Thursday, February 15, 2018

Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko (ARC) - Review


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I received a free eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Selena and her brother have to escape tyrannical New Canaan. They have to make sure that the information on data stick that got her parents killed makes it to the Republic of California, the only place left that stands for peace and freedom. The two siblings are the last hope for their mostly ruined continent before it's entirely too late. They've got thousands of miles on the road ahead of them through the Middle Wastes and they'll have to deal with everything from murderers and thieves to a poisonous grass called yellow locust which has made growing food next to impossible. Fallowfield is practically an oasis in the midst of the wasteland - everything seems far too good to be true. As Selena begins to uncover the secrets of the town and its leaders, she'll have to use the fighting skills that she was forced to hone back in New Canaan if she and her brother are going to make it. Whatever she does, it'll have to be soon because all-out war is imminent and New Canaan is never all that far away.

I'm so glad the publisher, Month9Books, approached me to try Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko. This novel doesn't release until May 8th, but it's a pretty great upcoming YA dystopian sci-fi story that definitely deserves attention. I've read quite a few dystopias, but it's been a little while since I've tried a new one that really stood out (the last being Want by Cindy Pon). Joschko's novel can also be considered cli-fi (climate fiction), a genre that I haven't read all that much of. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's a genre that explores environmental degradation and it's effects on human civilization due to climate change. It doesn't necessarily have be be speculative, but it is in this particular case.

Joschko's novel firmly held my attention throughout from beginning to end, particularly developing his world, which is almost beyond hope, and the journey his characters take across what was once America - as well as the mystery surrounding Fallowfield. As for our cast of characters, I could appreciate really appreciate Selena's attitude and drive in regards to her family and duties. Plus, I could certainly relate to Simon's sensitive, fair skin - been there, done that. I should also mention that the author is good at crafting action scenes. There are plenty of great showcases of Selena's formidable talents. My only real issue is that Selena doesn't feel all that unique in comparison to other YA dystopian leading ladies, in fact she reminds me of a combination of Saba from Blood Red Road and Katniss from The Hunger Games.

Overall, Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko is a great upcoming piece of YA sci-fi dystopian cli-fi. It's intense, fast-paced, and has an intriguing sibling bond at the heart of the story. I have a feeling you'd enjoy this novel as well if you like Blood Red Road by Moira Young and Want by Cindy Pon. I'm looking forward to trying future projects by this author.


I read this eARC from January 27 - February 2, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsYellow Locust by Justin Joschko will be released on May 8, 2018.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown + 50/50 Friday




On Friday's I take part in three weekly link ups - The Friday 56, hosted by Freda's Voice, Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and 50/50 Friday is a new weekly link up and it is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. For The Friday 56, you choose a book, a book you have just finished, a book you are about to start, your current read, and share a line or a few lines that grab you (but don't spoil anything) from page 56 or 56% of the way through the ebook. Post it and share your post's url on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post. As for Book Beginnings, you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires, and then link up your post's url with Rose City Reader. Then, for 50/50 Friday, every week there's a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts blogs.



This week I'm spotlighting one of my upcoming reads, Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown.  I picked this up at a book sale a little while ago and it sounds like a promising historical horror fantasy.  It even has a few illustrations to go along with the text.  Since I'm all caught up on The Diviners as of yet, I'm hoping this will be a good read until the next installment is released.

Beginning:

It's dark outside, an elsewhere hour between midnight and dawn.  I lie awake, frozen, waiting for a sound not yet audible.  My eyes are open before I hear the wheels of the carriage at the bottom of the drive.

56:

Eyes averted, the maid leads us to a sitting room cluttered with bric-a-brac.  My father once said that the character of a household can be known through the behavior of its staff.  I don't know what to conclude from Viviette's refusal to meet my gaze.

50/50 Friday: Favorite/ Least Favorite Family in a Book


Least Favorite - The Wormwoods from Matilda by Roald Dahl


Favorite - The Weasleys from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Have your read this book?  The reviews on Goodreads are mixed, but I haven't heard much about it otherwise.  Fingers crossed that it's going to be good.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite LGBTQ Couples In YA


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, which is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  The rules are exactly the same as they were before - this week's topic is a Love Freebie, so I have elected to feature some of my Favorite LGBTQ Couples In YA.  Here we go, in no particular order:


Ronan and Adam from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater


Simon and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


Magnus and Alec from The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare


Simon and Baz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


Wolfe and Santi from The Great Library series by Rachel Caine


Sana and Jamie from It's Not Like It's A Secret by Misa Sugiura


Nadine and Patty from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


Ben and Cillian from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness


Jesper and Wylan from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Emi and Ava from Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour


Who are some of your favorite couples?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Music Monday: Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share a few songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm spotlighting the traditional bluegrass band, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice.  As much as I love progressive bluegrass, it's always great to hear the traditional stuff and these guys are among the best.  You can check out there website here.




Sunday, February 11, 2018

#PrettyBoy Must Die by Kimberly Reid (ARC) - Review


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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jake Morrow, aka Peter Smith, is a foster kid turned CIA operative and since he epically failed his first assignment he's been given a pity mission at a school. He's trying to keep a low profile (there are terrorists out there looking to get bloody revenge), but when a classmate snaps his #Prettyboy photo during a jog around the track and uploads it to social media he becomes a viral sensation. Before he knows it, the school is under attack and he's stuck in the building with psychotic killers (and fans). This #Prettyboy's going to have to put all of his skills and training to the test if he doesn't want to be a #Deadboy.

