Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Ladybug Looks Back... March 2015

Looking back...

I realized that I neglected to do a recap post at the end of February!  That's too bad, because it was actually not a bad reading month for me.  I reviewed three books, and I really enjoyed two of them.

The best book I've read so far this year was All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, and I finished it in early February.  That was followed by Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard, a rather weak middle grade contemporary that didn't offer enough concrete answers.  I finished up February with Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen, which turned out to be an entertaining middle grade read that I could count toward the Fairytale Retelling Challenge.

In February, I also participated in Top Ten Tuesday twice.  The first topic was things I like or dislike when it comes to romance.  The second topic was my favourite heroines from historical fiction.

In March, I reviewed Unwind by Neal Shusterman.  I'd really been looking forward to that one, but it turned out to be a massive disappointment.  I'm not going to bother with the rest of the series.  Then I read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, the second installment of The Lunar Chronicles.  I didn't like that one, either.

I also participated in Top Ten Tuesday a few times in March.  The first topic was my favourite books of the past three years.  Second was books for readers who like animals or pets.  Third was books from my childhood that I wouldn't mind reading again.  And, fourth, was books that I recently added to my TBR list.

Also, for something a little different, I did the Cake Book Tag, where I talked about my favourite book "ingredients".

Looking ahead...

At the moment, I'm reading two books, but they're so different that I'm not worried about getting the plots mixed up.  I'm working my way through Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai, a middle grade contemporary about a preteen from California who accompanies her grandmother to Vietnam for the summer.  I was expecting it to be a verse novel like the author's wonderful Inside Out & Back Again, but it's not.  That's okay, because it's quite good.  I'm also reading Stephen King's Carrie.  I saw the movie a couple of years ago (the original from the '70s) and I've wanted to try reading the book ever since.  I've never read a novel by Stephen King, and so many of his recent ones have scary page counts.  Carrie is nice and short, so I thought it would be a good one to start with in case I wasn't a fan of his writing.  But I'm liking the book so far.

I haven't yet decided what I'll read next.  I'll probably play it by ear, once I'm done with Listen, Slowly and Carrie.

How was your March?
Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Recently Added To My To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Ten Books I Recently Added To My To-Be-Read List.  A lot of these books haven't even come out yet.  Some of these newbies have absolutely gorgeous covers.  There are also a few older books (including one from 1939!) that I thought looked interesting, so I added them to my to-read list.  (All of these books are from my Goodreads list.  There were a couple of others, but neither had covers, and one didn't even have a title... so I chose not to include them.)

Ten Books I Recently Added To My To-Be-Read List:

The Book of Flying
by Keith Miller

This book looks similar in feel to one of my favourites, Antonia Michaelis's Tiger Moon, which also features a magical quest with a colourful cast of characters.  The Book of Flying was published in 2004, but I've only come across it recently.  I thought it looked like something I might enjoy.


In Keith Miller's debut novel, our hero is Pico, a poet and librarian who is forbidden to pursue the girl of his dreams—for she has wings, and Pico does not. When he discovers an ancient letter in his library telling of the mythical Morning Town where the flightless may gain their wings, he sets off on a quest. It's a magical journey and coming-of-age story in which he meets a robber queen, a lonely minotaur, a cannibal, an immortal beauty, and a dream seller. Each has a story, and a lesson, for Pico—about learning to love, to persevere, and, of course, to fly. A gorgeously poetic tale of fantasy for adults, The Book of Flying is a beautiful modern fable and daring new take on the quest narrative.

Denton Little's Deathdate
by Lance Rubin

I have to admit that the "fans of John Green" part in the blurb scares me a little; I certainly hope that the characters in this book aren't as annoying as Green's unrealistic teenagers.  The premise of this one looks so good, though.  A world where everyone knows the date they're going to die?  The implications of that little bit of knowledge would be fascinating!


Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.

Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that's tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend's hostile sister. Though he's not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton's long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton's life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager's life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

by Lindsay Smith

Dreams are so interesting.  I like books that take the concept of a dream world and work it into the plot.  This one incorporates espionage, too... which sounds amazing.


A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life
by Wendy Mass

I liked Mass's Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall, and I do find a lot to enjoy in the middle grade category, so I think I might like this book.  I'm always up for a good quest novel!


In one month Jeremy Fink will turn thirteen. But does he have what it takes to be a teenager? He collects mutant candy, he won't venture more than four blocks from his apartment if he can help it, and he definitely doesn't like surprises. On the other hand, his best friend, Lizzy, isn't afraid of anything, even if that might get her into trouble now and then.

Jeremy's summer takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious wooden box arrives in the mail. According to the writing on the box, it holds the meaning of life! Jeremy is supposed to open it on his thirteenth birthday. The problem is, the keys are missing, and the box is made so that only the keys will open it without destroying what's inside. Jeremy and Lizzy set off to find the keys, but when one of their efforts goes very wrong, Jeremy starts to lose hope that he'll ever be able to open the box. But he soon discovers that when you're meeting people named Oswald Oswald and using a private limo to deliver unusual objects to strangers all over the city, there might be other ways of finding out the meaning of life.

Lively characters, surprising twists, and thought-provoking ideas make Wendy Mass's latest novel an unforgettable read.

Johnny Got His Gun
by Dalton Trumbo

This looks like one of those books that high school teachers pick out for their students to read.  I hadn't heard of it until recently, though.  It sounds harrowing... but I often end up liking older classics like this (plus, the reviews are really good).  It will be interesting to see a war novel written from this perspective (it was set in World War I but written in 1939, just before the horrors of the next war had really started).


This was no ordinary war. This was a war to make the world safe for democracy. And if democracy was made safe, then nothing else mattered—not the millions of dead bodies, nor the thousands of ruined lives... This is no ordinary novel. This is a novel that never takes the easy way out: it is shocking, violent, terrifying, horrible, uncompromising, brutal, remorseless and gruesome... but so is war.

Some Quiet Place
by Kelsey Sutton

Characters that have different ways of perceiving the world are fascinating.  The main character in this one almost sounds like she has a really weird form of synesthesia.  Looks good!


I can’t feel sadness, anger, or fear. I can’t feel anything. I've grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn't feel emotions... she sees them in human form. Longing hovers around the shy, adoring boy at school. Courage materializes beside her dying friend. Fury and Resentment visit her abusive home. They've all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn't succumb to their touch. All, that is, except beautiful Fear, who sometimes torments her and other times plays her compassionate savior. He’s obsessed with finding the answer to one question: What happened to Elizabeth to make her this way?

They both sense that the key to Elizabeth’s condition is somehow connected to the paintings of her dreams, which show visions of death and grief that raise more questions than answers. But as a shadowy menace begins to stalk her, Elizabeth’s very survival depends on discovering the truth about herself. When it matters most, she may not be able to rely on Fear to save her.

by Betsy Schow

I know I swore off fairytale retellings for a little while, but I've actually got a couple on this list!  I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz years ago, while I was on a classics kick, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I haven't really read many retellings of this story (other than Return to Oz... which was just weird), so this one has me intrigued.


Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

A Thousand Nights
by E. K. Johnston

Here's the second fairytale retelling on my list this week.  This one looks really interesting... partly because it looks like it might have a complex villain.


Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

by Sarah Rees Brennan

Imaginary friends who suddenly appear in real life?  Yes, please!  I know this book has been out for a while, but I only just added it to my to-read list.  I hope it's as good as it sounds!


Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met... a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Walk on Earth a Stranger
by Rae Carson

First of all, that cover is gorgeous.  Second, a historical setting with touches of magic?  This sounds awesome.  I can't wait to read this book!


The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

What books have you added to your to-be-read list lately?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New to the TBR Pile (20)

Borrowed from the library:
by Stephen King

The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom.

