Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday for 12/22

Teaser Tuesday NewTeaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.

You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.

~ The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I love this book so much, it’s hard to put it into words. Although I did try.

Please leave your teasers in comments!

Books I've Read

Book Review: A Tale Dark & Grimm

a tale dark and grimmTitle: A Tale Dark & Grimm

Author: Adam Gidwitz

Series: Grimm #1

Edition: Paperback

Blurb: In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.

Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.

This book was absolutely delightful and I read it in one day. Of course, you could say that was because it’s a middle grade book, and as such, not quite as heavy as some of the stuff I read, but still. This series is one of my daughter’s favorites and since she knows how much I enjoy fairy tale retellings, she said I had to read this. And she was right.

It was also cool that we both got to meet the author at YallFest this year.

The kiddo with Adam Gidwitz. She was so excited!

This book primarily tells the story of Hansel and Gretel and how they became the kids we know from their story about witches living in a house made of candy. They also move through several other stories, each told with the same feeling as the original Grimm tales. Gidwitz doesn’t shy away from keeping these tales as bloody as original fairy tales tend to be, but what makes this book so much fun is the constant interjections by the author. At several points, the author steps in to either tell the audience that the story is about to get more sinister and violent (or more awesome) and at times to tell the “little kids” that they should probably go to bed.

All the books in this series are stand alone, which is good since I’m not immediately moving on to the next book just yet, although I plan to read all of them soon. The next two books include stories from Jack and Jill, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, and a bunch of others. It sounds like a blast and I can’t wait to read them.

GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

Books I've Read

Book Review: Nirvana

nirvanaTitle: Nirvana

Author: J. R. Stewart

Series: Nirvana #1

Edition: E-book ARC (thanks NetGalley!)

Blurb: When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized – even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.

This book was good, but not great. There were lots of elements that I enjoyed – you all know how much I love my dystopian dramas and strong female leads. While this had both of those things, there was something that was just slightly off the mark on this one, although I’m not sure what it was.

As I have mentioned previously, there was a bit of a Ready Player One vibe to this – a planet devastated and destroyed, it’s inhabitants escaping to a virtual world in order to cope. In this, we get the added bonus of that virtual world being in the hands of the large global corporation that is seeking to control everyone and everything. The villains themselves were a bit one dimensional. Kenders is a pretty good heroine, one that is not content with taking things at face value, and who is very determined to find out the truth no matter what.

I also liked their way of destroying the world involving something happening to the bee populations. No bees = no pollination = dwindling plant life = the world falling apart. Makes sense.

A lot of plot points felt very repetitive to me, especially the ending. When I finally got there, I felt like I had already read that set up before. We’ve already done this, and now we have to do it again. It makes me wonder what new things the author has in store for the next book, because the set up feels like I will be reading the same story over again, which I don’t necessarily want to do.

GoodReads Rating: 3 stars. Not a bad read, but not a memorable one either.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday for 12/16

WWW NewWWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

nirvanaStill working my way through Nirvana by J.R. Stewart. I got a little sidetracked (more on that later), but I will hopefully finish it today, with a review released tomorrow if I get my act together.


What did you recently finish reading?

ensnaredOkay, okay. I got sucked back into reading the whole Splintered trilogy by A.G. Howard, but I finished Ensnared yesterday, which means I can get back on track with some other books I need to finish. Like Nirvana, since it’s an ARC.


What do you think you’ll read next?

a tale dark and grimmI am definitely going to read A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. My daughter really wants me to read them and I think it will be nice to finish out the year with some creepy MG goodness.


There are my answers for this week! Please leave your WWW posts in comments!

Teaser Tuesday · Top Ten Tuesdays

Teasers and Top Tens for 12/15

Teaser Tuesday New
Can you believe we’re half way through December already?? I sure can’t!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm. Here are the rules if you’d like to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Outside the awning, up high on the skeletal platform where the caucus race commenced, sits one giant sphere. An inferno burns inside, licking the glass in hot oranges, yellows, and reds. At the end of the ceremony, We will walk in the midst of those flames with our groom, initiating our trial by fire. After that, We’ll be forever joined to him.

~ Ensnared by A.G. Howard

Yes, yes, I know. It’s only been a week and I’ve made it almost all the way through this trilogy again. Once I get it out of my system, I’ll get back to the other books I’m supposed to be reading right now. I promise!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

wpid-toptentuesday.jpgTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

I’m posting this list with a few exceptions. First off, I’m not listing any book that was a re-read for this year. These are all new books I read for the first time in 2015. Also, I am only including one book per series on this list. That cut my choices down a bit since I am trying very hard to complete series these days. Here are seven good books I discovered this year.

