Friday, April 21, 2017

The Story Continues: A Crown of Wishes, Wayfarer, and The Ship Beyond Time

So many excellent sequels have come out this year, and the three we have for you today are all just divine. Have you read any of the books in these series? What did you think of the sequels?

You can find our feature of the first book in these series here and here.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Publisher / Year: St. Martin's Griffin - March 2017

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy - Romance

Source: Review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads | Amazon

The Star-Touched Queen was one of my favorite reads of 2016. The story was intricate, the setting rich, and prose beautiful.When I heard about the sequel, I was a little confused. Where was she going to take our characters now? But when I learned A Crown of Wishes was a companion novel that followed Gauri, that's when I got excited.

Gauri has enemies everywhere. The ruler of Bharata, her brother, wants her dead and so do the leaders of Ujijain, where she is imprisoned. When she is called for an audience with Vikram, the prince of Ujijain, however, things change. Together, Gauri and Vikram embark on an adventure to compete in the Tournament of Wishes and win the hearts of their people.

Once again, Roshani Chokshi captured me with the amazing places our characters encounter. The magical realms are rich, vast, and somewhat terrifying, as are the magical beings that inhabit them. I loved the way the stories of magic wove together and the unexpected twists they created in the end of the story.

Gauri and Vikram were both well-crafted, interesting characters. I loved Vikram's sense of humor and was simply delighted to see who Gauri became after losing her sister in the first book. We were introduced to many new characters in this book. The Lord of Wealth and Treasure keeps you on your toes. Aasha was my favorite new character. She was a true fighter.

This book had many themes that really resonated with me, including stories, hopes, dreams, desires, and wishes. A Crown of Wishes is as lovely a read as its predecessor.

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Publisher / Year: Disney-Hyperion - January 2017

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy - Time Travel

Source: Audible

Goodreads | Amazon

Wayfarer is the sequel to Alexandra Bracken's highly anticipated  Passenger of last year. I love time travel novels, so it was an easy sell for me.

In Passenger, Etta Spencer learns that she is a member of a time-traveling family and because of her genetics, capable of time travel. She and fellow time traveler Nicolas Carter are compelled to travel through time in order to find a stolen and powerful time-traveling artifact. 

I thought that Passenger was a lot of fun, but it definitely has a slow start. There is quite a bit of explanation and background that has to be established before Etta can even begin her time traveling adventures. After all, she didn't even know that time travelers exist. It also had a crazy anxiety-producing cliffhanger. 

Wayfarer begins not too long after the conclusion of Passenger, and the reader is thrown directly back into the world. I actually really loved Wayfarer. I liked it more than the first in the series. This second book is a bit more fast-paced because all the groundwork has already been laid. It does, however, see our two main characters split up for most of the book. I wondered if for certain readers who are very invested in Etta and Nicolas's romance the distance was too much. 

I love so many of the secondary characters that I didn't miss the interaction between Nicholas and Etta too much. Spending more time with Sophia was an absolute ball, and Julian Ironwood was an unexpected treat.

Another thing I liked about Wayfarer was the realization that Etta and Nicholas are up against a more insidious force than the Ironwood family. This upped the stakes in a much appreciated way. 

Much like the first book, Wayfarer takes our characters all over the world as they travel through time--from the Vatican catacomb of Old St. Peters, to a besieged Carthage, and a early 20th-century San Francisco. 

The Passenger series is not as mind-boggling as some other time travel series I've read. Personally, mind-boggling time-travel conundrums have never turned me off of a book, but, because this series is light on headache-inducing paradoxes, I'd recommend it even if you don't have a proclivity for time travel.

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Publisher / Year: Greenwillow Books - February 2017

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy - Time Travel

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Goodreads | Amazon

Last year we featured Passenger and Heidi Heilig's debut, The Girl from Everywhere in the same post. It seems only fitting to bring these two time travel tales together again.

