Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Dance of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #2)Hello friends! This Waiting on Wednesday is coming to you from the Upper East Side, aka the land of power and VERY PREPPY people. If Crazy Camper and I end up wearing khakis with critters printed on them, you will know it is because of our foray into the east 70s. 

In book news, we are participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Get a load of the sequel to Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin (see my review)Dance of the Red Death  looks great.
Araby Worth’s city is being torn apart by death, disease, and corrupt forces wanting to claim it for their own. She has lost her home. Her best friend is dying. Her mother has been kidnapped. The boy who made her feel something again has betrayed her. And her father may be a murderer. 
But Araby has found herself.
Despite the death and destruction all around her, she will fight for herself, for her friends, for her city. Her rebellion will take her, finally, to the mad prince’s palace, for the decadent –and sinister—masked ball. It could be a trap. It could be the end of them all. Or it could be the moment that Araby becomes the kind of hero she never dreamed she could be. 
The tragic, dark, and steamy conclusion to Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death saga.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

Hello all- hoping this Tuesday finds the East Coasters dry, and if you are lucky, enjoying a day off with a good book.

We here at YAW & WS's love to participate in Top Ten Tuesdays, hosted by Breaking the Spine.  This week's TTT is Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines.  Check out our list of bad ass female leads that we have pulled together earlier this year.

This Top Ten Tuesday is a list of suggestions for those of you who like strong, kick-ass female characters! If you liked Graceling by Kristin Cashore, then these books are for you! (we know Katniss isn't on this list, but you already know she kicks butt)

Proof of leather jackets, handsome side-kicks
and excellent vision. Katniss, the prototype
of kick-ass heroines.
Further considerations on kick-ass heroines from Grad Student (since we are sitting on the couch together):
1. They are more fun than Bella Swan (YAWN) and usually have handsome side-kicks
2. None of them seem to worry about contact lenses. Color us jealous!
3. Cool leather jackets are the norm. LIKE.
4. They tend to know they are awesome. Please see Crazy Camper's love of Rose from Vampire Academy for proof.

In other news- CC and GS continue to live the dream in Grad Student's NYC apartment. Be safe, East Coast people!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hello Frankenstorm, How Do You Do?

Central Park being awesome on Sunday.
Hello, readers! While the entire eastern seaboard is battening down the hatches, there is a silver lining to Frankenstorm- it basically requires you to stay home and read.

Crazy Camper is stuck here with me in NYC after a weekend of TRULY EPIC PROPORTIONS. This involved everything from speakeasys to the Staten Island Ferry to Chinatown, Central Park, and beer cocktails in the EV. Goosie Mama also made an important cameo Friday night! Yay for YAF & WS being together in real life!

This afternoon after a hilarious attempt at a kick-boxing workout video (CC is not coordinated for these types of activities  we are going to get down to the business of the reading Shadow of Night and The Raven Boys side by side on the couch. Thanks, storm-generated house arrest!

Be safe all, and I hope you got a trip to the library in pre-storm.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip in the Australian bush, they find things hideously wrong--their families are gone. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in their town has been taken prisoner. As the reality of the situation hits them, they must make a decision--run and hide, give themselves up and be with  their families, or fight back (GoodReads).
 I really liked Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow #1) by John MarsdenELLIE, GIRL, lets be friends! You rival Katniss for kick-ass-ery. I loved this book since it was all about action. And I don't mean puppy eyes in the high school hallway, but the gorilla warfare having to fend for yourself in the woods action. This series is also older and all wrapped up in at least five books. There is nothing more satisfying/addictive than being able to consume a full series one directly after the other!

