Archive | June, 2014

ReReadathon + Shelf Sweeper 2014: Let’s Begin

RRSS Banner Take 2

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of ReReadathon! Tomorrow is July 1, which means the start of ReReadathon + Shelf Sweeper 2014. If you don’t know what that is, check out my intro post here. The short version is that Rachel and I are using the month of July to read old favorites as well as tackle the books on our shelves that we own but have never read, and we want you to join us.

So if I were you, this would be my official entry, because this is where I’m making my game plan. I also plan to post an update at the end of each week, which would get me another entry each time (as long as I remember to link up in the linky here or on Rachel’s blog.)

I plan to start #RRSS14 off with a bang. As you read this, I am most likely sitting by a hotel pool in Fort Lauderdale. I’m on vacation through July 7th and plan to use (almost) every second to read. It’s beyond thrilling to know that I can devour books without worrying about reviews.

For the ReReadathon portion of RRSS14, I want to revisit:

  • The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner (every year, yo)
  • The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  • The Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce
  • Not a Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
  • Ten by Gretchen McNeil

For the Shelf Sweeper portion of RRSS14, I’d like to read:

  • The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
  • The Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McCulloch
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
  • This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
  • Zero Gravity by Dave Roman
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
  • The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni

Knowing how I roll, I won’t get to all of them. Not only will I not be able to read that many books (18) in a month, but I’ll pick up other books from my shelf as the mood hits me. However, I think it’s a nice assortment. Some (MWT) are tradition and much beloved. Some (Tamora Pierce) are remnants from last year. Some (McGowan, McGinnis) are prep for upcoming sequels. Some, like Schwab, hit both lists as I prep for one with a reread of the other. And some are just perfect beach reads.

Honestly, though, I cannot wait to dive in.

 

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Rewind & Review (55)

Rewind and review

I’m so excited I could burst! This coming week is going to be so awesome! I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait! But I have to, because before we talk about next week, we need to review what happened this week.

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

What a difference between my two reviews this week! One was full of win and giggles while the other was full of meh. I also got to spend the week talking about book covers and diversity, so that’s a bonus.

Stuff I Bought

  • Your Accomplishments Are Suspiciously Hard To Verify by Scott Adams
  • Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen

I’M WEAK. I went to B&N to sneak a read of the Darkling prequel novella (I own an indie copy of R&R, so no novella) and then felt guilty, so I ended up picking up a couple books. I picked SS because I love the book and want to support its author now that Strange Chemistry has folded, and I picked the Dilbert book because I wanted a laugh.

Stuff I Received

  • Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant (from Alyssa @ Books Take You Places)
  • Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Stolarz (from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley)
  • The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni (from Emily @ HMH Kids)

Oh don’t mind me, I’m just sitting here petting aaaaaall the pretties. Thank you, Alyssa, DH, and Emily for such wonderful stories! I can’t wait to enjoy them.

What I Read

  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Rupert Murdock
  • Wild by Alex Mallory
  • Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
  • The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

Event of the Week

Well, like I mentioned during last R&R, I went to a Country Wedding with my roommate from college. It was very pretty and very much outside of my comfort zone. It was outside (in June in Florida) in the country, and we sat on hay bales. Also, the reception was in a barn and all the decorations were organic and biodegradable. People were dressed in camo and played horseshoes and the guys lifted their shirts and compared beer bellies. It was, as I said, very different for me.

Other than that, the week’s been pretty quiet.

Announcement!

Two BIG, FUN THINGS are happening next week! First, it’s the start of ReReadathon + Shelf Sweeper 2014, so be sure t get your posts and reading stack ready! Second, I’m going to vacation at a resort down in Fort Lauderdale (YIPPEE!!!!!!!), so I’ll be a little scarce as I start tackling my own reading pile poolside. Soo, you all enjoy your first week of July, and I’ll see you guys next week!

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Review: PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG by Anne Blankman

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

Prisoner came out many weeks back, and I’ve purposely held off on writing this review for several reasons. One reason was I just couldn’t bring myself to write it. Apathy is a killer. But that ties in to my other reason, which is that of all my many blogger friends, I think I’m the only person who just couldn’t get into this book. Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #61

CoverLove1

 

A girl from the forest arrives in a bustling kingdom with no name and no idea why she is there, only to find herself at the center of a world at war.  She enlists at Pennyroyal Academy, where princesses and knights are trained to battle the two great menaces of the day: witches and dragons. There, given the name “Evie,” she must endure a harsh training regimen under the steel glare of her Fairy Drillsergeant, while also navigating an entirely new world of friends and enemies.

As Evie learns what it truly means to be a princess, she realizes surprising things about herself and her family, about human compassion and inhuman cruelty. And with the witch forces moving nearer, she discovers that the war between princesses and witches is much more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Look, if you can’t see on your own why I love this cover, I can’t help you. There are misty, adventurous-looking forests. There’s a rather cute and yet foreboding castle. AND THERE IS A DRAGON. It’s huge with wicked teeth and WINGS, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it could breathe fire. Flying, fire-breathing dragons are ALWAYS a good thing.

