Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: May Releases

Waiting on Wednesday features upcoming releases and is hosted by Breaking the Spine. This is our monthly post, where we pick books that are coming out in the next month that we just cannot wait for. That we're absolutely dying to read. 

May's Pick:  Although there are so many great books coming out in May, this is THE ONE WE CANNOT WAIT FOR!!!!!!  It's a hefty 733 pages, and we are going to savor every single page.  HOW WILL THIS ALL END????  DOES ANYONE DIE?????  WE. ARE. FREAKING. OUT.  

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry, 733 pages
Publication Date:  May 27, 2014

From Goodreads:
Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

What books are you waiting for?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before 
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 288 pages
Publication Date:  April 15, 2014

From Goodreads:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Why I Loved This Book:
1.     It was such a feel good book.  It made me smile, it made me laugh.  I become emotionally invested in the characters.  Just an adorable book!

2.     Lara Jean.  Oh, Lara Jean, I liked you so much.  You were such a homebody and you just didn't really care.  You knew who you were.  You loved your sisters and your father.  You were a scrapbooker.  You hated driving.  You were so clueless with guys.  

3.     Opposites attract.  Such a perfect opposites attract relationship. Since they don't care about impressing each other, they're completely honest with each other.  I loved watching their relationship progress (I'm not mentioning what couple I'm talking about since the synopsis doesn't include it). The romance is delightful.

4.     Sister love and family.  It was such an important part of this book.  No absent families here.

What I didn't like was the ending.  I guess I wasn't paying attention because I had no idea this was the first in a series (I think it's just a duology).  So when it ends in a cliffhanger (yes, a cliffhanger in a YA contemporary), I was like…what????  I was ready to rant and then I found out that yes, there is a sequel.  So just be prepared for that.  

Words don't adequately express how charmed I was by this book.  If you enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss or The Distance Between Us, you will love this one.  Read it!!!

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (42)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the library:
Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Rebel Heart by Moira Young
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Timeless by Alexandra Monir
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Sheri's Bounty of Books
A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
Definitely Maybe in Love by Ophelia London

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Plus One
Author:  Elizabeth Fama
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 373 pages
Publication Date:  April 8, 2014

From Goodreads:
Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

I found the premise of this novel to be so fascinating, with people living divided by day and night, but I just couldn't accept the reason.  A flu epidemic leads to the government dividing medical teams into day and night to deal with all of the patients.  Somehow that leads to the end of the epidemic (what???), but the government still keeps people divided and it's even a crime to be out when you're not supposed to be.  And of course the night people are marginalized in society.  

And then the plot…completely revolves around Sol kidnapping her newborn niece.  It made no sense.  

I did like Sol and D'Arcy's relationship and how it progressed from hate/dislike to respect and then love.  However, then there's this huge coincidence that was not believable at all.  And then…the ending.  What???  Are you kidding me?  I read this entire book and that's how the author ends it?  No. Way.

I really wanted to love this book, and despite all of my ranting, I did enjoy it, but it was definitely disappointing.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle
Author:  Rachel Hawkins
Publisher:  Putnam Juvenile, 384 pages
Publication Date:  April 8, 2014

From Goodreads:
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

This book was so much fun, it reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  It's light and fluffy and Harper is hilarious.  I laughed out loud so many times in this book.  

"I needed my mentor-person right now.  I had figured out as much as I possibly could, so it was time for my Giles or my Professor X or whoever to get here and start explaining."

Cheerleader and student body president, Harper is a good Southern girl who finds herself with ninja-like powers and having to protect her nemesis, David.  The tension between them, the banter…so well done.  The story is interesting, Harper's inner monologue perfectly displays her personality, and the romance is cute cute cute.  A contemporary with a dash of paranormal mixed in, I really enjoyed it.  

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

The Unbound (The Archived #2)
Author:  Victoria Schwab
Publisher:  Hyperion, 368 pages
Publication Date:  January 28, 2014

From Goodreads:
Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

Reasons Why You Should Read This Book:

1.  It's beautifully written.  I admit it, I usually love books because of the characters and the plot so I barely notice the writing.  But I actually did notice the writing in this book because it's just that good.

2.  Mac and Wesley.  Mac can be frustrating because she's not as open as you want her to be and she keeps pushing Wesley away, but that's important to the story.  Keepers have to keep secrets and it's just so hard for her to open up to him because she knows if anything happens to him she'll end up getting hurt.  

