Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit ~ Jaye Robin Brown review [@epicreads @jayerobinbrown @harperteen]

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
HarperTeen
August 30, 2016
432 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

There was a whole lot more to Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit than I was expecting. It is a smart, thoughtful and funny ale with a fantastic amount of heat at its core.

I loved that Joanna was not the 'typical' gay girl nor was she the 'typical' pastor's daughter. She is someone who is gay and knows and loves that about herself, but her faith is also very important to her. The move from Atlanta to small town Rome, Georgia prior to her senior year would already be tough fro Jo, but her dad asking her to not let on that she's a lesbian complicates everything further. Especially once she agrees.

Every time it seems like you know what Joanna is going to do (or not do), what choice she'll make, what the stakes are and what the ramifications will be, something complicates everything again.

Each twist throws everything perfectly back into question. It seemed like the choices Joanna should make were so clear, so obvious but her reasons for making the promise, then for keeping it all make such sense. You can really understand why she's so conflicted and how she's in a difficult place.

This is a book that will definitely provide some hope for anyone queer who needs to know that religion and faith can still be an accepting, welcoming place for them. It should also be a reaffirming read for someone who isn't but wants to see that same message.

I really (like really) appreciate that there are now YA books that are not only accepting of characters who are religious and/or have faith but, especially, that there are novels showing that not all faith communities (or people) are bigoted or exclusionary.

That's all not mentioning that I love these characters. I loved Joanna and her desire to be true to herself but still respect her dad's wishes, to achieve her long-term goal, but be happy in the present, too. I loved Mary Carlson, Gemma, George, Betsy, Elizabeth and B.T.B - who they each are, their relationships with each other, how they deal with tough situations but also when they're lighthearted.

This review is getting (or has already gotten) too long but suffice it to say that this novel was really well done. It tackled a lot of topics (not just around homosexuality) without ever feeling like it was any sort of 'message' book. It is a great read.







thank you to the publisher for my finished copy to review

Waiting On Wednesday [@robinroewriter @disneyhyperion]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe
When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian--the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.


published January 10th by Disney Hyperion

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?

It felt like I was reading about books that were all about the same things I was already reading. While I logically recognize that they really only have the same themes and it was just (bad?) luck that those were the ones I clicked on, it's how it felt.

This one, though! A List of Cages sounds different than anything I've already read (or have on a list to read).

I love the idea of a character who goes for the 'easiest' elective but that his ADHD might make it not quite so easy . . . and that it then becomes something much, much more than he was anticipating.  I'm looking forward to finding out more of Adam and Julian's history together as well as what the danger to them is.

This in a very original sounding book that I am looking forward to reading!



That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tell Me Something Real ~ Calla Devlin (earc) review [@calladevlin @simonteen]

Tell Me Something Real
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
August 30, 2016
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.

Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…

Calla Devlin's writing in Tell Me Something Real really is fantastic. It's not only her phrasing and its sometimes lyrical quality but the comparisons she draws and how thoughts and emotions are related to other parts of the characters' lives. Vanessa's love of music, her talent as a pianist isn't just something she does; who she is in the orchestra, where the piano is, how she views performing all play into other parts of who she is, what she thinks, her reactions and how she feels. The way it's all pulled together to form a complete, complex character was really fascinating.

Vanessa is, by no means, the only well done character in this book. They are all pretty great and have their own parts in the story.

The Babcock sisters - Adrienne, Vanessa and Marie - were not only my favorite characters in the story, but their relationships with each other, with their mother and with their father were the best part of the novel. Adrienne and Vanessa are close together in age (just a grade apart in school) but have very different personalities. Though they're reacting to their mother's cancer and treatments differently, we still see how much they care about and love each other.

Maire was so different than the babied, youngest sister I was expecting. How she reacts to everything is something truly unique that still makes perfect sense and somehow endears you to her more.

The 'romance' aspects of Tell Me Something Real seemed secondary, in importance and strength - to everything with the Babcock family and the sisters but I liked that. This is a story very much about Vanessa, her identity, the hardships she (along with her sisters and parents) are facing, truths uncovered. It's about how she deals with everything, who (and what) helps and what she discovers about herself.

