Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

Eek! We got an ARC of the Raven Cycle #2,  The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Cue the happy dances. Crazy Camper is crushing the audiobook of the first one, and I read it last year and loved it. I am ready for more Gansey and Blue.

Happy Saturday! A big thanks to Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves, a way to highlight the new reads we have picked up!  What is new on your shelves this weekend?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Partials (Partials, #1)Grad Student and Goosie Mama have both reviewed this:
  • Goosie Mama- on the fence "Not to mention, aside from being generally ridiculous (a camel in an abandoned mansion? Huh? How is this relevant?) this story was all about saving the human race (yawn) and there was no young adult romance! Boo!"
Since I love bandwagons and GS recommendations, I gave it a try. While I was not over the moon like GS, I definitely liked it more than Goosie Mama:

Redux Redux review (see the other ladies for full reviews):

PROS: distopian future WITH SOME adults.  Thank goodness. And there seems to be endless shopping in this distopian future and handsome boys/androids, and plot twists.
CONS:  lots of medical language....DNA.... cells...snooze.  All I remember about biology in 9th grade was a sweet mitochondria I made out of candy and that my teacher was pretty cute.  No wonder I am not a doctor.  

Anyone else read this?  What did you think?  Compared to some other trilogies out there ( Hunger Games, Divergent) I think this one is a step down, but none-the-less a fast fun read! Definitely putting a hold on the next one, which actually looks even better.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
This never happens. But it still
pretty much gets to the heart of the
book. Aka feelings and feel-ups.
I apparently like books about southern teenagers dealing with hardcore life issues (foster care, arrests, druggie parents, abuse, you name it, they deal with it). Thanks to Simone Echols and Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series, there are a fair number of these books to go around. And after reading Dare You To I am ready to read more.

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth." "No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again.... "I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him. But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all... (GoodReads).

Honestly, that top quote embarrasses me enough that I considered cutting it from this blog review. But I am keeping things real, for the readers!
Originality: 3. Wrong side of the tracks heroine finds love with varsity athlete. We have met all of these kiddos before on TV and in books and movies, but its still fun to visit.
Absurdity: 4. I feel like every time teenagers do stupid things stemming from a lack of communication I am frustrated and find it absurd. I need to learn. This is apparently an essential part of YA life.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 7.  Let me reiterate: wrong side of the tracks heroine finds love with varsity athlete.  So this is not a pioneering setup but HECK YA for McGarry's ability to write some great romance scenes.
Level of Harry Potterness: 2/8. OK so this book is not exactly high on literary qualities, but it gets a 2/8 because I LIKE BOOKS WITH COMPANION NOVELS. I am ready to go read Pushing the Limits, the first book in this series about some of the background characters here.

PS: I have assigned this book a theme song. Love, as Beth NEEDS TO GET HER HEAD AROUND (and here I shake her shoulders cause she is a fool) is all about trust.

PPS: I am pretty sure this song dates me but whatevs, its a keeper.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Harlequin (UK) Limited via NetGalley. Happy reading followed. (We do not accept or receive compensation for reviews at YAF and WS.)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday; Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? (GoodReads). 


I am listening to an audiobook of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and am TOTS into it this week. I think I am going to be be a big fan of Fangirl as well. Due of Sept, 10th, it is my offering to the WoW world, but I think everyone already has their eyes on it. I am late to the party, but at least I got here! What made your WoW?

As always, a cheers of our whiskey sours to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting Waiting on Wednesday, a great way to share and learn about new books arriving soon!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen is a lovely book about Walls of Water "where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be."

The Peach Keeper
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town. Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living (GoodReads).

