Saturday, August 19, 2017

#Stacking the Shelves # 251 - Week Ending 08/19/2017

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Thanks for Shopping by!
Hope you find something you are interested in!
Edelweiss got around to finally approving some old requests! YAY!
Have a great weekend!

This Weeks Reviews: 

Monday - Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol (YA, SyFy)

Tuesday - The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O'Brien (YA, Dystopian)

Wednesday - Buried Heart by Kate Elliott (YA, Fantasy)

Thursday - Last Breath by Karin Slaughter (Mystery)

Friday - The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (Mystery)

Saturday - Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta (YA, Fantasy)

*Received from Edelweiss & Library*

Friday, August 18, 2017

Saturday #Review - Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta #YALit #Fantasy @MaryTaranta

Series: Shimmer and Burn # 1
Format: E-Book, 336 pages
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult / Dark Fantasy

To save her sister’s life, Faris must smuggle magic into a plague-ridden neighboring kingdom in this exciting and dangerous start to a brand-new fantasy duology.
Faris grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne.
Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers, but he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything—or kill anyone—she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own.
With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed—or saved—with only a touch.

“With every high comes the inevitable, unavoidable low.”   

Shimmer and Burn is the first of two installments in author Mary Taranta's Simmer and Burn duology. Faris Locke is the main protagonist. She hasn't had an easy life. Not after her mother tried to kill her when she was 6 years old, and not after her mother killed after being accused of stealing the King's gold. Faris has been labeled the daughter of a drunk and a thief. Faris tries hard to support her younger sister Cadence. She has survived by fighting, and stealing food to survive. In this world, nobody is allowed to leave the kingdom of Brindaigel. 

Perrote, the King of Brindaigel, has powerful magic. He has not only bound all his soldiers to him as though they were puppets, but he has also walled off the country from the outside world. Especially from the country of Avinea which has been torn apart by a magically created plague that seeps into the soil, under your skin, and you end up dying slowly. In this world, just sneezing in the wrong direction can get you executed without a trial. Faris and a friend make plans to escape the city, but the escape goes wrong thanks to unfortunate circumstances, and Faris is forced to find a way to save her sister who is captured by the King's executioner.

With her sisters future on the line, Faris agrees to Princess Bryn's plan to carry stolen magic into Avinea as an incentive to gain an alliance with Prince Corbin and remove King Perotte. What she didn't agree to was Bryn following her into Avinea and being bound to her as her very own slave. Or, the fact that she is now considered a threat to King Perotte because she escaped Brindaigel. Or, finding a companion in North who guides Faris & Bryn across a very dark, very dangerous, world called Avinea where one wrong move will definitely end up you being dead, or losing body parts.  

During their journey they face many obstacles and unveils many secrets. North is a curious character who you will definitely be eager to learn about who he is, what he is trying to do for his country, and whether or not he is an actual ally Faris can count on, or just another layer to her road to save Cadence. Bryn is such a manipulative character. In one moment you want to punch her in the throat, while the next you wonder what she is actually up to, and how her actions will affect Faris. Can Faris survive this journey? Can she save her sister before it’s too late? 

This is also a book that does really well in world building. There is zero complaints from me on this issue. There is also an impressive group of secondary characters who really does shine. While I am loathe to admit I liked Bryn, I did. She's such a curious villain. She is the embodiment of self-entitlement, cruelty and cunning and will cut anyone's throat in order to get her way. She will even force Faris into doing her bidding for her. I am settling on 4 stars because I am truly not happy with the ending. I hate to admit this, but I would love for the book to end on a Games of Throne's full scale slaughter with everyone dying except Faris, North, and Cadence. This is one scary world. There are characters who are just horrible and Faris is caught right in the middle thanks to Bryn's machinations. But, Faris isn't a pushover folks. I am looking forward to the sequel. 

Friday #Review - The Lying Game by Ruth Ware #Fiction #Mystery

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Book, 384 pages
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre: Fiction / Mystery

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game.
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...
The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”
The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).
Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Ruth Ware's The Lying Game is a story that combines both Mean Girls, and Pretty Little Liars into a twisted psychological mystery that really pushes the meaning of what makes a person truly good, or truly bad. The story features
four women (Kate, Fatima, Thea, & Isa) who were best friends at a boarding school called Salten. Upon arrival at the school when she was 15, both Isa and Fatima were immediately drawn into a game Kate & Thea called The Lying Game.

