Monday, January 27, 2014

Review of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater's

Some how I missed the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.  Yet, I was so drawn to The Raven Boys, partly because of the beautiful cover which left me with so many questions that I wanted answers to.  

Synopis from Goodreads:  
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Although I don't typically read much YA, I loved the premise of Raven Boys and had to read it.  If Blue was to kiss her true love, he would die. Knowing this, how can Blue prevent it from happening?  Will she still fall in love? Initially, I found the story was less about Blue and more about Gansey. These beginning parts about ley lines and setting up Gansey's quest were less interesting to me.  Where I really got caught up in the story was the interesting mix of characters and the friendships that they developed. The difficulties Ronan and Adam were facing really drove the story for me and kept me reading. Kinda reminded me of Dead Poets Society some how.   I can see the series going in interesting directions with all of the characters. Plus, I'm hoping to get back to the original premise of Blue's families prediction for her in future installments in the series.   Favorite quote, "Today, Blue thought is the day I stop listening to the future and start living it instead."
Review copy from the Public Library.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Books of Elsewhere: Still Life by Jacqueline West has a cover


So excited to see that Still Life has a cover, and Morton is on it too.  Love the way it looks but sad that this series is coming to an end.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Jessica Darling's It List #1: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty

Jessica Darling is about to make the change from elementary school to seventh grade.   Help comes in the way of her older sister Bethany  and her rumpled list of things to do to become popular in junior high.  Jessica just isn't sure excatly what her sister wants her to do.  The first suggestion seems easy enough, "wear something different every day."  Does that mean a different piece of clothing  each day or something new and unique?  Jessica isn't really sure if this list is going to help or hurt her, but she's willing to give it a try because the alternative doesn't seem very appealing either.    Will  Jessica Darling be "doomed for dorkdom?"  So, this isn't my usual fairy tale or fantasy read, but I just found the cover difficult to resist, it called to the middle grade girl in me.   I was in the mood for something silly and funny to read, and well this certainly fit the bill.  I absolutely loved this book, McCafferty captured what it felt like being a seventh grade girl, filled with anxiety, nerves, being interested in boys and just wanting to fit in.     Plus,  Jessica's voice rings so true to the middle grade experience.  I certainly will be looking for the It List #2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes and Fau Friends, coming sometime in 2014.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Upcoming Books That I Want to Read in 2014


So, 2013 your finally done.  Sorry to say, but I'm not gonna miss ya.  If I was a superstitious person, I would say 2013 was an unlucky year, but C'est la vie (That's life).   In reflecting back over the year, I did read 75% of the books from my reading challenge and can say that I enjoyed them all.  So hear's looking forward to another reading year and the books that I'm looking forward to reading. (In no particular order).  

I loved the first two books in The Ever Afters series.  The characters are such fun to read about and the cover it just screams Disney to me.  Due to be released on June 24th by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. 

17667561Another series that I absolutely adore and I'm sad to see ending.  Jaron is such a fun character to read about and I've always found these books to be full of surprises.  I am however looking forward to the new series, The Praetor Wars but it wont go on to the list until 2015.  The Shadow Throne is scheduled for a February 25th release from Scholastic Press.    

18332010I just love the mysterious look of this cover, plus London and I have to find out what a Gearwing is.  This is expected out May 13th from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. 

And the book that I don't have a cover for yet is Still Life by Jacqueline West coming out June 17th by Dial.  This is the 5th book in the series of The Books of Elsewhere.  Olive is the kind of girl that I would most likely have been like as a kid.  Love the story.  

So what books are you eagerly awaiting for 2014?

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson


Synopsis from Goodreads: "Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.
There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas."

Magic Marks the Spot is the first book in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series for Caroline Carlson.    I've had this book on my radar since early September, so was very excited to see it was available at my library.  

Magic Marks the Spot is a light hearted book with a fun, spunky character kinda reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking  with her zest for adventure.    I loved that Hillary went after her dream of being a pirate full force, even when The Very Nearly Honarable Leaugue of Pirates (VNHLP)  told her they wouldn't take any girls.  The addition of a magical, talking gargoyle statue brought lots of comical relief too.   He kinda looks like one of the gargoyles from Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I wished that he had a name in the story other than Gargoyle.  Carlson also punctuated her story with extracts from A Young Lady's Guide to Augustan Society, tips from Treasure Hunting for Beginners The Official VNHLP Guide and various letters and news articles were scattered throughout.   Some I admit to skimming over and others were quite amusing. Personally, I would have rather have had more illustrations because I felt the letters written from Miss Primm's Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, although highlighted perfect cursive penmanship could be difficult for some readers to read. 

Overall, Magic Marks the Spot could be read as a stand alone but it is irresistibly charming and funny so I certainly look forward to see what adventures are in store for Hillary and Gargoyle next.  Age range is listed as 8-12.