Top 5 Books You Wanted to Start Yesterday

It’s Top 5 day!!!!!

Ok, so this one is super easy folks. SUPER. EASY. It’s the Top 5 books I would have started yesterday (had they been available).

1. ACOTAR or A Court of Thorns and Roses by S.J. Maas – It is supposed to be a very loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite), and some other folk tales mashed up. I think Maas is an incredible story teller, and I’ve already read the sample. That was a mistake, because I’m wishing I waited instead of baiting myself.

IMG_72882. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski – This is the third book title (I think) of the last installment in The Winner’s Trilogy. See my review of the first two books and you will understand why!

3. The Heir by Kiera Cass –  I. CANNOT. WAIT. FOR. THIS. BOOK. It comes out the day after my birthday, and that means it’s the first count down I’ve had to my birthday since high school. Only 27.5 days left!!!!!

4. Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber – I’m almost scared to read this one…in like the best way ever. I have NO CLUE what Weber is going to do. So that scares me. She is a twisty turny author!

5. Shades of Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon – I have loved the Doon Series. I think it will be bitter-sweet to get to read the last book (WHICH THIS IS NOT. Just found that out). I love twitter! The author JUST tweeted me that there will be FOUR books. I’ve never been more happy to be wrong! If you haven’t read this, it’s so worth starting!

Make sure to check out other Top 5 Wednesday-ers by looking at the #T5WFamily hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, or here on Goodreads!

What would you be reading YESTERDAY if you could?

Review: Homecoming

Today’s we are taking a peek at Homecoming by Kate Hasbrouck. This has been a fun read, but first let me tell you a little about the author!

The Author

KateHasbrouck“Kate Hasbrouck has been writing and creating stories for as long as she can remember. She had written several stories by the time she was a teen, but Homecoming was the first full manuscript she had ever written with the intention of sharing it with other people. She attended Houghton College, where she received her Bachelor’s degree with a dual-major in Writing and Psychology where she honed her skills. She lives in Florida with her husband who is a youth pastor at a local church. She spends her time writing, ministering to teens, and enjoying the life God has given her. Homecoming is the first book in a trilogy.”

In addition to ^^^ all of that, she is kind and such an enthusiastic author. She’s a good egg. <<<You like that? A little egg humor right after Easter? 🙂

The Book

Unknown“Kerana is being sent to Earth to begin her duty as an Eldurian. Hers are a perfect people, without flaw and without sin, never experiencing the fall of man. Created by God to shepherd His people on Earth, they remain in the shadows, unnoticed. Kerana looks human, speaks like them, and has been taught to act like them. Above all her mission is to serve the humans.

Arriving on Earth, Kerana meets Eli at school. He is an ordinary human, with a father suffering from alcoholism, and a past that threatens to ruin his life. A star scholarship lacrosse player, Eli has to forget his true passion and live in a shell that doesn’t let anyone in. Until he meets Kerana. They find themselves intertwined in a connection that neither can quite explain. When this connection puts the two of them in danger, they find comfort and protection from each other. When Eli discovers that there is more to Kerana than just her stunning looks and grace, the Eldurians and their home planet of Eden may not remain a secret for very long.”

My Review

The Story: I’m so excited to report that this story is not only intriguing, but I can genuinely recommend this for the young adult age of readers. The characters are in college, but I can say it is 100% appropriate to pass on to a young teen. Thank you, Kate! There are so many books I love, but because of sensitive material I don’t feel comfortable passing them along to youth age kids. You can definitely tell that Hasbrouck helps minister to young people—she is mindful of where they are in life in her writing.

I also really enjoyed the character depth in the story. While Kerana is pure and innocent, Eli is broken and has a past that cripples him from being who Adonai has called him to be. We all have things in our past that are huge hurts, and I love that Hasbrouck has addressed that reality.

The story really starts (seemingly) focused on Kerana, but I find that the story leans into a “self-discovery” for Eli. It’s really a story of searching for wholeness in our broken Human world, and finding comfort in a God who is real. Plus, some sweet romance too! 😉

The Writing: Hasbrouck has remained within her target audience!!! Again, let’s just give some finger-snaps for this. 🙂 Highly recommended for young adults.

There were a couple of things that I would have loved for Hasbrouck to dive into more in her writing. I think that the point of view needed to be deepened in places. Just because I wanted even more action beats of what people were doing, but I would say over-all that is nitpicking!

I loved her two secondary characters Steven and Ev. It would be so awesome if she wrote a book about those two! They were both funny and dynamic, perfect supporting roles for the more serious and focused Eli and Kerana. AND…let’s just take a moment and applaud that name—Kerana—SO. COOL.

