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Waiting on Wednesday: Lair of Dreams

Happy Wednesday!

We are getting closer and closer to the end of the school year! In my district there is only about 5 weeks left! It’s pretty amazing just how quickly this year has sped by…as cliche as that sounds.

I recently read The Diviners by Libba Bray and was completely and utterly entranced by it! Lair of Dreams by Libba BraySo, I’m trying to be patient, but I just can’t wait for book two in the series, Lair of Dreams, to release in 2015!

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities. Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Pretty much anything set in the 1920s will make me a happy reader, and I can’t wait to see where Evie’s story goes next! Too bad I have so long to wait!

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Top Ten Tuesday: YA Reads for Fans of Period Dramas

Hi there!

Who likes loosing themselves in a good old fashioned historical drama?  Downton Abbey perhaps? Reign? Pride and Prejudice? The Tudors? North & South perhaps?!

YES PLEASE!

In my world historical dramas are always a positive! No wonder then why I tend to be drawn towards historical fiction when choosing books! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about YA titles for fans of the wonderful world of period dramas!

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

  • Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Takes place in Paris in 1889 at the height of France’s beautiful era.
  • The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron. Historical fiction inspired by the mystery surrounding Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England and the 5th Duke of Portland.
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Historical fantasy set in a medieval Brittany. There are assassin nuns. Yup.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy BlundellManor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

  • What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. This coming of age drama is set in South Florida post World War II…intrigue and seductions abound!
  • Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore.  An upstairs/downstairs drama set in a 1911 England.
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. It’s Manhattan 1889 and this is a historical drama full of gossip, fashion, wealth, and romance.

Changeling by Philippa GregoryThe Diviners by Libba Bray

  • Changeling by Philippa Gregory. Picture it…Italy 1453! (ha!) The Goodreads summary says that “dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance” populate this one! It was surprisingly fun!
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray. This supernatural drama is set in New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties!

Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayCross My Heart by Sasha Gould 2

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. Another supernatural period drama only this time we’re in a Victorian English boarding school!
  • Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould. A mysterious secret society of women handle things their own way in a 1580s Venice.

Clearly I have a type. Pretty period costume? Check. *nods in approval*

So, what do you think? Are there any other YA period dramas you’d recommend to those of us who love them?

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Won’t Let You Down: The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen

Welcome back friends!

Sometimes I read a book, love it, and go on with my life only later realizing that I never reviewed it! What?! How can this be?! Especially when it’s a book I truly enjoyed. I have to admit that The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen accidentally fell between the cracks of my review schedule. OOPS!

The False Prince by Jennifer A NielsenIn a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

There is nothing about this book I didn’t like. It has everything readers are looking for in a quality read. A snarky main character, a kingdom on the bring of civil war, deception, political intrigue, romance and a plot twist that is so awesome it makes you freak out!

ExcitedLet’s start with that snarky main character. Sage is hilarious and just fall for his defiant, witty, street urchin persona right off the bat! Sage is definitely not a romantic hero, in my opinion anyway. Instead he’s kind of like the little brother who keeps on doing annoying things but you just have to love him anyway. You want him to stick around because he just keeps things interesting.

When we meet Sage, we discover, as he does, that the kingdom of Carthya is on the brink of civil war. Multiple kingdoms are threatening to take over and it seems that there isn’t anyone who truly wants what is best for the people of Carthya. But that’s just it, with the royal family poisoned, who will take over the throne?  Political intrigue and deception abound! Nielsen just writes this so well that you never really seem to know who to trust.

Plus there is romance brewing between a quiet, pretty housemaid and our beloved street urchin. The friendship and romance that comes here is just so innocent and sweet. It is definitely not a super steamy romance with Sage as the teen heartthrob because…guys…remember this is a middle grades novel! This romance is so perfectly endearing and full of friendship that it just makes you smile warmly on the inside.

Okay, so I mentioned the awesome plot twist. And that’s all I’m going to mention. Because we no like spoilers! But just know if you’re looking for a fun middle grades read that will appeal to both boy and girl readers than The False Prince is a strong pick that will not let you down!

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Publisher: Scholastic Press (April 1, 2012)

Format: Hardcover

Length: 342 pages

Series: First book in the Ascendance Trilogy

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy

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Plain and Simple: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

PorchWell hi there!

The weather is beautiful today in South Carolina! So, I’m writing this review from my front porch basking in the late afternoon light. Le sigh…Fridays are great!

Okay, so today’s review is all about Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers, which is anything but “plain and simple”.

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for.

