May 2013 Recap

Nicole Read

Ashley Read

Nicole's Favorite 

Ashley's Favorite 

Nicole's Challenge 

Debut Author Challenge

2013 Sequel Challenge

Contemporary Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

Ashley's Challenge 

Debut Author Challenge

Paranormal Reading Challenge

Dystopia Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

MINI-REVIEW #111: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 14, 2006
Pages: 550, Hardcover
Source: Audiobook

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.


I am not going to say much about this book, because I don't think much needs to be said. I think The Book Thief has made quite a name for itself already and with due cause. This book is  special, which is evident from the very first page. 

Two things really stood out to me while reading The Book Thief - the narration and the writing. The story is narrated by Death, but it's not just Death's perspective alone that is so great, it's how Death tells the story that is truly beautiful. The words that are used, the way they are strung together. The story is not told in a linear manner, but rather jumps around a bit. Everything about the delivery of this story is transcendent and I don't think this book would have quite the impact it has had without these two elements going for it. 

The story itself is so many things it's hard to describe. It is so much more than it's broken down pieces that I can describe for you here. It is not just about Nazi Germany, or a girl who discovered the power of words. It is profound. It is multifaceted. It is inspiring. It is condemning. It is love. It is hate. It is humanity

I highly recommend this book and I hope it leaves a mark on your heart as it did mine. 


REVIEW #110: The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney

Title: The Boy Recession
Author: Flynn Meaney
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Pages: 246, Hardcover

The population of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, is shrinking as families move to cities and towns with greener pastures, and the local high school is hurting: nearly all of the area's most eligible guys have moved or transferred schools.

With little competition, the remaining boys find their stocks on the rise, and even the most unlikely candidates have a good chance at making the team and getting the girl. Guitar-strumming slacker HUNTER FAHRENBACH has made an art of blending into the background, but now desperate coaches are recruiting him and popular girls are noticing his scruffy good looks. With a little help, Hunter might even by boyfriend material...

Down-to-earth KELLY ROBBINS has a simple wish for her junior year: "one normal, nice boy to crush on." Kelly and Hunter have always been friends, but is there something more to their platonic relationship? And can Kelly overcome the odds? After all, dating is hard enough without a four-to-one ratio.


I can't think of a better book to describe as "light and fun". The Boy Recession had a great set of characters, and an entertaining plot. All in all, it was very cute and enjoyable. 

The girls of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin find themselves in the middle of a crisis - "sixty percent of the hotness" has transferred out of Julius P. Heil High School, leaving some very slim pickings. Suddenly all of the girls are scrambling for the attention of the few boys that are left, including Hunter and his friends Eugene and Derek, who were pretty much invisible before the recession. Meanwhile, Kelly and her friends Darcy and Aviva sort of sit back and provide a running commentary of things. The events and language used to describe them were pretty amusing. But we're talking high school here, so everything was a little immature and over the top. 

Now, amidst all the chaos is the story of Kelly and Hunter, who are slowly finding their way toward each other. In the wake of the budget cuts they pair up to create a peer music system for young kids. They were always friends through band, but the new time spent together has led each of them to develop deeper feelings. But Hunter discovers that he has some serious musical talent and becomes sort of a big deal, which pulls him away from Kelly and into the arms of Diva Price, creating a sort of detour in their road to love. 

Now Hunter reminded me of James Franco in Pineapple Express, minus all of the pot. He was this super mellow, super lazy, happy-go-lucky kind of guy. The only reason he went out with Diva was because it would take more energy for him not to. But when Hunter actually cared about something, he did a hell of a job at it. And he grew to care about Kelly. Kelly, on the other hand, was a middle-of-the-road type gal. She was sweet but very plane Jane. Sort of unmemorable. 

In fact, I liked the secondary characters more than I liked the main ones. Hunter's friend Eugene really stole the show for me. He reminded me of Any Bernard from The Office. Basically a preppy d-bag, that just acts ridiculously. He was determined to take full advantage of the boy recession and started pulling out all the stops to bag the popular Bobbi Novak, and much to everyones surprise, it actually worked. And ever the businessman, he starts turning profit by creating a portfolio of eligible prom dates for the desperate women of Julies P. Heil High. He was just so absurd. 

Meanwhile, Kelly's friends Darcy and Aviva outshone her. Darcy is your stereotypical super-brainy overachieving,  good-two-shoes, whereas, Aviva is your boy-crazy, overly-dramatic, no-nonsense teen. I love these two types of characters, but especially together when their contrasting personalities actually enhance one-another. Together they set up some laugh-out-loud dialogue. I really enjoyed their dynamic on the pages. 

The Boy Recession chronicles the silly antics of a bunch of hormone-driven high schoolers and the budding relationship of two innocent, unassuming teens. There were an eclectic mix of characters,  providing plenty of humor, innocence, bickering, sass, adventure, and surprise. It was a very easy book to finish, and the perfect read for a summer by the pool or a date with the gym. 


I'm Waiting On Linked by Imogen Howson

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

This week I chose...

Title: Linked
Author: Imogen Howson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Release Date: June 11th 2013

Summary from Goodreads:

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

The whole concept sounds interesting, not really sure what to expect but I am excited to read it!

What are you waiting on?


Top Ten Tuesday (20) - May 28th


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is "Top Ten Tuesday Freebie"

What are your favorite audiobooks?


REVIEW #109: Towering by Alex Flinn

Title: Towering
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 14th 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 293 pages
Source: Edelweiss/received from publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

Towering is a re-telling of Rapunzel, same tower, same long blonde hair, different era. Rachel has been trapped in a tower since she can remember staring out, singing, hoping she will be saved. Wyatt is trying to deal with a great tragedy so he is decides to get away from home and live with one of his mother’s friend’s mother. Mrs. Greenwood was an older lady whose daughter went missing, a common occurrence in this isolated creepy town. On his first day in the home, he sees the ghost of the missing daughter and the singing voice.  Wyatt is determined to figure out where the voice is coming from and why he is seeing the ghost.

It is hard to describe this story and to really grasp my thoughts on it. The beginning of the story had me so intrigued. I wanted to know more about how a tower stays hidden this day in age, why did Rachel need to be in a tower, how she got there, etc. The tragedy that brought Wyatt to the town was also a question that keeps me going. At this point I was giving the story a solid 3 stars. It takes a bit of a turn after they meet.
When Wyatt and Rachel finally meet, it was insta-love. I am not talking about just a little. I am talking about full out insta-love, overwhelming sappiness. Quite corny. For example:

“The song was a little depressing too, about someone who didn’t believe in love, but I liked the chorus where it said: Darling you are the only exception. You are the only exception. Because that was how I felt about Rachel, exactly how I felt. The song was about me keeping my distance, not taking chances with people because I was afraid. But Rachel was different. Rachel was worth the risk, any risk. The only exception”

YEA. It was a bit much. This example was after their second meeting. So I told myself, hey, it is a fairy tale re-telling, cut it some slack, it can be more prince charming love at first sight syndrome. I looked passed the insta-love and pressed on. I wanted to know more about the disappearing kids and what Rachel’s role was. Without spoiling the story, there were a couple twists at the end that I was not expecting at all but the reasoning behind the kidnappings and the reason to keep Rachel hidden were a kind of weak and a disappointment.  The just did not seem to fit the story.  

Unfortunately, the intriguing beginning eventually reveled a super sappy instant love story combined with a random back story/explanation of the whole situation.  Towering does have a beautiful cover though.  I would recommend if you are have no, ZERO, averse feelings towards instant love and love fairy tales re-tellings.  

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