Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

33784362This week I’m looking forward to Invictus by Ryan Graudin. I down for anything written by Graudin! The Wolf by Wolf duology was one of my favourites and it seriously messed with my heart. I don’t think I’ve recovered from Blood for Blood (hence the bookish slump that I’m in). There’s just something about the way that she writes that makes me want more and more. And this book looks AMAZING! It has time travel, gladiators, Titanic, pirates….how could I not want to read it? *grabby hands* It sounds absolutely perfect! It’s set to be released on September 26th by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

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Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

Down the TBR Hole

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Trying something new this week! I decided to starting participating in Down the TBR Hole, which is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story! This meme is dedicated to uncluttering your TBR pile, going through each book and choosing which one should stay or go. My TBR pile is never ending so I feel like I really need a meme like this in my life. Let’s do this…


The Books:

1. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

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I recently read Albertalli’s second novel The Upside of Unrequited and absolutely loved it! I honestly can’t believe that I haven’t read Simon Vs. yet. Albertalli’s writing is just so real and honest. Also, I’ve heard tons and tons of good things about this book and that makes me want to read it even more.

The Verdict: Keep!!!!!!

2. A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

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Why is this book even on my TBR? It’s a sequel. I haven’t even read the first book!

The Verdict: Remove

3. Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

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This book contains a bunch of things that I love: WWII history, forbidden romance, Scotland…I really, really need to read it.

The Verdict: Keep

4. Spirit of the Highway by Deborah Swift

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Ummm….why is this on my TBR? It doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy and it’s the second book in a series. WHAT?!?!

The Verdict: Remove

5. Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

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I’ve loved everything Hodge has released so far! So…I don’t see this book being any different. Plus, the cover is perfect! Mysterious and intriguing. *sigh* This book is going to be amazing!

The Verdict: Keep


Well, that’s it for this week. I think keeping 3 books out 5 isn’t too bad. Have you read any of these books before? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. 🙂

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Mini Reviews-2Thanks so much to Breanna at Pages Bound Together for nominating me to complete the Sunshine Blogger Award! Please be sure to visit her lovely blog ❤ I haven’t done many awards lately. Things have just been so crazy with work that the blog really hasn’t gotten the love and attention that it deserves. So, with a few days off I’m taking full advantage of not having any school related work to complete. Yay for awards! 🙂


Rules:

1. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator.
2. Nominate 11 blogs.
3. Ask them 11 questions.


Questions:

1. What’s the book that got you into reading?

The Harry Potter series is what got me excited about reading. Before discovering the first book reading was boring or something I had to do for school. They really changed everything for me!

2. Do you have any pets?

Yes, I have a beagle named Toto. He’s a tiny little monster but I love him so much. With him there’s never a dull moment and I’ve been so happy since he’s come into my life.

3. What is your favourite hobby (besides reading)?

I enjoy running, making music playlists and traveling.

4. If you could explore one country, what would it be?

Ahhh…there are so many countries I still need to visit. I’d say Egypt. I’ve been fascinated with its history since I was really young. I actually wanted to become an Egyptologist when I first entered university. It didn’t end up being for me so I switched my major to history, but my love for all things Egypt hasn’t changed at all.

5. What’s the best thing about blogging?

I’ve met some fantastic people and have learned about a lot of books I probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise. The fact that I can interact with authors has been a huge bonus.

6. What book are you reading right now?

I’ve finally picked up a history book! It’s felt like ages since I’ve read one for fun. Right now, I’m reading The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones. Jones is a fantastic TV presenter and historian. I really loved his shows and his enthusiasm has really translated well onto the page.

7. Do you prefer reading the book or watching the movie adaptation first?

I always prefer reading the book first although it often ruins how much I enjoy the movie. The book is always better!! 😛

8. What’s your favourite genre of books?

Fantasy for sure! I also enjoy science fiction and graphic novels.

9. Which fictional world would you choose to live in?

It’s kind of dangerous but I would love to live in Ravka. Leigh Bardugo just created such an interesting and beautiful world.

10. How many languages do you speak?

I speak English, Arabic and I’m currently learning Spanish.

11. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

Milk chocolate!


My Questions:

1. How often do you update your blog?

2. What’s the last book that you bought because of its amazing cover artwork?

3. Favourite historical time period?

4. Most disappointing read so far in 2017?

5. What did you do during your last vacation?

6. Pirates or assassins?

7. A series that you used to love but don’t anymore?

8. What’s the longest book that you own?

9. Which book do you plan on reading next?

10. Unicorns or mermaids?

11. Least favourite genre? Why?


Nominations:

Waiting on Wednesday

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

31123249This week I’m looking forward to Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali. The title is what first caught my eye and then I saw the cover and knew I needed this book! Everything about this book sounds amazing! It features a beautiful woman wearing the hijab on the cover, it’s about a Muslim woman who doesn’t fit into the stereotypes and talks about some very serious issues. The reviews I’ve seen have been really positive and I can’t wait to pick it up. YA needs more books like this! It will be released on June 13th by Salaam Reads.

