Waiting on Wednesday (73): Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:
by Jay Kristoff
Release Date:  August 9, 2016
Published by Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's/Macmillan)
The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge? (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

So first of all, this sounds like such an awesome book. I'm getting this whole The Professional and V for Vendetta vibe from the synopsis. And LOOK AT THAT COVER. JUST LOOK AT IT. And you know who did the typography? Meg from Cuddlebuggery. She's an awesome blogger and obviously super talented with typography, as well. I just can't wait for this book!

What book are you waiting on?  Let me know, or leave a link to your WoW post in the comments, and I'll try to stop by your blog! 

Stacking the Shelves (86)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme, hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers can share the books and bookish items that we've bought, borrowed, or received each week.

This StS is for the past two weeks.

I took my older son to Free Comic Book Day (it's become a tradition for the two of us) and I came home with the comics pictured above, plus What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan.
I also recently bought an ebook of The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood, which is one of my book club's May selections. (Not pictured)

For Review
I was approved for Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst on Edelweiss (Thank you SO MUCH to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss! This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I'm so excited to be able to read and review it!)
I also received The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder and the cute T-Rex post-its. Thanks so much to Simon Pulse!

What did you guys get this week?  Let me know, or leave a link to your StS post (or IMM or any other alternative) in the comments and I'll try to stop by your blog!

Kiddo's Corner Reviews: The Secret Lives of Gorillas by Julia Barnes

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Kiddo's Corner Reviews is my new feature here at The Overstuffed Bookcase, where my 6-year-old son reviews children's books!

Want to know more about Kiddo's Corner Reviews? Go here to find out more!

The Secret Lives of Gorillas
Written by: Julia  Barnes
Published by: Gareth Stevens Publishing
Published: 2007
Where we got it: Checked it out from the local library
This series takes readers into the wild to discover the secret lives of six fascinating animals. Students will learn how each animal sees the world, how its physical characteristics are ideally suited to its habitat, how it communicates, how it interacts with other animals and with people, what a typical day in the wild is like, and many other interesting facts. Each book features:
- Text correlated to elementary science curriculum standards for life science
- Descriptions of each animal's habitat, physical features, life cycle, social structure, and daily life
- A map showing the animal's current range
- Full-color photographs of the animal in its natural habitat
- Explanations of current and historical threats to each animal's existence, including threats to its habitat
- Glossary (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

First Thoughts...

Me: So why did you check this book out from the library?

Kiddo: Because I have a report at my school about an animal that you can't tame, or you can't have in a fenced yard. So it can't be cats or dogs. So it has to be a wild animal. So I chose gorillas. I really wanted to pick cheetahs, but at the same time I wanted to pick gorillas, so I picked gorillas.

A Bit More Detail...

Me: What is this book about?

Kiddo: It's about gorillas. What gorillas do and how they live and what they can do, like do sign language. Like Koko! (Mom, put an exclamation point there, after Koko.)

Me: What did you learn?

Kiddo: I learned that gorillas can do sign language, and they beat their chests if they're trying to scare another gorilla away.

Me: What else did you learn?

Kiddo: They do the knuckle walk. They make fists and put their fists on the ground and walk.

Me: What was your favorite part?

Kiddo: My favorite part was learning the different sounds that they make.

Me: What was your least favorite part?

Kiddo: When they get angry with each other.

Final Thoughts...

Me: So do you think you've learned a lot to use in your report?

Kiddo: Yeah. And for the stars, just 1 to 300 stars, I'd give it 300!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (He added all the exclamation points.)

Me: Why 300?

Kiddo: Because I like gorillas so much, and that was a great book to learn about gorillas. That's just my opinion, and it might be someone else's opinion, or it might not be.

Me: Anything else?

Kiddo: I really like the photos, and the facts are really cool. Because they tell you what gorillas really can do.

The Verdict...

