Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Top Ten TuesdayHi, Readers!

       Now that the temperature is rising and school is drawing to an end, one of the things that I am looking forward to most this summer is kicking back and enjoying some good books.  It seems like my schedule has been so hectic lately that I haven't gotten to read as much as usual, so for this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish blog, I chose to make a list of the Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR (to be read) List.  Please note that I haven't read any of these books yet, so look for reviews of them coming soon!

1. Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Still haven't read it, but I reaaaaaally want to.  It will happen eventually.  I'm considering buying the book myself (sorry, library!) because it has received excellent reviews from almost every blog that I follow.

2. Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

I've seen this title come up on so many different book review blogs that I should definitely give it a shot.  This book will be perfect for a day at the pool because it's a well-known novel that would make a great conversation starter.

3. The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

This book was recommended to me by a trusted blogger, so it must be awesome.  It sounds a little dark, judging by the short description on Goodreads, so I'll save it for a day when I'm bored at home.

4. Vitro, by Jessica Khoury

Although dystopian novels are starting to get a little old, this one has an intriguing plot line that made me instantly add it to my TBR list.  Plus, there's an island on the cover, and that makes me think of tropical vacations.

5. Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders, by Geoff Herbach

After reading Herbach's Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, I know that I have to read all of his books.  Herbach's novels are filled with so much personality and spunk that they literally make me laugh out loud.  What's better for a boring summer day than a hilarious YA novel?

6. The Dollhouse Asylum, by Mary Gray

The cover of this book is positively frightening, but it reminds me a bit of Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld, so of course I have to add it to my summer TBR list.  It looks spooky to me, so it would be perfect for a camping trip.

7. Gorgeous, by Paul Rudnick

Dresses that make an ordinary girl transform into the most beautiful woman alive?  At first, it sounds like a pretty sexist novel, but what else am I supposed to waste my time reading this summer?

8. Red, by Alison Cherry

This book seems like proof that authors are running out of things to write about.  I mean, who would write an entire novel about people who have red hair?  But, its description made me laugh, so therefore I must read it.

9. Geek Girl, by Holly Smale

I guess I'm a sucker for transformation stories, and geek to supermodel piqued my interest.  Plus, this book's cover is absolutely adorable.

10. To All the Boys I've Loved, by Jenny Han

I actually saw an advertisement for this book in a magazine, which means that it could possibly, maybe, sort of become popular.  It seems like the perfect realistic fiction book for the summer.

While I'm at the beach or relaxing this summer, these are the books that I will be reaching for.  What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?  I'd love to hear any suggestions - feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy reading!

Monday, May 19, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Full Ride

Full Ride
Title: Full Ride
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Realistic fiction
Pages: 368
Age Rating: Readers over 13
My Opinion: 8/10

Hi, Readers!

       Margaret Peterson Haddix is such a well-known author that I was surprised to find one of her books that I'd never heard of before.  I was also shocked to discover halfway through the book that it was entirely realistic fiction, instead of science fiction like her other books.  For this It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?, a blogging meme hosted by Teach Mentor Texts, Book Journeys, and Unleashing Readers, I chose to review Full Ride because it was much better than I initially expected it to be.

       Becca is entering her senior year of high school, and she wants to follow her father's footsteps and attend Vanderbilt University next year.  However, she has a few problems with her plan.  First and foremost, Becca's father has been given a jail sentence for scamming hundreds of people and stealing their life's savings.  Also, a major company is targeting Becca and her mother in order to get revenge on her father.  Lastly, Becca has been living the last few years of her life in complete secrecy in order to hide her true identity as the daughter of a criminal.  Surviving high school is hard enough, but Becca has to deal with all of these issues on top of her full schedule of AP classes.  When she realizes that she cannot apply for financial aid for college without giving away the identity of her father, Becca decides to submit an essay for the Whitney Court Scholarship.  Her experience with the Court family collides with her secret past, and Becca is thrown into a whirlwind of events that will determine her future at college and her personal safety.

