A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses Book Cover A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Rose
Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult, Fantasy
Bloomsbury Children's
May 5, 2015
416
Goodreads

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas was everything I hoped it would be. Coming from the author of the Throne of Glass series, my expectations were very high and I was not disappointed. Anyone who is a fan of Maas, which really should be everyone, or is looking for a love story in a magical setting, should pick-up A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Hunger By Michael Grant A Review

Hunger Book Cover Hunger
Gone #2
Michael Grant
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Katherine Tegen Books
May 26, 2009
590
Purchased

It's been three months since everyone under the age of fifteen became trapped in the bubble known as the FAYZ.

Three months since all the adults disappeared. GONE.

Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers. Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous.

But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them.

The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.

 

Review

Hunger by Michael Grant picks up where Gone leaves off. The problem of disappearing at 15 is solved but the logistics of surviving in a world of only children, cut off from the rest of civilization, is dawning on the residence of the FAYZ. It took much to long for the kids to realize that something needed to be done about food and they are starting to run out.

Hunger by Michael Grant is the perfect mix of science fiction and a semi-post apocalyptic world. It deals with the everyday realities of what running and rebuilding a society is like, such as developing an economic system and dealing with conflict. There is also the story of the the powers that some of the kids develop and a monster that is lurking in the shadows. What happens when there is such an obvious divide in society, when it becomes and us versus them. The balance between all of these elements makes for an exciting book that is impossible to put down.

Getting into the the Gone series after it has concluded is the perfect time because I cannot imagine waiting for the books to be published. I am on the edge of my seat, needing to read book three (Lies). I highly recommend Hunger for those looking for an action packed, realistic story of what could happen if children were in charge and monsters lurked among us.

 Cover image and summary from goodreads.

Review: The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic By Emily Croy Barker

The Thinking Womans Guide To Real Magic by Emily Cory Barker

Title: The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic

Author: Emily Croy Barker

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Publication Date: August 1, 2013

Source: eArc via Edelweiss

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

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Summary

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

Review

Occasionally, I pick-up a book that is getting great reviews and has an interesting premise, but it is not for me. The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker is one of those books.

The book starts by introducing us to Nora, who is not doing well in either her professional nor personal life. Her long-term boyfriend dumps her and announces he is marrying another woman. She is forced to interact with him at a wedding of all places. Then during an innocent hike, Nora stumbles upon another world.

The next quarter of the book should have been interesting. Filled with world building and magical creatures, instead it is a dull plod in which nothing happens. If I had not received this book for review, I would have put it down at this point. It was obvious at this point in the book, that The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic was not for me. The book is blurbed to be for those who enjoyed A Discovery Of Witches. This should have been my clue that the problems I had with A Discovery Of Witches might be present here. Mainly, that both books are overly long and lacking in action. Sticking with the book did lead to the much more interesting second half, but I generally do not think reading should be a chore and it felt like one until I got to where the action began. I wonder if it is this category of Adult Fantasy aimed at women where the authors do not seem to focus on world building and the characters feel flat. In 576 pages, I did not really know Nora until the very end. Understanding her motives and her life before being trapped in a different world, would have gone a long way to making me more interested in The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic. I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters and never felt strongly about any of them.

Overall, I would say The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker is an OK book. It would be better if it was trimmed down and there was more action throughout. The character of Nora should have been more fleshed out before the very end. I only started to feel that I knew her in the last twenty pages of the book. In a book of this length, that does not have many characters, there is no reason for this. If you enjoyed A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness, you may enjoy The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker. If not, I would skip it.   

I was provided a copy of The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic but all opinions are my own.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

Some Quiet Place By Kelsey Sutton A Review

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

Title: Some Quiet Place

Author: Kelsey Sutton

Publisher: Flux

Source: Netgalley

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

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Summary

I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton is a unique novel and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Sutton personifies emotions, which the main character Elizabeth can see, but is unable to experience. Instead, Elizabeth feels nothing and goes through the motions of living. It is as if she is acting the role of a teenager, a daughter, and a friend. This is especially heartbreaking in a scene where her only close friend succumbs to cancer and she is left feeling nothing. Being filled with a nothingness does not escape the attention of those around her. Her father reacts with cruelty and violence while her mother dissociates.

