August 2018 TBR

Presenting my August TBR stacks! Please ignore that horrible glare (Mother Nature did not want to cooperate with me as I was rushing to shoot this picture). In regards to physical books, these are the ones I’m attempting to get thru this month. I’ve been horrible at planning for release dates so I have a bunch of August and September releases here I need to read. And it’s also #ARCAugust so this is perfect timing. PS look at all that historical fiction AND a nonfiction?! I’m growing up.

This starting list has got…

1 graphic novel
2 advanced finished copies
3 backlist books
8 physical ARCs

Full titles and official Goodreads synopses are below—happy August reading, book lovers!

Bloom by Kevin Panetta (illus. Savanna Ganucheau)

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything. (Graphic novel, ARC)


The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives–at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains–he discovers a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.  But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon’s scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever. (Adult historical fiction, ARC)


Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose

I was lucky enough to win a copy thru Bookish First! If you haven’t heard of this awesome program, you are given an excerpt of a future release and you write a first impression. You are then put into a pool with everyone else who submitted a first impression and a few lucky readers get copies to read and review.

New York, 1924. Jenny Bell is one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and take full advantage of the many wonders to be found at Laurelton Hall. But Jenny’s past has followed her to Long Island. Images of her beloved mother, her hard-hearted stepfather, waterfalls, and murder, and the dank hallways of Canada’s notorious Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women overwhelm Jenny’s thoughts, even as she is inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson. (Adult historical fiction, finished copy)


Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes

Yes, I know that I’m horribly late at starting this series. But I’ve found it highly entertaining and I’m completely invested in Magnus and Cleo being happy.

As two lethal elemental gods set out to destroy Mytica, sworn enemies must become allies in the final fight to save the kingdoms. (YA fantasy, backlist)


Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. (Adult science fiction, backlist)


The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman

This book is so far out of my usual orbit, but I got the opportunity to hear the editor talk about it at BEA and completely sold it.

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner. Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita. (Adult true crime/nonfiction, ARC)


A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide. (YA fantasy, ARC)


Rule by Ellen Goodlett

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos. Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown. (YA fantasy, ARC)


Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll

Doris—a lone liberal in a conservative small town—has mostly kept to herself since the terrible waterslide incident a few years ago. Nell had to leave behind her best friends, perfect life, and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend in Chicago to move to Alabama. Grant was the star quarterback and epitome of “Mr. Popular” whose drinking problem has all but destroyed his life. What do these three have in common? A summer job working in a store called Unclaimed Baggage cataloging and selling other people’s lost luggage. Together they find that through friendship, they can unpack some of their own emotional baggage and move on into the future. (YA contemporary, ARC)


The Splintered Light by Ginger Johnson

In a world without color, eleven-year-old Ishmael lives a monotonous existence, herding sheep and helping his widowed mother with their meager farm after the premature death of his father. Early one morning, a ray of light pierces a pane of glass in the barn, fragmenting Ishmael’s black and white world into something extraordinary: a spectrum of color he never knew existed. Ishmael embarks on a search to understand just what it is that he sees, a search that leads him to the Hall of Hue, one of seven creative workshops at the Commons. (MG fantasy, ARC)


Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich

If you’ve followed this blog for a bit, you already know that I love everything about this musical and seeing it on broadway was the highlight of my summer last year. I got to meet the creators of the show at BEA and get my ARC signed and it will be treasured forever.

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family’s grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend. Suddenly, Evan isn’t invisible anymore—even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy’s parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he’s doing can’t be right, but if he’s helping people, how wrong can it be? (YA contemporary, ARC)


From Here to You by Jamie McGuire

The moment Trex walks into the inn, Darby knows he’s dangerous. There’s no way she wants to get involved with another man who seems to be keeping way too many secrets. As charming and devastatingly gorgeous as Trex is, he clearly isn’t telling her everything. But as wildfires rage on the mountain and Darby’s ex-fiancé shows he isn’t so willing to let her go, both she and Trex are soon to find out that what you don’t know absolutely can hurt you. (Adult romance, ARC)


