Saturday, October 29, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (230)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello! It's getting more and more fall-like here, which means lot of rain. ;) I do wonder how much snow we'll get this year and into next, if it'll be the few dusting we got last year or if it'll build up. People don't know how to drive in the snow here, so it's always a worry when it comes around and sticks around.

I've decided on a place for my random anime thoughts! It's over on Tumblr at Me on Anime (how clever I am with names).

Reviews going up this week will feature Timekeeper by Tara Sim (Tuesday) and Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (Friday). :)
The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester (finished copy from Raincoast Books)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Me on No Holding Back

Title: No Holding Back
Author: Kate Evangelista
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan imprint)

Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston... Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying "I love you" is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But... what if it doesn't work out and he loses the best friend he's ever had?

No Holding Back is a sweet story about friendship and love, about focus and determination.

Nathan is determined to plan this luncheon for Preston's overbearing and controlling mother, even if she keeps undermining his ideas. But he knew she would be this way, he and Preston have been friends for years. And Nathan's been crushing on him for almost as long. He knows Preston, knows how driven his is when it comes to swimming. Nathan knows how sometimes Preston gets too focused, too involved. Which is why this vacation to Europe is actually a great idea. Give them both time to relax, even while Nathan is busy planning. And maybe Nathan would finally gather up all his courage and tell Preston how he feels? But what if it doesn't work out?

Preston has tunnel-vision when it comes to swimming. It's all he knows, all he works towards. He's been dreaming of making the Olympic team for years, and now he's one step closer. Maybe. If the club coach would ever e-mail him to let him know whether or not he made it in. It's a good thing he has Nathan as a friend, setting him straight when Preston stresses out and over-thinks. But this European vacation idea? He's not so sure. What if the e-mail comes early? And once he's in Europe, why are things sometimes awkward with Nathan?

This is a sweet story about two young men who need to stop and be honest with each other, with themselves. Stop and look around and think about what they really want. But that was it. I kept searching for substance. And there were moments when the story stuttered and dragged on. It's a bit of a clichéd story. But if what you're looking for is a sweet and simple gay romance, if you like the friends to something more trope, then give this a read.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (302)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Empress of a Thousand Skies
Author: Rhoda Belleza
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

Rhee, better known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a holo-vision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.


Rhoda Belleza crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy in her exhilarating debut, perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and Pierce Brown.

Ooooo, sounds interesting. I find myself drifting back more and more to sci-fi some days. I miss the days when I could read sci-fi over and over again and not feel bogged down in technical specs and heavy deep space science. It's a tricky balance, finding sci-fi that's interesting but not overwhelmed by science and description. The Marissa Meyer comparison also worked to hook me, I do like the Cinder books and the mix of world-building and sci-fi and fairy tale.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Me on A Darkly Beating Heart

Title: A Darkly Beating Heart
Author: Lindsay Smith
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Running Brook Press (Macmillan imprint)

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko's parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.

A Darkly Beating Heart is rough and painful, a look at anger and betrayal, at the harm we do to ourselves and to others. At the things that push us, at the lives we leave behind. At the darkness that can stew and fester inside of ourselves.

Reiko is rage and fury in human form. Nothing matters anymore, nothing but being angry. Nothing but getting her revenge on those that hurt her. Especially if that means killing herself in a way that publicly hurts them. She can't create anymore, she feels nothing from her art, from her photographs and collages. It's not worth it. All she can do now if she wants to feel something in cut herself and look for a way to end it all.

Considering the author's note at the end, I got the feeling that she really wanted to be as accurate as possible when it came to showing modern day Japan and the time slip moments set in the 19th century. She wanted to be faithful to Japanese customs and culture, not just paste the setting over North American values. Not being Japanese or ever living in Japan, I can't speak on the accuracy, but in my own personal opinion the setting certainly wasn't North America. Reiko has American values because she's American. But the other characters? The Japanese characters? From my own perception of Japan, they seem accurate and realistic. But again, this is my opinion. Readers from Japan might feel differently in terms of the author's accuracy.

