**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [307]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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My full stack is over at Reading Reality, but before I tease you with book covers, I wanted to share this picture of actual book stacks currently on my office floor. We were moving bookcases around, and needed to empty them first!



I also have three book covers to share. One is for the book I received this week that I most wanted, and the other two are just pretty. I'll leave you to guess which is which!

Becoming Belle by Nuala O'Connor


The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton


A Gift of Griffins by V.M. Escalada


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 452 pages
Publisher: Viking
Release date: March 6, 2018

Series: Rebel of the Sands, #3

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

When gunslinging Amani Al'Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she'd join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn't have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn't exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.


Ever since I read Rebel of the Sands last year, I loved it. I found it impossible not to love Amani. With the final in the series, I can one hundred percent say this is a solid fantasy. Immediately, I want more from Alwyn Hamilton. Upon our last novel, Amani had escaped from the Sultan's harem but not without great consequences. Her cousin, Shira, was executed for birthing a Djinni, and Amani rescued her son; the Sultan killed the Sultim and made it look like the rebels; and the Sultan and his  traitorous daughter Leyla built a machine to harness the Djinni's energy to power metal golems called Abdals which could basically blast magical fire cannons and only had the one weakness of their Achilles tendons. Additionally, the Sultan captured much of the rebellion, including Ahmed, the Rebel Prince, his Demdji sister Delila, and Shazad, their general. He had thought he executed Ahmed, but really it was Imin, their Djinni shapeshifter. The core group of the rebellion is now very small, leaving only Hala, Amani, Jin, Maz and Izz, and Sam. They also are accompanied by a reluctant Tamid who just wants to return home.

Now, the Sultan has cast a shield over Izman to keep out their many enemies, but it's also trapped Amani and the leaders of the rebellion. Meanwhile he sent Ahmed and his other prisoners of the rebellion out of the city. With Ahmed and Shazad captured, Amani finds herself the reluctant de-facto leader of the rebellion since she's the most recognizable. She's only led smaller bands, and now she must decide what their little group does that could have such far-reaching consequences as to kill the rebellion entirely if they fail.

In the course of their quest, Amani has to confront her hometown and with it, her old self. As the foolish wishes of other Demdji and their mothers come to fruition around her, she wrestles with her own desires and that of the wisest choice of action to save their people. One of the most interesting things is the juxtaposition of her beginning at Dustwalk and the family she finds through the rebellion and her Demdji blood. Amani has been an outcast, an outlaw, a slave, a prisoner, and now a leader, a hero, and an acrobat, balancing between Djinni curse and Demdji power. She is always two halves, and it's funny how this book really illustrates that.

My favorite and most agonizing part was her relationship with Jin and how this develops towards the end of the novel. Then there's the key heartbreak in the novel, too, that had me crying and mourning. I almost didn't think the ending was going to pull off, but, wow. The final chapters were so fast-paced that I almost don't recall what happens, but interspersed and at the end there are these beautiful and lyric myth/legend segments that wrap the story up to make it feel almost like a fairy tale.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [306]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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I have another pretty tall stack over at Reading Reality, but there are three books I wanted to highlight here this week.

So I'm going to show you my favorite cover this week, my favorite title this week, and a new book by Susan Mallery. I discovered I had three books from her in the stack this week, so it only seems fair to include one of them. I'll leave you to guess which of the other two is which!


An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten


The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston


When We Found Home by Susan Mallery



Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: November 22, 2016

Series:  Arc of a Scythe #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.


Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.
I've never read anything by Shusterman though I know he's had success with Unwind and it's series. Plus, last year they were planning the Unwind movie, but February 2018 the production company decided it would do better as a tv series and have started reformatting. 

I recently listened to this on audio, and the whole story and worldbuilding was very intriguing. In fact, I thought it super interesting that while I was listening to this audio, I was also re-reading the Red Rising series. So the "Reaper" was a connecting theme for both of them.

