Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma


A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: A Room Away from the Wolves
Written by: Nova Ren Suma
Published: September 4, 2018 by Algonquin Young Readers

Synopsis: Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable. 

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave...
 
Why I'm Waiting:

I have only read one Nova Ren Suma book but it freaking blew my mind. I have been wanting to read more of her books since then. I mean she wrote a totally fantastic thriller with an ending that had me totally reeling after finishing. And like three years later I think I'm still not entirely sure what happened. This is not a common occurrence for me so I'm always trying to recreate that feeling.

But even if I wasn't super pumped to read more books by this author, I would probably want to read this book because that synopsis sounds amazing! I am such a sucker for books that mention houses with dark secrets and mysterious pasts. I love thinking about what may have happened in the old Victorian house I live in so I love thinking about that for other houses. I can't wait to read it!

I am definitely going to be picking up a copy of this book. I was rejected on Netgalley which was a total bummer but I am hoping that there will be copies at ALA. But either way I am planning to get my hands on this book because it sounds so fantastic and I definitely need to read it.


What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on A Room Away from the Wolves along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Top Ten Tuesdays: Characters with Unique and Interesting Names

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl


1.) Celaena Sardothian and basically everyone in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
2.) Sophronia Temenick and basically everyone in every book by Gail Carriger
3.) Safiya fon Hasstrel, Isuelt det Midenzi and basically every character in The Witchlands by Susan Dennard
4.) Kvothe and basically everyone in The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss


5.) Agnieszka in Uprooted by Naomi Novik
6.) Tric in The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff
7.) Prosperity Oceanus Redding in The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken



8.) Inej Ghafa in Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
9.) Adelina Amouteru in The Young Elites by Marie Lu
10.) Waxillium Ladrian in Wax and Wayne series by Brandon Sanderson

There you have it, all the characters with unique and interesting names. I did a list like this five years ago when I first started blogging and participating in TTT but at that time I hadn't read as many books so I thought it was time to do the list again. What books or should I say characters mad4e your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Audiobook Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Series: Legacy of Orisha #1
Written by: Tomi Adeyemi
Published: March 6, 2018 by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

 But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. 

 Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

 Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

The hype around this book was real. So many people were singing its praising before and after it came out. And seriously, every review I saw was glowing. And while I was incredibly interested in reading it, I was a little nervous because of all that hype. But there was no reason to worry because this book was amazing!

For one thing, this is one of the most inventive and unique worlds I have ever experienced. It's one of those fantasy worlds were the magic that used to be prevalent and has disappeared is coming back into the world. Throughout the book you learn about the magic and its connection to the religion and larger setting of the world. We don't learn a lot of the mechanics of the magic but we do get to see a lot of the magic in action. It was totally fascinating. In a lot of respects this book was familiar, because it reminded me of Avatar: The Last Airbender in the best possible way, and was different at the same time by pulling from African culture. I'm always looking for a unique fantasy world and this book definitely had one.

The other great thing about the world of this book was the political structure. I like when genre fiction pulls from real life events like this book did, and it did it so well. It's a world where an oppressive regime treats people with magic because they perceive them as dangerous. And when magic disappeared they did everything within their power to mistreat them. And then when magic comes back, they see everything as justification for their thoughts on the Maji. It added a really great depth and dimension to the story and made it all the more interesting.

But to be honest this book didn't need much to make it interesting besides the plot. This was an action-packed read full of non-stop adventure. It totally built throughout the book and had lots of great moments that kept me reading from beginning to end. Like a lot of this book it felt completely creative and like a classic fantasy at the same time. It had a great sword and sorcery vibe that I really enjoyed. It built to a thrilling ending that had me emotionally invested. Plus I loved that it had an actual ending while still setting up the next book in the story.

The only thing that I didn't completely love about this book was the characters. Not the characters on the whole, they were great. I really enjoyed Zelie. She was a great protagonist who was tough resourceful and fantastically empathetic. But Zelie wasn't the only main character. There were also perspectives from Amari, a princess who is fleeing from her family, and the prince Inan who is both an adversary and a ally throughout the book. Inan was totally fascinating and I loved seeing him at his most odious. Amari too was really interesting as she learned to overcome her assumptions throughout the book.

However, having so many perspectives I think subtracted a bit from the book for me. We were constantly changing between people and I was getting confused being in all their heads all the time. It helped that I listened to the audio so I had different voices and accents but it still got very confusing. I wish it had kept things a little more contained.

But on the whole I think this was a really fascinating read. The world was unique and interesting, the plot was thrilling and full of action, and the characters were complex and engaging. This book is definitely worth the hype.

I give Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 9.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. Like I said, this book is worth every positive review. It's really great and may be my favorite debut of the year so far. If you are interested in reading it and are holding off for some reason, take it from someone who did that and finally find time to read it.

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Didn't Like But I'm Glad I Read

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl


1.) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I have mentioned my dislike of this book many times on this blog, mostly because it is the reason that I started blogging more consistently. Five years after reading it I haven't looked back and that is why I am glad I read this book.

