June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR For Your TBR (‘To Be Read’ Pile/List/Stack)

I am so excited for the following June & July 2017 releases. You’re going to need to add them to your TBR too!

In order of release date…

 

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Expected publication: 13 June 2017
Science Fiction / Historical Fiction / YA

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBRThis book made my TBR on its stunning cover alone, but I am also intrigued to see how the story works over three time periods.

Kansas, 2065 Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before Launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own. 

Oklahoma, 1934 Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called The Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire — and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life — Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most. 

England, 1919 In the recovery following World War One, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?  – Goodreads

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The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Expected publication: 13 June 2017
Historical Fiction

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

I love WWII stories. This one gives insight into the generation after the war with secrets to discover.

Austria, 1938.
Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher’s fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself. 

Los Angeles, 1989. 
Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad’s collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall.  – Goodreads

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Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn

Expected publication: 17 June 2017
Thriller / YA

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

Another beautiful cover! Girl on the Verge is a psychological thriller and I am excited to learn more about Thai culture.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…  – Goodreads

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The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride

Expected publication: 4 July 2017
Thriller / YA

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

Nobody should be surprised to see another thriller on my list. This one sounds like there is a scavenger hunt included. Bonus!

You have four days to locate five treasured trophies. Break the rules and you all die. Happy hunting!

Back in September, the town of Bakersville, Ohio made national news when a video went viral featuring thirteen of the high school’s elite in compromising positions. Now it’s May, and every month since the “Bakersville Dozen” made their infamous appearance on the national stage, one girl has gone missing. Officials are no closer to identifying the criminal.

Bailey “Like a Virgin” Holzman is getting really fed up with the scrutiny. She just wants to enjoy the rest of her senior year and have an epic summer before heading off to college. So when she discovers a note in her locker on the last day of school inviting her on a scavenger hunt, she thinks it’s just a sweet surprise from her boyfriend trying to cheer her up.

But following the clue leads her, instead, to the first official casualty. And another sinister envelope. The killer is close, and it could be anyone. Even the people Bailey’s always trusted most—her best friend, her perfect boyfriend, or the boy-next-door she’s always pined for.

With the clock ticking, she faces a terrifying choice: play the game by the killer’s rules—follow the clues, tell no one, and no cops—for a chance to save the rest of the missing girls, or risk becoming the next grisly victim. – Goodreads

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The Diplomat’s Daughter by Karin Tanabe

Expected publication: 11 July 2017
Historical Fiction

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

Yes, it’s another WWII story. I can’t resist! This one is from a German and Japanese POW perspective.

During the turbulent months following the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor, twenty-one-year-old Emi Kato, the daughter of a Japanese diplomat, is locked behind barbed wire in a Texas internment camp. She feels hopeless until she meets handsome young Christian Lange, whose German-born parents were wrongfully arrested for un-American activities. Together, they live as prisoners with thousands of other German and Japanese families, but discover that love can bloom in even the bleakest circumstances.

When Emi and her mother are abruptly sent back to Japan, Christian enlists in the US Army, with his sights set on the Pacific front—and, he hopes, a reunion with Emi—unaware that her first love, Leo Hartmann, the son of wealthy of Austrian parents and now a Jewish refugee in Shanghai, may still have her heart. – Goodreads

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The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

Expected publication: 11 July 2017
Thriller

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

How far would you go to protect your family? This psychological thriller is going to keep me awake. Bring it on!

Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. Meghan has it all: two perfect children, a handsome husband, a happy marriage, a stylish group of friends, and she writes perfectly droll confessional posts on her popular parenting blog—posts that Agatha reads with devotion each night as she waits for her absent boyfriend, the father of her baby, to maybe return her calls.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever… – Goodreads

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This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes

Expected publication: 11 July 2017
Contemporary / YA

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

Amnesia, assumptions. guilt and social media collide in this book.

Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened.

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all. – Goodreads

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The Color Project by Sierra Abrams

Expected publication: 18 July 2017
Contemporary / YA

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

OMG, this is another gorgeous cover! Yes, it made my TBR because of its beauty, but I am very happy that it focuses on family and friendship. If that doesn’t tempt you then maybe this will… Goodreads advocates it as ‘for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson‘.