Originality: 7. Living off the land ALWAYS reminds me of My Side of the Mountain/Hatchet but add in the mysterious invading army and having to be a solider in your own hometown, and this is compelling and fresh.
Absurdity: 2. This feels as if it could be ripped from the headlines. I was telling my friend about this read the other day at happy hour and had to confirm “Amanda, this is FICTION, ok?” And she was all “OK PHEW I got so caught up in the story. Good call on the reminder.”
Level of Paranormal Romance: 4. There is some romance here and frank conversations about sex, but PEOPLE there are bridges to be blown up. Clearly, that is a priority.
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 3. The writing is standard and 110% action driven, but a couple of points for the evocative questions Ellie asks about morality and war and justifying violence.

Now Tomorrow is a movie full of great Australian accents. But get a load of Red Dawn, which is coming out in the US. Tell me it is not the SAME EXACT STORY. I will totally see it because lets be real it has Peeta and Gale's real life brother in it! (also, doesn't Chris Helmsworth have an Australian accent in real life? How meta....) 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Gosh, when the handsomest, most popular guy in school is both a banshee AND named Nash Hudson, you know you're in for a doozie of a YAF novel (just LOOK at that cover, for Pete's sake...). In Rachel Vincent's first novel of her Soul Screamer series My Soul to Take:

She doesn't see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

It's pretty hard to take this book too seriously, when the first review on Amazon is "Twilight fans will love it." This is what YAF is striving for now? Yikes. Somebody call John Green, stat.
  • Originality: 6 - I haven't met too many folks, in literature or real life, who a) knows when people will die, b) screams for upwards of 20 minutes about it or c) has figured out how to swap out one soul for another if they think the Reapers have made a mistake and taken the wrong person. So this one will receive a solid 6.
  • Absurdity: 8 - I don't know, this book kicks right off with Kalee and Nash meeting in a club and there's all sorts of insta-attraction, blah blah, oh yeah and then someone dies (Kalee of course both knew this and screamed about it - you know, cuz she's a banshee and all). From the get go the whole plot is somewhat of a "yeah, just go with it," type of feel and luckily I was feeling like going with it for the couple of nights I read this book.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 5 - Rachel Vincent really tries to make this book romantic, even trying to introduce a love triangle with the mysterious Tod, but I just never really felt it. That being said, I never felt the (G-rated) heat between Edward and Bella either, so yes, Twilight fans really may love this book.
  • Level of Harry Potterness: 3 - No, just no. That being said, I will end in a slow clap for 10-15 pages describing what a banshee scream feels like (okay, it was probably more like 2 pages, but it felt like an eternity!).

Waiting on Wednesday: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Ar student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is--and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

I have so much homework that I will probably not actually get to read Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor when it comes out Nov. 6th, but I WANT to drop everything and get involved. I was 100% absorbed by The Daughter of Smoke and Bone last Christmas. What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Get In The Halloween Spirit

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)Happy Top Ten Tuesday! We are always happy to participate in TTT, hosted by the book- and list-loving The Broke and the Bookish. This TTT is dedicated to spooky reads that get you in the mood for Halloween. As you know  I am an ENORMOUS WIMP, but Goosie Mama loves this stuff.  This list is low on YA in part because my roommate is the person who recommends scary books to me and she does not share the love of YA. What creepy reads made your list?

Grad Student:
    The Little Stranger
  1. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. A truly terrifying haunting tale that sticks with you. If you have read this and you know about the garden scene and the bite marks; SWEET JESUS I WAS SO SCARED.
  2. Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (Review to come soon) This read was far more of a spook-fest than I expected.
  3. Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. These are some seriously creepy ghosts.
  4. Any book by Tana French, but In the Woods in particular. "As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours." Seriously. 
Crazy Camper:
  1. Bonechiller by Graham McNamee. There is some sort of monster haunting a Canadian teenage boy in the winter.... who ever knew Canada could be so scary.
Goosie Mama:
    The Graveyard Book
  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. A happy, bittersweet sort of spooky and a fantastic sort of story. I will re-read this book in a few years it was so lovely.
  2. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson. I read this because it was on NPR's list of guilty pleasures and I kid you not, I slept with the lights on for the week. I was 26 and a half at the time.
  3. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. A darkly entertaining, creepy-funny read. Will I see the movie? Prob not.
  4. Any of The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting. I see dead people? Always spooky!
  5. Grad Student (yes, we're calling each other these nicknames in casual conversations now) - I think I've relayed this story to you before, but my dad knows I love ghost stories and for every Christmas I can remember has given me some sort of "true ghost stories" or hauntings book. A casual glance at my bookshelf includes such titles as: Ghosts of Manhattan, Ghosts of the Northeast (you're welcome), and True Haunting. None of these last books are particular terrifying, (or of the YAF genre) but might give you a quick chill on those crisp fall nights.
See our reviews of Anna Dressed in BloodThe Body Finder and Desires of the Dead! Boo!