Andrea's Note: The kiddo and I read this book together, but I primarily read it to him. There was one part that talked about the fate of many infant gorillas at the hands of older, male gorillas, and I chose not to read that part to him. He is only 6, and he still gets upset about a lot of things, and I didn't want to upset him or give him nightmares. Other than that, this was a great informative book about gorillas for any age.

The kiddo gave The Secret Lives of Gorillas by Julia Barnes 300 stars. I'm going to convert that to my 1-5 star scale and give it:
4 stars between the two of us. I think it's a good and informative book for kids who like gorillas, but I'm sure there are more informative ones out there. But this was perfect for his report, and just for learning more about gorillas, since he really does like gorillas a lot.

Disclaimer: We checked this book out from our local library. We were in no way compensated for this review.

Sundays in Bed With...The Square Root of Summer

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sundays in Bed With... is a meme/feature started by my friend Kate at Midnight Book Girl, where we can highlight the book that we're spending the day in bed reading (or the one we wish we could be reading all day in bed!).

I'm hoping to spend the day in bed with...

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

My new book club picked two books for May, and The Square Root of Summer was one of them (the other one was The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle, which I just finished the other day). I just started it, but I'm enjoying it so far! I have some blogging to do today, but I hope to be able to read a lot as well.

What are you spending this Sunday in bed with?  Let me know in the comments, or leave a link to your post if you're participating in this meme and I'll try to stop by your blog!

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Friday, May 13, 2016
Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
SeriesThe Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 308
Format/Source: Paperback/Purchased  
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Zombies
In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death? (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

Recently I started a book club in my area for adults who like to read YA, and The Forest of Hands and Teeth was our first selection. When we met up to discuss the book, it seems like I was in the minority. Because one person hated the book (although she continued to read the entire series and hated it as well, which baffles me--why continue reading a series that you hate?), and the others kind of ranged from not really liking it to liking it but really disliking the main character, Mary. But I LOVED it.

This was my first zombie book and perhaps that explains why. Maybe there are tons of better zombie books out there, but because this was my first one, I really loved it. And maybe I loved it because prior to this year, I HATED anything to do with zombies. And then I decided to see what all the fuss was over the TV show The Walking Dead, and now I'm hooked. I want to read ALL the zombie books. So maybe I'm just so in love with zombies right now that I would probably love anything that I read, as long as it was about zombies.

But I don't know if that's all true. I found lots of things about The Forest of Hands and Teeth that I enjoyed, and I think I would have enjoyed them even if this was my 50th zombie book to read. For instance, I loved that this book is set at least 100 years after a zombie apocalypse. The zombies are still there, and they still pose a threat to humans, but instead of showing how humanity reacts to a zombie apocalypse, it shows how humans have sustained years after the event.

And because this is years after the apocalypse, it's still falls into the post-apocalyptic category, but the village that Mary lives in makes the book fall into the dystopian category as well, since things aren't exactly as those who are in charge make them seem. But it also has that thriller-type aspect because the characters do have to fight for their lives against zombies. And yet the story is also introspective, with Mary and the other characters having to determine how they want to live in this kind of world, and deciding what it really means to live. Is it just surviving? Or is there more?

I also really enjoyed when Mary would think about the zombies and who they used to be. It seems like a lot of times, zombies are used as a kind of nameless, mindless villain, something that is just evil and has no complexity at all. Yet in The Forest of Hands and Teeth (and often in The Walking Dead, as well), characters reflect on how the zombies used to be human, just like them, and that they themselves may one day be just like the zombies that they are killing.

Favorite Quote...

I came across a lot of lines that I loved in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but here is my favorite non-spoilery one:

"We are our own memory-keepers and we have failed ourselves. It is like that game we played in school as children. Sitting in a circle, one student whispers a phrase into another student's ear and the phrase is passed around until the last student in the circle repeats what she hears, only to find out it is nothing like what it is supposed to be.
That is our life now."

My rating for The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan:
5 stars. I really loved it. I had a few issues with the book, but the story, characters, action, and suspense outweighed all of the cons.
Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Penguin Random House

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.
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