Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hedgie's Must Reads: May 2014


Spring is behind us and summer is here! Yay! Summer equals beautiful days and reading outside with lemonade and apples! Not that Hedgie really cares to read outside; he doesn't like the sun, and he only has an interest in covering himself in dirt. Silly man. ;-) May was a pretty good reading month for us. I made May the month where I caught up on sequels that have been sitting on my shelf for a while. It. . . .sort of happened. But I also started a lot of new series. So, here's what we read!

Friday, May 30, 2014

May 2014 Book Haul


It's that time of the month again: book hauls! I've gotten a little bit better at editing my videos, so hopefully this one is better than the last. In total, I hauled 35 books. Most of them are new releases, and a few were freebies and gifts. I didn't meet my "12-books-only" quota, but it's still better than the 60-book haul I did last month!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on June 5, 2012
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 358
Read From: 5.14.14 - 5.15.14










SYNOPSIS
Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they're sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. 
When the convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold. 
Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling's favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her. . . .and only she can save the future.

Review

Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Oh yes, I love the cover. It's all gray and black and silver - and there's a Russian castle!! Also, I didn't notice it until I read the book, but I love how the antlers from the hart are on the front.

Characters: I really liked Alina. She had a lot of potential to be annoying, but her reluctance to be the "savior" of Ravka came across as genuine, and not pretension. She had reasonable objections, but she didn't get whiny (though her frustration certainly showed through at times). Alina was just a normal girl who is suddenly swept away in a whirlwind of politics and sudden power. I only hope she doesn't become emotionally traumatized like Katniss. Mal took some warming up before I was no longer dubious. He wasn't a jerk, but he was . . . . oblivious to Alina. But as the story progressed, I came to like Mal a bit better, though I'm not sure he'll ever be a favorite. He serves a purpose to the story. Ivan is a total bully, but I liked him; he was wonderfully horrid. And Zoya, the resident pretty mean girl, was - as usual - hateable (though I am getting a little tired of talent and beauty being synonymous with snobbery). I adored Genya, Alina's only real friend and lady's maid (more or less). She had a great sense of humor and was just fun. And now for the Darkling. . . .[Spoiler] The Darkling is a villain. [End spoiler] I really liked him, before his true purposes were known, and even afterward. He was just so awesome. I genuinely thought he was a good guy, and when his agenda was made known, I still felt sorry for him. I just get the feeling that there's a whole lot more to his backstory than we know. He lands somewhere on my favorite villain/anti-hero list.

The Romance: A love triangle threatens, but it doesn't go anywhere. I did like the romance between Mal and Alina. They were childhood friends and Alina's feelings grow into something more. But she's mature about the relationship. Because their feelings were already established, the romance didn't feel rushed. My only complaint? I still don't really like Mal all that much. I don't know why, but I don't. So while I'm all happy about Alina and Mal's childhood crush turning into love, I'm not sure I would be sorry if Mal died, either.

Plot: The kingdom of Ravka is torn in two - literally - by a great expanse of dark wasteland called the Fold. Unnatural, human-devouring creatures live in the Fold, and thousands die just trying to cross it to get to the other side of Ravka. Something must be done about the Fold, before it effects Ravka's economy and defenses permanently. Alina Starkov is just another orphan, serving her time in the military. But when she and her childhood friend Mal have to cross the Fold, something amazing happens: Alina's powers as a Sun Summoner - a bringer of light - are made known. Before she knows it, the Darkling - leader of the Grisha - has taken her to be trained at the Little Palace. Alina, the only Sun Summoner in Ravka, may be the one who can beat back the Fold and reunite Ravka once more. The world in this book is incredible. I loved everything about it, from the Russian styles to the explanation behind the Grisha and their powers. Even if I didn't like Mal all that much, I became so totally immersed in the world that I didn't really care. The Author has done a ton of world building, and there's just no way that anyone could dislike it (unless you just totally hate Russian styles and culture). Setting world building aside for a moment, the plot itself was also very good - but it also mostly consisted of world building, so how could I not enjoy it? Alina spends a while getting used to life as a Grisha and trying to control her power. Might be boring for some, but I enjoyed it. It gave us an opportunity to get to know the characters, the politics, the world, and how exactly Grisha operated. And there's a constant undertone of foreboding.

Believability: The roles of women in the military are realistic.

Writing Style: First person, past tense. Alina's sense of ironic humor really shows through her narration, which I enjoyed; it made her personality shine through. The Author was very good at describing things, and I loved all of the Russian words - real and made up - that she threw in.

Content: None beyond one quite heated kiss.

Conclusion: I did see the twist coming, I suppose, though I'm not sure it was supposed to be hidden. I'm not sure why it took me so bloody long to pick Shadow and Bone up; it's right up my alley. I was immensely surprised at how unannoying the female protagonist was, and that the romance was mostly in the background. I adored the world and the side characters, and the Darkling was just awesome. I wish he had a different name, though. It's too much like the Dark Lord or the Dark One. Unoriginal, and not intimidating.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, seventeen-and-up, fans of Russian culture and styles, and fantasy.

Others in The Grisha Trilogy:
1)Shadow and Bone
2)Siege and Storm
3)Rise and Ruin

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #49 + WWW Wednesday #19

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!

Cinderella's Dress
by Shonna Slayton
Publication Date: June 3, 2014

From Goodreads:

Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you're the next keeper of the real Cinderella's dresses is even tougher.

Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella's dresses, life gets complicated.

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it's too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

Why I'm Excited

It sounds kind of like a peculiar retelling of Cinderella, and I'm always interested in the newest and most peculiar retelling. Sadly, I won't be buying it, as it is only in paperback, but I hopefully can cajole the library into getting it, so I can see what it's all about.

Say Her Name
by James Dawson
Publication Date: June 5, 2014

From Goodreads:

Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in, too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary:' say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear. . . .But, surprise, surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror. . . .five days. . . .but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya, and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before. . . .

Why I'm Excited

Yet another one I'll have to coerce the library to get, as it only is in paperback and I don't buy paperbacks. But I very much want to read it. Yeah, it will probably be a pretty silly, corny horror book, but it might be entertaining - and possibly a little scary. A good ghost story is always fun.

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Should Be Reading

What are you currently reading?

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends - the Liars - whose friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.

I really, honestly don't know why I keep reading contemporaries! It's like some evil fiend has taken over and is choosing what I read! Worst still, I'm enjoying the contemporaries I've been reading. To be fair to myself, though, they haven't really been your run-of-the-mill normal contemporaries. We Were Liars is quite strange, and I don't really know what to say about it. I'm halfway through and I'm extremely intrigued. What's going on? What happened to Cadence? What is she forgetting?


What have you read recently?

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary - including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby's assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it's an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it's a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police - with the except of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane - deny.

I read an ARC of this book, as it's not due for publication until September 16, 2014. But oh my gosh!!! I gave this book 5 out of 5 strawberries, and I would give it more if I could. This was just amazing! Doctor Who meets Sherlock Holmes is a totally apt description, and it totally works! Not only that, but Abigail is a wonderfully practical and capable and adventurous female; she doesn't whine, she doesn't flirt, she doesn't have a chip on her shoulder. I loved her! I hope she and Jackaby's relationship continues to be platonic, and that there is no heavy romance (though the slight attraction between she and Charlie is adorable). I can't rant about this book enough. It was just too awesome.

What do you plan on reading next?

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

Okay, so technically I'm already reading this. But I set it aside to read We Were Liars, since that is for the Booksplosion read-along group. I'm quite excited to jump back into this one, as I'm meeting Ava Dellaira on June 19th!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #46 + Teaser Tuesday #7

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: Top 10 Childhood Favorites. A favorite topic; I love remembering all of the books I loved as a child. This list will probably range from very little kids' books to when I was twelve, and will be two books short from ten. I know I had several favorites, but I am forgetting several of them.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading

- Grab the book you're currently reading.
- Flip to a random page.
- Choose 2 teaser sentences from that page!


His face was clear, and all of the houses with their Christmas lights faded behind him. With his smallest hands he had opened a door in me, and I cried and cried. He held me there until I laughed a little. Like the whole thing was a joke. I wanted to forget all of it. We kept walking. Along the path of light, I saw every bulb come into focus only as we got close to it. And finally he said, he said it to me, "I love you, too."
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (pg. 162)

Monday, May 26, 2014

ARC Review: Mouseheart - Lisa Fiedler

Mouseheart by Lisa Fiedler
Series: Mouseheart #1
Genre: Middle Grade, animal fiction
Published on May 20, 2014
Published by Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 320
Read From: 5.12.14 - 5.14.14










SYNOPSIS
Hopper is an ordinary pet shop mouse - until he escapes. Soon he finds himself deep within the untamed Brooklyn transit tunnels and in Atlantia, a glorious utopian rat civilization. 
But all is not as it seems. Hopper misses the siblings she lost in the escape. Atlantia is constantly threatened by rebels who wish to bring the city to its knees. And there are cats everywhere, cats who leave the citizens unharmed. . . .and no one can seem to answer why. 
Soon Hopper is caught in the crosshairs of an epic battle, and as the clashes rage, Hopper learns terrible, extraordinary secrets. Deadly secrets about Atlantia. Painful secrets about his friends. 
And one powerful secret about himself.

Review

Cover Blurb: Yes or No? It's a very creepy little cover, and quite fitting of the book. It's not The Thickety creepy, but it is a creepy little book.

Characters: Hopper is an easy enough protagonist to like. He cares about his siblings, even the one who doesn't deserve it, and he always tries to act selflessly. And of course, he's an adorable little mouse, so how can one not like him? The one thing that did make me frustrated with Hopper was his naivete. He constantly trusts the wrong rats when he so obviously shouldn't. His blind trust causes him to make a lot of bad decisions, and it was just a little frustrating. Hopper's sister, Pinkie, was a little monster who probably would have no qualms stabbing her brother in the back - literally - if it got her what she wanted. Zucker, the rat prince, was extremely likable, despite his rather annoying accent. He was fighting for what was right and did his best to protect Hopper. He wasn't really the most convincing "loyal son," but this book does suffer from characters who don't notice the obvious. Firren, the rebel girl rat, was awesome. She was tough and could fight and didn't have an attitude like Pinkie. The villains weren't especially intimidating. Titus, the rat king, was mostly pathetic, and the cats . . . . were cats.

The Romance: Zucker likes Firren, but the romance doesn't take up any time.

Plot: Hopper and his two siblings, Pinkie and Pup, are your typical pet shop mice. They live in a wire cage with several other mice and they have no idea what happened to their mother. One day she was there, and the next she was gone. Hopper is resigned to their easy, boring life - until the day the shop owner tries to sell them as feeders to a kid with a snake. In a daring escape, Hopper loses Pinkie and Pup, and finds himself all alone in an underground utopia for rats and other rodents beneath Brooklyn. He's taken under Prince Zucker's care and given the best. But something isn't right in Atlantia. There are far too many cats; cats that strangely don't attack any of the residents of Atlantia. And while Hopper is a guest at the royal palace, he feels more like a prisoner. Then he finds out about the Mus - a tribe of mice that threatens Atlantia's safety and all within it. Or so the emperor tells him. But Hopper can't ignore the fact that he looks an awful lot like a Mus. As the plot thickens, Hopper must choose sides, but it isn't easy to tell who is friend and who is foe. Okay, actually, it's really easy to tell who he should trust and who he should run away from. But Hopper is so massively naive that he, of course, trusts all the wrong rats. The plot was good, but it was also too obvious. The Reader knows exactly what's going on - or at least pretty near - and it's frustrating to be stuck with a protagonist who simply refuses to see what's right in front of him. So in that way it kind of felt like the plot dragged a bit; because the Reader knew what was going to happen, but the inevitable was delaying because Hopper was dense. In every other respect, though, the plot moves at a fast clip, with a myriad of characters and exciting fights. The world is a mix between Redwall and Warriors. It takes place in the human world, but the mice and rats all dress in medieval-like garments and carry swords like in Redwall. As much as I prefer animal fiction to take place in a different world from ours, it strangely worked in this novel.

Believability: Atlantia is one of the more believable dystopias I have ever read. There are secret police-like entities everywhere, making sure the citizens of Atlantia are saying the correct things about the emperor, there are camps where refugees are "reeducated" before they can be accepted into Atlantia, and there's a strict curfew. The camps is where the book really gets dark, and I can't say more without giving spoilers away. They're creepy, though.

Writing Style: Third person, past tense. It wasn't anything special; neither bad nor exceedingly good. Some of the accents - Zucker's especially - were kind of annoying, but overall the writing style fit the intended age bracket.

Content: It's bloody. Cats get their eyes poked out in spouts of blood, rodents are torn to shreds, et cetera. It isn't The Thickety bloody, but it's gruesome at times. Maybe it's just me, but when animal characters are brutalizing each other, it makes it that much more gristly.

Conclusion: I want Pinkie to die, and that's all I'm going to say.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-boy read, ten-and-up, fans of Redwall and Warriors.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #49

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Review

BOUGHT

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley
After his parents' death, Michael Vyner's future is unclear. All he knows is that his new wealthy guardian has invited him to a remote country estate. But Michael begins to suspect something is not right on the very night he arrives, when he spots a mysterious woman in the frozen mists.

The chilling solitude of the house itself is another surprise. His guardian is rarely seen, and there's an evil force lurking in an old hallway mirror. Michael soon realizes that the house and its grounds harbor many more secrets - both dead and very much alive. And Michael's reason for being there is quickly becoming clearer. . . .

The Body at the Tower by Y. S. Lee
Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London - as well as childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want - to unmask the identity of a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, Mary earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city's needy doesn't distract her and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting up with an old friend - or flame - just might.

Green Jasper by K. M. Grant
Is it foolish to think that one boy and a blood red horse can save a fair maiden and the throne of England?

Will and Gavin de Granville have come back from the Crusade older, braver, and definitely wiser.

Ellie has been longing for their return. But they've changed. And home is almost as dangerous as the war they've just left.

The king is missing. The country is in turmoil. And some men would do anything for power. What will two brothers risk for the woman they both love and the king they have both sworn to protect and serve?

The Lioness & Her Knight by Gerald Morris
Luneta is tired of living in dull Orkney with her mother and father (who happens to be the most boring knight of King Arthur's Round Table). She prides herself on always getting what she wants, so when the opportunity presents itself, she jumps at the chance to stay at a family friend's castle near Camelot. Her handsome cousin, Sir Ywain - a young knight seeking adventure - arrives just in time to escort her.

Along the way they pick up a knight-turned-fool named Rhience, whose wit and audacity sets many a puffed-up personality in its place. Before arriving at Lady Laudine's castle, the trio stops at Camelot, where they hear the story of the Storm Stone, a magical object deep in the forest that soon sweeps everyone into a web of love, betrayal, and more than a bit of magic.

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
The small town of Cryer's Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn't that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain.

When a second student goes missing - someone close to Kendall's heart - the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall's not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she's losing her grip on reality.

But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school - messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there- Kendall decides that crazy or not, she'd never forgive herself if she didn't act on her suspicions.

Something's not right in Cryer's Cross - and Kendall's about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
It's been only months since Eragon first uttered "brisingr," an ancient language term for fire. Since then, he's not only learned to create magic with words - he's been challenged to his very core. Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more adventure at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.

First is Eragon's oath to his cousin, Roran: to help rescue Roran's beloved from King Galbatorix's clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength - as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices - choices that will take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.

Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?

Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel
Callie's cherished dream has come true. At last, her family is together, including her long-lost father, an Unseelie fairy prince. But instead of living happily ever after, Callie has ignited a war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. Now Callie and her best friend, Jack, are running for their lives.

