Waiting On Wednesday (July 23)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on Ticker by Lisa Mantchev, which has an expected publication date of December 1, 2014.

A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass “Ticker,” transforming her into “the first of the Augmented!” But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.

The last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

I absolutely loved Eyes Like Stars and I haven’t read very many steampunk novels, so I’m very excited for this one!

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below. 3

if you like… BEACH TOWNS

Welcome to my feature, If You Like…. INSERT THING HERE. In this feature, I’ll be sharing books related to various television shows, movies, other books…. anything and everything!

Since it’s summer, I thought that I would do a summery theme this week. And what screams summer more than a good ol’ BEACH TOWN BOOK!!

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Civilization + Beach = fun, drama, and some sweet romances! So, without further ado, here are some books you should dive into (get it?) if you enjoy beach towns!

this is what happy looks likeThis Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This is such an adorable book! It’s set in a town next to a beach in Maine, and although the beach is not a major part of it, it still counts! If you’re in the mood for cuteness overload, definitely check this one out!

 

 

the moon and more coverThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

This is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books, and like many of her other novels it takes place on the beach in a town-like setting. The main character in this book is much more independent than some of the girls in her previous novels, which I really appreciated. If you’re looking for something empowering and sort of emotional, then pick this one up!

 

 

we were liars coverWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart

This certainly is not a warm and fuzzy feel-good sort of novel, but it’s breathtaking and beautiful nonetheless. The majority of the story takes place on an island where a rich family vacations each summer. If you’re planning to read this book, I would recommend going into it without knowing any more than that- it makes the whole experience even more mysterious!

 

 

I hope you all enjoy these recommendations! What beach town books would you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.

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Fortunately, the Milk is just as quirky and imaginative as Gaiman’s other works, but a fair bit more lighthearted and humorous as it’s geared towards a younger audience. That’s not to say that adults won’t enjoy it as well; this time-traveling adventure involving pirates, wumpires, a Stegosaurus, aliens, and, of course, milk, should bring out the inner child of even the most jaded individuals. The story is complemented perfectly by Skottie Young’s illustrations in a style that reminded me strongly of a Tim Burton movie.

Overall, Fortunately, the Milk just solidifies my belief that Neil Gaiman can do no wrong – or, in this case, that he is incapable of writing a book that isn’t completely enthralling and filled to the brim with magic. If a clever, intergalactic adventure appeals to you, I highly, highly recommend giving it a try.

Friday Finds (July 18)

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Friday Finds is a weekly event hosted by Should Be Reading, where you discuss books that you’ve discovered and added to your to-read list over the course of the week. These books don’t have to be ones that you’ve purchased – they can be books that you’ve borrowed, found online, heard about from a friend, etc.

As always, if you’re interested in learning more about one of these books, click on the picture and you’ll be taken to its Goodreads page.

What books did you find this Friday? Leave me a list or a link to your Friday Finds post in the comments below.

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in response to zadie smith.

zadie smithRecently I came across an article written by author Zadie Smith titled, What It Means to Be Addicted to Reading. I highly recommend clicking on the link and reading it in full- it’s excellent! (If the link doesn’t work for some reason, here is the URL: http://www.oprah.com/oprahsbookclub/Author-Zadie-Smith-What-to-Read-This-Summer) Basically, Zadie discusses her “pathological reader syndrome,” in which she constantly feels the need to read. She explains that this feeling is heightened greatly in the summer, especially since she can “blend in” with the other readers on the beach. In the very last paragraph of this article, Zadie states,

“My name is Zadie Smith, and I am a 38-year-old pathological reader. I would like to say in my defense that I don’t really get the appeal of YOLO. I live many times over. Hypothetical, subterranean lives that run beneath the relative tedium of my own and have the power to occasionally penetrate or even derail it. I find it hard to name the one book that was so damn delightful it changed my life. The truth is, they have all changed my life, every single one of them—even the ones I hated. Books are my version of “experiences.” I’m made of them. But every summer I hope to take a book to a beach and pretend that it’s only an occasional thing, a seasonal indulgence, which will be put down come September, as I return, like any civilian, to real life.”