Smothered by Autumn Chiklis

Eloise “Lou” Hansen is graduating from Columbia University summa cum laude, and she’s ready to conquer the world. Just a few minor problems: she has no job, no prospects, and she’s moving back into her childhood bedroom. Lou is grimly determined to stick to a rigorous schedule to get a job and get out of her parents’ house. Shelly “Mama Shell” Hansen, on the other hand, is ecstatic, and just as determined to keep her at home. Who else will help her hide her latest binge-shopping purchases from her husband, go to SoulCycle with her, and hold her hand during Botox shots? (Adult contemporary, finished copy)


The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

I am shamefully behind on my Rick Riordan books aka I’ve only read The Lightning Thief. *runs and hides*

The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half blood” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. (MG fantasy, backlist)

Kate Reads 2017: Jan-Mar Favorites

You can believe me or not, but I’ve read a total of 88 books so far in 2017. Mostly physical copies—but I’m learning to embrace using my iPad as an eReader and not just my personal television. I haven’t really branched out in terms of what I’m reading—I’m a creature of habit and I know what I like. My faves include psychological thrillers, books that tackle controversial topics (such as abuse and mental illness), and friends-to-lovers relationships (because I’m still bitter over not getting my Dawson and Joey ending). I also won’t say to “no” to a good teen dystopia novel. 

I’ve read a lot of really good books so far and I wanted to share. I rarely give out five star ratings…those are basically reserved for my most favorites and the Harry Potter series. These are what I consider 4-4.5 stars aka ❤. And they all link to Goodreads 🙂

Some of my stacks because I’m too cool for shelves…and too afraid of IKEA
JAN-MAR 2017 FAVES [in no particular order]

The Light series, Aleatha Romig
Sara Adams wakes up in a hospital, blind and can’t remember her past. She comes to learn she’s a member of a religious and oppressive cult known as The Light.

It’s SO. GOOD. I didn’t like The Handmaid’s Tale (runs and hides) but I LOVED this series. The first book ends on a major cliffhanger and I don’t think I’ve hit “BUY” on a sequel so fast. Although Romig has said this is the end of this story, I’d be thrilled with a third installment (the second book also ends arguable ambiguous).

Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough
Louise meets David at a bar and later comes to learn he’s her new boss. Her married boss. She ends up befriending Adele, his wife and learns the secrets behind their seemingly perfect relationship.

This was my February selection from Book of the Month and it’s my favorite pick from them so far. The bookmark that came with it said, “You think you know the ending, but you don’t. I promise.” And I now promise you, it’s a doozy. I figured out the first twist and was so proud of myself and then the immediate turnaround knocked me on my ass. I stayed up until 3 on a work night to finish this baby and I have no regrets.

ForbiddenTabitha Suzuma
Growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic mother, Lochan and Maya Whiteley have been forced to grow up quickly and be stand-in parents for their three younger siblings. Lochan and Maya’s relationship is more than just brother and sister and they continue to fight their feelings because they know it’s “wrong.”

This book broke my heart. Plain and simple. I read it in one night and was reduced to a weeping pile of salt water. For a topic that is so taboo, Lochan and Maya’s relaysh is so respectfully, well done. “Forbidden” won’t be and isn’t for everyone. But if you have the stomach for extremely touchy subjects and enjoy a good cry, this is your answer.

UnravelCalia Read
After a whirlwind romance with Max—a man no one seems to think is real—Naomi Carradine ends up at Fairfax mental hospital. Wanting out, she tells her story to her psychiatrist, desperate for someone to believe she isn’t “crazy.” Also woven in are her relationships with neighbor boy, Lochlan, and her best friend, Lana.

This book is a wonderful mix of all of my previously listed favorite book genres and it was so freaking good. There are so many little things mentioned throughout that make complete sense once the twist is revealed and I definitely did not see it coming. And once you look back you can see how intricately crafted Read made Naomi’s story. Plus, bonus love triangle with two guys who both  AREN’T assholes! Win!

Swear on This LifeRenee Carlino
When Emiline picks up “All the Roads Between” from new author J. Colby, the story sounds familiar. Eerily familiar. As she continues reading, Em realizes that J. Colby is her childhood best friend, Jase, and he’s written a national bestseller about her dark and dysfunctional upbringing, one she has been desperately trying to leave behind.

