Reading Queue is a monthly meme hosted by Books: A True Story and Book Tasty where we can get together and talk about the books we hope to read in the coming month and the books we read last month. So write up your own Reading Queue post and then go check them out!
I am actually pretty happy with my September reading. I had some books that I loved and some that I didn’t. Some that let me down and some that surprised me. But really, I couldn’t have asked for more from this month. Except maybe more time to read!
In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis and The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien: In a Handful of Dust was a great follow-up to Not a Drop to Drink. More hopeful, I thought. But that could just be me. The Vault of Dreamers has been really intriguing. I wanted to finish it but I just didn’t have time. I’m hoping to get more time to read today so I can finish it and find out what’s going on at that school!
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry and Lailah by Nikki Kelly: The Scandalous Sisterhood reminded me of the movie Clue (which I loved) except for middle-grade readers. It was one ridiculous moment after another. I think there is an audience out there for this but it just really wasn’t for me. I DNF’d it at 30%. Lailah. Oh goodness. Has there been a more polarizing book this year? I didn’t love it. I also didn’t hate it. I still have to write a review for it. So we’ll see. (Do your feelings for a book ever change while you’re actually writing a review? That’s happened to me.)
Sway by Kat Spears and Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas: Sway was not what I had been looking forward to. Unfortunately, it fell way short of my expectations. Still, it might be one you want to check out. Heir of Fire was the opposite, everything I wanted but didn’t know it. I loved it. Who knew we could continue meeting new characters we’d love just as much as the old?! Not me.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley: I still can’t believe I read We Were Liars. I’m usually one who stays away from the hugely hyped and talked about books. But it was a book club pick for the month and it was our first meeting and I couldn’t not read the book! But I didn’t love it. I think knowing the end was suppose to be shocking took a little bit away from it. I did love Rites of Passage! I highly recommend it. It was very surprising and kick ass!
Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan: I’m a serious sucker for romances and I love this series by Sarah Morgan. I was just approved for the third book on NetGalley and I can’t wait to dive in!
Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini and Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch: Trial by Fire was on my list last month but I just didn’t get to it. Snow Like Ashes is another one that’s had a lot of hype. I’m looking forward to it, especially because Sara’s tour is making a stop in Ohio!
Talon by Julie Kagawa and Kid President by David Stabler: Talon is another very hyped book that I was lucky enough to pick up at BookCon earlier this year and am looking forward to reading. I’ve seen both high and low reviews so I’m going in without any expectations. Kid Presidents is a book I won and am really looking forward to reading it and hoping it’s fun and enjoyable for kids. My kid is really into presidents right now, so it should be perfect!
Come Back to Me by Mila Gray and Maybe This Christmas by Sarah Morgan: I need some serious romance this month. Come Back to Me is a New Adult romance about a Marine and his best friend’s sister and sounds swoony. Maybe This Christmas is the third book in the O’Neil Brothers series and follows Tyler, the youngest brother, and Brenna, the girl-next-door. I can’t wait to see how their story ends! Plus, it’s a Christmas romance! Yay!
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger: I’ve really enjoyed the two previous books in this series and I really can’t wait to read this one. I love the main character, the steampunk, the girls, Soap, all of the paranormal characters, and the humor. I’m hoping the third book won’t let me down.
I only listed seven books for October, which is less than I usually post. I’m hoping that by leaving some space open, I’ll be able to pick up one or two during the month that I just feel like reading at the time and it will help me stay on track with the rest of the books this month. I’m thinking maybe The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar, Grave Mercy, The Bone Season, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless, or maybe one from the many series I’ve started and not yet finished. Who knows. I have very few review books for November and December and I hope that by staying on track this month, I won’t have that many to make up later. If November and December continue to stay open, I should be able to be completely caught up on review books by the end of the year and have been able to read several books that I own as well. Things are getting pretty exciting around here!
Well, that’s the goal at least. Here’s hoping October turns into a great reading month for you and me!
What books are you looking forward to reading this month?
Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry
Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine
and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released. This week I’ve chosen:
Series: Pushing the Limits #1.5
Published by HarlequinTeen on 2014-12-08
Genres: Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • The Book Depository •
A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry
For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so... different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who’s never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything — except the one thing Echo’s just not ready for.
But when the source of Echo’s constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants — even as foster kid Noah’s search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.
Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn... seriously epic.
I cannot wait for this book! I think all fans of Pushing the Limits have just been waiting for a Noah and Echo sequel. They’re the ones who started it all and the reason we fell in love with this series. I have loved the other books and characters that have followed, but it’s always been extra special whenever Noah and Echo pop up in one those books. Now they’re getting their own sequel and we can finally see what happened after the end of that first book. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. (I do wish the cover was different, though. I’m not a fan of the wet t-shirt contest thing.) I hope you’ve at least looked into these books if not read them already. Especially if you’re a fan of ya contemporary romances with drama and swoon, don’t miss them!
