Sunday, 30 June 2013

How to Continue Following Us

As many of you know, the beloved Google Friend Connect and Google Reader are going away starting...tomorrow. So, we set up a few ways for you to continue following us!

  • Subscribe by Email: In the sidebar is where the options are basically listed. One of the boxes asks for your email. You can put your email in there and get an email from us every time we update. I'm kind of assuming this works because I don't use it and nobody's outright said to us that they work but...I'm going with it. (Note from Lanna: It works, forgot to tell Julie that...)
  • Google+: This is another one where I really don't know how it works, but we recently installed it. You can add us to a circle...whatever that means? For those of you who are Google+ savvy, go for it.
  • BlogLovin': This is a pretty popular route. You can switch over all the blogs you follow on GFC to BlogLovin' really easily. You pretty much sign up and it automatically asks if you want to import from GoogleReader. Follow my blog with Bloglovin
  • Facebook: We went ahead and made a Facebook page you guys can like. It'll probably be updated every time we post if I remember to update or figure out how to connect the blog to Facebook.
So, there you go. You can also follow Lanna and/or me on Twitter where we usually post the blog links a few times a day. We hope we'll see you guys around the various new ways to follow!

--Julie

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Why College is Better Than High School: A Post by Nazarea Andrews


Today, I'm happy to have the lovely Nazarea Andrews on the blog. She agreed to chat about why college is better than high school, in part because this is a New Adult book set in college and in part because I certainly prefer college to high school so far. I'm also really happy to have her on the blog since I enjoyed This Love quite a bit. So, let's see what she has to say.


I didn’t like high school. I was social awkward, out of place, not that pretty—I was a hot mess. And it was so exclusionary—maybe all schools aren’t like that, but mine was. And I hated it.
Some people do great there—my brothers did.
But for me, the place that I blossomed was college.
I went to a tiny school in east Tennessee, and I loved it. It was almost twelve hours from home. And—for me—it offered two essential things.
A chance to stand on my own, without my parents.
And
A place where no one knew anything about me.
I think that’s easily the best thing about college. It’s a clean slate—a place where you can start over and redefine yourself. College is, more than high school, the place you really become who you’re going to be. It’s where your on your own, and away from family and friends, you discover what matters, and if you’re a moring person, and how to budget. It’s exciting and terrifying and I absolutely LOVED it.
Which is why it’s so much fun to write about. :)

About the Book: 
She wants a summer job and a ride to a wedding.
He wants an assistant and a distraction from the mess life his had become.
They didn't know they needed each other.

Avery Emili needs two grand. Two grand and a plane ticket--her sister is counting on her to get to Jamaica for her wedding. But the semester is over, and tutoring college freshman and high school students has dried up until the fall.

Atticus Grimes needs help--the messy split with his wife left the twenty-eight year old professor scrambling to keep things together as the semester winds down. Now he's got a research grant he has to actually do research for and all he wants to do is drown himself in a tall bottle of bourbon.
When Avery sees his ad for an assistant, all she's thinking is a summer job. But as they spend time together, in the office and out, both of them begin to realize something is there. Something that can't happen--he's a professor and she's a student. And both of them have histories, pasts that won’t let go. Can two broken people pulled apart by expectations find a way to be whole?
 
About Nazarea:

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog
You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

You can buy This Love on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

And you totally should check it out because it IS good and...you can get it as an ebook for $2.99! Totally justifiable.

Thanks so much for stopping by Nazarea!

--Julie








Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: The Best of 2013 (So Far)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is top ten of the year so far. This was...a bit of a challenge, actually. I'd actually forgotten I'd read many of these books which isn't really a promising sign, but I know I loved them and will still endorse them when they come to mind. I'm really sad about this because while I AM a bit behind where I'd like, I've still read over 50 books this year so far. Hopefully, while I'm catching up and getting ahead this summer, I'll find many more to love.