Monday, October 22, 2012

MISSING: Reward if Found -- Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

I recently moved to a new apartment, which traumatically ended my previous library subscriptions on my Nook MIDREAD as soon as I changed my license.  BUT also allowed me to join a new library that, hold on people, is open on SUNDAYS.

I will let that sink in.  1 to 5 on Sundays.  Be jealous.

So, excited, I went and promptly picked up two books, one being Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter. I got about 80 pages in..... and I lost it.  The book was last seen in a backpack after a white water rafting trip, and along with my fake-camping-coffee creamer, is just totally MIA.

Not only will I have to pay for this at the library (unless it miraculously appears while I keep renewing it) I don't know what happened.  So YAF and WS Readers I need your help- Has anyone read Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter?  If so, and you would be generous enough to tell me what happens, perhaps you could even give us a YAF & WS review?

I need to know, and please, send me some lucky-finding skills please.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Baller Edition, Tempered by Dorkiness

I am claiming baller status for this Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Get a load of the A-list that arrived at the library:

So you would have to have been under a rock (or off climbing one, heeeeeyyyyyy Crazy Camper!) to not know about Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys or Deborah Harkness's Shadow of the Night (we WoW-ed both here). Just in case you don't know about the awesomeness that is Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns series, see the blurb on The Crown of Embers:
Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy (GoodReads).
Also, as I am want to do, I managed to make my dorkiness obvious on this library trip. So the library is only 4 blocks from where I live in the East Village, so I walked. BUT because I had so many books to get ( I also got history looks that you don't care about) I had trouble CARRYING them all. So when I stopped for a pumpkin latte I had to say " I would like to buy a coffee but I can only do so if you give me a takeout bag for my library books." GAH! Book-Dork-Alert.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shade paperback coverI have read Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready and have good news- Logan was not as annoying as he was in Shade (see my review). PHEW. And the plot was forwarded, rather than stalling out as some middle books do in trilogies. Two good things to report on regarding this ghosts/conspiracy/ancient temples-esque series.

Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.

Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift. As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart (GoodReads).

Originality: 7. I still think the whole Shift conspiracy is cool. I read this so fast, however, that I am not sure I working with all the information to totally understand. OOPS. I also find the stories about Stonehenge-y ancient sites as solstice calendars fascinating. Because the history of science and technology is fascinating.
Absurdity: 5. Do handsome Scottish boys really show up and share feelings in high school? I wish that had been the case in Connecticut. WHERE WERE THE BOYS WITH SWOON WORTHY ACCENTS!?
Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. Nothing like having your dead boyfriend suddenly become corporal to encourage paranormal makeout sessions. But I have to deduct points for the ‘swapping’ of paranormal ghost powers when Aura kisses a certain someone else. If I had cool paranormal powers no way I would want to ‘share’ them. Is that shallow? Hmmmm but even if I was  a selfish magical person that accent might sway me….
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 4. Middle of the road YA PLUS a Goth/Mumfords and Sons element. How do those two things mix exactly?.....oh, and it is all set in Baltimore. Lets get to to the UK already.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Little Shameless Self-Promotion

Grad Student spikes the mic and throws her hands up like a baller; Goosie Mama spikes her second Kindle (in its protective cover) and Crazy Camper spikes either some camping gear or a J.Crew blazer - whichever is closest to her!!


Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer (The Last Dragonslayer, #1)
Adorable Cover Alert!
In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic (GoodReads).

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde came out October 2nd in the US, but I am still "waiting on" my library to get it in. If you loved the quirky-smart-funny story of The Eyre Affair even half as much as I did, you will also want to get involved with Fforde's foray into YA.

What are you "waiting on" this week? As always, merci beaucoup to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW, a weekly event showcasing upcoming publications we cannot wait to read.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)
Everything is in ruins.
A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for? Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club--in the depths of her own despair--Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for--no matter what it costs her (GoodReads)
Originality. 9. This is a retelling of Edgar Allen pies short story about a party and Death. I haven't read it. Oops! But I am a wimp and Poe is pretty scary. Also, I THINK this is Steampunk. Corsets, faded Victorian morals and 'flying machines.' This is my first foray into Steampunk, and I have to say it is a bit weird. But Poe +Steampunk gets a high originality score for sure.
Absurdity. 10! I rolled my eyes at the goth/punk ripped Victorian dresses these girlies wore to the club. Yes club. It was more a private society than disco but still. Glittery eye shadow is involved in the pseudo-Victorian world. Princes are involved, too. EYE ROLL.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 4. Yet another tattooed love interest; sign me up for some of that! Plus he adorbs loves his little brother and sister. This is more a manners romance a la Austin than it it hot and heavy, but I still rooted for our potential couple.
Level of Harry Potterness 5: I was pleasantly surprised by Griffin's eerie and evocative writing style. It fit perfectly with the story and build a good amount of tension.

Steampunk club based on Poe story: Admits one.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review: In Which Grad Student Summarizes Crossed by Ally Condi Over Pretend Margaritas

Tacky and awesome- Tortilla Flats, West Village 
Due to our conversations with Crazy Camper and you awesome readers, I have put together a version of the narration I gave CC regarding Crossed by Ally Condi. To set the scene: we are either poking around T.J. Maxx's neon workout gear or are listening to some great country music apres a dinner at goosie mama and my go-to, Tortilla Flats (it depends on the time of day). 

You say, "I liked Matched." and I respond "Me too! Too bad Crossed was such a snooze." 

"Noooo, really?" You respond. "Tell me about it."

I roll my eyes and say: "Both Ky and Cassia run around the same work camp in the Outer Provinces pining for each other. They there are only a few weeks apart but do not know it. They both make some alliances and then run away and to be fugitives in the same desert--but they do not know it. If you had to imagine seeing this from an observation platform it would be like watching mice circle each other obliviously in a maze." 

"Some threats of totalitarian Society forces in the canyons are avoided. Angsty feelings about the desert are felt. The beauty of the desert is also reflected on. Teenage lovers are reunited in the desert, literally running into each others arms. Secrets are kept about The Rising that should not be ( use your words! Share important info!).  Poetry is repeated in internal monologues. Cassia will also write her own poems that make me squirm."

( I then get on GoodReads on my phone and pick out a doozy for you):
I marked a map for every death
for every ache and blow

my world was all a page of black

with nothing left of snow
"And in the end? We finally find The Rising...and Cassia gets send RIGHT BACK INTO SOCIETY. (This is  not a spoiler. See the Reached blurb). Oh, and Xander has been part of The Rising the entire time. Sheesh, that was a lot of running around the desert without a plot but arc for nothing but teenage longings!"

So do you agree? Did I miss something crucial? Am I totally off-base on this book? And most importantly, will you read Reached?
Crossed (Matched, #2)
There are less bubbles and far more desert dust in the book.

Friday, October 12, 2012

L.M. Montgomery had it right.....

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Preach, L.M.M.
Love, Crazy Camper


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

After two checkouts from the library, I have finally finished The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. I found the first 100 pages great. But sadly, the last 2/3rds of this read dragged--hence the double check out. But in the name of YAF and WS, I persevered.

