Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Hi everyone! Summer went by so quickly for me but I still managed to squeeze in a book before I was swept away by senior year. I’m so excited to share with you The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys.

Cover may not be final
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother's birth through the lens of his camera. Photography--and fate--introduce him to Ana, whose family's interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War--as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel's photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history's darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence--inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

Sepety's style of writing is just beautiful. It flows right from the beginning and builds with intensity, with every line feeling deliberate while still progressing naturally overall. And this writing style is what makes this novel distinct from other fiction- rather than having a very structured series of events, this novel ebbs and flows through different circumstances and perspectives, bringing a sense of authenticity to the story.

And although the story isn't dramatized, in each written snapshot there is striking intensity and a sense of finality- of “this is the norm." And this novel also brings with it a powerful feeling of "this was real"- that profound sense in historical fiction that can’t really be created by any other genre. The Fountains of Silence explores life in Spain following the Spanish Civil War through multiple lenses, providing a glimpse into a history often glossed over.

First is Daniel, travelling to Madrid from a wealthy American family. Through him, we see snapshots of 1950s America- the social circles, conformity, and conservatism- and also fascist Spain as an outsider. He tries to understand the complexities of a world and culture he feels somewhat connected to through his Spanish heritage but in reality is still worlds away. And most us of are like Daniel, seeing tragedies, horrors, and injustice secondhand, and being unable to truly understand another’s circumstances when they are so unlike our own, which is what I think makes this novel so compelling.

The world that Daniel is glimpsing is Ana’s reality. Her work in an American hotel in Madrid with the exuberant displays of wealth and power is a sharp juxtaposition to her circumstances at home, yet she can’t help but dream. And through her we see many other characters who complete the story: Julia, Rafa, Fuga, and Puri, who each respond in their own ways to lives overshadowed by fear and silence.

Ruta Sepetys has been referred to as a “cross over” author whose books are read by both young adults and adults, and this could certainly be the case with The Fountains of Silence. The style of writing is more solemn and mature, and the plot is more slow-build than action-packed, but her ability to fill the story with underlying tension, vivid imagery, and meaningful characters makes this a novel everyone would enjoy.

If you like historical fiction, or if you want to try something new like I did, check out The Fountains of Silence when it comes out on October 1st. You can find it on Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Book Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Hey all! Today (or rather the day I'm posting this) is my first day back to school, meaning summer has officially ended. Summer seems to have flown by yet again this year, and as I was thinking back on the summer I remembered this incredible book I read last year that I still feel did not get enough praise.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
A "mesmerizing, poetic exploration of family, friendship, love and loss" - The New York Times Book Review. 
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend Samantha. But it's senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal's not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly human look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

The Inexplicable Logic of my Life was Sáenz's highly anticipated next novel after the wildly successful Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. And as much as I loved Ari and Dante, I think I am one of the few who loved this novel even more. Sal and I are at similar points of life right now as I approach the end of high school in these next two years and begin to step out into an unknown territory.

Like many of Sáenz's novels this book is character driven which is exactly the reason I adore them so strongly. His characters are always so well developed and so strong, allowing me to feel as if I know them even if their story is nothing like my own. Unlike his more well known novel, this novel does not focus on a romantic relationship, but rather on the relationships between families and friends. The main friendship in this story between Sal and Samantha reminded me so much of my own best friend as we are also a boy and girl pair and I saw so much of us in them. Which is exactly why I love his novels so much, because of how real, personable and memorable every single part is.

This book is so beautiful, as are the words inside and it has impacted me so strongly that I can remember how it made me feel even a year later. It is a book focused on changes and real people yet is still so enjoyable to read, and I recommend it to just about anyone looking to read a book that will make them think and feel something.

Have a great September!

check the book out here!
amazon barnes and noble goodreads

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Book Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Hello everyone and happy summer! I’ve been super busy lately, but (of course) I made time to read some new books. And I can't wait to share with you Not Even Bones, a dark and action-packed novel by Rebecca Schaeffer.

