Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #136 - Iron Trial and Winterspell

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Authors: Holly Black AND Cassandra Clare
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Published by: Doubleday Children's Books

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will -- is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It's a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil. (Summary from Goodreads)

I've enjoyed reading books by these two authors, so I can only imagine that a book they've collaborated on must be awesome. I look forward to reading this new adventure.

Author: Claire Legrand
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince...but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear. (Summary from Goodreads)

I absolutely ADORE The Nutcracker!!! So this is a brilliant concept in my opinion because I always pictured a faery world where she goes. I cannot wait to try this one. Let me know if you've read it!

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Adrenaline Crush 
Author: Laurie Boyle Crompton
Release date: September 24, 2014
Published by: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Received from NetGalley as an ARC for review.

I am really torn as I write this review. I’m not sure I will put this on my classroom bookshelf, but I can think of a couple of particular students I would suggest read it because it fits their personalities. And by the time I was done reading, I really liked Dyna, the main character, which is completely opposite to how I felt about her at the start of the story.

At first I struggled to connect to Dyna. She comes from a family whose motto is all about taking risks. And I mean risks that endanger her life, which was beyond ridiculous to me (note: this is coming from a person who won’t swim in lake water because it looks icky). In fact, this story begins as Dyna showcases her adrenaline junkie side, racing through a forest on a bike and climbing cliffs over water. She also speaks very frankly about sex in the first chapter, which was a little off-putting, but then that kind of talk cools a bit after Dyna’s traumatic event.

Actually, it is after the event that I began to connect with Dyna as a character. Here’s my little cover blip: After a traumatic event, Dyna is on a journey to find herself, release her fear, and find her wild side again (note: said in a deep Morgan Freeman-ish voice). She becomes torn between danger and security, wildness and safety, and she has to find a way to reconcile her adrenaline seeking desires with the reality of the physical dangers she faces. This represents the oppositional nature that exists in her that I felt as I read this book. Sometimes her words were harsh and abrasive and other times they were lyrical--in fact I did enjoy the verse-like writing style that the author worked in at moments of emotional impact.

So, again, I’m torn with whether I really liked this book or just the middle to end portion, but I believe it’s worth a read because Dyna’s points about fear and believing in herself are universal and worth thinking about. And I really did appreciate Dyna’s voice by the end of the book, so I’m going to suggest you work through the first couple of chapters because it will be worth your time in the end.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: Skink by Carl Hiaasen

Skink--No Surrender 
Author: Carl Hiaasen
Release date: September 23, 2014
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Richard's "fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants" cousin, Malley, has disappeared and for some reason he seems to be the only one taking her disappearance seriously! He knows she met a "great guy" online, and that her parents were sending her to boarding school far away. Other than that, he has no idea where to start and no one will listen to him that she could be in serious danger, not just running off because she's angry at her parents. Then Richard literally stumbles on "Skink" one night hiding out in a fake turtle nest, and he's just off enough to listen to his story and decides finding Malley will be his next project. Will they be able to save her in time? Will teaming up with Skink be safe, or a really bad idea?

My thoughts: This was classic Carl Hiaasen, from the non-traditional lives they're living, to the endangered species. I know that the kiddos and adults alike are going to love this one in the libraries when we get it!

One thing I cannot figure out is why this is being categorized as "YA" while his others are "MG"!? I guess that the girl, Malley, has a bit of a tougher life possibly. It's honestly hard to tell because that's really not told to the reader in complete detail. Then during the kidnapping there is always the overall question about what exactly happened to her, or not. There is also violence here and there, especially at the end as there is with any serious rescue mission I suppose but certainly nothing more than what we see on the news or on television everyday in the advertisements for pete's sake! They do NOT go into the details about it, the incident I'm talking about just happens and then it's done.

Anyway, this was a great mystery from beginning to end with the added bonus of telling a very harrowing tale about cyber safety!

I LOVED the character of Skink! He was fantastic and just completely bizarre, but what a great human being! He is someone I would love in a movie. We would all be rooting for him. Then there was Richard..what a great and brave young man to know he was right, and stand by it enough to go off on a crazy mission to save Malley even though they weren't even sure she had been kidnapped or off with a new great boyfriend.

Final thoughts: This is a new great step up, if you liked the Hiaasen books but they are feeling a bit "young" for you. This will take you on a great adventure, and also teach you a lot about nature along the way as usual.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #135 - Oblivion and Atlantia

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

(Nevermore, Book 3)
Author: Kelly Creagh
Release Date: July 2015
Published by: Antheneum Books for Young Readers 

 (No summary available on Goodreads yet)

Holy crap! How have I missed this series? And this cover is freaking awesome. This is the third book in a series that uses Poe and his Raven poem as inspiration. I'm going to run out and get the first two books and read them so I'm ready for the third and final. Gothic romance...yes, please!

Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Published by: Dutton Juvenile

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above--of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio's true self--and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden--she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother's death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds amazing and now I have to find out the secrets! Don't you? 

