Waiting on Wednesday: Caraval

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Summary:

“A spellbinding tale of sisterhood, love, and betrayal.”
―Sabaa Tahir, New York Times bestselling author of An Ember in the Ashes

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Why I’m Excited:

This. Sounds. Awesome.

A mysterious game?

Sisters?

Heartbreak?

Sign. Me. Up.

The hype around Caraval as been HUGE and I think it sounds like it is rightly so.

It releases on January 31, 2017, and I couldn’t be more excited for it to be out in the world.

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7 thoughts on A Week of Mondays…

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Summary:

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true… 

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and The Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.


 

  1. Don’t we all wish we could get a re-do and make Monday awesome from time to time? OF COURSE this bad day was on a Monday! I love Groundhog Day type stories that give do-overs.
  2. I really liked Ellie…granted, she SHOULD have followed her friend to book club ages ago, but I like her.
  3. The book is drags in spots. The first 3 or so Mondays before she finally catches on seem to be almost identical and got boring in spots. Granted, it wasn’t enough to give up, but it was enough to where I started hoping progress would be made.
  4. The last couple “days” moved fast and are where most of the development is. Those days ended up being my favorites for that reason.
  5. I loved Owen, but…I wish there’d been more to him. I knew what would happen with him from the get go, but I wish there’d been more development and getting to know him.
  6. I kind of found Tristan annoying. Not in a way that hurt the book, but in a way that made me hurt for Ellie because…girl, you could do better than this silly guy.
  7. The book is long. It over 450 pages and was way longer than I thought it needed to be, but it was good over all despite the length. It wasn’t too long that I lost interest, and  do still suggest it, but…it’s LONG. Maybe that’s just me and my short attention span though?

Overall? I liked it and definitely give it a try if you want something fun or if you like Groundhog Day type situations.

A Week of Mondays is out TODAY!

-Melanie

Making Reading More Fun!

Ask any of my close friends and family and they’ll tell you that I have the shortest attention span of anyone they know.

In fact, it often makes me struggle to finish books in a timely manner because I JUST CAN’T FOCUS.

Well…Friday I had an idea that made reading much easier to focus on.

I wrote notes to the next reader.

No, not IN the book, I put them on sticky notes…I hate writing on the actual pages- negative.

Last year at RT convention, my friend who went with me was SO EXCITED about Kasie West. I’d never read any of her books, but she assured me that I would like her books.

As luck would have it- I ended up with a copy of one of her books from the day and got to meet her and get it signed at the same party.

…That conference was a year ago yesterday and I still haven’t gotten around to reading that book.

So I kept seeing that Kasie has a new book coming out, PS I Like You. I requested it from Scholastic awhile back and got an ARC.

I promised that friend she could read it since she’s who told me about Kasie and decided to start it last Friday. I decided to write the notes originally just because it was my first Kasie West book and I knew she’d think it was funny.

 I finished and got the book to her Saturday and earlier I got a notification on Instagram that she has finished and added notes.

It looks like this  now with many more notes not hanging out of the sides where they are visible.

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This was such a FUN way to pay attention to what I was reading and still also be able to share my thoughts with the next reader as they read it.

Plus, I just find it hilarious that she added her own notes too!

A review is coming for this book SOON, but if you’re a Kasie West fan, or even just love a cute contemporary romance, order it ASAP!

-M

Now what can I decorate with sticky notes next…

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

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Summary:

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to come by as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.


My Thoughts:

I got an arc of this from Netgalley and actually let it sit on my kindle for several months before I gave it a try and I hate that I let it sit for so long.

Summer of Sloane just released on Tuesday and I’m SO excited about this book!

Sloane was EXACTLY what I needed when I read it!

At the time, I was in a bit of a reading slump, but decided to give it a try and ended up flying through it.

It has the perfect atmosphere to get you in the summertime mood and is an excellent late spring read.

Sloane had tons of drama going on in her life, but she was determined to spend time on herself rather than wallow in what happened to her.

That is exactly the message that teens need!

I loved seeing how she responded to different instances that happened and was always cheering her on.

Aside from Sloane and her main storyline, I even found myself wanting  more from the side characters and that isn’t something that happens often for me, but everyone had such interesting things going on.

If you’re in the mood for a fun, contemporary to get ready for Summer then Summer of Sloane is exactly what you need to pick up!

What summery reads are your go-to?

-Melanie

Waiting on Wednesday: Smash and Grab by Amy Christene Parker

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Summary:

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story. Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

Why:

I absolutely LOVED Parker’s Gated books a couple years back. I still recommend it to people all the time actually. So when I hard about this one I was naturally intrigued!

This seems like it’ll have a good Romeo and Juliet vibe going to it and that is always a fun time in books. Plus, Amy is just a fun writer as it is.

I can’t wait to read this! While you wait, pick up a copy of Gated and give it a try!

-Melanie

Waiting on Wednesday: The Way I Used to Be

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Summary:

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

Why am I excited though?

