Waiting on Wednesday {46}

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly meme where we can share a book that we are so excited for and are anxiously awaiting their upcoming release!

This week my WoW pick is...

This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Release Date ~ December 23, 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:
Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The stunning second novel in the Starbound trilogy is an unforgettable story of love and forgiveness in a world torn apart by war.

I know, I know. At this point of the year, December (and Christmas) basically just feel FOREVER away. Way too far. But I know some people were VERY lucky and able to pick this one up at BEA. And for those of you haven't read the first book yet, you have some time to get to it before the sequel comes out!

But it's coming! And with it comes this spectacular sequel!! So I was a little bit late hopping onto the Starbound train, but I absolutely, positively ADORED These Broken Stars! It was everything I hoped for and more. Needless to say, I am weak with anticipation for This Shattered World. I love the whole political/war aspect to it, with star-crossed lovers on opposite sides. I'm a sucker for stories like that. I love that there's more planets and terraforming and all sorts of sci-fi goodness in it. Plus? These covers are to die for!

In particular, I'm very curious to see if any of the mysteries and questions we discovered in These Broken Stars will be dealt with in This Shattered World. I don't expect everything to be explained, but maybe a few more hints...?

Who else is eagerly awaiting This Shattered World? Have you read These Broken Stars, yet?


Review: Midnight Thief

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief #1) by Livia Blackburne
Release Date ~ July 8, 2014
Disney-Hyperion ~ Hachette Book Group Canada
ISBN13: 9781423176381
ARC received from HBG Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.

Livia Blackburne reached out to me a while ago and asked if I would review her prequel novella to Midnight Thief, Poison Dance (which I loved)! So when I read Midnight Thief I already had a bit of an introduction to some of the characters and world. I believe this enhanced my reading experience of Midnight Thief, because I already felt connected to this story. And while Midnight Thief is different than Poison Dance (it's more YA while Poison feels more NA) I loved it in its own way.

  1. Family is more than blood:

    I appreciate stories where the main character has a supportive, loving family but I understand that the traditional approach to this isn't the reality for very many characters. I liked how Kyra (an orphan) makes up her own little family - it's far from perfect, but it's just right for Kyra. And it's so beautiful to see how these characters actively choose to love and care for one another.
  2. A surprising plot:

    It doesn't too happen too often that I am truly shocked by a book, but Midnight Thief ended up completely catching me off guard. It's a very well-woven story which delicately hints at what may transpire in future events, but this is accomplished cleverly. Plus, the story developments just fit so well with the book and made so much sense! It was clearly a well-thought out story and carefully planned by Livia.
  3. Flawed characters:

    The characters in Midnight Thief are far from perfect, and Kyra is no exception. She doesn't excel at everything, she has her own struggles that she has to work on. But I like that she focuses on doing her own thing, despite what others may think. She has some growing to do, and we can already see that taking place during Midnight Thief. As do many of the other characters. James is actually a perfect example of this - and it was very interesting for me to see what he is like in Midnight Thief, after reading about him in Poison Dance. 

While the romance wasn't the most exciting part of the book for me, I really liked how it was featured in Midnight Thief. It's very realistic and definitely doesn't overshadow the rest of the story.

I'm hoping for a bit more world building in later books, because it's only briefly touched upon in Midnight Thief. It seemed to me that there was a reason for this, which had to do with some revelations towards the end of the book.


Review: Tomorrow's Kingdom

Tomorrow's Kingdom (The Gypsy King #3) by Maureen Fergus
Release Date ~ July 8, 2014
RazOrbill Canada ~ Penguin
ISBN13: 9780670067664
Hardcover personally purchased

Goodreads Synopsis:
Persephone has once again broken a promise to Azriel—but only to protect him from certain death at the hands of the Regent Mordecai. Now she finds herself desperately alone and burdened by responsibilities he would do almost anything to escape. But the days of putting her own needs first are long past, and when it becomes clear that Mordecai and Lord Bartok will sacrifice anyone and anything in their battle for control of the kingdom, Persephone knows she must find a way to thwart them both.

She also knows that she cannot do it alone. Does Persephone have the courage and cleverness she will need to survive the challenges she will face along the way? Will she ever again feel Azriel’s powerful arms around her? And what does any of this have to do with the prophesied GypsyKing and the role he will play in tomorrow’s kingdom?

Maureen Fergus swept me away with the first book in her YA fantasy series, The Gypsy King. I loved the sequel, but I was a bit apprehensive waiting for Tomorrow's Kingdom to come out. The ending of a series is so difficult, but Tomorrow's Kingdom completely nails it.

Tomorrow's Kingdom marks the end of a terrific fantasy series; one that I highly recommend to both fans of fantasy and readers who are new to it.

*Note that this review contains NO SPOILERS for ANY book in the series.

