Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 137

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Read

1. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
After finally reading Seraphina, I can't wait to see what happens next! After the title change, I know some readers are afraid that the release date will be pushed back, but I have hope that we'll get the book soon!

2. Please Remain Calm by Courtney Summers
I didn't even know Summers was writing a sequel to This is Not a Test so I am especially excited now!

3. Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne
I still haven't reviewed Midnight Thief but that doesn't stop me from wanting the sequel!

4. Going Rogue by Robin Benway
I thought that Also Known As was a cute spy novel so I can't wait for the next book.

5. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
This is probably the sequel I'm most excited for. I absolutely adored To All the Boys I've Loved Before and I'm jumping out of my seat ready for this one.

6. Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhoades
This is actually the third novel in the Falling Kingdoms series but still a sequel of sorts.

7. Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan
I really like this series and I feel like it doesn't get enough love.

8. Vengeance by Megan Miranda
I really really enjoyed Fracture when it was released a few years back. If only I could get my hands on the sequel.

9. Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
I really want to read this too but alas it's not at my library. I might have to order it from another.

10. The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee
This book has been on my To Read list for awhile and I need to read it so I can finally finish this trilogy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

252499Summary:
A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

It is winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee Spain with her father. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee. Her gift of "Sight," the ability to foresee the future, is priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward's protector, who brings her to court as a "holy fool" for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen's Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller. (from GoodReads)


Review:
I finally get to review a book I read this month! I actually just finished The Queen's Fool a few hours ago so I am actually qualified to give my opinion, unlike the past couple novels I've read. Anyway, I always like Philippa Gregory's books and that remains the same for this one. It's not my favorite or anything but still a good read.

I absolutely love reading about Tudor England and that's usually what Gregory writes about. This book is slightly different because it's not the POV of a royal but rather a young Jewish girl who is hiding in England and pretending to be Christian. She becomes a fool in the Tudor court, first for Edward and then Mary so she's intimately involved with the royal intrigue. She even spends time with Princess Elizabeth before she takes the throne so she's very influential somehow.

I thought that Hannah's circumstances were very interesting, especially having escaped the Inquisition in Spain and then having to deal with Bloody Mary's version of the Inquisition in England. I learned a lot about la inquisicion in my Spanish class last semester so it was neat to see it portrayed here. It was funny because Hannah adores Mary and says how kind and generous she is and then I'm waiting to see what happens because we all know she becomes "bloody" Mary. I thought that Mary was portrayed in a very positive light, maybe moreso then she deserved. But it's always interesting to get the other perspective too.

I did have a few problems with The Queen's Fool. First it was too long and I started to get bored with the story. Then I found some issues with Hannah's character. Essentially she's psychic and everyone knows it including Mary. To me, that seems like heresy and would be something you would be executed or imprisoned for but even Bloody Mary doesn't seem to care. The other thing is that Hannah plays every side imaginable in the story; she's friends with both Mary and Elizabeth who are enemies. Both of them know this but don't care?? That was odd to me.

Overall I'll probably read anything about the Tudors but Philippa Gregory writes really good novels!  I would recommend her other books over this one but The Queen's Fool is still good.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2003/Touchstone/504 pages.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley

18248415Summary:
A riveting, poignant family drama perfect for readers of Defending Jacob and The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which explores the power of the secrets people keep-the darker, hidden facets of our lives, and what happens when they come to light.

Diagnosed with XP, a rare medical condition which makes him lethally sensitive to light, Tyler is a thirteen-year-old who desperately wants just one thing: to be normal. His mother Eve also wants just one thing: to protect her son. As Tyler begins roaming their cul-de-sac at night, cloaked in the safety of the darkness, he peers into the lives of the other families on the street-looking in on the things they most want hidden. Then, the young daughter of a neighbor suddenly vanishes, and Tyler may be the only one who can make sense of her disappearance…but what will happen when everyone's secrets are exposed to the light? (from GoodReads)


Review:
I read Carla Buckley's first novel The Things That Keep Us Here because I loved the title (just kidding, the premise sounded really interesting) and I ended up really enjoying it! So when I spotted The Deepest Secret on the New Arrivals shelf at my library, I knew I had to give it a chance. This book is so much different than Buckley's previous book but it's still really good!

