Monthly Archives:: January 2014

Inner Child – Coco Goes to Rome by Vanessa Del Fabbro

January 30, 2014 Children's Book Review, Inner Child 2

InnerChild

Inner Child is an original Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I take a moment to highlight a cute book for kids! I love children’s books. Hey, I started out on them! They are the foundation of my love of reading. When I need a smile, or a quick dose of the “good old days”, I never hesitate to crack open a picture book and feed my inner child.

 

Coco Goes to RomeCoco Goes to Rome written by Vanessa Del Fabbro and illustrated by Hedwige Jacobs
Series: Adventures of Coco #2
Published by Five Daughters Publishing on October 1, 2013
Pages: 30
Source: From the illustrator
Buy the BookAdd to Goodreads

Coco, the stylish dachshund from New York, arrives in Rome, Italy, to an enthusiastic welcome from hundreds of fans who have mistaken her for the international singing sensation, Lady BowWow. Coco is swept up (literally–in a helicopter!) into an exciting life of luxury and adoration, but when a tiny lost kitten asks for help Coco has to make a choice. A story of how a little Miss Nobody can actually be the biggest star of all.

I was delighted to receive this book from the illustrator, Hedwige! We all know how much I love Rome, and I absolutely adore books that take place there, especially children’s books. I was certainly not disappointed in the travels of sweet little Coco, and had so much fun exploring Rome with her. I mean, come on. We get to dine on pasta with her everyday! She is a girl after my own heart. When she is mistaken for a superstar, she is swept away by a dashing Italian greyhound, Mario, for an amazing adventure.

Coco happens upon a crying kitten who is lost. Coco kind of knows how that feels, and wants to help. But at the same time, she is enjoying all the attention. What will she do? Drink in the fame, or help a friend in need?

Coco Goes to Rome is written in a fun, sing song rhyming style that I can easily see children memorizing quickly. I loved the whimsical illustrations of the familiar sights of Rome. If you look closely, you can find some little kitties hidden within them. We also get to learn the names of some of the most famous pieces of architecture. In the very back of the book is a glossary with further explanation on some elements in the book. I really love and appreciate the message of the story, which would be fun to discuss with a little one: if you’re sweet and nice to those around you, you’re more of a star than the most famous celebrity. It’s all about doing what’s right.

Overall, I really enjoyed Coco’s visit to Rome and am adding Coco’s first adventure, Coco on Safari, to my to-read list. I’d recommend this book to any child who enjoys learning about the world around them, and to any parent who has a little diva on their hands!


Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

January 27, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 5 ★★★★

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book ReviewUninvited by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #1
Published by HarperTEEN on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

I loved Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy, so I was very excited to learn of her new project! The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report? Count me in! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I found this story to be terrifyingly plausible. Uninvited is set in the not so distant future where people are tested to see if they have a specific gene that, in the government’s eyes, guarantees that that person will someday kill a someone. Once that person has been diagnosed with this gene, their life is essentially over. They are immediately treated as though they have already murdered someone. It’s so scary to think that science could someday overrule a person’s moral framework. Isn’t that so scary? And so real?

2. Another scary aspect of this story is that a lot of the crime happened because these people are marked as killers. If you go around a put a sign on someone that says, “Hey! This person is going to kill someone someday, and it could be you!” don’t you think those people might end up being targets themselves? I mean, there’s a huge possibility that a person who would not have otherwise killed someone, might just kill that “killer” to prevent them from possibly killing. PLUS, these “killers” are going to live up to their label because they are being punished as someone who already has. I mean, why not kill that person you hate if your life is views as being worthless anyway? What more can the government do? What kind of twisted logic is this? In an effort to lower the crime rate, I seriously feel like the government in this book raised it instead.

3. So, we have all of these “killers”. One of them is sweet, innocent Davy who had her entire life ahead of her until that life-changing phone call made her lose her family, her boyfriend, her friends, EVERYTHING in a matter of seconds. And there’s nothing she can do about it. She will never EVER prove anyone wrong. Boy, did I feel for her. I was just like Davy in high school. I was viewed as being the person who had a bright future and was liked by everyone. I just kept thinking about what I would have done if I were in Davy’s shoes. I don’t even have words. Scared, terrified, heartbroken, hopeless, defeated. None of those words equal the pain of what something like this could do to a person. I connected with Davy so much, and felt for her SO much that it hurt me. She handled it so well. I was proud.

