Top Ten Tuesday: Books I recently added to my TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

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

Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

Okay, I’m not going to lie. I was really happy this was such an easy topic this week. I found all of these on my TBR shelf on Goodreads.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott HawkinsBright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond – Do you know how hard it is to not type “Dark Knight”? Haha. This book is an illustrated YA novel about first love, race, and finding yourself. So glad I got an eARC of this one waiting.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – I’m not even really sure how to describe this one. Magic, cults, libraries. Go read that synopsis and try NOT to add it to your TBR. Lucky enough to also have this one as an eARC.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – A book about a man who runs a small bookshop where he prescribes books to people? First, why isn’t this a real thing? Second, is it a real thing? Third, YES PLEASE. Also an eARC.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – “The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.” Wuuuut? That sounds awesome. Also, it’s about a girl who’s allergic to the outside world. CanIpleasehavethisrightnow??!!

TThe Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffershe Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers – THIS IS A SEQUEL TO THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT. Do I really need to explain why this is on my list?

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman – A book about a 12-year-old book lover and a book scavenger hunt. What else could you want in an MG book?

Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis – This book is about a girl who EATS the people she cares about. When she loves someone, she can’t help herself. This sounds disturbing, gross, and absolutely delightful. If you didn’t already know I was a weirdo, now you do.

And here’s two books I recently added to my (WAY TOO LONG) physical TBR:

We All Looked Up by Tommy WallachWe All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach – An end-of-the-world, figure-out-who-we-really-are book that sounds absolutely wonderful. I had to buy it.

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith – I’ve never actually read an Andrew Smith book (though I own a signed copy of 100 Sideways Miles and I’ve actually met him. Oops), but this one sounds so. cool. I’m not even really sure how to summarize it though, so go check it out on Goodreads.

What books have you recently added to your TBR?

Advertisements

Caught Read Handed’s first blogiversary! (+ Giveaway!)

I’m so excited to announce that Caught Read Handed has turned 1! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I started this blog, but I haven’t looked back once. I started Caught Read Handed during a need to stay occupied, but it was more than that. I have always reveled in talking about books (duh) and connecting with people over the books we’ve read and loved, and I can’t put into words how much I appreciate the community and people I’ve found through blogging. I’ve made some amazing friends, whether or not I’ve met them in person. You guys are my heart and getting to know you has been incredible. Here’s to another year of reading amazing books, discussing those books, meeting wonderful people, and all the other crazy, stressful, brilliant things that come out of book blogging.

Big Bang Theory celebration

I know that a lot of people usually share some stats in this section of their blogiversary post, but honestly, those stats always make me compare myself to others and I don’t want to do that to  myself or to you. Each blog is different and no one (no matter if you started at the same time) will have the same stats. So, instead, I’ll tell you that I’ve published roughly 102 book reviews, including novels (adult, young adult, and middle grade), audiobooks, comic books, and children’s books. I’ve participated in 48 Top Ten Tuesday posts and (I think) 40 Waiting on Wednesday posts. I’ve started the Bloggers’ Book Club, the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge, and (along with Rachel and Brandie) the Babes and Books Reviews feature. I have an incredible support system in all of you, and I cherish every single one of your comments, likes, shares, and follows.

I started this blog for me, but I couldn’t imagine doing it without you. So I want to show you how much I love all of you by doing a giveaway! Two winners will each win a book of their choice from The Book Depository up to the value of $15 (USD), which means that this is an international giveaway as long as TBD delivers to you (you can check that HERE)! The giveaway will end on Sunday, April 26 at Midnight CST, so you have a whole month to enter!

