Wednesday, April 9, 2014

TTT: Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Read

Tuesday was so busy I forgot to post, but I love this topic/list and wanted to share!
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Read
Whether in structure, writing style, or intricate plot, these are the ones that surprised me the most.
THE SECRET SKY: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan by Atia Abawi
SHATTER ME series by Tahreh Mafi
IN THE SHADOWS by Kiersten White, art by Jim di Bartolo
SHIPBREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi
PIVOT POINT by Kasie West
WE WERE LIARS by e. Lockhart
MIND GAMES / PERFECT LIES by Kiersten White
WINGER by Andrew Smith
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate

Monday, April 7, 2014

Daughter...Days...Dreams + Giveaway: DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS by Laini Taylor

I've been anxiously awaiting the final installment in Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE series, especially since reading the second book, DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT over a year ago, and the final book, DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS comes out tomorrow! Laini's writing is beautiful and literary and draws the reader in, and this fantasy world creates an epic story.
Thanks to the awesome school & library group at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, I have a copy of the newest book up for giveaway today!

Title: DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Number of Pages: 528
Source of Book: egalley from publisher

        By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.
Common enemy, common cause.
        When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.
        And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
What power can bruise the sky?
        From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 
        At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

In honor of the release of this final book in the series, I'm re-sharing my recommendation for book one in case you missed it, so you can start at the beginning and go on this stunning and shattering journey from the first words.

My original recommendation for DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE:
Laini Taylor's writing is beautiful, but in that way that it doesn't jump out at you and take you out of the story, it is just woven subtly in as part of the story and you don't realize how beautiful it is until you get to a stopping point and heave a deep sigh of relaxation from having enjoyed the writing and been lost and wrapped up completely in the world she created. The artistry with which she weaves storylines together between the two different main characters and between the present with flashbacks of backstory is enticing. There is a twist in the plot about two-thirds of the way through that almost changes the books into a different story, but it's of utmost importance to our understanding and works so well the way Laini has written it.

And the setting...the book mainly takes pace in Prague and in Laini's deft hand, the mystery, history, and beauty of this city lives and breathes its own life into the novel. There are exotic settings around the world (and in fantasy realms) throughout, and each one is written to evoke its own individual mood for the reader and the characters situations.

Karou is a kick-butt girl, but is struggling with feeling lonely as she discovers that the world with the "monsters" she thought she understood is not what she was led to believe. As she interacts with Akiva, the angel she encounters on one of her errands, it becomes obvious that she has some kind of pull toward him, and he to her. Little does she know that even as he tries to destroy all she holds dear, he might actually hold the key to her figuring out who (or what) she really is - what she's been seeking to find out for awhile. Toward the end as we discover, along with Karou, what has really happened, it is shocking in the best possible way for a novel.

This is definitely a fantasy book for fans of fantasy. It has a unique take on the angel mythology and the backstory and world Laini has created is entrancing. Pre-order it now so you can escape into Karou's world in September! I know I'll be anxiously waiting for the next book indicated by the "...to be continued" ending to delve back into the artistry and uniqueness of the story Laini Taylor has created.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TTT: Top 10 Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Things On My Spring 2014 TBR List
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS by Laini Taylor
(reading right now - yay!)
TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han
FROZEN by Erin Bowman
THE HERE AND NOW by Ann Brashares
EMPOWER by Jessica Shirvington
THE ONE by Kiera Cass
DIVIDED by Elsie Chapman
CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare
TORN AWAY by Jennifer Brown
SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson

And a bonus list...
Spring Titles I Was Anxiously Awaiting That I've Already Read (& LOVED!)
EXILE by Kevin Emerson
(Already declaring this one of my favorites of the year!)
PANIC by Lauren Oliver
THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkowski
LET THE STORM BREAK by Shannon Messenger
OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord
THE TREATMENT by Suzanne Young
THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith
IN THE SHADOWS by Kiersten White, illustrated by Jim di Bartolo
WE WERE LIARS by e. Lockhart
CAGED WARRIOR by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TTT: Top 10 All Time Favorite Dystopian Genre Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten All Time Favorite Dystopian Genre Books
This week we got to choose our genre, and since I've grown to love dystopian more and more over the last several years since I started teaching, I wanted to compile my list of my favorites.

UGLIES series by Scott Westerfeld
LEGEND series by Marie Lu
UNDER THE NEVER SKY series by Veronica Rossi
THE HUNGER GAMES series by Suzanne Collins
SHATTER ME series by Tahreh Mafi
DIVERGENT series by Veronica Roth
MATCHED series by Ally Condie
DELIRIUM series by Lauren Oliver
SHIPBREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi
NAUGHTS & CROSSES by Malorie Blackman
(one of the first I read - making this list made me want to go reread it it's been so long)

What are your favorite dystopian books?
 
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