Waiting on Wednesday #109

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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 Resonance (Dissonance #2) by Erica O’Rourke (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers):

NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for Dissonance.

resonanceAs a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.

Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him.

She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.

In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice…

[ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

I really enjoyed Dissonance, particularly because it felt different from other YA books I’d read. I am a big fan of books that feature a multiverse of some sort, and the fact that Del (and her family) has a special ability to walk between all of these realities was really interesting. Plus, I had a definite soft spot for her romance with Simon, and the way Dissonance ended just killed me. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Release Date: July 21, 2015

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

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Top Ten Favorite Heroines

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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 post asks us to wax poetically about our favorite heroines. They could be from books, movies or TV, so I decided to do a mix of all three, just to make this list different from the one where I talked about my favorite kick-ass heroines (which were only from books, and would crossover almost exactly if I were to do bookish heroines this week as well). So here are my Top Ten Favorite Heroines from All Media Types!

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1) Annabeth Chase, from the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books by Rick Riordan
Annabeth will forever and always be my all-time favorite heroine in any form. She’s strong and smart, but still has her weaknesses which she fights through and tries to overcome. She is seriously just all-around awesome!

2) Lilac LaRoux, from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
LOVE Lilac. I love her mostly because she’s not perfect, and she doesn’t have these amazingly awesome skills. She’s just a normal human girl who gets thrust into a really hard situation and does her best to survive. She’s had to hide who she really is because of her father and doesn’t like to show weakness, even though she has them. She’s also tough, intelligent, and has a huge heart, and I seriously just love her to pieces.

3) Cinder, from the Lunar Chronicles books by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is someone who has been looked down on her entire life, and yet still manages to be strong. She’s got a lot on her shoulders right now, but she’s still fighting to do what needs to be done, even though it’s not going to be easy. I just really want her to have her happily ever after!

4) Rose Zarelli, from the Confessions books by Louise Rozett
Oh, Rose. Talk about someone who’s had her unfair share of ups and downs! She is a bit of a misfit, unsure who she is and where she fits in, and yet she just keeps charging forward. She tries to help others to the detriment of her relationship with someone she really cares about, and has a lot of personal things weighing her down as well. I just really love her spirit, her sense of humor, and the way she’s grown and developed and turned into someone really special.

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5) Emily Prentiss, from Criminal Minds
Emily is SUCH a strong character. She is funny, charming, and a great friend, and also tough as nails. I like how smart she is, how well she works with her teammates to solve the crimes they’re working on, and how good of a friend she is to everyone, particularly Reid. I really miss her a whole, whole lot!

6) Jody Mills, from Supernatural
Honestly I just love a lady who doesn’t take any junk from anyone, even if those people are Sam and Dean Winchester. Jody is one tough lady who’s had a lot of personal strife and still manages to do her job amazingly well. She is strong, intelligent, and genuinely caring about others. I wish the show had more room for her to appear more than just sporadically because she really is that awesome. And Sam and Dean love her a whole, whole lot, which gives her major bonus points in her favor!

7) Kate Beckett, from Castle
You can probably see my love of female police officers/agents popping through in this list, can’t you? I love Kate mostly because she’s still majorly feminine while working in a male-dominated field. She’s another one who’s smart and tough and strong in a variety of ways, and I don’t just mean her ability to kick criminals’ butts. Plus she’s funny, and amazing at banter, particularly with Castle!

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8) Belle, from Beauty and the Beast
Gotta include my girl from my all-time favorite movie! I like that Belle is unapologetically different, and what book blogger can resist a girl who loves books? Plus, I might just be a TINY bit jealous of her amazing library, okay?

9) Susan Pevensie, from The Chronicles of Narnia films
I’m putting her on this list because honestly movie!Susan blows book!Susan straight out of the water. Not that I don’t like book!Susan, but MAN, movie!Susan is like my all-time girl crush, okay? She’s gorgeous, she’s strong, she’s smart, and she’s wickedly accurate with a bow. Plus her Narnian dresses are to die for!

