Tuesday, March 31, 2015

top ten tuesday: tbr piling

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly list feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, where we talk about random bookish things each week! This week's theme is "March 31: Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List."

I have a problem. And that problem is that my TBR list on goodreads now outnumbers the amount of books that I have marked as "read" on there. I just see so many amazing books as I browse through goodreads, and if something looks even remotely interesting, I'll add it to the list. So there is a good mix of things on there, and without further ado, I present Ten Books I Have Added To My TBR In The Last Week(ish).

1. Mechanica – Betsy Cornwell
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.
But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.
Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

This Cinderella retelling sounds a lot like Marissa Meyer's Cinder to me, which makes me happy because I love how that retelling went. I have high hopes for this book, which comes out on August 4.

2. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest – Melanie Dickerson
"Swan Lake" meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region's most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.
Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave's game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave's game.
Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?
The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?

Another retelling! I love the story of swan lake, but I have never read a Swan Lake retelling, so I'm very excited to read this one! It sounds full of intrigue and romance, with a great heroine. I'm definitely marking its release, May 12, on my calendar. 

3. Steering the Stars – Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope
Two girls. Two stories. One journey.
Be careful what you wish for…
Aspiring writer Hannah Vaughn worries that she is doomed to live out the rest of her existence in a sleepy Oklahoma town. For as long as she can remember, she’s dreamed of something more – adventure, excitement, intrigue. When her sister invites her to London and she’s accepted to a prestigious writing program at The Warriner School, she jumps at the chance. But will it be epic or an epic fail?
You’ll never know if you don’t try…
Nothing ever happens to straight-A student Caroline McKain and that’s exactly the way she likes it. With her best friend in London and junior year looming on the horizon, all she wants is to remain invisible. So when she is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, she must ask herself: Can an invisible girl really take center stage?
Follow Hannah and Caroline as they navigate the complexities of first love, family and growing up. As their bond is tested, the girls will learn that being apart can ultimately bring you together. Steering the Stars is a fresh, heartfelt young adult story about fate, discovery, and the magic of friendship.

I'd never heard of this book before, but when I saw it on my goodreads recommendations page, the cover drew me in. Though it sounds a bit like a cheesy contemporary, I saw that it had some very positive reviews, which made me want to read it even more! I've already ordered this one.

4. Soundless – Richelle Mead
From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.
Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...

I love love love Richelle Mead, so when I saw that she was writing a new book, I immediately put it on my TBR list! Then, upon reading the synopsis, I realized just how awesome it sounds and how much I seriously cannot wait for this book. It comes out on November 17.

5. A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis 
Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

That cover! That blurb! Oh my lordy I am so excited for this! I saw it on someone's Waiting On Wednesday, and I immediately added it to my TBR list. This quickly has become one of my most highly anticipated books for this year. Release date is October 6. 

6. The Secret History – Donna Tartt  

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.
I don't read a lot of adult fiction, but so many people have recommended Donna Tartt to me, so I had to check out at least one or two of her books. The Goldfinch, while wildly popular, scared me because of its breadth. I'd heard a lot about The Secret History, mostly people obsessing over it on tumblr, so I promised myself that I would pick it up and try it before the year is over. It sounds dark and twisted, steeped in mythology and folklore, and I'm scared and excited to dive into it. 
7.  The Queen of the Tearling – Erica Johansen
On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.
Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.
But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.
The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.

I originally discovered this book because my friend Violet was reading it, which I saw on goodreads. I trust her taste implicitly, so I added it to my shelf based solely on that, but upon reading the synopsis, I am intrigued enough to really want to read it. Especially since there is a sequel coming out sometime this year, if I'm not mistaken. 

8. 99 Days– Katie Cotugno 
Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

This sounds like an amazing contemporary with a twist, and so many of my friends on goodreads put it on their TBR lists that I had to follow suit. I will definitely be trying to get my hands on this on Aprill 21. 

9. Da Vinci's Tiger – Laura Malone Elliot  
Young, beautiful, and witty, Ginevra de’ Benci longs to take part in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence. But as the daughter of a wealthy family in a society dictated by men, she is trapped in an arranged marriage, expected to limit her creativity to domestic duties. Her poetry reveals her deepest feelings, and she aches to share her work, to meet painters and sculptors mentored by the famed Lorenzo de Medici, and to find love.
When the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, arrives in Florence, he introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers—a world of thought and conversation she has yearned for. She is instantly attracted to the handsome newcomer, who admires her mind as well as her beauty. Yet Ginevra remains conflicted about his attentions. Choosing her as his Platonic muse, Bembo commissions a portrait by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them—one Ginevra can only begin to understand. In a rich and enthralling world of exquisite art, elaborate feasts, and exhilarating jousts, she faces many temptations to discover her voice, artistic companionship, and a love that defies categorization. In the end, she and Leonardo are caught up in a dangerous and deadly battle between powerful families.

