Waiting On Wednesday (September 17)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which has an expected release date of February 24, 2015.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

Victoria Schwab has quickly become one of my authors to watch. Her magical worlds are completely enthralling (as The Archived proved), and her characterization – especially moral ambiguity – is spot on (as shown in Vicious). As a result, I’m incredibly excited to see what A Darker Shade of Magic holds – especially since there’s magic and parallel universes involved.

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below.

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Top Ten Authors I Need To Read More From

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.

This week’s topic is “top ten authors I’ve only read one book from but NEED to read more.” This was pretty difficult to compile; usually, I stick with reading my favourite authors, and when I discover an author that I adore, I tend to seek out all the rest of their books.

1. Marissa Meyer
I’ve only read Cinder, but have heard so many good things about the rest of the Lunar Chronicles that I should probably get on reading them!

2. Lauren Myracle
While I wasn’t a huge fan of The Infinite Moment of Us, I’ve been told that her Winnie Years series is definitely worth reading.

3. Laurie Halse Anderson
I liked The Impossible Knife of Memory, but have yet to read her other books… despite having been given them as recommendations SO many times.

4. Sarra Manning
I gushed over Adorkable for so long, but still haven’t picked up another one of Manning’s books. I think it’s because I honestly have no idea where to start, but I’m hopefully going to remedy this soon!

5. Jandy Nelson
The Sky is Everywhere is a book that’s quite dear to me, so now that I’ll Give You the Sun has finally been released, it’s definitely going to be given the opportunity to break my heart.

6. Ruta Sepetys
I finally got around to reading Out of the Easy this year, and it was just as amazing as everyone saidBetween Shades of Grey is on my wishlist, so hopefully I’ll give it a read sometime soon!

7. Cat Winters
In the Shadow of Blackbirds was deliciously creepy and atmospheric – the kind of book that I’d love to read more of. The Cure for Dreaming is definitely on my need-to-read list… if only October weren’t so far away!

8. Barry Lyga
I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t finished reading his Jasper Dent series – especially given how much I enjoyed I Hunt Killers. I’ve been delaying watching season two of Hannibal (it’s far too creepy to watch alone!) so binge reading the rest of the series may just be my next priority.

9. Brenna Yovanoff
Her stories in The Curiosities were so creepy yet enthralling, so I’d love to see what a complete novel by her would be like!

10. Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus is one of my absolute favourite books, so I’m desperately waiting for Morgenstern to release another. Preferably soon and about the circus, but I’d be fine with anything, really.

Which authors do you NEED to read more from? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post in the comments below.

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if you like… TRAVEL

If You Like... graphicWelcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

Do you like to travel to different places and experience new things, or is it something you’ve always dreamed of doing? If the answer is yes, then you’ve come to the right place!

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With foreign settings, exciting adventures, and new perspectives, these books are sure to satisfy your inner wanderer!

eat, pray, love coverEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

This fantastically written memoir transports you to three distinct locations: Italy, India, and Indonesia. Not only are Gilbert’s experiences thoroughly entertaining, but they also make you think about what you value in life and how you view the world.

 

 

are we there yet coverAre We There Yet? by David Levithan.

This heart-warming novel tells the tale of two brothers as they journey to Italy for a bonding getaway. Overflowing with Italian culture and family dynamics, Are We There Yet? is a great read for anyone in the mood for a quick little vacation of their own.

 

 

13 little blue envelopes cover13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

Take a journey around Europe with this quirky novel about a girl who finds mysterious instructions in a series of envelopes. You’ll want to embark on a trip of your own after reading this lighthearted, exciting story.

 

I hope you enjoy these recommendations! What books would you recommend to people who like to travel? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Book Review: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.

2.5 cupcakes

Landry Park reminded me a lot of Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars, which I thoroughly enjoyed. As a result, Landry Park had high expectations to live up to — and, unfortunately, it didn’t quite meet them.

Landry Park reads as if it were historical fiction, complete with class conflict, debutante balls, and all. The world’s power stems from nuclear technology, and the society is ruled by a caste system. Imagine my surprise, then, when I find out that this book takes place in the future — in the 2300s to be exact. How the social norms, technology, and fashion regressed until they resembled the 1800s is beyond me, since the world-building was severely lacking on that front. A war with China was mentioned, along with coastal flooding, but the two were not assembled into a coherent reason as to how society came to be this way. While that may be because the main character didn’t know much about it herself, it was difficult to reconcile the futuristic setting with the customs and mannerisms of the time.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the high society scenes; given my love for period dramas and books set in the 1800s, I enjoyed reading about the ball gowns and the drama that came with a debut into society. My only complaint is that these scenes grossly overshadowed the main plot involving the Rootless and the “resistance,” making certain characters’ involvement seem half-hearted at best.

