May 4, 2014

Showcase Sunday #13

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicki at Books, Biscuits and Tea. Its aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

Because I took a break from blogging in April, I have book acquisitions from both March and April to share today. Yay books!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend for this gorgeous copy! I've been excited to read this book for a while (and, honestly, when am I ever not going to want to read a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling?). I'm definitely looking forward to reading this darker, compelling retelling where Beauty has made it her mission to kill the Beast.
The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Many thanks to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Netgalley. I'll admit: the main reason I requested this ARC was because I saw that the second leg of the Fierce Reads tour is making a stop in Milwaukee this summer. I'd like to read works by each of the authors in attendance, if possible. Besides that, however, this book does sound as though it could be a powerful story. It's told from outside perspectives about the rumor-laden and seemingly disliked teen Alice Franklin.
Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter
Thank you to Arthur A. Levine Books and Netgalley. I previously featured this book on my Spring 2014 TBR list, and I was very excited to read this one. I mean, a romance between childhood friends that takes place in the days leading up to Mount Vesuvius' eruption? Try to tell me that's not an awesome premise. I found that the book itself, unfortunately, left a lot to be desired.

"Night of Cake and Puppets" (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5) by Laini Taylor
Not on sale, but an obligatory purchase. I love this series and I will support Laini Taylor unquestioningly. And this is just too cute! I can't say that I am a huge fan of novellas, or that I was dying to learn about how Zuzana and Mik finally interacted with one another. But this is the perfect sweet, magical romance and left me with a huge grin on my face.
Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3) by Laini Taylor
I was so excited to read this one. So excited. But while I wouldn't say that this is a bad book, for me it doesn't compare to the excellence of its predecessors. The language is beautiful as always, but the plot is very expected and somewhat...dry? For a story about a war, it's very slow-moving and circuitous at times. Not a terrible trilogy ending, but not the best I've read either, I'm sorry to say.
The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeton
I'm super intrigued by this darker YA fairy-tale retelling (supposedly of the Grimm brothers' "Snow White and Rose Red"). Even more intriguing? The fact that I've seen so few reviews of it (but I feel it's necessary to mention those few reviews I have read have been glowing). It sounds creepy and tantalizing and there was no way I was going to pass up a great deal on this brand-new hardcover.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Confession time: I've never read Little Women in its entirety. I've seen the film version starring Winona Ryder and read an abridged children's version, so I do know how the story ends. But I could not pass up the opportunity to own a brand-new, discounted version of it and finally read it in its entirety.
Red Rising (Red Rising, #1) by Pierce Brown
I borrowed a copy from my library but ran out of time, so I took advantage of the super Kindle sale on this. I'm super intrigued by this one. First the reviews coming in were all super positive. And then there arrived a point where the reviews all began to start skewing negative. I'm all about seeing where I fall among readers. And those stories about characters discovering that everything they held true was an elaborately constructed lie, as protagonist Darrow does in this book? They will always be my weakness.
Cracked (Soul Eater, #1) by Eliza Crewe
I do love my anti-heroes (the ones who are well-constructed, anyway). And what's more anti-hero than a supernatural being who eats the souls of others? For the most part, I've enjoyed the Strange Chemistry titles I've read, and I'm hoping to enjoy reading this one as well.

Evertrue (Everneath, #3) by Brodi Ashton
My relationship with this series has been quite inconsistent - rather like the storytelling of the series itself. I flat-out disliked Everneath, but found Everbound tobe a major improvement. I had hopes that this one would continue the trend, but that was simply not to be. I'm disappointed, of course, but this isn't the worst series ever I suppose. 
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse, #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Even without the massive hype accompanying this one, I would have picked it up because it sounds like such a me book. It was and it wasn't. I really liked the general plot of this novel and liked Kestrel and Arin's characters. But I'm not sure it is quite so good as the praise had led me to believe. It's one ambitious novel, but at times I felt as though the story couldn't deliver on everything it promised to be.
April book club pick! I haven't had much luck with previous works by Gaiman (I've read Good Omens, Neverwhere, Coraline, and one volume in the Sandman series). And now I can safely conclude that Gaiman just isn't for me. More than that, though, I don't think this is his strongest work. Its brevity just made it seem...incomplete? 
All The Truth That's in Me by Julie Gardner Berry
New favorite novel right here! The cover does this one no credit. Can readers really get from it a sense of this historical fiction novel about a girl who was kidnapped, brutally mutilated, and then sent back to live in her Puritan village where she's treated like a pariah? I didn't think so. But seriously, this is a beautifully written story and I highly recommend it.
Legend (Legend, #1) by Marie Lu
I read this one with a few of my coworkers. It was entertaining, I suppose, but I didn't feel as though it had anything unique to offer the YA dystopian genre and ended up feeling underwhelmed. My coworkers have both continued on with the series, but I think I'll be content simply hearing about the remaining two novels, rather than reading them for myself.
Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard
May book club pick! (This is what happens when I get behind in blogging.) I...don't really know anything about this one, actually. Well, I think it's about drug trafficking? And apparently Quentin Tarantino produced a film based on this story as well. I'm going to try going into this blind and see what happens.

Please let me know what books you've recently acquired!
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Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. This is an awesome haul Amanda! I'm so glad that you enjoyed All the Truth That's in Me, I've seen some really good reviews around for that book. Also how awesome does The Truth About Alice look? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it!

  2. OHHHH! I just re-read Little Women in print and audiobook a couple of weeks ago! I loved it all over again and I hope you love it too. This WARMS MY HEART to see that you want to read it. It really does!!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Gaiman and while American Gods is hard to beat, in my opinion (and Coraline and The Graveyard Book!), I really loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I thought it was kind of profound even in its simplicity but again, I'm a huge fan of this author so he could write the alphabet on the sidewalk in chalk and I'd probably want to give it an award. (:

  3. I've read extremely promising reviews about The Glass Casket and absolutely love Little Women, Red Rising, and Cruel Beauty. I'm sorry to hear that DoGaM didn't work out as well as you'd have liked, but I experienced a similar situation as you did with The Winner's Curse -- the hype was a bit much, wasn't it? I am absolutely THRILLED you loved Berry's debut YA novel as it really is fantastic and I cannot wait to see what you make of these other titles, especially Cracked which I've had my eye on for awhile. Wonderful haul, Amanda!

  4. I read Little Women when I was a kid but plan to reread it as an adult. Are perspectives are always so different! That's too bad about Dreams of Gods and Monsters but looks like you've got some great books!

  5. Great collection of books. Cruel Beauty I had mixed emotions about -- loved the premise, loved the first half, and then I got confused near the end. I really enjoyed Brodi Ashton's Everneath series. I think the second book picks up because there's more time spent in the Underworld. If you liked book 2, book 3 is really good. Looking forward to hearing what you thought of it. :)

  6. I'm excited for Cruel Beauty as well. I've always loved the story of Beauty and the Beast. I plan on listening to the audio version which will be up for free on in a couple of weeks on SYNC.


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