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review 2019-09-11 00:12
To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han

Lara Jean Song has a lot on her plate as a sixteen year old girl in high school.  She lost her mother when young, and lives with her father and two sisters.  Her older sister is going away to college, and Lara Jean feels like this could be her year.  Until love letters she has kept hidden somehow get sent to the boys she wrote them to.


Along the way she rekindles a friendship with Peter, and maybe Josh.  She intends to solve the mystery of how the letters got out.  She also finds out what makes a teenager popular.  This is a story of more than just romance.  It is a yearning and a growth.


I was a bit sad to find that the book itself is quite thorough and varied and had split the attention away from more than just the main character.  After a while it grew on me and I just enjoyed the humor and "cultural" and teenage funnies.  As for what happens, well there are more books to this series, and I intend to read them.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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text 2015-10-13 03:53
Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Author Duos I Would Love to See Do a Book Together
Another Day - David Levithan
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
Love Is the Drug - Alaya Dawn Johnson
Orleans - Sherri L. Smith
Red Rising - Pierce Brown
By Jennifer Brown: Hate List - Brown Books for Young Readers- -Little
Reality Boy - A.S. King
Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver - E. Lockhart
It - Stephen King
Dare Me - Megan Abbott

As per usual, this challenge is brought to you by the lovely The Broke and the Bookish. So far, I'm having fun penning these answers to these challenges, and I'm only my third entry in.


Okay, this is a topic I haven't seen before: ten author duos that I would like to see collaborate on a book together.  Oooooh.  I could think of a few, probably spanning a few genres and age groups really.  Okay, fine, let's have at this one.


Another Day - David Levithan  The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness  


1. David Levithan and Patrick Ness:  You know what, I love these two authors so much for their writing style and the fact that they delve so well into their often whimsical, yet realistic stories, that this should just happen.  Just make this happen, I don't care what the book is about.  (Though preferentially, I'm kind of wanting a YA gender bending dystopian epic from them. Pretty pleaaaaaase.)


Love Is the Drug - Alaya Dawn Johnson  Orleans - Sherri L. Smith  


2. Alaya Dawn Johnson and Sherri L. Smith:  I could definitely see these two authors coming together for an awesome project.  They both write diverse characters (whether characters of color or GLBT or both) quite well and both of them have written futuristic dystopian projects before (Johnson with "The Summer Prince" and "Love is the Drug" and Smith with "Orleans.")  Maybe we could have an epic time-traveling adventure with strong POC characters (Smith also wrote "Flygirl" - that was very nicely done in the vein of historical fiction, imo).  I would love to see what they could do together, though, regardless of the theme.


Red Rising - Pierce Brown  Unwind - Neal Shusterman  


3. Pierce Brown and Neal Shusterman:  OMG, this is another mashup of authors I would like to see happen, because Shusterman does creepy very well, and Pierce Brown does epic sci-fi/fantasy well.  I could see them getting together to do something that's sinister, thrilling, and mind-blowing.


Bet Me - Jennifer Crusie  Can't Let Go - Jessica Lemmon  


4. Jennifer Crusie and Jessica Lemmon: Because I could see the combination of fun, quirky humor and romance that these two ladies have had from previously reading their works, and I'd honestly be totally for that happening.  (Maybe if you want a third author tagging along, add Lucy March - that would be fun.)


Winterblaze - Kristen Callihan  Deeper - Megan Hart  


5. Kristen Callihan and Megan Hart:  Kristen Callihan is the author of the "Darkest London" series, while Megan Hart is known for a number of different projects across genres, but she writes adult fiction.  Something tells me that I think both of them could do magical realism very well with dark undertones and intense character study.  And they both write romantic/erotic scenes very well.  So it's a mash-up that makes sense to me (and I really enjoy both of their works).


Just Listen - Sarah Dessen  The Start of Me and You - Emery Lord  


6. Sarah Dessen and Emery Lord: This match makes sense to me because both of them do slice of life teen fiction very well and I'd like to see what project they could do together.


