Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: RoseBlood by A. G. Howard

Hello TBF readers! I hope January has been treating you well. We're knee deep in the season for curling up with a good book and I have yet another for you to add to your list. 

28818314Seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

After seeing the Phantom of the Opera for the first time on Broadway a few months ago, when I read the synopsis of RoseBlood I just knew I had to pick it up. The author did a fantastic job researching the lore and real life ties to Leroux's story.

Having seen the play only once in my lifetime I would never call myself a hardcore fan of the original work but even so I found RoseBlood to be a pleasure to read. Howard wove her own ideas and twists in with the already well known work of the Phantom of the Opera, creating something new for fans, and even those unfamiliar with the work, to enjoy. I found while reading that I rather enjoyed following the main character's antics and obsessions while she tried to figure out the secret behind the opera house boarding school she'd suddenly been shipped away to. As I followed Rune through her journey I ended up collecting almost as many questions as she did, save a few select insights into Thorn's life with the Phantom that kept me feeling like I was privy to the book's number of secrets. It was a wild ride to the end, riddled with blossoming romance, deadly secrets, and a mysterious underworld that few ever see.

If you're a fan of modern day retellings, fantasy, or the Phantom of the Opera, give RoseBlood a try. Until next time, happy reading!


Monday, January 16, 2017

Guest Blogger Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the story of two seventeen-year-old boys who live in the suburbs of Chicago and also happen to have the same name. Although the boys are very different, their paths cross under very unusual circumstances. What starts out as an unlikely friendship ends in a high school musical that defines their friendship and reflects a deeper understanding of their differences.

John Green writes as Will Grayson, the straight teen who has a best friend named Tiny Cooper.

David Levithan writes as will (lowercase to distinguish from the ‘other’ Will) Grayson, a gay teen struggling with many issues – his sexuality, depression, online dating, and friendships.

Published in 2010, Will Grayson, Will Grayson was honored with the Stonewell Book Award and the Odyssey Award. It is significant to note that Will Grayson, Will Grayson was the first book starring gay characters to ever appear on The New York Times children’s bestsellers list.
“When I was little, my dad used to tell me, "Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose." This seemed like a reasonably astute observation to me when I was eight, but it turns out to be incorrect on a few levels. To begin with, you cannot possibly pick your friends, or else I never would have ended up with Tiny Cooper.

Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large. Tiny has been my best friend since fifth grade, except for all last semester, when he was busy discovering the sheer scope of his own gayness.”

Will Grayson
So, how does Will end up picking Tiny’s nose? How do the two teens with the same name end up in the same Chicago porn shop? How does will end up dating Will's best friend, Tiny? Does will come to terms with his sexual identity?

The answers to these questions – and so much more – can be learned by reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

If, in the process of doing so, you happen to fall in love with the character of Tiny Cooper, David Levithan has written a companion book featuring Tiny Cooper called Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story.

Other titles by David Levithan include: Boy Meets Boy, Wide Awake, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, Another Day, and many more.

Bonus Fun Fact: At age 19, David Levithan worked as an intern for Scholastic on The Baby-sitters Club series. He is still an editorial director for them today. In 2005, he co-edited Friends: Stories about New Friends, Old Friends and Unexpectedly True Friends with Ann Martin.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Hello TBF readers!

I recently read TBF Author Kim Savage’s second novel, BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS and I am completely blown away. Take a look:

Mira and Francesca Cillo—beautiful, overprotected, odd—seemed untouchable. But Ben touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca's world, and that some things are better left untouched.

This mystery contemporary novel will leave you breathless. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS is “The Virgin Suicides” meets “Romeo and Juliet”.

The mystery tone throughout the novel is perfectly executed. The novel jumps back and forth between the present and past, showing the point of views of Ben, the main character, and Mira and Francesca Cillo. Each “part” of the novel (broken up into the places Ben touched Mira) is dripping with suspense. Why did the Cillo sisters commit suicide? Will Ben figure out why? Oh my gosh, PLOT TWIST! I read BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS into the early hours of the morning because dying to know what happened to the Cillo sisters.

While the mystery and suspense of the Cillo sisters’ suicides remains a focal point of the novel, there is a subtle tone of dealing with grief. In the book, Ben and Mira were hiding their love for each other from the rest of the world. They parted on bad terms when Mira was alive. Now that Mira is dead, Ben must face his guilt over not reaching out to Mira during her last months alive and dealing with the aftermath of her suicide. He believes—almost to the point of insanity—that reading the notes Mira left behind, he will heal his broken heart and grief.

I highly recommend BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS to anyone who is looking for a novel with a little romance, a little suspense, a little mystery, and a littles something extra so secretive, you will have to find out yourself!

BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS will be out February 21. So mark your calendar and head over to your local bookstore or library to check Kim Savage’s stunning second novel!

