Saturday, February 18, 2017

ARC Review: The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine

The Wish Granter
Author: C. J. Redwine
Series: Ravenspire (Book 2)
Publication: Balzer + Bray (February 14, 2017)

Description: An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

My Thoughts: This is a story about humans who get tangled up with the fae. Alistair Teague is the Wish Granter. He is an exiled fae who is used to making bargains with humans and taking their soul as payment. Ari and Thad are the bastard children of the King. When the Queen finally has a son, she decides that Ari and Thad should be killed. She succeeds in having their mother killed and Thad makes a deal with Teague to save his sister.

Thad wants to bargain only for Ari's safety but Teague won't make the deal unless Thad wishes to be King. In his desperation, he agrees. Next thing you know, the King, Queen and their baby is dead and Thad finds himself King at age seventeen owing his soul to the Wish Granter. Not only that but he can't intefere with Teague's actions in the city and Teague is a ruthless crime lord.

Once Ari finds out about the deal her brother made, she decides that she will find a way to get him out of his deal with Teague. Ari is smart and an excellent baker but her clumsiness prevents her from being much of a warrior. Clearly, she will have to use her brain to defeat Teague.

She turns to new weapons master Sebastian Vaughn to teach her to use weapons. Sebastian is very familiar with Teague since his brutal father works for him. Sebastian was abused by his father frequently until his father was sent away to manage Teague's interests elsewhere. The abuse left him avoiding being touched by anyone and keeping quiet and to himself. Ari decides that she is going to be his friend and lets him know that she can be relentless.

The two have all sorts of harrowing adventures and along the way they fall in love. This was an entertaining fantasy story. I liked Ari's personality and determination to save her brother and her kingdom. I also liked Sebastian and don't recall another fantasy hero who deals with the consequences of abuse.

Fans of fantasy will enjoy this engaging story.

Favorite Quote:
Everything about him -- from his close cut black hear to his ruthlessly neat uniform to the muscles that filled out his (very intriguing) shoulders -- said that he was a person of incredible discipline.

Ari could appreciate that, even if it did make her want to check her own clothing for the stain that her midmorning snack had probably left behind.
I received this one for review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Memes: The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine

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:
Once upon a time ...

Humans were pathetically predictable. Always longing for more. Always desperate to get their way. Shamelessly grasping for what remained out of reach, even when it cost them dearly.
Friday 56 (from 56% of the eARC):
Felman gave Sebastian a hard stare and said between coughs, "Your father would've killed me once he had what he wanted, not paid for my freedom. You said you were just like him."
This week I am reading The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. I enjoy fairy tale retellings. Here is the description from Amazon:
An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ARC Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Long May She Reign
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Publication: HarperTeen (February 21, 2017)

Description: The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

She may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, she knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom—and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisers. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

My Thoughts: This was an entertaining fantasy novel. Freya is 23rd in line to the throne and has no interest in being part of the Court. She is an excellent scientist and prefers spending time doing experiments in her lab. She's socially awkward. She was compelled by her father to attend one of King Jorgen's extravagant banquets but left in the middle when she got an idea for a new experiment.

Hours later, her father discovers her in her lab and tells her that the King and most of the court are dead from arsenic poisoning. She is now the Queen! Freya finds herself in charge of the country with only a few surviving advisers and a few surviving courtiers. Also, someone orchestrated the massacre and she not only wants to bring him to justice but keep herself safe from future murder attempts.

She has a restless country with a political group that wants to get rid of all the nobility and various suspects inside the court. There is William Fitzroy who is the former king's bastard son. Madeleine Wolff was away during the banquet is is next in line for the throne now. She is everything Freya isn't - lovely, socially adept, and loved by the people. Another suspect is Torsten Wolff who was the former king's best friend and chief adviser. The murderer could be any of the king's surviving advisers too.