SO. I hope you guys check out Homecoming! Also, make sure to check out more reviews via this blog tour page. Would you be interested in Homecoming? Leave me a comment and we can talk about it!

Review: The Winner’s Trilogy

Today is a two-for-one! The newest series from Marie RutkoskiThe Winner’s Trilogy—starts off with a wrenching right hook to our fangirl guts, and the second installment spins our heads around.

Unknown-4The first book in the series is based upon an auction theory called The Winner’s Curse (also the title of the book). It says that a bidder will experience this curse when overpaying for an item because of emotional or perceived worth rather than it’s actual worth. Quite a foundation to start with in the story telling world, huh? One that most of us writers would say to ourselves: “Why didn’t I think of that first!!??”

Our heroine, Kestrel, is a conquering general’s daughter. She is set high in society, is accustom to owning slaves, and is not commonly concerned with the morality of it. Yet, one afternoon a crowd witnesses her pay an outrageous price for a seemingly disobedient and possibly troublesome slave, all because he can sing. Music is what sweeps Kestrel away to irrationality, but also to peace.

In the weeks following she isn’t sure that she has gained anything in the purchase. Arin is too outspoken, bends rules, and challenges her authority. He embodies The Winner’s Curse. However, we see that it is possible she got more than what she bid for when she is swept away not by his voice, but by Arin himself.

This is artful, plot-minded, and full of first love that is utterly thwarted by the stations of these two very different—yet altogether similar—people.

I finished this so quickly…you can’t imagine. These characters are enigmatic and for a non-love triangle, I got plenty of who, what, when, and why on their relationship progression.

You’ll also be thanking your luck stars that the second book is out because, oh man!  The cliff hanger of an ending!!!

{{{SPOILERS AHEAD}}}

UnknownLet’s now talk about The Winner’s Crime. I Have to say most of the time second installments are not that great. It’s usually where I will decide…nope…don’t want to even bother with the third book (as we learned from my post on worst series enders). This however, was tortuously wonderful. Reason being: Kestrel and Arin could NEVER see eye to eye. They were always missing the point, misunderstanding the other, or assuming the worst of the other. DRAMATIC IRONY MUCH? I mean, Rutkoski just drug us through the mud on this, but we love her. Yes, we do! Admit it…you do too!

Kestrel is having to face her choice to save Arin by becoming the crown empress who is pressed under the thumb of a wicked, controlling emperor. They each weave a dangerous web of lies to save the other (crimes against the empire), but they can’t seem to succeed. They won’t let truth reign.

I will just leave you with this: By the end. You will want to eat Ben & Jerry’s, and say “I told you so.” Your mouth will be agape, and you will wish that you could’ve held their hands and said, “Go this way young padawan.”

Where are you book 3???

What do you think about this series so far? Have you enjoyed it? Do you want to read it now? Leave me a comment so we can chat!

Top 5 Worst Series Enders

Ok! It’s Wednesday, and time for another Top 5! This weeks topic is Worst Series Enders.

Firstly, I don’t know how to go about this because typically, I’m Mrs. Positive. Secondly, I don’t like to bash books/authors because THEY WORK SO HARD. However I will try to be objective as to why they didn’t become my favorites.

Here goes…

1. Allegiant – So, I have a confession: I didn’t read book 3 in the Divergent series. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the movies and genuinely enjoyed the first two books. However, I couldn’t bring myself to read the last book (SPOILER) without Tris. I know I should probably swallow that, and read it, but I just haven’t yet.

IMG_72052. Fallen – Ok. Sorry, but it was kind of over for me after the first installment. I guess some of the plot got tedious and I feel like the story wasn’t captivating my need for differentiation and surprises. I think there are great dynamics in the story, and it’s characters are well thought out. I just didn’t dig the story trajectory.

p.s. Still excited for the Fallen movie in 2015

Oh, gosh! This is so hard! Ok. Ok.

3. Matched – I didn’t finish this, again. I think that’s the problem. If I don’t jive with a series (for my own weird reasons) I just don’t finish it. I know people LOVE Matched. I think what happened to me is that I read this after a long line of other dystopian style novels, and I became disinterested. Maybe I will try again.

