Friday, October 10, 2014

Oh Yeah, Audrey! (reveiw)

3.5/5 stars

Oh Yeah, Audrey! (Goodreads | Amazon) struck a cord with my old-movie-loving high school self.  Back in those days I was obsessed with old movies, thought Clark Gable was clearly the hottest celebrity ever and Katherine Hepburn was amazing. Though I liked Audrey Hepburn she was never one of my obsessions.  So to me, these three teenagers who run a tumblr blog about old celebrities felt authentic.  I would've done that in a heartbeat.

This is a cute story following main-character Gemma Beasley as she tries to escape her painfully normal existence and turn into Audrey Hepburn/ Holly Golightly for one perfect New York City day.  Along with her co-bloggers, they runaway to NYC to recreate a 24 hour Breakfast at Tiffany's inspired experience.

But when a handsome wealthy boy shows up, someone else Gemma also met through her tumblr blog their plans change as she is swept away by a chance to experience New York City like she never would be able to.

This book is a cute 24-hour whirlwind.  Of course that creates limitations on character development but the book has a surprisingly amount of heart and forces Gemma to tackle a lot of the issue she's been avoiding since her mother's death.  If you like old movies, especially if you did at 16, odds are you'll relate to the main character. It's a quick, fun and very pleasant little adventure thats enjoyable to read.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Seriously Saturday Series Catch-up #5

Seriously Saturday Series Catch-up update time!  I haven't made much progress since last time I posted.  I finished the Scarlet audiobook (loved it!)  Yesterday I picked up Trapped by Kevin Hearne and expect to make quick work for that book.  On request at the library are Boston Jacky (book 11) by L.A. Meyer and Cress by Marissa Meyers, both on audiobook.  We're still waiting on the release of Clariel which finally comes out this month and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers which comes out next month.  Looking at the list I finally feel like this is something I can accomplish before the year is out!  We're mainly waiting on books that were released or will be released in 2014. 
  1. Heist Society by Ally Carter (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2 and 3
  2. Necromancer series by Lish McBride (book 2) - Finished book 2
  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyers (books 2 &  3) - Currently listening to Scarlet in my car
  4. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (books 2 & 3) - Finished book and 3! I didn't realize there was a book 4
  5. Abhorsen series by Garth Nix (book 4 will be published in 2014)
  6. The Agency by Y.S. Lee (book 4 will be published in 2014) 
  7. Fallen World series by Megan Crewe (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2 and 3
  8. Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne (read at least 1 book in)
  9. Bloody Jack by LA Meyer (book 11)
  10. His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers (In the name of honesty, I'll admit I've already read the second book in 2014 but I want to count it. Book 3 will be published in 2014)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Of Scars and Stardust (review)

4/5 stars

Of Stars and Stardust (Goodreads | Amazon) is a bit of a perplexing read.  Don't get me wrong, it's wholly enjoyable and something where you'll keep turning the pages.  But even after finishing I'm a bit puzzled by a lot of things in the novel.

The main character Claire Graham is damaged and engaging. She's the perfect example of an unreliable narrator. After her young sister is attacked by wolves, Claire is sent to live with her aunt in New York City where she stays until her sister Ella mysteriously disappears.  That event forces Claire to return home, to return to the place and memories that left her mentally broken to investigate and bring home her sister.

The investigation leads her unexpected places, surprising Claire as much as they surprise the reader.  It's hard to say much more about what they discover because I want other readers go into the story without expectations.  Just know it's twisty and intriguing, which I hope isn't saying too much.

The writing has that simple beauty that I always appreciate.
"I looked at Grant, who just smiled his crooked grin back at me. It was funny because I had always thought that Ella was magic, and Grant thought that I was magic. But maybe Grant was magic too, and his magic was that his sincerity in everything he did made people do crazy things, like open up a box of construction paper stories and trust that he'd be able to find the answers hidden there." 
The book is atmospheric, filled with eery cornfields and the chill of winter snow that sets the tone perfect for a book that is both mysterious and chilling.  This is the type of book that makes you shiver, so I recommend reading it with a fuzzy blanket, cup of tea or even bed a warm fire to keep away cold.

I received an advanced reading e-book in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Firebug (review)

3.5/5 stars

Firebug (Gooreads | Amazon) is what I expect from Lish McBride. It's a fun paranormal with a snarky protagonist who feels like someone you could actually know. If you like Hold Me Closer, Necromancer this book is in the same vein, though I didn't like Ava nearly as much as I like Sam. (And I can stay that with certainty since I also just read Necromancing the Stone).

You may ask why I didn't like Ava as much?  Well it's small grating things that are probably authentically teenage type jokes that rub me the wrong way as an adult.  For example, when a male friend wants to talk about Ava's feelings she makes a joke about him having a uterus.  Gendered humor just tends to strike me the wrong way.  Ava can be annoying and rude, just like a real teenager.

Overall this story is good though.  It builds on itself, leaving little clues and important details along the way.  Things that at first bugged me later made complete sense.  I liked the creation of a paranormal world that runs alongside ours without being noticed, especially the building of a criminal underbelly.

This is a fun snarky read that has a surprising amount of heart.  I definitely recommend despite that little moments that grated on me.

I received an advanced reading e-book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Salt and Sea (review)

3.5/5 stars

Overall I enjoyed The Witch of Salt and Storm (Goodreads | Amazon).  The atmospheric story takes place on Prince Island and you get a real sense of island life, the harbor full of boats and the scent of sale on the wind.

Avery Roe has always wanted to be the Prince Island witch.  She comes from a long line of Roe witches, starting generations ago, including her grandma the current witch and stopping with her mother who refuses to take the job.  Not only does she not want the job herself, but she takes Avery from her grandmother and refuses to let her train in the family craft.

Avery is at times frustrating character, only seeing what she wants to see.  In some ways that makes her very believable, a stubborn teenage girl who won't listen to anyone and is blinded by her own desires.  As the reader, you'll understand some things well before Avery does, but that's because an outside perspective is often clearer.

For me this story loses some ground with the love story.  The quickness the relationship develops just isn't quite believable for me.  However it's necessary to have the love story in there (a rarity) but it could be done a little better.  The love interest is too perfect, Avery is too grumpy at times and I have trouble believing in the depth of their feelings. But this is so common in YA books that it shouldn't bother most readers of the genres (unless you're curmudgeonly like me about these things).

Overall if you like stories of witchcraft, especially with interesting and meaningful settings like Prince Island, you'll enjoy this book.  The atmosphere and location are really what shines in this novel.  While the romance leaves a bit to be desired, the whaling world of Prince Island that the Roe Witches serve is a place I definitely want to visit, both in books and the real world.

