Waiting on Wednesday: Smash and Grab by Amy Christene Parker

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Summary:

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story. Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

Why:

I absolutely LOVED Parker’s Gated books a couple years back. I still recommend it to people all the time actually. So when I hard about this one I was naturally intrigued!

This seems like it’ll have a good Romeo and Juliet vibe going to it and that is always a fun time in books. Plus, Amy is just a fun writer as it is.

I can’t wait to read this! While you wait, pick up a copy of Gated and give it a try!

-Melanie

Review: Rebel of the Sands

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Summary:

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

My Thoughts:

Full disclosure: This isn’t the type of book that I’d normally read and enjoy. It just isn’t.

With that said…I absolutely LOVED it!

I’m not sure what it was really. Maybe it was just the right book at the right time, but I was hooked. I struggled to put it down and had to know what was going to happen next.

I was engrossed in the world building and could perfectly picture the desert sands and all of the creatures that were described.

Overall, this was a great story and I cannot wait for the next installment. As much as I could not put Rebel of the Sands down, I was still taken by surprise when the book ended because I didn’t WANT it to end.

This was such a surprise enjoyment for me and I can’t recommend it enough! It releases NEXT TUESDAY, so please be sure and pick it up. You won’t regret it!

-Melanie

 

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Summary:

The New York Times bestseller, soon to be a major motion picture; US release on June 3, 2016.

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

My Thoughts:

I’ve wanted to read this book forever! I had friends recommend it well before the  movie news. They each talked about how amazing the story was and how much they cried over the things that take place in the novel.

Maybe I missed something there?

It was a sweet story and I did enjoy it, but I still had some serious issues with it.

My biggest issue is that it is able a disabled person showing an able bodied person how to live life. I’m not sure if it would’ve worked the other way around, but it bothered me that Louisa was content to NOT stand up for herself and have actual goals.

Sure, she eventually started to think of how she could better her life, but she still wasn’t 100% sold on the idea. She would have otherwise been stuck in her simple life with Patrick had it not been for finally branching out some.

Further still, I had a problem with the ending. Not to spoil the entire thing,  but it just didn’t give the message that the disabled can still live their best life and strive to do more. Not in the slightest.

Those feelings aside, I liked the book, but it was still weird just for those two problems. I will still watch the movie when it releases because I’m a masochist for sad romances, but I still just don’t agree with the way that the novel approaches the disabled.

Sure, there are probably people who feel the way Will does about their own lives, but the book just didn’t send the right message in my mind.

Either way, it is still worth a read and is still a beautiful story that is a good, quick read.

-Melanie

Friday Fix: The Crown and the Arrow excerpt

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The wait for The Rose and the Dagger releasing in May is entirely too long!

However, there is a novella releasing on March 1 that will help with the wait.

EVEN BETTER—Bustle just released the first CHAPTER to the upcoming novella!

Go check it out HERE and get even more excited for both releases!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose and the Dagger

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Summary:

(Taken from Goodreads)

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Why I’m excited:

The Wrath and the Dawn was easily one of my favorite books from 2015. Honestly, there wasn’t any question about it being a favorite!

However…this is how I felt at the end of Wrath:

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WHAT. WAS. THAT.

It was an amazing book, but that ENDING. I’ve been dying for Rose  ever since I finished the first book. It was a wild ride and then had an abrupt ending that left me chomping at the bits for more.

Let’s be real though- that’s exactly what a book SHOULD do!

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the first book at RT Convention last year and I’ve done nothing, but sing it’s praises since then.

I’m excited that this is a duology because I don’t think I could take another wait like the last cliffhanger! Plus, that just means we can see what else the author has up her sleeves with something entirely different!


Have you read Wrath and the Dawn and if so are you just as ready for this next installment as I am?

-Melanie

Monday Musings

Greetings from Nashville, TN!

Hey, y’all! I’m currently spending my 4th consecutive Thanksgiving week in beautiful Nashville! Last week, I talked about which bookstores I was planning to visit, so later this week I’ll be sharing my friends from book shopping in Nashville.

But First!

I shared that last week I had two orders come in at my library. In those orders, I had several books come in that I have read and was very excited to get in and share with my students.

One of those books was The Wrath and the Dawn!

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I’m not sure that I ever posted a review for Wrath, but I read it back in June and it is still my favorite thing I’ve read all year. The back story was phenomenal and had so much depth and…it has a MAP!

A kid immediately checked it out this week and then commented that she knew it was going to be good because she noticed that it had a map when she opened. I thought it was funny, because I always think the same thing when I read fantasy.

In fact, I had the same thought for Wrath (and was right…it was awesome!). I recently started Throne of Glass and had the same thought when I saw the map at the beginning.  Granted, I’m not done with that one, but so far so good…my theory still stands: Books that have maps have better world building and tend to be better overall.

Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me and my one kid at work?

-Melanie

Currently reading and update!

Before I share, can I just take a second to point out that I just realized that WINTER comes out in TWO WEEKS! My excitement for that book is ridiculous. Get on board and read Cinder ASAP if you haven’t yet!

I’m planning to take Winter with me to read on vacation over Thanksgiving break, but I know that I’ll break down and read it before then. Plus, the cover is beautiful, but that book is a MONSTER in size…I don’t want to get the kindle version for vacation just to turn around and also get the hardcover. :/

Anyways…moving on before I fangirl over the Lunar Chronicles too much…

Currently reading:

This is why I’ve been MIA for the past couple of days:

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I know. EVERYONE is reading it. I know.

I had an eARC for months that was online-only and, while I’m thankful for it, my vision didn’t quite agree with reading the wild fonts on a computer screen. So….I waited even after getting about 100 pages in.

WOW.

If you’ve been on the fence about Illuminae then I will say that it definitely lives up to the hype.

In fact, last night I hit a point in the book that blew me away and I maybe yelled at the book (no, I’m serious!) and then had to take a little mental break from the craziness.

Wanna know what’s sad? The author’s know that spot does this to people! They KNOW:

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Granted, I’ve told a few people that I don’t think it’d be their thing, but I’m still telling everyone else that it’s amazing. GET THIS BOOK! Not only that, it’s just a cool looking book. The actual book itself, not the jacket, is set up to look like a folder with notes and markings all over it to stay with the theme.

It’s awesome and I’ve had students come in the library asking me about it when they see it on the desk. It’s just that good!

I should finish Illuminae today and then I’m also reading How to Be Brave which releases NEXT WEEK! I’ll have a blog tour post with a q&a post from the author next Thursday along with a giveaway, so be on the lookout for that!

Currently Reading: Modern Romance

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Book Info:

Now a New York Times Bestseller

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but forModern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.



So Far So Good!

I’m loving Aziz’s take on dating in today’s world. I think I initially went in expecting it to be more comical than it is. That’s not to say that it isn’t funny, but it is actually filled with GOOD information and proof that he did plenty of research.

I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Aziz’s comedy or just someone interested in reading about dating.

I hope to finish soon for a full review, but had to go ahead and share about how much I’m enjoying so far!

-M