The Book Thief by Markus Zusak [Review]

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak [Review]The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on March 14th 2006
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Pages: 552
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Goodreads
five-stars

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Thoughts

This week, my school held parent teacher conferences. As I talked with my coworker, she mentioned how one mother had questioned her choice of reading The Book Thief with her class of high schoolers. I was surprised by how instantly offended I felt. What did this parent mean, why did she choose The Book Thief? In fact, why wouldn’t she choose The Book Thief? I guess I realized, in that moment, just how much The Book Thief means to me. This book has been around for awhile, but, if you haven’t read it, you need to.

The story follows a young girl through her trials and tribulations during WWII. For me, WWII is a fascinating time period to explore and learn about. This book makes you feel as though you were there, dealing with the bombings and anti-semitism. It made me laugh, but, more often, it made me sob. And the characters…I was attached to them all. I loved them despite their mistakes, and I adored watching them learn and grow within their war-torn world.

Then, there’s the writing. It’s, quite simply, beautiful. This book is so chock-full of quotes, I might as well have covered every page in sticky notes. To give you an idea, here’s a few:

“A small fact: You are gong to die…does this worry you?”

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

“I am haunted by humans.”

What’s most fascinating, however, is the point of view, but I’ll leave keep that a secret for you to find out when you read the book. Which, in all honesty, you really should do. This book makes in onto my all-time favorite books, and I find myself rereading it and cherishing it often.

 

five-stars

Emily

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Interference [Review & Giveaway]

Interference [Review & Giveaway]Interference by Kay Honeyman
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on September 27th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

As a Congressman's daughter in Washington, DC, Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants -- what some people might call "interfering." But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father's campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don't slam the star quarterback's hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy -- and a little clever interference -- she'll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading Interference. I thought that it was such a cute read! And let’s be honest I will read anything (and I mean anything) that is paired or reminiscent of Jane Austen. I love that Interference is reminiscent of Emma and I think that even though it had Emma qualities to it, it also had it’s own qualities as well. So it was still original.

I loved that it was also somewhat political. I’m not big on politics. But I love political dramas and thrillers. And to read about a girl and her very political family it was such fun! As for Kate (the main character) I liked her. I wasn’t sure if I would because in the beginning I was little iffy about her and how it kind of seemed like the world revolved around her. But trust me, she definitely changes and it was so nice to see her grow as a person.

I loved the photography/art aspect within this novel. In high school I loved the arts classes and I took as many as I possibly could and photography class was one of them. So, to read about a character who wants to go to art school and is so in love with her art was just great!

Overall, I think that Kay Honeyman did a great job with this book and I honestly cannot wait for more from her! If you’re in the mood for a YA Contemporary with some romance and art and politics, then this book is for you! 🙂

Other Posts

All month long I have been featuring Interference in some way leading up to it’s release yesterday. If you want to check out those posts, here are the links!

Book Looks for Interference

Author Interview with Kay Honeyman

Giveaway

1 Copy of INTERFERENCE by Kay Honeyman (International as long as The Book Depository ships to you!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

four-stars

Stephanie

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Monthly Recap [September 2016]

Monthly Recap

Here is our monthly recap for this month! We are also looking for a way to tweak our Monthly Recaps, so in the comments let us know what you like to see in monthly recaps or what you’d like to see in our recaps! 🙂

stephanie
Books Read

lock and morioverdrivethe women in the wallsempire-of-storms-cover-reveal-e1463100713288

 

Reviews

Other Posts

Lizzie
Books Read

empire of stormscrooked-kingdom-cover the-rose-and-the-dagger-cover six-of-crows-cover dream-thieves-cover this_savage_song_coveryoung-elites-cover

Reviews

Other Posts

Emily
Books Read

28260587 25558608

Reviews

Other Posts

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In Wonderland Team

What Do You Do with an Idea? By Kobi Yamada [Review]

What Do You Do with an Idea? By Kobi Yamada [Review]What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, Mae Besom
Published by Compendium Inc on February 1st 2014
Genres: Children's, Picture Book
Pages: 36
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Goodreads
five-stars

This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child's confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who's ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It's a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn't going anywhere. In fact, it's just getting started.