What's new to your TBR pile this week?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top 10 Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top 10 Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit.  I'm going to also include books from my teen years on this list, because a few of my most memorable reads were from that time period.  (Hah... this post is going to be a total giveaway that I'm old.  Just a warning...)

Top 10 Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit:

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery - I read this book soon after the movie came out in 1985.  I was probably a bit young to be reading it, and I do remember having to write down a lot of words I didn't understand (so I could look them up later).

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary - I have zero memory of this book, but my mom said that I thought it was hilarious, and that I couldn't stop talking about it when I was reading it.  So I would definitely like to give this one a re-read (it'll be like reading it for the first time!) and see what it was that so tickled my fancy.

The Haunting at Cliff House by Karleen Bradford - This was one of my favourite books when I was a kid.  I loved the suspenseful story and the setting in Wales.

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow - When I was a little kid, I remember that there was a book in the "Z" section of the picture books that I always wanted to check out.  It had something about a little girl and a pear and a cardinal... and years later, I could not for the life of me remember what the book was called.  I believe it's actually this one... though when I see that creepy rabbit on the cover, I have no clue why I wanted to read this book over and over.  I'd like to have another look and see if I can figure it out!

The Olden Days Coat by Margaret Laurence - My parents gave me a beautifully illustrated edition of this book one Christmas.  I think I still have it somewhere, packed away with other old books.

The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss - My mom found a worn copy of this book in the library sale bin, so she picked it up for my sister and I.  I've read many of Dr. Seuss's books, but this one is probably my favourite.  The title story is great... but I actually preferred the one about Mrs. McCave (with her sons named Dave) and of course the one about that sorry pair of pale green pants.

Swept Away by Josepha Sherman - My grandmother gave me this book, the first in a series, for Christmas when I was around eleven or twelve.  I had never heard of it, and I thought it sounded kind of silly (if I'm being honest).  But then I read it, and loved it.  I devoured the next book, and then tried to get my hands on the rest (I never really succeeded... they were hard to find).  I'm not the only one this series struck a chord with; the Goodreads ratings are weirdly high for these books about a group of young people who ride unicorns in a fantasy land!

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn - This ghost story was originally published in 1986, but it's been reprinted over the years (even just a few years ago), so it's obviously got staying power.  I think I must have read it soon after its original publication date, though, because I remember the really cheesy cover with the little girl who looks like she's in a trance.

The Witches by Roald Dahl - I did a book report on this one when I was in Grade 5.  I had a little mouse puppet and everything.  Dahl's books often made me laugh.  The Witches and The Twits were a couple of my favourites (I didn't read Matilda until I was an adult).

Wren to the Rescue by Sherwood Smith - This book was one of the first to introduce me to high fantasy.  I didn't read it until I was a young teenager, but when I did, it really got me excited about the genre... so much so that I wanted to write my own fantasy novels!

What are some of your childhood favourites that you might like to revisit?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Review - Scarlet

(The Lunar Chronicles #2)
by Marissa Meyer
Date: 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 464
Format: e-book
Source: Amazon.ca

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I decided to read Scarlet for three reasons: 1) I didn't absolutely hate Cinder; 2) I am intrigued by the whole sci-fi fairytale theme; and 3) I'd been told that Scarlet was much better than the first book in the series.

Please, dear author, I want some more...

I still think the idea of a series of fairytale retellings set in the future with cyborgs and androids and spaceships is a good one... just not in the hands of this particular author.  There is very little I like about this book, aside from the basic premise.

It's all a matter of taste...

I wasn't really aware that so much of Scarlet was going to be from Cinder's point of view.  But I'm kind of glad that it is, because Scarlet herself made me want to bash my head against my laptop screen.  She is so stupid.  Clueless characters seem to be a bit of a theme in this series, but Scarlet really takes the cake.  When she's not making ridiculously convenient (and inevitably incorrect) assumptions, she's waffling... which makes her come across as a rather weak character.  We're also introduced to Thorne, who I'm guessing is going to end up as somebody's love interest at some point, but who I felt absolutely nothing for in that regard because he comes across like a twelve-year-old boy.  The only half-decent character that was thrown at us is Wolf, who has an interesting back story and provides what could prove to be some interesting conflict down the road.  Unfortunately, even his character is marred by the bane of young adult fiction: insta-love.

