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In which I get to solve for X.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fly honeys at The Broke and The Bookish

This week, we're discussing the Top Ten Books If You Like X.
I get to solve for X. 

If X = Battlestar Gallactica

If X = Adventure Time

If X = Mean Girls

Most importantly, if you love all of the things I've solved for X, please tell me post haste so we can be besties.

Man I love Top Ten Tuesday, don't you?!

Review: House of Ivy & Sorrow

House of Ivy & Sorrow

Title: House of Ivy & Sorrow
Author: Natalie Whipple
Pub Deets: Harper Teen, April 2014
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Source: Won! (Thanks, Lenore!)

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Author Twitter

In a sentence or so: Jo is a teenage witch who is trying to keep her magic under wraps, figure out if she's falling in love, and protect her friends from a deathly curse.

A curse killed Jo's mother and it appears as if the person who made it isn't giving up until her entire family is wiped out. But why? Why would another witch want to kill off one of their own? There are dark secrets and hidden family history to explore and Jo has to do it all on her own...or does she? Will she figure out what's going on before it's too late and those closest to her suffer?

This is the first book I've read by Natalie Whipple and I adored her writing style. The characters were easy to relate to and had unique voices from one another. The pacing of the book kept me wrapped up in the plot while giggling with Jo and her friends and swooning over the love interest, Winn.

This is definitely a light paranormal read, but that doesn't mean you should write it off. Witches are dark and they do dark things (like use fingernails to do magic! ew!), but the mellow writing balances this read nicely.

If you're searching for a paranormal stand alone - yes, stand alone! - that you'll be sorely tempted to finish reading in one sitting, look no further than HOUSE OF IVY & SORROW!

Blogger Spirit Animals

I love reading and hearing other people's thoughts on books. I really appreciate hearing new perspectives and ideas and experiences with books that I've loved or didn't love because it's just SO COOL, you know? 

Anyway, there are a handful of bloggers out there who I read each review of theirs and I nod in agreement with the whole review, every time. Regardless of genre, these bloggers and I have the EXACT same taste in books and that is pretty amazing. 

The Republic Of Thieves by Scott Lynch | Book Review
First off, her review style is THE BUSINESS. She blends her own personal fangirling (or raging, depending on the book) with a solid review of the book. She tells you why she lurved it or why she loathed it and I have mad respect for that. 
It certainly helps that the girl loves her some YA fantasy which is totally my jam, too. 

I aspire to review books like Anna. It's true! It's my dream to grow up to be an Anna kind of reviewer. She packs her reaction to the book + who would enjoy that book in the most concise and legit way possible. It's amazing that she doesn't fall victim to the rant! 
Also, when she reads a book that is perfect for me, she tells me. And she is right. Looking at you, INSIGNIA. 

YA Bibliophile
The foundation of my relationship with Heidi is basically our mutual love for Patrick Ness and that is INCREDIBLE. It definitely expands out into Tamora Pierce and John Green and all sorts of other wonderful authors. Also, Heidi is a Middle School librarian so she adores the Middle Grade reads. 
So we're kind of a perfect match, Heidi and I. 

Amy is another lover of Middle Grade fiction and we have nerded out over Percy Jackson on more than one occasion! And will again, I'm sure.
I love reading Amy's reviews because it's like I'm in a conversation with her and I can just feel her personality pouring out of the post. In a non gross way. 
OH and also we bond over the glory that is Avatar: The Last Airbender + The Legend of Korra. BOOM.

AS IF I could skip this lady! I know we are destined for greatness thanks to our mutual love of all Epic Recs so far. The reason why we are doing smashingly with our Epic Recs is because we love all the same books. 
So really when I think of a book to recommend to Gaby all I have to think is "Did I like this? Yes? GOOD." We're done here. 

Now obviously there are lots of other bloggers out there I adore (look to the right to see what I mean), but I can read any review from any of these 5 bloggers and just know that I will have the same feels. Sometimes the internet is just a magical place, you know? 