“Caring about someone is scary, Mac. I know. Especially when you’ve lost people. It’s easy to think it’s not worth it. It’s easy to think life will hurt less if you don’t. But it’s not life unless you care about it.”

“The funny thing about armor is that it doesn't just keep other people out. It keeps us in. We build it up around us, not realizing that we're trapping ourselves.” 

So it's a learning experience and Mac shows growth in this book.  She's a strong character and she can take care of herself although at the same time she is going through a lot in this book.  So many times in books the characters have horrible things happen to them and it doesn't seem to affect them, but Mac is dealing with not being okay, which I appreciated. 

And Wesley…I can't get enough of him.  He's worth it (if you read the book, you'll know what I mean).  Seeing him in a different element with his friends just made me love him more.  There's so much more to him that we don't know and I really hope we get a chance to find out.  

3.  Secondary characters.  I wasn't sure if I would like the fact that Mac had to go to school, but the new characters are amazing!  Loved the interaction between them.

4.  Unique world.  It's becoming harder and harder to find truly unique worlds, and sometimes I feel like I'm reading the same book over and over again, even if I love it.  Not so with this book.  The premise of the Histories and the Archives, with the Keepers, the Librarians, and the Crew…so creative.  

My understanding is that this series is done unless enough people buy these books. So buy them!  There's so much potential to this series and although the author wraps up this particular story (so no cliffhanger, don't worry), I want more!!!  I highly recommend this one.

Posted by:  Pam

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Review: Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It
Author:  Sarah Mlynowski
Publisher:  Delacorte Press, 336 pages
Publication Date:  March 11, 2014
*Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

I enjoyed this book about a group of high school students who suddenly can hear everyone's thoughts, including each other's.  It obviously creates problems for some (girl who cheated on her boyfriend and friends who have occasional mean thoughts about each other), but also frees others (shy girl who was always afraid of what everyone was thinking about her).  So it's high school drama with this additional complication.

The plural writing was a little hard to get used to at first, and there were so many characters (twenty-two students get the flu shot that leads to them having ESP) that it took me awhile to keep everyone straight, although there were about five of the students that the book focused on.  Once I knew who was who, I did enjoy the humor and the realistic reactions and situations.  Suddenly students are sitting next to the smart people in class so they can cheat during tests, and they're excelling at chess tournaments and sports.  I thought it was pretty hilarious when the twins were supposed to wrestle each other and both of them could hear each other's thoughts so they basically just stood there because they were mentally wrestling.  And one student who can't help but overhear what her parents are thinking when they're having sex.  Umm…awkward.  So on the one hand, they realize it's such a cool power.  On the other hand, they can't hide their own thoughts from each other and they can't help but hear everyone's thoughts, whether they want to or not.  Would you really want to know what everyone thinks about you, no filter?  

Creative, fresh, funny, and smart, I was thoroughly entertained.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (41)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From NetGalley:
Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
Sheri's Bounty of Books
Sapphire Blue  by Kerstin Gier

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Discussion Question: Do You Enjoy Binge Reading a Series or Do You Take Breaks?

I love binge reading series.  If all of the books are out, I will read one after the other. I don't have to wait if there's a cliffhanger ending…love that.  I can just pick up the next book and keep reading.  And since I have such a horrible book memory (ok, let's face it, I have a horrible memory about pretty much everything) reading an entire series in a couple of days means I actually remember the characters, what's happened, the details, absolutely everything.  I can lose myself in that world.  I recently binge read The Seven Realms, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (I had to reread the first one, of course), and an adult urban fantasy series, Fever.  So much fun!  

Do you like to read all of the books in a series or do you have to read other books in-between?

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1)
Authors:  Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Publisher:  Vintage, 324 pages
Publication Date:  March 25, 2014

From Goodreads:
Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

I am a big Veronica Mars fan.  Loved the TV series and I really enjoyed the movie. The book will definitely please fans for the most part.  Veronica is her smart and sassy self and most of the old gang is in the book.  The dialogue is perfect (which it should be, since Rob Thomas is the author) and the mystery is interesting.  It's fun and fast-paced.

However, I do have one big complaint and two smaller ones.  One is the fact that it's written in third person.  Why?  That makes no sense to me given that both the TV series and the movie had Kristen Bell narrating Veronica's thoughts.  Her voice was such an important part of the series and the character that I was surprised that the authors made this choice and I think they missed a big opportunity by not writing the book in first person.

