Waiting on Wednesday 11/25 – The Impostor Queen

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Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


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The Impostor Queen
by: Sarah Fine
Release date: Jan 5, 2016

Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.


Why am I waiting on it?

Ooo doesn’t this book just sound soooo good? I think so and I’m so excited that it comes out in early January. So I don’t even have that long to wait for it (yay!).

(YA Review) The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 10.25.12 AMThe Storyspinner
Author: Becky Wallace
Published: March 3, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Rating: 3.75
Why’d I read it?:
According to the synopsis, this book has all of the elements I like; fantasy, action, multiple perspectives, with a dash of romance.
Wallace, Becky. The Storyspinner. Margaret K. McElderry. 2015. Print.


Synopsis: (from goodreads)

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything


My Thoughts:

I chose this book because it sounded like it would have all of the elements I enjoy in a book; fantasy, action, multiple perspectives, romance, etc. And it did. For some reason I just never quite clicked with the story the way I usually do, but I have to be fair and say that at the time I was reading this I had a lot of family and personal troubles occurring as well, and I’m afraid it significantly affected my state of mind while reading the book. It’s highly possible that at another time I would have clicked with this story more, because as I said, it truly has all the elements I enjoy in a book.

Nevertheless the premise of the story is quite original, and I LOVE the beginning(ish) scene. The way the two main characters meet is hysterical, and is quite unlike the usual way. It really demonstrates major aspects of both of their personalities, as well. Its a great “meet cute.” The cast of characters gets pretty extensive, and basically the story follows two different groups of people. Throughout the story its unclear right away how the two groups’ stories will intersect, but eventually that becomes more clear. So overall I’d say that if you enjoy fantasy stories such as this, you may want to give The Storyspinner a try.

 


Extras:

 


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
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So, Sorcerer’s Stone & Chamber of Secrets are the exact same book

Ok, I was watching Chamber of Secrets last night, and it occurred to me that Chamber of Secrets basically repeats the entire basic plot of Sorcerer’s Stone. Watch this.


 

The Dursley’s lock Harry in somewhere in the house

  1. Closet under the stairs
  2. Smallest bedroom

 

Harry believes something about the school that no one else believes.

  1. That the Sorcerer’s Stone is there and Snape is trying to get it
  2. That there is a voice that only he can hear, and it’s petrifying people

 

Hagrid brings a terrifying pet into the school

  1. Fluffy and Norbert
  2. Aragog

 

Malfoy and Harry duel

  1. Malfoy invites Harry to a duel (its a fake invite though)
  2. Malfoy and Harry duel in the dueling club

 

Harry keeps secrets from Dumbledore which, if he’d been honest about, would have negated the need for his crazy dangerous exploits

  1. Doesn’t tell Dumbledore his suspicions
  2. Lies about hearing voices

 

Harry goes into the Forrest and is recued by a random “creature”

  1. Rescued by the centaur
  2. rescued by the car

 

Dumbledore leaves the school at a critical point in the story

  1. Dumbledore is “called away” at the end of the book
  2. Dumbledore is stripped of his duties by Mr. Malfoy and the school board

Hagrid's_hut_with_visitors_Malfoy_Fudge_Dumbledore.jpg

 

Hermione completely saves the day

  1. too many to list
  2. too many to list

 

Harry sneaks under the school with his friends, only to be separated from them so that he ends up facing voldemort on his own at the end.

  1. Gets past Fluffy, Ron gets hurt in chess and Ron & Hermione can’t go with harry to the end confrontation with Voldemort.
  2. Harry and Ron go under the school, Ron causes a cave in that separates him from Harry, causing Harry to have to go confront Voldemort on his own.

 

Story ends with Harry and Dumbledore talking philosophically (and dumbledore being vague)


See? Basically the same story, two different times. I’ve literally read these books easily dozens of times and never realized this until now!

Can you think of any that I missed?

