Book Shaming

There was a meme going around earlier in the year called “Pet Shaming.” A pet owner would take a picture of a shame-faced pet and a sign explaining the pet’s transgressions. So you might see a picture of a pup with the sign “I eat bunny poop!” or a tabby confessing, “I peed in my mom’s underwear drawer.” (More examples.)

They’re cute, but I was thinking them recently as I shook my fist at a book that angered me. Thus, book shaming was born! This is all in fun, so I kept away from any mean-spirited shaming, but I had fun scolding all the books that have given me heartache! Continue Reading →

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Joint Review: SEARCHING FOR SKY by Jillian Cantor and WILD by Alex Mallory

Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all.

                                                               —*—

The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving— that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger…

Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy— he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion.

Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it.

As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?

I decided to review these two books together because they both are attempting to tell the same story, that of a “wild child” taken from the only home they’ve ever known and thrust into civilization by well-meaning “rescuers.” Though they differ greatly from each other in some aspects, both Searching for Sky and Wild hit and miss many of the same targets. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (58)

Rewind and review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

I ended up with THREE reviews this week, plus my normal discussion post (which books would you save from a fire?) and a Cover Love. I also got to squeal loud and long over my favorite TV shows. Check it out!

Stuff I Received

  • Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw (from ABRAMS via NetGalley)
  • The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien (from Macmillan)

Thanks, ABRAMS! Thanks, Macmillan! <3

What I Read

  • The Hit by Melvin Burgess audiobook – Just started and am not sure how long I’ll continue. The story is very interesting, and I love the accents, but the language is horrible.
  • A bunch of #RRSS14 reads!

Event of the Week

This week has been remarkably mellow and devoid of important life events. One thing I did this week that I enjoyed is participating in the #YAphotoaday Instagram challenge created by Jaime Morrow. I love being able to share some of my favorite books with my friends and family! Below are a few of my more recent pictures. (I’m ShaeLit on Instagram if you’d like to follow me.)

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ReReadathon + Shelf Sweeper 2014 – Week Three

RRSS Banner Take 2

If you don’t know what’s going on, check out THIS POST.

Noooo, July, come baaaaaaack! I feel like the days are slipping through my fingers.

I started the week by finishing Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce. It was a wonderful story, and I loved spending more time with Beka and Goodwin. Really, Goodwin is a champ. If you haven’t met her yet, you really should.

A few weeks ago, my sister borrowed The Archived by Victoria Schwab and is sloooooowly making her way through it, but she’s at summer camp for the next few days, so I snagged the book to fly through it before she came home again. I do mean fly; I finished the book in less than a day. I had forgotten how stressful Mac’s story is. While it was nice meeting her and Da and Roland again, I spent most of the book shouting, “TELL SOMEONE WHAT’S GOING ON, YOU FOOL GIXIE!” (I still haven’t lost the Cesspool cant I picked up from Beka.) I followed it up by starting and finishing the sequel, The Unbound, the next day. While I’ve read The Archived before, The Unbound was a shelf sweeper. I was relieved that Mac was a tiny bit better at communicating (at least with Roland), but I wish she had been more open with Wesley. Sigh. Wesley. What a dreamboat.

With my task complete and Schwab’s series ready for my sister to pick up again, I switched back to Tamora Pierce to read Mastiff, the final Beka Cooper book. I’m still working on it, but I’m enjoying catching all the clues I missed the first time around. No one will beat Megan Whalen Turner for laying a subtle foundation, but there’s a lot I missed my first time through this story. I’m especially enjoying being reacquainted with Master Farmer, the doll. I just wish I didn’t remember what was coming, because I’m dreading it.

What about you all? What did you read this week?

**Reminder: If you haven’t signed up for #RRSS14, you still can!**

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Review: CONTACT by Laurisa White Reyes

It takes only half a second…

…Like those commercials where a crash test dummy rockets forward at high speed and slams into a wall.
…In that instant, every thought in Emma Lynn Walsh’s head collides with mine—every thought, memory, hope, disappointment and dream.
…I open my eyes to see Dr. Walsh peering at me, a puzzled expression on her face.

“Let—go—of—me,” I order though clenched teeth.

Mira wants to die. She’s attempted suicide twice already, and failed. Every time she comes in contact with another person, skin to skin, that person’s psyche uploads into hers. While her psychologist considers this a gift, for Mira, it’s a curse from which she cannot escape.

To make matters worse, Mira’s father is being investigated in the deaths of several volunteer test subjects of a miracle drug. Shortly after Mira’s mother starts asking questions, she ends up in a coma. Although her father claims it was an accident, thanks to her “condition” Mira knows the truth…but proving it just might get her killed!