Whatever you kind of expect about this book based on the blurb is probably wrong. In fact, it's a very thought-provoking and philosophizing sort of book, but without pushing a bias or agenda. What it really seems to put into perspective (thank you, humanities education) is the idea of being human and what that entails when one's job is to "glean" or, in other words, murder people -- take lives -- euthanize, whatever you want to call it.

Citra and Rowan have been taken from their normal lives and asked to be scythe apprentices after their unusual responses to Scythe Faraday's recent gleanings. After their one year apprenticeship, one of them is expected to become a scythe but the other will return to normal life as if nothing ever happened. Neither Citra nor Rowan want the responsibilities of being a scythe, and this is Faraday's first test. As scythe apprentices, they learn how to kill and, in some cases, how to deal with death and grief and moral questions. They also find out about mass murders, the emotions experienced by repeated gleanings, and what happens when their body of government, the Scythedom, is corrupted. However these two are unique in that no other scythe has taken two apprentices, and Citra and Rowan form a bond from their experiences. This bond is tested in multiple ways, and it's rather a dance to see if they will survive the harrowing plot twists that spring up.

As I briefly talked about, this book embraces the leap in science that has discovered how to prolong life, "reset" life in years, and even "respawn" life when one experiences an event that would ordinarily cause death (falling from a building, commonly called 'splatting'). Another theme is that of mass murders as a prominent scythe and his cronies revere this form of gleaning and use it constantly and with delight. It's an inside, calmly scientific view of terrorism and despotism, one that can easily be taken one step further into potential genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Another element is of mystery as something happens to Scythe Faraday that causes Citra to dig further and hide her sleuthing, Rowan to become a sort of spy/assassin, and together their dynamic actions rock the very core of the Scythedom. Be prepared for this book to challenge your ideas, bring a new perspective, and make you want to read the next, Thunderhead as soon as possible.


Sunday, May 06, 2018

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Hardcover: 672 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release date: October 18, 2016

Series:  Illuminae Files #2

Source: ARC, Purchased

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
     The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
     Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
     When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
     But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.
     Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.
[I covered this book on my blog earlier, and since it was missing from the archive, added a quick post for you all so you aren't missing the middle title in the series.]

This second file describes the events at the Heimdall waypoint, where the Kerenza survivors are looking to reach to survive. Daughter of the station's commander, Hanna Donnelly is planning for a party with her military officer boyfriend, Jackson Merrick, and trying to score some of the local drug known as dust (think marijuana rather than anything hard). Her drug dealer is Niklas Malikov, an outrageous flirt and nephew of the local crime lord who farms lamina, terrifying fast-evolving parasites that manufacture dust. On the night Nik and Hanna are supposed to meet up, a Bei-Tech undercover operative cons Nik and his family into intercepting a secret mission allowing Bei-Tech assassins into the waypoint. Luckily, Nik skips out on the destruction to meet Hanna while the rest of the jump station dissolves into chaos and murder. As the Bei-Tech assassins continue their mission, Nik and Hanna are left as the only two free people on the station, aided by the computer skills of Nik's cousin Ella. Through Hanna's lifelong training at strategy and combat due to her father's obsession and Nik's determination, wit, and heart, they must battle or outsmart their way through Bei-Tech's 24 assassins before a second Bei-Tech fleet arrives and their hope for a future is lost for a thousand years.

Hanna is the spoiled princess turned butt-kicking warrior after she's gotten pissed her off by betrayal and her father's murder. Nik is the flirty criminal with a good heart. Basically, they're today's reincarnation of Han and Leia. Ella is sort-of Chewie and C-3PO (after he's been blown to bits in Cloud City and carried like a sack of potatoes) rolled into one. 

Honestly, I am trying so hard here not to reveal epic spoilers. I loved every minute of this nail-biting series and want to experience it over and over again. My favorite bits were the IMs because so much of my teen years were spent forming relationships over IM/internet forums. The art and design elements of spaceship schematics, roster lists, visual design spirals, dossiers, IMs, etc. were unexpected but tied together the setting and feel of the story. Addictive. Terrifying. I want more.

