Oh What a Month…March Finds

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I discovered a lot of upcoming new titles this month that I am excited to share with you. Exploring listopias on goodreads and searching through netgalley, my TBR shelf definitely grew. BEA 2015 is looking ever the more promising even though they haven’t released the book list yet. I can be optimistic, right? Since it’s such a long list this month, I am only going to share with you today some of my favorites.

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Katherine Howe’s second foray into YA, this sounds really interesting. A NYU filmmaker student meets a mysterious girl named Annie. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions.

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A girl is allergic to the outside world, but begins a complicated romance with the new neighbor. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more. I like how this isn’t told in just one way. It sounds very interesting. And, it’s a debut!

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A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists! This could be a really fun read.

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There is no cure for being who you truly are…

Mermaids, storks, and apple trees. This fantasy YA novel sounds delightful.

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A young librarian receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller. With mentions of his family, Simon must try urgently to decode his family history while moving on from the past. Mystery, intrigue, books! I really want to read this one.

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The physics-bending charm of The Time Traveler’s Wife meets the curious mischief of The Eyre Affair in this debut novel. Loved both books. Enough said. Want. 🙂

Hope you found one or more that peeked your interest. For more inspiration, you can check out the listopia YA 2015 on goodreads and just search your heart away if you’re on netgalley.

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by!

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose Blog Tour

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Author M. J. Rose

on Tour

March 15-April 3, 2015

with

The Witch of Painted Sorrows cover

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

(historical suspense / paranormal)

Release date: March 17, 2015
by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1476778068
Hardcover, 384 pages
also available as ebook

***

 

SYNOPSIS

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this Gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Epoque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten. Her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s wild night of the soul; her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

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My Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was fresh, provocative, and alluring. I was sucked in. I have to admit, not immediately, it took about fifty or so pages, but once she arrived in Paris and really entered the scene, I was hooked. Having read a book by Rose before, I thought I knew what to expect. She has a way of setting the scene before you to get you ready for the madness and surprises to come. She did that and much more. I enjoyed this novel more than I did the previous novel I read of hers.

There was something about this book that you don’t want to put down. Having read it in two major sittings, I really did enjoy it. The setting was perfectly erotic, but not too much so. Once Sandrine started to discover that part of the night, I started to enjoy the novel more. There was a darkness, but a lightness to it as well. The sensuousness of the novel was becoming.

I adored the Grandmother, and most of the characters in fact. I had some problems with Sandrine in the beginning, but they were slight. It was more of not understanding her situation well. I found her whiny, but honestly if I had a husband like hers, I’d probably behave like that tenfold. Once she really let herself go, though, I loved her. There was a freshness to her. She was becoming her she truly was meant to be.

I will definitely continue reading the series if not for the atmosphere alone. I loved how Rose painted that world. It pulled me under, what can I say? I hope you give this book a try. Remember, it’s just the beginning pages that are a little slow. Once she meets a man named Julien Duplessi, it’s fast reading.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mj-roseNew York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City
mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum,
the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park
and reading her mother?s favorite books before she was allowed.
She believes mystery and magic are all around us
but we are too often too busy to notice?
books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Please visit her website, her blog: Museum of Mysteries
Subscribe to her mailing list

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

***

You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below
.

Entry-Form

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

5 winners
Open internationally
$20 gift card

CLICK ON THE BANNER
TO READ OTHER REVIEWS AND AN INTERVIEW

The Witch of Painted Sorrows banner

The DUFF Stops Here; The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger Book Review

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The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

By: Kody Keplinger

Released: 2010 by Little, Brown

Length: 280 Pages

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

What happens when the school’s Male slut calls you your friend’s DUFF? A drink gets thrown in his face? Check. You sleep with him? Wait, what? This is a book where the main character makes some really bad choices

While at a teen night club, High School Senior Bianca Piper is approached by the attractive, sleazy, no good Wesley Rush. During their brief interaction, she is called the DUFF, a drink is spilled, and Bianca’s life is forever changed. What soon follows is a few months of bad, bad choices. The first…sleeping with Wesley Rush to “escape” her problems. Her mother is never home. She believes the DUFF label. Her Dad is becoming an alcoholic again. So, to Wesley it is. Then, the lying to her best friends happen. The ditching them comes next. Followed by a few spoilers I will not reveal. She’s a mess. And a character I could not get behind. There was no liking her. No feeling sorry for her. Nothing. I know that sounds bad, but she was a really hard character to like. She cursed A LOT. Did a lot of bad things and complained about it afterwards. Didn’t care that she used a human being. She was awful.