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again. 

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

I initially picked up this book for its interesting and unusual synopsis, but its compelling plot soon captured me entirely. Not Even Bones is a fast-paced novel full of action and conflict as the protagonist struggles for freedom while reconciling her conscience with her circumstances and needs. And this novel isn’t just about Nita and her misfortunes (or adventures- depends on how you look at it), it delves deeper into morally gray territory with the underlying theme of morals and their meaning and importance to different individuals. This was unexpected for me at least, but Not Even Bones ended up being a novel that I could really reflect upon and dissect (pun intended) with all the parallelism and connections that gave me those ah-ha moments after I was done reading. 

The world portrayed in this novel, as well as Nita's relationship with this environment, is also complex and unique. The genre is magical realism- Nita’s world resembles our own, just with the addition of supernatural beings. And while at first it might seem like she lives in a dark, unfamiliar world, the black markets, trafficking, and cartels are as much a part of our world today as they are of hers- only, unlike in our society, this underworld is very much present and visible in her life. Nita finds herself in situations that stretch and test her abilities and personality but her grit and determination ultimately push her through. In all, this novel shows us the ugliness underlying the world but also a girl who tries to overcome the darkness yet accept her role in it at the same time.
Overall, Not Even Bones is an unexpected and engaging novel. There are plot twists within plot twists- ones that like a magician’s sleight of hand diverted my attention while the other snuck up on me. The tables are turned multiple times, and the line between enemy and ally is so fluid that the characters you like, hate, and grudgingly admire would be better represented by a messy Venn diagram than anything else. And the ending- oh the story's only just begun...

As a disclaimer, there are some graphic and possibly disturbing scenes of violence in this novel. But overall, if you like stories with humor, action, charm, morally gray characters, and a touch of madness, Not Even Bones is the book for you!

Have a relaxing rest of your summer!


Find Not Even Bones in the Monroe County Library System, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Book Review: Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips

Sometime After MidnightHey everyone, happy summer! Hope everyone is enjoying their time off and reading some good books along the way. A few weekends ago I sat down and read Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips in about two sittings and absolutely adored it! Here's a summary:

In a dingy Los Angeles club late one night, Cameron and Nate meet and find they have much more in common than their love of an obscure indie band. But when Nate learns that Cameron is the heir to a record label, the very one that destroyed his father's life, he runs away as fast as he can. The only evidence of their brief but intense connection is a blurry photo Cameron snaps of Nate's Sharpie-decorated Chuck Taylors as he flees. 
Considering that Cameron is a real life Prince Charming--he's handsome, famous, and rich--it's only fitting that he sets out to find the owner of the Sharpied shoes. Cameron's twin sister, a model and socialite, posts the picture of Nate's shoes on Instagram to her legions of fans with the caption, "Anyone know the gorgeous owner of these shoes? My hottie brother is looking for him." The internet just about breaks with the news of a modern fairy tale and the two become entwined in each other's lives in this sparkling story about the power of music, the demons that haunt us, and the flutterings of first real love.

I am always a HUGE fan of modern retellings of old stories, and so when I read the summary for a queer Cinderella about music, I was instantly hooked. This book is character driven and L. Philips does it perfectly, with well developed, fleshed out, realistic characters that keep you rooting for them. And while this book has several typical YA romance tropes, the author does them so well that they make the book even better. I went in, expecting this to be a coming out novel, as most queer YA books are, and was so pleasantly surprised to see both characters perfectly comfortable in their identities and surrounded by supportive family and friends. But while I loved the slow-burn romance, believable chemistry, and wonderful romantic and platonic relationships between the characters, I also loved that the book touched on some heavier topics as well.

The discussions of mental health, suicide, and the often harsh realities of the music industry in regards to Nate's dad were so important, so well written, and added so much to the novel. Philips does an incredible job of slowly building the information the reader knows about the past, continuing to leave you intrigued, concerned, and invested up until the very end. And even with a nice, rom-com ending to wrap up the story, it isn't perfect, and there is still some uncertainty left, and I really liked that she didn't just wrap it up in a bow and finish the book off. 