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – This is ending up on a lot of my lists this year, just because it’s such a good book. It packs a solid punch to the gut, which makes you think about it long after you’ve finished reading.
  2. Ensnared by A.G. Howard – I know I’m sort of cheating with this one, but it did come out this year, which means that although I read the first two books previously, this one was still new. Love love love this series!
  3. These Broken Stars by Amie Kauffman & Meagan Spooner – This one had been on my radar for a while, just because the cover is so amazingly beautiful. Luckily, the story did not disappoint.
  4. The Magician King by Lev Grossman – This book saved this series for me. I hated The Magicians so much, but for some reason, I wanted to give book two a chance. I’m so glad that I did, because book two and book three are a whole different ballgame.
  5. The Doorknob Society by M.J. Fletcher – A book I got for free off of BookBub which lead me to read all five books in the series. This was a fun, quirky series which was very enjoyable.
  6. Redshirts by John Scalzi – I read a lot of heavy, serious stuff. I don’t know why I’m usually drawn to it, but I am. This book was a welcome respite to that. It’s fun and silly and just a good time.
  7. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent – I loved this whole series and I’m so glad that my friend and podcast co-host Jess forced me to read the first one. They were so so good!

Please leave your teasers and top tens in comments!

Books I've Read

Book Review: The Truth About Alice

the truth about aliceTitle: The Truth About Alice

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Series: None

Edition: Hardcover

Blurb: Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It’s true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there’s only one person to ask: Alice herself.

This is one of the books that I got for my Secret Santa present this year through The Broke and the Bookish. It’s been on my TBR for a while, although I don’t remember where I heard about it. I was wanting to read something that was quick and not a huge series investment. It’s not a long book – I was able to read it in one sitting – but it still packs a pretty strong impact in few pages.

This book, to be honest, is terrifying for someone who has a daughter who will sooner than I think become a teenager (my daughter is 11 and seems like she’s getting older and older by the hour). The author uses different characters to give first person accounts of what happened to their classmate, Alice. We hear from Elaine, the popular girl who threw the infamous party; Kelsie, Alice’s former best friend who has recently learned what it’s like to be popular and never wants to go back; Josh, the best friend and teammate of Brandon; and Kurt, the weirdo genius outcast who has secretly harbored a crush for Alice and is the only one who is there to support her.

This story is brutal in the way it shows how a series of stories, which we never know whether or not they are actually true until the end, can completely and totally destroy someone’s reputation. Alice goes from being one of the most popular girls in school to being a complete pariah in a matter of days. The other students are also dealing with their own issues as the school year goes on.

This felt like a very realistic story. All of the characters are deeply flawed, which made me both sympathize with them and want to smack them upside their heads. It was very well written and a compelling glimpse into the difficulties that modern teenagers face.

GoodReads Rating: 5 Stars

Books I've Read

Book Review: The Heartland Trilogy by Chuck Wendig

Title: Under the Empyrean Sky, Blightborn, and The Harvest

Author: Chuck Wendig

Series: The Heartland trilogy

Edition: ebooks

under the empyrean skyYou’ve heard me talk about the author Chuck Wendig a few times now. I follow him on Twitter and love reading his blog, Terrible Minds, where he gives funny and honestly blunt advice about writing, among other things. I had gone a long time without reading any of his actual books, which I thought was wrong, so I picked these up. I am very glad that I did.

This is a very dystopian sci-fi tale, which y’all know I’m into. In this world, the rich, or the Empyrean, live in these huge floating cities above the earth. The poor live below in the Heartland, where their main job is to take care of the strain of corn that has taken over the world. You can’t grow much else (the Empyrean forbid it). This corn isn’t even good to eat – they use it for fuel and to turn into building materials.

blightbornOur hero is Cael, who is a rough and tumble guy who is just trying to survive, but who becomes very instrumental in fighting the bad guys, almost by accident. This book has a lot of strong characters, but what I liked about them is that they were very complex. Cael is far from perfect. Not all the Heartlanders are good people, even though we’re supposed to be rooting for them to succeed. Likewise, not all the Empyrean are bad, despite being the dominant oppressive class. There are lots of shades of gray, which makes the characters feel much more real.

the harvestAnother part of the story that was really cool was the introduction of the Blightborn. These are people who are afflicted with what some people think i a disease, where they actually start to become one with the plants of the world. Vines and leaves will grow out of them and they get a rather unique set of powers. I liked how this affliction goes from being something to be terrified of catching (we see very early that some people go completely mad from it), to something that is very destructive, but that can be controlled and used to do some pretty cool stuff.

I would recommend these for someone who likes a good dystopian tale that does NOT revolve around any sort of romance. There are a few romantic relationships, but they are definitely not the focal point. This is a fun adventure with a lot of new ideas that I hadn’t seen before, which is always good. So check them out, and check out Chuck’s blog as well. He’s a pretty funny guy. 🙂