Saturday, April 30, 2016

Page Turners: Books Recs for "Regular" Readers

- Cue Horror Movie Music - 
"Oh, you're a reader? That's great. I always want to read more. What would you recommend?"

*Cue Panic Attack*

*Takes deep breath and notices the person is still waiting for an answer*

“I don’t know. I can’t really think of anything. I’ll get back to you!” ::runs away::

- and Scene - 

The interesting thing about this scene is that 1) it occurs at least once per week and my response is exactly the same each time and 2) that without the direct question, I will almost certainly start talking about books I’ve loved, recently read, or somehow tangentially relate to the current conversation topic. But as soon as I’m asked for a book recommendation I actually have zero recommendations! Two such incidents have resulted in actual blog posts for specific people, my friends Jennifer and Laura (names linked to posts), because I promised them that I would “think about it” and get back to them. Ridiculous. I don’t think either of them thought it would be such a big flipping deal!

So, those Page Turner posts inspired a “Regular feature” idea, which is premiering here on my guest post for The Book Voyagers. Clearly, I’m columbusing the use of the word “premier” here as I’ve already said: this isn’t actually the first one, just the first without a specific person in mind. Let us not get distracted with technicalities. Carry on.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book Review: The Double by Alison Brodie

One of my blog goals for 2016 is to do more “book community” stuff. Ergo. I signed up with I Heart All the Books to participate in a couple of book tours! Yay, me. Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to get involved with writers and their work these days!? Anyway, I received a free copy of the book in order to provide a book review and to participate.
Here's the book's official (and much too detailed) blurb:
A night she can’t remember. A week she won’t forget. 
Beth is mistaken for rock star, Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she's in a world of uniformed stewards, French cuisine and rows of gorgeous designer frocks. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she's sent home. What's wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.

The captain arrives. Aleksandr sees a raven-haired girl in tiara and diamond-studded bikini lying on deck issuing orders through a megaphone. Aleksandr realizes what’s happened: His smuggling pals, knowing he needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, have grabbed this lookalike and brought her here to meet him. Sadly, the girl is not Sonita. Aleksandr is desperate. Sonita promised to help the children but she’s disappeared.

Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the children but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers the reason why Sonita disappeared.
A full-bodied romance that sweeps across the globe, from a civil war in the Eastern Bloc, to a luxury yacht on the Côte d'Azur, to a poor housing estate in Glasgow.
Here’s what I had to say about it:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (#RocTBF2016)! Speeding at a slow crawl through the author list of the Rochester Teen Book Festival. If you don't know about  my challenge to myself (to have read at least one book by each author who attends by at that date), links are below.

"Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. The end of high school will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is happy wherever he is thanks to his obsession with the epic book series Bloodfall and the fangirl who may be turning his harsh reality into real-life fantasy. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia—neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending—one that will rock his life to the core."

Here's what I have to say about it:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier (#RocTBF2016)

Count this as another book I never would have read if it wasn't for the Rochester Teen Book Festival. I assume you know about my challenge to myself (to have read at least one book by each author who attends by at that date).

I actually already owned this book because it came in a Book Riot YA box last year. So, while I intended to read it, it was not likely I would have ever gotten to it. I checked out a different book of Ms. Larbalestier's from the library before I realized I already had this one and asked Twitter which I should read. Ms. Larbalestier let me know that she had the most fun writing this one... there really isn't a better recommendation than that! I'm glad I asked.

The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses—Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson—is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten.

Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment.

Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her.

When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living . . .

Here's what I have to say about it: 

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Place to Start: What I Blog About

I post about a lot of different things. Below is just a way to organize in my head the kinds of things I post about. If I knew how to, these headings would probably be the tabs across the top of the page that lead you to different things around my blog. But I don't... or I do... but that seems like more work than this... so, here ya go!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What I've Been Reading (Outbox 4/20/2016)

Super super super busy month. The show I'm in (Charlotte's Web) opened last weekend, so last week was tech week. It's been fun but time consuming.
There are no real highlights of this outbox because I've really liked everything I've read this month so far. Here are a couple of thoughts about each:

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer: I bet this is meant to be for middle grade. It is a wonderful fairy tale mingled adventure ride that follows twins who have fallen into their grandmother's story book.

I plan to give Razorhurst it's own review post, though the farther out I get from that, the less and less likely it becomes. Razorhurst is the story of many people living the rough life of mob affiliation in 1932. Guns are outlawed and straight razors are king. And, the ghosts are noisy as hell. I love gritty young adult.

The Raven Boys was a reread so I can be fully immersed in the sensations when I read the final book of this series which drops next week. I'm on the waiting list for the audiobook for the second one right now. Luckily, my mind is full of other crap so I can't obsess about it right now.

