The Friday 56: Burn Baby Burn

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!**

“Really, Stiller’s just an activism junkie with a capital A, as in Anti-War, Anti-Imperialism, Anti-Misogyny, and so on. There’s not a cause she won’t defend if it means giving it to the establishment.”

Meg Medina blew me away with the historical novel Burn Baby Burn. The author does a phenomenal job of bringing to life 1977 New York, a year when the Son of Sam was on a rampage and a city-wide blackout threw New York into chaos. My mini review for this one will be up Sunday. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous year 1977 in New York. 
      After a freezing winter, a boiling hot summer explodes with arson, a blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam, who is shooting young people on the streets seemingly at random.
      Not only is the city a disaster, but Nora has troubles of her own: her brother, Hector, is growing more uncontrollable by the day, her mother is helpless to stop him, and her father is so busy with his new family that he only calls on holidays.
      And it doesn’t stop there. The super’s after her mother to pay their overdue rent, and her teachers are pushing her to apply for college, but all Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. There is a cute guy who started working with her at the deli, but is dating even worth the risk when the killer especially likes picking off couples who stay out too late?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Liked Less Than I Thought I Would

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time).” High expectations can really ruin a read if the book in question doesn’t live up to the hype. Sometimes it’s hype from fellow bloggers and publishers and sometimes it’s your own expectations that can work against you. Whatever the case, I know everyone has experienced picking up a book, so sure they’d be blown away, only to realize that no, you will not be sharing in all the hoopla surrounding said book. Here are ten books I read in the last year(ish) that I had high expectations for, but ultimately let me down. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis – Everyone loves this one and being a huge fan of her book A Madness So Discreet, I went in thinking I was going to love this one too. I liked facets of it, but was kind of let down.

2. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather – I’m still baffled by the fact that so many bloggers loved this, but it just ended up being okay for me.

3. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – I might be the only blogger who didn’t love this debut. I just really didn’t like any of the characters and thought the story itself wasn’t all that compelling.

4. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – I love love love Lara Jean. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is one of my favorite contemporary books, but this sequel really let me down. The characters lacked the kind of charisma I loved about them from the first book. I was so disappointed that I’m not sure I’ll be picking up the third book.

5. The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron – I loved Rook so much, but this more recent release by Cameron did absolutely nothing for me. The story was just okay and quite honestly, I remember next to nothing about the characters.

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6. Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers – We could have been soulmates! I love assassin stories, so I jumped on this one immediately despite it being a debut. I wish I had waited.

7. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken – I think I need to accept the fact that this author and I don’t mesh well. I loved her debut Brightly Woven, but nothing since then has moved me.

8. Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey – Jane Austen elements should make this one a delightful read for me, but alas, I found it pretty boring.

9. When We Collided by Emery Lord – So many bloggers love this one and I expected to as well considering how much I enjoyed The Start of Me and You, but it’s another book I’m puzzled over not liking.

10. Gilded Cage by Vic James – My most recent letdown. When I picked this one up, the Goodreads rating was really high and early reviewers were raving about it. I think I might have read a different book because I’m not sure what was so impressive about it. Yikes, that’s harsh.

I hate to ask, but…did you enjoy any of these even though I didn’t? What was the last read you went into with high expectations that ended up disappointing you? Let me know in the comments and be sure leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

cc-banner-march-1Special Note: There are only a few days left to sign up for the Winter 2017 Comment Challenge for March. This is the final month for the winter challenge and we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be partnering you with another book blogger and all month long you will be encouraged to comment on each other’s blogs. Click the image to the left for all the info. Special thanks to all those who have participated this season. Note: the final day to sign-up will be the 25th.

The Friday 56: Heartstone

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!**

“Brysney gave me the dagger and I cut away the hem from my own shirt, willing my hands not to shake as I handed him the strip of cloth. As he wrapped Anjey’s arm I squatted beside the dead gryphon, at once transfixed and appalled by the sight.”

