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Archive for May, 2013

BEA Plan: Friday

Posted by Caitie F on May 31, 2013

I am sure we are already all exhausted from BEA but today is my big day full of things I want to do. I have lots of must-see but I am sure I won’t make them all.

I am starting out the day at the Children’s Author Breakfast. Super excited to see Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, and Mary Pope Osbourne. I hope to post all about it over the weekend. It was the highlight of BEA last year!

I hope to get to the signing for The Survivors: Body & Blood: 
A Young Adult Supernatural Fiction Novel-A bloodcurdling, mind-bending, heart-stopping ride.

Then at 10, I am going to the Meet the BEA Young Adult Buzz Authors with Rainbow Rowell, Anna Jarzab, Cristin Terrill, Amy Rose Capetta, Sara Farizan.

Then I am going to head over to the HMH booth and get in line to meet the author of my favorite book of the year, The Testing. There are two other signings around then, that I am interested in, but that is my priority.

At 11, I am going to the panel Out of this World: Page Turners for Young Reader with
Join New York Times bestselling authors Brandon Mull (Spirit Animals), Gordon Korman (The Hypnotists) and debut UK novelist Cathryn Constable (The Wolf Princess) as they discuss creating fantastical action and adventures series for middle grade readers.

Then I have a break to find something decent and not super expensive to eat.

At 1, there is the Middle Grade Buzz panel with Caroline Carlson, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Matthew Ward (one of my favorite debut middle grade of the year), Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith, Amy Herrick

Then I have meetings.

Then at 3, I am really excited for the  Realistic Fiction – The next hot genre in Young Adult panel with Robyn Schneider, Katie Cotugno, Corey Ann Haydu,  Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick.

That evening, i am heading to the BEA Book Blogger picnic! Can’t wait to see/meet everyone!

Then I come home and sleep almost all day Saturday, because I am not coming in for Saturday at all.

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BEA Plan: Wednesday

Posted by Caitie F on May 29, 2013

I thought I would share my plan for each day. If you see me, say hello!

Thanks to my current job, this is going to be a very children’s-centric BEA. I hope to check out some adult books too, but my main focus will be on that demographic.

Wednesday is my lightest day. I will be heading to Javits early to take care of getting my badge and tickets. I am not going to the Bloggers Conference, but hope I am there early enough to say hi to people!

At 9:30 I am going to the New Insights & Trends in the 2013 Children’s Market.

That’s it!  I have a really busy day at work tomorrow, so I can’t go to anything else.

I hope people are live tweeting the Bloggers Conference. I also hope it is better than last year and no one says that Klout matters.

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by Caitie F on May 28, 2013

Title: Siege and Stormsiege and storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Hardcover: 448 pages
Pub Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Review:

If you read the first book in this series and liked it, you need to read this one too because it has all of the amazing elements of the first with some new twists and a new guy who gives Mal a run for dreaminess.

When Alina and Mal tried to run, I knew it wouldn’t last. I just wish they could have been happier for longer. Instead, they have to go through all new terrible circumstances and are constantly being used to do things they don’t want to do. For them, love makes them incredibly vulnerable and it gets frustrating. How much further would they have gone? How much further will they go?

Alina’s role gets so much more complicated, but she gets much stronger. While she sometimes still feels like the weak orphan, she no longer is that girl. She is stronger, more defiant. She is a leader and I found myself drawn to her a lot more. She is also more broken and can share less with those she trusts and loves. I have a feeling that before this series is over, she will go down as one of the best female characters.

And there is a new guy, but I am not going to tell you who he is because that would be major spoilers. But between him being just amazing at everything and wonderful and Mal becoming very different from Shadow and Bone Mal, I found myself hoping for this new guy. I can’t wait to see what others think about this new addition.

This is a wonderful book. It isn’t always fast-paced, but it does show the thought and strategy that goes into decisions and I will take that over fast-paced action. The writing during those scenes blew me away. Often, discussion of plans in books can feel slow and boring, but I was engaged and excited.

If you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for? If you even like fantasy a little bit, this book is for you!

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Posted by Caitie F on May 24, 2013

Title: Shadow and Boneshadwo and bone
Author: Leigh  Bardugo
Hardcover: 358 pages
Pub Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

Review:

I really love high fantasy books, but I am always nervous about starting a new one. If the world is constructed well, there are holes everywhere. If the characters aren’t focused with full personalities, dreams, and motivations, it is easy to get sick of them quickly. If the villain isn’t complicated, the entire story just falls apart.

None of that happened in this book. My only complaint is that there were a couple chapters that slowed down, but it was purposeful to build suspense and suspicions, so it is a very minor complaint.

The characters are great from the main heroine to her teachers and guards around her. The only flat characters are the royalty, and they are flat because they are useless. It is a case where I wish it had not been in first person so the reader could see more of some of the other characters; their motivations and doubts along with Alina’s. Seeing things from Mal and The Darkling’s side also would have been awesome.

