10

Top Ten Tuesday: Southern YA

Hi ya’ll!

hahahaha

I don’t really say “ya’ll”, unless I’m tired. Not that there’s anything wrong with it (heya Seinfeld fans!!), but I am not a Southerner by birth and instead say “yous guys” (which isn’t any better!), because I spent most of my childhood in northern California.

But I digress…

I threw in that southern greeting because this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is a freebie.I am currently living in Columbia, South Carolina and I’m loving this gorgeous southern spring weather, so I’m focusing on Southern YA this week! All of the titles on today’s list are set in the South, and will make you want to relax on the front porch and sip sweet tea from a mason jar!

Books I’ve Read

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia Paper Towns by John Green

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (South Carolina)

Paper Towns by John Green (Florida…actually Winter Park, FL! Where I used to live!)

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols (South Carolina)

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle books) by Maggie Stiefvater (Virginia)

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (fictional North Carolina beach town, Colby, like all of her books)

Scat by Carl Hiaasen (Florida, like all of his books)

Books I Want to Read

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys Catching Jordan By Miranda Kenneally

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Louisiana)

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Tennessee, like all of her books)

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn (Florida)

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Georgia)

I know there are tons of other YA and MG titles that are set in the South, but I only had room for ten, so feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below!

1

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Want to Make You Cry

Hi!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) was a difficult one for me. Why you may ask? Well, let me tell you…

…because I don’t do books that want to make me cry.
nope

Nope. I don’t like them at all.

Except that sometimes I make myself read one or two because I am a librarian and it is part of my job to be well read. Unfortunately, I ended up actually liking some of these books, but not because they made me cry…or did they? YOU CAN’T PROVE ANYTHING!

The first five titles on my list are books I’ve read whose sole purpose in publication is to make me cry. All five of these were, in the end, good books that I’d recommend if you prefer an emotional read.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys

If I Stay by Gayle FormanIf I Stay by Gayle Forman

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly HuntOne for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkA Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

The second half of today’s list is books that I’ve stayed away from because I suspect they’ve been told to make me cry. I’m told they’re all really, really good books, but so far I’ve kept my distance.  If you’re someone who enjoys a good cry while reading then these may be quality suggestions for you!

The Book Thief by Marcus ZusakThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

SpeakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John BoyneThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

How to Save a Life by Sara ZarrHow to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

So there you have it! Please share which books have turned you into a sob monster (that way I’ll know to stay away from them! haha)

4

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Never Switch Places With

Hello!

Welcome back for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday!

You know how sometimes you finish a book and you just wish you could trade places with the main character and live their charmed life for a little while?  Well, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and Bookish) is about the opposite of that! This list is all about those “Characters I Would Not Want to Switch Places With”. The lives of the characters on my list are not charmed, and are in fact, pretty terrifying. Are you ready?

Nick and Allie from The Skinjacker Trilogy by Neal Shusterman. I hope and pray that Everlost is is not Everlost by Neal Shustermanreal because this place freaked me out so much when I read these books. There is just so much creepiness that happens in Everlost that I think I’d rather just sink into the Earth rather than tough it out with the Afterlights.

Aria from from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.  Aria undergoes some major character growth while traveling through “the Deathshop” with Perry, but the dangers she encounters while there are not something I’d want to mess with. First you have these terrible ether storms, then you have the cannabalistic Croven with their sinister jinge bells, and dweller society that isn’t as safe as it first appears. No thank you!

Any person living in one of the Panem districts from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This one is obviously easy. Why would I ever trade places with anyone from any of the districts when you have to live in constant fear of The Hunger Games?! Not only is there the fear that you might get chosen as tribute, but think about all the other people afraid for their children?! And even if you’re lucky enough to never get chosen, you still have to live in a world where killing kids is entertainment.

Anyone in a Soviet work camp from Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This is really a hard one to talk about because Between Shades of Gray is based on actual events. Thousands of people (men, women, and children) were forced into Soviet work camps and lost their lives during Stalin’s cleansing of the Baltic region. Sepetys’ writing is beautifully haunting and you get good understanding for the horrors these people experienced. I debated adding this one to the list, but this story and setting still stick with me months after reading it and reminds me to be thankful.

