Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@RebeccaPodos @epicreads @ABBalzer]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

LIKE WATER by Rebecca Podos

A gorgeously written and deeply felt literary young adult novel of identity, millennial anxiety, and first love, from the widely acclaimed author of The Mystery of Hollow Places

In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, leaving her and her mother to care for him. Now, she doesn’t have much of a plan at all: living at home, working as a performing mermaid at a second-rate water park, distracting herself with one boy after another.

That changes the day she meets Leigh. Disillusioned with small-town life and looking for something greater, Leigh is not a “nice girl.” She is unlike anyone Vanni has met, and a friend when Vanni desperately needs one. Soon enough, Leigh is much more than a friend. But caring about another person stirs up the moat Vanni has carefully constructed around herself, and threatens to bring to the surface the questions she’s held under for so long.

With her signature stunning writing, Rebecca Podos, author of The Mystery of Hollow Places, has crafted a story of first love and of the complex ways in which the deepest parts of us are hidden, even from ourselves

published October 17th by Balzer + Bray

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


I really loved The Mystery of Hollow Places (and Rebecca Podos's writing) and am intrigued by the sound of Like Water. I like that Savannah lives in a small town, that she was planning to get out of that small town, but now isn't. I am curious to see how the 'why' she is staying affects her, how her relationship with Leigh develops and what all of this, so much that was not what she had planned, means for her and her future.

(Plus, I'd be lying if I didn't say that the 'performing mermaid' bit sounds fun.)

Here is the link to my review of The Mystery of Hollow Places.

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: 2017 Books

This week's Ten:

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James

The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter

Venturess (Mechanica #2) by Betsy Cornwell

Sparks of Light (into the Dim #2) by Janet B Taylor

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Ends of the World (The Conspiracy of Us #3) by Maggie Hall

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

The Keep of Ages (The Vault of Dreamers #3) by Caragh M O'Brien

Please leave a comment and tell me what books, from the last half of 2017, you're most anticipating!

Beyond the Wild River ~ Sarah Maine (earc) review [@SarahMaineBooks @AtriaBooks]

Beyond the Wild River
Atria Books
April 18, 2017
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

For fans of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams, a highly atmospheric and suspenseful historical novel, set in the 1890s about a Scottish heiress who unexpectedly encounters her childhood friend in North America, five years after he disappeared from her family’s estate the night of a double murder.

Nineteen-year-old Evelyn Ballantyre has rarely strayed from her family’s estate in the Scottish Borderlands, save for the occasional trip to Edinburgh, where her father, a respected magistrate, conducts his business—and affairs of another kind. Evelyn has always done her duty as a daughter, hiding her boredom and resentment behind good manners—so when an innocent friendship with a servant is misinterpreted by her father as an illicit union, Evelyn is appalled.

Yet the consequence is a welcome one: she is to accompany her father on a trip to North America, where they’ll visit New York City, the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and conclude with a fishing expedition on the Nipigon River in Canada. Now is her chance to escape her cloistered life, see the world, and reconnect with her father.

Once they’re on the Nipigon, however, Evelyn is shocked to discover that their guide is James Douglas, the former stable hand and her one-time friend who disappeared from the estate after the shootings of a poacher and a gamekeeper. Many had assumed that James had been responsible, but Evelyn never could believe it. Now, in the wilds of a new world, far from the constraints of polite society, the truth about that day, James, and her father will be revealed…to stunning consequences.

Beyond the Wild River did not pull me in as much or as quickly as I was hoping, despite being set in both a great time and great places.  The story is set in 1893, in both Chicago at the World's Fair and later in Canada on the Nipigon River. Events that happened five years earlier at the Ballantyre estate in Scotland are alluded to and sometimes glimpsed and play an crucial role in the characters' modern day.

Not knowing just exactly what happened in Scotland, what was said or not said about it, and who believed what does help give the story some mystery. Yet, it also made it harder for me to relate to the characters. For most of the book, I had trouble really knowing who they were, why they were certain ways. It both worked that we did not get a full accounting for the events in 1888 and their aftermath, and did not work.

