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Friday, July 25, 2014

Feature & Follow #2

What is your favorite tv series that you can watch over and over again on Netflix?
Without a doubt - Roswell. If you like JLA's Lux series, you'll LOVE Roswell. There's Aliens and lots of intense kissing. 

It's supercharged and superfun. DRAMA EVERYWHERE. Also, the series poetically begins and ends. Novel lovers will love the symmetry of the narrative. GO WATCH IT. Also, this is for Parajunkee's bloghop so please follow her and Alison and follow me and everyone else. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Like No Other by Una LaMarche GIVEAWAY

Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart? 
Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. 
Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). 
They've spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did. 
When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection. 
Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up? 
In the timeless tradition of West Side Story and Crossing Delancey, this thoroughly modern take on romance will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when and where you least expect it.
I have mixed feelings on this novel. On one hand, this novel excellently brings diversity to the table and lets average Americans peek in to the Hasidic religion; but on the other hand, Jax was an extremely flat character. He went in to the romance with nothing to lose and as such the west side story comparison is a little lost (until it's regained in the off-kilter ending.)

Devorah is a gem, I identify with her a lot as my religion wrestles with me too. She goes out on a limb to explore the non Hasidic world with a boy named Jax and she gets it. She just doesn't know exactly what she wants or how much she can explore within reason. She struggles with her reason and to me that makes her a very real character.

The story flowed pretty quickly from the beginning, and continued at a steady pace throughout the novel. The ending was a little jerky however. I feel like Jax made this huge effort not to give up and then in the end he just kind of threw his hands up and said "Ah well..." and that transition just didn't flow very well with the rest of the story.

I did like, however, like Devorah's ending narration, about how she's adopted some of the world, while still keeping her faith. She even expresses that her journey of exploration isn't quite over, and that she looks forward to exploring her new life of faith and compromises.

It was all in all very lovely to read. So on this basis I give it four stars. The only other problem I had with it, was the fact that Devorah did continue to compromise with her faith. It's strange to think about but in Christianity there is no compromise. You are either expending all energies to become more like Jesus, or you are compromising with the world and in return aren't living a Christian lifestyle.

So to see Devorah's family accepting this new mixed version of her was unusual for me. nonetheless, four stars. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a #WeNeedDiverseBooks novel.

About the Author
Una LaMarche

Una LaMarche is a writer and amateur Melrose Place historian who lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, her son, and her hoard of vintage Sassy magazines. Una used to be a fancy magazine and newspaper editor before she had a baby and started writing from home, sometimes pantsless, for a living. Her first novel, Five Summers, is being released from Razorbill in May, and she’s currently in development on a second. She also writes for The New York Observer (of which she is a former managing editor), The Huffington Post, Vegas Seven, NickMom, and Aiming Low. Una continues to blog at The Sassy Curmudgeon, which she started in 2006 as a way to bring shame to her family. You can find her on Twitter under the handle @sassycurmudgeon. (If she’s not there, she’s probably trolling the internet for celebrity blind items or bulk candy.)

You can find her on social medias here:

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Chapter by Chapter - New Meme

Chapter by Chapter is a weekly meme hosted by me.  
The purpose of this meme is to give insight to viewers about the reviewing process. 
Basically, what it is, is sharing your thoughts on a book, chapter by chapter.
You can do it a chapter at a time, or do multiple chapters in one post.
My first Chapter by Chapter Meme will take place next Monday
and will feature my thoughts while i'm reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
(Yes, this is my first time reading it, yes, I'm probably going to ruin the rest of my life.)
I'll post a linksy next monday!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Curriculum planned!

In a night of pure inspiration, I set out my ten lesson plans and all their details.
It's beautiful and I can't wait to get to talk to these students and teach them all about blogging.

In a surprise twist I've been given another blessing by getting in contact with a literature teacher who runs a group called "The Silvertongue Society" He'd like me to come speak to them on some occasion.

I'm so happy doing this.

Who knew that the kid that could barely spit out an oral book report in 3rd grade would go on to teach entire classrooms?

The lessons at the library will consist of about ten lessons, and if all planning goes right, we'll have one epic field trip at the end.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Uncaged (The Singular Menace) by John Sandford & Michele Cook

Shay Remby arrives in Hollywood with $58 and a handmade knife, searching for her brother, Odin.
Odin’s a brilliant hacker but a bit of a loose cannon. He and a group of radical animal-rights activists hit a Singular Corp. research lab in Eugene, Oregon. The raid was a disaster, but Odin escaped with a set of highly encrypted flash drives and a post-surgical dog.
When Shay gets a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from Odin—talking about evidence of unspeakable experiments, and a ruthless corporation, and how he must hide—she’s concerned. When she gets a menacing visit from Singular’s security team, she knows: her brother’s a dead man walking.
What Singular doesn’t know—yet—is that 16-year-old Shay is every bit as ruthless as their security force, and she will burn Singular to the ground, if that’s what it takes to save her brother

At first, this book was off-putting. It switched POV's frequently and didn't explain much about the current situation, I could definitely tell that this was an adult author trying to write a YA book. The book just continued like that and it really seemed to drag on. Still, without explaining much about the circumstances.