The rules of The Lying Game were simple: Tell a lie, Stick to your story, Don't get caught, Never lie to each other, Know when to stop lying. But, after a terrible event happens, and things spiral out of their control, all four are soon expelled from the school. While they've each has gone their own ways, found new schools, and careers, and in Fatima and Isa's case, they now have children and husbands, they've never forgotten about The Lying Game, or what happened 17 years ago that irrevocably changed their lives.

When Kate sends a three world text to each of her friends, "I need you," it begins a dark journey back to not only Salten, but memories that would have been better having been buried forever. For Isa, who is a new mother, it means traveling with her newborn baby Freya and rediscovering the person she really was. A person that I didn't like much at all. It means uncovering the fact that these four young women were piss-talking, acerbity, insincere, trash talking hooligans who took liberties on everyone they encountered both at the school, and in the town, by mocking, teasing, ridiculing, and scoffing at anyone who was targeted.

Kind of like Pretty Little Liars in many ways, The Lying Game digs deep into a mystery that has gone largely unsolved. Until all of a sudden a body resurfaces, and then questions, and accusations, and fingers start to point towards Kate and her group. Especially Kate who still lives close to her former school. But, 17 years ago, the four made a solemn vow not to discuss what happened, and kept the secret from everyone, including their own families. Neither Isa nor Fatima has ever told their spouses. This is a story that is told in Isa's perspective, and alternates between the present and the past. 

One of the main reasons I rated this book as I have, was the creepy atmosphere that Ware creates. It is vivid, and completely strange. Part of the story takes place in a run-down Mill that has seen better days. When the water rises, things become even more dangerous. The mystery within this story is a pretty solid one. I could have fingered all four of these characters, plus several others, as being the one responsible for what happened 17 years ago, and really not been all that wrong. This Lying Game changed each of their lives, and in some instances like Kate, not for the better. The author does a good job of creating a realistic environment where anyone could be someone responsible for doing something horrific. 

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer, and is the internationally bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Woodand The Woman in Cabin 10. She is married with two small children. Visit her at or follow her on Twitter @RuthWareWriter.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

#Review - Last Breath by Karin Slaughter #Thrillers #Suspense @SlaughterKarin

Series: The Good Daughter #0.5
Format: E-Book, 176 pages
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre: Thrillers / Suspense

The fantastic prequel to The Good Daughter, the stunning new standalone from the No. 1 bestselling author of the Will Trent and Grant County series.
Protecting someone always comes at a cost.
At the age of thirteen, Charlie Quinn’s childhood came to an abrupt and devastating end. Two men, with a grudge against her lawyer father, broke into her home – and after that shocking night, Charlie's world was never the same.
Now a lawyer herself, Charlie has made it her mission to defend those with no one else to turn to. So when Flora Faulkner, a motherless teen, begs for help, Charlie is reminded of her own past, and is powerless to say no.
But honor-student Flora is in far deeper trouble than Charlie could ever have anticipated. Soon she must ask herself: How far should she go to protect her client? And can she truly believe everything she is being told?

Last Breath, by author Karin Slaughter, is the prequel to The Good DaughterThis story takes place in the year 2004, 15 years after 28 year old Charlotte "Charlie" Quinn survived a brutal attack on her family that ended her mother's life. Even though it was her father's job that led to her mother's death, Charlie is now a defense attorney. She struggles to pay her bills, but she is also married to the love of her life, Ben Bernard, who works for the DA's office. 

Charlie has a different set of values from her father, but that can't stop her from getting caught up in a devious game concocted by a rather smart young woman. While at a Girl Scout event, Charlie is approached by a bright young girl named Flora who claims she wants to be emancipated. That things at home are not exactly good. Flora, who lost her mother at a young age, reminds Charlie of her own loss. How can Charlie turn away Flora's request for assistance when she drives so many emotions? In a way, Last Breath reminds me of that old age story about of the spider and the fly. "Will you walk into my parlor? said the Spider to the Fly." 

The story tells of a cunning spider, in this instance 15-year old Florabama Faulkner, who uses a bit of cunning and flattery to lure Charlie into her web. There are so many layers of deceit, and betrayal, that you must hold on until the final page to see how things actually turn out. At 176 pages, this story is just the right length to get everything you want out of the story. Slaughter has been at the top of my list of authors to turn to when I need a brilliantly written story, with twisted characters, and layers upon layers of curious poses. She is the master of plot twists, and all of her characters have issues which makes them more enjoyable to read about. 

