Twitter chat with Ann Brashares 4/17 at 5 pm

You know this name, but have you heard of her new book: The Here and Now?

The Here and Now was release on April 8, 2014. While there might be some time traveling involved, there are no magical pants in sight.

Ann Brashares is participating in a Twitter chat, Thursday (today), April 17th at 5 pm EST. Use the hashtag #THEHEREANDNOW to join the conversation. 


Other great news: The Here and Now is going to be a movie! Yep, that's right. Another YA novel turned Blockbuster hit is heading our way.

Ann Brashares will be on NPR's weekend edition on Saturday, April 19th to discuss The Here and Now.



The Here and NowAn unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 


jj


Have you heard of Mary Rose?

Have you heard about Dear Nobody yet? I'm sure you've heard of Go Ask Alice.

Dear Nobody is the real-life version of Go Ask Alice. It's being described as "gritty and powerful". It tells the story of Mary Rose, a 15-year-old girl that was desperate to be loved and accepted, but found a tragic end in the extremes she took to reach her goal.


You can read the first 30 or so pages HERE. You can also learn more about this book at  www.dearnobodydiary.com 


video







Review: The Bravest Princess (Wide Awake Princess #3) by E. D. Baker

The Deets:

Audience: middle grades
Publisher: April 1st 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
ISBN: 9781619631366
Pages: 272
Genre: fairy tale
Source: eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review



The Bravest Princess: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess 



Sleeping Beauty's younger, non-magical sister, Annie, still can't rest while trouble in the kingdom threatens her good friend, Snow White. Snow White's evil stepmother has disappeared, and her father wants her married off right away--but who should she choose? How can she tell which prince is best? It's Annie and her good friend Liam to the rescue!









I've been a fan of E.D. Baker's books since I read the Frog Princess (and all of the following books) many years ago. They are cute and simple, and absolutely perfect for fans of fractured fairy tales. If you've been keeping up, you'll know that The Bravest Princess is the third book in the Wide-Awake Princess series.

Princess Annie is special. She is completely untouched by magic, and can alter magic with her touch. Pretty impressive if you live in a fully magical world. This time around she has to help Snow White while protecting herself from an evil witch that is determined to cause her harm.

While this probably isn't my favorite of the series so far, it was still fun to read. I enjoy reading about Annie's adventures. Adding in the banter between Annie and Liam is always a bonus, too. Unfortunately, this time around I didn't feel the magic between Liam and Annie. I wish there was more to the plot that included them together. It always felt like they were working together to reach the same solution, but doing it from across the room.

But don't fret. There is still plenty of the endearing elements that you expect from E.D. Baker's books in The Bravest Princess. The smoochy smoochy factor is low, but warm fuzzies are abundant.  You'll enjoy reading through the plot and picking out elements from favorite fairy tales. You'll also appreciate the surprise twist at the end. Geared toward younger readers, this is definitely a series perfect for 4th-6th grade girls.


Review: Falling Kingdoms (Morgan Rhodes)

The Deets: 
Audience: YA
pages: 412
Publisher: January 1, 2012 by Razorbill
ISBN: 9781595145840
Genre: epic fantasy
Source: Kindle daily deal



Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)The gripping New York Times bestseller that is Game of Thrones for teens

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?



Believe me when I tell you this book is slap somebody good. Seriously. I loved every page. I usually find myself reading quickly through books, finishing them within a day or two. But I did not do that with Falling Kingdoms. I wanted to savor and digest every detail. This story is complicated.

I picked Falling Kingdoms as a book choice for May in my YA book club that I host. The cover was catchy and I thought the kids would like something that is boasted as "Game of Thrones for teens". One of my regulars beat me to reading it and couldn't stop singing its praises. So I figured I should read it during my vacation so we could discuss early. She'll be glad to know she was right.

I was worried that the alternating points of view would not seem fresh. I hate when the characters end up sounding the same and offer nothing new to the plot. There are 3 distinct characters (and a few extras thrown in the mix) with distinct voices. The tale they tell weaves itself nicely throughout the novel until everything falls into spectacular place in a very climatic ending.

If I had to pick a favorite character, it would be impossible. Each character is different and flawed in their own way. I can tell as this story continues in upcoming books that the plot will thicken and be delicious. Because if there was one lesson learned in Falling Kingdoms, it is that people are not always what they seem.

When you pick up Falling Kingdoms and begin your quest, be warned. There are not always happy endings and your heart will be ripped out of your chest at the most unexpected times. So far, there are no neat bows wrapping this box, and that's exactly what I like the most about the book!


