Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Book Birthday, EXILE by Kevin Emerson!

One of my very favorite books of the year finally came out yesterday! I say finally because I read it back in November and have had to wait five months for it to be available to everyone to read, which I hope happens soon because I want to talk to people about it. Luckily, I've been able to have several students read it and talk with them about it, and they loved it, too. As soon as I finished the book, I declared it one of my favorites of 2014...and it wasn't even 2014 yet.
Title: EXILE
Author: Kevin Emerson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (a HarperCollins imprint)
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Number of Pages: 320
Source of Book: ARC from author/publisher at NCTE
          Catherine Summer Carlson knows how to manage bands like a professional—she’s a student at the PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High, where rock legends Allegiance to North got their start. Summer knows that falling for the lead singer of her latest band is the least professional thing a manager can do. But Caleb Daniels isn’t an ordinary band boy—he’s a hot, dreamy, sweet-singing, exiled-from-his-old-band, possibly-with-a-deep-dark-side band boy. And he can do that thing. That thing when someone sings a song and it inhabits you, possesses you, and moves you like a marionette to its will.
          Summer also finds herself at the center of a mystery she never saw coming. When Caleb reveals a secret about his long-lost father, one band’s past becomes another’s present, and Summer finds it harder and harder to be both band manager and girlfriend. She knows what the well-mannered Catherine side of her would do, but she also knows what her heart is telling her. Maybe it’s time to accept who she really is, even if it means becoming an exile herself. . . .
         On sale in April 2014, Kevin Emerson’s EXILE is a witty and passionate ode to love, rock and roll, and the freedom that comes in the moment when somebody believes in you, even if you’re not quite ready to believe in yourself.
To celebrate the release of Kevin Emerson's newest book, EXILE, a contemporary book about rock and roll, romance, mystery, and figuring out how to belong, my review/recommendation/gushing thoughts about the book are posted on the Nerdy Book Club blog today. Head on over there to find out more about why you should read this amazing book!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

TTT: Top 10 Books If You Like Assassin Intrigue Stories

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Books If You Like Assassin Intrigue Stories
BOY NOBODY by Allen Zadoff
(renamed/repackaged as I AM THE WEAPON for paperback release)
SPRAY by Harry Edge
THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen
CODENAME ZERO by Chris Rylander
THE WARRIOR HEIR by Cinda Williams Chima
THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas
THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkowski
DUALED / DIVIDED by Elsie Chapman
MIND GAMES / PERFECT LIES by Kiersten White
ALTERED / ERASED by Jennifer Rush

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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