Links are going to goodreads. If I've reviewed it, the review link is right next to it. If I haven't...you'll just have to wait until I DO review it. Or see if I wrote a review on goodreads.  Or just ask me and I'll be happy to gush. :)


Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas (my review)
Suddenly Royal by Nicole Chase (my review)
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed
The Archived by Victoria Schwab (my review)
School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Losing It by Cora McCarmack 

Honorary Mentions: Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance (my review), This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (my review), Infinityglass by Myra McEntire and Subject to Change by Alessandra Thomas

The first two honorable mentions are 2013 books, but I read them in 2012, so I wasn't totally sure they could count. Subject to Change and Infinityglass were both read this week after I'd already set up the post and Lanna had photoshopped the pictures, so it was too late to add them on officially.

But yeah, there you go. Lots of contemporary in this, huh? Wonder what that says about the market...and me.

What are your favorites so far this year?

--Julie

Monday, 24 June 2013

New Adult on the Block: Suddenly Royal by Nicole Chase

I will NEVER GET OVER USING THIS PUN.

Suddenly Royal
Nicole Chase
[April 23, 2013]

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

I don't know if I've ever disclosed this on the blog, but I'm a complete and total sucker for royalty in contemporary settings. It's probably do to growing up in the Princess Diaries generation and the fact that the books were some of the first I read when getting back into YA, but like...it's almost guaranteed I will love a contemporary book with royalty because that is my drug. And it's so hard to FIND that I pretty much have to take what I can get.

So, if you didn't get the point, I loved this book.

I loved how Sam was so independent and she knew what she wanted in life and was determined to stick with it. Like...this girl had a plan. She's kind of like," It's cute that you want me to wear a tiara and all, but...I got a life, k thanks." And Alex was willing to respect that and try to work with it. He wasn't a bad guy at all. He had a bad reputation, but he was honestly pretty sweet and considerate and swoony.

I really loved Nicole's writing. It was super addicting and I was totally enthralled in the story. It was well researched and had its own unique twists to it. Like, Sam's field of study? Not exactly the usual kind of story you see in fiction.  I do feel like the book could've used another editor because there were several occasions when an issue pulled me out for a moment or two. They're easy to notice, but when I'm in editor mode, these things stand out. But the book has been acquired by Avon, so that should help clean up all the little errors. And obviously it wasn't that distracting since I zipped through the book!

Suddenly Royal is a super fun, addicting read. It's absolutely perfect for summer. It's also left me dying for more contemporary with royalty (if you have suggestions, preferably in YA/NA, please let me know!). And everyone should pick it up ASAP!

--Julie

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Book Haul (154)

Oh HEY. Book hauls two weeks in a row? It's a shock to us all, I know.

Won:
Proxy by Alex London

From Publisher:
Hooked by Liz Fichera

I've already passed on The Impossibility of Tomorrow and the mad libs because Impossibility of Tomorrow is a sequel to a book I don't have and I'm not a big mad libs person. But I am super excited for Proxy and Hooked.

Anything you're super excited for? What have you picked up this week?

--Julie

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch
by Victoria Schwab

Summary: The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
So, I pretty much loved this book. I don't have a lot to say about it really. It was well written and addictive, I loved the characters (mostly), the romance was sweet and subtle, and the story was just the right amount of creepy.

When I was younger, used to love Point Horror books and books like The Blair Witch Files--I loved that the feeling they gave me, not fear exactly, but the same sort of feeling I'd get when me and my friends would play in the woods and try to freak each other out with spooky stories.

The point: a big part of the reason I loved The Near Witch was because it reminded me of that feeling and made me feel nostalgic for the kinds of books I used to love when I was younger. The book was able to find this middle ground between the kind of stories I used to love (wonderfully creepy plot, like a ghost story you'd hear at Halloween) and the kind of stories that I love now  (YA, romance, lovely writing, great characters, etc.)--it was like the best of both worlds.

There's really only one thing I didn't like about the book, and that's the fact that Lexi did get a bit frustrating. So much of what went wrong could've been avoided if she had just told people certain things instead of lying pointlessly. It's really hard to explain what annoyed me about that properly without spoilers, so I'll just add the spoiler-y part to my goodreads review since the spoilers can be hidden from people that don't want to see.

This review isn't particularly good, because I really don't have very much to say about the book. I loved it. I loved it because of that nostalgic feeling and all the other reasons I mentioned. I'd rate it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Later.

