Cover Love #64

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Saving the school — one con at a time.

Jackson Greene has reformed. No, really he has. He became famous for the Shakedown at Shimmering Hills, and everyone still talks about the Blitz at the Fitz…. But after the disaster of the Mid-Day PDA, he swore off scheming and conning for good.

Then Keith Sinclair — loser of the Blitz — announces he’s running for school president, against Jackson’s former best friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby hasn’t talked to Jackson since the PDA, and he knows she won’t welcome his involvement. But he also knows Keith has “connections” to the principal, which could win him the election whatever the vote count. 

So Jackson assembles a crack team to ensure the election is done right: Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess and cheerleader. Charlie de la Cruz, point man. Together they devise a plan that will bring Keith down once and for all. Yet as Jackson draws closer to Gaby again, he realizes the election isn’t the only thing he wants to win.

I’ve seen two different covers for The Great Greene Heist, and I included them both in this post because they’re both adorable. Though I like the first a little better than the second, they both nail two elements: illustration style and diversity. I ADORE this cover style. I’ve mentioned many times that middle grade books are more willing to experiment when it comes to illustrated cover art, and the gamble pays off most of the time. Not that a photo cover wouldn’t have been okay, but this! This is fresh! It’s cute! It’s eye-catching! Even better is the racial representation on this cover. Of course, the majority of the credit goes for the author for purposely writing a diverse crew, but yay designers for not white-washing! Girls, boys, white kids, brown kids, they’re all here! Also, all the wee spectacles make me squee.

Like I said, I think I like the first cover better because the colors really pop and we get to see the kids a little better, but both covers are enticing enough to catch a reader’s eye from the shelf. Good job, designers!

What do you think of this cover? Does it make you want to read the book?

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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

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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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