While Illuminae was the real stand out, Gemina was not far behind as a solid sequel and may have equaled the first had my pre-pub edition contained the rest of the art intended for the final copy. (I later bought a copy when it released.)

My copies of Illuminae and Gemina are advanced reader copies (that I've been foisting on everyone I can). THANK YOU #alaac15, #alaac16, and most especially Penguin Random House for giving them out! Currently this series is tied with one other for my favorite reads of 2016!

Note: Language, violence, sexual connotations, and visceral descriptors.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [305]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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I have another huge stack over at Reading Reality this week. I call this my "when worlds collide" stack. Macmillan has put their Fall 2018 eARCs up on Edelweiss, including Tor Books, and as usual I couldn't resist entirely too many. I'm also on a book awards committee for the American Library Association, and things have kicked into high gear on that front, so I also have a ton of ARCs for the committee selections. So many books, so little time!

But here are just a couple of highlights that just look like all different kinds of fun.


Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn


The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte


They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded by James Alan Garner


Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Friday, May 04, 2018

Sponsored Post: Mother's Gift Suggestions!

Mother's Day is fast approaching and it's not always easy to find the perfect gift! Here's a bunch of ideas for you, from our sponsor :)

Thoughtful Gifts for Elderly on Mother's Day

The bond that any human being has with his or her mother is an unbreakable and deep-rooted one. You will always be your mother’s baby no matter how old you get and no matter how old your mother gets. If you are looking to make this Mother’s Day special for your loving, kind and amazing mother, there are tons of special gifts that you can give her. From beautiful pieces of jewelry to something fabulous to enhance the charm of her home, there are countless different varieties of gift options for you to choose from. Today, we have compiled a list of some interesting and thoughtful gift ideas that are worth surprising your elderly mother with. Here’s the list:

Lovely Personalised Jewellery
All women, irrespective of age, love jewelry. If you wish to give your mother a beautiful piece of jewelry, she will love the gesture. You can opt for a stunning initial gold pendant with the first letter of your mother’s name and a small little diamond studded in it. If your mother is not the letter pendant wearing kind of person, you can even opt for a lovely gold or silver brooch. If you want to give your elderly mother something extravagant for Mother’s Day, you can opt for a beautiful diamond tennis bracelet too. A single solitaire pendant or a pair of solitaire earrings are a classy and elegant option as well. If you want to get your mother a personalized piece of jewelry, you can have a special message engraved on the back of the item. You can even get her a lovely watch with a personalized message engraved on the back of the dial.


An Expensive Spa Basket Makes A Wonderful Gift
If you want to pamper your elderly mother with some luxury spa products on Mother’s Day, you can get her a beautiful spa basket. Typically, most leading spas have a ready to buy spa basket available. These baskets have items like shampoos, hair sprays, loofahs, bath products, moisturizers and creams, scented oils, candles and other such items. Your elderly mother can have a spa experience in the comfort of her own home when you gift her with this lovely basket. If you cannot find a ready basket to gift your mother for Mother’s Day, you can get all the bath and beauty products that you mother likes and place them in an organized and decorative way in a basket, have the basket wrapped up Ina beautiful way and present it to her. This gift idea is suitable for elderly and young mothers equally.

Gorgeous Faux Landscaping Products To Decorate Your Mother’s Home
Another excellent gift idea for Mother’s Day is gorgeous landscaping products for her home. You can purchase beautiful indoor and outdoor plants, palm trees, artificial grass, moss mats and other such items to enhance the character of your mother’s home. You can even gift the lovely fake bonsai plants that she can place on her work desk or her living room coffee table as a centerpiece. If your mother is particularly crazy about flowers, instead of gifting her a real flower bouquet for Mother’s Day, you can gift her a beautiful arrangement of vibrant and colorful artificial flowers. The real flower bouquet will wither and be thrown out and forgotten in a few days, the faux flower arrangement will last forever and is also a very sweet and loving gesture.