The last third or so of the novel, when both characters and readers are more aware of the truth (and the lies and half truths that were substituted) was the most compelling and engrossing. It was then that I really felt for the characters, understood better who they were, and felt more invested in what happened to them.

The 'current' setting, both Chicago and  where the fishing expedition takes the characters, was very well portrayed. The author did a great job capturing the changes that were impacting each locale and its people. The inclusion of how the development and the industry were changing both the physical landscape and the native peoples was fantastic. I liked, as well, that it addressed where women were in society while keeping it all a part of the story.

I love that author Sarah Maine takes places or times that I thought I was (at least somewhat) familiar with and shows me a new angle, a new perspective, a new setting. I do look forward to more from her.

digital review copy received, via NetGalley, thanks to publisher

Monday, May 29, 2017

Crazy House ~ James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet (arc) review [@JP_Books @CateTiernan @HachetteBooks]

Crazy House
Hachette Book Group
May 22, 2017
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

A thrilling new YA novel from master of suspense James Patterson, who's created a frightening new future: a world where teens are taken, imprisoned and forced to fight for their survival. Where 17-year-old Cass will do whatever it takes to save her twin sister from Death Row.

There were no charges. There was no trial. There will be no escape.

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her small hometown. She was thrown into a maximum-security prison and put on Death Row with other kids her age. Until her execution, Becca's told to fit in and shut her mouth... but Becca's never been very good at either. Her sister Cassie was always the perfect twin.

Becca's only hope is that her twin sister will find her. That perfect little priss Cassie will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it's too late. Because her jailers made a mistake that could get them both killed:

They took the wrong twin.

The two authors of this book have published hundred of books between them (Gabrielle Charbonnet published YA under the pseudonym Cate Tiernan), but somehow this is the first I have read by either of them.

Crazy House starts by throwing readers right into things: Becca seems to already be missing and her twin sister Cassie is desperate to find her, while following the rules, of course. No being out after curfew or before it's over and absolutely, most definitely no leaving the cell. Starting things in this way pulls readers into the story immediately and helps add to the tension and questions (Where is Becca? What's the deal with the curfew? What is this cell?).

With so much focus on the action, however, there is not enough attention given to character development or world building. You want Cassie to find Becca, sure but you would kind of be okay with her not, too.

Thanks to the alternating perspectives/narrations, we readers do know where Becca is - but not too much beyond that. The more we saw of Becca and her life in the prison, the more I wanted more answers, more of what was going on. There was not a clear enough villain to it. Yes, the mystery keeps you reading but it was hard to know just who you were rooting against (or why). (Since the cover calls on The Hunger Games: In that book we knew the Capitol, that Snow, was at the head of things, they were the Big Bad; I wanted something similar here, even while getting why we didn't/couldn't know.)

If this is going to be a series, then I feel a bit more positively about the book as a whole and the ending than if it's just the one book. If there will, in fact, be a second book, I have higher hopes for it with the information we now have and look forward to seeing more development of the relationships and finding out more about their world.

Crazy House is a fun, fast read but there was not enough development of the characters or their world - but I hope there's more to come.

advance copy thanks to  publisher for review consideration

Summer-y Books

Whether you're off to a barbecue for Memorial Day or staying home, whether you're already out of school for the year or counting down the days (or have a job and don't get summer break), summery-y books are always fun to read.

Here are some books that take place during the summer and/or give you that summertime feel:

The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) by Jenny Han

Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna & the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins

but don't forget it's really about sales and days off work/school

Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@epicreads @jcharbonneau @harperteen]

This week, the trailer I picked is for Joelle Charbonneau's Dividing Eden the first book in the Dividing Eden series. The book is coming out June 6th and will be published by HarperTeen.

about Dividing Eden:

A sweeping fantasy, by the bestselling author of The Testing, about two royal siblings forced to compete for the crown.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option: to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@DashkaSlater @fsgbooks]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

THE 57 BUS: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater

One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

published October 17th by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)

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


I love fictionalizations/novelizations of nonfiction events and I enjoy books told from multiple perspectives. I am intrigued that this book is about a true event, that it involved (and is told by) teenagers, and that the crime was classified as a hate crime. I really look forward to seeing how this story is told, learning about the event and the characters and hopefully having a lot to think about both while reading it and after finishing it.

