Friday, November 24, 2017

Top 3 TBF Authors I Can't Wait to Meet

Hi it is Anica again. Today I am here with the top three TBF authors I can't wait to meet. I had not heard of most of the authors, which I love, but narrowing it down to three was tough but I think I have got it. I am going to count down just because I want to be different.

3). Justina Ireland. Her book Promise of Shadows is in my tbr pile(it is a big pile). She writes fantasy and science fiction, two of my favorite genres. Her book titles sound amazing. Like Vengeance Bound how cool of a title is that!?!

2). Alisa Kwitney. A new young adult author.She has written some adult books before. I always love when we get newer authors, or ones who are trying out a new genre. It is interesting to see someone a little earlier in the process. Her book Cadaver & King comes out in February 2018.

1). Roshani Chokshi. I absolutely loved The Star-Touched Queen. First of all I can't even with the cover. I know people say don't judge a book by it's cover, but in the case it works. I loved the cover and I loved the book. It was so beautifully written and captivating. There were so many twists and turns I never saw coming. I can't wait for the next book and the opportunity to meet her.

I have never met any of these authors and can not wait to have the opportunity to in May. Only about six more months to go!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Book Review: Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

It's a familiar story: In spite of the obstacles put in her way by her wicked stepmother, Ella goes to the ball, sweeps Prince Charming off his feet, and is chosen to be his bride. Now she's comfortably ensconced in the palace, awaiting marriage to the man of her dreams. It's happily ever after time, right?
Wrong! Life for Ella has become an endless round of lessons and restrictions; even worse, Prince Charming turns out to be more like Prince Boring. Why can't she talk with him the way she can with Jed, her earnest young tutor?
Slowly, Ella comes to realize she doesn't want the life she fought so hard to win. But breaking her engagement proves more difficult -- and dangerous -- than escaping her stepmother's tyranny.

Hello again everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sure that many of you are on a Thanksgiving break of some sort right now and looking for an amazing book to read. Well, fear not! I have just finished reading Just Ella, a wonderful book by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I would highly suggest all of you take advantage of the time you have off and give it a try.

First of all, I have a confession to make: I love fairytale retellings. Just Ella is a delightful retelling of the age old story Cinderella. Of course in this version, Ella is completely capable of taking care of herself while Prince Charming, on the other hand, is not. I loved the fresh spin Margaret Peterson Haddix put on the original story of Cinderella and the addition of many new characters (don’t worry, characters from the tale of Cinderella that we all know so well make an appearance). As a child I always wondered what would happen when Cinderella reached the palace. Would she enjoy the responsibilities of a princess? Would she find that she truly loved the prince even after his flaws were revealed? Just Ella answers all of my questions and more, recreating the world of Cinderella so vividly in the pages that I feel like I’m watching the movie again. Ella tells her story in the blunt, fresh voice of a girl just discovering that the world isn’t anything like she imagined it to be and that she is, to put it frankly, disappointed. She is a relatable character and it is entertaining to see her learn about the world around her and herself as she grows throughout the book.

Just Ella is a quick read, perfect for curling up with on the couch while drinking hot cocoa after a Thanksgiving meal. The plot is fast moving and doesn’t involve any long term book commitments (I’m looking at you Count of Monte Cristo) which is nice if other things are taking up a lot of your time (school anyone?). The ending is surprising and pleasing, wrapping up the book in a realistic but happy way and not seeming hypocritical or at odds with the rest of the story. One of my favorite things about Just Ella was the underlying tone of feminism and empowering women that was present in the book. I loved the way that Margaret Peterson Haddix turned Cinderella, a story about a young girl being saved by a prince and a fairy godmother, to a story about a smart young woman who saved herself and found out what she truly wanted. Ella wasn’t afraid of self examination and she understood her flaws as well as her virtues. I admired that fact that Ella had guts. She was not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself, despite the consequences and the people telling her that she should just do what she was told. I would recommend Just Ella to fans of the Cinder which is another phenomenal book. Just Ella is a great fairytale retelling for anyone who has wondered what comes next after the movie credits role.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and get reading! Remember TBF is only six months away. Until next time.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Fun Post: 3 TBF Authors I Can't Wait to Meet

Hey fellow book lovers! Katie C. here to tell you the top 3 authors I can't wait to see at TBF this year!

Charles Benoit

I've read 4 of Charles Benoits books, Cold Calls, You, Fall From Grace, and Snow Job, and loved every single one! Not only have I seen him at TBF in years past, but he also came and spoke at my middle school book club when I was in 8th grade. All in all, he's such a fun person to not only talk to, but listen to as well. He's always full of energy and has so much great advice to give to his readers. If you haven't read any books by Charles Benoit, I highly recommend all of them. And whether you read any or not, Charles Benoit is still someone to keep an eager eye out for at TBF this year! 

