Spring Bookish Bingo Wrap-Up

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Spring is gone! How did this happen, darlings? I'm pretty sure we had snow like four days ago? (Wait, I'm in Ohio. That actually probably did happen.) Bingo was very good to both Jess and I, as she came so close to clearing the board and I actually filled squares in a pattern conducive to getting bingos.

Written Under a Pen Name: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)
March Release: A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachmann 
Flowers on the Cover: After the Woods by Kim Savage 
Retelling: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
Based on a Real Event: Fall of Poppies anthology 
Set Over 200 Years Ago: Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis 
Standalone: Liar by Justine Larbalestier 
MC Shares First Initial: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Joana) 
Book Toward Another Challenge: The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg (Backlist, Rock My TBR)
Metallic Lettering: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson 
More Than One Author: The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Characters Are Not Human: The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley 
Under 200 Pages: The Last Abbot of Ashk'lan by Brian Staveley 
Green Cover: Burning by Danielle Rollins
Set In More Than One CountryThe Dark Lady's Mask by Mary Sharratt (England, Italy) 
Number in the Title: The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke 
Criminals: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie 
Set in Space: Perdition by Ann Aguirre
Non Binary MC: Havoc by Ann Aguirre  
Ugly Cover: Breakout by Ann Aguirre 
Recc'd By More than One Friend: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

More Than One AuthorStrong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell (3/3)
Green Cover: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn (3/4)
Set in Space: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (3/9)
Retelling: The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James (The Princess and the Pea) (3/10)
Flowers on Cover: Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas (3/14)
MC Shares Your First Initial: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True (Doreen Green) (3/20)
Under 200 Pages: Small Magics by Ilona Andrews (3/21)
Book Counts for Another Challenge: The Joker: Death of the Family (Rock My TBR) (3/22)
Metallic Lettering: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (3/24)
Rec'd By More Than One Friend: Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (3/29)
Set in More Than One Country: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (3/29)
Stand-Alone: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (4/1)
Written Under A Pen Name: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (Andrew and Ilona Gordon) (4/1)
Number in the Title: Level 2 by Lenore Apelhans (4/5)
Characters Are Not Human: Written in Red by Anne Bishop (4/9)
Criminals: A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (4/18)
Set Over 200 Years Ago: Lady Thief by A.C Gaugen (4/20)
Ugly Cover: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (5/12)
March, April, May Release: Arena by Holly Jennings (5/14)
End of the World: The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell by Mira Grant (5/27)

Well that does it for this quarter. Are you joining us for summer, friends?

May Recap

May! What a month! BEA came and went way too fast and it was the most exhausting fun. I posted a recap/haul just a few days ago, so the experience is still feeling very fresh to me. I miss seeing all my bookish friends every day, though I was v v happy to see my tiny Night Fury and my bed and my husband.
Anyway, because of all that BEA-exhaustion or preparation or recovery, May was definitely my least productive month, reader and blogger-wise. I said April was bad because I finished only 25 books but this was even worse...

Books Read: 21

Notable Favorites:
The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie (Mistresses of Versailles #2)
Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell (Greatcoats #3)
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1)

Reviews Posted:
Book Tour Review: The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler
Book Tour Review: Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert
Two Minute Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Ruined by Amy Tintera
Book Tour Review: The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie
Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
Backlist Review: Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell
Two Minute Review: Night Speed by Chris Howard
Book Tour Review: Promised to the Crown by Aimie K. Runyan

Top Ten Tuesdays:
Top Ten(ish) Coveted BEA Books

Bookstagram of May:

And that is it for me for this last month. June has a lot of good reads in store --- I am pretty sure I won't be able to wait much longer for Gemina, that's for sure.