This book instantly grabbed me by being compared to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. That is one of my all-time favorite books and I’ve been waiting for another book of that level for years. In fact, I’ve taught Speak before, and, while difficult in content matter, it never loses its importance.

That said, I’m so excited for this one! I’ve heard only good things, so I’m hoping that it will live up to the excitement that I have for it. I have an ARC and am hoping to read it soon, but I already am anticipating getting it for school next year and sharing it with students who will love its message of speaking out.

-Melanie

 

 

How to be Brave blog tour interview and GIVEAWAY!

How To Be Brave

Intro:

How to be Brave released on Tuesday and I’m SO excited to have had the opportunity to read this amazing debut novel! First up- a Q&A with author E. Katherine Kottaras, then I’ll have a short review of the book and don’t miss entering my giveaway to win a copy of the book. Trust me- you want to enter- this is a beautiful story!

Q & A with E. Katherine Kottaras:

  1. What advice can you provide aspiring authors?

READ. A lot. Both in the genre/style you want to publish in and ABOUT writing – all aspects – the writing process, the publishing process, etc. There are hundreds of blog posts about the writing life, etc. and I read them obsessively to understand what I had to do to get published.

Also, WRITE a lot, of course. Just keep writing, no matter what, even if it’s a journal for yourself where you write a little bit everyday. And keep submitting – the rejections are difficult at first, but it gets easier.

Writing is hard and fun and frustrating and exhilirating. I can’t imagine not writing. And if you write, you understand this strange demand – it’s not a desire; it’s a necessity. Follow that call, whatever it is inside you that asks you to write – and keep writing, no matter what.

2. How do you address body image issues with your daughter? Was that part of the drive to write this book?

Absolutely. We talk a lot about how the media often “sells” a certain body type. .” I’ve shown her Photoshopping videos like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPnfjwKfkSk

and we discuss, quite openly, how it’s unrealistic to try to change your body to meet the standards presented in magazines and on screens. I try to guide our conversation as a discussion, asking her questions about why she thinks the media represents women and girls in certain ways. We talk about how every body is beautiful, and that she is beautiful, just as she is.

    3. You are also a yoga instructor and practitioner. How has this influenced your writing?

I am in my head, a lot. My yoga practice grounds me like nothing else. One definition of yoga is the linking of body and breath to focus the mind. I find that when I’m not doing my practice, I can’t focus and I become easily overwhelmed by my fears and my anxiety – and as a result, I can’t write. When I am doing my practice, I’m able to deal with those fears and those anxieties in a way that is healthy.

 

     4. Your protagonist, Georgia, lost her mother and is honoring her by completing her bucket list. How much of this premise was taken from your own experiences?

HOW TO BE BRAVE specifically started as a thought experiment to see what my relationship with my dad would have been like had my mom died first. As I started writing, Georgia became her own character with her own struggles.

 

    5. What’s currently on your bucket list?

 

Here are a few things on my Do Everything Be Brave List: 

Learn how to roller skate and/or ice skate without using the wall.

Ride my bike to yoga. (Bike lanes scare me!)

Hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and all the way back up, I guess…)

Visit every continent (I’ve only been to two.)

Here are a few brave things I’ve done: 

Flown down the largest zip-line in the continental U.S. despite my fear of heights. (and gave my eight-year old permission to do so as well.)

Paddle-boarded during high-wind season in Hawaii.

Fallen in love and stayed there for more than twenty years.

Become a writer. I tell my students everyday: it’s the scariest thing in the world.

My Thoughts and GIVEAWAY!

I’ll admit- when I initially heard about How to be Brave and read the summary I was kind of on the fence about it. Meh, a parent dies, so an overweight girl adopts a bucket list.

Really- this is what’s on Amazon so you can see what I mean:

“Georgia has always lived life on the sidelines: uncomfortable with her weight, awkward, never been kissed, terrified of failing.

Then her mom dies and her world is turned upside down. But instead of getting lost in her pain, she decides to enjoy life while she still can by truly living for the first time. She makes a list of ways to be brave-all the things she’s always wanted to do but has been too afraid to try: learn to draw, try out for cheerleading, cut class, ask him out, kiss him, see what happens from there.”

But then I gave it a chance and started reading it. It is SO MUCH MORE than what the summary gives off!

Georgia takes readers on such a roller coaster of emotions and the novel goes well beyond the bucket list.

What I thought was going to be a “cute” story about following a bucket list turned into a beautiful story about self acceptance, realizing dreams, and knowing what is important in life.

This could be such an important book for teen girls! I’ve already placed it on a wish list to order for my library because I can see it being something that my students would love and be able to benefit from so much!

-Melanie

Giveaway!

No, I didn’t forget! St. Martin’s and Griffin Teen are AMAZING and have offered a copy of How to be Brave! Thanks, Griffin Teen! You have the opportunity to earn several chances to win this book, so go *HERE* to enter and good luck! The giveaway is US only and ends on November 12 at midnight.

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