Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

Waiting on Wednesday is a topic hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about books that they are looking forward to being published in the near future 🙂

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This week’s WoW book is The Last Boy and Girl in the World!

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After disaster strikes, Keeley Hewitt seizes the opportunity to finally take the risk on the boy she has always liked.

When a massive storm decimates Keeley’s town, everyone she knows is getting ready to start over far away from each other.  With nothing left to lose, Keeley feels a sense of bravery and decides to finally approach her longtime crush, knowing their will be almost no social blowback or heartbreak with her leaving town so soon.  With so much up in the air already, is adding more uncertainty to her life really what Keeley should be doing though?  Would it be better to just cut all ties with the town, and start anew somewhere else?

This novel reminds me a lot of We All Looked Up, the idea that social embarrassment and rules are negligible when faced with your own mortality and sense of physical security.  It will be interesting to see if Keeley’s bravery will pan out or if it will make any difference with her and the boy she likes having to relocate.  I also wonder if this will be a story where Keeley’s social concerns get pushed aside or put in perspective, with all the destruction caused by the storm.

The Last Boy and Girl in the World comes out April 26th 2016, and is published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Stone Field by Christy Lenzi

Waiting on Wednesday is a topic hosted by Breaking the Spine, where bloggers post about books that they are looking forward to being published in the near future 🙂

New WoW

This week’s WoW book is Stone Field by Christy Lenzi!

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Stone Field is a historical fiction retelling of Wuthering Heights. Set right before the Civil War, it is a love story about Catrina and Stonefield.  They first meet when Catrina stumbles upon a man with no memory of who he is or what he was doing before they met each other.

Despite the war, the town’s opinion, or Stonefield’s amnesia, the two fall in love and want nothing more than to live by themselves and shut out the horrors that come with war.  However, the past doesn’t disappear, and with war approaching, events are set in motion that are out of Catrina and Stonefield’s hands.

This book seems to capture the spooky mystery of Wuthering Heights really well, and I can’t wait to see what has been adapted and imagined to make Stone Field it’s own intriguing read.

Stone Field comes out March 29th 2016, and is published by Roaring Books Press.

#RockMyTBR 2016 Reading Challenge

Rock my TBR

Like many readers, I have a problem where there are simply not enough hours in a day to read all of the books I plan too! As a result, I have acquired quite a pile of unread books that have been lying around…for years in some cases.  That is why I LOVE the #RockMyTBR challenge that Sarah over at The YA Book Traveler has created!  Here are the books that I’ve added to my shelves over the last couple of years that I  hope to read in 2016:

Sabriel – Garth Nix

Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

Furies of Calderon – Jim Butcher

Under the Banner of Heaven – Jon Krakauer

Assassin’s Aprrentice – Robin Hobb

In the Afterlight – Alexander Bracken

Assassin’s Curse Duology – Cassandra Rose Clarke

Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta

Some Boys – Patty Blount

First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Clare North

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone – Kat Rosenfield

Kingdom of Little Wounds – Susann Cokal

Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides

Bossy Pants – Tina Fey

March – Geraldine Brooks

Midwinterblood – Markus Sedgwick

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landou-Banks – E. Lockhart

Girl in the Woods – Aspen Mathis

Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Gaudin

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

This Star Won’t Go Out – Esther Earl

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson

Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

Rebel Spring – Morgan Rhodes

So hopefully, I’ll be able to knock 2-3 of these out a month (give or take) and by this time next year my TBR should look a bit thinner 🙂

If any of these are on your list and you want to do a buddy read, let me know!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine book blog!

New WoW

This week I can’t wait to read The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig!!

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This book follows a girl, Nix, who can travel to any time and place with her father and his ship.  Although she loves her life, this ability may put everything in jeopardy when her father goes back in time to try and save her mother from dying in childbirth.  No one knows what will happen to Nix with her father trying to change history so close to her birth, but ending her father’s heartbreak may cost Nix everything.

This sounds like a totally unique and interesting story.  I can’t wait to read about all the interesting time periods that are visited in this novel and how Heilig has the people aboard the ship interact with those that are stuck in their own time and place.  There are so many cool directions that this book could go and I’m excited to see what happens and what kind of help Nix discovers along the way.

