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Waiting on Wednesday: 3:59

Hola!

It’s time for Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Gretchen McNeil’s new thriller 3:59 sounds crazy…in a good way!

Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh. By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

3:59 sounds incredibly suspenseful, which is interesting because I’m not usually one for suspense. I think its the doppleganger plotline that has me…and the “shadowy creatures (that) feed on human flesh”! What?! Could these potential be zombies of some sort?! It looks like we’ll have to wait until September 17 to figure it all out.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Hi there!

Happy Tuesday! It’s time for the weekly Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and Bookish!

I KNOW! I KNOW! This theme was from like two weeks ago. But our internet choose to be finicky so I couldn’t post it. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of this week’s official theme, which was favorite beginnings or endings in a book. I have way too many of those and can’t even begin to list them, so I’m going back to the one I skipped.  :)

Mini Life Update: We’ve been in Columbia, SC for about two weeks now and are slowly but surely getting the house put together.  We’re enjoying exploring our new neighborhood and city – we even visited out local public library on date night!

House

Isn’t our new house adorable?!

Well, let’s get back to Top Ten Tuesday – my theme is Authors Who Deserve More Recognition. There are so many authors who are awesome but they aren’t the ones you hear about all the time. These are authors who are newer or maybe they’ve been around a little while and they just fly under the radar. All of these authors come with a high recommendation from BookTasty, so if you haven’t ready any of their books, you really need to!

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Gail Carriger

She writes super fun steampunk stories.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day GeorgeJessica Day George

I love her light-hearted fairy taleish books.

Entwined by Heather DixonHeather Dixon

Awesome fairy tale retellings.

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanRachel Hartman

A debut in 2012 that was a great addition to the fantasy world!

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex LidellAlex Lidell

A 2013 debut and I can’t wait for more!

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda WoodsBrenda Woods

Such a well written middle grades look at Hurricane Katrina mixed with a coming of age story.

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal AllenCrystal Allen

She writes a loveable main character in this story of bowling and character.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny RorbyGinny Rorby

Awesome survival tale set in the Everglades.

DarkLifeKat Falls

Wonderfully imagined dystopian mystery set under the ocean surface.

joltedArthur Slade 

What a fun and quirky read!

If you haven’t read anything by these authors you really should. I think they’re all delightful authors who definitely deserve to have more people read their books.

So…what are you waiting for?!

GO READ!

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August New Releases

Hi there!

Whoa! Can you believe it’s almost August already?!

In about two weeks I’ll be starting up the school year at my new school!

Well, each month tons of new books are born! I always like to check out what’s new so let’s take a look at twelve new releases for August that caught my eye.

Gated by Amy Christine ParkerGated by Amy Christine Parker (Aug. 6) YA

Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett by Tom AnglebergerThe Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet by Tom Angleberger (Aug. 6) MG

The Enchantress Returns by Christ Colfer

The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer (Aug. 6) MG

North of Nowhere by Liz KesslerNorth of Nowhere by Liz Kessler (Aug. 6) MG

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve TucholkeBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (Aug. 15) YA

Fire with Fire by Jenny Han Sibohan VivianFire with Fire by Jenny Han & Sibohan Vivian (Aug. 13) YA

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (Aug. 20) YA

Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen HarringtonSure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington (Aug. 20) MG

My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-CorrieMy Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie (Aug. 20) MG/YA

The Crown of Midnight by Sarah J MaasThe Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Aug. 27) YA

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae CarsonThe Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson (Aug. 27) YA

The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J KirbyThe Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby (Aug. 27) MG

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BookTasty Talks: Escapism or Emotion

Hi there everyone!

Earlier this week I was working on my Top Ten Tuesday post about characteristics that will make me NOT want to read a book. As I was writing that specific post (you can read it here) I began to realize what I guess I always knew about myself but hadn’t ever really put it into words.

I realized that for me, reading is pure escapism. No crying, no serious “real world” troubles, no cancer, no abuse. I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the evening news while reading a book. I don’t want to be forced to think about difficult topics. There is only a certain amount of space in my heart, mind and soul to be able to handle the hardships of the world. It’s not like I hide from or ignore those problems, I’m very aware of current events and what is going on in my local community, state, nation etc… it’s just that I feel my emotions very deeply and sometimes you just need to switch the junk off, to be able to survive. This is probably one of the main reasons why I adore Young Adult and Middle Grades fiction as much as I do. There are just so many options within these sectors of the book world that are nice and cry free.

With all this said I also believe in being a well-rounded reader so sometimes I do force myself to read some books that are out of my emotional comfort zone. In recent months I read Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (work camps and genocide), If I Stay by Gayle Forman (death of family members), A Long Walk to Water  by Linda Sue Park (Lost Boys of Sudan), and One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt. See?! I sometimes venture into the scary world of crying books!