Eventually it seemed to settle on Shay's POV and the reader starts to get his/her balance straight. While a little unrealistic, I loved Twist and his hotel of street kids, I loved his rules and his seemingly soft spot for Shay (because she breaks a lot of his rules and he never does kick her out.) Twist's unusual occupation of statement painting and trouble making makes for a good story. Although his political statements were off-putting as well. I think John could alienate a lot of readers very quickly this way. but I think overall the transition he and the kids made from trouble makers to crime stoppers was fluid. For whatever reason the odd style of writing at the beginning, evens itself out and changes POVs less often.

Certainly the most interesting part of the book was the ending; which was calculated by the crew of teens (down to the iota of detail) and that was perhaps my favorite facet of the story (The crew's calculating nature.) My favorite character of course was Odin, the 17 soon to be 18 year old kid, whom while mildly autistic is also a computer genius. Odin reminds me a lot of myself actually, and I was proud of the moves he made and his resolution to never give up his friends despite being water boarded repeatedly by his captors. This book is definitely for the older crowd. Odin and X were the story savers from my point of view. If they hadn't been there to beef up the story (or if Odin's POV had been left out) I think Shay would have been a very flat character, and the book would have lost whatever spine it had to begin with.

This book was difficult for me to review, while the end was definitely worth it, the book was not without it's major flaws... So I lean towards three stars, but will give it four for the action and solid ending. I am, afterall, looking forward to the next installment.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Authors
John Sandford
Michele Cook
No information found.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Into the Blind - Excerpt makeup post

Chapter 1
The green cement floor under my feet wasn’t doing anything. I mean, I wasn’t sure what exactly was supposed to happen, but Sinna was looking down at the floor with so much focus. Presently, he raised his eyes at me, and since I’m blind but have this highly fortunate ability to see what the people around me are looking at, I saw the object of his gaze: myself. Together, Sin and I surveyed my short figure, my pale, heart-shaped face, and my hopelessly tangled white hair. Sinna sighed as if I were somehow wrong for what we were doing.
“Ever, I can’t,” he said finally. “It’s too dangerous.”
I made a funny pleading face. I wanted to joke, to ask him how a nightmare could be dangerous. It was just a hallucination. A waking vision that temporarily blocked out one’s reality. And if Sin succeeded in making it for me now, he’d be able to make one for our guards later. We could be free in half an hour! But I suddenly choked up. The room around me—the cold cement walls the color of gangrene, the ugly kidney-shaped wooden counter, and the piles of books, magazines, newspapers, and journals (for this room used to be a mall bookstore)—all of it began to suffocate me. I had to get out of here. I had to be free. How I wished I could make Sinna feel this crushing need!
He squeezed my shoulder: he understood. Then, sounding like the Collegiate Thesaurus he’d used for a pillow for the last several years, he said, “Very well, Ever-Jezebel. Do you recall what I have imparted to you not three minutes ago?”
I nodded and made my voice sound deeper to show Sinna that I was quoting him, “Ever, you ought to remember three things. First, if you notice that something, even the tiniest and most insignificant detail, deviates from the nightmare we have agreed upon, please stop me. Second, even if everything does go according to the plan, but you feel that you wish to be released from the nightmare, please stop me. Third, once in a nightmare, you will not be able to see through my eyes, and fourth, knowing that it’s not real is not going to help you in there.” I switched to my own voice, “Did I get it right?”
The sounds of steps and whacks came from the back room, where Sinna’s girlfriend was teaching my boyfriend a new method of killing people. By breaking their necks with the edge of a palm. I only hoped Demi wouldn’t kill Fox because that girl was freakishly strong.
Sinna chuckled. “Yes, it was all correct, although I do not believe I sounded even fractionally this excited. However, let’s proceed. An ocean. Blue and warm. With a school of fish that looks like the one on the cover of the Marine Atlas.” The last words he muttered quietly under his nose, clearly to remind himself of what I’d requested to see in a nightmare.
He backed away from me…a few steps…then a few more…then all the way to the massive steel door that stood between us and freedom. He stopped there, and again, we watched the dusty green floor by my feet.
Suddenly it quaked.
Yes, right under my feet.
The snapshots I was getting through Sinna’s eyes vanished, but somehow, impossibly, improbably, I was still seeing the floor by my feet. It quaked once again.
On its third quake, a coffin-sized segment of the green floor in front of me ballooned up. In perfect silence, it wriggled and jerked from side to side, as if something large was pushing our floor from beneath.
My heart sang with excitement: it was happening, it was here, the miracle that would set us free.
The bulge gave one last shuddering twitch and then, still silently, cracked open. A gush of clear, cold liquid shot straight up out of the hole, wetting my chin, my nose, and a lock of hair that had slipped out of my ponytail. As I wiped my face, wondering why the liquid smelled of rubbing alcohol, the water spurt hit the ceiling and came back down, this time soaking me head to toe, and I couldn’t believe it was just a vision. My skin felt wet. My hair and dress clung to me as if they were truly soaked, and the only word I could use to describe this fluid was “real.”
More water came through the crack in the floor, and then more still. Only it didn’t spread—it stayed around me in a large circular puddle. I hopped up and down in it. 
“I’m loving this!” I told Sinna, not sure if I would get a response—he hadn’t specified if we’d be able to talk while I was inside a nightmare. But I did hear from him: he chortled and said, “Just don’t attempt to swim in this reservoir, Ever. It’s not real.”
The water kept on rising. Soon it touched my chin, and I hastened to press my lips together, which wasn’t easy because I was grinning so hard. Then I had to pinch my nose shut. Since I was a bit late on that, a little water trickled down my throat, and it tasted exactly like the tap stuff I drank every day. So…not a salty ocean after all? But no matter, it was still a fun nightmare.