Freya is a scientist, so she turns to scientific experiments to track down the murderer. Along the way she finds a way to test for arsenic poisons that will eliminate the need for food tasters. She manages to find out how the poison was introduced into the food at the banquet and where the poison came from. But, while she was experimenting, Torsten Wolff decides that she was the poisoner and tries to overthrow her. The country which hadn't fought a war for centuries was now on the verge of one if Freya couldn't find a way to convince Torsten that she wasn't the killer.

This story had it all - intrigue, a mystery, an awkward heroine who learns to accept herself for her own strengths, friendships lost and found, various betrayals, and a nice romance too. I really enjoyed this story and think it will appeal to any fantasy lover.

Favorite Quote:
People had been calling me "strange" since I learned how to talk, although usually they only said it when they thought I couldn't hear. When I was younger, I chattered constantly, stumbling over the words in my eagerness to express them, asking question after question until I was at least five explanations deep. People commented on my strangeness to my mother, as though she had somehow missed it and would surely take action now that it was revealed to her, but she would just laugh and say, "Isn't it wonderful?" like my strangeness was my greatest strength.
I received this one for review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WoW: Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!
Caela Carter
March 7, 2017

From rising new talent Caela Carter, author of My Life with the Liars, comes an achingly beautiful and endearing story about two foster children who want desperately to believe that they’ve found their forever home. Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, Leslie Connor’s All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, and Sarah Pennypacker’s Pax.

Flora and her brother, Julian, don’t believe they were born. They’ve lived in so many foster homes, they can’t remember where they came from. And even now that they’ve been adopted, Flora still struggles to believe in forever. So along with their new mother, Flora and Julian begin a journey to go back and discover their past—for only then can they really begin to build their future.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

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

Teaser (from 10% in the eARC):
"Keep good hold of that cat, young miss," the boatman said. "Don't want it to take a sudden swim."

"Young miss?" my father said. "This is your new queen."
This week I am reading Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of the court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

She may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, she knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom—and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisers. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

Monday, February 13, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 13, 2017)

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

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

Other Than Reading...

This was a wonderfully normal week. The weather didn't provide any surprises. Nor were there any surprises at school this week. My only excitement was the arrival of a big box of ARCs from Macmillan. I had asked for 9 and received 7. I do hope the other two trickle in because they also sounded excellent. 

Read Last Week
The Hidden Memory of Objects by Daniele Mages Amato tells the story of a girl who learns interesting things about her older brother when he dies in an unexpected way. Megan is an artist who tries to understand the world through her collage art. My review will be posted on March 16.

Currently and Next Week

These are the same as last week. I got side-tracked by a couple of new arrivals on my adult stack.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?

These I bought.
Frostblood by Elly Blake was a Kindle Deal that sounded good to me.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a print book that also sounded good to me and sounded like something my students would like.

These are new review books from Macmillan:
  • The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the sequel to The Book Scavenger. (April 25)
  • The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beatty is touted as "Jane Austen with an espionage twist." I couldn't resist that. (May 9)
  • The  Love Interest by Cale Dietrich is about spies and also has an LGBT thing happening. (May 16)
  • What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard is a contemporary about eating disorders. (June 6)
  • Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener is a science fiction romance - two of my favorite genres. (July 18)
  • Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock is a contemporary romance. (August 1)
  • In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody is a contemporary about life choices that attracted me with its cover. (August 29)
You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

ARC Review: A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White

A Season of Daring Greatly
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Publication: Greenwillow Books (February 14, 2017)

Description: Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

This literary and engrossing story of a young woman trying to mark out a place for herself in a male-dominated world will captivate fans of Friday Night Lights, The Art of Fielding, John Corey Whaley, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story of a young woman becoming the first woman drafted into Major League Baseball. Jill is a athlete. She plays baseball and basketball and is remarkably good at both. Her heart is with baseball though. At the end of her senior year, she was drafted into the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. She has a scholarship to Stanford in her back pocket, but when she is drafted in the Third Round, that tips the balance to giving professional baseball a try.