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her. – Goodreads

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Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

Expected publication: 25 July 2017
Thriller

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBR

Another thriller… just roll with it! How far would you go to protect your baby? This one is going to be scary! It covers just three hours – I am fascinated to see how Gin Phillips handles a whole story set over such a short time period.

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours–the entire scope of the novel–she keeps on running.

Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan’s intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions–the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines–is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger. – Goodreads

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Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Expected publication: 25 July 2017
Thriller / YA

June & July 2017 Books For Your TBRAlthough I am hoping this is not too much like Mean Girls, I am looking forward to the secrets and suspense.

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone. – Goodreads

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I can’t wait to hear what you think! Have you got any of these on your TBR? Were you lucky enough to get  ARCs and have already read them?

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi has been one of my most anticipated 2017 read and it’s a sweet, feel-good, happy book. Although predictable and sporting a few small hiccups, I enjoyed the story.

His lines were confident and sure, the emerging picture comical and twisted and breathtakingly mesmerizing all at the same time.

 

What I liked:

The sweet, quirky characters, the brother bond, and the setting.

The easy friendship that Dimple and Rishi fell effortlessly into, skipping most of the drama that usually goes into insta-love stories.

Getting a glimpse into Hinduism and the traditional aspects, especially as the characters are so proud of their heritage.

This wasn’t just an arranged marriage to Rishi; this was the rich fabric of history, stretched through time and space.

 

What I didn’t like:

The insta-love.

The story is not unique and very similar to Nothing But The Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley.

You’ve made me braver. It’s like you have this paintbrush, dipped in brilliant mauves and teals and golds…3 star

 

 

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi  When Dimple Met Rishi

Author: Sandhya Menon

Publication Date: 30 May 2017

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Review copy

 

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Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

Wait for me, set in Scotland during the last year before the end of WWII, is a sweet, easy-to-read story in a beautiful setting. I love books set during WWII and are automatically attracted to them so I was thrilled when I received a review copy from Jonathan Ball Publishers.

The wail of the air-raid siren in the village rose above the shrieking engine.

While I enjoyed the book, the story had some very typical cliché moments which made it predictable and although the content is not, the writing style is quite juvenile which I found frustrating.

“But they’re Germans,” she said. “The enemy! You can’t be bringing enemy soldiers onto our farm, Dad. No!”

My biggest bugbear of the book was the…

Spoiler Alert

I didn’t like the way rape was handled in the book which implies that it is something to ashamed of and to keep quiet about.

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3 star

 

 

Title: Wait for Me 

Author: Caroline Leech

Publication Date: 31 January 2017Wait for Me

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: Review copy

 

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It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.  Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free review copy of this book from  Jonathan Ball Publishers does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

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Hushed by Joanne Macgregor

Hushed

Hushed by Joanne Macgregor

“Hush!” she hisses at me so loudly that the bearded dragon flinches and starts bobbing his head in agitation.

Hushed, a contemporary romantic retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, is a feel-good, light-hearted, fun read.

“Are you saying there were sharks in that water?”

Set in South Africa’s beautiful Western Cape, the story includes a vital environmental message which packs a punch without being preachy.The few South African words scattered throughout the story adds to its authenticity and don’t worry there is a helpful glossary for those who have yet to experience our unique blend of colloquialisms.

The sky surrenders its last blush, the clouds smudge charcoal against the deepening wash of indigo…

While the characters are post-school, I think Hush reads more like YA (Young Adult).

The trick in life, I think, is to figure out what you truly want and then go all out to get it.

I had a little trouble with…

Spoiler Alert!!

I had a little trouble marrying the Romy in the beginning where she goes a bit overboard on fangirling to her rather more practical and down-to-earth character for the rest of the story.

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“No. She told me to keep my mouth shut and my eyes open.”

and I thought…

Spoiler Alert!!

I thought it rather sad that Romy had little connection with her best friend while she was in a relationship.