(YA Review) What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.28.19 PMWhat We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Published: Sept. 22, 2015
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Themes: Peer Pressure, Drugs, Alcohol, Sex, Rape
Rating: 5 stars
Why’d I read it?:
This book covers a topic that is so important, which is our societies’ tendency towards victim-shaming, blaming the victim, and generally the appalling “rape culture” we live within.
Hartzler, Aaron. What We Saw. HarperTeen. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0062338747.
Formats available: paperback, ebook, hardcover Paperback $6.87. Kindle $10.99


Synopsis: (from amazon)

Critically acclaimed memoirist Aaron Hartzler, author of Rapture Practice, takes an unflinching look at what happens to a small town when some of its residents commit a terrible crime. This honest, authentic debut novel—inspired by the events in the Steubenville rape case—will resonate with readers who’ve ever walked that razor-thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

The party at John Doone’s last Saturday night is a bit of a blur. Kate Weston can piece together most of the details: Stacey Stallard handing her shots, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early. . . . But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same questions: Who witnessed what happened to Stacey? And what responsibility do they have to speak up about what they saw?


My Thoughts:

This is such an important story to be told because it sparks discussion on a topic which is often swept under the rug and ignored. Rape Culture in the U.S. is a serious problem. Victim-shaming and victim-blaming are tendencies which run rampant in our society. This story is inspired by the true story of the Steubenville rape case 0f 2012 and also of other similar cases to arise lately. Teens throw a party in which there is a lot of drinking and drugs. One girl drinks so much she becomes unconscious and the next day accuses several members of the school’s basketball team of sexually assaulting her while unconscious. The story deals with concepts of truth and lies, perception, betrayal and trust. It also deals strongly with the idea of opening your eyes and seeing beyond the pressures of our community, and also of how to do what’s right once you’ve seen the truth. It can be very hard to see the truth, and to speak up when all of your friends and even your entire town seem to be willing you towards blindness and silence.

This book was quite excellent in the way it broaches such serious topics, and while it in no way flinches from the true horror of these kinds of events (gang-rape of an unconscious girl is discussed), the author keeps the story from being so graphic as to be distracting from the true issues of right and wrong. I highly recommend this to readers of all ages and gender, and I challenge you to consider what you would do in such a situation. Being human means doing more than spectating; it means we must act to create the world we wish to live in.

 

Silhouette of man in the fog in a forest

luther-king

the-world-is-a-dangerous-place

 


Extras:

** On a personal note: 

  • Unfortunately we live in a time where sexual assault is increasingly common, especially against women.
  • Most often, the person assaulting you is someone you know. You may be friends or even love this person. Even if its a friend or loved one, sexual assault is wrong.
    • If you said “no,” then it is wrong.
    • If you were incapable of saying yes or no, it was wrong.
    • If you were drunk, high, asleep, or even wearing “provocative clothes,” sexual assault is still wrong!
    • Every one has the right to wear, do, say, and act exactly the way they want without fear of assault.
    • Please don’t let anyone convince you that this was your fault. It is never your fault when you are assaulted.
  • Please be sure to see a medical specialist and speak with a trusted adult if you think you may have been assaulted.

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
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Waiting on Wednesday – The Glittering Court

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Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


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The Glittering Court

by: Richelle Mead

Release date: April 5th, 2016

Synopsis: (from goodreads)

Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands. . . .


Why am I waiting on it?

I loved the title of this book the first time I read it, and the cover captured my interest as well. But the synopsis really sold it for me. It seems that this book has the potential to be an epic, sweeping period-like drama. I’m seeing visions of extravagant dress and court life with secrecy, lies, and romance mixed in. Can’t wait to give it a try!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium

Oliver, Lauren. Delirium. New York: Harper, 2011. Print. ISBN-13: 9780061726828 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $5.72. Kindle $4.99.

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Synopsis:

It’s the future and love (and other strong emotions) have been deemed a “disease.” And they have a cure. Everyone gets “cured” when they are 18. Lena is just a couple months away and she cannot wait. She watched love destroy her family, and she doesn’t want anything to do with it. But then she meets Alex. He has no interest in being “cured” and he might just show Lena that theres more to life (and love) than she ever thought possible.


Themes include: Love, fear, deceit, grief, betrayal, friendship, identity, coming of age.


My Thoughts: Delirium has that Dystopian setting that many of us are loving. I had a hard time getting over the idea that “love is a disease” and that futuristic society would eradicate it. Perhaps if it had been all emotions, not just love, I would have found it more believable. However, once I put that aside I did indeed enjoy this book as well as its sequel Pandemonium. Lena is a relatable character, she’s trying to do what she thinks is right but finding it increasingly difficult as she learns more about Alex, and the other invalids (people who have not been “cured”). The romance is sweet and heartbreaking and the story is heavily influenced by Romeo and Juliet. Who doesn’t like seeing if two star-crossed lovers can overcome circumstances to find a happily-ever-after?


