9/02/2014

Top 10 Tuesday #toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each Tuesday you are given a prompt, then you post your top ten.
This weeks prompt...
Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table

Well in High School I hung out with the odd balls, the loners, the artists, the misfits. Plus I was one of those yearbook/photojournalism geeks so I had a wide range of friends.

1. Adam from If I Stay - he pretty much is exactly like the kids I hung out with at school.

2. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter Series - she would fit right in.

3. Veronica Mars from The Thousand Dollar Tan Line - I know, this is a stretch. Think younger TV show Veronica - we would have been kicking butt in the dark room.

4. Cather from Fangirl - We would have had so much fun writing fanfiction together.

5. Alice from The Truth About Alice - I would like to think I would have been a friend that wouldn't turn on her. I have been the subject of rumors, we are kindred souls.

6. Aimee from The Spectacular Now - just another part of the group. I have many friends like Aimee.

7. Lexi from Revenge of the Girl with a Great Personality - Lexi is one of the in betweeners, like most of our group. She has friends, is popular...she just isn't one of THOSE girls. Like many of us, she is tired of being the girl with a "great personality".

8. Evie from Paranormalcy - She is the tip of fun loving, funny girl that would hang with everyone.

9. Echo from Pushing The Limits - I think I would have forced my way into that friendship. I too come from a troubled background with my mother - so hopefully we could have helped each other out.

10. Simon from The Mortal Instrument Series - gamers unite. He would have pretty much been my dream guy in HS. I would been crushing hard. Trying to think of ways to run into him.

Isla and the Happily Ever After Review

Title: Isla and the Happily Every After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile, August 14, 2014

Synopsis: “Stephanie Perkins’s characters fall in love the way we all want to, in real time and for good.” —Rainbow Rowell, Award-winning, bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK nearly killed me. There were SO many times that I gasped, shook my head and, okay, may have even screamed at a character from the book. Yes, SCREAMED. You see much like all the readers of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, I waited and waited for Isla. And you know what? It was worth every single month, day, hour, minute and second of the wait.

Things That Stephanie Did Right:
  1. Paris: The setting is, once again, Paris (and New York and briefly but beautifully, Barcelona). Glorious, romantic, hey-where-are-Anna-and-Etienne Paris.
  2. Unrequited love: Who writes a believable unrequited love plot? We have our answer, Stephanie, and she writes it as only she can, so that we feel every ache, hope and crushing moment in our very souls.
  3. Best friends: Did you guys have a best friend who was just that -- a friend who always had your back? And even though he was a boy, you never crushed on each other? I did. The way Stephanie writes the relationship between Isla and Kurt made me remember my friend in high school who was always there for me.  I also loved how Isla was protective of how others accepted Kurt's highly functioning autism. Their friendship was the strength Isla needed during her Crushing on Josh days.
  4. Sisters: I admit that as an only child, I have an overwhelming fascination with fictional siblings. In this story, the tension and misunderstandings that naturally occur between siblings are tempered by moments of sisterly understanding. Simply put, I loved the way Gen and Hattie were written. 
  5. Isla and Josh; Josh and Isla. Have you ever met a couple and thought to yourself -- boy are they meant to be a couple. You just knew that they would last. Isla and Josh are just that couple. Except that they're not, well, not initially. Okay, no spoilers. Go read it and you'll see what I mean.
  6. Anna and Etienne and Lola and Cricket: There's this one scene (yes, yes, no spoilers) and after I finished reading it I thought, YES, this is how reunion episodes of favorite TV shows should be. Except that this isn't a TV show. And reunion shows are usually awful. But THIS is, gah, perfect. 
Things That Stephanie Could've Done Better:
  1. Not a darn thing
You know how I love to pick apart a book. There wasn't one single moment where I heard the Red Edit Pen in My Head go click. Not once. The story is that perfect. 

If you loved Anna's fish-out-of-water story and Lola's be-true-to-your-true-self story, just wait until you read Isla's story. It's a listen-to-your-heart story, and I think, from time to time, we all need a reminder to do just that.