4. Because of Davy’s past, she was given the opportunity to be trained instead of sent to a detention camp. The government thought that they could train her to not give in to her killer instincts. She ended up going with two other carriers from school, both of which she liked. There’s Gil, who was very sweet and caring and then there’s Sean, the guy with the bad boy exterior who is so much more than what you see on the surface.

5. Speaking of Sean, I LOVED him. I was having a hard time with this book until I got to know Sean better. I loved how broken and worn down he was when I first met him, and then how Davy gave him a reason to act like a human. He immediately felt very protective of her and shielded her from a pervy teacher and a bully. He always seemed to be there when she needed him. She was his reason to live, and I loved seeing his dormant, feeling side awaken when he had a reason to wake it up.

6. I mentioned before that I had a hard time getting into this book before, and that’s because it is so depressing. I felt awful for the characters and the abuse they went through. Some of them deserved it, but not Davy, Gil, and Sean. They were just confused teenagers trying to figure out how to survive under their knew title of “HTS Carrier”. I swear that none of them would hurt a fly, but that doesn’t matter. AHHH. The feels.

7. There’s still so much we don’t know, and I closed the book feeling hopeful but also a little anxious! I’m just so concerned!

Uninvited is a book that resonates so deeply because of all the feelings is brings out in its readers. This horrific world in which these characters live is even more horrific because it seems so real. I just could not stop thinking about how devastating it would be to find out that people trusted a scientific theory more than they trusted me, their loved one. I love that Sophie Jordan made me think and feel so many things. I can’t wait to see what happens to these characters! PLEASE bring on the second book!

DISCUSS: So, what are your thoughts? I feel like this review was much more philosophical than most of my reviews are. What do you think of the idea presented in this book–that human beings are not able to make moral decisions that go against their DNA? Are you as scared of this idea as I am?


The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book Review

January 24, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 15 ★★★★

The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book ReviewThe Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Also in this series: The Prince
Published by HarperTEEN on April 24, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 327
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

If you’ve paid attention to reviews of The Selection in the blog world, you know the kind of love hate relationship people have with this book. They love it, or they hate it. I haven’t really seen a middle ground. I’m not sure why, but I’m intrigued. I’m always intrigued by books who get received this way, but I’m also leery of them at the same time. It took me a long time to finally get to this book, but I really enjoyed it! As always my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m just going to throw it out there and say that I LOVE The Bachelor. It is one of my favorite TV shows, and Mondays are much less dread-worthy when a season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette is running. I was immediately in love with the idea of this book for that reason. The girls apply, they get selected to be a part of this crazy dating game, there’s girl drama, there’s a handsome prince. I mean, come ON.

2. America applies to be selected because she promises her love, Aspen, that she will. She is of higher class than he is, so marrying him means literally marrying down. And Aspen does not have the heart to let America do that when she could easily avoid it. So he makes her apply, because then he knows she did everything she could and he does not have to feel bad for holding her back. And of course, she is selected. She goes into this game for the money, and the money alone. She flat-out TELLS the prince this. They agree to be secret friends. I love that this happens. I have so much respect for America for being upfront and honest with Prince Maxon. I love that he likes her enough to be her friend. In the midst of an out of this world game in a dystopian society, a sense of normalcy rises from these two. It’s realistic. And I love that America chooses to hold on to Aspen. But that prince is cute… and sweet… and oh, crap. Is she falling for him? That is the question. And surprises happen.

3. The relationships tear me in both directions. I like Maxon and I like Aspen. I like who America is with both of them. Maxon is understanding and caring. And he has no clue about girls, which makes him so endearing. I love watching him try. And Aspen is honorable and so concerned and unselfish. I don’t know how to feel! I love it when a book does this to me.

4. This totally read like a first book, which was a bit disappointing. What I mean is that the stage was set, but not a lot happened. It’s like the first episode of The Bachelor when we’re introduced to the girls, we decide who we hate and love, and nothing really happens because there’s so many people involved. Relationships are not really happening yet. I feel like nobody is really attached to anyone, and there’s not much dating or deciding on Maxon’s part. The other girls are just background scenery. Meh. That’s ok, though, because there are more books. I just would have loved a little more meat to this first one.