I received an advanced reading e-book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Words and their Meanings (review)

4/5 stars

Initially I wasn't sure how I felt about Words and their Meanings (Goodreads | Amazon).  At first, I felt like the protagonist tried way too hard to be different. But as the book progressed things that seemed like flaws made sense as the story unveiled itself.

This story is a portrait of one girl's all consuming grief and guilt.  But more than that, it's little pictures of how those around her are dealing with the same grief.  It's different for everyone, no two grievers handle everything the same.

Still in the midst of her grief over the death of her young uncle, more of a brother, Anna discovers a secret note that makes her question who her uncle was.  The story really gets underway when Anna decides to investigate what the note means to find out the truth about her uncle.  It's easier to focus on that the the all-consuming grief.
"In the long run, you need to understand that people --even the best people people --are always more and less than we imagine."
The book is written very poetically, with a main character who's a gifted writer it needs to be.  Oddly enough I'm not sure how much the story actually matters, this is a book that's more driven by feelings and characters.  That's not a bad thing.  Sometimes that's how stories need to be told.  This is the story of pain, grief and hopefully understanding, not really the story of a mystery being solved. For this book, that's a good thing.

I received an advanced reading e-book in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Seriously Saturday Series Catch-up #4

So we've made some real progress this month!  I've read Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter, Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride, started Scarlet by Marissa Meyers, read Unwholly by Neal Shusterman and finished the Fallen Worlds trilogy by Megan Crewe.  I even read the 3rd of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series because I thought I'd included it in this challenge.  It seems that once I started making momentum on series it was hard to stop. Right now that leaves five books left in this challenge, two of which aren't even published yet.

So where are we looking at my original list?

  1. Heist Society by Ally Carter (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2 & 3
  2. Necromancer series by Lish McBride (book 2) - Finished book 2
  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyers (books 2 & 3) - Currently listening to Scarlet in my car
  4. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2 & 3! I didn't realize there was a book 4
  5. Abhorsen series by Garth Nix (book 4 will be published in 2014)
  6. The Agency by Y.S. Lee (book 4 will be published in 2014) 
  7. Fallen World series by Megan Crewe (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2 & 3
  8. Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne (read at least 1 book in)
  9. Bloody Jack by LA Meyer (book 11)
  10. His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers (In the name of honesty, I'll admit I've already read the second book in 2014 but I want to count it. Book 3 will be published in 2014)
Note: I know it's Sunday and not Saturday.  But one day late isn't bad!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Bone Season (review)

3.5/5 stars

I know The Bone Seasons (Goodreads | Amazon) is supposed to be the next big thing book-wise.  Set in 2059, when an organization named Scion is ruling most of the major cities in the world, The Bone Season is part-fantasy part-dystopian. Paige Mahoney is a criminal just for existing in a world where any sort of magic is illegal, Paige, a dreamwalker, works for the magical mob in London.  That is until she's caught, arrested and taken to a clairvoyant prison where she learns that world as they know it is a lie.

The world building in this book is detailed and interesting.  I appreciate the hierarchy  of different clairvoyants it established, how some are more valuable and some practically worthless.  The idea of outlawing magic and thus giving the criminals power is intriguing, it makes this book feel like a quasi-prohibition-era mob movie.  Sometimes the world building is actually too detailed and it slows down the story considerably, to the point where you can skim passages of explanation without missing much plot-wise.

So for me where does this book seemingly fail? I never felt connected to the characters.  They felt like cardboard cutouts that I was supposed to care about but really couldn't.  There's a couple of points where someone hurts a character that Paige has just recently befriended and it's suppose to be this major impacting moment in the novel, only I didn't feel much of anything because these side characters felt underdeveloped and more like accessories to Paige's story than people in themselves.

So the question, I suppose, is "Will I read the next one?"  Probably if the reviews are good.  Maybe now that the over-explaining is done we'll get some honest-to-goodness plot movement and some fleshed out characters.  It's an interesting enough world, with the criminal underbelly and outlawing of magic, to explore again.

I received a paperback copy of this book from the publisher.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mary: The Summoning

4/5 stars

It felt odd to be reading Mary: The Summoning (Goodreads Amazon) during the summer.  This book is creepy YA horror novel, the type of book that should be read on a crisp October day, as the sun sinks below the horizon, not on a hot day in the middle of July.

This book has just the right amount of suspense and quite a few surprises along the way.  Almost every young girl has tried to summon Bloody Mary at some point in her life (why did that seem like such a good idea?), so it's hard not be drawn into the creepy ghost story since it feels like it could've easily happened to you. The descriptions of Mary were appropriately creepy and the book gave her a backstory that every young girl wondered about.  It doesn't just summon Bloody Mary, but attempts to answer "Who is Bloody Mary?"  This is probably the strength of the novel, it doesn't just create a monster but creates a character who becomes a monster with a backstory and motivation.

I was surprised by how much I liked this book.  Even though the characters weren't completely fleshed out, they didn't fall into the popular-girl stereotype I expected and for the most part didn't fall into the trap of girl-against-girl hatred you often see.  Instead, as stupid as their choices may have been, this group of four friends attempted to watch out for each other and all their in-fighting was understandable.

If you're looking for a Halloween read (you should be!) then this book will fit your needs perfectly.  Mary: The Summoning is YA horror, a difficult genre to master, done really well.

I received an advanced reading e-book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Can't Look Away (review)

4/5 stars

Can't Look Away (Goodreads | Amazon) is a unique picture of grief, the story of a well-known beauty vlogger whose sister is killed by a drunk driver and how she deals with her family, the trolls and her loss. Maybe what I like most about this book is that Torrey Grey is such an imperfect character.  She's shallow, concerned with looks, re-gaining her popularity in a new town, clothes and what everyone thinks about her.  For much of this book Torrey is fake to almost everyone around her.

To me, that feels real.  Torrey is trying to be something she's not anymore, to keep up appearances and to control the aspects of her life she knows how.  It's easier to deal with climbing the social ladder than face her sister's death and her guilt over the circumstances surrounding it. And Torrey is riddled with guilt, even if she hides it from the world, because she had dragged her sister to the mall that day and they had been arguing when the drunk driver came down the street.

The grief in this book feels real.  It's not textbook and pretty, but a whole family of people facing it in different ways and royally screwing up at every turn because grieving is really hard.  Dealing with grief, loss and guilt brings out both the worst and best in people.