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads

This week's Ten:
10 Summer or Beach Reads
(8 Fiction & 2 Nonfiction)

The Witch of Painted Sorrows (Daughters of La Lune #1) by M.J. Rose
Goodreads // review

The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine
Goodreads // review

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen
Goodreads // review

Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Goodreads // review

With Malice by Eileen Cook
Goodreads // review

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
Goodreads // review

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Goodreads // review

Kick Kennedy: The Charmed Life and Tragic Death of the Favorite Kennedy Daughter by Barbara Leaming

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

Please leave a comment and let me know what books you're planning to read this summer! (Or what you think are great summertime reads.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter ~ Scaachi Koul (earc) review [@picadorbooks @Scaachi]

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays
May 02, 2017
256 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

For readers of Mindy Kaling, Jenny Lawson and Roxane Gay, a debut collection of fierce and funny essays about growing up the daughter of Indian immigrants in Canada, "a land of ice and casual racism," by the irreverent, hilarious cultural observer and incomparable rising star, Scaachi Koul.

In One Day We ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father s creeping mortality all as she tries to find her feet in the world.

With a clear eye and biting wit, Scaachi Koul explores the absurdity of a life steeped in misery. And through these intimate, wise and laugh-out-loud funny dispatches, a portrait of a bright new literary voice emerges."

I owe this book's cover and title a thank you. I don't read very much nonfiction that isn't historical  biography or memoir nor do I read many books of essays but because of the title and cover, I read this one - and really enjoyed it.

Through her essays, Scaachi Koul (a writer I was not previously familiar with) covers a lot of pertinent, current topics and issues. It is all through stories of her life: growing up, college, work, family, family vacations, clothes shopping, etc. Each essay finds a way to not  only give you a glimpse into her life, into who she is and how she's experienced the world, but to also highlight some 'issue,' all while being relevant to nearly everyone, in one way or another. Oh, and it is incredibly funny nearly the whole while.

From body image (weight, hair) to racism and sexism to rape culture to xenophobia to talking about yoga (versus, well, doing it), One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter covers tackles a lot of those hot button issues through how they've played a part in Koul's life but also how the affect us all. Her life, her story includes immigrant parents, being Indian, being a woman but none of that has to be true for the book to be relevant (and entertaining) to you. My grandmother lived her whole life in the Southern United States but several thing Koul's mother did or said, I could absolutely hear her saying or doing. (Especially the part around bust measurements.)

If you already read Scaachi Koul's BuzzFeed articles you likely know her writing - including about her father and his emails which are fantastic - but if not, do yourself a favor and pick up One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter.

Scaachi Koul's website & BuzzFeed articles

digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@DisneyHyperion @DisneyChannel @descendants @MelissadelaCruz]

The third book in the Descendants prequel series by Melissa de la Cruz, Rise of the Isle of the Lost will be out May 23rd and The Descendants 2 will premiere July 21st on Disney Channel (in the US and Canada). So you have plenty of time to read the book (or books) before the show starts!

Here is the piece will what you need to know about the upcoming sequel: "Rise of the Isle of the Lost trailer introduces Uma before Descendants 2"

And here is the trailer for Rise of the Isle of the Lost:

Series on Goodreads // Amazon

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@DisneyHyperion @@kirstenhubbard[

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

RACE THE NIGHT by Kirsten Hubbard

"Without you, there'd be no hope for the world. Because you are the whole world."

That's what Teacher says, and twelve-year-old Eider knows she's right. The world ended long ago, and the desert ranch is the only thing left. Still, Eider's thoughts keep wandering Beyond the fence. Beyond the pleated earth and scraggly brush and tedious daily lessons. Eider can't help wishing for something more-like the stories in the fairytale book she hides in the storage room. Like the secret papers she collects from the world Before. Like her little sister who never really existed.

When Teacher announces a new kind of lesson, Eider and the other kids are confused. Teacher says she needs to test their specialness-the reason they were saved from the end of the world. But seeing in the dark? Reading minds? As the kids struggle to complete Teacher's challenges, they also start to ask questions. Questions about their life on the desert ranch, about Before and Beyond, about everything Teacher has told them. But the thing about questions-they can be dangerous.

