Teaser Tuesday: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It’s super easy: open your current read to a random page and share two sentences from that page – but make sure you don’t spoil the book!

TeaserTuesday

I thought this sounded like a lot of fun, so here we go!

The Dream ThievesMy current read is Maggie Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves. I opened it to a random page – 218 – and these are the sentences I’d like to tease you with:

But Ronan felt nothing but that fiery, empty cavern in his chest. He slid himself into the driver’s seat as Gansey shut the passenger door.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to read more. I’m just starting this one, so I’ve got those sentences to look forward to.

 

If you participate in Teaser Tuesday, link me up! Or if you don’t, tease me with your current read in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Difficult Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read (because difficult of book, subject matter, because it was cringeworthy– however you want to interpret)

As always, titles are linked to their corresponding Goodreads page. If I’ve reviewed the book on my blog, I’ll link to it after the title.

It's Kind of a Funny StoryBECAUSE OF THE SUBJECT MATTER

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini – here’s my review

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – here’s my review

BECAUSE I KEPT ROLLING MY EYES

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – here’s my review

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – I reviewed this one on WatchPlayRead

BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT THE SERIES TO ENDExit Music

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

Exit Music by Ian Rankin – thank goodness this ended up not actually being the end.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth – this was hard for more than one reason. I’m sure you could guess all of them

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

What about you? What books were difficult for you to read? Why? Link me up to your TTT!

Audiobook Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I loved The Help audiobook so much that I didn’t want it to end. I could have listened to stories about those characters every single day.

The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Narrators: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Octavia Spencer

Audiobook length: 18 hours, 19 minutes

Genre: Realistic, historical, southern fiction

Publisher: Penguin Audio

I’m pretty sure everything that I could possibly say about The Help has probably already been said at some point, but I’m going to try. I won’t go into the fact that the novel, and Kathryn Stockett, perpetuated the Mammy stereotype in The Help and that no white woman will ever be able to fully express or comprehend what it was like to be African-American in the South during this time. What I will talk about is the fact that The Help is highly entertaining. It is a really good story, and I did not want the audiobook to end.

I haven’t read this as a print book, but the audiobook was fantastic. The narrators, particularly Octavia Spencer, perfectly embody their characters, and I was able to visualize everything through the rhythm, cadence, and passion in their voices. By the way, Octavia Spencer plays Minny in the movie, so she was well-versed in Minny’s sass, passion, hardships, and anger for her role in the movie. The listener really gets a true sense of how each character felt. I honestly don’t know if I would have enjoyed to read the print version of the book; I think having four distinct voices to listen to really worked for this book. I do want to try to read The Help in the future though.

I think that readers of The Help can and should enjoy this story for the emotions it elicits and for the absolutely wonderful story it tells. However, a reader should also remember that the story told here is one person’s side of the story – the white side, whether or not you have African-American characters who are “speaking their minds”.

Oops. Got a little rant-y there. Back to the book: I honestly didn’t want this audiobook to end. I could’ve listened to stories about Skeeter, Minny, Aibileen, and the rest every single day on the way to and from work. I know I’ve said it a few times already, but The Help is truly entertaining. I enjoyed the four voices of the woman chosen to narrate this one. I got completely swept up in this story. I cried, laughed, smiled, and felt sick. This audiobook evoked emotions in me that no other audiobook has done so far. I wanted it to keep going. I missed the characters as soon as it ended.

If you like audiobooks, I would highly, HIGHLY, highly recommend this one.

Note-able: Joshua James

So I’m going to start another semi-regular post where I tell you guys about the music I’m listening to/new music I’ve found. Other than books, music is my other passion in life. I listen to music every single day, and I love going to live shows. I am sure that at least some of my followers like music as well, so maybe we can connect over yet another thing!

Tonight I’m going to see Joshua James live for the third time. You can tell he’s a passionate singer even if you’re just listening to his recorded music, but when you see him live, it’s incredible. He is absolutely amazing live. Electric. You can FEEL his emotion. He’s so passionate about his music and this definitely comes out on stage. It is very intense. Sometimes he’s so emotional that his voice cracks. It’s such a crazy contrast between how he acts offstage. On stage he is so intense and offstage he is so sweet and humble.

Here are two of my favorite songs by Joshua James, and you can find more on YouTube or his website. Enjoy!

Book Review: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time will love Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin, a book about a young girl with Asperger’s who loses her dog during a hurricane.