Kelsey Sutton does a great job of showing the desolation in Elizabeth’s life. Her horrible home life, where she take whatever abuse is thrown at her, and the horrible way she is treated by the kids at school. The world she creates is dark and sad with small spots of light. I am not a big fan of paranormal fiction but Some Quiet Place has a unique kind of sweetness to it. It may be because the emotions are so much a part of the action but you cannot help but hold your breath hoping that Elizabeth will feel something.

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton is a well-written unique story that fans of paranormal fiction will enjoy. Some Quiet Place does live up to the beauty of its cover. I highly recommend Some Quiet Place and am looking forward to reading book two, Where Silence Gathers.

I was given a copy of Some Quiet Place on Netgalley but all thoughts are my own.

Cover images and summary from goodreads.

In The Stacks (18)

What I added to my stacks (and stacks and stacks) this week. I am linking up with Stacking The Shelves by Tynga’s Reviews.

I am still taking it easy on the book buying. I really have to get through my monstrous TBR shelves before I bring any more books into the house.

Kindle

The Cavendish Home For Boys And Girls by Claire Legrand

The Cavendish Home For Boys And Girls by Claire Legrand

Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)

But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t come out at all.

If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy.

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

The Lying Game Sara Shepard

The Lying Game (The Lying Game #1) by Sara Shepard

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does–an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me–to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, care-free daughter when she hugs my parents goodnight? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley

The last three years of Robin Williams’s life have been very difficult. She’s had to move with her large, poor family multiple times as her father seeks jobs as a migrant worker. Now, her father has a new job at the McCurdy Ranch and Robin often wanders off in order to cope with the constant change and difficulty surrounding her.

Near the McCurdy Ranch is the Palmeras House, an old abandoned house that Robin is told repeatedly not to explore. However, with a little help, she finds herself inside the building, in the one place it seems she has always been looking for: the Velvet Room. This plush room is the most beautiful place she has ever seen. Robin is fascinated and enchanted, but she can’t help but wonder: Why is it there?

Gregor The Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Gregor The Overlander (The Underland Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Collins

When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats, but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland’s uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.

Library

Whatever Happened To Janie by Caroline B Cooney

Whatever Happened To Janie? by Caroline B. Cooney

As Janie Johnson glanced at the face of the ordinary little girl on the milk carton, she was overcome with shock. She recognized that little girl—it was she. How can it possibly be true? But it is.

With the mystery of her kidnapping now unraveled, Janie’s story continues, and the nightmare is not over. No one can bring back or relive the 12 years gone by. The Spring family wants justice, but who is really to blame? The Johnsons know that they must abide by the court decisions made, but it’s difficult to figure out what’s best for everyone.

Janie Johnson or Jenny Spring? Who is she? Certainly there’s enough love for everyone, but how can the two separate families live happily ever after?

 

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Shine by Lauren Myracle

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice.

 

Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire by Kristin Cashore

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

All cover images and summaries taken from goodreads.

Books For My Stacks July 2013 Edition

All the books I want to add to my stacks that are released in July, 2013.

July 2

 

The Longings Of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

The Longings Of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

It’s an idyllic New England summer, and Sadie is a precocious only child on the edge of adolescence. It seems like July and August will pass lazily by, just as they have every year before. But one day, Sadie and her best friend play a seemingly harmless prank on a neighborhood girl. Soon after, that same little girl disappears from a backyard barbecue—and she is never seen again. Twenty years pass, and Sadie is still living in the same quiet suburb. She’s married to a good man, has two beautiful children, and seems to have put her past behind her. But when a boy from her old neighborhood returns to town, the nightmares of that summer will begin to resurface, and its unsolved mysteries will finally become clear.

The Arrivals by Melisa Marr

The Arrivals by Melissa Marr

Chloe walks into a bar and blows five years of sobriety. When she wakes, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world, The Wasteland. She discovers people from all times and places have also arrived there: Kitty and Jack, a brother and sister from the Wild West; Edgar, a prohibition bootlegger; Francis, a one-time hippie; Melody, a mentally unbalanced 1950s housewife; and Hector, a former carnival artist.

None know why they arrived there–or if there is way out of a world populated by monsters and filled with corruption.

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

After a virus claimed nearly the entire global population, the world changed. The United States splintered into fifty walled cities where the surviving citizens clustered to start over. The Company, which ended the plague by bringing a life-saving vaccine back from the future, controls everything. They ration the scant food and supplies through a lottery system, mandate daily doses of virus suppressant, and even monitor future timelines to stop crimes before they can be committed.