Originality:  8.Allen's books stand out for their great small towns, hints of magic, and southern charm

Absurdity: 2. Low, low, low, as long as you are cool with a bit of magical realism. Which I am.
Level of Paranormal Romance: Allen's books have characters my own age! Late-twenties peeps trying to figure out who they are as adults in their relationships in their small hometown of Walls of Water. I think lots of us can relate. Plus the relationships have just the right amount of swoon.
Level of Harry Potterness: 4. This is a very easy read, but it really caught my interest because of the way Allen tells the story jointly through the points of view of the four main characters. I was totally charmed.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves: The Woken Gods Gwenda Bond and The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Good Morning and happy weekend! Its time again for us to join Tynga's Reviews for Stacking the Shelves, a way to highlight the new reads we have picked up. What did you add to your shelves this week? 

Our first book is The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson. It won the Pulitzer for 2012! I thought I would have to wait forever from the library from this, but here it is!

The Orphan Master's SonAn epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Sonfollows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers (GoodReads).

The Woken Gods

For review we got an ARC of The Woken Gods Gwenda Bond. Due of Sept. 3rd, I hope to get a little ancient myth fix of this read:

The more things change…Five years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke all around the world.
The more things stay the same…
This morning, Kyra Locke is late for school because of an argument with her father.

Seventeen-year-old Kyra lives in a transformed Washington, D.C., dominated by the embassies of divine pantheons and watched over by the mysterious Society of the Sun that governs mankind’s relations with the gods. But when rebellious Kyra encounters two trickster gods on her way home, one offering a threat and the other a warning, it turns out her life isn't what it seems. She escapes with the aid of Osborne "Oz" Spencer, a young Society field operative, only to discover that her scholar father has disappeared with a dangerous Egyptian relic. The Society needs the item back, and they aren’t interested in her protests that she knows nothing about it or her father's secrets.

Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the suspect help of scary Sumerian gods, her estranged oracle mother, and, of course, Oz--whose first allegiance is to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to recover the missing relic and save her father. And if she doesn't? Well, that may just mean the end of the world as she knows it. From the author of Blackwood comes a fresh, thrilling urban fantasy that will appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman, Cassandra Clare, and Rick Riordan (Good Reads).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: Letters from Skye: A Novel by Jessica Brockmole

After the first ten pages of  Letters from Skye: A Novel by Jessica Brockmole I thought "this is going to be like the Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. YES!" 100 pages in I thought "this is pure middle-of-the-road romance a la The Notebook." In the end it is a bit of both, and I am totally okay with that.

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.
March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.
June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago (GoodReads).

            Letters from Skye: A NovelLetters from Skye: A Novel
BOTH these covers are swoon-worthy.

Originality: 4. The double set of letters-one from WWI, one from WWII--hooked me and made this story stand out, no matter its literary precedents as noted above.
Absurdity: 3. I am keeping this score low and calling it literary license, no absurdity. I kind of loved when the room exploded into letters and emotions got real.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. What is better than the classic combo of war and romance? Nicole Kidman can tell you in Cold Mountain-- nothing. These books pack some pretty good swoon. The score isn't higher because sometimes first-person narration of lust/love makes me cringe.
Level of Harry Potterness: 4. In some ways the letters are great because they made the story immediate, but I find that ultimately they keep the author from being able to paint too much of a picture of spaces and characters besides their own observations. I wanted this, only because I liked what the book had going with characters and wanted it fleshed out more.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a review copy from Ballantine Books via NetGalley. Happy reading followed. (We do not accept or receive compensation for reviews at YAF and WS.)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Crusin' Through a Series: The Selection and the Elite by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, #1) I was just making fun of some girlfriends who wanted to get together to watch the Bachelorette, and pish poshing the show... when I thought about The Selection and The Elite by Kiera Cass, basically Hunger Games meets the Bachlorette.  Here comes a double review because essentially these books are just chapters in one story, but if you are going to get all worked up about SPOLIERS...walk away now.

The Selection: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. T
hen America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined
The Elite (The Selection, #2)
The Elite: Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

To be clear... NOTHING above is a spoiler- a 5 year old could have guessed a sequel was coming about 100 pages into The Selection.....

