Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {91}

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! I had three days off this week, which was absolute heaven. I didn't get that much reading done, but I got more than I would have otherwise--any bit helps! :) Nothing exciting happened that I can remember... No pictures this week; I just can't muster myself to do it. Laziness! Anyways...

For review:

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
I think this is the first MG book I've ever requested, but it just sounded so fantastic that I had to have it. And the cover is even prettier in person!

This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner


Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
I read both of these ages ago, but Juliet Marillier is an absolute favorite of mine, and they were way cheap for hardcovers in good condition, so. :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Friday - Blog Tour: Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell {Review + Giveaway}

Books I read this week:
Stray by Elissa Sussman
Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell

I'm currently reading:
Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow

So that's been my week! Only two new books for the TBR--that's not awful, right? :) Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Blog Tour: Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell {Review + Giveaway}

Release date: October 8, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Flux Books
Pages: 336
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository | Flux | Indiebound
A world where souls walk free and dreams become portals to the past…

Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But even her rational mind can't explain her dark and familiar dreams of a time long ago, filled with people she shouldn't know, but does. When her family moves to New Orleans, Lucy's dreams suddenly become more intense. Reluctantly drawn into the old city's mystical undercurrent, she searches for answers about the nighttime visions that haunt her.

What Lucy finds is Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they've known each other forever. They've only just met, and she shouldn't be drawn to him, but she is. As she tries to unlock Alex's secrets, a killer strikes close to home and a century-old vendetta unspools, putting Lucy and everyone she loves in mortal danger.
I am forever and eternally picking up books because they're set in New Orleans. It's simply a singular place, one I've been lucky enough to grow up very near to and able to spend countless days there. You set your book in New Orleans, I'll read it. At the same time, my familiarity makes me picky. I'm no native (just see how I navigate those one-way streets and you'll be able to tell), but I've a fair head for it. So, the setting is what sells me, but it's also likely to be my biggest sticking point. Not the case with Sweet Unrest. Lisa Maxwell does a really good job of capturing the vibe of the city and imbuing the whole book with that kind of exotic, fascinating danger that makes people visit.

The plotline of Sweet Unrest is pretty similar in idea and scope to that of any number of books, but the setting and involvement of voodoo really make it interesting and allows the story the space to stand out. It's a familiar story and you think you know the conclusion (which was satisfyingly not the norm!), yet I was riveted, especially in the second half of the book, because I needed to see how everything worked out and how it all came into play.

My real niggling thing was the romance. I liked the characters together, but I also didn't feel like their relationship was given enough development (past or present, though past at least likely had missing moments, unlike present) to ever evolve into love, as it does. It's not instalove, but it's also just not solid enough for me fully to be invested and rooting for it, if that makes sense.

Atmosphere can do a lot to sell a book, and that's the story of Sweet Unrest for me. It got me to read it, and it got me invested in it. Lisa Maxwell not only captures the spirit of New Orleans, but she also quietly pulls you into the mystery until you can't put the book down until you're finished.

About the author:

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest (Flux, Fall 2014) and Heartless Things (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). She has a PhD in English, and when she's not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

And now I've got a fantastic tour-wide giveaway to share with you all! Books! New Orleans-y art! A voodoo doll! Gift cards! :D Enter away--you know you want to!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge {67}

Title: Crimson Bound
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Release date: May 5, 2015
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

I looooved Cruel Beauty so of course I must have this! Rosamund Hodge took the Beauty and the Beast story and made it so different and intricate. And that cover! I love that it matches!

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell {93}

Title: Sweet Unrest
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Release date: October 8, 2014
Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But try as she might, she can’t come up with a logical explanation for the recurring dreams that have always haunted her. Dark dreams. Dreams of a long-ago place filled with people she shouldn’t know…but does.

When her family moves to a New Orleans plantation, Lucy’s dreams become more intense, and her search for answers draws her reluctantly into the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism. There, Lucy finds Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they’ve known each other forever. Lucy knows Alex is hiding something, and her rational side doesn’t want to be drawn to him. But she is.

As she tries to uncover Alex’s secrets, a killer strikes close to home, and Lucy finds herself ensnared in a century-old vendetta. With the lives of everyone she loves in danger, Lucy will have to unravel the mystery of her dreams before it all comes to a deadly finish.

My teaser, from 5% in the egalley:
I'm falling, sinking.