Rain ReignAuthor: Ann M. Martin

Genre: Middle grade, contemporary, realistic fiction

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

240 pages

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Feiwel & Friends for letting me read this.

Rose is a young girl with a homonym for a name (Rose, rows). She’s obsessed with homonyms and prime numbers, both of which stem from her mild Asperger’s Syndrome. She lives at home with her father who doesn’t understand her, but one (won) day he brings home a dog that he found wandering outside. Rose names the dog Rain, which is also a homonym (rain, reign, rein) – a name that allows Rose to (two, too) connect with her dog on another level. When Hurricane Susan hits, Rain is lost and Rose makes a plan to find her.

This a very straightforward story (and character) with not many surprises. However, the characters and relationships between them makes this story stand out and be (bee) absolutely beautiful. Rose has relationships with several adults in (inn) the novel that are what move the story along: her father, who doesn’t understand her rules and gets easily frustrated with her and her peculiar obsessions, her teacher and the teaching aide that’s been assigned to her, who just try to help her, and her uncle, whose relationship with Rose develops even more throughout the story. The relationship between Rose and her uncle is the backbone to this novel and it is beautiful. Her uncle has the utmost patience and love for Rose, and their mutual warmth and understanding for each other will make your (you’re) heart melt.

I flew (flu) through this book in two days (and I had to work all day both days!). Ann M. Martin has created an absolutely powerful story that I (eye) will be thinking about for a long time (just like I still think about Curious Incident). The novel had a bit of an abrupt ending, but it leaves you (yew) with a passionate hope for Rose’s future.

(Rose includes homonyms after words like I did throughout this review when she gets upset. I really enjoyed this part of the book.)

Waiting on Wednesday: Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!Once Upon an Alphabet

Publisher: Philomel

Author: Oliver Jeffers

Release date: October 14, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

If words make up the stories and letters make up the words, then stories are made up of letters. In this menagerie we have stories made of words, made FOR all the letters.

The most inventive and irresistible book of the year spans a mere 26 letters (don’t they all!) and 112 pages. From an Astronaut who’s afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, Once Upon an Alphabet is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can’t resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.

Why I’m excited: I won’t link them all, but I’m sure you’ve noticed how much I love Oliver Jeffers. I’ve read every single book of his that we have in my library system. I think his stories are absolutely charming and I love his adorable illustrations (I want that dang penguin!). His humor is one of my favorite things about his books and the description for this one says that it is “slyly funny in a way kids can’t resist.” Well, I’m a kid at heart, so I know I’ll love this one. Can’t wait to read this, so I’ll probably just my own copy instead of waiting for it to come to the library.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list

In no particular order, here are ten of the books I’m looking forward to reading this fall. As always, all book titles have been linked to their corresponding Goodreads page.

The Night CircusRain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Batman and Son by Grant Morrison

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Horns by Joe HillThe 5th Wave

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Shift and Dust by Hugh Howey

Have you read any of these books? Which were your favorites? What’s on your fall TBR? Link me up to your TTT!

Book Review: The Shadow Prince by Stacey O’Neale

Stacey O’Neale’s The Shadow Prince is a fun, well-paced, action packed intro into her Mortal Enchantment series.

The Shadow PrinceAuthor: Stacey O’Neale

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher:

Publication Date:

102 pages

Let’s start with a brief synopsis:

Rowan is a fire elemental and the son of the Fire Court’s Queen. Rowan has lived most of his life outside of Avalon – the home to all four elemental courts – learning to control his element. The Fire Court Queen, Prisma, has never shown her son any love, believing it to be a weakness, so when she announces that she’ll be abdicating her thrown to him, you could say he was a little surprised. But of course, she will not give up her thrown without wanting something from Rowan in return. Prisma wants Rowan to kill the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the Air Court King.

What I thought:

The Shadow Prince is the introduction to Stacey O’Neale’s Mortal Enchantment series. It packs an unbelievable amount of action, world building, and character development in its short 102 pages. It was a great beginning to this series that had me ready to start the next book right away.

Rowan has lived most of his life in the mortal world, so the way that he talks is a lot like teenagers these days. I appreciated this, but it was also quite jarring to read a fantasy book in which the main character tells himself to man up or calls his friend a dick. It was weird at times. The relationship between Rowan and his best friend Marcus, a Gabriel hound (basically a shape shifter that Prisma has forced to serve her), was a lot of fun. I enjoyed their banter, but at times it was hard to remember they were boys.