Many bad things happened to Bianca. Her parents were about to get a divorce that her mother suddenly sprung. Her dad relapsed after seventeen years of being sober. She realized some stuff about herself. But, in no way does that justify her behavior, selfishness, and attitude towards Wesley. I was team Wesley all the way. Now his life sucked. He basically lived alone. Was pretty much banned from seeing his sister. And his grandma, with whom his sister lived with, hated him. And, yet, he wasn’t acting sorry for himself. Yes, he was sleeping with everyone, but still. I really liked him as a character and oh man, the end! The end was amazing! That’s the only reason this book got two stars and it’s all because of him. Totally team Wesley.

Although I gave this book two stars, I would surprisingly recommend it just for the ending. It’s worth the struggle. I read this book in a day. Less than that. I couldn’t stop reading the train wreck. It’s one of those books you love to hate I think. I love to hate this book.

The Tale of Two Sisters; Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar

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Vanessa and Her Sister

By: Priya Parmar

Released: December 30th, 2014 by Ballantine Books

Length: 368 Pages

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 We all know about Virginia Woolf. But how much do we know about Vanessa Bell, her painter sister? This is her time to tell her story?

Told through diary entries, the novel was written more definitively rather than as an involving, engrossing narrative. This happened, then that, plus this other thing with so and so. The novel didn’t feel like a novel. It felt like a diary, which it was. It was a diary. I was really excited to read this novel, but it missed the mark in so many ways. First, is my big complaint of not feeling like a novel. I didn’t realize it would be comprised of Vanessa’s diary entries. There were postcards and letters scattered about, but they were written by other characters which I thought was weird, at first. Then, I started to prefer them as Vanessa began to get on my nerves.

Vanessa was written okay, I felt. She got very whiny towards the middle. She wasn’t this strong minded thinker as she was in the beginning. Which, with a cheating husband, I can believe. But, as I later found out, with her never keeping a diary, there was no reason to make her extremely whiny. I missed her toughness. It became scattered about. The side characters were becoming much preferred.

Her relationship with Virginia, although present in the novel, was not the main focus as it is suggested in the title. The entries cover all of Vanessa’s life, including the boring aspects of how much food she should order for parties. There was too much minute details that wasn’t interesting in the least. I wanted the focus to be on her relationship with her sister. Even when a particular event was taking place, the focus was often shifted.

This was a hard read for me. I’m giving it two stars, but it might deserve one. There weren’t many good aspects in this novel. I didn’t find much that I liked. I often passed the random correspondences. I didn’t truly connect with Vanessa. But, mainly, I had a huge issue with the format. I hated the diary entries. It was the way it was done. How it was all in the past. Her fights with Virginia (Ginia) had already happened so you can’t experience them. You can’t connect with anything because it’s all told matter of factly. How can a reader feel anything? I unfortunately don’t recommend this book. I wish I could. The cover is so pretty. The synopsis sounds good. But, it did not succeed for me in what it intended to do.

 

Introducing a New Feature- Monthly Finds

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I have decided to introduce a new monthly feature here on Indie Reader Girl to show you some new books I have added to my ever growing TBR shelf on goodreads. Most, if not all, of the books are new releases coming soon; some of them the hottest in YA and Historical Fiction. Sound good? I hope so! 🙂 At the start of each new month, I will post what I found during the previous month for that month. So, in this post I am going to start with February.

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I am trying to read the first book in the series. I keep hitting roadblocks. I will get to it, though! This one sounds equally as good!

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Let’s just admire the cover first. It’s cute and simple. Did you admire it? Yes? Okay, good. Now, the synopsis. It sounds soooo good. The girlfriend meets the recipient of her dead boyfriend’s heart. And, boy do sparks fly, but there are issues. It just sounds unique, intriguing, and a good premise. I think this has potential to be really good. I’m excited.

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“Swan Lake” meets Robin Hood. Yes, please. I am usually not a reader of Christian fiction, but this sounded really intriguing. I have read a book by this author before and liked it. So, it can’t be that bad. I’m thinking it’ll be good. The cover is so pretty!!

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I’ve known about this book for a little bit, but I’ve finally! got around to adding it. I am a HUGE Sarah Dessen fan. I’ve read all of her books, met her twice (she remembered me!) and will try to stalk (meet) her again. I can’t wait for this book. The feels!!!

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I am really drawn to books by their covers. I won’t deny it. This does sound super good though. They are marketing it towards fans of Wes Anderson (Yes!), Silver Linings Playbook (Yes!!), and Liars (no idea). It is about a schizophrenic in High School. It has promise. Also, a plus in my book with such promise, is a debut. Being compared to the likes of Wes Anderson and a debut author, not a bad start.