Friday, 21 June 2013

San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Kathleen Duey

San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
by Kathleen Duey

Summary: It is the glittering center of the new West, brash young San Francisco, dominated by the luxurious Palace Hotel, where tycoons mingle with famous artists, politicians, and the young American aristocracy. Where 18-year-old housekeeper Sierra O'Nielle, still smarting from a flirtatious gentleman's snub, realizes it is time to face reality and remember her place -- until she sees Joseph Harlan, the handsome son of a wealthy cattle rancher. The sizzling electricity that flows between them is impossible to ignore....

Joseph has come to find a suitable bride. His father will do anything to keep him from a maid. Until the fateful April night Sierra is thrown into Joseph's arms as the earthquake of the century devastates the city. Suddenly they are bound together, racing through the cobbled streets seeking shelter from raining bricks, panicked crowds, and the wall of flame that threatens to devour all that is left....
 
I didn't go into this book expecting a literary masterpiece or anything, but I was still left pretty disappointed. I didn't really like this book at all. It definitely had potential as far as the story goes but the execution of it just wasn't good.

The main problem was that the book was really short, and yet there seemed to be so much pointless junk thrown in but very little stuff that mattered. It's like, stuff that would actually be worth having (like character development, or relationship development between the main characters, for example) were thrown out the window to make room for the pointless stuff (there was seriously about a whole chapter that was basically just Sierra walking to work--in a book this short, that's not good).

The summary makes it sound like it's about two characters, Sierra and Joseph. That it's a story about their romance in the midst of a disaster. But instead, it barely felt like a romance and there were like seven other POV's (possibly more? not sure?) thrown in that really were not needed--at least four of those added nothing at all to the story and just felt like they were there for the sake of being there.

With such a short book, all that unnecessary stuff should not be there. I didn't give a damn about any of the characters really--the side ones because they were just annoyances that kept interrupting the parts of the story I wanted to read and the main ones because I wasn't given enough to make me care about them, it was so diluted by all the other stuff.

As for not feeling like much of a romance, aside from the issue of other POV's getting in the way, there was this too:

Sierra wasn't a very good character, she was so fickle when it came to feelings. One minute she thinks herself in love with one dude she barely knows and then the minute this other guy shows her some attention she thinks she's in love with him instead. And it's not love, none of it is love. Honestly, she just seemed like a bit of a gold digger really--she wanted a rich husband and a fancy life, so whenever these guys showed her even the tiniest shred of attention, she latched onto that and started picturing herself as his wife. And Joseph didn't love her, it was lust mostly.

It was insta-love at it's very worst. But it didn't have to be--if those POV's that added nothing to the story were cut, and we were just allowed to stick with the two main characters and more effort was put into developing their relationship then it could've been a pretty good book.

Basically, it just wasn't good. I didn't care about the characters, didn't care about their relationships, didn't believe the characters loved each other or belonged together it was just...not good.

I'd rate it 1.5 stars out of 5. And that's me being generous (the 1.5 is purely because I do think the story could've been good--it's one of those books that I'd like if it were a disaster movie, it would work in that medium but not so much as a book...at least, not this book). I am not really looking forward to reading the other book in the series I got.

Later.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Review Catch Up Part 2

Amy Tintera
HarperTeen
[May 7, 2013]

While reading this, I really enjoyed it. I mean, it's dystopian and kind of zombie-esque, but not really and the zombies are considered the good guys...by some people. There were a lot of moral questions in this book and a lot of interesting ideas and plots and the writing kept me engaged. Now that I've distanced myself from the book, I can't help but question some aspects of the plot an how it makes sense, but I did still enjoy the book and fully intend to read the sequel.

Overall Verdict: It's a super entertaining book while you read, but it has some issues. 


Miranda Kenneally
Sourcebooks Fire
[December 1, 2011]


I've always been a bit of a tomboy. I played baseball for years as a kid, I used hot wheels and Legos as often as I played with Barbies, and I had no problem beating up and wrestling my older brother. So, girls wanting to play sports? I'm SO in. 

I love Jordan and the guys she's balancing in her life. They're her friends and teammates and they respect and work with her. I love how Miranda's books are never what you think they'll be right off the bat. I love Miranda's writing and I just...really loved this book. 


