Friday, March 31, 2017

Top Five Favorite Literary Couples

     Ah spring. The rain is falling, the flowers are blooming. And love is in the air (along with an elevated pollen count). Here are my top five couples that'll make you fall in love this spring! Who are some of yours? Comment below!


1) Lucas & Jacqueline from Easy by Tammara Webber

These two melt my heart over and over. And the fact that Lucas is practically a golden unicorn (tattooed, pierced, artistic emo boy) makes my little heart pitter patter. 

Add it on Goodreads here!


2) Cade & Max from Faking It by Cora Carmack

I don't know if it's because I saw so much of myself in Max or because Cade is PERFECT, but I love these two so much! 

Add it on Goodreads here!


3) Eleanor & Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

First love in all of its quirky, awkward, exciting, heartbreaking, punk rock, comic book infused gloriousness. And it's set in the 80s. In my head these two found each other and had little Warped Tour babies. 

Add it on Goodreads here!


4) Beth & Ryan in Dare You To by Katie McGarry

First off, can we talk abut this cover? It's still one of my all time favorites. This was one of those times where I fell for a couple and rooted for them till the very end because I saw so much of myself in tough as nails Beth, who needed a sweetheart like Ryan more than she ever knew. Sigh.

Add it on Goodreads here!


5) Brittany & Alex in Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

I've only read this book about a dozen times, mostly just to fall in love with Brittany and Alex all over again. They have so much stacked against them from the beginning but are the ultimate in love conquers all. 

Add it on Goodreads here!





Wednesday, March 29, 2017

All Closed Off by Cora Carmack Releasing May 1, 2017!!!


From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack, comes the highly anticipated fourth standalone title in her Rusk University series, ALL CLOSED OFF! A passionate story and journey, get ready to be mesmerized with Stella's story! ALL CLOSED OFF is coming your way May 1, 2017!


Cover Design and Photography by Kelsey Kukal-Keeton at K. Keaton Designs 

ABOUT ALL CLOSED OFF (Releasing May 1, 2017):

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can't even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she's on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she's been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don't even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she's just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he's there. Angry when he's not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn't.

When Stella devises and unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy--between both friends and strangers--Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she's willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she'll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she'd never be again.

Vulnerable. 






Don't Miss All of Cora's Standalone Rusk University Series Titles!

All Lined Up

All Broke Down

All Played Out




About Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twentysomething New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twentysomething characters. Raised in a small Texas town, she now lives in New York City and spends her time writing, traveling, and marathoning various TV shows on Netflix. She lives by one rule: embrace whatever the world throws at you and run with it (just not with scissors). 

Links:





Saturday, March 25, 2017

Top Five Songs on the Soundtrack of My Camp NaNoWriMo Project

     One of these years I'll finish a NaNoWriMo project. November always manages to get crazy for me, but I love the idea of the April and July camps for a chance to get it done! I'm building off of my NaNoWriMo 2016 idea, but with some major changes I'm excited about! This is a rough summary and needs a lot of work, but you get the gist of it! River and Camryn both have old, artistic souls and music plays a huge part in both of their lives and creativity. I can't tell you guys how much fun I've had building their playlists! There's more, but these are the songs I keep coming back to the most for each of them. 

     River O'Neal closed his successful photography studio in Chicago to set up shop back in his hometown in Indiana after his dad's cancer battle takes a turn for the worst. Facing limited time with the man that's always been his hero, he's trying to reestablish his business and ease back into small town life. He knows he made the right decision to move back and take care of his mom, but wonders if he'll ever be able to adjust from high profile magazine shoots to photographing newborns and weddings. 

     The stress of it all is enough to make his skin feel too tight, but Cedar Creek isn't the same sleepy town he left nearly a decade ago. The downtown square is alive with new shops and faces, but none intrigues him as much as Camryn Parker. The same shy girl from his art classes in high school, the one who would turn red if anyone so much as looked at her, owns the vintage clothing shop next to his studio. That shy girl grew into a vibrant young woman, and River can't ignore the magnetic pull she seems to have on him. Beautiful and unfailingly kind, Camryn almost makes River forget all of the hurt and uncertainty swirling around inside of him. 

     Camryn's shop is her dream and oasis rolled into one. She's determined to keep the darkness of her childhood at bay, even if it means denying herself the only man who ever made her want to take a leap. If River found out how tainted and unlovable she really was, it would break her and ruin everything she's built. Love has a way of breaking down walls and forgiving the past, and River is determined to make his way into Camryn's heart. 

