Stacking the Shelves #74

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This feature is brought to you by Tynga’s Reviews.
Hi everyone!
This week was a really good week for me personally. I added several books to my shelves thanks to the hashtag #booksfortrade. Thank you Robyn, Dawn & Sara for trading with me. 
I also bought a book so I could binge read the whole trilogy at some point this summer. 
I only added one review book to the pile this week. It does not release until December so I’ve got plenty of time to read it.
Bought

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Blood and Smoke #2) by Lani Taylor


Received for Review
-Netgalley
This Raging Light by Estelle Laure


Trade

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Lani Taylor
Welcome to the Dark House (Welcome to the Dark House #1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Lani Taylor
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Bloggers Mentioned
Dawn
Sara
Robyn

Have a great week everyone!

Waiting on Wednesday #11

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This feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming books that we’re excited about.
My Pick
Synopsis
Game of Thrones meets Ocean’s Eleven in this brand-book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

My Thoughts
I have not finished The Grisha Trilogy yet, but I do have all three books. I am really excited that Bardugo is doing another series in the same world. I am really excited to see how it all plays out. Plus, look at that COVER? I’m obsessed with covers and this one is awesome in it’s simplicity. September cannot get here fast enough.

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh

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Book Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Published Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Putnam (Penguin)
Genre: YA Retelling
Series: Book one in The Wrath and the Dawn series
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Disclaimer: I bought this book.

Review:

I am utterly dumbfounded right now. This book was unbelievably gorgeous. From the cover to the pages to what was written ON the pages. This book was stunning. I’m still as in love with the cover as I was the first time I saw it. Now that I’ve read the book, I’m just as in love with the words on the pages as I am in love with the cover.

I have read many many books in my 29 years but I don’t think any of them have ever been this gorgeously (is that even a word?) written. I was barely 20 pages into it when I put it down and said out loud “holy hell this book is gorgeous” I could probably talk about the gorgeous writing for days, but I probably shouldn’t. It was so beautiful through the entire thing. I was worried that the beautiful writing would take away from the actual story, but it didn’t. It added to it.

The world building was stunning and I felt like I was actually in this world. That’s how vivid things were. I could see the clothes in my minds eye, my mouth watered with the descriptions of the food (funny as I usually don’t enjoy Indian or Persian food) but I definitely wanted the food they were eating because it sounded delicious. When a book can make you hungry in the dead of night, then you know the book is good.

I have massive love and respect for Shazi. She was fierce, stubborn and protective. Her objective was the avenge the death of her best friend Shiva. She never expected to fall for Khalid, and in fact she fought it for a good chunk of the book. In her mind, she could never love Khalid because of what Khalid had done to many young girls before her, including Shiva. She had this vulnerability to her that she was clearly reluctant to show anyone else. It took awhile for her to even let Khalid sense her vulnerability. But when she did, it was beautiful.

Khalid was one of those brooding, mysterious types. Those types always intrigue me because there is always more to them than initially meets the eye. I sensed that he had a lot on his plate and that being vulnerable with anyone wasn’t something he was comfortable with. Just like with Shazi, it took awhile for him to show her his vulnerable side.

I was really worried that Shazi and Khalid would fall for each other and it would feel very insta-lovey. I was really hoping that wouldn’t be the case as I think it would have really ruined the book for me. Thankfully it was not an insta-love situation. I fell for them as I watched them slowly fall for each other. That is a truly great feeling.

There were so many secondary characters in this book. My favorites were Despina, Shazi’s handmaiden & Jalal, Khalid’s cousin. We didn’t get to see a lot of Shazi’s father, but I liked him. I was not really fond of Tariq, Shazi’s first love, but he wasn’t a terrible person. Even the secondary characters were fleshed out well.

I almost forgot to mention, the feels! Holy feels, Batman. Within the first 20 pages I had already cried twice and then through the rest of the book, I cried no less than 5 times. I was not expecting the feels to be so rampant in this one. There were several feelsy moments near the end, and thankfully I had kleenex for those moments.