10) Elizabeth Swann, from The Pirates of the Caribbean films
Elizabeth starts out as a rather typical swoony “oh my nerves!” female, but MAN does she change throughout the films! She goes from being something of a princess to being Pirate King, and you gotta love a girl who finds herself like that. She’s tough as nails, smart, and willing to fight for those she loves, and that’s honestly enough to get me to love her. Plus, she’s strong enough to do what needs to be done, even if it hurts, and then is willing to try to fix her mistakes, even when it’s seemingly impossible. Honestly, she’s just amazing, and I don’t even think I have the words to express all the reasons why I feel that way!

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So that’s my list this week! Which heroines made your list? Please link me!

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REVIEW: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

bluelilylilyblueBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic, 2014
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Previous Installments: The Raven Boys | The Dream Thieves

The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

mythoughtsVery rarely do you encounter series where the books just keep getting better and better. Usually there’s at least one downer – typically a book 2 – and it’s enough to color your impression of the series as a whole. That’s why The Raven Cycle is so spectacular; because there hasn’t been any letdowns, and each book really does outshine its predecessor. Each book has introduced new twists and turns – and new characters – and yet still seamlessly continues the flow of the adventure and the ups and downs the core characters go through. I even don’t mind the fact that we keep getting new points of view to hear the story from; sometimes too many characters just causes confusion, but with Blue Lily, Lily Blue (and the other books) I loved the look into the heads of some not-so-nice folks.

It also helped that I again chose to go the audiobook route for this book; Will Patton is an amazing narrator, who changes each of the characters voices just enough to let you know who’s telling the story. His pacing and style is perfect for someone like me who tends to lose focus when listening to a story for too long. I was able to stay with the story, focused on the characters, and never once found myself getting bored. I know I said it in the previous books’ reviews, but I’ll say it again: if you haven’t yet read these books, do think about giving the audio versions a try. I know you won’t be disappointed!

Just like with The Dream Thieves, it’s sort of hard to review this one without divulging any spoilers for the series. This one picks up right after the end of book two, with Blue and the boys returning to school and everything that entails. It also physically introduces a character you learned about earlier in the series in the form of Professor Malory. I have to say that the snark and sass via Ronan regarding the professor was definitely one of the highlights of this book! I also liked the more introspective Gansey we get in this book, as well as this new version of Adam; he’s much stronger and more with it and I finally felt like I was connecting with him. Plus his and Ronan’s friendship is just precious and is to be treasured and protected at all costs. We likewise get a different Blue, who is sort of spinning off course without her mother. And the shenanigans of 300 Fox Way will never get old, particularly with their new houseguest!

Unlike with book two, I did not find myself loving the villains of this installment, which come in the form of Collin Greenmantle and his wife, Piper. They definitely helped drive the story forward, but I didn’t find any redeeming qualities in either of them; they actually seemed rather flat – evil for evil’s sake – and were probably the only thing I didn’t love about this book. I much prefer characters with hidden layers, and the Greenmantles just really seemed to lack that. Yes, they were integral to the plot – and the cliffhanger ending – but I honestly won’t be sad to not see any more of them. Not sure if that’s possible, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed all the same.

With the end of the series in sight, Blue Lily, Lily Blue managed to do what all great series books do: it ramped up the action, threw in more twists, and added depth to characters you thought you already knew. The ending leaves the reader with a major question that has implications for the remaining book, and definitely makes you want the final book right now. There are a lot of balls in the air being juggled by almost all of the characters and I look forward to seeing where they all land in the end!

5stars

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A Week in Bookstagrams

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A Week in Bookstagrams is a new 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: Favorite Genre | Book & Candy
Row 2: Couldn’t Put Down | Fictional Boyfriend
Row 3: Books & Flowers | Made Me Cry

[Book Photo Challenge Prompts for February 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 #108

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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 Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch (Balzer + Bray):

NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for Snow Like Ashes.

icelikefireIt’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

[ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

Snow Like Ashes was one of my favorite books of 2014, so I am obviously extremely excited to read the sequel. I like the idea of Meira really growing and trying to do what she thinks is right, even if it goes against the opinion of someone she cares about. I am also intrigued by the fact that it looks like we might also be getting a Mather point of view in this installment; while he wasn’t a favorite, I didn’t DISlike him, and he might grow on me a bit more if I can see things from his point of view. And also, YES to Meira and Theron traveling together! Give me ALL of that, please!