The Girl from Everywhere comes out February 16th, 2016 and is published by Greenwillow Books!

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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Saint Anything

by Sarah Dessen

Rating: 4/5 stars

     Sydney has always lived in her brother, Peyton’s shadow.  When they were younger it was because of his charming personality, but as they grew up it had more to do with the trouble he was constantly in.  After finally getting help and staying clean of crime, drugs, and alcohol for a year, it looks like Peyton is finally back on track and Sydney’s life can get back to normal.  That is until Peyton paralyzes a boy while drunk driving.

     After Peyton is sentenced to prison, Sydney’s parents are less focused on her than ever and she begins branching out.  Seeking to escape her brother’s reputation, Sydney transfers schools and spontaneously starts spending her free time at a pizza shop owned by the Chatham family.  Here she finds total acceptance despite the family going through their own trials, including a mom that is battling Multiple Sclerosis.  She also meets Mac, a quiet, loyal, and protective boy who truly sees Sydney despite all the chaos in her life.

Review:  This book hit all the right chords for me.  Despite being about a very complex and heavy topic, Dessen finds a way to insert really heartwarming scenes throughout the novel that make me appreciate all the characters.  I loved that this book spent so much time on the Chatham family dynamic.  I mentioned this in my post about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universebut it is a major pet peeve of mine when YA novels neglect to talk about the teenagers home life and parental interactions.  This is not a problem with Saint Anything.  The reader gets a super clear picture of the Chathams and Sydney’s family to make a pretty stark comparison.

Dessen also gets major points for the complexity of Peyton’s situation.  It would have been easy to paint him as a bad kid who was finally stopped when he hit a pedestrian while drunk driving.  But the fact that he was trying to get his life back on track, was applying for trade schools, and leaving his past behind, makes the reader empathize with his guilt and sadness so much more. Overall, this is a really well written YA contemporary that I would recommend to anyone 🙂

Top 5 Wednesday (on Friday): 5 books we are thankful for

Hi All! Top 5 Wednesday is a tag created by GingerReadsLainey over at Booktube, and this weeks topic is “5 books we are thankful for”.  This is going to be a mix of children’s and adult lit. But other than that it doesn’t really follow a theme.

  1. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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When I was younger, reading with my mom before going to bed was an everyday thing.  For some reason this book (and series in general) really stands out for me.  I loved reading these stories, and I think this series is one on of the main reasons I became a more independent reader of larger chapter books in second and third grade.

2. Quiet by Susan Cain

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I read Quiet right after I graduated from college and it was so beneficial to me.  I have always been an introvert and it has never seemed like a positive thing.  Reading this novel altered that perspective.  It provides plenty of examples of introversion leading to positive results, as well as how to use those characteristics to become a better leader and advocate.  It was super beneficial to me when I was in my post-college flounder 🙂

3. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (or any Seuss in general)

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The Lorax is my favorite Seuss book but really any of them can be counted among my favorites from childhood 🙂

4. Shel Silverstein

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I love how creative and silly Shel Silverstein is with his poetry while still being able to deliver a pretty important message.  Rarely do his poems make much sense but I am always up for a re-read if I find one of his books in my vicinity.

5. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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This book is one that I could read repeatedly and still feel like I am reading it for the first time.  There is so much to take in and so many personalities to understand, that I encounter something new with every re-read.

A Step Towards Falling by Cammie McGovern

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“Friendships are complicated. Friends have power. Friends can break your heart.”

A Step Toward Falling

by Cammie McGovern

Rating: 5/5 Stars

     A Step Toward Falling is a contemporary dual perspective novel that chronicles the lives of two high school girls who have both been affected by a bullying incident.

     Emily is a high school student who witnesses Belinda, a student with developmental disabilities being assaulted and walks away without acting.  Now she and Lucas, another bystander who failed to act, must complete community service at a center that serves people with disabilities.  As time passes Emily begins to feel like she is making a difference in the class, but still feels guilty about the night of the attack.  When Belinda returns to school Emily makes a plan that she hopes will show Belinda how sorry she is and also give Belinda some positive attention that is long overdue.  As new information about the night of the attack comes to light however, Emily begins to second guess how to best help Belinda, and wonders if she is going to end up hurting her more in the end.

