Thursday, November 14, 2019

Cover vs Cover: Warcross by Marie Lu

This week's pick is...

Warcross (Warcross, #1) VS.  Warcross
Original                           Redesign
This is a tough one. I honestly was not much of a fan when the original cover was first revealed because I had no clue what that thing in the middle was supposed to be and what it had to do with the book, but that's pretty much what they haven't changed. The redesign is basically the same, except it has no color and the title looks like it is floating, while the title in the original looks like it's moving up. I do think the redesign looks cleaner, I don't like the blur lines in the original, but... I like the rainbow colors in the original. I love rainbows, it's my favorite color, so I like it when book covers have lots of bright colors. The original has that, the redesign doesn't.
Final Verdict: Original
What do you think? Give me your thoughts on which cover is the best!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

Waiting on Wednesday (or Can't Wait Wednesday) is a weekly meme, hosted by Wishful Endings, where we talk about the books we're waiting (a bit impatiently) for!

This week I am waiting for...

The One and Only Bob

Return to the unforgettable world of the Newbery Medal-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling novel The One and Only Ivan (soon to be a major motion picture!) in this incredible sequel, starring Ivan’s friend Bob!

Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

Bob, Ivan, and Ruby have touched the hearts of millions of readers, and their story isn’t over yet.
Release Date: May 5th, 2020

Why am I waiting?
I loved The One and Only Ivan so I'm looking forward to this companion focused on Bob! Parts of the synopsis make me a little anxious. How in the world do Ivan and Ruby help Bob? They aren't exactly inconspicuous. But I'm still excited for this book.
What book are you waiting for this week?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

New Releases in YA! (November 10th-16th)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!

Did I miss any books?
What books, if any, do you plan to read?

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Short and Simple Reviews: The Near Witch, Passion Blue, and Light as a Feather

This is a place for books that I didn't fully review.
Maybe I listed my likes and dislikes, had a little short paragraph, or a few sentences to convey my feelings on the book, but whatever the "review" is, all of them are short and simple. (hence the clever name)
Today I have various short reviews for books on my Backlist 2019 challenge!

The Near Witch (The Near Witch, #1)The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab's debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won't soon forget.
  Goodreads / Amazon  / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

I listened to a majority of this book on audio, reading the last few chapters in paperback. The audio was great and I really got the feel of the town of Near. The setting is really atmospheric and creepy and that really came through on the audio. The story has elements of storytelling and folklore, with a mystery. The mystery aspect made the pace a little slow, but the story was still intriguing. This book did have the trope of "someone being blamed for something they didn't do even though there's absolutely no evidence", which is one of my least favorite tropes. In this book, though, it was handled okay. Part of this comes from Lex's strength and courage. She knew that Near was pointing their fingers in the wrong direction and was willing to solve the mystery herself to make sure no more children. Overall, I did like this book. It didn't amaze me, but I think it's worth the read.
I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing

Passion Blue (Passion Blue, #1)"Be sure you know your true heart’s desire, or you may find yourself surprised by what
you receive."

This is the warning the Astrologer-Sorcerer gives Giulia when she pays him to create a magical talisman for her. The scorned illegitimate daughter of a Milanese nobleman, Giulia is determined to defy the dire fate predicted by her horoscope, and use the talisman to claim what she believes is her heart’s desire: true love and a place where she belongs–not likely prospects for a girl about to be packed off to the cloistered world of a convent.

But the convent of Santa Marta is full of surprises. There are strict rules, long hours of work, and spiteful rivalries…but there’s also friendship, and the biggest surprise of all: a workshop of female artists who produce paintings of astonishing beauty, using a luminous blue mixed from a secret formula: Passion blue. Yet even as Giulia begins to learn the mysteries of the painter’s craft, the magic of the talisman is at work, and a forbidden romance beckons her down a path of uncertainty and danger. She is haunted by the sorcerer’s warning, and by a question: does she really know the true compass of her heart?

Set in Renaissance Italy, this richly imagined novel about a girl’s daring journey towards self-discovery transports readers into a fascinating, exotic world where love, faith, and art inspire passion–of many different hues.

  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

This was an okay read for me. I did like this book, but it had difficulty keeping my interest. The pacing was a bit slow, which is expected for a historical book, and I couldn't fully connect with Giulia. Part of this was because I figured out early on that someone could not be trusted. I was constantly frustrated with Giulia because of this, and because it took her a while to understand what she wanted. I do like how this book discussed art in the Italian Renaissance, namely women involved in art at the time. I loved seeing this, and I loved seeing Giulia's passion for art. The book also took a different turn than usually seen in YA books. Even though I saw it coming, I liked that the author didn't put a typical ending on the book and the ending certainly fit the story. There is a sequel but I don't think I will read it. Like I said, this book had difficulty keeping my interest and I really don't feel like there's a need to continue the story.

 I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

It was supposed to be a game…

Junior year is shaping up to be the best of McKenna Brady’s life. After a transformative summer, McKenna is welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High, led by the gorgeous Olivia Richmond. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up.