And about Mal and The Darkling, I even liked the love triangle, and you know how much I usually despise love triangles. That is probably because it is less of a triangle than it appears. I also got why she was interested in both – one because he was awesome and the other because she was drawn to his power and smoothness (but his age made it kinda icky). The romances in the book felt so genuine and wonderful and part of me kept expecting betrayal from all sides. It was hard to see what was really going on which just made it so much better.

The end of this book will blow your mind. There was one aspect I was disappointed in because it had been done earlier in the book and was the one hole I saw, to put it in a non spoilery way- realizations having that much power irked me.

Overall, this book was great and if you love some high/epic fantasy in young adult books, go get it so you can read the next book in a couple weeks!

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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

Posted by Caitie F on May 23, 2013

Title: The Grimm Legacygrimm
Author: Polly Shulman
Hardcover: 325 pages
Pub Date: July 8, 2010
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library – a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales; seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles.

When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime or captured by the thief.

Review:

I love fairy tales and any book that includes them is something I really need to check out. This book looks at fairy tales in a very clever way – through the objects in them. And it turns out those objects are real, as is magic.

The creativity is this book is what stood out most. Every page seemed to have something new and imaginative. There were not just magical items, there were also regular items from history or even more modern items that people could borrow. It really made me start looking at the objects around me more closely and with some amazement.

The characters were such teenagers, and I mean that in the best way possible. They felt like real kids with real thoughts and language. At the beginning, the main character was irritating because she wanted answers to everything. It felt genuine though, so it wasn’t bothersome. This is what any teenager might act like. All the crushes in the book felt like they were realistic too. Everyone is at first attracted to the athlete or the gorgeous girl, but realize that someone else might make them happier. The pair of sibling relationships were also great and the dialogue sounded like what you would hear in bedrooms around the world.

All of this made the world feel so real and I half expected to go to the address in New York and actually find this place so I could check out the Grimm Collection for myself!

If you like fantasy, magic, or fairy tales, check this book out! The companion book is coming next month and I look forward to reading it!

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Crash by Lisa McMann

Posted by Caitie F on May 21, 2013

Title: CrashCrash
Author: Lisa McMann
Hardcover:  256 pages
Pub Date: Jan 8, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode…and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

Review:

I went in to reading this book hoping it would be an exciting story and a sweet romance. And that is what I got, mostly.

I really liked Jules and her family. They felt like an actual family, which is always good to see. I also thought McMann showed mental illness and the effect on the people around someone dealing with depression. It also showed how scary it is to see the possibility of it happening to you. In the end, I think this is what I liked most about the book and I hope that more young adult authors look at mental illness in a realistic way and it helps end the stigma.

Back to the story though – it is exciting and suspenseful. Will I ever reread the book? No, it is a true suspense novel in that way. Even though I liked the characters, it isn’t enough to make me come back to this book. There is a sequel coming out this fall that I will probably read, but it doesn’t sound as good.

The book really would get 3.5 stars because I didn’t really get the romance. It wasn’t insta-love which is always a plus, especially when life and death is involved, but the word love is thrown around way too much when people aren’t even together. No Jules, you don’t love him, you haven’t even been friends for the past 4 years. You lust after him. You are infatuated with him. Not love. /endrant.

I would still recommend it as long as that won’t completely drive you nuts. It is a good suspense book with some humor and good characters.

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Posted by Caitie F on May 16, 2013

Title: Eleanor & ParkEleanor
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Hardcover: 336 pages
Pub Date: Feb 26, 13
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: ++++

Summary from publisher:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

Review:

I have wanted to read this book for months, so when my copy came in at the library, i was really excited. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. More on that in a bit.

Eleanor is a character than many teens can relate to. She doesn’t have much and she has to struggle with the teasing and the feelings she has about it every day. She has a horrible home life and an abusive stepfather. I would ope that teens couldn’t relate to her, but I know there are many that can relate to that part of her story. Her life is far from perfect, but it feels very real. I like that it shows that there are real problems in the world. I also like the friends she makes at school – they don’t take crap from people and are a good contrast to the rich around them. I wish Eleanor had been closer with them, but could understand why she couldn’t. She broke my heart and I shed some tears for this fictional character.

I also adored Park’s parents. Were they always right? Not at all. They were both not always very nice, but they loved him and were very good people once they got the situation. When Park’s dad tells Eleanor that the invitation for dinner is always open, he was redeemed for not understanding his son. His mother was also very understanding when she got what was going on. His family was so interesting because they were such a blend in a time when it was less often. It made me get him a little more.