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A compelling blend of suspense, mystery, political intrigue, and romance, The Lost Concerto explores universal themes of loss, vengeance, courage, and love. There are two interconnecting plots that make this book sound really interesting. I am always a sucker for historical fiction books told that way.

For release dates and more info, be sure to click on the picture. It will take you to their goodreads page.

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by!

It’s That Time Again…March TBR Selection

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How did March sneak up on us? It certainly snuck up on me, that’s for sure. It was just February, now it’s almost the middle of March. Almost. My, my, my. As per tradition here on Indie Reader Girl, I will share what I’m planning on reading. Who knows, I may switch it up a bit :-). I do get bored sometimes. I do like my selections this month, though. I have been in a LOOOOOOOOONG reading rut, but I am slowly getting out of it. I am currently reading Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar. I’m not too far into it, so I don’t have too many thoughts yet. But, enough about that. To the list!!

 

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The Vanessa is the famous Vanessa Bell, and the sister, the ever more famous Virginia Woolf. A fan of Woolf’s I couldn’t pass on this book. I needed to read it. Review coming soon.

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I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this. I have wanted to read both her adult and now YA series, so I am looking forward to this one greatly.

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I am starting to get back into sort stories collections. I was drawn to this collection for some reason. Maybe it was the bra on the cover. 🙂

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I am a huge fan of Simon Van Booy. HUGE fan. I loved his first novel; and have read a few of his short stories collections. He is very talented. I can’t wait to read this one. I almost took a writing class with him but it was way too expensive.

There is one more book on my list, but that book will be a surprise! It’s for a blog tour. I don’t want to spoil it now, do I? Boy, is it a good one! I’ll give you a hint. It’s a new release on March 17th. 🙂

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by.

Welcome to March!

This Book is Truly Wild; The Wilds by Julia Elliott

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The Wilds: Stories

By: Julia Elliott

Released: October 14, 2014 by Tin House Books

Length: 376 pages

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: BEA

 

For fans of Amy Hempel and Aimee Bender, this debut collection of short stories doesn’t disapoint. It lives up to its name.

In Julia Elliott’s collection of short stories, the journey is certainly a wild one. This is one of the weirdest collections of stories I have ever read; and, not been turned off by it. I tried reading Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls  by Alissa Nutting. It was just too strange. However, The Wilds is just strange enough. There is a story entitled “LIMBs” that is about an elderly woman with bionic legs living at a senior home. It was an interesting story that immediately drawn me in to the collection. It wasn’t just that she had bionic legs, although that was one of the best parts. She had Alzheimer but there was this new out of the box treatment that led her back to her memories. It was a really sweet story.

One of the more wilder stories was “Regeneration at Mukti”.   Mukti is not your typical restort. Oh, no. Besides being extremely Eco friendly, it is also the place where you’re body goes through hell, literally. It’s called The Suffering where you enter The Hell realm. It’s a nasty story with boils, puss, and just grossness. But…I loved it. Every page of it. There was something really unique about it that I wasn’t turned off by it.

By far, the most outrageous and my favorite story, was “Caveman Love”. Now, if you’re wondering if cavemen are involved, you’d be half right. The story takes place at a Cavemen-esque vacation place where you dress up like cavemen and behave like them. There was an undertone of orgies. It was hysterical, the orgy scene. I just loved the whole story. Like “Regeneration at Mukti” there was this uniqueness about this story that connected with me. The weirdness level was perfect.

This collection was great. I really enjoyed reading this. Each story was different. The characters were interesting, unique, and kept me hooked. There were some stories I wasn’t too fond of, but none that I didn’t actively like. I highly recommend this collection if you like short stories, or are looking for a new author to read. It’s very entertaining and will keep you wanting more.

William Shakespeare like You’ve Never Read; The Tutor by Andrea Chapin

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The Tutor

By: Andrea Chapin

Released: February 5th, 2015 by Riverhead books

Length: 368 Pages

Rating: Three Stars

Acquired: via publisher- firsttoread.com

William Shakespeare was once a mediocre tutor who “fell in love”.

This is the man we never knew.

This novel has marketed itself with the tagline “William Shakespeare like we have never known before.” Something around those lines. I find it funny, and yes, a little fitting. The Shakespeare in this book is a pre famous Shakespeare, who goes to a woman to fix his sonnets. He’s still cocky, but not as so. He was an interesting and fun character to read. There was a realness to him; a weakness and a crack that was nice to see. But, this isn’t his story. Oh no, this is Katherine’s- widow and the one he falls in love with. Told through Katherine’s perspective, you got to see Shakespeare in this different light.