Brilliant but autistic, sixteen-year-old Clover Donovan has always dreamed of studying at the Waverly-Stead Academy. Her brother and caretaker, West, has done everything in his power to make her dream a reality. But Clover’s refusal to part with her beloved service dog denies her entry into the school. Instead, she is drafted into the Time Mariners, a team of Company operatives who travel through time to gather news about the future.

When one of Clover’s missions reveals that West’s life is in danger, the Donovans are shattered. To change West’s fate, they’ll have to take on the mysterious Company. But as its secrets are revealed, they realize that the Company’s rule may not be as benevolent as it seems. In saving her brother, Clover will face a more powerful force than she ever imagined… and will team up with a band of fellow misfits and outsiders to incite a revolution that will change their destinies forever.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.

Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.

Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.

Whistling Past The Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Whistling Past The Graveyard by Susan Crandall

The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.

When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.

As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart.

July 9th

 

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

When Leila discovers the Web site Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the Web site’s founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, flattered when he invites her to be part of “Project Tess.” Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they e-mail, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman—because soon, Leila will have to become her. An ingeniously plotted novel of stolen identity, Kiss Me First is brilliantly frightening about the lies we tell—to ourselves, to others, for good, and for ill.

July 11th

 

45 Pounds More Or Less by K.A. Barson

45 Pounds (More Or Less) by K.A. Barson

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.

And a size 17.

Her perfect mother is a size 6.

Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.

So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

After Iris by Natasha Farrant

After Iris by Natasha Farrant

Blue Gadsby’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago and her family has never been the same. Her histrionic older sister, Flora, changes her hair color daily; her younger siblings, Jasmine and Twig, are completely obsessed with their pet rats; and both of her parents spend weeks away from home–and each other. Enter Zoran the Bosnian male au pair and Joss the troublemaking boy next door, and life for the Gadsby family takes a turn for the even more chaotic. Blue poignantly captures her family’s trials and tribulations from fragmented to fully dysfunctional to ultimately reunited, in a sequence of film transcripts and diary entries that will make you cry, laugh, and give thanks for the gift of families.

July 30th

 

Earth Bound by Aprilynne Pike

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.

What books are you looking forward to in July?

 

All covers and summaries are from goodreads.

In The Stacks (17)

What I added to my stacks (and stacks and stacks) this week. I am linking up with Stacking The Shelves by Tynga’s Reviews.

I am slowing down on the book buying front because my TBR mountain needs to be tackled. When you start to run out of shelf space, it means you need to read the books you own.

For Review

 

The Thinking Womans Guide To Real Magic by Emily Cory Barker

The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic just sounds fun. I really do love magic in books and do not read enough of them with it. Also, the cover is very cool, seems to be filled with lots of hints at the plot.

What did you add to your stacks this week?

 

Summary and cover image taken from goodreads.

Review: Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Title: Twerp

Author: Mark Goldblatt

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 28, 2013

Source: Netgalley

Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary

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Summary

It’s not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .

Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade–blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

Review

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt lets the reader read the journals of the sixth grader Julian Twerski. His English teacher offers him the option of keeping the journals and writing about the incident that caused him to be suspended. Using the journal as a writing device is just brilliant. It lets the reader see into Julian’s life. It leads us to the incident that they are ultimately supposed to be about but not before the reader is ready to know what it is. To learn about his hopes and fears. Julian is so smart and funny but has the same problem many 12-year-old boys do. He doesn’t really understand girls. He sometimes makes bad decisions that backfire in horrible ways.

In each chapter, Julian tells a story of something that happens in his life. He talks about writing a love letter for a friend. Of course, this goes all wrong and the girl thinks he wrote it. Julian is unsure what to do in this situation and ends up going to his sister for advice. Julian worries constantly about no longer being the fastest kid in school. This is so important to him and it builds up to a final showdown at the Track and Field Day. Julian, as an adult, would likely look back on these two events and realize they are not all that important in the scheme of things. Yet, at twelve they are huge events and it feels real that they effect him the way that they do.

Eventually, we find out what Julian did to be suspended. It is ultimately shocking because by this point, we have gotten to know Julian. We know that he is a sweet kid that obviously made a huge mistake. It makes the story that much more difficult to read knowing that he is not just a bad kid. That he should have known better.

