Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Of The Best Books I've Read Recently

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is ten of the best books I've read lately. It's always nice to look back over my favorite recent books, so I know what to recommend! These were all great reads :)

1. An Ember in the Ashes (Review)
Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire's greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

2. The Raven Boys (Review)
Blue Sargent's gift seems to be that she makes other people's talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the Raven Boys from the Aglionby Academy, she discovers that together their talents are a dangerous mix.

3. Compulsion (Review)
After the death of her disfigured, shut-in mother, Barrie Watson moves to her aunt's South Carolina plantation, which is guarded by an ancient spirit who cursed one of the island's three founding families and gave the others magical gifts that become compulsions.

4. The Royal We (Review)
He's the heir to the British throne, she's the American who effortlessly steals his heart. Can they weather many obstacles to find their Happily Ever After? Part fairy tale, part cautionary tale, the novel is pure fun from start to finish.

5. Throne of Glass
After she has served a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, Crown Prince Dorian offers eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien her freedom on the condition that she act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

6. Soulless
When Alexia, a soulless spinster with the ability to negate supernatural powers, accidentally kills a vampire, her life goes from bad to worse when Lord Maccon, a gorgeous werewolf, is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

7. Second Chance Summer (Review)
Taylor's dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains. Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven't actually gone anywhere.

8. Rebel Belle
Seventeen-year-old Harper Price's charmed life is turned upside down when she discovers she's been given magical powers in order to protect her school nemesis David Stark, who's an Oracle.

9. Manners and Mutiny (Review)
In an alternate England of 1851, Sophronia Temminnick is the only hope for her friends, her school, and all of London when she must put her espionage training to the test to thwart an evil Picklemen plot.

10. The Fixer (Review)
When her grandfather develops dementia, sixteen-year-old Tess, who has been keeping his Montana ranch going, is whisked away to Washington, D.C., by a sister she barely knows and thrown into a world of politics, power, wealth, love triangles, and family secrets.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore. (Summary from Goodreads)

Words cannot express how much I love this series of books. I have read it three times now, and every time I read it, I learn a little something more, catching subtle hints that the brilliant Maggie Stiefvater slipped in.

The story is so unique that I have trouble coming up with readalikes. There's just nothing like it out there. It borders on magical realism, though magic plays a prominent role. Some of the characters have magic. Some don't. Some are privy to the supernatural. Some long for it. Some despise it. The characters are on a treasure hunt, almost an Arthurian quest for the Holy Grail, yet it's more the quest itself that drives them on.

And it's really the characters that make the story.

Stiefvater's characters develop slowly. I've heard a few people say that they had trouble getting through the beginning of the story because they weren't connecting with it, or it was just too slow. But honestly that's part of its genius because little by little, step by carefully written step, you learn about each character - their hopes, their fears, their faults, and their passions. They may develop slowly, but they develop fully.

The characters' interactions are truly realistic. They don't really like each other at first. They say the wrong things. They get angry. They get annoyed. They don't always understand each other. They're sarcastic. They're honest, and they all love each other. They're all so vastly different, but really they're looking for the same thing - a place to belong, and they find that they belong to each other. This story might be about a quest to find a sleeping 15th century Welsh king (which in itself is fascinating), but it's more about friendship. And once they're in it. They are in it. As they get more fully immersed in their crusade and with each other, so will you. Once the story speeds up, there's no stopping it.

And the atmosphere! Small town Virginia, a private high school, an old manufacturing building-turned-apartment, the home of the psychics - full of women, tea leaves, yogurt, and tarot cards - fast (but not necessarily reliable) cars, churchyards, enchanted (or maybe haunted) forests with Latin speaking trees and fish that change color. It's spooky, yet whimsical. Funny, but heartbreaking. Melodic, but jarring. Simple, yet so very complex.

I've read a lot of books, and to be honest I never thought anything would come close to beating out Harry Potter as a favorite, but Blue, Ronan, Adam, and Gansey give Harry, Ron, and Hermione some competition. And coming from me, that's really saying something. Maggie's writing is smart, original, and intuitive.

