Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Weekend Update - 2.28.15

Saturday, February 28, 2015 with 9 comments
So, since my end-of-the-week post isn't just about what I got in my mailbox or on my Kindle each week -- though that is a big part of it, I won't lie -- I decided to change up the title and intro a bit.  I might tweak the format a bit over the next few weeks, but for the most part, it'll contain the same stuff: stuff I got, stuff I did, and stuff that's coming up on the blog.  Plus, I get to use the awesome GIF you see here and blow kisses to all the people who sent me lovely books and bookish things.  Oh, and I've started linking up to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews since I'm not using a specific meme title anymore.  April's also doing her own Stacking the Shelves posts on Sundays.  Stop by and say hi!  =)

So, technically I had a very short week, thanks to ice, more ice, snow, and Katie coming down with strep. Not a fun week, especially since ice isn't very fun to play in. :( But now we only have one week left until we head out on vacation, and no one's more ready than I am. *jumps up and down excitedly*

I'm slowly getting back to normal stuff like reading again, though it's slow-going because I'm still kind of out of it. I just haven't felt like myself lately, but I'm working through it. Time away from everything is just what I need. I can't wait to park my butt on the beach and read and enjoy my family and just stop stressing about everything for a little while.

Anyway, here's what I scored this week:

For Review:

Tangled Webs (Tangled Webs, #1)

Tangled Webs by Lee Bross - thx to Disney-Hyperion & Netgalley

Things We Know by Heart

Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby - thx to HarperCollins for the ARC


Seeker (Seeker, #1)

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton - finished copy, thanks to the publisher (review)

Monstrous Beauty

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (actual copy received pictured above) - Finally, I think I have ALL the versions of this gorgeous book. Now, if I could only locate an ARC of Plus One to round out my collection of Elizabeth Fama's awesome titles...


City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare - audiobook - I'm finally giving in and listening to this, just so I can take it off my unfinished series list. =)

So, that's my haul. :) How about you? What did you get this week?

The Week in Review:

Current Giveaways:

Check back soon!!!

Promotional/Discussion Posts:  
  • Our #TopTen favorite heroines
  • #WoW - this week, we're waiting on Until the Beginning & Dumplin'
  • Judging a Book By Its Cover - this week, the girls recreate The Summer After You + Me, the third novel by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Jen's Currently Reading/Listening To:

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)Finding Mr. BrightsideCute and quirky and kind of just what I needed right now. I kept hoping to start Lion Heart, but I'm not in the right place or frame of mind to read what is sure to be a heart-breaking story just yet. Maybe after vacation. ;0)

I think I just re-listened to this one, but I've really been anxious to dive in to the sequel. So, I decided to listen to this again and maybe do just that this weekend. =)

Upcoming Reviews:

Last Year's MistakeDead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles, #3)

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Friday, February 27, 2015

We so borrowed this idea from Sara at Forever 17 Books, who got the idea from an article on Babble called Judging a Book by Its Cover: A 6-year-old Guesses What Classic Novels Are All About. Basically, it's about getting a child's perspective on the story inside the book based on just the cover art. It can be hilarious, but it can also be enlightening.

This week, the girls are working on the following book:

Title: The Summer After You + Me
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

Behold, the girls' attempts at recreating The Summer After You + Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski...

Aubrey's masterpiece & guess:

Aubrey says:
"I think it's about a girl who goes to the beach, but she is sad and doesn't want to swim because the birds pooped on her."
Yup, she's my child... through and through. lol  We then had a long discussion about how before she was born, I went to the Jersey shore and got pooped on by a seagull. Since this book actually takes place there, I thought her description was perfect. lol.

I have not read this one yet, but I hope to get to it soon. We haven't been to the shore since Sandy hit, but we plan to head over there this Summer for at least a weekend. Seaside will never be quite the same though. :(

Katie's artwork & thoughts:

Katie says:
"I think it's about a girl going to the beach. There was another person with the girl, and I think they went to the beach in summer."
I love that Katie decided to empty her entire marker box on the paper for her interpretation of that sunset on the beach. =) She was so proud of her ability to write the title in cursive, too. (Why is that still taught in school?!?)

I like that this third novel from Doktorski doesn't sound like your typical summer romance but more a story of loss. Having read How My Summer Went Up in Flames and also having an ARC of the second book on my shelves to read, I had to add this book to my TBR. I can't wait to read it.

Have you read this book or do you plan to? What do you think of the girls' artwork and their thoughts on the story's premise?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Title: Things We Know by Heart
Author: Jessi Kirby
Series: n/a
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 21st, 2015
Source: received from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.
I've only read one other book by Jessi Kirby, and that was Moonglass. I really enjoyed it.. and I'm not sure why I haven't read anything else since. :/ I'm kind of kicking myself in the butt now because I really love her writing. 

Things We Know By Heart is my favorite by Kirby thus far. I loved Moonglass, but not nearly as much as I loved this one. It was just.. *sigh*.. I started it Valentines weekend because it's about a heart! Perfect right? 

I thought so. It follows a girl named Quinn, and she lost her boyfriend in an accident. His organs are donated, and a year later she seeks out the recipient of his heart. She's looking for some sort of closure.. because she's having a very hard time moving on. What she doesn't expect is to actually meet and find a connection with this guy. 

One of my favorite parts of this book, are the quotes ahead of every chapter. I wont elaborate, but they really do go so well with the story. Also, there is hot weather, sand, and ocean. I need that in my life right now. 

There are some sad parts of Thing We Know By Heart, but it's not a tear jerker. I went into this thinking that it might be, since she lost her first love, but it's really a story about finding new love in the light of tragedy. It was plain out sweet and adorable at times. 