(Aside: What are you doing reading further? Go pick these books up now! They sit on my Must Share with My Girls shelf. Yes, they are that good. Now go, go, GO!)


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9/01/2014

57 Lives of Alex Wayfare Review

Title: 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare
Author: M.G. Buehrlen
Release Date: March 4, 2014 by Strange Chemistry
For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.
And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

Ah, time travel stories. I can never quite get enough of them and M.G. has written quite a doozy of a story. I liked the way I was immediately thrown into Alex's historically accurate visions and her far from normal life. When she's pulled into the middle of Prohibition-era Chicago, I felt like I was right there alongside her -- staring right into a cute boy's eyes while being in the midst 1920's organized crime wars.

M.G. does a beautiful job of showing us Alex's time travel and how it relates to her being a Descendant. Her relationship with the mysterious Porter, a stranger who teachers her about her ability, only causes her to be more curious about her past 56 lives (as it would anyone, surely). In the story we follow Alex to the 1960s and into the Wild West. PTB hosted a blog tour stop in March and M.G. was kind enough to share her Pinterest inspiration board with us. Click over to see some of the details of the setting and plot.

And without any spoilers, I can safely tell you that M.G. builds a complex plot worth every minute of your time. Time travel, history and romance, it doesn't get much better than that. But, watch out for a cliffhanger ending that will leave you wanting the next installment, The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare, which will be out next Spring.

1/2

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8/29/2014

Death Sworn Review

Title: Death Sworn
Author: Leah Cypess
Release: March 2014 by Greenwillow Books
When a young sorceress is exiled to teach magic to a clan of assassins, she will find that secrets can be even deadlier than swords. From the critically acclaimed Leah Cypess comes a dangerous and eerie fantasy about murder, shocking discoveries, and fiery star-crossed romance that readers of Cinda Williams Chima and Robin LaFevers won't be able to put down.

Ileni is losing her magic. And that means she's losing everything: her position as the rising star of her people, her purpose in life, and even the young man she loves. Sent to the assassins' cave, hidden deep within the mountains, she expects no one will ever hear from her again. The last two sorcerers sent died within weeks of each other. Accidents? Or something more sinister? As Ileni navigates the dangers--both natural and human--of the caves, she'll discover secrets that have been kept for decades. And she'll find an ally in Sorin, the deadly young man who could be the assassins' next leader. With Sorin determined to protect her, sparks--magical and romantic--will fly. But will even he understand the choice she must make in the end?
A teacher who is losing her powers is sent to teach assassins magic. Can it possibly get more awesome? Yes, it can, because as the synopsis states the previous two teachers died in accidents. The level of solid story telling plunges you into a dark, cavernous world and hits all the notes of a well-written high fantasy plot.

Ileni is the strong-willed character we've come to expect in similar stories, but unlike most other characters in similar situations, she accepts the inevitability of her death. Ileni's world is my very favorite part of the story. It's laid out so logically that I just wanted to explore it more. And the world plays brilliantly into the plot -- it proves as treacherous as the big plot twist.

If you guys are thinking, that is all well and good, but where is the romance? Let me assure you that there is a good blend of romance, action and mystery in the story. Although the romance may be a little light, the chemistry is palpable.  If you click over to the blog tour post, you'll see a pinterest board I made which shows some of Leah's influences as well as a collection of images that I thought represent the setting and plot.

When you're in the mood for a high fantasy story with a protagonist who is fierce but resigned to her fate and a world that is dark, intimidating and has just the right degree of complexity without becoming too broad, pick up Death Sworn. It's a perfect read for these colder mornings and darker nights.


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8/25/2014

#TheInfiniteSea Giveaway!

It started with The 5th Wave, a scarily realistic alien invasion and apocalypse
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.



and continues with The Infinite Sea, out September 16th.
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

We are VERY excited to be bringing you the first look at The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, as well as a chance to win a signed copy of the book.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FIRST 11 Chapters of THE INFINITE SEA!

and now, it's

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Thanks to the awesome people at Penguin, we have 1 signed copy of The Infinite Sea to giveaway. This is open to US addresses only and is being shipped directly from the publisher. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter and all of our other standard rules apply. 