My favorite quote from the first three books in the cycle: "In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys." I'm in love with them too, and I know you will be if you read their stories. I can't wait to see what fate has for them in the final book The Raven King, which I will be reading as soon as it comes out on April 16th. And I'll definitely tell you more about it then!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven't Talked About Enough/In A While

This week's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) was fun! I love talking about books that I read a while back. Here are ten books I haven't talked about lately.

1. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
 A family accidentally stumbles upon a spring with water endowing them with the gift of eternal life. Seventy years later, without having grown a day older, a young girl discovers them and learns their secret. This is such a sweet story! And the movie version stars the adorable Alexis Bledel and Jonathan Jackson.

2. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
 When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy. It's a citified Alice in Wonderland, and I loved it! You'll even like the cockroaches.

3. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
 A Black family living in the South during the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don't understand. I read this in elementary school, and it was really my first introduction to racism. 

4. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
In alternating chapters, eighteen-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy's novel, slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love. You'll love both Darcy's story and the novel she's writing.

5. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. This is a sweet story filled with the uncomfortable parts of first love between two people who really don't fit in. The 80s nostalgia is a definite plus. 

6. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Seventeen-year-old Harper Price's charmed life is turned upside down when she discovers she's been given magical powers in order to protect her school nemesis David Stark, who's an Oracle. Harper is a Southern belle who becomes a kick-butt fighter. Super fun!

7. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
While running away from a London foster home just before her fifteenth birthday, Holly has ample time to consider her years of residential care and her early life with her Irish mother, whom she is now trying to reach. This was the last book written by Siobhan Dowd.

8. Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her, so when Xander appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate--until Ky Markham's face appears for an instant before the screen fades to black. This story takes The Giver and makes it more available to teens and young adults, adding a stronger love story and rebellion.

9. Legend by Marie Lu
In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy. This book is action packed and full of moral ambiguity. Day is a vigilante, a little like Batman.

10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This brilliant and heartbreaking novel tells the story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Full of love, lies, secrets, no shortage of family dysfunction, and a shocking twist that you won’t see coming. It will have your pulse racing! 
(Summaries from Novelist)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fun Day Sunday: Bookstagram!

I've been playing around on Instagram lately and found a fun community within it called Bookstagram. People post book reviews or do book challenges - perfect for book lovers like me! It's mostly silly, but it's also really cool to find people all over the world who are reading the same things as you.

Plus authors are on there and love to see the things your posting about their books. I love how involved authors are in social media and with their fans. It's really refreshing, and let's you feel closer to their world. 

So if you want to see some fun book related pictures, head over to Instagram and give me a Follow

Here's a few of my favorites!  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. (Summary from Goodreads)

This was a read for Forever YA Bookclub  - a national book club mostly for adults that read young adult titles and meet at random places throughout the country to discuss them - see if there's one in your area here! Several of us meet at our library and carpool to different restaurants in Central Indiana, where we discuss the book we read and try new foods.

Anyway, on with the book, to be honest I was a little hesitant to start this one. When my hold came in from the library, it looked huge! Don't get me wrong, I like big books (and I cannot lie), but I really wanted to get on to the next book in the Parasol Protectorate, so I was hoping it would be short and sweet. So I put it off for a few days, and listened (again) to The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (which I will write a review on soon!)

But when I finally did start in on Ember, I was impressed. Tahir writes beautifully, describing the lives that Laia and Elias are trapped in. Though they come from different places, have nearly opposite backgrounds, and their stories begin to intertwine very slowly, it is clear that they're both facing the same issues. They have little control over their futures.

What I really loved about this book is that both Laia and Elias' stories are fully developed. Elias is unhappy with the idea of continuing to work for the Empire, where he is expected to feel joy over the death of a deserter, no matter how young they might be or who they are, and worse feel nothing over the ill treatment of slaves and Scholars. Laia doesn't believe she has the strength and courage of her parents who were Scholars and leaders of the Resistance, and she is haunted by the fact that she ran away when her brother was arrested by the Empire. She decides she has to try to save him and ends up spying for the Resistance. Eventually, they speak to one another and in the course of one night, they're able to change the way they look at their world just by hearing the other's story.

