Title: The Speaker(Sea of Ink and Gold, #2) Author: Traci Chee Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers Source: Publisher Published: November 7th, 2017 Purchase: Amazon | B&N Summary: Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive. With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.
“Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.”
In September 2016, I opened The Reader by Traci Chee… and I fell in love. Lost in the pages of a book that pays tribute to all book lovers, I knew I was holding something incredibly special. It was my favorite read last year, and I am not exaggerating the countdown that began to this sequel. And I am thrilled to report that I fell just as in love with this beautiful continuation as I did the first.
A sequel that not only meets readers’ expectations but surpasses them, The Speaker weaves magic and mystery, action and romance, heartbreak and hope.
Temporarily safe, Sefia and Archer prepare for the next steps they must take to thwart the Guard’s plans. But when they stumble across a crew of impressors and the boys being held captive, a new plot unfolds. Key characters return for this stunning adventure, and incredible new characters are discovered along the way. Where answers are found, more questions arise. Who will they trust? Who will betray them? Who will be lost? And who will fight harder than they’ve ever fought to keep the one they love?
“It’s the same with stories as it is with people. They get better as they get older.
But not every story is remembered, and not all people grow old.”
The format of this book itself is a treasure with words that fade from the page, clues scattered among the chapters for the reader to piece together, and design elements that bring the story to life and make you feel as though you are living this journey right alongside Sefia and Archer as they fight for what they believe in. I implore you to get a physical copy of this series. Bibliophiles everywhere will want to make room on their shelves for these stunning books and the magic that lives inside them.
“But this was more than just any book. This was the Book – infinite and full of magic –
a record of everything that had ever been or would ever be, all the ages of history spelled out in fine black ink.”
This story and Traci Chee’s unbelievable and gorgeous writing evoke every emotion. There are passages that warmed my heart, scenes that twisted my gut, moments that stole my breath, and quotes that embedded themselves in my soul. And the characters… the characters are ones who you feel you’ve known your whole life and you know you’ll never forget.
“Are you with me?”
Whether you are a fan of romance, fantasy, mystery, or historical fiction – whether you’re a young adult, new adult, or seasoned adult… you want this series. “This is a book. You are the reader. Look closer. There’s magic here.”
“Once there was, but it would not always be. This is the ending of every story.”
Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Traci Chee is the New York Times bestselling author of The Reader. An All-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts. She studied literature and creative writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog.
“I was spellbound from the first page. An utterly transportive tale of swashbucklers and sharpshooters, masterfully written. Traci Chee has penned a beautiful novel about the power of story, complete with a fantastic cast of characters and an expertly rendered fantasy landscape. This is a book you will not soon forget.”—Renée Ahdieh, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn
★ “Deftly rendered in beautiful prose, narrated through three shifting time lines woven into an interconnected history of duty, honor, and magic. . . . This is a must-have for all those who value a good read with genuine character growth, mystery, unique world-building, adventure, unyielding bonds of loyalty, and pirates. . . . A fresh, diverse fantasy; highly recommended for fans of Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart and female-powered adventures.”—School Library Journal, starred review
★ “Commanding storytelling and vivid details, particularly of the magical process of reading, bring the story to life… the first of what promises to be an enchanting series.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “Chee’s debut is an intricate, multilayered reading experience… An exploration of self-determination and the magic of the written word, Sefia’s story is an absorbing introduction to the Sea of Ink and Gold series.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ “With evocative language, fascinating world building, multifaceted characters, and a compelling plot, this is a series fantasy lovers will want to sink their teeth into.”—Booklist, starred review
“Most world-building shies away from tackling the question of literacy within fantasy cultures, but here it serves as the beating meta-heart.”—NPR
"Those looking for complex fantasy will enjoy and look for the next installment."—School Library Connection
An ALA Top Ten Best Fiction Pick – 2017
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year – 2016
Finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize
A Kirkus Best Book of the Year – 2016
An NPR Best Book of the Year – 2016
A Buzzfeed Best YA Book of the Year – 2016
A Bustle Best YA Book of the Year – 2016
Minnesota Public Radio Best YA Book of the Year – 2016
On My Shelf is an awesome feature hosted by Teresa at Readers Live A Thousand Lives that anyone can join. The idea is to spotlight a book from your TBR shelf; it's a fun way to discuss books with fellow bloggers and, with their help, decide which books are must-reads... and which ones can wait a while longer.
