May 28, 2013

BEA-induced hiatus

Just wanted to pop on here and let you guys know that I'm going to take a little blogging break and blame it on BEA.  It's one of the MANY things I have going on this week (I'm also seeing Fall Out Boy tomorrow, woo!)  I should be back next week with some BEA inspired posts.  I hope everyone that's going has an awesome time.  I'll see you there!

May 23, 2013

The Darkest Minds - Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Pages: 488
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

From When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. 

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. 
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her--East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. 
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

My favorite moments in The Darkest Minds were the ones where the horrific world around the characters kind of fell away.  The ones where they were able to be normal kids despite the circumstances.  Zu and Ruby "shopping" at the store, Liam and Ruby dancing to the Beach Boys, Chubs and Ruby just having conversations.  Those were the moments I lived for in this book.  They're really highlighted by the fact that the world they live in is so bleak and tragic.

My absolute favorite thing about this book was its characters.  Spending so much time with the main foursome really connects you to them.  Whenever someone was separated from the rest of the group, keeping watch or whatever, I was on high alert the whole time, waiting for something terrible to happen.  Bracken really has the ability to make you feel like you're there with Ruby and the rest as they journey for answers.  I absolutely adored Liam.  He was always so worried about making sure everyone else was okay.  And he was so accepting of Ruby.  No question, of course they were going to take her with them.

What I remember most clearly about this book though, is crying all through the end.  Even afterwards, after I put the book down I couldn't stop.  My sister looked over at me like I was a crazy person, I was sitting in one of our living room chairs and I just had tears streaming down my face and I couldn't stop them.  So if you like dystopian/paranormal books or books that give you a lot of feelings definitely check out The Darkest Minds.

I feel I cheated a little bit on this one because this song, Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys, is actually in a scene in the book, but I think these lyrics fit pretty well.  Also, I grew up listening to The Beach Boys and I'll take any excuse to feature one of my favorite songs by them.

(Click on the lyrics to hear the song on youtube.)

May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (45)

Author: Jennifer Castle
Pub Date: 6.4.13
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.
The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.
Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.
But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (46)

This week's topic is
Top Ten Favorite Book Covers of Books I've Read

Now, the last time the favorite covers topic came up, I did all books that I've read, so this time I'm going to do something a little different.  There's always a lot of talk about publishers repackaging series books.  I have mixed feeling about it.  I understand why it's done, but I seriously cringe when my books don't match.  

Anyway, here are some of my favorite repackaged covers that I've read:

Here are some repackagings that I liked better BEFORE they changed them:

And here's a few where I liked BOTH covers, thus making my brain want to explode:

So what are your thoughts on repackaged series?  Love them?  Hate them?  Let me know in the comments!

May 15, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (44)

Author: Sarah Ockler
Pub Date: 5.21.13
From Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (45)

This week's topic is
Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

If last week was tough for me to come up with 10 light and fun reads for TTT, this week was a freaking breeze.  I love traumatic books, books that really showcase the trials that people go through and how they deal with them.  As usual, pictures are links to goodreads.

Laurie Halse Anderson
Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.

Lovely, Dark and Deep
Amy McNamara
Since the night of the crash, Wren Wells has been running away. Though she lived through the accident that killed her boyfriend Patrick, the girl she used to be didn’t survive. Instead of heading off to college as planned, Wren retreats to her father’s studio in the far-north woods of Maine. Somewhere she can be alone.
Then she meets Cal Owen. Dealing with his own troubles, Cal’s hiding out too. When the chemistry between them threatens to pull Wren from her hard-won isolation, Wren has to choose: risk opening her broken heart to the world again, or join the ghosts who haunt her.

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Saving Francesca
Melina Marchetta
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom.  Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player.  The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.
Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is.  Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, hersocial life and—hardest of all—herself.

The Piper's Son
Melina Marchetta
Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it's Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can't forget. Shooting for oblivion, he's hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom's in no shape to mend what's broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper's Son redefines what it means to go home again.

A Blue So Dark
Holly Schindler
Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Michelle Hodkin
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.There is.She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.She’s wrong.

Second Chance Summer
Morgan Matson
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

My Life Next Door
Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

The Fault in our Stars
John Green
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Have any of these made your lists too?  Do you guys have any recommendations for books about tough topics that I missed?  I'm always looking for new ones!

