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Top Ten Tuesday: My Reading Wish List

Howdy!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) theme is centered around the idea of a reading wish list. I supposed we all have them, but I’ve been finding it a little challenging to put my wish list to words. Maybe I just want too much?! haha

Boarding School books. There is just something fun about students living away from home in a boarding school. ReadingGirl2

Lighthearted steampunk. I think I just want more people to write books like Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series.

Historical fiction/romance set in Colonial America. I want to read more about life in the colonies (before the war) and I want some kissing mixed in!

First Ladies as Teens. Haha This sounds really lame but I’d be interested in a YA or MG series that fictionalizes the teen years of some of the early first ladies. Maybe this would end up being too much like the American Girl books, but I think it’d be fun!

Jane Austen retellings. More creative YA or MG retellings of Jane Austen’s novels please!

Fairy Tale retellings. I know they’re all out there, but as Ariel said, “I want more!”

Short stories about the previous tributes in The Hunger Games. Wouldn’t that be a cool short story collection?  Little snapshots into the lives of some of the previous tributes? Very cool.

Reading GirlYA Amish Fiction. Ahh! I don’t know what I’d do if there were more YA Amish mash-up novels. I might not be able to handle it.

Upstairs/downstairs plots. One of the most interesting things about shows like Downton Abbey is the relationship between the people upstairs with those who work downstairs. I’d love to see all the intricacies of these two groups living their lives under the same roof written well.

So, I can only think of nine things I’d want on my reading wish list. Seriously, I’ve been staring at the screen and thinking about this for over twenty minutes. If I can’t think of a tenth after twenty minutes it is time to stop!

What is on your Reading Wish List?  I’m very interested to see what everyone else has on their lists, so please go ahead and share in the comments below!

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Hands Down! Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Hi!

I’m pretty sure that Gail Carriger is in on a conspiracy to make me want all of her books. My favorite new series of 2013 was her Finishing School series, hands down! You can read my review of book one, Etiquette & Espionage here. I may have done more gushing that I should have but if you’ve read it then you’ll understand!

Because of this love for the first book, I was incredibly excited when the awesome people at Hachette Audio offered Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carrigerthe audiobook of Carriger’s second book, Curtsies & Conspiracies for review I had to take them up on their offer! (Thank you!)

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a school trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

Guys. Seriously. THAT COVER!

I’ve said it before. It’s like Carriger has a secret window into my little book lovers’ heart and knows exactly what I want to read about. Her opulent steampunk world is exactly where I want to spend my afternoons and evenings. This setting is just so well-imagined and there is so much depth yet to be explored that it reminds me a lot of the wizarding world that J.K. Rowling creates in the Harry Potter series. It’s richness promises more books, which makes me incredibly giddy just thinking about it!

Curtsies and Conspiracies picks up at the start of Sophronia’s second semester at Madame Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality with the girls’ sixth month review underway. While the first book is full of nothing but fun, this second book starts to bring a little more seriousness with it. For example, Sophronia’s group of friends are all fighting and a spectacular weekend in London is dulled by threat of a dangerous evil plot. Even the lessons the lessons the students’ are learning begin to take a turn for the dark. This step towards the serious actually reminds me a lot of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series (which I ALSO LOVE!) because Sophronia’s world is beginning to open up and the stakes are getting higher. Don’t think that Carriger’s signature wit and humor are missing in all this newly found seriousness, however, because they are still there!

We have the beginnings of a serious love triangle here, ladies! I don’t mind a bit of a triangle so it makes me happy to see Sophronia struggle with her growing feelings toward two boys; one of which would be socially uplifting and the other which may be frowned upon for numerous reasons. I do think both boys are not exactly as they seem however…there are hints of things to come hidden in their actions and words!

Not only are these potential love interests well written and interesting, but Carriger’s cast of supporting characters are just as captivating as they were in book one. My favorites are Sophronia’s friends, of course.  Dimity, Sidheag and Agatha are so warm, loving, and fun that I want them to be real so I could hang out with them! I love how each one of them brings something different to the table and the way in which they all challenge one another to step out of comfort zones. They’re exactly the type of friends I’d want if I were a boarding student in a flying dirigible spy school for young ladies.

