Waiting on Wednesday: Bloodwitch (Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week pick is:

 Bloodwitch (The Witchlands, #3)


Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Expected Release: February 12th 2019

Fans of Susan Dennard's New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2018

Top Ten Tuesdays (TTT) is a weekly event now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's TTT is: Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I read in 2018.  

I've been reflecting on my 2018 reading year this January and finding that it was a pretty mediocre reading year. Mostly average reads with a few five-stars thrown in. This year, I hope that changes. Only three authors on this list had five-star reads for me, but each one is an author that I would love to check out more of their work.

Kate Quinn
(Read The Empress of Rome series)

Ariel Lawhon
(Read The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress)

Beatriz Williams
(Read The Summer Wives)

Alexandra Christo
(Read To Kill a Kingdom)

Laura Andersen
(Read The Darkling Bride)

Ruth Stiles Gannett
(Read My Father's Dragon series aloud to my littles)

Tracy Garvis Graves
(Read On the Island)

Kate Morton
(Read The Clockmaker's Daughter)

Alice Oseman
(Read Radio Silence)

Jeff Zenter
(Read The Serpent King)

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.
We love getting new books and seriously can't wait to dive into them.
How about you? What new books did you get?
The Missing Years The Revenge of Magic (The Revenge of Magic, #1)
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel, #1)

Blog Tour + Giveaway + Excerpt: The Extremely High Tide! (Secrets of Topsea) by Kir Fox and M. Shelley Coates

The Extremely High Tide! (Secrets of Topsea)Title: The Extremely High Tide! (Secret of TopSea)
Author: Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 208
Age Group: Middle Grade

Talise knows more about the ocean than any kid in Topsea. Any adult, too. As the best-and only-bathymetrist in Topsea, Talise is able to predict important things about the sea, like the next tide (Severely Low with a threat of Wildcard) or the arrival of Seaweed Season. What she can't predict, however, are her classmates' behaviors. Sometimes it's as if they're speaking different languages. When Talise discovers a mysterious message in a bottle, her classmates believe it must have been sent by someone stranded on a deserted island. (Not to be confused with a dessert island.) But Talise is convinced the message is meant for her. And it's telling her to build a boat. Everyone seems to think Talise is just being silly. Even Talise isn't exactly sure why she has to build the boat. And who keeps sending those strange messages in a bottle, anyway? All Talise knows is that she'd better finish building her boat fast, because an Extremely High Tide is coming?

             Typically, Talise spent Saturday mornings with the ocean.
             Sometimes she studied tides or examined tide pools. Other times, she put on her wet suit and flippers and buoyancy vest and everything else, and went for a dive in the deep sea—just not the deep-deep sea, since she wasn't allowed to dive that deep without a buddy.
            But the ocean had told Talise to build a boat. So today, she wanted to go to the boat supply shop.
First, Talise had to ask her parents. Fortunately, she was quite fluent in their dialect: Loving/Concerned, usually with a dash of Mystified. She started with her mother, who worked as a consultant. That meant people paid her for expert advice.
“I have never built a boat before, and I am feeling apprehensive,” Talise said. “I would like to consult an expert.
She turned to her father, who worked as a controller. That meant he controlled…Talise wasn’t entirely sure.
“I think that will help me take control of the situation,” she continued. “Along with some boatbuilding supplies, of course. I’ll just need you to accompany me with your credit card—”
“Talise,” her mom said. She had white skin and dark blond hair. “But we had something else in mind for today.”
            “We know you’ve been spending a lot of time by yourself lately,” Talise’s father said. He had dark brown skin and black hair.
“Lately?” Talise repeated.
“Especially since Clara is visiting Puerto Rico for the next few weeks,” her mother said. “So we arranged for you to spend the day with Runa!”
Perhaps Talise looked as upset on the outside as she felt on the inside, because her father patted her shoulder. “She’ll meet you at the pier. I’m sure you’ll have a great time!”
Talise was not so sure.
She squeezed her sea blob as she walked to the beach. She'd really been looking forward to visiting the boat supply shop! Or at the very least, spending more time with her boat schematic. Instead, she was stuck with Runa, the kid Talise had the least in common with.
"She wouldn’t be interested in boat supplies," Talise muttered.
The air was approximately 71 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ocean was closer to 58 degrees. She’d nearly reached the endless pier when something caught her eye. Her feet tripped, her heart skipped, and she stumbled to a halt, staring at the familiar collection of odd bubbles.
Wiggling her fingers, Talise stuck her hand into the pleasantly mucky sand and grabbed something hard. She wrapped her fingers around it and tugged.
It was another bottle, even crustier that the first one. Talise pulled out the cork and coughed at the musty smell. She shook out a rolled-up piece of very thin paper, or maybe it was tree bark.
The ocean had sent her another message!

About Book 1

A Friendly Town That''s Almost Always by the Ocean! (Secrets of Topsea Book 1)Title: A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean (Secrets of Topsea)
Author: Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats
Pub. Date: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 207

Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal—watch out, it might just start chewing you back! New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom keeps saying they'll get used to life in their new town—it's just the way things are on the coast! But after his first day at Topsea School, Davy finds himself wondering: Why is his locker all the way at the bottom of the school swimming pool? Why can't anyone remember his name? (It's Davy!) And why does everyone act like all of this is normal?! Through newspaper articles, stories, surveys, notifications, and more, follow Davy and the rest of Ms. Grimalkin's fifth grade class through the weird world of Topsea. (Whatever you do, don't make eye contact with the rubber ducks.)
Kir Fox (Kirsten Hubbard) and M. Shelley Coats (Michelle Schusterman) are great friends, longtime critique partners and ardent consumers of the strange and unusual.
                                                             Find Kir!
                                             Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Find M!

3 winners will receive a finished copy of SECRETS OF TOPSEA, BOOK 2: THE EXTREMELY HIGH TIDE!, US Only.



Week One:
1/7/2019- For the Love of KidLit- Spotlight
1/8/2019- Two Chicks on Books- Excerpt
1/9/2019- Lisa-Queen of Random- Spotlight
1/10/2019- Character Madness and Musings- Spotlight
1/11/2019- Owl Always Be Reading- Excerpt

Week Two:
1/14/2019- Loie Dunn- Excerpt
1/15/2019- Daily Waffle - Spotlight
1/16/2019- Twirling Book Princess- Excerpt
1/17/2019- BookHounds YA- Review
1/18/2019- Two points of interest- Review

Book Review: The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

Title: The Chaos of Standing Still
Author: Jessica Brody
Release Date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Over the course of one chaotic night stranded at the Denver airport, Ryn confronts her shattered past thanks to the charm of romance, the uniqueness of strangers, and the magic of ordinary places in this stunning novel from the author of Boys of Summer. Ryn has one unread text message on her phone. And it’s been there for almost a year. She hasn’t tried to read it. She can’t. She won’t. Because that one message is the last thing her best friend ever said to her before she died. But as Ryn finds herself trapped in the Denver International Airport on New Year’s Eve thanks to a never-ending blizzard on the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, fate literally runs into her. And his name is Xander. When the two accidentally swap phones, Ryn and Xander are thrust into the chaos of an unforgettable all-night adventure, filled with charming and mysterious strangers, a secret New Year’s Eve bash, and a possible Illuminati conspiracy hidden within the Denver airport. But as the bizarre night continues, all Ryn can think about is that one unread text message. It follows her wherever she goes, because Ryn can’t get her brialliantly wild and free-spirited best friend out of her head. Ryn can’t move on. But tonight, for the first time ever, she’s trying. And maybe that’s a start. As moving as it is funny, The Chaos of Standing Still is a heartwarming story about the earth-shattering challenges life throws at us—and the unexpected strangers who help us along the way.
I'm a fan of Jessica Brody's books because they contain heart, are well plotted, and overall, her stories are engaging. This one started the same. It takes place when Ryn gets stranded at the Denver airport over the holiday. And instead of getting a fleeting romance when she meets Xander (whose identity is mysterious when they first meet after haphazardly swapping their cell phones), it's a story about grief, friendship and family, and learning to move forward when you can't get rid of the past.

The story is self-contained as a raging blizzard pummels Denver and Ryn is trapped over a 24-hour period. The airport -- and all its quirky employees and travelers -- also become a character in the book and helped with the book's pacing. Although there were a lot of flashbacks, other than the beginning, I didn't mind them because it did add to the overall story of the loss of her friend and her path to healing. It truly made me come to like her more as the story progressed.

I felt the same with the character Xander. I thought he was a sweet, complex character and complemented Ryn really well. And as he follows Ryn on this interesting conspiracy theory quest throughout the airport, including dealing with his own issues when it comes to his parents, the story felt really fresh and cute. Not to mention, Chaos was a funnier than I expected.

Jessica Brody, time and time again, shows us that she's a wonderful author and although this one wasn't one of my favorites of hers, I can't wait for her upcoming titles.

As always, happy reading!

Book Review: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

The Similars (The Similars, #1)Title: The Similars
Author: Rebecca Hanover
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary/Sci-fi

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class. The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn't care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver's exact DNA replica and one of the Similars. Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver's face.
As soon as I read the premise of this book, I knew I absolutely had to read it. It's interesting because it details a world we can imagine possible - I mean clones! Scientists are now genetically editing babies and have successfully done so (well, we have to wait-and-see).

This book was an okay read for me. It had so many things I liked: there were some twists and turns I did not see coming, I generally liked the concept, and always give me a book set at a boarding school. The story follows Emma, who is returning to school after losing her best friend Oliver over the summer. Right away, we get great world building as we see that she's in a car that drives itself and she interacts with AI (think Alexa or Siri but these bots can show emotion). 

Once she arrives at school, the entire student body is interrupted by the arrival of clones, clones of actual students attending Darkwood Academy, including her best friend's Oliver clone, Levi Gravelle. As the clones try to integrate, we see that there's a big debate as to whether they should be attending the school - because obviously, it makes some very uncomfortable. This really sets the stage for an intriguing story.

But I did find myself slogging through the story as I got about the halfway mark. There were some "character development" issues for me in that I didn't feel emotionally invested in the characters after they had all been introduced. Similarly (pun intended!), I also didn't really connect with the love story that's developed between Emma and Levi. I think it was because it didn't really build organically and I also felt I didn't much know about Levi or see how his attraction to Emma really developed. A third thing is that the story evolved to a comparison of clones v. illegal immigration (a definite hot topic) and every time it was mentioned, it felt like it was forced and preachy - like LOOK, this is what's going on now. 

Even though there were some negative aspects, the story ended on a big reveal/cliffhanger, and I'd be interested in reading the second book in the series. I definitely do not discourage you from giving this one a try because it was very interesting and made me think about our scientific advancements and how this will affect us in the future.

As always, happy reading!

Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire for an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion!

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