Although the book did seem to stretch on a little in parts, I actually wish it had been longer. It seems like the story started to pick up just as it ended. But never fear, the sequel A Torch Against the Night comes out August 31st, and I will definitely be reading it!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on My Spring To-Be-Read List

Today's Top Ten Tuesday (Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) is ten books I want to read this spring! 

1. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

 2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (who I might get to meet in May!!!)

 3. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

 4. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

 5. All Fall Down by Ally Carter

 6. Riders by Veronica Rossi
 7. Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh

8. Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

 9. The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

10. Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Book Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

I actually read this a few months ago, but I liked it so much I wanted to make sure I did a blog post about it. I could not put this book down. While I was reading it, all I wanted to be doing was read it. I read on my lunch break and while cooking dinner. It didn't take long, and I was done and hungering for more. I looked up the author, Courtney Alameda, hoping that she had a sequel in the works and discovered with astonishment that she was a first time author. This was her FIRST book. But this was not the work of an amateur writer. I loved every minute of it.

Micheline is good with a camera. But she doesn't use it to merely take pictures. She uses it to capture the energy of ghosts on film. What I loved most about these stories is that they incorporated modern day elements and technology into classic supernatural stories. I especially loved how she involved the Van Helsings and Stokers together in this modern day tale, the paranormal classics mixed with science and mythology. I also liked the Micheline was also just a teenager trying to grieve over the horrific death of her mother and brother, while also dealing with her father's residual anger, judgement, and abuse.

Honestly, Shutter was a stunning story, great for fans of the supernatural and paranormal. Also, it is a little scary, but not quite as scary as the cover makes it out to be.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. 

Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap? (Summary from Goodreads.com)

As I reached the halfway point in this book, I had a life altering realization about myself. I have a favorite genre! I really like books set in early 1800s London that have some sort of supernatural element to them. I think I first realized this in Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty and then in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series (Clockwork Angel/Prince/Princess), but it really hit home when I was reading Gail Carriger's Finishing School series. But even then, I figured it was just a fluke. I love her writing - snarky, genteel but feminist, with humor and a little mystery thrown in. So when I started listening to The Dark Days Club (because the audiobook has a British reader, and I can listen while I do the dishes and puzzles and reorganize my bookshelves...audiobooks are great for multitasking!), I thought I'll probably like this. It sounds like fun. But guys, I really liked it. I have a favorite genre.

I think the real hook for me is these genteel women, who are trained to do little else but knit, play piano, and perhaps maintain a conversation about the weather, hike up their skirts and kick some serious bad guy butt often in heels and without tearing said skirt. I love that. I wish I could do that. It makes me want to take self-defense lessons or something, and maybe I will. Because if a lady in a corset can kick butt, then you bet a librarian in a cardigan could do some damage too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Fictional Characters I LOVE But Others Seem To Dislike

(Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish)

This week's Top Ten Tuesday was really hard! How do I find ten characters that other people dislike, but I don't? First I have to figure out which characters people dislike? There are a few who are obvious - villains, rivals - but who else? Well, I managed to find some. These characters are often misunderstood, so I hope you'll bear with me as I try to understand them and defend them to you! 

1.) The Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz)
Dorothy killed her sister and stole her shoes. All the Wicked Witch wanted was her shoes back. Plus she's had enough hardships in life being born green and all! That's no reason to kill her...

2.) Jess Mariano (Gilmore Girls)
He was so good for Rory. He got her to lighten up a little, break a few rules now and then, and he spoke her language - books. Here he is making notes in her copy of Slaughterhouse-five. And then he made something of himself, wrote a book, and told her he loved her. #TeamJess all the way. 

3.) Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
I don't understand why people wouldn't like Katniss. Some say she was whiney, but come on. Look at what she's been through! She defies the odds and manages to come out ok on the over side of it all. She's a warrior in my book. 

 4.) Harry Potter (Harry Potter)
So part way through the Harry Potter novels, Harry gets a little broody, angry...you might even say angsty. But I think what people forget about when they  are annoyed by Harry's inability to be reasonable or happy, is that Harry is a teenager, and teenagers (in case you didn't know) have irregular hormones that    are messing with their moods. And though Harry may not be a "normal" teenager (normal is in quotations because really is there such a thing?), he is still going through this confusing hormonal pubescence and has never had  an adult he could trust. 