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life (GoodReads).

                 The Book of Blood and ShadowThe Book of Blood and Shadow

           Which cover do you like better? I like the bridge version, since it fits the plot. That face is odd.

Level of Originality: 6. As a history nerd, I love the idea of mysteries surrounding archival research, like A Discovery of Witches and The DaVinci Code. I find these stories are detailed and original in how they weave history, conspiracies, and a bit of the paranormal. If you like historical fiction, you might want to get a hold of this, since a fair amount of the book is "excerpts" of  a centuries-old diary.
Level of Absurdity: 4. I know a plot that involves high schoolers solving a centuries-old mystery while on the run in Prague SHOULD be high on the absurd charts, this well-plotted story saved me from eye rolls.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 3.  Chris is great but dead for most of the book, Max is a snore, and Eli  has NINJA skills and tattoos. Clearly my fave boy in the book is Eli, although he is not strictly a love interest. I was not taken with Max nor do I think he is much of a "Prince Charming."
Level of Harry-Potterness: 4. A couple points here reflect the castles of Prague (which reminds me of Hogwarts, yay), but the writing didn't grab me. The reason is I prefer the Prague of  The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I was drooling over how gorgeous and Gothic the city is in Laini Taylor's beautiful prose, but here the city remains gritty.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Waiting on Wednesday is here again. That means we are that much closer to a weekend- and boy, it cannot come a moment too soon. This week I am waiting on The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson. I really liked Rory in The Name of the Star, the first book in the Shades of London series (see my review of the hilariousness/creepiness here). I hope this sequel is just as fun to read.

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)

When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…
There’s a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London. Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…

But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions. A thrilling teen mystery (GoodReads).

What are you "Waiting on"? Let us know! And as always, a cheers of our whiskey sours to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting this weekly meme showcasing up and coming publications we can't wait to read.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Fallish Reads

This week YAF&WS is listing, for the freebie week, our Top Ten Tuesday- Fall Reads, or as Grad Student put it "books that set a mood for fireplaces, snuggling and cool weather." Hope this list inspires you to cuddle up with a good book! As always, thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this awesome weekly event!

With cooler temps, leaves, and spiced rum heating on the stove, here is what we will be reading:
                The Thirteenth TaleThe Night Circus
  1. The Night Circus by  Erin Morgenstern. This book oozes atmosphere (and everyone wears scarves all the time).
  2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Creepy, cold, wet, definitely perfect for fall.
  3. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab. Atmospheric moors again! 
  4. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Set on stormy moors, and mysterious.I sense a pattern developing.
  5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. It is all about dropping temperatures.
  6. Anything from the Harry Potter series- if you know us, you're not surprised.  As Crazy Camper put it,  the Gryffindor Common room during the winter months is the place to be, the ultimate in cozy.
  7. Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow, for ass-kicking in knee-deep snow.  Since we all went to college in a region plagued by lake-affect snows in October and November, props to Dru for not giving up and crawling under her comforter to die/ hide till spring, whatever comes first.
  8. The Twilight series, 'cause you can read all three (CC is "ignoring the 4th, I just can't accept it") on a rainy cold day, and it sets the mood for Forks (and some serious eye rolling as well).
Gryffindor Common Room, Via
Check out our reviews of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern!

Addendum: A transcript of CC and GS's morning gchat. (as sisters, they do this every morning) CC is a poet and she didn't know it. YAY FALL!

 CC:  cloudy leaves 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I AM ABOUT TO FANGIRL ALL OVER.  Hold on to your horses, people.

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team. (GoodReads).

I would rather read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein than go to a party. A really fancy one with all my friends and free drinks and party dresses. I would happily stay home from the event of the year to read this book, it is that gorgeous and moving. Even though it left me a puddle of tears standing at the kitchen counter over my dinner--I couldn't even be bothered to move to the table to eat. That is how involved I was in the last 20 pages.