This whole historical fantasy thing that LaFevers has going on is right up my alley. Sybella lives in Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversmedieval Brittany in the middle of a resistance to French rule and is loyal to the twelve year old Duchess Anne who has recently been forced into rule due to the death of her father. Mixed in with this historical narrative, LaFevers mixes in a bit of the supernatural focused mostly on the convent on St.  Mortain, the god of death, and his method of communicating with his assassins. I have always been a bit of a history buff and adore the fantasy genre, so swirling the two together makes me happy!

Sybella isn’t as likable or sympathetic a character as Ismae is in book one, Grave Mercy and I wavered over whether I liked her story or not because of this part of her character. As you spend more and more time with her however, you begin to see the pieces of humanity within Sybella that she herself has shut away and is blind to. She has this strength to her that one can only get from tangling with harsh realities. I grew to like her more and more.

As you might expect in a story about “assassin nuns” Dark Triumph is full of action, suspense, and intrigue. Life inside Sybella’s father’s court is full of your usual gossip and social climbing but amidst those things there are much darker forces at play and Sybella is an incredibly experienced spy, assassin, and courtier who knows how to play the game to survive. Because Sybella will do whatever it takes to survive you know that she has little trouble using poisons, garrotes, or knives to complete a necessary task and you never know who will show up next on Sybella’s “hit list”.  Basically, Sybella is a bad@$$! Plain and simple.

And let’s not forget the romance. If I had the ability to add emojis into my blog posts (is this possible?!) I totally would be giving the little “thumbs up” one right now. Yes. The romance is good.

If you’re searching for your next read and you want to be completely riveted to the story you need to check out the His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers. Don’t read Dark Triumph (because it’s book 2, silly!) until after you’ve read Grave Mercy, but you should totally read them both! I actually listened to them on audio, so if you’re into audiobooks or want to get started these books are quality introductions!

Author: Robin LaFevers

Publisher: Recorded Books (April 19, 2013)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 13 hours and 36 minutes

Narrator(s): Angela Goethals

Series: Second in the “His Fair Assassin” series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:

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Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This: The Matt Cruise Trilogy by Kenneth Oppel

Guys!

Do you ever just love a book so much you rip through the entire series in no time at all?

That’s exactly what happened with me and the Matt Cruise trilogy by Kenneth Oppel. Because I read all three books (Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber) so quickly I thought I’d just review them all as a group.

So as not to give anything away I’ll only share the summary for Airborn, which is book one.

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, Airborn by Kenneth Oppelferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

I was immediately in love with these books from the very beginning. Oppel’s writing has a smart mix of suspense and wit to just keep you turning the pages and his characters are the kind you just fall in love with.

Let’s take our main character, Matt Cruise for example. Matt is the kind of character you miss once the Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppellseries is finished. Sure, Matt is humble, kind and hard working, but he also struggles with jealousy, can be overly sensitive, and is pretty darn stubborn at times. He is an all around regular, nice guy who you’d love to be friends with. Matt Cruise simply, put is a normal guy who ends up getting involved with abnormal situations. Most of these abnormal situations tend to come because of his friendship/romance with the adventurous, heiress Kate de Vries. Despite Kate’s stubborn single-mindedness and annoying tendency towards being haughty, you can’t help but love her.

Oppel’s world building skills are unbelievable. In this series he has created this alternate world that is very much like our own, however it’s just different enough to be interesting and make you questions things. For example, the Pacific Ocean is called the Pacificus and there are references to historical events that are similar to those in our history (the ill-fated airship Titanticus). The world Matt Cruise lives in is pretty much steampunk and the main form of international transportation is by transoceanic dirigible. TStarclimber by Kenneth Oppelhere is so much detail that you just completely believe that this world truly does exist somewhere out there.  Additionally, these three books are 100% page turners. Almost every chapter is full of action and suspense whether it be pirate attack or an airship falling out of the sky!

So, if you’re in the mood for some quality YA action and adventure, you need to read Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber right away! I honestly think that YA just doesn’t get any better than this!

Author: Kenneth Oppel

Publisher: Airborn, Harper Collins (May 25, 2005)

Skybreaker, Harper Collins (November 29, 2005)

Starclimber, Harper Collins (February 24, 2009)

Format: Audiobook

Length: Airborn (10 hrs and 46 mins), Skybreaker (11 hrs and 26 mins), Starclimber (11 hrs and 44 mins)

Narrator(s): Full Cast Audio, David Kelly

Series: The Matt Cruise Trilogy

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Airborn Skybreaker Starclimber

 

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Gods and Monsters

Hiya!

It’s time for another Waiting on Wednesday.

I have no idea how this series has snuck up on me. I wasn’t a big fan of the first book (Daughter of Smoke & Bone) but only listened to the second book (Days of Blood & Starlight) because I needed an audiobook. It turns out I really, really, really liked book two, so now I’m officially waiting on Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor.

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylorsteering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

I admit, the cover kinda freaks me out, but I need to know what happens next in Karou’s story!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Wish List

Well hello there friends!

