HW Assignment: Boys in the Boat (Prompt #6)

51ri3drmqpl-_sx324_bo1204203200_1) Where is the book on the narrative continuum? A mix (combines highly narrative moments with periods of fact-based prose).

2) What is the subject of the book? Rowing (both collegiate and at the Olympic level), impacts of the depression and WWII on the American people.

3) What type of book is it?¬†It’s a sports book.

4) Articulate appeal
What is the pacing of the book? 
It’s a quick read, but the pace is pretty leisurely until about the last 50 pages when it ramps up tremendously.
Describe the characters of the book.¬†Our main character is Joe Rantz, one of the crew members. The reader gets an in-depth look into his life, but we’re also given brief snippets into other characters’ lives.

How does the story feel? Triumphant and uplifting.
What is the intent of the author? To describe a specific period of time and help readers come to some realizations.
What is the focus of the story? The main character and the University of Washington crew team that would eventually make it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Does the language matter? Yes.
Is the setting important and well-described? Yes. The author does a very good job of describing the Seattle area as well as Germany.

Are there details and, if so, what? There is a lot of detail about rowing and crew. The author gets very in-depth about the techniques of rowing which could turn some readers off.

Are there sufficient charts and other graphic materials? Are they useful and clear? Pictures are used throughout but are not necessary to the story.

Does the book stress moments of learning, understanding, or experience? The book really stresses moments of understanding and experience. The reader comes to understand what it was like to live in America during the depression and they will experience the triumph of the final race and the relief that everything leading up to that moment paid off.

5) Why would a reader enjoy this book (rank appeal)?
1. Tone
2. Subject
3. Learning/Experience

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Buzz Books 2016: Young Adult Spring/Summer (Part 2)

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NetGalley puts out this great compilation every season of some of the hot new Young Adult books that will be coming out. Here are my thoughts on the last 10 books featured (click here for my thoughts on the first 10). Again, covers link to Goodreads.

Unrivaled by Alyson No√ęl (5/10)

26116460Cover: It feels like this book is going to be some type of Mean Girls/Gossip Girl-esque book. I kind of like it. 7/10

Premise: Wow. It sounds like there’s going to be a whole lot of drama and backstabbing. This sounds like it has potential, but I feel like in reality I’m just going to end up hating all of the characters. 5/10

Excerpt: I think my initial reaction to the premise is probably pretty true, but it also seems like the writing is really solid. Just from this brief excerpt, it feels like we get a pretty good idea of who our main characters are. The writing really flows and creates awesome visuals. This book definitely has potential. 7/10

TBR?: Yes, unless I start hearing bad things about it.

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (5/31)

everyexquisitething_cover_314blCover: The cover is interesting and I’m not getting much from it. Perhaps this book has something to do with mental illness? 4/10

Premise: I’m still not really sure what to make of this book. It seems like it could be a great book about self-discovery or just a lot of angst. I like the idea of the main character’s eyes being opened by a book though. 5/10

Excerpt: Seems like an interesting book…I like the book within a book thing that’s going on here. I’d definitely be interested to see where this goes though I’d like to know a little more about the main character… 6/10

TBR?: Sure…I actually already have an ARC of this one, but even if I didn’t I think I might TBR it.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (7/5)

23299512Cover: For some reason I’m just not really into this cover. It looks like a cover I’ve seen before and I’m just not drawn to it. 4/10

Premise: The summary given is very short so I’m not really sure what to think about it. I mean…I assume music has something to do with it? But it’s not even mentioned in the summary so I’m not sure. It does mention star-crossed lovers though, so I’m starting to feel it maybe. 6/10

Excerpt: The opening definitely grabbed me right away–great hook. The main characters seem interesting and the writing is great–I definitely want to find out what happens next. Already I’m getting the sense that this is some major world-building and I’m excited to see what the rest of this world is like. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (5/17)

26156203Cover: There’s something about the colors that I don’t really like, but I like the idea of it quite a bit. I like that the city makes the shape of a crown. 7/10

Premise: This is almost like a reality TV show, which I like, but it is also sounding a lot like the premise of Throne of Glass. I’m not too jazzed about the love triangle aspect either and I also don’t get why one of them has to die? I mean…wouldn’t it be better for the tsar to have as many enchanters on his side as possible? It seems like a waste to kill one of them. Just recruit them both! 6/10

