Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#16)


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

This week I'm waiting for...


The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
The Orphan Queen #2
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Pages: 544

Summary (from Goodreads):

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right. 
HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.
HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.
In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.
 

I just finished reading The Orphan Queen and I am DYING to get my hands on this book! April is too far away!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#15)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is a Ten Books To Read If You Like This Book/Author type thing! Here goes!

1. If you liked:


Read:


I thought that these books had a similar feel to them. They're not really THAT similar, but when I read Spinning Starlight, it reminded me of These Broken Stars. They both deal with space travel and I think that the character names are really similar.

1. If you liked:


Read:


These both have the same old time feel to them. But I think that These Shallow Graves took place more in the late 1800's were as The Diviners was more 1920's I think. They're both murder mysteries. In my personal opinion, if you liked The Diviners, you'll like These Shallow Graves more.

3. If you liked:


Read:


Both of these books deal with rape culture, but from different points of view.

4. If you liked:


Read:


These series really aren't anything alike, but when I was reading about the competition to become the King's Champion in Throne of Glass, it made me think of The Hunger Games. But considerably less bloody and intense. But still really good!

5. If you liked:


Read:


Both of them deal with women basically just being baby-makers.

6. If you liked:


Read:


They give you feels in a similar way.

7. If you liked:


Read:


They both take place during World War II.

8. If you liked:


Read:


They're both retellings of Beauty and the Beast so if you like that kind of thing, then check it out!

Okay. I really can't think of anymore comparisons so I guess you're just getting 8 from me today! :)




Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: Castle of Sighs by Jennifer Murgia


Forest of Whispers #2
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: eARC from Netgalley in exhange for an honest review

Summary (from Goodreads):

Some secrets cannot be kept—in life or in death.
Months have passed since Rune has heard a single whisper from her long-dead mother, the great witch of Bavaria. But the absence of one evil has only made room for another.
After rightfully inheriting her ancestral home, Pyrmont Castle, Rune settles into a quiet life taking care of two orphans left in the wake of the terrible witch hunt that claimed dozens of lives in the nearby village. As the days grow colder, the castle’s secrets beckon and Rune finds herself roaming where no one has set foot in a long time. In the bowels of the fortress is a locked room full of memories that hang like cobwebs—shelves stacked with jars, strange specimens, putrid liquids, and scrolls of spells. Rune is undeniably drawn to what she finds there, and she begins to dabble in the possibilities of magic, hoping to find a cure for the strangeness overwhelming the castle.
As secrets unspool, the delicate thread of Rune’s world is threatened when she realizes the key may lie in the dark forest she once called home and the boy she thought she knew.
 

First of all, I want to say that I never realized that this was the second book in a series. That would greatly explain why I was so confused for a lot of this book. I feel like if the great evil mentioned in the synopsis was at all mentioned in the first book, it was not recapped well in the second book. That is the only thing that I never felt like I could wrap my head around.

Rune has recently inherited Pyrmont Castle, the home of all of her ancestors. She stays there with Laurentz who lives at Eltz Castle, which is just a short distance away, and two orphaned children that weren't claimed after their mothers were accused of being witches. Laurentz goes on a trip with his father, leaving Rune alone with the two children when strange things begin to happen in the castle. She discovers a room deep beneath the castle that appears to be a workshop where previous witches of the castle worked their magick. 

When Laurentz returns, they look through the room together and discover a grimoire. It contains the stories of all the witches of Pyrmont and the story of how a great evil was started with the birth of Rune's mother. Laurentz takes the children back to Eltz so that Rune can try to get to the bottom of the weird events going on at Pyrmont.

I didn't feel very strongly about many of the characters in this book, probably because I didn't know that there was a first book. I don't really know what to say about any of these characters at this point. I liked them, but I didn't love them. I thought Rune was a good character because she took care of those orphans as if they were her own children. She was brave to get to the bottom of what was going on in Pyrmont even though she was frightened. Laurentz was great for staying and being supportive during all of that!

There was romance in this book that obviously must have started in the first book! Knowing what I do, I'm glad that this book didn't have anything trying to tear them apart! They were there for each other through everything in this book and I did like that. They were a good fit and I liked their relationship!

The one biggest complaint I have is that I had NO idea what the evil was actually supposed to be? Even with the backstory you get about how it all began, I still had no idea what it was. 

Overall, I was kind of just confused during this book, but I really did like it. I didn't love it, but I ended up liking it. I will definitely be checking out the first book and probably rereading this one so I will fully know what is going on and can get the full effect of the series! If you like reading books about witches and magick, I think you will like this book, but definitely start with book one.