Another thing this book does well is capture the YouTube audience.  I once dabbled in vlogging and have quite a few trolls of my own.  The reactions of the trolls and Torrey both seem completely realistic based on my experience with the internet.

This book does a lot of things right, deals with grief authentically, creatures a popularity-obsessed teenager (rather than the "different" trope that's common) who is developed and complex and even managed to have quite a few funny and cute moments to keep the book from feeling too heavy.  For a book about grief in the age of the internet, the tone was perfect and the book well-worth reading.

I received an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Seriously Saturday Series Catch-up # 3

So it's been a long time since I wrote one of these series catch-up posts because I've been too busy hanging my head in shame.  Why?  Because for awhile I was failing in the catching up on series department. But recently the stars aligned and I read a few different books on my lis so I'm quasi back on track.

Books I've read since last update:
-Unwholly (Unwind #2)
-The Live We Lost

So where are we looking at my original list?

  1. Heist Society by Ally Carter (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2, leaves book 3 which I have from the library.
  2. Necromancer series by Lish McBride (book 2)
  3. Cinder by Marissa Meyers (books 2 & 3) - Book 2 on request from the library
  4. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2, leaves book 3
  5. Abhorsen series by Garth Nix (book 4 will be published in 2014)
  6. The Agency by Y.S. Lee (book 4 will be published in 2014) 
  7. Fallen World series by Megan Crewe (books 2 & 3) - Finished book 2, leaves book 3
  8. Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne (read at least 1 book in)
  9. Bloody Jack by LA Meyer (book 11)
  10. His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers (In the name of honesty, I'll admit I've already read the second book in 2014 but I want to count it. Book 3 will be published in 2014)
Elevent out of 15 are left, which isn't quite the progress I'd hoped for BUT some of those books are coming out this fall and at least one is on request from the library.  It's slow progress and leaves a lot of books left but at least it's progress.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mortal Danger (review)

2/5 stars

Part of me feels guilty for how much I disliked Mortal Danger (Goodreads | Amazon).  It tried to do some good things, to acknowledge problems with society that we often see with other books and to upend some common cliches that I hate.  All of that is good and well if the book had been readable.

The story follows Edie, an overweight unpopular girl who's on the brink of suicide.  As she contemplates ending her life, an unnaturally attractive boy named Kian shows up and offers her a deal that she can't refuse.  Suddenly Edie's whole life changes, including her physique, and she's hell-bent on taking revenge against her high school foes.

The problem is: I kind of hate Edie. There's nothing really to her, aside from her hatred and unpopularity.  She doesn't feel like a real character but she's suddenly a super-special person to the people Kian works for without ever showing any spark of being an interesting character. The first 60% of this book is nearly unreadable.  Edie's the kind of self-oriented person that spends too much time whining and focused on herself.  I'm all for flawed heroines but damn I didn't want to spend anymore time in this girls head.

It didn't help that the book tended to fall into cheesy over-descriptions and eye-rolling metaphors.
"The two of us were like magnets with the same charge. No matter how much I wanted to be close to him, circumstances kept shoving us apart." 
Gag. I can't cope with that sentence or the whole love-story-from-nowhere that's behind it.  Did I mention there was an unbelievable romance in the novel? Do I even have to anymore?

Now, onto things this book did right.  After you get through the unbearable beginning, this book fleshes the high school popular characters.  That's not something you typically see, normally they're just cliches bullying the protagonist but the novel acknowledges that they have their own problems and motivations.  It also tackled some of the gender dynamics of boys pitting girls against each other and society pretending girls have no depth.  However, while it's nice to see those elements it doesn't rescue the story.

I have a lot of trouble imagining non-reviews will make it through this story.  However past the 60% mark the story drastically improves and suddenly it's readable. Just good luck making it through the beginning.

I received an advanced reading e-book in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Than This (review)

4.5/5 stars

More Than This (Goodreads | Amazon) is a complicated book to review.  It's the type of book that you just need to jump into without any real expectations and perceptions.  Too much information might impact your reading experience, or worse, quasi-spoil this book for you.  However, this is a book review blog so I guess I have to tell you something.

Patrick Ness is a brilliant young adult writer.  He has few rivals, especially considering the originality of his works.  Ness gave us the brilliant dystopian Chaos Walking Trilogy, then the heart-wrenching novel about cancer and grief, A Monster Calls.  He writes characters that are complicated and diverse, no cookie-cutter suburbanites here.  His books have a tendency to punch you in the gut/rip out your heart, because he doesn't hold back for the reader's sake.

I'm going to assume it's safe to give you the basic synopsis (summarized from Goodreads).  This book begins with Seth drowning, crushed beneath the waves at the bottom of the ocean.  But for this story, that's only the beginning because the next thing you know Seth wakes up and he's somewhere else, somewhere vaguely familiar.  He doesn't know where he is, if it's hell, purgatory or a dream.  

That's all you're getting from me.  Just read the damn book already. Trust me on that. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UnWholly (review)

4/5 stars

UnWholly (Goodreads | Amazon) may be better that the original Unwind.  For me, I found some logic problems with Unwind (see review here) but overall enjoyed the book anyways.  The sequel, however, I could just sit down and enjoy - maybe because I'd already accepted those flaws.  The book, more than the last, did delve into some more of the politics surrounding the Heartland Wars, which helps slightly fill the logic-hole.

But I'm not wanting to complain about this book because by and far I enjoyed it.  Plus I can't tell you too much about the politics due to spoilers.  Like Unwind before it, this book follows the stories of AWOL Unwinds running from the juvie cops.  We get to revisit familiar characters from the last novel, Connor, Risa and Levi, to see how they're doing and growing up but we also get to meet a new group of characters, including Starkey - a problematic storked unwind - and self-righteous tithe Miracolina.  The most interesting and through provoking character was Cam, a mish-mash Frankenstein created from parts of unwound teenagers.

As with the previous book, UnWholly likes to ask the big questions - what it means to be alive, if people have a soul, etc etc.  That's what I like most about these novels, they're unafraid to tackle taboo and controversial topics.

Something that I really liked in UnWholly was the inserted real news-articles.  Those gave it a dimension of realism, breadcrumbs from the real world showing the path to the fictional realm Shusterman has created.  While the whole idea of unwinding seems so far-fetched, when you real the political background in light of the real world articles you begin to realize that maybe it's not as absurd as you originally thought.