Queenie is described as smart, brave and imaginative, incredibly charming but with a foul mouth, beautiful and capable. Her narration is beautiful in its desperation, her love for Maddie, and the terrible and powerful experience of Nazi-occupied France. I will absolutely reread this book.  And I wish I was amazing enough to be friends with these two ladies.

Originality: 10+. I loved this incredibly intricate story, rooted in fascinating history, but I do not want to give ANYTHING away, because I spent a lot of the second half of the book gasping and feeling satisfied by the complicated plot twists. Also, points for not one but two strong female leads.
Absurdity: -100,000,000.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 0. This is a book about friendship and courage in many forms. There are so many courageous people being brave in this book, it is mind-blowing. It is absolutely about love, but I don't even want to apply a paranormal grading scale to Queenie and Maddie's friendship. They are just so far superior.
Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 9. This book stuck with me, keeping me up late thinking through the heartbreak and friendship and the conspiracies. I do not kid when I say I called by boyfriend at midnight and said "What would you do if I was a spy captured by the Nazis? Would I be a good, brave spy? PS I LOVE YOU."  This book makes you FEEL big feelings. Maddie and Queenie's friendship is inspiring and heartbreaking. This is a true tribute to the J.K. Rowling grading scale of books that linger in your mind. Fabulous!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Happy Saturday from the awesome town of Santa Fe, New Mexico! Don't worry, I am not going to sit inside and blog during vacation--I am just on east coast time and up way before the rest of town. People, Santa Fe is AWESOME. It has history and cool architecture and lots of Mexican food and margaritas. Huzzah, huzzah, lets go margarita (I made it a verb, no big deal). So while I am off frolicking to Mary Austin's haunts*******, enjoy this Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Review!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman sounds awesome, as the rest of the book blog world knows. Bring on the dragons for my epic plane ride home.

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

******WAIT HAVE YOU NOT READ THE LAND OF LITTLE RAIN? GO DO IT NOW. I mean, its one sentence blurb is "A classic of southwestern literature by a woman ahead of her time." You know we love some environmental literature around here , particularly feisty Victorian women who hung out in art colonies in the desert.  Check Mary Austin out, she's awesome.

The Land of Little Rain

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cruisin' Through a Series: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I am jumping on the Vampire Academy bandwagon full force- I even made Grad Student and our mother read them.  I reviewed book one here, but then read the rest so fast I didnt have time for individual reviews, so here goes my series  review, what we call "Crusin' Through a Series" when we stop living our lives and devote time to a single series. Sometimes this has to happen. And its spoiler free, of course!

  • Originality: 7- good/ bad vamps.  I know that Twilight did this ( and actually once I had an ex-boyfriend buy me a bad vamp poster as a joke when it was way marked down on sale... and I have to admit it was for a reason, even teenage girls didn't want the bad vamps on their walls, and he was a bad gift giver too,  but I digress) but Vampire Academy did it BETTER.  The good vamps, their guardians, and the bad vamps made an excellent parallel world to human reality that was easy to get lost in.
  • Absurdity: 4.  Eh, I found it easy to believe overall, and for a change, as the series progressed, it didn't get weird and out of control.  The plot moved forward with twists and turns, but really, it just got more awesome.  It was great to read a series where the following books didn't disappoint.  I think the most absurd was book two, which happens all over the course of ski trip to Idaho.  I know I read a Babysitter Club with this plot once.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 15. O ROSE.  Now I know we have some die hard Adrian fans out there, BUT I am Team Dimitri now and for forever.  And the absurdity of books 4-5 and the love triangle is just plan old awesome, and had me routing for love.
  • Level of Harry-Potterness: 6.  Loved the story, loved the characters and how they grew, cause they did, and most of all, loved the bad-assery of our main character Rose.  Thank you to Richelle Mead for making a character who was strong and hot, and knew it, and didn't mope around sadly and insecurely for a few hungred pages before 'finding' herself.  While Rose does change, she is still always a badass and I love her for it.
“If he wants to tell you, he'll tell you. End of story, Rose. Besides, you certainly keep your share of secrets too. You two have a lot in common."
"Are you kidding? He's arrogant, sarcastic, likes to intimidate people, and—oh." Okay. Maybe she had a point.” 

