Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stacking the Shelves {114}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? Mine's been good! MAH BIRTHDAY IS TOMORROW! I'm one of those people who tell everyone about their birthday for weeks. I'll be 23, oh my gosh. 

For review:

Hello, I Love You by Katie Stout
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Must get ready for the signing! I just wanted to be sure I had THIS hardcover so I could have the pretty matching set. :D
Harry Potter Boxed Set
Did y'all see this boxed set on Amazon for 26 dollars??? I grabbed it so quickly, oh my gosh. I have nowhere to put it, but I couldn't care less.

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Thursday - Blog Tour: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman {Review + Giveaway}
Friday - Movie Musical Challenge: Show Boat

Books I read this week:
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2) by Anne Blankman
Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

I'm currently reading:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

So that's been my week! I could have gotten more reading done, but I got distracted by America's Next Top Model. Oops. :) Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Movie Musical Challenge: Show Boat

Oy, I need to speed up on these! It's mid-April and I've watched two. Eek!

Next up, number twenty-four on the list, is Show Boat! Just as Charlene said in her post, I couldn't find the 1936 version on the AFI's list. so I watched the 1951 version. Kind of shame, but since I knew absolutely nothing about the musical, I guess I don't know what I'm missing.

In no way whatsoever did I know what I was getting with this one. ALL I knew about it was a little clip from the beginning when the show boat shows up for the first time and the company does a kind of tambourine dance. It's a brief moment in the final video of the Great Movie Ride in Hollywood Studios at Disney World. That's it! Three seconds at most. I was so hoping I'd like the whole movie, and I did!

I found the beginning to be a little slow, aside from the very fun opening when the boat comes into town, since it was hard to tell exactly where and who the story was going to focus on. But, once it found its focus, Magnolia and Gay, I was completely invested. I loved their story. It's certainly drama-filled, and Gaylord makes some truly terrible choices, but you can't hope but root for them to end up together.

I normally latch onto an upbeat song to be my favorite, but I have to say, there's a reason "Ol' Man River" is a classic. It's the only song from the musical I'd ever heard before (though I had no idea this is what it was from until the song started), and it's so compelling. Its production is lovely in its simplicity, and while it doesn't drive the plot of the movie forward, it never feels extraneous. I didn't think about it until I read up on the song, but the notes sung in the title phrase are some of the same as in the show's opening number, which is very upbeat and cheery--while "Ol' Man River" definitely is not. It's a lovely pairing and it shows the strength of the tune that it can be made into two very different songs. It never hurts that William Warfield's voice is absolutely stunning, either.

Since I'm only two musicals into this challenge, I really can't say where I'll place this one ultimately, but I know this is one I'll rewatch later on--and hopefully find a copy of the allegedly superior 1936 version to watch as well. I can see why it's considered a favorite, though, because it mixes a lot of fun moments (the opening, all of Ellie and Frank's numbers) with a very compelling story and characters you'll come to care about.

Next up, Guys and Dolls! Not a favorite, but one with some numbers I love

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blog Tour: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman {Revew + Giveaway}

Release date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 416
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?
Everything I loved about Prisoner of Night and Fog--the expert rendering of history to fit a fictional story, Gretchen's steadfast courage and strength of mind, and her honest and sweet romance with Daniel, to name a few things--was present in Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke, and many elements were even stronger this time around. In this sequel, Hitler himself plays less of a role, but the effects of everything he's been building in Germany hit Gretchen and Daniel just as hard as if the man himself were pulling the strings.

This time around, Gretchen and Daniel have a strong grasp of the danger in Germany at the time. They've witnessed Hitler's volatility firsthand and know there are plenty of people who would kill them on sight for their previous actions. And while it feels like they're jumping headfirst into a pit of vipers in going back to Germany, I can't help but admire how loyal and brave the two of them are. Even so, they're astonished at how things have changed in the nearly two years since they left. We know from history how Hitler wrestled uncontested control of Germany in the years leading up to World War II, but these are things happening in real time in the book. Their ideas that the world could hear of the Nazi machinations and somehow stop the takeover seem almost naive, and certainly idealistic, yet you can't help but hope that they'll succeed, that the horrors of what's to come can be erased--even if it's just in fiction.

Again, Gretchen is pretty marvelous as a protagonist. She's grown so much, seeing people for who they are and not allowing another's ideas to shade what she thinks of others, fighting tooth and nail and putting her life on the line for those she cares for. She's attuned to Daniel's feelings and needs, always trying to be aware of how her actions and words affect him, just as he is to hers. Their relationship is still just as sweet and has only grown stronger in this second book.