I love the way time travel works in Ms. Heilig's series. To travel, the crew must obtain an original, hand-drawn map. Using that map to navigate allows the travelers to journey to the year the map was made. 

After their adventures and misfortunes in Hawaii in book one, Nix is ready to take the helm as a full-fledged Navigator. Until, that is, she learns that she is destine to lose the one she loves to the sea. Some strange run-ins during a stop in her father's native time in New York City, set Nix on a course that she hopes will change her fate.

In The Ship Beyond Time, the crew travels to a mythical island off the coast of Brittany. I absolutely love this element of Ms. Heilig's world--because time travel is done through maps, a Navigator can take his or her ship to a land of fantasy provided the original mapmaker believed that place existed.

I absolutely devoured The Ship Beyond Time, and, once again, I liked it better than the first book in the the series. I loved seeing how the myth and reality mingled and how the fairy tale story continually bubbled to the surface despite all attempts to thwart it. 

The Ship Beyond Time does have quite a bit of the mind-boggling time-travel paradoxes that I love, and it was so fun to see how the author brought history and mythology together. 

A Crown of Wishes reviewed by Paige.
Wayfarer and The Ship Beyond Time reviewed by JoLee.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Connections: Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba

Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba

Publisher / Year: St. Martin's Press - October 2016

Genre: Nonfiction/ History

Source: Review copy from NetGalley

Goodreads | Amazon

Anne Sebba explores what the life was life for Parisian women during World War II. The book is both narrow and broad in its scope. I really love when this is the case in nonfiction history books, and what I mean by this statement is this: Ms. Sebba selected a specific place and a specific time, but she does such a wonderful job detailing the connectivity of events that occurred. I think so often when we study history we come at it hoping to investigate a particular event, and it is easy to forget that in the past, as in the present, there are so many factors at play.

As such, Ms. Sebba discusses the life of the upper classes and the lower classes. She writes about women who fled Paris and women who stayed. The Vichy Government is infamous for its cooperation with and adoption of Nazi mandates, and Ms. Sebba writes of women who were involved with the Vichy government and the Nazis. I especially liked the chapters about women who defied Nazi rule and worked with the resistance as spies. And, as an art historian, I appreciated that Sebba wrote about the careful (and very dangerous) preservation of France's countless irreplaceable art works as well as the artists and patrons who were complicit with the Nazis. Sebba writes about women who were wives and lovers of political figures, women who were taken to concentration camps, women who worked for the Nazis, and women who resisted in any way they could. One running theme in the book is French fashion, and it was fascinating to learn about the different roles that fashion played in the war. I also appreciated that Ms. Sebba guides the readers through the postwar years as well, discussing the presence of the U.S. Servicemen and France's efforts to rebuild.

I've read a lot of fiction that is set in France during World War II, and reading Les Parisiennes made those books so much richer for me.

The Velvet Hours: Surprisingly, it was actually the Belle Epoque portions of this book that I found to be most enriched by Les Parisiennes. As Anne Sebba sets the stage for World War II, she contrasts it with the earlier era. (featured here)

The Nightingale: The story of two sisters who cope with the war in very different ways. One sister joins the Resistance and the other is forced to house Nazis in her home. This book is definitely enriched by the true tales in Anne Sebba's book.

Lilac Girls: This book was one of my favorite books of last year. One of the central figures is based on a real woman who worked with French orphans. I thought of this novel as I read the true stories of separated families. (featured here)

Code Name Verity: Anne Sebba writes about the transfer pilots in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force who flew in and out France during the war and the spies who sent information back to Britain from France--women who had jobs like Verity and Maddie. (featured here)

All the Light We Cannot See: A young French girl and her father flee Nazi-occupied Paris with the Museum of Natural History's famous jewel. The Nazis' insatiable appetite for famous art and artifacts and the Parisians' attempts to safeguard them were some of my favorite parts in Les Parisiennes.