Reviews already posted for April:
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Currently Reading: 
I've got three books in progress right now, which feels kind of like a lie. But go with it, okay? I'm doing a review post for the blog tour for The Double by Alison Brodie. Whoot! Being more involved with other blogs, bloggers, and the book community was one of my #BlogGoals for 2016. So there ya go. My date to post is April 29th. Plenty of time.
I'm also reading One Plus One for my book club which meets on April 30th. My current audiobook for commute is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I've also got several books that I need to read before they are due to the library!!!! AAAAHHH!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (#RocTBF2016)

I read Unspoken because the author in attending/ presenting at the Rochester Teen Book Festival next month and I am on a mission to have read at least one book by each author who attends by at that date.

Here's part of the Goodreads summary, the whole of which can be found here
"Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head."


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Three on a Theme: 3 Rereads of Old Classics

I don't need to tell you AGAIN how awesome audiobooks are, right? Well, I have been using audiobooks to reacquaint myself with some old favorites. I'd like to remind you that re-reading books you have loved from different times in your life can backfire. I'm looking at you, Hunger Games. It's not that I don't still love HG. But I was surprised at how much I didn't love it compared to the first time around.

These three are actually my top three favorites from childhood, so it was pretty risky to do a re-read. But, they were obvious places to start what I am sure to be an ongoing quest. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Review: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (#RocTBF2016)

I read Orbiting Jupiter because the author in attending/ presenting at the Rochester Teen Book Festival next month and I am on a mission to have read at least one book by each author who attends by at that date.

This was my first Gary Schmidt novel and I had no idea what to expect. It was written for those in the 6th grade and older. 

Here's the Goodreads summary:
"Jack, 12, tells the gripping story of Joseph, 14, who joins his family as a foster child. Damaged in prison, Joseph wants nothing more than to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, whom he has never seen. When Joseph has begun to believe he’ll have a future, he is confronted by demons from his past that force a tragic sacrifice."
Now, for context:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish People to Social Media Stalk

YAY! I'm pre- posting a Top Ten Tuesday! I can tell that this is the start of a whole new life of organization and planning for me... 
These top tens are hard for me because 10 things is a lot of things!! I'm going to shoot for 5 and see how it goes. I've decided to try and do one of these a month to take the pressure off of myself! 

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is (drum roll would be useless given the title of the post, huh? Drum roll, anyway, naysayer!)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Rochester Teen Book Festival Book Challenge - EEEEEKKKKKK!!!

Since I planned to do Rochester Teen Book Festival 2016 (original planning post), six additional authors have been added to the line up. Holy crap! That's 32 confirmed authors! I've got to get reading. Of course, someone always has to back out at the last minute, but it's never someone I haven't read. Gotta just read them all!
Last year I found a few new favorite authors/ books through this challenge, including Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Curse trilogy. I just bought the final book today. Reading additional books and getting distracted in pretty much a death blow to completing a challenge, so this month I am determined to (mostly) stay focused on getting new books/ authors read. If I make it, I will double back to books by authors who are "repeaters." That means, at minimum, I've got 21 books to get through in about 6 weeks. Not insurmountable, but no little task, either. (updated- 19!)

Here's where I stand to wit:
Already Read
Top Picks
Laurie Halse Anderson*
Speak and others
Chains ß I have to read this!
Jesse Andrews

Me, Earl and the Dying Girl (own)
Cathleen Davitt Bell

I Remember You
Charles Benoit*
Fall from Grace, You

Sarah Rees Brennan
Anna Breslaw

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here
Jennifer Donnelly

Tim Federle
Better Nate than Ever
Tequila Mockingbird
K. L. Going
King of the Screwups
Pieces of Why, Garden of Eve
Chris Grabenstein

Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of Summer

Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
Ellen Hopkins*     

A. S. King*
Reality Boy; Ask the Passengers

Justine Labalestier

Razorhurst (currently reading), Liar
Mercedes Lackey

Carolyn Mackler     

Kekla Magoon
How it Went Down

Kory Merritt

Ridley Pearson

Disney After Dark
Tamora Pierce*
Song of the Lioness 1-4

Gary Schmidt     
Orbiting Jupiter
Ok for Now
Steve Sheinkin

Alan Sitomer

Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked
Robin Talley

Lies We Tell Ourselves (own), What We Left Behind
Mariko Tamaki
This One Summer

Janet B. Taylor

Terry Trueman*
Stuck in Neutral

Scott Westerfeld*
Uglies, Afterworld, Peeps

Suzanne Young

The Program, Hotel Ruby

Jeff Zentner

The Serpent King

The RocTBF is kind of a big deal. If you are anywhere around upstate New York on May 14th, you should definitely come on by. It's free to attend any of the workshops or panels. There are food trucks and lunch baskets for sale and Barnes and Nobles is selling books by all authors in attendance. And if you see me, say hi! I'll be there as a volunteer. Obviously.

Currently Reading (DONE!):
In the hopper:
Related Posts:

Friday, April 1, 2016

What I've Been Reading (Outbox and March Recap 2016)

It's been a good month. I've read 9 books in the last two-ish weeks. [I posted about the first of the month earlier.] I don't think April will be quite as good because I've got tickets to two shows ( The Wizard of Oz and Matilda the Musical), the show I'm in runs two weekends and opens on the 15 (Charlotte's Web) and it's time to start making plans for the new training year at work. Boo to adulting.