And of course, I have to mention, I LOVED all of the music in this novel. The discussions of music, the subplots about touring with bands, the writing of music, all of it was incredible and I loved it. In the end, I loved this book and its perfect balance of wholesomeness and reality, and I would 100% recommend it, especially this summer when you have a little extra time to read it all together.

See you all next month!

find the book here!
amazon barnes and noble goodreads

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Introducting Your Next Favorite YA Mystery

Happy, happy, happy summer! I hope that you are all enjoying a nice, relaxing, and not too sweltering summer break! In my opinion, summer break is truly the absolute best time to curl up with a good book and get lost for a couple of hours in another world. If this sounds like a good way to spend your summer days, I have a great suggestion for you! Two Can Keep a Secret, by Karen M. McMannus, is a phenomenal mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat (or beach chair) until the very last page.

                This book is truly one of the best young adult mysteries that I have read in a long time. The plot follows two teens, a decades old mystery, and a murderous homecoming, creating one of the rare situations that you would not want to be on the homecoming court. The story is told from the perspective of Ellery, a quirky twin who is slightly obsessed with murder mysteries and the unsolved disappearance of her aunt Sarah, and Malcom, a bit of an outcast trying to prove that he is not like his brother, one of the primary suspects of a murder five years before. The small town of Echo Ridge is the perfect setting for the ensuing murder mystery that begins when Ellery comes to the small town to live with her grandmother and threatening sign is posted that says that homecoming will be just as dangerous this year as five years ago, when the last murder took place. McMannus skillfully creates a setting that enhances the spooky suspense of the mystery through small town gossip, perfectly creating an Andy Griffith Show gone tragic feeling. One of the best things about Two Can Keep a Secret is McMannus’ uncanny ability to write in the voice of a teenager, with refreshing and realistic characters that you certainly want to be friends with. The secondary characters were just as well written as the main characters, creating a three-dimensional world to get lost in for a couple of hours (in case you were missing school and wanted to return in a book). One of the other main triumphs of this novel is the ability of McMannus to weave together past mysteries seamlessly with the present mystery, throwing in multiple plot twists that manage to keep the reader guessing until the shocking conclusion. I personally was unable to put the book down, spending a morning buried in the pages until I read that brilliant last sentence. Yes, the last sentence of the book is absolutely amazing. No, you will not understand the last sentence if you peek before reading the rest of the book. Yes, you will have to read the entire book to understand what I am referring to. Have I managed to intrigue you? I suggest that you satiate your curiosity and pick up a copy at your nearest bookstore. Still not convinced? What of I told you that there was a health helping of sleuthing, homecoming drama, difficult family relationships, and a dash of romance? There is no reason not to pick up a copy of this thrilling tale and get lost in its pages. And there really is no better way to spend a summer day than hanging out in Echo Ridge, trying to solve a homecoming mystery
Two Can Keep a Secret cover from Amazon's website

                Feel the urge to go and immediately buy this book? I don’t blame you (it really is that good). In fact, here is a copy of the handy link to, making it incredibly easy for you to get this book in your hands:

Have fun in Echo Ridge! Happy summer and happy reading!


Friday, June 21, 2019

Friday Fun Post: Books I Want to See on Screen

Hey everyone, happy summer! As I'm finishing up my last few finals and heading into summer I am so excited to have the time to check off my list of books to read and movies to watch. I have been loving the recent trend of incredible book adaptions, such as the well loved Love, Simon and To All The Boys I've Loved Before. Since I am so excited for all of these new diverse films coming out, here are a few YA novels I would love to see on screen!