Some of the bigger 'truths' of the story I anticipated pretty far in advance but it was how they were revealed, the full truth, how everyone reacted and was impacted and the eventual fallout that I not only couldn't predict but that kept me reading.








digital copy received for review, thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

Top Ten Tuesday: Back To School Freebie


This week's Ten:
Back To School Freebie:
5 Books I'm Glad I Read in School
&
5 Books I Wish I'd Read in School
(ie other classes/schools read them but not me)

 The ones I read in school . . . 
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo by Zlata Filipović


Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Parallel Journeys by Eleanor H. Ayer, with Alfons Heck, Helen Waterford

and these are the ones I wish I'd read . . .
The Lord of the Flies by Richard Golding
(This one could really be either list: none of my classes ever read it but then I read it to help a sibling with a project, so . . . )

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1984 by George Orwell

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


The Giver by Lois Lowry




Please leave a comment and let me know your favorite read-in-school books or those that others read in school and you wish you had. (If there's one not on my list you think I should read, let me know that, too!)

Disney's The Jungle Book Blu-ray & DVD ~ Giveaway #JungleBook

I am so excited to be able to host a giveaway of the Blu-ray of the film version of THE JUNGLE BOOK!

I always loved the animated movie version and the cast for this new live-action version (including Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o, Christopher Walken, Idris Elba, and Bill Murray) is such a great  ensemble so I'm really looking forward to this!

Read the details and then enter to win below . . . 



The Legend Comes to Life
Disney’s Groundbreaking, Live-Action Adventure
arrives on Digital HD August 23 and on Blu-ray™ August 30


And venture deep into the jungle with in-depth bonus features

BURBANK, Calif., July 7 2016 — Audiences were mesmerized by Disney’s live-action epic adventure “The Jungle Book,” which has earned more than $935 million at the global box office to date. Critically acclaimed, Jon Favreau’s stunning live-action reimagining of Walt Disney’s animated classic, will be available early on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on August 23, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on August 30.

Venture behind the scenes with in-depth bonus features that reveal the innovative filmmaking technology used to create the richly immersive jungle world and characters; Follow the journey of the film’s only on-screen actor, charismatic newcomer Neel Sethi (Mowgli); Delve into a candid and humorous scene-by-scene audio commentary with director Jon Favreau and meet the all-star voice cast who help bring the film’s colorful characters to life, as well as the musicians who accent the adventure with a majestic music score.

The all-star cast includes Bill Murray (“Lost in Translation”) as the voice of Baloo, Sir Ben Kingsley (“Learning to Drive,” “The Walk”) as Bagheera and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) as the voice of mother wolf Raksha. Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”) gives life to Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”) provides the voice of alpha-male wolf Akela, Idris Elba (“Beast of No Nation”) roars as the voice of Shere Khan, and Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) lends his iconic voice to King Louie.

Read what all the bonus features are by clicking 'Read More' at end of the post


More JUNGLE BOOK Fun!

- The Educator's Guide (Grades 4-8)
- Animal Facts
- Activity Packet (includes a 'how-to' for animal shadow puppets)

See the Trailer & more at Disney.com


GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*US only

Monday, August 29, 2016

Been Here All Along ~ Sandy Hall (earc) review [@iamsandyhall @SwoonReads]

Been Here All Along
Swoon Reads
August 30, 2016
240 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…

This review may contain some spoilers . . . 

If it's possible for a book - and it's characters to be too nice then that's what happened with Been here All Along. Everyone's too nice and too accepting. I don't even mean when it comes to other characters' sexuality, That worked fine and was a nice change of pace from all of the drama that can (also realistically) be present in other novels.

It was more that everything I anticipated would throw a character off balance, that would freak them out or cause some sort of turmoil . . . didn't. Or if there was an sense of upheaval, it was minimal and/or short lived.

Like with Gideon and Kyle. They've been best friends for twelve years but Gideon realizes how he now feels about Kyle and seems rather quickly completely alright with it. Not even factoring in that they're both male, I thought the 'best friends for twelve years' part plus the new 'in love with him' part would have been cause for a bit of freaking out. Or more of it.

Gideon and Kyle were very cute together and I liked seeing the progression of their relationship and the different ways they were. I think I wish there were more scenes between but it may really have been that the ones there were all so even and sweet and kind and okay that I really wanted the emotion - of whatever kind - kicked up a bit.

Ruby was one of those secondary characters that I wish we were going to see more of. She seemed to have the most thrown at her and was the one not quite ready to be accepting and okay with it. (Quite understandably.) I liked her and still want to know what the future holds for her.