StitchCrying

OMG Someone give poor Stitch a tissue!

So, what about you? Do you like a good tear-jerker that makes you reach for the tissue while reading? If so, more power to ya! You go get all comfy and cozy with the emotions! :)

PuppyGif

Puppies. The perfect escapism.

Or do you like to keep your emotions at bay while reading and  prefer to enjoy books that provide an escape from all the hardships of the world?

Go ahead talk to BookTasty a little!

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Fantasy, Don’t Fail Me Now: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Well hi there!

Guys! Fantasy is just so darn good!

Seriously. I recently finished Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock and when I finally put the book down I said “I LOVE fantasy” out loud, to no one because I was alone.

Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchettayears. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father. But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin’s faith in her . . . but in himself.

I’m very guilty of passing over this one at my public library multiple times. Probably because of the fact that it has a male main character…which you know I have issues with. So, I had been intimated by this one but I knew how much other bloggers loved it so I finally decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did!

I was hooked right away. Marchetta’s writing style is riveting. Finnikin of the Rock had some of the most amazing world building I’ve ever experienced. I was so eager to learn more about Lumatere’s strange and dangerous history and culture. The people of Finnikin’s nation are so bound by their history that as the reader you’re right alongside Finnikin and Evanjalin as they feel both frustration and compassion for the people of Lumatere.

Marchetta’s characters are so beautifully sketched. Each person in Finnikin’s circle is full of courage, faith and perseverance that I couldn’t help but admire them. They’re not all perfect, by any means, but they are loyal to their nation which allows them to spur others on at difficult times throughout the story. And Evanjalin?! She’s a badass. Sorry, that is the only word I can think of!  Also, the enemy, the Imposter King, is so terrifying a character…he really is the stuff of nightmares, even though we actually never really meet him. Which proves Marhetta’s skill – to be so frightened by a character that we never see?!?! Awesome!

I had my suspicions but the plot twist was sooo well done that it totally took me by surprise and  made total sense at the same time.  I actually think my reaction was the same as some of the characters upon realizing the truth!

After listening to many audiobooks, I’ve come to realize that audiobook narrators can really make or break a story. This narrator  was incredibly talented and really added so much to the story, although there were a few points where some of his accents faltered.

Is Finnikin of the Rock a great fantasy read? YES! So, if you’re into fantasy you should totally read it. As far as age recommendations, I wouldn’t suggest a middle schooler read this one as I’m pretty confident it has some material that might be too disturbing for those younger than high school (think terrifying king), although a mature eighth grader may be able to handle it.

So…YAY for fantasy! This genre rarely fails me! It definitely didn’t fail with Finnikin of the Rock.

Author: Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (September 29th 2008)

Format: audiobook

Length: 12 hours and 25 minutes

Narrator(s): Jeffrey Cummings

Series: First in the Lumatere Chronicles

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles)

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Sound

Welcome back BookTasty friends!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week I am showcasing The Sound, and upcoming summer release by Sarah Alderson.

When aspiring music journalist Ren Kingston takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, playground The Sound by Sarah Aldersonfor Boston’s elite, she’s hoping for a low-key summer reading books and blogging about bands. Boys are firmly off the agenda.

What she doesn’t count on is falling in with a bunch of party-loving private school kids who are hiding some dark secrets, falling (possibly) in love with the local bad boy, and falling out with a dangerous serial killer.

I saw this one on featured on another blog recently, and I was hooked! I want to read this book really bad. I love books set in high-class  summer vacation spots like Nantucket. There is something so mysterious about places like that already, then adding a serial killer?! YES!

But I am a little confused. Everywhere I check online says this book is a UK release (slated to come out on August 1) with no details on a US release.  Does anyone have any insight towards this? Will it be in bookstores here on the same date?

Are you waiting for The Sound today too?

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Top Ten Tuesday: I Do Not Want

Hello friends!

As you may know, last week our internet chose to not work, so I wasn’t able to participate in last week’s Top Ten Tuesday. But never fear for I am back!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is focused on the top qualities that will most likely make me NOT pick up a book. Now, I have to say that I could only think of eight characteristics that make me put a book back on the shelf and say “do not want”.