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Top 10 Books People Have Been Telling Us We MUST Read...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team over at Broke and the Bookish! Leave a link to your Top 10 below!

Top 10 Books People Have Been Telling Us We MUST Read...
So there are so many reasons these made it onto our lists...students who have been telling us over and over to read a series, we already own the full series and shame on us for not having read it yet, or perhaps we've read half the book already and seriously need to finish it up!!! Who knows, but get it done already right!? ;P

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

3. The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

6. Caster Chronicles Series by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

7. The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan 

8. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

10. Legend Series by Marie Lu

What's on your Top 10 this week?

Review: Nomad by J.L. Bryan

Author: J.L. Bryan
Release date: July 26, 2013
Published by: Indie Pub. 
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Raven is out for revenge against the most evil man in the world, so when she's sent back in time 50 years to 2013 she is set on killing before he can bring about the end of our whole world as we know it. The question is...will she be able to do it when the man who's the evil of all evil in her time is just a young guy?

My thoughts: This was incredibly imaginative as far as the future world creation and the twists and turns went. The time travel was just as I thought it would be in this one which was just what I was looking for.

It's hard to talk too much about the plot of this one without telling too much so...I'll just say that there were some decent characters in this one in the main character and her new found friend in 2013. I always wished there was more though, as if there wasn't enough information about any of them.

It was very fun to watch a futuristic character come back to our current time though and figure things out that are so very common place to us though. I had never really thought about life in that way before. That was rather interesting. The technology that Bryan came up with was fascinating too.

Final thoughts: I will certainly be watching for this author now after reading this thrill ride! It was a good one!
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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blog Tour: Embers & Ash by T.M. Goeglein

Hey book pals! I'm excited to once again be a part of a tour for T.M. And, as you all know I adore T.M.! Embers & Ash is at the TOP of my to die for list! I cannot wait to get it in my paws!  
Here are the links to the posts:
Book 1: Cold Fury
Book 2: Flicker & Burn
 Have any of you already read it by chance? 
Sara Jane Rispoli is on the wrong side of the Russian mob, but closer to finding her family than ever. And she's willing to do whatever it takes to finally end this terrible journey even if the price is her own life. The very cold fury that has seen her through the worst of her troubles is now killing her; she knows the cure, but she can't sacrifice the deadly electricity until she's rescued her family. But when she finally does rescue them, it's not the happy reunion she pictured. And the torment doesn't stop there, not even when she finally discovers Ultimate Power. Only destroying the Outfit completely can end this terrible nightmare. Old enemies return to seek vengeance, double-crosses abound, and even more mysteries are uncovered as we rocket toward an end no one saw coming.
Ted Goeglein began his career as a writer of print and television ads for a host of advertising and media companies.
As a screenwriter, he produced original screenplays and worked as a script doctor for several L.A. production companies. He was an original contributor to the Huffington Post ‘Living’ section, as well.
Ted’s Young Adult novel, COLD FURY, the first in a trilogy, was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin in July 2012. The second book in the Cold Fury series, FLICKER & BURN, published in August 2013, and the final installment, EMBERS & ASH</ a>, released in July 2014. </ span>
The author lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.</ span>
[Tour dates are subject to change]
August 5 ~ Kristina's World of Books ~ Review
August 6 ~ Erin Lindsey Writes & Crochets ~ Review/Guest Post</ span>
August 6 ~ Cover Contessa</ span> ~ Interview/GP/Top Ten
August 7 ~ Books With Bite</ span> ~ Review
August 8 ~ Bookish – Debbie</ span> ~ Review/Playlist
August 10 ~ All About Books (Divas)</ span> ~ Review
August 13 ~ What A Nerd Girl Says</ span> ~ Review
August 15 ~ Fangirlish ~ Review/GP
August 17 ~  Libby Blog ~ Review
August 18 ~ Cabin Goddess ~ Review/Recipe
August 18 ~ Paranormal Book Club</ span> ~ Review
August 19 ~ Live to Read ~ Review
August 20 ~ DanaSquare ~ Review
August 20 ~ I Am A Reader ~ Author Interview/GP
August 21 ~ Lady Techie’s Book Musings ~ Review
August 22 ~ Chapter by Chapter</ span> ~ Review
August 23 ~ Like a Bump on a Blog</ span> ~ Review
August 24 ~ Bookish – Tiffany</ span> ~ Review
August 24 ~ Book Briefs ~ Review
August 25 ~ Jean Book Nerd</ span> ~ Review/Playlist
August 25 ~ Oops I Read It Again ~ Review
August 25 ~ Destiny ~ Review/Playlist
Hosted by:

Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

The Vault of Dreamers 
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Release date: September 16, 2014
Published by: Roaring Book Press/Macmillan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Received from NetGalley as an ARC for review.

First off, I’m going to call it like it is and tell you that this is a dark tale full of intriguing and scary ideas.