I love this article for a multitude of reasons, beginning with the simple fact that it’s written so incredibly well. I feel like I understand exactly what Zadie is feeling, because a) she expresses it with such clarity and b) I, too, experience what she’s going through. However, for me it is less of a “hope” to return to normal life after the summer- it is a fear. Every summer I try to read as much as physically possible because I know that I will be super busy come fall. But there’s always that lingering fear in the back of my mind that constantly asks: “But what if you don’t read at all?” This is a legitimate fear of mine: What if I get so caught up in the chaos of school and work and everything that I no longer have time to read? Reading is a part of me, as much as teaching is part of a teacher’s life and fitness is part of an athlete’s life. I am a reader, a lover of language and all things bookish, and therefore reading is very important to me. Not being able to do it would be absolutely dreadful. I applaud Zadie Smith for writing an article that is so accessible, understandable, clever, and brilliant. What are your thoughts on this article? Do you ever feel the way Zadie describes in the paragraph I quoted above? Let me know in the comments section below! Yours, HOLLY

Waiting on Wednesday (July 16)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that are eagerly anticipated.

This week, I’m waiting on The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters, which has an expected publication date of October 14, 2014.

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

After reading (and adoring!In the Shadow of Blackbirds, I came to the decision that I would happily read anything that Cat Winters writes. I love historical fiction, especially those involving spiritualism, seances and hypnotism, so I’m incredibly excited to give this a read!

Which books are you waiting on? Leave me a link or a list to your Waiting on Wednesday post below. 3

Book Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway

Which is more dangerous: being an international spy… or surviving high school?

Maggie Silver has never minded her unusual life. Cracking safes for the world’s premier spy organization and traveling the world with her insanely cool parents definitely beat high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. (If it’s three digits, why bother locking it at all?)

But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for her first solo assignment, her world is transformed. Suddenly, she’s attending a private school with hundreds of “mean girl” wannabes, trying to avoid the temptation to hack the school’s elementary security system, and working to befriend the aggravatingly cute son of a potential national security threat… all while trying not to blow her cover.

From the hilarious and poignant author of Audrey, Wait! comes a fast-paced caper that proves that even the world’s greatest spies don’t have a mission plan for love.

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“That’s the second rule of being a spy: Be beige. Be beiger than beige. Be as average as possible. Be like the cashiers in your grocery store. Could you describe them? Chances are, no. Did you see them? Of course. Do you know their names, even if they were wearing name tags? Probably not. It’s like that.”

Also Known As was almost nothing like what I expected: instead of expert sleuthing and espionage worthy of James Bond films, the actual “spy stuff” was left until the very end of the story. And yet, despite the fact that the majority of the story takes place in a high school setting, I absolutely loved it.

One of Also Known As‘ biggest strengths is its characters. All of the characters that appeared in the story had a distinct personality and voice, making it very easy to become completely absorbed in their world. And there’s no disappearing parent syndrome to be found here – Maggie’s parents are very active in her life and, although they haven’t really had to do the whole “parenting thing” until now, they are more than willing to learn alongside Maggie.

Maggie, herself, is hilarious. She’s sarcastic, clever, and incredibly loyal. More than that, though, she’s so real: despite the fact that she’s a teenage spy (and an adept one at that!) she has the same insecurities and fears as many other high schoolers. Making friends and attending classes is completely new to her, making her slight blunders and missteps incredibly convincing.

Maggie’s new friend, Roux, completely stole the show whenever she was in a scene. She’s loud, quirky, dramatic, and one of the cutest drunks I’ve ever seen. I especially like that there was no slut shaming, given that Roux has fallen out of all of her social circles after cheating with her former friend’s boyfriend.

And then there’s Jesse Oliver. It’s no surprise that Maggie would fall for the “assignment,” but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed his character. He’s nothing like the “bad boy” we’re introduced to in the Collective’s files; instead, he’s sweet, trusting, and effortlessly likeable. His only fault is that he falls for Maggie a bit too easily – but thankfully it isn’t exactly instalove and, given how endearing Maggie’s personality is, you can’t really blame the boy.

Overall, Also Known As was an adorable, fluffy read that had me smiling the entire time. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Robin Benway writes next!