Ender Wiggins from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender’s life kind sucks. He thinks he’s in charge of his life, but the whole time someone else is pulling the strings purposefully testing him and making things difficult to bear. Not my idea of fun!

May from May B. by Caroline Starr Rose. May thinks she is going to work for this nice young married May B. by Caroline Starr Rosecouple as their housemaid only to be abandoned in a snow covered prairie homestead with winter coming in full force. May has to struggle to survive all alone and no one knows she needs help. Talk about feeling helpless!

Sam from In Too Deep by Amanda Grace. The amount of guilt Sam experiences due to the choices she makes is just overwhelming while reading this book. I’ve gotten myself into bad situations where the guilt just slowly eats away at your insides and I never want to go through that again! So, no. I will not be trading places with Sam.

Pippa from the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I can’t say much about this without things becoming majorly spoilery so I won’t got any further. Just know that I wouldn’t switch places with her for anything.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie BabbittThe Tuck family from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. The poor Tuck family never got a choice in the whole eternal life question; it happened to them with out them even knowing it. I even can’t imagine knowing you are forced to live eternally and you had no say in the matter.

Thomas and The Gladers in The Maze Runner series. A life of hardship and fear forced on you by a government stuck in a desperate situation. Nope. I would have never made it out of the tunnel in the second book because those orbs are so terrifying, not to mention “the cranks”. I can’t even…

All of the books mentioned above were great reads, I just have no desire to trade places with the characters! haha So, what characters would you never trade places with?

 

 

 

 

3

2013 End of the Year Book Survey

2013 End of Year Book Survey

Happy New Year’s Eve!

So much has happened in 2013! I’ve read tons of books (although I didn’t reach my goal of 80), moved to South Carolina, began work at a new school, went to Europe, celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary (!!), among so many other things! Thank you to all the BookTasty friends out there who helped make 2013 a wonderful year! Since this is a book blog, we’re going to take some time to reminisce on the books I read in 2o13 with the annual End of the Year Book Survey!

Relating to Books!

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Apparently, 2013 was the year of fantasy for me because my 5 favorite books were ALL fantasy! In 2013 I loved:The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

  • Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
  • The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  • Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I really thought I’d adore The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater so much more than I did. It took me forever to finish it because I just couldn’t get into it. I should have just put it down and not finished it, but I felt so bad because I loved The Raven Boys (book 1).

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

I had seen Icefall by Matthew Kirby sitting on the shelves in my Media Center for a LONG time. I always looked at it and then put it back down, never thinking it sounded really interesting. Well, I finally read it because it is on the 2013-2014 SC Junior Book Award List and lo and behold I REALLY LIKED IT!

 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

I definitely recommended The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson to the most people this year!

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Hands down Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series! I love fact that it is a mash-up of fantasy, steampunk, and mystery genres! Seriously, these books are so refreshing and fun, they’re my favorite!

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth RossI really enjoyed “meeting” three new debut authors this year. Elizabeth Ross (Belle Epoque), Rachel Hartman (Seraphina), and Alex Lidell (The Cadet of Tildor) are all authors whose future work will definitely be on my radar!

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I don’t know if it was the best “out of my comfort zone” book or if I’m listing it because it was the only one I read that was out of my comfort zone…but I’m listing If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This was a 100% pure CRYING book. I generally do not do crying books. I didn’t love it, but it was out of my comfort zone.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

I seriously could not put down Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys! I was absolutely riveted from the start!

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Honestly? I don’t know…it’s rare that I re-read books (unless it is Pride & Prejudice which I have read three times).

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

Most definitely the covers for Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series. Aren’t these covers just breathtaking?! I want to wear the gowns!