Jill is a great pitcher but now she will finally be competing with people with as much talent as she has. She also has to be a trailblazer and role model. She knows it won't be easy. She knows she'll miss her family and her family dog Maggie. Her family is still grieving the loss of her father who died on deployment with the National Guard about four years before this story begins. She has a lot of support from her brother and her mother and her best friends Lauren and Greg. She needs to lean on all of them when times get tough.

Jill has to deal with leaving home, living with a host family, interacting with teammates who aren't all excited about having a woman for a teammate. She has to deal with massive amounts of media attention. She is thoughtful and articulate but the constant media attention is hard to deal with. She tries hard to be bland but her quirky humor does come out once in a while.

I enjoyed her relationship with her catcher who knows he's a great catcher but also knows he won't go much farther in baseball because of his lack of hitting. She is on the same team as another one of the recent draft picks that she met during all the signing hoopla and he becomes a good friend. She also makes friends with the Japanese pitcher who is just learning English. Her fluent Spanish also makes friends among the Spanish-speaking players. Even though she makes lots of friends, there are lots of team members including the number one draft pick who is constantly belittling her.

Fans of sports stories will enjoy this entertaining story with a great main character.

Favorite Quote:
"They probably just want you to be yourself," Lauren said.

No. A trailblazer was supposed to be impressive. Special. "I think they're expecting someone -- I don't know." Jill said. "Inspirational, and enthusiastic, and -- cuddly." Perky. Adorable. The girl next door.

Lauren laughed. "I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I don't think 'cuddly' is ever going to happen."
I received this one for review from . You can buy your copy here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Memes: A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White

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

Beginning:
She was going to annihilate him.

Paralyze him.

Petrify him.
Friday 56 (from 56% in the eARC):
The discussion didn't exactly feel free-flowing, but it was going to be a long and unproductive summer if she didn't figure out a way to have less guarded conversations with these people.
This week I'm reading A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White. I got this eARC at Edelweiss. I was attracted both by the author and the subject. Here is the description from Amazon:
Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

This literary and engrossing story of a young woman trying to mark out a place for herself in a male-dominated world will captivate fans of Friday Night Lights, The Art of Fielding, John Corey Whaley, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

ARC Review: The Last of August by Britanny Cavallaro

The Last of August
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Series: Charlotte Holmes Novel (Book 2)
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (February 14, 2017)

Description: In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.

Jamie and Charlotte are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved Uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

My Thoughts: Jamie Watson is spending his Christmas Break with his friend Charlotte Holmes at her family home where he is seeing how totally dysfunctional her family is. The only one who seems vaguely normal is her uncle Leander who was his father's best friend and roommate while they were in college.

When Leander disappears it sends Jamie and Charlotte on a hunt for him through the world of art forgery in Berlin. It also reunites Charlotte with the Moriarty who broke her heart and whose life she ruined. August has been hiding out from his family with her eccentric older brother Milo who runs a security business.

This story has a really twisty plot. They are dealing with a missing uncle, Charlotte's mother being slowly poisoned, August's brother and sister Hadrian and Phillipa's art forgery scheme, and August's brother Lucien's desire to have revenge on Charlotte for what she did to August.

The book is primarily narrated by Jamie who is also trying to figure out his relationship with Charlotte. They go from friendship to partners in detection to a romance to enmity in multiple variations in this story.

Fans of mysteries the keep the reader guessing will enjoy this twisty story.

Favorite Quote:
"We hadn't had a run-in with the Moriartys in twenty years. Memories fade. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"That'll be written on a few tombstones before this is over," I said.

"You have quite the mordant sense of humor." His eyes went faraway. "Still, I wonder if you're right. The cycle's beginning all over again."
I received this one for review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

WoW: #famous by Jilly Gagnon

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!
Jilly Gagnon
Feb. 14, 2017

Debut author Jilly Gagnon bursts onto the scene with a story equal parts bite and romance, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Jennifer E. Smith, about falling for someone in front of everyone. 