Great series.  I will probably buy these in paperback for myself, and as a devoted library reader, that is the high form of compliment I can give a book.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Not only do I want to hang out with John Green, I also want to hang out with a lot of his characters. Case in point? Tiny Cooper. I was laughing out loud 3 paragraphs into the book and it was largely in part to Tiny Cooper's larger than life (ha, literally, ha) persona.

I just recently spent an entire review gushing over how much I want to be John Green's friend, and I have to tell you that it's not going to stop in this review.

Synopsis, Sir!

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.

This is just yet another example of YAF done so right - giving characters depth and heart without cheapening their struggles or feelings because of their age. This book was open and honest and sad and hilarious, I could not put it down.

John Green, call me!!!

  • Originality: 10 - loved it and have never read a book like it! The combination of two distinct, but harmonious voices was thrilling and enthralling. My whiskey sour is being poured out for this book!
  • Absurdity: 7 - Only because I will never meet another person with my name in an adult bookstore in Chicago (oh, man!), I give this a seven.
  • Level of Romance: 6 - Not super romantic, but super awesome nonetheless!
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: Have we met? I'm going to rank this an even Majillion. If I compose one sentence in my life as well as either of these authors, I'm going to drop the proverbial mic right then and there!

Blog Tour: What Hides Within by Jason Parent

What Hides Within Tour Banner.pngInside all of us, there is darkness. Inside Clive, it's tangible, and it's aching to get out. What Hides Within tells the story of a man held captive by an unknown evil. Clive Menard is a spineless slacker leading an ordinary existence. But when Chester enters his life, it becomes far from ordinary.

A disheveled Clive stands alone in a hospital waiting room. A series of incidences have led him to undergo unnecessary neurosurgery. A voice inside Clive’s head nags him to kill the doctor.

Weeks prior, a murder investigation and an unrelated kayaking excursion set the story’s interlocking events in motion. When a remorseful killer, a bomb-happy psychopath and a mysterious widow spider converge upon Clive, they bring with them destruction and death. Clive must discover who or what is steering his very existence before he, too, is consumed by the carnage around him. 
With a driven detective following his every step and a vicious killer hiding within his circle of friends, Clive must walk a narrow and dangerous path, teetering between salvation and damnation. He must confront Chester and his own demons. But is he powerless to overcome them? (GoodReads).

We are participating in the What Hides Within Blog Tour here at YAF and WS. Since this is a bit of a horror book, Goosie Mama was going to read it, but life got busy and I did. Friends, I have just relearned that am not the audience for scary books (or books peopled with unlikable characters.) But I bucked up and read this creepy spider book (spiders are creepy period, never mind when they are the potential bad guys!)

Absurdity: 2. this seems like a basic murder mystery tinged with paranormal. But there is an entire section about a terrible doctor and a dirty hospital, too. YUCK, why? an extra two points for that absurdity.

Originality: 5. Murder mystery in Fall River ( hey, Rhode Island!) + spiders +mind control + moms dying of cancer. I am not kidding, all of that is in this book! This score reflects this combo.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 2. Clive is a bit sleezy so romance doesn't really factor in here.
Level of Harry-Potterness: 3. This was not my favorite read- I know you don't have to like a main character to like a book (as John Green often points out re: Catcher in the Rye) but I did not like Clive. He is like a character out of Office Space-- disengaged, slightly homophobic and misogynistic, and lazy. This is a book for people who like their characters dark and murders grizzly.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy as part of the blog tour. We do not accept or receive compensation for reviews at YAF and WS.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she's returned--to her old life, her family, her boyfriend--before she's banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance--and the one person she loves more than anything. But there's just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's queen.(GoodReads)

