Waiting on Wednesday–Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

For the past few weeks I’ve been swamped with grading and planning as I try to recover from all of the snow days we had within a two week timespan, plus I’ve been focusing a lot on my nutrition and fitness via the 21 Day Fix. Consequently, I’m super behind on book reviews and have mostly been posting WoW posts, book trailers, and interviews. I promise to get caught up and let you know my thoughts on what I’ve been reading and listening to!

Anyway, I need to go back to challenging myself with genre binges because I’ve been sticking mostly to contemporary again (it’s my favorite!). If I had a copy of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake I would be reading it right now. Blake is a talented author and this sounds like a really edgy and engaging fantasy that my students and I would love. I’m certainly in no rush for next school year and skipping over summer, but I’m looking forward to this September release.

Three Dark CrownsTitle & Author: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Release Date: September 20th, 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary (From Goodreads):

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Bloodwill devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. 

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Recently Added to My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

There are currently 1,384 books on my Goodreads to-read shelf. I know I’ll probably never read all of them, but that’s okay because I’m always adding to that list! Today’s post focuses on the ten books I’m most excited about that have recently been added to my ever growing list.

Which books have you recently added to your TBR?

 

Cover Reveal: Spark by Holly Schindler

I’m excited to be part of Holly Schindler’s cover reveal for her upcoming release, Spark. It’s such a gorgeous cover!

Holly Schindler’s Spark:

Spark coverWhen the right hearts come to the Avery Theater—at the right time—the magic will return. The Avery will come back from the dead.

Or so Quin’s great-grandmother predicted many years ago on Verona, Missouri’s most tragic night, when Nick and Emma, two star-crossed teenage lovers, died on the stage. It was the night that the Avery’s marquee lights went out forever.

It sounds like urban legend, but one that high school senior Quin is now starting to believe, especially when her best friend, Cass, and their classmate Dylan step onto the stage and sparks fly. It seems that magic can still unfold at the old Avery Theater and a happier ending can still be had—one that will align the stars and revive not only the decrepit theater, but also the decaying town. However, it hinges on one thing—that Quin gets the story right this time around.

Holly Schindler brings the magic of the theater to life in this tale of family ties, fate, love, and one girl’s quest to rewrite history.

~

In my hometown, the restoration of a former movie theater on the town square provided the genesis for my new YA novel, SPARK. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of seeing their name in blazing neon across a gigantic marquee? Let me invite you to dim the lights and draw back the velvet curtains—let your imagination run wild as you enter my fictional Avery Theater, where literally anything goes

—Holly Schindler

About the Author:

Holly SchindlerHolly Schindler is the author of three previous YA novels: PLAYING HURT as well as the critically acclaimed FERAL (starred PW review) and A BLUE SO DARK (starred Booklist review, ForeWord Book of the Year silver medal, IPPY gold medal). A writer of books for all ages, Schindler’s MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, has made the master list for children’s book awards in Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama. She is also a hybrid author, having independently released comedic women’s fiction (FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS) and the forthcoming PLAY IT AGAIN, her adult follow-up to her YA PLAYING HURT. She can be reached through her author site: hollyschindler.com, and hosts special sneak peeks and giveaways for subscribers of her newsletter: tinyletter.com/hollyschindler.com.

~

Spark “Premieres” May 17, 2016, but you can buy your “tickets” now.