Excerpt: I wondered if this was future Russia or alternate past Russia, I’m happy to see it’s the latter. However, the tone of the book isn’t my favorite and I’m not sure that I like our female protagonist. I’m also having a hard time suspending my belief. What makes these two kids so special that they’re the ONLY enchanters in all of Russia? 5/10

TBR?: Yes, but reluctantly.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (4/26)

17378527Cover: I really like this cover. I think it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and it goes so well with the rest of the covers in the series. 8/10

Premise: I’m actually going to have to skip reviewing the premise and the excerpt (sorry!). I haven’t actually read the first three books, so I’m not going to read the premise or the excerpt for fear of spoiling myself. I do plan on reading the series eventually though!

Excerpt: Skipped

TBR?: Yes. The entire series is. If I don’t end up liking the first book, I probably won’t continue with the series, but we’ll see.

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (4/19)

25639296Cover: The cover is very interesting. It definitely gives the book a creepy/thriller vibe which isn’t something I would normally be interested in reading. 7/10

Premise: Yeah, definitely a thriller type. I have a hard time judging this one objectively because I’m just not really interested in reading psychological thrillers (as this one seems to be). So right of the bat the premise isn’t interesting to me–sorry for those of you who do like this kind of book, I can’t really give you an accurate review. 3/10

Excerpt: The writing’s not bad. We get a really good sense of the type of person our main character is right away. It’s an interesting situation that makes you want to keep reading until you get all of the information. 8/10

TBR?: No. I’m just not really interested in this type of book.

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten (5/31)

416ug1hjwtl-_sx328_bo1204203200_Cover: I’m not really into it. Seems like another thriller type book or maybe something more like Pretty Little Liars. I’m just not really sure what I’m supposed to get out of the cover though I’m sure it’ll make more sense once I’ve actually read the book. 3/10

Premise: I’m not really sure about this one… It’s not 100% clear to me what this book is about. Maybe it involves a student/school administrator relationship? If so I’m definitely not interested. That kind of thing really creeps me out. 3/10

Excerpt: I’m getting the sense that both of these main characters are pretty messed up. Maybe it’s just the mood I’m in right now, but I’m really not interested in reading about whatever drama they’re going to get caught up in. 2/10

TBR?: No

Siren’s Song by Mary Weber (3/1)

22586973Cover: Not a fan of this one. It just looks kind of cheap to me. Like, I would expect it to be $1.99 for Kindle and writing that could use another round of editing. 2/10

Premise: Again, looks like this is the third book in a series that I haven’t read. So just in case I ever decide that I would like to read the series, I’m just going to not read the summary or the excerpt provided. The odds of that happening though…I’m not sure. The cover really isn’t doing anything for me.

Excerpt: Skipped

TBR?: No

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (5/10)

26109391Cover: This cover is super interesting. I’m not really sure what’s going on, but I like all of the covers and that there’s some strange window…it would definitely make me pick up the book if I just saw it sitting on a shelf. 8/10

Premise: This book sounds like it’s going to have a great cast of quirky characters. I expect witty banter and snappy narration. I think the story itself will also be interesting. I mean, how often do you read about agoraphobic characters? In my case, the answer is never. 7/10

Excerpt: The writing is quick and makes the story seem like it’s zipping by. The characters seem interesting and like they’ll be good at telling their story. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

And I Darken by Kiersten White (6/28)

25324111Cover: I feel pretty neutral about this cover. It’s fine, but it doesn’t seem all that original. I feel like I’ve seen this cover at least eight¬†other times. 5/10

Premise: Alternate history of Vlad the Impaler was actually a girl? This could be interesting. I don’t know much at all about Vlad, so this could be an interesting one. And I do love me some alternate history… 9/10

Excerpt: This seems like a book that could really make waves. First, we’re dealing with a time period that very few YA books are set in. Next, we’ve got this really fierce female character who, frankly, may not be very likable. We’ve also got these strange family dynamics. I’m excited to read more for sure.

TBR?: Yes

Top Ten Tuesday: All of the Stars

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads

I talk about my favorite books all the time, so none of these should really be new to you. I’ll include a hashtag for why I like each book so much.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord – #friendshipgoals

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb – #smartgirlgoals

Winter by Marissa Meyer – #squadgoals

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – #roadtripgoals

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – #toughgirlgoals

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E Smith – #baseballfangoals

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – #fatherdaughtergoals

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – #survivinghardthingsgoals

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen – #bestfriendgoals

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – #summergoals

How do you feel about my list? Any of mine on yours?

Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs [ARC]

Elena has big plans for when she gets out of the foster system–she just doesn’t have any money to accomplish them. When she’s recruited for a secret mission she’s a little suspicious, but they’re offering such a big payday that she can’t NOT take it. The mission isn’t all that it seems however and Elena will find herself doubting everything that she ever thought was possible.

23536973This book had a really interesting premise. It sounded like wewere going to follow a group of kids who each have a special ability to the future and we kind of did, but it’s a whole lot less X-Men and a lot more angsty teenagers questioning their identity. Sure each of the teens have an ability, but I was actually thinking they’d have like…powers. Not so. Elena has an eidetic memory which is basically the coolest ability of the group. Basically she can remember everything she’s ever seen or heard. Then there’s a guy who’s good with electronics, one who is a really good cook, one who is just super smart in general, and then a girl who is an amazing artist. So…basically just normal stuff that makes the book a little less exciting than I thought it was going to be.

I had a really hard time getting into it myself. I didn’t really feel like the plot was driving the story forward–I didn’t find myself caring all that much how it ended. Usually when there’s like a time limit or a sense that time’s running out, that drives the story forward, but for some reason that didn’t happen for me in this case. I saw a physical copy of this book at Barnes & Noble and noticed that the chapter headings all had a time stamp–my ARC copy didn’t have that, but it may help make¬†the story feel more urgent. I’m not really sure. The characters were fine. Sometimes Elena would annoy me, but I could still handle it. I liked how different each of the characters were from each other. They all had very distinct personalities and it was nice to be following such a tough female protagonist.

The setting was interesting…I don’t want to give anything away but there were interesting descriptions and I feel like the world was adequately described if a little unbelievable to me. Overall, I thought this book was just okay. There were some things that were kind of confusing and the whole Adam and Elena relationship just felt weird and forced to me. The ending doesn’t exactly seem believable to me but…whatever.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate
Violence: Heavy
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Moderate

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

Natalie was adopted by a nice white family when she was just days old. For years she’s been communicating with an otherworldly¬†being who would appear in her bedroom at night called Grandmother. Grandmother tells her stories the Natalie rarely understands. But three years ago Grandmother stopped coming and Natalie has felt lost ever since. The week of graduation, Natalie starts seeing things that she shouldn’t. One minute she’s in the hallway at school, but the next she’s seeing rolling hills and grazing buffalo. What’s happening to her and who is the boy that she sometimes sees during her episodes?25467698

This book was kind of interesting…I thought the premise was very unique and I was excited to see where the book would go. Right away I rejoiced that our main character was half Native American. Hooray for diversity in YA! I also really liked that actual Native American legends were woven into this story. In the back of the book I think there was an author’s note listing each of the stories told and what tribes they’re attributed too. I don’t know very much about Native American culture, so I was happy to get a glimpse into some of their stories and the way they might think about things.

The beginning of the book was very slow for me. I had a hard time really getting into it. And then as the story progresses, it doesn’t¬†feel like the pace ever really picks up. We’re in Natalie’s head a lot so even though there’s a time constraint and Natalie is technically “battling against the clock”, the story still progresses at this really unhurried pace. There’s insta-love involved which I usually hate, but it wasn’t the worst in this book. Of all of the insta-love stories that I’ve read, I feel like this one was on the more realistic end of things. Beau seemed like a fairly interesting character (even if we’re not really clear on any of his motivations) but I kept imagining him as being Native American also…which, I don’t think he actually was.

Honestly, I kind of feel like a lot of this book went over my head. Like I said earlier, we’re in Natalie’s head A LOT and there’s quite a bit of internal struggle going on in there. In the end, I’m not really sure if she really did develop as a character. What did she learn about herself? I feel like she definitely learned something, but I’m not picking up on what it was. Then there was the resolution of the plot. It’s like…I kind of get it, but the last couple of chapters seemed¬†super info-dumpy and I don’t think I got all of it. And then there was the ending…which was just okay for me. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either.