By Jennifer Brown: Hate List - Brown Books for Young Readers- -Little  Reality Boy - A.S. King  


7. Jennifer Brown and A.S. King:  I imagine the book they would pen together would be huge along the lines of examining teens being put in a very, very sticky or tough situation.  They do tough subject matters for young adults very well, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear them doing something together.  (Well, maybe pleasantly surprised.)


Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver - E. Lockhart  The Summer Prince - Alaya Dawn Johnson  


8.  E. Lockhart and Alaya Dawn Johnson:  This is the second time I mention Alaya Dawn Johnson, and the first time I'm mentioning E. Lockhart.  Why do I put these two authors together (because for all intents and purposes, their genres are pretty far apart - one writing more quirky or dramatic teen fiction, the other leaning more towards sci-fi fantasy teen fiction)?  Because I could totally see them doing something funny, intense, and dynamic together in a young adult work.  Maybe a couple of quirky leads undertaking an epic adventure together with some gender bending dynamics?  It could happen.


Every Day - David Levithan  Percy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set - Rick Riordan  


9. Rick Riordan and David Levithan: Because honestly, this is another mash-up that should happen, because I could definitely see a mythological based story mashing up with some of the speculative fiction that Levithan creates.  It would be a fun story to see/tell.


Dark Places - Gillian Flynn  It - Stephen King  Dare Me - Megan Abbott  


10. Stephen King and Gillian Flynn (or Megan Abbott): Because there's not enough words to describe how messed up that story line would be if you put these two (three) in a room together.  I would be terrified and intrigued at the same darned time.


Okay, I've had my fun, but you know what, I'd really like to see some of these actually happen.  Can't say whether they will or won't but it could make for some excellent reading.


Until next entry,


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review 2014-11-16 18:56
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
The Walled City - Ryan Graudin

My review (published at Read, Run, Ramble):


Thank you Little Brown Books for Young Readers via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!


Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Those are the rules Jin Ling must follow in the Walled City and the book begins with Jin following the first –running for her life.


The Walled City begins with heart-pounding intensity and it carries that same intensity throughout. This book just doesn’t stop! Jin is in the Walled City to find and save her sister and in the process she meets Dai who is in the city for his own secret reasons. Dai’s struggling with big time demons too, though readers aren’t immediately made aware of those demons, it is clear they involve big loss and bad decisions.


The Walled City is like a dystopian universe set right in the middle of the rest of the world, which continues about life as if what goes on inside those walls isn’t their concern – a world within a world. Drugs, prostitution, poverty, and general lawlessness all encompass this city, but walk right outside its gates and life goes on as normal. However, for Dai, it isn’t that easy. His secrets keep him voluntarily within the gates even though outside them he had a loving family; one with power and money. When he offers an opportunity to Jin, Jin is sure there are things hidden, but she breaks rule #2, trust no one, and partners with him anyway. Their journey is dangerous, but inside it they learn to trust and be trusted.


Graudin provides a fast-paced, interesting, and powerful read. Her writing is strong and gripping. Additionally, she’s done her research. Did you know there really is/was a Walled City? Make sure to read Graudin’s notes at the end of the book; they make the read even more impactful.


Final verdict: I loved this book. It kept my heart pumping and my fingers flipping pages. The characters are well-written and developed, while the story is intriguing. It kept me up well after bed time reading (1:30 am to be exact and then after finishing I couldn’t sleep because my blood pressure was a bit elevated)!


I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.

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review 2013-05-20 15:47
When We Wake - Karen Healey

The only reason I read this book was because of Renae's review. I couldn't have been any less interested in the book, to be honest. It sounded like another boring dystopian with a hint of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

I'm so happy to say that WHEN WE WAKE was different from everything I'd ever read in the genre. Dystopian and science fiction are my favorite genres, and have been ever since I was a kid. I don't often get lucky with them however and I tend to find most of my favorite books in the fantasy and contemporary genres.

I got lucky.

WHEN WE WAKE is set in 2127 where the world is very different from how it is now. But in a good way (for the most part). The world is greener, for one. Mankind learned to live by the land and follow the three 'R's of recycling. Homosexual love isn't viewed any different than heterosexual love - which is awesome. Yet the world is certainly not perfect as racial tensions are higher than ever.