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How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Blog Tour: Legacy of the Mind by H.R. Moore (Guest Post)

Legacy of the Mind by H.R. Moore
Release date: January 2nd, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, romance, young adult
Publisher: Harriet Moore
Formats: Paperback, eBook

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Anita has never been ordinary, she’s stuck out like a sore thumb her entire life; not only can she see the energy of others, a rare skill, but she’s won every Body challenge she’s ever entered. So when the powerful, good looking Descendants, Marcus and Alexander, mysteriously arrive in Empire, her difference attracts and keeps their attention.

Once in Empire, the sudden death of ruling Body Descendant, Christiana, sets in motion a number of events; a quest for the treacherous Austin to find the girl Christiana had been looking for; a challenge where Anita stands out more vibrantly than ever before; a perilous dip in the world’s energy; and a dangerous belief among the people that they will never truly be free. Powerful factions soon form within the ruling elite and when a trusted friend and mentor reaches out to ask for Anita’s help, she has to make a choice; help her friend and betray the one she loves, or do nothing and watch the people starve.

Guest Post:

When I first started to write The Legacy trilogy, I was on a work secondment for three months in New York and had a lot of time on my hands.  So, in addition to writing, I listened to a lot of music, which really helped keep me in the right frame of mind as well as providing inspiration.

I watched the Twilight saga near the start of my writing journey, and this has a beautiful, romantic soundtrack.  I particularly listened to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, “Northern Lights” by Cider Sky and “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last.  I loved this last one so much that I ended up listening to all their songs on Spotify over and over again.  I found Sleeping at Last’s music perfect to have on in the background as it’s really chilled out, so it was great for when I was writing.

I also listened to songs like “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer, “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap, and “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay.  There’s something so intriguing about Viva la Vida.  It transports me to some ancient religious civilisation every time I hear it, which is great for the imagination, not to mention that the opening is so exciting and full of anticipation.

It’s amazing how a song can completely change how you feel when you’re writing, which also really effects what you write.  I find music particularly helpful for romantic scenes, as romantic songs often convey extreme feelings.  This helps immerse me in the emotions of the characters and makes it easier to put myself in their shoes.

Here’s the full soundtrack from when I was writing Legacy of the Mind:

https://open.spotify.com/user/harrietrawlings/playlist/0f57XZCbzBQdDKRitBUId4  

When I finished Legacy of the Mind, I kept hearing songs which reminded me of things that happen in the story, or my characters, or just made me think of the world, so I started a Legacy of the Mind soundtrack, which you can listen to here:

Happy listening! 🙂


About the Author:

Harriet was born in Germany in 1987, the family returning to the UK, to Dorset shortly afterwards. She loved maths in the early years, but by the time she got to A Level, Sociology was her favourite subject, opening her eyes to things she’d never before considered, namely, nobody is really right, nobody is really normal and primary socialisation has a lot to answer for.

After finishing her A Levels, Harriet went to university in St Andrews, studying Philosophy for two years, then switching to Management. She was particularly interested in the ‘people’ elements of her course and especially the areas concerning how people create and react to change. After four very civilised years by the sea, she ventured to London, to foray into the strange world of insurance (surprisingly, more interesting than you might think), where she currently works as a Project Manager.

Harriet has recently moved to Hertfordshire with her husband Chris and baby Atia. When she isn’t doing DIY, writing, editing, eating, taking photos, or imagining how much better life would be with the addition of a springer spaniel, she occasionally finds the time to make hats.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway:

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. The giveaway is international! Win a $20 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Legacy of the Mind. Good luck!

ARC Review | Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

25092254Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, science fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Edelweiss

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Goodreads | Amazon

Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

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“I don’t want to go, but I also don’t want to stay. Two worlds I don’t want to be a part of. Two worlds I don’t belong in. And the worst part is I don’t have a choice. I stand and take a step off the porch, my foot landing on snow instead of grass. Everything changing in an instant. I don’t have to open my eyes to know I’m here.”

As soon as I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads I knew that I NEEDED to read it! So, I added it to my TBR and low and behold it was on Edelweiss. Now, Edelweiss and I aren’t really good friends. I never get approved for anything on the site but the book gods were working in my favour! I quickly downloaded Cold Summer and started it a few minutes later. It was AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and HEARTBREAKING and ROMANTIC all at the same time. The book was everything I wanted and more! It’s just…so difficult to describe how much I enjoyed reading it.

The book is told through two alternating points of view, which I liked because it really allowed me to get to know the characters and fall madly in love with both of them. The story revolves around Kale who can travel in time to the past. Now, normally I would be super jealous. I studied history in university and am absolutely fascinated by World War II (my main area of study), however, Kale’s journey to the past is completely devastating. He cannot control where and when he travels. One minute he’s trying to keep his life together in the present and then poof…he’s traveled back in time. He’s essentially struggling to live the life of a normal teenager in the present and trying to stay alive as a soldier in the past. Unlike other stories that I have read about time travel, Cold Summer doesn’t romanticize it. It dives into the impact it has on the person’s emotional, mental and physical state. My heart ached for Kale. The scenes set during the winter of 1944-45 were heartbreaking — the blood, the loss of life and the tough choices that had to made to survive.