This is a very dark story with multiple references to self-harm, suicide, and causing harm to others, so this might not be the book for some readers. I certainly didn't expect them and was taken aback for a moment or two before continuing. This was certainly a look at anger and what it does, how it changes us. How destroying it is. And the time slip moments were interesting, the moments in historical Japan with Miyu, her father, and the incoming samurai. I would recommend this for those looking for a darker sort of book, one full of revenge, but to take care in case of being triggered when it comes to suicide and self-harm.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (229)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

No books this week! Maybe they melted in all the rain. ;)

I headed over to the Vancouver Writers Fest this week because Erin Bow was in town! If you've not read any of Erin's books yet, like Plain Kate, Sorrow's Knot, The Scorpion Rules, and The Swan Riders, then get to a bookstore or library when you get the chance. For the last three (Plain Kate is more middle grade), these aren't like your regular YA books. These are so smart, so relevant. So unlike a number of post-apocalyptic/dystopian books. Maybe it's all the Canada. Something Erin mentioned during the event that impacted The Scorpion Rules are the reasons why the American and Canadian governments were initially founded. For America, it was life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For Canada, it's peace, order, and good government. Kind of explains a few things when it comes to America and Canada, doesn't it?

I've been wanting to find a place online for me to talk about anime, because I have thoughts and opinions like I do on books, but I wasn't sure where to do it. Right now, I think I'll do it on Tumblr, but at the moment I don't have any kind of schedule or plan. Maybe a once a week kind of essay post on a thought I had while watching one of the 12 shows I'm watching this season (12! So many! It's looking like a good season, too).

Reviews going up this week will feature A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (Tuesday) and No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista (Friday). :)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Me on Crooked Kingdom

Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (Macmillan imprint)

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Crooked Kingdom is a tense, heart-pounding race against time, against a city searching and demanding. It's a search for secrets and answers and against the heavy boots of men who would refuse to give up what they've bartered and cheated for. One must always be careful of who he cheats, who he comes across, because the game can change in the blink of an eye.

The Dregs are back. Kaz. Inej. Nina. Matthias. Jesper. Wylan. Each has their own defined personality, their own goals. Their own strong opinions and thoughts on the world, on those that attempt to rule over Ketterdam and make a profit. Their own faith and beliefs. But just because they've come together, just because they're working together, plotting together, doesn't mean they always get along. Some of the best moments occur when they're butting heads, when their personalities and motives clash against each other. Quite often, it's against Kaz.

This is a shocking, deadly, deceptive ending to a duology that began with a plan to pull off the most impossible of heists. This is a quick search for ideas, a last push towards vengeance and justice, towards making those who deal and swindle without care pay with their wallets and their pride. Perhaps with their lives. This is a last stand, an explosive conclusion. A must-read for fans of this world and its previous books, for readers looking for compelling and realistic characters.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Me on Iron Cast

Title: Iron Cast
Author: Destiny Soria
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books (Abrams imprint)

It's Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose "afflicted" blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny's crowds, and by day they con Boston's elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron's hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

Iron Cast is full of mystery and intrigue, anchored by a pair of heroines loyal to each other.

Ada is a cautious young woman. A musician, a songsmith, she works at the Cast Iron in order to provide for her mother. She's kind, supportive, and now scared of what might come next. The asylum wasn't a kind place and she's not about to go back. Back to the screams. Back to the secrets in the basement. Corinne is a wordsmith, able to craft illusions through recitation. She's at the Cast Iron for a number of reasons. To keep her hemopath status hidden from her privileged family. To stick close to Ada, to help keep her safe. To live her dream life of being in the big city with few to answer to. She's somewhat brash, somewhat cunning, and somewhat stubborn. But Ada and Corinne are thick and thieves. They'll always be together.

I was first intrigued by the setting and the world-building of this book, the combination of the time period and the hemopaths. It's a point in time when extravagance was desired but could be cut short with the introduction of Prohibition, when underground clubs were filled with those looking for a chance to reveal themselves instead of hiding in the shadows. Add in the hemopaths and their illusion-crafting abilities, their weakness to iron in a somewhat industrial city, and I was hooked. I wanted to know how it would all play out.

This book is like a mixture of pre-Prohibition era America, the attraction and intrigue of hidden nightclubs, and the X-Men. It starts with a slow reveal of the world, of Ada and Corinne's situation, of their less than legal jobs and their desire to stay free from the authorities, and continues with a race to uncover all the secrets surrounding the Cast Iron. Why was someone shot? What happened to Johnny? Who's chasing them? They're soon desperate to stay alive, stay together. I'd recommend this for those looking for a solid female friendship in a story with historical and urban fantasy elements.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Amulet Books through NetGalley.)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (301)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

If you want something done right . . .