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I feel like this book is really different from a lot of books that are popular right now. It definitely has a darker overall tone to it. The alternate realities/time travel element was interesting even if it wasn’t necessarily explained that well. There are some religious elements to the story as well that I thought were interestingly tied in. Overall, I don’t think most readers will necessarily hate this book, but I also don’t think you’ll regret passing on it.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate. Some brief, strong language.
Violence: Moderate. Some mention of domestic abuse.
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy. A lot of underage drinking.
Sexual Content: Moderate

HW Assignment: eBooks & Audio Books (Prompt #5)

NOTE: With this assignment, we were asked to talk about what appeal factors eBooks and audio books lack compared to physical books and what appeal factors they may have that traditional books do not.

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eBooks and audio books are becoming increasingly popular with today’s busy reader. eBooks are great for people on the go who just have a few minutes to read here and a few minutes to read there. Readers¬†are able to keep a large number of books on devices that they usually would already have with them (i.e. smart phones, tablets, or e-readers). And audio books are great for those with long commutes or those who may have jobs that allow for them to¬†be listening to something while they work.

eBooks allow for readers to change font types and sizes which can affect how a reader interacts with a book. Some books depend on font choices to set the mood of a book but that doesn’t always come across through eBooks because settings may make all books look the same to a reader. Readers will have to solely rely on the story and language used by the author to interpret the tone of the book. In addition, increasing font size may make the book’s pacing feel slower. With less words on the page, readers will be less likely to pick up on the visual cues that may come from a whole page filled with dialogue which naturally would increase the pace of the book.

On the other hand, eBooks have the advantage of privacy. Those around you are unable to see a cover. Readers have no need to fear being “judged” by those around them based on what they’re reading because others in the area simply can’t tell. It may make readers feel a little freer to read books with “embarrassing” covers or books with covers that immediately indicate that a book is from a genre that is commonly thought of as “cheap” or “lowbrow” such as Romance or Sci-Fi.

Audio books share similar advantages. People cannot see what you’re reading, so readers may start to branch out into genres that they were before too embarrassed to read. Audio books have the added bonus that people can’t read over your shoulder giving an extra layer of privacy.

Another great thing about audio books is that it’s a completely different experience from reading the book. The narrator is putting on a performance and may include voices, sound clips, or music that add to the book and help the reader to pinpoint the exact mood or tone. On the other hand, some may feel that this makes things too easy for the reader since they don’t necessarily have to figure out tone for themselves. They also do not necessarily have the freedom to let their imaginations give voices to the characters as the narrator is already doing that part.

Audio books are also limiting with regards to pacing. The reader can only go as fast as the narrator. Where a reader may have read a passage quicker in a physical book, a narrator might take their time. In addition, the voice of the narrator can make or break a book. If a reader finds the narrator’s voice or performance unsatisfactory, they are likely to put the book aside even if they would have enjoyed the story/plot.

eBooks and audio books have some advantages over physical books, but some disadvantages as well. Overall, I do not believe that any of these three types of books will be disappearing any time soon.

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Faves

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week‚Äôs topic is: Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough/In A While

I kind of feel like I talk about my faves all the time, so I’ll just give a list of some that I think are underrated.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – This is my FAVORITE Sarah Dessen book. Macy is a really normal protagonist and Wes is basically the best. Definitely my fave Dessen love interest. This book makes me want to work for a catering company.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund – This is a futuristic retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I love the underlying story, but the world that the author created is amazing.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick – This is such a summer book. I love all of the characters (especially the old lady…I can’t remember her name). I might even like this one better than¬†My Life Next Door.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith – Everyone always talks about¬†The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and while that book¬†is awesome, I like this one even more. Another summer book, and the two main characters just feel so right together…

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – I love that each chapter features one of the things that Emily is going to do from Sloane’s list. It kind of gives the book this driving force. I love the way that Matson develops Emily as a character throughout.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson – Oh boy, bring the tissues. The thing I love about this book is the way Matson portrays the family. They just seem so real! I also love the real way that she portrays Taylor’s friendships. They’re imperfect and take some work.

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E Smith – Baseball is the most beautiful sport and Smith gets that. This book deals with some heavy topics in a really great way, but the thing that ties it all together is baseball. I love the respect that Smith shows for the game.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin РOkay, I know. I talk about this book ALL THE TIME. I seriously love it. So much.

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb – This book was so unexpected! It doesn’t end the way you think it’s going to, but the ending is still SO PERFECT.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord – This was the first book that I read from Emery Lord and I am converted. I love, love, LOVE the group of girls in this book. Such a great group of friends! Everything that I wish I had in high school and even now, I wish I had a group of friends like that.