How to Make a Wish1) How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
I read this sweet, emotional, and heartwarming book a summer or two ago and fell in love with it and Blake's writing. This book is the perfect summer romance with deeper moments that would be incredible and beautiful as a movie. With scenes on beaches and lighthouses, as well as a subplot regarding piano and music, this book would translate incredibly to film, and if done right, could have a fantastic soundtrack and stunning cinematography. The main two girls chemistry and love, as well as the friendships and family relationships in this book are real and relatable. The book also discusses being bisexual and biracial, topics that are so very important to see up on screen, especially for younger kids who are desperate to see themselves represented. All in all, I love this book and I know this would be an incredible feel good, summer, and moving film I would rewatch many a time.

2) American Panda by Gloria Chao
American Panda
I read American Panda and reviewed it on here last year for TBF 2018 and absolutely adored it. And after meeting Gloria Chao and hearing her speak about the book I have been stuck on the idea of it as a film. So many teen stories focus on high school, and so this story set in Mei's first year of college would be so unique and interesting on screen. With the success of more diverse films recently I have been hoping for a story like Chao's to be picked up. With the incredible story of Mei's family struggles, of her romance, and of her love for dance, all of this would work so very well as a film, and would probably leave you both crying and joyful by the end. With wonderful characterization, an incredible setting and dance scenes, and just a good, complex and real story, this is a book I would drop everything to go seen an adaption of.

Everything Leads to You
3) Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour           
And last but certainly not least, we come to one of my all time favorite books. Since I first read this novel, and with every reread, I have been aching to see the news LaCour's book would be adapted. This is a book about young love and friendships, as well as a book all about the love of movies themselves, and would be a fantastic film. This book literally has it all, from the very well done and diverse characterization, the wonderful romance between the two main girls, to the scenes of Emi working on the sets for films and of the mystery element. When reading it I could picture the scenes in my head as beautiful shots in a movie and I know that the film would be beautiful to watch, with incredible cinematography, lighting and colors, and a very good soundtrack, as it deserves. After the love Love, Simon received, I think its about time for some queer girls to get to shine as well. In the end, this is a book that is meant to be a film and I will never shut up about it until it happens.

In the mean time, before these incredible books hopefully make it to the big or small screen, check them out below for some good summer reads, and incredible writing.

See you next month,

How to Make a Wish: amazon    barnes and noble    goodreads

American Panda: amazon    barnes and noble    goodreads

Everything Leads to You: amazon    barnes and noble    goodreads

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Book Review: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Hey everyone! Katie C. here with one another book review! This week, I'll be talking about Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

When Dean raced out the door to catch the school bus, he didn’t realize it would be the last time he’d ever see his mom. After a freak hailstorm sends the bus crashing into a superstore, Dean and a group of students of all ages are left to fend for themselves. 

They soon realize the hailstorm and the crash are the least of their worries. After seeing a series of environmental and chemical disasters ravage the outside world, they realize they’re trapped inside the store. 
Unable to communicate with the ones they love, the group attempts to cobble together a new existence. As they struggle to survive, Dean and the others must decide which risk is greater: leaving… or staying. 

This book is hands down my favorite apocalypse/dystopian story! Monument 14 takes an interesting idea, great characters, high stakes, a thrilling setting, and mashes it all together into one perfect book!

One thing that this book accomplishes better than a lot of other dystopian books I've read is the realism embedded in the conflict. Monument 14 takes place only a few years in the future, instead of hundreds or thousands, and it starts out while the world is still seemingly normal instead of right in the middle of when everything goes wrong. As a reader, this made the book so much more interesting because I could witness, along with the protagonist, Dean, everything go wrong as the story progressed.

In addition to above, another thing that really made this book stand out was the actions and decisions of all the characters stuck inside the superstore. Despite everyone being in the same situation, everyone's motivations and ideas on what to do next were different and sometimes even clashed. There were kids who wanted to take advantage of the situation and do whatever they desired, and kids who wanted to venture out of the super store to escape the town and get help, and kids who were too young to understand anything that was going on, and kids who were much older trying to unite everyone on the same path. These seemingly random people coming together under one extreme situation turned into a lot of tension and problems beyond whats going on outside that made this book impossible to put down!