What do you think of this cover? Of this DRAGON?

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Diverse Books – What Can You Do?

It’s been weeks, and I can’t get #WeNeedDiverseBooks out of my head. The support for the cause has blown me away, but I know one of the major questions that has come out of the campaign is “What can I do? What can someone like little ol’ me do to make a difference?”

I am SO glad you asked!  Continue Reading →

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Review: SIDEKICKED by John David Anderson

With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility. 

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers. 

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?

Sometimes, in moments of high emotion, my brain fritzes out, and instead of calm, rational thought, I instead get one movie line, song lyric, or GIF that repeats in a loop. This happened to me upon finishing Sidekicked. I had expected a light, somewhat silly middle grade with some cool superheroes and adventures. Upon finishing, I had one thought and one thought alone cycling through my head over and over. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (54)

Rewind and review

 

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

The theme for this week seems to be love. I reviewed books I loved (apologies for the R&R review; I got a bit carried away), drooled over summer plans that I love, petted covers that I love, and bragged on bloggers that I love! Aaaaall you need is love, whamp whamp whaddawhamp!

Stuff I Received

  • Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley)
  • Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch (from Lili @ Lili’s Reflections)

What I Read

  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – *VOLCRA SHRIEK OF UNIMAGINABLE JOY AND PAIN* Go check out my review. I have THOUGHTS and FEELINGS.
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – Still working through the audiobook. Still letting my heart get ripped to shreds.
  • Contact by Laurisa White Reyes – Am writing this post earlier in the week than normal, so I haven’t finished this one yet. So far it’s pretty middle of the road.

Event of the Week

As you read this post, I’m up in my old college town visiting one of my best friends! She had a wedding to attend and wanted me as her plus one, so I said ma’am yes ma’am! I always love an excuse to hang out with my Janelle. 🙂

Janelle and I during graduation in 2011. Oh, the memories. The hair!

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Review: RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

STOP. Don’t go scrolling through this review. Just stop. I know what you want to know. You want to know if this book was any good. Did it hold up to the precedents set by the previous two novels? Is it worth your time? Will it wow and thrill you? Will it make you cry into your kvas?

Your answers: Yes, yes, yes, HECK yes, and I don’t know since it depends on how easily you cry, so… maybe?

Those are the short answers. The long answer is that Leigh Bardugo knocked this frick-a-frack out of the park. Series enders are HARD, especially when there’s as much anticipation as there was for Ruin and Rising. I, for one, devoured the entire book in five hours, give or take, and then walked in a fogged book hangover for the next twenty-four hours.

And the REALLY, REALLY LONG answer is the following review. For anyone out there who is reading this review after finishing their copy, please come talk to me. I NEED TO TALK! For everyone else, I’m going to break down what I loved so much about Ruin and Rising, but don’t worry, this review is spoiler-free for R&R. As this is a series ender, there will necessarily be spoilers for the other books. (I also live-tweeted my spoiler-free reading experience here.)
Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #60

CoverLove1

It’s 5:00 a.m. on Fifth Avenue, and 16-year-old Gemma Beasley is standing in front of Tiffany & Co. wearing the perfect black dress with her coffee in hand—just like Holly Golightly. As the cofounder of a successful Tumblr blog—Oh Yeah Audrey!—devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn, Gemma has traveled to New York in order to meet up with her fellow bloggers for the first time. She has meticulously planned out a 24-hour adventure in homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s; however, her plans are derailed when a glamorous boy sweeps in and offers her the New York experience she’s always dreamed of.

Gemma soon learns who her true friends are and that, sometimes, no matter where you go, you just end up finding yourself. Filled with hip and sparkling prose, Oh Yeah, Audrey! is as much a story of friendship as it is a love letter to New York, Audrey Hepburn, and the character she made famous: Holly Golightly.

Please excuse me while I flail like a tween meeting One Direction for the first time. AUDREY HEPBURN! I love Audrey Hepburn! I love that her iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s look is instantly recognizable on the cover. It snags your attention before anything else, even before the title confirms that, yes, this does have something to do with our lovely Ms. Hepburn. But it’s also apparent (once you take more than half a second to look) that the cover isn’t actually of Audrey but of someone else who is dressed like Audrey, which ties so well into the content of the book.

I’m not really confident in my ability to identify art styles, but this would be considered art deco, yes? Whatever it is, I like it. It fits Audrey and her time period, but still feels fresh and young as befits our blogger protagonist. And may I just say that I love the turquoise and hot pink combination? (Even if the dots look like they’re beheading her.)

My only concern is that the book will only give nods to Breakfast and completely ignore Audrey’s other works. I get that Breakfast is the most iconic movie she’s done (except for maybe My Fair Lady), but someone with a blog “devoted to all things Audrey Hepburn” should really be acquainted with her other achievements, yes?

In any case, I am PUMPED to read this book, and the only reason I even noticed it was because of this gorgeous, fun, and funky cover. Great job, ABRAMS!

What do you think of this cover?

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