In this modern day love story: Girl likes boy. Girl snaps photo and posts it online. Boy becomes insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent photo turns into a whirlwind adventure that forces them both to question whether fame—and love—are worth the price…and changes both of their lives forever.

Told from alternating points of view, #famous captures the sometimes-crazy thrill ride of social media and the equally messy but wonderful moments of liking someone in real life.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

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

Teaser (from 10% in the eARC):
Maybe this is what happened when you built a friendship on a foundation of mutual disaster. It collapsed the second things righted themselves, left you desperate for the next earthquake.
This week I am reading The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro. This is the second Charlotte Holmes mystery. I got this eARC from NetGalley. Here is the description from Amazon:
In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.

Jamie and Charlotte are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved Uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.


Monday, February 6, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Feb. 6, 2017)

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

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

Other Than Reading...

This week was as crazy as I thought it would be. Last Monday we had a version of Parent-Teacher conferences wherein letters were sent to parents of students who struggled the first semester inviting them to come in. I didn't see one person who was not employed by my school district from 3:30 until 7:30. I did manage to get caught up on grading, plan a couple lessons, and finish reading my current review book.

Tuesday was normal but Wednesday was unique in a way I don't want to experience again. I had my first group of sixth graders in the Media Center at 11 AM when the school called for an internal lockdown. At first they called it a drill but it went on and on. We had the students in lockdown until 3:08 PM when they finally released them to catch their buses home. Besides my 6th graders, we also had about twenty other students in the Media Center when the lockdown began. Luckily, the staff restrooms are inside our locked doors so I didn't have more than 40 kids sequestered with no access to a restroom. Also, I had computers and books to entertain the kids while we waited and waited in an information vacuum for something to happen. Needless to say, I never made it to the Elementary for my afternoon classes.

However, the lockdown was ended just in time for my after school meeting which we moved to the Elementary since the Elementary members of the committee were reluctant to come to the high school building. When I finished that meeting I came home and had about an hour before my annual townhouse association meeting which lasted until 9:30.

Thursday and Friday were blessedly normal and this weekend is giving me a chance to finally find some reading time.

Read Last Week
Hunted by Meagan Spooner was an amazing re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast. I loved the characters, language and setting. I bought a copy of this March 14 release to donate to my HS Media Center. My review will be posted on March 11.

Freya by Matthew Laurence was a contemporary fantasy which I received for review. It begins a series and is filled with interesting characters and lots of action. My review will be posted on March 9.

Currently
I began The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato this week but set it aside when I got a review book that needed to be read now. I am enjoying the story and am eager to get back to it.

Next Week
I have more from my review stack on the pile for next week.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
  • Goldenhand by Garth Nix continues the Abhorsen series. It was a Kindle deal.
  • Long Way Home by Katie McGarry continues the Thunder Road series. I bought a hardcover so that I can pass it along to my HS Media Center when I've finished it.
  • First Year by Rachel E. Carter was also a Kindle deal. I can't resist that kind of book - magic and schools.
  • The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari was a NetGalley find. It will be released on May 16.
You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

ARC Review: Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

Rise of Fire
Author: Sophie Jordan
Series: Reign of Shadows (Book 2)
Publication: HarperTeen (February 7, 2017)

Description: New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s romantic, sweeping fantasy Reign of Shadows continues in this suspenseful sequel, Rise of Fire.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the King discovers both Fowler and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler but the power she was destined to inherit.

My Thoughts: This is the second, and apparently, the final book in the story that began with Reign of Shadows. It begins just after the last book ends. Fowler has been captured and dragged underground by the Dwellers and blind Luna has followed, determined to rescue him. She manages that but not before Fowler has been infected with the Dweller's toxin which is almost always fatal.

A group of soldiers from the nearby country of Lagonia finds them as Luna is trying to keep him comfortable. One of the soldiers recognizes Fowler as the son of the King of Relhok and knows that the King of Lagonia wants him. Luna, still disguised as a boy, agrees to go with them since they promise to get Fowler to a healer who can save his life.