My Thoughts

As an elementary school language arts teacher, I’m constantly reading children’s books, constantly scanning the children’s section at Barnes & Noble, and constantly looking for books that will hold my students’ interest while also passing on a valuable message.

This book is it.

Honestly, it’s amazing. I loved reading it, and my students loved hearing me read it aloud. Not only that, but they were able to understand the meaning behind the story. And the message in the story is so, so important. So often, in an education community increasingly focused on standardized test scores and creating “cookie-cutter kids”, kids’ creativity and imagination fall to the wayside far too young. It was so refreshing to read a book that fostered creativity and sticking with your ideas.

For me, the most beautiful parts of this story are the illustrations. They’re stunning and detailed. More than once, I caught one of my middle school students flipping through the pages, admiring the drawings on each page. My elementary kids adored following the “idea egg” around on each page and watching the colors grow. I wish I could read this book to them every day.

Honestly, this book is incredible. I’m sure I’ll be reading it for years to come, both as a reminder for my students and for myself.

 

five-stars

Emily

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Review: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Review: Air Awakens by Elise KovaAir Awakens by Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens #1
Published by Silver Wing Press on August 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 377
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...
The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

I wanted to like this so much, but honestly it just fell flat. I stumbled upon this author when looking through books in my “recommended” page on Goodreads. Her next release, The Alchemists of Loom, instantly stopped my heart and flew to my To Read list. Upon further research, I discovered her older works from there, and here we are! The synopsis of this novel had me sold from the first sentence, and when it arrived and I cracked that spine, I was so excited!! Yet, it fell flat. The main character Valla’s internal narration felt stiff and lack luster. The cadence of events was strange, for example, large gaps of time would elapse in pages then a single day would take up chapters. I couldn’t figure out how long things took by about halfway – and that coupled with the super obvious classic they-cant-stand-eachother-sexy-try-hard-chemistry-romance, I was sorely disappointed. The magic system itself was confusing as well, it was explained in length at the beginning then not used again until it popped up randomly in the middle. I felt like the premise of the girl in the library was lost from page one, since most of the events take Valla outside of her librarian life – which I so longed to see more of. On Goodreads, this series is rated 4.0 across the board! I wanted to love it so dearly, and I left feeling like I missed the point hidden in there somewhere. I might give book two a try, though it may take a later reread of book one to get me interested again. Let me know what you think! Should I give this a re-read? Am I just missing something? Let me know down below!

Also, Emily read and reviewed this back in February and she gave it 4 stars, so check out that review too!

two-half-stars

Lizzie

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WoW [77]

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday (aka: WoW) is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, spotlighting releases we are waiting for eagerly.

This Week’s Victim Pick….

WoW [77]Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne on February 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 448
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Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

My Thoughts

Beware the goblin?? OKAY. Sold. Done. Gimme, GIMMEE. I love fantasy, I love how authors around the world twist their imagination and come up with stories like this one. I can already tell this read will just take me on a wild ride through the Underworld and right into the Goblin King’s arms. Adventure, romance, whimsy – yes please. I can’t quite place which part of this synopsis has me more excited, the Lord of Mischief? An arranged marriage? Everything sounds amazing, I’m ready for this to send me into an entire other world!!

And now…over to you: what book are you waiting to release? Link me up and I’ll try my best to drop by! 🙂

Lizzie

The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury [Review]

The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury [Review]The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #2
Published by Scholastic Press on May 31st 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater's Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

My Thoughts

You know you’re desperate for a book when you pay for shipping just to get the UK version before the US edition is released. Which is exactly what I did for this book. And it was worth it. I loved The Sin Eater’s Daughter and devoured it in one day, but I never fully connected with Twylla. The tables turned in this novel. I adored Errin. She was relatable and hardworking. I loved her character. And don’t get me started on Silas. Mysterious and secretive love interests always manage to put me in a tizzy.

As with The Sin Eater’s Daughter, this book has so many plot twists and surprises that I was kept on my toes. Plus, the Sleeping Prince is super creepy and super twisted. He makes for the perfect villain, who will probably only get more terrifying in the next book.

There’s still so many questions to be answered in this series, and the ending of this book killed me. I’m chomping at the bit to find out what happens next. And, if I’m being honest, I’ll probably happily shell out the cash to ship myself the UK edition again. The Scarecrow Queen, get here soon please. I need you.