You can get 3 entries into this giveaway. The first is achieved by answering the following question on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #TheInfiniteSea and then coming back here and leaving a link. Please be sure to include some form of the Q and the hashtag in your post/tweet.

  • What 3 books would you want to bring in the event of an apocalypse?

The other entries will be unlocked by answering the Q, you get 2 entries for supplying your shipping address. Good luck and have fun narrowing your books down to 3, the sacrifices we make in an apocalypse i tell ya.

8/22/2014

If I Stay Movie Review #IfIStay #Liveforlove

 Warning - somewhat spoilerish (if you haven't read the book)
I usually won't write up a book to movie review - most of the time, it is because I wasn't happy with the movie. That isn't the case with If I Stay, I just walked in the door and had to write a review.

If I Stay is one of my all time favorite books - this movie was a must see for me and I went into it thinking I was going to be disappointed. I had one expectation - I hope it had my favorite line from the book.  I am glad I was wrong. If I Stay is without a doubt one of the best book to movie adaptations I have ever seen.   And guess, what my favorite line isn't in the movie. It is sort of there, hinted at - but Adam never says the actual line...and I really didn't care.  Why, because the sensuality and chemistry between Mia and Adam is there and those few words weren't missed.

Jamie Blackley is an AMAZING Adam, it was like he was born to play that character.  I had no doubt that Chloe would be great as Mia, I have enjoyed all her movies. The casting for this movie is spot on - Teddy, oh my goodness how can you not love him? And man, that scene is hard to watch - my daughter who hasn't read the books started screaming NOOOOOO when she realized what was happening.

I won't lie and say everything was perfect - Mia playing for Julliard scene was a little weird...not sure if it was CGI or what, but parts of it were creepy looking. Of course they had to change a few things, but I wasn't sitting in my chair going- THAT'S NOT IN THE BOOK or THAT ISN'T HOW IT HAPPEN...I was just thinking wow, that made the storyline better. Especially the ending, I really loved how they did that, not to different from the book but enough to make it better.

Okay, enough rambling. Go see it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  BRING KLEENEX!!!




8/21/2014

The Good Sister Review

Title: The Good Sister
Author: Jamie Kain
Release: October 2014 by St. Martins Griffin
Synopsis:
The Kinsey sisters live in an unconventional world. Their parents are former flower-children who still don’t believe in rules. Their small, Northern California town is filled with free spirits and damaged souls seeking refuge from the real world. Without the anchor of authority, the three girls are adrift and have only each other to rely on.

Rachel is wild. Asha is lost. Sarah, the good sister, is the glue that holds them together. But the forces of a mysterious fate have taken Sarah’s life in a sudden and puzzling accident, sending her already fractured family into a tailspin of grief and confusion. Asha has questions. Rachel has secrets. And Sarah, waking up in the afterlife, must piece together how she got there.

It has been a while since a book has grabbed and held my attention from the first few lines. The Good Sister did just that - it hooked me with the murder mystery and the unraveling sisterhood kept me glued to the book.

Sarah is dead and it wasn't the way anyone thought she would go. Sarah is a 2x cancer survivor, so her family was "prepared" for her death, but no one expected she would fall off a cliff. From the first few lines, you are hooked; you know Sarah just didn't fall - but, you don't know how she fell either.

As a preteen Sarah was diagnosed with cancer; cancer took its tole on Sarah as well as her family, one sister became the hero and one sister was pushed aside. After years of living with those "titles" and the roles they played, they can't cope with Sarah's death. They don't know how.  Asha the youngest sister the "hero" sister can not fathom "the whys", non of this makes sense to her. She wants answers and she is going to get them no matter who she hurts. Rachel the middle sister who couldn't save Sarah's life and was forgotten, has her own issues and she wonders how much of the problems she caused led to Sarah's death.

Loved loved loved this book. I have a sister and I have 3 daughters - so I know how the relationships between sisters can be love/hate and how no matter what you do truly love each other. To dive into the middle of these sisters and learn all the great and horrible things they did for and to each other was like watching a soap opera. It kept me glued to this story line... I couldn't get enough. This definitely made my up all night list.