The slant on YA books

Review – On the Fence

Hello, everyone!

I realize it has been quite some time since I updated the dear ole blog. Truth is, I was super busy and experiencing a major creative slump. But, I hope to put all of that behind me. I can’t say that I will be back to blogging with the same frequency as I used to, but I don’t plan on any long hiatuses in the near future.

With all of that said, I recently read a book that inspired me to write a review, which was huge. It’s smart and charming and perfect. My review won’t do it justice, but I will still give it a try. 

On the Fence by Kasie West

on the fence

Pages: 296

Publisher: HarperTeen

Date Published: July 1, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

-

On the Fence has everything I love about Kasie West’s books: loveable characters, a swoon-worthy romance, and a plot to make you feel all the feels.

Charlie and her brothers are hands-down my favorite fictitious family. The fact that family is such a huge part of this book makes me enjoy it even more. I love that family is a huge part of what makes up Charlie. It’s refreshing , and it provides some fun sibling pranks. Charlie felt very real, although she struggles with her identity. This book is more a coming-of-age novel than anything else, even above the romance.

I would like to applaud West on how she wrote Charlie. Yes, Charlie is a tomboy, but it is also really evident how she reacts to situations just like any other teenage girl out there. Plus, the fact that she is a tomboy isn’t rubbed in the reader’s face as a point to make Charlie seem oh, so super special; it’s just a part of who she is. It felt very natural and true. After reading On the Fence I picked up another book featuring a tomboy, and it just didn’t compare. While other contemporaries featuring tomboys come across as contrived, On the Fence knocks them all out of the park with it’s authenticity.

There is a slight element of mystery, but I do feel many readers will figure it out pretty quickly. However, it didn’t make me frustrated so much as more sympathetic to Charlie.

I really only wish this book was longer. I would have loved to see the book continue for another twenty pages (or two hundred). In the midst of many, many contemporaries, On the Fence remains new and heartwarming.

P.S. Can I have my own Braden?

Stacking the Shelves #23

StSBanner

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where book bloggers share their weekly book haul.

I had some money to burn, so I took a trip to Barnes & Noble. It had been so long since I had been in there that I was stunned by all of the books I have yet to read.

It was hard to narrow down my selection, but ultimately I am happy with my purchases.

CruelBeauty NoOneElse gone

All of these are books have been my Waiting on Wednesday picks, so it was delightful to finally have them all to myself.

What books are you guys reading this week?

Waiting on Wednesday – Nearly Gone

WoWBannerTo find out more about Waiting on Wednesday check out my first post here.

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

goneExpected Publication: March 25, 2014

Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end. 

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her. 

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

I have seen this cover floating around, but today was the first day that I really paid attention to the synopsis. It sounds like just the right amount of thrill and creep, so it practically has my name written all over it. 

What books are you guys looking to add to your shelves?

 

Side Effects May Vary Launch Party

side effects

On Saturday I went to the fabulous launch party to celebrate Julie Murphy’s debut of Side Effects May Vary.

Julie is an incredibly sweet person, and also a local author. I was so happy that the event had a huge turnout. Basically, Julie thanked everyone for coming, answered a few questions, and got right to signing. 

WP_20140315_00820140316203447 Meeting other fellow bookaholics is part of why I love author events so much. While me – and my mom- were waiting in line, we met some other awesome book lovers. Miranda, a former book blogger, had a fantastic typewriter purse. We also met Addison, Amanda, and Jamie. Addison and Amanda blog over at Of Spectacles and Books and their passion for books is contagious. I am truly looking forward to running in to all of them again at more bookish events in the future.

 

WP_20140316_003

The favors, the decorations, the cupcakes, everything was so well done. I loved all of the personal touches the library added to make this event unique and a really special night for not only Julie but everyone who came out. There were adorable pill bottles of candy (never though I would say that), wooden sticks with different elements of the book attached, and other goodies throughout the room. 

Bottom Line: Check out Side Effects May Vary when it comes out this Tuesday, March 18. Also, if you ever get the chance to go to a book event/author visit GO! You get to meet wonderful authors and people and have fun.

Stacking the Shelves #22

StSBanner

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where book bloggers share their weekly book haul.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I got some great books this week.

bookstoreMr. Penumbra’s 24 – Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
armentrout White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I won this one in a giveaway, so thanks, Jennifer!

landrypark

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

What books did you all get this week?

Condensed Review – Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

piI figured today would be the best day to share this review since it is in fact Pi day.

Life of Pi is required reading for my English class, but I was glad that it made me pick up this book once and for all. I had been hesitant to read it since my mom and brother both had such differing opinions on this book, and I figured that, like my mom, this book just wouldn’t be for me.

After finishing this book, I feel such a mix of emotions. Part of me appreciates the storytelling, another feels irked at the over-the-top philosophical thinking and religious elements, and still another has a love-hate relationship for the conclusion.

Life of Pi was harder to read than I expected due not only to its heavy religious messages but also the awful things Pi must do to survive. I really didn’t think it would get to me like it did, but there is only so much talk of butchering turtles I can take before I start feeling a bit queasy.

As I’ve mentioned, the story is pretty well-written. I didn’t ever really feel that the pace dragged, and Martel does a great job of using imagery to tell this story that could have easily been much more drab. However, for those who have read the book, they will understand why the story was told with such care, which made me like the novel a bit less.

It’s important to know upfront that the whole point of this book is to make you believe in God. That point is repeatedly pointed out several times. The biggest problem I had with this book was how things weren’t left for the reader to pick up on; instead, they are repeatedly pointed out with metaphor after metaphor. It felt like as soon as Martel said something remotely clever, he would point it out again and again to make sure no one missed out on what he was implying.

Now, that ending! I knew there would be some twist at the end since my teacher told us that for a fact, but I didn’t see it coming like it did. I know I shouldn’t be surprised it took the direction it did, but still, it bothers me. I have to stop myself from saying anymore because I know I will ruin the ending for others. 

Have you guys read the book? What do you make of the ending? Beware: spoilers may be found in the comments.

Waiting on Wednesday – The Wicked We Have Done

WoWBannerTo find out more about Waiting on Wednesday, check out my first post here.

 The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

wickedExpected Publication: March 18, 2014

Publisher: Penguin/InterMix Books

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice. 

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent. 

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends. 

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

Despite the fact that this does seem to be a little reminiscent of a Hunger Games style plot, I think I could really enjoy the darkness of this story line. I am intrigued to see how exactly this system doles out justice, so come March 18 I will definitely be on the look out for this book.

Does this sound like a book you can’t wait to read? What other books have been on your radar?

 

 

Do you read the copyright page?

copyrightHey! How are you guys doing today? I can hardly believe it is already March.

Today I am wondering if any of you read the copyright page of a book. I am talking about the page that includes fun facts like summaries and the typefaces used in the book.

Any time I get a book, or even when I am in the bookstore, I look at the copyright page because a) I like the quick summary that is usually found there b) I like to know if my book is a first edition or not and c) I love to know about the FONTS used of course. 

What about you all? Do you read the copyright page or do you skip right past it to get to the fun stuff? Let me know!

Review – Cress

 Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)

*Warning! If you haven’t read the first two books of this series, you probably want to avoid reading the synopsis and review as they contain spoliers for the first two books.

cressPages: 550

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Date Published: February 4, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

– 

Clocking in at 550 pages, Cress is full of nail-biting adventures.

Cress’s story gives readers a perspective from the mind of a Lunar citizen, which answers some questions I didn’t even think to be asking.

Her shy and naive nature combined with her loyalty and resourcefulness make Cress an asset to our other beloved heroes: Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf, Captain Thorne, and Iko. Reading Cress’s tale was more exciting than Cinder’s and even Scarlet’s, perhaps because the stakes are higher.

It’s no secret I like big books. Cress has new mysteries and finally some answers. I still don’t completely see where the overall story is going . Cress made progress in the overall story arc, but not enough to be really satisfying.

Cinder and her crew continue to play a huge role in the books, and while the shifting POV helps put some events in perspective, I wish the narrative would focus only on the featured character.

On to the romance! It is pretty scarce in Cress because fighting evil mind controllers doesn’t leave a lot of free time, but it still manages to be sweet and hopeful.

In the end, Cress was entertaining and delivered a well thought out story. I am eager to see how Meyer ties everything together in the next installments. Meyer has written a novel that you’ll want to read all at once. She’s answered just enough questions, yet left a large amount of suspense to make readers want Winter immediately. 

Waiting on Wednesday – Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

WoWBanner

To find out more about Waiting on Wednesday, check out my first post here.

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

 

historyofthefuture

Expected Publication: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

WOULD YOU TRY TO CHANGE THE WORLD
IF YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD NO FUTURE? 

Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying. 

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass. 

In this masterpiece about freedom, feminism, and destiny, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

A.S. King’s books can be a hit-or-miss for me, but History of the Future sounds like such a me book. First off, that title sounds incredibly promising. Add in the fact that this book has themes of feminism and I am sold. 


The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

Andi's ABCs

Accessories, Books, Clothes...

The Nomadic Book Hoarder

Not all those who wander are lost

Literary Lushes

ARC Tours and #LitLush Twitter chats!

The Girls in Plaid Skirts

Bibliophiles and Spies

Such a Novel Idea

A Blog About Books

BOOKISH AND NERDY

Book Nerds Unite!

Bibliophilia

The ramblings and reviews of a book-lover

Fangirl Friends

We're your Fangirl Friends, updating you daily and sharing our thoughts

Bibliophilic Monologues

Meanderings of an Inquisitive Mind

Ode to Jo & Katniss

Exploring great stories and creating great stories.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 326 other followers

%d bloggers like this: