March 31, 2014

Epic Recs Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Feature created by Amber and Judith, Graphic created by Judith
So Lisa and I picked books for each other at the beginning of this month and, now, at the end of this month, we present you with our thoughts on the books we Epically Rec'd to each other. To check out Lisa's thoughts on my pick for her (Also Known As by Robin Benway), click HERE.

Title: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 4th, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Page Count: 352
Source: Purchased
First Reaction: I've never wanted to go on a road trip and eat lots of burgers more in life.
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road - diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards - this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

March 30, 2014

Review: From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

From What I Remember
Author: Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
Release Date: May 15th, 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Page Count: 462
Source: Purchased
First Reaction: An absurd trip to Mexico that had way more heart than I thought it would.
KYLIE: Mexico? What a nightmare! I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY! Wait! Is this a wedding band on my finger??

MAX: It started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics and it ended in Ensenada. It was hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded here, with less than twenty-four hours before graduation.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring their passports across the border but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: This cannot be happening. It's like some cruel joke. Or a bad dream. I close my eyes and when I reopen them, they're still there. Max and Kylie Flores, freak of the century. In bed together. If Kylie thinks I'm giving him up without a fight, she's dead wrong.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

March 28, 2014

YA Me (Probably the First in a Series)

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom knocked on my door and said, "There's going to be a clothing drive this weekend." To which I said: "Exxxxxcellent" and proceeded to fill four garbage bags with clothing and shoes I no longer wear so I can go shopping for "adult clothing" with Estelle and have somewhere to put the new stuff. (Because, let's be real, I'm never not going to have too much clothing.)

Anyway, as I purged, I stumbled upon my prom dress (which I posted to Twitter because, well, why not?).

March 27, 2014

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Release Date: September 28th, 2011
Publisher: Speak
Page Count: 368
Source: Purchased
First Reaction: I love and hate this book all at once I don't even know how that's possible.
Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

THE RIVERMAN Blog Tour: Interview with Aaron Starmer

So it's Middle Grade time here on the blog. Are you guys ready for an Aaron Starmer interview? I know I am!

March 25, 2014

Review: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Title: Tin Star (Tin Star #1)
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Page Count: 240
Source: ARC from publisher
(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. No favors were exchanged, my opinions are my own.)

First Reaction: Eh... I'm just gonna stop here (i.e. 100 pages in).
On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind. 

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

March 24, 2014

Review: Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block

Title: Teen Spirit
Author: Francesca Lia Block
Release Date: February 4th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 234 
Source: ARC from ALA
(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. No favors were exchanged, my opinions are my own.)

First Reaction: Oh well.
After Julie's grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.

When the two try to contact Julie's grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.

Francesca Lia Block's latest young adult novel is a haunting work about family, loss, love, and redemption.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

March 23, 2014

Review: The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

The Riverman (Riverman #1)
Author: Aaron Starmer
Release Date: March 18th, 2014 
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Page Count: 320
Source: ARC from publisher 
(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest

review. No favors were exchanged, my opinions are my own.)
First Reaction: I'm definitely going to be thinking about this one for a good, long time. In a good way.
"To sell a book, you need a description on the back. So here's mine: My name is Fiona Loomis. I was born on August 11, 1977. I am recording this message on the morning of October 13, 1989. Today I am thirteen years old. Not a day older. Not a day younger."

Fiona Loomis is Alice, back from Wonderland. She is Lucy, returned from Narnia. She is Coraline, home from the Other World. She is the girl we read about in storybooks, but here's the difference: She is real.

Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary is her neighbor in a town where everyone knows each other. One afternoon, Fiona shows up at Alistair's doorstep with a strange proposition. She wants him to write her biography. What begins as an odd vanity project gradually turns into a frightening glimpse into a clearly troubled mind. For Fiona tells Alistair a secret. In her basement there's a gateway and it leads to the magical world of Aquavania, the place where stories are born. In Aquavania, there's a creature called the Riverman and he's stealing the souls of children. Fiona's soul could be next.

Alistair has a choice. He can believe her, or he can believe something else...something even more terrifying.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

March 19, 2014

Pick of the Week: Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens

Pick of the Week is a feature I started last week in an attempt to re-perk my interest in books that've either been over-hyped or their hype has long since faded since I'm so late to the game. Or it's just a book on my shelves that's been staring at me and I'm staring to feel a little guilty but I keep getting distracted for one reason or another.

All of that being said, I still haven't read last week's Pick of the Week - The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I meant to read it this past weekend but then something popped up and I had to drop everything I was doing to deal with it. BUT The Archived is my next read, so I guess I kind of won?

Anyway, this next pick of the week is a different genre but I similar heavy feel, I think. (Because I'm still not totally sure what The Archives is about - books? I don't know and I've even heard Victoria talk about it on a panel. But I hear it's amazing.) So yeah, I'm excited about last week's pick of the week and this one pictured below. ALSO: I'm pretty sure this'll be my next read after The Archived, so maybe by next week's Pick of the Week I'll be all caught up. (Or maybe you'll all be laughing at me. We'll see.

So, TL;DR, what's this week's Pick of the Week? (Because I'm really good at rambling, if you guys couldn't tell.)

March 18, 2014

Top Ten ALA ARCs On My Spring 2014 TBR List (48)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I'm terrible at sticking to these lists but I took a picture of a stack of ARCs I got at ALA I plan to read this spring. Since I'm feeling particularly lazy, I just took a picture of the stack. That's good enough, right?

March 13, 2014

How To: Read Sarah Dessen

Okay. So in case you missed it, I love Sarah Dessen. (See this week's Top Ten Tuesday post for reference - it's actually the last thing I posted before this so it shouldn't be hard to find.) She is wonderful, her books are wonderful and... well... I just want everyone to read them all.

I know that's not a particularly realistic desire because not every plot is for every person and I would never expect everyone to love all of them the way I do. But these books are my YA life. Actually. My friend Danna handed me This Lullaby one day back in 10th grade or so and 16 year old Gaby knew that she'd found the greatest realistic fiction thing she would ever find.

Which isn't to say I don't still read lots of other realistic fiction I love very much, but Sarah Dessen was first. Or, not the first realistic fiction I've ever read, but the first non-school-pushed realistic fiction that really grabbed me, shook me up, and then somehow hugged me back together, all before the last page.

So as a thank you to Sarah (because in my wildest dreams she actually see this) and a gentle push (JK a giant shove) in the right direction, I've made up and infographic of how I would like everyone to read Sarah Dessen books. In chronological order. Obviously this is information you Wikipedia clever cats can look up, but I like infographics (and I hope you do too), so this happened...

March 11, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Sarah Dessen Books (47)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Okay, so, I'm cheating this week for a bunch of reasons:

March 10, 2014

Pick of the Week: The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Ooooh look at this: Something new and shiny that you've definitely never seen before on this blog.

I bet you're wondering what this new and shiny thing means. Well, recently I've been a bit of a bookish rut. It's been taking me longer and longer to finish books and it's kind of a struggle to get from one thing to the next.

And it's not that there aren't a ton of book that are already out/are on my shelves/or are about to come out that I'm crazy excited to read. I just feel like maybe I'm getting a little overwhelmed and, in response to this, my brain's just kind of shut down. There are too many titles and books and my poor head is just like: "Gurl, I cannot. PEACE OUT."

So I decided I would start this feature in an attempt to turn reboot my brain and get myself excited about my books again. Basically, I'll be picking a book I have in my possession that I'm super duper excited about. It might be a backlist beauty, a recent release or an upcoming bit of awesome. And just because I'm talking about it doesn't mean it's my next read, but it's something I want to get my brain excited for because I will be reading it soon. (Because, let's be real, sometimes my brain drags its metaphorical feet for reasons unknown.)

Now, which book going to be my first pick of the week?

March 8, 2014

Review: Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

Title: Bright Before Sunrise
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Release Date: February 18th, 2014
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Page Count: 288
Source: eARC from Netgalley
(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest
review. No favors were exchanged, my opinions are my own.)

First Reaction: I feel all of the swoons and am 100% ready to re-read this one immediately.
When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother’s first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real... until she breaks up with him.

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.

Jonah hates her at 3pm, but how will he feel at 3am?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

[Summary Source: Tiffany Schmidt's Website]

March 6, 2014

Review: The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

The Edge of Falling
Author: Rebecca Serle
Release Date: March 18th, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 304
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
(I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest 
review. No favors were exchanged, my opinions are my own.) 
First Reaction: O.O *cries*
Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realizes that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life… and Caggie’s as well.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

March 5, 2014

Epic Recs: March

Feature created by Amber and Judith, Graphic created by Judith
So last month I made Lisa read WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman (CLICK HERE to read her review) and Lisa made me read INSIGNIA by S.J. Kincaid (CLICK HERE to read my review). As it happens, we're geniuses who share a book brain and know just what to recommend each other. Or, at least we've proven this with two months of excellent recommendations. Let's see if we can't keep this up for another month, hmmm?

March 4, 2014

Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read (46)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
I feel like not all of these authors are as popular as others. But they are all authors I feel I should have already read for one reason or another. Now, as you read, you might think: "hmm, I haven't read any of their books" or "oh, I've been meaning to read that person's books too" or "that one was good, you should read that" or perhaps "GABY WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU STOP EVERYTHING NOW AND READ THAT" (you'll know that one when you see it). But whatever the reaction, just know I'm embarrassed to list all these authors here. Also know: I have at least one book by each of these authors and I will get to it. I promise.