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there's only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who's going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it's down to a battle of wits and will... Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

Oooooo, pirates. I'm curious as to how this will play out. If the treasure map is true, where it will lead them. Do we think it'll be real treasure or more of a treasure metaphor? And how long until Alosa gets completely screwed over by Riden? Or by her father?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Me on Rebel Genius

Title: Rebel Genius
Author: Michael Dante DiMartino
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan imprint)

In twelve-year-old Giacomo's Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. Every artist possesses a Genius, a birdlike creature that is the living embodiment of an artist's creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punished akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he's in serious trouble. Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools--objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path--Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him.

Rebel Genius is tense and mysterious, seeping with artistic flair. It's a dangerous race against time to find the Sacred Tools, and Giacomo will have to make some impossible decisions if he wants to keep everyone safe.

Giacomo is a lonely boy, left homeless and without any kind of help or support after the death of his parents. Hiding in the sewers with his sketchbook, he struggles to eke out a living, stealing old bread so he can eat. When his Genius appears, he's worried. He's panicking. Having a Genius means capture, means being found and locked away, as per the laws of the tyrannical ruler Nerezza. But someone else finds him first, a secret group of artists and their Geniuses training to use art and their creative energy as a weapon. This is the start of something, the start of potential hope in Giacomo, and the start of a deadly journey to find things powerful and lost.

The world-building is intriguing. There's a a massive sense that the author drew from Renaissance Europe, especially Italy, when it comes to Giacomo's world and the reverence given to art. Here art is something magical, something vital. Something living. Something that can be harnessed, used for good or evil.

This is a tense adventure. There's a lot for Giacomo to learn, to overcome, to discover both about the world around him and about himself. Secrets abound, danger lurks. Perhaps it's a little dense at times, but there are so many characters, so many things happening that almost everything needs to be described. The illustrations were a great addition to the story. With it being so visual, being about art and shapes, the charcoal-esque drawings come in at perfect times. I would recommend this to readers looking for a new middle grade adventure series.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (228)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

It's the weekend! Which would be nice if we weren't getting hit by a big rainstorm right now.

Still struggling to get books read, which means I've hit one of those weird non-reading pockets. I need to work on staying interested in the books I have to read as opposed to the books I want to read but can't right now. It's all about focus.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino (Monday), Iron Cast by Destiny Soria (Wednesday), and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (Friday). :)

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (purchased)
Bloodline by Claudia Gray (borrowed from the library)
Beast by Brie Spangler (borrowed from the library)
Dreadnought by April Daniels (e-galley from Diversion Books through NetGalley)
Frostblood by Elly Blake (e-galley from Hachette Book Group Canada through NetGalley)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Me on Gemina

Title: Gemina
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

On board the space station Heimdall is Hanna, the station captain's pampered daughter, and Nik. the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. While the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren't just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Gemina is a story of fear, worry, survival, and impossibility. It's a meeting point in deep space where everything is about to explode. We know what's already happened, we know what's coming. Now we get to see the impact.

Hanna is the station captain's daughter. She's smart, skilled, tough as nails, and totally has her dad wrapped around her little finger when it comes to getting what she wants. Sure, she's spoiled, and sure, she doesn't want to be stuck on a space station where nothing exciting ever happens, but that doesn't mean she can't make her own fun. Like hanging out with her friends, spending a little quality time with her boyfriend. But she's no idiot. Nik is like a classic nice guy, except he's caught up in some family politics. Which can get pretty sticky and hard to escape when your family is a crime family. When you're knee deep in a current job. When you've already been to prison. But he's surviving, being on the station. He has things that get him through days. Like the chats with his cousin. Like the chats with Hanna.

Apart from Hanna and Nik, we get a good look at the bigger picture. At BeiTech's plots and plans, at their determination and ruthlessness. We get BeiTech's highly skilled team of "auditors," led by a seemingly calm and calculating monster of a man. We get a group of well-trained operatives who go in expecting business as usual and end up in a perfect storm of catastrophes. And because they're cold-blooded killers, it's hard to feel sad when they die.

AIDEN. Because of course AIDEN would be back. How could it not come back? How could it not return, say the most obvious and logical things, and give the human characters chances to snarkily talk back? How could readers pass up the chance to witness AIDEN's continued fracturing?