Rose Under Fire: When Rose is imprisoned in Ravensbruck, one of the first friends she makes is a French woman. Anne Sebba writes about the many women who were sent to Ravensbruck and the brave things and terrible things they did there. (featured here)

P.S. More World War II Wednesdays.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Reading on a Theme: What the Dead Left Behind

We have five brand new books today that deal with grief and loss and the people and objects the dead left behind. This post is full of amazing books, and I mean that with full sincerity. One word of caution, make sure you have a box of tissues at hand.

P.S. More What the Dead Left Behind posts.

A Camera:
Letters to the Lost is the story of two teens who start a correspondence when Juliet leaves a letter to her dead mother on her grave and Declan writes back. At first Juliet is enraged that anyone would disturb her letters but soon she and Declan are bonding and relying on one another through their anonymous missives. Letters to the Lost is achingly good. It is full of heartache and hope and delivered so many emotions. The book is a cross between a more serious version of You've Got Mail and The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter--two things I love. Plus, Brigid Kemmerer is from Maryland, and I always love discovering local authors. Letters to the Lost is out April 4th, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.

A Cigar Box:
Megan Brown is dealing with the pain of losing her brother, Tyler, but when new information about his death comes to light, it's like losing him all over again. She seeks comfort in his belongings, only to find herself having visions when she touches certain things of Tyler's. What are the objects trying to tell her and what can she do about it? The Hidden Memory of Objects is a glorious piece of magical realism. The details really brought it home for me. I loved that Megan was a collage artist who collected little things wherever she went. Danielle Amato also created some really memorable characters. I especially loved Eric (I think you will too). The Hidden Memory of Objects is out March 21st, 2017. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Secrets and Lies:
Bridge and Wil were once inseparable. Playground friendship turned to teenage romance until the night everything changed. A year later, they're practically strangers. Can their relationship be salvaged? Will tragedy bring them together? Bridge and Wil's story is laced with heart break and tragedy. Mistakes are made, hearts are broken, and lives are shattered. I found The End of Our Story both compelling and intense (too intense at times). I loved the way Meg Haston told the story from Bridge's perspective in the present and Wil's in the past. The dual narrative enhanced the mystery and allowed the story to unfold slowly. The End of Our Story is out April 4th, 2017. Review copy from Edelweiss.

The anniversary of Trixie's death is quickly approaching, but Lucy and Ben are still trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. They are forced to confront their feelings when they find themselves working together for the summer. In The Last Thing You Said, Sara Biren explores the different ways people deal with loss. The things Ben and Lucy do to cope aren't always the healthiest choices, but I appreciated how realistic they are and how well they fit the characters. My favorite thing about the book is the "Trixies"-- the stories Lucy tells to keep Trixie's memory alive. These stories are magical and so sweet. I absolutely loved this book. The Last Thing You Said is out April 4th, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.

A Text Message:
After being completely blown away by Jeff Zenter's debut, The Serpent King, his next book, Goodbye Days, secured a spot near the top of my most anticipated books of the year list. Carver Briggs' three best friends all died in a car crash. The driver was replying to a text that Carver had just sent. Now Carver is dealing with loss and guilt and a possible criminal investigation. You guys, this book is an emotional read. I think I was crying within the first couple of pages, and then every few chapters the tears would start all over again. I loved so much about this book, but one of my very favorite things was the portrayal of a tight group of guy friends. Goodbye Days is out March 7th, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.

Letters to the Lost and Goodbye Days reviewed by JoLee.
The Hidden Memory of Object, The End of Our Story, and The Last Thing You Said reviewed by Paige.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Reading on a Theme: Cemeteries and Funerals

I'm a little surprised how easy it was to put this Reading on a Theme together. All of the main characters in these books have a closer connection to the funeral business than most. Turns out growing up in a funeral home or cemetery or attending your own funeral makes for a very interesting novel.               

