Top 10 Tuesday – Books on My Fall TBR

Grumble, grumble. This topic always makes me despair, because I’m faced with the knowledge that I shall die with books unread. Normally, I break down my list into book I don’t have but want to read, books I have but haven’t read, and books I’ve already read. I’m ditching the middle list for time’s sake, because by gum, I have some reading to do!

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White (HarperCollins)

I’ve heard amazing things! Also, the cover is lovely.

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz (Disney-Hyperion)

It looks cute, and my friends say it IS cute, so…

On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Meyers (Random House)

It’s like… The Breakfast Club meets the dystopian genre. Not that I’ve ever seen TBC, but still.

Schizo by Nic Sheff (Penguin)

Psychological character study with an unreliable narrator! Yesssss.

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender (Scholastic)

I’ve been lusting after this one for monthsssssss.

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp (Macmillan/Tor)

I remember reading several different books with this hook as a kid and I loved them. Also, look at the purty cover.

Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer (Random House)

YES. YES YES YESSSSS. SHAE WANTS ALL THE THINGS!

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (Hachette)

Moar Soap! Moar Sophronia! Moar Dimity! Moar Bumbersnoot! MOAR OF ALL THE THINGS!

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith (Penguin)

Sci-fi dystopian western. What about that isn’t a Shae thing, hmm?

Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan (Bloomsbury)

Wee adorable fake romances on a reality show. Want!

 

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

My review

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

My review

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Review to come.

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Can’t review because I am biased now, but honestly, this is the BEST BOOK in the entire series. *squeezes it tightly*

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

My review

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Review to come.

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Review: A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Whoo! I did it! You have to understand, I was terrified to start this book. None of my canaries had read it, so I had no way of knowing if it would be any good, and just LOOK at that cover. What would happen to my heart if the book didn’t live up to that beauty? But here I am, alive and whole on the other side of this book, so let’s get down to business.

I repent.

Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (65)

Rewind & Review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Don’t forget that I still have two giveaways still going on!

Stuff I Bought

  • The Falconer by Elizabeth May
  • Reunion (Mediator #3) by Meg Cabot
  • Darkest Hour (Mediator #4) by Meg Cabot (thanks for sending them, Rachel!)

Stuff I Received/Won

  • There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake (from Bloomsbury)
  • The Beautiful Creatures series boxed set by Kami Garcia (from Little, Brown)

Thanks Bloomsbury! Thanks, Little, Brown!

What I Read

  • How To Cheat a Dragon’s Curse by Cressida Cowell audiobook – SO CUTE! CRAZY TWIST! MUCH WOW!
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Lovely reread. I thoroughly enjoyed catching subtext that I missed the first time.
  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – Same as the above. I could ALMOST ignore nasty Kavinsky this time.
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – !!! and !!!. Also ?!?!?! Review to come.
  • Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw – Reading this now and am whelmed. It’s cute, but am waiting for some action.
  • The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock audiobook – Gah, so so happy to be with the Schwenks again. SO HAPPY.

Event of the Week

My brother and sister-in-law came back from their honeymoon and surprised us all by saying they were getting a new puppy! My brother already has one dog, Gus, which we have been watching, so they brought the new puppy over to meet his “brother” yesterday.

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Review: THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD OF PRICKWILLOW PLACE by Julie Berry

There’s a murderer on the loose—but that doesn’t stop the girls of St. Etheldreda’s from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce.

The students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings.

Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just over here giggling like a tiny child. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I would like SSoPP. I wasn’t a fan of Ms. Berry’s YA novel, but other readers seemed to really enjoy this new adventure. Also, come on. Seven prim and proper Victorian schoolgirls don’t just try to solve a murder but also hide it? This has “Shae” written all over it!

Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #72

CoverLove1

Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.

I’m going to completely ignore the description, because it doesn’t do a thing for me. (I’m very wary when presumably non-Christian, unhomeschooled authors attempt to take on two subjects that are very important to me.)

That said, LOOK AT THE COVER. Lurrrrvely, that’s what it is. It isn’t terribly flashy (no dragons or knives or anything), but it caught my attention immediately. I think the colors had to do with my positive first glance. They’re not flashy either, but the warm neutrals drew me in. It’s a soft cover, full of creams and flesh and sunlight and shadows. The only hard thing in view are the window panes. I love how they double as prison bars, separating us from Rachel and keeping her out… or keep us in. It’s a great subtext. Also, hellooooo gorgeous font! The title itself is gorgeously done, but I’m really in love with that capital D.

What do you think of this cover? Does it entrance you the way it does me?

 

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Samplers – Yea or Nay?

Chapter samplers serve dual purposes. Their primary purpose is promotion. By releasing the first X amount of chapters in a book, the publisher allows access to the story and the author’s writing style without giving away the whole tamale. By reading a chapter sampler, fans get a treat to tide them over, and new readers can test out whether they’re be interested in the finale product. It’s a great system. I’ve seen Twitter explode in shrieks and flails over a well-framed chapter sampler.

Chapter samplers are also useful in cases like what we just saw a week or two ago with Orphan Queen. Instead of uploading the entire digital ARC to Edelweiss, HarperCollins decided to upload multiple chapters instead. The situation got a bit messy because HC forgot to mark pre-download that it was only a sampler (what a surprise that sudden ending was), but their logic to that point was sound.

