Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (114)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Wicked will Rise by Danielle Page (3/31/15):

Description on Goodreads:
In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die....

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?
Why I’m Waiting:
I’m interested in knowing what happens next! I want to know more about Oz and Ozma. I want to know what made Dorothy and her shoes so evil. I want to know if Amy finds Dorothy. I’m excited for another round of Oz retelling, and I’m also excited to see how Kansas is involved. I think I liked the first cover better than this one, though I do like how they are consistent. This is definitely a series I can’t wait to read more of.
What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Good Week in Books (89)

So, I was actually not expecting to do one of these posts this week. I’m flying to Texas today! And I normally get books from publishing companies on Monday. And I know I’m getting a much anticipated book that I pre-ordered on Tuesday. Some might call it lucky that one of their most anticipated books of the year comes out on their birthday. I consider it a birthday present (good timing, Scholastic and Maggie Stiefvater!). Any way, these lovely books were also a birthday present (thank you, Mom!)
So you can probably tell these books are not YA. And you might be sensing a theme. My family is going to Paris in the spring. We had a tough year this year with my dad passing away, and we will be remembering my dad in Paris –the place he and my mom first met, just one year after he passed. I haven’t even looked at Paris books yet, but my mom sent me an early birthday present. I’ve already spent quite a lot of time flipping the pages of the Food Lover’s Guide…Also, one book is a picture book involving Mary Cassatt, one of my favorite impressionists. I do own quite a bit of picture books too (I am a Children’s librarian).
Any way, thanks for the early birthday present, Mom! I’m so excited for Paris (and Texas) and books!

City Secrets Paris: The Essential Insider’s Guide
by Robert Kahn
The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris by Patricia Wells
Charlotte in Paris by Joan MacPhail Knight and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
How was your week in books?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (113)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (5/19/15):

Description (on Goodreads):
The launch of a captivating new YA series set in Regency England that #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls “completely original and totally engrossing.”

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts.
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds wonderful! It sounds like a mixture of The Agency series by YS Lee, the Sally Lockhart series by Phillip Pullman, and The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger, all series’ close to my heart.  History, feminism, spies, and romance –count me in!
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Summary (from Goodreads):
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.
So, I kind of have a love/hate relationship with this book. For starters, it took me way too long to read. Granted I have become a Netflix fiend this past week (I’m on the last season of Fringe and it’s like a YA dystopia right now. Seriously, what a cool show). Any way, on the one hand this book has all the super great dystopian elements that I love (fast pace, high action, bleak world, kick-butt girl main character, tons of twists and turns, etc), but on the other hand, the point of view switches were so awful, I kept getting pulled out of the story.
If you are someone who likes a colossal plot twist that you most likely will not see coming, you must read this book. I literally put the book down at one moment, and went, “What???” Seriously, that was good. Also, this world is so miserably bleak, I found myself missing happiness. And I only a couple of dystopias, besides this one, really have had that effect on me. The world does not pity children. Anyone can die at any moment. And this level of dark suspense is what kept me going.
Some of my plot concerns with book 1 were addressed. Like why didn’t Cassie ever ask Evan the important questions? And why not just destroy the world all at once? Why go so slowly and even bother with a fifth wave at all? We still don’t know all the answers (there is another book coming), but at least this was addressed somewhat.
The characters were also pretty awesome. I still loved Cassie. I still loved her strange and twisted love triangle. And I loved that all the characters, for the most part, started off together. Watching them try to make survival plans as a team was very Walking Dead. Also like with Walking Dead, there was never a lot of time to just plan. There were constant alien attacks, bombing, or gunshot interruptions.
I’m going to be honest though in saying there were several characters I did not remember at all from the first book. Ringer is a main character in this one. And while I found Ringer to be such an interesting (and rather sad) human being, I still have no idea who she was in book 1…Also, to add to the confusion, Cassie was constantly being called by her last name, which I also didn’t remember. It took me a little too long to realize Sullivan was Cassie.
So, add this initial name confusion to some of the worst ever character point of view shifts, and this became a bit of a challenge for me to read. I kind of got why the author didn’t list the character names at the top of each chapter in the first book (kind of…). But, here, there just didn’t appear to be a point to it. There were too many chapters making me go, “who’s saying this?” and each time this happened, I’d be pulled out of the story. Each time I was pulled out of the story, the suspense wasn’t able to hook me. I really think the book would have been a million times better if it was harder for me to put down and the suspense was constant. And all this would take is character ownership/titles of each chapter.
The sad thing is that I truly believe that Yancey is a skilled writer. Some of his metaphors and flashbacks were written so beautifully, they were practically poetic. But, considering how much of his poetic YA language was already rater stream of consciousness oriented, the point of view switching was even more terribly confusing.
I loved the idea of this book. I loved the storyline, the suspense, and the characters. I particularly loved the twist. I loved getting to know other side characters. But, I truly believe I would have loved all these things more (maybe twice as much) if the chapters/points of view switches weren’t so confusing. I give it a 7/10.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Good Week in Books (88)