Review: This One Summer

Title: This One Summer
Author: Mariko Tamaki, Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki
Pub Deets: First Second, May 6 2014
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Source: Amazon Vine

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Author Twitter

In a sentence or so: Rose and her parents make their annual trip to their Awago Beach cottage where friendships and marriages come to the test and girls grow into young adults.

Rose is right on the cups of being a teen, so she's got some angst to spare. Her dad does his typical silly schtick to keep things light, but there's obviously something brewing between him and Rose's mom. Rose keeps out of the cottage as much as possible by hanging with her summer friend Windy and renting scary movies and getting caught up in the townie's drama. Rose has no clue how close to home the drama of the small town of Awago Beach will hit.

Something I absolutely adore about graphic novels is that they are able to convey emotions at an level that transcends the written word because you can actually see the nuanced feelings that are deeper than "joy" or "grief" or "confusion". As such, I'm able to get more emotionally absorbed in a graphic novel much faster than I am with a written book.

THIS ONE SUMMER hits that uncomfortable, but totally realistic, spot in childhood where you're becoming more aware of things around you and people's emotions, pasts, and struggles. Rose and Windy are just different enough in age that Windy is silly and Rose is trying to act like she's all deep. And sometimes, that's true. But most of the time they are both trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world around them.

The illustrations are gorgeous and perfectly match the tone of the story. The frames are at times whimsical, other times stark and barren, depending on the mood.

While THIS ONE SUMMER definitely qualifies as a summer read with the setting and time of year, don't go into it thinking this is a lighthearted romance. However, do not pass this one up for fear of something different or something a bit heavier with a summer setting. THIS ONE SUMMER highlights the strength of relationships, the tension of uncertainty, and the hope of of growing up.

Fave quote: "Then you became you." Pg 31

Top Ten Bookish Things I really, really want.

Top Ten Tuesday is a book blog meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week those lovely ladies ask: Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own (new bookshelves, bookends, cool bookmark, a bookish shirt, etc. You can add things you DO own if you want).


In no particular order from my already made Etsy wishlist (and a few extra)

Three Black Birds Ravens swooping Necklace tattoo inspired silver necklace black birds
Three Black Birds Ravens Swooping Necklace

Harry Potter Sweater - Made in USA
Harry Potter Sweater
(Harry Potter)

Jane Eyre Book Scarf
Jane Eyre Book Scarf
(Jane Eyre)
Bonus: Anna from Anna Reads totally has one of these! 

Peeta Has Croissants Shirt
(The Hunger Games)
Bonus: Anna also has this. Color me jealous!

Pride and Prejudice and Red Heart Shadowbox Picture - For Jane Austen Fans and Book Lovers - Other Books Available
Pride & Prejudice Red Heart Shadowbox
(Pride & Prejudice)

Bookends Reading Batman these bookends will hold your child's favorite books. Great for kids' room
Bookends Reading Batman
(The Dark Knight)

Jane Austen Bookmarks - Set of 6
Jane Austen Bookmarks
(HBIC Jane Austen)

Quotation Mark Post Earrings Stud, Quotation Mark Earrings, Tiny Earring Studs E204
Quotation Mark Post Earrings Studs

mug cup coffee mugs mug warmer mug tree copper mugs travel mugs Banned Book Mug Mug Coffee Mug free shipping
Banned Book Mug

The Iron Throne

Musings on DNF books and guilty feelings

So I was reading a digital ARC of a book that I was SUPER excited about. It had lots of buzz. I was excited to finally get accepted to read it on Edelweiss (my complicated love/hate relationship with Edelweiss is another post for another day). Off I went to download it and start reading!

And I started reading! And it was...okay. I thought fine, I get that some books take time to get momentum. I'll keep waiting.

And I kept waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Still wasn't feeling the story. Or the characters. It felt 2 dimensional, predictable, and blech.

Y'all know where this is going.

Do I finish this book because Joe Foster waved his magic wand and allowed me to read the title? (I like to pretend it is in fact Joe doing all of the granting and that he also possesses a magic wand. Deal.) How much longer do I keep trying? Can I throw in the towel without that affecting my chances at reading future titles by this author/publisher/Edelweiss?

After much debate and inner turmoil (and more trudging through of the book), I decided to be grown up about my decisions and just say NO. This book isn't working for me. I don't want to read it. I will not feel guilty about not wanting to read a book I'm not enjoying. SO THERE.

Phew. First phase down. Now to the second phase of the dreaded DNF process.

Should I keep the book on my TBR to revisit later? Maybe it is a good book but I'm just in the wrong mood for it? Will I come around later? What if I miss out on a super awesome happy funtime read because I wasn't in the mood for it!

Please, please tell me I am not the only one this neurotic about such things. Please?

Here's my conclusion to these rambling thoughts. Do you ever put a book you  marked as DNF back on your TBR, or do you just let it go to the wind? Do you feel guilty or not? At what point in a book do you just say NOOOOOO and set it down and walk away and give no cares about it ever again?

Review: Don't Even Think About It

Title: Don't Even Think About It
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Pub Deets: March 2014, Delacorte Press (Random House)
Series/Stand Alone: Series
Source: Netgalley (invited by publisher)

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Author Twiter

In a sentence or so: The students of homeroom 10-B get a flu shot which results in them having ESP. Massive drama ensues.

I think just about anyone you ask would say that yes, it would be super cool to read thoughts. I mean, you'd be able to know what that person really thinks about you or what your boss is really trying to tell you or if that excuse someone gave you was legit or not. There are certainly perks to reading minds, don't get me wrong.

Bur imagine hearing all of the thoughts ALL of the time. Mundane thoughts. Weird thoughts. Private thoughts. Yeah, it gets pretty weird pretty fast. Which is exactly what Sarah Mlynowski has going on with DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.

If you haven't read anything by Sarah Mlynowski before, let me tell you that the girl has a way with teenage humor and snark that just makes you happy. I adored 10 THINGS WE DID (AND PROBABLY SHOULDN'T HAVE) for what it was - a light, fluffy, fun read.

DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT takes that same writing style that I love, puts us in the first person plural perspective (we said this and we saw that and we heard such and such) and adds a touch of darkness to the overall narrative I wasn't expecting.

Is reading about a group of teenagers who can read each others thoughts going to blow your mind or expand your reading horizons? No, it isn't. But that isn't really the point of this book. It's fun. It's different. Enjoy!

If you're looking for a contemporary series with a light paranormal twist that happens to be written in a totally addictive and fun way, definitely give DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT a whirl.

Fave Quote: "She scrunched and diffused her hair and then zipped up her best jeans. Or what she thought were her best jeans. We think her best jeans were actually the ones with the frayed bottoms."

Review: The Taking

Title: The Taking (The Taking #1)
Author: Kimberly Derting
Pub Deets: April 2014, HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss (Thank you!)
Series/Stand Alone: Series

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Twitter

In a sentence or so: Kyra Agnew disappeared without a trace. Now she's back, 5 years later, but she hasn't aged a day. Her old life is incredibly different and feels like she doesn't belong with anyone, anywhere, anymore. A mysterious, suspenseful, and surprisingly romantic journey lies ahead for Kyra and it is most certainly not leading where she expects.

Kyra had her whole life planned out. She was going to go to college on a softball scholarship with her boyfriend. She was in love, she was talented, and she was prepared for her future. Until she got into a fight with her dad on the way back from the championship game. Until she stormed out of the car. Until there was a blinding flash of light. Until she woke up 5 years later behind a dumpster at the local gas station. Yeah, until all of that Kyra really had her life together.

Kyra's confused, scared, frustrated and alone. She finds support from a most unexpected source - her old boyfriend's younger brother. Austin sincerely tries to be there for her, to make Kyra laugh, to listen to her and to help her figure out what happened. Unfortunately for them both, the truth about what happened to Kyra is a little bit crazy and a whole lot of dangerous.

The first half of the book we are dwelling in the mystery of what happened to Kyra, what happened to her family after she left, and struggling with her as she tries to get back into her old life only to discover it is far, far behind. The second half of the book we find out what might have happened to her and what she's supposed to do with this information. Let's just say it's crazy scary (for Kyra) and super awesome (for the reader).

THE TAKING sounded like a YA version of an X-Files episode which is definitely what drew me to the book in the first place! I really liked the mysterious/supernatural elements of the book and was surprisingly down with the romance between Kyra and Austin. Initially I was weirded out because Austin basically replaced her old boyfriend, but he won me over with his dedication to Kyra and her situation. Instalove? Yes, yes it was. But there was enough other stuff going on that it didn't bother me as much as it typically does!

I adored Kyra's voice. Kyra's somewhere between angsty and snarky and I very much enjoyed hearing this story thanks to her character. THE TAKING is shrouded in mystery, takes the time to really explore Kyra's feelings and struggles with coming back to a life that moved on without her for five whole years, and has an unexpected but completely adorable romance.

Fave Quotes: "Surely I wasn't asleep behind the dumpster for the entire five years - The Rip van Winkle of the Gas'n'Sip."
"All I could think of, all that kept going through my head, was that it was a fanny pack that had gotten me killed."

Fix Er Up: I would have liked a bit more focus on the What Happened pieces, but since this is a series, I bet we'll get a nice dose of that in book two!

Epic Recs: April

image from Paper Riot
Okay  not to brag (but totally to brag), but Gaby and I are ROCKING the pants off of Epic Recs! We are mutually 3 for 3 for our recommendations. I know! Bookish soul mates for the win, am I right? If you need a history lesson, here's where we fell in January, February, and March. BOOM.

What's in store for April?

Displaying LisaApril.png

This month Gaby wanted something, and I quote, "serious, a loose retelling, hint of magic that's not quite contemporary and maybe a little weird but definitely awesome by your favorite author ever". Okay, I paraphrased at the end but most of that is legit. I recommended A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick "love of my literary soul" Ness to Gaby. I KNOW, Y'ALL. She's in for it, isn't she? Oof. Go see what she feels about that over at her blog

As for me? Gaby suggested it's time I read THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater. Here's why!

This month Lisa told me she wanted something a little more serious. That combined with Lisa's love of fantasy and my utter outrage that only one person in this partnership has read about a certain quartet of private school boys and a girl whose name also represents a really cool color, I really had no choice but to recommend THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater as this month's Epic Rec. Now, I know THE RAVEN BOYS isn't exactly strict fantasy. It might even be paranormal if you're getting picky, but it reads like...well...it reads like perfection. So, Lisa, put on your seriouspants and get ready for some serious seriousness because this month i mean BUSINESS. (JK I mean BUSINESS every month. But this month I mean SERIOUS BUSINESS.)

Serious pants are obtained and in the process of being worn, my dear friend! I'm so excited to finally get into this series. I adored THE SCORPIO RACES and 2 out of 3 of the SHIVER trilogy, so I am all about getting Maggie's writing back in my life. And HELLO private school boys and some rad girl and paranormalish things happening! YES to all of those things! 

What about you? Have you read THE RAVEN BOYS? Will I like it? Do you think I did a solid Epic Rec with A MONSTER CALLS? Let me know! And be sure to pop on over Gaby's way, won't you?

Review: Far From You

Title: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Pub Deets: Disney-Hyperion, April 2014
Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Source: Via Publisher on Netgalley

Amazon | Goodreads | Author Blog | Author Twitter

In a sentence or so: Sophie isn't going to let her second near death experience, unnecessary stay in drug rehab, and complete social isolation stop her from finding out who murdered her best friend.

Sophie and Mina were always together. Even as little girls, they completed each other. Sophie was more mild, patient, and thoughtful. Mina was outspoken, in your face, and a bit ridiculous. Sophie knew how to make Mina happy, and Mina knew how to make Sophie happy.

So how is Sophie supposed to be happy with Mina gone?
Who can she turn to when no one will believe her?
Who can she trust when the person who loved her best died?

Oh man. What a dark, twisty, emotional, and intense read. I thought we'd be along the lines of a Veronica Mars or Clarity type situation, but NO. This shit is REAL. Sophie has a dark past. Mina was digging up dirt on the wrong people. Things went horribly wrong and now Sophie is trying desperately to piece together what she can to find justice for her other half.

The characters are complex. The storyline is addicting. The writing is emotionally intense. FAR FROM YOU will captivate you, keep you guessing and yearning for answers, and ultimately resolves in a heartbreaking conclusion.

Seriously, just read this book, okay? But be ready for some raw nail beds.

Top Ten Gateway Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week, the lovelies ask: Top Ten "Gateway" Books/Authors In My Reading Journey (so your list could be a mix of a books that got you into reading, an author that got you into reading a genre you never thought you'd read, a book that brought you BACK into read)

Such a fun idea! But of course, they are full of fun ideas so obviously this is no exception. Here we go!

Gateway to YA 
My gateway read to YA in general was taking a Young Adult literature class in college. I mean, I knew about the genre generally, but it wasn't until I took a class and had to read different types of YA and start a blog for the class (which then became this little gem of a blog) that I truly fell head over heels for the glory of Young Adult literature. 

Gateway to Contemporary YA Romance
Sarah Dessen. I mean really, that woman just nails it, doesn't she? The main character is so authentic and the conversations just transcend age and time and just MAN it's so good. So, so good. Specifically, the first Sarah Dessen book I read and knew I was a fan of Comtemporary YA Romance was This Lullaby. Also, this reminds me how woefully behind I am on my Sarah Dessen reading in general. D'oh!

Gateway to Binge Reading
Twilight, y'all! And thanks to this incredible post by Gillian on her blog Writer of Wrongs, I feel no shame in telling the world that I binge read this series like a total crazy person. I knew it wasn't Good Writing, but there was just something about that story, you guys. LIKE CRACK, IT IS. No shame in that game. 

Gateway to Dystopia
The Giver by Lois Lowry. I know this was talked about on the latest episode of Tea Time with Epic Reads (Crumpets, unite!) and I absolutely agree that this book is a total gateway to the dystopian genre. But let's not talk about the upcoming movie because it gives me the angries. 

Gateway to Epic Feels
The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. Oh please, like you didn't see this coming? Patrick Ness holds NOTHING back and I adore that about his writing. But this isn't just feelings between characters - this is feelings about their situations and their struggles and how it resonates in our actual history and futures and just transcends the fictional world he's created and moves its way right into my consciousness. Ness explores the ideas of redemption, moral gray, war, evil, hope, caring for the earth and what family is through this series that also happens to be SUPER WELL WRITTEN and just basically the best thing ever, amen. 

Gateway to Audiobooks
The first John Green book I ever read, I listened to. I listened to Looking for Alaska on audio book and it was AMAZING. The narrator did a fantastic job and I'm pretty sure helped me fall head over heels for John Green in general, but also specifically helped me develop a major crush on The Colonel. See what I did there? 

Gateway to the Classics
I don't know why I resisted reading so much in High School. Maybe it was cool to be angsty? Maybe I sincerely hated reading? Anyway, I regret it. Such is life. BUT I do remember reading and LOVING Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and still think that book was batshit crazy in the best possible way. 

Gateway to Fangirling
Um yes, this is also The Chaos Walking Trilogy which you obviously know since I pimp it as much as humanly possible, thanks. 

Gateway to Epic Fantasy
The Song of Ice and Fire series (also known as Game of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin. Like, I don't even know how to live my life with this series unfinished and if you know how A Dance with Dragons ended then YOU KNOW THIS IS SERIOUS. I also feel like kind of a boss because I'm able to keep all the people in my head pretty well, which makes me feel like even more of an epic fantasy geek. Wee! 

Gateway to Forever Friends
Elizabeth Bennet will forever be my first literary best friend. In Pride & Prejudice she is snarky, she is reluctantly emotional, caring, and dedicated to her family. Her cleverness and wit make me sure we'd be good friends. At the very least, I'd happily join her and Jane for a sleepover to make fun of Mr. Collins absurdity. 

What about you? Do you join me in any of these gateways? Do any of these gateways remind you of something I should be reading? 

Be sure to link it up over at The Broke & The Bookish today and check out some other bloggers lists too!