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Is it cheating if I choose three? They kind of come together in a pack so I’m including them as one: Ronan, Gansey, and Adam…The Raven Boys! Although I wasn’t a fan of The Dream Thieves, I really liked book one, The Raven Boys. These three boys together are all pretty awesome in their own ways, but they also have magic among them!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys was just so moving I have to give it this title. The subject matter and Sepetys writing wove together to create a haunting story full of beauty, pain and hope.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

This is a tough question. As much as I hate to say it (ducks from internet wrath about to come at me) Paper Towns by John Green just may have been the book that impacted me the most. Although this story was entertaining, it was not in any way a favorite of mine. I didn’t hate it, but it did leave me thinking a lot about relationships, selfishness, and pain. I think that Margo Roth Spiegelman may be one of my least favorite characters ever written, but she did make me think about things, so she has that going for her.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

With the movie releasing this past November, my Husband and I listened to the audiobook of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and neither of us could believe that it had taken us that long to actually read it!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

Lions of Little Rock

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

Longest: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare with 570 pages

Shortest: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter with 192 pages

 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Definitely The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson! I was dying to talk to my friend Mandi about a certain someone and specific scenes, but she hasn’t made it past book one yet! Get reading Mandi!! We have lots to discuss!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Okay so we all know romantic is the type of relationship I’m going with here. The smouldering relationship between Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversIolanthe Seabourne and Prince Titus VII, in The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas, was by far one of my favorites of 2013! I can’t wait for the other books in this trilogy! Another favorite was the romance between Ismae Rienne and Gavriel Duval in Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers! And let’s not forget Elise and Hector from The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson!

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I used to read a lot of Philippa Gregory novels in college, but hadn’t been excited about any of her recent titles until I saw Changeling, her foray into YA, at my school Book Fair! I bought it and read it in like a week. I had forgotten how quick and enthralling her books are!

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

I’m pretty sure Delirium by Lauren Oliver had been recommended to me by about fifteen students in less than a week’s time. I figured it was time to read it! I liked books one and two but was disappointed in book three.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

No questions asked, I was completely in love with fantasy in 2013!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Okay, definitely Prince Titus VII from The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas! He reminds me a a little of Will Herondale with his cocky swagger!

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

I didn’t read as many debuts as I wanted to this year, but I think my favorites was definitely The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas, The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell, and Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. I can’t pick just one!

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Oh most definitely the most vivid world was found in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School books, Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I want to live in this fantasy steampunk world she has created! I want to play with all the cool gadgets and wear all the pretty Victorian gowns. Also I want a mechanimal named Bumbersnoot!

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Probably Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card because my Husband and I listened to it together and now we have all these hilarious (to us) inside jokes from the book that come up frequently!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

So this is a short list because I strive to keep my distance from books that want to make me cry. If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys were the two I allowed into my reading list this year. This is all we shall ever say of the crying…let’s never speak of this again.

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

I think Icefall by Matthew Kirby got overlooked whenever it was released. How could have not known about such a gem of a book until now?!

Relating to the Book Blogging Life

(optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013? 

Okay, so for sure Jessica B. from Books a True Story! She and I met on Twitter and we decided to create a new monthly meme called Reading Queue! It has been really fun and helpful to organize my reading plans and Jessica has been super friendly and sweet!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013? 

Oh I think the books I loved the best get the best reviews…so let’s go with my review for Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger! I was definitely fangirling, but I believe I had a right to be!

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I had a lot of fun with my Escapism or Emotion? post over the summer. I loved hearing form people with differing opinions on why they read. It was enlightening to consider a reader’s reasons for reading and remembering that we all have out own preferences when reading.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?YALL Fest2013

GUYS! In November I went to YALL Fest in Charleston, SC for the first time ever! AND. IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Seriously, I have been a bad book blogger the past two months, but I will post a highlight post from YALL Fest. I had such a good time mingling with “my people” and showing love to some impressive books and authors!

5. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

Definitely starting Reading Queue with Jessica B.! You should check it out and participate with us!

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My most popular post of 2013 with a whopping 82 views (haha) was my April New Releases post which posted on March 26, 2013.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Definitely my regular reviews. I know it’s been a while since I posted one, but they just don’t get as much love as weekly memes do, which makes me a little sad.

8.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Okay, so in regards to my regular Goodreads Reading Goal for 2013, I have failed miserably! haha Seriously, though my goal was to read 80 books this past year and I only made it to 53 books for 2013. Oh well…53 is still a lot of books!