Books Read: 11

DNFs: 3

Notable Favorites:
Blackout by Mira Grant (Newsflesh #3)
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (The Others #2)
Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #31)
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (Fairy Tales #1)

Reviews Posted:
All the Feels by Danika Stone 

Other Posts:
Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Picked Up On a Whim
BEA 2016 Recap and Haul

Pic of May:

Jessie's BEA Books

Friday, May 27, 2016
Book Expo America 2016 has come and gone. It was a whirlwind of books and drinks and fun and lines and deeefinitely not enough sleep. BEA is great for a lot of reasons, but my favorite will always be getting to see/meet my blogger friends (aka exclaiming "I know you on twitter!" or wondering "do I know her on twitter?"). I cannot deny that the books and signings are fun, but the other aspects of BEA -- the Buzz Panels, Bloggercon, etc. -- are also incredible for book lovers.

I did do fairly well at BEA. It was my second year going and I was much more prepared mentally and physically. I had a list of books that I was aiming for -- these here -- and of those ten(ish) books, I only missed out on two. I found a whole slew of other new books to read, thanks to that Buzz Panel/my fellow Boozy Lady Knights' recs/etc., so it's not like I'm missing out until I can buy The Reader and The Sun Is Also A Star.

The whole collection:

Day 1:

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
A Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (Kingdom on Fire #1)
Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson (Seeds of America #3)
Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally (traded for Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott)
How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (Wolf by Wolf #2)
The Call by Peadar O Guilin
Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I was pretty excited about Blood for Blood, because Wolf by Wolf is one of Graudin's best and I've also had an ARC of her last three books. The Forgetting is also another I was very excited to get -- and I also got to have drinks with the author and almost all the Boozy Lazy Knights the first night I was in Chicago thanks to Boozy Lady Knight Lindsey (aka @bringmybooks). Diabolic sounds like a creative science fiction and one I had not even heard of before a fellow BEA-er mentioned it to me in a line for A Shadow Bright and Burning!

Here you see Ashley (@ReadandJeep), Lindsey (@bringmybooks), Laura (@LECrockett)'s glass, my arm, Dani's arm,  Gilly's arm, and Morgan if squint really hard.

Day 2:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (sampler + buttons)
Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer (signed to me)
The Female the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Metaltown by Kristen Simmons (signed to me)
Leave Me by Gayle Forman
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
The Romantics by Leah Konen
The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Haters by Jesse Andrew
Mischling by Affinity Konar
Replica by Lauren Oliver (signed to me)
Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley  (Magonia #2)
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
The Graces by Laure Eve
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (signed to me)
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi (signed)
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
The Guineveres by Sarah Domet
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

A lot of these were ones that publicists brought to my attention (Metaltown and The Romantics), or were brought to my attention because they looked like "a Jessie book" (A Deadly Affection). Gilly and Dani held down the Furthermore line for me so I could WAIT FOREVER in chatty Lauren Oliver's line (aka directly adjacent to the MacMillan Stampede) and I raced around super stealthy to grab Leave Me and a tote with Caraval, Truly, Madly, Guilty and The Guineveres -- the latter two I had not heard of before. Also Eoin Colfer tricked both me and Morgan (@morganameridius) so HARD, trolled us about being #teamcap and then laughed merrily about it. It was embarrassing awesome.

Day 2.5 aka Drinks with Mac Kids/Leigh Bardugo/Marissa Meyer/Caleg Roehrig/Kami Garcia:

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (signed to me)
Crooked Kingdom sampler (signed to me)
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig (signed to me)
1984 by George Orwell (not sigend because that would be an impressive trick but with an ominous message inside..)

Highlights: free drinks and I had Pepsi. Ssssh. I drank enough other times. Bonding with Leigh Bardugo about how awesome the name Leigh is (it's my middle name), how awesome Flagstaff is, and how much we needed a drink. Also, later,  while sitting down chatting with B'CAW (aka @ironteethbitch) at our table (we're old and tired), Marissa Meyer just drops in for a fifteen minute chat about books, ships, fan art, and more. Another fun fact: Caleb Roehrig is goddamn delightful.

Day 3:

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor (signed to me)
Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Gemina by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman (Illuminae #2)
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #2) (signed to me)

The fun part about this last-day-of-BEA haul is that half of it is a result of me going to the Buzz Books Panel, thanks to Gilly's (@mizgillianberry) heads-up. I had only planned to get Spare and Found Parts, Gemina, and A Torch Against the Night on day 3. But Billy Taylor, Aaron Starmer and Kerri Maniscalco made me so intensely curious about each of their new books.

