Waiting on Wednesday #114

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

This week I’m Waiting on Wednesday for Dance of Fire (Dance of Shadows #2) by Yelena Black (Bloomsbury):

danceoffireAll dancers dream of the chance to try out for the Royal Court Ballet Company. Only two dancers from the elite New York Ballet Academy will have this honour. Vanessa is one of them. She dances with grace and elegance, and a fury that is unmatched. Justin – strong, sexy and caring – will be her partner. But the thrill of travelling to London for this once-in-a-lifetime competition is shrouded by their past and the demands of an ancient organisation.

The Lyric Elite needs them to win the contest and to infiltrate the Royal Court Ballet in order to seek out a dark society of Necrodancers. Vanessa will dance like she has never danced before, but not for them. Vanessa is there to find her missing sister, Margaret, and she won’t let anything get in the way of that…

Fierce rivals, dark forces and hidden motives weave together in a gripping thriller for fans of Black Swan and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments.

[ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

I am one of the few who thoroughly enjoyed Dance of Shadows, and have been eagerly awaiting the sequel. This book is sort of a conundrum, though, because as of right now it doesn’t have a US release date – just a UK one, where it’s already been released. I am hoping that the US gets on the ball and releases the book as well, but I guess we’ll have to see. Might just have to go the UK paperback route just to see how things come together!

Release Date: Already Released (in the UK)

What are you waiting on this week? Please link me!

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Oops!

Sorry guys, no Top Ten Tuesday post this week! To be honest, I got sidetracked and completely forgot to type one up. Clearly there’s just too much going on in my brain!

I’ll be back to posting TTT next week! ♥

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REVIEW: Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano

burningkingdomsBurning Kingdoms (Internment Chronicles #2) by Lauren DeStefano
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Previous Installment: Perfect Ruin

Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.

After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.

The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.

It is also a land at war.

Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?

mythoughtsBurning Kingdoms leaves me with a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, I got through it fairly quickly, so that meant it was enjoyable. On the other (and more prominent) hand, I couldn’t help but feel that literally NOTHING happened almost the entire 312 pages. So that makes this book really hard to review, because there really isn’t anything TO review. Does that even make sense? Considering that I finished this book nearly two weeks ago, I am still as confused as to what I actually think about it as I was upon getting that 100% complete message on my Kindle. So here’s some basic – and fairly brief – thoughts.

  1. This series is slow. Like, SLOW. Book one contained a lot of world-building and introduction of the various characters, and not a lot of action. Book two continues this, although there’s more character “growth” than introductions, since we already know most of them. I use quotation marks because I honestly feel like hardly anyone underwent any important growth or change; they all seem pretty stuck in the same place they were at the start of the book, even if something horrific happened and should have effected change. But I just didn’t feel it.
  2. Morgan kind of irritates me. She’s the main character, so we’re seeing this entire story through her eyes, and we’re also privy to her thoughts. However, she doesn’t really know what she wants, so that makes the reader kind of uncertain as well, and just makes for a rather messy narrative. I also don’t like the “special angel” vibe I get from her at times; the others all think she’s amazing and that gets kind of old really fast. Just like with the book itself, I just really don’t like her like I want to.
  3. It took until 60% or so for something worthwhile to HAPPEN. That’s just TOO LONG to drag your reader along. And yet, it wasn’t that the book was boring; it just wasn’t very action-packed. Again, conundrum!
  4. Lauren DeStefano has a gift for writing really beautiful prose. She does NOT have a gift for writing edge of your seat excitement. This book could have easily been cut down and combined with the upcoming third installment for all that happened.
  5. Even though I felt like the book took too long to get to a point, I am now too invested in the overarching story line to give up on it. So I shall be reading the final part of the trilogy when its released. After two books I’m fairly certain I know what to expect, so hopefully the third time will be the charm.

If you enjoyed Perfect Ruin, you’ll most likely want to read Burning Kingdoms, even though the plot drags. Morgan and company definitely have themselves in a bit of a mess, and I’m curious to see how everything’s going to shake out!

2.5stars

An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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A Week in Bookstagrams

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A Week in Bookstagrams is an original feature here at Read and Reviewed, in which I’m going to share my favorite Book Photo Challenge posts from my Tumblr with you all.

[NOTE: Click the pictures to see them at full size!]

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Row 1: Newest Purchase
Row 2: Currently Reading | Spring Time
Row 3: Favorite Cover | Edition
Row 4: Magical

[Book Photo Challenge Prompts for April are HERE.]

So those are my favorites! If you’re curious, you can see all the rest of my Book Photo Challenge posts – dating back to July, which is when I started participating in the challenge – by checking out my tag HERE on my Tumblr!

Which one do you like best? Do you take part in any bookish photo challenges? If so, please link me to your entries!

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Waiting on Wednesday #113

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

This week I’m Waiting on Wednesday for The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver (Farrar, Straus and Giroux [BYR]):

thesecretswekeepA girl takes over her twin sister’s identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters. Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy’s shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she’s chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy’s world. When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy’s death and everyone’s grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy’s life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister’s life. [ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

This one just sounds interesting to me. I want to know Ella’s motivations – it has to be more than guilt, right? – and I also want to know about the secrets her twin was carrying around with her. This has the potential to be really good, or really really not. I’m definitely hoping it’s the former!

Release Date: April 28, 2015

What are you waiting on this week? Please link me!

