Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Sketch: After the Fall by Kate Hart


AFTER THE FALL
By: Kate Hart
Published By: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Release Date: Jan. 24, 2017
Series: None
Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: A YA debut about a teen girl who wrestles with rumors, reputation, and her relationships with two brothers.

Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother. The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.




First Thought After Finishing: I need one more scene, an epilogue, something!

This book is messy, painful, ever shifting, never quite the way you want it to be…life. It’s trying to stay optimistic through challenges but wanting to stay numb because it’s easier. It’s making questionable choices in the name of coping. It’s unsettling, and I still don’t know how I feel about it.

A senior in high school, Raychel is facing an uncertain future. Her single mother is barely making ends meet, meaning her college options are limited. Many of her friends are off at college, meaning she has to reform her life without them. But at least she has Matt, the boy who has been her best friend for forever, and Matt’s family, who offer the home she’s always wanted. Raychel could have had a good year hiking, partying, and being with Matt and his family. But sexual assault, money problems, and an attraction she never planned on turn her year upside down. And when everything changes, what does she do then?

For a while, Rachel was hard to connect with. Her high school experience was so different from mine—a group of friends, experimenting with marijuana and alcohol, attending college parties—but after a while I could see her life in a small college town. And when life is bad and you don’t see it changing, what can you do other than look for a distraction? There were so many emotions that Raychel had to face, and I wish there had been more time spent exploring all of them. Even still, I certainly felt them—her confusion, her anger over circumstances, wanting something that seemed just beyond her grasp, and the need to be loved without strings attached. In addition to the emotional journey, I loved the fact that there was something different to this story than “best friends discover they’ve really been in love all along.”

The one thing that bothered me about this book was how quickly the POVs changed. I liked having both Raychel and Matt’s perspectives, but I felt like the book constantly bounced back and forth, and occasionally I had a hard time keeping track of which person’s perspective I was reading. However, after thinking about it, I realized that there might be a point to it—when you’re growing up and trying to figure everything out, things can change so quickly. And there are always two sides to every story, sometimes even between best friends.

Most Memorable Aspect: This book has one of those scenes that you read, reread, stare at the page for a while like the words will suddenly change, and then keep reading like the next chapter or the next will change things, even though it’s after 2am and you need sleep. Not many books can have that kind of effect.




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE
By: Corey Ann Haydu
Published By: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Jan. 31, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Everyone who really knows Brooklyn knows Devonairre Street girls are different. They’re the ones you shouldn’t fall in love with. The ones with the curse. The ones who can get you killed.

Lorna Ryder is a Devonairre Street girl, and for years, paying lip service to the curse has been the small price of living in a neighborhood full of memories of her father, one of the thousands killed five years earlier in the 2001 Times Square Bombing. Then her best friend’s boyfriend is killed, and suddenly a city paralyzed by dread of another terrorist attack is obsessed with Devonairre Street and the price of falling in love.

Set in an America where recent history has followed a different path.




Why it's Wanted:

I love magical realism books, and this one sounds like an engrossing story that is also timely and relevant to society today. I'm curious to see how the author spins this tale!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teaser Tuesday (102)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon's secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel box without a jewel--a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world."


Taken from pg. 74 of DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT
by Laini Taylor

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Snapshot Musings: Bookstagram - A Literal Portrait of a Book



One of the things that worried me about returning to blogging was the seeming predominance of Bookstagram. I have never been a huge fan of photography. I usually try and avoid pictures, whether I am supposed to be taking them or posing for them. With Bookstagram becoming more and more popular, I didn't know if I would be able to keep up on all fronts. Even if I made an account, what would be the chances of me actually taking pictures?

Well, as part of my New Year's recommitment to blogging, I took the plunge and joined Bookstagram. Since joining, I've found challenges to join and have taken pictures daily. But the most surprising part? Im actually enjoying taking pictures. I've started looking at my books in a new way, and I find myself trying to arrange artful photos in my head even before gathering books for them. I am nowhere near as good as others; I do not have the skill set, I do not have all (or any, really) of the trinkets that make for beautiful pictures. I am slowly adding to my collection, but I know it will take a long time to feel anywhere close to accomplished.

