Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee AhdiehPublisher: Putnam Juvenile

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Release date: May 3, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Why I’m excited: ASDFJKL; First of all, just look at that freaking gorgeous cover. I know this book isn’t being released for another SEVEN months, but that cover was released a couple of weeks ago and I am just too excited about it and the book to not do a post about it. I LOVED The Wrath and the Dawn and I’m looking forward to reading another book about the incredible Shahrzad. If you haven’t read the first one, you really need to. If it’s at all like the first one, The Rose and the Dagger promises to be magical, gorgeous, lyrical, sumptuous, and absolutely wonderful. I don’t know how I’m going to wait seven months to read it.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Wishes I’d Ask the Book Genie to Grant Me

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

10 Wishes I’d Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me (a new book from a certain author,  a reading superpower, a library that is your absolutely #librarygoals, a character to come to life, to met a certain author etc. etc.) YOU DREAM IT AND THE BOOKISH GENIE CAN DO IT.

Oh, lovely book genie, I wish…

– Ian Rankin’s books weren’t published in the States TWO months after the UK.

– I could read the Harry Potter series for the first time again.

– Stephen Chbosky’s next book was in my hands right now.

– I could have the second books by Becky Albertalli, David Arnold, Adam Silvera, Renee Ahdieh, and so many others right now.

– I could pause time and just read all day, every day for a couple of weeks.

– My TBR was a little less intimidating sometimes.

– The Raven King was out so I could devour it.

– I still lived near a Waterstone’s for their 3 for 2 or buy 2 get 1 free deals. And yes, I know this kind of cancels out the TBR wish.

– There were more bookish events near me. I love roadtripping but sometimes I can’t in the middle of the week.

– And finally, I wish it was always fall so I could read in the hammock all day long.

What would you ask of the book genie?

S.F.D. Mission: Open Letter to Janet B. Taylor, author of Into the Dim

Just in case you missed my post yesterday all about what S.F.D. is, you can check it out here. Basically, we’re a team of debut author supporters started by Talina from Sassy & Dangerous, who’ll be going on a series of missions to help promote some seriously amazing authors. Today I’m super pumped to be going on a mission for Sassy’s Fangirl Debuts – my mission, which I’ve chosen to accept, is an open letter to a debut author, and I have been assigned Janet B. Taylor, author of one of my most anticipated 2016 releases.

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Janet B Taylor

Dear Janet (can I call you Janet? I’m going to call you Janet),

I know you already know how freaking excited I am for your book. I’ve already got a review of it on Goodreads (all in caps) and I’ve done a Waiting on Wednesday post about it and I’ve told you on Twitter a few times, but, if it’s cool with you, I’m going to talk about it a little more.

I don’t know if you know, but I lived in Scotland for over a year. I’m completely in love with that country, so as soon as I saw the setting of your book, I was super intrigued. BUT then you added in freaking TIME TRAVEL, and, like I said on Goodreads, I realized there couldn’t possibly be a more perfect book for me.

Let’s just see. Some things I know about you and your book:

  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Travel. And um…let’s see…did she mention travel? [from your Meet the Author post] Let’s go on a trip together, okay? I LOVE to travel, and I take at least one road trip a month. I love that you enjoy travelling and that you travel to all the places your book is set because, though I haven’t read Into the Dim yet, this makes for seriously amazing and well-developed settings. I can’t wait to travel to Scotland again in your book.
  • You’re a Whovian. Enough said.
  • “[Hope’s mother is] also a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is now trapped in the twelfth century during the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.” Now Hope has to travel back in time to rescue her. I mean, are you kidding me? Plus there’s a “mysterious boy” and romance and effing SCOTLAND. I want to read this book SO BADLY. Here’s hoping your book takes places sometime around when Scotland rebelled against Henry’s rule along with Henry’s kid, “Young Henry”, because that will make for some interesting conflict. Even if it doesn’t, freaking time travel and Scotland added together makes for a very excited Stefani. I’m really looking forward to reading this. Not like you couldn’t tell or anything. I’m not even usually a big fan of historical fiction, but this? This I KNOW I will like.
  • Into the Dim got two amazing covers. The first one, with the mountains and the snow and the girl in a fur cape and the font, is what made me click on this book on Goodreads. It’s what initially drew me in. It was absolutely gorgeous! And then you got a new cover and I’m kind of in love with the font on that one too and the tagline – “Her future is a thousand years in the past.” Color me intrigued.
  • Your Into the Dim Pinterest Board. YES. Love all the characters’ looks and that picture of Glencoe (which I’ve been to and which is absolutely gorgeous). I usually prefer imagining the characters’ appearances myself, but if your boys look like THAT? Yeah, I can deal.