This is a sweet, cute story and the accepting characters and actions were a, usually, nice change of pace but a bit more conflict or uncertainty would have made for a more enjoyable, memorable read.







received from publisher for review, via NetGalley

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ghostly Echoes ~ William Ritter (earc) review [@Willothewords @AlgonquinYR]

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3)
Algonquin Young Readers
August 23, 2016
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

My reviews of Jackaby (#1) and Beastly Bones (#2)

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

I really, really, really love this series. This third book does a great job keeping true to the characters we got to know in the first two books while also allowing them to grow and develop. Jackaby is still so very Jackaby but we get a few more peeks at just who R.F. Jackaby is (or was) in this third installment - and it definitely left me wanting to know even more!

While it may be a small thing, I was glad to have Jenny talking to Abigail more this book than (at least it seemed) in the first two. It helped me to think of her more as Abigail and not only as Miss Rook. I liked seeing her more settled into life as Jackaby's assistant and seeming a bit more sure of herself and maybe more forthright, too.

It was the perfect time for everything in regards to Jenny's case and their investigation of it to come to a head. Things readers already know that seemed unconnected are worked together with new information (some even new to the characters) for a mystery that's satisfying but keeps you guessing, as well.

There is more of the supernatural world involved in this story and it's great fun seeing what's 'real' in New Fiddleham and with Jackaby and how it either matches with the lore we already know or where it differs.

There was an instance where we receive Jackaby's opinion on a very current (but still relevant during the time of Ghostly Echoes) topic delivered with his usual manner. It's approached differently but you can't deny the logic (and no, I won't say what the what is exactly but I loved the inclusion).

As much as I hate that the fourth book will be the last in this series, Ia m really excited to see how everything all wraps up, to learn ore about Jackaby, Abigail and Jenny, and have one more trip into that world. Ghostly Echoes is another fun, creative, imaginative and smart novel the Jackaby series and a fabulous read.





Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Unlikely Friendships: Dogs ~ Jennifer S Holland (earc) review [@WorkmanPub]

Unlikely Friendships: Dogs: 37 Stories of Canine Compassion and Courage
Workman Publishing Company
August 23, 2016
248 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

A new book from the New York Times bestselling series.

Enhanced with beautiful full-color photographs, these true stories of camaraderie, affection, and remarkable bravery are from the author of the New York Times bestsellers Unlikely Friendships, Unlikely Loves, and Unlikely Heroes, as well as other books and calendars, with nearly two million copies in print.

Meet Rex, a Belgian Malinois who learned to love and trust again through the improbable friendship of a goose. The pit bull named Dolly, whose antics with her best friend, Sheldon the tortoise, include games of tag.

For the millions of dog lovers, this heartwarming and inspirational book celebrates 37 stories of unusual canine companionship.

Unlikely Friendships: Dogs is a great book that shows just how amazing, surprising and loving dgs can be. There are dogs who have helped mother kittens, one who likes hanging with their birds (see the cover), a dog wo looks after a goat and dogs who've helped save lives - of all kinds.

There are a few stories in the book that are more about dogs doing jobs than friendship. They are still amazing and are 'friendships' of a sort, but I mention them because they don't really fit the theme.

A few stories are 'classics' from the other Unlikely books (ie reprinted, exactly, from those earlier books) so if you've read them you may recognize a few animals and their stories. I was still happy to have them included, though.

Aside from the great/humorous/loving/sweet/astounding/beautiful stories about dogs and the, honestly, unlikely friendships they sometimes can form, I loved who was included in this book. Holland's narratives for each story could be cutesy but they seemed to give the best parts of the friends' tale.  What was great was that they were several dog breeds included that I did not know about before. Seeing them here was a great introduction. There was also mention (and usually a brief description) of some rescue organizations, animal welfare groups, service dog trainers that I am glad to now be aware of.

Not all of the friendships in Unlikely Friendships: Dogs have happily ever after endings. I thought that it was very nice that the author still uncluded those. The animal kingdom itself does not always allow for happy endings (in fact, those almost endings are how several friendships began) and to include tales that might include death or (required) separation at some point was appreciated.








digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko ~ Scott Stambach (earc) review [@ScottStambach @StMartinsPress]

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
St Martin's Press
August 09, 2016
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


The Fault In Our Stars meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement.

Until Polina arrives.

She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her.

She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live.


"Intellectually, I understand why you should be so odd. I would be strange if I were trapped in this hellhole for a year, let alone however long you've been here. But you are levels of strange I've never met, and I've met strange. Mostly prostitutes and derelicts in Moscow. (pg 169)

Ivan Isaenko is strange. But his whole life is a bit strange, as well. Born following the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion in 1986, its effects impacted Ivan's prenatal development. As it did to many others.

