Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It's Our 5 Year Blogaversary + Giveaway !

September is our 5 month blogaversary !


In the summer of 2011 the last Harry Potter movie come out,  some show called Games of Thrones premiered on HBO,  Where She Went by Gayle Foreman won the 2011 Goodreads Choice Award for Best YA and a little blog called Books and Sensibility was created. At the time  Jess and I were recent college grads looking for jobs and thought it might be fun to create a Cleolinda-esque blog about The Mortal Instruments. Instead  we ended up stumbling into the community of YA book bloggers and never turned back.

Over the last few years blogging for me has become less about being a blogger and more about connecting with other readers and making myself read. I think if I didn't have a blog I'd probably never read.




In celebration, we're giving away one set of  of mini princess magnetic bookmarks from The Sticker Alley ! Bonus: This giveaway is international ! 

Images from The Sticker Alley




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, September 23, 2016

Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor


Cam "Skip" Smith is going to graduate from a prestigious prep school. Cam Smith is going to Princeton in the Fall. . . just as long as no one finds out Cam Smith is really Philips O'Rourke, the youngest member of a thieving, scheming family. Skip thought he left his family behind when he ran away at thirteen but they are pulling him in for one last job. This job could be the "big one", but it could also be fatal.

Thieving Weasels is one of those rare stand alone books in YA. You are never sure who is conning who and you won't know who to trust till the last page . Despite the book's fun cover, this novel does have some teeth to it.

I perked up when this book was mentioned at the  BEA YA BUZZ Panel, because it had the scheming family "who is conning who" elements I liked in The Curseworkers series by Holly Black, complete with the mafia and New York/Long Island setting.

I think the fast paced plot and the quippy dialogue will pull in reluctant readers.


Side Note


  •  I couldn't unsee the character of Uncle Wonderful as Kevin O'Leary from shark tank because he  goes by "Mr. Wonderful". . . Is this like a thing ?
  • Also, during the YA Buzz panel it was revealed that a photo shoot was done for the book cover and the woman playing Skip's mom is a  preschool teacher.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

  • Release Date: August 23, 2016
  • Pages:368
  • Genre: Contemporary-ish
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin)


This book probably had the easiest elevator pitch ever; students at a New Jersey high school start spontaneously combusting. The entire town, and eventually the entire world start looking for answers including senior class member Mara Carlyle, the snarky ,foul-mouthed, irreverent narrator who takes us through this story.

I have read a lot of weird YA. I’m talking giant man eating grasshopper YA and girls-drink-bat-and-sees-future-anti-feminist hellscape weird. But this book takes the Kafkaesque cake.

I was so morbidly curious about this book after hearing about it a BEA because I wanted to see how they handled the combustion. Do the students go poof gone or it is something more gruesome ? Well, let me put it this way, when it first happens people assume it was a suicide bomb. So, it mentions blood but it never gets too gross. Starmer focuses more on how students react to what is...left over.

Jess predicted this book would get a lot of John Green buzz, because of the blurb on the cover but let me tell you; This ain’t no John Green book. There is no manic pixie dream person or earnest contemplation about the meaningfulness of it all. Our narrator is what you would call an unlikeable female character. She spends a good portion of this book abusing substances, judging people and making fun of the combustion.

Speaking of which,this books also feels like older YA to me. There is a non fade to black sex scene, lots of drug use and a lot of cursing. Like if this was a movie it would be rated R. I just want to note that because I know some people don’t like all that in there YA.

I honestly can’t say if I liked this or not. I was definitely hooked because this book just has a great tension as it goes from omg someone just blew up to why does this keep happening to how does it keep happening and the entire town develops this doomsday paranoia and the fear that increases with each combustion.


* SLIGHT SPOILERS *


The ending of this book left me kind of cold. I saw this book in Target (because of course the YA written by a dude is in Target) to see if the ending was different than the ARC and it wasn’t. There is no clean and tidy resolution and I feel like that could be frustrating for some readers (i.e. ME).

Aaron Starmer is keeping YA weird with this raucous YA about what happens when everyone around you starts blowing up.

*ARC received at BEA






Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday Vol. 18



Well, it's been a while since I did one of these !

I was talking to Jess about how much I devoured Meg Cabot's chicklit in high school and then literally the next day I saw a Penguin newsletter advertising the newest book in Cabot's chicklit series.  I've already got this one on hold at the library !

Publication Date: October 18th 2016


In this brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a scandal brings a young man back home to the small town, crazy family, and first love he left behind.Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small town troubles—including a broken heart—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit.  Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance.
Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents.
Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another—or the memories of that one fateful night.  And soon everything they thought they knew about themselves (and each other) has been turned upside down, and they—and the entire town of Bloomville—might never be the same, all because The Boy Is Back.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Keep Me in Mind by Jamie Reed

  • Release Date: April 26, 2016
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Genre: Contemporary YA
  • Publisher: Point (Scholastic)
When  Ellia Dawson wakes up in the hospital with a head injury the first person she sees is Liam McPherson, her boyfriend of two years. The only problem ? She doesn’t remember him. In fact, she doesn’t remember anything about the last two years of her life. Now it’s up to Liam to help her remember her past and Ellia to discover if they still fit together. But that gets pretty complicated because it seems like everyone is hiding something from Ellia.