I did do a fab job with my 2013 YA Audiobook Challenge coming in at 35 audiobooks finished in 2013! This was 5 more audiobooks than 2012! WHOOT!

However, I didn’t succeed at my 2013 Debut Author Challenge. I only manged to read 6 of the 12 I had planned on finishing. Oh well! Of the 6 I did read, I discovered some awesome authors who I will definitely be seeking out in the future!

Regarding Looking Ahead to 2014

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?United we Spy by Ally Carter

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for sure! Also United We Spy by Ally Carter!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Oh Lord! I haven’t even begun to think about my most anticipated releases for 2014.

  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • The One by Kiera Cass
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Bajaj3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I think Alienated by Melissa Landers sounds like it could be a really fun read as does Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj!

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?The One by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass! I really just love this fun series and can’t wait to see how Cass wraps it all up.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

I did a really good job with keeping my blogging schedule organized during the first 3/4s of 2013.  I want to start 2014 organized and continue it through the end of the year. I already bought my 2014 blog planner, so I’m off to a good start!

May 2014 be filled with love, joy and really good reads!

 

3

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Were Taught in Schools

Hello!

I’m back!

Wow! The past few weeks have been really busy and tiring with school starting back up. I didn’t intend to take some time off the blog, but I didn’t plan well and all of a sudden I had a lot going on and no posts planned. And THAT is how the blog gets away from you folks!

But I’m back and I’m working on getting some posts scheduled for the next two months or so. *crosses fingers*

Well, it is time for Top Ten Tuesday (A weekly meme hosted by the lovelies at The Broke and Bookish) and I’m ready to go! There was a bit of a choice for today’s theme.  We could either pair up classic school required reading titles with contemporary books, or we could list titles that we wished were taught in schools. I chose the second option since I’m also a school librarian. Sometimes I read a book that I just have to share with my teachers because I know it fits perfectly into their curriculum…this list contains some of those titles.

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin LevineThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

This is a middle grades level historical fiction novel that would fit really well in an 8th grade American History course. It is all about Little Rock, Arkansas in the year following the integration of the public schools with the Little Rock Nine.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This one is perfect for a high school history course when covering the Holocaust and World War II. It would be so beneficial to see the Jewish Holocaust was not an isolated event, but that this type of thing has happened in other places/eras as well.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I think this one should be taught in English classes all over solely for the beauty of Stiefvater’s prose.

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Another 20th Century history topic that gets skipped over frequently in the classroom. It could be taught alongside a 20th century American History course.

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda WoodsSaint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda Woods

This quick read could be taught in a science class to support a unit on weather or natural disasters since it’s all about a boy’s experience in the midst of Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue ParkA Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A quick but moving story detailing one boy’s story of civil war in Sudan. This could be taught in a World History class.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny RorbyLost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby

Floridian science and social studies teachers could use this in the classroom when discussing Florida.

 Bystander by James PrellerBystander by James Preller

A fabulous read for a Character Development course on the middle school level as it touches on bullying: the bully, the victim and the bystander.

The Day of the Pelican by Katherine PatersonThe Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

Again, with the 20th century history topics! This one tells the story of an Albanian girl whose family is forced to become refugees while escaping their Serbian oppressors.

Uglies by Scott WesterfeldUglies by Scott Westerfeld

This dystopian sci-fi read could be taught in a middle or high school English class as an alternative to the more traditional dystopian titles.

So there you have it! These are some titles that I think would be great titles to teach in a classroom setting. Have any of you educators actually had to opportunity to teach any of these books? Let me know! I’d like to hear your thoughts!

9

Reading Queue (August)

the-reading-queueHola Amigos!

Okay so it’s officially August…which means that my life of lounging on the couch watching Vampire Diaries and reading books all day is quickly coming to a close. *sighs loudly*

Welcome to Reading Queue! This is a monthly meme where you share what books you plan to read for the month. You can hop to other blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Reading Queue is hosted by Book Tasty (hi!) and Books: A true story.

