Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: What Stars Are Made of by Sarah Allen

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...

What Stars Are Made of


Twelve-year-old Libby Monroe is great at science, being optimistic, and talking to her famous, accomplished friends (okay, maybe that last one is only in her head). She’s not great at playing piano, sitting still, or figuring out how to say the right thing at the right time in real life. Libby was born with Turner Syndrome, and that makes some things hard. But she has lots of people who love her, and that makes her pretty lucky.

When her big sister Nonny tells her she’s pregnant, Libby is thrilled—but worried. Nonny and her husband are in a financial black hole, and Libby knows that babies aren’t always born healthy. So she strikes a deal with the universe: She’ll enter a contest with a project about Cecelia Payne, the first person to discover what stars are made of. If she wins the grand prize and gives all that money to Nonny’s family, then the baby will be perfect. Does she have what it takes to care for the sister that has always cared for her? And what will it take for the universe to notice? 
Release Date: March 31st, 2020


Why am I waiting?
I love middle-grade books and this looks like a fantastic one! This looks like it will be bittersweet, but it looks like it will have amazing messages and I already love the MC.
What book are you waiting for this week?

Sunday, February 16, 2020

New Releases in YA! (February 16th-22nd)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG) that are coming out within that week!
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, February 15, 2020

Short and Simple Reviews: The Goddess War Series by Kendare Blake


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)

Antigoddess (Goddess War #1)

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn't involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn't even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don't just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.
  Goodreads / Amazon  / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository


Review
I recently reread this book because I needed to continue the series and I completely forgot what this book was about. It actually felt like I was reading it for the first time. I did lower my rating by half a star from my first read, though I can't really say whether my opinion changed. I think I am just pickier now about 4+ star ratings.

This book does have an interesting concept and I loved its inclusion of mythology. The gods are dying and the way each god was dying, while incredibly morbid, was interestingly tied to their personalities. Because of their impending doom, many of the gods do feel more mortal (at least the ones who are on the morals' side). The pacing is a little slow, but I still liked how things were built up and there were enough action scenes to add tension. I listened to this mainly on audio for my reread, which was okay. Some character voices were odd, but I overall followed the story.

The romance is a little different because Cassandra, one of the main characters, is in a relationship at the start of the book. In that way, there was less focus on romance, which I appreciated. What I didn't appreciate was how the book tried to force Athena into a romance. You know, the chaste warrior goddess. It felt forced and as someone not interested in a romantic relationship, I like seeing characters who also don't want to be in relationships, so this portrayal disappointed me.

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing


Mortal Gods (Goddess War, #2)


Ares, god of war, is leading the other dying gods into battle. Which is just fine with Athena. She's ready to wage a war of her own, and she's never liked him anyway. If Athena is lucky, the winning gods will have their immortality restored. If not, at least she'll have killed the bloody lot of them, and she and Hermes can die in peace.

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can't have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The alliance between Cassandra and Athena is fragile. Cassandra suspects Athena lacks the will to truly kill her own family. And Athena fears that Cassandra's hate will get them all killed.

The war takes them across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can't, fates far worse than death await.

  
  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository



Review
While the first book set-up the characters and the concept of the series, this one felt like it was both trying to up the ante and prepare for the final book. On one hand, we have many scenes of characters traveling and preparing for war. On the other hand, we see more of the gods and the plot picks up in the last half. Things are explained, but it still felt like there was a lot of waiting. Cassandra's character was a lot different in this book, as she is grieving and all she wants is revenge. This made it difficult to connect with her at times, but it did make sense after the end of book one. Again, this book tries to force Athena into a romance. Overall, though, I continue to find the concept of this series interesting and did like this book. On to book three.
I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

Ungodly (Goddess War, #3)

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what her opponents said.

So she was wrong about some things. So her carefully planned assault on Olympus left her team beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But all is not lost. Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and submits to his death, or the Fates arrive to speed it along.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere, too, on a quest for death…with the god of death himself.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn't mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.



Review
So, here I am at the last book in the series and to be perfectly honest, I'm not really satisfied with the ending. There's a huge climax, and I do think there were a lot of interesting elements at play in this book that we didn't see in the previous books, but...I have no clue how it really ended. Maybe its because I was distracted by my little cousin who wanted me to find him when I was 10 pages to the end. Maybe its because I am absolutely terrible at imagining fight scenes. Maybe the language during the scene confused me. Whatever it was, I'm not sure how the book was resolved. (In fact, I just reread the ending and it still doesn't make any sense!) Besides that, most of the book is again an adventure story with the ever-growing cast separated for a majority of the book. This gave the opportunity to explore more areas and be introduced to new characters, but it also made the book slow. Cassandra got a bit on my nerves, but I have been annoyed with her since book two because she feels like her character is getting more one-dimensional. There is a hint of a new relationship in this book, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I still don't like the Athena and Oydessus relationship. Overall, I am a bit disappointed mostly because I am so confused by the ending. I do still like the idea behind this series.
I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

Thursday, February 13, 2020

REVIEW: Roots of Insight by Breeana Puttroff


Roots of Insight (Dusk Gate Chronicles, #2)

Quinn Robbins has just returned from spending ten days in Eirentheos, a world she had never known existed. Trying to settle back into her familiar life and establish a relationship with her new boyfriend, Zander, is more of a challenge than she ever dreamed it would be.

Things are just beginning to feel normal again when the charming Prince Thomas shows up in her world, and invites her back to Eirentheos for a royal wedding. She's excited at the chance to reconnect with the people and places she had begun to fall in love with.

What she doesn't realize is just how deeply connected with this new world she might become ... and just what old secrets might be beginning to unravel.

The second book in the beloved Dusk Gate series reconnects Quinn with the charming princes, and the pristine world of Eirentheos. From a beautiful royal wedding to a dangerous rescue mission, Quinn's adventures are about to take her life on a course that will change it forever.



MY THOUGHTS
While I didn't love the first book, I liked it well enough to want to continue the series. To be honest, I wish I hadn't. This wasn't a bad book, but it just had too much filler to keep me interested.

After the events of the last book, Quinn is trying to get used to being back in her own world. But that's easier than it sounds when she has been gone for ten days, on an adventure, and everyone at home expects the same old Quinn. It doesn't help that William won't talk to her and that she's now suddenly in a relationship with her childhood friend. When Thomas comes to her world to invite Quinn to his eldest brother's wedding, Quinn immediately accepts and can't wait to travel back to Eirentheos. Yet, when one trip turns into another, Quinn struggles with her two lives, especially when danger appears in the world of Eirentheos.

My main issue with this book was that it took until 50% into the book for an actual plot to appear. Before that point, the book was entirely just the day-to-day of Quinn, in both the real world and Eirentheos. We had the royal wedding, but that barely moved the plot. The plot didn't move until days later. It was just all filler, and while I was fine with seeing these day-to-day scenes at the beginning, I got tired of waiting for the plot to move. When the plot did move forward it did get intriguing. This book does introduce another danger and the politics of the world. More seems to be built up, but the pacing was still slow. I actually started to skim-read scenes because it would take so long to get anywhere and I still understood what was happening.

As far as Quinn, I really don't know how I feel about her. We're supposed to see her as smart, but she seems pretty average. She does seem to want to jump in to save the day, but overall, I just thought she was an okay MC. I noticed in this book that she giggles way too much. I don't know if it's just me, but giggling should not be how you describe a young adult's laughter. She's over the age of thirteen. That's not a giggle, that's a laugh.

There is a little more romance in this book than book one. While in book one I wasn't sure who would be the love interest, now I am very certain who it will be. Despite the fact that it is obvious who Quinn really likes and who she will end up with., this book also has two other "love interests". One of which is the hometown boy and, come on, Quinn has no romantic feelings for him.

IN CONCLUSION
Overall, this book just did not interest me. Book one had some fun ideas and I liked it, but this one had such a slow pace that I just had difficulty slogging through it. This book ended in a cliffhanger-- though it wasn't a major one--but I just don't want to continue the series. One of the reasons I was slogging through was because I had a theory at the very beginning of book one that Quinn is either from Eirentheos or her father was, and I was waiting for the reveal, but this never happened.
I can tell this is a highly rated series so others will definitely enjoy it more than me. If I read it at a younger age, and with less of an editorial eye, maybe I would have liked it. But it just wasn't for me.

I hereby give this book
2 Stars
Meaning: It was okay

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: Most Likely by Sarah Watson

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...

Most Likely (Most Likely, #1)

From the creator of the hit TV series The Bold Type comes an empowering and heartfelt novel about a future female president's senior year of high school.

Ava, CJ, Jordan, and Martha (listed in alphabetical order out of fairness) have been friends since kindergarten. Now they're in their senior year, facing their biggest fears about growing up and growing apart. But there's more than just college on the horizon. One of these girls is destined to become the president of the United States. The mystery, of course, is which girl gets the gig.