Overall this is a worthy sequel, a thought-provoking book that you'll be thinking about after you put it down.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Silver Linings Playbook (review)

4/5 stars

Silver Linings Playbook (Goodread | Amazon) is the third Matthew Quick book I've read.  All 3 have been excellent, I love his simple, no-nonsense but clever writing style. Personally, I think he's reached my instant-read list. Silver Lining Playbook follows post-mental breakdown Pat as he tries to put his life back together after being released from a mental health facility. As a character, he comes across younger than his age but in this novel it works because he's struggling with mental illness and refusing to deal with reality.  His only goal is win back his ex-wife Nikki, by any means possible (losing weight, reading the books she's read, improving himself).
"I am practicing being kind rather than right, so Nikki will be able to love me again when apart time is over."
This book has an interesting and believable cast of characters, from his sports-loving therapist, to a mother who just wants to fix her son and most-importantly the second main character, Tiffany who is also struggling with mental illness. All of the characters have their flaws, each broken in their own way but most are trying to help and support each other.

Because I am a huge sports fan, I loved the way sports were handled in this novel.  The camaraderie surrounding the Philadelphia Eagle's team, the way the family's mood was impacted it and the support Pat had from practical-strangers because they shared this love was something that was delightfully realistic and hit close to home for me.
"I think all it takes for different people to get along is a common rooting interest and a few beers."
We've reached the point where reviewing this book seems like a moot point.  Everyone (but maybe me) has watched the movie or at least knows the basic plotline.  The book is superb, a surprisingly near-perfect debut novel (and as a reader of many debut novels, they're rarely this flawless).  Quick writes accessible, clever books that are simultaneously easy to read and make you think.  As far as I'm concerned, everyone should check out his books.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One Past Midnight (review)

2.5/5 stars

When looking at my friends ratings on Goodreads, I feel like the outlier on One Past Midnight (Goodreads | Amazon). Part of me wonders what I missed.  I can't say the book is terrible or hard to read, but there are some very integral parts that I just don't believe and a relationship that's blatantly insta-love.

One Past Midnight is the story of Sabine, a girl who lives two lives.  At midnight every night she transitions from one world into another.  Where she lives, who she hangs out, who her parents are, is entirely different in each world.  In one world, she's the rich girl who has the perfect life.  In the second world she's a poor girl who's parents work too hard.  Because of the secret she's forced to keep, she struggles to build deep relationships or feel like she's truly living. For her whole life, there have been certain rules between the two worlds.  But suddenly, things start to change and Sabine realizes that maybe the rules no longer apply.

First I'll say the good about this book.  It's unafraid to ask big questions about what it means to be alive. Sabine's struggles to figure out who she is in light of her two lives is the strong point of this book.

However, for me, what doesn't work outweighs the good.  First, there's when Sabine tells her poor-life parents, a father who admittedly is distracted and not invested in his family life, and expects them to believe her. The whole scenario doesn't seem realistic, not like something a teenager would do it.  It's an important plot point in the book and I just can't quite believe it.

Another problem was the instalove.  I could see how some could argue that it didn't happen instantly.  But really it does.  Yes the first meeting between the two is the typical argumentative flirting you see in these type of stories, but Sabine pretty immediately starts day-dreaming and having feelings for a guy she barely knows.  From there, like it always does, the relationship escalates quickly. The love story is too central to the plot to ignore or forgive.  It's not some side-plot to a greater story, but a key element of Sabine's story.

This is a book that I'm sure will work for some people.  But for me, believability in characters and relationship trumps whatever good it might have going on.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Midnight Thief (review)

4/5 stars

Midnight Thief (Goodreads | Amazon) is the type of book I have a soft spot for.  Following a young but gifted thief growing up in the slums surrounding a palace, it is part adventure novel, part fantasy with a dash of castle politics.  It's written in the vein of Tamora Pierce (may she live long and write all the books), which is something I always need more.  Give me young spunky girls fighting oppression and trying to survive in a world that's not built for them any day. Give me them every day! For these books I am your ideal reader.

I'm not saying this book is as good as Tamora Pierce, I'm mainly saying it's a Tamora Pierce-ian genre book (Can I make up genres like that?).  There were a few flaws, at times the story dragged a little and some of the romance (not all of it) didn't make much sense, but those are the type of things I'm willing to forgive for a story like this. Overall it was a well-built story within a believable and interesting world.

One thing I liked a lot about this book was that many of the characters were never clearly defined as the good guys or the bad guys.  Like most people, they often fell in the middle and characters who were part of problematic systems/organizations could also be good people. That's nuanced and much prefer to the cackling evil bad guy who just likes being evil.

Overall this book was a lot of fun and I found myself cheering for Kyra, despite her many mistakes and imperfections.  If you're looking for a quality book in the adventure-fantasy genre, this is a solidly good choice with a lot of potential for further storytelling within the world.

I received an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Body in the Woods (Review)

4/5 stars

The Body in the Woods (Goodreads  | Amazon) is a nice little suspenseful mystery for the young adult crowd.  For me, this was a quick read.  There's nothing brilliant or mind-blowing, just an interesting story about three teens who find a strangled girl while volunteering with Portland Search and Rescue.  When one of the teens, Ruby, starts doing research she begins to suspect it might not be the isolated incident that the police think it is but might be the work of a serial killer.

The mystery is believably constructed with a valid reason the police don't believe it's a serial killer, which gives the teenagers a good reason to investigate the crime on their own.  What they do isn't unbelievable or unrealistically dangerous but small things that curious teens would likely do.  I think it's important for any YA mystery to use restraint on how much teens put themselves into danger for investigating crimes.  I need to believe it, which is a combination of creating characters that would try to solve a crime and giving them a reason to investigate it themselves.

Speaking of the characters, I can't say that I connected with them on a particularly deep level.  They each had their own backstories and problems which contributed to the book (and the investigation) but they didn't really jump off the page.  I was glad that the book gave the characters backgrounds made them want to investigate the crime and gave clues to the investigation.  At times, there may have been a little bit of melodrama but the book never lost the main plotline even with the switching point of views and teenagers who had a life outside of Portland SAR.

Overall a solid mystery if you're wanting something to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I received an advanced reading e-copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Month of Me (Belated post)

Once again for the month of May (my birth month) I decided to take a break from the pressure of galleys and read whatever I wanted to read.  It was nice to make a dent in my to-be-read list (a small minor dent but still it's something) and to read books on my shelves and kindle for a change. In time, I do plan to review these books but for now I'm just going to give you a list of the books I read during May.