The premise of Reading Queue is to provide a review of what we’ve read the previous month and create a list of what we’re planning to read in the coming month. The goal for the Reading Queue is simply to talk with other bloggers about books! It’d be really cool to know who has plans to read the same book as you during the same month. Maybe it’ll even be helpful in providing reading recommendations! Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

Okay so it’s officially August…which means that my life of lounging on the couch watching Vampire Diaries and reading books all day is quickly coming to a close. *sighs loudly*

My Reading Queue

Okay, so school starts up officially on August 21 so this list (7 books total) may be a little ambitious as I start a new school year a brand new school! Oh well! Let’s see what’s on my queue for the month!

My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Delirium by Lauren OliverDelirium by Lauren Oliver

City of a Thousand Dolly by Miriam Forster City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene BoudreauReal Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

The Moon and More by Sarah DessenThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The False Prince by Jennifer A NielsenThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

How I Did Last Month

The Kill Order by James DashnerThe Kill Order by James Dashner

This one wasn’t originally on my July Reading Queue, but my husband and I finally finished the audiobook!

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Another one my husband and I listened to on audiobook.

Lions of Little Rock ny Kiristen Levine

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Star Cursed by Jessica SpotswoodStar Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

I really like this alternate history/supernatural series a lot!

Silence by Becca FitzpatrickSilence by Becca Fitzpatrick

This is kind of my guilty pleasure!

There you go! What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the titles on my Reading Queue? Which of these should I read first?

If you’re interested in joining up, please do and add your Reading Queue post to the linky below! :)

6

Reading Queue (July)

the-reading-queueWelcome back to BookTasty!

It’s the first day of July which means it’s time for the Reading Queue! (Ok so I didn’t post yesterday because I was having linky troubles…but it’s here now!)

Reading Queue is a monthly meme where you share what books you plan to read for the month. You can hop to other blogs and see what others are reading and maybe find someone reading the same thing as you! Or you can ask for people to vote on what you should read next if you can’t decide. Reading Queue is hosted by Book Tasty (hi!) and Books: A true story.

The premise of Reading Queue is to provide a review of what we’ve read the previous month and create a list of what we’re planning to read in the coming month. It seems like there are bloggers doing both separately so we thought it’d be fun and helpful to combine the two together. The goal for the Reading Queue is simply to talk with other bloggers about books! It’d be really cool to know who has plans to read the same book as you during the same month. Maybe it’ll even be helpful in providing reading recommendations!

Remember, the focus of this meme is what you are planning to read, but if you already do a monthly recap post that has things in addition to what you are reading, feel free to join us! Please feel free to contact me in the comments if you’d like to join and/or if you have questions!

My Reading Queue

Okay, well the moving will be finished soon. You can bet my book boxes will be some of the first boxes to be unpacked! So, I’m hoping to get to the following books in July:

Legend by Marie LuLegend by Marie Lu

Chomp by Carl HiaasenChomp by Carl Hiaasen

The False Prince by Jennifer A NielsenThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Neilsen

Enders Game by Orson Scott CardEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Lions of Little Rock ny Kiristen LevineThe Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

The Moon and More by Sarah DessenThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

How I Did Last Month

Yeah! So, I read six books in June! Not too shabby amidst all the packing and general moving chaos going on in my house right now! So, let’s take a look at what I did read in June.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This book was so haunting and gorgeously written! (My Review)

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock by Melanie Marchetta

Loved this fantasy novel! So engrossing!

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth RossBelle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross

This debut novel was a total summer escape read for me and I adored it! (My Review)

One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly HuntOne for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt

My second Florida Sunshine State Book of the summer.

Scarlet by Marissa MeyerScarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

This sci-fi fairy tale retelling of a series is just so freaking fun!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Just finished this one yesterday and I’m a huge fan! I must get the other books in the series.

There you go! What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the titles on my Reading Queue? Which of these should I read first?

If you’re interested in joining up, please do and add your Reading Queue post to the linky below! :)

7

This Happened: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Welcome Back!

