Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Vanishing Girls

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we spotlight an upcoming release we are eagerly anticipating.

My WoW this week is:

Vanishing Girls
By Lauren Oliver
Hardcover, 480 pages
Expected Publication: March 3, 2015

From Goodreads:

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-yea-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other. 

Lauren is a fantastic story telling and I can't wait to dive into this one! Sounds very different than what I've read from her before and I'm interested to see where she will take this.

What's your Waiting on Wednesday?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review: On the Fence

On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Published: July 1, 2014
Paperback, 296 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary 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 neighbour 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 a 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 in 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. 

I devoured this book in a day! Kasie West is such a great writer and I love how she captures teen life. Charlie isn't your typical girl, she's been raised by her single dad and three older brothers so all she really knows is sports. So when she gets a speeding ticket and her dad forces her to find a job to pay it of, she can't believe it when she applies to a clothing boutique that is so out of her league and gets the job there. Its embarrassing to wear the clothes she has to wear while she's there and she doesn't want her family to know she's started wearing makeup. To make matters worse, she's started falling for her next door neighbour and practically her other brother, Braden. The five of them have always been a team, and Charlie's not sure what well happen if she tells Braden how she feels. Before she knows it, she's hiding a lot more from the people she loves than she thought she ever would and she's not sure how to get out of the mess she's put herself in.

Charlie is a great character. I love how sporty she is and how naive she is about girly things that I knew all too well about at her age. Growing up without a mother have turned her into a tomboy, but once she starts working with Linda, she starts to learn and appreciate the finer things in life. She's scared of what her brothers will think so she hides it all from them, but that's not who she is and it comes to bite her in the ass. Charlie's brothers are fantastic characters. They each have their own personalities and different relationships with her. It's easy to see that she's closest to Gage and I love their interactions with each other. Braden is the best sort of love interest. He has known Charlie all his life and he is very close to her family, so there is already so much love between them before it turns into a different kind of love.

This is a very different kind of coming of age story. The more Charlie works, the more she wants to be both the girls she's trying to be - the tomboy and the girly girl. She falls for a guy who doesn't know the real her and she tries to pretend she doesn't know anything about sports to get him to like her. Girls do this all the time, but I loved reading it through Charlie's eyes. We try so hard to impress people that we forget that it's important to show people who we really are. Falling for a guy is hard enough alone, but when he's friends with your three older brothers and practically lives with you, it's the hardest thing to do anything about. Charlie develops a lot throughout this book and I loved her every step of the way. Her and Braden are the cutest (Braden is certainly swoon worthy!) and I love how their relationship develops throughout the book. I love their fence chats and how open they are with each other when there is no one else around, especially her brothers. Charlie learns more about Braden during those talks than she's learned throughout their lives together. It's in the small moments in life that we fall in love and West has captured this perfectly. Her stories are romantic and real and oh so adorable. The prefect contemporary for anyone who loves a good love story.

"Sometimes we expect more that people are capable of giving at the moment."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Earth & Sky

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we talk about an upcoming release we are eagerly anticipating.

My WoW this week is:

Earth & Sky
By Megan Crewe
Hardcover, 336
Expected Publication: October 28, 2014

From Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky's beginning to think she's crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skyar's help - but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

Megan Crewe blew me away with her Fallen World series and I can't wait to read this next, awesome adventure from this wonderful Canadian author. This one sounds like it will be a great sci-fi book with lots of adventure. Thankfully I don't have to wait too long!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Recommend to People who Haven't Read YA Contemporary

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we discuss wonderful bookish topics.

This week's topic is a choose your own. So here's mine:

Books I'd Recommend to People who Haven't Read YA Contemporary 

I've noticed that a lot of people won't read contemporary books. They much prefer something supernatural or with some sort of twist in it to make it more interesting. But then again, everyone has read The Fault in Our Stars, so if you loved that one here are some of my other faves that deal with real life, teen issues:

1. Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schimdt: A great companion to TFIOS, Mia has cancer but she will not let it rule her life. A much happier ending than the latter.

2. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: A great story about friendship and love and trying to find out who you are.

3. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour: A very likable character in a world I'd love to live in, this book shows that we can't always get what we want but things will work out anyway. 

4. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: A very cute romantic story that will have you hoping for a happy ending. 

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: For anyone who loves France or is ready to fall in love with France, or really for anyone just looking to fall in love.

6. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick: A very good story about love from the wrong side of the tracks and the difficulties that come with it.

8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: A great book for anyone who has ever been obsessed with something, especially good if you've read Harry Potter. Lots of fun with some real life drama.

7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: A different take in grief, this book paints a way too realistic picture of life after death.

9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: A book about redemption and trying to make things right even when there's no real way to fix it.

10. Looking for Alaska by John Green: Because if you liked TFIOS, you'll love all of his other books. This is his first and it's pretty amazing.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: Great

Author: Sara Benincasa
Published: April 8, 2014
Hardcover, 263 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbour, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reasons for drawing close to Naomi - to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. but Jacinta's carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this wed of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Based on a beloved classic and steeped in Sara Benincasa's darkly comic voice, great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthral readers.

The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite classics, so when I heard about this book, a modern re-telling if Gatsby, I had to get my hands on it. Benincasa has captured the eerie, too perfect setting of the West Egg and how one person's summer is completely overruled and sent into a whirlwind all because of the person living in the huge house next door. The third party perspective that worked so well when Fitzgerald wrote it, works beautifully in this new adaptation of it, showing how easily we can get caught up in other people's affairs. Naomi normally stays away from everyone during her summers spend in East Hampton. But as soon as she gets off the plane this year, she is whisked away with Delilah and her friends, beginning a summer full of scandal, love and tragedy.

This book will make so much more sense if you've read Gatsby, and those who loved Gatsby will love this book. Those who may not have enjoyed Gatsby will probably not like this one as it reads the same, a slow summer of Naomi watching from the outside as Jacinta and Delilah begin an affair that causes everything to turn to ruins. The characters are perfectly reminiscent of Fitzgerald's characters. Naomi is content not being part of any of it, but she can't deny her lingering curiosity for her neighbour, Jacinta. The huge parties Jacinta throws and the crazy she way she dresses and the way she speaks to everyone like they have been friends for years. I love how Jacinta is a fashion blogger who everyone knows about but no one really knows what she looks like. Very much like Gatsby, I loved reading small tidbits like that that reminded me of the classic novel. Jacinta's infatuation with Delilah is a downward spiral and even though I knew how it would end, I still loved their moments together and loved watching favourite parts from the original play out in this modern day rich-summering-in-the-Hamptons, which looked an awful lot like the summers in the 1920s. The lack of tension at the beginning where Naomi is just a by-stander quickly turns on the hot summer day that they drive into the city. It was strange to read it, since I knew what was going to happen, but it was wonderful and awful to read anyway and it was written so perfectly that I felt like I was still reading Fitzgerald's work.

This is a book about the rich and what they can and can't get away with. It's a love story, but it's not a healthy one, and Benincasa has taken it one step further by making it a lesbian love story. Jacinta and Delilah were beautiful together as I watched their relationship disintegrate before my eyes. This was a great re-telling that stands on its own but also works well as a companion to the original. It had all the parts I loved about the original with a new updated story to go with the YA novels that are around today. I fell in love with these characters and their story all over again and it was a fantastic journey. Even though it takes place now, I still felt the aura and mystery of the 1920s that makes me want to go back in time so badly.

"It's like there's this knowledge hanging in the air that one person has more power than the other, and we're supposed to pretend everything is nice and normal and equal, but in reality, luck or chance has showered benefits on one person that the other person couldn't dream of."

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