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the Delirium Trilogy is Pandemonium


Extras:

  • Locate Delirium at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Learn more about the Delirium world on its Wiki
  • If you liked Delirium, you might find something else you like on Goodreads.com

About the Author: Lauren Oliver is the author of the Delirium trilogy, as well as other YA books.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
LaurenOliverUK. “Delirium by Lauren Oliver *Interactive Trailer*.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 7 July 2011. Web. 25 July 2015.

(YA Review) The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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The 5th Wave (Book 1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Published: May 7, 2014
Genre: YA science fiction/dystopian
Rating: 5 stars (aka I loved it!)
Why’d I read it?:
I love sci-fi and this one is getting phenomenal reviews. Plus a film version comes out in January 2016 and the preview looks awesome (trailer below)
Yancey, Rick. The 5th Wave. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. 2013. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0399162411.
Formats available: paperback, ebook, hardcover Paperback $6.99. Kindle $9.99


Synopsis: (from amazon)
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


My Thoughts:

A chilling look at the human psyche’s capacity to endure. This book was intense. Creepy and suspenseful, this is a dark view of an alien invasion that strikes every fear we harbor from our childhoods. Yancey crafts a richly told tale with wonderfully developed characters, with the bulk of the story told from the alternating viewpoints of two teens who survived the first four waves, and whose journeys take them in different directions that eventually circle back to an inevitable conclusion. Phew this book was a heavy read.

The author pulls no punches with the horror he inflicts on the human population and doesn’t shy away from graphic and detailed enumerations of the effects of each wave of the invasion. The earth’s population is stripped down as surely as our main character’s humanity is stripped down with each trial they overcome, lending to a recurring theme that has the reader constantly redefining exactly what it means to be human? When billions are dead and you can’t trust anyone, how do you survive? More importantly, how do you stay sane and human? The Others don’t only take your life, now they are trying to take your humanity as well. This book is an action packed and psychological thriller that hooks you from the very first chapter. Theres plenty of action, suspense, and even a little romance. There are several twists throughout to keep you guessing, and though I found many of them to be quite predictable, it did not take away from the story for me and I still found myself shocked and surprised frequently. This one will have you on the edge of your seat and keeping your nightlight on at bedtime!

Please note that the synopsis makes it seem like this story is told entirely from Cassie’s point of view, but actually it is dual perspectives between Cassie and another young adult who survives the first four waves and goes an entirely different direction than Cassie to do so. There are also a couple of other snippets from one or two other peoples perspective. This is a form of writing that I really enjoy because it gives us a broader insight into the world.


Extras:

  • The 5th Wave has its own website at http://www.the5thwaveiscoming.com. There are tons of goodies and extra info to be found there.
  • Here you can find information from IMDB on the movie coming out in January 2016.

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
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Waiting on Wed- (YA) The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


The Raven King
by: Maggie Stiefvater
Release date: April 26, 2016
Series: The Raven Cycle, book 4
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Synopsis:

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

In a starred review for Blue Lily, Lily BlueKirkus Reviews declared: “Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close.”

Why am I waiting on it?

Because the first three books were incredible and I cannot wait to see what happens in the finale. I know the synopsis of these books makes it seem like the romantic element is the main point of the story but I’ve found that to be much more a secondary and minor theme. The stories focus more on the friendship between the all of the characters, and I really love how realistically their feelings and thoughts about each other are described. I highly recommend!

(YA Review) The Selection – Kiera Cass

The Selection (trilogy) by Kiera Cass

Cass, Kiera. The Selection. , 2013. Print. : 9780062059949. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audiobook. Paperback $5.17. Kindle $4.99


Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.41.55 PMSynopsis:

What’s your number?

In the future everyone is assigned a number, a level in the social and political hierarchy. You are live and die with the number your parents were, unless you can marry or buy your way up. Anything less than a 3 means a difficult, often dangerous, life. A 1 means you are royalty. America is a 5. And she’s secretly in love with a 6. But if she married down, her family might not be able to make it financially. Then comes the moment where America is invited to be a contestant in The Selection, where she will compete to win the heart of the prince. Being a contestant means a paycheck for as long as she lasts. So America applies. She didn’t expect to be chosen to compete. She didn’t expect to have feelings for the Prince. Which number, which life, and which love will America choose?


Booktalk: 


Themes include: Love, duty, sacrifice, love-triangle, financial struggles, reality shows, injustice, bias, caste systems. 


My Thoughts: This is one that I have a hard time reviewing. One the one hand, I was not thrilled with the stories and felt they lacked a distinct…something. On the other hand, I did binge read all three because I had to know how it ended. So despite not loving the stories, they were gripping enough that I had to finish them. So I would say The Selection series is enjoyable and entertaining, but does not compare in depth of character, world-building, or follow through to something like The Hunger Games. The premise is quite interesting, with the multitude of Reality Television today, and shows like The Bachelor, the concept is one we are familiar with. Being set in the future and among royalty gives it a modern and unique Cinderella-esque twist. Each of the characters were likeable enough, the settings were interesting, and the stories are great for a light, easy read. But I feel that the author missed a great many opportunities to give these books the true Dystopian depth they had the potential for. The society described is actually a pretty cool concept, but once America gets to the palace, the political and social implications of the outside world quickly fall away. Although the King is set up as a tyrant figure, we never really get to see him in action, or the devastation he causes close up. It appears that the author briefly dipped her toes into the concept of political tyranny, and the potential for social revolution, but quickly found the temperature not to her liking. It definitely feels as though she had intended to go deeper into this world, but in the end decided to pull back and give us a shallow Cinderella story. America herself comes across as silly, fickle, and immature. She too never seems to live up to her potential. However, not all novels need to go quite as deep as The Hunger Games, so I would not write The Selection off entirely. Its a great choice for a light, love-triangle based Cinderella story. It’s popularity demands that this series has a place in most libraries and many young adults will enjoy these reads.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next books in the trilogy are The Elite, and The One. A fourth book, The Heir, takes place 20 years after the trilogy.

If you liked these ones, I’d also recommend:

  • Matched by Ally Condie (dystopian, love triangle, light read)
  • Pawn by Aimee Carter (dystopian, society divided into numbered caste system)
  • Whither by Lauren DeStefano (dystopian, love triangle, ‘prince’ character versus ‘commoner’ character)

Extras:

  • Warner Bros has optioned the rights to bring The Selection to the big screen!
  • Locate the Selection series at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Learn more about the world and characters on The Selection Wiki
  • Toucan has a great interview with Kiera Cass. **Beware of Spoilers for books 2, and 3**

About the Author:  Kiera Cass is the author of The Selection Series, including several Selection Novellas.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

(Review-Ya) Mortal Heart by Robin Lafevers

Mortal Heart by Robin Lafevers

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LaFevers, Robin. Mortal Heart. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2014. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0547628400.
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.18. Kindle $9.99.

Synopsis: (from amazon.com)

In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever’s New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn’t mean she has.

My Thoughts:
During the first two books in this series, I thought Annith was the least interesting character, so I was not overly eager to read her book. I wasn’t dreading it, just felt kind of “meh” about it. But I’m very glad I did, because even though my feelings about Annith haven’t changed very much, in this book we get to meet her male counterpart, Belthezar, who is by far the most compelling male character in the trilogy. Belthezar “rescues” Annith after she escapes the convent one night, and she suddenly finds herself traveling with him and his band of mysterious, not-quite-human brethren. They are the Helloquins, damned souls who ride the night, hunting down and escorting lost souls to the afterworld. Although the first two books in the trilogy read more as historical fiction, with only little hints at magic or fantasy, this book seems to randomly go off in a new direction, with the addition of this almost ghostly army of Helloquins, but I didn’t care so much because they were quite fascinating. Belthezar proves an enigmatic and mysterious character, and I enjoyed learning more about his past as the book unfolds. I never really warmed up to Annith, but the other characters (Belthezar, and the Duchess included) more than made up for it, and Mortal Heart proves a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The other two books in the His Fair Assassin series are Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart

You might also like:

The Kiss of Deception (Remnant Series) by Mary Pearson
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Extras:

  • Robin Lafevers’ website includes extras about the World of His Fair Assassin.
  • Locate Mortal Heart at a library near you on worldcat.com
  • Find more recommendations on goodreads.com

About the Author: 


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.