  1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart -Yes it was a galley but one by a favorite author that I was dying to read.
  2. The Diviner's by Libba Bray - This has been on my shelf since Christmas.
  3. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (who I think is the biggest sweetheart and who's book I bought but kept not having time to read so I saved it for this month)
  4. Indexing by Seanan McGuire - I started this book a year ago as a Kindle Serial but my Kindle always lost it's place when it updated so I waited until the book was complete to finish the story.
  5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Why did I wait so long to read this geek fantastic book?
  6. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - I seem to like everything he writes. 
  7. More Than This by Patrick Ness - Another favorite author and a book I received at Christmas. 
  8. The Living by Matt de la Pena - I finished this June 2 but I started it in May so it's going on this list. Another favorite author and book I'd been waiting to read. 
So that's my productive to-be-read tackling month of me!  When going through this list I realized I hadn't put half on Goodreads because I'd just been reading for fun, not tracking or writing things down.  It was a great month of books that reminded me why I love to read.  I'll definitely be doing this again next May!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hexed (review)

3/5 stars

Hexed (Goodreads | Amazon) is a fairly cute read.  In the vein of an ABC family drama, it follows a popular cheerleader Indigo who's quirky mother runs an occult shop in Los Angeles.  Indigo tries to be normal, as normal as the teen daughter of a single-mother wannabe-witch can be.  Then one day while driving to her mom's shop she witnesses a man die.  That's when things start getting weird.  Next thing she knows she's gone from cheerleader, to trying to find her mother's stolen witch Bible while running from sorcerers and trying to figure out if she might be a witch herself.

This book, with one HUGE exception, is lighthearted and silly.  That's not a bad thing itself.  I actually like the light tone and fluffy approach to paranormal that this book takes.  What I don't like is the romance, which seems to move at hyper-speed with little development and the back-stabbing catty popular friend's that are just a little too cliche.  Also, I don't like that Indigo walks all over her childhood best friend Paige.  That whole part felt illogical.  Indigo treats Paige like shit, Paige continues to be nice to Indigo and then sticks by her when no one else does.  Let's be honest, there's no way Paige would've stuck around or risked her life for someone who treated her like Indigo did.

But here's the thing, despite the book's flaws I enjoyed myself while reading it, especially the beginning before any of the romance began.  It's a quick read and if you like paranormals and don't mind silly teen romance then you might like this book.

I received an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Second Star (review)

4/5 stars

Second Star (Goodreads | Amazon) is a book I had to read.  Since childhood, I have loved all things Peter Pan. In adulthood that love has only increased.  Maybe it's the idea of not having to face adulthood or maybe it's the misleading innocence of this magical island with no adults.

I'm not sure what I expected from a Peter Pan retelling, maybe more magic, but Second Star is a dreamy sort of contemporary that toes the line with magical realism (or maybe has an unreliable narrator).  It's a book filled with uncertainties, stemming mainly from the main character of Wendy Darling who is struggling the disappearance,and presumed death, of her two brothers.

It's a book about coping and not coping with loss as we follow Wendy on the journey to find Michael and John that leads her to a hidden beach where she meets Peter, Belle and all of the familiar faces from the original Peter Pan. In this novel some of them are more fleshed out, made human for the contemporary setting.  Instead of a lost island, we get a little beach with perfect waves filled with runaway young surfers.

If this story had a weak spot it was the Hook/drug storyline.  I don't want to give too much away but what happens here detracts from a otherwise intriguingly original storyline.  For me, I just can't buy the choices Wendy makes even if I understand the reason she supposedly makes them.

What keeps this novel from falling apart with the dodgy romance and the Hook storyline is the writing and Wendy's grief.  I bought her desperation when I did not buy her actions which pulled me through the weaker sections.  Overall this felt dreamy, moody and was an interesting take on the Peter Pan storyline.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

We Were Liars (review)

4.5/5 stars

How do you review a book like We Were Liars (Goodreads Amazon)?  This is the question I've been asking myself for a couple of weeks.  How do I review this book?  Of course it's good. It's REALLY good.  You've seen other people's reviews and you know how I feel about E. Lockhart.

But this book is something else entirely.  It's not light and fluffy with hidden depths like the Ruby Oliver series.  This books depths are obvious from the start, deep, mysterious, aching with secrets that need to be told.

The main character is painfully fragile, her memories missing and mind broken from experiences she can't remember.  And since this book is told through Cady's eyes, we know nothing more than she does.  As readers, we vividly experience the confusion and longing to discover what she can't remember.

I'm amazed at the way E. Lockhart turned a bunch of spoiled rich kids, the Sinclairs who vacation yearly on a private island, into sympathetic, complex characters.  The prestige of their family name defines, gives them opportunity yet limits them all at the same time.  The characters Cady, Mirren, Johnny and Gat (who is the outlier, as a  non-Sinclair quasi-step cousin Indian boy), become real throughout the book.  E. Lockhart shows you who they are through Cady's eyes.

The writing is elegant and haunting. It reads like the interior of Cady's fractured mind, with broken up sentences and thoughts that repeat numerous times throughout the novel. While it may look imperfect, it's not. It's a reflection of the character and the story, beautifully and tellingly written.
"Be normal, now. Right now.
Because you are. Because you can be." 
That's about all I can tell you about this book.  It was hard to say even that much.  Just read it.  Trust me.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Wizard's Promise (review)

4/5 stars

Have you ever read a few books from an author and you thought "They just get what I need" each time you read one?  That's how I've felt with three Cassandra Rose Clarke books I've read and The Wizard's Promise (Goodreads | Amazon) once again was just right for me.  The world she first build with The Assassin's Curse (review here) is the type of place I just want to keep visiting again and again.

As expected, The Wizard's Promise gives us the adventures of a strong and stubborn girl, this time Hanna who goes off on her own adventure.  A fisherman's apprentice, Hannah worries that she'll never get to go on adventures like her namesake Ananna of the Tanarau and that she'll never get a chance to learn enough to be a proper village.

But like all the best adventure books, that changes quickly when Hannah is swept up in an adventure on the high seas. She learns that the fisherman she's apprenticing isn't exactly what he seems and ends up far away from home where she begins to discover more about her own magic, the world and faces the threatening otherworldly creatures from the Mists.

Hanna is not just Ananna remade, but her own character.  She's not quite as wild as her namesake but she's independent and strong in a quieter way.  This is a fun, rollicking adventure on the high sea with magic and mystery.  Sometimes that's exactly what I want, and Cassandra Rose Clarke continues to deliver.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Absentee Blogger

So you've probably noticed lately I've been a bit of an absentee blogger. No worries, I am not quitting!  I've just been distracted.  When I first started this blog I wanted it to be a mix of books and adventures because I'm a mix of a bookworm, geek and adventurer.  But then I didn't have that many adventures so it became slowly just a book blog.