Miranda Kenneally
Sourcebooks Fire
[October 1, 2012]

While we're on the topic of Miranda, let's keep going.

I really, really loved Parker's story. I mean, it was kind of different from what we normally see in contemp. and again with the sports connection. I also really loved the way Miranda managed to play with the characters. I'm trying to make sure I don't give any spoilers, but damn, Miranda knows how to manipulate your feelings and her characters and it was incredible to read. It was unexpected and impressive and 7 months later, I'm still in awe of the perfect. Plus? Plenty of cameos from Catching Jordan. Doing my best to grab book #3 soon!


--Julie

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Last Chance Angel by Alex Gutteridge

Last Chance Angel
by Alex Gutteridge
Summary: What would you do for another chance at life?

When Jess is knocked off her bike in a traffic accident, she finds herself at the gates of heaven before her destined death date.

Given one last chance to say goodbye, she heads back to Earth to visit friends and family. Closely kept secrets are revealed to the now-invisible Jess, and one shocking discovery leads her to the biggest choice she'll ever have to make.
So I'm kind of torn on this book. It's not one I would've picked up on my own, I don't think I'd have read it if I hadn't been sent it to review--I didn't love it, but I'm glad I read it.

I think my main issue with the book was that it felt very...young. I'm not just talking the character ages (14-ish), because there's a few books with younger main characters sitting on my favourites shelf right now (Harry Potter, Tuck Everlasting, The Book Thief, etc.), it just didn't feel like one of those books that could be enjoyed at any age, at least to me anyway.

It's the kind of book that I'd probably have loved if I read it when I was 11-14 but it just didn't work for me now because thing's I would've been fine with reading then just aren't enjoyable to me now (e.g. immature characters, and while on the surface there was complexity to their lives and relationships the execution of it left very little emotional impact, things resolved too quickly, that sort of thing).

It just felt like a book I was too late to love, if that makes sense? Mini-me would've thought it was great.

The book was cute though. Parts of it did get a bit repetetive and dragged, but in the end, I liked it. The last third of the book was the bit I enjoyed the most, when it picked up the pace a bit (and it may be because the first half of the book was kind of going through her friends introducing them to us really slowly, one by one, but once that was out of the way it felt like things were actually happening and it got better).

It was funny (at times) and sweet, and I really liked the writing. There were a few characters I did really like too - her brother was probably my favourite. Actually, that was one of my favourite parts of the book: the families. One of the things often absent in older YA books is the relationships between the main characters and their families, but they were very much present in this book and I liked that.

There was only really one part of the book that I actually didn't like and that was the last few pages, specifically with her best friend. Basically because of what I mentioned already: resolved too quickly, a bit too predictable and cheesy--it kind of sits on the Disney end of the happy ending scale (read: too happy/easy, too much to feel realistic)...that's something I'd have been cool with, as I said, if I were younger. But I still like the book in spite of that.

This review is a bit of a mess and more negative than I meant it to be--the majority of the negatives weren't meant as "this is why I didn't like the book" they really are just meant to be "this is why I feel the book was too young for me."

I would recommend it to younger readers (or older readers who don't mind/like books with younger characters), because I know I'd have liked it a lot more had it been around for me to read in my early teens and things that bother me now wouldn't have then. Reading it now, it was just an okay book--entertaining enough, but not one that will linger with me.

I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5.

Later.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Note: this is the second book in the series but my review is spoiler free.

Second Helpings
by Megan McCafferty

Summary: Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.
I read the first book a long time ago (well, not that long - a year, maybe a bit more?), and I loved it. I've been dying to read the rest of the series for so long but kept putting it off - either because my TBR was too long to fit them in or,well, procrastination. I procrastinate even when it's things I actually want to do that I'm putting off. I'm going off on a bit of a tangent, sorry.

But basically, I loved this book too. It's one of those sequels that lives up to the expectations set by the first, it didn't disappoint me at all, and all the stuff I loved about the first book were still very much present in this one too.

Jessica Darling is awesome (although, damn her name and the fact that she shares it with a porn star--it made venturing into the tumblr tag for the books very...interesting). She can be judgemental, she's immature sometimes, she can be self-absorbed, she makes mistakes...and this isn't a very flattering picture I'm painting of her, but what it all adds up to is this: she's realistic. And I liked her anyway (not sure if it was in spite of or because of those character traits).