I just finished Elle Katharine White’s Heartstone, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, but with dragons. I don’t have a review of this one up yet, but look for it next month. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride & Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms.
      They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.
      Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.
      Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.
      It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.”

cc-banner-march-1Special Note: Sign-ups for the Winter 2017 Comment Challenge for March are now open. This is the final month for the winter challenge and we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be partnering you with another book blogger and all month long you will be encouraged to comment on each other’s blogs. Click the image to the left for all the info. Special thanks to all those who have participated this season! Note: the final day to sign-up will be the 25th.

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Tropes I Kind of Love

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “All About Romance Tropes/Types — top ten favorite hate-to-love romances (from books or movies or tv), top ten favorite (or least favorite) instalove romances, favorite slow-burn romances, favorite starcrossed lovers, etc. etc. Can go so many ways with this one).” This week I’m listing romantic tropes that I find really hard to resist (though I admit, some are harder to resist than others like the slow burn and love/hate relationship). Last year I listed romantic tropes I can’t stand (click here to take a look), so this year I thought I’d stay more positive. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Slow Burn – My all-time favorite romantic trope is the slow burn. I live for the slow burn. I love the agony of waiting, I love the build up of tension, I love the ultimate payoff of seeing the relationship develop and then happen (hopefully with a swoon-worthy kiss). I’m always, always up for a slow burn romance.

  • Book recommendation: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

2. Enemies to Lovers – I think part of the reason I like this trope is the slow burn aspect of it (if it isn’t slow burn, you’re doing it wrong). I love the potential for character development with this trope because it means that both characters’ world views are going to be challenged.

  • Book recommendation: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

3. Fake Relationships – Is the fake relationship trope extremely predictable? Yes. Do I end up enjoying it despite this fact? Absolutely. Sometimes you should just enjoy the ride.

  • Book recommendation: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

4. Friends to Lovers – This trope sometimes works for me and sometimes doesn’t. I have to really believe that the two characters have a connection beyond friendship.

  • Book recommendation: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

5. Arranged Marriage – I never thought that this would be something that I’d really enjoy, but you know what, I kind of really enjoy arranged marriage plots, especially when it’s a slow burn (anyone really surprised?).

  • Book recommendation: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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6. Assassin to Lover – I’m not sure what the official name for this type of plot would be called and I know some people may lump it in with Enemies to Lovers, but I’m particularly prone to love any plot that starts off with one character wanting/ordered to kill another and failing for whatever reason. I haven’t found too many books like this that I love, but I’m always intrigued whenever a book with this plot creeps up.

  • Book recommendation: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

7. Former Love Rekindled – This is one trope that I never really thought I was interested in, but there are some really good ones out there and I’d really like to see more of it.

  • Book recommendation: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

8. Fairytale Retellings – I love fairytale retellings so much. Really, I’m up for anything, but I will say that less-familiar fairytale retellings are much more interesting.

  • Book recommendation: Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

9. Love/Hate Relationship – Another trope that I’m not sure what to call it, but I always associate it with Pride and Prejudice. It’s that I-really-don’t-like-you-but-somehow-we-still-have-this-connection-and-I’m-going-to-deny-it-for-as-long-as-possible kind of thing (slow burn here).

  • Book recommendation: Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

10. You’ve Got Mail – Pen pals without knowing the other person’s identity? Yes, I will read all the books that do this! Like the fake relationship trope, it can be predictable, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it.

  • Book recommendation: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Do you enjoy any of these romantic tropes? What is your favorite romantic trope? Have any recommendations based on the tropes I listed? Please share! Be sure leave a link to your own TTT post as well, so I can visit.

cc-banner-march-1Special Note: Sign-ups for the Winter 2017 Comment Challenge for March are now open. This is the final month for the winter challenge and we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be partnering you with another book blogger and all month long you will be encouraged to comment on each other’s blogs. Click the image to the left for all the info. Special thanks to all those who have participated this season! Note: the final day to sign-up will be the 25th.

The Friday 56: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

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!**

“How I wish I could bring you good news! But late in the golden reign of the Queen, the Marquess arrived and destroyed her. Or made her sit in a corner. Reports vary.”

Among my favorite middle grade novels, Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is as charming and delightful as its title. Find my full review of this one hereCover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

cc-banner-march-1Special Note: Sign-ups for the Winter 2017 Comment Challenge for March are now open. This is the final month for the winter challenge and we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be partnering you with another book blogger and all month long you will be encouraged to comment on each other’s blogs. Click the image to the left for all the info. Special thanks to all those who have participated this season! Note: the final day to sign-up will be the 25th.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Wish Had More Relevant Female Characters

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 I Wish Had (More/Less) X In Them.” I had so many ideas for this week’s list, but decided I’d like to highlight a few books that I wish had more relevant female characters in them. Often times I’ll pick up a book and the only relevant female character will be the lead and it just makes me wonder why the author couldn’t take the time to develop other female characters. Worse still is when these other female characters become expendable. It’s a trope that I really grow tired of and I’d love to start seeing more books where there is more than one important female character. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – I love Hermione. I think she’s all kinds of amazing, but I do wish that more female characters in this series were more relevant. Ginny Weasley is a force to be reckoned with, but at times you really have to read between the lines to discover everything that she was and she really deserved a more prominent role in the series.

2. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski – I had so many high hopes for Kestrel and her best friend Jess. I hoped she would have a bigger role in the second book and when that didn’t happen, I hoped Risha would be a more significant player. I love this series, but it really missed the mark with the other female characters besides Kestrel.

3. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – I love my Raven boys. I really, really do. And I love Blue’s family, all those women living in one house, but I kind of wish Blue had developed an important female friendship with…well, there’s literally no other female in the series who is Blue’s age. Orla is family so she doesn’t count in my mind.

4. Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab – I love the trio in this series. Kell, Lila, Rhy are all amazing, but it would be really nice to get some other awesome female characters in on the action besides Lila. The second book had me wondering where all the gals were. I actually missed Astrid Dane.

5. The Gold Seer Trilogy by Rae Carson – Another series that I’ve really enjoyed, but would like a lot more if the protagonist wasn’t the only significant female character.

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6. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – It’s been a long while since I pick up this first book and I haven’t gotten around to finishing the series, but the female protagonist and her two male love interests are the only characters I can recall. I hope Lia gained a female ally or two in the next two books.

7. Graceling Realms series by Kristin Cashore – I think this series may have been the first fantasy YA one I ever read. I really enjoyed all three books that focused on a different female protagonist, but looking back, I think I would have liked for them to have featured more than one important female character.

8. The Falconer Trilogy by Elizabeth May – I think this series is seriously underrated. It does follow the trope that the protagonist is a special snowflake and I know that can be a frustrating trope, but what loses points for me more is that Aileana is the only female around that gets to fight (aside from the villains).

9. One the Fence by Kasie West – This is my favorite Kasie West novel. I loved Charlie’s relationship with her brothers, but one of the things that really bugged me was that the protagonist had this very rigid view of femininity. She couldn’t reconcile being a girl who played sports with one who may also like things like makeup. This could have easily been solved if more female characters were in this book because no one will ever convince me that this girl lived in a world where there were no girls who loved both sports and dressing up.

10. The 5th Wave Trilogy by Rick Yancey – I loved Cassie in the first book. I loved her voice and determination. The second book really let me down because when we got to see Cassie interact with another female character, it went the stereotypical way and they hated each other for no good reason. Perhaps if more relevant females were around, the author wouldn’t have found the need to pit these two against each other.

What’s one book or series that you think should have more relevant female characters? Why do you think so many authors only seem to focus on one female character? Let me know in the comments and be sure leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

Special Note: Sign-ups for the Winter 2017 Comment Challenge for March are now open. This is the final month for the winter challenge and we’d love for you to join us. We’ll be partnering you with another book blogger and all month long you will be encouraged to comment on each other’s blogs. Click the image to the left for all the info. Special thanks to all those who have participated this season!