Karin Slaughter is one of the world's most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her sixteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel Pretty Girls. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday #Review - Buried Heart by Kate Elliott #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Court of Fives # 3
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series

In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy!

Choose between your parents.
Choose between your friends.
Choose between your lovers.
Choose who you are.

Buried Heart, by author Kate Elliott, is the third and final installment in the author's Court of Fives trilogy. For those who may be new to this series, the series is a high-fantasy adventure with a heroine who captures the imagination of fans from Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, and Victoria Aveyard. Set in the very Greek like setting of Efea, Half Saroese, half Efean Jessamy aka Spider has come a long way from the first installment. She's gone from being a nobody with the dream of becoming one of the finest Court of Fives contestants ever, to being a guiding light in a dark world that has been divided into Commoners, and Patrons.

Now she must choose a side and her destiny. As the story continues from Poisoned Blade, Jessamy has escaped from Saryenia and is on the run from King Nikonos who seized power in the most brutal way possible, and allied with enemies from East Soro. The only possibility left for Jessamy is to find a way to make Prince Kalliarkos the king of Efea, and hope that he can end the oppression that has long gripped his country while not losing what made him so appealing to her. But, will becoming the King, change who Kalliarkos is? Kal's actions in this book are really twisted, and that's saying a lot without actually saying anything spoiler-y.

Jessamy faces tough choices; does she become the face of the rebellion, or does she encourage others, like her father General Eslada, to fight alongside her and a surprising group of rebels led by an even more surprising leader? Jes's journey has been anything but easy. She is still being hounded by Lord Gorgaron who really did a number on her family. Jessamy knows that no matter what she does, her family is in harms way. She's already lost one sister who choose a different path, she doesn't want to lose anyone else. Except for the fact that misguided racists call her a mule, she speaks several languages fluidly, and is daring, and isn't afraid to jump in and get her hands dirty. 

Jessamy is a curious sort of character who has learned so much from her father who taught her how to survive in the brutal world where she is supposed to be seen, but not heard from. There are some current day issues with racism, sexism, and how it affects how Jessamy. It affects who she is, and who her parents are. It affects how she plans her future out, and whether or not she's make the right choices. I haven't talked much about Jessamy's parents, but I have to say that I really liked her father this time around. I respected him so much because he tried hard to make up for his mistakes. Even though he made a terrible choice, his love for his family is unmistakable.

I was blown away by Jessamy's mother, and how powerful she becomes in a very short manner. I knew she was feisty, and determined, but you really understand where her daughters get their strength from. I haven't talked much about the forbidden romance all that much. It has hanged over this series from the first time that Jessamy met Efean Royalty Kalliarkos while competing against each other in the Court of Fives competition. There are similarities, in a way, from living in this society, to living in the south in the early 20th century. It is definitely not something that is encouraged in this world. In fact, it could end up with Jessamy being killed if she is caught. 

The ending of this series didn't surprise or shock me. It was pretty much how I had hoped it would end with some twists, shocks, surprises, and plenty of awesome action scenes to bring the series to a beautiful ending. I do, however, wish that we would get an explanation as to what happened to one of Jessamy's sisters. I won't spoil who I am talking about. You will just have to read Poisoned Blade to find out more.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday #Review - The Keep of Ages by Caragh M. O'Brien #YALit #Dystopian

Series: The Vault of Dreamers # 3
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.
Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.
Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive. 

The Keep of Ages is the third and final installment in author Carah M. O'Brien's The Vault of Dreamers trilogy. As the story picks up, Rosie Sinclair returns home for the first time in 6 months to find her family missing. Rosie knows that her fight against Dean Berg won't truly end until she can find a way to stop him once and for all. Even if that means traveling to the ends of the world. Rosie wanted to expose Berg's manipulation of dreamers but was caught and spent time stuck in what's been called a vault of dreamers. For months, she was kept asleep while having her dreams mined.