Our protagonist, Madeleine, is a member of the gentry. She wants for nothing, and dreams of attending university before she assumes control of her family’s estate. While she certainly is intelligent, her mind becomes preoccupied with thoughts of a certain boy, and the subsequent love square (or pentagon) started to irritate me. Madeleine’s weak attempts to convince us that she cares for the lower class did little to separate her from countless other heroines, making her rather forgettable.

I was very happy to see that the gentry and society members were rather diverse: society members are from all racial backgrounds, with most of them being mixed-race, and there was even the inclusion of a gay character.

Overall, Landry Park did little to distinguish itself from the many other dystopian novels out there, making it a mostly entertaining but forgettable read.

Blog Tour + Review: Playing With Matches by Suri Rosen

playingwithmatches_tour14 (1)

When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she’s sent to live with her strict aunt — but Raina feels like she’s persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she’s a social pariah at her new school. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous “MatchMaven,” Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One.

Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her tanking grades mean a second expulsion? In her debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself.

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My Review:

Playing With Matches immerses readers into an Orthodox Jewish community, which is something that I am incredibly unfamiliar with. As a result, I was a bit wary about giving it a read; after all, what if all of the references go completely over my head? Thankfully, my fears were completely unfounded. The narration was both interesting and informative, allowing me to follow the story with ease.

Rain was an easy character to sympathize with. Her narration was quirky and cute, and I loved watching how her role as Matchmaven changed her from a self-absorbed teenager to someone considerably more considerate. I also enjoyed how Rain was not given a love interest; the focus of the story was on her relationship with her family and clients, and I feel as though her involvement in a romantic relationship would have taken away from that.

Overall, Playing With Matches was a cute, light, fun read. I look forward to seeing what Suri Rosen writes next!

Thanks to ECW Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

back-to-school books.

tumblr_m7os6o9Iwi1qm5bjko2_500It’s September, and you all know what that means: back-to-school season has arrived!

The excitement of going back to school does not last forever, though. I’ve only been back for around two weeks and I’m already feeling the monotony of routine take over. If you’re bored like my friend Sherlock there (and yes, he is my friend) then you should check out some of these books that remind me of this time of year. For some reason I always associate these books with going back to school- maybe it’s just me, or maybe there’s some logic to it. I’ll let you decide!

perks coverThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

Everything about this book makes me think of going back to school- the story itself, the movie, and even the soundtrack. It’s such a great coming-of-age story that I just can’t help but love it.

 

 

will grayson, will grayson coverWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

This novel follows the adventures of an eclectic group of friends who experience so many unlikely coincidences that you start to wonder if it’s actually meant to be. And, of course, a lot of it takes place during school.

 

 

crunch time coverCrunch Time by Mariah Fredericks.

Crazy stuff happens when these four teens take the SAT for the first time- and someone is accused of cheating! This one is sure to remind you of your test-taking days.

 

 

paper covers rock coverPaper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard.

You all know how much I love a good boarding school book- and that’s exactly what this novel is! A bittersweet mixture of tragedy and hope, this story is seeping with school-days nostalgia.

 

 

the raven boysThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

For some strange reason, I always think of school when I think of this book. Regardless, I definitely recommend it!

 

 

I hope you enjoy these recommendations! With any luck they’ll keep the back-to-school blues at bay for at least a little while longer!

What books remind you of school? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Book Review: Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

Okay, I admit it…I didn’t do it.

Yet.

This is normal, right?  I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

3.5 cupcakes

Virgin is one of the first new adult novels I’ve read and, to be honest, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s informative, laugh out loud funny, and so, so realistic.

Society places a large amount of pressure on women to have sex but it also places an equal amount of pressure to not have sex; either way, it seems as though you can’t win by societal standards. Virgin certainly addresses this dichotomy: while Ellie is preoccupied with losing her virginity (and, honestly, who hasn’t been?), her friends are sexually active. This allows Virginto provide an open and honest discussion about sexuality, without slut-shaming or virgin-shaming.

Sanghani wasn’t afraid to gloss over the awkward details: from Brazilian waxes to vibrators, she describes everything that women worry about when it comes to sex. This made for some amusing-yet-informative moments, and I could definitely identify with a lot of Ellie’s anxieties and questions.

Female friendships were represented more than the romance, which was something I adored. Ellie’s relationships with her best friends were positive and healthy, without any secret hatred or jealousy.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Virgin. It was an excellent start to my foray into the world of new adult novels!