I absolutely loved this book and I am so glad I took a chance on it and pre-ordered it without even reading an ARC copy. It was totally worth it and I’m not sure how I am going to wait until next year for book 2. 5 stars to this beautifully captivating book.

Stacking the Shelves #73

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This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Hi everyone!

This week was a good week for me and a really good week for the blog.

The haul this week is very small with only three books. One was a pre-order that came in this week and two others were received via trades with bloggers. Thank you Stacie & Christy!

Bought
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Trade

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu
Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Bloggers Mentioned
Stacie
Christy

Hope you all have a great week!

Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

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Book Title: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin Benway
Published Date: June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story. 


Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I was taking a bit of a risk with this book as it looked fairly fluffy and I don’t usually go for fluffy. The premise looked promising and I thought there was a good chance of me enjoying the book. And I was right, for the most part. The beginning started off really well and I was pulled into the story almost effortlessly. Within the first 3% of the book I was full on sobbing, and I did in fact tweet the author about this very thing.

As the book went on though, I started to feel a little bored. I didn’t love Oliver right away and I wasn’t excited to pick the book back up at night. I trudged through it because while it wasn’t a bad book, I just wasn’t invested for a good chunk of the time. Now, as I look back on it, I’m about 95% sure that my mood was affecting my reading.

Right around the 60% mark in the book was where my feelings about the book improved significantly. I gobbled up the last 40% of the book in on sitting. I smiled, I cried, I even got a bit rage-y in certain parts. But I fell in love with Oliver and Emmy as a couple during this portion. I rooted for them, I grinned like crazy every time there was kissing.

The friendships were so solid and they had stayed that way the entire time Oliver was gone. Caro and Drew were awesome and I absolutely adored them. There was a time that I was frustrated with Emmy and how she put her new relationship with Oliver before her friendship with Caro. I could see why Caro was so hurt and I hurt for her.

The ending was emotional in the best possible way. I’m so glad that I stuck with this book. I ended up really enjoying it. I am giving this book 4 stars and I absolutely recommend it to everyone.

Waiting on Wednesday #10

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It is a way to showcase upcoming releases that we’re excited about.
My Pick
Synopsis from Goodreads
A surprising, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door—great for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han 

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To . . . well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular NowNick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

My Reaction
My Life Next Door was one of my favorite books that I read in 2014 and when I heard that Tim and Alice were going to get their own story, I was stoked. Beyond stoked actually. It needs to be August now. I don’t know how I am going to wait another 3 months until it’s in my hands. I may need to reread My Life Next Door in preparation for Tim and Alice’s story. The cover is perfect. I love it, and it seems perfect for this book. My guess is that a lot of it will be fluffy with a bit of drama thrown in. I’ve been distancing myself from the fluffy contemporaries lately, so this should be interesting

TTT: Top Ten Books With My Favorite Sub-Category of "Tough Stuff" Contemporary

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This feature is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

My favorite genre is contemporary and my favorite sub-genre is “tough stuff” contemporary. Since this TTT is a freebie, I decided to do my top 10 favorite “tough stuff” contemporaries. This may be the books I cried the most over, the books that touched me or even the books that incited strong emotions in me.
 Fault Line by C. Desir
Paperweight by Meg Haston
Pointe by Brandy Colbert
Made You Up  by Francesca Zappia
The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi
Bleed Like Me by C. Desir
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
So tell me, have you read any of these? If you have, be sure to let me know what you thought of them.
If you did a TTT, be sure to link me to it in the comments.

Review: The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

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Book Title: The Revenge Playbook
Author: Rachael Allen 
Published Date: June 16th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

Don’t get mad, get even!

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
I loved Allen’s first book, 17 First Kisses, and I wasn’t sure if this book would live up to it, but it did. In a really big way. Like with 17 First Kisses, I was expecting something light and fluffy, but what I got was a book chock full of girl power, and some hard topics of conversation.