Lately I've been adventuring more.  In the past year I've taken up climbing in earnest (I learned how to at Girl Scout camp, loved it but never had much opportunity to improve or learn anything aside from top rope belaying).  But about 5 months after I moved to Louisville I joined a climbing meet-up.  At first I was pretty terrible.  Seriously if you're wanting to try this sport DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED.  Very few people are instantly good at it.

But since I haven't been around the blog-o-sphere much I thought I'd share some pictures of my adventures.

My first lead climb (super easy).

My second lead climb (also super easy).

Having fun on top-rope. 

Another top rope picture (different day, same outfit lol).
Photo by Matt Ragan if you ever need climbing photos check him out: 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Far From You (review)

4/5 stars

Far From You (Goodreads | Amazon) had a lot that could go wrong. The writer made a bold choice by choosing to have a drug addicted heroine, which could veer into Lifetime Original movie territory very quickly but doesn't.  It also tackled the "teen solving a crime" genre in a way that ACTUALLY WORKED.  I often complain that the main characters crime-solving novels put themselves into harms way and avoid the police for completely stupid convoluted reasons.  That's not the case with Far From You.  Sophie actually tried going to the police, trying trusting the system but because she's an addict nobody believes her.

The story follows Sophie, a teenager who became addicted to painkillers after she was in crippling car accident.  Even though she's been clean for over nine months, she's just been released from rehab following her best friend's murder.  Everyone thinks that Sophie relapsed and that the murder was a drug deal that went sour.  Nobody will believe Sophie she says she's clean and the police quickly stop looking for Mina's killer.

That's when Sophie takes the case.  For her, it's a coping mechanism.  She needs the goal, something to help keep her sober and to give her life purpose.  The story shows her guilt about Mina's death, the blame the community forces onto her and her struggles to breakout of the role of "addict" everyone's put her in.  It's about more than solving Mina's murder, it's about Sophie proving herself to those around and proving she's not an untrustworthy addict.

This book is very original - a combination of romance, mystery and overcoming addiction.  The story is told in a split timeline, alternating between the present day and the days leading up to Mina's death.  I appreciated it's gritty honesty and the story it chose to tell.  Sometimes the best stories aren't the easiest ones to tell.  Sophie's story is hard, full of mistakes, distrust, ups and downs, but it's authentic and in the end a worthwhile read.

I received an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Seriously Saturday Series Catch-up Update 2


Guys I've been avoiding putting this post up here.  Why? I've been absolutely terrible at this challenge.  I have read zero of the series books I've committed to in the past couple of months (and got overwhelmed with galleys and behind on blogging).  But it's May, the no-galley month for me so I'm planning to get back on track on my series challenge.  This month I plan to read the latest installment of the Bloody Jack series and catch-up on the Cinder series.  That's my commitment to myself and to the books that I want to read, not just the books that I'm given.

So I'll see you next month with an actual update!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Follow Friday - Dinner with an author

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: What living author or authors would you like to have dinner with? (Try to think beyond JK Rowling)
That's actually kinda easy.  Rachel Hawkins because she seems like the type of person who would be fun to get drunk with (which I've never been BUT maybe for this occasion I would) and tell silly stories and completely make a fool of ourselves.  Wait, was I supposed to be deep with this question? Because I'd rather drink and laugh about "Reader I married him" than have a deep conversation.  I don't know what that says with me.

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy (review)

3.5/5 stars

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy (Goodreads | Amazon) was much more lighthearted and fun that I expected.  From the time I obtained this book to the time I read it, obviously I'd forgotten the blurb (Disclosure: That is somewhat intentional. I like having a blank slate when I read a book).  I'm not sure if it was the words "Vigilante Poets" or the name of the school "Selwyn Academy" that made me expect something more pretentious, but this book wasn't at all despite being about high school artists (who let's be honest are prone to being pretentious).

What I got instead was a fun, snarky book that I tore through quickly.  Ethan reads a little younger than he is, but it feels intentional like he's immature and uses that as a coping mechanism.  He's not a stereotypical arts school kid, he considers himself medicore, thinks about girls and just isn't the artsy-fartsy type.  You get a good mix of characters in this book, from ones who seem like arts school stereotypes (even if they're more complex than that) to ones who you wouldn't think are artists at first glance.

The book follows an arts school reality show "For Arts Sake" and the students who try to subvert it, both for selfish purposes (crushes) and because of more artistic intentions.  It's a romping story with a bit of a mystery, a bit of romances and just a lot of silly fun.  It talks about art in a way that doesn't make you roll your eyes. This is a book that pokes fun at itself and doesn't mind being the butt of it's own jokes, which makes it a nice fun read.

I received an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Follow Friday - Pets

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: Have any pets? Tell us or show us
I am a future crazy dog lady...or just a crazy dog lady who lives in an apartment and can not meet her dog-wants due to rules and things.  Right now I personally have one dog, a giant 80-something pound mutt named Bandit.  She's friendly and loving (even if a tad needy).  She was a stray who followed my sister home from a walk and we've been together for years now. Almost daily someone asks me about her breed because she's such a cute big speckled mess of a dog.

My family currently has four dogs, a turtle and a hamster (the most they've had were six dogs, 3 cats, an iguana and a turtle).  I don't live at home but I still consider these my pets because half of them were there before I moved and the other half I love to pieces.  Sadly the turtle and the hamster have not been photographed.  But here is a picture of Sandy, Charlie, Cubbie and Bailey on our "dog couch."  Sandy was a neighborhood drop-off, as was Charlie in another neighborhood, Cubbie is what happens when your dog jumps a 6 foot fence and gets pregnant and Bailey was found in a park.  It's a motley and strange crew but I love them!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Follow Friday - Spring Break

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
Question: Spring Break. Where would be your favorite destination spot if you could join the Spring Break festivities?
Guys I'm not a beach person or a party person. That's just not me.  If I could go anywhere during spring for a week, where would it be?  Hiking or climbing.  Right now I'm really into rock climbing (and might have a separate post about how that is interfering with my blogging) so I'd probably go down the road to the Red River Gorge, or maybe somewhere else where there are some good climbs at my level. It may not be sunbathing and I may end up scabbed and scarred but it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Just because I'm super excited about climbing here's two pictures from the past couple of trips.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love Letters To the Dead (review)

4.5/5 stars

Very rarely is a book as lovely to read as Love Letters to the Dead (Goodreads | Amazon).  Something about this story, told in epistolary form through letters to famous dead people, just resonates and reads as genuinely authentic.

It all starts with a school assignment to write a letter to a dead person.  And Laurel does the assignment, pours her heart onto paper, writing words that she hasn't spoken or admitted out loud.  But at the end of the class she can't turn the letter in, she's been too honest, but she does keep writing.

She writes letters to cope with her older sister May's sudden death and to work through her idealized version of May in comparison to the reality of her sister.  But this book isn't just about May, it's about Laurel discovering herself, dealing not only with the guilt about her sister's death but her own problems as well.  She has to step out of the shadow of a dead girl and she does that through writing letters to dead people.
“May, I love you with everything I am. For so long, I just wanted to be like you. But I had to figure out that I am someone too, and now I can carry you, your heart with mine, everywhere I go.”
The writing is both elegant and simple.  There are so many quotes I want to pull from the book.  This whole review could just be quotes that make your heart hurt.  But I'd rather you just believe me and discover it for yourself.  This book is something special.  Though it's a heartbreaking story, with letters written to dead people mostly about her dead sister, in some ways it's still life affirming.  We're not reading Laurel give up, succumb, we're seeing her cope, grow-up and begin to become herself, whoever that might be.  She's flawed, makes mistakes, but most importantly, from the perspective of a reader, Laurel feels real and complex.  Books like this, internal character-driven stories, live or die by their protagonists and Love Letters to the Dead absolutely soars.

I received an advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Stolen Songbird (review)

3/5 stars

The Stolen Songbird (Goodreads | Amazon) is a book that I have very mixed feeling towards.  This book has one of the strongest beginnings of anything I've read lately.  The way the book introduced the main character and then jumped into action enthralled me.  I was like "YES!"

The story begins with Cécile, a strong-willed girls with big dreams of performing on stage, being kidnapped by a village boy and sold to the kingdom of trolls who live under the mountain.  She fights the whole way - from the moment she's kidnapped, till when she's married against her will to a troll prince and keeps standing up for herself.

So what happened?  The first half of this book is great.  Lots of actions, an interesting world beneath the mountain and lots of political maneuvering.  But at some point the story just peters out.  As the romance grows, Cécile's fight and personality seem to decrease.  That probably won't bother some people as much as it bothered me.  It's fairly well explained.  But a book that started out with such a strong character, fiercely independent full of political intrigue seemed to devolve into something less.  There was also a forced-attempt at a love triangle that never really had any build up or romance to back it up.

How much you like this book probably depends on what you're looking for when reading it.

I received an advance reading e-book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Boy21 (review)

4/5 stars

If you're looking for a basketball book with less play-by-plays and more true-to-life problems, Boy21 (Goodreads | Amazon) is an excellent choice.  Maybe I'm the only one actively looking for basketball books (hopefully not!) but Boy21 could be appreciated by sports-fans and non-fans alike. Sports are not just about watching a ball go through a hoop (or into a net or into the endzone).  This is something that non-athletes and non-sports fans seem to forget.  Sports are about so much more, and Boy21 handles that in a really in-depth and original way

For Finley, basketball has always been a way to escape his life.  He's a good point guard, but not good enough to play college basketball.  But basketball is something that makes sense and when he's tuned into a game he can forget about his life, forget about the gangs, poverty, his dead mother, his disabled grandfather and just focus on the game.  Even though he's not got a future in basketball, he works harder in the offseason and trains harder than any of his teammates.  

But then Boy21 comes to town.  He's a highly recruited basketball player but in the aftermath of his parent's murder he's refusing to play basketball, sheds his name and pretends to be an alien from outer space waiting for his parents to return and take him home again.  Finley's basketball coach, who was friend's with Boy21's parents, asks him to help bring the boy back to reality.  Even though it might cost him his starting position, Finley decides to help because he always does what his coach asks of him.

The meat of this book is the friendship between two broken boys, Finley who doesn't talk to anyone except his girlfriend Erin and Boy21 who finds Finley a calming presence.  Within each other they find someone they can trust, confide in and they understand each other.  They've both suffered tragedy in the past and they both need basketball, even if Boy21 doesn't want to admit it.  

This book is perfectly written, and as my second Matthew Quick book I knew to expect that. It's written in a simple down-to-earth manner.  They're both high school students, but smarter and maybe wiser than their years based on their life experience.  The writing captures that.  If I had any complaints about this book, it's that it's too short and maybe that's not a complaint at all.  The story was told, short, concisely but with a ton of emotional impact, but I wasn't ready for the book to end.  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (review)

4/5 stars

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (Goodreads | Amazon) is a beautifully written book, bursting with magical realism and lyrical writing but at the same time very accessible to read. At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about the multi-generational story but by the end everything was woven nicely together and the past was just as important as the present within the life of Ava Lavender herself.

The book doesn't begin with Ava Lavender, but with her grandmother's family the Roux's.  They're a family of immigrant making their way in New York City, both beautiful and strange.  The tragedies of Ava Lavender's life start way back with the tragedies of her grandmother's life and the flight that led them across the country to as far away from New York as they could go.  They continue with the heartbreak of her mother's Vivane's life, and the problems of her parents and grandparents are interwoven into Ava's life as well.

When Ava Lavender finally comes into the story she's a perfectly beautiful and normal little girl, with the exception of the inexplicable wings she was born with.  Out of all the people in the novel, despite her wings, Ava is probably the most normal.  I liked the juxtaposition of her physical abnormality with her normal childhood feelings and eventually normal teenage girl wants and needs.
"I mean, are you the threat, or are we?" 
"You are! Well, they are." I motion to the cluster of teenagers. Of course it was them. Rowe peered at me thoughtfully. 
"Funny. I suspect they might say otherwise." He stood. "And that might just be the root of the problem: we're all afraid of each other, wings or no wings."
I like that this book didn't give into high school tropes.  Even though Ava is home schooled (her mother is afraid something terrible will happen otherwises), she's befriended by a neighborhood girl.  After asking if she could fly (which is exactly what I would've done as a child), Cardigan and Ava become fast friends.  There is no girl-on-girl hatred or jealousy, just immediate and true friendship between two children that follows them into their teenage years.

The outside world is not nearly as terrible to Ava as her mother imagines, until as the title implies something terrible happens.  But part of the reason something bad happens is that Ava is too sheltered and not prepared to deal with people who wish her ill.  Even so, the evil done is treated as an aberration to humanity not the state of it.  For the most part, people mean well and this book acknowledges that while also showing that bad things do happen.