I had another nice, light book week. I received two new finished copies for review. Thank you, Macmillan!  I have a busy week ahead. I’m going to Texas for the first time! And my birthday is coming up (10/21)! I love October. Happy fall everyone!

by Nikki Kelly
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
How was your book week?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embroiled in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father’s relatives aren’t so keen to let them go. When Anya’s violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya’s mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.

Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win’s father wants to be mayor, and he can’t risk having his ambition jeopardized by rumors spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...
I was expecting a little bit more dystopia and a little bit less teen mafia story…Am I complaining? Absolutely not. The Godfather is one of my favorite movies (and it’s a decent book too). I love a good mob story. I find that world both terrifying and fascinating. And not only did this book have similarities to some of the best mob movies out there, but it even quoted the Godfather.
I loved Anya. She’s an orphan middle child who has to take care of her two siblings. Her older brother is developmentally delayed (after an accident involving the murder of their mother). And technically, the guardian of the family is their sickly grandmother. However, she’s practically on her deathbed for the whole thing. Anya runs the show. And I love her for it. She puts her siblings to bed, goes to them when they have night terrors, makes dinners, etc. She also goes to Catholic school and has a strong sense of faith.
On top of that she also navigates the crime world that her father kind of left for her. She deals with the godfather, with guns, with illegal substances (in this case, chocolate), and she genuinely follows the crime-world protocol in regards to behavior and what she learned from her father about family and respect. While she doesn’t really want a part of this world that involved the killing of both her parents at a relatively young age, she also can’t ignore it completely.  I was so holed up in this story, I was sad when it ended.
The side characters are great too. Between her sassy best friend, her terrible ex, her family friend from Japan, her siblings, her decaying grandmother, and her overbearing teachers there wasn’t a single person who didn’t feel real to me. Zevin knows how write complicated characters. I liked the love interest. I found him to be real too. I liked that he presented challenges for Anya that she never had before. When you love someone, all your past (non-loved) boyfriends seem so ridiculous. What I love the most about the romance is that I never felt like it trumped everything else. Anya even says at one point that she loves Win, but she loves her brother and sister more. Her family always comes first.
The one thing I wish this book had more of was world building. It takes place in a future where coffee and chocolate are illegal. Water appears to be running low (people are only allowed to use so much water each week). Paper doesn’t exist any more (so all books are antiques). But, there’s no explanation for why things are the way they are. How did the world get to be this way? And why is chocolate a crime??? I wanted to see more of what people looked like and were wearing. I wanted to see the pool. I wanted to see more of the world in general.
I’m interested in seeing how things end up. How far into the crime-world does Anya go? Does she follow her mom or her dad’s footsteps? And what will happen with Win and Win’s father? I need to know these things. Thankfully, for the second time this week, I’ve read a book that I believe has the whole series complete already, so I can go find the sequel soon. I give this a 9/10.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (112)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on All Fall Down by Ally Carter (1/27/15):
Description on Goodreads:
Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do.

Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.
Why I’m Waiting:
This book sounds awesome. Also, I will read anything Ally Carter writes. I love how suspenseful and action-packed her books are. I devoured her Heist Society books like my favorite kind of chocolate. This one sounds like it will be a little political too. I’m not sure how I feel about the cover…but I know I’ll like this one. Is it January yet?
What are you waiting on?