I got a chance to meet three of my favorite authors -- Leigh Bardugo, Jay Kristoff, and Laini Taylor. Everyone is so approachable at BEA if you're respectful and I am so happy I finally I ran into them -- literally.

I also accumulated a lot of totes from BEA. It happens and it's definitely necessary -- ARCs are heavy and the day is loooong -- so I keep my favorites and use them. This year's totes that made the cut:

BEA is an intense, exhausting, fascinating event. I had a great time and got to know new bloggers, new librarians, and new authors and publicists. Meeting some of my favorite people for the first or second or third time, rooming and hanging out with the ladies I got to (Disney and Anastasia singalongs in realtiiiiime!) was, without a doubt, the best part of my trip to Chicago and BEA 2016.

Book Tour Review: The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Title: The Secrets of Flight
Author: Maggie Leffler
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Published: May 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
Rating: 4/5

This captivating, breakout novel—told in alternating viewpoints—brings readers from the skies of World War II to the present day, where a woman is prepared to tell her secrets at last.

Estranged from her family since just after World War II, Mary Browning has spent her entire adult life hiding from her past. Now eighty-seven years old and a widow, she is still haunted by secrets and fading memories of the family she left behind. Her one outlet is the writing group she’s presided over for a decade, though she’s never written a word herself. When a new member walks in—a fifteen-year-old girl who reminds her so much of her beloved sister Sarah—Mary is certain fate delivered Elyse Strickler to her for a reason.

Mary hires the serious-eyed teenager to type her story about a daring female pilot who, during World War II, left home for the sky and gambled everything for her dreams—including her own identity.

As they begin to unravel the web of Mary’s past, Mary and Elyse form an unlikely friendship. Together they discover it’s never too late for second chances and that sometimes forgiveness is all it takes for life to take flight in the most unexpected ways

Maggie Leffler's newest novel is a rich, evocative, and detailed story; one that ties together the differing lives of an elderly woman with secrets and a15-year old girl with her own struggles, using history and creative writing to bring them together. Set both right after WWII and in more modern times, the plot intertwines and alternates between the solid POVs of Mary and Elyse. Though it doesn't seem like two such characters would have much in common or work as main character counterparts -- with Mary nearing the end of her life, and Elyse just figuring hers out -- this quiet novel makes theirs an impressive partnership.

There's a lot to enjoy over the course of The Secrets of Flight's almost three hundred seventy page length. The beginning stumbles a bit before establishing characters and connections and how they all relate to one another in the story, but finds its feet quickly enough to keep interest from waning before then. Flight and aviation are key themes and ideas that propel both the plot itself and Mary as a person, though far from the only themes or ideas explored. Mary's Jewish and Elyse's half-Jewish ancestry also connect the two, and open the novel to the secondary plotlines that connect both.

The Secrets of Flight is an interesting novel. It's a thoughtfully-crafted story full of long-held secrets, surprising reveals, and well-rendered characters, all of which coalesce into a quick but not forgettable read. The characters, especially Mary, can seem remote and hard to empathize with; this could be the nature of Mary's role -- she has the secrets that need to be revealed -- but it also kept me from emotionally investing in her as I might have otherwise with a less distant narration. Elyse's narration was far more scattered, but she was much more accessible and relateable for a POV.

Spanning decades and alternating between the two distinct voices of Mary and Elyse, The Secrets of Flight is a far-reaching but quietly clever novel. It slowly unfolds to tell the tale of Mary's life and secrets, ones that reap unexpected results, and explores the nuances of Elyse's life that make her such an excellent foil for the older woman. For fans of Kate Morton, The Secrets of Flight has a similar feel and approach to storytelling: careful, layered plotting that builds as the story unwinds.

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Book Tour Review: Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Title: Loving Eleanor
Author: Susan Wittig Albert
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 306
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating:  3.5/5

When AP political reporter Lorena Hickok—Hick—is assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1932 campaign, the two women become deeply involved. Their relationship begins with mutual romantic passion, matures through stormy periods of enforced separation and competing interests, and warms into an enduring, encompassing friendship documented by 3300 letters.