I thought it was fascinating that Tyler has XP, a condition that I never even heard of. I can't imagine what it would be like to not being to go out in the sun. I have really fair skin so I understand the risks but I also lifeguard outside in the summer and I enjoy being outdoors. It's almost like the sun is the enemy because Eve, Tyler's mother, is on the defensive against UV light: shutting the blinds, special sunscreen, keeping doors locked. It creates an interesting atmosphere for the whole plot.

It's hard to tell from the synopsis above, but the reader finds out very quickly what happens to the little girl, way faster than I expected. I can't say much more than that, but this book is very good character study on Eve and what she will do to protect her son.

All in all, I really enjoyed The Deepest Secret and I encourage everyone to check it out along with Buckley's first novel.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2014/Bantam/480 pages

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

13547188Summary:
On an icy winter night, a terrible accident forces a family divided to come together and make a fateful decision. Cara, once protected by her father, Luke, is tormented by a secret that nobody knows. Her brother, Edward, has secrets of his own. He has kept them hidden, but now they may come to light, and if they do, Cara will be devastated. Their mother, Georgie, was never able to compete with her ex-husband's obsessions, and now, his fate hangs in the balance and in the hands of her children. With conflicting motivations and emotions, what will this family decide? And will they be able to live with that decision, after the truth has been revealed? What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart. (from GoodReads)

Review:
Unfortunately this is another book from the summer so I can't say too much about. I love Jodi Picoult in general so naturally I enjoyed this one a lot. The information about wolves was extremely interesting, though I read somewhere that it might not be as factual as Picoult suggested. So be cautious when reading but if it's true it's fascinating. I remember not enjoying Cara's character that much - she's a little bratty but I guess that comes with being 14 years old. I'll read any book by this author and know I'll enjoy it so this is the same deal!

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: library

2012/Atria/448 pages.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

9627755Summary:
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series. (from GoodReads)


Review:
Oh my goodness I am so far behind on book reviews because I read this over the summer. Oy vey. Ok so from what I remember I enjoyed this book. I love this cute little series and how all the characters are interrelated. I also love that it's set in Paris. I'm excited to see what Stephanie Perkins comes up with next!

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: library

2014/Dutton/352 pages.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 193

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

21853636The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive? (from Goodreads)


I love Courtney Summers and can't wait for all of her new books coming out next year. All the Rage will be released April 14, 2015.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

42149Summary:
From the author of the smash hits Something Borrowed and Something Blue comes a novel that explores the question: is there ever a deal-breaker when it comes to true love?

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes . . . a baby carriage? Isn't that what all women want?

Not so for Claudia Parr. And just as she gives up on finding a man who feels the same way, she meets warm, wonderful Ben. Things seem too good to be true when they fall in love and agree to buck tradition with a satisfying, child-free marriage. Then the unexpected occurs: one of them has a change of heart. One of them wants children after all.

This is the witty, heartfelt story about what happens to the perfect couple when they suddenly want different things. It's about feeling that your life is set and then realizing that nothing is as you thought it was--and that there is no possible compromise. It's about deciding what is most important in life, and taking chances to get it. But most of all, it's about the things we will do--and won't do--for love. (from GoodReads)


Review:
I love Emily Giffin's books, not because they're amazing literature, but they're so easy to read and really draw you in. Baby Proof is nowhere near my favorite of Giffin's novels, but I sped through the pages so quickly that I read the book in about a day. I haven't done that in so long!

Many women might be drawn to Claudia because she says she doesn't want kids and that's still somewhat rare in today's society. There are definitely a lot more childless women now but I know there is still a lot of pressure from traditional family members to have kids. So it's neat that Claudia represents that segment of women. I'd probably be good with or without kids so I can definitely understand Claudia's mindset and she makes a lot of good points for a childlike existence. I also enjoyed reading about Claudia because she's pretty snarky, which is hilarious. For example, when her husband suggests forgoing birth control to see what happens, she responds with "How about we hold hands, jump out the window and see if we're meant to die?" Maybe I have a weird sense of humor but I thought that was hysterical.

There is more I want to say about Claudia's decisions, but that will give away too much of what happens! Regardless, I really like Emily Giffin's books and can't wait to read more from her.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: library.

2006/St. Martin's Press/340 pages