There's something heavy dragging at me, pulling me down into the darkness. The water is cold around me, filled with dirt and the muck of something putrid that makes the dirt seem almost clean. I struggle up, frantic to get to the surface, but every move brings pain. Sharp. Ripping pain. So sudden and absolute that I almost gasp. Almost, because the moment my mouth opens to scream, the cold, fetid water rushes in, and I clamp down on instinct.
The blog tour for this stops by on Friday, so I'm reading for my review. So far, I really like it! I'm such a sucker for anything based in New Orleans. :D

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

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Stray by Elissa Sussman

Release date: October 7, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Greenwillow
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
“I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.”

Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.

When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.

But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.

After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?
The world Elissa Sussman has created in Stray is a fascinating and completely terrifying one. Only women are born with the ability to do magic, but their magic is seen as wicked, Commoners are bound by a lord and unable to do but the simplest of magic and the upper classes are forced to control themselves, with the threat of being Redirected--stripped of their title and forced to become a fairy godmother, essentially a slave--hanging over their heads should they lose control one too many times. Sounds like a fairy tale, huh? This reversal of fairy tale tropes is one of the things I liked best about Stray. What is often happy and simply magical is dark and forbidden; what is normally a happy ending is essentially a sentencing to a life of hiding.

I loved that we're treated to a story about Aislynn, who is Redirected to become a fairy godmother. Instead of the sweet, kindly women we've seen in movies, those who seem perfectly happy to help and very warm, fairy godmothers are nobility who have been forced to their status. Because they supposedly couldn't handle their magic and were in danger of straying off their Paths, they are essentially servants, their loving hearts taken away, and they become the property of a girl's adviser, subject to his whims. So, the side character who in fairy tales often pops in to save the princess and lead her off into a happily ever after is given the chance to have her own story. And Aislynn doesn't shy away. She wants to do what's expected of her, but she finds she can't, and as she comes to know more of the world outside of the bubble she lived in for most of her life, her ideas about what's good and evil are challenged.

The main problem with Stray for me was that I just couldn't connect well with Aislynn. I was always interested in the story, but I felt very few emotions for her. I felt very differently for side characters, Brigid and Ford especially. While I was disconnected from Aislynn, I didn't feel the same for the story itself or the world. I also found at times that the plot kind of skittered from place to place, not spending enough time in one spot at times to really hammer the moment home. There were also a few things that I didn't think were explained quite as well as they could have been--but that at least is something I imagine will be fixed in later books.

All in all, I quite liked Stray. If you're a big fan of fairy tales, as I am, reading this will be a treat to see how the classic elements can be flipped around and still make a story that feels magical.

About the author:

Elissa Sussman is a writer, a reader and a pumpkin pie eater.

Her debut novel, STRAY (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins), is a YA fantasy about fairy godmothers, magic and food. She received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and in a previous life managed animators and organized spreadsheets at some of the best animation studios in the world, including Nickelodeon,  Disney,  Dreamworks and Sony Imageworks. You can see her name in the credits of THE CROODS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and TANGLED.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their rescue mutt, Basil.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {90}

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! I just finished a streak of 10 days working in a row, with two of those days working back-to-back shifts, so I'm a little tired. I'm off today, though, and am deliriously happy about it. I kind of think the trend of buying books is going to continue, what with having money and an employee discount at Barnes & Noble. I ordered two more books online that'll probably arrive this week... :D :D No self control. Also, today's pictures really aren't great, and I apologize for that! I took quick pictures to put up, so... 

For review:

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski


The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
This is seriously the most gorgeous hardcover. I might not have bought it this week if it hadn't been so pretty, quite honestly, but I couldn't resist!
Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix
I've been waiting what feels like my whole life for this book, so I had to get a copy the week it came out. I really want to reread the first three before I read this, though, so I'm not sure when I'll get to it. What's a few more weeks? :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - Review: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday: Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Thursday - Review: The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Saturday - Blog Tour: Atlantia by Ally Condie {Guest Post + Giveaway}

Books I read this week:
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

I'm currently reading:
Stray by Elissa Sussman

So that's been my week! Not a huge haul, but seriously awesome in terms of quality. I'm certainly satisfied. :) Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blog Tour: Atlantia by Ally Condie {Guest Post + Giveaway}

You guys, you guys. YOU GUYS. I am absolutely over the moon to be hosting today's stop on the blog tour for Atlantia, Ally Condie's new book. To celebrate, Penguin has put together a rather different kind of blog tour. We're divided into two teams: Team Below (WOOT!) and Team Above. All through the month we're posting tons of great content, including interviews, guest posts, playlists, fancasts, and reviews. And today, I've got Ally herself stopping by with some great Atlantia-inspired party ideas. But first, a bit about the book to rouse your memory...