Also, the book starts pretty much right where things left off in the movie and while I enjoyed the movie, I was a bit sad about where some of the characters ended up and the book continues this.  Veronica is back in Neptune even though she always swore she would get out.  She has a law degree, but she's going to be a private detective.  In Neptune.  So she's pretty much back where she started.  And then Weevil.  In the movie, he's married and has a cute baby and owns his own garage (and doesn't ride his motorcycle anymore).  At the end of the movie, he's framed for attempted carjacking and is back with his old gang, riding around on his motorcycle.  In the book, he makes a brief appearance and he's still back in the gang and I don't think anything is mentioned about his wife or baby and he still has the carjacking charge hanging over his head. Now hopefully that will be part of future books, but still. He's back where he started (for the most part).  And then Mac.  She quits her high powered job and is now working with Veronica.  What????

Finally, Logan is barely in the book.  Need more Logan.

In sum, I enjoyed it, it read like a Veronica Mars TV episode, but I just wanted more.

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: The Lovely and the Lost by Page Morgan

The Lovely and the Lost (The Dispossessed #2)
Author:  Page Morgan
Publisher:  Delacorte Press, 368 pages
Expected Publication Date:  May 13, 2014
*Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Ingrid and Gabby survived the Underneath. They saved their brother, Grayson, from a future of dark servitude and exposed a plot to undermine the Alliance. But danger still lurks in the streets of Paris, and the Dispossessed, perched on the city's bridges and rooftops, might not be able to save their human wards this time.

Reasons Why You Should Read This Book (and Series):

1.  Gargoyles.  It has gargoyles!  Hot, sexy, and tortured gargoyles who are known as the Dispossessed.  They did something really horrible when they were human and now they live forever, slaves of the angels, assigned to a certain area and tasked with protecting the humans that live in that area from demons.  But the Dispossessed don't like humans (and they hate the angels).  There's also an Alliance of humans who fight demons and do not trust the Dispossessed.  What a unique and wonderful world Page Morgan has created.

2.  Forbidden love.  The ultimate forbidden love.  Luc is a gargoyle who is in love with Ingrid.  If they even do more than kiss, he unwillingly transforms into his hard gargoyle self (which means no physical intimacy).  Oh yeah, and the other gargoyles will kill him for being in a relationship with a human.  And then there's the mean angels who also won't allow it.  Not good.

3.  Sibling love.  Ingrid and Grayson are twins who have always had a special relationship.  Which means she'll do anything to save him…and help him through what he's currently doing through. And there's also her sister Gabby.  All three of them love each other and would lay down their lives for each other.  So it was nice to see a paranormal book with such strong sibling relationships.

4.  More than one romance.  Usually there's the main romance and that's it.  But not in this series.  You have other romances to root for (and more than one swoony guy).  

5.  It's set in Paris.  Enough said.

The sequel was amazing!!!  And that ending…oh Luc, Ingrid, Gaby, Nolan. *sob*  Just read it!

Posted by:  Pam

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Contemporary YA Reading Slump: Which Book Should I Read Next?

I haven't had the best of luck lately with the contemporary YA I've read lately.  All of these books come out this Tuesday (April 15th).  To be honest, I'll probably end up reading all of them, but which one will get me out of this reading slump?  Any recommendation for which one I should read first?  Help!

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (40)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the Library:
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Toxic Heart (Mystic City #2) by Theo Lawrence

From NetGalley:
We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bookish Thoughts: I Miss Printed Books

I love printed books.  Shelves filled with books just make me happy.
This is my YA/children section of my library.  Do you see all of my Nancy Drew books?  I've had those forever.

Yeah, my bookshelves are a bit messy.

So yes, I love books.  But I bought my Kindle a little over two years ago, and since that time, I hardly ever buy any actual "real" books.  Because I love love love my Kindle.  I love that it has so many books on it, that it's so small it fits in my purse, that I can make the font as big as I want when I'm tired and get bleary-eyed.  And I have to admit, when the cover of a book is a bit embarrassing, I don't have to worry about it because no one can see it.

But I do miss buying printed books.  I still have plenty of room on some of these shelves.  In the last two years, I've bought over 500 books, but they're on my Kindle.  So it feels like I haven't bought any books because I can't look around and see them on my shelves.  What I've been doing lately is if I love a book I read on my Kindle, I will buy it in hardback.  That feels a bit ridiculous, but I just miss printed books!

Posted by:  Pam