Ivan's life has been a series of days very nearly exactly like the one before. He has a schedule, he knows what to expect.

Until Polina.

She is something different, someone new - which very rarely happens to Ivan. Their relationship is not typical - the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children is not made for romance, Ivan's life doesn't seem made for happy endings, Polina doesn't fit any mold Ivan knows of. Still, something develops.

Ivan's character is different than I imagine anyone's read before. The location and circumstances of his birth, the radiation's effects are just the beginning. They set things up for a character who's at once so unlike you've read before but still very easy to relate to and connect with. Even if you can't truly understand what Ivan's life must be like, he does a great job of telling us, of letting us in, that it seems as if we do.

Despite all that Ivan's already been dealt you don't pity him. You may feel sorry for him, but you don't pity him - he has too much personality,t oo much sarcasm and self awareness for that. (Maybe he just gives readers the same idea of karma that he used to have? [It's pg 38 when you read the book.])

Sometimes, it's hard to believe Ivan isn't somehow odder than hie is, given what his life has bene.

Polina is her own sort of weird, though, too. Through what she shares, you van understand some of why. Her life has been closer to 'normal' but the events that bring her to the hospital, the things she's experienced allow her that connection with Ivan.

This is a world I never quite imagined existing, with a cast of characters I couldn't have put together and a central character, Ivan, not like anyone I've read before. Somehow all of these different or weird or just off things add up to a story readers can really connect with and won't soon forget.









digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

City of Shadows ~ Pippa DaCosta (earc) review [@PippaDaCosta @hooked_books @bloomsburykids #BloomsburySpark]

City of Shadows (London Fae #2)
Bloomsbury Spark
July 07. 2016
ebook only
add to Goodreads/buy from Amazon

**Contains spoilers for London Fae #1 City of Fae**

Alina knows she is not real – the fae queen spun an evil web to create her – but she wants more than to spend her days feeding off humans’ energy to survive. She isn’t content to lose herself in the dangerously attractive Reign. She wants a life of her own making.

Desperate to help the man who saved her life, Alina vows to find his missing sister. Alina is convinced that the general of the Fae Authority plays a part in her disappearance. She infiltrates the organisation and gets close to their strongest fighter. But while Samuel’s tormented soul and masterful touch stirs in Alina a feeling of being human again, her loyalty to Reign makes her Samuel’s enemy. Who should she trust?

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.
City of Shadows is the sequel to last year's City of Fae (my review) where we met Alina, the American Girl and (literal) rockstar fae Reign and learned about the fae in London. Now we know not only about the tenuous coexistence of the fae and humans in London, the rules (Look, but don't touch. Touch, but don't feel. Feel, but never ever love) intended to keep people safe, but about how dangerous the fae can really be.

The queen may no longer be a threat to Alina or Reign, at least physcially, but now ALina also knows the truth of who and what she is. Now it's time to figure out what that means.

If, in that process, she can help Andrews learn the fate of his sister, that's even better.


Normally, if you introduced two main characters in a book then, in the sequel, had one of them all but disappear from the story, I would hate it. It - and Reign's absence from much of the tale - actually works quite well in City of Shadows. It reflects the mindset of the characters and and moves the plot where it needs to go. (Which isn't to say, of course, that he's entirely gone. He's there. Oh, he's there.)

We discover a lot more about Alina (and who-slash-what she is), about the Fae Authority and about why the fae are in London and how many of them feel about it. I really like how her character grows from that out of work, going to prove herself reporter from the beginning of City of Fae to where she is at the end of City of Shadows.

City of Shadows did a great job expanding on the world and characters we were introduced to in City of Fae. It was both bigger and more personal, with Alina's quest to understand herself, to continue. I have a better understanding of who, how and why the fae are in London, who the characters are and who they all are to each other. I am really hoping thre's more of the London Fae series to come!




Other Titles You May Also Enjoy: All that Glows and All that Burns by Ryan Graudin





received, for review, from publisher via NetGalley

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Arcana Chronicles: Arcana Rising Spotlight [@kresleycole @SullandPartners]

Arcana Rising - The Arcana Chronicles Book 4 - by Kresley Cole is out today!




Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestseller Kresley Cole.

When the battle is done . . .
The Emperor unleashed hell and annihilated an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind--but Circe struck back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

And all hope is lost . . .
With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter's reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

Vengeance becomes everything.
To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future--and her chilling past--will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter's ashes, stronger than ever before?