I really enjoyed this one. I'll be buying her other two books I haven't read yet soon. I think it's time I add the rest of her works to my kindle library. Highly recommend this one, especially if you've like her other stuff. :) 

Jessi KirbyAbout the author:

Jessi Kirby is a former English teacher and librarian. She lives in Orange County, CA
with her husband and two kids, where she writes stories and runs the beach every day. Well, almost every day.

Find Jessi:

WebsiteGoodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's WoW selections are...

's Pick:

Title: Until the Beginning
Author: Amy Plum
Series: After the End # 2
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

Add to Goodreads
When Juneau's clan disappeared, she lost so much more than her friends and family. She soon discovered everything she thought she knew about her life was a lie. Her people's gifts were actually secret abilities that others wanted, desperately enough to kidnap an entire village.

Juneau and her new companion Miles's cross-country journey to find her clan has led them to a game preserve in New Mexico. Now Juneau's people are finally within reach, and she will stop at nothing to save them. But she has a target on her back too, because unbeknownst to her she is the key to unlocking everything. To rescue her people - and herself - Juneau must discover what she, and her abilities, are truly capable of.
I wasn't hugely blown away with After the End. It was good... but not what I was expecting. That being said.. I am very curious to see what happens next. :)

's Pick:

Title: Dumplin'
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: n/a
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 15, 2015

Add to Goodreads
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
I absolutely loved Julie's debut last year, even though I knew some people took issue with the "unlikable" main character. I found her refreshing, though, and I think Julie's newest MC is going to be even more so. Doesn't Dumplin' just sound like a girl you'd love to be besties with? I can't wait to meet her! And that tag line -- Go big or go home. -- it's too perfect! Also, I can't help but add books to my TBR from Texas authors, set in my home state and featuring the iconic Dolly Parton. =)

What are you desperately waiting for this Wednesday? Let us know in the comments or share a link to your own WoW post!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. Apparently, they are overly fond of list-making and love to share their bookish lists with the rest of us book nerds.  =) We're game.

This week's topic is Our Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books:
(Or you could pick movies/TV. We've done this topic before so you could always do heroines you love since the last time we did this topic, heroines in a particular genre, etc.)

Jen's Picks:

I stuck to newer favorites with this week's list because otherwise, I'd never be done listing all of my favorite heroines. =) And as you can see, I already had trouble narrowing my favorites down to just ten, lol.

Who are your favorite heroines? Be sure to share a link to your TTT post so we can visit!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Monday, February 23, 2015 with 7 comments
Title: Crimson Bound
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Series: n/a
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Source: received from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

(This is a standalone novel, not part of the Cruel Beauty Universe.)

I loved Crimson Beauty so much that I've already read and/or listened to it over five times since I received the ARC a little over a year ago. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, followed very closely by Little Red Riding Hood. Intriguing that one of my new favorite authors on the scene has retold both now. And her sophomore novel may have trumped her debut on my list of favorite retellings ever.

The thing is, I can't really talk about the aspect I loved the most in this story because it would probably be considered a major spoiler to most if I revealed anything about it. And because I value romance pretty highly, I myself would consider any mention of this type of romance to be ruining. I can say that the way this romance plays out would disappoint many, especially those who feel very strongly on the kind that feature three points. I discussed it in great length with Lauren, who famously despises LTs and as far as I know, she has plans to stay very far away from this one. Just in case you were wondering. :)

Here's the thing, kids. I've been trying to write this review for weeks. I was blown away by this book when I read it and I've wanted to tell the world ever since, but I wanted to be coherent when I did so. Apparently, when it comes to me and one of Rosamund's books, that's maybe an impossibility I've yet to accept. It's just…the way she weaves a tale you already know and love into a story that's wholly it's own is rather remarkable. I don't like to compare authors because they all have their own style and their own methods, but the way Hodge writes her characters reminds me a lot of Sarah J. Maas. I just love how they always have questionable motives and very little compunction. I live in the gray areas, and I like to see characters that do the same, that battle with good and evil, black and white, on a daily basis. It makes them more real to me.

Crimson Bound is not only based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood but also on the story of The Girl With No Hands. I absolutely LOVED how Hodge combined these tales to make one truly engaging story, one where the evil is closer than you know or want to admit, and trusting anyone else might be your biggest mistake yet. It's a story where girls are allowed to kill and have unpure thoughts and villains aren't necessarily all evil. I just love a redeemable bad guy….like, there's no other character I like to see more. Besides the heroine who's allowed to be selfish and want things for herself, even if she knows it goes against what she's been taught or who she's sworn to protect. Not everything is black and white, and I fully appreciate a story that can illustrate that without being preachy.

Also, Hodge reminds us of the story's origins by including faerie folk and reminding the MC constantly of what is owed, but I still love how understated the faerie presence is in her stories, despite the fact that many fey have made themselves noticeable at this point in the story. I really enjoy how this author takes fairy tales and flips them on their heads; these stories are definitely inspired by some of my favorite fairy tales, but they don't follow through with those essential happily ever afters, peaking the interest of a hard-core fairy tale lover like me.

This is technically the third story I've read from Rosamund Hodge, but I have to say, it's my favorite. Her characters have become increasingly more complex and the story that much more frenetic, and I have a hard time controlling myself when one lands in my lap. Her stories are not the type to be read sparingly, bit by bit. No, Hodge's stories inevitably need to be read all in one go, by someone who fully understands that life isn't black and white but lived in shades of gray.

GIF it to me straight:
In other words, trust no one.

Cruel BeautyGilded Ashes: A Cruel Beauty Novella

About the author:

I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. I also write YA fantasy novels: CRUEL BEAUTY, where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast, and CRIMSON BOUND, where Little Red Riding Hood meets . . . many strange things.

Find Rosamund:

Website | TwitterFacebookGoodreads

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