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Creepy Chills and Gatsby: The Diviners by Libba Bray

Hi!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in the Roaring 20s. My mom bought a history of fashion books when I was a little kid and I remember paging through it and always stopping on the 1920s fashion plates. I begged my mom to let me be a flapper for Halloween in 6th grade (I was an age appropriate flapper), and anytime there is a costume party, the 20s flapper is one of my go-to dress up eras!

Although I had head that it was pretty creepy, once I realized that The Diviners by Libba Bray was set in New York in 1926, I knew I wanted to read it.

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Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the oThe Diviners by Libba Brayccult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

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Libba Bray rocks my socks off. Her Gemma Doyle trilogy (set in Victorian England) is one of my favorite YA series ever and she definitely didn’t disappoint me with The Diviners! One of the best things about The Diviners is the setting. Evie’s story is set smack dab in the middle of New York City at the height of the Roaring Twenties, a decade that was made for excitement, drama, pleasure, and parties. Spiritualism was quite the trend at the time so what better place to set your paranormal thriller than in this era of heightened experiences? Bray delves so deep into the period that the story just drips with flappers and jazz!  Everything from the catch phrases to fashion and dancing, and as the history nerd I am I really enjoyed seeing tidbits of other social issues like prohibition, eugenics, and cultism in response to society’s loosening structure….it’s all there!

Our main character Evie, is the 1920s personified. Evie is your small town girl searching for love, life, and excitement in the big city. I just love her! Yes, she is annoyingly rebellious, stubborn and overly ready to get her way, but she is also endearing and loyal and all around fun! Sometimes she creates drama where drama needn’t be…like in a creepy basement where murders may or may not have happened, but in the end Evie is a girl who wants to feel everything and is constantly seeking ways to make life even the teensiest bit more intoxicating. She’s definitely the kind of girl you want in your group of friends because life is always interesting with Evie! The supporting characters are all really engaging as well, especially Memphis and Theta! I assume we’ll get even more of them as the series progresses, which is good because there is some weird stuff going on with this group of friends!

The Diviners is super long (550+ pages) but is so well paced you just can’t stop reading (or listening in my case) and I never once felt like the story was dragging in any way. Yes, there is the fun flapper aspect to the story, but with Naughty John, The Diviners is also a dark, frightening paranormal thriller complete with the occult, ritualistic killings, and characters who have mysterious supernatural gifts. This story definitely has enough creep factor to make you keep all the lights on at night!

For those of you (eighth grade and up) who enjoy paranormal thrillers and want a book that will give you chills while also make you want to throw a Gatsby themed party, The Diviners is absolutley, pos-i-tute-ly a must. One warning though, it will leave you wanting so much more! Since this is the first in a series there are tons of unanswered questions and plot points that have yet to fully unravel! I can’t wait for Lair of Dreams!

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 18, 2012)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library)

Length: 18 hours and 14 minutes

Narrator(s): January LaVoy

Series: First in the Diviners series

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:

 

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Wish You Were Italian

Well we’re a few weeks into our extra six weeks of winter thanks to that little cutie Punxsutawney Phil, but I’m already starting to think about spring and summer.  The book I’d like to share with you for Waiting on Wednesday, Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae, sounds like it’s going to be a fun summerish read.

Pippa is in Italy for the summer and, despite her parents’ wishes, she has no intention of just studying the Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Raelocal art! She has a list of things of her own to do: from swimming in the Mediterranean Sea to getting a makeover – and falling for an Italian boy! As Pippa explores the dramatic ruins of Rome and Pompeii, she is swept into her own drama with two guys: an irresistible local she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student . . . Will she find her true love?

Okay so I admit, this one has potential to be a really cute or a really silly read. I hope it’s a really cute one because I love books about traveling in Europe and when Wish You Were Italian is released in May this year, I’ll probably be in the mood for a light summer romance.  :)

So, what books are you waiting for this week?

