February 24, 2018

Books I Recommend the Most

I live to recommend books. (I've been told it's my calling in life.) I wish I kept better track of what I recommend, but this post is going to showcase the titles I'm pretty sure I recommend a lot. I also have a whole giant Google doc of recommendations that I send people when they ask for general suggestions, so I can't speak to how many of those titles they focus in on. But all of the books I'm about to list are in that Google doc.

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1. Heist Society trilogy by Ally Carter

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3. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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4. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

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5. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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6. Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

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7. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

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8. The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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9. The Winner's Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

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11. Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens

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12. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills


Do you know which books you recommend the most?

February 23, 2018

Review: More Than We Can Tell

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More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer
Grade: B
Release date: March 6, 2018
An ARC was provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay...until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Can I tell y'all a secret? I'm drawn to books where one of the main characters shares my name. Unless the book is so far outside of my usual genres, I will read it. That was the case with More Than We Can Tell. Plus, I wanted to get to know Rev better after Letters to the LostI connected better with Emma and Rev than I did with Juliet and Declan. They never felt too angsty. Emma especially felt fleshed out, like a real person and not just a two-dimensional book character. I also really enjoyed Rev's family (I'd liked them in LttL, too). 
MTWCT dealt with some tough topics - cyberbullying, past abuse, etc., but those things never overwhelmed me. However, I felt the narrative moved too fast. MTWCT is a long book (for contemporary) - not that I'm complaining - but it takes place only over about a week (I think). There was so much happening (Emma getting cyberbullied, Rev's new foster brother, Rev's dad emailing him, Emma's parents' drama, Emma and Rev bonding...), and it was a bit overwhelming since the timeline wasn't stretched a little further. I could feel the attraction between Rev and Emma, but since they interacted, became such close friends, and started kissing so quickly, it was a little hard for me to buy into them as a couple. I wanted to, though! They just needed a little more time.
Some foul language. Plenty of trigger warnings for references to past abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional) that Rev and his foster brother, Matthew, went through.

The Verdict: Overall, I liked More Than We Can Tell better than Letters to the Lost.


Will I be adding this book to my library?: Not sure.

February 22, 2018

School Subject Books

Sometimes I think about title trends more than I should. One that is only a tiny trend is books whose titles contain a school subject (or something related to a school subject). So that's what drove this blog post of book recommendations. Of course, the books' content usually does not pertain to the school subject referenced in their titles. But it's still a fun way to find some new books!

(All book covers link to their Goodreads pages.)


HISTORY

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MATH

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SCIENCE

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MUSIC

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(Also Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne, which releases next year.)


ENGLISH

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LANGUAGES

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What books would you choose for these categories and other school subject title themes?

February 21, 2018

Review: The Ship Beyond Time

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The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
Grade: B
Summary: After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.

Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.

Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.

If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.

Or perhaps her time will finally run out.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Whereas The Girl from Everywhere is more historical fantasy, The Ship Beyond Time is almost straight-up fantasy since it's set primarily on a mythical island, Ker-Ys. I loved how Heidi built this new world and what it brought to the table.
Kashmir narrates a few chapters, and his voice suited him but took a bit of getting used to, just because I was definitely used to Nix's narration. I don't feel that either of them grew a tremendous amount as characters, but there is a small arc. I felt like this book was more about developing the world and magic further.
I do think the pacing of TSBT is a bit off; the climax at the end happens too fast. Everything wraps up after that too quickly, as well. I also wanted a stronger resolution with Slate and Lin. Lin was barely in the book, and I felt like she was a last minute addition.
The language stays relatively clean in Heidi's duology, which I appreciated. There is drinking, a fade-to-black implied sex scene, and a little violence.

The Verdict: Fairly solid sequel.


Will I be adding this book to my library?: I already own a copy.

February 19, 2018

Why I Love The Winner's Curse

One of the first ARCs I got was The Winner's Curse, so it's been in my life awhile (four years, if we're being specific). It's similar to, but also different from, a lot of fantasy books out there right now.

If, somehow, you haven't yet read Marie Rutkoski's epic trilogy, here are four reasons I love The Winner's Curse, and why you should, too.


1. The lack of magic
Most fantasy novels have magic, but that's not at play in TWC. It is most definitely a different world from ours, though, so it would be classified as low fantasy. So often, I feel like magic and fae overtake most YA fantasy books, so The Winner's Curse is a breath of fresh air.


2. The world-building
I love the Greco-Roman influences, and how there are hints of the Arctic (in the third book), with an East Asian and/or South Asian kingdom becoming prominent through the second and third books. If you love Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, you'll find the world-building in The Winner's Curse reminiscent of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis.