So what does this mean, and why am I sharing it with you all? I cannot help but wonder what the popularity of Bookstagram means for blogging. Even as new as I am, I have caught myself only looking at stunning pictures, sometimes at the expense of the captions. Can Bookstagram really be an effective platform for reviewing books? Or is Bookstagram more effective because it can bring attention to old and new books, highlight themes or quotes at a simple glance, and make people want the book if for no other reason than it has a gorgeous cover or would be the perfect complement to a picture? Are momentary snapshots going to completely edge out blogs that have been cultivated for years?

For now, I want to continue with both arenas, because I feel like there is still a space for book reviews, for words without pictures. Part of me is not ready to let go of this site and make a full transition. I hope that I will be able to continue on both fronts and, regardless of the media, bring attention to the fantastic stories that have been written and continue to be invented every day.

Let's talk! What are your thoughts? Do you prefer Bookstagram, blogs, or both? What draws you to one over the other? Do you think the book blogging world has a place for both?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


THE RADIUS OF US
By: Marie Marquardt
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: Jan. 17, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: What happens when you fall in love with someone everyone seems determined to fear?

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself.

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores-Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid.

Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?

Told in alternating first person points of view, The Radius of Us is a story of love, sacrifice, and the journey from victim to survivor. It offers an intimate glimpse into the causes and devastating impact of Latino gang violence, both in the U.S. and in Central America, and explores the risks that victims take when they try to start over. Most importantly, Marie Marquardt's The Radius of Us shows how people struggling to overcome trauma can find healing in love.




Why it's Wanted:

I have to admit, I first looked at this book because of the title. Being a math teacher, I couldn't help but be interested when it said "radius." But the synopsis that promises a gritty look at what is reality for some people had me hooked. I'd love to see how these characters develop.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Cover Unveiling: Off the Ice by Julie Cross


I'm very excited to share the cover of Julie Cross's new book with you! Off the Ice is a contemporary new adult novel that features one of my favorite sports, hockey (Go Grizzlies!), and I can't wait to read the story behind this gorgeous cover. And now, without further ado, I present OFF THE ICE by Julie Cross!



Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.




About Julie Cross



Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She's a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She's a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres. Outside of her reading and writing credibility's, Julie Cross is a committed--but not talented--long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Book Sketch: The Infinity of You & Me by J.Q. Coyle


THE INFINITY OF YOU & ME
By: J.Q. Coyle
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: Nov. 8, 2016
Series: None
Pages: 256
Genre: Sci-Fi
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?

Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.




First Thought After Finishing: This was such an inventive story!

The Infinity of You & Me was an unexpected book. Initially I was drawn to the premise and the mention of Sylvia Plath, whose poetry has always had a mysterious yet intriguing complexity.

Alicia believes that she is going crazy with her hallucinations—they aren’t simply flashes, but other worlds that seem like more than dreams. There is even a boy that she finds herself drawn to. Her mom has done everything that she can to help her, especially since her dad is not in the picture, and her one friend is school is the only one who can help her stay sane. However, at a birthday party, Alicia learns that her world—and even her hallucinations—are not what they seemed to be. As she tries to come to grips with this new reality, she realizes that one decision can change everything and learning who you can trust can make or break your world.

At the beginning, this book was hard to read. Alicia’s hallucinations were disjointed and confusing. While this may have reflected her tumultuous mind, it made for difficult reading. However, as the story moved forward, the hallucinations became worlds with unique stories and characters to anchor them. As the truth behind her hallucinations was revealed, they became fascinating adventures that left me wanting more. I found myself eagerly turning pages to see what would happen next.

While the worlds and the adventure kept the story intriguing, I found myself wanting more from the characters. I wished that the relationship could have been developed more. Alicia spent a lot of time trying to figure out who she wanted to be, and that felt unfinished still by the end of the book. If there happens to be a sequel or companion novel, I’d be glad to learn more about the worlds and the characters.