Giveaway Enter

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge – My Sign Up Post

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge

Hello, lovelies! As you may know, I am co-hosting the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge with Amy at Read What I Like next month! You might also know that I am the Circulation Clerk and YA Librarian at a small library in Mississippi. Each month I order between 10-20 new YA and Middle Grade books for my library, though I’m only able to read a very small number of these (because of time, ARCs, life), so Amy and I started the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge to fix that. We want to read ONLY library books for the month of April (though if you participate, you are only required to read ONE library book). I hope to get caught up on the books I’ve ordered but haven’t read – partly so I can be even better at recommending titles to my patrons and partly because I ordered those books for a reason! 🙂

So here is my (tentative) TBR for the #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge (definitely subject to change based on my mood, and also in no particular order whatsoever). Also, a few books/audiobooks are not pictured but linked below. I’ve only chosen books that I have ordered for my library since I started working. Yes, the TBR is a little overambitious, but if you recall, I’m a mood reader, so I need options!

#ReadingMyLibrary Challenge

The Sin Eater’s Daughter / Made for You / Shutter / Vivian Apple at the End of the World / The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley / Red Queen / I’ll Meet You There / Beautiful You / Atlantia (on CD)

NOT PICTURED (aka waiting on holds/hoping the new books come in soon!)

I’ll Give You the Sun (on CD) / Jackaby (on CD) / We All Looked Up

My TBR is obviously VERY ambitious, and I’ll be lucky to get to even half of these, BUT I’m excited for all of them, so I just went ahead and checked them out. It gives me options!

I would LOVE it if you would join us next month. As I said earlier in the post, you only have to read ONE book to participate in the challenge (did I mention there were TWO giveaways?!), and I hope it’ll be a lot of fun to show your support of your library. So if you do want to participate, head over to my sign up post to learn more and enter your link!

Book Review: Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan (ARC)


Hold Me Closer by David LevithanAuthor:
 David Levithan

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Musical

Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date: March 17, 2015 

200 pages, hardcover

Remember that flamboyant, larger-than-life, hilarious character named Tiny Cooper from John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson aka everyone’s favorite character? In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Tiny Cooper writes a musical based on his life, from his birth, through his parade of 18 ex-boyfriends, and to finally accepting who he is and what he wants. Hold Me Closer IS that musical! How freaking cool is that?

Tiny is just as wonderful, funny, and thoughtful as he was in the novel where we first met him. His lyrics are emphatic and deep and silly. I wasn’t sure if I should expect Tiny’s musical was going to be a bit of a joke, more of a circus (I mean, there is a parade of ex-boyfriends) than an actual, real musical. But though it does have those silly parts, it was more serious than I was expecting, and I really appreciated that. It was emotional, upbeat, slow, and all of the things a real musical should be. Don’t get me wrong: Hold Me Closer does have its ridiculous moments, it’s unrealistic, larger-than-life moments, but that’s who Tiny is, and that’s why I love him.

Since the book doesn’t actually come with music, Tiny’s songs are more like poetry, and Levithan knows what he’s doing here. These songs could be touching and hilarious on the same page. Like Tiny says in his introduction, that’s how life is: “…it’s important to realize that the truth is sometimes quiet…and other times, it’s loud and spectacular. You don’t always get to choose which form it takes (ARC 1).”

The bottom line: I honestly want to see this one on the stage.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

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

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie OakesPublisher: Dial/Penguin

Author: Stephanie Oakes

Release date: June 9, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Julie Berry’s All The Truth That’s in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow By is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Why I’m excited: Are you kidding? How could I not be excited after that synopsis? Cults, murder, mystery. And she loses her hands?! This just sounds crazy, in the best way. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book like this, and that is super exciting. I’ve always been interested in religious cults; I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. Also, her name is Minnow. I love unique names.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from My Childhood I Want to Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday

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

Top 10 Books From My Childhood (Or teen years) That I Would Love To Revisit

I’m going for a mix of books from my childhood and teen years.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone   Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by  Camille Rose Garcia   Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie   Lord of the Flies by William Golding   And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (isn’t that cover illustration awesome?!)

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Matilda by Roald Dahl   Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson   Uglies by Scott Westerfeld   Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan   The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (I’ve actually only read the first three, I think, so I’d like to go back and read them all)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

What books from your childhood or teen years do you want to revisit?