I am currently on Spring Break and am visiting friends in Manchester, UK! I’ll share some photos when I get back as I plan on visiting the newly renovated Manchester Central Library, which I’ve heard is amazing!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is all about bookish gifts that have made my wish list! Take note friends…my birthday is in November! :p

image16

1. This sweet library themed stationary set. You’d all be getting mail!

photo 3 copy

2. These little snail tea bag holders for when I’m reading. So smart and so adorable!

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3. This library due date card phone case. This is perfect for a librarian like me!

photo 1

4. This freaking awesome bookmark. Not only does it mark your page, but also the line!

photo 5

5. The coolest book map ever! This would hang in my bedroom!

photo 2

6. The perfect mug for my morning coffee at work. To go with my “Super Librarian” t-shirt!

photo 4

7. The prettiest Pride & Prejudice tote ever! The peacock design is so delicate!

photo 3

8. This adorable librarian necklace! I have glasses that are (kinda) like those!

photo 2 copy 2

9. This super smart book lamp. How awesome is this?!

photo 1 copy 2

10. This colorful librarian mug. You can never have enough mugs!

Did anything from my bookish wish list also make it on yours?

 

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Nothing to Write Home About: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Hi there!

I’m so behind in reviews! But that’s okay. I’m going to “shrink the change”. I’m going to write one review tonight instead of focusing on the 20 I want to write, so I won’t feel overwhelmed.

A while ago, I read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive. If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

Honestly, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed this book in the end. It is such a different take on the dystopian genre that I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first. I didn’t love it, but it was entertaining.

First, I have to comment on the names. Ughhhh. Aria? Peregrine? Lumina? Paisley? Soren? Echo? I found myself rolling my eyes at times because I just can’t handle the names. I feel like books set in futuristic settings throw in these overly strange names to make up for a lack of world building. “Oh it’s the future! I know! Let’s give them weird names because it’s the future!”  Sorry. Sometimes a weird name is just a weird name.

The plot as a whole was really interesting. The whole idea of Reverie and the Realms is plausible as our society gets more and more lethargic because we’re interacting more digitally instead of physically. It reminded me of the society in WALL-E that just floats around in their little lazy-boy chairs with everything handed to them. It’s far out there, but plausible. In addition, I liked how the world outside of Reverie is so tribal. It seems like the two worlds have both reverted to the far ends of the spectrum. You have Reverie where society is so advanced that reality is virtual and in contrast you have Blood Lords and cannibals running around in the woods being chased by wolves. There was just so much potential!

Aria as a character fell flat, as did most of the other characters, with the exception of Peregrine in my opinion. I actually enjoyed learning more about Peregrine’s tribe and his back-story and I really liked the relationship with his friend Echo; the way they played off of each others strengths to do what needed to be done.

All in all, this one was simply entertaining and nothing to write home about. I think fans of dystopian YA will probably enjoy it, but I’d recommend other titles in this genre before Under the Never Sky for sure.

Author: Veronica Rossi

Publisher: Listening Library (February 14, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 9 hours and 39 minutes

Narrator(s): Bernadette Dunne Flagler

Series: First in the “Under the Never Sky” series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Under the Never Sky

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Secret Hum of a Daisy

Hello!

It’s time to share a soon-to-be-released title that I’m excited about! We call this meme, which is hosted by Breaking the Spine, Waiting on Wednesday.

This middle grades title does sound like it has potential to make me want to cry (and we all know how I feel about that), but I think The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer also sounds like it could be a very sweet read.

Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczerlike gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. Just when she thinks she’s found it her mother says it’s time to move again. Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels and will always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.

After her mother’s sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she’s never met. She can’t imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe it is her mother, showing her the way to her true home.

This summary reminds me a little of Wild Things by Clay Carmichael, which was another sweet little middle grades read about a teen who looses a mother and is forced to live with family they’d never previously met. Also, this cover is just so lovely!

So, what are you waiting on today?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique YA

Hola everyone!

Let’s talk about the “most unique” YA books I’ve read. This was a difficult theme for me and I’m not sure why. Whatever the reason may be, I only have seven titles on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish).

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher Such a strange and enchanting mix of steampunk/sci-fi/fantasy.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater One of the most interesting takes on the supernatural/paranormal genre I’ve read.

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve This was just such a weird book; a strange mix of steampunk/dystopian/fantasy.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray I will forever compare all fantasy to this one.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Such a hauntingly beautiful take on the fantasy genre.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly A cool contemporary turned historical fiction.

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine A blend of middle grade fantasy retelling plus murder mystery wrapped into one.

Apparently, I only think that fantasy and supernatural books are unique! haha That’s pretty much all that is on this list!

What about you? What are the most unique YA books you’ve read?