All in all, Curtsies and Conspiracies was on my favorites of 2013 list for a reason. If you haven’t already given the Finishing School series a chance, then make sure you do! You won’t be disappointed I promise! I also highly recommend this series on audio; it is hands down a fabulous listen!

Also…have you seen this book trailer?! I don’t know how I missed it until now, but I think it is absolutely brilliant!

Author: Gail Carriger

Publisher: Hachette Audio (Little, Brown) (November 5, 2013)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 9 hours and 30 minutes

Narrator(s): Moira Quirk

Series: Second in the Finishing School series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School)

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Closure and Onions: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Hello! Okay, so Winter Break has been over for about a week now and I’ve been back at work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, but I do miss those days of lounging on the couch reading, blogging or just seeing my friends in the middle of the day! But, I guess if…
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Pulling Out the Floorboards: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Welcome back to BookTasty!

I’m always on the lookout for audiobooks my husband and I can both listen to together. It has to have the right plot, the right characters and just can’t be too girly in general I think. In the past we’ve listened to Agatha Christie mysteries, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Maze Runner series, and Gregor the Overlander together. Since I’d heard the news that a movie was in the works, we decided it was time to listen to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Cardtrain them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

This was such a great one for us to listen to together. I know this book was published in the 1980s, but I had never read it until now. Honestly, I’d never been interested before but the movie is releasing in November so I knew I had to finally read it! Overall, Ender’s Game is a very cool dystopian sci-fi tale that kept me coming back for more. I think it’s a great story for a family to read together because it will appeal to both adults and (middle school & older) kids.

I liked Ender as a main character and always cheered him on for sure, but I also just felt sorry for him the whole time! Just when things are going okay (not even good) for Ender Wiggins another floorboard is pulled out from under him. ALWAYS!  Ender just keeps getting the crappy end of the stick! CONSTANTLY! Honestly, after a while I couldn’t help but get tired of it, I wanted him to succeed and  you can only take so much hardship with little-to-no relief for so long! But I think that’s what makes Ender’s story so special in some twisted way! haha

Ender’s relationships with his siblings were especially interesting. You have the dangerous relationship between  Ender and Peter contrasted with Ender and Valentine’s close connection.  Then it all gets mixed up when Valentine and Peter become a duo.  You have some really intense relationships on both sides of the spectrum and they both spur Ender on in different ways. In fact, I kept forgetting that the story is about kids/teens because they’re thrown into these very adult roles and relationships. There were some times, however, where things got a little heady for me…specifically when Valentine and Peter are discussing politics/government, but it didn’t ruin it for me or anything.

Regarding the audio, the narrator was fabulous…there was even a cast of narrators for specific voices, which we loved!

All in all, you should definitely check out Ender’s Game (the book!!) if you’re even the smallest bit interested in the movie!

Author: Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Fantastic Audio (2002)

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 57 mins

Narrator(s): Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison

Series: Book one in Ender’s Saga

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet)

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Waiting on Wednesday: Prep School Confidential

Welcome back BookTasty Readers!

It’s time to showcase another upcoming new release for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday.

This week I’m waiting for the release of Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor.

Prep School Confidential by Kara TaylorAnne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne could care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

This summary sounds fabulous and the cover even reminds me a little bit of the Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter (which I LOVE!). I have always been a big fan of boarding school books and they’re even better with a good mystery thrown in. Plus the tag line is awesome: “Rick Kids Can Get Away with Murder”…I love it!

So Prep School Confidential,which seems to be the first book in a new series, is scheduled to release on July 30…only a short few weeks away!

Does Kara Taylor’s debut sound like one you’ll be waiting on or are you patiently waiting on something else this week?

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Where Have You Been All My Life? Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Hello everyone!

Sometimes you come across a book that you just know you’re going to love. The title, the cover, and the summary all seem to fit your book love meter. And then you read the book (or in my case, listen) and you discover that you don’t just  love the book….

YOU FREAKIN’ ADORE THE BOOK!

Gail Carriger, where have you been all my life?! The steampunk debut, Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger is officially on my new favorites list!

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Finishing School.