But full-blooded fairies aren't the only magical creatures in the world. . . .or at war. Callie's bid to get her family to safety captures the attention of the Halfers, magical outcasts who are half fairy and half other - half paper, half steel girder, half electric spark - all laced with magic and big-city attitude.

As the war boils over, Callie's world falls apart. She might be the child of prophecy, but she doubts she can save anyone - the Halfers, her people, her family, Jack, or even herself. The fairies all say Callie is the Bad Luck Girl. . . .and she's starting to believe them.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Your mother hollers that you're going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don't stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don't thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not - you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it's the last time you'll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you'd stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. In Emmy Laybourne's action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world - as they know it - apart.

Sky of Fire by Emmy Laybourne
Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive while working together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.

Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with his longtime crush Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .

Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with their leader, Niko, and the rest of the kids in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . .

Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne
Dean, Alex, and the other survivors of the Monument 14 have escaped the disaster zone and made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Some of the kids have even been reunited with their families, and are making tentative plans for the future. Then, Niko learns that his lost love, Josie, has survived!

For Josie, separated from the group and presumed dead, life has gone from bad to worse. Trapped in a terrible prison camp with other exposed O's and traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue. Meanwhile, scared by the government's unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid - along with her two protectors, Dean and Jake - flees the camp to join Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with Josie.

Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter
When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

Tag is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

Lucia is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them - to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner
Twelve-year-old Circa Monroe has a knack for restoring old photographs. It's a skill she learned from her dad, who loves old pictures and putting fun digital twists on them. His altered "Shopt" photos look so real that they could fool nearly anybody, and Circa treasures the fun stories he makes up to explain each creation.

One day, her father receives a strange phone call requesting an urgent delivery, and he heads out into a storm. The unimaginable happens: a tornado, then a terrible accident. Just as Circa and her mom begin to pick up the pieces, a mysterious boy shows up on their doorstep, a boy called Miles who remembers nothing about his past. The only thing he has with him is the photograph that Circa's dad intended to deliver on the day he died.

As Circa tries to help Miles recover his identity, she begins to notice something strange about the photos she and her father retouched - the digital flourishes added to the old photos seem to exist in real life. The mysteries of the Shopt photos and Miles's past are intertwined, and in order to solve both, Circa will have to figure out what's real and what's an illusion.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.

A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.

A group of four friends - the Liars - whose friendship turns destructive.

A revolution. An accident. A secret.

Lies upon lies.

True love.

The truth.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
September 3, 1940. The peculiar children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them - but she's trapped in the body of a bird.

The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom.

Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Serafina, daughter of Isabella, Queen of Miromara, has been raised with the expectation - and burden - that she will someday become ruler of the oldest civilization of the merfolk. On the eve of the Dokimi ceremony, which will determine if she is worthy of the crown, Sera is haunted by a strange dream that foretells the return of an ancient evil. But her nightmare is forgotten the next day as she diligently practices her songspell; eagerly anticipates a reunion with her best friend, Neela; and anxiously worries about Mahdi, the crown prince of Matali, and whether his feelings toward her and their future betrothal have changed. Most of all, she worries about not living up to her mother's hopes.

The Dokimi proceeds, a dazzling display of majesty and might, until a shocking turn of events interrupts it: an assassin's arrow wounds Isabella. The realm falls into chaos, and Serafina's darkest premonitions are confirmed. Now she and Neela must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the mer nations. Their search will lead them to other mermaid heroines scattered across the six seas. Together they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood as they uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.


This Week, On The Reading Hedgehog.............

May 19, 2014 - Monday
May 20, 2014 - Tuesday
May 21, 2014 - Wednesday
May 22, 2014 - Thursday
May 23, 2014 - Friday
May 24, 2014 - Saturday

Next Week, On The Reading Hedgehog.............

