Monday, October 16, 2017

The Innocence Treatment ~ Ari B Goelman (earc) review [@agoelman @FierceReads @MacKidsBooks]

The Innocence Treatment
Roaring Brook Press
October 17, 2017
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.

Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her--and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?

Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren's papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren's story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.
Sixteen-year-old Lauren Fielding lives in ta United States, in 2031, that is a mix of 1984 and The Program; The Department 'keeps everyone safe' and speaking out against them is far from a good idea. It may even be illegal.

As some struggle to accept the Emergency Act, the Department and all they mean for life, others are thankful for the safety and stability. And Lauren? She believes whatever anyone tells her - about the world, about how they feel, about anything. She takes everyone and everything at face value. If you say you're fine, she truly believes you are fine.

Her disorder makes her miss a lot and can be confusing (even watching movies or reading novels isn't enjoyable for her) So when the chance to 'fix' her presents itself< Lauren's thrilled.

Only, she's not a 'normal' person after the surgery, either.

Things get complicated and consing in all new ways and Lauren wonders what's better the ignroance she had or the paranoia she now has.

The Innocence Treatment is a fantastic near future YA thriller. Lauren and her story are the perfect way to present that world to us.  Not only do we get the 'new' paranoid Lauren but though her new understanding, her reinterpretation of past events we really see what 2031 is like, what the Department is like. Beyond that, we also get some great questions about life and knowledge and generally being human. In her struggle with her new self, Lauren wonders and works through things that many will be able to identify with.

I loved that the entire novel is presented as a nonfiction book published in 2041, from the Editor's Note at the beginning all the way through to the end. With this format we get Lauren's journal entries, but also notes (both from her doctor and in footnotes) that give you enough of what's coming for Lauren to up the anxiety and stress level (and the mystery) but not ruin any of the story.

Goelman's imagining of 2031 made for a great read with great social commentary and questions about what to value in life, what's important ("Why is that Dr Corbin? Why would I rather be unhappy than stupid? . .. What does it matter if other people thought I was stupid, as long as I was happy?" -pg 72).  Though, it's not a 2031 I want to see come to fruition.

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Breathless ~ Tara Goedjen (earc) review [@TaraGoedjen @DelacortePress]

The Breathless
Delacorte Press
October 10, 2017
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.

Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died.

And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets—dangerous secrets—about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever.

And maybe there are secrets better left to the dead.

The Breathless is a YA, paranormal, Southern Gothic but what sets it apart from from other paranormal, YA, Southern Gothics is its setting, the characters and their history. I loved that it was set in Alabama, along the Gulf Coast as most seem set in Louisiana or the Carolinas and the addition of the proximity of the water played an important role in the story.

Parts of the novel are set in the mid-nineteenth century giving us a glimpse into the past of Blue Gate, the once grand but now crumbling home of Mae and her family. It was both different and enjoyable that, despite it being the nineteenth century in the Southern United Sates, this story didn't involve slavery. It also gave us a fresh portrayal of magic and how it came into the characters' lives. (If I really think about it, I'm not sure how that family didn't have some kind of help, paid or otherwise but , oh well.)

We have a mystery in not only Ro's death - what happened, how it happened, who's to blame, why - but in where Cage has been for the past year. The questions around Cage's reappearance, where he's been, why he was gone - and why he doesn't seem to know Ro is dead - add an extra layer of intrigue and uncertainty to the story.

I really liked how Mae had to try to figure out if Cage could be trusted, to find out what happened to her sister, to understand the green book and her family's history all while still grieving. It impacts her decisions, how other characters are behaving or would react and why seems 'right.'

The Breathless had an original setting and origins of both the characters and paranormal elements and the mystery was well done and surprising at times. When the book was finished, though, there were a few things left unexplained (Some that could be inferred, maybe, from things said in story but some I just don't know about.). I wish we'd been given more explanation about these things or, if there were answers, that they'd been more prominent.

I am still puzzling out a few things but this was a fun, original read and I would like to read more from Tara Goedjen.

digital copy received for review from publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October is the Coldest Month ~ Christoffer Carlsson (earc) review [@ccarlssons @ScribeUKbooks @rwillsonbroyles]

October is the Coldest Month
translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles
Scribe UK
June 08, 2017
192 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/AmazonUK/or Amazon

Vega Gillberg is 16 years old when the police come knocking on the door looking for her older brother, Jakob.

Vega hasn’t heard from him in days, but she has to find him before the police do. Jakob was involved in a terrible crime. What no one knows is that Vega was there, too.

In the rural Swedish community where the Gillbergs live, life is tough, the people are even tougher, and old feuds never die. As Vega sets out to find her brother, she must survive a series of threatening encounters in a deadly landscape. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s dealing with the longing she feels for a boy that she has sworn to forget, and the mixed-up feelings she has for her brother’s best friend.

During a damp, raw week in October, the door to the adult world swings open, and Vega realises that once she has crossed the threshold there is no turning back.

