Saturday Showcase (March 15)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

This week’s featured book is Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King.

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a beautiful, heartbreaking exploration of grief, as told by several compelling (and, at times, unusual) voices. It’s certainly not a light read, but it’s an accurate depiction of real life that poses several very important questions: how much of a role do nature and nurture play in the person that we become? And just how different would our lives be if we chose to speak up and make a different decision?

What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (January 4)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

This week’s featured book is The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison.

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad’s consulting job means she’s grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she’s learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place–possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren’s death, Lo’s hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as “Sapphire”–a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can’t get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious “butterfly clues,” with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined–a world, she’ll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother’s tragic death.

The Butterfly Clues is a thrilling, original mystery that provides insight on the human condition in a way that I hadn’t seen before — by allowing the reader to see the world through the eyes of someone with obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s beautifully written and captivating, and I can’t recommend it enough.

What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (December 28)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

This week’s featured book is Entwined by Heather Dixon.

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her… beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing… it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Entwined is one of my favourite fairytale retellings, despite the fact that I’ve never actually read The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It’s filled with magic, secrets, adorable romance, well-developed characters and, as an added bonus, a gorgeous cover.

What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (September 21)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

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This week’s featured book is Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo.

A wonderful, coming-of-age love story from a fresh new voice in YA fiction.

‘Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I’m open to all kinds of bribery.’

From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost…head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he’s 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?

Love and Other Perishable Items is a beautifully honest story about what it means to be in love and what it means to grow up. Every time I read this, I see so much of myself in Amelia — after all, she doesn’t know how to tell guys that she likes them and she “even takes the goings-on of fictitious characters personally.” It brings back so many memories of awkward first love, while making you wiser about gender roles, feminism, and other social issues. If I ever have a daughter, she’ll definitely have to read this during her teenage years.

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What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (August 31)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

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This week’s featured series is the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr.

The Wicked Lovely series is easily my favourite series about faeries. It’s dark, realistic, and character-driven. The characters themselves are flawed and often blur the lines between “good” and “evil,” making the Faery politics even more interesting. I haven’t read this series in years, but I still find myself thinking about the characters from time to time. And that, my friends, is the mark of a good series that will be read again and again.

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What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (August 24)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

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This week’s featured book is I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak.

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

I Am The Messenger doesn’t pack the emotional punch that The Book Thief does, but is beautiful and touching all the same. It’s an uplifting story that shows just how much a simple action can change someone’s life. This book has really resonated with me and has inspired me to make a lot of positive changes, including reaching out more to others and appreciating the little things in life.

I could talk for hours about how much I love this book, but I’ll just leave you with two of my favourite quotes and a strong suggestion that you give it a read.

“Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are.”

“If a guy like you can stand up and do what you did, then maybe everyone can. Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.”

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What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave a list or a link to your Saturday Showcase post in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (August 10)

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Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about).

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This week’s featured book is Wildwood by Colin Meloy.

Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. That is, until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.

So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

I really enjoyed Wildwood. It has the feel of a fairytale, is intelligently written, is accompanied by beautiful illustrations, and reads like one of The Decemberists’ songs.

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What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave me a list or a link to your post in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (August 3)

Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about). This week’s featured books are the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness.

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

These are some of the best YA dystopian novels I’ve ever read. The writing style is unique, the characters are loveable, the animals can talk (through their thoughts, but still), and it addresses so many important themes. It’s such a powerful series, and I highly, highly recommend it.

What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave me a list or a link to your post in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (July 27)

Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about). This week’s featured book is A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray.

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy–jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

A Great and Terrible Beauty introduced me to the world of young adult literature, and is one of the main reasons that I love historical fiction. It has everything: Victorian England (corsets and all!), boarding school, magic, visions, and swoon-worthy Gypsies.

What are some of your favourite underrated books? Leave me a list or a link to your post in the comments below.
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Saturday Showcase (July 20)

Saturday Showcase is a weekly event hosted here at The In-Between Place which features books that you wish more people had read (or, at least, heard about). This week’s featured book is Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata, #1) by Lisa Mantchev.

All her world’s a stage

Enter Stage Right
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith (Bertie): Our heroine.
Nate: A dashing pirate who will do anything to protect Bertie.
Cobweb, Moth, Mustardseed, and Peaseblossom: Four tiny, mischievous fairies, and Bertie’s loyal sidekicks.
Ariel: A seductive air spirit. Disaster follows in his wake, but Bertie simply cannot resist him.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. The actors are bound to the Théâtre by The Book, an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of the actors, but they are her family. And she is about to lose them all because The Book has been threatened, and along with it the Théâtre. It’s the only home Bertie has ever known, and she has to find a way to save it. But first, there’s the small problem of two handsome men, both vying for her attention. The course of true love never did run smooth…

The Théâtre Illuminata series is such a nice read, and it has the most gorgeous covers. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare and plays in general, so it was really nice to read a book where all of those characters coexist. It was kind of like greeting old friends, since I was already familiar with them – though the fairies were somehow even more crazy (and fun) than I remembered.
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