She had positive traits too (she's smart, she's funny, she's not afraid to speak her mind, to name a few), but the ones I mentioned are the ones that stand out because it made her seem like she could be someone I know, and not like she was one of those characters that was written to be liked to the point where it's like the author filtered out the flaws that would make her feel real. I loved the book more because of that.

I also really, really loved that the book shows that she doesn't see herself the way others see her. Because really, who does? And it seems genuine, it's not done in the Twilight-y way where the protagonist forever whines unconvincingly about how plain she is while tripping over all the boys that want to get into her pants as she's trying to get to her sparkly boyfriend whose perfection she feels she can never match (that made sense, didn't it? Almost? Sort of?). With Jessica, it just seemed very real and I liked that.

I love the other characters too. Some of them are a bit ridiculous at times, but it's also really clear that we're not seeing the characters exactly as they are, but how Jessica sees them. Her way of viewing people--while not always the nicest way to view people--is funny and interesting and it was done in a way that the reader doesn't necessarily have to agree with the way she views them, and it's rare for me to see that in books. Normally it seems like certain characters are written to be hated, like the author doesn't want the reader to make up their own mind about them, but it didn't feel that way with this.

Marcus Flutie...*happy sigh* he is such an ass. But in a good way? That probably wasn't the best choice of words. But basically, he is frustrating, he also screws up and does dumb things--and like Jessica, it made him seem realistic. He's also funny and sweet and lovely and smart and I'd very much like to keep him. I want these books to be movies purely so I can see Jessica and Marcus come to life on screen (but at the same time, these books are the type that would be so easy to get wrong and would need perfect casting to work and so I'm torn between wanting them to be a movie and wanting to hug the books to my chest hissing, "My precious!" at anyone who tries to make a movie adaption happen).

It's rare for me to actually like books written in a journal-like format, but Megan does it so well that I loved it. That's all I have to say on the writing part really. The only negative thing I can think of is that sometimes it felt longer than it needed to be--but that could've been because I stayed up all night reading it and as I was approaching both 5am and the end of the book, the stuff that didn't feel necessary got a bit frustrating because I was desperate to see how it ended (and to stop torturing my sleep deprived eyes but I couldn't put the book down).

The 9/11 mentions took me by surprise. They shouldn't have, but it just shows that the books really do stand the test of time--this one was published in 2003, I think, but set in 2001 and yet the book didn't feel dated while I was reading it.

This review is way longer than I intended, I went into it thinking I didn't have much to say about this one except for OMGSQUEEILOVELOVELOVEIT! but I guess I was wrong. I'd rate it 4.5 stars out of 5...or 5. Closer to 5. Let's go with 5.

Later.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys


Out of the Easy
by Ruta Sepetys
Summary: It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
So this book started out as a disappointment, but somewhere along the line it turned into one of those books I was left hugging after finishing the last page.

I lovelovelove Ruta's first book, Between Shades of Gray, so this book had a lot to live up to. And I think that was my problem in the beginning; I had all these expectations but comparing that book and this one is like comparing a tree to a car--they're just so completely different that expecting them to have the same sort of impact and get under my skin in the same way is ridiculous. 

Once I threw those expectations out of the window, and once I was about a quarter/a third of the way into the book, I started to realise that I really cared about these characters and I loved the setting and that I didn't want to stop reading...so I didn't. It's nearly 4am right now because I stayed up to finish the book and I regret nothing (although, the headache I have right now is a bit dkjfbvkdhjb).

Josie doesn't really make my list of favourite main characters--on her own, she wasn't that special, she felt realistic though, and she annoyed me at times but that was okay because that's realistic too. What made me love the book and really care was the relationships she had. She had this essentric group of people in her life, and they weren't related to her by blood but together they made up this strange little family and I loved that and I loved the side characters and just...yeah. 

The plot...I don't know. It wasn't anything spectacular, but I loved it anyway and the setting and the characters made it really work. I've never read a book with this sort of subject matter and this setting before--the closest thing I can think of is the movie Pretty Baby, but the book made me want to read more books like it.

Words. I'm not so good at those when I've not slept, so I'll stop trying to explain my thoughts on this, but the book was awesome. I don't know if it'll linger with me in the same way that Between Shades of Gray did, but I loved it and would rate it 4.5 stars out of 5. Ruta Sepetys has totally cemented her spot on my insta-read list.

Later.

Book Haul (153)

Julie: 
So, this is partly my BEA-haul and partly...a lot of other stuff haul. The video below is going to be the BEA/BEA-related haul. I think where I got everything is fairly self-explanatory. (Signed, in a signing line, not signed, at a publisher booth, I explain when a book was mine/was purchased.) I'm not going to link any of these, I'm just going to point you to my BEA-shelf on goodreads and most of the books mentioned will be there.



Some other books I've gotten recently (Note: This isn't all of them. I've moved like twice, I'm not fully unpacked, and I don't even remember what was in my last haul. But here's what I DO remember.)

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (via Netgalley)
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (bought at Strand)
Beautiful Strange by Christina Lauren (bought at Strand)
Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsay (bought at Strand)
The Blood Confession by Alison Libby (bought at Strand)
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (bought at Strand)
This Love by Nazarea Andrews (NA egalley for review from author)
Subject to Change by Alessandra Thomas (NA egalley for review from author)
Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (bought at Strand)
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer (bought at Strand)
Triangles by Ellen Hopkins (bought at school bookstore)

I...think that's it? I mean, I know I picked up other books, but I cannot think of what they are. SO...probably next time when I'm at my parents' and have all the books that are there.

Anything super exciting to you? What'd you pick up recently?

--Julie


Lanna:
I haven't done a book haul since like...March? I think? So while there's a lot of books here, it's a few months worth of books, they're not all recent. The only reason I'm even posting this is because I got way behind in my TBR pile, especially with review books (because my best friends wedding was happening and I was a bridesmaid), so I want to at least mention the books because it may take quite a while to get reviews up for them, some may not get reviewed at all.

So yeah, these are all the books I've gotten since about March:



For Review:

Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman
Ways to See a Ghost by Emily Diamand
Blooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess
Last Chance Angel by Alex Gutteridge
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Spy for the Queen of Scots by Theresa Breslin
You Don't Know Me by Sophie Bennett
The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins
Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud
Chasing the Dark by Sam Hepburn
Undedog by Markus Zusak
Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
Getting the Girl by Markus Zusak
Dead Silence by Kimberley Derting
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Siege by Sarah Mussi
Drummer Girl by Bridget Tyler (finished copy)
The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden
Burning for Revenge by John Marsden


Bought:

Crash Into You by Roni Loren
Women & Children First by Gill Paul
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Kartography by Kamila Shamsie
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Night School by C.J. Daugherty
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
Dragon Flight by Anne McCaffrey
Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor

Earthquake: San Francisco 1906 by Kathleen Duey
Louisiana Hurrican 1860 by Kathleen Duey


Other:

Hannah of Hope Street by Dee Williams (book my mum had for reading on a plane)

Sorry for the lack of goodreads links, but it'd take me ages to add that many. Read any of them? Like them? Hate them? If there's any you think I should read and review first, let me know. o.O

Later.



Saturday, 15 June 2013

Can We Please Bring Back the Past? ...Fictionally?

I remember starting this blog and being so in love with historical fiction. I was able to find so many good ones and I even tried to feature them specially...until I ran out after like...7. I was incredibly sad about this. My first real love after I got sucked out of vampires was historical fiction. I wrote my college admission essay on how the Gemma Doyle trilogy totally changed my opinion of history. I'm strongly considering minoring in history at the moment.

So I was sad. And then there was Ruta Sepetys! Between Shades of Gray! Everyone loves it! Surely things will turn around. Nope. Wrong. Again.

Then Downton Abbey happened and EVERYONE wanted Downton Abbey books and there were a few and of those few, I've read two. One was an extreme let down. The other was so good and I'm dying for the sequel. But...three wasn't exactly the "big boom" I was hoping for.

I love historical fiction. The automatic, built in forbidden love stories. The issues that are implied just by the story line. The conflicts. The settings. The clothes. Obviously, fiction isn't reality and the reality was less than perfect, but fictionally? Man, history can be fantastic and beautiful.