This one will take the historical fiction square!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly


Publisher: Random House Delacorte
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 496
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary (from Goodreads):

Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.
Jo Montfort has everything going for her. She's from a good family and is pretty much set to marry probably the richest man in New York. But when her father ends up dead in his study from apparent suicide covered up and called an accident, she just can't let it go. She goes to her father's newspaper to give one of his old friends a gift and she meets a handsome young reporter named Eddie Gallagher who is trying to make it big. She has her own dreams to become a big reporter like her idol Nellie Bly. So she convinces him to help her figure out what really happened to her father and they end up uncovering much more than they bargained for!
This is an excellent historical mystery novel full of twists and turns, betrayal and heartbreak. This book was much more than I ever expected it to be! In a way, it kind of reminded me of The Diviners, but without the magical aspects of it. And also better.
I really enjoyed Jo as a main character. She was very sheltered from her life of upperclass living and was very naive about a lot of things in her investigation. She was very brave to go after her father's killer the way that she did despite being roughed up a bit at one point. She's bold. She's got a bit of spunk. She was a very strong girl to do the right thing in the end, no matter the cost to her family.
I also really liked Eddie. He was determined to get his story to make it big with a good newspaper. A better one than Jo's father's newspaper that doesn't report on pretty much anything but the goings on of the people of society. He was really helpful to Jo, at first it was probably just to get his story and she was a good inside scoop with the people who wouldn't give him a second look and then they really started to care for each other. He was kind. He was also quite brave. He was a quick thinker. He was a very upstanding guy.
The romance was cute. It wasn't really instant, but it also didn't really take them very long to get romantic. I was pleased with it. I thought that they made a good couple. They worked well together and they genuinely cared for each other despite them having VERY different lives. They pretty much wanted the same things and I just really liked them together. You could say there's a love triangle in this book, but really there's no contest between the two guys so I'd say really there's not.
The plot moved forward really well. I didn't feel like it was really too slow at all. It felt like they were constantly following new leads and learning new things about their case and I felt really interested and engaged the whole time! That is saying something because this was actually a pretty long book!
If I had to make any complaints, I would say that the twist was maybe a little obvious. I had that figured out fairly quickly I feel. Also, the ending wasn't exactly what I wanted to happen, but it wasn't bad. I just wanted a liiiiittle more.
I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and mystery novels. And if you enjoyed The Diviners, I think that you will also like this one. Or if you are like me and didn't really care for The Diviners, you'll probably like this one better, it moves along faster and has a much more satisfying ending!


This will take the Mystery bingo square!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#14)


Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to highlight books received each week!

During the week of September 19th - 25th, I got...



Uprooted by Naomi Novik



A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas



Violent Ends by Various Authors



Wreck This Journal



Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein



Sever by Lauren DeStefano



Star Wars: A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken

What kind of goodies did you get this week? :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blogger in Real Life (#2)

This past weekend, I went on an epic 2,000 mile round trip road trip with my grandma, my aunt, and my sister! We went to Rockville, Indiana to visit my mom! I absolutely LOVE visiting my mom. The area where she lives is absolutely gorgeous! There are trees EVERYWHERE and if it wasn't for having found myself the best boyfriend ever, I would totally consider moving there.

So, this post won't have as many photos as I'd like because I forgot my phone everywhere we went because the service is crap around there! The trip started at 5 am on Thursday. My sister and I had to be to my grandma's house by 5:45 to leave by 6. Which was lame. We picked up my aunt around 7 and were finally on the way! 


I made my grandma stop in Walcott, Iowa at The World's Largest Truck Stop because I knew they had Caribou Coffee and I NEEDED it!

The trip there took about 13 hours. We got there around 8 pm. It was so nice to see my mom! It's been like 2 years since I've seen her! She made us homemade pizza that night which was amazing.

The first full day there we basically drove around and didn't do much. We went out for breakfast. We went to look at a mill in Bridgeton. We usually go there every time we visit.


I love looking at the covered bridges! I got my boyfriend some raw honey from there just to get him a souvenir. And some sassafras candy to pass around at work so they don't think I forgot about them.

We also checked out a house that my mom is going to help restore. And then the guy who owns it will let her live there! It's kinda sad looking at the moment, but it's so amazing!!


It has this lovely magnolia tree out front and in the yard there is this LOVELY corner just surrounded by trees! If that was my yard, I'd never leave.


My sister didn't take any pictures of the house, but it's awesome, just trust me on this one.

After all that we went back to our hotel room and relaxed. There's an amazing stream behind it that my mom, my sister, and I walked down! There's a pool at the start of it that was full of curious little fishies.


I wanted to swim in it, but I told my sister she pry didn't need her swimsuit on this trip. Oops. There were also crawdads in the stream, which I had never seen one before.


The stream was probably one of my favorite parts!


We ate dinner at Rock Run Cafe which is my favorite restaurant there. They have awesome cheesecake, which they never have on days where I'm there of course.