Overall, I'd recommend Monument 14 to anyone who loves a good dystopian novel, but also to fans of Michael Grant and Suzanne Collins. I will say that this book has parts that get really dark and really graphic, so if you're not a fan of those types of stories, I'd pick up something else. But other than that, Monument 14 is one of the best books I've been introduced to while attending TBF and I highly, highly recommend you give it a read!

Until next time, happy reading! This is Katie C., signing off!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Book Review: Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Hello everyone, for this book review I read Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson. Many of you might know her widely acclaimed novel Speak, and this memoir/book of poems is its companion, recounting stories of her upbringing and past, as well as important topics such as sexual abuse and rape culture.

Shout explores a difficult and possibly uncomfortable topic, but it’s an important one. Stigma still surrounds rape and sexual abuse victims today, and normalizing the discussion of these topics in a serious and respectful manner is a step toward progress and a more open minded society. And this memoir does just that. I admire the author so much for sharing her story, and I appreciate how different and eye-opening this novel is- there is no glorified, rosy depiction of growing up, but a powerful story of struggle, pain, and resilience. While these experiences are not universal, this memoir really imparts that for some people, these tragedies, struggles, and trauma that we often only read or hear about is their reality. And this book is for those people especially- the author writes “for the kids the world doesn’t want to see," creating a story and a sense of solidarity with those who need it the most.

It was also fascinating reading the events of the author's childhood and teenage years- she didn’t grow up too far from where I live, and the 1970s doesn’t seem like that long ago, but society then seems so different, at least in my perspective. It’s pretty interesting since we recently studied the 1970s in U.S. History, and many of the events- the Watergate scandal, the Three Mile Island accident, etc.- are referenced. Experiences from her adulthood are also described, and it really imparts how many years it has been and how far society, education, and attitudes have progressed, but also how so much still needs to be done.

Shout expresses an important message- of solidarity, surviving, and advocating for oneself- that is especially relevant today, and is an emotionally moving and powerful memoir that everyone would benefit from reading. Anderson's first novel, Speak, has reached and helped countless readers throughout the years and I have no doubt that Shout will do the same.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Book Review: The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Hi everyone! I hope everyone's school year is starting to wind down a bit! For today I want to review for you a series that I have loved ever since I first picked it up off the shelf.

The Unwanteds (Unwanteds, #1)
When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination. 
It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artim
é that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.

From the very start I really enjoyed everything about these books. There are seven books total in the series but we can just focus on the first for now. In the world of Quill creativity is treated as a crime above all else, and our heroes Alex, Lani, Samheed, and Meghan, are a few of many who are sentenced to death from too many creative infractions. Alex was caught drawing pictures in the mud, Samheed was reported for being dramatic and boastful, and Meghan was singing and dancing at the same time. For these things the leaders of Quill felt it was only right to get rid of them for the strength of their people. When the soon to be friends roll into the "death farm" they are greeted by none other than a flying tortoise and a man who tells them they're saved.

It's so brilliant to enter into the magical world of Artimé along with these creativity starved kids. Lisa McMann does a great job transferring us from the stark grey Quill to the dazzling magical world of Artimé and it's flamoyant cheerful leader Mr. Today. Many of us know the love of creativity and the arts. Lisa McMann takes it a step further and introduces that creativity to new magic and a world and characters that feel real and alive. It's so easy to relate to our heroes, as they find themselves in this new environment and find each other, and learn to fight for what they care about.

I'd suggest The Unwanteds to anyone who's a fan of magic, dystopian societies, and adventure.

That's all for now! Happy Reading!


