Book Talk: The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Book Talk: The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye WaltonThe Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Published by Candlewick on 2014
Genres: YA Magical Realism
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Ava, a girl born with wings, was also born to a family line who has experienced pain and loss along the way. Ava brings us her story but first tells the stories of her grandmother and mother who paved the path to where she is. Her grandmother is closed off and distant. Her mother is forever heartbroken. And Ava, the girl born with wings, has been isolated in her house away from people until, at 16, she decides she wants to find out where she could fit in with the world as a girl with wings — unprepared how others will regard her and her wings or the motives of an obsessed man who thinks she is an angel.

ALERT: as I type this the book is $1.99 for Kindle!!

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twirl

*me falling in love with magical realism all over again*

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Book Talk: Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Book Talk: Salt To The Sea by Ruta SepetysSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Philomel Books on February 2, 2016
Genres: YA Historical Fiction
Also by this author: Between Shades of Gray, Out of the Easy
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Joana, Florian and Emilia meet as they are making a dangerous trek towards freedom in East Prussia towards the end of the war when the Russians invaded and overtook. They have the common goals of freedom and survival but come from different countries and have different secrets they are carrying on this road to their future. Their future is in the form of a ship, one of many taking refugees to safety, called the Wilhelm Gustloff — a vessel that brings them hope of survival after their harrowing journey until they find themselves on it when it is hit by a torpedo and fighting to survive once again.

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a4Oh man had I been waiting for this one! I loved both of her previous books — Between Shades of Grey and Out of the Easy. She is a tremendous writer and seriously writes some of the best historical fiction out there. It’s so easy to get lost in her books and I always find myself recommending her books the most when people want historical fiction or want to give it a try — with the caveat that Between Shades of Grey will destroy you (Out of the Easy made me emotional but in a different way).

Anyways, Salt to the Sea. INCREDIBLE. I love it when the historical fiction I read makes me want to crack open a textbook to learn more about the time or the events that are related to the novel. She gives you just enough with the historical setting and the details of the event to transport you there but still want to know more about it.

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Book Talk: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Book Talk: Passenger by Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 5, 2016
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Etta is just living her life in present day when suddenly she finds herself falling through time and dropped on a ship in the 1700’s aboard a ship Nicholas, another time traveler, works on. He’s to take Etta to an evil man who he had hoped to get away from and never have to deal with again. He’s looking for something (that would totes give him like Time Travel Overload status) that is hidden by another time traveler and he believes Etta can find it which Etta is like HUH? I don’t even know how I got here but then he throws a little life plot twist her way to make her realize she might have a better shot at finding it than she thought — and the stakes are HIGH. So Etta and Nicholas take off across and time and continents to follow clues, find what he wants and stay one step ahead of Ironwood who will use it for bad.

a2HOW CAN I WAIT FOR BOOK 2?!? Someone please let me time travel to the day this releases!!

a4One of my all time favorite books is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneggar and, to be honest, I haven’t read many time travel books since then.  Passenger made me remember how much I enjoy the time travel storyline in fiction. Particularly from the point of view of a character who is just living her life as a competitive violinist (as one does) and has no idea time travel exists but suddenly is caught up in this high stakes race against the clock because apparently there’s some things she didn’t know about her heritage and now a baddie is holding her hostage to find what he’s looking for.

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Save The Date: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

To learn more about why I created/started doing this Save The Date feature back in 2012 and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 I received this book for review consideration and that has zero affect on my opinions on it. PINKIE SWEAR.

 

The Serpent King

* Release date according to Goodreads

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads


What The Serpent King is about:

Dill has always been a little bit of an outcast with a super religious Pentecostal preacher dad whose preaching is a bit unorthodox and extreme — aka his congregation frequently handles poisonous snakes during the sermon. But he fell even further into outcast land, and pretty hard, after his father’s public and awful fall from grace which has affected a lot at home, too. His two best friends, Lydia and Travis, are fellow outcasts in their small Southern town. Lydia runs a very popular fashion blog, dresses quite differently than her classmates and has her eye on moving to NYC as soon as high school is over. Travis, mostly content with staying after graduation, is often lost in a popular fantasy series and its fandom where he finds people who GET him. They’ve always stuck together to survive this town but now, with graduation nearing, the uncertainty of the future and their friendship going forward weighs heavily as plans to leave and stay are made and dreams are becoming realized.