3. The subterfuge
So many tricky layers and so many secrets.


4. Kestrel the Slytherin
Kestrel is most definitely a Slytherin, and I love it. There aren't enough Slytherin protagonists, particularly ones that aren't really antagonists. Kestrel isn't all good, but that's what makes her a better character. She's clever, manipulative, and ambitious. She does what's best for herself and her own first and foremost. A Hufflepuff, she is not.


So what's stopping you? Read THE WINNER'S CURSE.
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February 16, 2018

Random Friday: Book Characters I Wish I Could Be


Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following:
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
  • Blog about this week's topic (or a variant of it).
  • Add the link to your Random Friday post at the bottom of this one.
Are there ever book characters you wish you could be, if only for a day? Well here's your chance to talk about those characters.

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1. Paige Hancock (from The Start of Me and You)
For her friend group.

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2. Anna Oliphant (from Anna and the French Kiss)
I, too, would like to be sent to a French boarding school.

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3. Maddie (from Lucky in Love)
I, too, would like to win 30 million dollars.

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4. Beatrice Watson (from The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You)
For her intelligence, wit, and boyfriend.

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5. Lucy Pevensie (from The Chronicles of Narnia)
Because who wouldn't want to find Narnia?


What book characters do you wish you could be? Share in your own post or in the comments below!


February 15, 2018

Review: Everless

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Everless by Sara Holland
Grade: C+
An ARC was provided by Miss Print's ARC Adoption program in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Everless operates like many fantasy novels - dead mother, protective parent, daughter who needs to provide for her family, a childhood friend-turned-love-who-is-marrying-someone-else, etc. But the whole concept of how time is treated makes Everless stand out.
I don't feel like I got to know Jules very well (also I kind of hate her name, lol). She was just there. I didn't buy into the motivation behind most of her actions or her attraction to the younger Gerling son (whose name I can't remember now). I was fascinated by Caro, and I really grew to like Liam. If I read the sequel, I hope something more continues to develop between him and Jules.
Scenes felt a bit repetitive, but I liked learning how the world had manipulated blood and time. There's also some big plot twists later in the book that really caught me by surprise, which was good. 
There's some violence and talk of what some of the noblemen do to pretty servant girls. I don't recall any major foul language.

The Verdict: Worth your time if you like YA fantasy.


Will I be adding this book to my library?: Not sure.

February 14, 2018

Rewind & Review #103


~I delayed this post a couple days for good reason: I was in New York on Sunday and didn't bring my laptop with. See more about New York a few lines down.
~It got cold again. Blech.
~Turned in my paper and did my presentation...a class period after I was supposed to because a couple people ran long with their presentations.
~My weekend in New York was pretty rainy, but I got lots of books, saw a musical (Beautiful: the Carole King Musical), had brunch, went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, met a longtime blogger friend, and shadowed at Bloomsbury.

Books I Received for Review
The Rose Legacy by Jessica Day George
The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando
The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson (from Bloomsbury)
Between Frost and Fury by Chani Lynn Feener
Mayfly by Jeff Sweat
The Outcast by Taran Matharu
The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman
When Life Gives You Demons by Jennifer Honeybourn
How We Roll by Natasha Friend
Sweet Black Waves by Kristina PĂ©rez
The Game Can't Love You Back by Karole Cozzo (from Macmillan)

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (bought/gifted by my mother)
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale (the new covers) (from Bloomsbury)

Books I Bought
Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color by Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring
The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson
The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Books I Read
The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (reread)
Paris in Love by Eloisa James (3 stars)
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas (reread)
Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann (3.5 stars)
Calling My Name by Liara Tamani (4 stars)
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (5 stars)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (reread)
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (3 stars)
The First to Know by Abigail Johnson (3 stars)
The Beloved Wild by Melissa Ostrom
And We're Off by Dana Schwartz (reread)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 1/29-2/3)
   (from 2/4-2/13)

February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Couples


Some of my favorite books are the swooniest, and it's all thanks to the following couples.

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1. Paige and Max from The Start of Me and You

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2. Anne and Gilbert from the Anne of Green Gables series

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3. Lily and Cade from P.S. I Like You

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4. Claudia and Gideon from Foolish Hearts

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5. Beatrice and Benedick/Benedict (in any Much Ado retelling but especially The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You and Speak Easy, Speak Love)

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6. Kat and Hale from Heist Society

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7. Inej and Kaz, and Nina and Matthias from the Six of Crows duology

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8. Lucy and Henry from The Names They Gave Us

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9. Molly and Reid from The Upside of Unrequited

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10. Jess and Darcy from The Mother-Daughter Book Club series
[Listen, 13-year-old Emma was shipping them before a) they were even a thing, and b) she even knew what shipping was.]


Who are your favorite couples from books? What did you talk about today for Top Ten Tuesday?