I could probably keep going, but I’ll stop there. Basically, I just wanted you to know that I am REALLY excited to read Into the Dim. I honestly don’t know if there could be a more perfect book for me. Scotland and time travel mixed together? Could there be anything that appeals to me more? I really don’t think so. Like I said in my WoW post, could I time-jump to March 2016, please and thank you?

Sincerely,
Stefani
Into the Dim fangirl

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What to know more about Janet B. Taylor’s debut Into the Dim? Of course you do.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers // Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Add the book to your Goodreads shelf!

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

ABOUT JANET

Janet B. TaylorJanet Taylor lives in such a small town in Arkansas that if you happen to sneeze when you pass by, you’ll totally miss it. (Cause, you know, you can’t sneeze with your eyes open. For real–try it–it’s impossible)

Her debut novel, INTO THE DIM (coming 3/1/2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is about a 16 year old girl who travels through time. Totally on purpose and stuff.

She’s a reader/fan first and a writer second. She lives with her fantastic husband, two hilarious sons, and Dorda the diabetic dog who won’t win any beauty contests, but has a “nice personality”.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Goodreads

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Check out the full S.F.D. team and head to their blogs to see who they wrote a letter to!

Talina, our fearless leader // Emily // Heather // Eileen // Karina // Deanna
Claudia // Kaitlin // Jasmine // Angel // Bex // Melissa // Kaitlin S. // Aila // Jess // Jaime
Lauren // Lizzie // Erin // Aimee

Agent Stefani, reporting for duty for Sassy’s Fangirl Debuts

AgentStefani

Hi, lovelies! This post is all about this amazing feature that Talina from Sassy & Dangerous created called Sassy’s Fangirl Debuts! The S.F.D. is a top-secret organization (okay, it’s a debut author street team) that helps authors dominate the book world and succeed in brainwashing their readers (Kidding! Maybe…).

Over the past few weeks, Talina has put together a team of highly trained professional debut supporters and the S.F.D team has been planning a way to destroy reader’s TBRs, which is totally going to kick butt. Although there was a slight delay due to a giant, angry green problem, (TOP SECRET clearance needed for more details!) everything is now back on course. With the help of a few other agents, our plans are finally being launched.

Sassy’s Fangirl Debuts (S.F.D. for short) is a fun, unique way to help readers keep track of all the debut authors and their new books that are coming out, and it is also a way for authors to promote their books and get readers interested. The feature, which Agent T has decided to make it into a debut author street team, will include author interrogations, (interviews), confidential file exposures (guest posts) and the radioactive surprises (giveaways) which will all be posted on her blog, Sassy & Dangerous.

Agent T’s highly skilled team of agents will be going on special missions that will include fun, awesome posts to feature these lovely debut authors and their books. Tomorrow will be the agents first mission, so don’t forget to stop by my blog tomorrow and to also check out the list of rest of the agents blogs below!

Talina, our fearless leader // Emily // Heather // Eileen // Karina // Deanna
Claudia // Kaitlin // Jasmine // Angel // Bex // Melissa // Kaitlin S. // Aila // Jess // Jaime
Lauren // Lizzie // Erin // Aimee

Make sure you come tomorrow morning to see the results of our first mission. 🙂

ARC Review: Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche

Don't Fail Me Now by Una LaMarcheAuthor:  Una LaMarche
Genre: YA, contemporary
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
288 pages, hardcover (273 ARC)

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an ARC of this book through the Decatur Book Festival as Una was on one of the panels I moderated. This does not influence my review.

Don’t Fail Me Now is a unique, diverse, moving road-trip novel chock full of interesting characters and all the feels. Forced into a terrible situation by their absentee mother, Michelle, Cass, and Denny (three African American children surviving on Michelle’s part time job at Taco Bell) join forces with their newly found half-sister Leah and her stepbrother Tim (white, middle-class, and taken care of) on a cross-country road trip to meet Buck, their dying father who left them years ago. Nothing goes as planned and the hardships the group faces both brings them closer together and pushes them farther apart. Michelle is a strong character who takes care of her family; she’s been through a lot in her short life and doesn’t let it get to her. I think this shows what an incredible, hardworking character she is, but I also appreciated the scenes where it is very obvious that she is only human.

I think my main issue was that, while race and white-privilege are brought up, they aren’t as well-addressed as I would have liked. I think the story could have gone a little deeper into these issues. My other complaint was the middle part of the book, which dragged a bit to me, especially considering the strong beginning.

The bottom line: Diversity; road-trip; strong main character; hardships and persistence. If any of those things sound like something you’d like, pick this one up.

Rating: 6.5 – between good, but not great and pretty good

Thursday Thoughts: Kevin Henkes Display at the Library

A lot of you have said that you really like when I share stuff from my job at the library – about programs or displays or whatever, so I thought I’d share this really fun display I did that I’m really proud of.

Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins) is running a contest centered around Kevin Henkes’ new book Waiting, and the grand prize is a freaking visit from Kevin Henkes!! So, of course, I wanted to try and win. Librarians (and booksellers) could request a promotional kit, and then they were asked to create a display that creatively and effectively promoted Waiting. This is what my display is all about: All of the characters in Kevin Henkes’ new book are waiting on something, so I wanted to see what our patrons (kids to adults) were waiting on. I asked everyone to write what they were waiting for on pieces of paper, and we had a multitude of answers – from Halloween to payday, grades to coffee on the front porch, a new baby brother to a big brother coming home from college, a visit from a fairy tale princess to an appearance by Kevin Henkes’ at the Pearl Public Library. All of the Henkes characters in the display, which come from many of his books, were hand drawn and colored by me, and I placed them around the display as if they were looking up at Waiting. My favorite is Owen with his fuzzy yellow blanket. It was SO MUCH FUN drawing all of these characters and seeing what all our patrons were waiting on. Other favorite answers: more teeth, 5 o’clock, my birthday, college, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Some of my answers: my next road trip, new books,

Waiting on Wednesday: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff GarvinPublisher: Balzer + Bray

Author: Jeff Garvin

Release date: February 2, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

Why I’m excited: This book kind of sounds like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda but about a gender fluid person, and you guys know how much I loved Simon vs. Riley sounds awesome and smart and I’m looking forward to meeting them. I really appreciate how many issues are being covered these days in YA lit, and though I think we always need more, I’m glad Balzer + Bray is publishing this one. I hope we get a mixture of narrative and blog posts – give me those alternate storytelling methods!

Top Ten Tuesday: Six Author Duos I’d LOVE to See Write a Book Together

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together (aka my (Jamie’s) world would explode if Gayle Forman and Jandy Nelson wrote a book together) — might be hard to come up with 10 but still would be fun! Bonus points if you tell us what kind of book you’d like them to write!

This is kind of a hard one! I don’t think I could come up with TEN, so I’m going to with five which is technically ten authors. 😉

More Happy Than Not by Adam SilveraAmpersandSimon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli
Could you IMAGINE how wonderful that book would be? It’d be all sorts of cute mixed with a little bit effed up and gritty and real, and I would devour it. So, guys, can you make that happen? Kthanksbye!

The Falls Ampersand The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Ian Rankin & Maggie Stiefvater
Okay, this one is a little bit weird, BUT imagine Scotland + crime + magic + SCOTLAND. Ian Rankin writes gritty, amazing crime fiction set in Scotland, and I think that plus Maggie’s incredible world-building skills and magic and love of myths and legends would be super interesting to read.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu AmpersandShadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Ampersand The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Marie Lu & Leigh Bardugo
So I’ve only read one book by Leigh Bardugo so far, but I can just tell that the world these two created together would blow all of our minds. And if we added Renee Ahdieh into this mix? HOLY CRAP. I need this to happen.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold Ampersand Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

David Arnold & Nicola Yoon
Yeah, I would die. Like, I would just implode if they wrote a book together. David’s snark mixed with Nicola’s passion would make for an incredible contemporary chock full of characters to fall in love with and relate to.

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu Ampersand The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Jennifer Mathieu & Stephanie Oakes
I just featured both of these authors in a Quiet YA post, and I think they could write a seriously amazing and realistic book together. I don’t even really care what it would be about because I know they would do whatever subject they chose justice.

Okay, I lied. One more.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Ampersand The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Maggie Stiefvater & Kirsty Logan
ASDFJKL; This combination would literally be magic. Like, I’m pretty sure if the two of them got together, real, actual magic would fall onto the page and into our hands.

So, I’m going to need for all of these authors to actually get together and make these books happen. Which authors would you like to see write a book together?

DNF Review: Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Hunter by Mercedes LackeyAuthor:  Mercedes Lackey

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

Shout out to the wonderful Emma at Miss Print for sending me this ARC.

Man, I wanted to like this one so much more than I did. I tried. I really did. But after putting it down a couple of times and not really caring if I picked it back up, I finally DNF-ed it. This is why:

  • The writing style is really strange. The MC keeps addressing the reader but you’re never really sure why/who she’s even talking to. Is she telling her story to someone? Breaking the fourth wall only works occasionally and it didn’t here. Plus, wtf is up with the weird combinations of words like “certain-sure”. Just, why?
  • Info dumping out the bum. I didn’t get very far into this one; I’ll admit that, but it’s because there was SO much info dumping without any real explanations for WHY things were the way they were or WHAT she was actually talking about that I got SUPER frustrated. In the end, I found I didn’t really care about the characters, the world, or anything that was happening.
  • Some of the descriptions felt lazy. Instead of coming up with her own words to describe a creature or a marking on a character, Lackey would say “You know that Jabberwocky thing from Lewis Carroll? Yeah, it looks like that but longer.” I’m not kidding. That’s not a direct quote, but it’s close.

The bottom line: I loved the idea behind this one and I was excited to read a story about dragons, but the writing style was weird, there was a lot of dull info dumping right off the bat, and in the end, I just didn’t care about it. I may try again later, but I doubt it.

ARC Review: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

The Rose Society by Marie LuAuthor: Marie Lu

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

416 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

Shout out to Brittany from Brittany’s Book Rambles whose giveaway I won and received The Rose Society from.

Expect a lot of caps lock in this review. This is what my immediate reaction was upon finishing this book and what I wrote as my Goodreads review:

I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS AND NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW BRILLIANT THIS BOOK WAS.

I’m still struggling to find the words to describe how much I loved this follow up to last year’s The Young Elites (which I also LOVED). It’s rare that I read a sequel that I find to be completely up to par with the first book, but this was. Plus, it’s darker and more devious and delightfully delicious. I devoured it and this one’s not even out yet but I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE THIRD BOOK.

I got chills after the two pages. That’s the mark of a book that pulls you in immediately and doesn’t want to let you go. I swear, if I had not had to go to work, I would’ve read it straight through, and do YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS TO GO TO WORK?

We’ve got to talk about Adelina, of course. Man, do I love her. She’s fierce, dark, strong, and decidedly stubborn. And in The Rose Society she takes it a step farther. She isn’t afraid to get what she wants, to fight for revenge, to be mean if she has to and bitter and tough. I love her. It’s refreshing to read about a main character who is, well…a little evil. She’s losing her mind somewhat, and that downward spiral is captivating.

This book will break your heart and make you crave more of it. And that ending. No spoilers, but it’s both deliciously satisfying and slightly enraging in that I NEED MORE NOW. I’m so pumped that my teens chose The Young Elites for our November book club read at the library.

Even though I was obviously obsessed with this one, this one felt more slow-burning than The Young Elites which was packed to the brim with action. I liked the focus on Adelina’s mental state, but I think TYE was a little more intense, if that makes sense.

The bottom line: If my review isn’t enough for you, I’m not sure how else to get my point across. READ THIS SERIES. You won’t be disappointed. In fact, you’re probably going to be completely enthralled, put under a spell that you won’t want to break.

Rating: 9 – practically perfect