June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (86)

This week's topic is top ten books I've read in 2015.  I've read so many good books this year!  The awesome thing about blogging is that it makes me more aware of what I'm reading.  With the addition of goodreads I am also more aware of the quality of what I'm reading (that star reviewing is a flawed system, but it's still helpful overall).  I can honestly say that I've seen an upswing in the quality of what I've been reading since I started this blog.  I don't know if that's indicative of me becoming a pickier reader as time goes on or if it's just me seeing the elevation of writing in this genre.  I don't know, but I'm seeing an overwhelming trend of 4 and 5 star reads on my goodreads and that's amazing.  Here are ten of the best that I've read this year so far:

Tonight the Streets Are Ours - Leila Sales

What are the best books that you've read so far this year?

June 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (85)

This week's topic, in honor of five years of Top Ten Tuesday, is top ten top ten topics.  Say that five times fast.  Here are some of my favorites:

1. Ten books I'd give a theme song to

2. Ten favorite quotes from books
3. Ten favorite fictional couples

4. Ten settings I'd like to see more of

5. Ten favorite [repackaged] book covers

6. Ten books featuring travel

7. Ten favorite book beginnings

8. Ten things on my bookish bucket list

9. Ten books about friendship

10. Ten favorite movies or TV shows

There have been so many awesome topics for TTT and there are a ton that I missed.  I've only included topics that I've posted on.  This is my favorite weekly post and I can't wait to see what new topics crop up in the future.  Which were some of your favorites?

June 18, 2015

Hold Me Like a Breath - Tiffany Schmidt

Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Pages: 400
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Netgalley
About: Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.
Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily. And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever. All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks. 

The description of this one sounds so badass: crime family!  Black market organs!  Girl whose family thinks can’t take care of herself actually can!  Love!  Death!  Sadly, it didn’t live up to the hype.  The crime stuff was sooooo not exciting – mostly because Penelope has essentially no knowledge of the business.  Her family protects her from everything, especially the dealings going on under their own roof.  The love interests were also lackluster; I wasn’t really rooting for either of them.  (And one of them was a bad case of insta-love.  The only reason I didn’t 100% hate this is because the girl’s literally only been around ‘The Family’ her entire life.)  But the thing that really bothered me about this one is that we’re expected to believe that Penelope, after living her whole life sheltered beyond belief (like, basically can’t leave the house, sheltered) can get along on her own living in secret in New York City.  She requires almost weekly blood transfusions and she's never even had to make her own meals.  I can't suspend that much disbelief.  I’m most likely not going to continue with this series.

June 16, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (84)

This week's topic is top ten books on my summer '15 TBR list.  We had a really hot (gross) last couple of days by me, so it feels like summer's really here.  I love to read contemporary in the summer, so my list is a whole bunch of that:

VIP: I'm With the Band - Jen Calonita
Kill the Boy Band - Goldy Moldavsky
Tonight the Streets Are Ours - Leila Sales
First There Was Forever - Juliana Romano
Dumplin' - Julie Murphy

Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella
Proof of Forever - Lexa Hillyer
Kissing Ted Callahan - Amy Spalding
Lois Lane: Fallout - Gwenda Bond
Kissing in America - Margo Rabb

I think I'm going to start with Kill the Boy Band (super relevant to my interests).  What are you guys looking forward to reading this summer?

June 11, 2015

Material Girls - Elaine Dimopoulis

Author: Elaine Dimopoulos
Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
About: In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?

Material Girls took me a while to get into and I think that it's probably the fault of the description on Netgalley.  It tried to sell it as Divergent meets Project Runway, so my brain kept trying to shove it into a dystopian box and it wasn’t working.  Usually with dystopias there is a very clear picture as to why our world has fallen apart and we’ve transitioned into a new government system.  With this one I couldn’t really figure out what would have necessitated the corporations to be so harshly structured.  The other issue that held me back in the beginning was it was a little too ‘fashion’ at first. (I know, that’s what it’s about, whatever).  There was a ton of detailed descriptions of fabrics and over the top trends that I had to slog through to get to the story.