Rosie's dreams are unusually vivid which is like cat nip to someone like Dean Berg who is looking for a way to save himself from his own health issues. Rosie's journey will take her to a former amusement park in California. An amusement park which coincidentally has at its center piece The Keep of Ages where Rosie discovers an even more stunning surprise. Rosie must find a way to save her family, especially her sister Dubbs. Dubbs leaves a cleverly written message for Rosie to find that leads her to a woman in California. A woman who may hold the answers to Rosie saving her family and bring down Dean Berg. But, Berg won't be easily defeated or stopped, and he's got a few surprises up his sleeves.

The most curious characters in this book are Lavinia Jacobs, who once worked at the Forge School before Berg came along and turned it into something else entirely, and Dubbs. I loved Dubbs. She's just as adorable as you can imagine, and clearly clever as well. We get appearances by Burnham Fisk as well as Linus Pitts who we found out had a camera lens inserted in his left eye. Unfortunately for Linus, his road to redemption takes a bit longer while trying to find a way to regain Rosie's trust in him. Rosie meets a curious character in this book called ARSELF, and that's all I can say about this character without spoiling a huge part of the story.

In closing, The Keep of Ages is a fairly quick paced story with plenty of twists to keep the reader satisfied. The most interesting part of the story for me was the Grisly theme park. Here you get plenty of interesting twists and a character who defies explanation. Rosie has grown up as a character, and in the end, she may not be the badass that people were expecting, but to survive everything that she has been put through, who's going to complain at how she ends up?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday #Review - Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol #YALit #Science Fiction

Series: Secondborn # 1
Format: E- Galley, 321 pages 
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: 47 North
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, SyFy

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.
On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.
Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.
But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

Secondborn is the first installment in author Amy A. Bartol's Secondborn series. 18-year old Roselle St. Sismode lives in a world where first born children are given every opportunity to succeed; where second born children are sold to the government to do what they want; and where third born children are hunted down and killed by a group known as Censor's. For Roselle, everything she's ever done has been under the spotlight of cameras everywhere. Which means that everyone knows who she is. A dangerous proposition considering the world she lives in, and the powerful people who are watching her every move. There is no hiding or pretending that she's anyone else but who she is. 

Roselle's mother is known as the Clarity of Swords. If you are looking to nominate the worst mother of the year, look no further than Othala St. Sismode. She is so obsessed with her firstborn son Gabriel, that she, like other firstborns, truly believed that Roselle would harm her brother in order to be bumped up and become the heir to the Swords. But, that is not who Roselle is. Roselle has spent her whole life being trained to survive against all odds. Good thing otherwise this would have been a very short story. On Roselle's 18th birthday, we are introduced to Transition day. It is a day where Roselle is stabbed in the back one more time by her own mother who fails to protect her. 

Where she finds that she is going to have to become the lowest ranked member of the military (Tropo) which is fighting a brutal civil war in which the survival rate is extremely low. Where she and her mentor Dune are attacked by rebels known as Gates of Dawn. Where she has her first, but not last encounter with her very own nemesis in the form of Agent Kipson Crow. Where she also encounters Hawthorne, the one person who may be the one to stand alongside her. Let me just say that I adored Roselle from the moment I met her, to the final page of this installment. 

She is a badass. She knows weaponry like no other. She can fight without needing anyone to back her up. She has an attitude that backs up her actions, but she also understands that someone desperately wants to see her dead and gone. Someone who tries to toss in every imaginable obstacle in her way to prevent Roselle from getting her happy ending. She is also caught in a struggle between forces that want to see her rise up, and those who are playing a dangerous political game that can have devastating consequences for all involved.

Secondborn employs a society that is divided by fates. There are nine different fates; Virtues, Swords, Stars, Atoms, Suns, Diamonds, Moons, Stars, Seas and Stones. It is also a society that forces its citizen's to have a moniker. Monikers are a symbol of class and caste. It carries a person's identification and other vital information. There are some funny, and some questionable scenes in this book. Roselle meets a variety of different characters. Some you see again, others are like intentional props used only when she needed something to get her out of a dicey situation. Is the book perfect? Nah. There could have been a bit more world building. 

There could have been less focus on the way that Roselle looks as well. Especially the crazy leg shaving scene. Or, how she is forbidden by three powerful characters from cutting her own hair. Yes, you read that right. The romance is a bit weighed down whenever she is around Hawthorne. She is a totally different character. Sometimes, one that I don't like. But, for me, who is always looking for something a bit different, this was actually a good start to hopefully a grand adventure in the next two installments. One could call this a coming of age young adult dystopian novel. You could also call this new adult since Roselle is 18 when the story begins.