But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover. Violet, the mysterious new girl in town, suggests the girls play a game during which Violet makes up elaborate, creepily specific stories about the violent ways the friends will die. Though it unsettles McKenna, it all seems harmless at the time.

Until a week later, when Olivia dies…exactly as Violet predicted.

As Violet rises to popularity and steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna becomes convinced Olivia’s death wasn’t just a coincidence, especially when a ghost haunting her bedroom keeps leaving clues that point to Violet. With the help of her cute neighbor, Trey, McKenna pledges to get to the bottom of Violet’s secrets and true intentions before it’s too late. Because it’s only a matter of time before more lives are lost.

I've had this book on my e-reader for a while, seven years to be exact. I did end up liking this book. It had some usual ghosty elements, but the concept of the deaths coming true felt unique. I was legitimately intrigued by this book, and I wanted to see how everything would get solved. The suspense within the ghosty scenes and the oncoming deaths was absolutely fantastic. While I was reading, this felt like a 3.5-star book, but after finishing, I knocked off .5 stars. I realized that while I liked the concept, the ending felt rushed and odd.
 I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cover Lust: Spin the Dawn Elizabeth Lim

Cover Lust is something that I do every other week where I feature a book cover that I absolutely love!

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or RenĂ©e Ahdieh. 
Artist credit: Tran Nguyen

Why did I pick this cover? 
This cover is so beautifully illustrated! Every time I look at it I feel like I spot something new. I love how there is so much on this cover that ties into the book, like the fabric, the scissors, and the bird. I love the color scheme and I love how strong the girl looks.
What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday: Coo by Kaela Noel

Waiting on Wednesday (or Can't Wait Wednesday) is a weekly meme, hosted by Wishful Endings, where we talk about the books we're waiting (a bit impatiently) for!

This week I am waiting for...

46206745. sy475 Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It's the only home she's ever known.

But then a hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt. Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo's flock and can heal injured birds.

Tully mends Burr's broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns that the human world is infinitely more complex—and cruel—than she could have imagined.
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020

Why am I waiting?
I read a short early sample of this book and loved it! I haven't seen much press for this book, but I'm super excited for it!
What book are you waiting for this week?

Monday, November 4, 2019

REVIEW: Cold as Marble by Zoe Aarsen

Cold as Marble (Weeping Willow High, #2)
The deadly game continues…

Olivia and Candace are dead, both casualties of Violet’s deadly game of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board. McKenna and Mischa are the only ones left, and having failed to locate and destroy the source of Violet’s power, her curse still abounds, eager to claim more lives.

What does Violet want? And how can she be stopped? Armed with a mysterious package containing clues, as well as a little help from the beyond, McKenna hopes to end this once and for all…before it’s too late. 

It took me a while to get into this book, but I do think it continued the suspense from the first book and expanded on some details.

McKenna thought that by destroying Violet's locket that Violet's game would end, but kids at Willow High are still getting their deaths predicted. The problem is that, after last year's shenanigans, McKenna and Trey had been sent off to separate boarding schools and aren't allowed anywhere near Violet. Now they are back at Willow for Christmas break and they need to find a way to stop Violet once and for all.

I was frustrated when I started this book. The book basically begins saying that everything in book one didn't work, so now they have to do a whole mess of other stuff. I don't really like it when books do this. I also felt that the concept worked better in book one and could have stood alone. There were some interesting things that came about in this book, though. We learn more about Violet and why she is doing this, which helped add more dimension to her character and added sense to her motives.

It took me a while to get into this book because the characters were going to do something stupid, and I did not want to see that. So, I put the book aside for a couple of days. When I got back to it, I found that I didn't have anything to worry about and the last half of the book really picked up the pace. This book continues the suspense from book one and there are a lot of thriller elements in the last half of the book.

McKenna also learns more about herself in this book. She learns that she has a special connection with the otherside that allows her to communicate with spirits. We also see more of her sister, Jennie, in this book. One of the things that is added in this book is the pendulum. McKenna uses this to ask spirits questions, but it felt like it was overused throughout the book. McKenna would ask the pendulum whenever she (or others) had to make a decision or were putting themselves at risk. I understand that she wanted answers, but it really slowed down the rising action. It also made little sense because when she first got the pendulum, she was told that it is best used for yes/no questions and to avoid asking questions about the future because the future could still change. Yet almost everything question she asks it is about the future!

Overall, I did like this book. Despite some of my issues with it, it does make an intriguing and suspenseful read. I don't know if Simon&Schuster is publishing book three or not, but I don't plan on continuing the series. Even though I liked this book, the ending frustrated me. [highlight to view spoiler] Like the beginning of this book, this book ends by basically saying that everything that happened still didn't work. [end of spoiler] It made me feel like I wasted my time.

I hereby give this book
3 Stars

Meaning: I liked it.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

New Releases in YA! (November 1st-9th)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!

Did I miss any books?
What books, if any, do you plan to read?