River's Playlist

Every Thug Needs a Lady by Alkaline Trio
Listen here!

I Caught Fire by The Used
Listen here!

Stolen by Dashboard Confessional
Listen here!

Clavicle by Alkaline Trio
Listen here!

Bouncing Off the Walls by Sugarcult
Listen here!

Camryn's Playlist

Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional
Listen here!

Wonderwall by Oasis
Listen here

Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller
Listen here

For Me This is Heaven by Jimmy Eat World 
Listen here!

Existentialism on Prom Night by Straylight Run
Listen here




Friday, March 17, 2017

Top 5 Books on My Spring TBR List

via GIPHY

Spring! Glorious spring! Let's be real I'm excited for anything that isn't winter. I can't complain too much as we saw a pretty mild winter in Indiana this year (I mean I wore a dress with no tights in February because it was 70!) but still. The pool isn't open, we're cooped up inside, everything is gray...nope. Spring gives me hope of summer...and a whole new season of new books! Let's get down to the top five releases I'm ready for in March, April, & May!


1) Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa De La Cruz

While I'll admit I'm not much for musicals (despite being in every high school production...that's another post for another time!) I can appreciate the Hamilton craze and am looking forward to this YA historical fiction romance starring a young Alexander Hamilton! Given the pop culture tie it, expect this one to fly off the shelves!

Add it on Goodreads here!


2) A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl

Loss. Love. Kidnapping. Mystery. All within a New England Gothic setting. Yes. Please. 

Add it on Goodreads here!


3) Maid of the King's Court by Lucy Worsley

Thanks to the TV show The Tudors (and a delicious Jonathan Rhys Meyers) I take a second look at any retelling during the reign of King Henry VIII. I mean it's everything! Sex. Murder. Intrigue. Politics. Religion. Scandal. It makes the drama of Beverly Hills 90210 look like child's play. 

Add it on Goodreads here!


4) Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

I'm such a sap guys. Seriously. Brigid Kemmerer is such a great author, and I'm a sucker for a mysterious pen pal romance. Sigh.

Add it on Goodreads here!


5) Waking in Time by Angie Stanton

This time traveling romance promises everything I love!

Add it on Goodreads here!


What's on your Spring TBR? Share in the comments below!!





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Silver Stars (Front Lines 2)

Author: Michael Grant
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 576
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, World War Two, Alternate History

Summary

The summer of 1943, World War Two. The Germans have been bloodied, but Germany is very far from beaten. The North African campaign was only the beginning of the long journey for Frangie, Rainy, Rio, and the millions of other Allies.

Now the American army is moving on to their next target: the Italian island of Sicily. Franigie, Rainy, and Rio now know firsthand what each of them is willing to do to save herself--and the consequences. With their heavy memories of combat, they will find this operation to be even tougher. 

Frangie, Rainy, and Rio also know what is at stake. The women are not heroes for fighting alongside their brothers--they are soldiers. But the millions of brave females fighting for their country have become a symbol in the fight for equality. In this war, endless blood has been spilled and millions of lives have been lost, but there could be so much more to gain. 

The women won't conquer Italy alone. But they will brave terrible conditions in an endless siege; they will fight to find themselves on the front lines of World War II; and they will come face-to-face with the brutality of war until they win or die. --Goodreads

The Rundown

     I am so happy that I picked up Front Lines when it came out last year, and Michael Grant did not disappoint with this sequel! I geek historical fiction, especially World War Two settings. The history major in me balked a little at the premise of this because I honestly thought it would ride too much in the realm of fantasy but I was wrong! Grant's alternate history is wonderfully researched and shows the raw, gritty day to day of the life of a combat soldier. As far as historical accuracy goes, a few liberties were taken to keep the story moving, but in general he gets it right. 

     I care about these characters so much. They are real and so incredibly interesting. They aren't the bright eyed kids who left Northern California (Rio), Tulsa (Frangie), or NYC (Rainy) anymore. They are battle hardened soldiers through and through. Even in the end when the title makes sense and their three narratives overlap in the final scene, the common hope of wanting to go home mixes with the fear of what they'll be when they get there and the desire to see the job through to the end. 

     There are several parts of this story that are hard to read. They are wonderfully written, but to the point where as a reader I would be so gripped by fear or sadness (or both) that I would have to set it aside and collect myself. There are also so many things happening in this alternate look at WWII that we are still talking about today like racial and gender equality. 