Silk Scarves And Cashmere Shawls
A fantastic and thoughtful gift to give your elderly mother on Mother’s Day is a beautiful silk scarf or a vibrant and soft cashmere shawl. Silk scarves and cashmere shawls are classic gifts that never get old. If your mother lives in a city where the winters get very chilly and cold, the silk scarf or the cashmere shawl will help keep her warm and at the same time make her look very fashionable and trendy.

Holiday Tickets Or Gift Vouchers
If you feel that your mother is overworked and she does not take time out for herself, you can consider gifting her, her next vacation. You can probably get her tickets for a cruise that she can go for with your father. You can get her holiday tickets to the one destination in the world that she has always wanted to visit but never gotten around to doing so.

Take Her Out On A Shopping Spree
Can’t figure out what gift to get your mother for mother’s day? How about taking her out on a shopping spree? Get your mother to take the day off and take her out to her favorite clothes stores, accessories stores and let her buy whatever she likes. This way you would be giving her two thoughtful and special gifts, one is quality time that you spend with her and the second is all the merchandise she buys on her shopping spree.

Getting your mother a thoughtful and beautiful gift on Mother’s Day is something that will bring a smile to her face. Besides giving her the gift, you can also spend some quality time with her on Mother’s Day to make the day even more special and memorable.

As you can see, there are countless different gift options that you can choose for your mother on Mother’s Day. When selecting the gift for your mother, keep in mind that the gift must have some thought and meaning behind it. If you gift her an expensive and extravagant gift that has no meaning behind it, it would simply prove to be futile.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [304]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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As always, I have a couple of books to tease you with. My full stack is, also as always, over at Reading Reality.

I have three books for you today, for three different reasons. One because I love the series, one because I can't believe that publishers are posting egalleys for books that are not due to be published until next year, and one because it's just so pretty. I try not to judge books by their covers, but this one is simply gorgeous.


The Light Over London by Julia Kelly

The story for this one, while not exactly original, certainly sounds interesting. But what I really can't believe is that this book won't be published until January, 2019.


The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

This one is from my previous week's stack, but I can't resist sharing it because I love this series so much. If you like military or quasi-military SF with terrific kickass heroines, you have to meet Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr of the United Space Force Marines. She's marvelous, and so is her epic story.


Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

The cover is utterly gorgeous. The book looks like lovely historical fiction, but I fell in love with the cover and couldn't resist picking up the book. I wonder how many other people are going to grab this one for the cover alone, because it's just so, so beautiful.

We do judge books by their covers sometimes after all.

Please link your STS post in the linky below:


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [303]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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It's been awhile! I've been reading, but I've been very slow due to the illness of late winter/early spring. Here's what has been moving over my shelves the last few weeks...


The Diviners by Libba Bray
Last month's teen book club title. Previously read.



Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Recently completed. Review coming soon.


Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Recently completed. Review coming soon.


Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
Recently completed. I needed an easy, light, "I don't have to review this" read.


Ms. Marvel, Vol 7: Damage Per Second by G. Willow Wilson
Recently completed. Finally catching up on my favorite graphic novel series!


Ms. Marvel, Vol 8: Mecca by G. Willow Wilson
Recently completed.


The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Recently completed.


Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
Recently completed. Review coming soon.


Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Andersen
Recently completed for April's teen book club.


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Recently completed. 


13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do by Amy Morin
Currently reading.

Don't forget to share what you've been reading too in the link below!


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Stacking the Shelves [302]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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This was just one of those weeks where the stack over at Reading Reality turned out to be ginormous. Some weeks are like that. And if you're wondering how on Earth I'm going to get around to them all, so am I. But needs must. Eventually.

As always, there are a couple of books that I really want to highlight here. I can never resist another book by Beatriz Williams after her marvelous A Certain Age. I really enjoy my visits to Butternut Lake with Mary McNear. And I just couldn't resist the description of Space Unicorn Blues.


The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White


The Secrets We Carried by Mary McNear


Space Unicorn Blues by T. J. Berry


Please link your STS post in the linky below: