Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 schools from books I wish I could attend

It's Top Ten Tuesday, and you know what that means - a new booklist! This week's topic is back to school, one of my favorite times of year! The best part of summer and beginning of fall, time for football games and bonfires, and best of all SCHOOL SUPPLIES! Paper! Pencils! Pens! Notebooks! Agendas! Post-its! Binders! Crayons! ....*sigh* 

Anyways, since this topic is back to school, I thought I'd imagine where I wish I could go. I went to a boring public school, and there are so many other places out there...especially in the world of books! Here are 10 schools I wish I could attend!

1. Aglionby Academy - I know it's boys only, but I don't care.

2. The Royal Court of Ravka - to become a powerful Grisha

3. Hardwicke Academy (the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful) - to immerse myself in conspiracy theories and fix the nation's problems

4. Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality - to become a lady and a spy/assassin

5. The FBI's Naturals program - to refine my natural detective skills and be an FBI agent

6. Camp Half Blood - to hone my powers as a daughter of Athena...

7. Culver Creek Boarding School - to have a little fun!

8. Spence Academy for Young Girls - to become a member of the Order and visit the Winterlands

9. Helsing Corp. - to learn how to wield my camera to catch ghosts and spirits! 

10. Hogwarts (of course) - to be a witch!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other. (Summary from Goodreads)

Have I mentioned before that I love mystery stories? Yes, I believe I have. Well, this is a great one, such a fun twist on the Sherlock Holmes stories. A female Holmes, Charlotte retains much of her ancestor's positive and negative attributes. And Jamie Watson, her male counterpart, plays a lovely companion, slightly obsessed, but he can't really pinpoint why. He knows Charlotte isn't good for him, but he seems to feel a responsibility for her because perhaps he is good for her.  

There is some more mature material here, sexual assault and drug/alcohol abuse. And the mysteries they solve are a little simpler than I'd prefer, fairly predictable for someone who has read/watched way too many detective stories, but still enjoyable. I'm looking forward to reading the sequels and finding out where Charlotte and Jamie's partnership takes them in the future.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

This is the third Morgan Matson book I've read. After reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, I knew that I had to read everything else she's written and will write in the future. Morgan is one of the amazing authors that I got to meet at Book Con in Chicago this spring. She was as sweet and adorable as her novels.

The Unexpected Everything is more than just a sweet, adorable story though, as are all of her books. The novel focuses on Andie's summer walking dogs (though she's never owned one) since her original plan of a premed internship doesn't quite pan out. And her father is spending time at home and actually paying attention to her, something that is new for Andie since she's used to being pretty much on her own.

She doesn't have close relationships with anyone since her mother's death. Her father, boys - she even keeps her best friends at a distance, that is until she meets Clark, an attractive homeschooled author, living on his own with a gigantic dog. Soon Andie finds herself opening up and forming real relationships with her friends, Clark, and eventually her father.

Miss Matson's stories are beautiful and heartfelt, making readers reminisce summer vacations, best friends, and first loves. A great summer read - or it can warm you up in the winter!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Set Near the Water

This week's Top Ten Tuesday (sponsored by the Broke and the Bookish) is ten books set in any setting. So I figured since I love the water (I'm a water sign (Cancer) and being near the water relaxes me) , I'd give you ten books set near the water! Enjoy! 

1. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (Review)

Elliot North fights to save her family's land and her own heart in this post-apocalyptic reimaging of Jane Austen's Persuasion. The love interest captains a ship! 

2. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (Review)

When Taylor's dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

3. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

When a violin prodigy who has lost everything wakes up on a ship in another time period, a man who wants to escape a life of servitude is forced to confront his past while keeping his former captors from claiming a stolen object of untold value.

4. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. This story is told in short snippets, rotating betwen four narrators attempting to escape tragedy in 1945 Europe. 

5. Compulsion by Martina Boone (Review)

Barrie moves to her family's South Carolina plantation, which is guarded by an ancient spirit who cursed one of the island's three founding families and gave the others magical gifts.

6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 

This story of a prestigious family living on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts is full of secrets, lies, dysfunction, and twists. 

8. Midnight Bayou

While renovating an old mansion on the outskirts of New Orleans, Declan Fitzgerald begins seeing visions of days from a century past.

9. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.

10. Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island. When she foresees her own murder, a harpoon boy named Tane promises to help her change her fate and keep her island safe and prosperous, but salvation will require an unexpected sacrifice. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Teen Talk - The End of Summer!

Once a month(ish) Emily, over at the Gnoming Librarian, and I make videos for our library. This month we talked about books we're reading, books we've read, and books we want to read! There may also be a mention of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

Give it a watch here, and feel free to watch more videos on the library's YouTube page!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ten Books Set Outside the US

This was a pretty convenient Top Ten Tuesday, since I recently created a book list on this topic for a Read Around the World display! I decided to split them up into books I have read and books I want to read. So get your wanderlust on and enjoy :)

Five I've Read:

1. Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
While running away from a London foster home just before her fifteenth birthday, Holly has ample time to consider her years of residential care and her early life with her Irish mother, whom she is now trying to reach.

2. Every Breath by Ellie Marney
Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne and James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguing and troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder.