"The story would refer to Varvet as the 'remote Småland countryside'. It was weird--just because they were far away, we were the remote ones. Even though we were close to the action." *

I really enjoyed October is the Coldest Month: the story, the writing, the characters, the tone. This novel was originally published in Swedish and it felt very different from something set in England or the US - or even set in Sweden but written in English. For lack of a better way to say it (and I have tried to find one) it felt very Scandinavian.

Even as dark or criminal or dangerous or confusing (or a mix of all of the above) were happening, it did not feel as intense or fast paced as other stories I have read. I loved that Vega walked or rode her bike everywhere, that she lived by a giant, old, intimidating forest. I also loved her complicated, confusing relationships with her family members.

"In Varvet, you inherit your house, you way of life, your loyalties.History is your blood whether you want it there or no."*

Both the characters and their lives were very easy to relate to, though. Varvet is a town it is easy to get stuck in; to stay in your whole life. Whether you want to or not. Vega's description of what happens there, of who the people are and why they are there made it sound like a lot of American small towns.  It also feels like the perfect setting for her family: the absence of her father, the way her mother acts, what he uncle does, why he's back in Varvet, where her brother lives, etc. The author gave us the perfect setting and characters who, flaws, good intentions, not-so-good intentions, fit in could really only, all, live there.

As this is a translated work it's hard to know just how much of the writing (phrasing, word choice, etc) is the author and how much is the translator but it was great. Any book that can compare things to soon-to-be-decapitated Barbie heads and to buffalo and have them both work is something pretty special.

Vega and her entries into the adult world, the crime and what trying to figure it out reveals to Vega, Varvet and how living there shapes the characters, the tone and atmosphere of this story which were different and wonderful, and the fantastic writing all makes this a book you should read. I hope more of this author's works are translated into English.

*Quote is from arc and I could not find the section in any of the previews of the finished book online. If you have a finished copy and my quote is incorrect, let me know. (Or if you know a page number.)

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

Waiting On Wednesday [@lynnweingarten @simonteen]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:


Bad girls get it done.

Sasha’s all-time favorite person is her best friend Xavier. He’s smart, funny, and strange. He’s not just nice but kind. He’s endlessly forgiving, even when maybe he shouldn’t be.

So when Xavier lets his ex, Ivy, slither her way back into his life, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. And not just because she can’t stop thinking about the night she and Xavier almost shared a rum-soaked kiss. No, it’s because Ivy is poisonous. The last time they were together, Ivy cheated on Xavier and he just barely survived.

Sasha has a plan: pose online as a guy to seduce Ivy, proving that cheaters never change. But she soon learns to be careful who you pretend to be—because you can never truly know the darkness inside of someone. Including yourself.

Told in multiple points of view.

published October 31st by Simon Pulse

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


I have enjoyed Lynn Weingarten's previous books (The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls, Wherever Nina Lies).I am interested in  Bad Girls with Perfect Faces because of the different dynamics/relationships it includes: Sasha and Xavier's friendship, the potential romantic possibilities between Sasha and Xavier (plus ho that would/is affecting the friendship), Xavier and Ivy's past, their present, and what there is between Sasha and Ivy.

Then I want to see what all is involved in Sasha's plan - and how things may veer away from what she has planned.

Especially because it is told from multiple points of view, I want to see how this all works, how the relationships and characters are intertwined and how what happens affects each of them.

I also love the title and the book cover. (While I can obviously be completely wrong, I love the lipstick and how, with the whole flies and honey saying, it works with the title.)

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall Book Covers

This week's Ten:
10 Books with Autumnal Covers
(Books that Make Me Think of Fall/autumn)

Most of these it is the cover that makes me think of fall even if the book itself isn't very fall themed but with Bleeding Violet, I think it's because the cover makes me think of the book which makes me think of rainy days which makes me think of fall! Here are my ten picks:

One Night (Only You #1) by AJ Pine
Goodreads // review

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Goodreads // review

Swoon (#1) by Nina Malkin

The Haunted (The Hollow #2) by Jessica Verday

In the End (In the After #2) by Demitria Lunetta

So Silver Bright (Theatre Illuminata #3) by Lisa Mantchev

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (#1) by Michelle Hodkin

Providence by Lisa Colozza Cocca

The Ring and the Crown (#1) by Melissa de la Cruz

Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Please leave a comment and let me know what book covers make you think of fall/autumn!

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Stolen Marriage ~ Diane Chamberlain (earc) review [@StMartinsPress @D_Chamberlain]

The Stolen Marriage
St Martin's Press
October 03, 2017
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

From perennial bestseller Diane Chamberlain, a compelling new novel

In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

I don't think I have changed my mind about characters o much (both in frequency and degree) in any other book as I did in The Stolen Marriage. There were characters I thought were innocent and sweet, then they would do or say something and I would realize they were a bit more hardened. Or, characters that seemed horrible would prove they had a heart. I really enjoyed getting such a full picture of the characters, and of their character.

The Stolen Marriage is about a time in American history about which much has been written - both fiction and fact - but includes things that have not been written about so heavily. I knew a tiny bit about polio and approximately when it was such an issue but this novel does a fantastic job putting all of the elements of the time together: the polio epidemics, World War II, issues of race and religion. Seeing everything within the context of the time period (and the North Carolina setting) really made it feel more real and helped you relate to the characters.

I really liked the way Tess's personal beliefs and her views on current, social issues were presented. Not because I always liked what she thought or how she felt about things but because it all seemed a very good representation of where and how she was brought up. I appreciated that the author did not make her someone affected by our hindsight. She was a young, Italian nursing student from Baltimore in the 1940's and the book was better for the fact that she fit within that time period but we also got to see her grow and her world view evolve.

Diane Chamberlain's The Stolen Marriage is an enjoyable historical fiction, about something within the World War II era that doesn't feature so often in fiction: the polo epidemic. The characters seem very true of the time period, they change and grow and everything from their relationships to their secrets play a part in everything coming together.

(Was Tess supposed to make me think of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, by the way? Or rid it make anyone else think of her/the book?)

digital copy received from publisher for review

Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@MichaelGrantBks @epicreads @KTegenBooks]

Monster the seventh book in Michael Grant's Gone Series is going to be released on October 17th -- here is the book's trailer:

About Monster (Gone #7):

In the stunning follow-up to the globally bestselling Gone series, Michael Grant continues the story of the teens who morph into superheroes—and supermonsters—when they ingest an alien virus.

Four years after the events of the FAYZ, new meteorites are hitting Earth, and the whole world is exposed to a strange alien virus that gives humans unique superpowers.

As some teens become heroes and others become dangerously out of control with their new powers, the world will become more terrifying than the FAYZ—and only a monstrous battle between good and evil can save them.

October 17, 2017 // Katherine Tegen Books // 576 pages // Gone Series Book 7 // Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Girls Made of Snow & Glass ~ Melissa Bashardoust [@mothlissa @Flatironbooks]

Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Flatiron Books
September 05, 2017
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
Of all of the books that I have read that claim to be feminist fairy tale reimaginings, Girls Made of Snow and Glass may very well be my favorite. This is not just a case of the girl not needing a prince to come and rescue her, she doesn't need a prince, period. (Or a princess for that matter.)

While absolutely recognizable as the Snow White tale, author Melissa Bashardoust turned a lot of things on their head - many more than I was expecting.

It is very enjoyable that we not only get Lynet's story but Mina's as well. It isn't as simple as the young princess and her wicked/evil/selfish/narcissistic/unkind/fill-in-the-blank stepmother. Their relationship has its secrets and is complicated, more so by what readers (but not most characters) know of Mina's past. She is not used only to play some role in Lynet's life, to be the archetypal villain (or archetypal anything) but is very much her own fully drawn character. Even as you don't like what she's doing, you can understand it. She is definitely a character that will cause conflicted feelings - and some heartache and anxiety, as well.

The twist on what makes Lynet's character, 'the fairest of them all,' was pretty fantastic both in the actual 'what' but also how it affected Lynet and the story. She did seem to be a simpler character (than Mina, at least0 at the start but as both she and readers discover some of what's been kept from her, there was a lot of character development and growth.

Even when these two characters seemed to be diametrically opposed, I loved both of them and wanted them both to have things work out. The book was that much more compelling because it seemed that could be possible, but often unlikely that it would be.

The world of Whitespring, why there's the endless winter, the division of the kingdom and how all of it led to Mina marrying the king and then to Lynet's possible future is great. I loved that we got this fantasy world, with its magic and court politics, but that it all played into the characters' pasts, their lives and what their roles could or would be.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a great blend of self discovery, family dynamics, relationships and heartache, magic, fantasy. I absolutely and completely want to read more from Melissa Bashardoust.

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

Waiting On Wednesday [@liaratamani @harperteen @epicreads ]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

CALLING MY NAME by Liara Tamani

Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly-knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage. But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating.

published October 24th by Greenwillow Books

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


I really enjoy YA novels that take a look at teens, religion, and how church and their religious beliefs (or the expectations of them based on those) intersect with being a teenager. While I like when religion can be included in a novel but not the focus or not as something conservative or restrictive, I also like when it is the focus and is more conservative and restrictive for the characters. It can lead to some great discoveries and contemplation, a lot of questions and of finding yourself for the main characters.

I am looking forward to reading Calling My Name, Liara Tamani's debut novel.

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

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends

This week's Ten:
10 Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends
only I am horrible at remembering who I would pick for these so mine's a mix of the above and maybe #relationshipgoals? Characters that I think are good boyfriend/girlfriend pairs.

London & Luke
Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Sloane & James
The Program by Suzanne Young

Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

Time After Time by Sue Haasler

Lola & Cricket
Lola & the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lilac & Tarver
These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner & Amie Kaufman

Kady & Ezra
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Rashida & Pierre
"Good Luck and Farewell" by Brandy Colbert
Summer Days & Summer Nights anthology

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Mr Robert Newton & Miss Lydia Whitfield
Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey

And because I liked this book so much when I read it several years ago and discovered today that it's only 99¢ for Kindle, I am suggesting buying it:

Please leave a comment and let me know your book boyfriends and/or girlfriends (Or your #relationshipgoals character pairings)!
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