Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (4/21/14)

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Click above to join in the fun!


I just realized how long it has been since I've participated in this meme! I used to do it pretty regularly, because I love finding new books on others' shelves. So, I'm participating today! I think I'll try to keep this going at least twice a month. It's a fun way to interact with fellow bookworms. So, without further ado, here's what's going on in this bookworm's reading life.


 
I was reading The Rosie Project with my book club, and I loved it so much that I didn't manage to stick to the reading schedule! :) What's funny is that neither did most of the club. We all powered through it. Definitely a great read! New Sight didn't really impress me. It felt jumbled, and cliche. I'll be reviewing both of these some time this week.
 

I recently started The Castle Behind the Thorns on Kindle, and Gorgeous on audio. Both of these are feeling rather lackluster at this point. I'm debating on whether or not to scrap them and read something new. I might stick with them, depending on how much things pick up in the next few chapters :).

 
Next up is The Eighth Day by Dianne E. Salerni. I've heard great things from my fellow bloggers about this book! I'm intrigued that it pulls in bits of Arthurian legend. So if I scrap those two books above? I'll be moving on to this baby!
 
That's it for me! What are YOU reading this week? Don't forget to leave a link so I can go and visit you too!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
   * Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Author: Anne Blankman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: Hardcover; 416
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Source: The Fantastic Flying Book Club Tour
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Content Screening: Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who are fans of historical fiction, or who have an interest in this time period.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

I must admit that I wanted to read Prisoner of Night and Fog the instant I saw that it revolved around Adolf Hitler. I have this fascination with people like him. People who can manipulate, who can sway the masses so perfectly that he can cause them to turn against one another. There's something both terrifying and intriguing about a man like that. I was also very interested to see how Anne Blankman would weave her story around Gretchen. What would it be like to be part of the Nazi party? To be that close to someone so influential? I went into this book with high hopes my friends, and I wasn't disappointed.

Gretchen's character is perfection. Who better to show how easy it was to be caught under the spell of "Uncle Dolf" than a young girl? What's special about Gretchen is that she has a big heart. Even when the Nazi slogans and beliefs were rattling around in her head, even when she tried to steel her heart against violence towards the Jews, I couldn't hate her for it. This is how Gretchen was raised. Raised to accept what was around her, and quietly go about her business. I won't deny that I silently cheered her on as she slowly started to break out of her shell. I wanted this girl to overcome. I wanted her to see the dark, bloody truth. I liked Gretchen, and that made this book so easy to read.

Even more interesting is that you'll see key players from Adolf Hitler's life peppered into this story. Even Ms. Eva Braun is a pivotal person in this quick moving story. I loved seeing deeper into his whole persona. Into the sad, lost man who was behind it all. I'll grant you the fact that Prisoner of Night and Fog is historical fiction, but it feels real. It's easy to get lost in.

Add in a forbidden romance, some intrigue, and the type of secrets that should stay hidden, and you have quite the book. While I wasn't in love with all the aspects of it, I can't give Anne Blakeman's book anything less than a huge round of applause. If you're a fan of this time period, or a fan of historical fiction in general, this will be a book you'll want to check out. Well-written and moving. I loved it.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Whispering Woods Series by Brinda Berry


Today I have a whole series in the spotlight! Brinda Berry's Whispering Woods has peaked my interest, mainly because of all the topics wrapped up into it. Time travel, inter-dimensional portals, and romance? Yes, please. Give me all the books!

Below you'll find information on this whole series, but first please enjoy a Top 10 list from Brinda Berry herself! I asked her who her Top 10 Favorite Female Characters were. Here's here list:


Top 10 Favorite Female Characters 

I’ll be honest and tell you that I was a little stumped when I started this post. For some reason, it’s much easier to choose male characters. Nevertheless, I did manage to come up with my favorites. They are all very strong females. I even added a couple from my own books. 

1. Blue of The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater 
2. Mia of The Whispering Woods series, Brinda Berry 
3. Katniss of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins 
4. Katie of the Lux series, Jennifer Armentrout 
5. Julie of Flat-Out Love, Jessica Park 
6. Faith of The Best Man. Kristan Higgins 
7. Claire of Outlander, Diana Gabaldon 
8. Hazel of The Fault in Our Stars, John Green 
9. Maggie of Catch of the Day, Kristan Higgins 
10. Coral of Shimmer, Lore Anthology, Brinda Berry

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The Waiting Booth:
A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal... Mia has one goal for her senior year at Whispering Woods High-find her missing older brother. But when her science project reveals a portal into another dimension, she learns that travelers are moving in and out of her woods in the most alarming way and government agents Regulus and Arizona are policing their immigration. Mia's drawn to the mysterious, aloof Regulus, but it's no time for a crush. She needs to find out what they know about her brother, while the agents fight to save the world from viral contamination. But when Regulus reveals that he knows Mia's secrets, she begins to wonder if there's more going on than she thought...and if she was wrong to trust him…


Whisper of Memory:
Weapons training and winter formals...a deadly combination.

