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Book Trailer of the Week: Grave Mercy

 

Book Trailer of the WeekWelcome back to BookTasty!

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversI love book trailers and think they’re a fabulous way to reach potential readers. So, every week I bring you a book trailer that I think deserves a little time in the spotlight! :)

This week’s book trailer is for Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. This book just screams awesome and I’ve had my eyes on this book for a few months now. It was released this past April (2012) and I’ve heard that if you liked Graceling by Kristin Cashore, this is one is for you!  I loved Graceling so I want to get my hands on this one as soon as possible.  Plus, that cover is so beautiful! For realsies!

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.  Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

I am a huge fan of this book trailer so hopefully you will be too!

 

Honestly, it sounds like Ismae could kick some major butt! I love it!

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Just Finished: Born Wicked

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Summer vacation is completely fabulous! I get to spend time with my husband and friends and do whatever I want because I don’t have to be at work! LOVE IT!!

So, with all this free time I’ve been reading (a lot!). Today I finished reading Born Wicked the first book in Jessica Spotswood’s Cahill Witch Chronicles. I really really liked this book a lot and my review will come soon!

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A Comeptetive Streak: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Well hello there!

Today I’m reviewing dystopian romance, The Selection by Kiera Cass.

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them The Selection by Kiera Casssince birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secrett love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

I’ve wanted to read The Selection ever since I first saw the cover. Covers that have girls in pretty gowns is pretty much “a go” for me! This gown is stunning. I want it so bad!

I received the audiobook from the generous folks at Harper Audio (Harper Collins) – thank you! The Selection is Kiera Cass’ debut novel and it was a fun listen, though not without its flaws. I found the story pretty slow at first, but once America gets to the palace things start to pick up. After a few chapters of wondering if I’d get into this story, I suddenly found myself really wondering what would happen next and was anxious to get back to it! (This is why I listen to audiobooks while running people-it makes me want to run more just so I can listen!)

Cass is pretty creative in turning the premise of a The Bachelor type competition and weaving it into a dystopian setting. The Bachelor and Bachelorette TV shows have always intrigued me so I liked this as the means for which the monarchy chooses their next queen. This reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale – they are different takes on this whole royal contest idea. I also love the fact that society is split up into different castes based on the type of work you do.

I also liked that we got an insider’s view of the whole story behind the pageantry. America is both likable yet frustrating at times. I like her down to earth nature and the fact that despite this humbleness she does get caught up in the contest and her new life in the palace, just as any girl would! She also finds her competitive streak although she originally hates the competition. She frustrates me a little because she contradicts herself a lot throughout the story. At times Cass’ dialog can be a little trite and some of the things America says don’t seem to fit her personality.

I listened to The Selection as part of the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge and although I did think the story was entertaining I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrator. Her voice was pretty monotone and she didn’t change-up any voices for the different characters. Now, although I didn’t like the narrator, I still enjoyed the book as a whole, despite the flaws. I also think my students would absolutely love this book so I’ll definitely be adding it to our library catalog. The story ends pretty abruptly and I actually had to check my iPod to see if I missed some tracks, but I didn’t. Although I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, the story was still fun and I’ll definitely be looking for the sequels (its supposed to be a trilogy)! Sometimes it’s okay to just enjoy a book for the story and ignore any faults it may have. The Selection has such a fun story you can just sit back and enjoy!

Girls from middle grades to high school and up, who are always up for a book with some romance, will enjoy The Selection and seeing how America fares in the contest to be queen. Also, get excited (!) because it sounds like the CW is making a pilot for the The Selection series. To read more about this check out Kiera Cass’ website.

Author: Kiera Cass

Publisher: Harper Audio (April 24, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins

Narrator(s): Amy Rubinate

Series: First in The Selection trilogy

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: The Selection (Selection – Trilogy)

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Waiting on Wednesday: Before You Go

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Happy Wednesday everyone!

As you know Wednesday is the day I place the spotlight on an unreleased book that I’m looking forward to reading. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and is a weekly meme I love participating in!

Before You Go by James PrellerThe book I’m sharing with you today is called Before You Go by James Preller. Now, I was introduced to James Preller when I read his book, Bystander this past year as it was on the Florida Sunshine State list for grades 6-8. It was one of my favorites and my students loved it too. I’m also proud to say that I also had the opportunity to meet James Preller at the annual FAME (Florida Association for Media Education). You can read about that awesome experience which included me meeting other authors and geeking out a bit here.

So, Preller’s new book, Before You Go, is scheduled to be released by Feiwel & Friends on July 17, 2012 so it’s less than a month away! The cover is awesome and incredibly ominous, which I think fits the subject matter well.

