Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Waitign on Wednesday (228)

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 the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater (10/10/17):

Description on Goodreads:
Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.

The book takes place in the 1960s in Bicho Raro, Colorado and follows the lives of three members of the Soria family—each of whom is searching for their own miracle. There’s Beatriz, who appears to lack feelings but wants to study her mind; Daniel, the “Saint” of Bicho Raro, a miracle worker for everyone but himself; and Joaquin (a.k.a. Diablo Diablo), who runs a pirate radio station at night.

"The Soria family are saints as well, and the miracle they perform for pilgrims to Bicho Raro is as strange as most miracles are: They can make the darkness inside you visible. Once the pilgrims see their inner darkness face to face, it’s up to them to perform another miracle on themselves: banishing the darkness for good. It can be a tricky business to vanquish your inner demons, even once you know what they are, but the Sorias are forbidden to help with this part. They’ve all been told that if a Soria interferes with the second miracle, it will bring out their own darkness, and a saint’s darkness, so the story goes, is a most potent and dangerous thing." - Maggie Stiefvater, EW interview.
Why I’m Waiting:
I am always waiting for the next Maggie Stiefvater book. I’m so excited for October to get here. Two of my favorites are coming out with new books. And the excitement is real. Also, this sounds so interesting and different from all of her other books. I can’t wait to read about this saintly family. It sounds magical and dark, and all things I know Stiefvater can write exceptionally well.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Summary from Goodreads:
All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.
This book had a lot of ups and downs for me. It started on a strong note, but then dragged and dragged in the most negative way possible. Honestly, if I were reading it and not listening to it on audio, I probably would have stopped reading it all together. I didn’t have any other books to listen to, and after a while, I just put it on when there was nothing better to listen to on the radio…
Basically, it took over a month for me to get through! Over a month! It is 13 discs, but still…That is a long time. And sadly, so much of it really could have been trimmed down. There were so many unnecessary inner monologues and repeated emotions that there were times when I wonder if it was edited at all.
I didn’t hate it. I still loved the characters. And I certainly loved watching Etta become a much stronger main character. She fights with her deranged family, stands up for herself against manipulative characters, fights for her spot in everything, and I loved watching her grow.  Seeing Imperial Russia was awesome. Also, a future version of NYC (that on one messed up timeline pretty much becomes a giant hole in the universe) was pretty epic.
But, most of the storyline that followed Nicholas just wasn’t as interesting. The whole thing with the “witch” and her deal with a certain piece of jewelry was just so cliché. So, was the double crossing friend that betrayed them…Like, could anyone not have suspected that? I kind of rolled my eyes through so much of their plot arc, and awaited going back to Etta. Though, eventually, Etta wasn’t that fun either…
I feel like my biggest problem was that there was just too much filler, too much description for things that I wish the author let me determine for myself. Like every time Nicholas did something, it would be explained that he did it because of such and such. And every time Etta felt something for a family member, it would be explained that she was the way she was because of such and such experience with her mother. It was too much. Let me decide why Etta acted harshly and why Nicholas was optimistic that one time. It felt like the author thought I was an idiot who couldn’t understand basic emotions because each emotion had to be justified in lengthy detail.
So much time was spent on Etta’s emotional explanations and then not enough time was spent on the action. A lot happens at the end, and it almost felt rushed. I had to re-listen to parts because I thought I was missing things, but I wasn’t. Needless emotional explanations could take 20 minutes each, but the fast-paced chaos, violence and destruction at the end needed a little more clarification.
Also, the biggest enemy, Cyrus Ironwood, the supposed genius who’d put plans into motion decades (and several timelines ago) seemed too childish to be believable. How could such a genius be so blindsided and fooled in such a simple way at the end? Things with him seemed way too easy.
I’m glad the series is over. I really enjoyed book 1. And honestly, I would have enjoyed this one just as much if a lot of extraneous explanation was cut out. There was too much unnecessary description for simple emotional moments. And there wasn’t enough detail devoted to the action-heavy moments. The characters were developed more. The places they traveled to were interesting. I enjoyed the beginning and the ending a lot. The middle was lacking. I give it a 4/10.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (227)

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 Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (10/3/17):

Description on Goodreads:
The Diviners are back in this thrilling and eerie third installment by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray.

After battling a sleeping sickness, The Diviners are up against a group of new and malevolent foes–ghosts! Out in Ward’s Island sits a mental hospital full of lost souls from people long forgotten. Ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the Man in the Stovepipe Hat also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over New York City, the Diviners must band together and brave the ghosts haunting the asylums to bring down the King of Crows.

