Monday, March 24, 2014

New Looks for Old Books [1]

 This is a post that I have been wanting to do for awhile, I personally love seeing books get "upgraded" I don't know if that is the proper term, but marketing changes over the years anddecades can come and go without any changes done to a book cover... but sometimes they do change.This makes new things appeal to the masses. Here is one of my favorite examples.

This time I am focusing on the new Nancy Drew books I found...

The Old...

These books were the first "real" books I ever owned, all of them were hardback and bright, bright yellow. I loved them back in the day because a hard back to me meant it was important but looking at these now I see that they are dated. 

The New...
These books were a fundamental part of my childhood and I am so happy to see them have a revamp!

I love these new covers. I find them interesting and wonderfully eye pleasing but it is still so Nancy Drew!

I was so excited to find these at Target and I hope they stay in circulation longer than their May 1st display date.

What do you guys think of the changes?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In My Mailbox!

After reading the first one, there should be no surprise that these two would shortly follow! I emjoyed Divergent, not sure if it will become a favorite yet, but I can't wait to dive back into the world. 

I saw the movie yesterday and I feel like it "fixed" some of the problems that I had. I encourage you all to see it because it was a blast! I was surprised because there has been a YA book to movie curse almost since The Hunger Games took off, but I think this adaption is beating the odds. 

What did you guys get in your mailbox this week?!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth [Review]

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Source: Bought
ISBN:  978-0-06-202403-9

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

In anticipation of the upcoming Divergent movie which comes out tomorrow, here is my review for the book half of this knife throwing, ass kicking franchise!

I actually was told to read this for a class. I know, I know, that is crazy, and yes, my college is just that awesome.

Tris as a character I felt was really well formed, she was torn between her two selves in an almost beautiful way, one self was her Abnegation past and her Dauntless future was her other self, somehow becoming one as she develops into the person she wants to be.

Four is a great hunk of a man who does nothing but make you want to stare at him forever, he has a past possibly even more in depth than Tris herself which makes them a wonderful pair that plays off of each other throughout the tale.

This book was definitely worth the hype. It pulls you in from the beginning and will not let you go until you're saying, "Wow... What just happened?!" over and over again, but that doesn't mean it is perfect.

I loved the idea of this government system and the control issues that sprouted from that. It was interesting to see how developed of a government system it was and I could see the underlying issues sprouting and growing as I moved farther in the book.

I loved Divergent, I really did... for the first 400 pages. For the first 400 pages I was completely drawn in and in love with everything, but then an event happens (if you have read the book, you know) that I just felt was rushed. It makes sense, and it doesn't take away from the story it does add to the overall -- I just felt like it needed more build up.

This event is HUGE. What the book is leading up to, but doesn't really tell you about, and then BAM you're in the middle of it when you didn't even know it started. 

That is my one complaint from an otherwise fantastic and madly addictive book. It has a strong female protagonist who kicks some major ass and deals with serious and sometimes heartbreaking problems along the way.

I recommend this to any fan of dystopian or anyone longing for a great character driven story and I am super excited to read the next two in the series!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman [Review]

Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Skottie Young
Age Range: 8-12
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN:  978-0-06-222407-1
Released: September 13, 2013

"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."

"Hullo," I said to myself. "That's not something you see every day. And then something odd happened." 

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.

 There is no secret that I love Neil Gaiman.   I also think he may possibly be an alien. No one should be able to write so wonderfully in so many different ways and still be allowed to be human. I have loved him while reading adult titles such as American Gods and Stardust (review here), I have loved him while reading Sandman, a graphic novel/comic series that will make your mind go crazy, and I have loved him with younger age titles such as Coraline and now FORTUNATELY, THE MILK.

Fortunately, the Milk is a tale that begins with a father's quest to find his children milk for their morning cereal. This story is literally filled with adventure, the cup is almost running over with it.

What starts off as a simple errand turns into a day filled with aliens and dinosaur professors flying hot air balloons or, "Professor Steg's Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier" as it was  originally called, of course.

Many things delighted me about this book. I love time travel and this Doctor Who style time travel had me smiling from ear to ear. This is a book where things just happen, and they keep happening.

There are ponies, dinosaurs, aliens, pirates, volcanoes, wumpires (I feel a little Twilight mockery with this one) and many more things that work to fascinate any child reading this and the adults that might be reading it to them.

The story surrounding it is solid, and fascinating with a fast pace that never allows you to feel bored.  When you believe that crisis has been averted, the book pulls you back in for another round of events, and leaves you thinking, "Will he ever get that milk home?"

Fortunately, the Milk is a wonderful tale of adventure with illustrations that take you into the crazy world you too feel you have been transported to. If you have a child, this should be on their shelf. If you're a fan of Neil Gaiman, this title does nothing but showcase his talent as a master storyteller for all ages, and if you're not a fan of Neil Gaiman yet... this is a good place to start.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Upcoming Titles I am Waiting On!

 Similar to The Story Siren's "Books I'm Pining For" these are books that have me eagerly awaiting! 

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

Releases April 8th! 
After the End by Amy Plum

he’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Releases May 6th!

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.

 Releases April 6th!

 The Taking by Kimberly Derting
 A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

 Releases April 29th!
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

 In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Releases April 22nd! 

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. 

Available April 1st!

 Great by Sara Benincasa
In Sara Benincasa's contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, a teenage girl becomes entangled in the drama of a Hamptons social circle, only to be implicated in a tragedy that shakes the summer community.

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 neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason 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 web 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 enthrall readers.

 Releases April 8th!

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton
Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

Releases on May 6th!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Young Adult Fiction and the University

As many of you know, I am a college student, have been for almost four years now. Upon entering the college campus I was filled with excitement and joy to be around other people who liked to read and appreciated literature as I did, however I quickly discovered that my interests weren't in their "right" direction.

This is something no one tells you when you become an adult and enter the "real world." Your entire life you are encouraged to read and find things that you love and to take it all in and keep doing it and run with it until you're doing what you have been meant to do forever.

As long as whatever your something is matches up with their something.

I know we have all seen glimpses of this, people talking about "the man" and what not, but my experience of it has been on a much lesser scale.

My entire life I have greatly enjoyed children's fiction, and that turned into Young Adult fiction and since that I have stayed in love with it. Upon entering the University I was surrounded by people who actually looked down on me for that love.

Granted, Young Adult fiction is much more common a love than it once was, but I have still been approached with looks of feigned interest and fake smiles upon speaking of my passion. "Oh, that's great. I've been reading the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume One... but of course you know how difficult that is."

Yes, I know how difficult that is, but I have been to Oz, Hogwarts, Narnia, and Neverland just today so I frankly can't find the time to talk about it.

That is how I feel upon entering these situations. I find myself adding more and more to my descriptions upon speaking of the stories I love, but yet nothing can take away the "Young Adult Literature" blemish.

I have read classics, I have read Faulkner, Austen, Shakespeare, James, Plath, the Bronte's, Alcott, and numerous others. I read the occassional NA or Adult Fiction (if there is such a thing) title, and I do enjoy them, but my heart has always belonged to YA and Children's fiction.

We love literature, and we love great literature, and in my opinion it is the greatest literature because it is what hooks the reader and creates it. We learn to love reading from these stories of adventure, and fantasy, and impossible things. We learn to love literature from reading these stories that others may deem as "unworthy" but yet we say are the best kinds of story because they are the ones that teach you to love these words.

So, yes, it is okay to love Young Adult literature. It is okay to browse it when you're sixty. I am twenty two years old and I feel no shame in going over to the picture books and taking a seat, a stack of picture books in my hands.

I love Young Adult literature, I love picture books, I love children's books, and I love words. I love language that makes me smile, and characters that make me feel something. I love problems that may seem simple outwardly but are yet slammed with so many complex emotions I can't help but feel it in my soul.

My favorite books are The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (A YA classic) and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (An over one thousand page mega classic involving survival in the South during the Civil War).  These may be seen as different outwardly, and perhaps they really are, but they both made me feel the exact same emotions and the exact same love for the words on the page.

I left both books being lost for words, unable to appropriately re-enter my daily life because they made me feel THAT emotion no one can define.

Every book lover knows it, every book lover has felt it, and perhaps it was a children's book that first gave it to you.

I urge you to read what you want to read regardless of the age group for which it technically "belongs" I urge you to feel that undefinable emotion as many times as possible, with as many genres as you can find. This is one relationship where you can't be a cheater.

Read what you want. Read what you like, and do not allow anyone to make you feel like it is not worthy.

 You'll feel better when you do.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Warriors: The Ultimate Guide by Erin Hunter [Review]

Title: Warriors: The Ultimate Guide
Author: Erin Hunter
Age Group: 8-12
Source: For Review
ISBN: 978-0-06-224533-5

Featuring never-before-seen information about the warrior cats, Warriors: The Ultimate Guide is a necessary addition to every Warriors collection and is perfect for both longtime fans and those just getting to know the world. This full-color book includes:
  • All of the content from Warriors: Cats of the Clans
  • Brand-new art and detailed descriptions for forty more cats
  • An in-depth look at each of the five warrior Clans


I love guide books. This may not be a well known fact for me, but I love guides and ultimate guides to anything, so when I found this book on my door step I was very excited for these are books that myself, and my step brother had enjoyed greatly (which probably partially contributed to my crazy cat lady status now.)

Many books have been published since I started reading the series and it was wonderful to be able to see clan by clan the important members, their contributions, and what role they have played in the overall story.

This series is extremely intricate, one of the most intricate I have seen for this age group which is partly what makes it so fascinating.

The book jacket of the first printing for this guide book unfolds into a beautiful poster that also acts as a guide to the story, linking all of the books together with short descriptions of the actions within each one. This is something that is greatly beneficial and almost necessary for a story that has a range this broad and intricate.

The artwork perhaps is as beautiful as the story it tells, and this guide does nothing but enhance the illustrations by Wayne McLoughlin. There are portraits of clan members and cats doing all types of things from epic attacks to licking their paws.

Something that is often overlooked in books that I myself consider important is the texture and feel of it in your hand, this guide has a wonderful texture with thick, thick pages housing the illustrations and descriptions of every piece of the story you can imagine.

I find this guide to be a very beautifully done piece of work for a very wonderful series.

For fans of the series this is a beautiful and helpful guide that is almost necessary for keeping up with the clans and having a quick guide to remember every aspect of this intricate tale.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bits and Pieces by Judy Schachner [Review]

It comes to no surprise to anyone that I am a crazy cat lady. Yes, even I fall into the world of felines and can't quite find my way out again, as shown by this picture of my babys and I. Loretta and Conway, also known as the greatest cats known to man.

Or known to my house anyway.

This review may come from a cat lover, but you don't have to be a cat lover to rave about this wonderful children's book. 

 Title: Bits and Pieces
Author: Judy Schachner
ISBN: 978-0803737884
Publisher: Dial
Age Group: Preschool - Kindergarten


Bits and Pieces is a book that hooked me from page one. I found the language within it to flow with ease and I often thought I was within a much larger world than you would immediately expect from a child's book.

Tink was absolutely adorable, and I love, love, love that her books are interconnected. The Grannyman which was published back in 2003 acts as the sorta kinda prequel to Bits and Pieces, having the kitten from that tale (Tink) raise a kitten just as his Grannyman had.

Since reading this book I have found myself telling everyone I talk to how much I loved it. The language used was perfect for a child while still having enough humor that I found myself laughing out loud at the things Tink got himself into. The actions of Tink and the kitten will warm the heart of any cat lover as these actions are universal and well known to all who have ever loved a cat themselves.

Tink's brain may have been the "size of a frozen pea" but he has made me quickly call Judith Schachner my favorite children's book author. I have since read all of the books by her that I could get my hands on and I look forward to many more adventures with many more feline friends.

If you have the opportunity to read this book I urge you to, and if you have any young ones in your life who love animals, this book should be on their shelf.


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