I took a gamble with Contact, as I don’t normally have luck with random titles from smaller presses. However, the synopsis intrigued me. I wanted to know more about Mira’s gift, about her mother’s “accident,” and the danger to Mira. Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #63

CoverLove1

Buried treasure. Ruthless gangsters. An ancient clue . . .

Our Captayne took the pinnace ashore and I went with hym and six men also, who were sworne by God to be secret in al they saw. Here we buried five chests filled with gold.

Tom Trelawney was looking for excitement. Now he’s found it. With his eccentric uncle Harvey, he’s travelling to South America on a quest for hidden gold. But Harvey has some dangerous enemies and they want the treasure too. Who will be the first to uncover the secrets of the mysterious island?

The synopsis isn’t the best, but I’m digging the cover. It has a cool, old-school noir vibe to it. This cover tells the us readers exactly what we’ll get—adventure in an exotic locale, danger by way of snakes and and guys with guns, intrigue, and treasure. Sounds good to me.

What do you think of this cover?

 

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In Case Of Emergency

Discussion Prompt Time!

Your house is on fire. Your books are burning, and once they’re gone, you can’t get them back. Which ones do you grab?

I’ve seen variations on this question before and have always felt a bit stumped. On the one hand, they’re my books. I love each of them. Read ones represent adventures and loved characters; unread ones represent anticipated fun. I have books that were given to me and therefore are tied to a specific person. I also have books that I bought and therefore represent a monetary investment. (Hi, my name is Shae, and I’m probably the cheapest person you’ve ever met.)

On the other hand, when you get right down to it, they’re just books. They’re not photographs or trophies or any other kind of memento that can’t be replaced. If they burn, you go out and buy another copy. Yeah, it will take a while, since you’ll have to spread the cost around, but still. They’re not one of a kind.

So, for me, I split the question two ways. First, I have the books that I would save in an honest-to-goodness fire (provided I could do so without dying.) I would save my copies of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and my bound collection of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, because I have too many memories tied up in their pages. I would also rescue my copies of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, Alienated by Melissa Landers, Babushka Baba Yaga by Patricia Polacco, and The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, because they all have very nice inscriptions in them that I can’t replace.

If, however, the fire in question were some kind of magical erasing fire that would knock every book it touched out of existence (thereby making it truly irreplaceable), my list would change a bit. All the Turner, Tolkien, and Wein books stay on the list. No way I’m going through life without those. Dark Triumph stays on the list, but the rest of the series gets added as well. Babushka Baba Yaga gets saved (childhood fave), and I’d add Rae Carson’s and Leigh Bardugo’s books to the pile, along with Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak… and I’d probably still keep adding, but my arms are only so long and so strong. Thank goodness this question only pertains to books that I own.

And now I’m feeling a little panicky as I picture the rest of my books going up in flames, so let me pass the question back to you.

Which books would YOU save?

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Mini Reviews: THE HALF LIFE OF MOLLY PIERCE and MY LAST KISS

You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering. 

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves.

Of all my upcoming reviews, I really wanted this to be a full-length review rather than a mini review. Unfortunately, the twist in this book was ruined for me literally from the moment I knew the story existed. It’s a solid twist, and I enjoyed watching the pieces fit together, but it robbed the story of its shock and also colored how I perceived literally everything. I don’t want to ruin the book for you like it was ruined for me, but I can’t talk about what happens separate of why it’s happening, as there was never a point when I could see those two points as distinct and apart.

Also, I remember very little of the book anymore. According to my notes, I felt bad for one character who cannot be named (spoilers), and loved Clancy and Hazel (whoever they are.) I do think that Ms. Leno handled Molly’s situation tactfully and realistically (as far as I can tell; no personal experience here) and that the prose was solid. I just wish it had made more of an impression on me.

Note: I received a review copy of this title from the publisher for review consideration.

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What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy? 

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss–the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died–is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. 

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made–good and bad–that led to her last kiss.

Unfortunately, My Last Kiss also failed to make much of an impression on me. It certainly wasn’t bad, and I enjoyed myself while I was reading it, but it’s not a story I’ll revisit. I kept waiting to be grabbed, to really connect with Cassidy and care about how and why she died. Instead, the closest I got to caring was the way I ached for her poor siblings. She was the dead one, but they were the ones who would have to live with the hole in their family.

Actually, Aimee, Cassidy’s bulldog of a friend, was far more interesting than Cassidy herself. Aimee is the friend who spearheads the amateur investigation into Cassidy’s death and puts together the clues of what happened that night. I really would have liked to have seen the story from Aimee’s POV, especially as she starts to doubt the word of everyone, even her closest friends. The tension does ratchet up as the story progresses, but the ending was too chaotic and messy for my taste.

Note: I received a review copy of this title from the publisher for review consideration.

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