Waiting on Wednesday (158)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren 
(Coming January 2nd, 2018!) 

Liv's words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she'd known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence.

It's been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she'd never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs...
I love the cover. I love the synopsis. I love second chance romances. I just NEED this in my life!  

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Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein 
(Coming June 19, 2018!)

From advice columnist Meredith Goldstein, a dazzling, romantic, and emotionally resonant YA debut about a teen science whiz in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who tries to crack the chemical equation for lasting love and instead wreaks havoc on herself and the boys in her life.

For seventeen-year-old Maya, the equation for happiness is simple: a dream internship at MIT + two new science nerd friends + a perfect boyfriend = one amazing summer. Then Whit dumps her out of the blue.

Maya is miserable until she discovers that her scientist mother, before she died, was conducting research on manipulating pheromones to enhance human attraction. If Maya can finish her mother’s work, maybe she can get Whit back. But when her experiment creates chaos in her love life, she realizes that maybe love and loss can’t be understood using the scientific method. Can she learn to trust the unmeasurables of love and attraction instead?
This book had me as soon as I saw the word chemistry in the title/synopsis! What can I say I'm a chemistry nerd to the end...Anyhow, the premise sounds sweet and fun and the cover is gorgeous. Who knew a periodic table and a pipette could make for such a cute cover?! 

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Review: Craig and Fred (Young Reader's Edition) by Craig Grossi

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website: 
A heartwarming story of a stray dog and a U.S. Marine who met under the unlikeliest circumstances in Afghanistan—and who changed each other’s lives forever.

As part of an elite team of Marines, Craig Grossi was sent on his most dangerous assignment to the Sangin District of Afghanistan. He expected to face harsh conditions and violence from Taliban fighters.

What he didn’t expect was to meet a stray dog, with a big goofy head and little legs—a dog all on his own, filthy and covered in bugs, in a bomb-ridden district, but who carried himself with confidence. And even though the Marines have a rule against approaching strays, Craig couldn’t help but offer some food and a pat—and was shocked when the dog wagged his tail.

From that moment on, they were inseparable; whether out on missions or back at the base, the dog named Fred went along. When the time came for Craig to leave Afghanistan, he knew that Fred had to leave with him no matter what. And as Craig tried to get acclimated to civilian life, Fred was there for him.

This book tells the inspiring story of two friends who ultimately rescued each other, and the stubborn positivity and love that continue to shape their world.

When Craig and Fred first appeared on my doorstep I was a tad bit apprehensive. I don't read much non-fiction/memoirs; however, with a cute dog on the cover and an interesting tagline - "A marine, a stray dog, and how they rescued each other" - I was intrigued and willing to give it a try. 

As it turns out, I'm so incredibly happy I did! Craig and Fred is such a heartwarming (albeit slightly heartbreaking) story of friendship, loyalty, and finding a "home," no matter where you may be in life.  

One of my favorite parts about Craig and Fred was the casual way in which it was told. It often felt like Craig was talking to me, telling me his story as if we were two old friends sitting at a restaurant together. This characteristic made it easy to read as well as compelling. I was often telling myself, "okay, one more chapter and then I'll go to bed," but that never seemed to happen. 

Additionally, I enjoyed the way in which it was both personal and informational. I learned a lot about Afghanistan while reading this book, and it was incredibly eye-opening to say the least. I valued  that Craig included the bad as well as the good that Afghanistan brought. It was heartwarming and hopeful to read about his positive interactions with the Afghan people as well as to see how far the Afghan citizens would go to maintain some sort of normalcy in their lives. I also liked that the book didn't just end once Craig come home and was reunited with Fred; instead, it continued on, showing the challenges both Craig and Fred faced while trying to regain normalcy themselves. 

Last but not least: the bond between Craig and Fred. It brought so many smiles and even a few tears. Seriously, I love, love, loved it! 

In all, Craig and Fred is well worth a read! 