I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I was just so annoyed by parts it, specifically by Liam who was just  so freaking righteous. I’m going to rant a little here. From the beginning we know he was with Ellia when she was injured and she has some questions, but instead of just telling her what she wants to know she has to wait for him to finish the book he is writing about their relationship because he is such a special snowflake or something.

And then the worst is this scene when Liam sees Ellia walking out of her therapy session with another guy and he just walks up and makes out with her. I was shouting at the page: SHE DOESN’T REMEMBER YOU, BRO GET OVER IT !

That said I liked the character of Ellia, she's an extreme extrovert which is nice change up for a YA female protagonist. Ellia's journey is all about reconciling the person she was with the person she is now. The last thing she remembers is being excited about going to high school and the next thing she knows she’s a junior in high school. This honestly could have been a story on its own without Liam.

One of my favorite podcasts is Read it and Weep and they have this game called No Retreat, No Surrender where they discuss side characters in films they wish they could follow instead of the main character. I wanted to follow Cody, the boy Ellia meets a therapy who  lost his short term memory in a surfing accident. Cody is only in a few scenes but all I could think about what how interesting it would be to have a relationship with where one character can’t remember the past and the other can’t remember the present. I also liked seeing how Cody used technology and other strategies to get through life with no short term memory. I was really hoping he'd take over the plot, but he doesn't.

Keep Me in Mind had an interesting set up, but a romance I couldn't invest in. However it did remind me of how much YA contemporary is my jam and I want to get back into reading more of it.











Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke







Um… So….This Book....Yeah, I think it’s time to borrow this meme from my Grasshopper Jungle review:


I got this audiobook from my library because I got it confused with some other book and thought it was about Victorian era spies. But, since the audio was only 5 hours I figured I could knock it out in a week.

Wink Poppy Midnight isn’t as insane as something like Grasshopper Jungle but I have no idea where to start with this book. The story was confusing and really bizarre …. it just didn’t feel like YA. I think Tucholke was trying to subvert some Manic Pixie Dream girl tropes but most of this book felt like something  Guy In Your MFA would write. But let me back up.

Wink Poppy Midnight is about three teenagers; Wink, the mysterious loner with a mother who reads tarot cards. Poppy, the gorgeous manipulative mean girl and Midnight, the boy whose attention both of these girls are extremely interested in because of reasons. The summer Midnight moves next door to Wink's family farm, Poppy starts to get jealous and it does not end well and things get weird. Also, I'm still not sure what happened in this book.

This book is paired a lot with The Raven Boys and while there are some similarities with the tarot cards, magical places and things not being what the seem  it lacks all of the charm of The Raven Boys. I just could not with Midnight. He gets most of the narrative but I felt like I didn’t know anything about him as a character.

Part way through I had a feeling there would be a twist, which there was, but it only made me more confused. I actually went deep into the Goodreads reviews to find some answers about what exactly happened and there were lots of different theories. Speaking of Goodreads, this is one of those books that either gets 1 star or 5 stars.

The only thing keeping me going was the narration. I  especially liked Michael Curran who sounds so young and does great job  imitating the other female voices without it sounding weird. Wink's narrator, Alicyn Packard,  had a lot of vocal fry, it made her sound older for YA, but I would listen to her narrate an adult book.

A great performance with a weird story and no payoff. I think maybe my biggest problem with this book is I just didn’t get it.







Friday, August 5, 2016

Feature and Follow Friday



Feature and Follow is the premium BLOG HOP of Book Bloggers. Running for over five years, the Feature and Follow’s goal is to promote the book blogging and author community to join together and support each other – even if it is just through a simple follow. Hosted by Parajunkee and AlisonCanRead


This Week's Featured 
Blog


This Week's FF Prompt
What are your favorite Podcasts--Both Bookish and Non-Bookish Podcast ?


I listen to podcasts during all the quiet hours of my day and at work! Here are some of my favorites, I can't wait to hop around and discover some new podcasts and blogs !

Bookish

Smart Podcast Trashy Books - This funny, insightful  podcast is hosted by romance blogger Sarah Wendell. Every week Sarah interviews  romance authors, academics and readers. Sarah is a wonderful interviewer and has so much fun with her guests. Sometimes "The Bitches" from her blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books get together to talk books !




Scandalicious and The Nerd Herd - I just discovered this podcast by the romance bloggers at Scandalicious Reviews. Scandal and her Nerd Herd pick a topic and go all out. Sometimes they are discussing one novel, personal topics or just shop talk. I like how these ladies can agree and disagree when it comes to books.


What Should I Read Next - In this upbeat and "never judgey" podcast, Anne Bogel asks a guest to name three books they love, one book they hate and what they want to be different about their reading life. Then she analyzes that info and very thoughtfully recommends three books. It feels like Anne has read everything.














Non-Bookish


Code Switch
- With more media focusing on race and identity I feel like The Code Switch Podcast creates a safe place to explore and asks questions that sometimes get lost in the Twitter noise. It' s hosted by NPR's Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji.


Criminal - Criminal is a podcast that tells stories related to crime. What's great about this podcast (other than Phoebe Judge's soothing voice) is how well they play with and find stories that fit their theme without it being all about murders.


More Perfect - More Perfect is all about the SCOTUS. I know it sounds dull but it's actually fascinating to learn about The Supreme Court history and how it changes people's lives. The Giggly Blue Robot episode had some especially interesting production.










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