Wishlist Wednesday #130: The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about and have yet to read.

This week’s book:

30809677Title: The Traitor’s Game
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads): Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for.

GoodreadsBook Depository | Amazon

This book sounds so interesting! It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy, and now that it’s winter, I feel like getting back into the genre. I am intrigued by the main character’s father being on the evil side and the rebels searching for the only weapon that can kill the king. I can’t wait to see how Kestra’s alliances change, and I am hoping for plenty of suspense. I am eagerly awaiting the release of The Traitor’s Game this February!

ARC Review: The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody

Book cover for The Chaos of Standing Still

Title: The Chaos of Standing Still
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

The Chaos of Standing still drew me in right from the start. It is the story of a girl stranded in an airport, but with a twist. There are so many interesting side characters and some super cute moments throughout the book. While I enjoyed the story, I found the constant interruptions for flashbacks to get annoying, and I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

This book is cute, funny, and heart-wrenching all at once. It tells the story of a girl stranded in an airport on New Year’s Eve, which also happens to be the anniversary of her best friend’s death. She ends up befriending a boy because of a strange coincidence, and she finally starts to move on. I loved reading about Ryn and her new friends’ adventures together and their way of ringing in the new year. There is a good amount of comic relief and a couple of plot twists in the story, which add some more excitement. I’m not normally a fan of super depressing books, so I was glad to see that this one isn’t actually that bad.

I adored the cast of characters in The Chaos of Standing Still, or rather, the side characters. I’m still not entirely sure what I think of the main character. I found Xander to be so sweet, and I loved how patient and encouraging he is with Ryn. He has a great sense of humour and problems of his own, making him a pretty complex character. I also really enjoyed the quirky characters Ryn and Xander meet at the airport, such as Siri (the barista) and Troy (the fourteen year old genius). They make the book more fun, and I loved reading about their humorous interactions.

Since the book takes place during one day, there are a lot of flashbacks that tell the story of Ryn and Lottie’s past. I appreciate a good flashback every once in a while, but in this case, the flashbacks seem to occur right when the story is picking up. Just as I’m getting invested in the story, there is an interruption, and it really takes away from the action. I would have preferred it if the flashbacks occurred at the end of the chapter, instead of right in the middle of an interesting scene. That and the pretty unrealistic events at the airport lowered my rating of what could have been an amazing novel.

The Chaos of Standing Still is a complex novel about coping with the death of a loved one. There is plenty of comic relief and some pretty adorable moments, so the book isn’t pure sorrow. I loved the unique side characters throughout the story, but the flashbacks became annoying for me. I didn’t hate this book, but I definitely believe that it could have been better.

I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday Reads #33: Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by Tamsyn Murray

Friday Reads

Book Beginnings is a book meme hosted by Rose City Reader where participants share the first sentence (or so) of the book, along with initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, and the rules are quite simple: Grab a book, any book, and turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader. Find any non-spoilery sentence(s) and post.

This week’s book:

36199426Summary (from Goodreads): A moving novel about grief, guilt, and the unpredictability of love, for fans of Everything, Everything and All the Bright Places.

Jonny knows better than anyone that life is full of cruel ironies. He’s spent every day in a hospital hooked up to machines to keep his heart ticking. Then when a donor match is found for Jonny’s heart, that turns out to be the cruelest irony of all. Because for Jonny’s life to finally start, someone else’s had to end.

That someone turns out to be Neve’s twin brother, Leo. When Leo was alive, all Neve wanted was for him (and all his glorious, overshadowing perfection) to leave. Now that Leo’s actually gone forever, Neve has no idea how to move forward. Then Jonny walks into her life looking for answers, her brother’s heart beating in his chest, and everything starts to change.

Together, Neve and Jonny will have to face the future, no matter how frightening it is, while also learning to heal their hearts, no matter how much it hurts.

(Features select illustrations from “Jonny’s” sketchbook.)

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

This book is really intriguing so far! I am loving the friendship between Emily and Jonny, and I can tell that the story is about to get pretty heart-wrenching. I am not too far into it yet, but I have high hopes.

Book Beginning: 

My name is Jonny Webb and I am a robot. Last summer, my heart stopped for three and a half minutes.

Friday 56:

I am a monster. I’m not sure even Iron Man would stoop this low. and he’s got a pretty shady track record where women are concerned.

Series Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Title: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: February 7, 2010-November 15, 2016
Stars: 4/5

Summary (of book one): When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

Heist Society is the second series of Ally Carter’s that I’ve picked up (the first being the Embassy Row books), and I can safely say that she is right up there with my favourite authors. Heist Society is an original series about a group that plans and executes heists. The main characters are all so likeable, even if they are a bit clichéd. This series perfectly balances lightness and action, and it is perfect for those looking for some quick reads.

I love the concept of this series. It follows a group of teenagers who execute heists to re-steal valuables that have been stolen. The heists are so well planned, and every single one is logical. What is interesting about these books is the fact that they are actually based on real events, like the Nazis stealing paintings. The books are suspenseful and action-packed, but are also lots of fun. I have always been a fan of heist stories, so the Heist Society series is just what I’ve been looking for.

Kat is an amazing main character. She is brave and clever, and she is good at working on a deadline. What I especially appreciated about her character is the fact that she understands that she can’t do her job on her own, so she forms an epic squad. I enjoyed how every character has a significant role in the heists, and they all come up with the schemes together. The characters did seem a bit stereotypical, and hearing about Gabrielle’s long legs every chapter does get a bit annoying, but it didn’t ruin the book for me.

Of all the books, my favourite was definitely the first one, Heist Society. I feel like it has the best plot, and it’s the most original. After that, all the other books felt repetitive, and a little bit unnecessary, if I’m honest, but they’re still interesting to read. I do also wish that the holiday novella was a bit more festive, but I guess it’s hard to be super festive in a book about thieves. There are still some loose ends left after the third book, so I am hoping that we get a fourth instalment soon!

The Heist Society is a fast-paced series about a group of teens who plan heists for good. I loved the cast of characters and the main character’s intelligence. My favourite of the books was the first one, but I still enjoyed the whole series. If you are looking for a quick and light series that will also keep you on the edge of your seat, I would definitely recommend this series.

ARC Review: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz



Title: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

If you are one to pick up a few fluffy holiday reads, then Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. The story is a unique retelling of the classic, with its gender swap. However, there isn’t much substance to the plot.

I am a huge fan of holiday books, so when I first heard about this book, I was really excited. It is quite a short story, which is something that actually draws me into a book like this because it is one that you can pick up and read quite quickly during the busy Christmas season. The holiday party at the beginning of the novel really sets the scene for a fun seasonal read.

There have been quite a few retellings of Pride and Prejudice over the years, but this is the first one that has a female Darcy that I have heard of. I really enjoyed this concept and the character of Darcy is definitely an interesting one. Darcy starts off as a bit of an unlikable character, but as the story goes on and we learn more of her backstory, her personality softens quite a bit.

I try not to expect too much from a fun seasonal read, but I would have enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe more if the plot was a little bit more realistic. Some of the events just seemed to be a bit far-fetched and a little bit confusing. That being said, the story moved along quickly and I really liked the ending, so there are some redeeming aspects to this one.

While Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe wasn’t as epic as I had hoped for, it is still a cute holiday themed read. The gender swap is one that gives this retelling a different flair. If you are looking for a fast-paced novel to jump into over the Christmas season, this may be a book that fits the bill.

I received an ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.