Let's get technical...

I do not remember having this much trouble with the writing in Cinder.  In this book, however, Meyer seems to be trying to rewrite the dictionary.  My Kindle edition is littered with notes and highlights where she uses words that just don't make any sense in context.  Sometimes the word is close to correct (like in the case of homophones), but at other times the word is so far off that it's as if the author thought she could just make the word mean something else simply because she wanted it to.  (Sort of like Justin Bieber and "the Sixteenth Chapel".)  After struggling through 464 pages of this sort of nonsense, I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the page count for the fourth book in the series.  I'd rather read the dictionary; at least I'd get the proper word meanings doing that.

The verdict...

Scarlet managed to: 1) make me want to avoid the rest of this series like letumosis; 2) take a break from fairytale retellings for a while; and 3) be even warier of books and series with lots of hype.

Quotable moment:

"Sorry about the whole tranquilizer thing. I thought you were going to eat her."

"I thought I was too."

Premise: 2/5
Plot: 1/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 1/5
Writing: 2/5
Editing: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall Rating: 1.63 out of 5 ladybugs

Saturday, March 21, 2015

New to the TBR Pile (19)

Borrowed from the library:
Listen, Slowly
by Thanhha Lai

This remarkable novel from Thanhha Lại, New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family.

A California girl born and raised, Mai can't wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, though, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.

Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Linda Sue Park, Listen, Slowly is an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale about a girl who discovers that home and culture, family and friends, can all mean different things.

What's new to your TBR pile this week?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Cake Book Tag

Cait over at Paper Fury did a little something called The Cake Book Tag.  Since I'm not doing Top Ten Tuesday this week (do I really need to list the top ten books in my TBR pile that I probably won't get to this spring?), I thought I'd do this instead.  So... grab your fork and put on your cake-eating pants!



I'm afraid I end up DNFing a lot of books like this.  But I do remember sort of feeling this way about The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M. G. Buehrlen.  It wasn't exactly that the story was slow.  It just wasn't blowing me away.  But then... that ending!  Now I can't not read the next book, because I just have to find out what happens next.



I'm going to have to go with a series of books for this one: Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.  These books are just so... epic.  The world-building is amazing, and even the events that happen in our own world are complex and fantastical.



Um... yeah.  What kind of a question is this?  Why would I read a book I thought was going to be bad?  I mean, the only way something like that could happen was if I picked up Fifty Shades of Grey and actually ended up liking it.  Not going to happen (the picking-up of the book or the liking it; I've read enough reviews and excerpts to know that).

Last year, I picked up Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse for the second time.  The first time I picked it up, years ago, I read a couple of pages.  I thought, "What the hell is this?" and promptly returned it to the library.  I hadn't yet realized what a treasure trove of beautiful storytelling verse novels can be.  When I picked it up again, I was a little nervous because, after all, I hadn't liked it the first time.  But I really enjoyed it during my second attempt.



I haven't read a lot of these.  Most of the books I read have something awful happen in them.  I mean, even Ingrid Law's cute little book called Savvy featured a parent with a brain injury.  I guess I'd have to go with a book like Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass.  It also features a brain injury, but it still manages to be sweet and cute and serious, all at the same time.



I'm sure my readers are probably tired of hearing about this one, but I really enjoyed Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis.  It really did have everything: action, humour, tragedy, love...  If there were a sequel, I'd read it (but there isn't, and can't be, so I'll just have to be satisfied with this lovely addition to the YA fantasy genre).



I'm not a re-reader, so...  How do I answer this?  I guess one of the series that I look back on with fondness that I might try reading again a some point (just to see if I can recapture a part of my childhood) would be the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary.  There's a reason they're classics.  Cleary was so observant about children and the way they think.  The thoughts and actions of Ramona (and the other kids in the stories) always rang pretty true.