The story’s other main character, Harper, was very likeable. She’s a gammer, kind of shy and fearful of opening up, all characteristics that I could identify with. Harper was such an essential part of the story as her POV offered another layer to the impact time travel has on those around Kale. Yes, he’s the one who is doing the actual traveling but those left behind are also emotionally scarred. Harper does her best to support him but she can’t help being frightened and anxious about his safety. He leaves and her life is basically put on hold, halted with worry and fear.

This book was so addictive. I read through it incredibly fast! I was totally swept up in the story and with short chapters, I just kept on reading and reading. I also found myself fangirling over all of the Doctor Who and Firefly references made throughout the book. My little nerd heart loved it! My only tiny nitpick would be how the end dragged out a bit longer than needed. For being a fast paced novel, the final three or four chapters slowed everything down to a crawl. It could have been wrapped up earlier without losing any of the emotional impact.

Cold Summer is a book that you NEED to read!! It’s not just for fans of history, romance or time travel. It has a little bit of everything but is so much more. It’s been days since I read it and I’m still thinking about it. *sigh*


about

1080169Gwen Cole writes Young Adult books and her debut novel, COLD SUMMER, will be released in the spring of 2017 with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.

She grew up in upstate New York, moved to Virginia where she did not graduate college, and worked a various number of jobs including pharmacy technician, meat clerk, ranch hand, and a receiving specialist at Target. She may or may not have written a number of books while working at certain jobs.

At the age of eighteen, Gwen played bass in a hardcore band and later married the lead guitarist. She can also play piano, guitar, and wishes she could play the cello. Her favorite place to vacation is Wyoming, where she gets to wear a cowboy hat and pretend she actually is one.

Gwen now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and very large dog, where she longs to live in the country again.

Website | Twitter | GoodreadsFacebook

ARC Review | Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

31447601Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

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Goodreads | Amazon

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

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I loved this book so, so much! If I didn’t have a huge pile of ARCs waiting for me I would seriously read it again and again. It was so much more than I thought it would. Just looking at the cover and reading the synopsis gave me the impression that it would be a light, laugh out loud kind of story. Like, common, it’s about a cappella, something I automatically associate with Glee, cheesy dance moves and sappy love songs. Instead, Noteworthy offered a very honest glimpse into the struggles of coming of age, gender, sexuality, and disability. I did laugh (because there are a lot of funny moments), but I also teared up and found myself nodding or shaking my head a lot. This is totally a must read!

Reasons Why I Loved It:

  • It features a Chinese American MC written by a Chinese American author. So it’s an #ownvoices book, which we need more and more of.
  • The MC is also bisexual, although I wish the author would have gone into more detail. It wasn’t the focus on the book.
  • It has a diverse cast of characters! The MCs father is a parapledgic and members of the a cappella include a boy with a learning disability and a Sikh who is also gay.
  • The boys in this book have well developed and emotionally healthy relationships with one another. It isn’t all hormones and back slapping. This was pretty refreshing.
  • There are some very funny moments! Sarcasm for the win!
  • It honestly talks about menstruation. For example, in one scene the MC’s period starts unexpectedly and she’s forced to make a pad out of toilet paper. She’s then worried about it leaking through. Oh, and the parts detailing period cramps…yeah I could totally identify with it. THANK YOU!! Why do so many books avoid talking about this?
  • There was a slow burning romance that didn’t take away from character development or social commentary. I LOVED THIS! It was wonderful to see the MC move on from a previous relationship that had a hold on every aspect of her life to moving on and realizing what she wanted. And her love interest was just so accepting and encouraging. AHHHH yes!
  • A book about crossing dressing is super tricky because how far do you go when there are trans people who have to deal with so much prejudice each day? I thought the book handled this balance really well. There was one scene where the MC was researching how to bind her breasts and she realizes that she was taking tips from a website that helped trans people. This made her feel guilty and I appreciated her commentary about the struggles trans people go through on a daily basis.

Noteworthy is adorable, important and a book that you NEED to pick up as soon as it’s released. Pre-order it, request it from your library, whatever! YOU NEED TO READ IT.

* Also, for fun, the author has posted her recordings of three songs featured in the book. She has a fantastic voice!


about
14053196Riley Redgate speaks exclusively in third person, so this works nicely. She loves horror films, apocalyptic thunderstorms, and the Atonement soundtrack. When writing author bios, she feels as if she is crafting some weirdly formal Tinder profile.

She plans someday to start a melodramatically epic rock band named Millennial Filth. Until then, she writes acoustic singer-songwriter stuff, also novels.

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