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…”And thank you for saving me. I enjoyed it enormously. Except for the screaming in the cemetery…”

An overall beautifully unique retelling. The perfect summer reading for those in the Northern Hemisphere. And to us down south – A #ProudlySouthAfrican celebration of one of our most talented authors and an irresistible corner of our country. Don’t miss this book.
4 Star

 

Title: Hushed 

Author: Joanne Macgregor 

Publication Date: 26 March 2017

Publisher: Joanne Macgregor 

Source: Review copy

 

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18-year-old Romy Morgan desperately longs to escape the boring future her parents have planned for her, and explore the world.

When she saves her celebrity crush, superstar Logan Rush, from drowning, Romy is offered a job as his personal assistant. She strikes a deal to reinvent herself in exchange for entering the exciting world of the movies, and love sparks between her and this prince of Hollywood. But Romy soon discovers that she has traded her voice and identity for an illusion of freedom.

When she discovers a dreadful secret with the power to destroy Logan, Romy must choose between love, revenge and finding her own, true element. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a review copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

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Illogical Book Covers

Illogical Book Covers

Book covers are the most important aspect when it comes to choosing which books to add to my TBR (To Be Read list/pile/sea). The graphics, font and title are the first impression books rely on, their only voice calling “pick me!” But covers can be misleading and these are covers that had me totally confused.

 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A narcissistic girl who has a fun, free life frolicking in fields trying to catch birds.

What it’s actually about

An inspirational, unexpected but ultimately doomed romance.
My review

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Hikers discover a putrescent body in an abandoned cottage.

What it’s actually about

An eclectic group of people whose lives interconnect in a small Alaskan village.

My review

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Live Through This by Mindi Scott 

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A girl who grew tired waiting for her blind date who was supposed to bring the picnic basket for a night picnic under the stars.

What it’s actually about

Sexual abuse with a heart-wrenching twist.

My Review

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Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A dancer who is in an abusive relationship.

What it’s actually about

A thriller about two girls who go missing and when one returns she has no recollection of what happened.

My review

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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

A town that will never forget a tragic accident which occurred while ice skating on the frozen lake.

What it’s actually about

A girl whose father has PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) after returning from Iraq war and its effect on their family.

My review

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Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Some kind of pyromania, perhaps pretty girls burnt at the stake after being forced to write suicide notes to their families.

What it’s actually about

it’s a mystery thriller with toxic friendships, secrets and conspiracy.

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Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Tea parties and family picnics

What it’s actually about

Historical fiction set during the aftermath of WWII featuring domestic abuse and xenophobia.

My review

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Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Friendship and the dynamics between three best friends.

What it’s actually about

An American socialite, a courier for the Polish resistance movement and a German doctor are flung together during WWII.

My review

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The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

Illogical Book Covers

 

What I thought it was going to be about

Hearts impaled by nails…? Someone in the construction industry who assumes a different identity – possibly in witness protection.

What it’s actually about

A girl forced into a strict, religious re-education camp to stamp out her homosexuality.

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Puck by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Illogical Book CoversWhat I thought it was going to be about

A girl, nicknamed Puck because of her aspiration to be a world cup ice hockey champion, looks to heaven for guidance from her dead father/best friend.

What it’s actually about

A contemporary retelling of Midsummer’s Night Dream about a rebellious girl in foster care is sent to a rehabilitation wilderness camp.

My review

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Did any of these covers mislead you? Do you judge books by their covers?

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Noteworthy

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

It’s the cover and/or author that is my overwhelming deciding factor when I add books to my TBR. Choosing by cover love is really unfair and it often means I miss out on some really good books. But Noteworthy is a happy exception! I don’t know the author and the cover is a bit bland and musical for my tastes. I am also not musical in any way (totally tone deaf) and seldom read fiction where music plays a significant role. So why I took a chance on requesting a review copy I don’t remember, but I am glad I did.

As I stood there in that derelict husk of a theater, I felt like I’d gotten lost in between my lives, and the road ahead looked long and strange and poorly lit.

Sounding like a light heart-hearted musicy book I expected to fly through the pages, write a quick review and then forget all about the story. I was so wrong. This book surprised me by creeping right into my heart.

The world, I thought. The whole world, gathered up in my arms.

The characters so far removed from the paper doll characters I despise. Real, genuine characters flaws and all. Actually, I think their flaws made me like them even more. Diversity is the current buzz word and all for the right reasons, but sometimes books are written around the diverse characters and don’t allow them space to be who they are. Noteworthy is not one of these books. With some unpredictable surprises, the characters revealed themselves in their own time. Naturally and beautifully.