  • Originality: 6/2.  Those 6 points are for the first part of the book, which had some very cool promise about castes, young love, and hardship in a  struggling world.... then it gets squelched as it turns into a beauty contest. 9-- the 100% predictability of America's feelings for the Prince, struggle with Aspen, and general love of pretty dresses.
  • Absurdity: 9. Can the main character's mood swings be the basis for an absurdity rating?  Well, there is a first time for everything.  For crying out loud America, pull it TOGETHER.  She needs a tough friend with some tough love, not some maids who dote on her.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 8.  High, only not higher because of an equal amount of love for the pretty clothes and fancy food.
  • Level of Harry-Potterness: 3.  These books are not well written, though cool in concept (and with beautiful covers).  I still crushed these while in airports and at the beach...  I think the America you were beginning to like in book 1 is totally overwhlemed by petty-girl-fights for the Prince.  sigh.   Will I read the next one.  YES, but I promise there will be eye rolls....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday; Control by Lydia Kang

Control (Control, #1)

An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies. When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

“Control blew me away.”—James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner trilogy (GoodReads).

James Dashner can write a gripping story--if he likes it, I am in! Control by Lydia Kang is due out this December.  We are happy to share this Waiting on Wednesday because we love WoW, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is one of our fav ways to find out about upcoming reads we don't want to miss. Please share yours and keep our TBR piles stacked high!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Something Like NormalWhen Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero (GoodReads).

 Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is not my usual cup of tea, but Travis won me over. 
  • Originality: 7. I don't read a lot of contemporaries (except in Dessen binges) and I really don't read anything about the Marines. Even as fiction this was a fascinating window into the intensity of both in a war and adjusting back to civilian life.
  • Absurdity: 4. Travis is QUITE (or was before Afghanistan) the party boy. Do parents really let kids get away with this stuff? My parents would have shut.this.behavior.DOWN.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. Harper and Travis have good chemistry, but I cannot give any more points because of some bad cheating choices by a certain someone. No matter how much he is going through--I can't!
  • Level of Harry Potterness: 5. This book deals well with heavy subjects like parental approval, cheating spouses, forgiving yourself, and post-traumatic stress. That is a lot for a little book I thought was going to be fluffy and romantic! I would recommend it to someone looking for a contemporary that packs a bit more punch.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Vampire Academy- The movie

I just don't know how I feel about this.....

Is the world ready? and more importantly: Dimitri

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Audio Book)

The Help
I ventured into my first audiobook to see how it made my commute. Though it took getting used to ( i.e., focusing on the road AND the story) I REALLY enjoyed listening to this production of the book!

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

I am going to bypass some of our normal review criteria for this audiobook review:

Narrator Voice: 10- MAN I loved these voices, I thought they were great fits to the story.  I know that narrator is a huge aspect of audiobooks, and the southern drawls, sass, and fear that came through this performance was just top notch.
Originality:  9- I have really never read a book like this.  My favorite character was Aibileen, but i loved Skeeter as well, for the cultural prejudices she faced and her realization of the impact of this on her life.
Absurdity: NA
Level of Paranormal Romance: NA (there is some romance, but in reality, it is just a tool to show Skeeter's growth and sassiness.)
Level of Harry-Potterness: 9- I thought this story was wonderfully told, at times incredibly detailed and others skipping ahead in time so we could so how the events all unfolded.  I loved the various points of view of the characters and it allowed their strengths and weaknesses to be seen.

While I may be like 4 years behind the trend on this, even my boyfriend has seen the movie surprisingly, but I bet the wait list is very short ( or nonexistent) for this book at your library and if you haven't read it, I would highly recommend!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: When the World was Flat (And We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach

Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again. 

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself (GoodReads).

