Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: The Archived

Author: Victoria Schwab
Publish date: January 2013
Source: Classroom library
"Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
" (Goodreads)

I will start out by saying that I have read The Near Witch and I was not its biggest fan. Basically, I liked the premise of the story, but felt like it was slow and didn't go anywhere. That said, I went into The Archived with a completely open mind, like a do over with Victoria Schwab. Unfortunately, I think her books and I are just not meant to be.

The Archived starts out pretty slowly and for me, it never really picked up enough speed to carry me through and make me want to pick it back up again. The story was interesting, but just moved too slowly for my liking. I actually considered DNFing about halfway through, but after reading Goodreads reviews, I decided to keep going. I don't regret finishing it, but I do feel like I'm the only person out there who feels meh about it.

The thing that stood out to me from The Near Witch was Schwab's writing style, which holds up in The Archived. It is rather flowy and lovely, although without wanting to sound like some kind of crazy person...I thought it got to be repetitive. There were a lot of purposeful run-on sentences, which I can appreciate, but when that's your main style, it gets old. I know that is super nitpicky and teachery of me, but it's what I notice!

The Archived is just one of those "it's not you, it's me" kind of books. I think most people will like it, but if you need action packed and fast moving plots, this might not be the read for you. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Out of the Easy

Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publish date: February 12, 2013
Source: Borrowed
"It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
" (Goodreads)

It's no secret that I loved Ruta Sepetys's first novel, Between Shades of Gray. I was immediately excited to read Out of the Easy and the lovely Tara was kind enough to lend it to me last year. I loved it and am happy to say that Ruta Sepetys is now one of my favorite authors.

I'd never read a book in either this time period or setting before, but after Out of the Easy, I really want to. I thought it was such a great time period for historical fiction (although I love historical fiction in general) and the setting just made the story fascinating. I'm such a sucker for settings and this is definitely one of my new favorites.

This book is completely different that Between Shades of Gray, but I loved it just as much. Josie's mom was very easy to dislike, which is exactly what she was supposed to be like, and I was rooting for Josie herself the whole time. The writing style also added to my enjoyment as well: elegant, yet simple and impulsively readable. I tore through the pages of this one and was sad when it ended because I just wanted to keep reading!

I plan on purchasing a copy of this for myself and despite not really being a rereader, I know I will be devouring this and Between Shades of Gray again.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Stupid Fast

Author: Geoff Herbach
Publish date: 2011
Source: Classroom library
"I, Felton Reinstein, am Stupid Fast. Seriously. The upper classmen used to call me Squirrel Nut, because I was little and jumpy. Then, during sophomore year, I got tall and huge and so fast the gym teachers in their tight shorts fell all over themselves. During summer, three things happened all at once. First, the pee-smelling jocks in my grade got me to work out for football, even though I had no intention of playing. Second, on my paper route the most beautiful girl I have ever seen moved in and played piano at 6 a.m. Third, my mom, who never drinks, had some wine, slept in her car, stopped weeding the garden, then took my TV and put it in her room and decided she wouldn’t get out of bed.

Listen, I have not had much success in my life. But suddenly I’m riding around in a jock’s pick-up truck? Suddenly I’m invited to go on walks with beautiful girls? So, it’s understandable that when my little brother stopped playing piano and began to dress like a pirate I didn’t pay much attention. That I didn’t want to deal with my mom coming apart.
" (Goodreads)

I remember hearing about Stupid Fast because Sarah at YA Love Blog read it and raved about it. It was one of the books we recently purchased for our classroom libraries at school and as soon as I saw it, I couldn't wait to read it. It was great, as I predicted, and is starting to become a hit at school.

The thing I absolutely loved the most about Stupid Fast was Felton's voice. Geoff Herbach clearly nailed the voice of a teenage boy going through a lot of changes (aka all teenage boys). Felton is hilarious and awkward and smart, and I just loved seeing life through his eyes. If Felton's voice hadn't been so strong and clear, I definitely would not have liked this book as much.

Based on the cover, you'd probably imagine this is a sports book and nothing more, but it's obviously a lot more than that. Male students who like sports books (like Tim Green's or Mike Lupica's) will definitely gravitate toward the cover, but I think they'll be pleasantly surprised at the story beyond the sports aspect. After my book talk, Stupid Fast was checked out immediately and I can't wait for it to make the rounds!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top Ten Bookish Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Bookish Memories

These are most definitely NOT in order!

1. Every midnight Harry Potter release I went to, starting with Goblet of Fire. They were awesome!

2. Reading Deathly Hallows. I was so sad it was over...

3. Meeting Meg Cabot last summer! She is hilarious and I would love to attend another of her events.

4. Going to the RT convention last year. Meeting so many amazing authors and bloggers was just the BEST.

5. Starting my MLIS last year. Maybe someday I will make the move from being a teacher to being a youth librarian! I am pretty happy where I am right now though.

6. Stopping in DeSmet, SD, when I was a kid and visiting Laura Ingalls Wilder's old home. It was awesome!

7. Reading The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure. She is also an LIW fangirl and the entire time I just kept thinking, THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE LIKE ME OUT THERE!!

8. Discovering Schuler Books in Lansing and the great events they put on there! So far, Meg Cabot and the Smart Chicks Kick it tour!

9. Anytime my students connect with and love a book I recommend (or that anyone recommends)! I love seeing that book love.

10. The amazing people I have met through a year and a half of blogging! You guys are the best.

Monday, February 4, 2013

January 2012 in Review

January wasn't a great reading month for me, but I did post more reviews that usual, due to reading a lot over winter break. This month I read 5 books, including the last books in 2 trilogies: Shades of Earth and Promised. I'm not sure if I'll read either of them since I don't know if I can do it spoiler free! Maybe I will review the entire trilogy?

I also have to admit giving up on an audiobook that I really wanted to love: Chime by Franny Billingsley. I DNFed the print version last year, but heard that the audio was fabulous...which it was! I absolutely loved the narrator but just could not follow or get into the story. After 2 tries, I think I am officially done with the book.

Reviews this month
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Recovery Road by Blake Nelson
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (audiobook)
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
The Diviners by Libba Bray

I also posted my End of the Year Book Survey, a WoW for The Madness Underneath, and my plea for audiobook recommendations

My favorite book that I reviewed this month was probably Seraphina, although I also really enjoyed Recovery Road. My least favorite was by far Beautiful Creatures, which I was really bummed about since it took so long to listen to. I'm glad I read it though--nice to know what the fuss is (or isn't) about. 

This month look for my review of Stupid Fast and my return to Top Ten Tuesdays!