May 13, 2013

EW reveals cover for Never Fade

Entertainment Weekly revealed the cover for the second book in the Darkest Minds trilogy this morning.  Take a look

Now, I loved The Darkest Minds, and I especially loved its cover.  It was so shiny and pretty.  Honestly, it was probably my favorite cover of last year.

(Okay, you don't really get the shininess part here, but whatever.)  I think the NF cover does the series justice, though I do hope that it will have the same shimmery shine to it as TDM does.  This series is going to look so gorgeous on my bookshelf.  What do you guys think of the cover?

May 9, 2013

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Pages: 292
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books

From Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

I feel like I was predisposed to loving this.  Peter Pan is one of my favorite Disney movies ever.  I've always loved the stage version with Mary Martin.  When I heard there was a YA retelling I was all over it.

I've heard from a few people that it started out slow for them and I see what they meant.  There's a need for world rebuilding because of the familiarity so many of us have with Neverland.  I feel like Anderson took great care to make it her own.  We're thrown deep into the village's hierarchy and customs and that really helped to shape how different Tiger Lily is from everyone else.

One of the (many) strengths of this book lies in the characters we meet.  Tik Tok, Giant, Pine Sap, the Lost Boys, Smee, Philip.  They all affect Tiger Lily's life so deeply in such varied ways.  The most important to this story, though, are Tink and, obviously, Peter.

I LOVED that this story was told by Tink and that she was so tied to Tiger Lily.  That no matter how in love with Peter Tink was, she knew that she belonged with her girl.  She was always surprised when people acknowledged her and how important she was, even though she was just a fairy.

Then there's Peter.  "This is a love story, but not like any you've heard."  How true this is.  There's just so, so much to this love story: betrayals on both sides, and everything just goes so tragically wrong.  And the ending, oh boy, did this ending destroy me.  I still can't think about it too much or I'm thrown right back into the story.  I know that Tiger Lily is going to be one of my favorites of the year (and I read it in January!) and probably even longer than that.  Jodi Lynn Anderson, you got me good.

So right after I read this book I was listening to Red (by Taylor Swift) a lot.  Now, I have a lot of mixed feelings about Taylor Swift, but this blog definitely isn't the place for them.  The girl (usually) writes a good tune and as soon as I heard "Treacherous" I linked it to Tiger Lily in my mind.  Something about the bridge makes me think of Tiger Lily going to the burrow to see Peter.  

(Click on the lyrics to hear the song on youtube.)

May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (43)

Author: Jennifer Brown
Pub Date: 5.21.13
From Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send." 

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look. 

May 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (44)

This week's topic is
Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light and Fun

Going through my list of books I've read looking for light and fun reads was just a treat.  Apparently I really prefer dark and heavy.

Shooting Stars
Allison Rushby

Going Vintage
Lindsey Leavitt

She's So Dead to Us
Kieran Scott

Decked With Holly
Marni Bates

Bitter is the New Black
Jen Lancaster

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
Ally Carter

Meg Cabot

Sarah Ockler

Suite Scarlett
Maureen Johnson
Falling in Love with English Boys
Melissa Jensen

Coming up with this list actually turned out to be a lot of fun.  When I read it to my sister she asked me a very important question.  " didn't put The Princess Diaries on there?"  To which I reply, TPD is, in my mind, this giant epic 14 book tale.  So yes, it is a great fun series, but if I'm reading The Princess Diaries, I'm reading ALL of them.  I don't know, should I have put it on here?  I mean, just because I have a lot of feelings about it, doesn't mean that everyone will.  I'll leave it here as my bonus pick.

I can't wait to see what you all have put on your lists!

May 4, 2013

New Feature: Books & Tunes

I think I'm gonna try out a new feature this week.  Every time I review a book, I'm going to try to include a link to a song that I think goes with it.  Music is one of my favorite things in the whole world and I love matching up songs with books, tv shows, and movies, so I thought, why keep it in my head?  Why not throw it in with my reviews?  Maybe you'll find a new song that you'll love, maybe you'll just think I have incredibly crap taste in music.  Either way I get to make a fun new graphic every week!  Anyway, when you see this:
be sure to check out the link.