     My critiques are minimal. I love all of these girls, but much like the first book, I get bored with Rio the fastest. I get the feel that maybe she's the main character in terms of how much time we get with her in the narration. Maybe bored isn't the right word, because what she's doing and what's going on with her isn't boring. It's just that Frangie and Rainy are so incredibly interesting, especially Frangie (an African-American medic) that I wanted more time with them. I feel like Frangie's story could be developed a lot more, but the things we were privy to with her in this book gives me hope that she will shine in the next book.

     While I can appreciate that Grant was conscious of his word choice, opting for "Negra" when we all know what much harsher "N" word would have been used most often and "fug" for that good four letter "F" word, primarily hoping that cleaning up the language would make it more school and library friendly, it's in my opinion as a librarian that these words would have made an appropriate impact within the context of the story. This is a minor issue and doesn't make or break anything because we all know what was really being said. 

Favorite excerpt: " 'They know shit," Rainy snaps. "People back home don't know a damned thing about the actual war. Anyway, the way they look at it, the whole point of fighting the war is to keep all the things they like about America. And killer milkmaids and Negroes who walk around with a Silver Star on their chest, well, that's not what they think we're fighting for." Rio blinks. Until this moment it has never occurred to her that she represents something...unacceptable. Unacceptable even to the most open-minded people." -pg. 519-520

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars. Perfect for any fan of historical fiction or of empowering female characters!


     




Monday, March 13, 2017

Breakable (Contours of the Heart 2)

Author: Tammara Webber
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Berkley
Pages: 361
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult

Summary

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise--until tragedy tore his family apart and made him question everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy...

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat. -Goodreads

The Rundown

I loved loved loved this book! Lucas may be my number one book boyfriend now, and he'll be a tough one to replace!

This isn't a sequel, but it's Easy retold from Lucas's point of view with prequel like flashbacks to his teen years after the tragic murder of his mom and the trauma and growth that followed. It will make you want to reach into the book and give sixteen year old Landon a hug! So many emotions! 

If I had one critique, it's on myself as a reader in that I dove right in to Breakable after finishing Easy so it took me longer to get through because it's the exact same story, with Lucas's high school years slipped in as the new parts. It loved seeing my favorite scenes from Easy through Lucas's eyes, but I feel like it took me longer to read because it was the same story I'd just finished. I know if I'd picked it up a month or two later, I would have flown through it. I'd recommend reading Easy first, and giving it some time before you pick up Breakable so you'll savor the new POV better than I did. 

Want to know why you should read Easy like yesterday? Click here for my review!

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars. If you don't fall in love with Lucas all over again...I don't know what to tell you. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World

Edited By: Kelly Jensen
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 240
Genre: Nonfiction, Feminism, Essays

Summary

Here We Are is a scrapbook-style teen guide to understanding what it really means to be a feminist. It's packed with essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations from a diverse list of voices, including TV, film, and pop-culture celebrities and public figures such as Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia, politician Wendy Davis, as well as popular YA authors like Nova Ren Suma, Malinda Lo, Brandy Colbert, Courtney Summers, and many more. Altogether, the book features more than forty-four pieces, with an eight-page insert of full color pieces. 

Here We Are is a response to lively discussions about the true meaning of feminism on social media and across popular culture and is an invitation to one of the most important, life-changing, and exciting parties around. -Goodreads

The Rundown

I'm not even sure how to do a review on this book justice. 

This

Is

Everything.

Everything I have ranted and raved and lost friends and family on social media (and in real life) over, especially over this last election and the fallout from it. 

I can't even pick a favorite quote or essay easily to give you a blurb because I'd end up just retyping the whole book and you know...copyright laws...illegal. 

I wish I had eighty copies of this in my teen department to give to everyone who popped in that part of the library, but I can't do that either.

What I can do is strongly encourage you to read this book. It's quick and well worth it. I promise. I swear. Cross my heart. It's amazing.

No matter if you are male or female, gay or straight, cis or trans, young or old, single or married, have kids or are on team no thank you, conservative or liberal I promise this book is a valuable read. It sparks conversation and encourages understanding on the very reality of sexism in our everyday lives and this awesome thing called feminism. 

Read. Talk. Share. Love.

Roar (Stormheart 1)

Author: Cora Carmack Release Date: June 13, 2017 Publisher: Tor Teen Pages: 352 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy *I received this bo...