In fact he didn't have anyone at all that he could trust or who loved him before he was eleven years old. Can you imagine what going through the first eleven years of your life - the most important and influential period for brain development - without ANYONE  to confide in or go to when you are sick or have a question or have a nightmare, does to a child? (This would make a good research paper topic) So leave Harry alone. The poor kid has been through enough. 

5.) Ronald Weasley (Harry Potter) 
I keep hearing that in Mrs. Weasley's howler voice. Anyway, Ron gets mad at Harry and (annoyingly) leaves him and Hermione in the middle of their Horcrux search. He also gets angry with Harry on several other occasions out of jealousy. I agree that this is a bad life choice, but Ron didn't have the best home life either. He had love and nurturing, but he was always second best to someone. Plus  you can't be mad at him for two long. He's a goofball. And he has one of the best lines in the series: "Why couldn't it have been follow the butterflies?"

6.) Cinderella (Cinderella)
I've heard people say lately since the new movie came out that Cinderella is very antifeminist. I have to disagree with this. Cinderella is a smart girl who makes friends with the right people (or creatures in her case) who helped her to escape her situation. Sometimes it's all about who you know. She might marry the prince, but he doesn't save her. She saves herself. 
7.) Batman (Batman)
Nana Nana Nana Nana Batman! Batman is a vigilante. He has been known to break some rules in the name of justice, but Batman is a strong individual who sticks to his moral code, and he does it without super powers.

8. Pacey Whitter (Dawson's Creek)
If you didn't choose Pacey over Dawson, we can't be friends. OK I'm just kidding, mostly, but really Pacey was the winner here. Pacey bought Joey a wall. They had passion. They supported each other's hopes and dreams. He took care of her, defended her. He helped her establish the Potter B&B. When they spent the whole summer together on a boat they read each other to sleep. Pacey wins. 

9.) Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars) 
OK I know everybody hates him. And I most definitely do not love him; however, I can at least defend him. Jar Jar was meant to be to the prequels what the Ewoks were two the original trilogy. He may not have achieved that status, and he was annoying, but to the younger generation who watched the prequels when they were very young, he was kind of endearing. Like a pet. 

10. Isabella Swan (Twilight)
And here begins my rant. I know that a lot of people have a lot of hate for Isabella Swan. Maybe you didn't like her in the books or maybe you just didn't like Kristen Stewart and the movies. People say that she's annoying. She's weak. She's the opposite of what a strong female character should be. Her relationship with Edward is borderline abusive. I disagree. 

I read the Twilight books when I was in high school. I was a lot like Bella - nonathletic, clumsy, plain, bookish. What you might have forgotten if you read the books is that Bella loves to read. She's never been one of the popular kids. She's never really fit in. The people at Forks High School only like her because she's the new girl, and they're curious. 

Now let's talk about her turning into a zombie when Edward leaves. If you've ever been in love and then broken up or rejected, you might have felt like there's nothing else for you. I agree that these feelings are amplified in the books, but when Bella was depressed, you have to remember that her friends abandoned her too. 

And yes Bella jumped off a cliff...to go cliff diving because Edward told her not to. Yes, he told her not to,and she is doing the opposite of what he said. She is not controlled by him. She is not changing her whole life for him. She is doing something reckless to defy him. He told her not to, so she said well, I'm going to. And isn't that what almost every teenager does when someone breaks up with them? 

And beyond that turning into a vampire… Bello wants to be a vampire because she finally found somewhere where she fit in that's what the stories are about. The story of twilight is not about vampires. It's not about werewolves. It's about
finding  where you fit in and becoming your own person. She doesn't turn into a vampire for love. If Edward got his way, Bella never would have been a vampire. But Bella did what she wanted to do. She became the person that she always felt she should be.

I can always keep arguing this, so I'll end my rant here. But if you'd ever like to talk about it, I'm up for a debate any time! 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Book Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

"I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next."