  1. Uncommon stakes for YA:

    One thing I love about The Gypsy King is that Persephone is put in a position fairly unique position compared to her YA counterparts. She takes on responsibilities virtually unheard of for most characters in YA - and that's part of why I love this series. And the risks have never been greater for Persephone than they are in Tomorrow's Kingdom. In some ways, this makes it seem like a more mature read, yet it will still enthrall younger readers.
  2. The adventure of a lifetime: 

    Persephone embarks on a quest that will change her life. It's not at all what she expected for her future, but she's a resilient young woman who adapts to the difficult situations she encounters. Tomorrow's Kingdom is the conclusion of an epic adventure, which is sure to please readers who appreciate courageous characters on a risky journey. And as much as I loved the ending, the losses are strongly felt.
  3. Endearing secondary characters:

    I adore Persephone and Azriel, but I'm just as in love with the minor characters from the story as well! I didn't realize how much so until this third book. Persephone and Azriel make friends with so many people along the way, and they really add this extra dimension of depth to the story. The story becomes about much more than simply Persephone's life - it's about the future of an entire kingdom which is perfectly exemplified by the little group Persephone brings together. 
I have loved following Persephone's story over these past couple of years. Fantasy has always been one of my favourite book genres, and The Gypsy King series is one in particular that I enjoy and will miss reading. It has plenty of excitement for its readers, with characters that will stay with you long past the time you finish reading the books. Just as importantly, it's great for readers who both love fantasy as much as I do and those readers who still need an introduction to it. 


Waiting on Wednesday {45}

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly meme where we can share a book that we are so excited for and are anxiously awaiting their upcoming release!

This week my WoW pick is...

The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu
Release Date ~ October 7, 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

First of all, I love Marie Lu's Legend trilogy. She showed how great of a writer she is, with an ability to create strong stories and exciting characters. The Young Elites really grabs me with its description because it sounds so fantastically creative! It sounds like a story that is all her own. Plus, I've been stalking Marie's Pinterest board and I'm just in love with it.

Have you read Marie Lu's Legend books? Did you love them as much as I did? Are you looking forward to The Young Elites?


Review: Of Metal and Wishes

Of Metal and Wishes (Of Metal and Wishes #1) by Sarah Fine
Release Date ~ August 5, 2014
Margaret K McElderry Books ~ Simon & Schuster 
ISBN13: 9781442483583
ARC received from S&S Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it.

Of Metal and Wishes is an impressive re-telling of The Phantom of the Opera with an imaginative take on the story with characters and a plot that truly stand out.

  1. A setting unlike any other:

    The fact that Of Metal and Wishes takes place in a slaughterhouse already sets it apart from nearly every book I've ever read. But I also liked how Sarah Fine included some elements with a steampunk and gothic feel to create an eerie, isolated world within the slaughterhouse. She doesn't shy away from the harsh reality of Wen's daily life and what she sees around her. There is racial tension (which plays a fairly significant part of the story) as well as issues relating to gender and social status. It's particularly interesting to see how those go hand-in-hand at times and overlap. The Industrial setting is also important for the plot, and hints at more to come.
  2. Life-like characters:

    Wen isn't a stereotypical character. She has a strong personality and that's consistent in the book (which is important to me - it bothers me when characters act in a way that is seemingly out of character because it feels forced.) Likewise, the Ghost is an incredibly sympathetic character and one who shows remarkable development despite his situation. I'll admit that some of the secondary characters had fairly minor roles to play, and as a result they felt a tad underdeveloped. But they also struck me as realistic. I adored the romance in this book, because it builds achingly slow but that's PERFECT for the characters. It's the kind that never stopped playing with my heartstrings!
  3. The Phantom of the Opera inspirations:

    There are a couple aspects of Phantom that are harder for me to understand and accept because they never really felt developed. Of Metal and Wishes doesn't suffer from this problem, and it's one thing I really loved about the book. The relationship between Wen and Melik felt so authentic, as did the unusual relationship between Wen and the Ghost. 
But for those of you who may not love Phantom as much as I do, or readers who may not be as familiar with it, this is still a perfectly enjoyable story. No background knowledge of Phantom is needed to appreciate this remarkable book. It's beautifully written in such a way that is clear to follow and descriptive. It's a story that stands on its own merits as opposed to relying on the original story by which it was inspired. 

Until I finished this book, I expected Of Metal and Wishes to be a standalone but I was very pleased to discover that it has a sequel set to release in 2015! I'm very pleased with that news. Yet at the same time, I loved that this book contains its own story. It felt finished by the end, but left a few loose threads hanging. And I'm so excited to see what happens next!


Waiting on Wednesday {44}

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly meme where we can share a book that we are so excited for and are anxiously awaiting their upcoming release!

This week my WoW pick is...

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Featuring stories by: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Leviathan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Matt de la Pena, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White
Release Date ~ October 14, 2014

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I need this book. First of all, the cover is adorable and perfectly festive! Second of all, I'm a little bit obsessed with Christmas and the holiday season and everything comes with it (I mean it when I say "everything" - even busy malls! I blame the fact that I'm a Christmas baby). Third, can we take a second look at the list of included authors? How. Amazing. Plus it's edited by Stephanie Perkins (!!!)

Basically, this book is going to be amazing. We all know it, and now it just needs to be October so I can get my hands on it!

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