Is it Ava, the picture-perfect artist who's secretly struggling to figure out where she belongs? Or could it be CJ, the one who's got everything figured out...except how to fix her terrible SAT scores? Maybe it's Jordan, the group's resident journalist, who knows she's ready for more than their small Ohio suburb can offer. And don't overlook Martha, who will have to overcome all the obstacles that stand in the way of her dreams.

This is the story of four best friends who have one another's backs through every new love, breakup, stumble, and success--proving that great friendships can help young women achieve anything...even a seat in the Oval Office. 
Release Date: March 10th, 2020


Why am I waiting?
I love the premise that one of these girls will be a future president, but we don't know who. I also love books featuring positive female friendships and always want to read books with that focus.
What book are you waiting for this week?

Monday, February 10, 2020

REVIEW: Seeds of Discovery by Breeana Puttroff


Seeds of Discovery (Dusk Gate Chronicles, #1)


Nobody at Bristlecone High School has ever paid attention to William Rose. Since the day he arrived in the small, mountain town years ago, he's blended into the background. Quinn Robbins never noticed William at all, until the icy Friday night he suddenly appeared directly in the path of her car, and just as suddenly vanished. After that, she found herself noticing him constantly, seeing for the first time just how different he was. First were the books he always had his nose buried in. Why would a senior in high school always be reading medical journals? Then there were his habitual appearances down by the river every Friday night, just like the night she almost hit him - not to mention his odd habit of disappearing there, with no place and no reason to hide! Overtaken by a sense of curiosity that she just can't seem to shake, Quinn finds herself trying to figure out exactly what is going on with him. When he starts to show up in her dreams, she can't decide if her curiosity has become too much of an obsession ... or if there is something ... more. Finally it becomes clear that the answers she seeks might only come from finding out what is happening at the river. But on the night Quinn decides to follow him, her very new mystery draws her fatefully to a very old mystery. To a discovery she thought could only exist in a fairy tale. Uh oh, Quinn. 1st Period History will never be the same! In the Dusk Gate Chronicles, you'll meet characters who find their way straight into your heart, on a journey you'll long to join. Join readers everywhere as you fall in love with the Dusk Gate Chronicles.
MY THOUGHTS
I am usually wary about reading ebook freebies, but I found that I actually liked this one.

One night on an icy road, Quinn almosts hits William Rose. Nothing happens, but Quinn starts to wonder about William. He has lived in Bristlecone for most of Quinn's life, yet until then she had never talked to him. He never seems to talk to anyone. Quinn notices that he keeps going to a bridge and one night she sees him disappear. When will decides to follow him, she finds out who William Rose really is.

This book had its fair share of predictable moments and cliches, but I actually found that I liked this book. I could ignore those things because all-in-all this was a fun book to read and it really felt like a fluff book. I am a sucker for books featuring passageways to other worlds and this one certainly had that. This book mainly focused on exploring the fantasy world and I honestly enjoyed seeing this world. My favorite part was seeing all of the Rose siblings, although I kept getting them mixed up because there are so many! Quinn's life wasn't always as clear. I felt like most of her life was there, but I realize that we never met her step-dad.

Quinn as a character was okay. She kind of read like the typical YA MC, which is fine for the book. She was a bit of a stalker in the beginning though! I think we are supposed to see her as smart but sometimes her actions didn't read as smart. [highlight to view spoiler] Quinn's thought process: So, we just discussed some super poisonous plants that you can't touch and could be killing children. Oh! These are some pretty flowers! I'm going to take them home as a souvenir! [end of spoiler] She was meant to have the outside perspective so she thought of things those of this world didn't, but they really were obvious.

This book didn't have much in the way of romance but it was certainly hinted. At this point, I'm not really sure which direction the romance is going because I see three possibilities. I was actually glad that there wasn't much romance because I prefer it that way, but I get the feeling that that will change in the next book.

IN CONCLUSION
Overall, I did like this book. I found some things silly but this was still a fun book to read. I have a theory but it wasn't revealed in this book so I am going to continue the series.

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

Sunday, February 9, 2020

New Releases in YA! (February 9th-15th)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG) that are coming out within that week!
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, February 8, 2020

Short and Simple Reviews: Soul of the Sword & Shadow of the Fox


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)

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
  Goodreads / Amazon  / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository


Review
I listened to the majority of this book on audio. The audio was great and I liked that the book had different narrators for each POV. I read the last fifty pages in hardcover and it was fairly easy to switch. I usually worry about switching between audio and traditional when it comes to fantasy, but it wasn't difficult. I did notice that the chapters don't identify who the POV is, and it's all in first person, so reading the book in print may be confusing.