I try to stay away from books that want to make me cry. We’ve talked about this before. I don’t like to cry when I’m reading, that’s not a fun part of the reading experience for me. Sometimes though…just sometimes…I hear such wonderful things about a book that crying or not I have to read it (no matter how much it intimidates me!). So, I read Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysLina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

I really am speechless and have no idea what to say about this book that will do it justice. Between Shades of Gray is haunting. The story itself is incredibly intense and horrific.

Guys. This happened.

I had no idea that the Soviets went into the Baltic states and just took people from their homes and shipped them off to Siberia to die. I mean I knew a little, but the happenings of World War II often get eclipsed by the Jewish Holocaust, Hitler and the Nazis, so I had no idea to what extent Stalin’s damage had on the people of countries such as Lithuania. Interestingly enough, now that I’ve read this book, I’m remembering my mom telling me about one of the priests at the church I grew up in. Father Palis was born in Lithuania, was in seminary when the Soviet’s invaded and had to escape to Germany in secret. Personally knowing someone who went through parts of what Lina experienced makes the story in Between Shades of Gray that much more tangible.

Ruta Sepetys’ writing is beautiful. The horrors that Lina and her family witness and experience take on an almost lyrical quality, which made me continue turning the pages even though my heart hurt so much. You want to know what happens to this remarkable, vulnerable, bitter, kind and brave teenage girl. You want to know that she gets to go home and be a normal teenager who goes to school, flirts with boys and imagines her future as an artist. Sepetys’ writing just makes you get completely caught up in these characters.

It is interesting to see how the others in Lina’s group of deportees respond to the harsh circumstances. Some, like Lina’s mother, show amazing courage and kindness, while others are so broken that they become hard and bitter. Lina touches on these reactions throughout the story, and Lina herself struggles with alternating feelings of hatred and anger versus love and grace.

If you haven’t read Between Shades of Gray yet, you need to add it to your TBR list as soon as possible. It is so well done (and the audiobook narrator is fabulous). The story of what Lina and her people are forced to bear with will cause you to wonder why our history textbooks don’t teach us more about what happened in the Baltic states during Stalin’s rule. As an educator, I believe this book could be (and should be) taught as a supplement to any history or language arts curriculum at the middle school level and up (if it’s not already…but it probably is). Parents note that there are very disturbing scenes of death and violence and you should read it along with your middle schooler.

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Publisher: Philomel Books (March 22, 2011), Penguin Audio

Format: Audiobook

Length: 7 hours and 47 mins

Narrator(s): Emily Klein

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Between Shades of Gray

9

June New Releases

Well hello there everyone!

Happy June 1st!

You may notice a little change. Usually I write a monthly New Releases post as part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme, and I’d just skip one week of the TTT themes. Well, I’ve decided to split New Releases and TTT into two separate entities. Cool right?!

As usual, there are a ton of new books being released this month! I can’t even begin to list them all, so I picked some that sound the most interesting to me. So, let’s get to it!

The Moon and More by Sarah DessenThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (June 4)

Cure of the Ancients by Matt de la PenaCurse of the Ancients (Infinity Ring #6) by Matt de la Pena (June 4)

The Pirate's Wish by Cassanra Rose ClarkeThe Pirate’s Wish (Assassins Curse #2) by Cassandra Rose Clarke (June 4)

The Apprentices by Melie MeloyThe Apprentices by Malie Meloy (June 4)

Rules of Summer by Joanna PhilbinRules of Summer by Joanna Philbin (June 4)

When You Were Here by Daisy WhitneyWhen You Were Here by Daisy Whitney (June 4)

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth RossBelle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross (June 11)

Star Cursed by Jessica SpotswoodStar Cursed (The Cahill Chronicles #2) by Jessica Spotswood (June 18)

Neptune's Tears by Susan WaggonerNeptune’s Tears by Susan Waggoner (June 25)

Middle School:How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli and Snake Hill by James PattersonMiddle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli and Snake Hill by James Patterson (June 24)

Out of the Easy by Ruta SepetysOut of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (June 28)

Don’t these all have potential to be good reads? I’m particularly interested in Out of the Easy, Belle Epoque (I have the ARC thanks to author Elizabeth Ross!!) , The Moon and More and Rules of Summer. Which June new releases are you excited about?