar of something I already have.

Read Last Week
I finished the Wildefire series by Karsten Knight by reading Afterglow this week. It was an exciting trilogy with teenage main characters being reincarnations of gods from a wide variety of mythologies. My review will be posted on October 12.

Currently
I am currently reading a middle grade fantasy/adventure from my review stack - The Emerald Tablet (Five Elements) by Dan Jolley.

Next Week
Next on my stack are two more October releases from my review stack.
Reviews Posted
This week reviews were posted for
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

I received 4 of the 6 ARCs I asked for from Macmillan's Fall Catalog this week.
You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read.