Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event brought to you by Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming books we can’t wait to read.
This week I’m waiting on a YA verse novel & a Women’s Fiction title. I was drawn to both of them for different reasons, but it’s interesting that they are both about deception.
To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones
Publication Date: August 27, 2013, Simon & Schuster
Book description (source: Goodreads):
Can honesty lead to heartbreak if the truth is subjective? A compelling novel in verse from Sonya Sones.
Colette is a compulsive liar. She considers it storytelling, a fun way to make a boring life more interesting. Because when you’re stuck playing backseat to your beautiful movie star mother, and your promised vacation in France is exchanged for a middle-of-nowhere summer babysitting your little brother on location for your mom’s new movie, you’ve got to do what you can to liven things up.
Then Colette meets Connor. He’s gorgeous, funny, and totally into her. So what if she lied about her age and a few other pertinent details? Nobody’s really interested in the truth, are they? But when some of the details of Connor’s stories don’t add up, Colette begins to suspect that she’s not the only one skilled in the art of deceit. And as the dishonesty deepens, Colette will have to decide what kind of stories she really wants to tell about her life—and who she wants to tell them to.
The fact that it’s a verse novel got my attention, but the mother/daughter dynamic and dishonesty topic also sounds intriguing.
Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves
Publication Date: September 17, 2013, Dutton Adult
Book Description (source: Goodreads):
What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?
Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.
Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.
Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross.
What books are you waiting on this week?
Book: What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles #1) by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, Simon & Schuster Audio, April 16, 2013
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy novella, Received for review from Simon & Schuster Audio, Audio length: 1 hours 13 minutes, read by Jesse Williams
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
The Bane Chronicles is a new novella Shadowhunter world spinoff series from Cassandra Clare and co-authors Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. The first of 10 short stories about my favorite warlock Magnus Bane kicks off with What Really Happened in Peru.
Magnus Bane is such a scene-stealer in all the Shadowhunter books that it’s nice to see him in the spotlight for a change. These bite size standalone stories fill in some of the blanks in Bane’s extensive backstory and help tide us over until the next Shadowhunter book.
This installment teasingly tries to answer the question posed in the title with comedic, sorrowful and insightful anecdotes. It’s a good bonus addition to the Shadowhunters legend and a must for those who can’t get enough of Magnus.
Super fans of The Mortal Instruments series know that Magnus Bane was banished from Peru. I didn’t remember that tidbit, but after doing some digging I think it’s mentioned in City of Fallen Angels? In What Really Happened in Peru, Magnus visits Peru with his warlock cohorts Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss. Magnus gets involved in several antics there, but which was the final straw? (Seriously, which was it?)
This quick read answers some questions about the mysterious Magnus while also providing the silliness you might expect. There are exotic animals, bad dancing, drunken exploits and stolen kisses. With Magnus’ immortal status he has had his share of heartbreak though, some of which we learn about. The story jumps around in time and gets a little confusing at times, but I guess it’s to illustrate all the exploits Magnus gets involved in over the years.
Jesse Williams narrates What Really Happened in Peru. This is his first time narrating an audiobook- he is best known as Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy, of which I’m a fan. Williams has good comedic timing for Magnus, something we don’t get to see a lot of on Grey’s. I think Williams understood the character of Magnus and had fun with it. There are a lot of different characters, accents, and time frames in this installment, so Williams gets to get creative with the narration. I preferred his male voices overall, but I liked that he’s animated and really got into the story. At just over an hour, I’m pretty sure this is the shortest audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I do think Clare’s books lend themselves well to audio.
The next book in the series is The Runaway Queen, co-written by Maureen Johnson, due out May 21. It’s set during the French Revolution, when Magnus tries to rescue the royal family.
