Waiting On Wednesday – When Audrey Met Alice

When Audrey Met Alice Book Cover When Audrey Met Alice
Rebecca Behrens
Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
February 4, 2014
Hardcover
304

First daughter Audrey Rhodes re-creates Alice Roosevelt's infamous antics in this fun, smart middle-grade debut.

First daughter Audrey Rhodes can't wait for the party she has planned for Friday night. The decorations are all set and the pizza is on its way. But the Secret Service must be out to ruin her life, because they cancel at the last minute-citing security breach and squashing Audrey's chances for making any new friends. What good is being "safe and secure" if you can't have any fun?

Audrey is ready to give up and become a White House hermit, until she discovers Alice Roosevelt's hidden diary. The former first daughter gives Audrey a ton of ideas for having fun...and more problems than she can handle.

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating. This week I am waiting on When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens.

Why I Am Waiting

If you read here regularly, you know how much I love a good Middle Grade book (Rick Riordan is for sure in my top ten of favorite authors ever.) The idea of one first daughter finding another through her diary and learning how to have fun under the watch of the Secret Service sounds like so much fun. Reading debut’s is always exciting because you never know if you are discovering a favorite author.

 

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

 

Review: Nantucket Blue By Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howard

Title: Nantucket Blue

Author: Leila Howland

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

AmazonBarnes & NobleIndie Bound

Summary

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on–most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits–that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

Review

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland is the perfect book for summer. It evokes the feelings of being young and hoping the summer would be magical. That everything could change if you can get the right boy to notice you and spend the summer near the water. 

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland captures a summer in New England (and this New Englander loved the setting but I may be biased.) Cricket Thompson is in the summer before her senior year and is about to turn 18. She spends most of her time with her best friend Jules and her family until tragedy strikes. So what was meant to be an epic summer with her best friend, turns into a summer where she lives on her own and is forced to confront the feelings she has been hiding from.

Cricket is a very likeable and relatable character. She is hurt by her parents actions but is unsure how to handle it. As the child of divorced parents, I found this story line handled in a accurate way. Being almost an adult but having little control of those in your life can be difficult.

Nantucket Blue has a great love story where Cricket finally meets the right guy. This part of the book is so sweet and very swoon worthy. It also shows maturity on Crickets part when she has to choose between what is right in front of her and what she thought she always wanted.

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland is a beautiful story about growing-up and learning to confront your problems. The love story is excellent and made it difficult to put down. The ending is ultimately satisfying and I was sad that it was over. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Nantucket Blue this summer. 

What You Will Find

  • Catty girls
  • Great setting
  • Cute boys
  • Great love story
  • Coming-of-age

I did receive a copy of Nantucket Blue via Netgalley but all opinions are my own.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

Zenn Scarlett By Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Title: Zenn Scarlett

Author: Christian Schoon

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Source: ARC from publisher

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthor

AmazonBarnes & NobleIndie Bound

Summary

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….

Review

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon is a fun and quirky sci-fi story about a girl who lives on Mars and is determined to become an Exovet (alien veterinarian). The first part of the book is full of descriptions of the exotic space animals that Zenn cares for at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic. To move to the next level in her training, she has to pass three tests. A mishap during the first test leaves Zenn questioning her sanity and those around her.

I really liked the character of Zenn, she works hard and is brave. She is smart and  passionate about becoming an exovet. The character of Hamish is interesting. He is pretty much a giant bug who acts as the cloisters care taker. He has difficulty thinking for himself and is constantly asking permission before doing the most menial of tasks. Zenn and Hamish have an sort-of friendship that gives Zenn Scarlett a bit of comic relief.

The middle of the book starts to pick-up as we learn more about the Martian political situation and why the neighbors of the cloisters may want it to close its doors. Zenn starts to put the pieces together and tries to find out who is behind the accidents and why. This was my favorite part of the story. I love a good mystery and Christian Schoon drops hints throughout the entire book to a much bigger, overarching story. 

Zenn does have a romantic interest in Liam, who helps around the cloisters. He is the only person her own age that Zenn has ever been friends with. I found this relationship sweet and it was nice to see Zenn open-up. (Liam is also a cat lover which to this cat lover, makes a guy so much more swoon worthy.)

I ultimately enjoyed Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon. The last half of the book was much more interesting than the first half, so hang in for it. The writing was very cinematic and I could easily picture Zenn Scarlett as a TV show. Overall, I would have preferred more action and fewer animals but still found Zenn Scarlett to be a solid read. The ending has a cliffhanger and left me wanting to know where this story is going. I would definitely read the next book in this series

This book was provided for me to review by Strange Chemistry. All opinions are my own.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

Being Henry David By Cal Armistead A Review

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

Title: Being Henry David

Author: Cal Armistead

Publication Date: March 1, 2013

Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen

Source: ARC from 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

Challenge: 2013 Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthor

Summary

Seventeen-year-old “Hank” has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything –who he is, where he came from, why he’s running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or “Hank” and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of–Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead’s remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

 

Review

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead starts off when Hank wakes up in Penn Station in New York City. He cannot remember how he got there or who he is. The only clue he has to hold on to is a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. With Walden being Hank’s only clue, he sets off on an adventure to find out who he is.

At its heart, Being Henry David is a coming-of-age story where the main character literally does not know who he is. Cal Armistead uses Henry David Thoreau and the town of Concord to help Hank explore what it means to be him. How he fits into his world and to bring him to a place where he uncovers the mystery of who he is and where he comes from. The people Hank meets in Concord help him a great deal to explore the simplicity and truth of Walden and how it relates to why Hank is unable to remember.

The story begins to unfold as Hank starts to remember bits and pieces and he is forced to confront his problems. He learns that you cannot run away or disappear but have to face issues head on. Ultimately, there is redemption and forgiveness but there first has to be truth.

I really enjoyed Being Henry David and found it to be a unique story with lots of depth. It is truly a strong debut and I have high hopes for any future works by Cal Armistead.

What You Will Find

  • Finding Yourself
  • Redemption
  • Mystery
  • Friendship

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

 

The Watcher By Lisa Voisin A Review

The Watcher by Lisa Voisin

Title: The Watcher

Author: Lisa Voisin

Publication Date: March 4, 2013

Publisher: InkSpell Publishing

Source: ARC from the 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

Challenge: 2013 Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthor

Summary

Millennia ago, he fell from heaven for her.

Can he face her without falling again?

Fascinated with ancient civilizations, seventeen-year-old Mia Crawford dreams of becoming an archaeologist. She also dreams of wings—soft and silent like snow—and somebody trying to steal them.

When a horrible creature appears out of thin air and attacks her, she knows Michael Fontaine is involved, though he claims to know nothing about it. Secretive and aloof, Michael evokes feelings in Mia that she doesn’t understand. Images of another time and place haunt her. She recognizes them—but not from any textbook.

In search of the truth, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?

Ancient history is only the beginning.

Review

The Watcher by Lisa Voisin is not a book for me. I did not connect with the characters and the love story left me feeling nothing. I know a book is not happening for me when I keep checking to see how many more pages I have to read before I am done. It may be the case of a book in the hands of the wrong reader but I found The Watcher to be overly long and lacking in action.

Mia and Michael were in love 9,000 years-ago. There are countless scenes in which Mia wants to take their relationship to a more physical place but Michael pulls back. The story behind why is explained in exhaustive detail over hundreds of pages. There is a lot of high school drama about the new guy in school who turns out to be a real bad boy. Then, there is a demon rape. A demon rape in which the victim blames themselves for the rape. It kind of made me uncomfortable reading about it.

Overall, The Watcher by Lisa Voisin is a paranormal-romance that is heavy on the romance. It is not a book that particularly resonated with me but if you are interested in Angels/Demons and lots of descriptions of making-out, you may enjoy The Watcher more than I did.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

The Cadet Of Tildor By Alex Lidell A Review

The Cadet Of Tildor By Alex Lidell A Review

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Title: The Cadet Of Tildor

Author: Alex Lidell

Publication Date: January 10, 2013

Publisher: Dial

Source: ARC from the 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

GoodreadsAuthorTwitter

Summary

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

Trailer

Review

Are you looking for a book that has adventure, political intrigue, and a kick-butt heroine? The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell is it. It begins with Cadet Renee de Winter, who is also a noblewoman, arguing with her father about her attendance at the elite Academy Of Tildor. Renee dreams of being a fighter and serving the Crown but her father has other plans for her. Risking everything, Renee decides to go to school and eschew the safety of her familial home.

At school, Renee proves to be a loyal friend and hard worker. As a woman in the male-dominated fighter track, she has to work twice as hard. Renee spends hours training to compensate for her smaller size and weaker muscles. This extra training catches the eye of Savoy, the commander of an elite force who is called to teach at the academy, to mentor and befriend Renee.

The Cadet Of Tildor is full of political intrigue where a new king is forced to negotiate peace while two competing criminal organizations nip at his heals. This story is not one of good and evil but one that is complex and full of interconnected relationships. Renee is forced to navigate these groups to try and fulfill her mission. Alex Lidell does a great job of writing fully formed characters that are as flawed as real people and operate in a world where our choices can reverberate in the world around us. There are no good and bad guys, but people who do all kinds of things for many different reasons.

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell will be loved by fans of fantasy and those that like their heroine smart and brave. It is a very strong debut that was impossible to put down. I need to know what happens in this world, with these characters,  and will gladly purchase book two when it comes out.

What You Will Find

    • Kick-Butt heroine who you would want to be friends with
    • Action and adventure
    • Complex political situations
    • The perfect amount of magic
    • Excellent world building

 

 

Summary and cover images from goodreads.

Weekly Book Haul (16)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where you can share the books you received during the week. Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you added to your shelves.

In My Mailbox

Stacking-the-Shelves

This was a slower week for me. I am trying to spend less on everything and put that money towards paying off the bills from Christmas. I am trying to take the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge seriously and actually read from the insane stacks of books taking over my office.

