The Friday 56: The Unexpected Everything

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“This could all still be okay. I just had to convince him this had nothing to do with my dad and that he needed to contact the program and tell them the e-mail had been a mistake, sent accidentally from the drafts folder, in an Ambien haze, whatever–I didn’t care what he told Johns Hopkins. But he had to reverse this. He had to.”

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson may be my favorite contemporary read I’ve picked up this year. I loved the friendship in the novel, was moved by the family aspect, and really enjoyed the romance as well. Also, there are dogs and I have a soft spot for dogs. Read my full review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Andie had it all planned out.
      When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
      Important internship? Check.
      Amazing friends? Check.
      Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

      But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
      Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
      And where’s the fun in that?”

The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Long Game
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Fixer, #2
Pages: 360
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: June 7th 2016 

      “For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.
      Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can—and cannot—be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she’s about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.

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“The closer you’d been to death, the easier it was to feel him breathing down your neck—and the necks of those you loved.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s political thriller, The Long Game, is jam-packed with action and plenty of mysteries that will keep you guessing throughout. The sequel to The Fixer, this novel follows Tess Kendrick as she continues to navigate the political landscape of her new school Hardwicke, while dealing with extremely complicated family relationships. In the first book, Tess was thrust into a world wholly unlike the one she grew up in. Her sister Ivy is a well-known political “fixer” and this coupled with Tess’s own drive, made her peers seek her out in order to fix their own problems. In The Long Game, Tess has come to terms with this role. She hasn’t gone so far as to offer her services to other students, but she won’t turn down someone in need. Tess is a character whose convictions motivate her to take on almost impossible tasks, but she’s smart and determined, making her a force to be reckoned with. Tess is also stubborn and unforgiving. Her need for answers sometimes makes her reckless and her defensive walls make it difficult for people to get close. After the revelation in the first book, Tess isn’t sure where she stands with Ivy. I enjoyed the progression of their relationship and look forward to seeing how it further evolves. Tess endures a lot in this novel and she comes to understand more about who she is and how much the people in her life mean to her.

Tess has inadvertently gathered a group of friends to help her in fixing the problems at Hardwicke. Vivvie Bharani went through terrible circumstances in the first book, but she’s finally settled in with her aunt and is never happier than when she is helping others. Asher Rhodes is the kind of fun-loving friend everyone should have. He’s loyal and funny and brings a lighter tone to the group. Henry Marquette is the most reluctant of the group. Defined largely by his unwavering principles and steady presence, Henry feels like the cornerstone of the group, the one that let’s everyone know when that their schemes might just be too crazy to work. Of Tess’s friends, Henry is the most developed and I think this is one of the reasons I like reading about him so much. He has a lot in common with Tess, both have been lied to and manipulated. They don’t easily trust, so the moments they open up to each other were some of my favorites.

The Long Game is filled with secrets and lies, unpredictable moments, and a twist that will have you screaming. I did not expect The Long Game to be an emotional roller coaster, but that’s just what it was. A thrill ride from start to finish, this sequel is sure to surprise readers and have them begging for more.

Rating: 5/5

★★★★★

Top Ten Tuesday: Preblogging TBR Books

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet.” This is going to be a rude awakening. I’ve been blogging for about two and a half years and it never ceases to amaze me how many books are really out there. As a result my TBR list has exploded since I started blogging and there is just not enough time to get to everything, which means I’ve neglected quite a few books on my TBR that have been there before I started blogging. Here is a tiny look at my preblogging TBR list. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Bloodspell by Amalie Howard – Before I got tired of seeing vampire books everywhere and just gave up on them entirely, Bloodspell was on my TBR. I’m pretty sure I’ll never pick it up, so the logical thing to do is to take it off my TBR list. Still haven’t done it.

2. Destined by Jessie Harrell – This is a story based on the myth of Psyche and Cupid. I actually added this to my TBR because I love the famous sculpture of the two by Antonio Canova, so when I heard this one was based on their story, this one went on my TBR.

3. The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier – Yes, there are Juliet Marillier books I haven’t read yet. Not only has this one been on my TBR before blogging, it has been on my shelf as well.

4. The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore – I read her novel Texas Gothic before I started blogging and loved it. I ended up with this other novel by her and years later I still haven’t read it. I had planned to pick it up last October for my Halloween-themed TBR, but didn’t get a chance to read it. Maybe this year…

5. A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron – I loved, loved, loved the first book The Dark Unwinding, but it’s been so long since I read it that I need to find the time for a reread before diving into this one. I’m certainly taking my time.

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6. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta – I really enjoyed Marchetta’s first novel in this fantasy series, Finnikin of the Rock, and went ahead and bought the final two books in the series, but then I think I was just overwhelmed with all the fantasy series out there that I never got around to finishing this one. I really, really want to soon though.

7. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – I don’t typically read memoirs, but I heard about this one and then found it for really cheap at a used bookstore, so picked it up. Still haven’t read it.

8. Magic Study by Marie V. Snyder – I love fantasy and Snyder is one of those authors I should have read a crazy amount of books from, but I’ve only read two. Now I actually own her complete Study series (as well as her Glass series), but have only read Poison Study. I must remedy this.

9. Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts – I really liked the first book in this duology, but it’s been so long that I actually don’t remember much about it. Another reread to add to my list!

10. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – There are only a handful of movies I remember from my childhood that had such an impact on me and A Little Princess was one of them. I’m getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it. I’ve had the book for quite a while and haven’t picked it up yet.

Have you read any of these? Any you’d recommend I get to immediately? Let me know in the comments and be sure leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

Mini Reviews: The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society + ARC Review: The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

MiniIt is by no plan on my part that this month’s set of mini reviews features two middle grade reads. Middle grade novels are always such a delight and it’s a bit disappointing that I haven’t been able to get to more this year. A little off topic, but why is it that so many MG books have long titles? I confess that I secretly love when titles are long-winded though. Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

Title: The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society
Author: Janet Sumner Johnson
Series: N/A
Pages: 256
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Release Date: April 1st 2016
*I received a copy of this book through a giveaway hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl which does not influence my review*

      “Some things are better together. Like peanut butter and jelly. Or Annie and Jason. So when her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, Annie Jenkins is bursting with ideas to save Jason’s home. She could sell her appendix on eBay. (Why not?) Win the lottery. (It’s worth a shot!). Face the evil bankers herself. (She’s one tough cookie, after all.) Or hunt down an elusive (and questionably real) pirate treasure. Whatever the plan, it has to work, or this is undoubtedly THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB&J SOCIETY.

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“The elephant crashed on top of me, smushing me like a two-liter on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I couldn’t believe. Even from a distance, the words on the sign were clear: For Sale.

In The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society, Janet Sumner Johnson masterfully captures the voice of ten-year-old Annie whose whole world goes topsy-turvy when she finds out her best friend, Jason, may have to move out of state. In a series of well-meaning, but overly-ambitious schemes, Annie and Jason try their best to figure out a way for his family to stay. Annie is the kind of girl with big ideas who can’t quite understand why the adults in her life don’t jump on board immediately. Her personality is nicely balanced with Jason’s, who is much more skeptical and hesitant to go along with Annie’s crazy plans, but does so anyway because that’s what best friends do. Full of amazing friendships, fun adventures, unexpected mysteries, and perfect PB&J sandwiches (yes, you will be craving a PB&J at least once while reading this), this debut middle grade read will both delight and move you.

Rating: 3/5

★★★


Title: The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: N/A
Pages: 208
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: September 13th 2016
*I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley, which does not influence my review*

      “Lionel is a wild boy, who doesn’t much like to be around other people. He’d rather be a purring cat or a wolf stalking the woods.
      Marybeth is a nice girl. She doesn’t need to be told to comb her hair or brush her teeth, and she’s kind to everyone at the orphanage . . . Lionel most of all.
      Different though they are, Lionel and Marybeth are best friends in a world that has forgotten about them. So when a mysterious blue spirit possesses Marybeth—and starts to take control—they know they must stop it before the real Marybeth fades away forever.”

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You might recognize Lauren DeStefano’s name from her YA book series, but she’s recently dipped her toe in the Middle Grade genre. Her newest book The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart, follows nine-year-old best friends Marybeth and Lionel. The two main characters are very well-developed with their own personalities and ways of looking at the world. Marybeth is the more practical of the two, she is well-behaved and never causes trouble for Mrs. Mannerd, who runs the orphanage where the children live. Lionel on the other hand is quite the handful, always disappearing and rarely willing to interact with other people. Marybeth and Lionel’s relationship is the strongest element in the novel, each is just as devoted to the other, despite their differences. For Lionel, who feels more at home in nature and among animals, Marybeth is his link to the human world. Likewise, Marybeth understands that Lionel belongs to a different kind of world, a world she only catches glimpses of through their friendship. The story itself is rather dark, but DeStefano’s charming writing makes the story accessible for all ages.

Rating: 3/5

★★★

The Friday 56: Tell Me Three Things

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“That’s not the point. I can get an A on my own. I don’t need to hand in your work, ” I say, and cross my arms. “And anyway, it’s against the honor code.”

He looks at me again, and I see the faintest hint of a smirk. Better than a dismissal, I guess, but still obnoxious.

“The honor code?”

Julie Buxmaum’s Tell Me Three Things is one of my favorite contemporary reads that I’ve picked up this year. With a strong focus on family dynamics and a mystery driving the plot, the novel was all around really enjoyable. You can read my full review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
      It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
      In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?”

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books With a Magical Setting

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc).” This week I’m going to spotlight books that have magical systems in their universes. It’s one of my favorite fantasy elements and one I can never get enough of. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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Do you enjoy books with magical settings? Have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments and be sure leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.