Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #205 - This Is Where It Ends & These Vicious Masks

"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: Marieke Nijamp 
Release Date: January 5, 2016 
Published by: SourcebooksFire 

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m.
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m.
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
(Summary from Goodreads)

This will be a hard one to read, but I really want to.

Author: Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas 
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Published by: Swoon Reads 

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they're not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true--and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared. (Summary from Goodreads)

X-men meets Jane Austen!? Seriously!? I'm IN! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: A Curious Tale of the In-Between

A Curious Tale of the In-Between 
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: Pram, Book 1
Release date: September 1, 2015
Published by: Bloomsbury USA
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pram talks to ghosts. She's even friends with one. Of course that makes her a bit odd and she doesn't have many living friends. Being home-schooled by her great-aunts for years didn't help in that department sadly. Then she meets Clarence who soon becomes one of her closest friends. Clarence knows loss and is looking for answers but will Pram be able to help him?

My thoughts: This was an equally creepy and adorable story. My daughter Mallory read it after me and LOVED it!

There were so many likable characters and interesting ones too in this story. For such a short book, there was so much content! When they start on their journey to find the spirit of Clarence's mother I certainly didn't see where things were going which is great. I hate stories that are too predictable, and this one wasn't. I worried that the loss of her mother at her birth was going to make the story too depressing but it really doesn't. It instead makes for some serious drama mixed in with everything else in the story. I liked how Pram grew up with her great-aunts adding that element of being around older folks regularly. Kiddos just don't seem to get much of that now. Those experiences that our elders have had and can share with us is irreplaceable.

Final thoughts: This was a beautifully gothic story of friendship and loss that anyone age 10 and up would enjoy!
P.S. I already bought it for my middle school library! ;)

View all my reviews

Mallory's thoughts: 
I really liked this. I've read it 3 times now! :) I love books that have a twist to them. I liked how the author found a way to make Pram go into both the world of the living and the dead. I can't wait for the next book to come out! I literally jumped up and down for joy when mom told me there was going to be another one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #204 - What's Broken Between Us & Glass Sword

"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: Alexis Bass
Release Date: December 29, 2015
Published by: HarperCollins

A year and a half ago, Amanda Tart's brother got behind the wheel drunk and killed his best friend. Today, he's coming home from prison.

Amanda's been the one living with the fallout, made worse by her brother's recent unapologetic TV interview. People think he's a monster. Still, he loves him. It's her dark secret, until she starts getting close to Henry again -- whose sister is paralyzed from the accident.

A year and a half ago, her brother destroyed his life. Now Amanda has to decide if she'll let his choice destroy hers. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds beautifully heart-wrenching. I'm curious to see how the sibling relationship plays out with this kind of tragedy.

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Published by: HarperTeen 

Mare Barrow's blood is red -- the color of common folk -- but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince -- the friend -- who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever? (Summary from Goodreads)

Book 1 was nothing short of FANTASTIC and I cannot wait to get back to these characters and their story! SO GOOD!!!

Check out my review of:
Book 1 - Red Queen 

What are you waiting on this week?

My year in review...

I always like looking back on my year of reading and reflecting on it. Maybe that's the teacher in me. I look at my average rating and wonder why it's so high...well I got to finally cross something off the "I want to do that someday" list in January which helped with that. My school district allowed me to attend the ALA Midwinter Conference in Chicago and it was FABULOUS! I loved being surrounded by all those librarians, publishing house representatives and authors! It was absolutely the highlight of my year! Plus, I came home with an obscene amount of ARCs and even finished books for all 4 of us. The best part was how darn good so many of them were! Of course, I had most of them recommended in person by the people who helped get them published so it was like the Rose Bowl of book recommendation days down on the floor. Also, there's the part where I got to share all of this with my girls who got to read AMAZING books ahead of everyone else AND then promote them to their friends, teachers and school librarian. It was also great for this middle school and high school librarian since there were several I purchased for the middle school library based on Mallory's reading recommendations, my prerelease reading and the recommendations of so many others at the conference. Having the girls get more involved this year has been so much fun. 

I can't wait to see what next year brings! 

Did you get to cross anything off this year that was a "Someday I want to do that"?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #203 - This Raging Light & Mystery of Hollow Places

"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: Estelle Laure 
Release Date: December 22, 2015
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers

Can the best thing happen at the worst time? Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love -- messy, inconvenient love -- is what she's about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend's brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure's soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page. (Summary from Goodreads)

It was the cover that grabbed my attention first and then the title is very intriguing. Want to get my hands on it. 

