Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stuff I Got This Week

For Review: IT! books, Thanks.

I've already looked at this book and it is amazing. You can check out Tyler's website for a glimpse at the photos that are in this book. I will be doing a bit more of a review later on. I'm so glad I received this book for review and got to learn about this incredible photographer. 

That's what I got this week, what did you all get? 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: The Paradox of Vertical Flight - Emil Ostrovski

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Pretty nifty.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count: 256 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Jack has made some mistakes in life, but in his defense he's young and a romantic, so his ideas are little bit off. The morning of his eighteenth birthday he is contemplating suicide, but then his cell phone rings. This call will bring him to the complete opposite side of suicide. His ex-girlfriend's has just given birth to a child, that he helped create and she wants him to come. At the hospital Jack finds out that she's giving the baby up for adoption, but Jack isn't ready for that and ends up kidnapping him. Jack just wants to instill some wisdom to his son before he is no longer "his son". Although Jack might be the one gaining wisdom on this wacky road trip that ends up dragging a few more people along in it's winds. Jack's friend, Tommy and Jack's ex both end up on this strange trip to show Socrates the world and find out what all this means for them.

I wish there were books like this when I was in high school. If there were, I certainly couldn't find them. I loved the philosophical aspect of this novel. The great debates about existence and the meaning of everything. These are the kind of conversation my friends and I would have (not always under the influence of alcohol). Jack's head was a strange place and he just wasn't sure where he was going in life. It's hard to understand that not many people know what they are doing, they just go along for the ride.

This was a short read but chock full of philosophical quandaries like: why? and why? and WHY? This was a story about growing up and what that means. About choosing a path and being okay with the changes you have to make on the way. A story about responsibilities and how they change as your life goes on and how you aren't responsible for the world. It's okay to ask for help and it's okay to not know the answer to everything, as long as you're willing to try. In the end, the main goal for everyone should always be to be happy.

First Line:
"The rain blurs the world outside the diner, turns it into a mirage that shifts in the wind and the water and the lights."

Favorite Lines:
"'Could be a trap,' he says, and even in the dark, I know we're both thinking of the same thing, Admiral Fish-Face in Revenge of the Jedi going, 'IT'S A TRAP.'"

"Our border crossing is pretty anticlimactic, as Vermont looks exactly like New Hampshire."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children : the graphic novel - Ransom Riggs & Cassandra Jean

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (A bit strange the mix of photos and illustrations, but distinguishing.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Yen Press
Page Count: 272 p.
Add it: Goodreads
For my review of the novel, click here.

Jacob's grandfather told strange fantastical tales. When he died under mysterious circumstances, Jacob went to his home island to try to solve the mystery of his grandfather's tall stories. There he meets a different group of people who have plenty to tell him about his grandfather's life and his grandfather's stories.

It's sort of hard to review this because it's the same story just with illustrations and less elaborateness. For its briefness, I like it a bit less than the actual novel. This would be a great read right before you read Hollow City, that way you can refresh your memory of the story without having to reread the whole novel.

The illustrations were pretty fab and they gave a different feel to the story. I wouldn't have minded if they were a bit creepier or stranger, but they were pretty good.

We learned less about the characters in this which is a bit disappointing, because I really enjoyed knowing more about each of them. It was a good, quick read though and it was nice to see this great novel take on a different format. Now I will just eagerly await Hollow City.

First Line:
"Growing up, Grandpa Portman was the most fascinating person I knew, and I begged him to regale me with stories whenever I saw him."

Favorite Line:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Ketchup Clouds - Annabel Pitcher

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (It's so pretty. I'm not sure why they didn't just have her hold a fake bird though. It's not photoshopped correctly, so don't look to closely at that bit.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 261 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Zoe has a secret she wants to confess, but there is no one she can trust enough to say it to. That's how she ends up writing to Texas inmate, Stuart Harris. Of course, he can't write back since she uses a fake name and address. Regardless, at night in her shed she writes to Mr. Stuart Harris and tells him her story. It seems like a simple story about how a girl fell in love with two boys—the twist is that she is responsible for the death of one of them.