All Mia ever wanted was to fit in at Whispering Woods High. But being a portal-finder who dates a guy from another dimension sort of makes it hard. Mia's brother disappeared over a year ago, and agents from the IIA began policing people's movements through dimensions. She'd trusted Dr. Bleeker from the local university when he'd told her the IIA were the bad guys. But even a girl with an extraordinary ability to sense things can make mistakes.

Now two people are dead, and as a portal gatekeeper for the IIA, Mia needs to find Dr. Bleeker before he hurts anyone else. And her boyfriend Regulus, an Agent for the IIA, carries secrets of his own. Between learning about weaponry, finding the perfect dress for the winter formal, and catching bad guys, who has time to fit in?


Watcher of Worlds:
Senior year should bring fun, friends, and happiness. Not portals, treachery, and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Mia Taylor, gatekeeper to an interdimensional portal, wants nothing more than to heal from her romance gone wrong. Illegally falling for her co-worker Regulus had been a huge mistake. But when Regulus goes rogue to hunt down a murderer, Mia must forget her broken heart and use her unique abilities to save him. Traveling across dimensions, she enters a strange and hostile world where a rebel faction holds the key to their escape. Her gift of synesthesia is in high demand, and a secret organization of the otherworldly kind has her in their sights. But sabotage and murder may be the least of her worries. Her ex-boyfriend wants a relationship. Her dad wants her to act normal. Her friends want her to stop moping. Who knew faking happy would be the easiest part of senior year?

Find this series on:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She has a BSE in English and French and a MEd in Learning Systems Technology. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality. She doesn’t mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she’s not working the day job or writing a novel, she’s guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.
Find Brinda Berry: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: Wish You Weren't


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Wish You Weren't
Author: Sherrie Peterson
Publisher: Intrepid Publications
Pages: Paperback; 139
Release Date: March 17, 2014
Source: Publicity Blog Tour
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Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy fun, quick reads with lots of heart.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Marten doesn't believe in the power of wishes. None of his have ever come true. His parents ignore him, his little brother is a pain and his family is talking about moving to Texas. Not cool. So when he makes an impulsive wish during a meteor shower, he doesn't expect it to make any difference.

Until his annoying brother disappears.

With the present uncertain and his brother’s future in limbo, Marten finds himself stuck in his past. And if he runs out of time, even wishes might not be enough to save the ones he loves.

I loved the premise of Wish You Weren't. You've never had a younger sibling if you've never, at least once, wished they would just disappear for a while. Unfortunately for Marten, his wish actually comes true. What do you do when the one thing you thought you wanted more than anything else turns out to be a mistake? You fix it, that's what you do. This book has a ton of heart, and an adorable moral to it all.

I also adored the brotherly banter between Marten and his little brother. As the oldest in my family, I know that sometimes it's tough to have a younger sibling. You become a built in babysitter, you get in trouble if they do (even if you didn't do a thing), and sometimes you just want to plug your ears and run away. I loved how Sherrie Petersen showed this dynamic so beautifully. Marten's little brother can definitely be a pest. She also shows the flip side though, how sometimes we forget to look at the good moments too. It's a great moral for the young readers who are going to put their hands on this book.

There's so much wrapped up into this quick read. The idea of friendship, and what lengths you're willing to go to in order to help a friend. The concept of family, and that sometimes you have to sacrifice to make someone else's dream come true. Even the idea that sometimes all we need to do is speak up when we're feeling put down. Since this is such a brief read, I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling. I will say that this is sweet, and fun! A bit of time travel, a lot of heart.

So if you're looking for a new read to put into the hands of your young bibliophile? Give this one a spot on your list. Wish You Weren't will be sure to resonate with them, and it has the perfect amount of action to keep things fresh.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (4/9/2014)


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


The book that I'm most looking forward to right now is The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. This is the second book in The Fifth Wave series and I'm so excited for it to come out! I finished the last book with my mouth gaping open. I absolutely need
 to know what happens next. Alas, it doesn't release until September. So I'll have to keep waiting :). 