Due out Sept. 3rd, When the World was Flat (And We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach is the book we are "waiting on" this week. It sounds utterly original, and we are happy to dip into sci-fi every once and a while here at YAF&WS (plus a little true love never hurt nobody). Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW, a weekly meme that showcases upcoming publications we are looking forward to. What made your WoW this week?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Fictional Boarding Schools

It is time again for Top Ten Tuesday! Since we had some free-reign this week, we have decided to go 
with Top Ten Boarding School Stories (also known as we are jealous we went to public schools 
and not magical high schools), since September and back to school time is on the horizon. As
always, a big thanks to the *GREAT* bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT.

Grad Student:
1.   Night School by C. J. Daugherty.
2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. A classic boarding school shenanigan story.
3.     The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.
Crazy Camper:
4.     The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson- London boarding school (with charm forever).
5.     The Magicians by Lev Grossman- boarding school but creepy and actually not a place I want to be
6.    The Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow (book 2 on).
Goosie Mama:
7.    HP, baby - hands down. (HP=Harry Potters, for the uninitiated)
8.    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- It's sort of a boarding school/orphanage, right??
9.    Fallen by Lauren Kate - because it STARTED THIS BLOG
10.  Looking for Alaska - Sorry, gotta keep John Green involved with all Top Tens!!

Night School (Night School, #1)The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

What is your TTT this week about? Share!

For more on these reads see our reviews of  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by
 E. Lockhart The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, the Vampire Academy series by 
Richelle Mead (here and here, too), Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
 (Crazy Camper's ReviewGoosie Mama's review), Looking for Alaska by John Green,
 and the Fallen series Torment Passion and Rapture by Lauren Kate.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Breathe (Breathe, #1)
This weekend I went camping and managed to devour this book, hanging from a hammock by a lake in West Virginia.  The good life of summer.

The world has no air. If you want to survive, you pay to breathe. But what if you can't? And what if you think everything could be different? Three teens will leave everything they know behind in Sarah Crossan's gripping and original dystopian teen novel of danger, longing, and glimmering hope that will appeal to fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth.

Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in glass domes full of manufactured air. Protected . . . or trapped? Or controlled? Alina's a revolutionary who believes we can save the environment. Quinn's a Premium who's never had to worry about having enough air. His best friend, Bea, is an Auxiliary who's never worried about anything but having enough air. When the three cross paths, they will change everything. Sarah Crossan's thrilling and provocative novel is about passion, about yearning for something better, and about breaking free for the very first time.

 Paying for air seemed like a very interesting premise, and I was ready to take it on.

Originality: 7- The bubble, the air, and the segregation of class access to air was intriguing.  What happens when society  losses an essential resource (cough cough or the government controls one? cue ominous music).  An extra like for the role of the trees.

Absurdity: 7- Bubble vs. Non-Bubble life.  We don't really get a chance to build this world enough, just launch into our teenage action, which makes some of the characters absurd (i.e., everyone of the Drifters and Resistance).  Also, Pod Minister, you need to lay off the booze- you are the most absurd of all the characters here.

Paranormal Romance: 8- MAN teenagers do dumb thing for hot looking members of the opposite sex.  Maybe this should be under absurdity?  O Bea, your love for Quinn, and that damn hotty Alina, there is a lot of high school feelings happening here mixed into life or death dramatics. 

Level of Harry-Potterness: 5.  We crash through the plot of this book, and while the characters are likable, somehow they seem flat, something subtle is missing to make them more real.  Besides a few preposterous plot twists and some plot gaps, this is an easy read and a new take on a very well told story of distopian high schoolers and revolution.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A reflection on audio books & Buzzfeed's input

I have just entered/ ventured into the world of audio books.... a place that is unexpectedly full of pitfalls. Some of you may already be aware of these aspects, but in case there are other audiobook newbies out there, let me share

Maybe you already knew this, but wow.  My first audiobook, The Help, I luckily stumbled into a narration I loved with sassy southern accents.  Then I tried Delerium, because everyone I know has read it and I came to lesson two:

