Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon Starting Line

Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon at Debz Bookshelf

Are you as excited as I am for this read-a-thon? A whole week of nothing but fairy tales to read! If you haven’t officially signed up yet, you can do that right here!

Today you’ll be showing off your TBR piles! Whether it’s a picture of your physical pile, or just a list of what you’re planning to read, I want to know what you guys are reading!

Storybound (Storybound #1)Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings, #3)Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" (Once Upon a Time)Dragon's Breath (Tales of the Frog Princess, #2)

Between the LinesWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1)Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings, #2)

Storybound by Marissa Burt
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey
Dragon’s Breath by E.D. Baker
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

These are just a few of the options I have available. My goal is to read 4 books this week, but as always, I’m going to aim higher, because the more fairy tale madness the better, right?

And now it’s your turn! Link up to your starting line post below, and stop by to visit other participants, because we all love comments!

And don’t forget to tweet your progress with the hashtag #FairyTaleThon!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1) 
 
 
 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: November 15th 2011
Genre: Dystopian Paranormal(ish) Romance
Source: Audiobook from Library
Challenge(s): Dystopia

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

This book has won itself the "Biggest Disappointment of 2013" award. I've been looking forward to Shatter Me since long before its release, only to finally find that it is the complete opposite of what I was expecting.

This book has found itself shelved in the dystopian section, when in reality it's much more of a paranormal romance with an only somewhat dystopian backdrop which has little or nothing to do with the actual plot. If you enjoy that kind of thing then great, but if you happen to loathe paranormal romance with a strong passion, then you'd better watch out!

I just plain didn't like Juliette. The description leads you to believe that Juliette will be this tough chick, and then we're greeted with a weak and whiny heroine. For someone with a lethal touch, that's kind of pathetic. I don't think I would've minded that too much in the beginning if there'd been any character development throughout the book, but by the end she hadn't changed much at all.

And now to address the love triangle...

How exactly is there a love triangle here? Warner is not a love interest! He is a horrible, evil man! Sure, he's dark and mysterious, but so is Darth Vader, and you don't see anyone swooning over him! For someone to find Warner as anything but pure evil is astonishing to me. Honestly I was extremely uncomfortable and somewhat disturbed by the sexual tension that was abundantly present.

I didn't hate Adam quite as much, but he doesn't have a whole lot going for him. He was a pretty boring character, and what I remember more than anything else is how irresponsible he was, especially in regards to his brother. In fact, the only character I really liked was his brother (whose name I am blanking on!)

The writing started out really lovely, but far too soon I got sick of the endless metaphors and repetition, which this entire book seems to be made up of. It made sense in the beginning, when Juliette is presented as a lunatic prisoner who has some mental issues, but by the end those seem to have disappeared, while the metaphors and repetition have not. And as the story progressed, the metaphors were making less and less sense.

The plot itself was mildly interesting, though somewhat predictable and not all that original. Really, it's the only reason I stayed with it through the end, because I was desperately hoping that it would redeem itself in the end and make enduring the dull characters and senseless writing worthwhile. Unfortunately I don't think it was enough to do so, and so I can confidently say I will not be continuing this series.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mini Middle Grade Reviews: Salt & Zero Tolerance

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War 
 
 
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: July 23rd, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher

Anikwa and James, twelve years old in 1812, spend their days fishing, trapping, and exploring together in the forests of the Indiana Territory. To Anikwa and his family, members of the Miami tribe, this land has been home for centuries. As traders, James’s family has ties to the Miami community as well as to the American soldiers in the fort. Now tensions are rising—the British and American armies prepare to meet at Fort Wayne for a crucial battle, and Native Americans from surrounding tribes gather in Kekionga to protect their homeland. After trading stops and precious commodities, like salt, are withheld, the fort comes under siege, and war ravages the land. James and Anikwa, like everyone around them, must decide where their deepest loyalties lie. Can their families—and their friendship—survive?

In Salt, Printz Honor author Helen Frost offers a compelling look at a difficult time in history.

This was a very interesting look into the lives of two completely different boys during a time of war. Though they live side by side, their cultures and individual histories are so opposite. This is what made the story of their friendship so powerful to me.

I have to say that I am not a fan of poetry at all, but I actually liked it in SALT. Each narrative was written in a different form, which initially I thought kind of strange, but it worked out very well. There was an explanation given at the end for the two different forms, which really led me to appreciate it a lot more.

A powerful story presented so simply will leave the reader pondering the importance of friendship.


Zero Tolerance
 
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: June 18th 2013
Genre: Contemporary
Source: ARC from Publisher

Seventh-grader Sierra Shepard has always been the perfect student, so when she sees that she accidentally brought her mother's lunch bag to school, including a paring knife, she immediately turns in the knife at the school office. Much to her surprise, her beloved principal places her in in-school suspension and sets a hearing for her expulsion, citing the school's ironclad no weapons policy. While there, Sierra spends time with Luke, a boy who's known as a troublemaker, and discovers that he's not the person she assumed he would be--and that the lines between good and bad aren't as clear as she once thought. Claudia Mills brings another compelling school story to life with Zero Tolerance.

I’m not sure what to think about this book. Having been homeschooled my whole life, I’ve never had to deal with anything even close to this. I’ll keep politics out of this, because when politics come into play, things never end well. I’ll just keep it short and simple by saying that I think it’s unfortunate that things like a well intended policy to protect others is capable of punishing others for trying to do the right thing and keep others safe, which is what the policy was there for anyway.

I really admired Sierra. She reminded me of myself, and was obviously a bright, intelligent character. What I admired most about her was the fact that she never stopped fighting for herself, and when the issue grew into a larger deal than it needed to be, she didn’t hide in the shadows, but stood for what she knew was right. We need more girls like that in society.

For sure, Zero Tolerance is a thought-provoking story for readers of all ages.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monster Review-a-Thon

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So, the awesome girls over at The Book Monsters are holding a review-a-thon. I've participated in a few of them before, but never with such high demand, because at last count I had 37 beautiful books waiting to be reviewed, and only four of those have reached the rough draft stage.

This review-a-thon goes from August 26th (today!) to September 1st. My starting goal is to write and schedule 15 reviews. I'd aim higher, but I've got a boatload of stuff to do to prepare for the Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon (which starts September 1st! Go sign up!)

Are you participating? Any specific goals? Any suggestions of which books I should review first? 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (11)

    Read This Week

    Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers, #1)The Summer I Became a Nerd

    Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
    The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

    To Read Next Week

    The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children Of Ashton Place, #1)Slayers (Slayers, #1)RoseThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

    The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
    Slayers by C.J. Hill
    Rose by Holly Webb
    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (reread)

    How was your week? Leave links in the comments below!

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    Wishing on Wednesday (27) Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

    Wishing on Wednesday is a weekly meme to feature recent and upcoming releases that I’m wishing for!

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    Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

    Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

    Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

    With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

    But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

    As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

    Why I Want It:

    Just take a moment and look at the cover.

     

    It’s okay.

     

    I’ll wait.

     

    Have you fully absorbed the beauty that is that cover? Because I haven’t. I think I want to get a giant poster of it and hang it on my wall.

    But beyond that cover is a synopsis that promises to be Debz next favorite book of all time. It’s Beauty and the Beast, with a touch of Bluebeard (or so I’ve heard) and mythology. My heart is literally racing as I’m typing this. I’d literally trade my right arm to have this book right now. You don’t think Harper Collins would accept that trade, do you?

    Coming to a bookstore near you… January 28th 2014 from Balzer &Bray

    What are you Wishing for this Wednesday?

    Announcing… a Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon!

    Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon at Debz Bookshelf

    Yep. I’ve been in a fairy tale kind of mood, so I figured there’s no time like the present for a read-a-thon! This one will run Sunday to Saturday, a full week! We’ll start on September 1st (if you’re starting at Hogwarts we’ll excuse you), and end September 7th. Sounds simple enough, right?

    This one will be more low-key than both previous ones, because it’s such short notice, but hopefully it will be just as fun! There will not be any giveaways because I’m low on funds, but I will be hosting mini-challenges almost every day.

    There’s no pressure to participate every single day, especially with school starting up for most people. Just read when you can and have fun with everyone else.

    You’re welcome to read whatever you fancy, but as this is a Fairy Tale Read-a-Thon, it’ll be a lot more fun if we all stick within that genre.

    There are currently plans for a Twitter Chat on September 6th (Friday), but that subject to change. And as always, you can tweet with the hashtag #FairyTaleThon

    I think that covers everything. If you have any questions at all, please ask!

    Monday, August 19, 2013

    The Book Thief Read Along

    Book Thief Read Along Markus Zusak

    Unless you’ve been living under a VERY LARGE rock for a while, you’ve heard about The Book Thief, which is said to be one of the greatest YA books ever written. Shamefully, I have never read it in my life. But now I’m going to try to change that. The amazing trio of Suey from It's All About Books, Kathy from Read This Instead, and Kami from Kami’s Library Thoughts have decided to host a Read Along of The Book Thief in September, so I'll be joining them!Coincidentally I just picked up a copy a few weeks ago.

    I’m super excited to finally read such an amazing book! And then I can go see the movie coming in November (which looks amazing so far, even though there isn’t even a poster or a trailer!)

    To learn more and sign up, go here!

    Book Review: Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

     
    Doon (Doon, #1)
     
    Publisher: Zondervan/Harper
    Release Date: August 20th 2013
    Genre: Fantasy
    Source: ARC from Publisher
    Challenge(s): Fairy Tales Retold

    DOON…

    Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months.

    But the Scottish countryside holds other plans.
    Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for...or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.

    DOON is loosely based on the premise of the musical Brigadoon, with permission from the Alan Jay Lerner Estate and the Frederick Loewe Foundation. Follow the journey at http://www.DoonSeries.com

    Welcome to the magical world of Doon, a mysterious Scottish kingdom that didn't seem to exist until Veronica and Mackenna find themselves stuck there, and falling for some pretty attractive and princely guys. Doon is a mystical fairy tale adventure that will have you turning pages faster than you can say Lerner and Loewe!

    I truly believe that it was fate that brought this book to my attention. If you haven't already noticed, I have a kind of unhealthy obsession with fairy tale retellings going on. Something else you might not know about me is that I also have an unhealthy obsession with Broadway shows! So you can imagine the flailing and squeeing that ensued when I learned that there was a retelling of a fairy tale kind of Broadway show!

    As you've most likely already guessed, my expectations were already impossibly high. How could this one little book possibly live up to them? By being outstanding! I would've been sold just by the endless musical references, but the characters, plot, and world-building were amazing as well!

    I love how the story utilized elements of the original Brigadoon, while being very much it's own story. I have to admit that I wasn't too familiar with Brigadoon beforehand, but that wasn't a problem going in. The pace of the whole story was just right, and kept me on my toes, since I was never quite sure what would happen next.

    I adored Veronica and Mackenna. It was actually kind of weird reading this book because of how similar I am to both of them. Veronica is my book nerd half, and Mackenna is my musical half. That being said, there personalities were complete opposites, and I liked seeing how they interacted with each other.

    The world of Doon itself was magical. It really felt like I'd stepped into another world, trapped in time. I thought it was very interesting how the people of Doon would selectively introduce parts of modern culture to the kingdom whenever the bridge opened, while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the kingdom. It was things like this that had me wishing I could just spend the day exploring Doon. Instead I'll have to (im)patiently wait months and months (maybe even years) for more books!

    Thursday, August 15, 2013

    Mini Middle Grade Reviews: Louie Burger & Home Sweet Horror

    The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger 
     
     
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
    Release Date: June 4th 2013
    Genre: Middle Grade Humor
    Source: ARC from Publisher

    Fifth grader Louie Burger figures that with a goofy name like his, he must be destined to be a king of comedy like his idol Lou Lafferman. But he’s only ever performed his stand-up act in his closet, where he and his dad created the most exclusive comedy club ever—if by “exclusive” you mean that no one’s ever allowed inside. With the school talent show coming up, Louie’s wondering if now is his moment to kill (that’s comedian talk for “make actual people laugh”). And maybe, if he brings down the house, he’ll win back his former best friend Nick—who seems to be turning into one of those annoying sporty types—and fend off his dad’s home-improvement obsession, which threatens to remodel Louie’s comedy closet into a private bedroom for his older sister. Barftrocious!

    Louie Burger knows he’s going to be a world-renown comedian one day. There’s just one problem—nobody has never even seen his comedy act, let alone liked it! He’s in the closet with his comedic skills—literally! But when he gets the chance to unleash his humor on the world, he’s not sure if he’s going to take it.

    This book was charming, in an odd way. It made me smile and laugh, and imagine what it’s like to be an awkward 10 year old boy. He was a realistic and likeable character, which is something it seems harder and harder to find in Middle Grade fiction.

    While I’m certainly not the target audience, I enjoyed this book nonetheless. I’ll be sure to recommend this book to any 10 year old boys I meet. Starting with my brother.

      Home Sweet Horror

     
     
     
    Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
    Release Date: July 9th 2013
    Genre: Middle Grade Horror
    Source: ARC from Publisher

    Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn’t just any tale. This is a Scary Tale.

    Meet Liam Finn, who’s just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn’t . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she’s just dying to talk.

    I’m not one who usually goes for horror stories, but I thought I’d give this one a chance. It turned out to be mildly entertaining, though not particularly scary. I really enjoyed the illustrations, though. They were full of detail and definitely added another layer of creepiness. Worth the read. I’d definitely recommend this to some 3rd grader who looks in need of a scare!

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