Review: Code Name Verity

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13047090Title: Code Name Verity

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Series: Code Name Verity Series

Publisher: Egmont Press

Publish Date: February 6th, 2012

Genres: Historical Fiction, World War II, Young Adult

Two young women become unlikely best friends during WWII, until one is captured by the Gestapo. Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester rub shoulders with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted to each other.

But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in “Verity’s” own words, as she writes her account for her captors. Truth or lies? Honour or betrayal? Everything they’ve ever believed in is put to the test…

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DNFing Books: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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DNFing_Books
I’m impressively stubborn, sometimes to a fault, yet I prefer to prioritize my mental sanity above forcing myself to read a book from start to finish that blatantly isn’t working for me.  While I’m by no means a liberal DNF-er, I average approximately 1-2 books per year that I permanently set aside without completing them.  When I first started blogging, my brain absolutely refused to accept the concept of not reading a novel in its entirety.  Needless to say, I had several excruciatingly painful reads in which I miserably limped along until the very last page and then promptly dove headfirst into a reading slump.  As my TBR pile started to grow exponentially, I gradually recognized that I would not be struck dead by a bolt of lightning if I elected to set a book aside in favor for a higher priority or more promising read.  In hindsight, this was one of my most important realizations with respect to my growth as a reader.

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Review: Elixir

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Book Review13047090Title: Elixir

Author: Ted Galdi

Series: none

Publisher: Self Published

Publish Date: January 1st, 2014

Genres: Fiction, Adult

Meet 14-year-old Sean Malone. He has an IQ above 200, a full-ride scholarship to one of the country’s top universities, and more than one million dollars from his winning streak on Jeopardy. However, Sean wishes he could just be normal.

But his life is anything but normal. The US government manipulates him, using him as a codebreaker in pursuit of a drug lord and killing innocent people along the way.

For reasons related to his personal security, Sean finds himself in Rome, building a new life under a new name, abandoning academics, and hiding his genius from everyone. When he’s 18 he falls in love. The thrills begin again when he learns that his girlfriend is critically ill and it’s up to him to use his intellect to find a cure, a battle pitting him against a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and the demons of his past.

Elixir is a story about identity, secrets, and above all, love.

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Discussion: Mid-Series Cover Changes (+ why publishers have a death wish)

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Discussion

Personality-wise, I’m an extremely OCD person: everything has its place, including publishers who feel the need to change book covers partway through a series (aka, a special spot in hell).  Why must they destroy my bookshelf aesthetic and force me into purchasing duplicate copies of previous installments, just so the covers and spines match?

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eReader Comparison

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eReaders have become widely popular over the past decade and are now a staple for most bookworms.  If you’re currently in the market for an eReader, it’s often challenging to gauge which device will be best suited to your needs and preferences – should you get a Kindle?  Something with E-ink technology?  A touchscreen?  A tablet with additional capabilities?   Wifi and 3G?

I’ve gone through quite a few eReaders myself throughout the years (I seem to be particularly brutal on them…or I’ve just had exquisitely bad luck), and I’ve consequently had the opportunity to experiment with a variety of features and designs.   While I am in no way a technological expert, I figured it couldn’t hurt to share my experiences, likes, dislikes, etc., imparting information I wish I had known prior to purchasing these devices.

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Discussion: Annual Reading Goals – the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

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Discussion

Whether you’re a member of Goodreads, or other book-related websites and organizations, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been asked or have come across various features that allow you to set reading goals each year.  These goals can vary significantly,  ranging from the highly specific “I want to read __ books in 2016” to something as general as “I want to read more historical fiction.”

But these goals, do they do more harm than good?  Instead of prompting us to read with increasing frequency, do they actually discourage us from the pastime?

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Discussion: Literature in the American School System

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Discussion

According to a variety of sources and international reports, American students are falling increasingly behind their international counterpoints with respect to education in the fields of math, science, and reading/writing (rhetoric).  Why is there such a disparity between children growing up in different countries?  Can this be attributed to each nation’s implemented school system?  Or even the modern generation’s increasingly prevalent fascination with gleaning a large amount of information in the shortest allotment of time?

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Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

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Book Review13047090Title: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Series: Between Series

Publisher: Speak

Publish Date: August 15th, 2013

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

You stop fearing the Devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery…who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

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Discussion: Parents in YA Novels

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Discussion

Regardless of my undying love for Young Adult literature, I’m still able to recognize the genre’s stereotypical flaws and pitfalls – most notably, the parents.  The parents and their relationships with their children are often portrayed in an extremely unrealistic manner.  I can guarantee that at age twelve I wasn’t praising my parents left and right or providing them with financial or relationship advice, so why does that seem to be the standard in young adult novels?

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Discussion: I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

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I have a confession to make – I absolutely adore enormous books.  In fact, they’ve managed to effectively take over my TBR pile.  I also blame them for rendering me four books behind schedule for my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  I’ll put it this way, it’s a love/hate relationship.

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Discussion: School Reading and English Courses (Back-to-School Edition)

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Discussion

With school right around the corner, it’s time to finish up those summer reading books an get your hands on the remaining books that you’ll be reading during the upcoming semester.  And then comes the stress of restraining yourself from highlighting the entire page or trying to find the correct page in class when you seem to be the only person with a different edition of the book.

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Review: The Selection

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Book Review10507293Title: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Series: Selection Series

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publish Date: April 24th, 2012

Genres: dystopian, romance, young adult

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

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Discussion: Character Stereotypes (part two) – Male Characters

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Discussion

From genre to genre, each book tends to highlight specific stereotypes regarding its characters.  For example, there may be a nerd or a jock or a fearless leader.  Regardless of that character’s individual attributes that make him/her unique, most of these characters can be categorized into general or broad descriptions which are applicable to literature as a whole.

A few months ago, I created a post that highlighted several female character stereotypes (click here to read part one).  I’ve decided to write a similar post in order to focus on some of their stereotypical male counterparts.  This isn’t meant to single out any one character, book, or author, I’m simply detailing the recurring personality types that I’ve experienced in my own reading. Continue reading

Discussion: Bookish Pet Peeves

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Discussion

I think I’ve mentioned my bookish OCD on more than one occasion – it plays a fairly prevalent role in my reading habits and, of course, my pet peeves.  From my meticulously organized bookshelf which I spend hours rearranging to my books themselves, I’m extremely picky, which is exactly where my bookish pet peeves come into play.

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Review: The Choice

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Reviews 2

531350
Title
: The Choice

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Series: none

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publish Date: September 24th, 2007

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Romance

Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life — boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies — he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him…and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn’t help. Despite himself, Travis can’t stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, The Choice ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

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Discussion: Character Stereotypes (part one) – Female Characters

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Discussions

From genre to genre, each book tends to highlight specific stereotypes regarding its characters.  For example, there may be a nerd or a jock or a fearless leader.  Regardless of that character’s individual attributes that make him/her unique, most of these characters can be categorized into general or broad descriptions which are applicable to literature as a whole.

Continue reading