     Belinda has not returned to school since she was attacked.  She has fallen into a routine of watching Pride and Prejudice repeatedly hoping to rediscover the comfort she used to find in watching her favorite movie.  She used to believe that there were people like Mr. Darcy in the world but now she isn’t sure.  While her grandma and mom are very understanding and don’t mind that she is taking time off from school, Belinda knows she has to go back.  As Belinda tries to return to her school routine, she begins to understand that things have changed.  She needs to learn to adjust to new roles in her classroom and also finds that she may have some new friends to help her with all of these changes.

Review: This is McGovern’s second novel that I have fallen in love with.  She has a wonderful way of making people with disabilities her protagonists without making the conflict of the novel center around their disability.  Did Belinda’s disability play into how she recovered or reacted to her attack? Of course, but it wasn’t the only motive driving her actions or determining the next plot point.

     I loved the complexity of the feelings and people in this story.  This is seen best through the inaction of Emily and Lucas, despite neither of them being “bad kids”.  They froze, and despite their parents and peers telling them that it isn’t their fault or there is nothing they could have done, it’s not true.  Despite their mistakes at the beginning of the novel however, Emily and Lucas show great maturity in accepting their punishment and doing everything they can to improve the lives of the people they are meant to be serving.

    I cannot recommend this book enough! Whether to learn more about people with developmental disabilities, or just to read a YA book with great themes, character growth, and a heartwarming message.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover Playlist

Here is a Playlist to go along with Ugly Love. I hope you find it useful 🙂

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Adieu – Enter Shikari

I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick of Time – Bon Iver

Wake Me Up – Aloe Blacc

Closer – Kings of Leon

Cold Arms – Mumford & Sons

Bleeding Out – Imagine Dragons

Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Closer to Love – Mat Kearney

Something I Need – Onerepublic

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

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Exquisite Captive

By Heather Demetrios

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Exquisite Captive is the first book in the Dark Caravan Series and surrounds to myth of genies(jinnies) and their interactions with humans.  After years of political unrest, the jinnies homeland of Arjinna has been overtaken by the darkest group of Jinn who pull their power from fire, opposed to other jinn who pull from wind, water, and earth.  These jinnies have begun a slave trade between Earth and Arjinna called the Dark Caravan, where wealthy humans who seek to gain more influence in the world purchase jinnies to grant them three wishes.

Nalia is a jinni from the warrior class of jinn who has been sold to a wealthy man who has found a loophole in the three wish stipulation.  Instead of making three wishes, he instead has her grant wishes for his clients in return for favors and business transactions.  While searching for a way to become free from her shackles, Nalia begins working with a rebel leader named Raif, who seeks to right the injustices in Arjinna and end the slave trade.  They must work together despite their classes past conflict and find a way to help the jinn both on Earth and in their homeland.

Review:  I found Demetrios’ description of the different classes of jinn and their characteristics interesting.  I also thought portraying jinn granting wishes for humans as a form of slave trade was really effective.  However, other than that their wasn’t anything in this novel that really stuck out to me.  I felt like the major plot points in this book are all pieces I have read in other YA fantasy books and have been written more effectively.  This was especially true of the romantic relationship between Nalia and Raif.  Maybe its because of the amount of fantasy I have read recently, but I just didn’t find much chemistry between them.  The one part of this novel that I have a real issue with however, were the romantic/lustful feelings that Nalia felt for her master when he began to express an interest in pursuing her romantically.  He spent years imprisoning Nalia and torturing her by placing her in a container that would slowly suffocate and poison her for months on end.  I realize that her reciprocating his feelings had more to do with the effect of their souls interacting rather than her true feelings for him, this was still something I did not find okay.

Fill-in Boyfriend Music Playlist

Here is a mini playlist I have put together that I think goes along really well with the characters and plot of the Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West.  Enjoy 🙂

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Hold my Hand – Jess Glynne

Fly – Maddie and Tae

Ain’t it Fun – Paramore

Elastic Heart – Sia

Master Pretender – First Aid Kit