This was such an interesting story. I almost wish we somehow could get a reaction to Stuart Harris reading these letters. I wonder if they ever even got to him. The one thing I wasn't too found of was the sexy-time details Zoe put into the story. I don't know that it fit with her writing to this stranger. If she was just writing letters with no intent to send them, or writing a journal there could be lots of sexy scenes, but it seemed really awkward her writing about these things and then sending them to a strange man. I guess she probably just thought of him as a sounding board, or confession. She never would get anything back from him, so it's almost like he didn't really exist for her.

I knew right off how she did it, I just couldn't figure out who she did it to. Even when I thought that I had maybe figured it out, there was no really way to be sure. I can understand her predicament with the two boys though. This doesn't seem like a tough situation to fall into. A little more communication could have made lots of things turn out differently.

The ending was bittersweet, but totally perfect. It was honest. A very honest ending that fit. As much as I wanted things to go differently, they happened for the best.

If you're looking for an interesting and honest read, check out this story. Zoe is a very really character and she just wants to confess her story and try to find some closure.

First Lines:
"Dear Mr. S. Harris,
Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It's jam, not blood, though I don't think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn't your wife's jam the police found on your shoe."

Favorite Lines:
"I got your contact detail off a Death Row website, and I found your website because of a nun, and that's not a sentence I ever thought I'd write, but then my life isn't exactly turning out the way I'd imagined."

"Sunshine punched me between the eyes with a bright yellow fist."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

This week I'm waiting on The Winner's Curse. That cover is all sorts of awesome. It's gorgeous, and she's holding a knife! The summary only sweetens the deal. I'm a sucker for a secret.  

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love...

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: Etiquette and Espionage - Gail Carriger

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 3 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (Oooooo ahhhhhh)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 307 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Sophronia isn't a typical girl, at least not the typical girl her mother would like her to be. She's always climbing things and getting into mischief. When her mother receives word that Sophronia is accepted to a finishing school, she ships her off with barely a second look. Sophronia has very little interest in becoming a proper lady, but on the way to the school she starts to realize that something is amiss. This isn't your typical finishing school at all. Dancing is taught and death, Etiquette and Espionage. Sophronia may not mind becoming this kind of proper lady, it might suit her just fine.

I nearly put this book down in the first few chapters. It seemed a bit too silly for my tastes. The characters names were a bit out there (I mean, Barnclegoose, really?). I'm glad I kept with it though because there was plenty of excitement and enjoyment to be had. I think this may be my first Steampunk novel too, which is odd because it has always fascinated me... I could be wrong about this assumption, but as I am writing this I can not think of a Steampunk novel that I have read prior to this one.

Sophronia was at least the kind of girl I could get on with. Plenty of spunk and that one. She was a very courageous character and I liked that. Sneaky around and avoiding getting caught are things I would do if sent to a finishing school. There was certainly never a dull moment throughout this novel. Plenty of action and excitement and quite a few mysteries sprinkled about too.

This is a delightful read if you're looking for something fast paced and a bit odd. I'm hoping the next book really sucks me into this series so that I can fall in love with it like so many others have.

First Line:
"Sophronia intended to pull the dumbwaiter up from the kitchen to outside the front parlor on the ground floor, where Mrs. Barnaclegoose was taking tea."

Favorite Line:
"Her eyes glazed over slightly as she contemplated sparkles."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Season of the Witch - Mariah Fredricks

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 3 stars  
Cover Rating: 4.5 stars (creepy)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Page Count: 251 p.
Add it: Goodreads

What happens during summer should stay in summer.
Toni had a bit of a wild summer and now that school is starting she's going to have to face her actions head on. She didn't realize what she was getting herself into at the time. She's not the only one to blame, but she's the only one getting the blame. Oliver has gotten back together with his girlfriend Chloe, but Chloe is out for blood. Who knew a kiss could be so dangerous? Toni doesn't know what to do to get Chloe and her friends to stop harassing her, but Cassandra does. Cassandra says there's a better way to get even, a bit of hocus pocus. Toni's not sure she really believes in this stuff, but when it works she starts to change gears. Cassandra doesn't know how far is too far though and things get out of hand fast. Toni is going to have to help Cassandra with her own dark secrets before more people get hurt.