Book Details:
Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles #4)
Valkyrie Press
August 15, 2016
add to Goodreads/buy from Amazon/iBooks/Kobo/Nook/Google Play



Author Bio: 

Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers Series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master's grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.

Her books have been translated into twenty foreign languages, garnered three RITA awards, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

You can learn more about her and her work at www.kresleycole.com or www.facebook.com/KresleyCole




Haven't started the Arcana Chronicles, yet? What're you waiting for? 





Poison Princess ~ Kresley Cole (earc) review [@kresleycole @SullandPartners @simonteen]

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1)
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
October 2, 2012
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


If you've already read Poison Princess, don't forget that Book 4 Arcana Rising is out today!


#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world-or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future-and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Derveaux.

But she can't do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side...


This book absolutely pulls you in from the beginning. I loved that the prologue is something happening after the main storyline. Not only does it give readers a nice (but not too detailed) glimpse at what the world is like later, but it introduces to Arthur. Oh but he's creepy and unsettling and just . . .


That the prologue, Arthur, just what's going on there, why - and how - Evie's there is unknown is fantastic. It really throws you off to start with that prologue and then go back to the start, to normal (or normal-ish) life for Evie in Sterling, Louisiana. Not quite 'average' though as Evie has hallucinations and spent her summer in a mental hospital, both facts she's trying to keep secret. I liked that she was the rich cheerleader with the senior boyfriend . . . but then there was all she was keeping hidden.

Now, I shouldn't have liked Jack. He's way more alpha male than I usually like - especially in YA - but I did like him. He can be rude, he can be a jerk, he likes to declare things (and expect people, ie Evie) to go with it. He's big on thinking girls need protecting and 'belong' to their boyfriend. But the brashness is tempered with a sweeter, maybe kinder side to him and how his past and family play into who he is. Yes, he was still very frustrating, maybe infuriating, at times but I liked him.

I liked not knowing what to expect for the 'apocalyptic event' so I'm not including thoughts on that in this review except to say that it all worked well together. It was something different than usual, but with a few familiar bits. I really enjoyed discovering more about what the world turned into, what the dangers were and discovering more of the truth about Evie.

(Also? They needed Mark Watney in their world. For one very specific, if spoilery reason.)

Poison Princess does a great job introducing us to the characters, to the new reality of the world, having its own sort of mythology. Evie is quite a different character at the end of the book than she was at the beginning and I'm hoping we can figure her out more and see her grow more in the next books. (Plus, I want more of Jack and the other characters and more answers!)









digital copy received for review thanks to Sullivan & Partners, LLC

Monday, August 8, 2016

The House Between Tides ~ Sarah Maine (earc) review [@SarahMaineBooks @atriabooks]

The House Between Tides
Atria Books
August 02, 2016
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Kate Morton meets Daphne du Maurier in this atmospheric debut novel about a woman who discovers the century-old remains of a murder victim on her family’s Scottish estate, plunging her into an investigation of its mysterious former occupants.

Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and her strained relationship behind for Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She intends to renovate the ruinous house into a hotel, but the shocking discovery of human remains brings her ambitious restoration plans to an abrupt halt before they even begin. Few physical clues are left to identify the body, but one thing is certain: this person did not die a natural death.

Hungry for answers, Hetty discovers that Muirlan was once the refuge of her distant relative Theo Blake, the acclaimed painter and naturalist who brought his new bride, Beatrice, there in 1910. Yet ancient gossip and a handful of leads reveal that their marriage was far from perfect; Beatrice eventually vanished from the island, never to return, and Theo withdrew from society, his paintings becoming increasingly dark and disturbing.

What happened between them has remained a mystery, but as Hetty listens to the locals and studies the masterful paintings produced by Theo during his short-lived marriage, she uncovers secrets that still reverberate through the small island community—and will lead her to the identity of the long-hidden body.

The promise of, 'Kate Morton meets Daphne du Maurier' was too much for me to possibly pass up - Rebecca is one of my favorite books, ever, and I loved The Lake House. Yet, I remained incredibly skeptical that the book would actually deliver on that promise. It did, though. It really, really, really did.