Check out an interview with Jesse Williams discussing the audiobook at MTV and listen to an audio sample below:
Book: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare, Simon & Schuster Audio, March 19, 2013
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy, Received for review from Simon & Schuster Audio, Audio length: 16 hours 24 minutes, read by Daniel Sharman.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Writing about the end of a trilogy is always hard but this one seems especially daunting. Every adjective I want to use to express my feelings about Clockwork Princess I worry will come across as a spoiler. I’m a fan of the Mortal Instruments series and I must admit it took me a little while to warm up to this prequel series. I wasn’t receptive to the new characters and setting at first. But in the end the Infernal Devices series won my heart, and with the satisfying conclusion I may even prefer it to the original.
In Clockwork Princess the tension with the relationships, love triangle, and battle with the villain Mortmain comes to a head. The love triangle was particularly gut wrenching in Clockwork Prince so I didn’t know how much more I could stand! The journey in this book is surprising, passionate, and fulfilling, and the epilogue gave me chills. There’s not much more I could ask for in a series conclusion. I think the ending was perfect and very much in keeping with the tone of the series.
I’ve “read” this series exclusively via audiobook. In an unusual move, a different narrator reads each book of the trilogy. Clockwork Prince is the only book with dual narration, and I liked it, but I think my favorite is Daniel Sharman’s Clockwork Princess reading.
It’s funny because I was listening to the audiobook and liking it, but thinking it was moving a little slow at the beginning. But then I’d look down and see I was already at disc 6, at the halfway point. I savored every moment but had an uneasy feeling throughout, anticipating the inevitable heartbreak. I do think this series is ideally suited to audio format, and each of the narrators does bring the flavor of Victorian London to life.
This is the first book of the trilogy without a female narrator. Daniel Sharman has the task of conveying the voice of Tessa, as well as the other standout female characters. Plus he has to speak Mandarin and Welsh and use an American accent. I think he does an outstanding job with his accents, and with Will, Jem and the other male characters especially. The female characters also sound believable, such as Cecily, Charlotte and Sophie. The best complement I could give Sharman is at the end I didn’t notice the narration at all because I was so engrossed in the story.
I’m really pleased with the conclusion of this trilogy and I’ll miss these characters, so it’s a bittersweet ending for me. I’m looking forward to the City of Bones movie, and The Dark Artifices series to come. Kudos to Cassandra Clare on this amazing series!
If you want to check out Clockwork Princess on audio, be sure to enter my giveaway. It’s ending this weekend!
Have you read Clockwork Princess? What did you think of the conclusion?
Check out an interview with Cassandra Clare & Daniel Sharman discussing the audiobook below:
Are you as excited as I am that the final Infernal Devices book is out? All of these trilogy conclusions are killing me with suspense! I’m listening to Clockwork Princess now (thank you Simon & Schuster Audio) and am so nervous about how it’s going to wrap up. This Will/Jem/Tessa triangle is so agonizing!
I should knock out the audiobook in the next few days, and then I want to pass it on to one of you. This series works very well in audio format, and each book has a different narrator. Usually I don’t like changes like that in a series, but somehow it works here.
The Clockwork Princess audiobook by Cassandra Clare is on 13 discs, and is 16 hours, 24 minutes long. The narrator is Daniel Sharman and he has a great voice. Take a listen:
Congrats to Stephanie who won a copy of the Clockwork Princess audiobook!
Book: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren, Simon & Schuster Audio, Feb. 12, 2013
Book Info: Romance, Audiobook received for review from Simon & Schuster Audio. Running time: 7 hrs, 39 mins. Read by: Grace Grant. Also available in PB, 305 pages from Gallery Books.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
Beautiful Bastard is a rework of the Twilight fan fiction The Office by the writing team Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, aka Christina Lauren. Instead of a vampire-human relationship, in Beautiful Bastard there is a controlling boss-enterprising intern relationship. I haven’t read The Office fanfic, but if I didn’t know it was inspired by Twilight I wouldn’t have guessed. Like Fifty Shades, it’s a pretty racy read from beginning to end. I got a little embarrassed just listening to the audiobook!
Chloe Mills is an MBA student and assistant to Bennett Ryan, who is successful and gorgeous but kind of a condescending jerk. Chloe works hard but the demanding Bennett nitpicks every little thing about her work. They have a formal relationship and call each other Miss Mills and Mr. Ryan. They push each-others buttons yet have a grudging respect for each other. At one late night work session they give in to their sexual tension and so begins their torrid office affair.