I was pretty excited to read this book. The description had this nice Carrie vibe about it and I saw Toni standing in the middle of a burning down school with a small grin. This book wasn't Carrie, but it wasn't bad either.

One of the things I had an issue with was Toni. She complains about how terrible Chloe is and the bullying and everything, but Toni isn't a nice person. Take this abbreviated excerpt:
"....'I would like us all to rise and join hands, please. We will now recite the school civility pledge.'....I take Ella's hand and offer my other to Bill 'Pigman' Pullman on my right. He grins maniacally, like I've offered him some other body part to touch. I say, 'Drooling's not pretty, Bill.'....'I pledge to be civil and caring to my fellow students. To create a welcoming environment free of hostility and prejudice.' I pray that Chloe is listening."
While she's hoping that Chloe is listening to the Civility Pledge, Toni insults another student. For no reason. There are plenty of snide remarks from Toni and while some of them could be in jest, others just seem glossed over. We're supposed to feel bad for Toni, but it's hard. I realize that the bullying that Chloe is orchestrating is much worse than the comments from Toni, but I can't feel that bad for someone being bullied when they aren't that nice themselves.

It's hard to really enjoy a story when there is no one to root for. I didn't end up really liking any of the characters. Cassandra was all kinds of crazy and Toni and Ella are not great people either. Ella is supposed to be this super nice person, which she is to a point. Gossiping does not make you a nice person. This book seemed to be more than the story though.

The author wanted us to look at this scenario and see all the ugly that can crop up from things left unsaid, or sexist issues. Toni did some sexual things over summer, a guy would have been proud and praised. Toni gets harassed. I didn't feel like that was the central point in the book though and it seemed as if the author was trying to shove too many things in at once.

It was a quick and intense read though. Something worth giving a shot. There are some shocking things which raise the interest level a great deal.

First Line:
"You know how it is with little girls."

Favorite Lines:
"Ella thinks she's sincere, but really, she's just stirring up trouble. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is:
Top Ten Seven book covers I'd like to redesign

Death Cloud - Andrew Lane (To be fair, they did redesign these without the Justin Bieber kid, but they still aren't that fantastic.)

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart (This is such a great book and such a poorly photoshopped cover. There are good aspects to it, but execution is lacking.)

Forgotten - Cat Patrick (This was another good book with not a great cover. I just want something more fitting the story.)

As You Wish - Jackson Pearce (This cover is just kind of plain. I want more for it so that it can stand out.)

Pretty Girl-13 - Liz Coley (Bleeding Cowboy. Not that I need more than that to hate the cover, but it's a little hard to interpret. The photo isn't awful though.)

Graceling - Kristin Cashore (Meh. I don't mind the cover, but I wouldn't mind it spruced up a bit.)

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card (Will there ever be a good cover for this book? Honestly I think the best one so far is the movie cover, and I hate movie covers. This book is so awesome though and all the covers make it look so blergh.)

The Broke and the Bookish is a group of college aged and twenty somethings that have an unhealthy obsession with reading and would spend every last penny on books even if it meant skipping a few meals. We are the people  who lurk in the library, buy handbags based on how many books can be stashed in them, and who refer to characters in books as if they are personal friends.
We sought after other bookish college students to share in our love for reading and were brought together by the College Students group on Goodreads that was created in September 2008. Our desire to share great books with each other in and our tendency to be opinionated and passionate about all things book related naturally led to the birth of The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stuff I Got This Week

For Review: thanks Harpercollins and St. Martin's

The Trap by Andrew Fukuda

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories vol. 3 - HitRECord

That's what I got this week, what did you all get? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is:
Top Ten Sequels I can't wait to get my hands on... 
So I couldn't think of that many sequels that I want to read that aren't out yet, so some of these are books I want authors to write but they aren't necessarily sequels. Of course, directly after finishing this post I realized that I didn't include The Retribution of Mara Dyer. So consider that included now.

Ignite Me - Tahereh Mafi (I need more Warner!) 