Author: Rebecca Podos 
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Published by: Balzer & Bray

All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds like a great mystery! I'm in! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #202 - 11 Birthdays & Truthwitch

"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: Wendy Mass
Release Date: January 1, 2009
Published by: Scholastic

It's Amanda's 11th birthday and she is super excited -- after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she's shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven't shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating itself. What is going on!? And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell...(Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds cute - a little Groundhog's Day twist. I'll grab it, read it, and share the fun with my niece. 

(The WitchlandsBook 1)
Author: Susan Dennard 
Release Date: January 5, 2015
Published by: Tor Teen

On a continent rule by three empires, some are born with a "witchery", a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get into trouble--as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It's a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her--but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi's hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship's captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. (Summary from Goodreads)

THIS. SOUNDS. AMAZING!!! Not only does the magic and powers appeal to me but the friendship and possible "Scooby Gang" characters leaves me desperate to get my hands on this one!! Plus, Susan's writing is INCREDIBLE! Just WOW! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See 
Author: Anthony Doerr
Release date: May 6, 2014
Published by: Schriber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Marie-Laure living in Paris, France, with her loving father and surrounded by museum lives a life filled with fascinating knowledge. Werner living in a German mining town with his sister, the other orphans in his home and the women who cares for them lives without much but still manages to teach himself advanced mathematics and electrical engineering at a very young age. When the Nazis begin to enflame Germany, and then move on to Russia, Austria, France and even further Werner is swept up into the Nazi Youth program. Marie-Laure and her father leave Paris for her uncle's village on the sea just ahead of the Nazi's moving in and taking over. As each works at figuring out their place in their new worlds, they both can't wait for them to go back to normal again...but will they?

My thoughts: This was a fascinating read filled with so much imagination mixed together with the actual facts from history of that seaside town, of the Hitler Youth, and so much more. What a cool idea! This was a book club pick which is why I read it in case you're wondering why I chose something so out of my normal reading, and boy am I glad I did. I'm always very honest with people, and especially with my book club, about the fact that I have a hard time reading "adult" books. I find them boring. Clive Cussler is about the only "must read" adult author I've found. I also do not look very hard obviously since I'm a middle school and high school librarian and reading Young Adult books works perfectly with my job. Plus, I love them! I love for them! So I'm always pleasantly surprised when an Adult book actually keeps me interested the whole way through it. 

One thing that was very different from books I've read was how Doerr does not tell the story in a linear timeline. I was really glad that I was reading a hardcover copy instead of reading it as an eBook with having many different sections where the plot is taking place in a different year. I found myself flipping back to the section before to see what year I had just finished reading each time I got to a new one to get my head in the right place. It took a little while but I got used to it. 

The other element that was interesting is that you are reading multiple points-of-view. Sometimes it's Marie-Laure, then Werner, then a treasure seeking Nazi, etc. This I didn't have a hard time with since each time it switches it's set up like a separate chapter with that person's name so you know who's speaking then. I rather liked it honestly. 

This story was so vast and intricate. I kept wondering how in the world did he keep track of all of this!? He must have had some sort of system that was just incredible. The mixture of factual history and fiction were so well done that I felt that I learned quite a bit about different aspects of their experiences as well. It's very obvious why this won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction last year! 

Final thoughts: If you have an interest in history at all, then this is for you! Or, if you like to read about different peoples lives as they struggle through life issues, then this is for you! There's even quite a bit about natural history and the technology that goes into the hand-held radios they used in WWII, as well as some serious math that Werner teaches himself (Wow!). I recommend that anyone gives it a try, and would say that anyone 8th or 9th grade on up would enjoy it. 

Check out this video of the author talking about how he came up with his story...

Have you already read this one!? What did you think? 

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #201 - Instructions for the End of the World & Passenger

"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: Jamie Kain 
Release Date: December 8, 2015 
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin 

He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man - except for the one that struck.

When Nicole Reed's father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it's too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole's father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow's disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today? (Summary from Goodreads)

Seems like an interesting twist on a survivalist story. I'm hoping the main character emerges strong! 

(Passenger, Book 1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken 
Release Date: January 5, 2016 
Published by: Disney-Hyperion 

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she's inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she's never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods - a powerful family in the colonies - and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas' passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them - whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home...forever. (Summary from Goodreads)

This. Sounds. SO. Dang. Good!  

What are you waiting on this week?