 

four-stars

Emily

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Top Ten Tuesday [101]

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a different bookish top ten list. Join in on the fun!

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

the-tellinggeminashutter-laurie

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz

pushing-perfectthe-diabolic

Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

flashfallwhat-lightstalking jack the ripper

Flashfall by Jenny Moyer

What Light by Jay Asher

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

kiss-camcaraval

Kiss Cam by Kiara London

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

What’s on your top ten this week? And have you read any of these? What TV shows are YOU excited for?

Stephanie

Interview with Kay Honeyman for Interference

author-interview

Today we have the lovely opportunity to get to know Kay Honeyman a little better with an interview!

Author Links: Website || Twitter || Facebook || Pinterest|| Instagram

What made you give the main character, Kate, a political background?kay-honeyman

I find politics fascinating. And somewhat omnipresent in life. On a large scale there are the politics that decide the leaders in a country, but on smaller scales there are politics in small towns, politics in high school, and politics in families. I’m always looking for a way that people can relate to my characters’ stories. For Kate, I hope people can relate to different degrees to the politics she has to navigate in life.

Kate loves photography, where did the inspiration for her photography skills/love come from?

Like a lot of people at 17 (or earlier for some), It probably started as an escape from politics and something that could be uniquely hers (there is no way her father is going to stand behind a camera). Eventually, it helps her find truth or at least reality. While she is an expert at the political world, she struggles to find her way outside that political game. Photography gives her a chance to study bits and pieces of real life from the safety of her dark room.

What made you decide to go the route of a modernized “Emma” as opposed to another Jane Austen classic?

I like using mentor texts when I start writing. Sometimes they stick as a structure, sometimes they don’t. This one really worked. The themes went well with the story and the characters, so the structure of Emma held true throughout the writing process (My first novel, The Fire Horse Girl, has some of the elements of Pride and Prejudice in it.) I think the strongest ties between Emma and Kate are their good intentions. It is the quality that redeems both of them and makes good people like Ana and Hunter (and hopefully the reader) see the potential in them.

What are the top things you need (snacks, drinks, music, etc.) in order to write?

If only it was that simple. Most of all I need courageJ. Writing takes a lot of work and a little blind faith. I also need time to escape in the story, and the self-control to create some headspace amongst the chores and to-do lists.

I also wouldn’t turn down a caramel latte if I was writing.

Salty or Sweet? And list your fave salty or sweet snack!

Both? I love popcorn – the really buttery kind, or white cheddar. Being from Texas – tortilla chips with anything (guacamole, salsa, bean dip, queso…I’m getting hungry). I also like candy corn at this time of year.


If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

A place on the beach sounds great. I’ll just go to Paris or Rome or Hong Kong during hurricane season.

Where is your favorite spot to read and write?

It depends. If I am drafting, I like a little background noise, so my favorite spot is usually a coffee shop or somewhere I can do a little writing and a little people watching.

If I am revising or editing, I like silence – a quiet spot in a library or at home if the house is empty and all the laundry and dishes are done (so I won’t have any excuses to stop).

What is your favorite season?

I like how seasons cycle. It might be the teacher in me, but I find that I am excited when a season starts, and I’m ready for the next by the time it is over. During the summer, I have so much fun waking up late and eating lunch at the pool. I how it stays light later. But when fall starts, I look forward to wearing my boots and jackets, pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider, and Thanksgiving dinner.

What are the last 3 books you’ve recently read and enjoyed?

I am reading the middle grade book The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey with my son. I enjoyed Farrey’s other books – The Vengekeep Prophesies (I am a sucker for criminals saving the day), but this one is beautiful and interesting. It’s about friendship, secrets, and sadness. I just finished Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. It is a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, and I loved how Elizabeth sounded as a modern American woman. I am about to start The Magic Words by my insanely talented editor Cheryl B. Klein. It’s her advice on writing and publishing in the children’s and ya world (but probably applies to all writing). I’m really looking forward to reading it.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Kay and for letting us get to know you a bit more!

Interview with Kay Honeyman for InterferenceInterference by Kay Honeyman
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on September 27th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads

As a Congressman's daughter in Washington, DC, Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants -- what some people might call "interfering." But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father's campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don't slam the star quarterback's hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy -- and a little clever interference -- she'll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home.