The relationship progresses so quickly from hate to lust that it’s kind of jarring. The pair can’t keep their hands off each other as much as they try. The relationship is complicated since Bennett is technically Chloe’s boss, and she wants to get ahead on her own merits and not because she’s sleeping with him.
Chloe is a smart go-getter and I liked her a lot. I didn’t see her as a Bella type at all if that’s whom she’s supposed to be based on. She’s got confidence to spare and a sassy attitude and is the only assistant able to handle the difficult Bennett.
Bennett is more of an Edward type and is controlling and arrogant. He relies on Chloe and pushes her to be great, but is very hard on her. He knows he should stay away from her but is unable to resist. And he has a weird panty-hoarding tendency. He comes from a big family like The Cullen’s (Ryan Media is their family business) and they all adore Chloe.
This is a fun, silly read and I think it’s supposed to read as kind of ridiculous. It’s erotica so there is lots of sex, and not as much plot. The characters have chemistry though and I liked their banter and seeing their relationship evolve. And the book is written in alternating POV so we get to inside both Chloe and Bennett’s mind.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Grace Grant. If her voice sounds familiar, she also narrates The Love Series and the Marriage to a Billionaire series under a different name. She has the right sounding voice for Chloe, and translates her personality well. I’m a fan of this narrator, but ideally I would like if there were a male narrator for the Bennett chapters. Sometimes the character voices were not distinct enough to tell the difference between the two. Not a deal-breaker, but it’s something to consider for future books. The audiobook is a quick listen at just under 8 hours and I found it entertaining overall.
Beautiful Bastard is a funny, sexy and over the top read for romance readers. It’s witty and doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a companion novel/sequel in the works called Beautiful Stranger, due out in May. And Beautiful Bastard is also headed for the big screen, so get ready for more Chloe and Bennett.
- Christina Hobbs: 13 Beautiful Bastards From Literature And Film (huffingtonpost.com)
- Could Beautiful Bastard be the new Fifty Shades of Grey? (marieclaire.co.uk)
I’m more adventurous in my audiobook choices than books in print, and I love listening to a great memoir. Recently I listened to the sports memoir Long Shot about baseball player Mike Piazza, someone who became very successful in his field by working hard and never giving up. This is obviously not my usual YA fare, but Piazza’s teen years are covered in the book, and his story is an inspirational read for aspiring athletes and fans of the sport.
Book: Long Shot by Mike Piazza, with Lonnie Wheeler, Simon & Schuster Audio, February 12, 2013
Audiobook Info: Memoir, Received for review, Audio length: 15 hours 52 minutes, read by Holter Graham and Mike Piazza. Also available in hardcover & ebook from Simon & Schuster.
The lowdown: 3.5 / 5 Stars. Worth a listen, especially for baseball fans
I’ve never read or listened to a sports bio before, but I grew up a Dodger’s fan and Mike Piazza was one of my favorite players back in the day. He started out as a 62nd round draft choice and courtesy pick (his father is great friends with then-manager Tommy Lasorda) but he later became rookie of the year, and a 12-time All-Star Catcher, breaking numerous records. Piazza had a famous falling out with the team, though and was traded after six seasons. He settled in with the Mets and went on to extend his successful career.
Piazza gives an inside view of the events, and where things went wrong with the Dodgers. He lays it all out there, as well as setting the record straight about rumors of performance enhancing drug use, feuds with other players, and about his sexual orientation.
It’s interesting hearing the behind the scenes info about the sport of baseball, the politics at play, and player/manager/fan interaction. Piazza always felt like the underdog, but he kept his head down and worked hard to achieve his dreams. His dad is his biggest supporter, building him his own batting cage at home to practice, and helping with contract negotiations. Piazza is straightforward about his career and doesn’t seem to hold anything back even when he isn’t shown in the best light.
The fall-out with the Dodgers is especially sad. LA fans will be uncomfortable when Piazza places some of the blame on beloved sportscaster Vin Scully, who he claims turned the fans against him during contract negotiations.
