Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it's filled with family, lots of good food, fun, and some down time to relax.  I plan on taking a few days to enjoy the holiday, so I'll be back next week.  Enjoy your weekend and thanks for visiting. While I am gone, don't forget to enter my giveaways:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Thankful For

There are so many books to be thankful for, but here are some of my favorites.

1.  The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen - This is one of the first Sarah Dessen novels that I read that really resonated with me.  It sparked my love for contemporary young adult literature.

2.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Thank you Ms. Austen for creating Mr. Darcy. Am I right?

3.  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - Anne was probably the first female protagonist that really spoke to me as a child. I still love Anne to this day.

4.  New and Selected Poems by Mary Oliver - I am not an avid reader of poetry, but I do love Mary Oliver. 

5.  The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han - I adore this entire series. This series just gets me.

6.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - This is one of the few classics that really stuck out for me when I read it in school.

7.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - This story will never get old for me. I read it in middle school and then taught it for many years to my middle school students. 

8.  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - This book reminded me that adult sci-fi/romance can be just as powerful as a contemporary novel, if not more. Plus, Jamie Fraser. Need I say more?

9.  Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I gotta love me some Scarlett O'Hara.

10.  The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - This novel reminded me that adult historical fiction can be fun, captivating, and more interesting than I thought. It definitely reignited my love for historical fiction.

What books are you thankful for this holiday season? Let me know in the comments below.  This meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Pages: 424
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: November 3, 2015
Other Books by Author: A Thousand Pieces of You
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.  Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.  The second book in the Firebird trilogy, Ten Thousand Skies Above Youfeatures Claudia Gray’s lush, romantic language and smart, exciting action, and will have readers clamoring for the next book."

This book picks up where A Thousand Pieces of You left off and if you read it, you know that Marguerite is trying to save Paul.  She has to use her parents' Firebird device, which helps her jump to parallel universes and dimensions.  However, this time it's going to be really complicated. All around bad guy Wyatt Conley has dispersed Paul's soul into four parts and in various dimensions. It's up to Marguerite to piece him back together along with the help from Theo.  However, as she meets different versions of Paul in the various dimensions, it has her questioning everything.  Claudia Gray's second installment in the Firebird series keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Ten Thousand Skies Above You is filled with romance, dimension jumping and of course, adventure.

Marguerite is a strong character in Ten Thousand Skies Above You and I adore her relationship with Paul.  But that isn't what is so special about this series. For me, it's the parallel universes and how people can essentially be different depending on their circumstances of the "world" they live in.  It was interesting to see how all the characters are portrayed with each new dimension.  It sort of makes you think about how different a person might be if they lived at a different time or under excruciating circumstances.

Gray does a good job making me believe in the parallel universes; there wasn't one moment where I questioned it, so fans of this series will appreciate that.

My only issue is that Ten Thousand Skies Above You dragged on at certain parts (it felt fairly long to me) and it had that second book in a trilogy syndrome, which I usually struggle with.  Nonetheless, Gray left us with an epic cliffhanger that will make me want to pick up the last book in the trilogy, which is due out in 2016.

Are you new to the series? Then you'll appreciate this giveaway for a copy of the first book in the trilogy, A Thousand Pieces of You. If you missed my review, check it out here.  Thanks to Harper Teen, this giveaway is open to US readers and the deadline is December 4th.  Please refer to my giveaway rules and good luck!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (90)

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly - Thanks to Random House
Unforgiven by Lauren Kate - Thanks to Delacorte

So what do you guys think? Have you read any of these books or are they on your TBR list? Let me know! This meme is hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Giveaway!

Thanks to FSG Books, I am hosting a giveaway for an exciting new young adult book coming out November 24th:  Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern.  Bustle called it one of the best YA novels of November!

"A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life's uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love. Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules."

This giveaway is open to US readers only and the deadline is November 29th.  Please refer to my giveaway rules and good luck!

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams

Pages: 464
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: November 3, 2015
Other Books By Author: A Hundred Summers,
My Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler's problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she's finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician.  But the car's new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle's life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts.  Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William's final book about the Schuyler sisters." 

If you are an avid reader of Beatriz Williams' novels, then you know readers got to know Pepper Schuyler pretty well in Tiny Little Thing.  It's the 1960s and she finds herself pregnant, which is less than ideal as she is unmarried; plus, the father is a politician who doesn't exactly want her to keep the baby.  Pepper plans on selling the rare 1936 Mercedes Roadster that they brought back to life in Tiny Little Thing with the hopes that this money would gain her some financial freedom. She's at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida and about to sell it to a woman named Annabelle Dommerich.  Annabelle shows an interest in Pepper and provides her a safe haven, which is especially fortunate because Pepper's political ex-boyfriend's lackeys have tracked her down.  As Pepper spends more time with Annabelle, she realizes that she is more than just a wealthy woman as her past involves everything from being a Baroness, fleeing from Nazis, and having a lover from the Jewish resistance.  Beatriz Williams' Along the Infinite Sea was quite an adventure about two strong women and the many ups and downs that life can bring.  It reminded me a bit of The Sound of Music in the best way possible.

I have always preferred Pepper; she's the Schuyler sister that is spunky, well dressed, confidant and no-nonsense.  When she talks, people pay attention.  I have to admire the fact that she wants to have this baby without her parents' help and she definitely doesn't want to flee back to the safety of their home.  She is trying to figure out a way to be financially independent and when she meets Annabelle, she is at first unsure of her motives, but she comes to realize that she simply wants to help Pepper.  

Along the Infinite Sea is told from both Pepper's point of view as well as Annabelle's flashbacks to pre-Nazi Europe. I found both stories to be equally interesting and both time periods to be wholly captivating.  As I said before, the setting of pre-Nazi Europe and the problems Annabelle encountered reminded me a bit of The Sound of Music, which I absolutely loved.

Fans of romance will adore the stories of both women and will appreciate the ending as well.  I have yet to be disappointed by Beatriz Williams' novels; so,  if you love historical fiction, she shouldn't be missed. I can't wait to get my hands on her next novel due out this summer. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: America's First Daughter

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016

Goodreads says, "In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy. From her earliest days, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. And it is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that she learns of her father’s liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Patsy too has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé, William Short, a staunch abolitionist intent on a career in Europe. Heartbroken at having to decide between being William’s wife or a devoted daughter, she returns to Virginia with her father and marries a man of his choosing, raising eleven children of her own. Yet as family secrets come to light during her father's presidency, Patsy must again decide how much she will sacrifice to protect his reputation, in the process defining not just Jefferson’s political legacy, but that of the nation he founded."

Wow! Doesn't this sound like a powerful book? I love hearing the "untold" story of a woman working tirelessly behind the scene, so this sounds right up my alley.  What do you guys think?

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