Stephanie

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Excerpt Tour: The Cabin

Excerpt Tour: The CabinThe Cabin by Natasha Preston
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on September 6th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 336
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads

There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar and Awake.
When Mackenzie treks to a secluded cabin in the woods with six friends, she expects a fun weekend of partying, drinking, and hookups. But when they wake to find two of their own dead and covered in blood, it's clear there's a killer among them.
As the police try to unravel the case, Mackenzie launches her own investigation. Before long secrets start to emerge, revealing a sinister web of sins among the original seven friends. The killer is still free. Every one of them is a suspect. And Mackenzie starts to realize that no one is innocent…

About the Authornatasha

My name is Natasha, but most people call me Tash or Tasha. I don’t mind either. I was born in England and have lived in small towns and villages out in the countryside ever since.

My husband, Joseph, is the most supportive person in my life. Without his love, help and patience I wouldn’t be where I am today. And this website wouldn’t exist! I’m a proud mummy to an amazing little boy who is my whole world.

At school I drifted through, achieving average grades. I fell into administration and receptionist jobs, thinking that I couldn’t really do anything else.

In 2010 I stumbled into writing completely by accident. I was searching the ‘app store’ and came across Wattpad – an amateur writing site. For the first few months I just read, but then I decided to type out some of the ideas swirling around in my head. I’m so glad I did because I love creating new stories.

Writing gave me an escape and Wattpad gave me the confidence I lacked.

Author Links:  Website || Twitter || Facebook || Goodreads

Giveaway

1 Copy of THE CELLAR by Natasha Preston (US & Canada Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt

I closed my eyes. When you open your eyes, you’ll see something different. With my heart in my throat, I cracked one eye open. The image didn’t change. There was so much blood. Courtney and Josh were still lying motionless on the floor.

Megan let out a high–pitched scream that didn’t sound like it belonged to a human.

This isn’t real. I’m dreaming. I have to be dreaming.

“Courtney,” I whispered again, my voice drowning in a sea of Megan’s sobs and screams. “Josh!”

They didn’t answer. My mind reeled. How? Who? Why? My body was ice–cold from the shock. My fingers gripped the counter, nails digging into the wooden countertop. I couldn’t move. I was frozen in place. I couldn’t look away.

Oh God. Oh God. Do something! Help them!

Aaron dropped to his knees. His arms hovered over Josh as if he wanted to touch him but was too scared. “Shit,” he spat. “Someone do something! Call an ambulance!”

It looked too late for that. Courtney’s once–red lips were a pale pink, and her skin was dull and gray. A stream of dried blood stretched from her ear to the floor.

My pulse drilled.

They’re dead. They’re dead! No, no, no, no!

I dropped to my knees, ignoring the bickering over what to do going on behind me.

This isn’t happening.

Courtney’s eyes were closed, just like she was sleeping. Maybe she wasn’t dead. Maybe my best friend had a chance. If I could get her to open her eyes, she would be OK. Everything will be OK, I repeated in my head on a loop.

“Court, wake up.” I reached out and brushed her red hair from her face. She hated when her bangs fell in her face like that. Where was help? “We need an ambulance right now. Someone call for help. We need help,” I rambled. Someone had to wake her up. “She needs help. Someone help her! Please! Oh my God, help her!”

I heard someone drop beside me. “Kenzie?” It was Megan. “She’s gone, Kenz. We need to… I don’t know.” She pulled my arm. I thought my legs would collapse, but somehow I had the strength to stand.

“Who did this?” I sobbed, pressing my hand to my mouth, gagging. Stop looking! I didn’t want to see this terror, so why couldn’t I stop looking?

Kyle spun around. “She’s right. Where is he? Or they?”

Dread settled heavy in my stomach. Were their killers still in the house?

Blake gulped, staring at his brother’s face. Josh’s eyes were still open but had rolled back slightly. He looked how I always imagined a dead body would look. “Where’s who?” he whispered.

“The bastard who just murdered our friends!” Aaron spat in reply.

They wouldn’t still be here, surely? No one was stupid enough to do something this horrible and hang around. They couldn’t be. But what if they are?

“We need to go,” Megan said, tugging on my arm. Yeah, we do. “Come on. It’s not safe. Someone was here. We need go. Now.”

Stephanie

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