Excerpt Tour | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I am so very excited to be kicking off the excerpt tour for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli! Before I give you the excerpt, let me tell you a little more about the book and where you can pre-order it. Trust me, you want to read this one. Check out my review to see just how much I LOVED Simon

About the book:

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens AgendaSixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Pre-order the book – B&N | Amazon | IndieBound

READY FOR THE EXCERPT? Here we go!

FROM: hourtohour.notetonote@gmail.com

TO: bluegreen118@gmail.com

DATE: Oct 30 at 9:56 PM

SUBJECT: Re: hollow wieners

Blue,

I guess I never tried to pull off something truly scary. My family is really all about the funny costumes. We used to get competitive about whose costume would make my dad laugh the hardest. My sister was a trash can one year. Not Oscar the Grouch. Just a trash can full of trash. And I was pretty much a one-trick pony. The boy-in-a-dress concept never got old (until it did, I guess—I was in fourth grade and had this amazing flapper costume, but then I looked in the mirror and felt this electric shock of mortification).

Now, I’ll say I aim for the sweet spot of simplicity and badassery. I can’t believe you’re not dressing up. Don’t you realize you’re throwing away the perfect opportunity to be someone else for an evening?

Disappointedly yours,

—Jacques

Head to Don’t Mind the Mess tomorrow for another excerpt from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and go ahead and place your pre-order. You don’t want to miss this one.

About Becky:

Becky AlbertalliBecky Albertalli is a clinical psychologist who has had the privilege of conducting therapy with dozens of smart, weird, irresistible teenagers; some of these experiences inspired her debut novel. She also served for seven years as co-leader of a support group for gender nonconforming children in Washington, DC. These days, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons, and writes very nerdy contemporary young adult fiction. Visit her at www.beckyalbertalli.com and on Twitter: @beckyalbertalli.

ARC Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a wonderful, real, and epically beautiful book. It deserves to be read.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaAuthor:  Becky Albertalli

Genre: Young adult, contemporary

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

320 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

When one of Simon’s emails to Blue – an anonymous and not openly gay (like Simon) boy from his school – gets into the wrong hands, he’s blackmailed into helping this bully get the girl or his sexual identity will be out in the open for everyone. Even worse to Simon, Blue’s identity could be exposed to the school. Basically, Simon’s junior year is turning into a complicated disaster. Simon hates change but he has to find a way to adapt before he’s pushed out of his comfort zone.

I loved Simon. So much. He’s my kind of person – nerdy, funny, smart, sweet, and he’s got this brilliant dry sense of humor that had my “giggles keep escaping around the edges (ARC 237).” What a great quote, right? He doesn’t understand why white and straight are the defaults in our society. Why shouldn’t everyone have to come out – straight, gay, asexual, whatever. He just wants to be happy. I was rooting for him so hard the entire time. I wanted Simon and Blue to live happily ever after. I know nothing is that easy, but I wanted it for him. That’s how real he felt. A favorite quote from Simon:

I fall a little bit in love with everyone. (ARC 32)

Blue and Simon have been getting to know each other through emails for most of the school year. They don’t know who the other is, just that they are gay and not out. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about how much I love books with letters or emails or other forms of communication before, so you can imagine how much I adored Blue and Simon’s emails. They get steadily more flirtatious as the book goes on and it was so cute to see how much they liked each other. Then when we finally get the big reveal and they meet each other? SWOON. I had been hoping most of the book that Blue was who I thought he was. I was SO HAPPY about it.

Other things I loved: realistic friendships that were supportive even through issues and change, Simon (yeah, I already mentioned him but I had to again), Simon’s parents, Simon’s outlook on life, Blue.

One thing I didn’t like: I wish we’d had more time with Blue and Simon after they meet in real life. I want to swoon over them some more.

The bottom line: Everyone needs to meet Simon. He’s so human that I feel like everyone would be more human after having met him. I don’t even know if that makes sense, but, basically, this book deserves to be read. It’s such a wonderful love story and it’ll make you feel all melty on the inside. I honestly can’t believe this is a debut.