Another thing I didn’t like was the repetitiveness of some of the content. Rowan thinks about the fact that his mother would never give him the crown unless it would benefit her about a hundred times. Also, the word “regardless” is used about a million times.

It sounds like I didn’t like this book, doesn’t it? That’s completely not true. There were a few things that irked me, but I really enjoyed this one overall. It is completely entertaining, well-paced, fun, and interesting. As I said at the beginning, O’Neale is able to pack an astonishing amount of story into this short novella. I’m looking forward to reading Mortal Enchantment and getting to know Rowan even more.

The bottom line: The Shadow Prince could have used a little more editing, but overall it is an entertaining, well-paced, and super fun intro into the Mortal Enchantment series.

Rating: 7 – pretty good

Children’s Book Review: The Hueys in the New Sweater by Oliver Jeffers

I’ve recently become kind of obsessed (okay, super obsessed) with Oliver Jeffers’ books. I love them. They are adorable and genius and simple and wonderful. Did I mention that I love his books? Haha. I’ve already reviewed The Day the Crayons QuitThe Incredible Book-Eating Boy and The Way Back Home. Anyway, I’ve pretty much read all of his books that are currently in my library’s system, so this week, I’m going to do six mini reviews of his books. So far this week, I’ve reviewed Lost and Found, Up and DownThe Great Paper CaperStuckand This Moose Belongs to Me.

The Hueys in the New Sweater

The Hueys are all the same: egg-shaped little dudes that all think the same way, do the same things, and look exactly the same. Until one day when Rupert knits himself a cool little orange sweater. Gasp! Rupert is different, and he is ostracized. That is until Gillespie (can I just take a moment to say how freaking awesome the names Rupert and Gillespie are for children’s book characters??) notices and thinks that being different is interesting. So what does he do? Why, he knits himself his own cool little orange sweater! Soon everyone is doing it and Rupert must find a new way to be different.

At first it seemed that Jeffers was commenting on the fact that it is almost impossible to be different in our society – where everyone will do the same thing if it is cool and everyone else is doing it. Everyone was being different but they were all doing it in exactly the same way. But then you reach the end and you flip the last page, and all of the Hueys are there in bright, vivid colors – all different! I think this one teaches kids how to be different by thinking outside of the box. Yes, there are trends and people like to fit in and do what others are doing, but you should be like Rupert. Be yourself, set trends, think outside the box. I still think Jeffers’ is commenting on society’s need to be different by being exactly the same, but I like the other theme too!

Children’s Book Reviews: This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

I’ve recently become kind of obsessed (okay, super obsessed) with Oliver Jeffers’ books. I love them. They are adorable and genius and simple and wonderful. Did I mention that I love his books? Haha. I’ve already reviewed The Day the Crayons QuitThe Incredible Book-Eating Boy and The Way Back Home. Anyway, I’ve pretty much read all of his books that are currently in my library’s system, so this week, I’m going to do six mini reviews of his books. So far this week, I’ve reviewed Lost and Found, Up and DownThe Great Paper Caperand Stuck.

This Moose Belongs to Me

Wilfred has a pet that most people don’t – a moose. He hasn’t always had a pet moose though. One day the moose came to him and he knew that it was meant to be his, so he decided to keep and and call him Marcel. Marcel is usually a very good pet, but one day Marcel leads Wilfred on a journey into the woods where someone else lays claim to the moose.

One of my favorite in terms of Jeffers’ illustrations. They’re different from some of his others in that they are a little more layered, much like The Great Paper Caper or The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Some of the illustrations are simple, with just Wilfred and his moose, but others have a detailed background of beautiful woods or water that were awesome. They were full of nature, pure and lovely.

Moose are wild animals and they will do whatever it is they want to do. I loved that Jeffers let Marcel or Rodrigo or Dominic or whatever be who he was, if that makes sense. I think this is a good one for teaching about animals and nature. I think it also shows how to adapt to new situations and learn from experience. This book is about compromise, knowing your limits, and being able to change plans and ideas when needed. Wilfred has a lot of rules for Marcel who doesn’t fit any of them really. Wilfred must adapt and change to become more open-minded. The illustrations match this juxtaposition of what Wilfred expects and what actually happens: the backgrounds are beautiful, sweeping landscapes with Wilfred and Marcel being simple and unassuming illustrations on top of those.