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Archive for November, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Posted by Caitie F on November 28, 2014

Title: The Young Elites20821111
Author: Marie Lu
Hardcover: 355 pages
Pub Date: Oct 7, 2014
Publisher: G P Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Review:

Note: this book has a character with one eye. So…basically I knew I would at least like it.

But I didn’t just like it, I LOVED it. Seriously, this book was AMAZING. I want to scream at you in all caps for this entire review to go read it, but I won’t.

This society is messed up! A lot of people died from a disease and a lot of children were literally scarred from it with marks all over their bodies and sometimes one less eye than normal. Some of them even have magic as a remnant. Yet they are shunned from society and treated badly.

Until some decide to become super heroes and fight against oppression and for the rightful heir to the throne.

All of this should make you want to read it. But the kicker? This isn’t the heir’s story. It isn’t really even the good guy’s story. It is Adelina’s story and she has not had things easy and she cannot trust people very easily.

Add this to your holiday list or just go get it right now because it is incredible!

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Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Posted by Caitie F on November 26, 2014

Title: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel20312458
Author: Sara Farizan
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: Oct 7, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin for Young Readers
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals,

Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

Review:

TELL ME AGAIN HOW A CRUSH SHOULD FEEL is my favorite contemporary YA book of the year. It was just perfect in tone, characters, story, and writing. Sara Farizan is extraordinarily talented.

If you like feeling all of your feelings, this is a books for you. Leila is incredibly funny and her internal monologue was actually laughing out loud funny at many times Her story is heart-breaking at times and you will probably shed some tears.

This voice and this story felt so incredibly realistic. The characters talk like teenagers. They are insecure and always questioning. They make some big mistakes, but they learn from these mistakes. They have families and siblings and friends. It isn’t just a love story, it is Leila’s story that includes finding some love.

When we talk about needing diversity in books, this is the kind of book I am often thinking of – a book with different sexualities, races, and cultures. All of these influence the characters.

This is one of my favorite books of the year and I need to read everything Sara Farizan writes. She is extremely talented and everyone should read this book.

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Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Posted by Caitie F on November 25, 2014

Thanks to all the wonderful readers over at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting!

Since I love checking in on my failures, let’s see how I did on my fall list. Out of those ten books I read…one. Just one. Oops. This list is going to look very similar to that one…

1. The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

mark of

This has been on my list for the entire year. I own it. I just need to read it!

2. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

marriage

So it turns out I won’t be completing the TBR challenge because I refuse to read anything else from Grisham, but I still want to get as many read as possible. I am on a literary kick, so this is the perfect next book.

3. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

daybefore

The is the other book I have to read from that challenge. Cheer me on?

4. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Mass

crown of

I really loved the first book, so I need to get to this one soon!

5. Night Owls by Lauren M Roy

night

I am really wanting to read more genre fiction and this just looks so good!

6. Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

20821288

Speaking of genre, doesn’t this look fantastic? I actually went up to it in a bookstore and said “Caitie want” and now I have it

7. Little Princes by Conor Grennan

princes

I need some more nonfiction.

 

8. Abhorsen by Garth Nix

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I am in the middle of book two and love it. From what I have been told, I should have book three ready.

9. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

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Because I love holiday stories and these authors are amazing!

10. Play by Kylie Scott

19095025

Because more romance is fun!

 

 

 

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The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Posted by Caitie F on November 24, 2014

Title: The Iron Trial20578940
Authors: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Hardcover: 299 pages
Pub Date: Sept 9, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

Review:

This book made me think of Harry Potter in the best possible way. I have heard some think it is too similar, but I have to disagree. Yes, there are similarities, but it is mostly just because they are both hero journeys, like so many great books are.

This magic school was VERY different than Hogwarts, and I really liked it. While you read it, you will be able to picture every twist and turn in the caverns and want to explore. This book took me far longer to read because I just let me imagination run wild.

The characters are wonderful – no one is quite what they seem, since the characters have so many layers. These characters are not stereotypes, they have real insecurities and histories. They make the book worth reading.

There were so many cool things about this book that I can’t even come close to listing them all. If you are looking for a book that will give you the wonderment and feeling or Harry Potter, look no further!

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Mini-Reviews-Good, Not Great, Books

Posted by Caitie F on November 17, 2014

Time for more mini reviews to catch up! There are all books that were meh. They weren’t bad, they weren’t great, so I don’t want to spend too much time talking about them. But you may love them!

Title: Bad Feminist: Essays18813642
Author: Roxane Gay
Paperback: 320 pages
Pub Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Rating: ++++

Summary

In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Review

I really enjoyed reading a large amount of these essays. I didn’t always agree, but Roxanne Gay is incredible at presenting her arguments and every single essay that was on current issues and feminism made me think. I could not read more than a couple essays at a time, so it was a difficult book to get back to the library in time, but I wanted to take time to think about what she said.

Everyone who is interested in women’s issues should read this book.

Title: We Were Liars18339662
Author: E. Lockhart
Hardcover: 225 pages
Pub Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: +++

Summary

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
The truth.

Review

I have learned that I just don’t love Lockhart’s writing style. This was a fast book to read and the ending was pretty brilliant, but I had trouble convincing myself to keep reading. I seem to be very hit or miss with this author’s books, and this was more of a miss, but the end was great.

Not for me, but i think a lot of other readers would love it, especially if you are more interested in these characters.