Spark premiere graphic

Links to pre-order –

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Spark-Holly-Schindler/dp/0062220233/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443300868&sr=8-1&keywords=spark+holly+schindler

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spark-holly-schindler/1122566794?ean=9780062220233

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780062220233

Add to your TBR list –

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26155766-spark

Review: Audition & Subtraction by Amy Fellner Dominy

Title: Audition & Subtraction

Author: Amy Fellner Dominy

Publisher: Walker & Company

Release Date: September 4th, 2012

Interest: Author / Contemporary

Source: ARC received as a gift from a friend

Summary (From Goodreads):

For as long as Tatum can remember it’s been:

Tatum + Lori = Best friends

They do everything together, including a yearly clarinet/flute duet for District Honor Band auditions. But when a new boy transfers to their middle school and their band, the equation suddenly changes to:

Lori + Michael – Tatum = One happy couple

With her best friend slipping away and her parents recently separated, Tatum’s life has turned upside down. Plus her good friend Aaron thinks that they are secretly boyfriend and girlfriend, all because of one little lie Tatum told. Accepting change isn’t easy for Tatum, but just how much is she willing to give up to hold on to her friendship with Lori and life as she knows it? For Tatum, the best way to move forward may require a whole new formula . . .

Audition & Subtraction is positively adorable.  Plain and simple.  I read and adored Amy Fellner Dominy’s debut, OyMG, so I knew I wanted to read her sophomore release.  As expected, I loved it!

Audition & Subtraction will probably be categorized by most as middle grade since Tatum is in 8th grade, but I think high school students will enjoy it as well.  It is a perfect middle grade novel though.  The romance is light and sweet, and the conflicts Tatum faces are accurate for middle school and high school as well.  I really like how divorce is handled in the story.  It doesn’t overshadow the main conflict, but it does add an extra element of stress to Tatum’s life which affects her thoughts and actions.  I’ve also noticed that a number of YA novels feature absent parents or parents who are the main cause of conflict in the story.  That’s an understandable focus for YA, but it’s a breath of fresh air to read a story where the parents are really supportive.  I especially love Tatum’s mom; she’s struggling to be on her own, but she’s there for Tatum with support and great advice.

Has anyone noticed that whenever school bands are the focus, the kids are always band geeks?  I really like that Amy Fellner Dominy wrote this story without making the kids geeky.  I wasn’t in band after middle school, so I’m not overly biased about the band geek label, but it is nice to see someone stray from that stereotype.  Tatum and her friends are bright and talented.  They make some mistakes, as we all do, but they’re characters that teens and pre-teens can look up to.

I related to Tatum and how conflicted she was about what was happening to her friendship with Lori.  I remember feeling similar to Tatum when I was her age and one of my friends got a boyfriend.  It’s awkward when that happens because it’s so unfamiliar and middle school is awkward enough as it is.  Tatum’s circumstance is worse since Lori falls for Michael, Tatum’s big competition.  The strain on their friendship plays into a big conflict; Tatum needs to learn to stand on her own and not rely on others so much, especially Lori.  Dominy did a fantastic job tying these two pieces together.  The conflicts work together seamlessly, it never felt choppy or forced.  I hear about these types of fights (new boyfriends getting in the way) all the time in my classroom which is one of the reasons I think high school students will enjoy Audition & Subtraction.

Amy Fellner Dominy is a talented writer who has written a thoroughly enjoyable new novel.  I love the characters, the writing, the conflict, everything.  If you work with pre-teens or teens, make sure you get a copy of Audition & Subtraction when it releases September 4th!

Book Trailer Thursday (67)–The Perks of Being a Wallflower Official Movie Trailer

I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky a couple years ago and really enjoyed it.  It’s become a favorite of many students who have taken my Young Adult Lit class or who have picked it up for SSR.  Movie studios have really taken to making movies out of Y.A. novels, but a majority of them have been paranormal and dystopian novels.  For this reason I’m really excited that a contemporary novel has been transformed into a movie, and with Emma Watson no less!  The Perks of Being a Wallflower is set to release September 14th, 2012.

Summary (From Goodreads): Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Book Trailer Thursday (64)–Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Recently I’ve seen some tweets and received an email or two about an upcoming release called Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (May 15th).  Pretty much everything I’ve seen on Twitter and Goodreads has been positive, so I decided to look into it.  Based on the early reviews and the summary, I decided to check it out and requested a copy via NetGalley which was recently approved.  I haven’t started reading Code Name Verity yet, but I’m looking forward to it because I know historical fiction is popular with a group of my students, the boys in particular.