Margaret Peterson Haddix

While I've never met Haddix in person, I've read Among the Hidden, as well as the rest of The Shadow Children series. Among the Hidden was an assigned book for school, but I loved it so much that i immediately borrowed the rest of her series and read them as fast as I could. The ongoing plot excited me so much that I could never put any of her books down I can't wait to read some more of her books as well as finally see her in person in May!

Penelope Bagieu

I can't wait to read Bagieu's book! Not only is it all about spirited women throughout history, but it's a graphic novel as well!  I really love graphic novels and love talking to the artists behind them (last year I saw Matthew Loux at TBF and it was really fun and inspiring). Penelope Bagieu's book, Brazen, has been on my TBR list ever since i first head of it's existence and I can't wait to not only read it, but meet the amazing author behind it at TBF this year!

Ahhh! just writing about all these amazing authors is getting me super pumped for TBF this year! Make sure to check out these three wonderful authors, plus a bunch more, this coming may at the Teen Book Festival! that's all for today, see you guys sometime in the near future!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

Hello again! Today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Claire Legrand’s novel The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. This delightfully creepy story does not disappoint.

Victoria cannot stand messes. She has perfect grades, perfect hair, and she always follows the rules. So she surprises even herself when she befriends Lawrence. Lawrence, who can’t tuck his shirt in or comb his hair. Lawrence, who Victoria is determined to fix. With a little work, he can be as perfect as she is. 

But then Lawrence goes missing. When Victoria starts investigating, she soon realizes he’s not the only kid who has disappeared. Lots of kids in Belleville have vanished- misfit kids, to be exact. And all roads lead to the mysterious Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Kids who go there come out smarter, prettier, better- or they don’t come out at all. 

It’s up to Victoria to save her friend and her town… even if it means getting a little messy.

I was trying to come up with a metaphor for how I felt while reading this book, and here’s what I came up with: you're lost in the middle of an unfamiliar forest at night with no plan out and the trees closing in... and then you hear a branch snap somewhere behind you. Part of this novel is that sinking feeling of uneasiness associated with being alone and lost in the dark, while the other part is the stomach-drop that occurs when you realize that you are, in truth, not alone. Legrand's skill in creating such an eerie tone/atmosphere is impressive, and she takes age-old fears such as being forgotten, having nowhere to turn for help, and not knowing who to trust and twists them into a story that keeps readers both fascinated and horrified. While there a couple gruesome aspects, they definitely don’t overpower the story, which is more of a psychological horror/suspense than a blood-and-gore one. It’s the type of book that fills you with the sense that something is inherently wrong by the end of the first chapter. “Mr. Prewett smiled at Victoria like someone had pins in the corners of his mouth and was slowly pulling them back toward his ears. It looked just like a smile should look. In fact, it looked better- wide and bright and shining.” Creepy, right? As you go along, you’ll realize Belleville isn't the perfect town it seems, or maybe, it's a little too perfect.

Besides the ominous atmosphere, I also admired the main character Victoria for her incredibly strong will and unwavering resolve to get to the bottom of the mystery at any cost. In many stories, it’s almost a given that the protagonist will persevere against all adversity, but with Victoria, she is truly out of her depth. She’s in a situation where her sense of order has been turned upside down; where playing by the rules like she’s been doing her entire life won’t help her win, and she knows that she’s at a disadvantage, but that doesn’t stop her. Victoria is one of the few with the choice between false security or the truth, and in her mind it’s simple. She won’t accept failure. Her unending desire to keep going and find her friend overrides her fear and makes her such a strong character. Furthermore, the growth she exhibits throughout the story from cold, almost destructively ambitious to understanding the worth of others as different, not worse, is another aspect I love. And while most of the book is focused on Victoria, I enjoyed Lawrence as well, with his quiet strength, and their friendship is genuinely fun and believable.

In all, this book was unsettling and bittersweet in the best way, and fans of Coraline or The Mysterious Benedict Society will enjoy this read.

Find The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls in the Monroe County Library System and Barnes & Nobles.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book Review: The Last True Love Story

For my first book review this year, I read The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely who will be attending TBF for the first time in 2018! This is the first book by Kiely I’ve ever read, and it’s safe to say I’ll definitely read another, and that’s because of his writing. It was emotional and hopeful and felt real  as if I actually knew these characters and they were simply telling me this story themself.

The point of living is learning how to love.
That’s what Gpa says. To Hendrix and Corrina, both seventeen but otherwise alike only in their loneliness, that sounds like another line from a pop song that tries to promise kids that life doesn’t actually suck. Okay, so: love. Sure.
The thing about Corrina—her adoptive parents are suffocating, trying to mold her into someone acceptable, predictable, like them. She’s a musician, itching for any chance to escape, become the person she really wants to be. Whoever that is.
And Hendrix, he’s cool. Kind of a poet. But also kind of lost. His dad is dead and his mom is married to her job. Gpa is his only real family, but he’s fading fast from Alzheimer’s. Looking for any way to help the man who raised him, Hendrix has made Gpa an impossible promise—that he’ll get him back east to the hill where he first kissed his wife, before his illness wipes away all memory of her.
One hot July night, Hendrix and Corrina decide to risk everything. They steal a car, spring Gpa from his assisted living facility, stuff Old Humper the dog into the back seat, and take off on a cross-country odyssey from LA to NY. With their parents, Gpa’s doctors, and the police all hot on their heels, Hendrix and Corrina set off to discover for themselves if what Gpa says is true—that the only stories that last are love stories.