Even with the book written in chats, audio logs, and video transcriptions, you can find the differences in the characters. Their choice of words, the different degrees of their worry and panic. Their skills and how they use them. Hanna's trained in martial arts, she can definitely handle herself in a fight. Nik is your classic nice guy stuck in a bad situation, he's tough but that doesn't mean he's not afraid. This is an exciting, deadly, tense continuation from the situation that first started in Illuminae, that first started with the attack on Kerenza IV, and I can't wait to see how it will all unfold in the last book.

(I received an advance copy of this title from another review blogger.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (300)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Dark Days Pact
Author: Alison Goodman
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen and her maid, Darby, to spend the summer season in Bristol, where Helen can sharpen her Reclaimer powers. Then the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work take hold, and his sanity begins to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are ever higher for Helen, and her decision will truly change the world…

I rather enjoyed the first book earlier this year, I like Regency and Victorian era mysteries and paranormal stories, complicated groups and complicated moral decisions. But the cover change for this series? Not a fan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Me on The Swan Riders

Title: The Swan Riders
Author: Erin Bow
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster imprint)

Greta Stuart has become AI. New transmitters have silvered her fingerprints. New receptors have transformed her vision. And the whole of her memory has become one book in a vast library of instant knowledge. Greta is ready to rule the world. But the new technology is also killing her. Greta is only sixteen years old, but her new enhancements are burning through her mortal body at an alarming rate. Of course the leader of the AIs, an ancient and compelling artificial intelligence named Talis, has a plan. Greta can simply do what he's done when the time comes, and take over the body of one of the Swan Riders, the utterly loyal humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult. First though, Greta will have to find a way to stay sane inside her new self. Talis's plan for that involves a road trip. Escorted by Swan Riders, Greta and Talis set out on a horseback journey across the strange and not-quite-deserted landscape of Saskatchewan. But there are other people interested in Greta, people who want to change the world... and the Swan Riders might not be as loyal as they appear.

The Swan Riders is tense, full of gambles and plots and plans. It's a look at what it is to be human, what makes us human, and the lengths we will go to in order to keep our humanity. In order to keep those around us human and sympathetic.

Greta, now an AI with a failing human body, is struggling with a number of problems. One is the decaying of her body. The memories that overwhelm her, that remind her what she left behind. The torture. The quiet moments with Xie. It can hold her AI consciousness for a time, but not forever, and one day she'll have to pick a new body if she wants to continue to move around. Another is Talis, for a number of reasons. And one is the Swan Riders, the army of young people who've volunteered to be the bodies for the AIs. As a former princess, a girl turned captive in order to keep the peace, she knows the Swan Riders as murderers. As angels coming down to Earth in order to carry out justice, to kill the royal children of the parents that dare go to war.

Talis. Oh, Talis. You never expect an AI to be so layered. But circumstances have changed. Talis has changed. Meeting Greta. Being in Rachel's body. The journey to the Red Mountains. His relationship with Greta has changed, from omnipotent intelligence vs stoic princess into something more of a friendship, a companionship. Greta has changed Talis, just as he changed her.

Knowing there would be a follow-up to the punch in the gut that was The Scorpion Rules, I wasn't sure what I expected to find here. More Greta, more of the struggle between her human emotions and her new AI brain, yes. More Talis being amoral and calculating, of course. But I don't know that I expected this. This exploration of what it is to be human. This look at devotion and faith, at the lengths we go to in order to send our message, our hopes, to those we look up to as gods. This book definitely expands on the world of the AIs and their Swan Riders, expands on purpose and end goals. This wasn't the book I expected, I'd hoped for a moment between Greta and Xie but it never happened, but I do think this was a good follow-up. I never knew what was going to happen, who was going to act first, or how Greta was going to fight back in order to keep those she cares about safe. When you read this, be prepared for another punch to the gut.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (227)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Not much to ramble on about for this week because I've been sick! I finally caught the cold that was going around and it knocked me out for a few days. So much for hoping to get some books read. I was so sleepy and so stuffed up, it made it hard to concentrate on most things. But I am getting better. :)

Reviews going up this coming week will feature The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (Tuesday) and Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Friday). :)
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (purchased)
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff (borrowed from the library)
Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling by Tony Cliff (from Raincoast Books)
The Water and the Wild by Kathryn Ormsbee (from Raincoast Books)

Friday, October 7, 2016

Me on When the Moon Was Ours

Title: When the Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (Macmillan imprint)

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel's wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel's skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they're willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

When the Moon Was Ours is haunting and magical, a look at identity and secrets, at wanting to keep the things we love close so no one can steal them away.

