Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (162): WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER

WOW is hosted by Breaking the Spine

September 22nd, 2015 from Greenwillow Books

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times–bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America. Walk on Earth a Stranger begins an epic saga from one of the finest writers of young adult literature.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with the first book in the Gold Seer trilogy, introducing a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance, as only she can.

Rae Carson. Gold Rush. Magic. Disguises. Slow-burning romance. I AM SOLD. This book is going to be amazing. Why is September so far away?! 

What are you waiting on this week? 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Crime
Author: Marie Rutkoski (@marierutkoski)
Published: March 3rd, 2015
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #2
Genre: YA fantasy
POV: 3rd person, dual
Pages: 416
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux BYR
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf
Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Separated by one fateful decision in The Winner's Curse, Kestrel and Arin find themselves on different sides. Kestrel is playing a dangerous game of words, actions, and politics, trying to keep the Emperor pleased while secretly doing anything she can to help the people of Herran. Arin, meanwhile, is thrust into an unwanted position of power, and he'll have to go to great lengths to earn a true freedom for Herran. Family, honor, love, and sacrifice, The Winner's Crime is an outstanding sequel. 

Secrets, lies, deceit, and danger linger in every corner of Kestrel and Arin's lives. Rutkoski builds the emotions of the story, starting with a simple, slow flow until everything comes crashing down with intensity. She makes you care for these characters, and every page will leave you with the desire to keep reading on. Well-paced, and thoroughly captivating, Rutkoski raises the stakes with The Winner's Crimeand refuses to give her characters (and readers) a moment to rest. Exciting, shocking, and simply incredible, this trilogy needs to be on your to-read list. 

Highlights: Rutkoski develops the world of this trilogy further, revealing fascinatingly unique locations and expanding on myth and history of each one. But even better, Kestrel and Arin begin to take more action - whether or it's daring risks or playing a dangerous game of politics, every move matters. Side characters are equally fascinating, especially the conniving (and frightening) Emperor. Family and relationships still play a strong role in the story. And, as always, Rutkoski's writing is stunning and evocative, bringing each character, location, and emotion to life in the most vivid way possible. 

Lowlights: I miss the romance. There are a couple moments between Arin and Kestrel, but these two are unable to be together in this story. I hated the lack of communication between them, because it was frustrating to read. AND THAT ENDING. It's going to be a long wait for the final book. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf. Loved, 4+ out of 5. A compelling and emotional sequel, The Winner's Crime will leave you heartbroken, shocked, and so very eager for the final installment.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Get Even

Title: Get Even
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Published: September 16th, 2014
Series: Don't Get Mad #1
Genre: YA contemporary | mystery
POV: 3rd person, multiple
Pages: 320
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss | Publisher
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in Gretchen McNeil’s witty and suspenseful novel about four disparate girls who join forces to take revenge on high school bullies and create dangerous enemies for themselves in the process.

Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot have nothing in common—at least that’s what they’d like the students and administrators of their elite private school to think. The girls have different goals, different friends, and different lives, but they share one very big secret: They’re all members of Don’t Get Mad, a secret society that anonymously takes revenge on the school’s bullies, mean girls, and tyrannical teachers.

When their latest target ends up dead with a blood-soaked “DGM” card in his hands, the girls realize that they’re not as anonymous as they thought—and that someone now wants revenge on them. Soon the clues are piling up, the police are closing in . . . and everyone has something to lose.

Highlights: A group of girls from different circles band together to get revenge on the more mean-spirited people at their school, and their antics are undeniably fascinating. But, McNeil raises the stakes by introducing a blackmailing killer, who is all too eager to put DGM (Don't Get Mad) out of business for good. Exciting, surprising, and even a little sweet and humorous at times, Get Even is a thrill-ride of a story. 

Lowlights: It took until the halfway point before I was finally able to distinguish each girl and her life from one another. Cliffhanger ending. It felt slightly too long, and there were too many moments where I was already a few steps ahead of the characters. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf: Really Liked, 3+ or 4- out of 5. Just when everything begins to become intriguing, it concludes! But fortunately, the sequel wraps everything up and gives readers the chance to get to know each main character more. 

Get Dirty

Title: Get Dirty
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Published: June 16th, 2015
Series: Don't Get Mad #2
Genre: YA contemporary | mystery
POV: 3rd person, multiple
Pages: 384
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss | Publisher
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
The members of Don’t Get Mad aren’t just mad anymore . . . they’re afraid. And with Margot in a coma and Bree stuck in juvie, it’s up to Olivia and Kitty to try to catch their deadly tormentor. But just as the girls are about to go on the offensive, Ed the Head reveals a shocking secret that turns all their theories upside down. The killer could be anyone, and this time he—or she—is out for more than just revenge.

The girls desperately try to discover the killer’s identity as their personal lives are falling apart: Donté is pulling away from Kitty and seems to be hiding a secret of his own, Bree is under house arrest, and Olivia’s mother is on an emotional downward spiral. The killer is closing in, the threats are becoming more personal, and when the police refuse to listen, the girls have no choice but to confront their anonymous friend . . . or die trying.

Highlights: The killer from Get Even isn't gone yet, and they want Bree, Margot, Kitty, and Olivia to suffer. The stakes are higher, the death rate increases, the secrets multiply, and the mystery only builds with each new revelation. Family and friendship, shockingly, become a much more important part of the story in this novel. 

Lowlights: My #1 suspect from the first novel was, in fact, the Big Bad. A few things were rather obvious, to me at least. I kind of feel like if pieces of this book had been combined with pieces of the first, it would have made an incredibly entertaining mystery. Separately, I couldn't help but to feel like it was one book too many for a mystery that should have been solved in the first novel. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf: Really Liked, 3+ or 4- out of 5. Readers who pay close attention will likely be able to spot a few reveals before they happen, but McNeil still manages to make a few mysteries quite surprising. I'd recommend this duology to anyone who is in need of a good mystery. 

The Perfectionists

Author: Sara Shepard
Published: October 7th, 2014
Series: Don't Get Mad #1
Genre: YA contemporary | mystery
POV: 3rd person, multiple
Pages: 336
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Edelweiss | Publisher
Rating: Tea Party 

In Beacon Heights, Washington, five girls—Ava, Caitlin, Mackenzie, Julie, and Parker—know that you don’t have to be good to be perfect. At first the girls think they have nothing in common, until they realize that they all hate Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s done terrible things to each of them. They come up with the perfect way to kill him—a hypothetical murder, of course. It’s just a joke...until Nolan turns up dead, in exactly the way they planned. Only, they didn’t do it. And unless they find the real killer, their perfect lives will come crashing down around them.
Highlights: As with McNeil's Get Even and Get Dirty, Sara Shepard's The Perfectionists is about a group of girls who decide to get revenge on a cruel person who later turns up dead. And every page is very mysterious and exciting to read. The multiple POVs are excellently written, with each girl portraying a distinct personality that makes it impossible to confuse them with one another. As the five girls dig around to find the Nolan Hotchkiss' real killer, many secrets are unearthed, and some of them are quite surprising. The mystery only grows with each new clue, and I am quite curious to see who the killer will turn out to be. 

Lowlights: Perhaps it was because I read Get Even first, but this book seemed like a disappointment. There were many exciting moments, but by the time the story concluded, I felt like barely anything had even happened. The novel is too short, and ends without resolving anything, which I am not overly fond of. 

Rating: Tea Party: Liked, 3+ out of 5. While I had a few issues with The Perfectionists, it was undeniably a fascinating story to get lost in for a few hours, and I cannot wait to see how this mystery unfolds. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Blog Tour Q&A with Marie Rutkoski + Giveaway

Q&A with Marie Rutkoski

Does your career as a professor and the works you teach ever help to inspire your own writing? 

All the time. There’s a sentence in The Winner’s Crime inspired by a line from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It seemed like a throwaway line in the play, a metaphor that was so interesting to me, but I could almost feel Shakespeare’s disinterest, like he wrote it and thought, “Well, that’s serviceable,” and moved on. It’s not like him to let an idea he loves lie. I don’t think he loved this line. But the metaphor was great, so I tried to see what I could do with it. 

Do you ever write any calling cards (a signature characteristic, such as a style of writing, a reoccurring theme / joke / name / idea / symbol, etc) into your stories? If so, any hints as to what readers should look for? 

I like to invent myths for my cultures. Each of the books in the trilogy has at least one small story that is told as a story. In Curse, it’s the one Enai tells Kestrel about the seamstress. In Crime, it’s the story of Jadis. In The Winner’s Kiss, well…you’ll see.

If you could write one famous literary / TV or film character (hero, villain, supporting character) into  The Winner’s Crime, who would you choose? 

Maybe Veronica Mars. She and Kestrel would be close friends, and I think Veronica could help Kestrel see that you can be strong but also let yourself be vulnerable with people you trust. Also, Kestrel could see how Veronica is with her dad and realize, “So that’s what a healthy, loving father-daughter relationship looks like.”

If only Veronica could be a part of this trilogy! That would be amazing. 

What two songs do you believe capture the essence of  The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime? 

For Curse, I think maybe “Sigh No More” by Mumford and Sons.
For Crime: U2’s “With or Without You.”
For The Winner’s Kiss (the third book): Florence and the Machine’s cover of Drake’s “Take Care.”

(Very) Random Question: If you were a font, what type would you be? 

Maybe Henry Morgan Hand.

Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Winner's Curse, The Shadow Society, and the Kronos Chronicles, which includes The Cabinet of Wonders. She is a professor at Brooklyn College and lives in New York City.

Connect with Marie Rutkoski: 


Following your heart can be a crime

A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless world . . . and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret. 

This dazzling follow-up to The Winner's Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.


Thank you so much to Gina at Macmillan and Marie Rutkoski for the wonderful interview and the chance to have a stop on The Winner's Crime blog tour.


Macmillan is generously giving away either one The Winner’s Curse paperback OR The Winner’s Crime hardcover - winner's choice (and both are excellent)!

US Only
Ends March 7th
Enter using the rafflecopter below

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