Inside and Out Book Tag

I’m not sure who originated this book tag, but I found it on nickmags @ The Secret Library Book Blog and thought it looked like fun!

Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

I want some information about the book, enough to tell the general plot, but no spoilers. I just want to know who the characters are and maybe what problem they face. It drives me crazy when there’s no information at all; I need some idea what the book is about if I’m going to read it. Tease me and tantalize me!

New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hard cover?

Ideally, I want paperback or hardcover, but I’ll take e-book in a pinch.

Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, take notes, make comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

I keep my books clean because I never know what to write in my books. I wish I knew how to annotate and scribble, because it seems like fun, but I don’t know how.

Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when you’re deciding on a book? What if you’re unsure of the author’s gender?

I tend to gravitate first to female authors, but I don’t reject male authors. But my reading list is primarily female.

Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

 I did when I was a kid, but I don’t anymore.

 Organized bookshelves, or outrageous bookshelves?

I like organized bookshelves, but I’ve run out of room on mine, so I’m doing some stacking. But I like being able to look at my shelf and know what’s where.

 Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

No.

 Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I usually stay inside, because the majority of my reading is done right before I go to bed. However, during the summer, I like to go to this tiny beach that’s usually devoid of people and read. It’s my favorite reading place outside of my home.

That was a lot of fun! If you’d like to do this tag, please consider yourself tagged!

Review: Stepsister

Title: Stepsister

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Length: 352 pages (12h 52 min)

Source: library

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Isabelle did what her mother asked: she cut off her toes to fit into a tiny glass slipper so she could marry the prince. It didn’t work, of course; the prince found out her deception with the aid of some birds and a bit of blood. Worse, it turns out her stepsister, Ella, is the girl he’s been looking for, the one he loves.

Now, Isabelle and her sister Octavia are known throughout France as “the ugly stepsisters.” Reviled, scorned, and abused by the village, the girls are forced to retreat to their manor and hide away. But little does Isabelle know that Fate and Chance are fighting over her future. To top it off, Isabelle meets with the fairy queen who helped Ella. She agrees to grant Isabelle her heart’s desire, but only if Isabelle finds the three missing pieces of her heart.

Now, Isabelle is on the hunt for those pieces while her life falls apart around her. Despite the troubles that beset her and her family, she finds herself growing and changing and discover that she is stronger than she ever imagined. But is it enough to earn or happy ending? Or has it all been mapped out for her?

This book was amazing. It did such a fantastic job of humanizing both stepsisters, although, of course, Isabelle was the one who changed the most. From the very beginning I was enthralled by the duel between the three Fates and Chance personified. I have to admit, though, I went in a strange direction with them. It’s the Crone who is the main Fate and Chance is a young, handsome man. But I still shipped them hard. Every scene in which they bickered and battled, I was mentally rooting for them to do.

But they’re not as important as Isabelle. She was truly an ugly stepsister, although after the book ended, I really understood why. And she did too. She saw where her actions came from, and realized her deep complicity in the downward spiral of her life. But, despite her initial ugliness, she’s so darn likable. She’s brave and ballsy. Strong and competent. And I liked how she faced each tragedy in her life and grew from it.

I borrowed this book from the library, but I’m going to need to own it. It’s a special book with a deeply complex main character that I rooted for even when I was disgusted by her early actions. This really is a great book.

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, you answer three questions:

What are you reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading The Alienist by Caleb Carr. I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s really good. However, it’s also really heavy, so I think I’m going to start something light and fluffy to offset the heaviness of this one.

I just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern on Sunday. It was such an incredible book. I finished Stepsister last week and loved it, even though it took me forever to read. The beginning of the school year had me so stressed, I couldn’t concentrate on it and kept losing the thread of the plot. But I loved the book.

After I finish The Alienist, I’ll read The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, but I think I’ll start Lord of the Last Heartbeat by My Peterson in the next few days and read it concurrently. It doesn’t sound very light and fluffy, but it’s got magic, mages, and romance, so it’ll give me a break from child murders.

What are you reading this week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Tuesday

It is Tuesday! Let’s do the Top 5 Tuesday dance! *boogies* Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. Each week, she gives a topic and participants get to answer.  This week’s topic is Top 5 Covers of 2019.

When I first started reading No Good Men by Thea McAlistair, the cover hadn’t been released yet. I was delighted when I went back to GoodReads and saw this. It just so beautifully portrays the era and feel of the book. It’s lovely.

Another beautiful cover of a recent read, Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly has a beautiful cover that is evocative of what’s inside. The glass slipper, the blood, the glass shards… it all works for me.

There’s a slight chance I think the cover of With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo is beautiful because I’ve got a little crush on the girl, but she’s gorgeous and so is the cover.

I may have found We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett depressing and uncomfortable, but that cover is amazing. Every time I see it, it makes me want to pick the book up and read it.

What can I saw? I’ve got a thing for beautifully dressed women holding deadly objects. Capturing the Devil and all the books by Kerri Maniscalco have visually stunning covers. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

That was a lot of fun! I mean, I try not to judge a book by it’s cover, but I can’t say I succeed. The prettier the cover, the more I want to give it a try.

What are some of your favorite covers? Drop a comment below and let me know!k

ARC review: No Good Men

Title: No Good Men

Author: Thea McAlistair

Publisher: NineStar Press

Publication Date: September 16, 2019

Source: The author sent me a copy in exchange for a review.

Struggling writer and bodyguard for the mayor, Alex Dawson finds his work tedious, but it pays the bills and gives him time to think of his stories. Plus, he gets to work with his mentor and father figure, Donnie. Then, one night, he meets a gorgeous stranger in a club. Moments later, both the mayor and Donnie are killed by an unseen assassin.

