Waiting on Wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: May 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

Book Review: The Graces by Laure Eve

In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.
 
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.

Release Date: September 6, 2016

This book was an easy read, and one I enjoyed reading while I was enjoying a glass of wine and while I was relaxing in the sun on Lake Norman.  But, there are some really…interesting aspects of the novel that put me off as I first opened it.

First, the summary on the back of my ARC copy is a bit different from the one above, and it focuses much more on River’s obsession with being friends with the Graces and how much she literally wants to become one.  So that’s a bit stalker-ish in an obsessive and not fun way, and the character comes off as desperately wishing for her friendship and relationship with these three kids that she came off a bit one dimensional and just so desperate for them to give her life meaning.  I imagined her annoying Roger on F.R.I.E.N.D.S with her absolute need for them to give her purpose and direction.

So, never to go against the YA trope that the main character is going to be somewhat special and plucked from obscurity in her social caste, Eve’s character, River, becomes exactly what she wanted to be: one of the Graces – or rather, someone the Graces grow to trust and bring under their wing.

Eve’s writing really excels when River is simply observing the Graces and the interactions between the Grace siblings is one that makes me wish I was closer to my own sister, you know, minus all the witchcraft.  In fact, I think that the Grace siblings having more well-rounded character traits was instrumental in showing the progression of River as a character throughout the novel.  River adapts certain aspects of their personalities into her own, and there’s a scene where the youngest Grace seemingly transforms River into almost a carbon copy of herself.

River is just such a troubling character for me, because you go into the novel wanting to root for her since she is portrayed as the protagonist.  However, by the last fourth of the novel I kept thinking to myself that River should really just break out into the song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “I’m the Villain in my own Story.” Even with her deplorable actions, I found myself still waiting and wanting her redemption. *Shakes fist at Laure Eve* How dare you make me care for someone with so many shades of gray!

The novel could have stood to have a bit more world building in the aspect of witchcraft, and the different types of witches that exist…or even some kind of explanation for River, herself, since she clearly didn’t fit into any of the definitions given to us.

Overall, I found this novel to be a fun and fast read and perfect for a lazy summer afternoon in the sun.

3.5 Bards, because I just really am torn on the main character and the need for a bit more world building, but it comes out soon and you should pre-order your copy now!  Then we can discuss.

3.5bards

 

 

 

 

SIDE NOTE:

Isn’t the cover amazing?


 

Book Review: The Conspiracy of Us by 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.

Holy super fast moving plot, Batman!  Hall certainly wasn’t messing around when she started this novel, because in less than a few chapters the main character is already in a different country, sans passport, via a private plane, and is staying in a room in the Louvre museum in Paris.  Seriously, you’d think that brief summary would give away some of the plot, but the plot is so complex that my brief run on sentence barely scratches the surface.

As a self proclaimed history buff, I am a little embarassed to admit that I’d never really been too interested in Alexander the Great and his incestuous ways and so a lot of the lore underlying the plot for this novel was completely unknown to me.  The only thing that most readers will know going into the novel is that Alexander the Great died without an heir to the Roman Empire.  According to the lore that I looked up after finishing The Conspiracy of Us, a number of his valued generals were given the responsibility to maintain order and continue his legacy, called the Diadochoi. It is exceedingly interesting and I have to say how impressed I am with how unique this novel is because of Hall’s decision to use some part of history that is barely touched on in young adult literature.  Seriously, I cannot praise this novel enough for the completely original idea of the Circle, it is rare to find a novel now that doesn’t share at least a common idea with others. Kudos to you, Maggie Hall.

While I really enjoyed the fast moving plot, there are definitely a few drawbacks.  For instance, setting descriptions for places as gorgeous as Paris and Instanbul really suffered.  I think that sometimes, yes, there can be too many details, but I think that this was a story that would have benefitted from really spending time building a strong sense of setting and given more in depth descriptions of the Louvre and Notre Dame (especially for those of us that have never been!).

The second thing that really suffered was the character development.  Despite the fact that the novel is told in first person, the reader really learns very little about Avery and even less about her love interest, Jack.  Stellan, the other male character is even less fleshed out, even with the little reveal given toward the end of the novel.

I’m really hoping that the next installment really gives the characters the attention and growth they deserve.  I’d really like to see more “at stake” in the next novel as well, especially anything that could provide more credibility to the idea of this prophecy.

I’m torn on my bard rating, because I did enjoy the book but the slim setting and character development were drawbacks. Looking forward to the second book!

3.5 Bards

3.5bards

 

 

Cover Reveal!

Welcome to the the Official Cover Reveal for Gretchen McNeil’s GET EVEN (Get Even #1)
Release Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
GetEven_final
SYNOPSIS: 

Follows the secretive exploits of four high school juniors – Kitty, Olivia, Margot and Bree – at an exclusive Catholic prep school.

To all outward appearances, the girls barely know each other. At best, they don’t move in the same social circles; at worst, they’re overtly hostile.

Margot Mejia – academically ranked number two in her class, Margot is a focused overachiever bound for the Ivy League.

Kitty Li – captain of the California state and national champion varsity girls’ volleyball team, she’s been recruited by a dozen colleges and has dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal.

Olivia Hayes – popular star of the drama program, she’s been voted “most eligible bachelorette” two years running in the high school yearbook and has an almost lethal combination of beauty and charm.

Bree Deringer – outcast, misfit and the kind of girl you don’t want to meet in a dark alley, the stop sign red-haired punk is a constant thorn in the side of teachers and school administrators alike.

Different goals, different friends, different lives, but the girls share a secret no one would ever guess. They are members of Don’t Get Mad, a society specializing in seeking revenge for fellow students who have been silently victimized by their peers. Each girl has her own reason for joining the group, her own set of demons to assuage by evening the score for someone else. And though school administration is desperate to find out who is behind the DGM “events”, the girls have managed to keep their secret well hidden.

That is until one of their targets – a douchebag senior who took advantage of a drunk underclassman during a house party, videotaped it on his phone, and posted it on YouTube – turns up dead, and DGM is implicated in the murder.

Now the girls don’t know who to trust, and as their tenuous alliance begins to crumble, the secrets they’ve hidden for so long might be their ultimate undoing.

 
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16005219-get-even?from_search=true
Pre-Order Links Will be available in the coming months, keep an eye on your favorite retailer for more information!
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4’s Code Monkeys and she currently sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. She is a founding member of vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as “Monday,” and she is an active member of both The Enchanted Inkpot, a group blog of YA and middle grade fantasy writers, and The Apocalypsies, a group blog of 2012 children’s debut authors.

You can find Gretchen on TwitterFacebook, and on her blog.

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