2.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
One of my most unpopular opinions is how much I dislike this book. I am just really not a fan of Rochester and can't get behind him as romantic lead. But I am glad I read because I then debate with people about it.

3.) The Diary of a Madman by Nickolai Gogol

I think I mentioned this in a top ten Tuesday awhile ago because I sometimes brag about how I have read Gogol. But this book isn't great, it just makes me look more like an intellectual.

4.) Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister
The reason I am glad I read this book is because it was the second book by this author I read and I didn't really like either of them. They both should have been my thing but they weren't at all. It made me realize that I just don't like this author's writing style.


5.) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
And another unpopular opinion. I know as a big fantasy fan I should love Tolkien. He is beloved. But I do not like his books. They are incredibly wordy and unnecessarily long. The world is great, but the plot could use some tightening up.

6.) Emma by Jane Austen
I like a lot of Jane Austen novels but I do not like this one. But I'm glad I read it because then I could be like "I've read most of Jane Austen's books aren't I cool and well-read?"

7.) A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
And another unpopular opinion. Wow, do you guys all hate me because of my opinions on these beloved books. Anyway, I am glad I read this because after not liking many Sherlock Holmes retellings I realized that it's not the retellings, I just don't like Sherlock Holmes.


8.) Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
I am glad I read this book because this author had been on my list for awhile but after reading this one I realized I wouldn't be into her style and I could take a few lists off my TBR. Having a smaller TBR is always good for book people.

9.) Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
This book is another one where it made me realize I don't like the author's style. But this one was even more of a big deal because I know most people love Tiger Lily but I didn't. And it made me feel better because it wasn't just that book.

10.) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I think this is probably going to be on a good amount of lists this week. I mean this series is not great. But I'm glad I read it helped me connect with the middle school girls at the school I was working at nine years ago.

Honorable Mention: A lot of Fear Street books because they made for snarky podcast episodes.

There you have it. All the books I didn't like but am glad I read. Most of the books I hated I'm not glad I read them. But these are the ones I am. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Audiobook Review: People Like Us by Dana Mele

Title: People Like Us
Written by: Dana Mele
Published: February 27, 2017 by Putnam Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.


I was really looking forward to reading this book. It has a lot of things that I really love including boarding schools, mystery, unlikable protagonists. It should have been a home run. But to continue the baseball analogy because why not, it was only a double. Good but not great.

One thing that I did like was the setting and atmosphere. Boarding school settings are always great for these kinds of stories. Without even really trying to, the author was able to create a mysterious and interesting location to set her book. It wasn’t an over the top creepy old school, the atmosphere was subtle. It felt both modern and mysterious. Plus I love that it was set in New England. I am such a fan of New England (I did just move back to Rhode Island) so of course I love books that are set there. And it felt very New England without being too cliche. Although I could have done without the detective having a think Boston accent, because that is a little too cliche.

The other great things about boarding school stories is that you have characters who spend all day every day together so there is not much to hide. But bless them they try. One of the things that attracted me most to this book is that it had unlikable characters and unreliable narrator. That’s how I like my mysteries. I like when I spend some of not all of the book wondering if the protagonist maybe just did the crime. And while I only briefly suspected Kay, she was my favorite kind of main character. She had secrets that she was trying to keep and it made her complex and intriguing. You don’t find out until close to the end the dark deeds she has in her past. It was a good reveal I just wish that it held a little bit more weight. Maybe learning it sooner would have helped create more tension for me.

But that wasn’t the only reveal that kind of fell flat. I went into this hoping for a complicated and intense mystery. That is not what I got at all. The plot was really very basic and the attempt at a whodunit just didn’t wow me. It tried to make me suspect numerous people throughout the book but I really just saw them for what they were, red herrings. The actual culprit was pretty obvious to me and her reasoning wasn’t even much of a surprise. I know I tend to be pretty good at solving mysteries but this one just didn’t confuse me at all. And all the twists and turns just felt like distractions. I am hard to please when it comes to mysteries though so it’s not that it’s a bad one, it’s just not one that I loved.

One thing I did really like though is the characters. I already mentioned Kay but she wasn’t the only unlikable person in this book. To be honest, it was a little trope-y but I was okay with that. Kay and her friends were kind of your typical “mean girls” but I liked that about them. Basically all the teenage girls were pretty terrible but I liked that they were able to be rude and unlikable. It made for complex characters who you are almost rooting against which makes for an interesting read when people are being murdered. And it made the person who was the culprit feel a little justified in their actions. I mean there is not justification for murder but having someone get their comeuppance is always interesting to watch.