Rainbow Rowell knows how to write a fantastic book. I will continue to read her books because it is easy to get lost in the book and the characters. The pop culture references were integrated that they felt organic and not like they were references to be trendy. The tackles horrible issues head=on, but isn’t an issue book, it is a book about people dealing with issues so it means more. It was almost the perfect book.

Yet I didn’t buy Park. Park at the end is very different from Park at the beginning. It felt like he was whoever was needed at the time. One friends said she thought Eleanor made Park be more himself and I can see it interpreted that way, it was just different than what I saw. It may be that way because I think Elanor was just Eleanor and it felt like he had many sides to his personality. He was also a really shitty friend – and didn’t even care that he was – once he started spending time with Eleanor and that always pisses me off.

It is still a very good book and I look forward to reading her next one!

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TV: Sad to Say Goodbye

Posted by Caitie F on May 14, 2013

This week is a big week for TV fans, it is the upfronts. Networks are selling their lineups to advertisers and we all get ot find out what shows that we love are sticking around and what is gone.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know i love TV, so I thought I would pay tribute to my favorite shows that have been cancelled or are over.

The Office

It has been a rocky path at times, but this last season has been one of its best. Jim and Pam had me crying last week and I know the big finale event this week will bring tears to my eyes again. 

30 Rock

Another one of my favorite comedies ended this year. If you never watched it, you should go on Netflix and start. The first season isn’t the best, but the entire show is one of the funniest ever.

Smash

Smash was not perfect, but I still loved it. I loved seeing how the shows were made and the cast album for Bombshell is fantastic. The finale is in a couple weeks and I heard they re-shot it when they heard it was cancelled, so hopefully it will have an actual ending. 

Whitney

I didn’t love this show, because Whitney’s friends were annoying, but when it was just her and Alex on screen, I laughed a lot.

Go On

I am still the most shocked by this show. Matthew Perry was great in this, but it was an ensemble cast and they really worked well together. It was the perfect mix of funny and sweet and got better and better as the season went on. The last six episodes were fantastic, which really shows that they needed to give it more time.

Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23

Terrible titles, amazing show. James Vanderbeek was hilarious as himself. I laughed more at this show than most others. Sometimes titles really matter. 

The New Normal

This was another great show that was a mix of funny and sweet. The episode on the Boy Scouts was one of the best they did and if you didn’t see it, it is probably still online. 

Happy Endings

USA is looking at picking this up so there is some hope. If you weren’t watching this show you were missing out. This is the best ensemble cast since Friends. In fact, they may be better than the Friends cast. Each actor knew the character so well and it made the show phenomenal. I really hope this continues on another network because it is one of my favorites. 

Did any of your favorite shows get cancelled? 

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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Posted by Caitie F on May 10, 2013

Title: Falling Kingdoms12954620
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Hardcover: 432 pages
Pub Date: Dec 11, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

Review:

This book has been called the Game of Thrones for teens. As someone who has read and (mostly) loved that series, I can say I agree…to some extent. First of all, it isn’t just for teens. The only things that makes this young adult is the characters ages and the lack of explicit sex. It does not read as a young adult book and is something all fans of high fantasy can enjoy.

The world is also not as richly imagined in this book, but it is different than other fantasy worlds.The three lands are as different as can be and these differences can be seen in how the young adults live and act around others. It is fascinating to see their differences, and more importantly their similarities. These similarities is what can give the reader some hope at the end of the book.

The story isn’t necessarily all that unique, but it is written in a way that makes it feel fresh, mostly due to the various voices throughout the book. Seeing from all the perspectives really shows how people fail to imagine others complexly and why the lines of communication break down.

This was a very good book and if you like high fantasy, you should read it. But be prepared – like George R. R. Martin, Morgan Rhodes will kill your favorite character that you thought would be centrally to the entire series. And you may cry. Or throw the book down in anger. I look forward to Rebel Spring which comes out in December 2013.

 

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Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Posted by Caitie F on May 8, 2013

Title: Clockwork Princess6131164
Author: Cassandra Clare
Hardcover: 592 pages
Pub Date:  March 19, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Review:

I have often said that I like The Infernal Devices series more than The Mortal Instruments. Now that I have finished this book, that opinion is completely solidified. Jace and Co. are great, but they are nothing compared to their ancestors.

Tessa is still a little frustrating at times, but she is bright and caring. She is everything you would want in a leading lady. Will has grown the most of all of them and it makes him so likable and funny. Jem is just the best – the bravest, the most kind, and the most loving. He is one of my favorite characters, period. All the other characters shine also. The bad guys are perfectly villainous and evil, the other young people are brave and head strong, and the adults are true leaders.

Just like all the books in this series there are twists and turns throughout. It is so exciting and so hard to put down. Reading just one chapter isn’t possible, especially with all the crazy things happening.

If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you really should. It is a fun read and.I love the feminism in the series, especially in Charlotte. This is a great conclusion, even though there were a couple things I found strange.

What series have you finished this year?

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