April 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (72)

Title: Summer Days and Summer Nights
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Pub. Date: 5.17.16
From goodreads.com: Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

April 21, 2016

Tell the Wind and Fire - Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: Tell the Wind and Fire 
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Pages: 368
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads rating: 

 About: In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets. 
Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.
Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.
Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

You guys, what a bummer.  I was so excited for this one.  It's a retelling (A Tale of Two Cities).  I love retellings and it's by freaking Sarah Rees Brennan, who I love because of that one time I met her and we wound up talking excessively about The Vampire Diaries.  But this just didn't do it for me.
  • The characters are hella blah.  They're super not developed and boring.  Ethan literally has no personality except that he's 'perfect' and Lucie loves him.  Big snooze.  Lucie wasn't much better.  The most interesting character was Carwyn and even he wasn't that great.  Every time he spoke I could practically see the 'insert snarky comment here' sign over his head.
  • The world is too simple and the division doesn't feel natural at all.  It felt very much like a concept and not something that would have occurred naturally.  It felt like one of those nondescript dystopias that came out after The Hunger Games exploded.
  • At the end of every chapter Lucie basically is like, 'oh woe is me, if I had only known the doom and gloom that awaited me around every corner.'  I understand that it's based on Dickens, but relax.  It was so not necessary.
So yeah, I didn't love anything about this book.  It took me forever to read because I couldn't make myself get invested in any of these characters and that alone is enough to ruin a book for me.  The world building was kind of one dimensional and the drama was a lot of tell, not show.  I'm still going to check out some of Sarah Rees Brennan's other books, but this one missed the mark for me.

April 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (71)

Title: My Lady Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Pub. Date: 6.7.16
From goodreads.com: Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

April 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (97)

This week's topic is books that will make you laugh.  One of my favorite things are books that make me laugh out loud when I'm reading them in public so that I look like an absolute crazy person.  Here are five of my recent(ish) reads that cracked me up.

1. The Haters by Jesse Andrews
2. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
3. Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw
4. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
5. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Have you read anything lately that cracked you up?

April 14, 2016

The Haters - Jesse Andrews

Title: The Haters 
Author: Jesse Andrews
Pages: 352
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads rating: 

About: For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

My book club read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl many many moons ago, so when I heard that Jesse Andrews was coming out with a new book I was very excited.  Plus it promised to be about MUSIC and ROAD TRIPS which are two of my favorite things ever.

I'm going to say right off the bat that I really enjoyed The Haters.  The humor was on point and felt true to life, it didn't try too hard.  The main characters were fun, if familiar: two (boy) best friends who encounter a girl they don't really understand.  Pop culture references, crazy side characters, absent parents, free flowing money, hater-ade.  All these things swirled together to make an awesome road trip book.

I loved the chapter titles that were really just continuations of the other sentences.  I usually blow past quotes and chapter breaks and stuff and these really made me sit up and take notice.  I laughed.  Out loud.  A lot.  Be prepared to be judged if you're reading this in public.  I also really loved that it was as if Wes was telling the reader the story.  The interjections of, 'I really didn't want you to find this out' and, 'this is why I didn't say anything earlier' really made it feel like you were sitting there with a friend who is recounting what happened during this epic summer journey.

I couldn't find much to hate about The Haters, which, incidentally, is kind of the point.  Don't forget, it's fun to hate on stuff, but it's more important to love it.

April 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (70)

Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Pub. Date: 5.17.16
From goodreads.com: Maguire is bad luck.
No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.
It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

April 6, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (69)

Title: The Rose & the Dagger
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Pub. Date: 5.3.16
From goodreads.com: I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.
While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.