Picture Book Saturday: A Bed for Fred

A Bed for FredReady for a nap, young Fred the Basset Hound goes to his room after a morning of play and the unthinkable happens: his comfy, red bed has disappeared! After a search through his house with a less-than-helpful mouse, Fred sets out on a journey outside to find his bed. Along the way he meets a sedentary frog, an enthusiastic cricket, and a sympathetic owl. The dilemma of his lost bed intensifies as Fred realizes he has strayed too far from home without telling his father that he left. A Bed for Fred is a delightful journey that any young child can relate to. Changing beds from cribs to toddler beds and toddler beds to "big boy" or "big girl" beds are huge steps. Discover how Fred handles this experience of complication and change with good communication and a willingness to explore Help your child figure out the world they live in!




In a word: cute. Who doesn't like books about animals? Always a hit with the little ones. A Bed for Fred was a bit long for my youngest child's short attention span, but he enjoyed the story. 

Just as the synopsis says, this is a great book to use to ease a young child's fears of moving to a new bed. Fred loves his old bed and is frightened when it disappears. His quest to find the comfort of his old bed leads him to a new discovery and a pleasant surprise.  

Review: Popping the Cherry (Aurelia B. Rowl)

The Deets:

Audience: YA
Pages: 250
Publisher: September 19th 2013 by Carina (Harlequin UK)
ISBN: 9781472018052
Genre: contemporary 
Source: my own copy


Popping the CherryYou only get one first time . . .

From driving tests to relationships, Valentina Bell thinks she’s a failure, with a big fat capital F. At this rate, she’s certain she’ll be a virgin for ever. So Lena’s friends plan Operation: Popping the Cherry to help her find the perfect man first time.

Yet somehow disastrous dates with bad-boy musicians and fabulous evenings with secretly in-the-closet guys aren’t quite working out how Lena planned.

Soon Lena’s avoiding Operation: Popping the Cherry to spend time with comforting, aloof Jake, her best friend’s older brother, who doesn’t make her feel self-conscious about still clinging to her V card. But could Jake show Lena that sometimes what you’re looking for most is right by your side?





It's not what you think. Sort of. It kind of what you think-- the title is obvious-- but it's not teenage smut. There is actually very little of that in the book (and it was handled tastefully). 

One of the major hangups I had with Popping the Cherry was the lack of good editing. I found so many punctuation and grammar errors throughout that it started to get on my nerves.

Then there is the matter of the characters themselves. Valentina is a major wuss. I just could not believe how spineless she was when it came to standing up to her friends' stupid ideas for her life. If you can't put your own needs first, you really can't expect anyone else to do it. It took an entire book of screw-ups for Valentina to finally decide she had had enough trouble and heartache. That's the only point in the story where so becomes assertive and tells the idiots to bug off.

If it's not clear yet, I have some issues with the "friends". Pains in the arse are a better term. They do a good job of depicting high school stupidity, I'll give them that. But they were also so horribly selfish without even realizing it. They practically forced Valentina into agreeing to a crazy scheme. They never said if she didn't comply they would end the friendship, but I certainly got that feeling.

The characters weren't a total loss though. Jake and Nathan are probably the saving grace of the book, and thank goodness for that. Jake had a sense of mystery which made me keep reading. I really wanted to learn more about him, and that was about it. Nathan was a fun addition. I certainly enjoyed his perspective on things too. 

I picked Popping the Cherry up for a few bucks on Amazon. I'm a bit disappointed I paid for it, but it wasn't a whole lot. I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless you're in the  market for a quick, slightly irritating read with good male characters.  The girls in this book will make you want to jump up and slap someone.

Review: Love Letters to the Dead (Ava Dellaira)

The Deets: 

Audience: YA
Pages: 323
Publisher:  April 1st 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374346676
Genre: contemporary, mystery, coming of age
Source: eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Love Letters to the DeadIt begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path. 



I have conflicting feelings for this book. Love Letters to the Dead was great while I was reading it, but now that some time has passed it has faded from my mind.This is going to be one of those books that either blows you away, or blows right passed you. 

One thing that did impress me was the amount of research that went into the content of the letters. I am a product of the 90s. I remember River Pheonix and Kurt Cobain. I remember my crushes on them both, and how crushed I felt to learn of their deaths. But because I was young in the 90s, I don't remember much about the mysteries surrounding those events. The author did a great job of digging around to find those details (like Cobain's suicide letter and Pheonix's very troubling childhood). Most of the "characters" Laurel writes to has a troubling past that is explored. 

Along the way, Laurel learns a good bit about herself and her new friends as well. The letters become very therapeutic. If you ever kept a diary when you were young, you'll know what I mean. Laurel's deepest thoughts and fears start pouring out onto the pages. Eventually, the pages cannot contain everything and she opens up to the world. There are so many things going on in this book that make it hard to sum up in a few short paragraphs. If I tried to box it in, I would not be doing this book justice. 