Katherine was an excellent heroine and lover for Shakespeare. She was strong, witty, and smart. She could hold her own in any intellectual conversation, and many times she did. She easily won Shakespeare’s heart from the very beginning when she tried to kick him out of the house, not knowing he was the new tutor for the children living in the house. It was a very funny scene. She continued to challenge him throughout; from questioning his education to critiquing his sonnets until they were perfect. She was a force to be reckoned with.

I really enjoyed their relationship. They had really funny banter. Yes, there was the romance. But, I found myself liking the challenges and banter more. I think Chapin did a great job at crafting a realistic relationship between these two characters. I enjoyed reading the novel. There was some sub plots, including a religious one that involved Queen Elizabeth killing the Catholic Priests and some household affairs, but I didn’t pay much mind to those. It was all Katherine and William for me.

Although this wasn’t a four star book for me, mostly because of the sub plots, I would still recommend it. I think if you are a big fan of either historical fiction or Shakespeare, or both like I am, you will enjoy this book. You may even like the sub plots! Who knows. I just may be picky. Either way, just book should be on your radar for sure.

 

The Magician’s Lie, She’s an Illusionist; The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

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The Magician’s Lie

By: Greer Macallister

Released: January 13, 2015 by Sourcebooks

Length: 320 pages

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: BEA

 

A murder has occurred at the end of the Magician’s show. What seems to be her husband, who is the dead man, really; and, did the Magician kill him?

First off, my big complaint is SHE IS AN ILLUSIONIST!!!! She is not a magician. She doesn’t exactly do magic tricks. She clearly does illusions. Boy, was she fascinating. But, again just like with The Garden of Letters, I found myself often more bored and filled with meh then excited and eager for more. The premise sounded great, the plot twist was a five out of ten, and I really wish the author would have stopped switching between calling Arden a magician and illusionist when she was clearly the latter.

The novel was perfectly fine, just boring to be honest. Half the novel is set where The Amazing Arden is being questioned by a sheriff in a town with only one cop. The interrogation is rather erotic, to be honest. There is heavy flirtation with some sexual innuendos. It was told in present time whereas the second narrative was told from the past up to close to current time based on Arden’s beginnings. I liked that part the most, as it had more details about the life of an illusionist.

The Amazing Arden was certainly amazing. She was a great character. The only reason why I am giving this book two stars. She is so amazing she can heal herself. Her foe/childhood-adult abuser thinks he has the power but that’s another issue. I think that’s an interesting twist to add to Arden’s character. I liked that element to her. Unfortunately, everyone who knows of her ability wants a piece of her ability. Nuh huh, you can’t have it!

Overall, this is another book I wouldn’t recommend. It wasn’t necessarily bad. It just wasn’t very good or fulfilling. The elements that I seek in a book were lacking in this one. I would say, if you were to pick this one up, proceed with caution.

The Garden of Letters was a Wall…; The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman

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The Garden of Letters

By: Alyson Richman

Released: September 2nd, 2014 by Berkley

Length: 384 pages

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: BEA

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she’s never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

Inspired by a true story the author was told by a friend’s relative about being rescued by a stranger in the same situation as Elodie, The Garden of Letters tells the story of two opposites who must learn how to grow and rediscover themselves after separate losses as they are brought together under dire circumstances.  It’s an interesting plot. I must say I was intrigued from reading the synopsis. Unfortunately, this book did not hit the mark for me. It dragged on in parts. Was often boring, or just okay. I wasn’t wowed or invested much in either of the three sub plots. I liked Elodie’s sub plot the best; as well as finding her the most interesting, but not by much. Unfortunately, the two other sub plots took up much of the story that Elodie’s wasn’t enough to make me like the novel.

The sub plot I liked the least was actually when Elodie gets rescued. It takes up the least amount in the novel, but I found it lacking. The end wasn’t very good. It tidied things up in a way I was dissatisfied with.  The relationship between Elodie and the Doctor was quiet and soft. It seemed too neat. Too fitting for two strangers who just met and are forced to live together. I didn’t find it very realistic.

The characters were decent, though. As much as I didn’t like the novel, Richman did write okay characters. Elodie and her best friend were great characters. The Doctor was the only one I didn’t like.

Now, the garden of letters. THERE WAS NO GARDEN!!!! This may be a spoiler (sorry!) but I was annoyed by this. It’s a wall. The wife of the doctor pastes his letters onto their bedroom wall while he is serving in Africa. She makes it look like a Garden, kind of.  But the book title is still a little misleading. For me, at least. Maybe I am too literal.

I won’t recommend this novel. It just didn’t do anything for me. I can’t honestly stand behind it. It sounds good in theory; maybe it will work for some, but it didn’t work for me.

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