Life in the Funeral Home:
Growing up in a funeral home and being saddled with the nickname Graveyard Gabe has made it difficult for Gabe to make friends. Bree is her one true companion until she starts dating the very boy that gave Gabe her hated nickname. How can Gabe be a good friend when Bree is making decisions that Gabe is certain will have dangerous consequences? And why has Bree gone MIA just when Gabe needs her advice to navigate her first boy/girl relationship? Jolene Perry's novel about what true friendship means and how to confront death and keep on living is a story with plenty of quirk and lots of heart. All the Forever Things is out April 1st. Review copy from NetGalley.

An Agent of Death:
Leigh already felt like she was an agent of death before her father went and bought a cemetery. Now that she's working for the family business dealing with burials and grieving families everyday that whole agent-of-death-thing is feeling truer than ever. Six Feet Over It is equally tragic and poignant. Leigh, in dealing with her past and the death around her, must come to accept death's place in life. It's not an easy lesson, and at times I felt like I was wading through Leigh's depression with her. Dario is the little piece of light, but you worry that Leigh's feelings for him might end up crushing her even more. Jennifer Longo's book is very character driven. As a reader you ache for Leigh to pull it together and reach out. In the end, I think Leigh will be okay.

Attending Your Own Funeral:
Denton has always know what day he would die. Everyone knows their deathdate. And, although Denton will die when he's only 17, he's done his best to have a normal life. Denton Little's Deathdate begins in the early morning hours on the day before Denton will die. Denton thought he was prepared for death, but it turns out that giving your own eulogy at your own funeral and attending your own sit-in is pretty weird and kind of uncomfortable. And, as the hours tick closer to the close of the Denton's deathdate, the carefully crafted threads of Denton's life begin to completely unravel in ways that are both hilarious and painful. Lance Rubin's book is so crazy and awfully funny.

Murder in the Cemetery:
Lily Graves lives in a funeral home with her mom, aunt, and oma. She fully intends to take over the family business someday. Lily is one spoke of a love triangle that includes Matt, a popular jock, and Erin of high-school royalty. Erin is murdered and all the evidence seems to point to Lily and Matt. So Lily and her best friend and true crimes lover, Sara, set out to clear Lily's name.
The Secrets of Lily Graves is a book that you can't say too much about because it's best to avoid all possible spoilers. I will say that Lily is a great character. Her quirks make her interesting, but she's also incredibly likeable and a fantastic narrator. Sarah Strohmeyer's mystery is nice and twisty. I thought I had it all figured out early on, but I was wrong.

Raised by Ghosts:
This is the story of Nobody Owens. Although he is human, he is raised in a graveyard by his adoptive parents who are ghosts.
With his parents and guardian Silas watching over him, Bod meets lots of ghosts, discovers the secrets of the graveyard, and is learns to Fade and Haunt. The Graveyard Book is like a book of short stories about Bod's life, the crazy characters he meets in the graveyard, and growing up among the dead. These short stories are woven together by the end of the novel as we see characters and situations come back to play a major role in Bod's escape from the man Jack. I love Neil Gaiman. His books are so creative and just the right amount of weird.

All books review by JoLee. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Story Continues: Blood for Blood and Silver Stars

Last year, during our first World War II Week, we did a Reading a Theme featuring five books that take the World War II era into the realm of speculative fiction. In the last few months sequels came out for two of our favorite books from that post. Here we share our thoughts on Blood for Blood, the sequel to Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin and Silver Stars, the sequel to Front Lines by Michael Grant.

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Publisher / Year: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - November 2016

Genres: Young Adult Historical Fantasy

Source: My local library

Goodreads | Amazon


Ryan Graudin's Wolf by Wolf series imagines what the world would be like if Hitler and the Axis Powers had won the war. I really enjoyed Wolf by Wolf. In fact, I liked it so much that I passed the book along to several of my friends and then selected it as my book club pick last June. (Good discussion, by the way. It turned out to be a excellent book club choice.) When I read Wolf by Wolf, I found myself absolutely fascinated by Adele. She's not really in the book, and yet, she is so very present. I wanted to know why Adele would have entered the Axis Tour, disguised as her twin brother, how she got away with it, and what exactly went down between her and Luka. So, I read the e-novella Iron to Iron as I not-so patiently waited for Blood For Blood. I never read e-novella (seriously, never), so the fact that I made an exception here says a lot about how much I liked the Wolf by Wolf (and how curious I was about Adele).