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for The Serpent King:

Do you know that feeling when you read something and you are just like YEP. THAT’S IT. THIS IS PERFECT. THIS IS THE KIND OF BOOK I LIVE FOR”? Pretty much the whole time I was reading The Serpent King I felt like this. It’s this feeling I can’t describe and I wish I had the words for it. It’s just this feeling I get whenever I encounter a new favorite book or a book that just has something special. The Serpent King is both of those things. It was everything. It had all the things I want out of a book no matter what the genre is. I have to be honest — my go-to is contemporary YA — but lately, while I’ve been loving many I’ve read, I haven’t been having those books that just stop me in my tracks as much as I used to. But The Serpent King? Like the venom from a serpent, this book made quick work of coursing its magic through me as I read and affecting every inch of my being until by the end I just was rendered incapacitated and alone in a puddle of book feels with one massive book hangover to which there is no anti-venom for.

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Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa ReichardtUnderwater by Marisa Reichardt
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on January 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Morgan survived a horrible tragedy — one that she feels partly guilty for because of an act of kindness she did that day. Racked with fear and guilt, Morgan has not been able to leave apartment she shares with her mom and brother and truly move forward after everything that happened. She’s lost her friends, attends high school via the internet and her therapist comes to her home once a week to try to work through this with her. And then Evan moves in next door and she’s confronted with the life that she’s missing and his presence starts to stir in her a desire to see the outside world again.

a2Very heavy book, oof. Need something happy next!!

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One of the worst feelings is finishing a book and just not really feeling what you know you probably should have. Which is really sad because there were moments in this book that were great and really affected me.   I should be overwhelmed with emotional connection given the content of this novel but I just wasn’t in the grand scheme when I finished. In small moments, yes. I was there. But when I finished I was like I was left wanting more overall.

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Book Talk: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Book Talk: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth FlynnFirsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: eARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Mercedes, the main character, helps guys make their first time with their girlfriend perfect — or at least way better than her first time experience. She gives them tips for creating the perfect night and, well, hands on experience. The catch is they have to be virgins. She’s kept it a secret from her friends, the student body and her mom, who isn’t around much anyways. Soon word gets around a little too much and guys start trying to take advantage of her services — namely her best friend’s boyfriend who isn’t happy when she refuses and threatens to expose her and destroy her reputation.

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It took me a looong time to process this one after I read it! So yeah….my brain was just cricket noises because it didn’t know what to think.

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Woo boy, this book. I have thoughts and feelings. I had to try hard to block out my old lady feels towards what was going on because half the time I was like CHILD NO to many of the characters and situations. Firsts is definitely a honest and provocative book that will make you uncomfortable for sure but I loved the honest and open exploration of teen sexuality in it though I felt kind of conflicted about certain aspects.

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I read quite a bit in December and have quite the backlog but wanted to at least let you know what I read!

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver

About In A Sentence (ish): The two main characters lives intersect as they play, each having their own strong reasons for participating, in their town’s yearly high stakes game called Panic that is judged by two anonymous people and gives dangerous and potentially deadly challenges to complete.

Thoughts: MAN, I love Lauren Oliver. LOVE HER. But this book was not for me at all. It had such a good premise (high stakes game played by high school students!) but the execution lacked for me in many ways. I was bored despite the fact it was high stakes and had mysterious aspects (that I found so predictable). One romances was great and the other was so weird and forced. The characters never felt real to me. I honestly would have quit it pretty early on had it not been a book club book. To be honest, it could be a really cool movie but I just couldn’t get into it in any way. It was a fairly quick read so there was that and probably the only reason I was still reading was to see how one of our main characters would fare and also what kind of seriously crazy challenges the judges would throw out next.