4. Twilight – Well, because. I like the kick-butt stuff, but the Jacob and Renesmee thing was kind of odd for me.

5. The Hunger Games – This is purely selfish. It’s incredibly well-writen. An amazing series. I wasn’t a fan of how out-of-it Katniss was in Mockingjay. I understand why. I know that the character development and coping mechanisms make total sense for Katniss’ character, but I just wanted her to be more lucid. That’s all. Please don’t hate me now…

What series do you think ended badly? Do you agree with any of mine? Let’s also leave *bashing* for other people to do! Authors ROCK, no matter what they decided to do with their characters, and I can’t say anything against them because I have not yet finished my first MS! So be kind. 🙂

Review: How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?

Have you every wondered how God feels about you, or if He speaks during the crazy days of parenting? Rachael Carman brings us How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?, a beautiful look at what God is saying during our daily lives.

What I love about this book is the nature of what Carman is saying to us. God is speaking.

IMG_7186As a mother of two, most days I’m lucky to have showered by 5pm. Simple tasks become frustrating, whining ensues, things get broken, the house seems to grow dirty laundry, the dishes are molding, and we haven’t even gotten past breakfast. What we need to know in those moments is to slow down. God is wanting us to learn. He is available to be heard.

I love the style of this book. The small chapters make a devotional type of reading, because let’s face it, we’re busy. It’s anecdotal, so we see that Carman has walked these truths out before delivering them to us. At the end of each chapter she offers introspection to help us gain more from the text. I also love that she has put scripture references in each chapter so that we can further study on our own.

I would highly recommend How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?It is perfect for a Mom or Dad who is overwhelmed by the day-to-day, and wants to make sure God is important even through the normal “go” of our lives.

How do you feel after a long day with your kiddos? Would you be interested in hearing God’s voice in the way we speak to our kids? Leave a comment and let me know!

Top 5 Bookish Habits

It’s another Top 5 Wednesday, and today’s topic is bookish habits. I am so excited about this one!!

So let’s just go ahead and assume that I’m drinking coffee from my favorite mug, my dark chocolate close at hand, and my fake TV fireplace is roaring because…we don’t have a real one in our house. All those obvious ones aside, here are my Top 5:

1. Nap time – Fortunately my two beautiful children are still afternoon nappers. They are as dependable as the clock—one that I fashioned myself, from the sweat of consistency—they both go down EVERY afternoon. So, I sit down to work on my healthily budding manuscript read a book.

IMG_71312. “I’m not ignoring you!” – This one is dedicated to my patient husband, who knows that sometimes I do ignore him, but only because “I just need to finish this chapter!”

3. Book Planking – So, you know those people who go everywhere and yoga or plank or something. Well, yeah, that’s me. With. A. Book.

4. Who Needs Glasses? – Again, I read on my iPhone so I can keep it close enough to read without my adorbs spectacles. I love that. For some reason I feel like I’m exercising my eyes and my brain at the same time! The jury is still out on that one though.

5. No Sleep! – Well that’s all you need to know about that because, yeah. You read when you should be sleeping too! 🙂

What are some of your bookish habits? I’d love to know!

Review: The Red Queen

Hello, book lovers! Today we are going to talk about The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. It is the winter read on the Epic Reads 365 Days of YA. I’m super pumped to say that I have been doing my best to participate in the 365 Days of YA. I’m not going in any particular order, but you will get a few reviews from me this year in accordance to the list. By the way, let’s just go ahead and give the Epic Reads team some major props. This list is the bomb. There are seasonal, monthly, weekly, and daily reads. I mean. What more could we want in a YA #tbr list?

Anyway. Back to The Red Queen. Aveyard is debuting strong with her first installment of a fantasy series that takes us to a world where physical power, courtly beauty, and twisty shifts are all wrapped up into a tidy bow and presented to us like the finest present.

10212034Mare Barrow is a red-blooded commoner. She is forced to live menially with her large family: A father who is war-wounded, a mother who wishes Mare didn’t thieve, and a sister who is better than her in more ways than one. Oh, and let’s not forget her three heroic brothers at war.

Not only are the Silvers the elite, but they are all gifted with power and unwilling to send their own into the fringes of war. As you can imagine, the racial divide is gaping. Some Silvers can move the elements, some meld the mind, and their blood runs pure silver. So, what happens when a Red—Mare—can manipulate electrical currents?

Mare finds herself in an intriguing match between accepting her fate, or having it force fed to her. She is brought into a dangerous court, smashed between two brothers (princes I might add), and forced to chose a cause. Be the obedient puppet, or take up a role as a spy. What happens is nail-biting and well worth the read.

The writing is immediately captivating and sharp. Mare is instantly likable. She deals with extreme guilt, and a huge inferiority complex. What’s not to love about that? Don’t we all deal with feelings of inferiority?

