Tuesday, February 21, 2017

100 Words and a Quote

100 Words and a Quote is a feature in which I review books in exactly 100 words and share my favorite quote from each book. It’s fun, but it can also be challenging to make what I have to say fit that count. Well, I do love a good challenge. I do this for books when I can’t give much detail for fear of spoiling, for series finales, when I need to clean up my TBR, for novellas, and for those rare times when I just don’t have much to say about a book whether I loved it or not. Hope you enjoy my take on the (extra mini) mini-review. 

Title: Room 
Author: Emma Donoghue  
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Co. 
Published: September 13th, 2010
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Summary: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Devastatingly beautiful. An entire story told from the perspective of a five-year-old little boy, born in captivity, whose entire world is one room. One room that he shares with his mother, a young woman abducted and forced to endure visits from “Old Nick” while Jack sleeps. Ma does the very best for her little boy that she possibly can. Thought provoking, haunting, and at one point incredibly intense, this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Heartbreaking, yes; but thanks to Jack, there was also laughter. This bright little hope-filled boy captured my heart. He’ll do the same to yours.

“Scared is what you're feeling... but brave is what you're doing.” 

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson  
Publisher: Viking Books 
Published: January 7th, 2014
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Summary: For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.  

Seventeen-year-old Hayley is back in school, attempting an ordinary life after years on the road with her father following his return from Iraq. Hayley meets Finn and finally feels like a normal teen, but will her dad’s demons once again force them from the life Hayley longs to have? I’ve read books dealing with PTSD, but this is the first I’ve read with a POV from the child of a parent with PTSD.  It was extremely eye-opening. I love Finn and Hayley’s friendship as well as the growth of their characters.  A raw and engaging story from a must-read author.

“People who have to announce that they are trustworthy deserve to be lied to.” 

Author: Amy Harmon  
Publisher: Createspace
Published: May 11th, 2016
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Summary: Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

This was my first Amy Harmon book, and I found her writing to be lovely and lyrical. The last words Lark’s mother spoke were a spell, and Lark hasn’t spoken a word since. Forced to reside in the king’s castle, she plots escape and yearns for freedom. I didn’t love all the characters (Tiras = asscrown), but I could still appreciate other aspects of the story. Not my favorite fantasy I’ve read; but the concept, setting, and stunning writing make me very glad I read it. The spells are my favorite part, and I’m a sucker for a gorgeous epilogue.

He considered me broken and I was incredibly grateful for all my jagged pieces that kept him away.” 

© at A Belle's Tales



Monday, February 20, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a great weekly meme now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It's where we share what we're currently reading. 

What we'll be reading this week: 

We have two mother-daughter buddy-reads this week that we're pretty excited about. Last year, we did a mother-daughter review of Future Shock, and we can hardly wait to dive into the sequel, Future Threat! Next up will be The Bone Witch, which has us intrigued, though we've been seeing some mixed reviews. 

Previous posts: 

What are you reading this week?
We hope you have a happy Monday!

 © at A Belle's Tales


Friday, February 17, 2017

On My Shelf: Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

On My Shelf is an awesome feature hosted by Teresa at Readers Live A Thousand Lives that anyone can join. The idea is to spotlight a book from your TBR shelf; it's a fun way to discuss books with fellow bloggers and, with their help, decide which books are must-reads... and which ones can wait a while longer.

Dream a Little Dream is another BookOutlet find. Weird dreams that may not be dreams, boys conducting magic rituals, and a move to a new school in London make this book sound like one intriguing read. I love the cover; and when I look at the title, I can't help but sing, "But in your dreams, whatever they be... dream a little dream of me."

Have you read Dream a Little Dream? What are your thoughts? 
Do I drop everything and start reading -- or put it back on my shelf?

Hope everyone has a great weekend! See you next week! 

© at A Belle's Tales


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Early Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Title: I See You 
Author: Clare Mackintosh 
Publisher: Berkley 
Source: Publisher 
Expected Publication Date: February 21st, 2017 
Pre-order: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her...

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com. 

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose...A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target. 

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…


“Routine is comforting to you. It’s familiar, reassuring. Routine makes you feel safe. 
Routine will kill you.” 

Last year, I devoured and loved Clare Mackintosh’s I Let You Go. I was thrilled to start I See You; and though it was not the emotional read that I Let You Go was, it was just as thrilling and perhaps even more nail-biting, and I enjoyed every page.

This story is told through two distinctive and central POVs, one being from Zoe Walker, a woman who sees her own face in an ad and comes to the unsettling realization that she, along with countless other women, is being stalked – and the other voice belonging to PC Kelly Swift, who is determined to find the predator and stop them, even as she battles her own inner demons. But my favorite and the most unsettling is the addition of an unknown POV huddled in wait between the chapters that instills fear and provides insight into just how dangerous a situation these women are in.

I See You is a staggering reminder of the negative consequences that living a life on social media brings. The fallout of having an undeviating routine and the misfortune that can ensue when you become so absorbed in your day-to-day, concentrating solely on what comes next, that you fail to realize that someone out there is watching. Someone who knows exactly what you’ll do next. I believe it’s the realism in this story that makes it so frightening. It’s one of those stories that you know has happened, still happens, and could happen to you.

This is a smart thriller that is electrifying and entirely relevant. At times, the pacing was a bit slower as the story built, but I didn’t find it bothersome in the least as I was too absorbed in pointing fingers and attempting to narrow down my own list of suspects. I felt like I was eavesdropping on someone else’s life and even invading the main character’s privacy, but there was no way I was looking away for a second. This is my second book by Clare Mackintosh, and she’s proved that she’s a must-read author for this mystery lover.

“How many of you are being followed? Would you even know?” 

A huge thank-you to Berkley for sending a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Quotes above are taken from an ARC and are subject to change in the final copy. 
© at A Belle's Tales


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #60: These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,
that showcases our most anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: These Ruthless Deeds (These Vicious Masks, #2) 
Authors: Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas
Publisher: Swoon Reads 
Expected Publication: March 14th, 2017 
Pre-order: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.

As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears...


This sounds wonderful, and I think the cover is stunning  love the colors!

What book are you waiting to get your hands on?

© at A Belle's Tales


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Release Day Review: The Valiant (The Valiant, #1) by Lesley Livingston

Title: The Valiant (The Valiant, #1) 
Author: Lesley Livingston 
Publisher: Razorbill 
Source: Publisher 
Release Date: February 14th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival. 
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, "The Valiant" recounts Fallon s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire."


“Cowards die many times before their deaths; 
The valiant never taste of death but once.” 
– William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar 

Confession: I got off to a slow and rocky start with The Valiant, and I only have my disposition to blame. I just wasn’t in the mood for this genre, and I fully admit this because I think it says a lot about the author and the story that both were able to pull me in and change my entire attitude. I kept thinking I knew what was going to happen next and trying to outguess everything; and when I finally realized that none of it was what I thought it would be, I told myself to shut up and let Ms. Livingston tell the story. And tell it she did. I ended up very much enjoying (and admiring) Fallon. She is an amazing female heroine – ferocious, fierce, and full of heart. Not only are her allies fascinating, but even her foes are noteworthy. The plot, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra – even mentions of Spartacus – were just a few of the reasons I am so glad I read this one and went on this incredible adventure with Fallon ferch Virico, daughter of a king. This is one of the few times I read a book that I didn’t believe I was in the mood for and ended up not only loving it but wishing it hadn’t ended. I know I’ll be ready for the sequel… no matter my mood.

Uri, vinciri, verberari, ferroque necari! 

A huge thank-you to Razorbill for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
© at A Belle's Tales