Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2017 (So Far)


This week's Ten:
Top 10 2017 Reads So Far
(2017 releases but some were read in 2016)



Daughter of the Pirate King (#1) by Tricia Levenseller


Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
Goodreads // review


Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman
Goodreads // review


Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James
Goodreads // review

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown
Goodreads // review

The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig
Goodreads

Traveler (#1) by L.E. DeLano
Goodreads // review

Right Behind You (Quincy & Rainie #7) by Lisa Gardner
Goodreads // review


One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul


Alone (The Generations Trilogy #3) by Scott Sigler


What can be learned from this list? Apparently I am quite fond of books with pirates in them and, more importantly, 2017 has been a great year for book's with pirates in them!




Please leave a comment and let me know your favorite reads from 2017!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Aftercare Instructions ~ Bonnie Pipkin (earc) review [@bonnie-pipkin @Flatironbooks]

Aftercare Instructions
Flatiron Books
June 27, 2017
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts

Initially, I was not that sure I wanted to read Aftercare Instructions. A book that starts with a girl's boyfriend leaving while she's having an abortion?  It sounded like it might be too . . . something (political? heavy? irreverent even?  I don't know). I am thrilled that I did decide to read it, though. This novel is so, so much more than I anticipated - better, smarter, complicated, thoughtful, even sweet.

Gen's boyfriend Peter abandoning her at Planned Parenthood is the latest 'not-supposed-to-happen' thing to happen to her, but it's nowhere near the only one. Her father died, her mother hasn't yet gotten over that, her sister no long lives with them, the school therapist wants different answers than Gen gives, and she has a 'former' best friend. While her relationship with Peter was unexpected, it was supposed to be what made those other things bearable.

Now, Gen isn't sure how she feels. About Peter. About anything, really.

New experiences - and new people - help her as she tries to understand the past and guess what it means for now.

The way we get scenes from Gen's past told as though scenes in a play, written in script form, work well and fits even better as the story progresses. I liked that we got a fuller picture of who the Gen was at the start of the story, what she'd experienced, what had happened/been done to her, but only later in the story. It lets you get things from her perspective, her interpretation. Readers seem to get a better understanding of things at the same time she does. I loved Gen and her whole journey: the past, the present, what she realizes and pieces together.

It is a small thing, but I loved the reasoning behind Genesis's name. I wondered about it from almost the beginning and liked that we didn't get an explanation until nearly half way through the book. It made the answer more rewarding because we knew the characters and understood how true what Gen said was.

If you are at all one the fence about this book, do yourself a favor and read it. Not only does it approach a topic (abortion) rarely discussed, but it does so in a very skilled manner and all as part captivating and compelling story with a fantastic cast of unique characters and an unforgettable main character. I am very much looking forward to what's next from Bonnie Pipkin.








digital review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@harperchildrens @joryjohn]

This week I picked the trailer for The Bad Seed by Jory John and illustrated by Pete Oswald:



about The Bad Seed:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Goodnight Already! series

This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know?

He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy?

With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for readers young and old, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.

August 29, 2017 // Harper Childrens // Goodreads // Book Depository  // Amazon

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Follow Me Back ~ A.V. Geiger (earc) review [@SourcebooksFire @av_geiger #FollowMeBack #EricThornObsessed]

Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back #1)
Sourcebooks Fire
June 06, 2017
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.

Follow Me Back does a great job pulling readers in from the very beginning. The inclusion of police interview transcripts that are from interviews taking place after the narrative's present tell us that something has happened, something bad - but not what. That glimpse into the future really increases the tension as Eric Thorn stresses over his safety, and hates his fame and (it seems) his fans.

There is a bit of unknown in Tessa's story, as well. Her severe agoraphobia is due to something that happened to her but readers don't know just what that was. Even as you're drawn into the character's present, the transcripts and Tessa's mentions of New Orleans have you wanting to know their past and future, at least equally as much.

Using tweets and DMs not only fits the story of Follow Me Back - with the celebrity, anonymity, isolation, focus on social media - but help readers connect with the characters more quickly. It gives us an unfiltered look at who they are (or who they're supposed to be).

Some of the secondary characters - Tessa's mother, in particular - were disappointing. They didn't feel like real, full characters and it was hard both to get a handle on who they were and, then, to really see how they impacted the main characters.