With Wolf by Wolf and Iron to Iron under my belt, I was all geared up for Blood For Blood. The second in the series opens just seconds after the final moments in Wolf by Wolf. Yael has successfully killed the faux-Hitler and in the process discovered that he is, in fact, a faux-Hitler. When Yael flees the scene, Luka follows her, and because of him the two get captured. Meanwhile, Felix has been dragged into the investigation and agrees to cooperate if the SS will spare his family.

So... my feelings about this sequel were kind of mixed. On the one hand, I was really impressed with how Ryan Graudin worked things so that she could keep the three main characters together. I also liked the reintroduction of a figure from Yael's past. For the most part, the way that the plot proceeded and the twists and turns, and the way that Project 85 had become central to the Reich's all really worked for me. I especially liked the climax where Luka puts all the pieces together.

However, I felt that this book suffered from a growing pain that I see a lot in dystopia and fantasy series. Many of those books start out with a first book that is focused on a single character and a singular mission. Consider The Hunger Games. Book One is all about Katniss getting through those games. In this series, book one was centered on Yael and the Axis Tour. In many of these series, once that first mission is accomplished, the focus of the next book (or two) is overthrowing the whole empire. (Consider Mockingjay as an example.) And, it seems to me, that such a large jump is really hard to do. I could really feel the big jump in this sequel.

Silver Stars by Michael Grant

Publisher / Year: Katherine Tegen Books - January 2017

Genres: Young Adult Historical Fiction / Alternate History

Source: Review copy from publisher via Edelweiss

Goodreads | Amazon

In his Front Lines series, Michael Grant imagines what the war would have been like if women had been eligible for the draft and fought on the front. His series follows three girls serving in the armed forces. Rio is in the army. She is a tough and a very good soldier. Frangie is a medic. She is also African-America and serves in an all-Black unit. Rainy is in intelligence. She knows several languages and goes undercover behind enemy lines. She is also Jewish, which adds an extra layer of danger to her missions.

One thing I love about this series is how Grant confronts the attitudes and prejudices experienced by his soldier girls. The issues of gender, race, and religion are navigated in a way that feels so truthful and really makes the reader consider how all of this would have gone down if it really happened.

In book one the characters spent a lot of time gearing up for war, and now, in book two, they are all seasoned soldiers. Silver Stars is dedicated to war and all its brutality, heroism, fear, and boredom. Personally, I often get a little bogged down by books with battle scene after battle scene, and I did feel that a little in this book. There is a lot of fighting. Also, in some ways this book is hard to read because the characters are put through such traumatic situations. Rainy's story line, especially, was absolutely terrifying both because of the ineptitude of her superiors and the physical danger she was in.

We see a lot of growth in the characters in this book. Rio, especially, is something of a symbol of how war changes a person. It's not necessary for better or for worse, she's just changed, and some characters are less okay with that than others. Rio has also grown up a lot over the last few months. She was underage when she enlisted and didn't really have a sense of who she was. Now she's having to figure that out on the battlefield.
I really like all of the characters, but Frangie just might be my favorite of the three. I'd love to spend more time with her. The narration moves between the three main characters, but my favorite parts are when the characters' story lines intersect.

Blood for Blood and Silver Stars reviewed by JoLee.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Story Continues: Trouble is a Friend of Mine, Lock & Mori: Mind Games, & The Last of August

Last year one of my very favorite Reading on a Themes, was the one that I put together with a bunch of YA Sherlock Holmes retellings. I loved reading all of those books. We had Sherlock Holmes as girl. Watson as a girl. Sherlock Holmes in Australia. Sherlock Holmes at board school. Sherlock Holmes teaming up with Moriarty. That was a seriously fun post. Sequels for three of the five books in the original post were published in the last few months, and I couldn't resist bringing them together for an encore.

Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly

Publisher / Year: Kathy Dawson Books - November 2016

Genres: YA Mystery 

Source: I purchased this book with my own money

Goodreads | Amazon

I absolutely loved Stephanie Tromly's debut novel, Trouble is a Friend of Mine. When I heard it was getting a sequel that was basically my dream come true. Trouble Makes a Comeback begins four months after the conclusion of the first book in the series. Zoe has settled into a semblance of a normal high school life. She has new friends, an after-school job, and a boyfriend. She's convinced herself that she is content with this less-zany, Digby-less existence. And then Digby returns.

Digby's reappearance throws a wrench in Zoe's "I'm totally normal" plan. Where Digby is concerned, Zoe has very little self-control. Digby has new information on the case of his missing sister, and the usually shenanigans ensure--Digby shows up, convinces Zoe to go sleuthing with him, they get in some scrape, narrowly escape, and then repeat the process all over again. There's also the unresolved issue of book one's kiss. Talk about tension.

Reading Trouble Makes a Comeback was like hanging out with an old friend. I opened the book and then basically did not stop smiling until I finished it. I am a sucker for smart, snappy dialog, and Ms. Tromly really delivers. Every scene with Zoe and Digby in it is such a treat. I'd read about them doing laundry together. They are that entertaining. But in all seriousness, the plot of this book really moves along and delivers some unforeseen twists and turns. I love Zoe's narration and all the side characters in Zoe and Digby's little gang of misfits. The scenes between Zoe and Sloane were some of my favorite. I also, somewhat unexpectedly, really enjoyed having Cooper around. It's good to have a solid grown-up or two in a book like this.

I'm really excited for the sequel. I'm sure I'll be grinning through that one as well.

Lock & Mori: Mind Games by Heather W. Petty

Publisher / Year: Simon & Schuster - December 2016

Genres: YA Mystery / Retelling

Source: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads | Amazon

After nearly dying at her father's hands, Mori wants nothing more than for her father to rot in jail, but she knows that her James Moriarty is more than capable of hurting his family even from behind bars. Several of the police officers on the case are friends with Mori's father and would love nothing more than to poke several holes in Mori's story. Protestors are camped out in front of the Moriarty home, and Mori starts receiving threatening letters and weird photographs. No, Mori definitely does not feel safe.

There are a few bright spots. Sherlock Holmes continues to be a stolid friend (boyfriend?), even as Mori debates whether or not she should push him away for his own sake, and Mori's mother's friend, Alice, arrives in town complete with a forged custody file that will allow Mori's brothers to stay in their home.

I was not expecting to like this sequel so much. I absolutely flew through this book. I enjoyed the first book in the series, but it was a little dark for me (there was some heavy stuff in the first book), and I remember feeling like I wasn't quite jiving with the writing. I don't know if I was just in the right place this time around or if something changed behind the scenes, but I am now completely sold on this series.

One thing I absolutely love about this series is how complicated Mori is. The reader can easily see how Mori could go down path that will lead to the amorality we associate with Sherlock Holmes's nemesis. In fact, Mori clearly identifies and struggles with this aspect of her personality as well. The result is that the relationship between Lock and Mori is so fraught. I just so badly want them to be happy, but I can see the tragedy coming.

The twists at the end of this book kind of killed me. I need the next book in the series.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

Publisher / Year: Katherine Tegen Books - February 2017

Genres: YA Mystery / Retelling

Source: ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Goodreads | Amazon

Brittany Cavallaro's first novel, A Study in Charlotte, was one of my favorite debuts of the 2016. I just loved everything about that book. I loved the boarding school setting, and the literary writing, and the relationship between Charlotte and Jamie complicated as it is with all their family history. I was eagerly anticipating the sequel.