I have mixed feelings about this trailer because it doesn’t make the premise of the book obvious in regards to text.  I like the music and the warning siren and everything else though because it gives potential readers a good idea of the tone of the book despite needing to pay closer attention to the text as it’s displayed.  I’d love to know your thoughts about the trailer and the book if you’ve read it 🙂

**Note–This is the trailer created by Edgmont for the UK release which was in February of this year.**

Summary (From Goodreads): Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

 

 

Book Trailer Thursday (62)–Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

I’m getting ready to start reading Struck by Jennifer Bosworth, so I was pretty darn excited to see the trailer.  The cover for this book is really cool, and even though it has a girl on the cover, I think my guys in class will read it without hesitation.  The whole premise sounds fun and exciting, and the now the trailer has left me wanting to read it even more.  A lightning addict?  What a concept!  I’m wondering if Mia will be like Storm from X-Men (probably my favorite comic book series).

What do you think of the trailer?  Is Struck part of your TBR list?  If you’ve read it already I’d love to know what you think!

Struck Book CoverSummary (From Goodreads): Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

 

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent book coverTitle: Insurgent, 525 pages

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: May 1st, 2012

Interest: Awesome series

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Summary of Insurgent (From Goodreads): One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Exciting.  Gripping.  Thrilling.  These are the best words I can use to describe the awesome that is Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

Let me say first, that if it’s been a while since you’ve read Divergent then I recommend either re-reading the whole book or at least the last few chapters because Insurgent starts right where Divergent left off.  There aren’t any recaps either.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started Insurgent, but let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed!  We’re thrown right back into the chaos we were left with and I couldn’t stop reading.  I think I was about 60 pages in and then BAM!  Major action was happening all around.  It was exciting and non-stop action.  I sat there, awe-struck and completely engrossed the entire time I was reading.   In some ways Insurgent reminded me of Mockingjay in the way the tone changed from Divergent to Insurgent.  It’s not dismal and depressing like Mockingjay was, but Insurgent has more of an intense urgency to it.  Thankfully Roth allowed us some breaks from the action and intensity with scenes full of well-done humor and romance.

I positively love Tris’s character, and in Insurgent we see a different side of Tris—a more vulnerable side.  She’s still reeling from the death of her parents and suffering over the fact that she killed Will.  These deaths haunt her for most of the novel and affect her personality.  She’s not as tough, but she’s still stubborn, adventurous, brave, and reckless (reckless according to Tobias).  We also witness how loyal she is, even if at times she and others question her loyalty.  Tris begins to learn who she really is in Insurgent.  In Divergent she was still figuring that out, especially since she switched factions.  I often worried about Tris, but ultimately I’ve grown to love her character even more because of her supposed weakness which results in immense character growth.  You have to love a protagonist that can overcome her demons.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I can’t write this review without mentioning Tobias.  I still love his character, and I still love him and Tris together.  All I will say is that it’s rocky between Tris and Tobias and I admire Veronica Roth for how she handled their relationship.  She kept it real and didn’t add any extra unnecessary dramatics like so many authors do.  That is all 🙂

It’s been a week since I finished Insurgent, and my mind is still reeling over everything we learn.  Tris finds out so much more about what it means to be Divergent, but the ending left me with even more questions when I thought many were answered.  But not only am I questioning things about the Divergents, I’m wondering about Amity and Abnegation.  Veronica Roth blew my mind with the ending which is the biggest reason I’m reeling and slightly incoherent.  I need to know more about ALL OF THE THINGS that I can’t discuss b/c it would spoil the book. But ALL OF THE THINGS are exciting and mind-boggling and discussion worthy.  Seriously, read Divergent if you haven’t already so you can read Insurgent and enjoy the awesome!