Set during the chaotic years of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War, Loving Eleanor reveals Eleanor Roosevelt as a complex, contradictory, and entirely human woman who is pulled in many directions by her obligations to her husband and family and her role as the nation's First Lady. Hick is revealed as an accomplished journalist, who, at the pinnacle of her career, gives it all up for the woman she loves. Then, as Eleanor is transformed into Eleanor Everywhere, First Lady of the World, Hick must create her own independent, productive life. Loving Eleanor is a profoundly moving novel that illuminates a relationship we are seldom privileged to see, celebrating the depth and durability of women's love.

I don't know that I've never been the type of person to have a personal hero, but the closest I've ever come to that kind of relationship is how much I admire  Eleanor Roosevelt as a person. No matter your opinion on her politics or her marriage and husband, she was an impressive, smart, classy woman. She lived a very public life as the nation's First Lady, but she also lead a secret private life; one that encompassed forbidden loves  -- which is partly retold here in Loving Eleanor through the years-long and defining relationship she had with AP reporter Lorena 'Hick' Hickok. Her relationship with Eleanor waxed and waned, but Hick remains a dynamic person and one with an interesting history worth exploring.

This book is tangentially about Eleanor, but it is clearly and deservedly Hick's story more than it is about anything else. It can't be denied that Eleanor wielded a large influence on the direction of Hick's life during and after their affair, but Hick was a woman all her own before and after she knew Eleanor personally. Hick had an unusual life even before her life intersected with the First Lady; she was a woman reporter who loved against cultural mores and felt no need to apologize for who and what she was. Having never before read about her life, I thought the author did a wonderful job projecting a layered and complex version of a real-life person from a pivotal time in American history. 

The story of Lorena and Eleanor is a bittersweet one by its (and the book's) end, as anyone familiar with history knows going into the novel. The ever-evolving relationship between the two strong-willed women goes through many iterations but is always pivotal for both the novel and for the main character. The fun in reading Loving Eleanor is seeing just how this author envisions history and fills in the gaps with her own invention and characterization. How she captured the Eleanor known to the public and then the woman only known to her best friend and closest confidante. There were large events playing against the background of Hick's story, but Susan Wittig Albert keeps the feel of the story small and personal and the focus on Hick; it's easy to feel like these characters are the real versions that lived so recently.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Bibliotica

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 28
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Friday, April 29
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 3
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, May 5
Interview at A Holland Reads

Friday, May 6
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Spotlight at To Read, or Not to Read

Monday, May 9
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 10
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 12
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, May 16
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, May 18
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, May 20
Guest Post at Creating Herstory

Monday, May 23
Review at Unabridged Chick
Interview at Layered Pages

Tuesday, May 24
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, May 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, May 30
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, May 31
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Two Minute Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Monday, May 23, 2016
Title: One True Loves
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Published: expected June 7 2016
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 4.75/5

From the author of Maybe in Another Life comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is a creative author that writes about love and marriage and commitment in interesting and thoughtful ways. She continually finds new, finely-wrought methods to explore what it means to love someone else with each successive novel she writes. Her books are layered and nuanced quasi-love stories; her characters are complicated women who resonate with all kinds of readers and who come to life in myriad small ways throughout the books. It's easy to fall into the stories and lives Reid imagines because she does it so completely from inception to conclusion. One True Loves has TJR bringing all her talents to bear with a new premise about what it means to love truly, and it's just what I had expected from my newest favorite autor: funny and fun, moving and heartbreaking in equal parts.

I love the originality of TJR's entire bibliography but One True Loves has my favorite plot and premise of her so-far four published books. TJR has explored what it means to be married (After I Do), what it means to move on after love (Forever Interrupted) before, but here she attempts both of these familiar themes with the story of one new character and also throws in the question of what true love really means. It's a lot for one author and let alone one character to shoulder in just three hundred fifty pages, but Emma is such a well-rendered and vivid, realistic person that it all works. You understand how she can wrestle with this huge life event for as long as she does, how her business is not yet finished, and how she needs to be "free" to go forward. One True Loves tugs on the heart and it's meant to hurt. 

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