5. The society of this world is really interesting. I like the caste system and all the political stuff behind the game… and the rules… the attacks against the kingdom… and the culture. I hope to learn more about this world in the next book.

All in all, this was a great read! I’m excited to continue the series, and I am hoping for more drama and confusion from the characters. If you like dystopian novels, definitely give this one a shot!


15 Reasons Why I Love the Under the Never Sky Series | UTNS Farewell Tour

January 23, 2014 Blog Tour 2

UTNS party banner2

 

So… Into the Still Blue releases in five days!! I have already read and reviewed and loved this book (read my review!), but am SO excited that the world will finally learn how things end for our beloved characters. I’m also really sad to say goodbye to them. When Fahima wrote and asked me to be a part of her farewell party, I was super excited to jump on board. My job is to tell you why this series is so awesome. Jeez… what a tough job… I’m going to keep things vague so that new readers can read without having anything spoiled!

1. The ending is superb. Don’t worry about investing your time and emotions into a series that slowly fizzles and dies. This one delivers. It took me a month to be able to write my feelings, and I still think I did not do a good enough job.

2. The second book, Through the Ever Night, does not suffer from the sophomore slump. So there really is no torturous reading time. At all.

3. The sky in this series is a dynamic character all on its own. And it looks like it was pulled straight from Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

4. The importance of family is a constant theme. Any loved one becomes family, and everyone protects everyone. It’s such a sweet idea. I particularly love the friendship between Roar and Perry. It just melted me. Perry in particular is extremely devoted to the people he cares about, and I would love to have someone like him in my life.

5. You really come to care for these characters. Not only are they family, but they make YOU feel like you’re part of their family, too.

6. Veronica Rossi is an amazing author. Her descriptions of this world are absolutely mesmerizing, and she is so talented. I’d love to jump into her imagination and live there.

7. We see actual growth from all our beloved characters across the entire series. Perry learns to achieve balance in his life, and learns to deal with extreme emotions. Aria has to learn to value herself and that it’s ok to love these people even though they are supposed to be her enemies. Roar goes through SO much soul searching. Cinder discovers how special he is. I loved watching them all transform and figure themselves out.

8. I love the survival instinct that is so strong and inspiring.These people value their lives, and they go to great lengths to survive. We can all relate to that, I think. In times of conflict, these characters are level-headed enough to band together with their enemies for the greater good. I loved watching boundaries dissolve when the fight for live became so severe.

9. Each book is crammed full of all the things! You’re never bored, you’re never wasting your time catching up on the previous books, and you just KNOW that every thing that happens is pivotal and epic.

10. The love between Perry and Aria is swoony, yet realistic at the same time. It’s not all sunshine and roses. The storms allow us to see how much they truly care for one another. And the sweet moments are a million times better because we know they had to work for them.

11. I love all the little enriching details. The Realms, which are basically alternate realities. The pods that the Dwellers live in. The notion that the outside world is scary and disease-ridden, when it’s actually filled with beautiful sights and people. The back stories of our favorite characters, and how they got to where they did. I just loved immersing myself in everything!

12. The action! OH MY. I don’t even know how to elaborate on this.

13. No matter which book you read, the ending will stop your heart and leave you flailing for the next book. Luckily, if you start now you won’t have to suffer and wait!

14. There is SO much emotion. I think I felt everything I could possibly feel as I read the series. I felt love, heartache, hope, anger, frustration, worry, happy, fear. I cried, laughed, swooned.

15. As terrifying as this world is, Veronica made me want to live there so I could be with these characters and experience what they do.

Basically, I am so sad that everything is over, and I am so sad to say goodbye to Aria, Perry, Roar, Cinder, and everyone else. At the same time, though, I’m so excited for you to read it and revel in the amazingness of it all! I’m also excited for what Veronica Rossi has in store for us next!

Make sure you check out the rest of the tour!

Jan 20Cuddlebuggery Book Blog – Live Chat with Veronica Rossi
Jan 21I Read, Ergo I Write – UTNS Characters Are Here to Party!
Jan 22The Cover Contessa – Discussion on Aria and Roar’s Relationship
Jan 23That Artsy Reader Girl – Top 15 Reasons Why I Love the UTNS Series
Jan 24The Story Siren – A Goodbye Letter
Jan 25Hello, Chelly – Top Ten Aria and Perry Moments
Jan 27Blkosiner’s Book Blog – Into the Still Blue Book Review

And make sure you pre-order Into the Still Blue or run out and grab your copy on January 28th!