The next day we picked up my mom's boyfriend's mom and went to Terra Haute to eat lunch and shop a bit. We had Japanese buffet which was delicious and I got my mom to take me to the bookstore! :) I went on the trip with two books and I left with the following stack:


So that was a successful day. On the way up there we stumbled upon the coolest geocache ever.



On the way back we checked out an old abandoned church on the side of the road.


So neat. I also decided we had to check out the bar in Rockville since everyone in our party was 21 for the first time!



We ALSO checked out a winery called The Drunk Tank. It is in the basement of a 150 year old jail. It was neat.


They had a (not real) electric chair in there. They said they had some people from Florida visit who worked on Death Row and told stories. And what I thought was interesting is that Death Row is basically like apartment living. They are sentenced to die, not to jail so they can't be treated like prisoners so apparently Death Row is a lot more chill than regular jail. 


We didn't do much else past that. We've seen most of what Rockville offers so that left more time to just hang out. Which was super nice. I saw an Amish buggy which made me happy. I like when I see the Amish when I go there. Don't know why.

The ride home took two days and I felt myself losing the will to live. But that was only the ride back to where my grandma and sister live. I had a 4 hour drive beyond that back to my house. But I made it through and my sister and I are planning our first solo trip to see my mom! I'm already super excited! Hopefully by the time we get around to it, my mom will be in her sweet house!! 

So that was basically my trip in a nutshell. Can't wait to see my mom again!!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows


The Orphan Queen #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Purchase
Pages: 391

Summary (from Goodreads):

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Wilhelmina Korte is the rightful queen of Aecor, a kingdom conquered by the Indigo Kingdom when she was just a child. She is a member of a group of orphaned rebels called the Ospreys. Their mission is to reclaim Aecor and put Wil back on the vermillion throne. In their work, they often have to steal or commit other crimes to survive. Therefore, they have to avoid Black Knife, a masked vigilante who spends his nights capturing criminals and killing wraith beasts that make their way into the city of Skyvale. The last leg of their mission before returning to Aecor requires them to enter the castle so Wil and her best friend Melanie enter the castle, posing as survivors from the kingdom of Liadia which recently fell to the wraith. 

I think that when the Ospreys finally succeed in their mission to take back Aecor, Wil will be a WONDERFUL queen! I think that she is awesome! She takes a lot of risks for her people and her kingdom, such as entering Liadia in the wraithland to learn more about the wraith and rumors of a lake the wraith does not touch. She knows that if the wraith is not dealt with, there won't be an Aecor to reclaim for very long. Saving her kingdom and the people remaining in it under Indigo rule is her main priority, her free time is spent gallivanting through Skyvale at night with Black Knife, killing wraith beasts. I love Wil. She is brave and selfless and strong and wonderful!

I liked Black Knife, he catches Wil committing a crime and instead of handing her over to the police, he gives her a second chance because he believes that she has good intentions. He's mysterious and seems like a very good person.

There are lots of other wonderful characters in this book! Melanie is Wil's best friend who poses as a Liadian survivor with Wil to get into the castle and she helps snoop around for the information that they seek. She kind of acts untrustworthy for awhile in this book and I'm not 100% sure how I feel about her. Patrick is basically the leader of Ospreys. He saved Wil and the rest of them from an Indigo orphanage. He will do whatever it takes to reclaim Aecor, no matter the cost. The prince of the Indigo Kingdom seems to be a main character and he just doesn't seem impressed by anything. He doesn't seem like any fun, but he seems like he's not such a bad guy. There really isn't a character in this book that I found myself really disliking. There was one I disliked at the end, but even the awful king of the Indigo Kingdom grew on me. He's made to be so human, it's hard to not like him!

There is a romance in this book and I really liked it! There's not a triangle, it's FAR from instant. It's cute and I look forward to seeing how it plays out in The Mirror King!

The story never felt slow to me, even when the girls were in the castle doing all of their spy business. I was really interested in everything going on in this book and that dang cliffhanger has me DYING for The Mirror King!!!

I read this book in the car on a long road trip to Indiana to visit my mom so I honestly don't think that I got as much out of it as I could have, but writing this review, I feel like the reading experience went a lot better than I felt it did. I had to stop a lot and it was hard to concentrate with the conversation going on around me and the radio going, but this review was easier than I felt it would be. The ONLY complaint I have about this reading experience is that it took away from the shock of the cliffhanger. It didn't leave me feeling like I needed to join the support group I have heard things about for this book, but again, I think it was just the stuff going on around me that took away from that.

Overall, I loved this book! I would HIGHLY recommend this book if you like fantasy! It is fantastic! I will definitely be reading this book again before The Mirror King comes out so I can get the full experience of reading it and really FEELING that ending! WONDERFUL book!



This book takes the bingo square for a new to me author!!