Waiting on Wednesday: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  “Waiting on Wednesday” spotlights upcoming releases that I’m eagerly anticipating.

Title: Queen of Hearts

Author: Colleen Oakes

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I would read this book based off of the cover alone, but after reading that synopsis? I am seriously blown away. Not only do I love retellings, but who doesn’t love the story of Alice In Wonderland? Also, this book is part of a series! Now I really, really need to read this book…

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Audiobooks I Want To Listen To

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish, and I decided to share my list with all of you also!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie so I decided that I will feature my Top Ten Audiobooks I Want To Listen To. Shall we?

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1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

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2. Gumption by Nick Offerman

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3. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck

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4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

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5. You’ve Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

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6. Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar

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7. The Fangirl’s Guide To The Galaxy by Sam Maggs

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8. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

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9. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

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10. As You Wish by Cary Elwes

As you may notice, all of my choices are nonfiction. One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to read more genres other than young adult fiction. Why not listen to some interesting nonfiction audiobooks? All of the audiobooks on this list have caught my eye in the past year or so. I can’t wait to give all of these audiobooks a listen!

Discussion: The History Of My Reading

I can’t pinpoint one singular moment in which I decided that I love reading. Reading has been something I enjoyed even before I knew how to actually read. My mom always told me that even as a very young child, I loved books. Before I could read, I would spend hours staring between the pages of books. I actually remember  a time when I would wake up in the middle of the night and would have trouble getting out of bed because of all the books covering the floor. Reading has been a part of me for as long as I can remember.

As I grew older, I would go through phases. I would spend months not reading anything, but then pick up a book and read many more following it. This cycle seemed to go on for a very long time. I don’t think that this was necessarily a bad cycle, I never became burnt out on reading…I just read when I felt like it.

I came upon Goodreads a few years ago and have been addicted ever since. Even when I didn’t feel like reading reviews, it was a great place to discover books and find new books that were similar to books I had previously enjoyed. And the lists, oh the lists. Sometimes I can be terrible about finding new books, but those debut books lists are my best friend! These lists also get me super pumped up about upcoming releases!

Now that I am blogging, I read a great deal more than before. I actually love how blogging has challenged me to read more. Not only do I have many more “favorite” books, but I have been introduced to many wonderful authors. However, I have learned over the past year that I need to only read books that I will believe I will thoroughly enjoy. Last year, I read just about any book that became available to me and that quickly stressed me out. Even my husband said, “You should only be reading books you enjoy.” Oh boy, was he right about that! As much as I dislike to “did not finish” books, I will have to learn how to let some books go. Not every book is going to be for me and there are far too many books to read to spend time on one I won’t enjoy. I have learned that quality over quantity is very important.

While my reading habits have changed over the years, that doesn’t mean I have lost my love for reading. Quite the opposite, actually. Every day I love reading more and more. The worlds I visit, the characters I’ve loved, and all of the wonderful things I have learned are a testament to how truly treasured reading is to me.

How did you start reading and what does reading mean to you?

Review: Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore

18711172Title: Thicker Than Water

Author: Kelly Fiore

Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thicker Than Water follows the story of Cecelia (CeCe) Price after the death of her brother, Cyrus Price. Cece has been blamed for the death of her brother and is currently residing in a behavioral health center while waiting for her trial. Cece legitimately believes that she is the reason for her brother’s death and she should spend her life in jail as consequence. Cece’s story is told in current time and flashbacks for the reader to fully comprehend what happened before Cyrus died.

Cece has not had an easy life. Her mother lost her battle with cancer years ago. Cece’s clueless father has remarried and the new stepmom isn’t the slightest bit interested in CeCe or Cyrus. Cyrus has developed a drug addiction which progresses worse over time. To top everything off, the farm that the family lives on is going bankrupt and Cece’s dreams of going to college seem far, far away. CeCe begins to steal and sells Cyrus’s drugs for college tuition. While I do not condone the decisions Cece made, I did sympathize with her. She attempted to make the best of a bad situation.

The main problem I had with this book was how unrealistic it was at times. When CeCe goes the trial, the prosecutor makes it seem as though CeCe was the one who killed her brother. The argument the prosecutor makes, sounds as if he was attempting to receive a murder conviction. While I am not a lawyer, I do work in the legal field. The fact that the prosecuting attorney was arguing for a murder conviction is possibly the most preposterous thing I have ever read. The most the prosecuting attorney could have tried for is distribution and possession charge(s). CeCe absolutely did not kill her brother. Cyrus made his own decisions with his own free will and paid the consequences.

I can have trouble relating to some characters that struggle with addiction or deal with addiction as I have not personally dealt with anyone who has struggled with addiction (thank goodness). However, even though I wasn’t able to connect very well with CeCe, I still enjoyed reading and following her story. Cece’s development from the beginning of this story to the end of this story is almost a night and day difference. Although it does take almost the entire story for Cece to come to terms with her guilt and blame, she does see the error of her way of thinking.

3 out of 5 stars


 

Meet The Author

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Kelly Fiore-Stultz has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA, and her second, Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, was releasted in 2014. Forthcoming novels include Thicker Than Water from HarperTeen in 2016.

Kelly lives and teaches in West Virginia with three children, two dogs, one hedgehog, and a very patient and loving husband.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and her website.

Waiting on Wednesday: Down With The Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  “Waiting on Wednesday” spotlights upcoming releases that I’m eagerly anticipating.

Title: Down The Shine

Author: Kate Karyus Quinn

Publication Date: April 26, 2016

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…