To say it simply this is a story about love. From Gpa and his lost love to Corrina and her music, this book to me is about different kinds of love, and how if you really love something then it will stay with you forever. This book took on the road trip trope and spun it around completely which I loved. While the trip consisted of several normal road trip necessities from a great playlist with music for everyone to a sense of camaraderie among the passengers, it also was different. Kiely didn’t just skim over the places where they stopped to eat or rest, instead creating smaller characters and places that help the reader place themself in the story. But my favorite part of this book was the music and how big a part it played in this story. Corrina and Gpa bond over their shared love of classic rock while sharing stories of what these songs mean to them. I’d recommend this book to fans of John Green as well as any who are looking for a good book about family, love, and rock n’ roll.


more about the book here:
barnes and noble 

Friday, November 3, 2017

TBF Friday Fun Post: Top 3 Authors I Can't Wait to Meet

Hello TBF readers,

I am so excited for this year's author line-up. We have some returning authors and some that haven't even been to TBF before. Here are three authors I can't wait to meet this year.

Roshani Chokshi: She is the best-selling author of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. I have been meaning to read this Hindu mythology and folklore-inspired novel. Readers have been enchanted by the magic and romance and I am ready for it! I know for a fact that I will have to read the companion novel, A CROWN OF WISHES. I am also very excited to read Roshani Chokshi's upcoming novel, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME. She has teamed up with Rick Riordan and his brand-new publishing imprint to bring audience this novel to life. We can expect ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME to have a Percy Jackson flair but this time introducing Hindu gods and heroes.

Website     Twitter     Instagram

Taran Matharu: He is the best-selling author of The Summoner series. Fun fact about The Summoner series, the first book, THE NOVICE was originally posted on Wattpad. It had a huge following. Lucky for Taran Matharu, he got THE NOVICE published. Taran Matharu had been on my TBR-list for awhile now. It gave me the perfect excuse to read his books. In addition, I was craving a high-fantasy novel. You can read my book review of THE NOVICE here!


Dhonielle Clayton: She is the co-author of TINY PRETTY THINGS (Sona Charaipotra co-wrote it with her), the COO of the non-profit organization, We Need Diverse Books, and the founder of Cake Literary, a "literary think tank" for diverse books. I read TINY PRETTY THINGS and the sequel SHINY BROKEN PIECES over the summer and it was super delightful--full of betrayal, gossip, and backstabbing. I was interested in the backdrop of the competitive ballet world as well as the diverse cast of characters. Dhonielle Clayton will releasing her next novel, THE BELLES, this February. You will have to keep your eye out because I will be sharing with you my book review of it soon! THE BELLES have been getting rave reviews from early readers.

Website     Twitter     Instagram     We Need Diverse Books     Cake Literary

That is all for today! Be sure to check out the blog this Wednesday!


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Book Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

In an unforgettable new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.
A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?
But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.
Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.

It’s incredibly difficult to write a book about a powerful and divisive social issue such as the police brutality at the center of the story of All-American Boys. Yet Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds, both authors that we are lucky enough to have at TBF this year, do so with sensitivity, attentiveness and sheer emotional strength.
The two main characters of the novel, Rashad and Quinn, are incredibly compelling. In fact, switching in and out of each of their heads was part of what made the novel so enjoyable for me to read. Both experience a good deal of self-reflection and growth about who they are and what they are willing to believe in. Watching their courage as they navigate the complexity and oftentimes bitterness of the world around them was incredibly exciting and I knew I was rooting for each character until the very last page. Besides that, the characters each contained the little details and idiosyncrasies that really take them from the page to your head. They each have their passions--for Rashad art, for Quinn basketball-- and you can really tell the focus and enjoyment both characters experience in them. They each have things that bug them-- little brothers, soggy chicken nuggets-- and they each have their fears-- which are confronted repeatedly throughout the novel.
Aside from its incredible characters, this book is also a good resource for anyone who wants to learn more about social justice issues in America. The symptoms of racism are examined throughout the novel through the perspectives of both Rashad and Quinn and the effects of racism are investigated at a personal level. Statistics and past instances of police brutality are also incorporated in a fluid way throughout the narrative, so the story contains all the information of a textbook but not the dryness so often seen as well.
In conclusion, All American Boys is definitely a great addition to your to-be-read pile. Pick it up then get ready to meet both Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds at TBF!