Mike Piazza was a NY Met when the events of Sept. 11th took place and talks about returning to play at Shea Stadium for the first game after the attack. It’s really moving hearing about the huge crowds that came out to see the Mets play and Piazza obviously was hit hard by the event.
Regarding the audiobook, Mike Piazza reads the prologue, first chapter, and epilogue, with Holter Graham (The Art of Fielding narrator) reading the lion’s share of the book. I generally prefer authors to narrate their own memoirs, but I have no complaints about Graham’s narration. In fact, at first I didn’t even notice when the narration shifted from Piazza to Graham, so Graham does capture Piazza’s tone and is obviously comfortable with the baseball speak. Graham uses different voices and accents and speaks clearly and at a good pace. I’d listen to more books narrated by Holter Graham. Mike Piazza reads very little of the book and is obviously not a professional narrator but he speaks with passion and sincerity and from the heart. I’m glad he narrated at least a portion of the book, to share his thanks for his family, and to talk about his Hall of Fame wishes.
One thing that confused me a little in the audiobook is when different people in Piazza’s life shared their point of view. It wasn’t always clear who was speaking. This is probably easier to figure out in the print version, but I got used to the brief snippets from other players and family members and eventually the transition clicked.
Long Shot is a good read for baseball fans looking for the inside scoop. Fans of the game, Piazza, the Mets, or the Dodgers should find this bio entertaining. I’d recommend listening to the audiobook to help bring the baseball action to life.
- Mike Piazza softens stance on Dodgers’ Vin Scully (latimes.com)
- Mike Piazza’s new book is insightful, but does it tell all? (newsday.com)
- Steroids, Clemens Addressed in Mike Piazza’s Autobiography (newyork.cbslocal.com)
Book: Sever (The Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano, Simon & Schuster, February 12 2013
Genre/Format: Young Adult, Own hardcover, 371 pages
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
The conclusion to the Chemical Garden trilogy is something I’ve been dreading. There’s been so much sorrow and heartbreak thus far I was scared of what more Lauren DeStefano could do to these characters. Turns out she had several tricks up her sleeve to shock and surprise in Sever when you least expect it. The series finale is bittersweet but gave me enough closure to let go.
It’s been a year since I read Fever, but it was easy to get re-acquainted with the story. These are dark days for the heroine Rhine, separated from Gabriel and her brother Rowan, and knowing that she doesn’t have much time left before she succumbs to the virus. She’s matured during her time away from the mansion, and is determined to get to her brother. But her sister wife Cecily has also hardened and wants to help Rhine, and Linden’s complicated feelings won’t let him turn his back on her either. The group travels to Vaughn’s brother Reed’s place to work out their next steps.
It’s hard to talk about anything else plot related since this is the end of a series. But suffice it to say there are big shocks and reveals. Rhine questions everything she has ever known and gets some sobering news. DeStefano keeps the reader guessing about who are the real good guys and bad guys this time around.
Like the previous installments, Sever is a moody and atmospheric read. The plot moves at a gentle pace, almost giving a false sense of security. It had me on edge, as if I was reading a horror novel, and I paced my reading even though I was anxious to see how it all turns out. DeStefano’s distinctive writing style with its dark tone is what will linger most for me about this series.
In Sever, the action moves to several different settings. I wasn’t thrilled that the carnival made another appearance, but it actually fit very well in the story. I liked the addition of Reed, and the scenes at his place are some of the most alive. Cecily is someone I barely tolerated in the previous books but she does liven up the book, and she and Reed are a breath of fresh air, when Linden and Rhine are a little moody.
After reading Sever, I liked examining the cover to note the relevance of the objects in the cover photo. I don’t think I could have guessed exactly how they all fit before I read the book, but they do all tie-in to the story.
I have mixed feelings about the ending, but overall I think it is the right conclusion for the trilogy. It feels complete, and I’m ready to move on to DeStefano’s next series. The first book of the Internment series, Perfect Ruin, is due out next year.