There's a decent amount of fantastic historical fiction out there. Ruta Sepetys' books, Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed, Anna Godbersen's books, Jillian Larkin's series, The Season by Sarah MacLean, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Gilt by Katherine Longshore, The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner. If you include historical with paranormal twists, there's Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy and The Diviners, Leanna Renee Heiber's series, Saundra Mitchell's books, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.

But first of all, this doesn't feel like nearly enough books. Yes, it's just what I remembered off the top of my head, but I've read these books and at least one book in each series/by each author mentioned and I know they're really good. And when I think ahead, I can only think of three YA historicals that I know of and I'm excited for. Only one of them was available at BEA (Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein).

Secondly...do you guys notice a pattern? World War 2 books. 1920s in the U.S. Late 1800s-early 1900s in England. That's most of what's listed and a good amount of what is available. There are other time periods and places that are so unexplored. The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution would be fantastic to learn more about. Asian history is fascinating too, but most Asian-set fiction I know about is at least partly fantasy. And what about the rest of the world? India, Australia, Africa, Central and South America. These places are all full of culture and stories but we so rarely see them featured in fiction, much less YA fiction. It's really a shame since YA fiction has turned me onto certain time periods and I'm sure it's done the same for other people. Writing about places and time periods that aren't widely featured in classrooms and movies would be a fantastic way to create new interests.

So, this is me, officially making the call for more historical fiction. Preferably straight-up historical fiction, but I'll also accept those with a paranormal twist. But not steampunk, because, though I love that as well, it's rising on its own. And asking for more variety.

I went through all 1400 of my books and put together a goodreads list of all the historical YA I have, I've read, or I want to have. Some of it is technically MG, but I wasn't making a separate list just for MG. You can check that out here.

I also asked for some recommendations:
stephlynn_smith
@JulieHeartBooks Meridon, by Phillipa Gregory.
6/14/13 10:17 PM
BookishComforts
@JulieHeartBooks Favorite: The True Story of Hansel & Gretel. Amazing story!! Having many on my upcoming TBR list so I would have to check
6/14/13 10:24 PM
BookishComforts
@JulieHeartBooks Goodreads but Rose Under Fire comes to mind & definitely Star Cursed if you could alt.history. Just reviewed
6/14/13 10:25 PM
BookishComforts
@JulieHeartBooks Born of Illusion & it was pretty good!
6/14/13 10:25 PM
nymbc
@JulieHeartBooks Anything by @KALongshore. She's the queen of YA Tudor fiction FORSURE. I can't gush about her enough. - Anna
6/14/13 10:06 PM
gildedspine
@JulieHeartBooks Favorite historical YA recently are The Caged Graves, Belle Epoque, Code Name Verity. Looking forward to Rose Under Fire.
6/14/13 10:05 PM
wordforteens
@JulieHeartBooks Favorite historical YA is Bloody Jack. Which totally counts, even though it's not 100% factually accurate.
6/14/13 10:04 PM
brokeandbookish
@JulieHeartBooks Two of my FAVE historical fiction books EVER are The Book Thief & Between Shades of Grey!
6/14/13 5:52 PM
amydieg
@JulieHeartBooks Book Thief, Milkweed, Revolution (maybe doesn't really count)
6/14/13 5:51 PM
brokeandbookish
@JulieHeartBooks I really LOVE Vixen by Jillian Larkin if you like the whole flapper thing. Most people got into Bright Young Things & that
6/14/13 5:50 PM
sarahmaclean
@JulieHeartBooks Anna Godberson’s The Luxe, @SaundraMitchell’s The Springsweet, @leannarenee’s Darker Still
6/14/13 5:40 PM
ReaderAdventure
@JulieHeartBooks I like The Agency series by @yinglee and The Season by @sarahmaclean
6/14/13 5:40 PM
hobbitsies
@JulieHeartBooks Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi!!
6/14/13 5:38 PM

So, there you have it. Plenty of historical to dig in to and the first step in my quest to make sure there's more historical fiction in YA in the world.

Update: Sab at YA Bliss hosts the historical fiction challenge and has a goodreads shelf with over 250 titles you can find here.

--Julie

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