Determined to bring justice to his mentor’s killer, Alex investigates a series of assassinations and attempts. He is drawn into the underworld of the city and discovers that the mayor and Donnie were involved in something crooked. His handsome stranger turns out to be the cousin of a mob boss involved in the conspiracy. Alex has to uncover the truth before a corrupt policeman pins the crime on him, but with a growing body count and series of near misses, he may be in over his head.

I highly enjoyed this book. Alex is such a neat character. He’s creative and sensitive, and he isn’t afraid to be who he is. Of course, he has to hide his homosexuality since this takes place in the 1930’s, but when he meets Sev, his golden-eyed stranger, he isn’t afraid to let his feelings show. He’s emotional and vulnerable while being strong and fearsome. I love his relationship with Daisy, a waif whose father is abusive and absent. She’s really being raised by the people in the neighborhood, and I the way she interacts with everyone.

Sev is another delight. He’s lethal and dangerous, just what you’d expect from a man with the reputation for being an assassin, but also a victim of his time. As an unmarried man, he’s still living with his mother. His life and reputation are endangered by his sexuality, but he’s smooth and cool and does what he wants. I love his relationship with Alex. You could really see how enchanted Sev was by Alex and how Alex’s innocence appealed to him.

I hope people read this book because it’s a delight. The characters were wonderful, the mystery engaging, and the setting was picture perfect. I could really visualize the run-down neighborhood hit hard by the Depression. I don’t know if the author is planning a sequel, but I definitely would be down to read the further adventures of these two.

Sunday Post: Sept. 8

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the Caffeinated Reviewer . It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things you’ve received. The rules are here: The Sunday Post.

I’m finally getting back into the swing of thing! I wasn’t as bone tired this week and was able to finish two books and make real headway on a third. I got back to the gym three times and I felt great. The students are settling into routines and we ended the week strong. Here’s to hoping next week is even better!

Monday: The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Series I Need to Finish

Wednesday; WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber (review)

Saturday: Anticipated Fall Releases

Monday: No Good Men by Thea McAlistair (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Covers of 2019

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (review)

Friday: TBD

Saturday: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (review)

What are your reading plans for this week? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

Anticipated Releases of Fall 2019

It’s almost fall, and while I don’t want to rush summer out, I am looking forward to some aspects of fall. I like the crisp weather, I love the decorations, I like Halloween, but, mostly, I am excited for new releases! Here are my most anticipated releases of fall 2019.

I am super looking forward to The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan. It’s the last in the Trials of Apollo series, which I have enjoyed very much. The last book ripped my heart out and stomped on it a bit, but that’s fine. *sniff* I’m okay. *sniff sniff*. But, yeah, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the series concludes.

Release Date: September 24

Wait, there’s more to Simon Snow and Baz’s story? Sign me up! I’ll admit, I was skeptical about Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. It’s an AU take on Harry Potter, and I wasn’t sure it’d be enjoyable on it’s own. But it really was. The world was so much fun, the characters were amazing, and I loved the relationship between Simon and Baz. I am so ready to read more.

Release Date: September 24

I. Cannot. Wait. for The Toll by Neal Shusterman. Thunderhead left off on such a huge cliffhanger, and I’m so eager to read what happens next. I’m buying and rereading the whole series when this book comes out, just so I can properly savor the ending to this trilogy.

Release Date: November 5

Can I anticpate a book when I haven’t read the whole series? Ah, whatever, I do. I loved Renegades by Marissa Meyer. It’s set in a universe where people have superpowers and one girl, Nova, has been raised to be a villain. She comes up with an idea to infiltrate the good guys. Along the way, she discovers the good guys aren’t as bad as she thought. When this book releases, I’ll probably get all three because they’re just that good.

Release Date: November 5

I love vampires, and I love vampire books. I have been trying for months to win a copy of this off GoodReads, but it looks like I’m going to have to wait until it’s released.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh centers around Celine Rousseau, who has fled Paris to live in a convent in New Orleans. She catches the attention of Sebastian Saint Germain. When another girl is killed, Celine suspects Sebastian. As bodies pile up, she has to fight her attraction and for her life. It sounds like a wonderfully imagined world and I cannot wait to dive in.

Release Date: October 8

Rebel by Marie Lu is the continuing adventures of June, Day, and Day’s brother Eden. It looks like it will mostly center around Eden and his struggle to break free from the shadow of his brother. I don’t care who it’s about, I just want more of the world. I love the way Lu imagines her worlds and the way she integrates technology into her stories.

Release Date: October 1

Rage by Jonathan Maberry is the continuing story of Joe Ledge and his scrappy band of misfits he calls a squadron. When Jonathan Maberry announced that Deep Silence was the last Joe Ledger book, I was devestated. Not every book was a home run, but I love all the character and wasn’t ready to let them go. Luckily, he meant that that particular Joe Ledger series was over and that he was launching a new one where Ledger and his crew would be out on their own. I am so there for it. The political bullshit that they’ve been put through the last few books has been so enraging; I’m glad that they aren’t dealing with that any more. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Release Date: November 5

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco is another highly anticipated release. I’ve been meaning to read these books for years, but only got into them earlier this year when I found them at the library. I doubt the library will buy this right away, so I’ll probably get it on Kindle or something. I love Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell so much. Audrey Rose is a fascinating young woman, and I’ve loved her development through the series. I can’t wait to read this.

Release Date: September 10

I’m sure there are more books I’m anticipating, but I’m going to leave this list right there. It looks like I’ll have a lot to read this fall!

What books are you looking forward to. Drop a comment below and let me know!