This is one of those impossible to describe books for me. Reading this book hurt. Like my heart was instantly tied to Sam's, to Miel's, and I was helpless against their pull. Against their struggles, against their joy and fear and sorrow. Against their love, against their secrets that tear them apart. This book hurts in so many ways, in exquisite ways. Like roses and thorns, the scent lush and heady and the pricks sharp and painful. It was so easy for me to feel for Sam and Miel, to want their secrets kept secret, to want them to just be. But it's never that easy. They have to face the things that hurt them, that scare them.

At the end, when I finished, this book hurt so much I wanted to cry. Cry for boys like Sam, for girls like Miel, for girls like Ivy Bonner. This story is a lyrical and mesmerizing gathering of identity, cultural practices and customs, family, magic and impossibility, and love. Because they love, they want. Because they love, they protect. A glorious, heart-breaking fairy tale of a story. A must-read.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (299)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Heartstone
Author: Elle Katharine White
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager

From Goodreads:

A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.

This certainly sounds interesting, the mash-up of Jane Austen and dragons and dragon fighting. I'm not sure if it's YA or not, but it's got my attention.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Me on Spare & Found Parts

Title: Spare and Found Parts
Author: Sarah Maria Griffin
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society's good... but how can Nell live up to her father's revolutionary idea when she has none of her own? Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy's hand she's ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Spare and Found Parts is at times enchanting and other times frightening, a cautioning against relying too much on technology and a welcoming embrace of it. Of the multitude of things it can show us, teach us. It's a story of a lonely girl searching for a companion, searching for answers. Looking to make her mark on the world.

Nell is a quiet and lonely girl who resents the ticking in her chest. She's looking to make the decisions when it comes to her future before anyone else does. Trapped in the shadows of her accomplished parents, pioneers in contributions that helped save the town. More than a hundred years after the Turn, after the pulses that swept across the land and made so many sick, there are only so many options Nell has when it comes to the future. She can go away to the Pasture, a place of quiet and without the chance to experiment. She can marry, which is a thing that makes her sick, especially to someone like Oliver Kelly. She can head to the stoneyard, build up the statue her mother first envisioned. Or she can contribute something to the community, make something of herself, something the town needs. But what can she contribute? Her tinkering can only go so far with secret batteries and no codes. She needs something more, wants something more. But can she make a companion, a person, a human soul, out of spare parts?

The reader is set down and eased into Nell's world, a world that's come out of our own. A world without higher technology, without computers, after a devastating apocalypse that left many dead and most of the living scarred. Now people must contribute to society, must do something that will boost morale or provide for the community. Something without the use of computers than can think for themselves. You can see the pokes taken at the modern day and its obsession with technology, with creating a machine that can do the work for you. The pokes at the lack of human conversation and interaction that screens and the Internet can provide. But technology isn't all evil.

This is like a steampunk-esque post-apocalyptic futuristic reimagining of Frankenstein and his creation in a world that fears technology. I think this book nudges towards finding the middle ground between technology and humanity, between creating and advancing and not moving away from human contact. And I think Nell's search for a companion, her desire to build one, is her way of having someone in her life that doesn't expect anything from her. It'll just be, be there to be with her, to talk with her and share with her, and make no demands. Some of the later chapters have a certain charm brought on by a certain character. And the last chapter made me chuckle. I would definitely recommend this to readers looking for something a little different, like Leah Bobet's An Inheritance of Ashes or Moïra Fowley-Doyle's The Accident Season.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (226)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hello all! It's fall now. The mornings are cool and brisk, it's a struggle to escape the warm cocoon of blankets and pillows, and more leaves are turning yellow and orange.

Remember when I pulled something in my neck? I did it again, just on the other side. It hasn't taken as long to get better, mostly because I know what to do now, but it's a massive pain. If it happens again, I'm definitely going to have to get the doctor to recommend I see a physiotherapist or massage therapist.

Reviews going up this week will feature Spare & Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin (Tuesday) and When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (Friday). :)
Horimiya Volume 3 (purchased)
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
Hunted by Meagan Spooner (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)