The summer before his senior year, Jude (yes, he’s named after the Beatles song) gets his first job, falls in love for the first time, and starts to break away from his parents. Jude’s house is kept dark, and no one talks much—it’s been that way since his little sister drowned in a swimming pool seven years ago when Jude was supposed to be watching her.

Now, Jude is finally, finally starting to live. Really live. And then, life spins out of control. Again.

Wow. I have to admit that the subject matter intimidates me a little as it sounds like it’s dealing with some intense stuff- accepting a painful past and moving towards redemption while overcoming guilt. Normally this wouldn’t be my first choice in plot (I tend to like things a little happier!) but I have high hopes because I enjoyed Bystander so much. Plus James Preller was such a friendly guy that I’ll probably read anything he writes in the future! Seriously, he was so nice he let me interrupt his quiet planning time in a cafe, before the sessions began, with my generally book geekiness!

I plan on buying Before You Go for my Media Center because I know that my students who read and liked Bystander will be interested in his other books.

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Top ten Tuesday: Books I’d Recommend As Good Summer/Beach Reads

Top Ten TuesdayHi there! It’s that time of the week again!

Every Tuesday I bring you a Top Ten list!  Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, to encourage book bloggers to get to get to know one another better and to share our love for books.

This week’s Top Ten is Books I’d Recommend as Good Summer/Beach Reads. When I think of delicious beach (or poolside reads) I tend to lean more towards contemporary titles.  I’m splitting this list up into two.  The first five beach reads I’ve read and recommend while  the second five titles will be summer reads I haven’t read, but I can just picture myself enjoying while lounging next to a pool (even though I live in Florida, I’m not a huge beach fan…go figure!).

I’ve Read and Recommend These

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares1. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares

If you haven’t read this series yet, you’re really, really missing out.  It is hands down one of my favorite YA series ever.  In fact, thinking about it makes me miss the characters so much that I kind of want to re read them all!

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen2. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Set in the fictional beachside town of Colby, this is the story of one girl breaking out of her shell and the boy who helps her open up. Dessen is the Queen of Summer Reads!

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han3. The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy by Jenny Han

In my opinion, summer reads should be full of the beach and cute boys at the beach.  These books have both!

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson4. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Summer is the time for travel and vacations.  In this read, Ginny is sent on a self discover scavenger hunt through Europe.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter5. The Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter

These books really have nothing to do with summer or the beach, but they are such fun reads that they’re perfect for a sunny day and a tall glass of something sweet.

Haven’t Read Yet, but Want To!

6. Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. (And neither can I!)

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols7. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin8. The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Two best friends lose themselves in their summer, hanging out at a local resort. But when they meet a new boy, neither of them is prepared for how it impacts their friendship.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen9. The Truth About Forever by Sara Dessen

As Macy ventures out of her shell one summer, and meets Wes,  she begins to wonder, is it really better to be safe than sorry?

The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland10. The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland
When Em gets the opportunity to get away and spend a month with the aunt she never knew, she jumps at the chance. While there, she learns that her family has some pretty significant secrets. And then there’s Cade, the laid-back local surfer boy who seems to be everything Em isn’t.

What books are in your beach bag?  Let me know if you have any summer must reads that I need to add to my bag!

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Just Your Average Princess: If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince by Melissa Kantor

Hello!

Have I told you how much I love fairy tale retellings?! I know I have…on more than a few occasions!

Today’s review is a contemporary version of Cinderella and its called, If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? by s Kantor.

Wicked stepmother? Check. Evil stepsisters? Check. Miserable life? Check.

Lucy Norton’s life has all the makings of a Cinderella story. Her dad’s always away on business, leaving Lucy with her cruel sIf I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince by Melissa Kantorstepmother and bratty stepsisters. She’s burdened with chores, and has a hard time fitting in at her new school. So when she sees Connor Pearson, the star player on the varsity basketball team, Lucy hopes her destiny has finally changed. With everything else going on in her life, doesn’t she at least deserve to get the handsome prince?

Sometimes the happy ending isn’t quite the one you’d expect. Lucy’s about to discover the truth about finding her real Prince Charming… and finding herself

This was an adorable and self-aware retelling of Cinderella.  One of the things I always disliked about Cinderella’s story is that her father dies in the beginning.  I really like how in Kantor’s version, Lucy’s father doesn’t die, he’s just a little (or a lot) absent and blinded to is new wife and stepdaughters’ behavior.  The reader gets the same message, that Lucy’s alone without her being completely on her own forever.

Lucy is a pretty normal teenage girl.  She’s unique because she’s an artist and a basketball fan, which everyone at school thinks is weird.  She’s also the new girl and sits on her own at lunch almost everyday.  So when a popular boy and a group of popular girls suddenly start paying attention to Lucy, she struggles with the excitement of suddenly being popular although she knows she doesn’t quite fit in.  She see’s things happen at parties that make her uncomfortable yet she really wants the fairy tale prince.

I also like the way in which Kantor doesn’t completely villainize the Stepmother, Mara and the “evil” stepsisters.  Yes, Mara and her daughters are at times (most of the time) just a pain in the butt towards Lucy.  They don’t welcome her into their family in a fully loving way, but there are times when they all realize that they have misjudged Lucy and where Lucy is faced with the same realization.  Lucy learns that the reality you expect isn’t always the reality you actually have (with Mara and Conner).  All this said, I do feel like some of the resolution with Mara towards the end happened a little to quick.  Was it really Mara’s behavior, or did Lucy just adopt a different mindset?  Or maybe it was a mix of both?

What fairy tale would be complete without a cute prince for Lucy to fall in love with?  Do not fret! We have a prince, but I can’t say anything more about that without giving important plot points away!  Just pay attention for princely behavior!

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? is a fun and light-hearted Cinderella story that will appeal to middle school readers and up and is definitely geared towards girls, who will relate to Lucy’s troubles!

Author: Melissa Kantor

Publisher: Hyperion (Sept. 2, 2005)

Format: Hardcover (Library Bound)

Length: 288 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince?

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Action Packed With Action: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Well hello there! Welcome back!

Today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Veronica Roth’s Insurgent, the sequel to the awesome Divergent (you can read my review here).  I read Divergent this past fall and have been anxiously awaiting the sequel ever since (like pretty much everyone else!).  It was one of my most anticipated books of 2012 for sure!

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Insurgent by Veronica RothTris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Let me say, that sequels can, unfortunately, sometimes be disappointing.  However, its rare that I’m completely turned off by the series because of a lack luster sequel.  If I love the story and characters enough I’ll usually stick around until the end of the series.  Long story short, I was hoping for the best and was not disappointed.

One of the things I loved about Divergent was that the story was so fast paced and exciting the whole way through I didn’t want to put it down. It was the same thing with Insurgent- it’s so action packed with…action!! From the get-go, the story is moving and it doesn’t slow down at all.  Actually, Roth does almost no re-capping of the story, and this book runs from the start so quickly that I thought I had missed something.  If you need a refresher on the main plot points in the first book before jumping into the second, check out Roth’s recap here.

Speaking of traveling to the other faction headquarters, I really loved how Roth expands Tris’ world and lets us see more and learn more about each faction.  I enjoyed the descriptions of each faction headquarters because you could really see the values of each group displayed in their day-to-day life and culture.  For example I love the way in which the Amity faction embraces nature and its’ beauty, and how that is emphasized in their use of natural wood in their architecture, whereas the academic Erudite’s headquarters is known for its sterile design.  I think getting to learn more about the different factions, was one of my favorite parts about Insurgent.

What about Tris?  Well, I actually felt mild annoyance toward her at times, although I love her dearly as one of my favorite YA heroines.  Maybe that was intended, but I couldn’t help but be frustrated by her sometimes irrational behavior and that fact that she wouldn’t share her thoughts and feelings with Four.  In Tris’ defense the immense guilt she feels for actions she took at the end of the first book, so this does explain her irrational behavior and her hesitance to talk to Four.  Throughout the entirety of the story, Tris is struggling to accept the consequences of her actions and to move beyond the guilt and pain.    Because of Tris’ actions and behavior, though,  there is some tension between Tris and Four, especially towards the end (which I won’t spoil, don’t worry!).

I listened to the Insurgent audiobook, thanks to the wonderful people at Harper Audio (Harper Collins THANK YOU!) and I really, really enjoyed it.  The narrator, Emma Galvin who also read Divergent, did a fabulous job again.  She is consistent with voices from start to finish, which is super important to me!  This audiobook counts toward my 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge.  I think that makes number thirteen.  Which actually means I’ll be aiming for the challenge’s  Head Bang’n level in which I have to listen  to 36+ audiobooks, and review at least 24 of them.  I got this.

Overall, dystopian fans and those who loved the first book will find Insurgent a riveting sequel.  Like Divergent, Insurgent is intended for the older teen readers.  Also, there is some violence, so if you’re squeamish, this series might not be your cup of tea.  But you should really give it a try because I think you’ll be impressed with Roth’s creativity and this series’ (and it’s heroine’s) awesomeness!