The Berlin of Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is foreign to Gretchen and it's got a more insidious feeling to it than Munich did. Around every corner could be an SS officer coming to conduct a raid, with reason or without. Those who can feel the tides changing are making their way out of Germany while they still can. Others dangerously believe keeping their heads down will allow them to ride out the worst of the storm. Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is another gut-wrenching novel, one that's only more painful because we know what's to come, but it stands strong with its predecessor.

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Follow the Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

US Only | Giveaway ends April 22nd, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff {89}

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release date: October 20, 2015
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Yay for the cover finally! It's awesomeee. Plus, this is told through DOCUMENTS. I'm dying. Of excitement. I want it.

 So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius {115}

Title: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters 
Author: Kimberly Karalius
Release date: May 12, 2015
In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.

Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.

Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?

My teaser, from pg. 202 in the ARC:
Observation, not experience, had taught Fallon that it would be dangerous to place her heart in Sebastian's hands. She buried any attraction she felt for Sebastian and chose to hate him instead. Hate him for the parade of girls he dated. Hate him for holding their hands, kissing them in the shadows, and sharing nothing of himself.

Look at that cute cover! I love the sound of this, too, so I'm excited to start reading it next. :)

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! :) Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Stacking the Shelves {113}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was everybody's week? Mine's been good! BEST NEWS EVER. Sarah J. Maas is coming to New Orleans in May! I had a small freakout when I read that. I've already requested the day off and am making plans. SO EXCITED.

For review:

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas


Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
These two are in hardcover, but I'm tired from work and too lazy to take an actual picture. :)

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - Review: Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce & Maggie Stiefvater
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Rook by Sharon Cameron
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday: The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy #3) by Sherry Thomas
Thursday - Review: I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore
Friday - Review: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

Books I read this week:
Rook by Sharon Cameron
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I'm currently reading:
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2) by Anne Blankman

So that's been my week! Well, I ended my small haul streak. Harper uploads are the greatest. WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER IS MINE. I'm dying a little.  :) Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

Release date: April 14, 2015
Author info: Website | Facebook
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yep, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys perform dark magic rituals. 

The really weird thing is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where’s she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But they seem to know things about her in real life that they couldn’t possibly know, which is mystifying. Then again, Liv could never resist a good mystery. . . 

After so loving Kerstin Gier's Ruby Red Trilogy, I fully expected to enjoy her next series. It mattered very little to me what it was about, really. Luckily for me, Dream a Little Dream sounded good. And while it didn't quite delight me in all the same ways the Ruby Red books did, unsurprisingly, I very much enjoyed Dream a Little Dream.

The highlight of Kerstin Gier's books, I think, is the completely engaging and terribly fun narrative voice. Liv is like Gwyneth (narrator of the Ruby Red books) in that she's a little off kilter but filled with quirky comebacks and mental asides. We meet Liv as she's dealing with being stopped at customs for bringing stinky cheese into England. That's almost her character in a nutshell, and who could resist that? Rather mundane things, like eating dinner with family, are made into laugh-out-loud moments by what Liv (along with her sister, Mia) says and does.

While I wanted a bit more of the dreaming side to the story, and certainly wasn't expecting why the dreams were happening, I really enjoyed reading the whole thing. I liked where the story went and even as there was not that much going on, I flew through the book. I did find the beginning to be a bit confusing, with a lot of people introduced very quickly and had to figure out who people were as they popped back up again. Once I got into the flow and was clear on who everyone was, I was completely hooked. And I do have to say, I didn't quite get why there was a school blog with a mysterious person who knows all the secrets, very similar to Gossip Girl. We could have done without it, at least in this book, so I guess I'll have to wait and see if it plays better in the rest of the series.

I wasn't disappointed by Dream a Little Dream. Not one bit. Kerstin Gier has a knack for witty and charming narration and the book is frightfully easy to fly through. I can't wait for book two!

About the author:

Kerstin Gier started writing women's novels in 1995 when she found herself with a fresh teaching diploma in hand but without steady work. She is best known in the United States for her Ruby Red Trilogy, and her first book, Männer und andere Katastrophen (Men and Other Disasters), was recently made into a movie starring actress and singer Heike Makatsch. Her subsequent books have enjoyed great popularity in Germany as well. Her novel Das unmoralische Sonderangebot (The Immoral Deal) won the 2005 Best German-Language Romance Novel Prize from the Association of German-Language Romance Writers (DeLiA).

Gier, born in 1966, now works full-time as a freelance writer in a village near Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, where she lives with her husband, son, two cats, and three chickens.