What book are you waiting on today?
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Published by Harper Collins on 2014-09-09
Genres: Contemporary, Social Issues, Young Adult
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Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.
So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.
Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.
I’m so excited for this book! Rites of Passage was barely even on my radar before I picked it up. It was certainly not one of my most anticipated books of the year, let alone of September. But then I saw a few people rating it highly and I was intrigued. I decided to check out the audiobook because I had some credits and saw one of my most favorite narrators did the audio and I bought it right there. And I’m so glad I did. I went into this book with zero expectation and this book ended up being perfect.
That’s not to say that this book was easy to read or fun to read. Because it wasn’t. It made me feel so much rage at times that I wanted to throw my phone across the room or find someone to punch in the face. But isn’t that what great books do? Make you feel deep emotions over the actions of the characters? This book did just that. I felt so many emotions during this book and I really didn’t think I would. It’s about a military high school and the first class of female recruits. I thought there’d be some harassment and bullying as well as a few students banding together and some girl power. I was not expecting to feel so deeply for these characters and wish so much that things were different for them.
During Sam’s first year at Denmark Military Academy, she sees people who support her and people who hate her. She gets emails from friends and emails from haters. Some people want her and the other girls out. And they’ll go to surprising lengths to see that happen. But Sam comes from a military family and she’s prepared to fight back for what she wants. Sam is strong and brave and made me wish I could kick ass too. She keeps up with the boys and even does better than most of them. She deserves to be where she is. But it was also extremely frustrating listening to her go through the things she went through and she just took it. Because of rank and rules and all kinds of other military things I’m not familiar with, new recruits are required to just take whatever kind of shit the cadets throw at them. And being a female recruit from a well-known military family, Sam was treated the worst of all. And she just stood in line and let people yell at her and say horrible things about her and embarrass her. I guess it makes her a better person than me for taking it, especially because they were doing it to get her out, but I’m just not the kind of person that would stand there and take it. I’m definitely proud of her for what she did and when she spoke of making things better for future female recruits I definitely respected her for that. I just wish situations like Sam’s didn’t actually happen.
The one part of the book that I wasn’t in love with was near the end. There was so much build up with the recruits and cadets and fighting to get Sam out and the involvement of the secret society but the climax wasn’t as gripping as I had expected it to be. I felt so much anxiety over what was going to happen and then it felt over pretty quickly. I liked what happened but it was just over too quickly with not as much suspense and action as I had hoped.
But with that being said, I still loved this book. I’m so glad I took the chance on it and I really hope you guys will look into this one. There is a little bit of a romance but not much. It almost reads more like a dystopian than contemporary fiction so I would definitely recommend this to people who might be looking to cross over into the contemporary genre from dystopian or even fantasy books. With the secret society and the boarding school atmosphere and the family drama and light romance and action scenes, there is a lot that will appeal to fans of sci-fi or fantasy books. I highly recommend giving this book a try. Also, if you like audiobooks, this one is fantastic. It’s narrated by Khristine Hvam who also narrates the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and many others. She is amazing with voices and accents and I love her. I’m glad this book went under the radar for me because then I didn’t have to worry about it living up to any kind of hype. But I can tell you know, it will definitely live up to any expectations you have.
Sway by Kat Spears
I received this book for free from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Macmillan on 2014-09-16
Genres: Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Source: the Publisher via NetGalley
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • The Book Depository •
In Kat Spears’s hilarious and often poignant debut, high school senior Jesse Alderman, or "Sway," as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop. He also specializes in getting things people want---term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs. He has few close friends and he never EVERlets emotions get in the way. For Jesse, life is simply a series of business transactions.
But when Ken Foster, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all-around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things. While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s belligerent and self-pitying younger brother who has cerebral palsy. Suddenly, Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him. Could the tin man really have a heart after all?
A Cyrano de Bergerac story with a modern twist, Sway is told from Jesse’s point of view with unapologetic truth and biting humor, his observations about the world around him untempered by empathy or compassion---until Bridget’s presence in his life forces him to confront his quiet devastation over a life-changing event a year earlier and maybe, just maybe, feel something again.
To say that I was excited for this book would definitely be accurate. I first heard about it at BookCon this year and immediately added it to my TBR pile. I’m always on the lookout for new books and authors and I’m always a sucker for male POV books, so this one was right at the top of my excited for pile. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me. The voice wasn’t quite right and the book seemed a little too long, I couldn’t get behind the main character, the supporting characters were mostly forgettable, and I found almost nothing redeeming about the main character. I’m very sad about how this turned out because I had really hoped to love Sway.