This moving novel-equal parts hope and heartbreak-traces one girl's journey for truth and meaning, from the smallest slip of paper to the deepest understanding of family. The world may have ended for the kids of the desert ranch . . . but that's only the beginning.
Praise for Watch the Sky:

"Strong characters drive the carefully crafted novel. . . Hubbard's sparse, elegant prose captures the rural landscape's desolate beauty as well as its dangers and palpably expresses the family's escalating tensions. . . [An] atmospheric, ultimately hopeful novel."
-School Library Journal, starred review

"Hubbard writes fluently and accessibly. . . An absorbing tale."
-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Haunting, tense, and moving. . . Caleb's efforts to safeguard himself and his family will stay with readers."
-Publishers Weekly

"Hubbard gets Jory's emotions just right. . . The pacing moves smoothly, balancing the everyday with the impending Crisis, and the ending ties up every loose thread. An excellent choice for discussion."

"The conclusion is a satisfying one. . . Timely."

published November 8th by Disney Hyperion

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


I really, really enjoyed Kirsten Hubbard's Watch the Sky (review) and want to read another Middle Grade novel from her. (I enjoyed Like Mandarin and Wanderlovetoo but they're YA reada, not an MG ones.)

I love the idea of this book - that the world's ended, but not quite, Teacher and Eider and their questions that, it seems, shouldn't be asked. I am curious to see what Eider's world is like, if we find out how it got that way and what she's able to find from Before - and what is Beyond.

Race the Night sounds like a magical, special read and I look forward to meeting the characters and finding out about their lives and world.

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The World's Greatest Detective ~ Caroline Carlson review [@carolinetc @HarperChildrens]

The World's Greatest Detective
May 16, 2017
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

By the end of our time together, someone in this house will be rich. Someone will be the World’s Greatest Detective. And someone, well, someone might be dead.

Detectives’ Row is full of talented investigators, but Toby Montrose isn’t one of them. He’s only an assistant at his uncle’s crime-solving business, and he’s not sure he’s even very good at that. But he sees his chance to prove he could be by entering Hugh Abernathy’s crime-solving contest in his uncle’s place.

Toby’s friend Ivy is the best detective around—or at least she thinks so. But she can’t show off her sleuthing skills and take the title because she’s not allowed to join the investigators’ ranks. Even though the competition is being held at her house.

Then a detective is found murdered before the games begin and his death becomes the World’s Greatest Mystery. And Toby and Ivy may be the only two who can crack the case.

In Caroline Carlson’s newest novel, hilarity and hijinks abound as the greatest detectives around try to solve the greatest mystery they’ve ever come across.

The World's Greatest Detective does a brilliant job having an almost historical, but entirely fictitious setting. It allows us to have the feel of the murder mystery in the big, grand house full of servants and social expectations and dressing for dinner - but without some of the restrictions. We get the atmosphere without being limited in who the characters can be or what they can do.

Science still gets to play a role in the investigation and in the character's methods of detecting, but doesn't feel out of place.

What I loved, maybe most of all, is that the book and when it takes place has that older feel, but that its world isn't quite as male dominated. As Ivy would no doubt remind you, there are still expectations put upon girls but women seem less restricted. There is a female doctor, several female detectives, and a scientist. The author does a great job giving younger readers a historical feel without subjugating the female characters.

I loved Toby as the central character. His past and how that affects how he behaves, his worries and his fears was fantastic. It added a bit of gravity to everything he did and got readers to pull for him eve more. It wasn't just about him looking for entertainment. (It gives him some great motivation, one of the 'Three M's' they try to uncover in the book.)

The mystery was nicely done and did a great job dropping hints, throwing out false leads and making you wonder just how - of even if - it would all be solved.

finished copy received from publisher for review consideration

Top Ten Tuesday: Mother's Day Edition

This week's Ten:
Mother's Day Freebie

8 Books With Bad Mothers

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Macbeth by Shakespeare

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert

Compulsion (Max Revere #2) by Allison Brennan

and 2 Books with Great Mothers

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend

Please leave a comment and let me know what book mothers would be on your list - I know there ware some I forgot about!
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