Heart-pounding action and terrifying moments will leave you breathless in the third book of the four-book Diviners series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray.
Why I’m Waiting:
I’m always waiting for the next Libba Bray book. She’s my favorite author. All of her books are fantastic. Good stories, characters, and writing! This series is no disappointment. I can’t wait to read what happens next. Add ghosts to the already spooky setting, and I know this will be good.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.
This is my favorite book of the year (so far). I’ve been in a reading slump, kind of. This woke me up from that. I read this book in 2 days. It was unlike any other book I’ve ever read. It tackled some serious issues that are currently at the forefront of people’s minds. And more than handling a topic well, the book was just a wonderfully told story.
I have not had the opportunity to read such a current YA book before. I’ve also never read a book to tackle the topic of race like this before. Normally, I feel like books that handle the difficult topic of racism take place in a different time (ie: the 60’s or the Civil War). It is so necessary and so important to have books on this topic that take place now.
I love that it’s not just about the racism in the police force either. It’s about racism in school, the media, and the day-to-day. It’s in how Starr is taught to behave in front of police officers, how she feels she hast to behave while attending a mostly white school, how she acts in her group of friends, and in everything. Race is a part of everything.
And I loved Starr. I related to her even though my life is so different from hers. I loved her relationship with her family, her neighborhood, and her friends. All of the side characters felt like living, breathing people. The characters of this story stood out in a good way, her family in particular. I love that her family plays such an important role in the story. I’m not used to parents who are together and in love -she refers to them as her OTP…I loved how supportive they were for her. Oh, and I loved her uncle too. What a family!
There’s a lot of grey areas in this book. It’s not always clear what is right and what is wrong.  Like it’s said in the novel, “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” Doing right, is such an important aspect to the whole story. Starr wants to do right by her friend so badly.
This is both a book for the character readers and the plot readers. The first half is more about character. The second half is all action. I’m not normally so scared for the lives of characters in contemporary YA novels. But, I was on the edge of my seat through fights, riots, police brutality, bombs, fires, and violence.
This wasn’t the easiest read either. A lot of harsh truths are unleashed. Starr also has a bumpy relationship with her boyfriend, and I definitely shipped them. I loved watching Starr’s family grow to know him and take him under their wing.
This book accomplishes a lot of things. It brings to light some serious topics. It doesn’t sugar coat things or solve the world’s problems, but sometimes you just need a book that tells you what the problems are. This does that. It’s also loaded with great characters. The plot had me at the edge of my seat. And I can’t stop thinking about it. I hope a lot of people read this book. I give it a 10/10.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Good Week in Books (156)

I had a nice book week. For some reason, March is always a tough month for me and I never can keep up with my reading schedule in March, even though there’s so many weeks in March. Oh well. I read one amazing book. I started the final installment of a great fantasy trilogy. And I received 5 new books for review (thank you, Macmillan).
The new books:

by Lish McBride
Pyromantic by Lish McBride
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Freya by Matthew Laurence
The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend
How was your week in books?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (226)

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 Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (8/29/2017):

Description on Goodreads:
The mystery and the magic intensifies in the fourth installment of the remarkable MAGISTERIUM series.
Why I’m Waiting:
So, I know that’s the shortest description ever, but it really doesn’t matter. I’ve loved this series since book 1 and I cannot wait to find out what happens next –lengthy description or no. I think I have a little idea for where things are going, and I wan to see if I’m right or way off. August can not come soon enough!
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

Summary from Goodreads:
Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming more than friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.

A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.

Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.