Lair of Dreams - Libba Bray ( I need another nice creepy tale.)

Idols - Margaret Stohl

Hollow City - Ransom Riggs

Meridian - Josin L. McQuein

The Interrupted Tale - Maryrose Wood

I want a new YA novel from Rainbow Rowell!!!! I loved Fangirl and Eleanor & Park. She has a new book coming out soon, but it's an adult book. MORE YA PLEASE!

Inland - Kat Rosenfield (There's no cover for this and only the briefest of summaries, but I want it. Amelia Anne was so fantastic!)

I also want a new book from Arlaina Tibensky. And Then Things Fall Apart was just such a great novel and I want Arlaina to dazzle me again.

I want the tears that John Green provides. I want characters from him that I care so much about that it hurts to lose them. I want a book emotionally like The Fault in Our Stars.

The Broke and the Bookish is a group of college aged and twenty somethings that have an unhealthy obsession with reading and would spend every last penny on books even if it meant skipping a few meals. We are the people  who lurk in the library, buy handbags based on how many books can be stashed in them, and who refer to characters in books as if they are personal friends.
We sought after other bookish college students to share in our love for reading and were brought together by the College Students group on Goodreads that was created in September 2008. Our desire to share great books with each other in and our tendency to be opinionated and passionate about all things book related naturally led to the birth of The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Hideous Love - Stephanie Hemphill

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 3 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Fitting the period. I enjoy it.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Page Count: 312 p.
Add it: Goodreads

This is the story of Mary Shelley. A young girl who fell for Percy Shelley when they connected intellectually and took off to travel together. Tagging along with them is Mary's half-sister Claire. Mary wishes to be rid of her, but Percy enjoys her company. Mary learns a lot while with Percy, but she also suffers a great deal as a result of their couple-ship. This is her story, not a happy tale at all.

This book will probably only hold you until the end if you are curious about Mary's life. This book is quite slow going and honestly not entirely worth it to keep going if you are not fascinated in some way. This story was definitely much easier to breeze through than a biography would be, but this is a work of fiction. I enjoyed getting to learn a bit more about Mary Shelley and all of her losses. She had a lot of tragedy surround her, much more than most people now at her age. There's not really much to say about this story beyond that though. It was an okay read but I much preferred the authors novel Wicked Girls.

First Line:
"I want to be beauty,
but I am not."

Favorite Line:
"our wily messenger pigeon,"

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Divergent series rant extraveganza **spoiler post**

As stated in the title of this post, it will be riddled with spoilers for all of the books, so be prepared. I finished reading Allegiant about a week ago and just haven't known really what to say. My experience with this series is probably a bit different from most of yours because I started and finished this series in less than a week. It was tricky holding out for so long, but also not too hard. It's sometimes difficult to pick up a book that has gotten so much praise. Regardless, I knew I wanted to read these all at once just like I did with The Hunger Games. So what follows is my review/rant of the Divergent series.

Divergent starts off with Tris in Abnegation, the selfless faction. I don't know how well I would fair there either. I'm pretty selfish when it comes to most things. If someone is being hurt I can intercede, but besides that, it's every man for himself. I assumed that Tris was going to pick Dauntless, there was no real reason for her to stay in Abnegation besides her parents. She's sixteen though, who likes their parents then? What I did not see is her brother switching, although that now makes sense of his cryptic words to Tris the night before. One thing that bothered me in this first book was how long it took Tris to catch on to things. It's like she needs a neon sign flashing that says FOUR LIKES YOU, IDIOT! It seemed to be completely obvious. I realize that sometimes he acted like a dick but you would think she'd catch on to the fact that he was acting. I liked all the action in the first book though. Things were always moving forward which was very befitting of the Dauntless. At no point reading Divergent was I waiting for something to happen. Heck, I didn't even have to read for that long for the title to make sense. Divergent was a really solid book and even though lots of terrible things happen. I think they all were necessary evils.
Favorite Line: "Peter would probably throw a party if I stopped breathing.'
'Well,' he says, ' I would only go if there was cake.'"