All I understood about sexuality was it’s uncertainty, discovering your way through yourself day by day, stepping tentatively, hitting on some term that seemed to fit and hoping it stuck.

The story is centered very much on music, but this didn’t distract from the story and I don’t think I missed out on not really understanding or appreciating the terminology… well I suppose I will ever know if it would have made a difference: but it’s already got a 5/5 rating from me.

It was impossible to feel alone in a room full of favorite books. I had the sense that they knew me personally, that they’d read me cover to cover as I’d read them.5 Star

 

 

Title: NoteworthyNoteworthy

Author:  Riley Redgate 

Publication Date: 2 May 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Source: Review copy

 

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It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.   — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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Why I’ll Never Choose That Book: The Science of Book Appeal

Why I am never going to choose that coverWhy I’ll Never Choose That Book

Why I’ll Never Choose That Book: The Science of Book Appeal. Continuing from Why I’d Choose that Book last week These are the random things that totally put me off reading a book (without a HUGE recommendation from trusted bookworms)…

I am never going to willingly pick up these books:

Ugly Covers

Cover art is a fickle thing and, shallow though it may be, it means everything when I choose which books I read. As these are difficult to put into words I’ve included image examples.

Why I'll Never Choose That Book

Previous posts on cover love or the lack thereof:

The Complexity of Book Covers

When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books

Book Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

A controversial new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Apocalypse/Dystopia

I have read these before and even like some of them, but I feel that is genre needs an originality injection. The stories tend to run almost to a script and although I have no idea how authors could come up with a new way of saving the world, but until then I will be avoiding these stories.

Horror

I love psychological thrillers, but horror is just not for me anymore. I once adored this genre, with Pet Sematary by Stephen King a favourite, but they no longer appeal.

Zombies & Pirates

I just don’t get it.

Steampunk

Tried it – hated it.

Manga

No interest at all even though *hangs head I have never even tried it.

Short Stories

Short stories are not bad and I have read and loved them before, especially those with unpredictable twists such as Roald Dahl and Jeffrey Archer are famous for. But I prefer to get my teeth into a bigger slice of story.

Autobiographies

A huge mistake any author can make when telling their own story is to embellish and deny. I have read far too many sanctimonious versions to attempt another.

Hardcovers

I rarely purchase hardcovers, not only are they expensive but awkward to hold. The most recent hardcover that I refuse to buy is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There is only one reason why it’s expensive and only available in hardcover and that’s to shamelessly exploit Harry Potter fans.

Author Self-Rating/Review

This is such a turn-off, but many authors are desperate enough to give their books a 5-star rating on Goodreads. One author actually wrote “Well, you didn’t think I would rate my own book badly did you?” under his 5 beaming stars. I wouldn’t read his book if he paid me!

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

…the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.

Strange the Dreamer is… well strange and I can’t decide if it’s a good strange or a bad strange. It’s not what I expected… and I am not completely dazzled.

“The library knows its own mind,” old Master Hyrrokkin told him, leading him back up the secret stairs. “When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.”

But then, my expectations were exceptionally high. I am in love with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Every single book in the trilogy is brilliant. A bubbling, melting pot of irresistible words spinning heartbreakingly beautiful tales. So strange (the good amazing strange) that the weird, endearing characters fit right inside my heart. The heartbreaking twists still keep me awake in the early hours. I think it’s safe to say the Daughter of Smoke and Bone and its sequels Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters (links to where I flail about in wonder that is this series) are my favourite fantasy books, surpassing Narnia and Lord of The Rings. So with all that expectation, I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t fall instantly in love with Strange the Dreamer.

There were two mysteries, actually: one old, one new. The old one opened his mind, but it was the new one that climbed inside, turned several circles, and settled in with a grunt – like a satisfied dragon in a cozy new lair.