Sophronia Temminnick at 14 is a great trial more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners — and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Her poor mother, desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, enrolls the lively tomboy in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage — in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

So, yes this fun, and light-hearted romp through a steampunk/supernatural world is  Carriger’s first YA novel.  Apparently she writes a steampunk series for adults (thank you internets!), in which some of the characters in Etiquette & Espionage make appearances all grown up.  I absolutely must add these to my To Read stack.

Etiquette and Espionage is kind of like a Gallagher Girls book (by Ally Carter- which I also LOVE!) set in a steampunk setting. It’s a boarding school for girl spies, with a twist! I am craving so much more of this alternate steampunk world with vampires, werewolves & evil geniuses!

I had fun with all the exaggerated Victorian fashion. And the fact that your pearl necklace may or may not be useful as weapon! Also, I’m a huge fan of boarding school books, but a boarding school for spies and assassins – a FLYING boarding school at that?! I want to go to a flying boarding school for spies and assassins!!

The plot and mystery in Etiquette & Espionage were on the mild side, with most of the story detailing Sophronia becoming accustomed to her new school and home, but this was a good thing as it enabled Carriger to focus on introducing and letting us get-to-know characters. I really enjoyed Sophronia, the main character (although she can be a little too perfect sometimes) for all her progressive thinking and climbing skills.  Overall she is spunky, smart kindhearted and a fun character. If I was a student at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s I believe I’d want to be one of Sophronia’s good friends. Additionally, all the other debut students were well written and interesting, especially the reluctant Sitay, and the ever colorful Dimity!  My favorite character though, was the mechanical dog (mechanimal) named Bumbersnoot.  YES.

The narrator, Moira Quirk, was really entertaining to listen to. Her accents and voices were perfect and made me so happy that I listened to the audiobook instead of reading it myself. And let’s not forget this absolutely stunning cover! I want this dress. Seriously. The  hot pink against the black is eye-catching and the cogs and gear pattern is so smart and perfectly matched to the story.

Do you like steampunk? Do you enjoy reading YA? Are you in the mood for an audiobook? Well, Etiquette & Espionage comes recommend with the BookTasty stamp of approval! I believe that middle grade readers and up will have as much fun with this book as I did!

Author: Gail Carriger

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (February 5, 2013)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 9 hours and 1 minute

Narrator(s): Moira Quirk

Series: First in the Finishing School series

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School)

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Top Ten Tuesday: Settings I Want More Of

Well hello there! Welcome back!

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and Bookish that I participate in on a weekly basis. This week the theme is Top Ten Settings I’d Like to Read More Of.  I’m not sure why, but this was a difficult list for me to create. But I did finally manage it! There are probably tons of books with these settings out there but I just need to find and read them!

So here we go:

1. London: Be it historical or contemporary I love books set in London. Really, I’ll take stories set anywhere in the UK! I’m a total Anglophile and proud of it!London

2. Boarding Schools: If your book is set in a boarding school chances are I’ll pick it up. I just love the idea of being away from home and kind of on your own in a new place.

3. Under the sea: I’ve only read a few mermaid novels, but I think I could really get used to this genre.

4. Amish Country: The Amish are completely fascinating and I am always up for a story set in this community.AmishCountry

5. Colonial America: As a history major in college American colonial history has always intrigued me.  Give me more of this!

6. Florida: Who doesn’t want more books set where they live? It’s fun to read about places you’re familiar with!

7. Wild West Space: Like my beloved Firefly. I like to believe that the future is actually more like the wild west with space travel and Chinese curse words.

Firefly8. Fairy Tale Lands: Fairy tale retellings are one of my favorite genres so I will gladly accept any novels set in fairy tale lands!

9. Steampunk worlds: I think I just need to read more YA steampunk novels because I know they’re out there. Although I love this genre I think I prefer a mild steampunk setting to a high one.

10. Futuristic dystopian societies: I know this sounds super trendy, and some people may be over dystopian fiction, but I sincerely love this setting and have since I read A Handmaid’s Tale in high school. More YA dystopia!

So there you have it! My nerdiness has been revealed now that you know I want more Amish, steampunk and mermaid themed settings in books! My husband will laugh at me if he reads this post…haha

Am I the only nerd out there or are some of these settings that you’d like to read more of?