I think what made it so that these characters weren’t just straight up tropes is that this is also a book full of diverse characters. You had different races as well as sexual identities. The book did a good job of handling gay and bisexual characters. Without even realizing it, three out of my last four books have had bisexual MCs. I’m really loving that these kinds of romances are shown and that they’re not always put on a pedestal. In this book there was such a complex romance I’m not even sure if I can call it a love square, maybe a love hexagon. These people just kept changing partners and having crushes on anyone and everyone. And that being said, there really wasn’t much romance in this book, which I even more appreciated.

Oh the whole this was a good read but wasn’t great. If the plot had impressed me more than it did then this would knocked it out of the park (hey, another baseball analogy) but it ended up just being a middle of the road kind of YA mystery.

I give People Like Us by Dana Mele 8 out of 10 stars
Image result for 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you like boarding school stories and are looking for one with diverse characters then I think you may like this one. Or if you are looking for a book with unlikable protagonist then check this one out. But if you want a complex mystery that is going to wow you, you should probably look elsewhere.

Have you read People Like Us? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Title: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
Written by: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Published: March 7, 2017 by Clarion Books

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a few years ago and I really loved it. I had wanted to read this book last year when it came out but I hadn't gotten around to it but now that I have a Rhode Island library card I can get books from Overdrive, so when I saw the audio available I snagged it and listened. I'm really glad I did because this was a fantastic book and great audio.

This book continued to demonstrate just how beautiful Saenz's writing is. I remember thinking in Aristotle and Dante how I was not surprised that he is a poet because he captured a poetry in his writing, and that was the case in this book as well. This book has a beautiful and lyrical prose that gives the book more drama and power to it. It pulls you in to the characters lives. And just like the last book, that made for the perfect audiobook. The narrator did a great of establishing the emotion and weight to the book.

He also did a great job of establishing the characters. Saenz has written some really amazing and complex characters. The main character in this book is Salvatore or Sal. He's a senior in high school and the fact that college is approaching and forcing him to decide what he wants with his future is forcing him to decide who he is and who he wants to be. Compared to the other characters in the book, Sal should not feel sympathetic. Despite a rough history he has a pretty great life and any moment where he's acting out should seem a bit silly. But Saenz makes Salvi likable and complex. You feel for him and want him to find his way in the world.

But the best characters in this book were the secondary characters. The real heart of the book is Salvi's relationship with his friends and family. I loved Sal's family. His adoptive father was really fantastic. He is one of the most kind and supportive gathers in all of YA, books even. Sal's grandmother was also really great. She was so sweet and loved Sal and his friends so much. So much of what made this book emotional and impactful was his loving family and Sal having to deal with what is happening to them. So many times in YA the family is one of the challenging parts of a teen's life and it was nice and refreshing to read a book where the family was one of the strengths.

When it comes to his friends that is Sam and Feeto. Sam is his best friend and they have a great relationship. I appreciated Sam because she wasn't perfect when she very easily could have been a cliché. Feeto as well could have been a stereotype. The nice guy from the wrong side of the tracks who wants to better himself. But both of them were complex and engaging. I think the best part was seeing them interact really demonstrated how much they care about each other. They are there for each other no matter what and that was completely necessary in this book. All the characters were fantastic and one of the best parts of this book.

As far as the plot, it's kind of a slow character-driven read. It is a comin-of-age story but I don't know that there's really a strong development of the character. It's more just about their relationships and seeing them interact. It's sort of strange because there were some specific plot points that had a clear resolution but it still just sort of felt unresolved. As a plot-driven reader I do kind of wish that there was more of a specific plot. If I hadn't listened to the audiobook (which I sped up to 1.5x) I'm not sure I would have gotten through this book at the same speed.

I definitely enjoyed this book a lot. It had beautiful writing, engaging characters, and great relationships with friends and family. It solidified how good a writer Saenz is and that his prose is beautiful and poetic.

I give The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz 8.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you liked Aristotle and Dante and have not yet read this book, I definitely suggest picking it up on your next library run. I really enjoyed it and I think contemporary fans will like it as well, as long as you don't mind a slow character-driven read.

Have you read The Inexplicable Logic of My Life? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab


A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine
Title: City of Ghosts
Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published: August 28, 2018 by Scholastic

Synopsis: Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn't sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn't belong in her world. Cassidy's powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.
 
Why I'm Waiting:

I am a big fan of Victoria Schwab's books. She is an auto-buy author for me. All of her books are dark and mysterious with great atmosphere and a lot of surprises. I am super excited to read a Middle Grade book that she writes. I know she has written some in the past but it has been a long time since she has done that and I haven't read any of them.

But either way, I would be really excited about this book. I don't read a lot of horror but from time to time I like reading books with a supernatural element, especially Middle Grade because I am kind of a wuss, so Middle Grade horror is just perfect for me. Plus the concept is fantastic. The daughter of bad ghost hunters who can actually see ghosts. I love that!

I am definitely going to be picking up a copy of this book. I will more than likely preorder. But I am also hoping there might be copies at ALA or I will request it from Scholastic. It's been a long time since I requested a physical ARC but I think this may be a good one to try again.


What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on City of Ghosts along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!