I've read so few books so far this year.  But I'd have to say that my favourite has been All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.  I really wish I had read it sooner (and, if I'd known how much I'd like it, I might have done just that)!

I'm not going to tag anyone in particular, but please feel free to do this yourself, if you're so inclined.

Have you ever baked a cake?  If so, how did it turn out?
Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New to the TBR Pile (18)

Bought from Amazon.ca:
The Body Electric
by Beth Revis

The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?

The Falconer (The Falconer #1)
by Elizabeth May

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

The Sowing (Seeds #1)
by K. Makansi

The Famine may be over, but the Resistance has just begun.

When Remy Alexander is fifteen, her older sister is murdered in a cold-blooded classroom massacre. When the Okarian Sector hides the truth behind the attack, Remy's family goes underground to join the clandestine and growing Resistance movement. Now, three years later, Remy is beginning to find clues about why her sister was murdered. But at the same time, Valerian Orlean, the boy Remy once loved, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Vale fights to protect his people and Remy seeks justice for her sister, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together - or tear everything apart.

The Sweestest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1)
by Shana Abé

“With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”

Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.

Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.

Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.

What's new to your TBR pile this week?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like Animals/Pets

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like ____.  The possibilities are endless!  But I think I'm going to try to go with something a bit different and choose: Animals/Pets

Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like Animals/Pets:

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein

Not only does this book prominently feature a dog... he's the narrator!  I really enjoyed reading Enzo's take on life.  He's something of a philosopher, trapped in the body of a canine.

by Diana Wynne Jones

The main character in this book really is trapped in the body of a dog!  Sirius is condemned to be born as a dog after being accused of a crime he didn't commit.

Harry Potter series
by J. K. Rowling

Though the pets kind of took a backseat in the later books, I thought the concept of them was really cute.  Who could forget Harry's owl, Ron's rat, or Hermione's cat?

His Dark Materials series
by Philip Pullman

The animals in these books aren't so much pets as they are reflections of their owners' souls.  The concept of dæmons is such an interesting one.  Who read this series and didn't wish for a dæmon of their own?

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith

One of the characters I remember fondly from this book is Heloise, Cassandra's Bull Terrier.  She has such a bond with that dog; it's lovely to see.

Jolted: Newton Starker's Rules for Survival
by Arthur Slade

It's not often that you see a pig as a pet, but that's just what you'll find in this cute little book.  Josephine is the little pig in question, and she's more than just a pet; she actually ends up saving someone else's bacon.

Liesl & Po
by Lauren Oliver

So far, we've had all sort of different animals in these books... but they've all been alive.  This book features Bundle, an animal of indeterminate species, who's a ghost.  Bundle's favourite saying is "Mwark!"  Now... is it a cat or a dog?

The Rainbow Kid series
by Jeanne Betancourt

I loved these books when I was a preteen.  They're all about a girl named Aviva and her unusual (at that time) living arrangement: her divorced parents have shared custody, so she spends one week living with each.  Through the course of the series, she has a number of pets, including dogs and a turtle.  (Two of the subsequent books are called Turtle Time and Puppy Love, so it's kind of obvious that animals will feature prominently in the stories.)

Ramona series
by Beverly Cleary

The Quimbys' cat, Picky-Picky, might not have made the best pet, but he was a memorable character, for sure.  I still remember when he ate the girls' jack-o-lantern, and their mother (not wanting to waste it) cut it up to use in her cooking.  Beezus made a comment about not wanting to eat cat spit.  Ah, Picky-Picky...

Tiger Moon
by Antonia Michaelis

This animal in this book, a white tiger named Nitish, might not be a pet in the traditional sense, but he's a wonderful character and friend to the protagonist.  He injects some humour into the story with his constant fretting and neuroses.

What are some of your favourite books that feature animals and/or pets?