Title: Sweat, Tears, and Jazz Hands: The Official History of Show Choir from Vaudeville to Glee11504865
Authors: Mike Weaver and Colleen Hart
Paperback: 195 pages
Pub Date: Sept 1, 2011
Publisher: Hal Leonard Publishing
Rating: +++

Summary

Featuring more than 100 competitive show choirs from around the United States in photos, quotations, and stories, this edutainment-style book details the pop culture and theater influences that, over time, built this unique entertainment genre into the mecca of music lovers that it is today. Read real-life accounts of show choir performers, directors, and choreographers

Review

If you are interested in show choirs and musical history like I am, you should take a look at this. There isn’t anything shocking, but it was a fascinating read about the creation and development of show choirs. It had really awesome images that were the highlight of the book. Seeing the actual sets and costumes was so cool. Some of these choirs go all out!

It isn’t the best book, but it brought back some fun memories and got me search for youtube videos.

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11/22/63 by Stephen King

Posted by Caitie F on November 15, 2014

Title: 11/22/6310644930
Author: Stephen King
Hardcover:849 pages
Pub Date: Nov 8, 2011
Publisher: Scribner
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

ife can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

Review:

This is my second favorite Stephen King book ever. I was up until 1 AM reading it last night, and I don’t do that often. It was that good. I had to know how it ended and I couldn’t sleep until that happened.

It is a brilliant book. The characters are complex and pretty lovable at the same time (except Oswald, of course).Jake/George is an easy voice to get used to and to root for. He doesn’t do everything right, but it makes him that much more realistic and makes the reader think.

There is a spot that i have heard a lot of people think is slow, and I see what they meant, but I like this period in history and am so fascinated by the years leading up to the Kennedy assassination, that it never lost my interest, and any reader that is into that as well will not be bothered.

This book is very suspenseful and there will be many times you read one more chapter or just one more section. The writing is superb (except for one scene that is pretty pathetic) and the story is well-crafted. King really did his research.

If you haven’t read this yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up!

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Mini-Reviews: Still Life by Louise Penny, Arcadia by Lauren Groff, and The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

Posted by Caitie F on November 12, 2014

I am SO behind on reviews, so I am going to do some mini reviews or some of the adult fiction books I have read in the last couple months.

Title: Still Lifestill
Author: Louise Penny
Hardcover: 312 pages
Pub Date: Jan 1, 2005
Publisher: St Martin’s Minotaur
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

Review:

I am always looking for more mystery authors and great detectives, so when someone recommended this book to me, I got it right away. The mystery had some interesting twists and the characterization was excellent. The book also had so much charm. I need to read more books in this series

Title: Arcadia arcadia
Author: Lauren Groff
Paperback: 291 pages
Pub Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

In the fields and forests of western New York State in the late 1960s, several dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what becomes a famous commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this lyrical, rollicking, tragic, and exquisite utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after. The story is told from the point of view of Bit, a fascinating character and the first child born in Arcadia.

Review:

I love a good commune story, and this is a great one. The writing is stunning. The characters just jumped off the page and stayed in my brain for weeks after I read it. I thought I would be less interested after they left, but it was just as strong. If you are looking for great literary fiction, look no further.

Title: The Constant Princess constant
Author: Philippa Gregory
Hardcover: 393 pages
Pub Date: Dec 6, 2005
Publisher: Touchstone
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine has been fated her whole life to marry Prince Arthur of England. When they meet and are married, the match becomes as passionate as it is politically expedient. The young lovers revel in each other’s company and plan the England they will make together. But tragically, aged only fifteen, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his sixteen-year-old bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother, Henry; become Queen; and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.

Widowed and alone in the avaricious world of the Tudor court, Katherine has to sidestep her father-in-law’s desire for her and convince him, and an incredulous Europe, that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated, that there is no obstacle to marriage with Henry. For seven years, she endures the treachery of spies, the humiliation of poverty, and intense loneliness and despair while she waits for the inevitable moment when she will step into the role she has prepared for all her life. Then, like her warrior mother, Katherine must take to the battlefield and save England when its old enemies the Scots come over the border and there is no one to stand against them but the new Queen.

Review:

Somehow, I missed the first book in this series, so I finally had to read it. It is VERY different from the other Boelyn books, but is still really good. Katherine is brilliant and passionate. She knows what she needs to do and does it well. If you also skipped this one, you should go get it as soon as you can. It is a delight to read.

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Posted by Caitie F on November 10, 2014

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why1217100
Author: Jay Asher
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: Oct 18, 2007
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Review:

It took me a really long time until I finally read this book, but I am so glad I did. It was so well-written and powerful. It is another one of those books I hope all teenagers read. It shows how even the little things you do or say can have a huge impact on someone. It reminds readers that words and actions do matter.

There has been so much said about this book, that I am not sure there is much I can add. It made me think about what I said and did when I was younger and what was said and done to me and others I knew. It is not a book that could be read quickly. Stopping and thinking will happen.

If you haven’t read this yet, you should!

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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Posted by Caitie F on November 8, 2014

Title: Wintergirls 5152478
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Hardcover: 278 pages
Pub Date: March 19, 2009
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Review:

I have loved every single book I have read by Laurie Halse Anderson. She is a brilliant writer. i saw her speak at LeakyCon and she is also just one of the most amazing speakers I have ever seen. If you ever have the chance to see her speak, don’t pass it up.

To put it simply, this book has saved lives. I am sure of it because teens have talked about it online, so I am pretty sure it has also saved others who aren’t comfortable talking about it. It has saved lives and it is one of the most painfully beautiful books. The writing is absolutely stunning. The characters feel so real and reading it really hurt sometimes.

Laurie Halse Anderson gets teens in a way that few adults do. She writes with wisdom, but also compassion. This may be the best YA book I have read all year. It has certainly stayed with my the most.

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