Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Scythe by Neal Shusterman {122}

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Release date: November 22, 2016
In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.





How cool does this sound? I loved Unwind, so more from Neal Shusterman is always welcome. Plus, is that cover not the coolest thing you've ever seen?

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team by Daniel O'Brien, illustrated by Winston Rowntree

Release date: June 28, 2016
Author info: Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher provided for review
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Fans of How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous and Kid Presidents can draft their own presidential fantasy team, based on these hilarious-but-true profiles of our past leaders.

What if a zombie apocalypse or a robot uprising threatened the nation and you had the power to recruit some of the nation’s finest presidents to help save the day?

By studying the most successful squads in history, Daniel O’Brien has identified the perfect ingredients for a victorious team.

Which president would you choose for: the Brain, the Brawn, the Moral Compass, the Loose Cannon, and the Roosevelt?

Choose wisely—the fate of the world is in your hands!
This book, y'all. I'm a big fan of Cracked, so when I saw it was by one of their writers, I knew I'd like the humor. But, so often, history books for kids are written so simply, or even written down to them, that it can't be fun for them, and it certainly wouldn't be fun for me. Perhaps you can tell by the title, but Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team is not one of those books!

That's what works so well about it, too. It's laugh-out-loud funny for me, but it'll also be laugh-out-loud funny for kids. I also learned some stuff! A lot of the presidential facts were things I'd heard before, but there were many I hadn't heard. I mean, did you know John F. Kennedy was plagued by physical problems? I didn't!


The other huge, wonderful parts of the book are the illustrations. (I picked one of Grover Cleveland's to show because I'm related to him!) They're so original and different, while also highlighting the fun points and jokes O'Brien is making in the text. It's so fun to look at all the details.

The tone of the writing is perfect, too. It's conversational and comfortable, but, like I said, doesn't talk down at all. A kid would have so much fun trying to figure out which presidents they're going to put in their team--and it would be a hard decision! You think it's easy, until you read about some of the more obscure presidents who were actually pretty great.

You've gotten it, right? Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team is pretty much awesome. I don't care if you like presidents, but you'll be into them by the end of this, kid or not.


About the author:

Daniel O'Brien is the head writer and creative director of video for Cracked.com, the most viewed comedy website. When Daniel isn't researching wacky trivia on presidents, he can be found playing with his dog, Jackson, who is named after a president. Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team is his first book for young readers.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {153}


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!

Hello hello! How have y'all been? Um, I guess my exciting update is that I'm in the process of applying to grad school? I've been thinking about it for a while, and I've pushed myself to go ahead and do it. It's for library and information sciences! Luckily, I'm applying to programs that are completely online, so I don't have to move anywhere, and I'll be doing it part time, so I can work full time as well. Should be... Interesting! I'll keep y'all updated, though!

For review:


Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team by Daniel O'Brien

Traded:



This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Books I read this week:
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Flashfall by Jenny Moyer

I'm currently reading:
Your Presidential Fantasy Dream Team by Daniel O'Brien

So that's been my week! Well. Again, I'm behind on comments. I'll get there, I swear! :)

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Release date: April 28, 2015
Author info: Website | Twitter | Instagram
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 446
Format: ARC
Source: Traded
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Laia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier. 

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
Well dang. I keep doing this to myself! Somehow when I end up not reading books for a while after their release, I get this idea that I might not like them... And then I read them. And I like them. An Ember in the Ashes is the perfect example of this! I finally got around to picking it up, and from the first few pages, I was hooked.

What I appreciated most is the real sense of danger and violence in the world of An Ember in the Ashes. So many times you read these books and there's never a real sense that anything too terrible can go wrong, that your favorite characters could die or those threats of brutality will come true. Not the case here; time and time again, our characters are subjected to the exact consequences that they're threatened with. But what's also wonderful is how such a brutal world can provoke such caring and loyalty. There's darkness, sure, but it's never hopeless.

I also liked that Laia really forces herself to take on the rebels and the role she joins them in. She's never actually eager to do all that she does. It's that loyalty and love of her brother that make her choices inevitable, no matter how she dislikes them. Laia has courage, but she has to force herself to find it--and that's refreshing.

Yes, I had problems and questions. That romance is...complicated, to say the least. I'm not normally too bothered by love triangles and the like, but even I felt this one was too much. Hopefully it's firmly resolved quickly. And despite a lot of good worldbuilding, I think there are definitely questions that could have been answered in that aspect that weren't, and little bits and pieces that were introduced and kind of dropped along the way.

Despite any problems, though, I was wholly absorbed by An Ember in the Ashes from the beginning--and I actually got mad when I had to put it down to do real-life things (like work! How dare that get in the way of my reading?). I'm definitely joining the ranks of fans waiting excitedly for A Torch Against the Night!


About the author:

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West {121}

Title: Kingdom of Ash and Briars
Author: Hannah West
Release date: August 30, 2016
Bristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince's band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.

Does summer put anyone else in the mood for fantasy? I don't know what it is, but I always find myself just craving fantasy this time of year! I mean, I love it always, but it's kind of all I want to read in the summer. Anyway, how good does this sound? And that cover? Drool!

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {152}


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!

Hello hello! How have y'all been? I've got nothing exciting to report from this week. Work's been a little hectic because they've cut hours and it's busier, so we're all working harder than normal. So when I get home, I'm ready to sit on my butt and stare at nothing.

I did get some books this week, though! :D

For review:


Click Here to Start by Denis Markell
Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis


Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Purchased:


Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Rook by Sharon Cameron

You can tell I love Rook, yeah? I had to have the paperback to go with my hardcover and ARC. :) Who needs new books for their shelves when they can have multiple formats of the books they love?

Traded:



Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

And these complete two of my collections! I have all Anne Blankman ARCs and hardcovers and both ARCs of Rebel and the hardcover. :) Shelves so prettyyy. Thanks to Samantha for trading with me!

Books I read this week:
Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (finished it! I've been reading it for ages!)
Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt
The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels

I'm currently reading:
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

So that's been my week! I'm looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing this afternoon, and it's going to be marvelous. Aside from the stress I'll be feeling at Game of Thrones! Can y'all believe it's nearly over? :(

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

Release date: August 1, 2010
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pages: 382
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
A man controlled by his desires...

Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London's most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she's spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.

A woman haunted by her past...

Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance's help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London's high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.

A bargain neither could refuse.
I've heard time and time again about Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, so with all this historical romance I've dived into, I knew I needed to give her books a try. While I can't say Wicked Intentions was my favorite, I am definitely going to continue the series, because I'm very interested in the secondary characters who I've seen are getting their own books.

In some ways, I think why Wicked Intentions didn't wow me is because I'm less a fan of the high-concept kind of romances. Honestly, I'm happy if the characters have some kind of secret or childhood pain that keeps them apart, which then comes to light over the course of meetings at balls and at country parties. The whole murder plot was just...not that interesting to me?

But, while the main plot wasn't my favorite, I loved how the world of St. Giles was so vivid. When Temperance and Lazarus go out on the streets, it feels nefarious. You worry that someone is going to attack them--which happens often--and I'm definitely excited to see more of it in coming books.

I also really liked Temperance and Lazarus, especially as I got to know them. Both seem one way when we meet them, but while they get to know one another, secrets come out and they find exactly what they need in the other.

So, while Wicked Intentions isn't a new favorite romance, it's a good intro to the Maiden Lane series, and more than enough to get me to continue the series with much excitement!


About the author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is a New York Times bestselling author of historical romance. She also writes deliciously fun contemporary romance under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with three untrained dogs and one long-suffering husband.