The setting of an isolated island and neighboring village in the Scottish Hebrides and the out of place,  grand estate house, provide the gothic atmosphere. It should feel idyllic when we read about THeo and Beatrice, so recently married, getting away from the constraints of the city and spending time, together, at his family home. The 2010 parts of the story let you know, pretty quickly, that it's not all Beatrice hopes for. Just what that means - the how, why, and what - aren't revealed nearly as quickly

The characters in this book are phenomenal.  The combination of Theo, Beatrice and the island's few other inhabitants lives in 1910, their individual pasts, they way many of those pasts overlap and intersect and tehy way they impact others' present and future if really well done.

Thanks to the discovery of the bones that something untoward while for Beatrice, Theo, Cameron, Emily, et al it's still to come. Then there's how Hetty seems to discover more about herself (and those around her) as she uncovers more about the Blakes and pieces things together. There were times that I had trouble keeping James and Cameron entirely separate in  my head, but that was all.

There are a lot of times that I read a book and like, love, enjoy the characters. Very, very rarely do I read a book and have to literally remind myself that they are fictional characters, that they didn't live one hundred plus years ago and I can't find out any more about them than is in the book. The House Between Tides' characters were ones it seemed I should be able to go look up, to find photos of or historical records.

This was Sarah Maine's first novel but i never would have guessed it. The setting, the characters, the connection between the past and present, the mystery and the little twists and turns that keep you guessing, all will keep you reading The House Between Tides right up to the end





You Might Also Enjoy: The Lake House by Kate Morton and At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen





digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday [@KerriManiscalco]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine



My pick for this week:


STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.



published September 20th by Jimmy Patterson

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?

I love historical fiction including historical fiction that gives us possibilities, no matter how fantastical or fictional, about unknown or unsolved past events/crimes. I also really like  historical fiction with female characters who lead their lives 'against society's expectations'/

I like the sound of this book's main character, the historical setting, the timing and that it's a 'Gothic horror'  mystery, as well.




That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Telling ~ Alexandra Sirowy (earc) review [@simonteen @AlexandraSirowy]

The Telling
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
August 02, 2016
387 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Lana used to know what was real.

That was before when her life was small and quiet.
Her golden step-brother, Ben, was alive, she could only dream about bonfiring with the populars, their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.

Then came after.

After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, and living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.

After her step-brother Ben was murdered, Lana almost din't knowhow to go on living. Now, in this after she thinks she's figured out how to try. She's being that fun, adventurous, daring girl she was always too afraid (or too bullied) to be before.

Then, things begin happening. Things  that seem to belong more to the twisted fairy tales Ben used to tell her than to real life. The more that happens and the more that she and the friends she's spent so much of the summer with become ensnared in everything, the more questions there are. For Lana and readers alike.

The characters made it hard for me to really get into The Telling. I liked Lana fine, but it was hard to really be pulled in by her. I liked the background of who she'd been as a child, all that had happened to her, why she'd changed over the years and why she now had changed again. I think if he other characters had been fuller, I would have felt more a part of the story. We have what Lana thinks of them, what they've done to her in the past, and what they do now. The little mentions, though, of other sides to them: nicer, kinder, deeper, etc things had e wishing we got to know them better.

I liked the way the things that occurred made Lana question what was real. I didn't always understand the conclusions she came to or what she chose as the right course of action. I appreciated that she did acknowledge that they weren't always going about things the 'smart' way.

The explanation for everything seemed, in some ways, to just appear - not so much the actual ending as how we got there, the reasoning. It worked with the earlier parts  of the story looking back, but didn't seemed hinted at and wasn't something you could figure out from clues given.

The Telling is a tense, creepy, disturbing, sometimes a bit weird tale that deals with love, grief, bravery, truth and lies. I do wish the characters (aside from Lana) had been more fully developed but it is a good read.




Other Books You May Also Enjoy: Tragedy Girl by Christine Hurley Deriso and Those Girls by Lauren Saft






digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

Top Ten Tuesday [10 Books to Buy]


This week's Ten:

Ten Books You'd Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card



Blackhearts (Blackhearts #1) by Nicole Castroman
Goodreads // review

The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows


Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh

Rebel Magisters (Rebel Mechanics #2) by Shanna Swendson

In A House Made of Bones and Teeth (The Lovegrove Legacy #3) by Alyxandra Harvey

Of Phantoms and Fury (Of Monsters and Madness #2) by by Jessica Verday

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel


That is only eight, I know but I would want the last two of the ten to be books I just found/discovered at the bookstore. I love finding a book I've never heard about before, being drawn to it because I love the cover or there's a quote from an author I love or I just like the title . . . I have found some fantastic new reads that way so it has to be part of my list!




Please leave a comment and let me know what ten books you would buy if given the means!
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