What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.
It’s no secret that I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan. (I actually am going to London next month and plan on going to the Sherlock Holmes museum!) I loved A Study in charlotte, and I have been anxiously anticipating the release of this sequel.
I wasn’t quite as in love with the sequel as I was the first installment. It read at a much slower pace. It took me at least a week to read it all. That being said, the mystery was really good. I remember wishing the mystery was a little better in the first book and it’s like the author read my review and focused on that.
I also still love the characters. There’s something so unbelievably special about a female Sherlock. I love watching the girl be the mastermind genius, and the guy sort of just watching everything in awe. I love Watson too. He remains a book crush for me. He has learned so much from Charlotte too. I loved reading about him disguising himself, and observing the scene as Charlotte would. This was amazing.
However, the angst in this one was at an all-time high. The teen angst/tension between Charlotte and Jamie reached Harry Potter and the Order of the phoenix level of teen angst. To an extent, I accepted it. Of course Jamie would feel all the things he felt. I wished he was just a tad bit more brave. And I wished Charlotte was a tad bit more social. Though, I guess I could say the same about their classic character counterparts. It was this part of the book that made it easy for me to continue to put down.
I do still ship these characters like I do very few others. There were some serious shippy moments that had me jumping up and down with glee. And other kinds of childish moments that had me questioning my ship just a little bit (like anything that involves making out with someone to get information…)
The last quarter of the story was so suspenseful! I finally reached a point where I couldn’t put the book down. Unfortunately, the book ended in a bit of a cliffhanger with a lot of unanswered questions for me. It was rather open-ended, so open-ended that I thought I misread things and had to re-read the last 10 pages only to find out that yeah, it didn’t make a lot of sense. I feel like I need a friend to read this and then to explain to me how they interpreted the final scene.
I loved the chapters in Charlotte’s point of view. It humanized her more for me. I also loved getting to see Milo’s house and his crazy security team. I was fascinated by the Holmes family in general. And I’m hoping for more glimpses into that craziness in the next book.
All in all, this almost lived up to what I wanted. I loved the mystery (particularly for the suspenseful last quarter of the book). I loved the characters. I still ship Jamie and Charlotte. I still have a major book crush on Jamie. There was a bit too much teen angst in this one. It started at a slow pace. And I’m kind of confused as to what exactly happened in the end (someone tell me?). I give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (225)

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 Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett  (9/5/2017):

Description from Goodreads:
Set in a fictional Himalayan kingdom, this is the story of a girl enlisted by a legendary explorer to help him climb the kingdom’s deadliest mountain – only to discover that his true mission may threaten her whole world.

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer every known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister, Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means cimbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then, Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and other dangers at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth about their mission and her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds so cool, and unlike any other YA. I love the distant setting. And I love that it’s about adventure, survival, and even a little bit of sisterly rivalry. I’m curious to see what the main character learns on her journey. Also, what a beautiful cover!
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

Summary from Goodreads:
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.
I’ve really been enjoying this series. I flew through the first book. I then quickly ordered books 2 and 3. I love the classic fantasy feel to these stories. I also love the characters and have the ultimate ship.
That being said, I was expecting a tiny bit more in this sequel. I was expecting the same levels of suspense and intrigue. And while, the intrigue was there –I literally had to know what on earth was happening (more later)– the suspense was kind of lacking for me. I felt a little cheated too.
Basically, the book switches back and forth between two different times. In one time, the main characters are lost in the middle of the desert with no memories of who they are. And then the other time/chapters are devoted to the characters in the year leading up to their time in the desert. At first, I didn’t like this because the intrigue was too much. How did they lose their memories? Why couldn’t they at least remember each other?
But, then I got seriously into it. I kind of loved watching my ship fall in love all over again. I love that the characters were still themselves, minus crucial memories. I also kind of liked trying to figure out how it all happened, as I read the chapters leading up to it. I grew into the rhythm of it all, and honestly, the author had mad skills keeping me this interested in this plot device that literally lasted the whole book.
However, I was hoping for a better explanation to it all. I mean the entire book was in this format. Shouldn’t the explanation be deserving of a whole book? I guessed a major part of it because, well, as soon as someone is referred to as a memory master, how can you not connect the dots to the characters losing their memories? But still, I wanted a little more there.
I guess I wanted a little more at the end, period. It had an insane cliffhanger that made me even happier to own the final installment already. But, I guess, a lot felt kind of rushed at the end. The character development and the details of the school and the Bane and so many things are seriously hashed out. But, the answers I’d wanted for the whole book were kind of rushed. It’s like the author had a deadline and couldn’t spend as much time on the end as she did the beginning.
All in all though, I still really enjoyed this. The characters, the romance, the magic, and the mystery were spot on. I just needed a tiny bit more explanation, and justification for things. Who knows, maybe this comes in the last book. I give this one an 8/10.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (224)

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 There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (9/12/2017):

Description on Goodreads:
Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.
Why I’m Waiting:
I literally screamed “Oh my God,” out loud at work when I read about this book coming. I love, love, love Stephanie Perkins. I think she writes some of the best YA contemporary that exists. Seriously, I have re-read Anna and the French Kiss more times than I’ve read any other YA contemporary. I love that this sounds like something totally different from her. I’m sure she’ll have some amazing characters, some sizzling romance, and some sarcastic dark humor. I cannot wait!