A small, paper-white ghost flitted past me...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Celebrating 100 Facebook likes!

My Facebook page has always been thrown to the wayside but it's finally starting to catch up with everything else! For that, I'm giving away 2 ARCs of Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater along with two bookmarks from my amazing bookmark box (which has been refreshed by ALA14!)

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.
But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.
Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.
When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

Bravo! Bravo *claps* This novel delivered way more than I was expecting. I picked up the book expecting a Tamora Pierce novel (I hated those novels... I seem to be one of the very few that doesn't adore them to death.) Or, I expected a Throne of Glass novel (which I also hated, contrary to popular opinion.)  so I had braced myself for a lot of nonsense and boredom and irritation. (but I picked the novel up in the first place because I was holding out a hope from all hopes that I would get something satisfying, and boy did I!)

This novel just punches through the stories walls one by one. I love the fact that Kyra's love triangle so to speak, wasn't in the forefront of the story, and that she did absolutely nothing to engage or tease either party (that's my pet peeve in books.) Kyra thinks on her feet, and boy can her feet move.... It's definitely a plus that this is not a black and white novel, there is a lot of shifting, back and forth and the parties aren't quite concrete until the end.

When Kyra has to prove herself to the band of thieves, I love how, instead of beating them at their own game or trying to become one of them, she just blows them away with who she naturally is, and proves that there is sometimes more value to stealth than there is brute strength.

I identified with Kyra, and her homelessness, I identified with her desire to care for Idalee and Lettie.
Best of all,
I LOVED Tristam. That's what I call an A+ character. He's a dashing noble knight who eventually falls in love  with a member, of not just one, but TWO of his highest sworn enemies.

It's rather impressive how naturally the progression goes from aggressor, to passive, to lover.
he's my kind of book boyfriend.

Anyway, I better wrap this up.
Five stars, I will eagerly be awaiting book #2.
I thank Hyperion for the ARC and I must announce that in no way did it influence my opinion on this novel.
I HIGHLY recommend this novel. It's a dream of all medieval dreams, and is certainly going to be a hard book to follow.

About the Author

You can read Ten Facts About her HERE

Monday, July 7, 2014

Writing curriculum - A Scary Beast

AH! I'm in charge of teaching a group of teenagers how to effectively run a blog (and about publishing etc.)

Which means....I have to write lesson plans.

I have 10 sessions to teach kids everything they need to know about blogging.

My first session, I intend on introducing them to how to write a book review, and that will be their assigment until the next session. but during that session I'll have time to cover other things.
so I think I'm going to go the generic route and do an overall, what it takes to run a blog, and what a blog usually consists of (you know, memes, cover reveals, author interviews, giveaways.)

this is crazy! I'm also putting together bound editions of my lessons so that each kid has a reference about what i'm talking about in each assigment. It'll even have a little section for notes and an index where they can keep track of login codes and etc.

Ok bloggers, authors, and publishers....what do you believe is THE MOST CRUCIAL advice that I tell these kids. It can be anything, just be original and useful! If you have a blog, and I use your advice, I'll cite you in the reference section.