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt is a touching coming-of-age story that will transport you to 1969. It is well-written and an enjoyable read. I would highly recommend it to young readers (especially boys) because it is engaging and teaches a powerful lesson. Take charge, be yourself, and speak up when you know something is wrong before it is too late.

I was provided an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

The Eternity Cure By Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Eternity Cure (Blood Of Eden #2)

Author: Julie Kagawa

Series: The Immortal Rules (Blood Of Eden #1)

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: April 30, 2013

Source: Netgalley

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Summary

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

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Review

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa starts where The Immortal Rules leaves off. Allie is forced to leave Eden and she knows she has to help her maker Kanin. Allie has dreams of the torture being inflicted on Kanin and follows the pull that will lead her to him. With a slight twist, Allie is lead to Jackal, the raider king who killed her friends. Allie is forced to work with Jackal in tracking down Kanin and ultimately fighting the old and powerful Sarren to save those she loves.

Allison Sekemoto is as conflicted in The Eternity Cure as she was in The Immortal Rules. She believes that there is a demon deep inside of her but wants to do the right thing. Allie has a strict moral code which she lives by and seeing her struggle to do the right thing, is an important part of The Eternity Cure.

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa is fast-paced, full of action, and difficult to put down. Julie Kagawa keeps things interesting by having characters that were previously evil, do some good. The shades of gray is such an important part of The Eternity Cure because in this society, where it is kill or be killed, you have to make difficult decisions. Watching Allie struggle to do the right thing even in the face of tremendous obstacles, shows how strong she is. I do love that Allie is forced to work with Jackal. While he may be evil and quite self-centered, his constant barbed speech adds levity to what is a dark book. It is impossible not to be glad that Jackal is around.

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa is immensely entertaining and does a great job of moving the story of Allison Sekemoto forward. This book is not filler but a fully fleshed story that would be interesting on its own. I highly recommend The Eternity Cure for those who like their vampires a little dark and their world a little bleak.

What You Will Find

  • Romance
  • Kick Ass Female Lead
  • Vampires
  • Experiments

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

 

Requiem By Lauren Oliver A Review

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Title: Requiem (Delirium #3)

Author: Lauren Oliver

Publication Date: March 5, 2013

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Source: Purchased

Challenge: None

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Summary

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

 

As is often the case, starting the last book in a trilogy can be difficult. There are all kinds of expectations and desires for the story to end on the right note. For the storylines to be wrapped-up in a way that makes sense but maybe isn’t perfectly neat. Of course any story where you have a love triangle, our main character has to pick the right partner. All of these things and more were circling around my head when I start reading Requiem by Lauren Oliver.

Requiem does alternate the voices of Hana and Lena. I love that we are able to learn about Hana’s life because it rounds out the story. It fills in the gaps of what might have happened to Lena if she had chosen to stay. Hana being paired with the newly elected major gives us a great insight to the have’s of society. Those whose lives are filled with all of the worldly comforts and those who are in places of great power. With this insiders view, Requiem becomes more of a political and philosophical commentary than the other books in the series. It opens up the story to the greater questions of how our choices define us and what makes us actually free.

I love that Requiem did not spend all of its time on the love triangle. Yes, I was eagerly anticipating Lena choosing between Alex and Julian, but Lena is not Bella Swan. Instead, she is a complete individual who is strong and capable, not a girl who is defined by a man or her relationship to one. I do like how Lauren Oliver does not use the love triangle as the sole way to make the reader feel. There are other relationships that are even more important, those of friendship and family.

I have tried to avoid reading any reviews of Requiem because I needed to read this book without any other thoughts in my head. I can guess that some reviewers may find the ending frustrating but I thought it was beautiful. With her way with words, Lauren Oliver writes a beautiful ending that leaves the reader with lots to think about. Overall, I think that Requiem is  a wonderful end to a superb trilogy. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first two books.

Favorite Quotes

All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny cities or your one-bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling your stomach. And pull, pull, and pull.

Or maybe I will keep walking until I reach the end of the world.

Maybe. But for now there is only the high white sun, and the sky, and tendrils of gray smoke, and voices that sound like ocean waves in the distance.

What You Will Find

  • Strong female characters
  • Message of hope
  • Lots of action
  • Growth
  • Friendship
  • Connecticut (I am biased being from the Hartford area)

Cover image and summary from goodreads.