May 26, 2014 - Monday
ARC Review: Mouseheart - Lisa Fiedler
May 27, 2014 - Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday #46: Top 10 Childhood Favorites
Teaser Tuesday #7
May 28, 2014 - Wednesday
Waiting on Wednesday #49 + WWW Wednesday #19
May 29, 2014 - Thursday
Review: Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo
May 30, 2014 - Friday
May Book Haul
May 31, 2014 - Saturday
Hedgie's Must Reads: May 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Guest Post: All About Books!

Guest post time! Again! Whoohoo! As usual, Katherine, Kel, and Hazel have joined The Reading Hedgehog. Our topic is similar to April's, in the fact that there's a series of questions we all answer. Tangents and ranting were encouraged. ;-) This guest post was inspired by a book tag Justine TP did on Youtube.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: After the Parch - Sheldon Greene

A copy was provided by the Author
in exchange for
an honest review.
After the Parch by Sheldon Greene
Genre: YA, futuristic
Published on March 21, 2014
Published by Strategic Book Publishing
Pages: 220
Read From: 5.10.14 - 5.11.14














SYNOPSIS
It's 2075. The USA has broken up and California has become an Independent refuge dominated by a single omnipotent corporation. Eighteen-year-old Bran, a shepherd, is given a mission to traverse the California Republic in ten days, in order to save his rural community from forfeiting its land. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Absent - Katie Williams

Absent by Katie Williams
Genre: YA, supernatural
Published on May 21, 2013
Published by Chronicle Books
Pages: 184
Read From: 5.10.14 - 5.10.14











SYNOPSIS
Seventeen-year-old Paige is dead, the victim of a freak fall from the roof during Physics class. Now she's a ghost, permanently bound to the grounds of her high school. It isn't all bad: she has the company of her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. And she can find out everyone's secrets, which can be amusing - for a while. But then Paige hears

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #48 + WWW Wednesday #18

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.
It's a weekly meme about upcoming books we're excited about!



Allies & Assassins
(Enemies of the Prince #1)
by Justin Somper
Publication Date: May 27, 2014

From Goodreads:

Prince Anders, the ruler of Archenfield, has been murdered, leaving his younger brother, Jared, to ascend the throne. Sixteen-year-old Jared feels unprepared to rule the kingdom and its powerful and dangerous court, yet he knows he can rely on the twelve officers of the court to advise him. He also knows he can just as easily be at their mercy - especially when it appears that one of them may be responsible for his brother's death. Unable to trust anyone, Jared takes it upon himself to hunt down his brother's killer - but the killer may be hunting him, as well.

Why I'm Excited

It sounds along the same lines as Jennifer A. Nielsen's The Ascendance Trilogy, and I am dying for another series like that! I loved The Ascendance Trilogy, and though I literally just finished a few weeks ago, it feels like I've been done with it for forever! I need something else!!! And this sounds perfect for filling that void. :)

The Castle Behind Thorns
by Merrie Haskell
Publication Date: May 27, 2014

From Goodreads:

When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside - from dishes to castles to apples - torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn't this in the stories?

To survive, Sand does what he knows best - he fires up the castle's forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place?

Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle's astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces - of stone and iron, and of a broken life - is harder than sand ever imagined, but it's the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.

Why I'm Excited

Merrie Haskell is easily becoming my new favorite Middle Grade fantasy author. I loved The Princess Curse (it wasn't, granted, the best fairy tale retelling I have ever read, but the more I think about it, the more I loved it), and I am thoroughly enjoyed The Hangbook for Dragon Slayers. I can't wait for her next book!



WWW Wednesday is hosted by Should Be Reading
What are you currently reading?

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her - or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Book #2 in The Grisha trilogy! I loved Shadow and Bone, and with Leigh Bardugo being at a nearby bookstore in June, I am whipping through this trilogy as fast as I can! And I'm loving it! I'm about halfway through Siege and Storm, and it's awesome!

What did you recently read?

Your mother hollers that you're going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don't stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don't thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not - you launch yourself down the staris and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it's the last time you'll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you'd stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A mission things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne's action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world - as they know it - apart.