They meet another hunting party on the way to the king's city. This one is led by Prince Chasan who immediately recognizes that Luna is a girl. It is his father King Tebald who recognizes her as the rightful Queen of Relhok because of her resemblance to her mother. He develops immediate plans to use both Luna and Fowler to further his goals. Neither Luna nor Fowler are in favor of these plans which involve them marrying the king's son and daughter but Tebald has all the power is is quite ruthless.Their only hope is to escape and continue on to a possible refuge. Their first attempt fails but Tebald's next move gains them an ally in the castle.

This was an entertaining fantasy story. It was both exciting and romantic. I liked Luna as a heroine who was smart, brave, and determined and who managed to triumph over a major handicap. Fantasy lovers will enjoy this series.

Favorite Quote:
She was special. An anomaly.She shouldn't even be alive, but she was. She lived, and I wanted to pull her inside me, absorb her and keep her until I knew her as well as the shape and protrusion of my own bones. Until the taste of her was a s clear to me as my own.
I received this one for review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Memes: Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

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:
This was darkness.

Of course, I was sightless, so darkness was all I had ever known. It lived in me, on me, like scars written on my skin. But this darkness went deeper. Thicker. Denser.
Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
I inhaled uneasily. From that statement, it would not seem that she viewed me kindly. I especially did not think she would link arms with me and carry on as though we were the best of friends.
This week I am reading Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description from Amazon:
New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s romantic, sweeping fantasy Reign of Shadows continues in this suspenseful sequel, Rise of Fire.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the King discovers both Fowler and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler but the power she was destined to inherit.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

ARC Review: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

The Cruelty
Author: Scott Bergstrom
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (February 7, 2017)

Description: When Gwendolyn Bloom’s father vanishes, she sets off on a journey she never bargained for. Traveling under a new identity in a world of assassins, spies, and criminal masterminds, she uncovers a disturbing truth. To bring her father back alive, she must become every bit as cruel as the men holding him captive.

Taken meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Bourne Identity in this action-packed debut thriller (optioned for film by Jerry Bruckheimer) from Scott Bergstrom.

My Thoughts: Gwendolyn Bloom is a senior in high school in New York City where her father is currently assigned to the US Diplomatic Corps. She has traveled with him all over the world as he has moved from post to post. It has been just the two of them since her mother was killed in an Ambush in Africa when Gwen was about seven.

Gwen is fluent in five languages and, despite being too big and tall to me an elite gymnast, is a trained gymnast. Her father leaves the day after she gives him an engraved pen for his birthday on what is supposed to be a quick trip to Paris. But he disappears. It is in the aftermath of the disappearance that she learns her father is CIA and not the benign diplomat he told her he was.

As the days since his disappearance mount up, Gwen decides that the CIA isn't too interested in finding him and that it is up to her to bring him home. The CIA wants her to go with her mother's sister, a woman she barely knows, and leave the investigation to them. Instead, with the help of her elderly upstairs neighbor who once was a spy for Israel and a school friend with tech skills, she heads off to Europe to find her father.

Her first stop is Paris where she is met by Yael who is "asked to do favors from time to time." Yael teaches her krav maga, gets her a Russian passport, and tries to teach her what she will need to know and be like if she wants to find her father. From Paris, clues lead her to Berlin and Prague. Along the way she does what she has to do to get in with the criminals who have taken her father. There's prostitution, arms smuggling, and trafficking of young women.

This story was very exciting and action-packed. It was hard reading about a young woman who had to become harder and more violent in order to save her father. It was also hard to read about the gritty world of international espionage in which there seemed to be no good guys - just various kinds of villains.

This book has been optioned for film and could make a very exciting movie.

Favorite Quote:
How dare they accuse my dad? How dare they run rubber-sheathed fingers over my things? But power doesn't dare; it simply does.
I received this one for review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.