Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (167)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week, I'm waiting on:

Starflight by Melissa Landers
Release date: February 2, 2016

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but it's not like the law has ever been on her side.

Still, off-world travel doesn't come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.

The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara's heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.

It's been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee's dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home-and the eccentric crew that feels like family.

I loved Alienated and its sequel Invaded so I'm eager to read this new (unrelated as far as I know) novel by Landers.  Her other books had a combination of science fiction and contemporary teen fiction with humor, romance and suspense so I have high hopes for this book. I wish she'd been able to write a third book in the Alienated series (she only got a two book deal) but I think Starflight sounds like a promising start to a new series. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top Ten Readalikes

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new subject each week and this week's topic is "Top Ten Books To Read If You Like These Popular Books/Authors".

I consider the term "readalike" to be a little misleading. The books I suggest for each popular title are similar but not exactly alike.

If you liked Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, try:

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Lady of the Glen by Jennifer Roberson
At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

If you liked Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, try:

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

If you liked The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, try:

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (not YA fiction but may appeal to older teens)

If you liked Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, try:

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

If you liked Cinder by Marissa Meyer, try:

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

If you liked The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, try:

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

If you liked The Selection by Kiera Cass, try:

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker
Matched by Ally Condie
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Jewel by Amy Ewing

If you liked The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, try:

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

If you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett, try:

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler
Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

If you liked The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, try:

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
When The Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi
Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Post (22) / It's Monday, What Are You Reading

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

This is me as a Peanut. The Peanuts Movie website has this really addictive Peanutize Me feature that lets you create your own Peanuts character to look like you (well sort of).  The new movie trailer was recently released and it looks adorable!

This month has gone by so fast! I'm sad that fall is officially here but I'll try to make the best of it. I have already enjoyed pumpkin pie cake and apple cider. Now my favorite TV shows are starting up again. Last week I watched the first episode of Downton Abbey season 6 (really good!) and tonight is the first episode of Indian Summers on Masterpiece. I am excited to see it and hope it lives up to my expectations. Tonight is also the premiere of the new season of Once Upon a Time featuring a cameo by Merida from Brave.

In non-TV news, our Pinterest craft night at the library went really well. We did have some technical difficulty with some of the picture frames (they were stapled on and hard to remove) but everyone seemed to have a good time. We even had some out of towners from Pittsburg that decided to join the program when they visited the library and saw our advertisement. Next month we will be making homemade pumpkin spice soap in the microwave. I've never done that before so we'll have to try it in advance to make sure the craft works. We are also going to be making sweater pumpkins. They look really cute and will hopefully be easy.

This week is my book discussion week and fortunately I read both books already. Not so fortunately I am struggling to remember Big Stone Gap which I read in August. It had a lot of characters with weird names so I may have to brush up before Tuesday. 

Last week on my blog:

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson (review)

Books read:

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas (reread)

I am glad I reread this as I think I missed some things the first time around. I think it was just as good even knowing the big twist.

The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

I thought this was a good conclusion to the series and there were some unexpected twists. I like that the author took me by surprise

Lord Fenton's Folly by Josi S. Kilpack

While not as emotionally satisfying as A Heart Revealed, I still liked this. Lord Fenton starts out as an annoying dandy but he improves in character a lot by the end of the book.

Currently reading:

Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

I am really struggling with this book. I had more hope for it but I find it doesn't hold my attention. I don't know why because the premise sounded good. I have a feeling it will end up as a DNF if it doesn't improve soon. So far, I really prefer Dumplin'.

What I plan to read next:

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver

I loved Murder at the Brightwell so I am looking forward to picking this one up soon. I may read it next.

First and Then by Emma Mills

This is described as Jane Austen meets Friday Night Lights. While I'm not a football fan, I am curious about how Jane Austen's novels will tie in.

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams

I am reading this for Amazon Vine and my review is due soon so I will have to move it up on the TBR pile. It is a dual time period story with parts set in the 1960s and WWII.

New books received:

Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas (library book)

Moving Target: a Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castellucci (library book)

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (library book)

Kiss Me by Susan Mallery (library book)

Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato (for review)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Walk on Earth a Stranger
By Rae Carson
Published: September 22, 2015

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times-bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America. Walk on Earth a Stranger begins an epic saga from one of the finest writers of young adult literature.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns series, dazzles with the first book in the Gold Seer Trilogy, introducing a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance, as only she can.

My review:

Leah (Lee) Westfall has the ability to divine gold, something that has enabled her family to survive and that they've kept a secret for safety reasons. Unfortunately all that goes to hell when the wrong person finds out the truth. Now Leah has to go on the run, heading to California and hoping to meet up with her best friend Jefferson on the way. The journey is filled with danger in the form of robbers, illness and accidents and always Lee has to stay a step ahead of the man who hunts her.

While Girl of Fire and Thorns is a fantasy series, Walk on Earth a Stranger is more like historical fiction with just a touch of fantasy included. There is plenty of historical detail and I enjoyed the prairie setting especially as Lee joined up with a wagon train.  I've always loved prairie stories and Lee proves to be a hardworking, smart and resourceful young woman. There are also some great secondary characters introduced and the story examines the plight of women, people of African or Native American heritage and homosexuals (though this is only hinted at with the term "confirmed bachelors") during that time period. Many headed west not just for gold but to make a better life where they hope to live the way they want. 