Wrap Up: My First Dewey Read-a-Thon

Well, considering that I got a late start and decided to join the read-a-thon late, I think I did pretty well.  I think the next one takes place in October, so I’m going to keep an eye on that so I can be more prepared and hopefully read more books!  I had lofty goals for myself yesterday and didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to.  But I’m okay with that because I still spent the day reading 🙂

What I Read:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler (Goodreads)–I had already read about half of this one before I started, but I did finish it which was one of my goals.  I needed to do that because on Wednesday my book club is Skyping with Sarah!  The girls are really excited and one of them volunteered to make and bring cupcakes for us to munch on after school during the Skype chat.  The book is adorable and now my favorite by Sarah Ockler.  I’ll work on a full review pretty soon.
  • The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan (Goodreads)–I’ve seen a couple of my guys in class read this one and the original books as well.  I haven’t read any of them, so I figured this was a good start.  It’s a cool graphic novel.  I really liked the images and how colors were used to convey the mood.  Plus, with all the action, I can why it’s so popular in my classroom.
  • Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach (Goodreads)–Have you read Stupid Fast yet?  If not, I seriously hope you do soon.  Nothing Special is the companion to Stupid Fast, and while it’s not exactly a direct sequel, I recommend reading Stupid Fast first.  I loved getting to know Felton better, but the story really focuses on us learning more about Andrew (Felton’s little brother).  I adored this book and can’t wait to write my full review.
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking (audiobook) (Goodreads)–I didn’t finish Switched yet, but I made some serious project yesterday.  I think I have only 4 hours left which I know will be done probably by Tuesday since I spend most of my listening before work while I’m getting ready and in the car to and from work.  I decided on Switched because I bought the paperback for my classroom library and it’s growing in popularity.  It’s pretty good so far and I enjoy the narrator 🙂

I learned a few things about myself as a reader during the read-a-thon.  I get distracted entirely too easily.  I want to peruse online, see what’s happening on Twitter, check my blog stats, etc.  It’s difficult for me to step away from the computer/iPhone.  I also have a hard time sitting still for a long period of time and not cleaning or sorting or something along those lines.  I’ll look up from my book and notice that my coffee table is dusty, or think about how I need to clean the bathroom, or about how much laundry I need to get done.  I don’t know why I’m like this, but I always have been this way.  It’s one of the reasons I’m really thankful that I discovered audiobooks because I can listen to one while I do all of this other stuff when I can’t sit still to read anymore.  Is anyone else like that?  I mean, if I’m reading a book that’s REALLY engrossing, I can ignore all of the distractions.  So for the next read-a-thon, I’m piling up books I know will be engrossing, more graphic novels, and probably some verse novels because I love them and they’re fast reads.

If you participated in the read-a-thon yesterday, how did it go?

Dewey’s April Read-a-Thon

I found out about the 24 hour read-a-thon late (of course), but I think I’m going to try it!  Right now as I write this blog post, over an hour late considering this started at 8am EST, I’m listening to an audiobook.  I’m happy I’ve discovered audiobooks because this will help me feel more accomplished while I write this post, put together today’s crock pot dinner, and clean our bathroom during one of the breaks.

Anyway, I decided that since I’m late to the party and have a large stack of books I need to finish, I’m going to work on finishing those for the read-a-thon.  I also brought home a graphic novel to read (they recommend starting with a short book), a short ARC, and some alternates.  Here’s my official list:

Books w/100 or more pages left:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
  • The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Starters by Lissa Price (on my Kindle)
  • Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer

Fresh books I want to read:

  • The Lightning Thief graphic novel
  • The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert (ARC)
  • Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach (ARC)
  • Or maybe others b/c it’s Saturday and I’m fickle sometimes 🙂

Audiobook for during cooking, cleaning, breaks (Cooking & cleaning I want to accomplish during breaks):

  • Switched by Amanda Hocking

I have no idea if I’ll accomplish this or even stay up for the full 24 hours (yeah I probably won’t).  But I like the challenge and I need to beef up my “Read in 2012” list.  Is anyone else participating?!

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