Somehow it became too embarrassing for me to handle, and I had to quit. RIGHT away, it hurt, like when you were a kid and there was kissing in a movie and you had to hide under a blanket or run out of the room, expect I was on the highway in my car my hands dashing at the buttons to change back to the radio.(shuddering still).  As if Grad Student was reading my mind telepathically up in New England, she sent me this link yesterday "16 Audiobooks Read by A-List Celebrities", and my gosh do I have some new audiobook direction!  Huzzah!  Here are a few top hits from the list:

1. Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair read by Colin Firth. To quote Buzzfeed "Honestly, I would listen to Mr. Darcy read me the phonebook. So bring on the classic literature"

2. Carson McCullers The Member of the Wedding read by Susan Sarandon.   
I will always love her for her role in Bull Durham.

3.  Tina Fey’s Bossypants read by… Tina Fey. "Welcome to the best 5 hours and 35 minutes of your life"

Any other suggestions from audio book veterans out there? What are your favorite audiobooks to keep my commute (and chores, and metro riding, and ironing) interesting?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: The Name of the Star Revisited

Grad Student read this book way back in February of 2012. I do believe at this time I was 100% only reading Vampire Academy?  Probably why I missed it.  Recently after a tumultuous day at work, she did what all good sisters do and logged into my library account to add awesome books to my hold list.  [note, maybe we should market this.. you don't know what to read? over-
whelmed by weak main characters and bad puns in titles? GS makes a reading list for you]

On her suggestion that it would be scary, laugh out loud funny at times, and that John Green is friends with Maureen Johnson, I gave it a try.
Recommendation for the win!  And my first Maureen Johnson book!

Originality: 9.  Definitely not what I was expecting and kept you guessing... except for the fact that I kept whispering to myself "I see dead people....."

Absurdity: 7, but that it hard to escape in a story of a murdering, vengeful ghost being tracked by high school kids/

Level of Paranormal Romance:  7, high scores for making out in libraries and longing glances.

Level of Harry-Potterness:  A well written book!! Outside of plot, this was refreshing.  And the story? LIKED: creepy, funny, twists and turns, and interesting characters and setting.

As long as you can stomach some gory details, go get on it. Nothing says summer like serial killers...(?)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Tandem by Anna Jarzab

Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1)Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.(GoodReads)

Hellllllllloooooo and happy Waiting on Wednesday. We are participating again in the weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. WoW showcases upcoming publications we are looking forward to. Cool cover, cool premise, and coming in October! What's not to like here? Tandem by Anna Jarzab is something I will def want to read. What are you 'waitin' on' this week?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Can We Get a Sequel, Please?

Happy Tuesday! Happy Top Ten-ing! Today's Top Ten Tuesday is  Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels. We spend a tiny bit of time grumbling about series that go on forever (SIDE EYE, Charlaine Harris) but sometimes a book is so good you want more no mater what.As always a cheers of our whiskey sours (or in CC's world, whiskey on the rocks, since she is a badass) to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting TTT. And now for books we wish had sequels:

Grad Student:
1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Paper Towns by John Green
3. Chime by Franny Billingsley (has anyone else read this yet!? I need a friend here)
4. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith.

Goosie Mama:
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (suggested sub-title: The College Years a la Saved by the Bell. Zach Morris reference on a Tuesday morning? Awesome.
6. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and Daivd Levithan I would like a book completely from Tiny's POV.
7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Can we just dedicate an entire chapter to "bat. bat. bat." ?!

Crazy Camper:
8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett- whatever happened to Aibileen? Did Miss Skeeter's mom survive her cancer?
9. Stupid Perfect World, I liked this premise. This novella was just not enough for the characters!
10. SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAD A SEQUEL: Fallen by Lauren Kate.  Ugh. Stop after book 1.

Want to know more? See our reviews (in the links here) of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Paper Towns by John Green, Chime by Franny Billingsley, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Goosie Mama's Review, Grad Student's Review), and Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfield.