Waiting on Wednesday #10

Have you ever read a synopsis of a book and been left not knowing anything about what the book will actually be about? Not in a bad way, but in an utterly mysterious, enchanting way. I have been regularly checking Goodreads over the past few months to see if a new summary will be posted for Strange the Dreamer, something that would give me just a little more of a hint about how incredible this book is going to be, but it’s still the same summary every time. It’s so vague and cryptic that it has me dying to get my hands on this book just so I can know all the depths behind this story.

strange
Strange the Dreamer
By Laini Taylor
Release Date: March 28, 2017

Summary (via Goodreads)
Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Why I’m Waiting:

I’m a little sad because when I first discovered this upcoming book, I marked the release date on my calendar as September 27th of this year. Checking on the release date now as I write this post, it appears they’ve pushed it back to March 28, 2017. Maybe it was my mistake, but my hopes and dreams just plummeted. Now, I must wait even longer to know what happens. But who knows? Maybe they held it back for one more revision just so they could pack a little more awesome into its pages. Either way, I can’t wait.

You also have to know by now that any YA story that incorporates a librarian as a character is going to find its way to my shelf. You combine a librarian, war, alchemy, and all kinds of mystical chaos? I’m sold.

Mark this one on your calendars, ladies and gents, and we can ride out this long wait together.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

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Off the Shelf: A Review of A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

It’s a wondrous feeling when a book burns so brightly in your mind that it’s all you can think about for days and days. I’m especially drawn to books that combine fantasy and magic, and in particular, books that can do so with an exciting and unique premise. A Shadow Bright and Burning is exactly that kind of book. It has a wealth of intriguing characters, hair-raising battles with terrifying monsters, and an abundance of twists and turns which are sure to make this a series you won’t want to miss!

 

a-shadow-bright-and-burning-by-jessica-cluess
RELEASE DATE: September 20, 2016

Summary (via Goodreads)
I am Henrietta Howel.
The first female sorcerer in hundreds of years.
The prophesied one.
Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames.
Forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she’s shocked when instead of being executed, she’s invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers.
Thrust into the glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.
But Henrietta Howel is not the chosen one.
As she plays a dangerous game of deception, she discovers that the sorcerers have their own secrets to protect. With battle looming, what does it mean to not be the one? And how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Things I Liked:
There are several things about Henrietta Howel that I absolutely admire. She’s strong, passionate, and will do anything to protect her friends. A lot of this book is Henrietta finding herself and coming to terms with who she really is. She also has to deal with a lot of discrimination based on her gender, her magic, and her low birth. Henrietta handles all of these with a head held high and efficiently puts those who look down on her in their place. Her interactions with the other characters are both witty and clever, and I found myself taking a screenshot of quite a few humorous quotes from Henrietta and the other characters just so I could giggle at them again later. I think I fell in love with every scene where Henrietta truly used her power, setting herself ablaze, because you get a sense of how fearsome yet beautiful she is, and you feel the passion behind her desire to save people. She’s obviously one of the only females in a cast of characters that’s mostly male, but while the interactions with her fellow trainees are fun (especially the charming and sarcastic Magnus), I really enjoyed her conversations with the older characters like Master Agrippa, who first discovers her power, and the magician Hargrove, who at first I thought I would dislike but then rapidly became one of my favorite characters.

There’s also what some might call a love triangle. In my opinion, I foresee it being a love square, but we will get to that. The romance doesn’t take a leading role in this book. There’s so many other things going on, that I would have been turned off to the book if Henrietta was solely focused on a boy(s) and his opinion of her. Luckily, the romantic moments take a backseat to the story, and what moments are mentioned actually do a lot to further the plot and Henrietta’s motivations. As for it being a love square, I have to say that there’s one of Henrietta’s fellow sorcerer trainees that stands out above the rest to me –  Blackwell. While the relationship between the two right now might not seem more than just a strained friendship, I picked up on some heavy Pride & Prejudice vibes between the pair. I think this is something that will play out more in the next book (hopefully), and it’s definitely the ship I’ll be rooting for.

The world building is another excellent factor to this book. From the first page to the last, I felt like I was living inside this alternate world in Victorian London, plagued by demons known as the Ancients. The descriptions are vivid, and the author makes clear distinctions between the types of magical people and how those inside/outside the protective ward live. I’m looking forward to exploring this world further in the next book.

Things I Didn’t Like:

I’ve seen a few people complain that this book uses the same old tropes, and if you’ve read one fantasy novel, you’ve read them all so you may as well forget this one. FALSE. I’ve read so many fantasy novels that take the idea of a “chosen one” and it plays out on repeat across the board. Nothing new or exciting. A Shadow Bright and Burning took that idea and twisted it, something I rather enjoyed, because it shows you don’t have to be “chosen” to do great things.

So, sorry, not going to hear any complaints from me. I loved this book the whole way through.

Overall Rating:

I reserve 5 star ratings for books that truly deserve it, and this book is a well earned 5 star for me. It’s exactly the book I’ve been waiting for, and it’s a magical adventure from start to finish! It’s exciting, empowering, and absolutely enchanting. You’ll race to the finish, be left stunned by the twists in the ending, and then we can all commiserate about how long we have to wait until the next book in the series comes out.  Add this one to your TBR list IMMEDIATELY. Seriously! You don’t want to miss out.

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My Waiting on Wednesday Reading List

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases. Normally, when I post my Waiting on Wednesday pick, I select only one book to feature. However, I have some pretty incredible ARCs in my reading list right now, and I thought that this week I would change things up and give you a little preview of some of the books I will be reviewing in the near future. Keep your eyes on these six books which are sure to be a hit when they reach the shelves!

shadowA SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING
By Jessica Cluess

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Summary (via Goodreads)
I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she’s brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

Why I’m Waiting:
I’m currently reading this ARC, and I am about to hit the halfway point. Let me tell you this – I cannot WAIT to rave about this book! I’m completely enraptured by the protagonist, Henrietta, who is essentially a Victorian lady human torch! I know it’s going to be a series, and I’m already dreading the wait for a sequel.

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Waiting on Wednesday #9

What if you could take part in dangerous and thrilling activities without ever truly being at risk? What would you do? Skydive? Chase tornadoes? The Running of the Bulls? Is it still just as exciting even if the danger element is taken away? In Paula Stokes’s upcoming release, Vicarious, we are introduced to Vicarious Sensory Experiences (ViSEs) – where, for a price, you can experience any enticing activity without the danger thanks to neural impulse recordings of digital stunt girls who are willing to take on the risks. For me, I wouldn’t be keen on experiencing some death defying exploit, but I have a feeling this book itself is going to be an adrenaline rush.

Vicarious-type 11-final
Release Date: August 16, 2016

Summary (via Goodreads)

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

Why I’m Waiting

As if the concept of ViSE isn’t enticing enough, now there’s a murder thrown into the mix! And can you imagine having a recording of the brain activity of the person being murdered? It’s already making my skin crawl just thinking about it. I’m especially looking forward to finding out the history between these two sisters and what led to their employment as digital stunt girls. Some advance reviews praise the twist ending, so I’m going to go ahead and predict that the killer definitely isn’t Rose’s ex-boyfriend turned employer, but this futuristic whodunit already has me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out the truth.

Add Vicarious to your To Be Read Shelf on Goodreads

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

Waiting on Wednesday #8

I’m currently working my way through several ARCs that are due out around September and October, all of which share a common theme – being super creepy! I’m sure the release date timing has something to do with getting readers in the mood for Halloween, but I’m the type of person who loves a good thriller or horror story any time of year. Even in the bright sunshine of summer, I crave stories that are dark and haunting, which makes me even more excited that I don’t have much longer to wait for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday selection:

The-Telling-cover

 

The Telling

By Alexandra Sirowy

Publication Date: August 2, 2016

 

Summary (via Goodreads)

Lana used to know what was real.

That was before when her life was small and quiet.
Her golden step-brother, Ben, was alive, she could only dream about bonfiring with the populars, their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.

Then came after.

After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, and living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.

Why I’m Waiting

First of all, check out that gorgeous cover! It’s the first thing that drew me to this book. It’s mysterious, haunting, and somewhat similar to some other covers that take up residence on my shelves. I’m a major fan of horror/thrillers within the YA genre, and I can’t wait to add this one to my collection.
Alexandra Sirowy is one of those authors I keep meaning to read, and this time, I’m determined to check her out. Her first book, The Creeping, has an incredibly gruesome premise (check it out on Goodreads), and I’ve heard great reviews from other readers.
I’m looking for hair-raising twists, chilling characters that will live on in my nightmares, and enough mystery to keep me guessing till the last pages. The Telling sounds like it will certainly fit that bill.

Add The Telling to your To Be Read Shelf on Goodreads

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

Waiting on Wednesday #7

I’ll admit, when I read the description of Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger on teenreads.com, I pictured a somewhat different story. The summary began “They are four best friends who’ve shared joy and secrets, love and memories, and since the beginning, Lorna was the one who held them all together”. In my head, that sentence conjured up memories of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a series which my childhood friends and I had enjoyed greatly. Obviously, as the summary continued, the book described clearly wouldn’t be as light hearted as the Sisterhood series, as it deals with the circumstances of the presumed drowning of Lorna and how the three surviving friends cope with their grief and questions about Lorna’s death. When I read the teenreads summary, I assumed that all of the survivors were female, which probably lead to my connecting it with the Sisterhood series, but it was enough to strike my interest and for me to seek out the title on Goodreads – at which point, I found something even better than what I originally expected.

Local-Girl-Swept-Away-BGcvr-2

Local Girl Swept Away
By Ellen Wittlinger

Publication Date: June 15, 2016

Summary (via Goodreads)

Stark, uncompromising, seductive, beautiful – this describes the tourist town of Cape Cod, where a young woman’s body remains to be found. Three friends struggle to come to terms with their missing leader and with the secrets each endeavor to hide.

Set in the Cape Cod village of Provincetown, Massachusetts, this is the story about 17-year-old Jackie’s struggle to overcome her grief and confusion after her best friend is carried out to sea during a storm. Lorna had been the dynamic leader of a tight-knit group of four friends – Jackie, Lucas and Finn – and her disappearance changes the dynamics between the surviving three. Jackie is still hiding her feelings for Finn, who had been Lorna’s boyfriend, and Lucas has withdrawn to the point where Jackie wonders if he is keeping a secret even larger than her own. Meanwhile the future looms, and Jackie fears leaving the only life she has known.

Why I’m Waiting:

This story seems to be less about Lorna the Leader and more about Jackie, the best friend with conflicted feelings. As the friendship dynamics shift, I’m interested to see how certain suspenseful twists build and questions start to arise. Did Lorna fall? Was she pushed? Did she jump? Or is Lorna even really gone at all? I suspect that there’s loads of potential for this story in the mysteries that surround Lorna’s death. Will this group of friends support each other through their grief or will their secrets tear them apart?

Also, I have to give a major shout out to Ellen Wittlinger. She’s essentially living my dream. If you read her bio, you’ll find out that Ellen was once a children’s librarian, and now, she has several award-winning novels under her belt. The idea behind this blog’s name – Among the Authors – is that I adore my job as a Youth Services librarian, but that I also hope to one day have my own books published and shelved among the authors I admire on the library’s shelves. Congratulations, Ellen, I can’t wait to check this one out!

Add Local Girl Swept Away to your To Be Read Shelf on Goodreads
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Waiting on Wednesday #6

You might be expecting that for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday I would choose The Raven King. I did just finish reading all of the Raven Cycle books, and the final one is being released next week, but NO! That would be too easy. You already know how much I’m looking forward to that one, so let me tell you instead about another book being released very soon that I’m excited about.

Everland

By Wendy Spinale

Publication Date: May 10th, 2016

everland

Synopsis (via Goodreads)

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

Why I’m Waiting

When I first found this book, it had the same release date as Raven King. At first I was bummed that it has been pushed back to May 10th, but then I realized that gives me plenty of time to devour the last Raven Cycle book, come to terms with however it ends, and move on to something pretty, shiny, and new – in this case, Everland.

Not too long ago, I tossed around the idea of writing my own fairy tale retelling. I love retellings with every fiber of my being, but the first one I ever did (my very first NaNoWriMo project) was a big pile of slop with nothing even remotely usable. I really wanted to try again, focusing on one specific tale rather than trying to incorporate so many, and I wanted to make it dark. Really dark. I’d performed in our high school play of Peter Pan (I was Tiger Lily, Wendy’s understudy, a pirate, the Stage Manager, makeup artist, and really any part they could throw me into – we didn’t have much of a theatre group at the time). So doing a retelling of Peter Pan was one of my first thoughts. I hadn’t really found anything in the YA genre that had done that before. Unfortunately, the idea never came to fruition, BUT luckily, Wendy Spinale has filled that gap with her debut YA novel – Everland. I’m sure it will be everything that I’m hoping for in a Peter Pan retelling.

Also, you should definitely check out Wendy Spinale’s site, especially more about her personally. She was an actress for Disneyland, and yes, her real name is actually Wendy – it’s not just a pen name since her book deals with Peter Pan.

I think Everland will have all of the dark, dystopian elements that I love, but there’s one more reason that I’m really looking forward to it: Spinale has set the story in an entirely steampunk world. I hadn’t really considered a steampunk approach to a fairy tale before, but now that the thought is in my head, I’m dying to see how she approaches it. Imaginative ideas like this in the YA genre make me truly want to never grow up!

Add Everland to your To Be Read Shelf on Goodreads
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