Coming This Week: Aug. 31

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I feel like this (^) shouldn’t be that funny, but I giggled for a while.

Anyway, the move to OK continues! We’re one step closer in having my husbands car back and will have an apartment soon, yay!

This week, for book discussions you’ll see:

I really need to stop reading Anderson’s stuff, it always makes me sad – but in a good way. I finished reading The Vanishing Season sitting in the airport waiting to fly to TX from HI (after like a 4 hour delay since they cancelled our original flight) and it left me so sad! I had to eat a cookie to feel a bit better.

Anyway, Wednesday will be this months list of the 365 Days of YA Challenge books that will be up on here.

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3 Days, 3 Quotes – 3

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I love The Winner’s Curse, and The Winner’s Crime so much. As in, whenever someone asks me for a book recommendation this series is at the top of my list. I have friends who can attest to me constantly asking them if they have read it yet.

This quote, and I have plenty others highlighted like it, is simply reflective of how beautiful the writing is. It’s lyrical and fluid while still sharp and calculating, like Kestrel.

. . . it was as if the story she had known was a rough sculpture, and her Father’s words sharp blows with a chisel, chipping details into marble until she could see the true shape hidden into he stone.

Review: Hold me Like a Breath

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Goodreads Summary:

Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.  

With the catchy title, beautiful cover, and interesting synopsis I thought this would be a gem.

I was wrong.

It wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t what I was expecting and I was left feeling let down. There was so much potential for this being a gritty and dark story, along the lines of the Unwound series. Instead I got this naïve, childish MC, who admittedly knows she is being irresponsible and stupid throughout most of the book, but is still not redeemed through her honesty.

I flat out hated her little insta-love romance, it was so ridiculously cheesy, I ended up skimming the book for those 40 pages. And not to mention that it was made even worse by her first romance in the beginning of the book that was instantly forgotten when she ran into this dream boat.

Beyond the bad romance, and the lacking MC, there were some interesting aspects to this book. I liked the new take on The Princess and the Pea, along with the recognition of a little known disease. I also enjoyed towards the end of the book when Penelope gets a bit more grown up, a bit more serious, and takes her life into her own hands instead of just whining about everything.

Even though there were some redeeming qualities to this book, I did not enjoy it enough to continue the series.

3 Days, 3 Quotes – 2

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Monday you got my nerdy history quote, and then I promised to break into books. I have so many books I adore, but I am not very good about annotating, I have only recently started doing it with my e-readers sow I’ve gone into some of the books that I have read recently to find the ones I want to highlight for these last two quotes.

 Well, I can’t stop thinking about An Ember in the Ashes, it was so good, I am so excited that there is a second one, and I can’t wait to re-read it. This quote I have seen in a lot of fan-art and edits, and it’s because it’s a good one. I love it not only because it marks a turning point for both characters, but because it serves as a reminder that your past does not define you, and that there is always room for improvement, something I think is always good to remember.

There are two kinds of guilt . . . The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel, Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. . .

Review: Jubilee Manor

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Goodreads Summary:

The thrilling conclusion to Landry Park is full of love, betrayal, and murder–perfect for fans of Divergent, The Selection, and Pride and Prejudice
 
In Landry Park, Madeline turned her back on her elite family, friends, and estate to help the Rootless. Now, in Jubilee Manor, she struggles to bring the Gentry and the Rootless together. But when Gentry heirs—Madeline’s old friends—are murdered, even she begins to think a Rootless is behind it, putting her at odds with the boy she loves and the very people she is trying to lead. If she can’t figure out who is killing her friends and bring them to justice, a violent war will erupt and even more will die—and Madeline’s name, her estate, and all the bonds she’s forged won’t make any difference.
 
This conclusion to Landry Park, which VOYA dubbed “Gone with the Wind meets The Hunger Games,” is a richly satisfying, addictive read.

I really enjoyed the first book by Hagen, Landry Park (and I just re-read this blog post and it gets a bit spoilery, so be warned!) enough to re-read it before I dove into this one, and I was not let down by this sequel/finale.

One of the things I really appreciated in the first book was the language, it’s smart. Not just cleaver and witty – and there is plenty of that – but intellectually, I was often looking up words to check their pronunciation and to make sure they meant what I thought they did. I love that even though this is a YA book it’s not dumbed down.