Um. Did you read the synopsis?!? What more needs to be said, honestly? I have such high hopes for this book, one of the few that I have seen about renaissance Italy and all of the art and poetry and scandal going on there. I cannot wait for NOVEMBER 10 (gahhh so long).

10. Starcrossed – Josephine Angelini
How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

As you all know if you've been reading my blog for a little while, I am a bit obsessed with ancient Greece and its myths and stories. I just find them captivating and relatable, even thousands of years after they were first told. This is a modern retelling of the Trojan war, I believe and was a recommendation from my friend Violet. I hope to get around to it soon!

What are some of your recent TBR acquisitions? 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

waiting on wednesday: kissing ted callahan

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where each week we highlight a highly anticipated new release.

This Week's Pick: Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) – Amy Spalding
find it on goodreads
release date: April 7

synopsis: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band. After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they'll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook. While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone's heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she's been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.


As I've mentioned in a couple previous posts, around this time of year I start looking for new, fun contemporaries to carry me through the last month of school into the summer. This looks like the perfect candidate, and I can't wait for April 7 so I can read it immediately! What is your WoW pick?


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

top ten tuesday: nostalgia

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish where we share our top ten of a certain category every week. This week's theme is " March 24: Top 10 Books From My Childhood (Or teen years) That I Would Love To Revisit"

There are so many books that I read and adored when I was younger, and since one of my earliest memories is checking out a wagonful of books from the public library, I have a lot of years to choose from. Here are some of my standout favorites. (excluding a ton i probably forgot. I wish goodreads had been a thing always so that I can remember all the books I used to LOVE. This list is non-comprehensive and I already had 12 instead of 10 so I had to stop...)

1. Princess Academy – Shannon Hale

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

2. A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket
(pictured here – Book 1: The Bad Beginning)
Dear Reader,
I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune. In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast. It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

3. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one things' for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

Winner of the Newbery Medal
Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award
An ALA Notable Book

4. Maximum Ride – James Patterson 
(pictured here – Book 1: The Angel Experiment)

From the bestselling author James Patterson comes the stunning, breathtaking start to the blockbuster series! Six unforgettable kids — with no families, no homes — are running for their lives. Max Ride and her best friends have the ability to fly. And that's just the beginning of their amazing powers. But they don't know where they come from, who's hunting them, why they are different from all other humans... and if they're meant to save mankind — or destroy it.

5. Molly Moon  – Georgia Byng
(pictured here – Book 1: Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism)

Molly Moon is treated like dirt in her squat English orphanage, with only her pal Rocky, starry Qube soda ads, and the library stacks to give her comfort. After she discovers Hypnotism: An Ancient Art Explained in her favorite library spot, Molly begins learning the ropes and takes mental control of Petula, the orphanage's grumpy pug dog, and the nasty staff members. But when Molly finds out that Rocky's been suddenly adopted in New York, she hypnotizes her way to the city, into Broadway stardom, and -- unfortunately -- into a wicked professor's plot to rob a high-security bank. Thankfully, though, she and Rocky finally meet up, and with a few surprises, the two hatch a plan to set things right for themselves and for their orphanage.

6. The Magic Attic Club – Sheri Cooper Sinykin
(pictured here – Book 1: The Secret of the Attic)

Alison, Heather, Keisha, and Megan find a golden key that turns out to unlock the attic in a neighbor's old Victorian house. Once inside, Keisha spots a trunk filled with wonderful costumes--ball gowns, a ballet tutu, and many, many more.
It's not long before the best friends find beautiful dresses that seem meant for them. And when they stand together in front of the old-fashioned mirror, they suddenly find themselves on an adventure in the past!
At first they don't know what's happened, or how to help the young girl whose Christmas party seems ruined. Why does she look so familiar? And how will they ever get back home? The answers they discover are the beginnings of the Magic Attic Club!

7. Thoroughbred – Joanna Campbell (THIS WAS MY SHIT)
(pictured here – Book 1: A Horse Called Wonder)

Ashleigh Griffen swore she'd never give her heart to another horse - not after a terrible disease wiped out her family's breeding farm, along with Ashleigh's favorite mare, Stardust.

8. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma.

9. Ellen Tebbits – Beverly Cleary 

Ellen Tebbits is convinced she'll die of embarrassment if any of the girls at school discover her secret. But then she meets Austine Allen, a new girl in class who's hiding the very same secret. Instantly, the two become best friends. They do everything together, from clapping erasers to riding horses. Ellen quickly learns that embarrassing secrets and pesky troublemakers like Otis Spofford aren't so bad when you have someone special to stick up for you. But then Ellen does something terrible that makes Austine stop speaking to her. Will she ever be able to prove how sorry she is?

10. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L. Konigsburg 

 When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn't just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere -- to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.
Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn't it? Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.

11. Sideways Stories From Wayside School – Louis Sachar

There was a terrible mistake - Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirteenth floor.

12. The Doll People – Ann M. Martin & Laura Goodwin

Annabelle Doll is eight years old-she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in.

wow I'm so sad now. I'm going to go cry and bemoan the loss of my childhood.


Monday, March 23, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': mosquitoland

Name: Mosquitoland
Author: David Arnold
find it on goodreads
barnes & noble
synopsis: "I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

full review under the cut!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

top ten tuesday: books on my spring tbr list

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, where we highlight a different list of ten things each week. This week's theme  is "March 17: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List" which I think is so fun! 

Usually, it is in the spring each year that I feel like switching from reading darker, heavier books to just wanting things that are light and fun, so I'm always looking out for good contemporaries this time of year. If you have any suggestions for contemporaries that you loved, leave them in the comments below! However, there are also a few books that I've had my eye on that aren't the light reads I've just mentions, so this list will be a mix. It will also be a combination of new releases and books that I've had on my shelves but just haven't gotten around to yet!

So, without further ado, here is my top ten spring tbr books, up until the end of April! (May releases will not be included on this list) 

1. Finding Mr. Brightside – Jay Clark

Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.

2. Mosquitoland – David Arnold
"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." 
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. 
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. 
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

3. Miss Mayhem – Rachel Hawkins 

(spoilers for Rebel Belle in synopsis!!)

Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.

Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or connect her to David for life.

4. Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) – Amy Spalding

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band.
After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they'll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone's heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she's been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.

5. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.
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.
ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.
When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

6. I Am the Messenger – Markus Zusak
protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.
That's when Ed becomes the messenger.
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

7. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

8. Seraphina – Rachel Hartman

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

9. All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

10. Just One Day & Just One Year – Gayle Forman

(synopsis for Just One Day shown)

From the New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate,Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

What is on your Spring TBR? 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

spotlight on: fantasy


There is something that I've been wanting to bring to These Stardust Words for quite some time, and that is a spotlight series. every month, I want to take a different facet of the bookish lifestyle and highlight it. Be it genre, covers, shipping, writing styles, etc, every month there will be a different theme under our spotlight! 

For March, I want to spotlight a genre, and specifically fantasy. Usually I can manage one or two fantasy books a month before I feel myself slumping and have to go for a more contemporary feeling, but lately I have been tearing through some truly amazing fantasy, one after the other. 

Though I know fantasy is an acquired taste for some, I truly believe that there is a fantasy book or series out there for everyone. So in an attempt to lead those who are less fantastically-inclined in their reading choices to some magical worlds, I've included middle grade, young adult and adult selections. In the adult section, there are some picks for perhaps the more adventurous souls. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

waiting on wednesday: finding mr. brightside

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature over at Breaking the Spine where we feature highly anticipated new releases!

This week's pick: Finding Mr. Brightside – Jay Clark
find it on goodreads
Release Date: March 24

synopsis: Abram and Juliette know each other. They’ve lived down the street from each other their whole lives. But they don’t really know each other—at least, not until Juliette’s mom and Abram’s dad have a torrid affair that culminates in a deadly car crash. Sharing the same subdivision is uncomfortable, to say the least. They don’t speak.

Fast-forward to the neighborhood pharmacy, a few months later. Abram decides to say hello. Then he decides to invite her to Taco Bell. To her surprise as well as his, she agrees. And the real love story begins.


If I'm really being honest, what grabbed me about this book was the title, because in my humble opinion, Mr. Brightside is one of the greatest songs ever. But! I stayed because I am really interested in this book. I've been reading a lot of fantasy lately, so I am looking forward to turning to some new contemporaries as the weather gets warmer! 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

top ten tuesday: ten books for people who like traveling

top ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to talk about amazing books in groups of ten! This week the theme is "March 10: Ten Books For Readers Who Like _________" And I have seen some really creative answers to this. One of my true loves, besides reading, is traveling as widely as I possibly can, and sometimes that involves reading books that allow me to go to different places around the world. I usually am drawn to a book if it mentions the places of my travel bucket list in the synopsis. So here are ten books that involve a trip or the act of traveling.

