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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

[Top Ten Tuesday] YA Heroines From Literature

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten YA Heroines From Literature

This is soooo hard! Not because there aren't enough women in YA lit but because I'm having a hard time nailing down what makes a heroine. Hmmm... lets get to it.

Let's go ahead and get the queen of heroines out of the way. If you haven't watched this video go ahead... I'll wait. :)

Hermoine Granger, Harry Potter
I've started reading the Harry Potter series and this girl is legit. She's so legit that even how strong she's portrayed in the movies is not even how strong she is in the books. J.K. Rowling knows a thing or two about creating strong women.

Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games series
I can't think of anyone else who's constantly channeling her grief and anger into badassery. You will be hard pressed to find a better sequel than Catching Fire. This woman adapts, plays the game, and still comes out on top with the scrapes and bruises to show for it.

Cath, Fangirl
Cath! She's like a real person ;) No magic, no physical prowess just the power of the pen. Cath is drifting from her twin but still holds it together and helps care for dad. She's unwavering in who she is and what she likes. You won't see her ditching the glasses for a magical makeover trip down the stairs. It's an ace in my book.

June, Legend series
I'm on the run and I call June first. She's wicked smart and a crack shot. There's no else I'd rather have on my side if I need to take down the Army of Patriarchy.

Elizabeth Bennett, Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth manages it all with her English sass in word battles. Really it's Jane Austen that's the heroine but Elizabeth is her literary horcrux so basically they're the same person.

Meghan Chase, The Iron Fey series
Megan is fearless and will do whatever it takes to save the people she cares about the most. Not her father or the winter queen will contain her. Even less so the lame Iron King. If there's someone who knows about sacrifice it's this girl. There are two boys that pine after her but she doesn't let that become a distraction, she is the queen after all.

I'm going to stop at six... but why?!?!?

There are a few others I could include but chose to pass on them for various reasons. So tell me...

Who else should be on this list?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

[Review] Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills

Title: Positively Beautiful
Author: Wendy Mills [Facebook | Twitter | Website]
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Contemporary, Romance, Loss/Grief, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source: ARC provided by Around The World ARC Tours, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.

Hot Mess Erin
Oh my dear Erin with the odd nickname Rinnie. Erin is a young woman who's father passed away and has recently found out her mother has breast cancer. She's an only child so mom and her are best friends, basically. This is probably one of my favorite bits. Their connection is genuine and strong. However, Erin struggles with the news that she may be a BRACA gene carrier and everything else in her life (there's A LOT going on), so she takes up airplane lessons as a distraction and joins a cancer online forum to find others to talk to. It gets a lot messier before it gets better...

6-in-1 book
There is a lot going on here. Honestly I felt like half of all the tropes were thrown in to see which shook out the best story. Some of the tropes depicted are: parent death when young, cancer, mysterious boys, bullying/mean girls, instalove, and the quirky best friend. It wasn't necessary, added little value and sometimes diverted from the path of importance. Like flying airplanes because that is super cool, something the author knows a lot about, and not a common theme in YA lit.

The shining star!
With all the tropes and side stuff happening I was wavering but then the second act kicked in. The introduction of Jason kicked off a whole different path but one I think was much needed. My connection with Erin grew exponentially. I began to cheer in her corner a bit, even if she isn't perfect her heart is in the right place. Jason is a misguided sweetie and is family is pretty awesome.

And then the last quarter come back
Then it hit me! After the second act and back home, I really began to feel for Erin. Her growth, remorse and personal tragedies began to extend her beyond her years. Some of the story lines began to come together and tie into each other so it wasn't as dizzying. However, I feel if we would've cut a line or two it could've been a cleaner and stronger novel all the way around.

And the ringer... there were tears. I didn't think the feels were gonna hit me but they snuck up in Mills' writing and the waterworks came on.

You will like this if...
You enjoy strong feels contemporaries that deal with grief and personal growth.

3.5 Stars – A couple of loop-de-loops but then high flying through the end.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Books 'n' Bloggers Swap Reveal!

So whoa!!!!

I got trapped in the Chicago blizzard vortex earlier this week but my whole world got brighter when I got home because my Books 'n' Bloggers swap package was waiting for me!!! :)

My swap partner was Shayna from Bibliophilia so be sure to show her some blog love after the reveal. For this swap partners pick one book they love, one book they would like to read and one book that is on their partner's wish list.

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre – Book Shayna is interested in
Alienated by Melissa Landers – Book from my wishlist (rec'd to me because I loved the TV show Star Crossed)  
Undercover by Beth Kephart – Book Shayna loved :)

I'm so excited about all my new pretties and can't wait to get reading!!!
If you enjoy doing swaps be sure to check out CG Swaps!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

[Review] Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Author: Victoria Aveyard [Instagram Twitter | Website]
Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Fantasy, Science Fiction
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Source: eARC provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and my own. – review policy here.

Am I the black sheep? 
I got nervous as Red Queen inched its way up my queue. All of Twitter had been raving and so I started reading. The beginning moved really slow for me, I find this to be common when I read fantasy. I just didn't get it, I didn't understand how the book was going to earn its namesake, Red Queen. Lucky for me I'm not the black sheep and lucky for you (and me) the pacing picks up around the 15-20% mark. 

What's going down...
This is a fantasy/science fiction world where people are divided into two classes, Reds and Silvers. Reds are "normal" and bleed... you guessed it, red. Silvers bleed silver but that's not what makes them "special," they each have an ability that is passed down their family lines. Some can manipulate elements, others can read minds, etc. There's a little inconsistency in the use of the abilities but nothing to raise your nose at. Overall it's a really interesting world that is similar to a lot of other fictional worlds but the characters make up for the similarities setting Red Queen in a class of her own. 

Mare Barrow 
Honestly, the only thing I disliked about Red Queen is this girl's name. I keep reading Bone Marrow instead of her actual name. So I did take quickly to her "royal" name. 

Two Brothers... wait half brothers. One good, one bad...

I know these guys! They're Thor and Loki, I mean, Cal and Maven. One is heir to the throne, handsome, big, a warrior. The other is lanky, smart, and his mother's son. I cannot picture them any other way. I like both brothers for what they bring to the table and their value to the story. Cannot wait to see how they grow and develop after this epic conclusion and leading into book two.

Romance because it has to be covered.
There are a lot of prospects for Miss Barrow here. There's both brothers and Kilgorn, her childhood friend. It's complicated because really there's no time for romantic foolishness. There's hints of it but if you're looking for major swoons... well, they're not really here. It does set up some interesting possibilities for book two.

She said it once, she'll say it again.
The foreshadowing is strong with this one. Mare learns a phrase during her Lessons with Julian and even though she recalls it like clockwork it doesn't really sink in. She trusts too easily. Even as she gets stronger physically her mental toughness wanes through the last pages. Since it's a trilogy I'm looking for book two to round her out with some solid character development.

When -ish hits the fan... literally.
So a lot of stuff goes down, including the electric dome above the arena and there's a major cliffhanger. Thank goodness Victoria gives us a short epilogue to deter major Twitter stalking however it leaves a lot of anticipation for book two. I can't wait!!!!

You will like Red Queen if you enjoy high fantasy, superheroes, mutants, good v. evil... basically if you like reading you should read this. 

4.5 Stars – It's on!!!!!!! Bring me book two, like, yesterday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

[Top Ten Tuesday] Classic Books I Want To Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Classic Books I Want To Read

A lot of people read the "classics" in high school or college. It wasn't until years later I realized I missed a reading foundation by skipping the classics. Part of me would like to revisit the reading list so I can join in on an overpriced salad and thoughtful conversation. :p

Mostly I think I've avoided this category because I would do well with historical fiction... ehh.

Pride and Prejudice Anything by Jane Austen
The closest I've gotten to reading Jane is watching movies based on the books. I know, I know...

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I know it's about sisters and there's a girl named Meg. Plus, I've heard all the raves so I need to read this!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Another book/movie sin committed here. Back in 2003 MTV released a TV movie version with Katherine Heigl and some other semi-famous folks. I don't remember much except there was lots of drama and teenagers... sign me up.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
So... I always thought this was just about firemen and maybe some arson. Well it is but there's book burning involved!!! Say it isn't so :(

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
I use this phrase all the time, no clue if it's related to the book. I hope so for stakes sake. 

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
No clue what it's about but it was a movie with James Dean (1955) and will soon be remade with Jennifer Lawrence. There's crime involved, I think.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Path
This was never on my radar until I read Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer back in October. I was moved and now I want to read the source material.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
I may have read this, honestly, I have no clue. I do remember parts of the movie from elementary school and I liked what I saw. 

The Art of War by Sun Tzu
I'm always hearing this book quoted. I like'm so onto reading the context. I could use some more tact and grace so maybe it'll pay off.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Broody teenager and banned book. I'm in.

My Fav. Classics Read: Anthem by Ayn Rand
Disliked Classics Read: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

What are your classics picks?