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Book Review: Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet

Hey everyone! June (and therefore summer), is just around the corner so this week I'm writing about a book I first read last summer and absolutely adored. With the business of school, exams, and extracurriculars I haven't had that much time to read lately so I picked up Meet Cute again, and read all the short stories again here and there, whenever I had time, and they are still just so good! Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet is an anthology by several well-loved young adult authors, including some TBF alumni! Here's a summary:

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There's futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katherine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants  

This anthology warms my heart and both times I've read it, it just brought the biggest smile to my face. But most of these stories weren't just cliche little snippets, but instead were based on diverse and real main characters who you want to root for throughout their tale. From several characters of color to a surprising amount of LGBTQ+ love stories, (with many of these stories being #ownvoices!) this anthology was refreshing and it just so nice to read about real people.

But the main reason I have gone back and reread so many of these stories is the memorable and sweet stories themselves. This anthology is full of incredible writing and characters, and many of the concepts of the stories themselves are so good I would read a whole book based on them. I think just about anyone could find at least one story in this anthology they'd love, even if one or two aren't your cup of tea.

Here are my favorites:

  • Print Shop by Nina Lacour (so adorable and so so funny, I've loved everything I've ever read by Nina Lacour)
  • Somewhere That's Green by Meredith Russo (while the love story was very sweet, this story was also just so beautiful and so important, I 100% recommend) 
  • Oomph by Emery Lord (this is probably the cutest story I have ever read, Emery Lord nailed the characters and writes incredible dialogue, I probably have reread this one the most)
  • The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love by Jocelyn Davies (I may not be the biggest math person but the main character using STATISTICS was so good and cute, I don't think a smile left my face in this one)
  • The Department of Dead Love by Nicola Yoon (this concept and the worldbuilding in this story was Fantastic and I would've read a whole book in this world, plus I love Nicola Yoon's characters so that's a plus)

All in all, if you're like me and have been up to your ears in studying and work, or if you could want a story to match the sunshine as we come to summer, I would recommend Meet Cute to just about anyone. See you all next month!


Meet Cute features stories by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Dhonielle Clayton, Katie Cotugno, Jocelyn Davies, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Nina Lacour, Emery Lord, Katherine McGee, Kass Morgan, Julie Murphy, Meredith Russo, Sara Shepard, Nicola Yoon, and Ibi Zoboi.
Find it here:

Friday, May 17, 2019

Friday Fun Post: Books I Want to See on Screen

Hello everyone! In recent years, many well-deserving YA and middle-grade novels have been transformed for the screen, and so many more are in the works (e.g. Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone/Six of Crows series!) And while I sometimes do prefer just having a book and my imagination, I can’t deny that I’m curious to see some screen adaptations too. Here are three novels I would love to see on screen:

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart: First of all, I’m surprised this book hasn't been made into a movie yet considering how well-known (and well-loved) it is. This story is so timeless and unique, and while the world and circumstances are full of whimsical and enigmatic elements, the characters themselves are down-to-earth and their experiences and feelings are easy to connect with. I love this book because the plot and the writing are so clever, heartwarming, and full of adventure while still having suspense and menacing plot twists. And looking back now, a lot about the story seems to have a deeper meaning- the Emergency, the Whisperer, etc.- it truly is a novel for all ages. The style of The Mysterious Benedict Society is so different and unusual from other middle-grade novels I’ve read, and it would definitely have a lot of potential as a movie.

Find The Mysterious Benedict Society in the Monroe County Library SystemBarnes & Noble, and Amazon.

The Lunar Chronicles (Book 1: Cinder) by Marissa Meyer: This is another series that I loved when I was younger that I still enjoy now. I love mashups of genres- in this case, fantasy and science fiction- and the fact that it's also a series of fairy tale retellings makes it so much more interesting and unique. I would love to see the portrayal of the characters, the technology, and the futuristic world, and it would be refreshing to see a sci-fi novel that isn’t necessarily dystopian on screen. I think these books could be adapted into either a movie series or a TV show series, but I’m leaning toward a TV show because there is a lot of material to cover, especially with all four books (and a prequel) and the many, many characters.