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Art of Wishing

Hi there!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine!  Every week book bloggers put the spotlight on an upcoming book they’re eagerly anticipating.

This week I’m looking way into the future at a book scheduled to be released in March 2013 by Dial Books for Young Readers.  The Art of Wishing by Lindsay RibarThe Art of Wishing, a debut by Lindsay Ribar sounds like a pretty fun fantasy/contemporary read!

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan of attack for everything, from landing the lead in her high school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents. But when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the opportunity to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Especially since Oliver–not blue-skinned, not bottle-dwelling, but a genie nonetheless–can see more than what she’s willing to show him. With one peek into her mind, he can see the wishes that even Margo herself doesn’t know she wants.

But Oliver comes with more than just mind-reading abilities, a flair for magic, and the prettiest eyes Margo’s ever seen. Someone from his past is hunting him–someone bent on killing him, along with all the other genies in the world, for the sake of honor. And as Margo soon discovers, it will take more than three wishes to save him. A whole lot more.

I love the whole genie-three wishes premise sounds refreshingly fun! Also, that cover is so cute! All in all, The Art of Wishing just sounds like a light-hearted  romance that I’m in the mood for.  If only it was March 2013!

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Innocents

Hi there! 
 
The Innocents by Lili PeloquinWell, it’s Wednesday which means it’s time to spotlight an upcoming book that I’m anticipating.  Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine and is a weekly event where we share about the books that we’re  waiting for.
 
I stumbled upon The Innocents by Lili Peloquin the other day while browing around on Goodreads.
Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.
Friends didn’t.
Boys couldn’t.
Their family falling apart never would.
Until they got to Serenity Point.
 
“The Innocents” is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weave a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.
For some reason (it must be the sisters thing) this book sounds like the super thrillers in the Sweet Valley High series, which I LOVED growing up!  I think that’s why this book caught my attention so quickly! I mean “nail-biting drama, breathless romance and gothic mystery”?  YES PLEASE!
 
I only have a little longer to wait because The Innocents is scheduled to be released on October 15! Yay!
 
What upcoming new releases are you waiting for this week?  Please feel free to share in the comments section below!
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Book Trailer of the Week: Legend by Marie Lu

So, I was in Boston this past week on vacation visiting my brother!  I had a fabulous time exploring the city and learning my way around the T (I did pretty good if I do say so myself!).  But now, I’m back in the sweltering heat of Florida and it is time to get back to regularly scheduled posts.

It is Friday so we all know that its time to showcase a book trailer!  This week’s trailer is for dystopian, sci-fi novel Legend by Marie Lu.  Here is a little bit about the boo, which I’ve heard is a really awesome read!

Legend by Marie LuWhat was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

This trailer is short and sweet closing in at right around 30 seconds.  In my opinion this is the perfect length for a book trailer because I only have a few minutes to promote books on the morning announcements at school.  Plus, it allows for a quick sneak peek without boring the students or giving them too much info before they actually read the book.

I have already heard great things about this book, which was released this past November, so here is another one to add to my ever-growing To Read Stack!

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Book Trailer of the Week: Of Poseidon

Book Trailer of the Week Banner

So, what do you think of my swanky new Book Trailer banner?!

Isn’t it cute?!  My husband is the master craftsman behind my book monster and I am so thankful for him to take the time to book trailer-ify the little guy (THANK YOU!!).

Of Poseidon by Anna BanksI’ve said it before, but I think book trailers are made of so much awesome, so every week I pick a book trailer to spotlight.  This week’s trailer is for Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, which is a fantasy filled with mermaid lore—which sounds totally fun!

Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he’s heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen’s not fully convinced that Emma’s the one he’s been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves  that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help–no matter what the risk.

So, now that you’ve read the summary, lets watch the book trailer!

Doesn’t it sound intriguing?  I have yet to read any mermaid fiction, which has recently become pretty popular, so I’m going to have to rectify this sad situation and get my hands on Of Poseidon as soon as I can. I need to add it to my ever-growing Summer To Read List!