 

Rating:

RATING-Not-a-fan

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

December has been so busy so let’s just quickly talk about some of the books I’ve been reading!

 

 

Big Magic

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

About In A Sentence (ish): Elizabeth Gilbert talks about creative living and overcoming fear and other obstacles in your creative life!

Thoughts: I liked this one and will share some of my favorite quotes from it in another post but I think it’s a good one for all creative types — especially writers. I will say I thought it was going to be a little bit more ~practical~ type of book (more tips/exercises/etc) but it was definitely more inspirational. Sometimes I found myself skimming (especially because some of her thoughts on creativity were a little hokey for me and also some were repetitive) but the parts that stuck with me were things I so needed to hear. It’s intended for all creative types but I do think it would super benefit writers and, also as a blogger, I got a lot out of it, too.  I can’t wait to share some of the things I learned from it later and that definitely helped reframe things for me. It’s a short, quick read that I think will be good for anyone feeling like they need a little inspiring kick in the pants or who needs to work through some roadblocks in their creativity as she touches on quite a few things that could hinder.

 

Rating:

RATING-LIKED

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Book Talk: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

Book Talk: Just Visiting by Dahlia AdlerJust Visiting by Dahlia Adler
Published by Spencer Hill Press on November 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Behind the Scenes
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Reagan and Victoria both cannot wait to graduate and leave their small town where Reagan won’t be ostracized because of a past relationship or have to deal with her parents and where Victoria won’t stand out for being Mexican and where she can pursue her dreams to do fashion design. They are in it together and started planning the post-high school life of their dreams by going on a series of college visits to choose together where they will end up. The college visits prove to be interesting. Reagan falls hard for a boy after keeping her heart pretty guarded over the past couple years but it seems like it could end in heartbreak and Victoria starts to really doubt if the path they are choosing is right for her future — something that could change the future of this friendship especially when faced with certain parts of their past they’ve kept from each other the whole time.

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*happy sigh*

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I really enjoyed Dahlia’s debut Behind The Scenes but Just Visiting blew me away and is definitely one of my most favorite contemporary YA books I’ve read this year! It’s just such an authentic story about friendship and love and that confusing time when that next stage (post-high school) is staring you right in the face. So compelling and so compulsively readable! I really just want to follow the next few years of their lives if I’m honest!

4 things that made this book such a win for me:

1.Exploring the feeling of approaching that “next stage” of your life: I feel like not enough YA books really get into the nitty gritty of the post high school tornado that happens in junior and senior year. When that next stage of your life is right before you and it’s terrifying because there are all these endless possibilities it seems and you don’t want to make the “wrong” one. Through Reagan and Victoria we see how tumultuous this time can be. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What do you want your future to look like? It’s overwhelming and I loved how Dahlia portrayed that through these two most vividly and I almost felt like I was thrown back to 2003/2004  standing on this precipice myself feeling like I’ve been thrown out into the middle of the galaxy without a map. Is college the right choice? Which one? What major? If not college, then what? Stay close? Go far away? ALL THE POSSIBILITIES.

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Book Talk: The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

Book Talk: The Unquiet by Mikaela EverettThe Unquiet by Mikaela Everett
Published by Greenwillow Books on September 2015
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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There are 2 earths — duplicates of everything on this parallel earth. But one earth is failing because two can not exist in the universe and a mission has been created, by people of the failing planet, to invade the other and take it for themselves. They’ve been training kids, like the main character Lira, to become cold killers and sleeper agents until the big invasion happens. So Lira finishes her training and is brought to where she must kill her duplicate and then assume her life while she waits for the time when all the sleeper agents are in place and the battle to take this planet for themselves will happen.

a2OH EM GEEEEEEE.

a4The Unquiet was one of the most unsettling and unflinching books I’ve read this year for sure. I expected it to go in a certain direction and it absolutely didn’t and I was left like DAAAAMN I SEE YOU, BOOK. Predictable it was not at all! It was also a very unique science fiction read — unlike anything I’ve read personally!

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