Book two is set during Jamie and Charlotte's Christmas break, and they are back in England spending time with family. Things get icy for the duo when they go to Charlotte's family estate in Sussex. Between weird conversations with Charlotte's parents, Charlotte's mother's poor health, and Charlotte's inaccessibility, Jamie is having a very uncomfortable stay. The only glimmer of light in this weird visit is Charlotte's uncle Leander who is a brilliant detective and Jamie's father's best friend and former roommate. And then Leander goes missing. Charlotte and Jamie jet straightaway to Berlin where Leander was working undercover rooting out a forgery ring. The Moriartys are, of course, the prime suspects.

As much as I hate to say it, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. And that is so painful to say because I was looking forward to it so much! I think the book suffered from the expanded world. Watson and Holmes made so much sense at boarding school, but gallivanting around Europe? It just didn't feel as authentic. Then there is this worrisome ever-increasing darkness in Charlotte (oh, I suppose it was always there but Jamie used to be able to temper it). I'm afraid this series is turning into a tragedy! In that sense, it reminded me a lot of Mind Games, which I just reviewed above and I really like the tragedy in that series, but it's like a knife to the heart in this one.

There were some things that I really enjoyed about this book. I really liked the whole art forgery aspects (art historian, here) and settled on thinking of Hans Langenberg as a German Edward Hopper. The grand finale at the art auction was also very entertaining and funny. Also, I loved the chapters that Charlotte narrated so, so much. It was good to have a break from angsty Jamie. (Although, I mostly blame Charlotte's head games for poor Jamie's wallowing.) But be warned, the ending is pretty brutal.

All books reviewed by JoLee.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Recently Acquired Books from All Sources

We are joining the folks over at Tynga's Reviews for their Stacking the Shelves feature.

From the Library:

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh:
I've heard a million good things about this retelling of 1001 Nights. I finally decided to read it because Renee Ahdieh is coming to a book event I'm hoping to attend.

Three Dark Crown by Kendare Blake:
I was so excited when I saw that the library recently got this book on audio. I reserved a copy on Overdrive right away.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore:
I loved Graceling and Fire, and I have been meaning to read the third in the series for ages. When I saw this book come up on my library's "Recently Acquired" Overdrive shelf, I rejoiced because I knew that I would finally be able to finish the series. I really enjoyed this book. It made me feel so nostalgic for the first two books.

From Audible:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi:
This was the book club pick for February. I listened to this book in one day. It's only 5 hours long, so that's less of an accomplishment than it sounds, but I was not expecting to be as consumed by this book as I was. It was an excellent book club pick. We talked about it for about three hours.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber:
This book has received so much hype. I've been eager to read it ever since it was all the rage at BEA in May, so I downloaded on the day it came out. I thought Caraval was a lot of fun. I'm definitely game for the sequel.

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken:
I enjoyed this sequel to Passenger even more than the first in the series. For a time travel series, I feel like this series is a little short on the more mind-bending aspects of time travel, so it would be a great pick even for people who aren't huge fans of the genre.

For Review:

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray:
I loved the Firebird Series so much that now I feel like I am game for anything that Claudia Gray writes. This book takes place in space and one of the characters is an AI. I'm sold. (Out April 4th, 2017)

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares:
I'm intrigued by the premise of this book. It's about a broken family that shares the same beach house year and year, never crossing paths. I'm hoping for a book with the feel of We Were Liars or Even in Paradise. (Out April 25, 2017)

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia:
I really enjoyed Francesca Zappia's debut novel, Made You Up, and so I'm eager to read something by her again. Also, this book is about a girl who is the anonymous creator of a webcomic, and I like that idea. (Out May 30, 2017)

More of Me by Kathryn Evans:
This book is about a girl who unwillingly clones herself every year due to a genetic abnormality. It got great reviews when it was published in the UK, and the premise reminds me of a Cat Patrick book, and I am a fan. (Out June 13, 2017)

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