Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Signs You’re a Teen Book Lover

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you want to participate, click here. This week's theme is Ten Signs You're a Book Lover. This one was super fun to think of and write! Let me know in the comments what you think or have anything to add!

                                             1. You Can be Found in the Library
This one is super obvious and straightforward, but I felt I had to include it! Also, walking out of the library with books in your arms!

2. You Pay Attention in English Class
Chances are that students who choose to pay attention care about the book. Mostly students who actively participate in class discussions about the assigned book (ESPECIALLY when it's Shakespeare!) and offer valid insights took the time to read it and perhaps enjoyed it. 

3. You Insert Similes/Allusions of Literature Into Everyday Conversation
Here's an example- my friend and I were arguing/talking about violence in schools and I immediately brought up Anger is a Gift. Frequently inserting in conversations "Oh, yea, like in [book]..." or quoting from your favorite author is a sure sign! Also is when you MUST vent to your best friend about the ending of a book you just read!

4. You are Constantly Recommending Books
This ties into #3, but If you hear someone talking, for example, how they are interested in social advocacy and women's rights, do you immediately jump up and tell them to read Audacity, like I do? Or, do you constantly give book recommendations to your friends, or even teachers?

5. Your Favorite Gift is a Book (or Gift Card to Buy One)
For your birthday, or Christmas or Hanukkah, do you ask for a new book instead of a new video game or clothes? Do you search for the perfect book to give an important person in your life?

6. You are Very Upset when a Character Dies
When reading a book and a character dies, do you become very sad and maybe cry, despite them not being real? Are you very upset and feel personally impacted when an author dies? Actually, in general, do you ever have intense feelings while reading and ever become passionate or invested in a character? If so, then you are a book lover!

7. You Have Book-related Museums on Your Bucket List
If your dream vacation is going to the Library of Congress, the American Writers Museum, The National Steinbeck Center or Emerson's house, you are totally a book lover!

8. You Have Book-Related Holidays Written on Your Calendar
Do you have it written on your calendar or memorized that January 2nd is National Science Fiction Day, or that Februray 14th is Library Lovers Day or how March 1st is Read Across America Day or how December 10th is Dewey Decimal System Day? If you are excited when it is your favorite author's birthday then you are TOTALLY a book lover! (P.S.: https://bookriot.com/2018/08/29/book-holidays/)

9.  The Book is ALWAYS Better Than the Movie
If you prefer the Maze Runner or the Hunger Games or Divergent to the movie versions, no question, or refuse to even watch the movie because you know you will be disappointed, you are totally a book lover!

10. You Have Books... Everywhere!
If you can be seen carrying a book (or two) everywhere you go, chances are you are a book lover. Is your room taken up by books EVERYWHERE in huge piles?

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Lost Princess of Aevilen (Kingdom of Aevilen Book 1) by D.C. Payson

The Lost Princess of Aevilen is a YA fantasy book that will be released on May 12th. This book was sent to me by the publisher. Today is the Cover Reveal- and I must say, it is gorgeous! After seventeen-year-old Julia's home in California is destroyed by a wildfire, she must move in with her grandmother, who escaped a war-torn world with her life decades ago. When Julia finds a beautiful necklace in an old trunk, it transports her to the land of Aevilen, where her grandmother was a princess. Now, she must join a rebellion and help free her people.

The power of the necklace is mesmerizing, and I loved the imagery of its warmth and guidance; it felt truly alive, a character nonetheless. Speaking of characters, I admired Julia's strength to fight for a world that is not her own. The amount of fear and sadness felt very realistic and expected given the circumstance. I loved the contrast between her emotions near the beginning and when she is powerful and strong with its power. Thezdan’s bravery to risk his life for Julia was astonishing, and not many men would have the kindness he shows.

I liked the relevant issue of the California wildfires, and how even though this is a fantasy book, there are still themes of reality, such as ever-present social inequality. I also enjoyed how the setting was still partial to the main world, only outside modern reality. That opens a hypothetical premise of being more to the universe than we could have imagined. the imagery of the forestry was beautiful and calming. The ending was sharp and unexpected, and I cannot wait to read the next book sometime in the coming years and find out what happens to Julia!

I recommend this book! (And no, I did not only enjoy the book since the main character shares my name- that's just an added bonus.)

Title: The Lost Princess of Aevilen
Author: D.C. Payson
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 302
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, March 20, 2020

Cynetic Wolf (Wolfish Book 1) by Matt Ward

51048625. sy475 Cynetic Wolf is a YA dystopian book that will be released next week on March 26, 2020. I received this book from the author. In 2096 after a bio-plague wiped out the majority of the population, humanity has fractured into multiple subspecies of immortals, cyborgs, enhancers, and half-animal hybirds, like Raek- part wolf, part human. He lives with the extreme inequality and brutality from the world's government until his little sister is killed. Then, he joins the resistance.

This story was equal parts tragic and empowering. Raek's courage is extraordinary. There was lots of violence and some gruesome scenes, however Raek has such a big heart that it overpowered some of those scenes of his desperation. Raek is a tremendous, natural leader who has the world's best interest at heart. Over the course of the novel he realizes that there is no such thing as a fully equal, peaceful society- but that doesn't mean he will stop trying.

While the world created in this story differs immensely from ours, their societal values and inequalities ring true, like the cycle of poverty with unequal access to education, and the heavy values of greed. I appreciated finding those connections to "real life". The huge battles near the end felt like a Dwayne Johnson movie! The plot kept changing and almost nothing is predictable! The ending was shocking and heart-wrenching- I don't know how Ward will be able to top it with the next book!

I recommend this book and cannot wait to read the next!

Title: Cynetic Wolf (Wolfish Book 1)
Author: Matt Ward
Publisher: Myrmani LLC
Pages: 342
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten YA Books I Want To Read This Spring 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you want to participate, click here. This week's theme is Top Ten Books On My Spring 2020 TBR. In (mostly) order of priority, these are the books that I look forward to reading the most this spring!

1. City of Beasts by Corrie Wang
For seventeen years, girls and boys have lived in separate cities. Glori Rhodes believes what society has told her, that boys are Beasts- until her mother gives birth to one. After her little brother is kidnapped, she infiltrates the City of the Beasts to get him back, and maybe unite the sexes.

2. Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart.
16-year-old Ava Gardener just survived a fire that killed her parents, her best friend, and burnt 60% of her body. Soon, she must return to school with the help of her new friend, Piper.
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3. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
In this dystopian society, the belief is that when girls are 16, they have magic powers of aphrodisiacs- so for that year, all girls are banished into the wild and must survive on their own.
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After reading All These Things I've Done, I am ecstatic to read the second book! After Anya is released from jail, she is forced to flee the country and hide out in a chocolate farm in Mexico. But her criminal family starts catching up to her- fast.

5. A World Without You by Beth Revis
17-year-old Bo believes he has the power to travel through time, having delusions of being in the Civil War or seeing the Titanic sink. When his parents send him to a school for troubled kids, he falls in love with Sofia. When she dies, he believes that she is trapped in time, and that he can save her. He must decide whether or not to get better, or live in psychosis with the love of his life.

6. Don't Touch by Rachel Wilson
Caddie has ambitions to be an actress- and she is a good one, too. But her OCD threatens that. When she lands Ophelia in her school play of Hamlet, she must overcome her fears.

7. Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz
For seven months, Jane was held captive in a tiny room. After she escapes and returns home to her parents, she must find a way to deal with the trauma.

8. Echos Between Us by Abigail Johnson
Veronia has brain cancer and can't stop seeing her mother's ghost. She has accepted her eventual death and pushes everyone away. But when she meets Sawyer, she might find a reason to live.

 9. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Lynn lives alone in the forest with a pond in her backyard. In this dystopian society, water is a scarce commodity- and people are willing to kill her for it.  

10. Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
18-year-old Zach is in rehab for alcoholics instead of high school. The other pressing issue is that he cannot remember how he ended up there or the trauma that made him start drinking to begin with.

What YA books are you excited to read this spring?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Into White by Randi Pink

25689018Into White is a YA realistic fiction book with a fantasy twist. This book explores what happens when African American teenager Toya has enough of being bullied and prays to Jesus to make her "anything but black". The next day, she is shocked and happy to find herself a white girl with blond hair and blue eyes. But her wish comes with unexpected consequences.

I found the concept fascinating and quite relevant in society today. This book exposed the vast cultural differences between races and what it truly means to be Black or White. It is also eye-opening to understand the cultures and issues of African Americans, and the book brought up injustices and stereotypes that I was not aware of. I was surprised by the immense involvement of religion in their culture. Despite being a book on a serious topic, there was a strong element of humor present, which I loved!

Toya definitely makes some bad choices, but I loved watching her learn from them and grow. Anyone suffering from an identity crisis of their race should read this book.  Due to the amount of racism in our country, many minorities hate themselves and wish to be white, but this book proves the importance of staying true to who you are and following your family and culture, no matter what others tell you. Into White teaches one to love themselves and accept who they are.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: Into White
Author: Randi Pink
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 288
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Witch Child (Witch Child #1) by Celia Rees

Witch Child is a YA historical fiction novel with a fantasy twist. In England, 1659, teen Mary Newbury's grandmother is hung for being a witch. Mary barely escapes her grandmother's fate and hops aboard a ship for America- only to land in Salem, Massachusetts and become targeted by the Puritans. As Mary tries to blend in and become "normal", she is faced by the fact that she actually may be a true witch.

The format to make Witch Child a diary was very clever. As the writing felt so true and innocent, I was shocked to find out after googling that Mary Newbury actually did not exist. The air of mystery surrounding her was magnificent, and I love the uncertainty behind whether or not she is actually a witch. Some of the instances in which she has "powers" seem to be hasty judgements on the part of the townspeople- but then towards the end of the book I started to really believe that she does truly have magical powers. 

Something else I loved was the whole topic of the Witch Trials themselves. I enjoyed how clearly this book showcased some of the cruel attitudes of society and their stereotypes regarding outsiders. Those days were no stranger to prejudice and discrimination, and I loved those themes. There were certainly some creepy scenes near the end, and I loved the paranormal climax! The author has major talent in building suspense.

However, I did have some issues with Witch Child. In many instances the plot felt weak and at an almost boring standstill. Many themes were slightly underdeveloped. It was also difficult understand at times, and near the end, almost too bizarre. While I did enjoy the mystery of whether or not Mary is written to have powers, it made the text slightly confusing as the author's note at the end and introduction made it seem nonfiction. I think Rees could have made what genre Witch Child is more clearly.

Despite some issues, I recommend this book and I will try to read the sequel, Sorceress 

Title: Witch Child
Author: Celia Rees
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 240
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Rating: 4 Stars
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