Monday, December 30, 2013

Yule Ball Celebration!

Earlier in December we had the pleasure of attending a Harry Potter Ball at our favorite local bookstore:  Alamosa Books!

They had many activities for wizards and muggles to participate in:

Being sorted by the sorting hat:  

Racing with Owls:

Fighting other wizards:

And hanging out with friends:

Thanks Alamosa Books!  We can't wait for next year's ball!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Books of 2013

 Although this was not the best year as far as consistent reviews go, Rebecca and I actually did read many books. (We’ll try harder next year, I promise.) And at the end of every year I really enjoy compiling our “Best Of” list and giving you, our readers, some recommendations if you haven’t read the following books yet. So, here it is, another year gone by and another list of the top ten books we’ve read (split between Rebecca and me).

Rebecca & Esso

Rebecca's best books:



Rebecca says:
by John Green

I laughed, and I cried as I gained insight into the lives of the chronically ill and their caretakers.
by Patrick Ness

I was on the edge of my seat while reading.  Ness paints an interesting picture of the true nature of people and makes me wonder if we could colonize another planet.
by Rick Yancey

Would we survive an alien invasion?  With determination and some help we would put up a heck of a fight.
by Veronica Rossi

Rossi continues to develop strong characters in this second book.  I can’t wait to see how Perry and Aria save the world.
Cast in Sorrow
by Michelle Sagara

Sagara did not disappoint with Kaylin’s latest journey.  One person can have such a large impact on many.

Esso's best books:



Esso says:
By Leigh Bardugo

 As a continuation of Alina’s story this book couldn’t get any better. I love the new characters we’re introduced to, particularly the unexpected, swoon-worthy, privateer Sturmhond. More please!
by Rick Yancey

A YA novel that is more survival than dystopian. Yancey is a magnificent writer and isn’t afraid to take chances and pull out all the stops in this story.
The Final Descent
by Rick Yancey

It is finally the end for Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop. The ending is somewhat controversial for fans of the series, but I can’t imagine it any other way.
by Annabel Pitcher

A contemporary YA fiction novel, this is a huge surprise coming from me. Pitcher made me fall for this story and the characters she created. This is a book that will draw you in and keep you for all 261 pages. Good luck putting it down.  
by Robin LaFevers

Assassin nuns.
Read it. You won’t be disappointed.  

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Rick Yancey is the reigning champion (according to me), seeing as he has maintained a spot on our “Best Of” list every year since our blog’s inception. That is no typo; you’ll notice Yancey acquired three of these coveted spots this year. I think we should all commence in singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” now.  Go ahead, I'll sing with you.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Book Thief Trailer

It's pretty bad when you are so out of touch with the internets/books/etc that your best friend has to call you up and ask if you knew about a book being made into a movie that comes out in TWO DAYS. Yes, sadly I am talking about myself. I big thanks to my bestie for keeping me in the loop on this one. 

The Book Thief may very well be my favorite historical fiction novel of all time. And it's being made into a movie (that came out today). If you haven't read it - YOU NEED TO. If you have read it - here's the AMAZING trailer for the movie. It's one of the best trailers I've seen in a long time.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Win an eBook of Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky!

Attention paperback book lovers:  Middle Ground by Katie Kacvinsky is coming out in paperback on Tuesday, November 19, 2013!!!  What a better way to celebrate than with a giveaway, right?  Enter below to win an eBook of Middle Ground provided by the author herself.

We loved Awaken.  Imagine a not-so-distant future where everyone is scared to leave their house and they do as much from home as possible including school.  Meet Maddie, a girl who has been home-schooled in Digital School since she was young.  Watch as she awakens to an unplugged, heart-stopping life.  Meet Justin, a young man who fights Digital School.  If you love a fast-paced, heart-stopping story of civil disobedience, pick up Awaken.

Middle Ground picks up where Awaken leaves off.  This time Maddie fights the system from within.  Will she win?  Will society continue to be plugged-in or can it be awoken to the beauty of living life.

 As you wait for Still Point, the final book in the Awaken series, enter to win an eBook of Middle Ground.

Thanks to all who entered!  Congratulations to Tina!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Battle until the End: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Overall Rating:  5 stars
Addiction Level:  I ignored the hubby and puppies until I finished it.  (Due to the stressful nature of the book, I read half in May and half in October.)
Believe-ability:  I daydream about the created world and wonder how I fit in.
Dystopia Factor:  The world has been turned upside down and all hope is lost several times, but maybe our hero and heroine can save it.


While this series is excellent, the stress of reading it in one sitting is unbearable. The nonstop action kept my heart racing as I devoured the pages. The unpredictable kept happening. Ness is a master of plot twist.

Mayor/President Prentiss is an evil man. I did not like him in book one, and I like him even less in book three. His relationship with Todd worried me the whole time. Like Todd I did not trust him, but he showed some elements of goodness. Yet, he was always controlling multiple people. He is a master of manipulation. I kept wondering if/when he is going to die. (He became worse than Aaron the preacher.)

Ness throws in a big curve ball, because he adds a third narrator 100 pages in! I wanted to throw the book across the room! The third narrator adds depth to the story. I am impressed with Ness' ability to distinguish between multiple points of view, make each believable, and create a well-rounded story.  

When Manchee died in book one, I could not stop sobbing. How could he kill off the most loyal character? Aaron's death redeemed Manchee's life…a little. In Monsters of Men I was sad when another animal dies, but I was sobbing when a favorite character was killed. Ness put my heart through the ringer. Again.

I highly recommended this series to anyone who loves a good story of survival, coming of age, and being active in one's choices/life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Place Your Heart in a Ringer: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Overall Rating:  5 stars
Addiction Level:  I read it every waking moment.
Believe-ability:  The setting is believable.


Life is not fair; it never has been.  It never will be.  But life is what you make of it.  It is what you do with it.
The Fault in Our Stars is about Hazel who has cancer.  She will never be cured; her life will just be prolonged.  Her life changes when she meets Gus, a cancer survivor.  Gus is full of life and reenergizes Hazel.
Hazel’s favorite book is An Imperial Affliction, and Gus comes to love it too.  The book’s only flaw is it ends in mid-sentences.  Who would end a book like that?  Together Gus and Hazel seek out the author to discover the real ending.
What I loved:
·         John Green does not sugar coat long-term suffering.  His details are sometimes too overwhelming.
·         Long-term suffering and friends.  Green pegged people’s reactions to illness.  Most people disappear; most people cannot handle being the friend of a “sick person.”  Those that matter stick with you to the end.
·         The caregiver.  When people think about terminal very rarely do they think of the caregiver.  Is their whole life taking care of the ill, or is it something more?  Will they have a life after the ill is better/gone?
·         Gus.  He is a hilarious character full of life.  I can picture him driving in an abrupt stop-and-go manner with his prosthetic leg.
·         Van Houten.  He was a sad pathetic man.  Green does not sugar coat his pathetic state.  In fact I wavered between anger and pity.
·         Hazel.  I loved that she found life and the inner strength to go on. 
·         John Green’s accurate portrayal of characters.  I laughed.  I cried.  I lived through them.
·         Hope/support.  Though I long to be independent, I know that we cannot live life alone; we need each to survive.  I was happy that Hazel and Gus found each other to lean on.

What I questioned:
·         Eternal hope.  Though I partially depend on other people to help me through tough times, no one can replace my God.  The comfort and trust I have in Him is nothing to compared to human comfort.  38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 38-39).