Most Memorable Aspect: The stories within the story. I would love to know how all of the different possibilities played out!




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


POISON'S KISS
By: Breeana Shields
Published By: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: Jan. 10, 2017
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: AMarinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.




Why it's Wanted:

I love the idea of this book being based on Indian folklore. I also enjoy books that involve uncovering royal conspiracies, especially when they mix in a little magic and a little romance.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

End of Year Survey 2017



Number Of Books You Read: 18
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult Contemporary

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
I didn't read nearly enough books, but this is still so hard! I think my favorites were THIS ADVENTURE ENDS by Emma Mills and SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
As hard as this is to admit, JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman. Something about it didn't sit right with me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard. This book kept me guessing constantly.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I'm not sure I was a good book-pusher this year. I'll have to work on that!

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Best Series Started: Splintered by A.G. Howard or Brooklyn Brujas by Zoraida Cordova
Best Sequel: CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas
Best Series Ender: I didn't read any series enders.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
I'm not sure if it counts as discovering...

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
MY ROGUE, MY RUIN by Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan. I haven't read historical romance in a while.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard.

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I'm not sure I'll reread any other that the one I'm currently reading--THE BEAST by J.R. Ward.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
THIS ADVENTURE ENDS by Emma Mills.

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
Sloane from THIS ADVENTURE ENDS. It was like reading myself on the page.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD by Siobhan Vivian. This book tugged at my heart a lot.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD by Siobhan Vivian. It made me reflect on friendships a lot.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Is "almost all of them" an acceptable answer?

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
From THE SERPENT KING: "If there was a way I could explode with beautiful heat and light, like a firecracker, that's what I'd want I want people to talk about me and remember me when I'm gone. I want to carve my name in the world."

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
A SEASON FOR FIREFLIES by Rebecca Maizel and THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
I'm not sure, honestly.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Celeana and Chaol. I do love Chaol.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Sloane and her friends in THIS ADVENTURE ENDS.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
DEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
I don't think anything falls under this.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
My fictional crushes are still claimed from boys in books from previous years.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?
THE INFINITY OF YOU & ME by J.Q. Coyle.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
A tie between LABYRINTH LOST by Zoraida Cordova and SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson. 26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?
THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD by Siobhan Vivian.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
My Magic 8 ball says "Ask Again Later."

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
None, fortunately.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
THE INFINITY OF YOU & ME by J.Q. Coyle.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
THE SERPENT KING by Jeff Zentner.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
I should have an answer for this...next year!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
My review of THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD here. It was the first one for my return to blogging.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
My post reflecting current events in society here.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I only made it to Siobhan Vivian's signing, but it was great to start meeting Utah bloggers!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Returning to blogging after a long hiatus.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Definitely trying to get back on top of trends, release lists, and everything else that goes with blogging.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I'm not sure--I'm still rebuilding a following.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
All of my reviews, honestly. I need to work on that for next year.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Bookstagram. I am slowly learning the ropes there as well.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I hadn't set any goals, but I did start blogging again, so that is a success!

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
All of them. That counts, right?

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
ROSEBLOOD by A.G. Howard. I LOVE Phantom of the Opera. I'm glad I don't have long to wait!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Yes.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
I didn't start many series, but I am looking forward to finishing some from long ago!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Actually blog consistently with quality content. Keep up with social media. Maybe even make it to ALA again.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
I haven't read any yet. The shame! However, I just got Netgally approval for COMING UP FOR AIR by Miranda Kenneally and I can't wait to read that one!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Waiting on" Wednesday


"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



This week's selection is:


THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE
By: Stacey Lee
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: Dec. 27, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs.

Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.

At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.




Why it's Wanted:

This book sounds both interesting and different. Not only am I curious about the potions that Mimosa mixes up, but also I want to know how avoiding love works out for her.

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