While there was a lot of discovery and action in the first book, this one faces the characters with more physiological challenges. There is a mystery killer to be discovered, a scientific discovery to riddle out, and the continuation of social norms to be reshaped. The sequel continued to pit Madeline and David, along with the rest of the Gentry class, against the traditional roles of the class system and how to uproot it. I really liked how we continue to see Madeline’s struggle with forging ahead with what she knows is right, facing leaving behind the inheritance she looked forward to her whole life, and dealing with her new sense of power.

She and David’s relationship was really interesting to watch as well. I loved the chemistry between the two of them in the first book, as others have concurred it’s very Darcy/Elizabeth in the way that they challenge each other yet are pulled together based on their mutual respect for one another and similar goals. They have a lot of struggles in this one, but I think their issues and how they resolved them also showed how much the characters grew. It was also ended on what I think was a great note in the epilogue.

All in all, it was not as face-paced as the first book, and again I figured out some of the major twists before they happened, but I still quite enjoyed it and know these two books will be ones that I revisit in the future. Can’t wait to see what else Hagen comes out with.

Coming This Week: Aug. 24

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Being back on the mainland is awesome! And being back in Texas is even more awesome! I also have me new car, which is just so exciting, it has a moonroof!

Anyway, For book reviews with week look out for:

 

Also, one of my favorite bloggers over at Inkcouragement tagged me in this 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge a couple weeks ago. I’ve had to think about it a bit, but I’m starting it today, and the other two will come out on Wednesday and Friday. After each quote, one is supposed to tag another blogger to take part. Well I’ve got a few blogger buddies who I’d be interested to see their responses, so I will just say that if Jennifer (who I was lucky enough to beta read for), Sierra (who I will be town-buddies with soon), or Teri over at Books & Such see this, you should defiantly go for it!

Anyway, in honor of my nominator, who was so kind as to mention how much she loves all of my useless history information, my first quote will be one that I actually had tattooed on my back (in a condensed form)  when I got my Master’s degree in history. I found it in one of the first books I read for my MA, which was for my historiography course – a class about the history of history – it’s from a man named John Earle and is about his views on Antiquarians, the first “historians,” and was published in 1628.

He is one that hath that unnatural disease to be enamored of old age, and wrinkles, and loves all things (as Dutchmen do cheese) the better for being moldy and wormeaten.

It goes on and on, and if Earle’s snark isn’t evident in this tid-bit then you can definitely pick it up in the complete version. Though it’s picking fun at Antiquarians and their love for anything old with the slightest chance of being something important, I love it, it sums up the less than glamorous way Historians are viewed outside the school, and I think even more by how we view each other, and probably even more suitable for me given my line of work.

Don’t worry, this is as nerdy as I will get, the following two will be from books.

 

Review: Dorothy Must Die

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Goodreads Summary:

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.  

This book was not what I expected, and I really liked it for that. It was so much darker than I was ready for, though with a title like that I guess I should have known better right? Well, I was still surprised, for a YA book it was a lot more twisted, gory, and in your face than I had anticipated. People were dying left and right!

The MC was really great though. I loved how tough she was, while still showing the uncertainties that come with growing up and learning to trust yourself. She was also so real, she didn’t pretend to be anything that she wasn’t and she had relatively realistic reactions to the situations she was involved in.

What really kept me from all out loving this book though was the progression. I felt the first 100 pages or so were a bit slow, dedicated to world building, introducing minor characters that you either wouldn’t see again or wouldn’t see again for a while, and generally just giving a ton of examples why Oz was so screwed up now. Then we get to the training to become a bad-ass assassin part of the book, and that was all of like 20 pages (it was longer, but that’s what it felt like to me), there was very little explanation about the magic she learned to use, and she becomes this world class fighter in all of about 6 weeks, I don’t buy that.

I did like the ending though, it added so many more layers to this story and how nothing is what it seems, and who do you trust, and how do you act when the people you trust aren’t completely honest or open with you? It’s incredibly intricate while still being a cohesive story with depth and an easy to follow chain of events with a great main character who I think is going to be able to carry this series through a lot of turmoil.