About the book:

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.

Ideas for an ATLANTIA Party 

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to go to some amazing book parties hosted by some extremely talented readers. It made me wonder…what would I have at my “ideal” ATLANTIA party? Well, the truth is that you only really need a book and a reader and that is pretty much perfect. But in the interest of daydreaming, I gathered some fun images for a party I would never actually be able to pull off (but I know there are people who could!).

  1. This beautiful white cowrie shell could have so many uses—place setting, gift for the party attendees, icebreaker (pass it around and each person tells part of their story when they have the shell). And, of course, it’s symbolic of an important part of the book (but I don’t want to give too much away!). Image source.
  2. Okay, so I never actually mention anyone eating cake in ATLANTIA (gross neglect on my part, I should make sure people eat cake at least once in every book). But how perfectly beautiful is this aqua cake? And the roses look a little like waves to me. Image source.
  3. These are so beautiful—books wrapped in brown paper, library cards on top!—and could be used so many ways. Favors for guests—maybe notebooks inside for them to write their own stories?—or guests could bring a favorite book to pass along to someone else, wrapped in brown paper for anonymity and used in a passing game. Image source.
  4. Another beautiful shell—very similar to the one used on the cover of ATLANTIA—could have lots of uses (see above, Item #1). Image source.
  5. I could never pull it off, but I think SOMEONE at the party should wear this dress—or maybe everyone should wear something made of aqua chiffon. ☺Image source: Etsy. No longer for sale.
  6. I think it would be so fun to visit a local aquarium as part of the event (or see if I could host the party itself there!).  There’s something about seeing all that blue water and all those beautiful creatures that induces awe. I’ve seen it in my kids when we visit our local aquarium, and I feel it myself. Image source.
  7. A gorgeous way to decorate—shells, filled with dirt, and growing little tiny plants! I love the marriage of the Above and Below—of things from the ocean and from the land—in this picture. Image source.
  8. More beautiful decorations—these metal fish above the table and around the room. True (an important character in ATLANTIA) would be so happy! Image source.
  9. Guests could wear these ribbons in their hair, as Rio and Bay do in the opening scene of ATLANTIA. Image source.
  10. A gorgeous illustration print of The Little Mermaid, one of the inspirations for the story of ATLANTIA. I’d love to put a print of these right in the center of the table, or little versions at place settings. Image source.
  11. This is the food (an Italian dessert bread called panettone) that Rio smells while walking through the deepmarket. Image source.
  12. Total pipe dream, but there are underwater hotels. Who knew?!? And how crazy would it be to have a book party there. Crazy. But the good kind. Image source.
  13. And last but not least, the perfect table setting. Image source.

About the author:

Ally Condie is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010. The sequels, CROSSED and REACHED, were also critically acclaimed and received starred reviews, and all three books are available in 30+ languages. Disney has optioned the film rights for the series.

A former English teacher, she lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar.
Find Ally online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

If you'd like to follow the rest of the tour and cheer on Team Below, check out the #AtlantiaBelow hastag on Twitter and here's the lineup of fabulous bloggers:

September 28 – Katie (Mundie Moms) – Long Q&A
September 30 – Jen (I Read Banned Books) – Guest post
October 2 – Katie (Katie’s Book Blog) – Short Q&A
October 4 – Lea (YA Book Queen) - Review
October 6 – Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic) - Fancasting
October 8 – Jeremy (Novel Thoughts Blog) – Guest post
October 10 – Erin/ Flo (Fangirlish) - Review
October 12 – Nancy (Ravenous Reader) – Review
October 14 – Sara (Novel Novice) - Playlist
October 16 – Jess (Gone with the Words) – Short Q&A
October 18 – Rachel (Paper Cuts) – Guest post
October 20 – Georgia (Eve’s Fan Garden) - Playlist
October 22 – Gabby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) – Long Q&A
October 24 – Andrea (Reading Lark) - Review
October 26 – Tirzah (The Compulsive Reader) - Playlist

One reader will receive a copy of Atlantia and a necklace! Open INTERNATIONALLY. 

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