  • Level of Absurdity: 4. Now This is a LOW grade for an absurd premise—that Nikki has been snuggling with an immortal for the last 100 years—but I was happy to see that this book was a gritty take on “prince charming”—in other words, running off into an alternate paranormal universe does not mean everyone suddenly loves you/wants you to be their queen. Wait a second....never mind.....ABSURDITY=9.
  • Level of Originality: Out of paranormal genres Greek myth comes in second to last (fairies are obvi last) in the list of stories I want to read, but Everneath world building is actually pretty satisfying. The darkness and danger of the tunnels was well done. Yikes! Choking on dirt for eternity sounds terrible.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 8.No holds barred paranormal love triangle. I didn't see the appeal of Cole but am not sure the author even wanted the reader to....except it makes it harder to believe Nikki would go with him to the Everneath...Anywho, Jack sure is cute in his anguished-tattooed-boy -meets-quarterback persona. What is with my love of fictional boys with tattoos? (Heeyyyyy Kaleb and Seth)
  • Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 3. This low grade reflects my frustration with the format. The flashbacks were frustrating. Instead of building suspense as to what happened to push Nikki into going with Cole I found them annoying. They slowed the story and I was all “oh please, just tell me already.” This format encouraged skimming. I would never to that to JK Rowling-- her books are meant to be savored.

Waiting on Wednesday: Everbound by Brodi Ashton

I present, for this Waiting on Wednesday, Everbound by Brodi Ashton! If there is a textbook definition of a cliffhanger, Everneath, the first book in this series, would be it. I want to know what happened to Jack!
Everbound (Everneath, #2)
This dress would be great to own.
My party dress collection has requested
 its presence in my closet.

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.(Good Reads)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten "Older" Books You Don't Want People To Forget About

Calling on Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, #3)Happy TTT, people. When I asked Crazy Camper and Goosie Mama for feedback on this TTT, GM brilliantly answered: "Can we go really old school? Like Sweet valley high, goosebumps and nancy drew? These are the true originals and where I learned to love series!!" Why, yes we can! Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for making this list possible, and hosting TTT! So without further ado, here are our favorite series--some may be old but that we have never forgotten them:
  1. Nancy Drew by . CC and I used to take these out of the library by the armful and read multiple in a day. A trump card, really.
  2. Goosebumps by R. L Stine (PS: CC and I did NOT read these. We are super wimps when it comes to scary books. A cousin once read to us from Very Scary Stories and we had to share a room for the next 4 months. I refuse to tell you how old we were, but we were too old to be sharing a room.) But you know Goosie Mama loves a good ghost story.
  3. Sweet Valley High series by  es! Twins! Do you all remember the theme song to the TV show? "could there be two different girls, who look the same at Sweeeeeeet Valley, Sweeeeeeet Valley Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh..."
  4. The Enchanted Forest series by Patricia C. Wrede. I loved the girl whose hair lit on fire when she was angry. Who is with me on this! See here for Crazy Camper's love.
  5. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. This is no surprise to anyone. We seriously hope you have by now drunk the Koolaid and read these books. George forever!
  6. Box Car Children series by . Another oldie but goodie. I always liked the idea of building a little house (My Side of the Mountain had this appeal, too)
  7. So You Want to Be a Wizard by 
  8. Double Trouble Squared by Kathryn Lasky. The Starbuck Family Adventure series. AGAIN a book with twins, this time with physic powers. Crazy Camper is going to go bananas that I remembered these. We LOVED these mystery books. In the next book the twins are going to be able to mind-meld with dolphins while living in the Florida Keys. 
Double Trouble Squared (Starbuck Family Adventure, #1)Shadows in the Water (Starbuck Family Adventure, #2)
I love ND so much I had trouble picking which cover to show.
But I mean, is that Ned? Yum. AND a great photobomb by the ghost manta ray.

BAM. via