The copy I read was the young reader's edition, and I feel like it would be the perfect gift for any youngster in your life who is interested in the military and/or lovable dogs. 

Grade: A+ 

Craig and Fred is now out! 

Source: Hardcover provided by publicist for review - thanks Laura! 

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Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStafano

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website
The first in a new fantasy duology, The Glass Spare is a gorgeously told tale of love, loss, and deadly power from Lauren DeStefano, the bestselling author of the Chemical Garden series. Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Renee Ahdieh.

Wilhelmina Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, though, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with Wil’s power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

I first fell in love with Lauren DeStefano's exquisite storytelling when I read her Chemical Garden series. A series I still to this day highly, highly recommend - it's twisty, dark, and utterly addicting! Therefore, as soon as I heard about her newest duology, beginning with The Glass Spare, I was beyond excited. The premise sounded fantastic and the cover is stunning (even more so in person!).  

The Result? The Glass Spare reminded me again how much I love Lauren's storytelling and writing, which is to also say it didn't disappoint me one bit! Beautifully written, compelling, and unique, The Glass Spare is without a doubt a read-in-one-sitting kind of book. 

The Glass Spare introduces us to the four royal Heidle children. With the exception of the oldest son - the heir to the kingdom - the youngest three have been hidden from the world, sent out only to do their father's wicked bidding. For Wilhelmina, or Wil as she likes to be called, this means becoming her father's most useful spy. Wil's okay with this - she loves the adventure her missions bring. Everything changes, though, the moment she realizes she can turn a person into gemstone, killing them in the process. She doesn't know if she's been cursed or exposed to something horrible on the black market; however, she does know she can't hurt anyone else, no matter how bad they may be. But with her power growing more dangerous by the day, Wil doesn't know how long she'll be able to keep this up....

Three words that best describe Wil? Bullheaded, strong, and vastly loyal. Wil is someone I liked from the get-go. I loved how important family was to her. Her relationships with her brothers Owen and Gerdie as well as her mother were actually one of my favorite parts of the book. Additionally, they brought a humanized quality to a girl who more times than not was tough as nails. In addition to Wil, I loved getting to know more about Wil's family. Gerdie was too smart for his own good - I just loved seeing his crazy scientist come out when he was down in his lab. Owen was charming and protective. He reminded me of a "big bear" in some ways, always willing to do anything to protect his "cubs" - Gerdie and Wil. Towards the middle of the book two mysterious characters are introduced - Loom and Zay. I came to love both of them as well. Zay reminded  me of Wil in the way that she was tough and protective. Loom, on the other hand, I could never figure out if he was good or bad - sometimes he floundered in between; however, I loved seeing his friendship evolve with Wil. They were more similar than not, and I feel that they managed to bring the best out in each other. 

The premise in this was interesting. A girl who who can turn people and objects into gemstones in one simple touch? Interesting, and always slightly Frozen like if I may. I thought Lauren did a great job of developing Wil's power. She addressed the bad and good that it brought as well as the mysteries that surrounded it. Was Wil really cursed? That was one question that was in my mind throughout the entire book! Additionally, I liked the family focus of the plot. Much of this book revolves around Wil's loyalty to her family as well as her need to make them happy. It was great to see such a close knit family in a fantasy novel - even more so when Lauren offered up POVs from other members of the family. Also, there was an interesting power dynamic between Wil and her father, which was interesting to see. Wil's father was a wicked man; however, there were some parts of him that were almost human like. Last but not least, romance...it was a very small portion of the book, and honestly, I liked it that way. I valued and appreciated that Lauren put more time and effort into characterization and world building then romance. (I know surprise, surprise!) 

In all, The Glass Spare is a fantastic addition to the YA fantasy world. I will admit that it's slightly slow to start, as most first books are in a series; however, once it gets going, it's incredibly hard to put down - I promise you that! 

Grade: A- 

The Glass Spare is now out! 

Source: Physical copy provided by publicist for review- thanks Laura! 

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