DoNotWantSometimes I think that Grumpy Cat and I have a lot in common…

Anyways…here is my list of Book Qualities I Do Not Want:

  • crying: someone’s parents die or their boyfriend, or wait…their dog. I don’t like books that want to make me cry.
  • suffering: holocaust books, books about slavery.  I can’t handle lots of these.
  • military: Partly because of the suffering, but also because the military just doesn’t interest me.
  • erotica/sex: I’m not a prude I just prefer to not read about people doing it…call me crazy! :p I’m not opposed to a scene or two, but every other page is not my thing.
  • too silly: If it’s too juvenile it’s not my thing.
  • too “edgy”: I’m not into reading about physical abuse or drug abuse…as a middle school teacher lots of these “edgier” topics hit too close to home.
  • male main characters: I do not hate male main characters, but I do prefer female main characters.
  • issue books: I’m not opposed to learning more about heavy issues like the rape, or cancer, or the modern-day slave trade, but I don’t typically want to read about it. I like my reading to be pure escapism…somewhere I don’t have to think about the bad stuff in the world.

So I couldn’t think of ten and I didn’t want to force it, but as you can see the eight book characteristics I’ve listed are mostly all focused on one basic idea: Reading to me is an escape. I do not want to cry or be forced to think about difficult things. The world is hard enough, and I’d like to have my happy place where I won’t end up like Dawson here.

Poor Dawson

But I do believe that once in a while it is good to take an excursion out of my reading comfort zone, so I do try to make myself read books with the above qualities once in a while.

What characteristics or qualities of books make you not want to read them? Do you agree or disagree with my belief that reading is an escape, or do you prefer reading to help you get in tough with your emotions? Maybe this will be a discussion post soon….

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Quick Pic: Summer Lounging

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One of the first things we did upon moving to Columbia a week ago was to join a gym. It’s a must for us. My old gym membership had expired about two months before we moved so it had been a while since I took a group exercise class. Well, I did a BodyPump class yesterday and boy did my muscles take a beating! I am so sore! It’s that kind of sore where you don’t sit in seats, you fall into them. So, I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but lounging all day today, which includes reading The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. It’s a quick read so far!

Yay for sore muscles giving me an excuse to sit on my butt and do nothing but enjoy a good book!

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Fairy Tale with a Twist of Sci-Fi: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Welcome back BookTasty friends!

Whew! Moving is intense! First the packing and living in chaos, then the cleaning and packing up the truck. This is then followed by driving the truck and your cars to new home (from Florida to South Carolina in our case) and unpacking said truck. Finally  you unpack boxes and organize. It’s a good thing we have amazing friends in both states who were ready to help!

Recently I was able to snatch up the audiobook of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer from my library – I literally did a little happy Scarlet by Marissa Meyerjumping dance in the middle of the teen section when I saw it sitting on the shelf! I absolutely loved Meyer’s first book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder, so I knew Scarlet (book two) was one I had to read!

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth. Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Marissa Meyer just knows how to write a fun book! Fairy tale retellings are some of my favorites, and Meyer took the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale and added a kick-butt futuristic, sci-fi twist to it. LOVE!

In Cinder, we met Cinder and Prince Kai. Their stories were great – a cyborg Cinderella meets reluctant prince amidst a plague epidemic in futuristic Asia? But what I love about Meyer’s storytelling is she doesn’t stop with them and make them the central focus of each book, she adds in new main characters to move the plot forward but also add new story lines. In Scarlet we met, Scarlet (who always wears her red hoodie) and Wolf, an intriguing mystery guy who knows more than he lets on.

As a main character it took me a while to warm up to Scarlet. In the beginning she seems unnecessarily reckless and rebellious, but her sarcasm (which I’m always a fan of) starts to grow on you and you can’t help but be on her side. Plus, the more and more I remember the original story of Red Riding Hood, Scarlet’s personality reflects Red Riding Hood pretty well. Not following authority’s recommendations?! That’s Scarlet!

On another character note, Cinder is much darker and snappier than she was in the first book, but then again if I was on the run from the law I’d probably be a little snappy too! Oh and Captain Thorne?  You remind me of someone just as naughty and honorable…(pssst…it’s Captain Mal from Firefly). Of course, Queen Levana is an evil and manipulative as ever, while her “army” is terrifying!

Meyer’s sci-fi futuristic world is fabulously imagined, but isn’t the focus of the story. The reader isn’t laden down with technology and scientific descriptions of things. These characters live a world of robots, vid-screens, trackers,s pace ships, and cyborgs but ultimately the reader can recognize the world as one that’s not so different from ours today.

So, all in all I really enjoyed Scarlet and can’t wait for the next book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cress which is to be released in early 2014. So, if you’re looking for a quality fairy tale retelling, or are in the mood for some fun science fiction you should definitely read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (only you should start with Cinder since, you know, it is the first book!).

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (February 5, 2013)

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 19 minutes

Series: Second book in The Lunar Chronicles

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book:  Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, Book 2)