I loved the character and plot development. Each character goes through obvious changes in the story. Each of them are changed by the conflict in the book. I have to say…when even secondary characters are changed by the tension, you know the author is doing something right.  Also, the plot. You won’t see some of this stuff coming. I promise. So, props Aveyard, props.

This is very well-writen, and is set up to be a great series. Now we just have to wait a year for the next book! Noooo! 🙂

What did you think of The Red Queen? Is it on your #tbr list for this year?

Top 5 Books That Made You Think

All right! Today’s topic is Books That Made You Think.

This one is especially hard for me because I tend to figure out plots pretty quickly. *Ahem* the humility is overwhelming, I know, but really I LOVE to dig into my writer brain as I am reading and try to puzzle out what’s going on. I don’t always get it right, but I’d say that I can hit pretty close the majority of the time. I would try to give you a percentage, but me + numbers = nothing good. <<< See I can get a word equation going, but try to add numbers in there, and we have a real problem. I could probably confuse John Nash or Will Hunting. I know…told you it’s bad.

Nothing, though, is more disappointing than to be plot sleuthing and realize at the end that it was a let down. I won’t share those books with you though. That would just be rude.

So, without further ado. My Top 5:

1. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – Let’s just say this was not what I expected in the least. My gloating brain had it figured out, but NO Pearson decided to be tricky. It is up to the reader, really. What you interpret as one thing, someone else with interpret as another thing entirely. I loved having my #writenight pal and friend Sara Ella read this. She saw things SO differently than I did. The turn in this book dumped me on my head, and I loved it.

Processed with Moldiv2. Stolen by Lucy Christopher – This one was hard for me to read. Okay…with that said, here’s why: Without spoiling anything, (this is in the book description on Amazon), our narrator has been kidnapped by a long-time stalker. This book will cause you to open your eyes. Be aware of the world around you. It will challenge you to see a protagonist/antagonist relationship from a girl under extreme duress, and even struggle with the emotions that go along with the situation. In my happy world things would be black and white, but that is just not the state of things. A balance exists between the cut and dry—whether I like it or not—and this book forces the reader to grapple with a very difficult turning of events.

3. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen – I adored this book. I haven’t read a character like Sage in well…never have I read a character like him. Yes, I said “him.” So, confession: I read mostly YA and mostly books from a heroine’s perspective. I just love when the girl kicks butt and takes names, but Nielsen did a spectacular job of introducing me to a boy who is complex and compelling. Not to mention the plot is stellar and had me going: “Hmm?! YAY! Oh MY Goodness!!!” by the end.

4. Storm Siren by Mary Weber – I’ve reviewed  this book, but just want to say again: THE PLOT TWISTS!!!

5. The Jewel by Amy Ewing – This is another that will rip you from your comfortable cushioned world, and make you ask yourself very hard questions. I would not recommend it for everyone because there are some very serious topics that arise. So, if you have teens make sure to be a companion reader on this one. However, I will say that is well written (great characters/plot/point of view), and I am challenged by what this author chose to address.

Here is a complete list of Wednesday-er’s on Goodreads. What books make you think? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment, and we can chat about it!

Top 5 Books You’d Save in a Fire

Hey guys! It’s a Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday today!

I am so pumped to be starting this weekly post in March. The first topic is Top 5 Books You’d Save in a Fire… Wow. I don’t even…can’t….*checks pulse*

You want me to choose? Well, okay…

First of all, I would just like to start by saying I would take them ALL. This would be especially easy for me because I LOVE reading on my iPhone in my iBooks app. I found a few years ago that I focus better, comprehend more, and read faster with the small screen. Also, digital reading appeals to my love of organization and my hatred of all things clutter. So, I really don’t HAVE to choose, but I will.

Let’s just also assume that the Bible would be on the top of my list, but since we are referring to YA fiction here is the rundown:

Processed with Moldiv1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – I would choose the entire series, but for the sake of the game I’m being selective.

2. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – I remember reading this book like it was yesterday. I remember the time of year, the smells outside, the rain, the coffee, the feel of my iPhone in hand. (I know, I know. All you tactile bookies are flipping out right now).

3. The Selection by Kiera Cass – There is nothing like having some sassy America to keep you company. She is leading-lady sunshine on a cloudy day! Maxon isn’t so bad either. 🙂

4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – This one is for my kids. Okay, so it’s for me too, but I couldn’t pass up listing it. I just recently bought the audio books. I’m like a giddy kid again!

5. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – Currently reading this again, and passing the TOG virus to my #writenight gals too. They love me for it.

What would your Top 5 be? Leave me a comment. I’d love to know!