As I kept reading the storyline did become easier to swallow and I think a big part of that is because of Ivy.  I expect celebrity stories to be over the top as a rule, so this hyper consumer driven atmosphere was a lot more natural in her part of the story.  I liked that you got to see how this system affected all different levels of people: from Ivy’s brother Constantine, who was just young enough to start being affected by the rules and regulations concerning his future career, to Ivy at the top of the ladder setting the trends (kind of), to Marla who was demoted from her job of deciding what’s trendy and becoming a basement dweller creating the trends (a lot less glamorous than it sounds). 

This was kind of a bleak story.  The amount of job insecurity on every level was bananas, the trends were insane-like actually make you bleed, insane, there’s no place for older people in the workplace, the overseers of your job can drug you to get you to do what they want.  It was just crazy.  I think my favorite aspect of this world was the trendchecker, which allowed you to scan your item of clothing to check if it was on trend or expired.  It sucks that you basically had to get rid of expired trends, but I would spend so much time scanning my clothes just to see if something was expired or not.  And then I would probably wear it anyway because I don’t care as much about trends as the powers that be would want me to.  

All in all, Material Girls was too much concept and not enough reasoning behind the concept.  

June 9, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (83)

This week's topic is top ten most anticipated releases for the rest of 2015.  This is going to kind of double as my list of books I got from BEA that I'm most excited to read.  Okay, this was going to be a list of stuff that I was excited that I got at BEA, but then there were just so many other books I was excited about so this list just became a mess.  Oh well, here's ten books I can't wait to check out (pictures are links to Goodreads):

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather's shed. They say it was suicide.
But June doesn't believe it.
June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else-before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.
But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June's boyfriend Ryan were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this-things would never be the same again.
And now, a year later, Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth...which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined. 

Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?
Two months have passed since Ivy narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf’s grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there—somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it’s up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.
When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back in the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building. Ivy’s not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf’s deadly game?

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.
Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.

Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.
Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.
Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him.
Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom. 
Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.
During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either.

Four talented teenagers are traumatized-coping with grief, surviving date rape, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults--and they'll do anything to escape the pressure. They'll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them... until they learn the only way to escape reality is to face it head-on.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”
These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

Are any of these on your list?  Did I miss something that I should be looking out for?  Let me know!

June 2, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (82)

This week's topic is top ten books I'd like to see as movies or TV shows.  Now, I know most page to screen translations are not awesome, but they usually worm their way into my heart.  I have a collection of YA movie adaptations on DVD and I'm always looking to add more to it.  Here are some of the books that I think would make great (or better than okay?) adaptations.

1. Also Known As - Robin Benway - MOVIE

A teen safe cracker raised by spy parents, taking up the mantel and spying on a cute boy to get to his dad?  Yes please!

2. Ten - Gretchen McNeil - MOVIE

I had some issues with this book, but it was nothing that couldn't be ironed out with a good movie.  10 kids partying on an island turns deadly, with no way out until the weekend is over.  Slasher flick with a twist.

3. Embrace - Jessica Shirvington - TV SERIES

In my review I compared Embrace to a CW show and I still think it would do well there.  Two hot guys fighting for the heart of a (soon to be) badass angel protecter girl?  How has this not at least been made into a pilot yet?

4. Playing Hurt - Holly Schindler - MOVIE

I always loved those kids sports movies (Mighty Ducks, Little Giants, etc.) so why not a YA sports movie where the girl is the sports hero...well, former sports hero.

5. Stay - Deb Caletti - MOVIE

Thriller!  Girl is in hiding from her obsessive ex-boyfriend.  Obviously things start to unravel rather quickly.

6. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson - MOVIE

Road trip movie, but with the humor and heart (and styling) of The DUFF movie?  I could dig it.

7. Secret Society Girl - Diana Peterfreund - MOVIE

A unisex version of The Skulls.  Gimmie.  NOW.

8. I Hunt Killers - Barry Lyga - MOVIE

I almost said TV show for this son of a serial killer series, but I have yet to see a horror TV series that works all the way through.

9. You Look Different In Real Life - Jennifer Castle - TV SERIES

A story about five kids who film a documentary every five years of their lives.  You could really delve deep into the characters if you made this a series and I can totally see them interspersing scenes from the fictional documentary.

10. Such a Rush - Jennifer Echols - MOVIE

An ambitious girl from a trailer park who wants to be a pilot and catches the eye of her boss's two sons, who just happen to have taken over the flying business after their father's death.

Which books do you want to see on the big (or small) screens?