O’Brien brings us to another future world that feels very similar to our current world with just a few twists. For example, this story takes place in The Forge School. An academic setting, but unlike regular high schools, this is a high school-reality T.V. hybrid. Don’t get me wrong, I could totally see our current world deciding to broadcast the lives of teenagers in a special creative arts high school, but in addition to broadcasting the lives of the teens, The Forge School uses the science of dreams to increase the creativity of its students. Or...at least that’s how they sell the idea of the school to the public. At this school, the value of a person’s dreams is literally what is most important.

The creepy overtones in this story are set up early on with Rosie’s comparison of the sleeping pods to coffins: “...two rows as straight and motionless as so many coffins.” And the scary intrigue quickly follows as Rosie uncovers more and more pieces of the puzzle that seem to explain what is really going on at The Forge School. She says at one point, “I didn’t have to understand every nuance to grasp that I was in a game, a weird, one-on-one game with Dean Berg.”

This brings me to the cast of supporting characters: a love interest, a controlling leader, and a few casual friends, but Rosie really does take the main stage as she works to uncover the truth behind the use of dreams at the school. In fact, maybe that’s why I don’t have any strong feelings for the supporting characters. Rosie really does keep her own counsel most of the time...because she figures most others will think she’s crazy since she struggles to gather real proof of what she sees and hears.

In fact, part of the adventure of this dark tale is you, the reader, deciding just how reliable you think Rosie is as a narrator. I’ll leave that up to you as you head out and pick up this book.

Happy reading!

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: The Revealed by Jessica Hickam

The Revealed 
Author: Jessica Hickam
Release date: June 17, 2014
Published by: SparkPress
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Received from NetGalley as an ARC for review.

If you are interested in a world that is rebuilding itself after nuclear bombs destroyed it six years ago…
If you are curious about how Lily, a girl whose father is running for president of the North American Sector, lives in this new world…
If you want to know more about just who the Revealed are and why they take 18-year-olds and why they are targeting Lily for their next taking…
Then read this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this story as a light read. It was a really quick read because while there are a lot of not so good things about this new world that are hinted at, the author chooses to keep this story more focused on Lily and her family. In the end it becomes a story focused on good versus bad; it just takes a little bit to clearly define who is good and who is bad. I enjoyed the X-men feel to the Revealed and their abilities: they control anything elemental, which covers a lot of territory. I now have the correct answer to the “What superpower would you want to have?” question. Ha!

I also liked that Lily has a desire for the forbidden, which helps lead her on her journey and includes a forbidden love: Kai. On the other hand, I did find Lily a little whiny at times, but I was able to move beyond it because I wanted to see how the adventure concluded. I do hope that if there are more books to come that the author might choose a different point of view for the next book because I’d like to hear more about Rory and really get into her head.

Final word on The Revealed: a quick adventure and the first book in what I assume is a planned series.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #134 - Percy Jackson's Greek Gods & Falls the Shadow

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Rick Riordan
Illustrated by: John Rocco
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Published by: Disney-Hyperion

A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek Gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek Gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.

So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. "If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that." (Summary from Goodreads)

OMG! I have to have this for my classroom bookshelf. I love Riordan's series (both of them) featuring Percy Jackson and my students do, too. This will be funny since it's Percy adding his take on the Greek gods and their histories and personalities.

Author: Stefanie Gaither
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young

When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate's family picked up Violet's replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate's parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality--by cloning them at birth--which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that's what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She's used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock that foundation of everything she thought was true. (Summary from Goodreads)

Don't you want to know if she really murdered that girl or not!!?? OMG! I do! And seriously...cloning your kid! I am NOT ready for that. Saying goodbye AND hello in one week. I have GOT to read this! What about you?

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: Ruins by Dan Wells

Author: Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence, Book 3
Release date: March 11, 2014
Published by: Balzer + Bray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Each person in this epic battle to save humanity and Partial alike is raging until the very end to to save the world from certain extinction. Each side can both save AND completely destroy the other, but Kira now knows that together they could save everyone if they would all just work together. Except the endgame is fast approaching and Kira may only have but one chance to save their world. Will she be able to do it?

My thoughts: This was EPIC! What a fantastic finish to this series. I have really enjoyed this trilogy immensely. If you like NCIS, or Bones, or Rizzoli and Isles I really think it will appeal to you because of the medical and techie edge to it, but also because of the girl power throughout it as well.

This story starts out right where Fragments left off, which leaves Kira a guinea pig for Dr. Morgan, Samm running the Preserve while providing the cure to RM, and a nuclear weapon headed straight for the mainland of New York. If only those things were the main events...since there is also the fact that there is a strange giant creature-thing who is appearing to everyone telling them to prepare for Winter, a "Blood Man" on a killing spree, and in the mean time Samm and the Partials who awakened in the secret basement of the Preserve have discovered something AMAZING they HAVE to tell EVERYONE!

These were the first Dan Wells books I read and I have to say they were a home run for me! I recommend them to anyone who reads books like this.

Readalikes: Reboot, The 5th Wave, Wither, Mila 2.0, The Hunger Games, Clockwork Prince, Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Giver and many more.

Check out my reviews of:
Book 1: Partials
Book 2: Fragments

View all my reviews