The first time I picked this book up, I got 15 pages in and put it on my DNF list. I didn't like the writing style and it annoyed me that I didn't know whether the protagonist was a girl or a boy (it's a boy, Dean). But Emmy Laybourne is going to be at the same author event as Leigh Bardugo, so I thought I would give Monument 14 one last chance to wow me. Maybe it's because I was so determined to stick with it, or maybe it really was just the mood, but I got through it and gave it a rather shining 3/5 strawberries. It isn't even close to the best post-apocalypse novel I've ever read, and it does teeter dangerously close to a 2-strawberry rating. But I also think that it will improve as the series continues, and I did enjoy it for what it was: a fast read.

What do you plan on reading next?

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

I don't normally do contemporary, but Ava Dellaira is going to be at the same event as Leigh Bardugo and Emmy Laybourne, so I thought - why not? Besides, the whole letter thing has me intrigued. Telling a story purely through letters is a writing device that works on me. So I'm very excited to delve into this contemporary.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #45 + Teaser Tuesday #6

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish 

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: Top 10 Books About Friendship. I'm going to interpret this a little bit and include books that just have really great friendships in them; not necessarily books that are strictly about friendship.


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading


- Grab the book you're currently reading.
- Flip to a random page.
- Pick two teaser sentences to post!

I sat there for a while, picking at my breakfast, mulling over Nikolai's parting words. Then I gave myself a little shake. I didn't have time to dissect his motives. In just a few hours, the war council would meet to talk strategy and how best to raise a defense against the Darkling. I had plenty to do to prepare, but fist I had a visit to pay.


Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (pg. 251)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Author Interview: Shawn Martin

Forget Me Not by Shawn Martin
Series: Shadowflesh #2
Genre: YA, paranormal, fantasy, romance
Published on March 31, 2014
Published by Vinspire Publishing
Pages: 308
Purchase Link: Paperback, Kindle

SYNOPSIS

Fortune has smiled on seventeen-year-old Aileen McCormick ever since Addison came back into her life, giving her the love she has so desperately longed for. That is, until a mysterious man slithers across her path and slips a spellbinding cameo around her neck. The cameo holds more than just the image of an enchantress who hungers for souls. It possesses a curse that strangles away every memory Aileen has of Addison.

Addison, a three-hundred-year-old fugitive from the netherworld, recognizes the wretched woman inside the cameo and the curse she has cast on his unsuspecting love. The enchanted cameo has but on purpose: to torment Aileen with hints of love she can no longer recall.

Aileen cannot escape the deadly cameo. She runs for her life with the curse only a breath away. If she truly wants her memory back, the enchantress is all too willing to restore it. It will cost her, though. Cost her everything.

About the Author:

Shawn Martin calls Springfield, Missouri home. After graduating from Missouri State University with majors in Economics and Political Science, he bounced around the Midwest only to end up right where he started.

His day (and night) job is being a firefighter. Aside from rescuing cats in trees and removing burnt pot roasts from ovens, he spends his time finding the hardest way to do the simplest of things. The rest of his time is spent weaving words into another installment in the Shadowflesh Series.

Q: What inspired you to write Forget Me Not?
A: I've always been drawn to Gothic fiction, and if there is an element of hopeless romanticism involved, so much the better. Forget Me Not is just that - a paranormal romance, my favorite genre. But my inspiration for the story itself hatched itself late one night. While staring at the stars, I wondered what it would be like for Aileen (the lead character in Forget Me Not) to have amnesia, to forget ever having fallen in love with her soul mate. Would she simply see him, appreciate the smile and the body, and drift away? Or would fate send her spiraling toward true love all over again? The practical side of me knows that things have to be just right in order to fall in love. The timing, the location, the circumstances, the mood. . . .The everything. And if just one little element is out of whack, then love may never be realized. Otherwise we'd all be falling in love every day. The hopeless romantic within me, however, looks at things differently. When two people are meant to be together, nothing can keep them apart. Not even amnesia. Forget Me Not takes this concept and runs with it, as fast as it can and into the dark.