I started the book the day it released and my pre-order arrived in my Kindle. I devoured the prequel – a delicate tasty morsel that I would be craving for the rest of the book. I read through the first chapter thinking, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be great. Halfway through the second chapter, my thoughts turned to what…? I left it for a while – so it could think about its problems – but didn’t pick it up until a week later on Shannon’s (It Starts at Midnight) reassurance that it does get better. Armed with this advice from a trusted blogger friend I plundered on. And yes, it does get better – slowly, achingly slowly, until almost at the end when it broke through ok to good. Then the ending… I’m not even going to go there – you all know how I feel about cliff-hangers.

On the second Sabbat of the Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.

But I can’t stop thinking about the prequel and how it fell into its place in the story and so the inevitable three star I was planning to give bumped up to 3.5 stars. But I have never given half stars before and it deserves more than a three but not quite a four…

That was the year Zosma sank to its knees and bled great bouts of men into a war about nothing.

In the end, it was the two annoying typo’s that confirmed the result. Forgivable in an advance review copy but not so much in a book published by a respectable publisher and one I paid full price for.

… with his nose that had been broken by fairy tales…

Lazlo is a difficult character, one whose weaknesses are his strength, and I didn’t like him at first. He grew on me slowly, although he will never be as real to me as the Sarai is. She and her makeshift family are the characters that give the story life and I wish they had more space in the book.3 star

 

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1 Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 28 March 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Source: Purchased

Purchase this book 

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Goodreads

 

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan, and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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Why I’d Choose THAT Book: The Science of Book Appeal

Why I'd choose that book

 

Why I’d Choose that Book: The science of book appeal. Actually, there is nothing scientific about it at all. It’s more like a gut-feel. Which is not always right. But I am sticking with my reasons because as weird as they might seem, they are mine.

 

Science of book appeal

Insta cover-love

I am pretty fussy when it comes to covers and it means everything in my judgment a book’s worthiness.Bonus points for originality and featuring real people – even if it’s just a hand or the top of a head.

 

Science of book appeal

The author

There are a few authors that I auto-buy. This sometimes backfires It’s foolproof.

 

Science of book appeal

Recommendations

From a very short list of trusty people- like these bloggers.

 

Goodreads Ratings

Yip, I live for those little red stars.

 

Science of book appeal

Genre

If it’s one of these I am in hot pursuit.

 

 

 

 

 

Especially psychological thrillers

Science of book appeal

 

 

 

 

 

But they have to be World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

Especially if they include these non-random themes – death (I like them dark), depression, road trips, ballet, brothers and/or sisters

 

 

 

 

 

Preferably dark magic, faerie, elves and dragons (But I am fussy with fantasies and I’ll reject any of these with an ugly cover.)

 

Science of book appeal

YA vs Adult

I choose YA over adult most of the time for reasons highlighted here.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

 

Told on alternating PVO’s (point of view) – which I love – The Last Thing You Said is simply a beautiful story.

Separated by their grief, Ben and Lucy share slithers of Trixie with the reader. In addition, the Trixie stories, interspersed throughout the book, bring her vividly to life. Sara Biren writes from personal experience and empowered by her words with their emotional triggers I sank into sorrow, joy, and hope. All the feels in one book!

I slip my hand into the pocket of my jeans. It’s there – Ben’s agate, smooth, cool to the touch.

I make notes while reading review copies and looking back today at The Last Thing You Said’s notes scrawled across saved screenshots I was plunged right back into the story. In my own hardly legible scrawl… I want to live in this book and have the characters as my best friends…

… I pull on my ratty army-green Rapala hoodie. An image comes to me, and I suck in a breath: Lucy wearing it, standing on the rocky shore of Lake Superior, orange streaks of sunrise glistening on the water behind her.

This is an excellent book to use for bibliotherapy as it explores grief and dealing with the death of a friend. In addition, the author has helpfully provided contacts to the National Alliance for Grieving Children at the back of this book, if only for those in the US. Open to Hope is available for international support.

She closed her eyes and willed all their sorrows and fears from their hearts to her own. Her heart was heavy and she staggered from the weight of it…5 Star

 

 

Title: The Last Thing You Said

Author: Sara BirenThe Last Thing You Said

Publication Date: 4 April 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Source: Review copy

 

Purchase this book 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Book Depository

Loot.co.za
 

Add to your shelf:

Goodreads

 

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.   — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes are taken from my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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