It has always been a big complaint of mine that high school athletes get special treatment. They get a pass on bad behavior, they get extensions on homework assignments, even when the non-athletes have asked for them for a legitimate reason and they don’t get them. It’s like they get privileges that other students don’t get. 

Like they are the “golden boys”

Out of the four girls, Ana, Melanie Jane, Liv and Peyton, I think I liked Peyton the most. I related to her in a way that I couldn’t relate to to the other three. She had special considerations due to her ADHD and she constantly tried to alert the teachers and the rest of the staff that she needed the boys (the football players) to stop bothering her so she could concentrate.

Did they punish the football players? Of course not.

Did they punish her by making her move so she wouldn’t be so distracted? Absolutely.

I don’t think I’ve been this angry over a book in a very long time. I was livid, actually more than livid if there is such a thing. It was the treatment of Peyton that enraged me the most.

Then we move on to Liv who has not had sex with her boyfriend, but she’s still called a slut by a lot of the boys.

We have Melanie Jane who has sworn to remain a virgin until her wedding night. She used to be best friends with Ana until something changed between them.

Ana is hiding a secret. A secret that will devastate her family. She’s choosing to keep it from them because when she tried to report it to the school & the law enforcement officers, she was told that she needed to keep it to herself or else one of the boys would lose his football scholarship.

When I read that part, I was furious. This is why so many high school girls are terrified to report any incidence of assault. They know that nothing will happen to the football players and other sports participants because they are athletes and are exempt from punishment. Schools need to stop treating these boys like they are a gift to mankind. Treat them as you would any other student, even if that means *gasp* punishing them.

These four girls have some similarities, but also a lot of differences, but the way they come together to fight back against the sexism and the misogyny surrounding the school, and most specifically the football team. They wanted nothing more than to beat the boys at their own game, even embarrassing them.

The presence of a list was also made known to the girls. This list is written by the BMOC (Big Man On Campus) Chad McAllister. It informs the rest of the football team that certain girls aren’t worthy of them for various reasons (all of which have to do with either their looks or the fact that they haven’t put out)

Barf.

Basically if you have a girlfriend who is on the list, you need to cut her loose. For the good of the team & its image of course. This was another scene where I had to literally get up and walk away from my Kindle because I was literally shaking with rage.

I loved the friendships that developed in this book. I loved how Melanie Jane wasn’t ridiculed for being a virgin. I loved how despite their different home lives, and interests, they still managed to form a friendship. This entire book was awesome, but the ending was amazing, and I cried buckets because of certain things that happen at the end that I don’t want to spoil for those of you who haven’t read it yet.

Just please read it. I actually feel like this book needs to be in classrooms, especially high school classrooms. It’s a must read for all teenagers and even school faculty. I loved this book for the messages it sent and for the powerful friendships that developed. I’ll be giving it 5 stars and I cannot wait to get a finished copy of this book.

Stacking the Shelves #72

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This weekly feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.
Hi guys!
This week, I added several books to my shelves & to my Kindle. I had loaned an ARC to a fellow blogger and she generously sent me a gift card as a thank you. Of course I spent it on books!

My pre-order of a highly anticipated book also arrived, so YAY.

I went to Costco this week and picked up one book.

I added one review book to my pile. I requested this book months ago, and this week I got the email that my request was accepted.

Bought
The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh
Unteachable by Leah Raeder
Infinite Repeat (The Art of Lainey Novella) by Paula Stokes
The Blue Haired Boy (Faking Normal #0.5) by Courtney C. Stevens
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Received for Review
-Edelweiss-

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Hope you all have an awesome week!

Summer of Series Reading Challenge

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At the beginning of the year, I signed up for two challenges and those were the only two I was going to do. Until Danielle & Lili talked about how they were going to do a Summer of Series challenge. I wanted to jump on that immediately as I have several series that I need to read.
Here are the series that I want to read. If you could help me narrow them down, I’d appreciate it.
1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
4. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
5. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
6. Defiance by C. J. Redwine
7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor
If you want to know more about this challenge check out Danielle’s post here and Lili’s post here