April Wrap-Up/May TBR

Wrap-Up & TBRApril

ARCs
Lucky Me by Saba Kapur – DNF 27%
The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris – Read
The Labyrinthians by J.A. Armitage – Read and reviewed
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider – Read
Whisper to Me by Nick Lake – Currently Reading
Genius by Leopoldo Gout – Read, review coming

Blog Tours
The 13th Continuum by Jennifer Brody – 4/19 – Read, Blog Tour
Love, Lies, & Spies by Cindy Anstey – 4/28 – Read, Blog Tour

Other
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (for book club) – Read and reviewed
Beauty by Robin McKinley (for book club) – Read
Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally – Read
Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young – Read
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston – Read and reviewed
Iron to Iron by Ryan Graudin (Novella) – Read

This month I finished 11 books, 1 novella, and had 1 DNF.

May

ARCs
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson
Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black
26 Kisses by Anna Michels
The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

Blog Tours
Anything You Want by  Geoff Herbach – 5/7
All the Feels by Danika Stone â€“ 5/31

Other

BLOG TOUR: Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey [GIVEAWAY]

25320766Love, Lies, and Spies
by Cindy Anstey
Release Date: April 19th, 2016
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

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SYNOPSIS: Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

REVIEW: This book was quite enjoyable and reads a lot like a Jane Austen novel while at the same time using more modern language and is therefore a quicker read. The characters were great. I really enjoyed both Juliana and Mr. Spencer Northam and thought they had a really fun relationship. Carrie and Mr. Reeves were both awesome secondary characters who acted as a great support system for Juliana and other secondary characters were delightfully hateable. Characters weren’t 100% original, but I found myself enjoying them anyway.

There wasn’t too much of a plot throughout the book, which I was okay with, but it did make the overall story feel a little flatter. I was kind of bugged throughout that Juliana was supposed to be portrayed as this strong, intelligent woman, but then she keeps being put in physical danger where Mr. Northam has to save her. I would have just liked a little less “damsel in distress” and a little more “I don’t need a man to save me”.

Overall, I thought this book was a really fun read. The narration is witty and speeds the story along even if it seems like the author is trying a little too hard at times. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Jane Austen novels and regency era stories.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: None


LoveLiesAndSpiesTourBanner-1

Click on the picture above to be taken to the giveaway!



Version 2ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

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Xpresso book tour

Note: I received this book free from the author/blog tour in exchange for an honest review

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Thrills

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Bookworm Delights (inspired by this post)

Well…this is kind of an odd topic, but I’ll roll with it.

1) When you take off the book jacket and there’s a hidden gem on the hardcover (see the cover for Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston). Then you have to go around showing everyone even though they don’t get it.

2) When you’re reading a fairy tale retelling and you can totally tell how the author is going to tie in this bit of the original fairy tale before it happens and it’s freaking awesome. Many exclamations were made to my husband over The Lunar Chronicles.

3) When you’re at the thrift store/library sale corner and you find a book you’ve been wanting really bad for CHEAP. Seriously, nothing like this feeling. It’s the best!

4) When you finally complete a series and see how pretty they look all together on your shelf. Such satisfaction.

5) When you open your mailbox and find book mail.

6) When you’re reading a book from one of your favorite authors and they include little Easter eggs just for readers like you. It’s like the author’s saying, “I know you’re there and I love you” and then gives you a big hug (HATE SPINNERBAIT).

7) When you know and they know and all the other characters know that the two main characters are going to get together, but they haven’t done it yet. There’s just a perfect sort of tension until they actually get together.

8) When you find someone who loves [insert book/author/series] as much as you do. Then you both proceed to gush and agree on everything.

9) When you recommend a book to someone and they love it as much as you do/hoped they would.

10) When you read a perfect quote (or entire book) and you think, “Yes, this is special” and it resonates throughout your whole being. Then you rush to find a pen/pencil/paper to write it down before you lose that feeling.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

PassengerOn the night of Etta’s most important violin recital, she learns a secret about her family that promises to change everything. Her mother has been kidnapped and it’s up to Etta to find the one thing that can save her life. As it turns out, Etta has the ability to time travel and the thing she’s been sent to find could be hidden anywhere, anytime. As she races against the clock, she tries to ignore her growing attraction to her traveling companion, Nicholas, a freed slave turned (legal) pirate.

I’ve heard some really mixed reviews about this book. I’ll just start off by saying this concept is very confusing. I’ve started to realize (through reading Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray and The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry) that this whole time travel/alternate reality travel is very confusing to me. I don’t really get all of the repercussions that they talk about by changing things and meeting yourself and all of that…it all goes over my head. I tried so hard to understand things, but that last chapter or two was very, very hard for me to comprehend. Just…what? What happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? Anyway…I don’t want to give any spoilers but just know that I’m very confused.

The characters themselves were fine. I didn’t feel any particular affinity towards either Etta or Nicholas. They weren’t particularly unlikable, but they weren’t particularly likable either. Maybe I just felt like they were both a little too self-sacrificing? Or maybe that I didn’t feel like they’d thought through their motivations all the way. I don’t know. Something like that.

That being said, I felt like the author did a fantastic job with each of the different settings and time periods. I mean, it’s hard enough for an author to do a good job describing one setting and one time, but I felt like Bracken did a great job putting the reader in each new time period and each new location.

Overall, the writing was good (nothing stellar, but good) and the characters and plot were fine. I liked it and plan to continue with the series but I could see myself souring on it depending on how the second book goes.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Moderate. One scene in particular, not explicit.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

IMG_0099Hermione is at the top of the high school food chain. She’s popular, she’s dating one of the hottest guys in grade 12, and she’s a cheerleader. And in a small town where the sports teams repeatedly lose, cheerleading is a big deal. She’s ready to have the best senior year ever, until someone slips something in her drink at camp. The next thing she knows she’s waking up in a hospital bed and her best friend delivers the bad news–she was raped. Now Hermione has a new label. Instead of “queen bee” or “cheerleader co-captain” she’s “that raped girl”. And in a small town, that’s a label that’s going to stick.

This is not my typical book. I usually steer clear of anything that deals with tough issues that are going to make me sad. I appreciate that that kind of thing is available, but I am not usually in the mood to read that kind of thing. That being said, this book felt too important to pass up. This is not like anything I’ve ever had to deal with, but Johnston does such a good job making Hermione likable and it almost feels like her group of friends is also your group of friends too.

I loved that Johnston made this story feel real. It could be really easy to have characters react in predictably Hollywood ways, but I feel like each character had a raw and honest reaction to Hermione’s sexual assault including Hermione herself. I love that she had so many supporting people surrounding her from her parents, to her best friend Polly, to her teammates, to her coach. In an author’s note at the end, Johnston recognizes that in this way she did write about an ideal situation where the victim has a lot of support and cooperative and respectful police officers involved in the investigation–she notes that this is not usually the case. However, she does say that she purposefully gave Hermione a Polly (who is AWESOME by the way) and that she believes there is a Polly out there for all victims of sexual assault.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book but just be conscious that it deals with a really heavy topic and may not be suitable for younger readers. That being said, the relationship between Hermione and Polly is one of the best I’ve ever read and in the end the main feeling I get from this book isn’t sadness, but triumph.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Moderate. A couple of scenes with brief, strong language.
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Heavy. Due to the overall subject matter, but not explicit.

HW Assignment: The Future of Reading (Prompt #10)

My reading habits have changed a lot since I was younger. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I used to have a much narrower focus when it came to what I read. I would go through these phases. First, I would only read fantasy books, then I would only read books with maps in them, then I only wanted to read Newbery books, then I only wanted to read books from two different authors, etc. Since then, I have come to appreciate all genres and read a wide variety of them. I still sometimes will get in “moods”, but they don’t last as long as they used to. Another way that my reading habits are different is that I read a lot more eBooks than I used to–mostly because they didn’t exist when I was a kid. The change happened after my freshman year of college when I realized I hadn’t read a book for fun all year. That’s when I looked into getting myself a Kindle and once I did, I was back full-force. Now I’m not so picky about what format my books are in. I’ll read hardcover, paperback, or eBook. I’ll even read the occasional audiobook.

I definitely think books will still be relevant 20 years from now. I see about the same percentage of the population reading–perhaps a small dip due to the prevalence of video games and TV/movies. I think it will only get easier to publish books and that a lot of smaller publishing houses will start to crop up. With this happening, I think we’ll see a surge in the number of eBooks available, but I don’t see that causing a decrease in the number of print books being published necessarily. With the whole “retro/vintage/hipster” movement, I think reading has become cool again, and I think that sentiment will linger as Millennials get older. As far as reading becoming more interactive goes, I definitely see that as a possibility. Already an author who I follow via social media sites is using “#buildabook” to interact with her audience and to have her readers pick certain elements of the book she’s working on. She’ll present two options via social media and her followers will vote. So far, readers have had the chance to pick what the male and female leads look like, what the female protagonist’s name is, and what her best friend’s name is too. With eBooks becoming more prevalent, I think that they too may start to become more interactive with links and possible puzzles to be solved before you can move on–maybe like a combination of a book and a video game. The bottom line is that I don’t think reading is going anywhere. Maybe it will change, but I think books will still be around for another few decades at least.

HW Assignment: Marketing Your Collection (Prompt #9)

While there are a lot of ways to market your collection, I think there are a few really successful ways that can get people excited about the books you have to offer and hopefully increase circulation. First, nothing gets the word out about what books you’re excited about than catchy displays. There are so many fun themes and topics you can run with–you’d be hard pressed to run out of ideas. Displays can be colorful and dramatic but still fit in with the library. One display in particular that I remember from my local library was a selection of “roadtrip kits”. Basically what they did, is they bundled together a couple of books that you could just grab to check out and head out on your trip without having to think too hard about it. Displays are a great way to bring attention to less utilized areas of your collection or to incorporate other types of media like movies, music, and audiobooks as well.

Another great way to market you collection is by creating booklists. Booklists serve a similar purpose to displays where they can draw attention to specific themes or topics. However, while displays get old after a while and need to be changed out, this is not necessarily the case with booklists. You could use the same booklists all year potentially, but you will want to make sure to keep them at least semi-current.

Lastly, I think it’s a great idea to do a “year in review” type activity for patrons. My library has done this a couple of years in a row and I think it’s really great. Basically, the librarians divide up into Children’s, Young Adult, and Adult groups and then give booktalks on their favorite books from the year. This is a wonderful way to bring attention to new collection items but to also increase circulation of specific books. I came away from that activity with multiple books to add to my TBR and it’s wonderful knowing that my library has all of them on the shelf.