Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War I Finally Won
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Read: May 21 - 24, 2018
Published: October 3, 2017 by Dial Books
Source: Gift from @SandieChen (TY friend!)
Category: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, WWII, England,

Series: book 2/2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. What is she?

World War II continues, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, are living with their loving legal guardian, Susan, in a borrowed cottage on the estate of the formidable Lady Thorton—along with Lady Thorton herself and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded cottage is tense enough, and then, quite suddenly, Ruth, a Jewish girl from Germany, moves in. A German? The occupants of the house are horrified. But other impacts of the war become far more frightening. As death creeps closer to their door, life and morality during wartime grow more complex. Who is Ada now? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?

NOTE: This is the second book in a series. See my thoughts on the first The War That Saved My Life

This book is SO GOOD. This series is SO GOOD. I just cannot handle how much I love Ada's journey through this duet. It took me quite a while to start The War I Finally Won, because I didn't believe it could live up to the hype of The War That Saved My Life, but it did. I loved this book just as much, or maybe more - I can't decide! 

Two of my most favorite aspects of this series are a) Ada's voice - it is strong and clear all the way through, and I truly experienced this tale though her eyes. Once again, I became completely wrapped up in her emotions and life. And b) as an adult reader I also understood this story - and Ada - though a larger, more complex "adult" lens, especially through Susan's perspective. The layers in this book just keep going. 

In fact, every character was distinct and felt real, and I was able to connect to this story on many different levels. And wow, was it emotional at times. So many things happen as the war begins to hit home for these characters, and I definitely sobbed more than I expected to. The War I Finally Won is the end of the duet, as far as I can tell. And though, I want to know what happens next to these characters, especially as the story concludes still during the war, I also love where the story leaves Ada and Co. and I don't want to bother them again.

One final comment: I listened to this book on audio, and though I generally struggle through first reads of books that way (I'm so much better visually the first time through a story, and typically get antsy in audio and want to pick up the physical book) - I made it all the way through this one by listening, and truly think I loved it even more because of that. Jayne Entwistle is an incredible narrator, and I would definitely recommend this on audio as a first read or reread. 

Love Triangle Factor: N/A (none)
Cliffhanger Scale: Series End

Friday, June 8, 2018

Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser

Whisper of the Tide
by Sarah Tolcser
Read: May 29 - 31, 2018
Published: June 5, 2018 by Bloomsbury YA
Source: ARC from publisher (TY Bloomsbury!)
Category: YA, Fantasy, Sequels, Pirates, Princes, Treasure, Ships, 

Series: book 2/2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: The second in the immersive series set along the waterways of a fantasy world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir.

Caro has settled into a routine: Wake, eat breakfast, try to figure out who is going attempt to assassinate Markos today. The currents aren't exactly calm. Markos is in constant danger, and his claim to the Akhaian throne is largely unsupported. Without military strength he doesn't have a chance. Relief appears on the horizon when a powerful Archon wants to side with Markos in his fight for the throne. But in exchange for an army, Markos must marry the Archon’s daughter. They must decide which is more important: their love for each other or the fate of Akhaia. And Caro will have to decide if her destiny is to sail with the tide, or chart her own course.

With shipwrecks, lost treasure, old and new enemies, dark magic, and devastating romance, Sarah Tolcser weaves another epic story about chasing fate.


NOTE: Whisper of the Tide is the second book in a series, following Song of the Current. 

Piracy, lost treasure, betrayals and magical creatures, Whisper of the Tide was such a fun read! I’m always a little apprehensive to start the second in a series but this was just as exciting, if not more so than Song of the Current. In fact, I'm pretty sure I liked this sequel even more. I especially enjoyed Caro’s growth arc. She gets a little lost and makes some bad choices at some parts, but I was rooting for her still so much. And I cared about her through it all. There is a great theme of redemption in this story, and I came to see a few characters in different lights while reading too. 

One of my favorite aspects of this series is the romance, and while I got a little freaked out at one point while reading - my angst meter went off a bit, the romance ended up being one of the best parts of this story for me. After some noble but ill-advised choices, I loved watching Caro and Markos work together, communicate, and figure out their path forward. 

If I could have wished for anything in Whisper of the Tide it would have been a glossary, since there are a lot of characters and I couldn’t remember all of their significance from the first book at first. 

This is the end of the duet but I have high hopes we will see a story in the future from Markos’ sister’s perspective. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: end of duet. Possible set up for a future companion book.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang: Out Today!

The Kiss Quotient
by Helen Hoang
Read: April 11 - 14, 2018
Published: June 5, 2018 by Berkley
Source: NetGalley (TY Penguin!)
Category: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, 

Book Description: A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

The Kiss Quotient was just as adorable as everyone has been saying! I loved these characters to pieces. Stella and Michael are complex and flawed and compliment each other perfectly. Stella is a very successful econometrician who has no experience with relationships. She also happens to have Aspergers and decides the best way to gain some relationship experience is by hiring a male escort. That's how Michael Phan comes into her life. Neither of them expects how much they're drawn to the other. 

Both Stella and Michael are very confident and very insecure in different ways. And though they don't seem like they'd make sense at all, they are incredibly endearing and a great match. One of my most favorite parts of this story is the way that Stella and Michael see each other, and the way they're always encouraging and supporting each other. This is a contemporary romance that's not to be missed.

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 


About the Author

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Find the Author: TwitterInstagramFacebook

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