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Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers there at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday asked us to list our Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books. I have to admit that I could only come up with eight; oftentimes I like quotes because of what they mean in the context of the specific book, and not so much because they’re inspirational to me as a person. But these quotes are all ones that definitely fall into the latter category, so even though I don’t have ten of them, I have enough to share this week. Here we go! Flergs_SpringFling_StitchedConfetti1 ttt86

Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake.
-from Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
-from Autumn Leaves by Andre Gide

There is always a way out for those clever enough to find it.
-from The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
-from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.
-from The Lower Depths and Other Plays by Maxim Gorky

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
-from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-from This is My Story by Eleanor Roosevelt

Weakness is a guise. Wear it when they need to know you’re human, but never when you feel it.
-from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Flergs_SpringFling_StitchedConfetti1 So those are the quotes I chose this week! Which ones made your list? Please link me! signature2

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MINI-REVIEW: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins (and others)

mytruelovegavetomeMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories (edited) by Stephanie Perkins
Macmillan, 2014
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.

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  1. My True Love Gave to Me is utterly charming, you guys. I know it’s full of winter-related romances, but it really didn’t matter; you can read it any time and be perfectly fine. The stories range from cute and simple to complex and heart-breaking, making this a book to satisfy anyone who likes YA romances.
  2. There’s a lot of quality in this anthology. Only one story left me feeling rather “meh” and my biggest complaint of that one was just that the story didn’t seem to have any sort of satisfactory ending. I am all about ambiguity, but that story didn’t even give me that. To see my general thoughts and ratings on all 12 stories, please go HERE.
  3. Stephanie Perkins, Laini Taylor, Kiersten White, and Gayle Forman were the winners for me personally. I actually haven’t read a single book by any of them yet – I know, I’m behind the times – but this has definitely made me want to pick them up!
  4. One of the stories includes LBGTQA characters. It wasn’t my favorite, but I loved seeing the representation.
  5. Even though it took me a stupidly long time to get through this – I took a (really long) break mid-way through – I enjoyed the stories and reading works by new-to-me authors (Holly Black and Ally Carter notwithstanding). I was surprised at the depth of emotion put into some of these short works, and finished the book with a big ol’ smile on my face.

FINAL VERDICT: This is definitely a worthwhile addition to your collection. I have the British Collector’s Edition with the gorgeous blue cover, pink-edged pages, and ribbon bookmark (which is now available in PINK!), and am happy I decided to go that route. The presentation made it all the more romantic!

4stars

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March Book Haul

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[Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews]

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bookhaul2Purchased:

Bookish Things:

owlcratehaulMarch’s Owlcrate box was full of all these goodies:

  • a book (A Darker Shade of Magic + poster)
  • Unicorn bandaids
  • Game of Thrones figure (which I gave to my brother)
  • a bookmark
  • cute magnetic bookmarks from CraftedVan

Are any of you subscribed to this? I know their April boxes are already sold out – I can’t wait to get mine! – but you should definitely check them out if you haven’t! Their May box hasn’t yet been announced, but once they do they’ll open up subscriptions again, so don’t miss out!

And that’s all for me! I was very well behaved last month, which was good since I didn’t do any reading!

Please make sure you link me to your book haul posts! I’d love to see what you’ve picked up!

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State of Merin

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So after taking a two+ week hiatus, I think I’m back and raring to go. March was a difficult month for me – I was really sick for several weeks in late February/early March, and it just ate away at my inspiration or desire to do anything except sit and watch mindless TV. Because of this, I didn’t get any reading done during the month of March. I think I’ve sufficiently recharged my batteries, though – and the Trees of Reverie Read-a-Thon is helping to get my reading back on track – so hopefully April will be better.

Since my last update, I have sent home third quarter report cards with my kiddos, taken my Spring Break (during which I did absolutely nothing and it was glorious), and started in on the final swing of the school year. Only two more months until the school year is over! I put together a list of all the things I need to cover/teach during these next eight or so weeks to see what I needed to be sure to do, and while the list seems lengthy I think it’s more than doable. Hopefully my kiddos will stay in their good, positive mindsets so we can get through everything!

In other news, baseball season has officially started! I have tickets for Opening Day with my mom and brother and am looking forward to watching my Cardinals play live and in person. Baseball marks the official beginning of spring in my mind, and also means summer is right around the corner. This is particularly exciting this year, because I will be going to Disney World and Universal Studios in June; we’re officially two months away from the day we leave! I will most likely be taking another hiatus while we’re gone – I’ll be in Florida from the 9th through 21st – but we’ll see how everything shakes out once we get closer. To say I am excited about this trip would be a massive understatement!

In personal news, I’ve also tentatively (ha) decided to try to start working out a few days a week. Now, I want to state upfront that “working out” for me involves some combination of the Wii Fit and exercise bike or treadmill – I am not a hardcore gym fanatic or anything of the sort – but I do think that if I can get into some sort of exercise swing that it will hopefully just help me feel better overall. Plus we’re going to be doing a lot of walking in Florida, and I should probably try to help that out. I figure I can read on my Kindle or listen to an audiobook while I bike/walk, which might also help my reading. So anyway, that’s the plan. We’ll see how it goes – I will post an update of sort with my State of Me post next month. Feel free to ask me about it! It will help hold me accountable if nothing else.

And that’s all for this month’s update! I hope all of you are doing well! ♥

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Waiting on Wednesday #112

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

This week I’m Waiting on Wednesday for Valiant by Sarah McGuire (Egmont USA):

valiantSaville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he’s always prized them more than he’s ever loved her. Yet when he’s struck ill, she’ll do anything to survive, even donning boys’ clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.

Piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants led by a man who cannot be defeated. And they’re marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. But Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. She tricks them into leaving, but tales of the daring tailor’s triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And mere stories won’t deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.

[ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

It’s a fairy tale retelling! And it’s a retelling of a story that hasn’t already been retold a thousand times! Honestly I need no other reason to read this book. :)

Release Date: April 28, 2015

What are you waiting on this week? Please link me!

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