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid sounded like it would be so much fun, like a combination of #AlexFromTarget (remember that guy) meets the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter and Spy Kids with a great sense of humor. The concept behind this is very promising and the story starts off well enough. The author drops us right into the action from Jake/ Peter's point of view. Reid keeps the pacing fast and light, and she does a decent job of writing action scenes. Unfortunately, as the the story moves on the plot just begins to get silly and ridiculous - forget about suspending your disbelief. Good characters could have saved the story, but I couldn't relate to anyone here, from Jake/ Peter himself, his best friend Bunker, Katie the hot girl with a secret of her own, or anyone for that matter. Jake/ Peter is the most irritating of them all - he is very arrogant, treats his one friend like nothing more than his flunky (are they only friends because Bunker doesn't know any better after living in a bunker with only his dad for company for fifteen years of his life?), and constantly underestimates girls and women (if they're good looking they can't be much more than an airhead space cadet, right?) even when they clearly have talent. I'll admit, there are some fun moments, but for the most part what I just mentioned overshadows all of that. If it's supposed to be funny, I must have missed it.

Overall, I really wanted to like Kimberly Reid's #Prettyboy Must Die, but it just wasn't for me. I was actually close to DNFing it, but I kept pushing through it. It's one of those novels where the concept behind it sounds incredibly promising, but the execution does not live up to your expectations.

Final verdict:



I read this ARC from February 8 - 9, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid is due to be released on February 13th, 2018.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Votes For Women! by Winifred Conkling (ARC) - Review


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I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The 19th amendment was finally ratified on August 18th, 1920 granting women the right to vote as citizens of the United States of America. This work of narrative non-fiction discusses the suffragists achievements, politics, and their passion from Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, Sojourner Truth, and Alice Paul. It also focuses on the darker moments within the movement in regards to their relationships to both the abolition and temperance movements.

The women's suffrage movement is a fascinating time period to read about as are the women at its forefront. Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling is a detailed and comprehensive look into the suffrage movement and the nineteenth amendment. I love that the author gives us a look into the personal journeys of women at the heart of the fight from the early days right up until ratification, more than one would usually find in a course on the topic. The primary sources that she reference really show off each voice in the fight. I could also definitely appreciate that the author explores why the suffragists had such a tense relationship with those on the side of the abolition and temperance movements - she doesn't shy away from the darker side of the battle. The only downside to this work of narrative history is that at points it becomes too dry, as if you were reading a textbook, but overall the author does a great job of keeping it engaging and timely. Personally, my favorite part was getting to see Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States in 1872 and a woman far ahead of her time, get some much deserved page time, especially since I'm from Victoria's hometown.

Overall, Winfred Conkling's Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot is a must read for anyone interested in the suffrage movement, suitable for both adult and YA readers. It's an eye-opening read covering a nearly eighty year struggle. Know a budding feminist, or someone interested in American history, then put a copy of Conkling's new nonfiction release in their hands.



I read this work of narrative nonfiction from February 7 - 8, 2018 and my review is also on GoodreadsVotes for Women! will be released on February 13th.

#BeatTheBacklist 2018 Reviews - Cold Days & Skin Game (The Dresden Files #14 & #15) by Jim Butcher


Happy Friday everyone!  Today, I'm sharing my first set of reviews for #BeatTheBacklist 2018, which is hosted by NovelKnight.  For this year long challenge, I'm catching up on backlist series titles that I've been meaning to read for ages (you can check out my TBR here).  The first two I tackled were the two most recent Dresden Files novels by Jim Butcher, both of which clock in right around the 600 page mark.  The series is one of my favorites and these two were awesome, as usual.  Read on to see my thoughts:


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The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is one of my all time favorite series. I have no clue why I put off reading Cold Days for so long because it was an absolutely fantastic return to Harry's Chicago (and the Nevernever) - I actually had to give myself a bit of a refresher. Anyway, Harry and company have gone through some pretty major changes, but they're all in top form even if they've changed a bit along the way. As awesome as all the action, magic, sense of humor, and mystery are, the characters are totally what make this series and that's no different here - it's a pleasure to see how much everyone, especially Harry, has grown over the course of the series. In this case, Harry's taken on the mantle of the Winter Knight and the stakes have never been higher. After that gut-punch of an ending, it's time to jump into Skin Game! Here's to hoping Michael Carpenter will be back for the next round, and we'll get to see Maggie.

I read this novel from January 4 - 18, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.



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Harry Dresden has been hired for a heist - of the Holy Grail, no less, which is being held in Hades' vault. To make matters worse, that vault in the Underworld can only be reached by opening a Way through John Marcone's high-security vault. And, Harry has been hired against his will - Mab needed to pay off a debt. His new boss is Nicodemus Archelone and he'll be working with some of the worst of the worst, all for an equal cut of the take. But Harry has a sneaking suspicion that Nicodemus isn't going to let his crew get that far.

I'm finally all caught up on The Dresden Files! I have no idea why I put it off for so long because this were just as awesome as usual - and so much happens. I loved seeing Michael in top form again, with a little angelic boost. Butters also gets some of the coolest scenes since he's been working with Bob lately. Plus, we even get to see Maggie here and that was kind of wonderful. Finally, as for new characters, Goodman Grey totally stole the show. Yes, he is one of the villains Nicodemus hired for the heist, but he is hands down the most fascinating. Now, it's just a waiting game until book sixteen, Peace Talks will be released, and hopefully that's sooner rather than later. If you haven't tried this amazing series yet what are you waiting for, because it looks like you'll have plenty of time to catch up!


I read this book from January 21 - February 1, 2018 and my review is also on Goodreads.


Have you read this series?  If not, I highly recommend it!  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below.