Anyway, I found the use of Japanese mythology in the book very interesting and the world-building was fantastic. The book mainly follows an adventure plot, in which the two main characters go on a journey to a certain location and fight various things along the way. While I liked the adventure aspect, it sometimes made me forget why they were on the adventure in the first place. Yumeko being half-kitsune especially felt like it was pushed aside doing the middle portion of the book. I did like the cast of characters and I think it ended in an intriguing way.

Overall, I did like this book. It's not my favorite book by Julie Kagawa, but I liked it a lot more than Talon

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing




Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2)
One thousand years ago, a wish was made to the Harbinger of Change and a sword 
of rage and lightning was forged. Kamigoroshi. The Godslayer. It had one task: to seal away the powerful demon Hakaimono.

Now he has broken free.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.
  Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository



Review
I did not like this book as much as book one. The book is a slow start and I expected a lot more after the ending of the first book. It felt like there was a lot more filler and I found myself uninterested. Yumeko also did not seem like a very large character in the beginning. The driving force in this book is that she wants to save Tatsumi, and it is alluded that they have feelings for each other, but I did not really care for their non-romance. I want them to be together, yeah, but I never felt romance between them. [highlight to view spoiler] I was a lot more interested in the romance between Okame and Daisuke [end of spoiler] The book does eventually pick up speed and the last portion was very riveting. I still think the use of Japenese mythology in this book is amazing! I will be continuing this series as I did like this book, it just took a while for it to get really interesting. 

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


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Cover vs Cover: Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

This week's pick is...

Don't Date Rosa Santos VS.  Don't Date Rosa Santos
Original                           Redesign
I really like the original cover. It really draws the eyes throughout the cover, with the model on the edge of the cover and the wave taking over the rest of the cover. I like the mix of art and reality, as it looks like a mural behind her, and I like the fun font treatment. I haven't read this book so I have no idea which cover fits the tone of the book more. Both covers read contemporary, but I think the original looks more fun and more interesting. The redesign looks like a generic contemporary cover.
Final Verdict: Original
What do you think? Give me your thoughts on which cover is the best!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley

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...

If These Wings Could Fly


Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Mindy McGinnis, Kyrie McCauley's stunning YA debut is a powerful story about the haunting specter of domestic violence and the rebellious forces of sisterhood and first love.

Tens of thousands of crows invading Auburn, Pennsylvania, is a problem for everyone in town except seventeen-year-old Leighton Barnes. For Leighton, it's no stranger than her house, which inexplicably repairs itself every time her father loses his temper and breaks things.

Leighton doesn't have time for the crows--it's her senior year, and acceptance to her dream college is finally within reach. But grabbing that lifeline means abandoning her sisters, a choice she's not ready to face.

With her father's rage worsening and the town in chaos over the crows, Leighton allows herself a chance at happiness with Liam, her charming classmate, even though falling in love feels like a revolutionary act.

Balancing school, dating, and survival under the shadow of sixty thousand feathered wings starts to feel almost comfortable, but Leighton knows that this fragile equilibrium can only last so long before it shatters.
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020


Why am I waiting?
This sounds like a dark and heart-wrenching read, but the magical realism elements in the synopsis intrigue me. I'm honestly a sucker for books with magical realism and this one looks really promising.
What book are you waiting for this week?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Stacking the Shelves/January in Review



Hosted by Tynga's ReviewsStacking the Shelves is where all the booknerds can post about the lovely (or not so lovely) books that we've read, acquired, or discovered.

I had a pretty good start to 2020! I've already read over 30 books this year! But the best thing was that just a couple days ago I got a job! I will be working at my local indie bookstore! I haven't really started yet, so it doesn't quite feel real, but I am excited. 

Earlier this month I also won a library giveaway. It was part of my library's 2019 Reading Challenge and the winner's got a catered lunch at my local indie! I ended up getting a few books from the lunch!

In other news, my family is finally painting our kitchen cabinets. We had nice 75-degree weather today, so I actually painted them outside. The kitchen is a mess right now but it will look nice once everything is painted!

Now, for the books!

Books Read


Library


Bought


Trade


Won
From the Lunch


Books Reviewed

Short & Simple


New Discoveries
I DID NOT RECEIVE OR BUY THESE BOOKS. I only added them to my TBR list.


How was your January?