Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Top Ten Recently Acquired Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Recently Acquired Books, which is interesting for me because most of my books normally come from my classroom or the public library, but this week has been a little different. 

My husband bought me the Book Riot YA box to try out, which was neat, but this box's books aren't really my thing, unfortunately. I was hoping for a variety of genres but they all appear to be realistic fiction while I am more of a science fiction/fantasy fan right now. Not a problem though, as they will all go to my classroom library and will be read by many students this fall :) The three books below came in the box, along with a book light and some library check out cards. 

1. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

2. A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

3. Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi: Of all three, I think I am most likely to read this one.

From the library: I got a couple new audiobooks to try out since I finished my other one and I have a long drive by myself coming up, plus a regular print book.

4. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull: I like it so far, but the first CD is skipping a bit and the narration is slooooow. We'll see.

5. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich: I downloaded this one from the library to my phone, which is my preferred way of listening to audiobooks. I've been meaning to read the series for a while, so maybe audio is the way to go?

6. Lady Thief by A. C. Gaughen: I really liked Scarlet, but set this aside for later since it wasn't grabbing me.

From friends: My friend Christina just moved to the UK (I know!) and was rehoming some books, so she sent me two for my classroom library.

7. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima: I plan to read this one.

8. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma 

From the bookstore and Amazon: 

9. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas: I had a coupon, I've been meaning to read it so I can try Throne of Glass again, there was one copy left...the stars aligned. 

10. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen: I need to read this for book club, but it is not calling to me at all!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Audiobook Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Narrator: Sasha Pick
Publish date: 2013
Source: audiobooksync.com
Length: 11 hours 40 minutes
"While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.
 " (Goodreads)

I need to get this out of the way right now: I did not love Code Name Verity. I don't know if I even liked it, honestly. Don't hate me, but it definitely was not the book for me that it was for so many others. Despite that, Rose Under Fire sounded really good to me. I picked it up at ALA in 2013, but when I tried to read it, I got about 100 pages in and gave up. It just wasn't working for me at all...

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when it was one of Audiobook Sync's free downloads. I gave it another shot, thinking maaaaybe the audiobook would make a difference over print and I was right! It was way better listening to than reading and completely changed the reading experience for me!

Rose Under Fire is split into a few different sections and I was a bit surprised at how much actually happens before Rose is sent to Ravensbrück, as described in the summary. I expected a bit of introduction, but there was quite a lot. Not a bad thing though! Characters do pop up from Code Name Verity since this is technically a companion book, so I would recommend reading (or at least trying to read) CNV first since obviously some things will be spoiled. 

In terms of audiobook quality, I thought this was really good. The story was really brought to life by Sasha Pick's narration in a way that did NOT happen for me with the print. She had different voices for everyone and her narration really helped with the tone when Rose was at the camp and things were not going well. There was even singing in some parts, which really lent itself to the audiobook experience, and I enjoyed hearing Rose's poetry compared to reading it.

I would definitely recommend the audiobook over print in this case and am curious to see if anyone else had a similar experience? Thoughts?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Publish date: 2014
Source: Purchased
Format: Kindle ebook
Length: 448 pages
"Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen's Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as "the Fetch."
Kelsea's quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea's journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her." (Goodreads)

I bought The Queen of the Tearling quite a while ago when it was a Kindle daily deal (those are dangerous!). I started reading it on a plane ride coming home from a student trip I chaperoned to Europe. I'd finished my other book and after perusing my Kindle, decided to try Tearling. It was a slow start, but I really liked it!

The Queen of the Tearling is definitely a slower paced book, so if you need faster paced books, this one might be a struggle for you. I usually don't like slower paced books, but this one really worked for me. Maybe because I started it on a plane ride and there wasn't much else to do? For whatever reason, I liked it a lot.

There's plenty of time to get to know Kelsea and her guard. Lazarus was particularly awesome and I liked his and Kelsea's friendship. I feel like most fantasy books have a good relationship between the queen and the head of her guard and this was no exception.

Like I said, this was slower paced and sometimes that was a pain. The chapters were loooong, which I dislike, but the ending was exciting and worth pushing through the slow parts. I'm excited to read The Invasion of the Tearling! It's even on my wishlist, which is rare :)