I guess Lennon's 'Imagine' world hasn't happened yet. (I'm so funny, aren't I?)

Tegan wakes up to this world - like she literally woke up. She was cryogenically frozen for 100 years after being accidentally shot and 'killed'. This is the point where you have to just go with the flow. It doesn't make any sense that Tegan could sign up for being frozen without actually knowing what she was signing up for.

Tegan faces the obvious cultural shock of walking up a hundred years into the future, not to mention the grief that comes with the realization that all of Tegan's friends and family have been dead for a very long time. She also faces the trouble that comes with being the first successful awakened person, target of a cult, and being used by various institutions and people.

Thankfully, Tegan is more than apt to care of herself. She's one of my all time favorite heroines. Tegan is strong and willful. She's definitely not afraid to speak her mind when and wherever she chooses. 

"It was the truth," I said.
"Truth! We didn't put you on camera to speak the truth! We needed a pretty face!"
"Well, tough," I snapped. "You got me instead. I guess your little clockwork doll broke down."
-page 189

"I am so tired of being used. The army tried to do it, Tatia tried to do it, and now you're trying to do it. I'm a person, not a symbol, not property, and not a prop. If you want me dead, I can't stop you, but I won't make it easier for you either. Dirty your own fucking hands."
-page 273

The quotes remind me a bit too much of MOCKINGJAY, the finale in the Hunger Games series. Katniss was being used by both the rebels and the formal government for much of the book. What disappointed me was how well Katniss took it. All I wanted was for her to say what Tegan did. 

She didn't.

I really love Tegan even though it's not like she was ever the most original character. I like that about her in this case. People can be brave without being a superhero - it's actually possible. Tegan was a brave, wonderful girl who wasn't a superhero, nor did she try to be. I think she was perfect without being... perfect.

While the book deals with a lot of really serious and deep issues like racial discrimination, Healey doesn't fill her entire book with that. She instead fills her time with needed character development and the most important thing to any book - character interaction. Each and every one of Healy's characters are well rounded. I feel like Bethari, Joph, and the others could be in my life and that they could be my friends.

What I truly love about the characters is how different they are. They all come from different religious backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. This is very much lacking in most YA (and Adult) literature. The characters are usually white, very rarely anything other than a Christian or an Atheist, and straight. There is nothing wrong with white Christian straight people but I do really love when authors add characters that break the average mold. 

Tegan and the other characters were definitely my favorite aspect to the book but the moral and ethical problems that were introduced were another one of my favorites. There are a few that I wish were more elaborated on but for the most part, I felt that they were a very nice addition to the book. 

Before I end the review, I want to say that I, like some other reviewers, am very sad to hear that there is a sequel to WHEN WE WAKE in the works. I found the ending perfect for the book and wouldn't want it any other way. I will probably end up reading the sequel just because I want more Tegan but I highly doubt it will be anything like WHEN WE WAKE. But then again, you never know. Healy is probably talented enough to pull it off.

WHEN WE WAKE is an intelligent, beautiful dystopian that really challenges the norm of dystopian novels. With this book, I have a bit more hope that, just maybe, other authors will realize that there is more to dystopian fiction then love triangles. I recommend this book with all my heart and will be seeking out Healy's other books.

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review 2012-04-01 00:00
The Door in the Wall - Marguerite de Angeli I'm a little disappointed that this is a Newberry medalist. It came across to me as more of a Christian morality fairy tale than an inspirational book for children. Just the way everything worked out so perfectly at the end in my mind left the realm of reality and crossed the line into fantasy. It seemed to send the message that if you work hard and say your prayers that all your dreams will come true and only good things will happen to you.

That being said, it was an interesting glimpse into medieval England and the life of the son of a wealthy and powerful nobleman. There were also some lines and some ideas which I really liked. I liked how Robin took Luke's encouraging words "Anybody can NOT do it" and turned them into his catch phrase and his encouragement when he came across difficult things.

Actually, right up until the end, I could totally see why this won the Newberry medal. It was just the end that seemed too perfect to me that brought it down to 3 stars for me.
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