       One of the most interesting aspects of Full Ride is Becca's relationship with her mother.  There is a role reversal of sorts during the novel because Becca's mother is more interested than living in safety than having freedom.  When Becca's mom wants to hide away from anybody that may recognize her face from her husband's trial, Becca becomes outraged that she may have to throw away her entire future to stay hidden.  She takes control and is able to figure out the situation on her own by showing maturity and strength of character.

Becca's dream is to follow her father's
footsteps by attending Vanderbilt
       I think that Full Ride really hit home for me personally because I am in the middle of the college search, and I can certainly relate to Becca's doubts about picking the right college.  Becca wants to follow her father's footsteps and attend Vanderbilt University, but she also wonders if she would be better off choosing a school more suited to herself personally. Becca's dilemma is very relevant to teenagers because the future is so uncertain and choosing a college or a path for the future can determine one's success in life.  Luckily, though, most of us do not have to deal with having a widely known and disliked criminal as a father like Becca.

       Any high schooler embarking on the college search would enjoy reading Full Ride because, well, it makes the college search of a normal teenager seem like a piece of cake!  Margaret Peterson Haddix creates a number of dynamic characters in the novel that are a joy to read about, and unraveling the mystery of Becca's past is thrilling.

Happy reading,

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? Sky Raiders

Sky Raiders
It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?Title: Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms #1)
Author: Brandon Mull
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Aladdin
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 432
Age Rating: Readers over 8
My Opinion: 9/10

Hi, Readers!

       I was more excited than a little kid on Christmas morning when I got my hands on the newest Brandon Mull book, Sky Raiders I'm so glad to share my thoughts about the book with you for this It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?, a blogging meme hosted by Teach Mentor Texts, Book Journeys, and Unleashing Readers.  Mull's Fablehaven series is one of my favorites of all time, and I have high expectations for the rest of his new Five Kingdoms series as well. 

       Cole is a sixth grader who leads a fairly ordinary life in Mesa, Arizona, hanging out with his best friend Dalton and crushing on a beautiful girl named Jenna.  He thinks he's hit the jackpot when he gets the opportunity to go trick-or-treating with Jenna and her friends, and to impress them, he takes them to a haunted house.  However, as soon as the kids enter, something seems amiss.  The decorations are too realistic, and the house is too creepy.  Suddenly, kidnappers pop out of nowhere and bring Dalton, Jenna, and the other kids through a portal leading to the 'Outskirts'.  Cole hides to avoid capture, but he follows them in to try to rescue his friends.  When they become seperated, Cole is sold into slavery to the Sky Raiders, a group of scavengers who pillage empty castles in the sky.  His fate and the fate of his friends become entangled with that of an undercover princess on a mission to overthrow her dictatorial father.  The children must face unthinkable threats and dangers in order to reunite, and they must figure out a way to return to Earth.

       As you can probably tell by my summary above, the plot line of Sky Raiders is extremely intricate.  One of the best parts about the novel is that settings are always described in great detail when the characters are traveling through them.  For instance, when Cole and his friends entered part of the 'Outskirts' that was made out of food, I could picture in my mind their carriage driving by enormous lakes of milk and cookies and mountains of cake.  Another successful part of Sky Raiders is that it made me want to read the rest of the series right away.  There were a lot of loose ends by the conclusion of the novel that set it up perfectly for its sequel, which is due to come out in October.

The Rogue Knight
Sky Raiders' sequel,
The Rogue Knight
       My only complaint about Sky Raiders is the age of the characters.  Brandon Mull is definitely writing the series for a younger audience, probably elementary and middle school readers.  However, I wish that he had Cole be in middle school in order to appeal to a wider audience of readers.  Just think - kids love reading about characters who are older than themselves because it makes the characters ten times cooler.  It's not nearly as fun to read about characters who are younger and have less life experience than yourself.  I think that Mull would have attracted a much wider audience if he would have aged his characters by a couple of years.  All in all, though, I managed to mostly forget the young age of the characters while I was reading and tried to pretend that they were older.

       Overall, Brandon Mull certainly did not disappoint in the first book of his newest series.  He took a very magical and fantastical approach to the novel, much more than in any other books he's written.  His creation of the character Cole reminded me a lot of Seth from Fablehaven.  Any young reader would absolutely love Mull's Sky Raiders.

Happy Reading!