Release Date: October 13, 2015

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

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My Ten Book-Related Problems

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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 post made me laugh a bit, because every blogger probably has at least one book-related issue that they deal with. I know that I have several. So here are my Ten Book-Related Problems (although I could probably come up with even more if I’m being honest).

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So those are my ten for this week! What are your book-related problems? Please link me!

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REVIEW: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

redqueenRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
HarperTeen, 2015
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

mythoughtsRed Queen was probably my most anticipated debut of 2015, so I was nervous upon starting it because rarely do extremely hyped-up books meet my expectations. For the most part, though, this one did, or at least my feeling upon finishing it was mostly positive. However, unlike some other bloggers/reviewers who have read this book, I didn’t fall completely in love with it. This was mainly due to one single thing, which I’ll talk about more below. I think I may just be the odd man out, though, because in reading others’ thoughts on the book I sort of feel like I’m the only one that had this issue. So it goes, I guess!

First off, this book is fantasy, but with dystopian elements. Mare lives in a world divided by blood – the Silvers, those who have special abilities which are many and varied, and the Reds, who are the working class and have no abilities. Mare is Red, but through a twist of fate finds herself pretending to be Silver when it’s discovered that she does, in fact, possess a special talent: she can control electricity. And so begins her life as a pretender, where she tries to use her new status in order to bring about a change for her Red brethren. Of course, no YA would be complete without a romance, and it’s brought to fruition here with Cal, the crown prince. However, Mare is actually betrothed to Cal’s younger brother Maven, and does an admirable job of trying to pretend that her feelings for Cal don’t exist. So, yes, there’s a love triangle, but it’s not actually the focus, and because of this I personally didn’t have an issue with it. Still, I know love triangles are a thing that bother lots of folks so definitely wanted to mention it!

One thing I really liked about this book was the world its set in. I liked getting a glimpse of the Silvers and their special powers; some seem really inane and yet all of them can be deadly. I really felt for Mare and her situation, especially since she finds herself stuck between two worlds. She cares for Cal (even though she tries to deny it) but can’t stand his way of thinking – that it’s better for everyone to continue on with the Reds serving the Silvers – even though I have to think he’s actually quite torn about it deep down. She spends a lot of time calling him a liar when she is actually the queen of lying herself. I also really found myself feeling bad for Maven, who’s had to spend his life in his big brother’s shadow. I liked the way the friendship between Maven and Mare grew because it felt more natural in its progression of friends to something more. Her feelings for Cal had a much more “love at first sight” type of vibe to them, and while it worked – my heart really hurt for the two of them by the end of the book – it sure is nice to see the other type of romance featured as well.

Of course, no book would be complete without a surprise twist, and it’s with this twist that I had my biggest issue. I’m actually nervous to even mention this because I don’t want to possibly spoil anyone else, so if you don’t want to get an idea into your head before reading the book yourself PLEASE STOP READING. There’s a lot of foreshadowing in this book, and the same phrase – anyone can betray anyone – keeps getting tossed around practically every single chapter. It definitely sets the reader up with the mindset that things aren’t what they seem. And maybe it’s because of this sense of distrust that’s built up that I sort of saw the twist before it happened. But then again, absolutely no one else mentioned this as being a problem for them, so maybe it’s just me. Either way, it did affect my enjoyment of the book, so I wanted to mention it all the same.

All in all I was pleased with Red Queen and am definitely looking forward to the sequel. I think it has a bit of something for everyone, and while there IS romance, it isn’t the main point. I think more focus is actually paid to Mare and her struggle to fix the injustice of her world through any means necessary, even if those means aren’t always nice and neat. I feel like she definitely did some growing up throughout the book and I look forward to seeing what her choices and the circumstances forced on her do to change her. And also, if the author can somehow fix her and Cal I will be forever in her debt!