Rating:  9 – practically perfect

Want to learn more about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Come back tomorrow when I’ll be kicking off the excerpt tour!

Book Review: Everybody Knows Your Name by Andrea Seigel & Brent Bradshaw (ARC)

Everybody Knows Your Name by Andrea Seigel and Brent BradshawAuthors: Andrea Seigel & Brent Bradshaw
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
352 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

Thank you to the lovely ladies at On the Same Pages ARC Tours for including me in this tour!

Everybody Knows Your Name is essentially about two people who are contestants on a reality show that is basically a mix between American Idol and The Real World, which is more interesting than it sounds, promise.

But that’s not all (or even most) of what this book is about. Rather than giving all of its attention to the reality TV/faux celebrity aspect, this book focuses on real-life developments and the self-discovery that can happen when you’re in the spotlight. Everybody Knows Your Name is way more introspective, thoughtful, and relatable than I was expecting of a book that could easily have been filled with childish, petty, celebrity drama. I was really impressed with it.

The characters are well-developed and distinctive, even the minor characters felt like someone I could run into somewhere out in the real world. Well, some of them were only ones you’d come across in Hollywood, which isn’t necessarily the realest place. Magnolia and Ford, our main characters, were relatable and I found myself really liking Magnolia for her desire to be exactly who she is and no one else. The romance was pretty much instalove, which you guys know I despise, but it didn’t bother me as much for some reason.

One thing I think was missing from the book was a little more from the reality show – I wanted to see how they felt on stage during eliminations and performances. I wanted to see a few more of those performances, even just a few lines about what the minor characters were like on stage. I think a lot of the book just kind of gleamed over all of that, which felt like a strange thing to take out. However, the focus on what it’s like in reality TV and the way that people can obsess with any kind of “celebrity” was so so true.

The bottom line: Everybody Knows Your Name is way more deep and thoughtful than I was expecting, but in the best way. I loved getting to know these characters and I was rooting for them both on the show and in the way they were changing. I liked the open ending (for the most part) and the appendixes really added to the story. This book is perfect for fans of reality television and realistic characters.

Rating: 7.5 – between pretty good and freaking fantastic

ARC Review: Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus

Enchantment Lake by Margi PreusAuthor:  Margi Preus
Genre: Young adult, mystery
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication Date: March 15, 2015
200 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

NOTE: I was provided with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the Univ. of Minnesota Press for letting me read this!

The thing that drew me to this book was its cover, duh. Look at that cover. It’s gorgeous. I didn’t really even know much about what the book was about and by the time I read it, I couldn’t remember at all. So this book was pretty much read solely for its cover. Oops.

I was confused while reading this book – not because I didn’t understand what was happening but because I don’t think this book really knows what it was trying to do. It felt a little like a middle grade novel but then there’d be drinking or other things that wouldn’t normally be included in a MG book. It was such a weird experience.

At least the mystery was good. You were lead to believe it could be several different people and I definitely thought it was someone else at first, so that was cool. The overall story was entertaining and interesting. On the other hand, the characters weren’t really developed that well. I could picture Francie, the main character, and I felt like I knew people like her crazy-old-lady aunts, though I couldn’t actually see them nor did I think they were really the type of characters we were meant to see. As for everyone else, I have no idea who they are or what they look like.

I felt like the ending didn’t match up with the rest of the book. I felt like Francie changed rapidly and the tone of the book was super different suddenly. I also felt like this was the beginning of a series because there were several unanswered questions and things that happened in the book that were just barely introduced and never finished.

However, the book was quirky and strange and decidedly curious. It’s quick to read and I had fun doing so. I’ve got to say that I enjoyed it overall and I would be interested in reading a sequel if there is one.

The bottom line: Not what I expected and a little confusing in tone, but interested enough to want to read a sequel to find out the answers to the multiple unanswered questions in Enchantment Lake.

Rating: 6.5 – between good, but not great and pretty good