This was an impulse buy with my Christmas iTunes gift card and I was incredibly pleasantly surprised. I’ve read two more from Carlino this year, both of which were also good, but Swear on This Life gave me major feels. Childhood friends? Second-chance romance? Lots and lots of angst? Sign me up. This was another one that  I read in one night and ended up bawling into my stuffed bear. I need an actual physical copy in my life at some point too.

All the Ugly and Wonderful ThingsBryn Greenwood
Wavy is only eight when a motorcycle accident brings thug and ex-convict Kellen into her life. She’s the daughter of a meth dealer, and is raising her younger brother, Donal, by herself. Kellen, 13 years her senior, becomes the only form of stability and comfort in her life. The book spans 15 years and the evolving relationship between Kellen and Wavy.

I’m not going to lie. This book made me extremely uncomfortable. And it generally takes something major to upset me like this. This book is twisted. It’s disturbing. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. It took me a little longer to read “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things” because I had to keep putting it down and collecting my thoughts. It is truly SO good, but it’s a thinker. It’ll stick with you long after you close. Wavy and Kellen are not your conventional romantic leads. Kellen is not a rich, handsome hunk with defined abs and a secret sex fetish. Wavy isn’t your naive ingenue who blindly dives into relationships. They’re both heavily broken individuals who find solace in each other. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It was so good.

The Hating Game, Sally Thorne
Coworkers Lucy and Joshua are sworn enemies and have no qualms about expressing their hatred towards each other. It makes for quite an office environment. They then both become applicants for the same job promotion and their rivalry comes to a head. But do they actually hate each other? Or is it just another game?

“The Hating Game” is the first relatively adult novel I’ve ever read (I refuse to count the horrendously written Fifty Shades books) and I loved it. If I can’t have a friends-to-lovers storyline, I will gladly take an enemies-to-lovers one.

It Ends With UsColleen Hoover
After witnessing the abusive relationship between parents, Lily resolves to never end up like her mother. She’s so happy when she meets neurosurgeon Ryle: Lily gets her fairytale relationship and marriage and it’s all too good to be true. That’s when things go south. Also in her orbit is the return of ex-boyfriend, Atlas, who is all too aware of her mother’s history.

Don’t you love when a book reaches down and strangles your soul? Because that’s exactly what “It Ends With Us” did to me. Another read-in-a-day, bawled-my-eyes-out novel.

The Royals seriesErin Watt
After the death of her mother, Ella Harper is making ends meet by working odd jobs and as a stripper. Her life changes when her father’s best friend shows up with news that he’s her legal guardian. Callum Royal and his family of five boys, are rich, spoiled, and used to having the world handed to them. While Callum takes a quick liking to her, it isn’t surprising that the sons are suspicious and hostile.

The series starts as a relatively similar Cinderella-retelling, with Ella plucked out of poverty and dropped into a world of posh prep schools and even more privileged people. Ella is a great heroine, who is not a damsel in distress. And each of the Royal sons is equally damaged and swoon-worthy (two in particular, but you learn that quickly).

History Is All You Left MeAdam Silvera
Even after a tough break-up and a cross-country move, Griffin is still convinced that he and now ex-boyfriend, Theo, will eventually find their way back to each other. That’s when he learns that Theo has died in a tragic accident…and he was also in a serious relationship with a new boy, Jackson. Deeply heartbroken, Theo realizes that the only other person who knows what he’s going through is Jackson and forms a tentative friendship.

I had heard a lot of hype about Silvera’s “More Happy Than Not,” and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. So, I was super happy that I loved “History Is All You Left Me.” It’s equal parts funny and sad, has positive and accurate OCD portrayal, and will stick with you after reading.

 

Really loved these tooUnder Rose-Tainted Skies, Louise Gornall; We Are the Ants, Shaun David Hutchinson; The Futures, Anna Pitoniak; Lucas, Jay McLean; My Heart and Other Black Holes, Jasmine Warga; Blurred Lines, Lauren Layne; Caraval, Stephanie Garber; Boy Toy, Barry Lygal; The Thousandth Floor, Katharine McGee; and Paperweight, Meg Haston

Yup, that’s my TBR pile…

What’s next on my list: I’m currently making my way through “Idaho,” by Emily Ruskovich. I typically have difficulty connecting to characters that are much older than me, but I’m really enjoying this so far.