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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books Read in 2014 (So Far)

Hello!

Pat me on the back because I’ve been super organized! All of the posts for this week were pre scheduled because I am currently on a field trip! That’s right folks! For my first week of summer I am chaperoning a 5 day field trip to Disney in Orlando with around 60 6th graders! So that’s where I am today…Disney!

Insane? Yes! Fun? Yes!

The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is the best books I’ve read so far in 2014. I’ve already read 43 books this year so it was difficult to narrow it down to the 10 titles I’ve enjoyed the most. So, after a good hard look at all the books I’ve read already in 2014, here are my favorites.

  The Crossover by Kwame AlexanderThe Diviners by Libba Bray 

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Diviners by Libba Bray (my review)

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (my review)

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (my review)

Cress by Marissa Meyer The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Cress by Marissa Meyer (my review)

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers Alanna by Tamora Pierce

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers (my review)

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge Serafina's Promise by Ann E Burg

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

So there you have it! Which titles made it onto your favorites of 2014 (so far) list?

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Give It A Go: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Hi there!

Today is the last day of school! WHAT! WHAT!

With that said, it is a little odd that today I’m reviewing a book that is all about the start of school! OOPS!

BookTasty is generally a blog for Young Adult and Middle Grades fiction. Once in a while, however, I read a New Adult book.

If you’re not familiar with the New Adult genre, you should know that NA is, “typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence (a life stage often depicted in Young Adult fiction) and true adulthood. In NA, “protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.” (NA Alley)

It’s not my favorite genre out there, since I prefer YA and MG, but I’d been hearing good things about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (and the cover is so perfect!) so I figured I’d give it a go!

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Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellBut for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

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At first, it was a little weird for me to be reading about characters who are in college! But even though it was totally different from my usual I think that Fangirl is a really good introduction to the NA genre because at it’s heart, Fangirl is a story about learning how to deal with change. All of Cath’s Simon Snow fandom obsession is simply a symbol of Cath’s inability to deal with change on a major scale. Ever since her mother unexpectedly left, Cath has been in a way stunted emotionally. She clings to what she knows as if she’d literally stop breathing if she let go, which is why Cath’s first year in college is so challenging for her.

As a main character Cath is lovable and heartbreaking at the same time. I really think Cath is someone I’d want as a friend, however, as someone who is pretty independent I did struggle with her at times. I got easily frustrated with how she was so uncertain and scared of doing things on her own, like figure out how to navigate the dorm dining hall (she didn’t eat a real meal for weeks). But once the cause of this fear of change began to be made known to me, it clicked somewhere in my mind and my heart started to hurt for Cath.

I think it was the same for Cath’s roommate Reagan (whom I totally love). Reagan becomes not only a good friend to Cath, but in the end, becomes a sort of older sister to her as well. They’re relationship is just so real and it’s the kind of thing that makes you think, “That. That right there is what friendship is all about.” Reagan comes alongside a hurting and fearful Cath, holds her hand, and helps her start climbing those difficult steps. And Levi. I adore Levi as a romantic interest for multiple reasons, but mostly because he owns up to mistakes and is an incredibly loyal friend to Cath. He sees her “crazy” and doesn’t run away, but instead encourages her, like Reagan does, to get out of the fog. There is a very sweet romance here.

What is also really cool about this book is the snippets we get from both the original Simon Snow books and from Cath’s Simon Snow fan fiction. It’s interesting to think of fiction within fiction and these snippets often mirrored what was going on in Cath’s life. We saw similarities between Cath’s struggles and Simon’s stories without it being too obvious that they’re mean to support one another.

In addition to being a book about change, Fangirl is also so much more. Rowell delivers a story that is deep and not superficial. Her characters are also figuring out family, love, friendships, sisterhood, mental illness and college. And although NA is not my preferred genre, I found that if more of it was as thoughtful as this book is, I’d probably enjoy it more. With that said, if you’re interested in reading NA, but don’t know were to start, I recommend Fangirl as a strong introduction to the genre.

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin (September 10, 2013)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library)

Length: 12 hours and 48 minutes

Narrator(s): Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caufield

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: New Adult (NA)

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Glass Sentence

Welcome back!

I’ve been in the mood to read more middle grades fiction recently, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday post I’m focusing on the upcoming middle grades fantasy  The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove.

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It is Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grovegenerations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods.  Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.

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I am completely intrigued by the premise of this book!  The whole idea of each continent experiencing a different time period sounds utterly cool, I can’t handle it. I have a feeling this could totally be a Doctor Who plot! Luckily, the advance reviews on Goodreads are really positive, so I’m hoping that when The Glass Sentence (which is supposed to be the first book in a trilogy) on June 12 (only a few short days away!) I’ll be able to get my hands on a copy and see for myself!

What books are you waiting for this week?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag

Hello!

Well, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by Broke and Bookish) theme is focused on books that I’ll have in my beach/pool bag this summer. I recently posted by Reading Queue for June, which is already kind of the same thing, so instead of me posting a redundant list, you should check out my June Reading Queue here! All of those books will be in my beach/pool bag for the summer.

As always, thanks for visiting BookTasty friends!

 

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Reading Queue: June

The Reading QueueHi guys!

It’s about that time! Summer is getting so close I can almost taste it!

In my opinion, the absolute best thing about summer is not having to get up and go to work, which leads to spending tons of time with my husband, friends, and books!

So, what is this Reading Queue?  The Reading Queue is a monthly event hosted by me and Books: A true story where we share our reading plans for each month. You can check out other participating blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you!  Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

How I Did in May

This past month I finished six books from my May Queue, but also read six that weren’t on my original plan. That brings me to twelve books read for the month of May, which I’m pretty proud of!

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J Freedman Caminar by Skila Brown

Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman

Caminar by Skila Brown

Can You Say Catastrophe? by Laurie Friedman The Crossover by Kwame Alexander The Last Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Can You Say Catastrophe? by Laurie B. Friedman

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

In the Hands of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2) by Tamora Pierce

Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor Woman Who Rides Like A Man by Tamora Pierce Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3) by Tamora Pierce

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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My June Reading Queue

I always have high hopes for my summer vacation reading plans! Educators put their heart and soul into their students for ten months out of the year, so we need these lazy days of sleeping in, spending time with our family and friends and just allowing time for ourselves to rest and recoup. For me, resting and recuperating means reading! Here are all the books I plan to start my summer break with!

The One by Kiera Cass Prisoner B3087 by Alan Gratz The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

The One by Kiera Cass

Time Fetch by Amy Herrick

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Counting by 7′s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Paperboy  by Vince Vawter A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Belles by Jen Calonita Nantucket Red by Leila Howard The Key and the Flame by Claire Caterer

Belles by Jen Calonita

Nantucket Red by Leila Howard

The Key and the Flame by Claire Caterer

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What books are on your Reading Queue for June? We’d love it if you’d link your TBR or Reading Queue up with ours!