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Harper Audio (May 1, 2012)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 11 hrs 22 mins.

Narrator(s): Emma Galvin

Series: Second in The Divergent series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Insurgent (Divergent)

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Book Trailer of the Week: Revolution

Book Trailer of the WeekHappy Friday!  The last day of school was yesterday so I’m officially on SUMMER BREAK now! WHOOT!! WHOOT!!

Its time for the Book Trailer of the Week!  Every week I highlight a book trailer that has caught my attention.  It can be an older or newer book trailer, it doesn’t matter!  I love book trailers and think they’re incredibly effective modes of promotion, especially with students.

Revolution by Jennifer DonnellyThis week’s trailer is a historical fiction read that I’ve had my eyes on for a while now, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.  It has intrigued me since the first day I saw it in the library.  I didn’t have the opportunity to read it then, but I recently bought it at my school book fair.

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.
 
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.
 
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

It’s such a teeny tiny short trailer, but Revolution is definitely on my summer To Read List!

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Treachery of Beautiful Things

Happy Wednesday!  One more day of the school year left! Holla!

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and the purpose is to spotlight upcoming new releases.

This week I wanted to share The Treachery of Beautiful Things Ruth Frances Long‘s debut Young Adult novel.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances LongFirst, take a look at that cover!  Isn’t it gorgeous?!  I’m a total sucker for covers with girls in decadent gowns and this one rivals the best of them! Can I please just wear it for a few hours one afternoon?  I think that would satisfy my gown lust!

Now, on to the summary.  I’m a massive fairy tale fan so I’m intrigued in this book for sure.

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she’s lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack’s help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she’s faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice–and not just her own

 But wait.  Fairy tale?  Yes.  Kinda creepy? Yes!  “The trees swallowed her brother whole…” What in the?!  That sentence alone both excites and scares me all at the same time!
I honestly can’t wait to dig into The Treachery of Beautiful Things and it doesn’t look like I have too long to wait since Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin) has announced this book will be released this coming August 16th!
What do you think?  Are you waiting on The Treachery of Beautiful Things too? Or is another title forcing you to be patient this week?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read

Howdy!  It’s the last Tuesday of the school year! WHOOT! WHOOT!

Top Ten TuesdayEvery week I bring you a Top Ten Tuesday and this week is no different.  Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous Broke and Bookish to encourage community among book bloggers and to showcase what we love best…BOOKS!

Each week there is a specific theme and this week is a rewind week where we can choose any past Top Ten topic.  I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the books I haven’t read, so my list is books that I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read.  These are books that are major mainstays in the classic middle grade and young adult canon, but for some reason, I just haven’t read them.  They’re all supposed to be fantastic reads (duh that’s why their considered classics) and many have been sitting on my Goodreads To Read shelf for years, but I just can’t seem to get to them.

You’re curious huh?  You want to know what books I am behind the times on! Okay, well here we go!

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper1. Copper Sun by Sharon Draper

The students at my school really love this book and always tell me that I need to read it.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen2. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

I remember my classmates reading this one in elementary and middle school.  I was too busy solving mysteries with Nancy Drew to get into this one, but I wish I had!

The Fellowship of the Rings by JRR Tolkien3. The Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien

This one is obviously a classic and I’ve seen (and love) the movies.  This series is just such a huge time commitment though. Maybe I’ll save these for one day when we have kids who want to read them…

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor4. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

My focus of study as a History major was the Southern Civil Rights Movement, so the fact that I haven’t read this book is just plain lame.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I know! I know! It’s classic Young Adult and I know its supposed to be so good!  But I’m honestly a little intimidated by this book!

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry6. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Again, as a History lover you’d think I’d have attacked this one long ago, but alas, I have not.

Holes by Louis Sachar7. Holes by Louis Sachar

Tons of people tell me this is one of their all time faves, but again, I missed the boat on this one!

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare8. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I hadn’t thought too much about this one since 5th grade (somewhere in the early 90s).  But a student recently read it and told me how much she loved it.  Get with the times Christina!

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak9. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

What?!  I know.  Everyone loves this one.

10. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

This book is TEENY TINY! Why haven’t I read it? Again, I am a broken record.  I DON’T KNOW!

This is pretty bad huh? *hides face in palms shamefully*

I promise to repent of my lameness at start fitting these classics into my reading schedule!  Forgive me!

Are you like me?  Are there classics that you just haven’t gotten to yet?  Maybe we should start a support group to hold each other accountable to finally pick up these titles!