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing. (Summary shortened from Goodreads.com) 

If you know me (or my mom) well at all, you'll know that we're pretty addicted to stories of the royal family - particularly Princess Diana and her offspring. Diana married Prince Charles when my mom was in high school, four years before she got married herself. Her wedding dress was based on Diana's - my mom's train was longer. So she's been a pretty prominent figure in my life and thus so are the princes, William and Harry.

You name the movie, we've watched it. You name the book, one of us probably owns it. You have a question about it, we've probably got an answer - though it might not be correct because it's all come through the press. And if their stories teach you anything, it's that you can't always trust what you hear from the press.

This book is not exactly the story of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, but it's very similar. There are a lot of fictionalized portions beyond the names themselves, but what you should really notice when you read it (because you should definitely read it) is how much more you understand the royal family.

And beyond that, the story is fantastic, especially some of the side characters. The story is hilarious, heartfelt, silly, sad - I'm telling you it will make you feel all of the feelings. That being said, go to your local library and pick it up! I loved it!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Review: Persuasion by Martina Boone

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins, because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe. (Summary from Goodreads.com)

I loved Compulsion (See Review), the Southern Gothic mystery set in modern day times as Barrie tries to understand why her mother never told her about her family and their past. But Persuasion was honestly just as good. The mystery continues as they try to dig up family treasures and mend old feuds while attempting to keep the passion of new romance alive instead and trying to decide who it's safe to trust.

The families' gifts or curses are fascinating - would you want to know everyone's deepest desires? That might be a little depressing if you know you can't help them get it. Would you want to be pulled to all things that are lost? What if some things are supposed to stay lost? I know I definitely wouldn't want to want what everyone else does...that one is definitely a curse.

I'm excited to see where Martina Boone's next book will take Barrie and Eight and if those family fences can finally be mended!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Top 10 Tuesday - 10 Books To Read If You Are In The Mood For Escape

(Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish)

I'm going to give Top Ten Tuesdays a try! They're great for blogging inspiration and make really fun booklists! This one was "books to read if you're in the mood for X" and Emily (The Gnoming Librarian)  decided to do escape. That sounded like a great idea. I don't know about you, but one of the biggest reasons I read is to escape real life. I love books that take me into other worlds, get my adrenaline pumping, and really reel me in! So, we made it our Teen Talk topic for this month's video too!

And without further ado, here are my top ten books to you if you are in the mood for escape!

1.) Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protege of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.

2.) The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Review Here) 
When her grandfather develops dementia, sixteen-year-old Tess, who has been keeping his Montana ranch going, is whisked away to Washington, D.C., by a sister she barely knows and thrown into a world of politics, power, wealth, love triangles, and family secrets.

3.) Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Seventeen-year-old Harper Price's charmed life is turned upside down when she discovers she's been given magical powers in order to protect her school nemesis David Stark, who's an Oracle.

4.) The Den of Shadows quartet
This dark supernatural series is full of action, adventure, and revenge. Readers should expect a rotating cast of characters throughout the books, and plenty of intricate worldbuilding, often bolstered by historical flashbacks. Vampires, witches, and other paranormal creatures mingle with humans in plots full of high school angst and complicated romance.

5.) Compulsion by Martina Boone (Review Here)
After the death of her mother, Barrie Watson moves to her aunt's South Carolina plantation, which is guarded by an ancient spirit who cursed one of the island's three founding families and gave the others magical gifts that become compulsions.

6.) Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
In alternating chapters, eighteen-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy's novel, slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love.

7.) Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
He is young. He is hot. He is also evil. He is...the librarian. Cynthia's best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, but after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn't quite right. Maybe it's the creepy look in the librarian's eyes...or the blood and horns and bat-like wings that appear when he thinks no one is looking. He's a demon...and now Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body.

8.) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

9.) The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (Review coming soon)
In April 1812, as she is preparing for her debut presentation to Queen Charlotte, Lady Helen Wrexhall finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy reaching to the very top of society, and learns the truth about her mother, who died ten years ago.

10.) Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
High school sophomore Nora has always been very cautious in her relationships, but when Patch, who has a dark side she can sense, enrolls at her school, she is mysteriously and strongly drawn to him, despite warnings from her best friend, the school counselor, and her own instincts. (Summaries from Novelist database)

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