How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

This look so amazing! What are you waiting for?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Spotlight: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel




Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: March 25, 2014


Synopsis:
There comes a time in every witch's life when she must choose her path. Darlena's friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it's too late?
DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in the RED MAGIC paranormal YA trilogy.



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Click on the banner to follow the Daughter Of Chaos Blog Tour




Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. She's a graduate of Western Michigan University, and she also earned her MS in Library Science at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. 

When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Follow Jen on Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more.


Win (1) swag pack giveaway (INT)





Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Review: Rose and the Lost Princess


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Rose and the Lost Princess
   *Series: Rose #2
Author: Holly Webb
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: Paperback; 256
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
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Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love witty young heroines and stories filled with plenty of magic!

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Now an apprentice magician, Rose is asked to help find a very special missing person

Turning the worn pages of her spell book, Rose can't believe how much her life has changed. Once a poor orphan, she is now an apprentice to the king's chief magician. But when the country's beloved princess vanishes, everything changes. As rumors of dark magic fly through the city, the king asks Rose for help. She must find the missing princess, before all is lost.

Oh Rose, how I missed you! I've been a fan of Holly Webb's brilliant, young character since I first met her last year. She's quite the character. Rose is sweet, intelligent, and has a razor sharp wit. She's loyal, and what I love most of all is that she just wants to build a life for herself. While other girls Rose's age want to be pampered and spoiled, Rose just wants to be helpful. It's no surprise that I adore her character! In all honesty, she's tough not to love.

The last book left off after a very sinister plot had been uncovered. Our young heroine was, of course, the very one who foiled said plot. I was excited to see what she would get herself into next. See, Rose isn't just an amazing girl in personality, she also has magic flowing through her blood. A fledgling magician, she's more talented than even she knows. I was fully expecting for her affinity for magic to get her into trouble. What I wasn't expecting was another mystery, this time complete with princesses, kidnapping plots and never ending snow. Intrigued? You're right to be!

What further impressed me was how much deeper into Rose's life Webb delved this time. I remember a young girl who wasn't quite sure of herself. In this book, Rose is starting to come into her own. Unfortunately, that also means everyone knows what she's capable of. The idea of magic as being potentially evil was touched upon in the last installment, but in this book it's a core component. I watched as my favorite little protagonist had to battle not only the bad guys, but also those who didn't understand her. This is a much deeper story, and I love where this is going.

That being said, I'll once again be eagerly awaiting more of Rose's story! Holly Webb has done a wonderful job of crafting a very likable and fun young girl. This is the type of story that will be easily enjoyed by readers, both young and old. Trust me, Rose's personality is infectious. I suggest that, if you love stories filled with magic and mayhem,  you give her a spot on your reading list right away.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday's Random Thoughts



I was sitting here, moving reviews over to Goodreads and getting posts set up for the coming weeks and I realized something: I haven't actually posted anything personal on here in a long time.

Back when I first started my blog, I used to mix it up! I'd have reviews, muse about books that were coming up, gush about my favorite authors, and occasionally throw in a movie review or two. Lately I've been so busy that I've only been posting what's scheduled on my calendar :). I know this is a book blog, but I always like to get to know the blogger who's behind it! So let me dish a little about what's been going on over here in Jessica land.

First of all, I was in a reading slump for a bit. If you say my March reading list you're probably baffled because yes, I did read a lot. Most of those books were tour books I had to read though. I way overstretched myself and after a while reading just wasn't fun. I was devastated. So I took a small hiatus, watched the rest of Veronica Mars (AMAZING SHOW) and spent time away from books. Now I'm feeling a little better, and starting to pick up things I want to read again. In fact, I finished Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey today, which I've been meaning to read for ages! I think it sparked something again, because now I'm ready to read.

In other news, I got a promotion at work! It's amazing, and challenging, and so time consuming that a lot of times I come home exhausted. So if you don't see me around as much as you used to that's partially why. The other half of it is that I'm pretty much always on BookLikes now. I've fallen in love with that site. It makes it easy/fun to write reviews, I have awesome people to talk to over there, and it's just a fun community. If you come on over let me know! I want to follow you :).

That's it for this Friday. I think I'll post on random Fridays just to keep this fresh. OH and my also keep an eye out! My blog turns FOUR YEARS OLD next week (*wipes a tear*) and I'll be doing some fun posts and giveaways :). Happy Friday!

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