That’s all for today! Talk to you guys next time!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Review: Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer

Being a vampire would be great, right? Magical powers, the ability to fly and turn into a bat. Or… maybe not. That's what Eighth Grade Bites by Zac Brewer explores.

Vladimir Tod is a half-vampire on his dad's side who, ever since his parents died in a fire, believes he is the last of his kind. Being a vampire does mean some cool powers for him like being able to float and read others' minds, but mostly it’s a lot of trouble. After all, it's difficult to hide your identity when your fangs seem to pop out at inopportune moments and you're already the much picked-on "goth kid" at school.

However things get worse with the mysterious disappearance of Vlad's English teacher and an unusual substitute with an avid interest in supernatural beings. Not to mention some new abilities that he can't explain. Before he knows it, Vlad has a new report to do on vampires of all subjects and a mysterious journal from his dad that hints at some new clues about his past.

Overall, this book was a pretty interesting change from the normal supernatural fiction. Vlad is an interesting main character and his problems- both vampire and junior high felt very realistic. I enjoyed the book's humor and am definitely intrigued by the rest of the series. Overall though, I've got to say my favorite part of Eighth Grade Bites was the world-building. It was fascinating and, at times, hilarious to hear about the different parts of being a vampire and how Vlad coped with them. For example: drinking blood- Vlad's aunt and guardian is a nurse who smuggles blood out of the hospital for him, not to mention that his lunch is basically a peanut-butter and blood sandwich with a blood-filled Hostess cake. And once Vlad gets into the secrets in his dad's journal…

Anyway my recommendation: read the book and definitely go see Zac Brewer at TBF this spring.

Happy reading!
Katie G.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book Review: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Image result for boy meets boy
“I could point out that it isn't always easy knowing who you are and what you want, because then you have no excuse for not trying to get it.”

Hello readers! This month I picked up Boy Meets Boy and I really enjoyed it! It was the first novel I’ve read by David Levithan and I look forward to picking up another.

This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance. When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away  anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

The first thing that struck me about this novel was how much I loved the town the main character, Paul, lived in. A place where all the teenagers gather together to dance away Sunday nights in the local bookstore and where the Boy Scouts quit and reform as the Joy Scouts because the Boy Scouts wouldn't accept gay members, and there may not be an accepting town like this for years to come, but it was nice to just live in this world for a short time while I read. Secondly I loved the unique characters that all shone in their own way and all seemed to steal my heart, and all felt like someone I would know in real life. The narrator Paul, is incredibly comfortable in his own skin, and his romance with Noah, the shy but strong artist had me smiling like an idiot for the majority of the novel. However despite the happy tone of this book, the third thing I loved was that it still addressed a majority of hard-hitting topics and it really just felt like a group of teenagers trying to find their place in the world, and the general happy tone of the plot doesn’t distract from these issues and topics which I really enjoyed.

Overall I adored this novel and all of it’s characters and would recommend it to anyone who loves feel-good books, lovable young love, and romantic comedies. Enjoy the end of your 2016, and we’ll see you next year with more great books!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Book Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Hi everyone! I'm glad to be back with another amazing book. This week I read Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life 
locked in Whittaker Psychiatric-but she isn't
 crazy. And that's not the worst of it. Her
 very first kiss proves anything but
 innocent..when Bale, her only love, 
turns violent.
Image result for Pictures of Stealing snow

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would
 never truly hurt her, he is taken away
-dashing her last hope for any sort of 
future in the mental ward she calls home.
 With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds 
herself drawn to a strange new orderly
 who whispers secrets in the night about
 a mysterious past and a kingdom that's 
hers for the taking-if only she can find 
her way past the iron gates to the Tree
 that has been haunting her dreams. 

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far 
away from the real world, frozen by a 
ruthless king. And there  awaits the River Witch, 
a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, 
and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

I was thrilled when I found out Danielle Paige was coming. I have heard so many amazing things about her books. And everything was so true. Stealing Snow is Beautifully written. It made my heart melt in spots, ironically enough. I couldn't put the book down. It was a quick read, but a great one. I am planning on reading the rest of Danielle Paige's books over Christmas break.

There are some very funny scenes, that made me laugh out loud. Along with some sad parts, and happy parts, this book made me laugh and cry and of course fangirl scream. If you want a book that will make you feel alot, this certainly is the book for you.

As I was trying to think of similar books, I had trouble. It was unique, even though it is a retelling of the legend of The Snow Queen. The one book it kind of reminded me of was Red Queen be Victoria Aveyard, because Snow reminds me of Mare.

That's it for this one. I'll be back in January for another book review. I hope everyone has a great hloiday season and break!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Amazon Smile

Hello TBF readers!

The holidays are fast approaching! If you still have to do some Amazon holiday shopping, I have great news for you! If you decide to shop with Amazon Smile this year, please consider selecting the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival for your chosen charity. Your purchases will help generate donations towards TBF! Shopping and helping out TBF? Win!

What are you waiting for?! Click HERE to start shopping at Amazon!