As far as debut's go, this one is pretty stunning.  It's ambitious and truly original, a story that doesn't seem like it should work but does completely.  Rather than give into the easy teenage tropes, Leslye Walton builds believable characters, a charming town and a timeless whimsical story that's a welcomed addition to the YA shelves.

I received an advanced reading e-book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sexism & Feminism in Geekery 16

Sorry for the delay in writing this column.  You may wonder why it has taken me so long to write this edition of Sexism and Feminism. Well, frankly, there were so many explosions on this front that it was intimidating as hell to attempt to gather and organize the information into one cohesive piece.  Sometimes I like to wait till the dust settles in hopes of gaining some perspective.  But to hell with being cohesive!  Here is a spattering of links for you to analyze!

Everyone Has Thoughts About John Green

Y'all, this is probably the biggest reason for the delay.  Someone wrote an article about John Green and his impact on the success of women writer's in YA.  By the time I saw the link to the article, supposedly it'd already been changed and updated by the writer. Thus I found it difficult to get a grasp on what was actually said.  However, I did see some very interesting twitter conversations surrounding the article, so those are what I will share.

Sara Zarr also had an interesting storify on the conversation that's worth reading.  Here's the thing, I like John Green.  I was involved in Nerdfighteria before I was a book blogger or before I read John Green's books.  I've noticed through following Green on different mediums throughout the years that he tries to spread his success around.  When people try to crown him the High Priest of YA he points towards books that he considers better than his (many of which are by my favorite authors like Melina Marchetta and that I agree are better books).  Yes, John Green has influence in the YA community and he's a bit of a media darling because he's a bit of an oddity.

However, attributing a female author's success to him is problematic for a variety of reasons, mainly because it discredits the woman's work.  Does John Green champion books he loves? Yes.  But you know, I think the credit still goes to the author herself for writing a book worth championing.  That's not to say John Green's influence isn't weird and disconcerting at times but let's try not to discredit women in our attempts to understand the gender politics of publishing.  (Note: I feel bad for leaving out Maureen Johnson's tweets on this topic and other's. There was so much intelligent conversation around this topic that I cannot include it all).

John Green and Twilight (Is this whole column about him?)

So there was a second John Green incident.  One that was a little bit blown out of proportion in my opinion (mainly because I've seen others say the same thing).
In the past, I've linked articles that discuss how many of the "Twilight is terrible" conversations are misogynistic and how the world likes to shit on things that teenage girls like (See example here).  I've read even more articles than I've linked about how the levels of hatred for Twilight are worrisome.  Here's the thing, I hate Twilight for the same reason most feminists hate Twilight, i.e. the abusive relationship.  But I also hate the people who hate Twilight just because teenage girls love it and thus it's clearly worthless.  For the record, I read the Twilight books but a lot of people just love loathing without any knowledge of why. To be honest, I almost wrote a whole column about how you could complain about both but then John Green actually elaborated.
So I think we’re talking about two different kinds of criticism: The totally legitimate criticism we see in literary journals and feminist web sites about misogyny, and the demeaning and dismissive this-sucks-because-teen-girls-like-it-and-everyone-knows-that-teen-girls-are-not-fully-human criticism we see in popular culture.
THIS EXACTLY. This is the problem with a lot of the Twilight hate.  Read his full response here.

SFWA Petition WTF

So this one is SUPER SPECIAL.  A guy who isn't even in SFWA decided to create a petition in response to the accusations of sexism in the SFWA bulletin.
But you don’t get to claim marginalization when you’re at the center of a thing. You can’t endorse the efforts of bigots to establish a safe space for their bigotry, and then plausibly claim you’re not one of them. You don’t get to pretend that you’re in the demographic minority when you’re… not. And like I Tweeted yesterday before I had to go offline for some therapeutic Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, you don’t get to pretend you’re being mistreated when really, you’re just being treated like your voice isn’t the only important one in the room anymore. 

N.K. Jemison gets to the heart of why the petition is problematic (read more). Radish Reviews has a nice summary here as well as a link to the original petition.  You can read the crazy facebook rant of the person who sent out the petition here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Follow Friday - Changing Reading habits

Follow Friday is a feature created by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  It's a fun blog hop where you meet other book bloggers and find people to follow.
How have your reading habits changed in the past few years? Did you get interested in a new genre? Do you read more? Less? Why do you think your habits changed, if they did.
I read SO MUCH MORE.  I'm a goal oriented person, so between being a blogger and the Goodreads challenge my reading has increased a lot.  I also think more about what I read, what worked and didn't.  For me this is one of the best things about being a blogger.  When you're in school you're forced to think about what you're reading but once your an adult you can just read however and whatever.  I like putting thought into what I read.

Another thing that has changed in the last few years is the number of audiobooks that I read. I'd listened to a few over the years.  After my grandfather died a few years ago I didn't like spending that much time with my thoughts.  I also had a job with a decent commute that required a lot of driving.  So I started listening to audiobooks and now I can't identify songs on the radio because I'd rather spend my time in stories than anywhere else.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March Madness

So anyone who follows me on twitter knows that books aren't the only thing I'm passionate about.  I love love love basketball, particularly University of Kentucky basketball.  That might seem odd for a 5ft-nothing girl bookworm who played one season of youth basketball (nobody would pass me the ball because I was short so I stuck to gymnastics), but in Kentucky, UK basketball is a way of life.  We live, breathe and bleed blue here. March is our favorite month of the year.

Each year, I read a basketball book during March to celebrate my two combined passions.  Sadly, there aren't nearly enough basketball novels out there so I ration my basketball novels in hopes of not running out of March reading material. Seriously, I need more basketball books (or just sports YAs) to be published.

So I'm wondering, does anyone want to join me and read a basketball book this month?  I can't get enough basketball during March, between watching all the games and reading a book it's all-basketball-all-the-time for me.  If you're not sure where to start with reading a basketball book I highly recommend Ball Don't Lie by Matt de la Pena (review here).  Last year I read Game by Walter Dean Meyers (review here). In 2012 I read The Final Four by Paul Volponi (review here) This year I plan to read either Boy21 by Matthew Quick or Rebound by Bob Krech (depending on how quickly I finish current read vs. how quickly library request goes through).

And while we're talking about basketball book recommendations, please let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments!  Hell, I don't even care if you're self promoting if it's an actual basketball book. That's how desperate I am. If anyone's interested in joining and doing a basketball read-a-long let me know!  I'd love to meet other book bloggers or readers who love sports as much as me.  Let's defy stereotypes together!