Insurgent starts right away where Divergent left off and does not go through the typical, here's what you missed, series beginner so things start off right away. After I finished this book, I couldn't understand why people didn't like it. I think the fact that I started Allegiant right after may have skewed my view a bit. I thought Insurgent was great and didn't suffer the book #2 filler problem. Now though while writing this only a short while later, I'm struggling to come up with what happened Insurgent. I guess nothing as important happens in book 2 but I didn't feel let down, since the pace was still rolling right along. Tris is kind of a pain in the ass, but so is Tobias at this point. Why do they have to keep so many secrets from each other? I liked how just as Tris loses her parents, Tobias starts to gain his parents back. Whether or not he wants his parents back is an entirely different story. It was nice to see that the Factionless made their own Faction and weren't the sad people that they were portrayed as being. This lovely book also contained a big surprise, Caleb the betrayer. I'm really not certain how he got mixed up in everything, but how despicable. Faction before blood I guess.
Favorite Line: "I expect to have nightmares, but I must be too tired, because my mind stays empty."

Then we get to the really interesting part. Tobias and Tris and the gang leave the relative safety of their city in pursuit of the unknown lying outside the gates. How exciting! I was partially disappointed in the outcome of this because, it would have been way cooler if they were the last people on Earth. Although, it would not make for a very good third book. The crew fighting off wild animals as they search the desolate landscape for other humans. Not as exciting as the Truman show experiment. They get swept up into compound life pretty fully. Tobias starts trusting strangers and ignoring Tris (as per usual). Seriously though, why are they so distant from each other all the time. They run the gamut of emotions constantly. I appreciate that they care for each other but they need to open up a line of communication, because it's getting old guys. Tris, stop being so mopey and Tobias, stop trying to be a rebel all the time. We get it, your tough and better than your father. Now stop! Moving on... I don't understand why Uriah has to die. Couldn't by some miracle he come out of it. I was still holding on until his funeral. Then there was the death of Tris. After surviving the death serum she dies from a gunshot. On one hand I was in disbelief, on the other hand it was so fitting though. I thought it was incredibly brave for Veronica to end the series this way. Also, it totally makes sense as to why there were alternating viewpoints in this book. Tris and Tobias had this very interesting relationship. No love triangle and plenty of disagreements. I think they were maybe a bit too disagreeing at times and talking would have helped a lot. I think Tris got too intense to have lived a normal life so it's probably better off that she died. Tobias seemed to be settling down, whereas Tris was getting more and more daring. She would have died young anyway, so it's fitting to have that be the conclusion.
Favorite Line: "'I didn't know that idiocy caused people to just start spontaneously bleeding from the nose.'"

This was a fantastic series and I am very excited to see it become movies. I hope they do a great job with it and that each of the actors fit in the characters well. There are a lot of interesting types of people in these novels and I would like to see them fleshed out in the movies as in the books.
What were your thoughts on this series?
How did you feel about the ending?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween post : personal and library related

I hate trying to work in a costume, so I usually try to keep it simple if I'm going to be wearing it all day. Last year I went as Sylvia Plath, which was super easy and this year I decided to go as Tris. This would have been much easier if I had more experience wearing leggings as fake pants. Maybe I'm just not wearing the right kind, but they kept moving around on me a bunch. Regardless, the outfit took me five seconds to think up and I got to buy some really cute shoes to go with it.
So, all in all not a terrible deal. We had our Halloween Party for teens which was pretty fun even though for some reason none of my regular kids came. We played this game we started calling Tape Candy. I spent the morning rolling candy up into packing tape making a nice ball. Then everyone rolled a pair of dice and tried to get doubles. As soon as you got doubles you got to start unwrapping the tape ball as fast as you can and grabbing any candy that you've gotten to. Meanwhile everyone else is trying to roll doubles so that they can take over the tape ball. If you don't think this sounds like fun, wait until you play it. It's a bit addictive! It was a fun time and I'm surprised at how old these teens go trick-or-treating at. There were quite a few high schoolers trick-or-treating, in the rain! So that's how my Halloween went, not too shabby. Finished it off by going home, having dinner and then playing Minecraft. 
What did you guys do for Halloween this year? 
What has been your favorite costume that you've worn?


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