My biggest problem with the book really didn’t start until after halfway through. The main character, Jesse, who’s nickname is Sway, is not a very nice person. He claims to have no feelings and distances himself from most relationships. He’s the guy who gets people stuff. Almost every relationship is built on his work. He doesn’t have friends, because he allows himself to feel nothing. We, as the readers, are suppose to be able to see that isn’t true. Of course he has feelings. Even after everything he’s been through with his family he still feels. And that’s why he distances himself and why he depends on his job. But he still has people we would call his friends, people he works with and who look out for him. Still, nothing is personal and jobs are jobs for Jesse. And he isn’t very nice. But I was willing to overlook that at the beginning of the book as we were getting to know him and understand who he was, hoping that he would change through the course of the book. I know there are times when we all get lost, especially in the light of family tragedy. But after the first half of the book when characters are suppose to start realizing who they’ve become and how they might want to change for the better, I just didn’t feel any of that from Jesse. He was determined to stay unconnected, even when he knew he was making more friends. He dragged people along, gave them hope, only to cut them down again and say horrible things to them. Over and over again. Every time I thought he had finally changed and overcome his past and would make the right choice, I was wrong. Even in the end, I didn’t feel like he had really changed. And since I didn’t feel he had changed, I can’t support the way the book ended. Because I feel certain that if the book were to continue at that point, he would just repeat the same thing again and hurt everyone again. And if I feel that way, then what’s the point of the book?
And that’s my other big problem, what was the point of this book? I don’t know. To me, it felt like it went around in circles. Sure, some things changed from the beginning. But overall, the characters all felt like they were in almost the exact same places as when the book started. So if the characters were in the same place and the setting was the same and everything else was the same, what was the point? I still don’t know. I would have thought it was to have Jesse realize he was an asshole, admit it, change, and move forward. But for me, that was never obvious enough.
I know some people have really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting look at a character who you aren’t suppose to like. And as far as male characters go, it seemed a somewhat accurate representation. Except when he spoke about his bowels. I still find it hard to believe that a high school guy would use the word bowels or think about how they’d react when he sees a pretty girl. (I know bowels can refers to depths and maybe he was being deep and stuff, but it was still weird for me.) I also think if you have different expectations than I did, it would be easier to like. This isn’t a cute romance, or even a moving coming-of-age story with a romance to go along with it. It’s just a story about a guy who’s not very nice and how he kind of ends up liking a girl. If you start out with no expectations and don’t have a problem with hating a book’s main character, I think this would be a completely different read for you than it was for me.
Overall, I was just really disappointed. While the main character Jesse did have some interesting things to say about other characters and how they treated each other, I just didn’t feel like there was enough internal analysis or enough changes in himself to really make this book good. I wanted a bigger change, a bigger realization that what he was doing with his life wasn’t enough. It isn’t enough to keep people at arms length, to distance yourself from personal relationships and deal only in contracts and jobs. He did change a little bit but I didn’t feel like he really got where I wanted him at the end. And I didn’t feel like I could forgive him, again, for the things he had said and done. And because he was the main character and this is sold as a sort of romance, I wanted to fall in love with him at the end but I really just still hated him. I can’t personally recommend this book based on my feelings for it but check out the other reviews on Goodreads if you’re interested in it. Lots of people have really enjoyed it. And if you do end up reading it, I really hope you like it more than I did.
I don’t know about you guys but September set me waaaaaayyyyyyyy back in my reading. Even keeping up with my regular reading schedule, it was impossible to stay on track with so many books coming out! I really thought October was going to be slower, but looking at October 7 releases, I know I was wrong. Very wrong. And so many of them are ones I’ve been looking forward to! I just got so caught up in September books, I hadn’t taken the time to look at what was coming next month. And it’s actually probably good that I didn’t, because I would have become completely overwhelmed!
But if you check out the list below, it’s still hard to feel upset. So many great books are coming out and how can we feel anything but excited about that?! I know I’m looking forward to The Fall by Bethany Griffin, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, Atlantia by Ally Condie, Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe, and Talon by Julie Kagawa. And those are just the main ones I’m excited for. There are so many others. Like Exquisite Captive. Have any of you read that yet? I’m definitely interested in that one. And This Night So Dark, which is a novella that connects These Broken Stars and its sequel This Shattered World. And the final book in The Darkest Mind series is coming out, In the After Light. And if you like Halloween and creepy stuff, it looks like there will be plenty of books to keep you company this month!
So go ahead and browse through the list. Clicking on the cover should take you to that book’s Goodreads page. Also, I’d love to know in the comments if you like these monthly book preview posts or if it’s just too overwhelming to get all these books at once. If nobody likes them, I’ll try to figure out a different way to showcase upcoming titles.
Now that you’ve seen all of these October books, which ones are you most excited for? If you’ve read any already, let me know what you thought and which ones we should definitely read!