Even though I felt very passionately about this book while reading it, it didn't linger in my mind. There are some books that you just cannot move beyond. They echo in your soul. Love Letters to the Dead was not one of those books. I thought it would be. I went into this book expecting it to be the next "big thing" for me-- the book I would tell everyone about. But I have to be honest. I haven't given it much thought since finishing it. 

Do I think it's worth reading? Sure. It's a pretty good coming of age story. The plot is full of layers that slowly peel away. Laurel learns some tough life lessons too. Love Letters to the Dead really deals with the heavy hitters of YA fiction: divorce, suicide, relationships, depression.








Picture Book Saturday: The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell


Each of King Neptune's 50 mermaid daughters boasts a special talent, except for little Minnow, who seems to be good only?at asking questions. When she finds a strange object, Minnow follows her questions to a wondrous place and finds answers, including the answer to the most important question of all: Who am I? A gorgeously illustrated story about finding one's purpose.









The Mermaid and the Shoe is a simple tale about finding your inner talent.

Little Minnow isn't good at anything. That is, until she discovers a unique item floating in the sea. With the red shoe in tow, she sets of an adventure to discover where it came for and its purpose. In the process, she finds answers to many unanswered questions and her hidden talent as well.

The pictures in The Mermaid and the Shoe are so calming. They are not flashy and loud. Instead, there is a soft green tint to the pages that gives it the feeling of being underwater. When Minnow finds land, the contrast between the "upper world" and the "lower world" is highlighted. I also loved how the brush strokes gave the mermaid's a playfulness about them. Their hair seemed to be floating on some unseen current. The loopy font accented the whimsical tale well.

Mermaids typically appeal to young girls, and this one won't disappoint. It will also appeal to the hidden adventure inside of your little one. 

Picture Book Saturday: Exclamation Mark

From the bestselling creators of Duck! Rabbit!, an exciting tale of self-discovery! 15815400He stood out here.

He stood out there.

He tried everything to be more like them.

It's not easy being seen. Especially when you're NOT like everyone else. Especially when what sets you apart is YOU.

Sometimes we squish ourselves to fit in. We shrink. Twist. Bend. Until -- ! -- a friend shows the way to endless possibilities. 
   Believe me when I tell you how amazing this simple picture book is! I LOVE books that have hidden meanings, especially for younger readers. Exclamation Mark is one of those books.  I found this on an Amazon Children's Book List. I thought it looked cute-- I did not read the summary-- and requested a copy from the library. As I sat down to read it with my young son, I knew it was going to be great. Most of the pages have simple illustrations and very few words... but there was something about the story being told that made me smile. Exclamation Mark feels like he doesn't fit it. He's different. He doesn't look like the others, and he desperately wants to. He does everything he can think of the be more like the periods, but nothing sticks. But then he learns an amazing truth about himself--being different can be pretty spectacular. I loved how quickly Exclamation Mark came to realize that he was unique and amazing on his own. I also liked how the periods confirmed this. What a great message! My young son "got it" and made great observations about how being different is wonderful. I highly recommend this one for young and old alike. There is something for every reader on these pages. 



Review: Captivate (Vanessa Garden)

The Deets: 
Audience: YA
Pages: 294
Publisher: anuary 1st 2014 by Harlequin TEEN Australia
ISBN: 9781743566114
Genre: fantasy
Source: eARC from publisher via Netgalley



Captivate (Submerged Sun, #1)In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...
  
  Captivate has potential to end up being something pretty good. I admit, I picked it up based on the cover and because I thought it was going to be a mermaid book. This is not a mermaid book. It's rather complicated, actually. For originality, Captivate gets a strong A. I like the idea of this utopian society living far removed from the troubles of the world-- even when it's deep beneath the ocean's surface. And like any good literary utopian society, there are plenty of troubles that develop over time to challenge the way of life. I was a bit troubled by the limited number of people within reproductive age in the city. Seems like things might get a bit icky over time. Maybe I read it incorrectly, but it came across as being slim pickings. Of course, there is a scientific explanation for the sterile female population, so it helps the buy in some. The characters are pretty interesting so far. Robbie is still mysterious (as is Marko). You get little glimpses into each of them along the way, but I never felt like the whole picture was presented. I can't say which is my favorite love interest so far. I may actually be pulling for Marko, despite the fact that he starts out super creepy. Robbie just seems too clean and blindly romantic for my taste. Our main protagonist, Miranda, did not leave much of an impression on me either unfortunately. I didn't think she was extremely strong or resourceful. She just kind of floated along with the plot. I did, however, love that she was a reader. So rock on, Miranda.   I know I'll read the next book because I want to know what happens. There was a pretty great cliffhanger ending in Captivate. Whether this book blew me away or not is beside the point; it still did enough to make me curious.      

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Grab my Button

Flashlight Reader

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Alanna (The Flashlight Reader) has read 1 book toward her goal of 100 books.
hide

Rating System

Rating System

Blog Roll

Pageviews