Waiting on Wednesday (November 19)

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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 We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler, which has an expected publication date of February 3, 2015.

Mega-bestselling author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) gives us his long-awaited and most ambitious novel yet: a dark, rollicking, stunningly entertaining human comedy.

A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.

Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.

Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.

Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.

Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.

We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.

Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.

I absolutely love A Series of Unfortunate Events, so I’m naturally excited for We Are Pirates – even if it’s targeted at a slightly older age group. And if the pirates are anything like Hook from Once Upon A Time, I’ll be quite satisfied with it.

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 Sequels I Can’t Wait To Read

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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 sequels you can’t wait to get.”

 

Which sequels are on your wishlist? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post in the comments below.

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Review | The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

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“She was fire, she was darkness, she was dust and blood and shadow.”

The Assassin’s Blade is easily my favourite book in the Throne of Glass series. I had initially read the set of e-novellas before starting the series, which I definitely recommend doing; they lend so much depth to Celaena’s character. They’re just as powerful when you know the continuation of Celaena’s story in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, though, as you can see how the events in this collection shape her actions and the person that she is today.

Over the course of these novellas, which are set before the events in Throne of Glass, Celaena undergoes a tremendous amount of growth. It was thoroughly enjoyable watching her transformation from an arrogant assassin who blindly follows orders to someone who makes decisions based on her moral centre, placing her compassion for others fully on display. My favourite part, though, was watching her develop tentative relationships, especially her hate-to-love relationship with Sam Cortland, a rival assassin. Even though I knew it was going to completely crush my heart when I got to The Assassin and the Empire.

The Assassin’s Blade also gives readers a better feel for the world that Celaena inhabits. While much of Throne of Glass was spent in the castle, The Assassin’s Blade takes readers all across the continent: from Skull’s Bay to the Red Desert, so many elements of this world were open for exploration.

Overall, The Assassin’s Blade is a wonderfully written introduction to the world that Sarah J. Maas has created, and I highly, highly recommend giving it a read.

Waiting on Wednesday (November 12)

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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 More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, which has an expected release date of June 16, 2015.

Happiness shouldn’t be this hard

When it first gets announced, the Leteo Institute’s memory-alteration procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto – miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor, how his friends all seem to shrug him off, and how his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. He has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession over the Scorpius Hawthorne books and has a sweet movie set-up on his roof. There are nicknames. Aaron’s not only able to be himself, but happiness feels easy with Thomas. The love Aaron discovers may cost him what’s left of his life, but since Aaron can’t suddenly stop being gay Leteo may be the only way out…

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut novel offers a unique confrontation of race, class and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

This book had me at “YA Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” It sounds sweet and poignant, and I’m sure that it’s going to break my heart (which, as strange as it may sound, is a huge plus in my books).

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 Characters That Deserve Their Own Book

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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 characters you wish would get their own book.”

1. The Mauraders
They just seem like they went on the best adventures, so I’d love to read about all of the pranks they pulled. And see more of Sirius.

2. Brimstone
Between the sketchy people he receives teeth from and the days of living with the other chimaera, I’m sure Brimstone has seen a lot of interesting (and possibly mysterious) things.

3. Finnick (or any of the other victors).
I absolutely loved reading about the Games, so it’d be really neat to see what all of the other victors’ arenas were like.

4. The Darkling
Given that he’s my absolute favourite villain, it should come as no surprise that I would happily read an entire series about his childhood (or anything else involving him).

5. Tiny Cooper
I’m slightly cheating on this one, since I know David Levithan is planning to write a spin-off about him, but I’m in full support of it!

6. Poppet and Widget
To be completely honest, I’d accept absolutely anything set in the Circus again… but it would be rather neat to see the Night Circus from the perspective of two people who have grown up there.

7. Max
This would absolutely break my heart, but in the best possible way.

8. Rowan
I know that we just met him, but as an immortal Fae, it’d be wonderful to learn more about his pre-Celeana adventures.

9. Count Olaf / The V.F.D.
It’s not just a Volunteer Fire Department, after all.

10. Gandalf
On so many occasions in the books, he goes off by himself to do important things, so it’d be nice to see what those were.

Which characters would you like to see more of? Leave me a list or a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post in the comments below.

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Book Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

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“They rattled my cage to see if I’d bite. When they released me, they’d see that the answer is yes.”

Although there were many elements of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer that I didn’t enjoy, that awful cliffhanger ending made it so that I just had to pick up The Evolution of Mara Dyer. And, thankfully, it was a much better read.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer is much more plot-focused than romance-driven, allowing for a plethora of creepy scenes and paranormal occurrences. Between creepy dolls, crows falling from the sky, and threatening messages written in blood, it’s easy to see why I was completely absorbed in the story. My only complaint is that, at times, there seemed to be too much plot, causing the story to feel drawn out over its 500+ pages. The twist at the ending was also painfully obvious, and wasn’t quite as good as what I had imagined, but the intense cliffhanger ending kind of made up for that.

Unreliable narrators are my favourite, and Mara is no exception. Over the course of the story, readers aren’t exactly certain what is truly happening and what is just in Mara’s head – and that just makes it all the more interesting.

I was surprised to find that I actually really enjoyed the relationship between Mara and Noah this time around, mostly because it was a portion of a plot instead of the main focus of the novel. Noah has shown tremendous character growth, and is clearly good for Mara – he truly cares about her, and often is what grounds her in reality. I loved how willing he was to help her; I just wish that his help didn’t always involve throwing money at the problem.

Overall, despite its flaws, I can’t wait to continue this series. Even if it does mean painfully waiting until November for The Retribution of Mara Dyer to finally be released. (Seriously, someone should have warned me about that before I binge-read the first two books…)

Review | Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father’s home in 1820′s Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father’s assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they’re letting on.

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Given that Annabel Lee was one of my favourite poems in high school, I was incredibly excited to read Of Monsters and Madness. Unfortunately, this retelling failed to deliver the creepy, Gothic mystery that I was expecting.

In a retelling, it is expected that authors will take certain liberties, both with characters and plot points. In this case, though, the only elements of the original Poe stories were the character names and the inclusion of his most famous lines and less-than-subtle references to his works. That’s not to say that the storyline is highly original though; in fact, the majority of the plot points were derived from Frankenstein and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. As a result, the mystery (if you can call it that, since the murderer is revealed in the preface) was extremely predictable.

I wasn’t a fan of the protagonist, Annabel. She’s incredibly meek and constantly seeks the approval of her father. She’s considerate and caring, but these traits stopped being admirable when the plot became a running tally of Annabel’s acts of kindness and not a murder mystery.

The rest of the characters were just as bland – especially Annabel’s love interest, Allan. This instalove-fuelled relationship made sense given Annabel’s sheltered life and desire for affection, but the lack of chemistry made it feel contrived and unconvincing.

Overall, Of Monsters and Madness was an incredibly disappointing read. If you’re a Poe purist, you should probably avoid giving this a read.