Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TTT: Books That Were Hard for Me to Read

This week's TTT topic: Books That Were Hard for Me to Read

This can be interpreted several ways. I'm choosing to highlight books that were hard for me to read due to subject matter and/or because they put me outside of my comfort zone, but that I'm so glad I did.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quarterly Review Round-Up with GIVEAWAY

It is time for the Quarterly Review Round-Up where I talk about the best of the best, the one's I couldn't finish, and the adult novels I'm reading that I don't review here. Plus there's a GIVEAWAY.

The DNFs (links to my reasons why-if I shared them-on Goodreads):
The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
Nuts to You by Lynn Rae Perkins
Stray by Elissa Sussman
Sway by Kat Spears
The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Adult Books (links to reviews on Goodreads):
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
The Comeback of Conn MacNeill by Virginia Kantra
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
The Passion of Patrick MacNeill by Virginia Kantra
Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
Private Politics by Emma Barry
Special Interests by Emma Barry
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Temptation of Sean MacNeill by Virginia Kantra
A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

****KNOW that if they were available at Book Depository (which is where I get Giveaway books) Emma Barry's Private Politics and Special Interests would be included below because they are FANTASTIC. If you have an e-reader and like good smart romance about smart people with great chemistry and dialogue, BUT THEM.****

The Best of the Best (where the Giveaway comes in):

Links to my reviews unless otherwise noted.

The City in the Lake by Rachel Neumeier
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

The Magic Thief: Home by Sarah Prineas*
The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas*

Poisoned Apples by Christine Hepperman
Something Real by Heather Demetrio's

The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston
Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud*
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina


*Indicates later books in a trilogy or series. If you are wanting to begin with the first book and you win, I will allow you to choose that as your prize.

If you want to win one of the 4.5/5 star books I read this quarter, leave a comment below and tell me:
1) A favorite book of yours from the past few months.
2) Which of these books you are interested in if you win. (You can change your mind if you do.)
3) A way to reach you (email or Twitter handle) if you win. If you are using a Twitter handle, you may want to follow me in case I need to DM you.

Open to any reader who lives where Book Depository ships for free.

I will close this GIVEAWAY and choose a winner on Monday, October 6 at 8:00 PM EDT.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shorter Musings: Contemporary YA

Sometimes I read a book, and I even enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. I jot down a few thoughts and then I move on. When these start to pile up, I put them together in one post.

Here are some reviews of a few good YA Contemporary romances I've read recently.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
I read my first Miranda Kenneally book (Things I Can't Forget) back in December. I've been meaning to read the other ones ever since, but it took so long because I had a feeling this would not be as much of a book that I would love. I just don't like football. At all. Despite that, I still found it to be mostly enjoyable. It has the feel of more of a starter book, the writing not as developed as it is Things I Can't Forget , but that is to be expected. I liked Jordan a lot. I liked her bravery and gumption. Her ability to fight for what she wanted, even if I didn't understand AT ALL why she wanted it. I'm excited about reading Stealing Parker soon.

Going too Far by Jennifer Echols
For whatever reason I had a harder time getting into this one than I have Echols' other novels. I still enjoyed it, but felt myself more distanced from the characters than I usually do in her novels. I wasn't completely convinced of either of their motivations for their behaviors which was a big part of the problem for me I think. I'm still looking forward to reading the rest of Echols' backlist though as I have pretty much LOVED everything else by her I've read.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord 
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I liked Reagan and thought her mixture of vulnerability, bravado, and snark were perfect. She and Matt have great chemistry and their romance is a lovely slow burn. Matt is a bit too perfect of a character to seem real at times but I did enjoy the flirting between the two of them. I wish there had been a bit more evidence of the friendship between Reagan and Dee. I also felt there were parts that really dragged. And since the romantic misunderstanding is one that is a pet peeve of mine the ending was a bit frustrating for me. It is a fun read though and great for people who love romance, music, and road trips.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

With a title like The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, the cover, and the synopsis, there was no way I wasn't going to read this new book by Julie Berry despite not always liking her previous titles. Well, I liked this one quite a lot. It is so much fun. 

There's a murderer on the loose—but that doesn't stop the girls of St. Etheldreda's from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce. 
The students of St. Etheldreda's School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong. 

This is the second MG book I've read this year involving a mystery over a short period of time in a house with many residents. I LOVE these sorts of books. If this is a new trend, I'm all on board. Keep them coming. All the members of the Scandalous Sisterhood are wonderful characters. They each have their own very distinct personality and voice. Berry wisely uses a descriptor before each of their names, but that becomes unnecessary after the first third of the book as they are not at all hard to tell apart. Their ringleader Kitty was my favorite, as I'm fairly sure she's meant to be, but all the girls are likeable in their own ways while also having enough flaws to make them human. There is a large cast of characters. In addition to the girls there is an entire town's worth of people from the minister to the doctor to the hired help to the old Admiral who is a neighbor to the mysterious young men in town with whom the girls must contend. With all these and two dead bodies, the girls are quite overwhelmed. One can see how they arrive at the decision to hide the murders, and at the same time, see how it could never possibly work. The book takes on a humorous tone because the reader gets to watch as the girls lose control and everything inevitably unravels. 

The mystery is actually quite good. There were aspects of it that I figured out, but others took me completely by surprise. There is one glaring plot inconsistency that bothered me, but I'm willing to overlook due to how much fun the rest of the book was. It isn't always fast moving despite the dead bodies and the humor. There is a lot of sitting around and discussing what's to be done and who knows what. This is the sort of book that requires a patient reader who doesn't mind waiting for the pay-off. The humor is subtle but there are some truly hysterical scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading it. 

The age for this is definitely upper MG and would appeal to YA audiences too. 

I read an e-galley provided by the publisher, Roaring Book Press, via NetGalley. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place has a release date of September 23rd. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TTT: Books on My Fall TBR

This week's TTT topic: Books on my Fall TBR List

My fall reading is going to mostly consist of reading for the Cybils. So in reality my TBR for fall is going to consist of the book in the list of nominations that start October 1st in the category of Elementary and MG Speculative Fiction. But that doesn't mean I won't have time for other books too and I hope to fit all these in.


Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra (October 7) 
Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson (October 7)


Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George (October 7) 
Exquisite Captive by Heahter Demetrios (October 7)


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (October 14) 
Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand (October)


Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster (November 4)
Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier (November 4)


The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Park Davies (November 4) 
Princess of Thorns  by Stacey Jay (November 4) 

What are you looking forward to reading this fall?