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Escape Reality Book Club – September 2014 Nominations!

Escape reality book club

Hosted by The Obsessive Bookseller and Apathy and Rhetoric

The Escape Reality Book Club is monthly feature where members take turns nominating the Young Adult titles they most want to read. We started it because we love geeking out about books, and knew a lot of other people who liked to too. This is a very low-pressure book club where anybody is invited to join. All you have to do is click here to be directed to our official Facebook page and asked to join the group. We host meetings here in Southern Utah, but all of you out-of-towners are invited to participate in a facebook book club meeting (which I will host if anyone shows interest).

September’s Nominations (via Mary):

This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

Fangirl

Fangirl

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

these broken stars 2

These Broken Stars

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.  Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever? Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

elanor and park

 Eleanor & Park

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor. 

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Out of the Easy

 Out of the Easy

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

 The Coldest Girl In Coldtown

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

Which one would you like to read?

by Niki Hawkes

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August 2014: Review Recap!

Review Recap

 While putting together this recap I had a revelation: although I wrote a ton of reviews this month I didn’t actually post that many of them. You see, I’m going on vacation for two weeks and decided to try my hand at scheduling posts… And now I have figured out why that method doesn’t work for me – I end up neglecting what I’m supposed to be publishing now in favor of what’s going to happen later. Oh well. At least I don’t have to worry about anything while I’m on my cruise. :-)

Books Reviewed:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – 3.5/5 stars

The Hundred by Kass Morgan – 3/5 stars

Inventor’s Secret by Chad Morris – 4/5 stars

 And since I couldn’t possibly decide which of these two I liked better, I have two favorites this month:

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – 5/5 stars!

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb – 5/5 stars!

  So, even though my review rate was pathetic, at least that included two of the best books I’ve read. Ever.

Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Top Ten Books I Want to Own!

Niki’s Top Twelve Must-Read Books!

Top Ten YA Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Books!

 Waiting on Wednesday Features:

 Even though I am definitely interested in all of these books, I’m not really dying to read any of them… But I am excited to pick up Ignite.

 Escape Reality Book Club:

TBD next week

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

seraphinaTitle: Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman

Series: Seraphina #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Overview: Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

The Review:

Since I featured Shadow Scale in a recent WoW post, I figured I should probably get around to writing my review of Seraphina. As someone who openly professes to have a Dragon Obsession, I’m surprised it took me as long as it did to read this one. Well, I guess it’s not too surprising. You see, I initially found the overview a bit dry and didn’t think the cover was particularly appealing (and still don’t even though there’s nothing technically wrong with it). Even so, it’s a YA dragon book, so I knew I still wanted to read it… eventually. So, when my Escape Reality Book Club voted it in as March’s selection, I was thrilled to have the excuse I finally needed to pick it up.

As I’ve implied, I’ve read quite a few dragon books in my day, and  Seraphina was not quite like any one of them. The unique take on dragonkind, specifically how they interacted with humans, was as refreshing as it was different: as accomplished scholars, some dragons take the form of humans and more or less integrate into their society. What I liked is that, even though the dragons were in human form, their behavior was anything but human. It was nice to see them stay true to their nature and I especially loved seeing how they interacted and coped with everyone around them. Overall, I think the book had a great atmosphere – some of which was due to the voice and setting, but most of it stemmed from the quirks of these cool dragons.

While the storyline was unique, I have to say nothing particularly epic happens. It’s honestly a good thing the atmosphere, characters, and dragons were interesting because otherwise the story would have really been a drag. In fact, even with all of those cool elements, there were a few places I found a bit boring… specifically the dream sequences. I should point out that I have very little patience for dream sequences in general, which definitely affected my overall rating of the book. I doubt many other readers would be bothered by them, so take what I’m saying with a grain of salt.

Anyway, I enjoyed Seraphina enough to be interested in seeing where it goes next in Shadow Scale, although I’ll definitely be at risk of forgetting key elements by the time it comes out in 2015.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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July 2014: Review Recap!

Review Recap

Although I started several amazing books, I only actually finished 2 novels throughout the entire month of July. I am a bit horrified at this. Considering I average 2.5 novels per week, 2 per month is just pathetic. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read so little in a month, even when I was going through my Masters program. I blame 1) starting a new business with my husband and 2) a Wii game called Fortune Street that I’ve been playing with my mom several times a week. I certainly can’t blame the amount of excellent books in my TBR!

 However, all is not lost! If you caught my Book Review Conundrum post, you’re aware that I have over a dozen books that still need to be reviewed, so at least this month’s review posting wasn’t as sad as my reading habits.

Book Reviews:

Crashed by Robin Wasserman – 3/5 stars

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi – 3.5/5 stars

Prophecy by Elizabeth Haydon – 3.5/5 stars

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – 4/5 stars

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – 4/5 stars

The Jewel by Amy Ewing – 4.5/5 stars

And my favorite:

The fiery heart

The Fiery Heart – 5/5 stars!

 Top Ten Tuesday Features:

Niki’s Top Ten Blogging Confessions

 Top Ten Movies and TV Shows

Top Ten Series I’d Take With Me on a Deserted Island

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

Waiting on Wednesday Features:

 Escape Reality Book Club:

August’s Selection:

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

That sums up my month! How was yours?

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Escape Reality Book Club – August’s Selection!

Escape reality book club

Hosted by your’s truly and Charlotte at Apathy and Rhetoric

Your votes have been counted and the results are in! The voting was incredibly close this month – in fact, there was a tie. In the event of a tie, it seems reasonable that the nominator (in this case, Charlotte) make the final decision on which book we read.

August 2014′s official book club book is:

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

Title: How to Ditch Your Fairy

Author: Justine Larbalestier

Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy, like a specialized good luck charm, is vital to success. And in the case of the students at New Avalon Sports High, it might just determine whether you make the team, pass a class, or find that perfect outfit.

For 14-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all—especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass. Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenza (who has an All-The-Boys-Like-You Fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, it isn’t at all what she thought it would be like, and she’ll have resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy. The question is: will Charlie herself survive the fairy ditching experiment? From the author of the acclaimed Magic or Madness trilogy, this is a delightful story of fairies, friendships, and figuring out how to make your own magic.

So what happens now?

If you missed the Escaped Reality Book Club launch post, click here for more details.

Otherwise, you are all invited to join in the fun!

We will be reading How to Ditch Your Fairy throughout the rest of August and geeking out about it on our official Facebook page, followed by a meeting at Menchies Frozen Yogurt for those of you in the Southern Utah area.

This blog reaches a global audience, so not everybody will be able to make it to the meetings. Because of that, if you read the book and want to be included in the discussions, I would love to host a Facebook conversation for anybody who shows interest (just send me a message through our Facebook group, or leave a comment).

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Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From!

top ten tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

My apologies for posting this TTT so late – it took a surprising amount of time and effort to round up all of these amazing titles. Before you view the photos, you need to know that I am a book hoarder. If you don’t believe me, this slideshow presentation should alleviate any doubt. I tried to keep the focus on the authors I’ve actually read the most books from, not just collected. I think my collection of Mercedes Lackey, Terry Brooks, and Anne McCaffrey books might surpass a couple of these here, but I haven’t had a chance to read them all yet… #booknerdproblems 

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From!

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I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my library. :)

by Niki Hawkes