I am still conflicted as to how I feel about the novel's ending, or what I think happened. Part of me thinks one thing happened, which would have left some things unresolved. Another part of me thinks something else happened, which I would make me need a bunch of sad face emojis. There is going to be a sequel (or at least a Follow Me Back #2) so I am holding out hope that there will be more answers then.

Follow Me Back is a book that keeps you reading from the very beginning until the very end. Tessa and Eric are unique and compelling main characters and their story had me ready for whatever's to come in Book 2!








Follow Me Back started on Wattpad, preview it there and the go buy it.
Follow Me Back on Wattpad




digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley

Waiting On Wednesday [@FeiwelFriends @FierceReads @marissa_meyer #JointheRenegades]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



RENEGADES (#1) by Marissa Meyer

From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer, comes a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

Secret Identities.
Extraordinary Powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice.


The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.


published November 7th by Feiwel & Friends

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


Why?

Well, firstly because it is written by Marissa Meyer and I have not yet read something by her that I didn't love. Then, there is the fact that it's a book with literal 'villains' (whether they are the real villains or not . . . ).I love that parts of the description (and cover) make me think of Legend, parts of it make me think of Partials and all of it makes me really, really, really want to read it.

Really, I don't care if anything I am thinking about Renegades turns out to be at all right, based on the author, the description and the cover, I know it's going to be a great read.



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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Series to Start (or Finish)


This week's Ten:
Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't 

Lately, I seem to be better at starting/continuing some series than at noting new ones I would like to start so here is my slightly modified list:

Series I Want to Start:

Creative HeArts series
by various authors

Beyond the Red series
by Ava Jae

Detective William Falkes series
by Daniel Cole

by Marissa Meyer

by PD Martin

Series I Want to Continue/Finish:
(these are ones I have not read in a long, long time but for no real reason)

by Kim Harrison

by Jeanne C Stein

by Karen E Olson

by Stephanie Bond

And One Last One: 

by Marissa Meyer
(no, it's not out until November but I still want to start it!)



Please leave a comment and let me know what series you want start reading - or to finish/get back to reading!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Blacksouls ~ Nicole Castroman (earc) review [@nicolecastroman @Simonteen]

Blacksouls (Blackheart #2)
Simon Pulse
April 11, 2017
400 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

After the ending of Blackheartsyou knew it was not going to be a Happily Ever After for Teach and Anne - at least not an easy one. Even when things started to look up, like they were going more positively for the two something else would happen (or be looming over them with the possibility of happening) that I started to despair at them ever not being separated.

Nicole Castroman does a fantastic job giving readers a glimpse at life in Nassau and aboard different kinds of ship in the late 17th, early 18th century. It seemed that here was greater attention (versus in Blackhearts) given to Anne's place in a white world (with a Caribbean mother and white father). Slavery and slavers are more present and a part of this book. We can see how slavery affects Anne both emotionally and mentally but also in how others view her. It is more that Anne and Teach have to contend with and a smart inclusion.

Even if you think you know Blackbeard and can guess where things are going, how something will happen or even what will happen, Blacksouls will surprise you. Everything fit incredibly well with the time period and location, even with some of what we know historically, while also being unpredictable and surprising. Castroman takes a more modern approach to who Blackbeard might have been - and why. It makes for a great read.

I loved Anne even more in this book than the first. She is strong and smart, she loves Teach, she doesn't quite seem to fit in and is looking for somewhere she does. I liked that we (and she) got to see more of the world and a look at her place in it.

The new characters we meet in Blacksouls were all great additions to the story - even those who were amazingly not great people - and I enjoyed the roles they played in the characters lives. (Along with the possibilities they presented for the future, both within the book and after the story ended.)

Blackhearts and Blacksouls were everything I wanted this 'origin pirate story' to be but so, so much more. The characters are smart the attention given to the time period, views on race in both England and the Caribbean (and slavery), and how women were viewed and treated is fantastic. This is a great romance that builds through the tow books - and that faces more than a few hardships. The Blackhearts books are a must read.








digital copy received for review from publisher via NetGalley

Book Trailer Friday [@BIGPictureBooks @TheJanePorter @WalkerBooksUK]

The trailer I picked this week is for a picture book but it looks so cute - and it's about 'always being yourself'


about Pink Lion by Jane Porter:


A bold and colourful picture book with a heart-warming story about always being yourself. A bold and colourful picture book with a heart-warming story about always being yourself. Arnold blends right in with his bright pink flamingo family. Then a growling gang of lions stops by and demands that Arnold should be more lion-like, just like them. Poor Arnold tries but misses his old life. But then his flamingo family are threatened by the growling gang. Is this the moment when Arnold will find his roar?
July 6th from Walker Books
pre-order from Amazon UK or Book Depository 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@jpetroroy @FeiwelFriends @MacKidsBooks]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



P.S. I MISS YOU by Jen Petro-Roy

In this epistolary middle-grade debut novel, a girl who's questioning her sexual orientation writes letters to her sister, who was sent away from their strict Catholic home after becoming pregnant.

Eleven-year-old Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. But when her parents forbid her to even speak to Cilla, she starts sending letters. Evie writes letters about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.

As she becomes better friends with June, Evie begins to question her sexual orientation. She can only imagine what might happen if her parents found out who she really is. She could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn't writing back. 


published March 6th by Feiwel & Friends

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


Why?

I really love epistolary novels; it gives us a lot of insight into the character and can be a great way to tell a story. I especially like the premise of why these letters are being written, it's an outlet for Evie but with the idea, too, that she's talking to her older sister so it may not be as free or unreserved as a dairy.

I also really love the juxtaposition of that seemingly sweet and cute cover with the deeper, maybe harsher realities of Evie and Cilla's life (Cilla being sent away for being pregnant, Evie's uncertainty and isolation). It looks like a fantastic read and I can't wait for March!


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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Father's Day Edition


This week's Ten:
Father's Day Related Freebie
10 Eight Memorable Book Fathers


Some of these fathers are very, very good, some are very, very bad, some aren't either of those, some are central characters in the book, some are barely present, but all left an impression and were memorable for some reason or another:

Atticus Finch
in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Captain Slate
in The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig


Maverick
in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 Darren (and his father, too)
in The Museum of You by Carys Bray

 John Milton
in Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman


Dill's father
in The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner


Billy Dent
in Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga


Teddy Favors
in How High the Moon by Sandra Kring



Please leave a comment and let me know what book dads you most remember!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@penguinukbooks @cjtudor]

This week's trailer is for The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor:




About The Chalk Man:

A riveting and brilliantly plotted psychological suspense, this razor-sharp debut will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending.

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he's put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.




February 20, 2018 // Grand Central // Doubleday Canada
January 11, 2018 // Michael Joseph

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dreamfall ~ Amy Plum (audio) review [@harperteen @epicreads @amyplumohlala]

Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
Harper Teen
May 02, 2017
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

audio version: narrated by Maria Cabezas, Dan Bittner, Tom Phelan
HarperAudio
May 02, 2017
7 hours, 25 minutes
Audible


Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.


Dreamfall is creepy and frightening but also makes you think and you really do care about the characters. Well, some of them more than others.

The idea of Dreamfall is great and the 'why's behind the characters involvement in this 'experimental new procedure' take away some of the craziness of them participating. The more you learn what they experience and how it's impacting their lives in a detrimental way, the more you can understand agreeing to something that seems so extreme.

I loved that while each character had such different reasons or causes for their sleep issues, the characters had similarities in what physically they dealt with and why they wanted a change. It was also more relateable to anyone with sleep issues of their own.

The way that author Amy Plum uses an outside character to introduce more information about the characters in the dreamworld was genius. It gives readers background on the characters and a better understanding of not only why they're in the experiment but who they are and, maybe, what to expect from them. Yet - and this is what was really so great - the characters aren't privy to this information, they're still in the dark about each other, in many ways. It builds a bit of the tension and connects readers to the characters.

The dreamworld is scary and troubling and hard to understand at first but as things progress and as we (thanks to different characters) learn a bit more, you understand it more . . . but fear it more, as well. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book given what the characters have figured out, so far. And what they have yet to uncover.

Dreamfall is the first book in the Dreamfall series and absolutely left me wishing that Book 2 were available already. I wanted to read it now.


*The audio book of this title was very good. There were a few places where it seemed the narrator was. Making. Each. Word. A. Sentence. There were weird pauses between each of a handful of words (and where it didn't make sense and/or wasn't for emphasis). It was odd but infrequent.



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@daveconnis @skyponypress]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM by Dave Connis

Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.



published November 7th  by Sky Pony Press

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


Why?

Adam sounds really rather not fine and I find his family, his coping mechanisms, his almost-semi-sort-of girlfriend, and hten what happens to him all very intriguing. I really look forward to seeing how everything plays out, what the characters are like and if Adam does, in fact, end up being 'fine'.



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