3.5stars

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

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State of Merin

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Wow, how is it already February 12th? January flew by, or at least, now that it’s over it felt like it did. It’s funny how you never feel like time’s moving fast when you’re in the middle of things. Just last week I had to print my students’ progress reports, because the end of the quarter is coming up in just a few weeks. I feel like I just DID report cards, so I’m definitely not happy that it’s already around the corner yet again.

Speaking of school and time flying, we actually celebrated our 100th Day of School last week! Here’s a picture of me in my 100th Day crown (that my students also made and wore):

100thdaymeForgive the tiredness and frizzy hair; this was taken at the end of the day, after I had to stand out in the sleet and scrap off my car. :)

Anyway! January was a good month blogging wise for me, and February has continued in this same vein. I noticed a definite uptick in my reading compared to the previous month – I read four books as opposed to only two in December – and I’ve already read two books thus far in February, with three others (an audiobook, an e-galley, and an anthology) in progress. So I’m definitely feeling pretty good about my reading overall. I’ve also managed to keep to my blogging schedule, posting content when I intended to and not slacking off. I’m still oftentimes tired when I get home from work – my kiddos are awesome but exhausting – but I’ve still been managing to squeeze in at least a little reading time most nights.

Other things taking up my time right now are my Professional Development Plan and Unit of Instruction that I’ve had to complete with my grade-level teammate as part of our District Evaluation, learning the new Phonics program, and starting our Opinion Writing Unit in Writing. Yep, all of those are work-related, because that’s pretty much what my life consists of right now. I can’t wait until I’m tenured – only two more years! – so that I won’t have to worry about all the paperwork that new(er) teachers have to deal with!

So that’s pretty much all that’s been going on. Lots of reading, lots of work, lots of being tired. Pretty much par for the course during the school year!

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Waiting on Wednesday #107

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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 Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray (HarperTeen):

NOTE: Summary contains spoilers for A Thousand Pieces of You.

tenthousandskiesaboveyouMarguerite Caine has done the impossible, traveling to alternate dimensions with the Firebird—the brilliant invention of her parents, her boyfriend, Paul, and their friend Theo. But she has also caught the attention of enemies willing to kidnap, blackmail, and even kill to use the Firebird for themselves.

When Paul’s soul is splintered into four pieces—pieces that are trapped within Pauls in other dimensions—Marguerite will do anything, and travel anywhere, to save him. But the price of his safe return is steep. If she doesn’t sabotage her parents in multiple universes, Paul will be lost forever.

Unwilling to sacrifice her family, Marguerite enlists the brilliant Theo to help. The two forge a plan to save Paul and the Firebird, but succeeding means outsmarting a genius and risking not only their lives but also the lives of their counterparts in every other dimension.

Their mission takes them to the most dangerous universes yet: a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each leap brings Marguerite closer to saving Paul—but her journey reveals dark truths that lead her to doubt the one constant she’s found between the worlds: their love for each other.

[ADD TO GOODREADS]

Why I’m looking forward to this book:

I absolutely adored A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in this series. I loved the main character, Marguerite, and found the idea of traveling through the multiverse extremely interesting. I also loved the way the romance was written, particularly since she didn’t fall for the guy in the usual way. I am extremely interested to see what happens next and how she (and her family) are going to solve the overarching problem facing them. And also, can you say gorgeous cover? This series now has two that are just completely amazing!

Release Date: November 3, 2015

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

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Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When it Comes to Romances in 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 post asks us to talk about romances! ‘Tis the season and all that, right? Funnily enough, I had a bit of a time creating this list, mostly because YA tends to hammer home the things I DISlike more than the things I like about romance, so I tend to focus more on the negative. However, I don’t like to always be Debbie Downer, so I did a combo list. The likes may have been harder to come up with, but in the end I did succeed!

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Flergs_SpringFling_StitchedConfetti1So those are my ten for this week! What are your likes and dislikes in romances? Please link me in the comments!

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