3. The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Bex seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

4. The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
After moving with his wife to an isolated Australian lighthouse where they suffer miscarriages and a stillbirth, Tom allows his wife to claim an infant that has washed up on the shore, a decision with devastating consequences.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

Five I Want to Read:

1. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
In a world where the Great Library of Alexandria governs the flow of information to the people, Jess discovers that those who control the Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than human life after his friend inadvertently commits heresy.

2. The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
Uprooted from Chicago to rural Ireland, Maggie searches for her place in the country she now calls home before enduring a tragedy that sends her on a pilgrimmage to fulfill her uncle's request.

3. Love, Lucy by April Linder
After accepting a trip to Europe as a bribe from her parents to attend the college of their choice as a business major, seventeen-year-old Lucy discovers she is unwilling to give up her dream of being an actress--or Jesse, the boy she met in Italy.

4. Kalahari by Jessica Khoury
When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Who wouldn't jump at the chance to spend her senior year at a boarding school in Paris? Anna Oliphant, that's who. Besides barely speaking French, Anna is perfectly happy at home in Atlanta, Georgia. But Anna's father insists, so Paris it is. And Anna does warm up to the city...especially after she meets gorgeous Etienne St. Clair, who seems to return her interest but already has a girlfriend.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

Book 4 in the Raven Cycle series. I've read it twice now. I want to read the whole entire Raven Cycle again from beginning to end. And I will. I loved it, but I was disappointed in a few things. I'll try not to give too much away for those who haven't read it yet.

There are things that I loved.

This story has always been about Gansey, Blue, Ronan, and Adam, and of course the women of 300 Fox Way. It was partly about Gansey's quest to find a lost king. But as Maggie tells you in a repeated refrain throughout the story, depending on where you start the story, it could be about pretty much anyone.

What I discovered in reading the final novel of the series though, is that it was more about the journey than the destination. It wasn't really about magic, rituals, ravens, or tarot cards. It wasn't even about true love's kiss. It was about life and the people you meet along the way, the friendships you create, the families you form, the magic you find between you.

There were things I didn't.

Things seemed to happen a little too fast. There were loose ends that I wanted tied up. I missed out on the intimacy of the group when new characters were added. Some characters seemed thrown in the mix with little purpose when old characters that we already knew could have performed their roles just as easily. There was barely enough time to finish the story, let alone give totally new characters backstories.

I missed the passion between Gansey and Blue that seemed to fade. Where were my midnight rides? Where was the scene where she told Gansey that he was meant to die? How and why would Gansey leave his friends behind to hunt his lost king when he'd always scolded them for doing the same? And why did the ending just seem to...end?

I wanted more, and that's probably the problem. I wasn't ready for this beautiful, urgent, magical journey to end. So Maggie, you should know. I need more. I need more of my Raven Boys. I need them out on quests in foreign lands. I need to know what happened to Noah. I want more of the Grey Man. I need Blue and Gansey learning how to kiss without death lurking in every corner. I need Ronan and Adam learning to trust each other. I want more. Another book or five...I'm just not ready for them to leave me.

Although I want more, this book is still wonderfully written. Maggie is brilliant as always, and The Raven King gets 5 stars. The full series, The Raven Cycle is both brusque and lovely, adrenaline filled and tender. It's most importantly a quest toward friendship, truth, and ultimately love. You need to read it. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I'd Buy Right Now if...

(Sponsored by the Broke and the Bookish)

I love books. You might have guessed that. I love to buy books, but unfortunately I also have to be an adult and pay bills :( So this list makes me both a little bit sad and very happy as I imagine all the things that could be.

 Without further ado (I think this might be one of my favorite phrases...) here is a list of Ten Books I'd Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed Me a Fully Loaded Gift Card. (I say ten, and this will be a list of with ten numbers; however, there may be a few more than ten books...)

1. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
The only book I don't have in the Finishing School series. Also, I would like to have the rest of her adult series The Parasol Protectorate, since I only own the first! 

2. Harry Potter 1, 3, & 4
I own them, but I need them in hardback! 

3. The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken
I kind of loved this series; therefore, I need it. 

4. The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo
(See above) 

I own The Raven Boys and The Raven King (signed!), but I need the two in the middle to finish my collection! 

 Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
I own The Unexpected Everything (also signed!) by this lovely author, and I have read all of her books. Now I just need to own them. 

7. Did I mention Harry Potter? 
I want to own all of the Harry Potter book sets, especially the UK versions. Beautiful! 

The only book in the Beautiful Creatures series I have yet to own...
I also need to read it and finish the series. 

9. All of the Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare
I own City of Heavenly Fire (the final book in the Mortal Instruments series), but I need to own the rest. Including Lady Midnight, which I haven't read yet, but again - it's on the list! 

10. Nora Roberts books
I've mentioned before that Nora Roberts is one of my guilty pleasure reads. Her writing reels you in and gets your blood pressure going, which is often what I look for when I read! (Get me into the book and out of reality!) Another guilty pleasure not mentioned here is V.C. Andrews...but that's because I own every book "she" wrote up to 2005. (She died in 1986, but a ghost writer writes under her name with a similar writing style now). I don't really feel the need to own the newest ones. :) 

So like I said, that was a few more than 10, but you gave me a fully loaded gift card to buy BOOKS! Would you expected anything different?  :) 

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