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In My Mailbox (8)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren with the purpose of helping bloggers get to know each other and to highlight books!

This was was slow in the receiving book department, but not in the totally fun and awesome book related goodies department!

Obviously, the world knows that The Hunger Games movie comes out this coming Friday, March 23 at 12:01 a.m.!!! *squeals with anticipation*

My husband and I have our tickets to the midnight showing and this will be the first midnight showing we’ve ever gone to before!  I’m super excited and can’t stop watching the trailers.

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Well, on Thursday the 22nd, I get to host a Hunger Games party in my school’s Media Center!  We have about 65 students attending and are going to be doing some fun activities.  But with that I’ve also had to get a hold of awesome raffle/giveaway prizes for the students.  So, of course I’ve hit up Barnes and Noble and Hot Topic to purchase some fun Hunger Games paraphernalia.

I also  contacted Lionsgate Films and asked for some free movie promotional materials to give to my students, and a few days later got a response saying they’d send some posters.  I expected like maybe two or three posters, so imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found 10 movie posters, a pack of 50 Hunger Games lanyards, and 50 3-D Katniss bookmarks!!  So, a humongous thank you (THANK YOU!!) to Lionsgate Films for sending these to my students!  With all this swag everyone will leave the party with at least one cool Hunger Games item!

Earlier I mentioned that I went shopping for some cool Hunger Games merchandise.  20120317-235642.jpgI got a cool Peeta and Katniss mug and some bookmarks, a mockingjay sweat band bracelet, a Gale key chain and a journal .  I’ll also be getting two movie tickets for one lucky student.  But in the mix of my Hunger Games shopping extravaganza, I had to treat myself to a mockingjay t-shirt.  So I did.

Yeaaa!!!

So, no books this week, which is okay because I have so much I already want to read sitting on my To Read Shelf.

What was in your mailbox this week?  I look forward to reading about what fun goodies everyone else received!

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Werewolves and Nakedness: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever by Maggie StiefvaterHappy Saturday morning (or whenever you’re reading this) everyone! I recently read Forever, by Maggie Stiefvater as part of the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge.

In Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Stiefvater is a lovely storyteller. She creates stories that are both magical and reality woven together.

Forever, the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, is told from four perspectives (plus one time there is a fifth); Cole, Sam, Isabel, and Grace. I listened to the audiobook and was glad that there was a different narrator for each character. This helped me stay focused with each character, so I didn’t get confused as to who was telling the story. I also really liked hearing the story from the perspective of the characters who shift into wolves. The confusion experienced by the characters when they shift into a wolf is so intense and I never quite “got it” when Sam talked about it before, but hearing it happen made it more visceral.

Lets talk about the wolves and how they change. Rather than being supernatural, Stiefvater makes the shift from human to wolf and back again scientific. What I really appreciate is the way Stiefvater does not attempt to over explain the science behind the wolves (she tells us how it is without focusing on the details of it). This is such a smart move because I roll my eyes when something “supernatural” is over explained! I don’t have to roll my eyes, because Stiefvater tells me just enough for it to work.

I may have said this in my review of Linger, but I love Isabel and Cole. Their characters are conflicted and pained (dark and twisty?!) so they’re incredibly interesting! Plus their relationship is full of energy and frustrated passion. Their sharp wit and cynicism is like an explosion every time they’re in a scene together. I do enjoy this relationship better than Sam and Grace’s. The reader knows Sam and Grace are always going to be together, but Isabel and Cole? They keep you wondering.

Speaking of Cole, I like seeing his growth as a character. The way Cole started as a self loathing narcissist and is slowly transforming into a more caring and loving man. He’s not perfect, but he’s showing positive growth. Plus I love the scene where he is running with the wolves (no spoilers!!)