We're getting an early start to a long weekend so I'm posting my Friday post today.
I first saw this book on a must-read zombie list a few years ago. After reading this summary...
In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda—and he begins to move. The family hides the child—whom they name Stony—rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret—until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world. ...I grabbed a copy for my shelf. It sounds like a perfect book for me!
Have you read Raising Stony Mayhall? What are your thoughts?
Do I drop everything and start reading -- or put it back on my shelf for later?
Hope everyone has a great weekend! See you next week!
that showcases our most anticipated upcoming releases.
Title: Batman: Nightwalker(DC Icons, #2) Author: Marie Lu Publisher: Random House Expected Publication: January 2nd, 2018 Pre-order: Amazon | B&N
Summary: Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy. The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list. One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals. Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope. In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.
So technically, I'm a Marvel girl, and Batman may not be my most favorite comic book character; but I am still incredibly excited for Marie Lu's Nightwalker. I think I'm going to love this book!
100 Words and a Quote is a feature in which I review books in exactly 100 words and share my favorite quote from each book. It’s fun, but it can also be challenging to make what I have to say fit that count. Well, I do love a good challenge. I do this for books when I can’t give much detail for fear of spoiling, for series finales, when I need to clean up my TBR, for novellas, and for those rare times when I just don’t have much to say about a book whether I loved it or not. Hope you enjoy my take on the (extra mini) mini-review.
Summary: A Chicago reporter in her mid-twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius. Kate Corbin has lost her spark. From the outside, her life seems charmed. She has a handsome, long-term boyfriend and a budding journalism career at a popular Chicago newspaper. But in reality, her relationship is going nowhere, and she’s quickly losing motivation for what she once believed was her dream job. When her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously, Kate loses all hope of finding love. With no living family and few friends, Kate confides in her boss. Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, he gives Kate the opportunity to jumpstart her career. The assignment: to interview the famously reclusive R.J. Lawson, a wealthy tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as a Napa Valley vintner. The week takes an unexpected turn, however, when Lawson refuses to divulge any information. Desperate for a lead, Kate turns to Jamie, a vineyard hand who shows her the romance of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. But his connection to Lawson is ambiguous, and when Jamie disappears before the end of the week, Kate is left to investigate another story: the truth behind the man who stole her heart. USA TODAY bestselling author Renée Carlino explored love and heartbreak in her beautifully written debut Sweet Thing, and her newest novel does not disappoint. For fans of Colleen Hoover, K.A. Tucker, and Katja Millay, Nowhere But Here is a stirring and satisfying romance that you won’t want to put down.
This book is as intoxicating as the Estate Pinot Noir, and I’m tipsy over both the story and fantastic character, Jamie. It was easy to get lost in this book and the winery as well as to relate to Kate. I was drawing definite parallels between her background and mine. I found myself getting emotional at points in the book, but it was around 50% when I went from crying to laughing over a singed eyebrow and a foot-long. I love a book that can conjure up such contrasting emotions. A must-read for Carlino fans and lovers of sweet romances.
“...hold on to each other, and never let go.” Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Summary: Tracy Crosswhite’s ordinary night patrolling her Seattle beat becomes front page news when she responds to a domestic disturbance call that turns into a hostage crisis. In this prequel short story to Robert Dugoni’s #1 Kindle-bestselling novel, My Sister’s Grave, Tracy Crosswhite is a young patrol officer, paying her dues, keeping her head down, and hoping a solid record will get her promoted to detective. While years have passed since the disappearance of Tracy’s sister, the experience has made her one of the city’s most dedicated cops. Reporter Tevia Kushman is shadowing Tracy on a ride-along seeking to follow-up on a recent (and nasty) exposé about the Seattle PD’s treatment of female cops. Young and ambitious, Tevia is hoping for a juicy scoop on the gender politics of the PD, but may get a much bigger story than she bargained for… Neither woman expects a routine-sounding call to turn into something dangerous, until Tracy walks into a domestic dispute and finds herself looking down the barrel of a shot-gun. No stranger to high-pressure situations, Tracy must draw on more than just her academy training and lightning-fast shooting skills to find a way to talk down—or take out—the volatile man holding the gun.
This forty-seven page short story is a prequel to my beloved Tracy Crosswhite series. This story takes place when Tracy is just a young patrol officer, years before she becomes the brilliant homicide detective she is now. It’s supposed to be a regular night of patrolling; but at 11:30 pm, only four hours into her shift, a call about a domestic disturbance takes a turn into something incredibly dangerous. The way Tracy handles everything is insight into the detective she’s going to become, and I loved getting this look back into the younger version of one of my favorite heroines.
“Veteran officers had told her that the crazies came out with the full moon, that it possessed some of them to behave in a manner they otherwise wouldn't. It wasn't a full werewolf transformation, but personalities changed just the same.” Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Summary: In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire. Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken. His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them. But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
Empire of Storms was a brilliant installment in the Throne of Glass series, though there was one particular character I missed. But Tower of Dawn makes up for that absence with an incredible story, cluing us in on just what Chaol Westfall was up to during the events taking place in EoS. This story is genius and brings us fantastic new characters and a HUGE revelation! Action, suspense, and romance abound in these pages; and Chaol’s story reminds his fans just why we fell in love with this perfectly imperfect human finding his way in a world full of magic.
“It was agony and despair and fear. It was joy and laughter and rest. It was life, all of it...”
Title: The Midnight Dance Author: Nikki Katz Source: Publisher Publisher: Swoon Reads Published: October 17th, 2017 Purchase: Amazon | B&N Summary: When the music stops, the dance begins. Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known. But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.
The Midnight Dance probably has one of my most favorite covers of 2017. It is just stunning! This is a YA historical fiction; and though I had heard it was inspired by “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” I found it doesn’t seem to have much in common with the German fairytale at all. I liked the story and didn’t struggle with the writing – the plot itself is still intriguing: twelve young ballerinas in a creepy boarding house under the rule of the nefarious “Master” – but this book also didn’t blow me away like the beautiful cover did, either. And I think I know why.
First, I want to discuss the things that I really did enjoy: There are young adult books that push the boundaries of young adult. This book does not. It is exactly what I think of when I think of a young teen reading, and I would absolutely put this into the hands of a young reader. It is clean; it has a sweet butterfly-spawning romance without overdoing it or going too far. The story lends itself to a bit of excitement but nothing that would be too scary or intense. Just the right amount of dark for its target audience. The young heroine Penny is brave; and not once does she give up, even when all hope seems lost. Her admirer Cricket is courageous and devoted. These two are incredibly sweet together, as well.
So, what was it that didn’t work? Me. The reader. I honestly can find no fault with the story or the writing. I haven’t been a young adult for a very long time; and while I do enjoy some YA, it is usually those that push the boundaries I mention above. I am also a lover and reader of adult thrillers and mysteries so my mind hatched huge dastardly plots, abundantly deceitful characters, and unforeseen twists… and those things didn’t come to pass for me.
All in all, I’m giving this book a solid three stars. It reminds me of the books I loved when I was a young girl. I couldn’t help but fall for Penny and Cricket. Their relationship is extremely endearing. Though I wish there had been more dancing and that the story was a tad more thrilling, I can still wholeheartedly recommend this for its target audience. And you know what? I’m buying a copy for my personal library anyway, not only because the cover is stunning but because this is a great addition to my YA section and I’ll be able to lend it out to several fellow readers that I know will love it.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Title: Maybe Someday Author: Colleen Hoover Publisher: Atria Published: March 18th, 2014 Purchase: Amazon | B&N Summary: Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble—she's a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope…. Maybe someday… Colleen Hoover draws you in to this passionate tale of music, love and betrayal…
I went into this book blindly, not even reading the summary. I had heard there was an intriguing musical connection, and I’m so happy that was the only thing I knew before diving into this story. It made a particular reveal around 13% all the more amazing and had me returning to the first page just so I could read it all over again with that new information. I highly recommend avoiding any spoilers for this story! Normally, I’d lament not reading a book sooner when it’s been out for a while, but I can’t do that. Some books happen for us exactly when they are supposed to. I read this book at a perfect time for me, and it touched my heart.
“Words can sometimes have a far greater effect on a heart than a kiss.”
Maybe Someday has all the masterful components a Colleen Hoover novel is known for but with a storyline that remains unique and refreshing. There is also the added bonus of a musical feature, contributed by artist Griffin Peterson. Fans of CoHo and of the New Adult genre, as well as romance and music lovers, will want to check this one out.
Summary: In her bestselling Alpha and Omega series, Patricia Briggs “spins tales of werewolves, coyote shifters, and magic and, my, does she do it well” (USATODAY.com). Now mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other–one that lurks too close to home… They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm. With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…
Title: Hello Again(The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #2) Author: Brenda Novak Source: Publisher Publisher: St. Martin's Press Published: October 3rd, 2017 Purchase: Amazon | B&N Summary: New York Times bestseller Brenda Novak's second novel in the Evelyn Talbot series, HELLO AGAIN, sees the return of psychiatrist Dr. Evelyn Talbot in her purpose-built facility housing America's most terrifying psychopaths. This is SILENCE OF THE LAMBS meets Karen Rose... SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND. Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she's about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered--or he is wrongly convicted. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN? When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends--and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . . .
It’s been almost a year since I last visited Hilltop, Alaska, and Brenda Novak’s intriguing and multifaceted characters. I’ve longed to return to the story not only to see what Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her delicious boyfriend Sergeant Benjamin Murphy, aka Amarok, have been up to but also to check in on another riveting character. I’m reluctant to admit it, but that character is Jasper Moore. Jasper is the ex-boyfriend-turned-serial-killer who tortured Evelyn and her friends for days when they were just teenagers. Jasper was never caught, and Evelyn is the only one of her friends who survived the horrific nightmare. That terrible tragedy is what ultimately led Evelyn to her line of work – studying and unraveling the mysterious minds of psychopaths at the newly established Hanover House. Jasper is not a Dexter Morgan-esque vigilante serial killer – you don’t root for him by any means. He is a terrifying individual, which may be why I feel the need to keep tabs on him.
In Hello Again, Evelyn is just beginning to work with newly convicted inmate Dr. Lyman Bishop, a man reminiscent of Hannibal Lecter. He is a highly educated biomedical researcher who stands accused of performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims to make them more compliant before killing them; but with new evidence coming to light, it’s possible Dr. Bishop has been wrongly convicted and, if so, could very well have his conviction overturned just as Evelyn has begun to get under his skin. And in the midst of these gripping events, Amarok’s tireless work may have finally paid off in getting him closer to locating Jasper Moore. Or is Jasper the one who is getting closer?
This second installment in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles is an outstanding follow-up to Her Darkest Nightmare, filled with suspense and thrills but still allowing for a more personal storyline with the romantic relationship between Evelyn and Amarok (though I could do without the return of Amarok’s ex-girlfriend…. Can we ship her off to a warmer climate asap?). But it is the ending of this sequel that will leave readers aghast and on the edge of their seat – not a cliffhanger but a glimpse into what’s about to happen next. Those last lines are so brilliant and shocking that I can hardly wait for the next book. Ms. Novak has set it up to be a mind-blowing rollercoaster of a story, and the anticipation is both sweet and agonizing. I recommend this series for thriller lovers, though I advise you to start with book one, Her Darkest Nightmare, to fully appreciate the growth of the characters and the evolvement of the story. You can also grab the short novella Hanover House for a closer look into Evelyn and Jasper’s history for free here or at Amazon for only $.99.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.