Top Ten Things on My Reading Wishlist

January 20, 2014 Top Ten Tuesday 26

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

Ok, beloved authors of mine. In this post I will tell you what I would love for you to write for me. Thank you. :)

 

 

1. Books about bookish people

2. Some kind of a YA Phantom of the Opera retelling. How cool would that be?

3. Books that take place on a train. Like a really luxurious, opulent train and romance and swoons.

4. More books where traveling is involved. I can’t get enough of them! Road trips, cruises, backpacking. OH backpacking would be fun!

5. I love the idea of New Adult, but I feel like they are pretty much always full of sex or heavy issues. Sometimes we almost-30’s would like to read a light Anna and the French Kiss type of innocent love story with people our age.

6. More survival stories. I love books where the characters get stranded somewhere and have to learn to survive in crazy hard situations.

7. Love stories without insatlove. I want to see some characters who have an epic, slow-burning, heart-stopping romance that takes both of them by surprise. Like best friends turned more? Or enemies who try not to fall in love but do. I want my characters to work at love for once!

8. I want a book that takes place in Egypt. I love Egypt and all that history. I want a really good Egyptian mystery. Buy YA. Study abroad? I dunno…

9. Sharks. Sharks are never in books. Oh, and dinosaurs. I’m thinking Terra Nova or Dinotopia. Could be fun.

10. More YA Christmas books. Because honestly. I’m the queen of Christmas, and am not always in the mood for an adult romance.

So, what would you like to see published from your favorite authors?
And while you’re here, make sure you enter my Lunar Chronicles giveaway!


Why Cress was First Named “Arugala” by Marissa Meyer | Blog Tour + Author Guest Post + Giveaway

January 20, 2014 Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post 139

Cress-blog-tour-banner

 

I am so happy to be kicking of the Cress blog tour today! The Lunar Chronicles is my favorite series ever, and Cress is a wonderful addition to a group of amazing characters. Marissa’s writing never ceases to amaze me. It’s no surprise that her books get better and better as she publishes them. I loved Cinder and Scarlet, but Cress is definitely my favorite. Here’s my review, if you’re interested. I can’t wait for you to read it!

I’m excited to have Marissa Meyer on the blog to tell you all about the making of Cress. I always love it when authors have behind the scenes tidbits to share with us, and Marissa has written a very fun post that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!


Why Cress was First Named “Arugala”
by Marissa Meyer

Cinder = Cinderella.

Scarlet = Little Red.

Winter = Snow White.

It doesn’t take too much imagination, or fairy tale know-how, to figure out how I got the names for most of my heroines. But Cress and Rapunzel? That’s where a lot of readers get hung up.

So, allow me to explain.

The tale of Rapunzel opens with a poor man and his wife overjoyed at their first pregnancy. However, during her pregnancy, the wife begins to have some pretty intense food cravings. Not for pickles and ice cream, as a normal pregnant woman might have. Oh, no. This poor woman was craving salad. In particular, she really, really wanted a very particular kind of lettuce called . . . wait for it . . . rapunzel.

She wanted this lettuce so badly that she believed she would die if she didn’t get it. Unfortunately, the only place in their town that rapunzel grew was in the witch’s garden. So one night the husband hopped over the wall and stole some rapunzel and brought it back to his wife, who devoured it like a ravenous vegan.

This continued for a few nights until—dun dun dun!—one night, the witch caught the husband stealing from her. So she posed a compromise. The witch would kindly spare the man’s life, and even allow him to take as much rapunzel back to his wife as she wanted, if, when his wife gave birth, they would give the child to the witch as payment. The husband agreed and his wife got a nice steady diet of salad greens for the remainder of her pregnancy.

09 witch

 

A while later, the wife gives birth to a beautiful baby girl. They give the baby to the witch who takes her and raises her as her own daughter.

And the witch names the child, you guessed it, Rapunzel.

The point of this story is that rapunzel is a type of lettuce. As it so happens, cress (a.k.a. watercress), is also a type of lettuce.

Bam.

On a side note, when I was first coming up with character names, I called my Rapunzel heroine “Arugula” (another kind of lettuce) for all of ten minutes, before I realized I’d never be able to say it with a straight face.09 arugula

Side note number two: Another word that is sometimes used interchangeably with rapunzel is rampion. Also known as the name I gave my spaceship, thanks to the clever suggestion of a friend.

Lettuce greens FTW.

09 Rampion

 

Lastly, while I’m on the topic of Lunar Chronicles names, I’ll tell you that both “Carswell” and “Thorne” have hidden meanings that relate to Thorne’s role in the books and fairy tale.

But I’ll let savvy readers figure those out on their own . . .

Giveaway

The lovely people at Macmillan are offering a pretty amazing prize to the readers of my blog! One lucky person (USA/CAN) will win paperback copies of Cinder and Scarlet, as well as a hardcover of Cress and a special Cress comb! You know you want it! If you are brand new to the series, and are interested in learning more click on the book titles above to be taken to the Goodreads page.

lunarcovers(For a picture of the comb, click here!)

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Awesome Places to Be!

Become a fan of the Lunar Chronicles on Facebook!
Become a fan of Marissa Meyer on Facebook!
Follow Marissa Meyer on Twitter!
Become a fan of the Lunar Chronicles on Tumblr!
Pre-Order a copy of Cress to get a free comb! Details here. (US Only)
See Marissa Meyer on tour!
Join the Scarlet Readathon!
Get more fun Lunar Chronicles links and info on the MacTeenBooks blog!
Follow the rest of the Cress blog tour!


This Year I Will Read What I Love

January 17, 2014 About Me, Discussion 41

You know… I’ve been thinking lately about what I read and WHY I read what I read. Maybe this comes with being a “seasoned” book blogger, or something, I don’t know. I think all of this thinking started when I was doing my year end survey a couple weeks ago. I realized that I read a lot of “meh” books in 2013. There were very few that made me scream from the rooftops, “THIS IS WHY I READ!!!” As I was trying to come up with answers to the various questions, I found myself wanting to answer with the same handful of books because those were the only ones I LOVED. I don’t want that for myself in 2014. I want to read books I love. I don’t want to force myself to finish a book if I’m just not feeling it. I don’t want to force myself to read a book if I’m not in the mood right then, and would rather read something else instead.

I read to fall in love. I read to travel. I read to visit friends. I read to escape. I don’t read to review. I don’t read to please other people. I don’t read for the publishers or the authors or the publicists or the blog tour hosts or even for my blog readers. I read for me! I review because I want to share my love of books. I don’t review because I have something to prove, or because I feel like I have to. I review for myself, and if my blog readers are interested in what I have to say, that’s awesome! I will love you! I love talking books with people! I love being exposed to books I never would have read otherwise. I blog because I love the friendship. See? I do what I do for selfish reasons. And that’s ok! I’m allowed to be selfish.

My goal for 2014 is to come away with a huge list of books I LOVE. I want a big long list of books I could not live without. I will not be afraid to decline a review request. I will not be afraid to DNF a book if I’m just not feeling it. I will not feel obligated to do this or that, and I will not feel obligated to NOT do this or that. I’m making 2014 about me. Yes, I am SO going to tackle my review books. I am going to improve my Netgalley review ratio like you would not believe, and I am going to blow up Edelweiss with my awesome reviews. I am going to read those ARCs like it’s nobody’s business. But I am going about it with a completely different mindset. I am going to do it for me. I will find my new favorite book this year, and I will sing and dream and talk and dance about it. And if I come across a book that I just don’t feel, I will move on. It’s like dating. I will say yes if a book asks me out. I will curl up with it and give it a chance. But if it hurts me or disappoints me or says things I don’t like or makes me cry for bad reasons, then I will dump it. I will not suffer through a terrible book date because that’s not good for the book, and it’s not good for me.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders! I feel like 2014 is going to be awesome! You should really try this. The moment being a book reviewer makes you feel like you’re going on a ton of mediocre dates and will never find your true love, dump those books and tell yourself you’re worth more than that. It’s what your mom would tell you to do.

Am I really late to this happy world of realizations? Does anyone else feel like I do?


Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill | Book Review

January 15, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 9 ★★★★

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill | Book ReviewBeing Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on January 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

I really loved Lauren Morrill’s first book, Meant to Be (my review), and was very excited to learn of her next book about a figure skater and a hockey player who switch places for the summer! I knew I was in for a very fun read. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I feel like ice sports rarely show up in young adult books, which is sad. I’m not a hockey fan by any means, but I love figure skating. I even took lessons when I was little! I loved reading all about figure skating, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was even interested in hockey! Lauren did a great job bringing both sports to life for me.

2. I was very attracted to the Parent Trap-esque storyline. Sloane and Sloane bump into each other randomly and, each having their own baggage, decide it would be really nice to escape from their lives and try something new. The girls learn to be each other over a bunch of really expensive junk food one night, and then head off to each other’s summer camps. Sloane Emily, a figure skater, gets to try her hand at hockey while Sloane Devon learns how to fly through the air in a tiny, sparkly spandex leotard. I loved this unique idea, and smiled when The Parent Trap reference showed up in the story itself. I love that movie!

3. It was difficult at times to keep the Sloanes straight in my head, so I feel like I did not connect with either one of them as much as I could have. Sloane is already a pretty rare name, so to have two of them in the same book really messed with my mind! I eventually got used to it and was able to keep them somewhat straight by their middle names. To me, Emily is a more girly name… so Sloane Emily is the figure skater. BUT she’s playing hockey right now. Whoa. Devon seems more tomboyish to me, so Sloane Devon is the hockey player… but OH, she’s figure skating right now. See? It’s a bit confusing. You can’t read this when you’re sleepy or sick like I was when I read it!

4. Confusion aside, I really enjoyed reading about everything the Sloanes went through in their new lives. They were always exhausted, trying to learn their sport well enough to convince their peers that they were good at it already. Both girls went into things thinking they were going to be living an easier life than the one before. I like that they each got a dose of humble pie, and had to learn that they are not all that. I loved that they began to give each other (and their sport) more credit.

5. You have to suspend belief in order to enjoy this story. I seriously think that this could never happen. These Sloanes are not twins, and only kind of look alike. Why would people not recognize immediately that they were not who they said they were? Furthermore, both girls were considered to be very good at their prospective sports. Their reputations are well known. How can they switch lives and be convincing enough that nobody wonders what’s going on? Really, you have to just go with the flow and not question things.

6. I was hoping for a little romance in the beginning, but ended up enjoying the focus on the girls and their lives and how they get through their challenges. They both grew a lot through their experiences over the summer, and they do get a little romancy stuff going on, too.

7. The supporting characters added a lot to the story. I liked both love interests, Matt and Nando. My favorite character in the whole book, though, had to be Sloane Devon’s confidant and sassy figure skating guru, Alex (I think?). He was hilarious, and I loved his friendship with Sloane. I would love it if he got his own book.

Overall, Being Sloane Jacobs is a cute, shallow story.  I like Meant to Be much better, but am very glad I had the opportunity to read Lauren’s sophomore novel. I loved the skating bits, and I really enjoyed watching the Sloanes grow and work through their challenges.


Top Ten 2014 Debuts I’m Excited to Read

January 13, 2014 Top Ten Tuesday 9

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

I really, REALLY love supporting debut authors, and I get very excited for their books! The buzz around the book world proves that this year’s group of debut authors is going to be amazing!! My TBR of debuts is insanely long. It’s going to be very hard to narrow things down to just 10.

The Cute Contemporary Romances
Wish You Were Italian by Rae Kristin
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Something Real by Heather Demetrios

The Amazing Retellings
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Wild by Alex Mallory

The Crazy Worlds
NIL by Lynne Matson
Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

The Heart-Pounders
Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Which ones are you excited to read?


That Artsy Librarian | I Need Award Winning Children’s Book Recs!

January 13, 2014 That Artsy Librarian 6

ThatArtsyLibrarian

That Artsy Librarian is a feature all about my journey through graduate school as I work towards my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

Hello! Today is my first day of my second semester in the MLIS program. I was hoping so much to be able to finish highlighting my MLIS experience up to this point before jumping into current things, but I will have to interrupt my chronological storytelling to ask for some help! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

This semester, I am taking a class that focuses on children’s literature, and I will be reading a million children’s books. Each book I read must have won a prestigious award (like Newbery, for example). I’ve decided to compile a list of really good ones so that I have a pool to choose from when I need to start another title. My, what a busy semester this will be! Please tell me which award winning children’s books you have loved. I’ve hardly read any, myself!