Though we all like to think of bloggers as a happy, altruistic, book-loving hoard, some do abuse their privileges. Digital ARCs are uploaded to Edelweiss and NetGalley with the intention of cutting down the costly process of printing paper ARCs while still allowing bloggers and other reviewers advanced access to the upcoming season’s titles. Unfortunately, some then take it upon themselves to send the eARCs in their entirety to book pirate sites where the stories can then be redownloaded thousands of times, thereby robbing the publishing houses and hardworking authors of sales. And it SUCKS. (Seriously, if you pirate books, don’t call yourself a book-lover or a fan. Just get out of my face.)

By uploading only a portion of Orphan Queen, Harper allowed the chapter sampler to work its magic by getting fans and reviewers revved up for the finished product and thwarted pirates. These same pirates always (erroneously) claim that they provide free marketing for the stolen books, so Harper let them do just that. Upload and download away! Spread that chapter sampler, ’cause you’re still going to have to actually purchase the finished book rather than stealing it!

I personally try to pretend like chapter samplers don’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, they do all the things they’re supposed to do. I can read a chapter sampler and figure out whether or not I’ll jive with an author’s style, become obsessed over the story, wail over the ending, and vow to read the rest when the book comes out. However, I have noticed that I tend to do better gelling with the book in the long term if my reading experience is consistent.

The beginning of the book is the punch that keeps me propelled through the story, but my brain has a bad habit of skipping over parts it finds familiar. So when I read a chapter sampler, my brain goes “MOAR MOAR MOAR WHEEEE,” but there’s no more to read. And then when I read the final book, my brain sees the bits I’ve already read and goes “Been there, done that, what else ya got?” So what I’ve learned to do is avoid chapter samplers like the plague, let my canaries read them instead so they can tell me whether to proceed, and then devour the book whole when the full story is available.

Seriously, what are your thoughts? Do you love them? Hate them? Devour them? Ignore them?

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Top 10 Tuesday – Authors I’ve Only Read 1 Book Of

I have a lot of authors that could be on this list, which is kind of exciting, because it means that I have so many books to hunt down! On the other hand, some of these authors make the list because they reeled me in with a fantastic, wonderful, mind-blowing book… that was also their debut novel, so there’s nothing else to hunt down. Augh! Continue Reading →

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Review: FIREBUG by Lish McBride

Ava can start fires with her mind . . . but is it a blessing or a curse?

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hit men . . . and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her mother’s death was ordered by Venus—who is now her boss.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.

Usually, I’m pretty set on what I want to say about a book as soon as I’ve finished reading it; certainly, I’ve decided before I sit down to write the review. However, every now and then, a book comes along that has too many good parts to be bad and too many prickly parts to be wholly good, and I’m stuck in the middle, wobbling like a top on its last rotation. Firebug is one of those weird, unpinnable books. I can’t push my feelings into one box or another. I enjoyed myself, and the story I got wasn’t the one I expected, but there were also some troublesome parts that messed with my connection. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (64)

Rewind & Review

 

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Mm mm mm. That’s a dang fine-looking list, if I do say so myself. There’s some personal happiness, some pertinent general information, reviews that I’m rather proud of, and two AWESOME giveaways. Go forth and devour!

Stuff I Bought

  • Palace of Spies by Sara Zettel
  • Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones
  • Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

Stuff I Received

  • Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (from RandomHouse via Edelweiss)
  • The William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy by Ian Doescher (from Quirk Books)
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (from Scholastic via NetGalley)

A HUGE thanks to RandomHouse, Quirk Books, and Scholastic for making the last two weeks filled with happy screams!

What I Read

  • The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry – Finished, finally! It was hard for me at first, but I definitely got into it by the end. Review to come.
  • How To Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell audiobook – LOVE. What do I love more? Brave Toothless? David Tennant’s “Roman” voice? Ziggerastica’s poetry? The scary sharkworms? ALL OF THE ABOVE?!
  • Firebug by Lish McBride – Reviewing this tomorrow. Rough patches and fun patches made for a difficult time deciding a rating!
  • Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant – Well that was… short. And different. Review to come.
  • The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – A much-needed and -welcomed reread. Love being back with the group again!
  • Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – YES. YESSSS. Serial killers! Mind games! Makeshift family units! Secrets! Kissing! YESSSS. Review to come.
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Grey – Still sorting my thoughts. They’re good thoughts, but they need sorting. Review to come.

Event of the Week

THE event of the past two weeks was definitely the MnM Wedding! Last Saturday, my baby brother Sam McDaniel married his girlfriend of four years, Victoria Muchmore. It was a fabulous but very tiring event, which is the reason I skipped over last week’s R&R and doubled everything up this weekend. Every drop of stress and exhaustion was definitely worth it, though, because the wedding was beautiful, being with friends and family was awesome, and now Victoria is ours FOREVER BWAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHA.

Stolen from my father

 

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Rose Under Fire Character Interview + Giveaway

Good morning, everyone. Today is a very special day. On this day in 1944, ATA pilot Rose Moyer Justice entered the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Nazi Germany as a prisoner of war. Rose herself is fictional, but her story is one that can be echoed by thousands of women from a very real time in our world’s history.

Rose Under Fire is a beautiful story, if one that’s sometimes hard to read for its verisimilitude. As the majority of the book is set within Ravensbruck, the story has its fair share of horror, heartbreak, and bleak reality, but it’s also a book that’s filled with people, and with these people come friendship, laughter, love, sacrifice, and great bravery. Part of my privilege today is the opportunity to interview one of those people. I fell in love the moment I read my review copy last year and have delighted in championing it ever since, so when its author Elizabeth Wein asked me to promote its paperback release, I jumped at the chance and set up an interview with Lisette Romilly, one of the prisoners Rose bonds with in Ravensbruck.

Check out the interview and then drop below to enter Ms. Wein’s Rose Under Fire paperback giveaway. Continue Reading →

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