Q: I know when I'm writing a story, I have very specific Authors that I turn to for fresh inspiration - Authors whose writing I want to emulate or who write books set in the same era or genre. What authors/books did you turn to?
A: Three very notable, yet very different authors, inspired my tone and texture of Forget Me Not (as well as Shadowflesh, the first book in the series). First, Jane Austen enlightened me with Pride and Prejudice. Her love story filled with angst, heartbreak, and hope swelled like an ocean wave before finally cascading upon the conclusion. Second, Jim Butcher amazed me with The Dresden Files. He crafted a complex series with a casual pen. His first person narrative still amazes me. And third, Kendare Blake seemed to hold me by the hand and take me into her nightmares with Anna Dressed in Blood. The eerie essence of Kendare's work casts an amazing shadow of the story.

Q: Who is your favorite character in Forget Me Not? Why?
A: By far, Addison Wake takes the prize as my favorite. Addison presents himself as your average seventeen-year-old high school student. But nothing could be further from the truth. Addison was murdered three hundred years ago and is allowed to walk along the mortal plain as Shadowflesh. Addison became my favorite character because he is strong, yet vulnerable. Honest, yet deceptive. Alive, but dead. Addison embodies the contradictions we all face and embrace. Not to mention, he stays cool under pressure.

Q: When I'm writing my stories, I've found that the villains are my favorite characters to write/work with. What sort of "author relationship" did you have with your villain(s)?
A: My villains could not be one dimensional or simplistic. I refused to let evil, in and of itself, be their motivation. In order for a character to become a believable villain, he or she needs to be tempted by love, money, power, or fear - the same things that tempt me. And when I put all this into place, my relationship is created with my villain. In a way, I become that villain, and he or she becomes me. While I give the villain a voice, the darker side of the villainous character challenges my sense of reason. This author relationship with my villain creates realistic motivation, honest-to-goodness fear, and even a little sympathy for what is otherwise a vile creature.

Q: Throughout the writing process, which characters did you get along with best, and who gave you the most trouble?
A: While writing Forget Me Not, I found Addison and Aileen the easiest to get along with. I knew (albeit in broad brushstrokes) what they were going to do throughout the story. Their banter came so naturally, and inviting them into the pages truly became a joy. Nicola, however, gave me the most fits. As we learned in the first book Shadowflesh and continue to see in Forget Me Not, Nicola wears black, is most comfortable in a trench coat and sunglasses, and loses herself in Jack Kerouac. And when I shared the reasons why with my Readers, penning it to paper carried the same tension as diffusing a bomb. (Sorry, no spoilers.) Nicola often steals a scene. Though when I begin writing the scene, I really have no intention of her jumping into the limelight. Nicola eventually has become the type of trouble I look forward to.

Q: I have specific CDs/movie soundtracks I always listen to when I'm writing. What was some of the music that helped you write Forget Me Not?
A: I enjoyed a strange mix of music while pulling the story out of the ether and capturing it onto pages. Joy Division created a haunting echo while occasionally unleashing anger. Okkervil River often set the mood and tempo with their lonely coffeehouse folk and introspective lyrics. Then there were the Bouncing Souls. Their music hit me like espresso on an empty stomach, giving me a broad smile and an amazing jolt of harmless energy.

Q: What was your first reaction when you wrote THE END on your final draft of Forget Me Not?
A: The end of a book is a sad time for me, reminiscent of the day I graduated high school. I found myself facing the reality of saying goodbye to my friends, wondering if I'd ever see them again. Sure, I had always imagined "The End," and it always seemed like a worthy goal. But when it came right down to it, finishing a book leaves me cold and alone. And anxious to do it all over again.

I want to thank Mara and The Reading Hedgehog for allowing me to spend a little time with you today. And please let me know if you enjoy Forget Me Not.

I, likewise, want to thank Shawn Martin for taking the time to do this Q&A session with us! Keep an eye out for my review of Forget Me Not (it'll be along soon!).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...