Monday, March 9, 2015

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': red queen

Name: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
find it on goodreads
barnes & noble

synopsis: The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Full, non-spoilery review under the cut!

look at her go: reviewin' reviewin': a darker shade of magic

Name: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
find it on goodreads
barnes & noble 

synopsis: Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

Full, non-spoilery review under the cut! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

versatile blogging award

Hi guys! *waves* I'm so excited and thankful to Tiffany over at The Bookish Thought and Jaina over at Read Till Dawn for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! This is my first award, so I hope I'm doing this right. 

The rules of the award:
1. Nominate 15 (I chose 10) other bloggers relatively new to blogging.
2. Let the bloggers know that you've nominated them.
3. Share 10 random facts about yourself.
4. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post.

Since I am still relatively new to the blogging thing, I don't know tons and tons of blogs. Therefore, I am not familiar with who is new to blogging and who isn't, so I picked 15 blogs that I love! Whether or not you are relatively new to blogging or not, just take this as a "Your blog is super great" award :)

Violet @ Paper Worlds and Swirls of Ink
Bee @ Bee Reads Books
Paige @ Pages by Paige
Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination
Frannie @ Frannie in the Pages
Tayler @ Tailored Reads
Abby @ Enthralling Reads
Barbara @ Banosaur
Kat @ Perusing Bookshelves
Amy @ Pages of Starlight

ok, now to 10 facts about me:
1.  I am a freshman university student with an English major and a creative writing minor
2. I've been to 4 of 7 continents– North America, South America, Europe and Africa. I love to travel more than almost anything else.
3. I have a dog named Hazel Grace
4. When I'm not reading, I'm usually watching netflix. Some of my favorite shows are Sherlock, Arrow, The Flash, Friends, Once Upon a Time, Agents of Shield and Game of Thrones.
5. I love music– I used to play the flute and I sang in choir from the time I was eight. Also, there are 10,000 songs in my iTunes library. It's such a huge part of my life.
6. I'm definitely an introvert. When I've been around people all day, I need to take a few hours by myself to unwind.
7. Mythology is one of my favorite things to learn about. I find it so fascinating.
8. I started this blog because my friend Violet was talking to me about starting a book blog of her own, and I thought that sounded like a marvelous idea.
9. My little sister is my best friend.
10. I'm super accident prone and have broken bones more than 15 times.

Ok, that was the Versatile Blogger Award! Thank you Jaina and Tiffany for the nominations, you guys are so awesome :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

waiting on wednesday: the orphan queen

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted over at Breaking the Spine, and each week we feature a highly anticipated new release.

This week's pick: The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows
find it on goodreads
release date: March 10

synopsis: Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.
She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.
She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others
Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

I absolutely love the premise for this story.  It makes me think of like superheroes crossed with assassins crossed with royalty. Forbidden magic and a badass heroine who can stand up for herself: does this sounds like any other series that we all know and love? (cough cough throne of glass) I am very excited to pick this up. :) 


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

top ten tuesday: the last 3 years

Happy Tuesday everyone! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish, and this week's theme is "March 3: Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years (you can extend it to 5 if you need to)." Needless to say, I love this theme, as talking about my favorite books is a favorite pastime. So, I went through my goodreads "favorites" shelf and tried to narrow it down to ten. Because the last three years were the first years I really joined into the online reading community, I've read so many amazing stories, but here are the top eleven (sorry) that have impacted me the most over the last three years.

Monday, March 2, 2015

february wrap up

It's really hard to believe that this is already the second wrap up of the year– the first two months of 2015 have absolutely flown by! I've been really lucky to have been reading amazing books so far this year, so I'm excited to share what I read in the month of February with y'all.

I read a total of 9 books in February, which is the same amount as I managed in January, so yay for consistency, I guess? I also was able to get 4 reviews up during the month, and I'm very proud of that. So here we go.

1. Splintered (Splintered #1) – A.G. Howard ☆☆☆☆☆
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.
Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

2. Unhinged (Splintered #2) – A.G. Howard ☆☆☆☆☆
(spoilers for Splintered!) Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.
That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.
As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.
If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

3. The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller ☆☆☆☆☆
review here!
Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful— irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

4. Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1) – Amanda Hocking ☆☆☆½
review here! 

Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

5. Alienated (Alienated #1) – Melissa Landers ☆☆☆☆☆
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.
Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.
Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.
But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.
Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

 6. Invaded (Alienated #2) – Melissa Landers ☆☆☆☆
(spoilers for Alienated!) The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe...until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.
Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.
Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.
Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.
The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

7. I Was Here – Gayle Forman ☆☆☆☆
review here!
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

8. The Conspiracy of Us (The Conspiracy of Us #1) – Maggie Hall ☆☆☆☆☆
Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.
To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family--but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.

 9. A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) – Claudia Gray ☆☆☆☆☆ review here!
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

My two favorite reads of the month were The Song of Achilles and A Thousand Pieces of You! 
What did y'all read in February?

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