Netgalley

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

I cannot wait to read Warm Bodies! I wrote about the book and the movie in Read It Before You See It: Warm Bodies. I nearly always need to read the book first, so this really could not have come at a better time.

ARC

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell

The Cadet Of Tildor by Alex Lidell

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

I received The Cadet Of Tildor through the Debut Author Challenge ARC tour, which I am so glad to participate in. Other books from the Debut Author Challenge ARC tour Altered by Jennifer Rush (review for Altered can be found here) and Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (review coming next week.) I am about halfway through The Cadet Of Tildor and am think it is amazing. A review should be posted next week and I sure do have a lot to say about this book.

What books did you get this week?

All cover images and summaries from goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Debut Books

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they pick a fun topic for a top ten list. This weeks list is Top Ten 2013 Debuts I’m Looking Forward To.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about 2013 debuts. In my Debut Author Challenge Goal post, I talked about a few books I am really looking forward to. I have already review two  2013 debut authors so far this year, Altered by Jennifer Rush and The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan.

So here goes, in no particular order my Top Ten 2013 Debuts I’m Looking Forward To.

1. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (Between #1) by April Genevieve

Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

2. The End Games by T. Michael Martin

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

3. PODs by Michelle Pickett

PODs by Michelle Pickett

4. Linked by Imogen Howson

Linked by Imogen Howson

5. OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

6. The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

7. The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

8. Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman

Taken by Erin Bowman

9. Starglass(Starglass #1) by Phoebe North

Starglass by Phoebe North

10. Reboot (Reboot #1) by Amy Tintera

Reboot by Amy Tintera

That was hard! There are so many great debuts in 2013.

What 2013 debuts are you looking forward to?

All cover images are from goodreads.

 

Review: The Tragedy Paper By Elizabeth LaBan

Review of The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

 

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan

Title: The Tragedy Paper

Author: Elizabeth LaBan

Publication Date: January 8th, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Source: NetGalley

GoodreadsAuthor SiteAuthor Twitter

 

Summary

 

Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.

Review

The story begins on the first day of Duncan’s senior year at the Irving School. As is tradition, the person who lived in your room the year before leaves a present for next-years resident. Duncan is left a stack of CD’s that tell the story of Tim Macbeth’s time at the Irving school.

Tim is a lonely guy, an albino who has never really fit in. His new step-father attended the Irving school and loved it. Tim does not have much hope that he will be better off socially at his new school but at least he has a chance. At the airport on the way to school, Tim meets Vanessa who is beautiful and full-of-life. When the plane is delayed, they end up spending the night together waiting for the a flight the following day. Tim takes a few chances and really opens up to Vanessa. Turns out they are going to attend the same school but Tim knows that they can never really be friends.

The Tragedy Paper is a beautiful and tragic story about missed opportunities. There is love and heartbreak. Its is about being our real selves and letting others see us. If I had to compare it to anything, it would be Looking For Alaska by John Green. Maybe because of the boarding school environment but it also has a similar haunting quality. It is sad but hopeful. Tim ultimately has to live with his own tragedy but he is able to let Duncan in on his pain. Helping him to not make the same mistakes.

I really enjoyed how the ending while hopeful, is not a neat package. It is realistic and the characters do have to live with their actions. I truly enjoyed The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan and think it is a very strong debut.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

Review: Altered By Jennifer Rush

Review of Altered by Jennifer Rush

 

Altered by Jennifer Rush

Title: Altered (Altered #1)

Author: Jennifer Rush

Publication Date: January 2, 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown & Co.

Source: ARC from the 2013 Debut Author Challenge ARC Tour

GoodreadsAuthor BlogTwitter 

Summary

 

When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

Review

Altered starts off with Anna helping her father study the four boys who are in cages in their basement lab. (Insert many Fifty Shades jokes about hot boys and cages.) Anna is home-schooled and lives a pretty solitary life. She has built relationships with each of the boys and interacts with each in different ways. I enjoyed how different each was, it made it easier to relate to boys who spent five years in a basement lab. Her mother died when she was very young and Anna stays connected to her through an old journal.

Suddenly The Branch, her father’s employer who is in charge of the experiment, decides to take the boys. Sam, the love interest, figures out a way to escape and Anna gets swept up in it. She hits the road with the boys who are bent on figuring out who they were and what The Branch wants with them 

I really loved Altered. It is action packed, with lots of fight and escape scenes. No one is who they seem and you will not know who you can trust. There is a love story between Sam and Anna that proves to be complicated but very sweet. Anna demonstrates that she is no slouch in the self-defense department and holds her own on the run with her super-sexy boys. I love a female protagonist that is strong and smart. Anna is both of these in spades.

The ending is solid. It gives the reader closure while still leaving enough mystery for further installments in the series. There is so much to unpack when you have medical experiments and a top secret company that has every reason to hide what they are doing.

I highly recommend Altered by Jennifer Rush and plan on picking up the future installments in this series.

 

What You Will Find

  • Hot Guys
  • Kick-Ass Heroine
  • Twists and Turns
  • Mystery
  • Sweet Love Story
  • Running from the Man