I loved this story and while it isn't as good as The Girl of Fire and Thorns which set the bar really high, it is still an excellent start to the series. The author has a gift for creating settings and strong female protagonists. I do wish we'd had more chance to explore Lee's abilities but hopefully that will change in the second book. I also think the villain was a little one dimensional so I hope the sequel will delve more into his character. I can't wait to read more about Lee and find out what will happen in California. Overall I was really happy with this book and I think fans of historical fiction will enjoy it as much as fans of her fantasy novels.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (166)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme to discuss upcoming books we can't wait to get our hands on. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week, I'm waiting on:

Beatrice and Benedick by Marina Fiorato
Release date: December 8, 2015

Hidden in the language of Shakespeare's best-loved comedy Much Ado About Nothing are several clues to an intriguing tale. It seems that the witty lovers Beatrice and Benedick had a previous love affair that ended bitterly. But how did they meet? Why did they part? And what brought them together again?

When nineteen-year-old Beatrice is brought to live at her uncle's court in Sicily to be a companion to his daughter, she first meets Benedick, a young soldier who is there with a Spanish lord on a month-long sojourn. As they begin to wage their war of wit, their words mask their deep love for one another. But the pair are cruelly parted by misunderstanding and slander. Heartbroken, Benedick sails to England on the ill-fated Spanish Armada. Beatrice returns to her home in the North and an unwanted betrothal. While Benedick must fight for his life on board ship, Beatrice fights for her freedom from an arranged marriage.

From the point of view of Beatrice and Benedick we hear the lovers tell their own story, taking us from the sunlit southern courts of Sicily, to the crippled Armada on the frozen northern seas, to the gorgeous Renaissance cities of the north.

From Marina Fiorato, author of the acclaimed historical novel The Glassblower of Murano, comes a beautifully imagined Beatrice and Benedick.

I love Much Ado About Nothing. It's my favorite Shakespeare play and Beatrice and Benedick are my favorite Shakespearean characters so I have high hopes for this one!

Captive by A.J. Grainger
Release date: November 3, 2015

When a teen is held hostage, her efforts to escape uncover a conspiracy that forces her to question everything in this psychological thriller with a twist of forbidden romance.
They told her not to worry—
because the man who shot her father was in custody.
They told her that she was safe—
because security had been increased.
All it took was one opportunity, one breach,
and then she was theirs. Kidnapped, confined, alone.
They told her she could go home when their demands were met.
That it wouldn’t take long, because she was the prime minister’s daughter.
But it has been days, and still no help has come.
She wonders when they will tire of this game and kill her.
She cannot wait around for that to happen; she will escape. She has to.

I think this sounds like a promising YA suspense novel.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new subject each week and this week's topic is "Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List".

Winter by Marissa Meyer

This is my most anticipated release this fall and one of the books I've been looking forward to reading the most this year even though it means the end of the series. I can't wait to find out what happens!

The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

The Sword of Summer is the first book in Rick Riordan's new series on Norse mythology and it stars Magnus Chase, cousin of Annabeth from the Percy Jackson books. I've loved all of Rick's YA books so far and I can't wait to get my hands on this one in a few weeks.

The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

So I'm kind of cheating with this one as I started reading my ARC last night after I finished rereading The Perilous Sea. I just couldn't wait any longer! This is the final book in the trilogy and the stakes are high. So far it is an edge of your seat kind of story.

Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal

I've liked all of the books in this historical mystery series so far. This time around the story takes place in the U.S. with Maggie going with Winston Churchill to the White House.

Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

I am curious about this one and how it will compare with Dumplin'. The main character is smart, popular and loved by her classmates but her grandmother wants her to lose weight so she is offered a deal-tuition to an Ivy League university in exchange for weight loss surgery. Not cool, Grandma...

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

I bought and read Snow Like Ashes earlier this year when it was on sale as a Kindle deal and I was surprised by how much I liked it so now I want to read the sequel. 

First and Then by Emma Mills

I am not a football fan but I'm intrigued by the comparisons to Jane Austen.

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

This looks like a nice and creepy story just perfect for Halloween! I've only read one book by Jennifer Donnelly (Revolution) and I loved it so I want to read more.

All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I usually enjoy Jennifer Lynn Barnes's suspense novels and this series in particular is pretty good.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

I thought Amie Kaufman's Starbound books were fantastic so I have high hopes for this collaboration with Jay Kristoff that is also set in space.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Post (21) / It's Monday, What Are You Reading

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we've read and reviewed over the past week and what we plan to read next.

I had a somewhat busy week ending with a visit to my parents for the weekend. The potluck with my book group went really well and we all agreed that the movie version of The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared was pretty true to the spirit of the book. It was nice to spend some time with my parents though the weather was cooler and rainy. We stayed inside and watched movies like Woman in Gold, which was excellent and the new version of Cinderella which was cute.

This week is the Pinterest Craft Night that I've been mentioning so much lately. We have 9 people signed up now which is really exciting. We made more room so a grandmother could bring her two teenage granddaughters with her which I thought was really sweet. 

Last week on my blog:

Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan (review) not the best in the series
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (review) really liked this novel about body image and confidence

Books read:

Avelynn by Marissa Campbell

An interesting historical novel set during the time of the Saxons and Vikings. It also has some romance and fantasy elements. It was pretty grim reading at times.

I just loved this book. It was touching and sweet and sad and I look forward to hearing what my other book group members thought of it. I'd wanted to read this book for years and I'm really glad I finally got to. I was really moved while reading this when I read a recent post by George Takei that touched on his experiences as a young man in the internment camp.

Currently reading:

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas (reread)

I never got around to reviewing this book when I read it last year so I thought I'd reread it especially with the final book on my TBR pile.

What I plan to read next:

The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

I was so excited to get an ARC of this. I can't wait to read it but at the same time I'm worried about the fate of the characters and sad the series is coming to an end.

Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

I think the concept behind this book is sad. The main character's grandmother keeps trying to bribe her to lose weight every year on her birthday. This time the bribe is her Ivy League college tuition in exchange for weight loss surgery.

Lord Fenton's Folly by Josi S. Kilpack

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

New books received:

Black-eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin (library book)

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters (for review)

A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern (for review)