I also think its hilarious how okay with nakedness the characters are. By the end of Forever, I was thinking, “okay. Grace is naked again and no one mentions if that’s awkward or not for them. I know it is necessity because they’re naked when they transform from wolf to human and they don’t want to ruin their clothes when they shift and I’m not complaining! There are just some scenes where I laughed because its just Sam and Cole preparing for Sam to shift, so Sam strips down so as not to ruin his clothes. Cole, who usually has a humorous comment acted like it was normal (which I guess it is for them!) I’m just picturing the two of them standing on the front porch together and it makes me giggle.

As much as I love the multiple narrator technique, there were times where hearing the same event from different points of view made me want to scream “just tell me what happens!”. I would get annoyed during an exciting scene same about the same thing from Sam, Grace and Cole or Isabel; it would stretch the even out, but this is only a minor issue.

Overall, I was pleased with the last installment of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and I recommend Forever, to fans of the first two titles in the series and older middle school readers (and higher). Enjoy!

Oh! And the cover is stunning; one of my absolutes favorites ever. And I’ll also share a beautiful stop motion trailer by for the book created by Maggie Stiefvater herself!

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Audio (July 12, 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins

Narrator(s): Jenna Lamia, Pierce Cravens, Dan Bittner, Emma Galvin, Maggie Stiefvater

Series: Third in a trilogy

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: Forever – Audio (Wolves of Mercy Falls)

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Rumors and Consequences: In Too Deep by Amanda Grace

Looks like a good day for a book review! But before we get to that, don’t forget you can still enter the Tempest Audiobook Giveaway until February 19!

In Too Deep by Amanda GraceI never meant for anyone to get hurt. All I wanted to do that night was make a play for Carter Wellesley. His heartless rejection was mortifying, but people got the wrong idea when they saw me leaving his bedroom, crying. That’s how rumors of rape started.

Now girls at school are pouring out their sympathy to me. Guys too. But not everyone’s on my side. The school has become a war zone and the threats are getting scary. What began as poetic justice has morphed into something bigger–forcing me to make a terrible choice.

I received In Too Deep by Amanda Grace from the publisher (Thank you Flux Books!) and was interested from the moment I read the jacket summary.

Although the plot of In Too Deep deals with sexual assault and rape, the story’s main plot line focuses on lies and how you can’t erase them.

One of the first things I noticed about this book is the honesty of the supporting characters. Take Nick for example. He is Sam’s best friend and has been for years. Although he does cherish their friendship and Nick is loyal, he is not afraid to call out Sam when she is wrong. Nick is not scared to say the things that may be difficult for Sam to hear, he knows its better for her to heat them. I appreciate this kind of loyalty and friendship portrayed in YA fiction, because often friends can be portrayed at loyal to a fault. This is reality. Real friendship is like that; real friends love you and aren’t hesitant to bring up the hard stuff.

Grace has written Sam’s character well. Sam is nowhere close to being perfect. The story starts with Sam making a dumb decision in an attempt to get a boy to notice her and then it’s like a dumb decision snowball that keeps getting bigger and bigger (I kept yelling at Sam in my mind!). Although Sam didn’t intend for the false rumors of rape to circulate around school, she also does nothing to stop them. Sam knows she’s in the wrong and has good intentions to put the stories to rest, but she just never gets up the courage to actually end it. Sam is a good person, but she makes bad mistakes. Sounds like me at that age and almost every other teenager I’ve ever known, which is why I think Sam’s character is well written. I think readers can relate to Sam.

Now, to the ending (without spoilers), I absolutely loved the ending especially the last few sentences (which I want to post but can’t because that would be wrong!). In the midst of tons of hardship and difficulty (brought on by the main character by herself) there is hope on the horizon, which is what made me really like this book.

Some people may be uncomfortable about middle schoolers reading In Too Deep based on the intense subject matter, but I think the lesson learned by the main character in the end is an important one for middle grade readers. That is why I would recommend this book to older middle schoolers and up who are looking for a realistic contemporary read.

Author: Amanda Grace

Publisher: Flux Books (February 8, 2012)

Format: Print ARC

Length: 228 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: In Too Deep