Find Cinder in the Monroe County Library System, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen: I normally don't gravitate toward realistic fiction, but I really love this book. What strikes me the most about this story are the characters- all of them are so different and well-developed with their quirks and hobbies, and I just love the dynamic of the novel- the combination of the characters, their interactions, the setting, and the events depicts life in such a realistic and relatable way. I’m usually drawn to complex, immersive novels, which for me usually ends up being fantasy or science fiction, but The Truth About Forever truly portrays the complexities and chaos of everyday life. It’s a fun, heartwarming, and moving story with a simple underlying message of knowing when to move on, and it’s definitely a book would translate well on screen. I could definitely see this as a late summer movie.

Find The Truth About Forever in the Monroe County Library SystemBarnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Hopefully these novels will be adapted for the screen one day, but in any case, you should read the book first :) See you next time!  


Friday, May 10, 2019

Friday Fun Post: A Tribute to Stephanie

It's hard to pick a memory of Stephanie to share with you all. There's so many moments, from big events to little things that made an impact on my life. Stephanie was someone who I looked up to. She was a woman driven, inspired by, and in love with what she did and the people she got to work with every day. Stephanie was someone who would still remember me and greet me by name every time we met, even though I wasn't a regular in the Fairport library so we didn't talk that much.

Even though I wasn't the closest to Stephanie I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with her on multiple occasions. Back senior year when working on my capstone project I got to work with her and interview her, as well as that being the year that I first started blogging. Fast forward to last year. I was working on a documentary project for a class and naturally Stephanie was my first choice. So mid week during a blustery fall afternoon I made my way down to the Fairport library, camera gear in hand, and shot myself a documentary. Hearing Stephanie talk about her part in both TBF and just being a teen librarian was so uplifting. She told me, as I set up camera equipment in the most confused and amateur way possible, that she really was surprised and flattered that I thought she was worthy of being the subject of a short film. She never knew what an inspiration she was to all of us. 

TBF has been such a huge influence in my life, ever since back seven years ago when I first signed up to volunteer. When I first met Stephanie it was in that room, surrounded by other volunteers, as she announced that we had met the fundraising goal and had dyed her hair pink as she had promised. Stephanie was the hard working, beating heart of TBF, she was always upping the fundraising stakes on us, always passing on ARCs, and always meaning so much more for me than she will ever know.

Thanks for listening,
See you all next time!


Friday, May 3, 2019

A Tribute to Stephanie

It has been a little over a year since the incredible Stephanie Squicciarini passed away. After we lost her, I lived in a state of disbelief and confusion at how any of us would go on without her. The founder of TBF, the hero who fought for libraries and teens all over Monroe County, and our very own Fairport Teen Librarian. I cried,  I read through every email she'd ever sent me, and remembered every memory she had helped me to make. I hold each memory I have with her so tightly in my heart, and carry them with me everywhere I go, hoping to make her proud each day. Here are some of my favorites:

Growing up in Fairport, I have been involved in library programs since I was a little kid in Library Club, which is where I first met Stephanie. She would pop into my elementary school, and later my middle school every once in a while. Nevertheless, I didn't truly know her yet as the children's librarians ran our club. But as we all grew up she and the incredible Carly Dennis founded the Teen Fairport Advisory Board, or as we all nicknamed it, FAB and then I finally truly met her.

We'd meet once every month and a half or so, usually on days off from school in the early afternoon. Here I made friends and found out about incredible books through the countless ARCs Stephanie would receive and share with us all, encouraging us to take "at least one more!" as she'd rather one of us have and maybe love them, rather than have them piled up in a dark back room. One of those books she pushed my way was Kids of Appetite by David Arnold, which I ended up loving. Inside was an old style library due date card, with a cute funny little summary on it that Stephanie had written. That card hangs above my bookcase to this day.

At the founding of the club, we had two packages of Oreos and every meeting more seem to appear. Stephanie would always call it our buffet. I remember one summer I showed up and saw the new Fourth of July special 'Firework Oreos'. My friend and I laughed and cheersed them and wondered where the pop rocks were until our mouths started to pop (and didn't stop for the whole rest of the meeting). I remember Stephanie trying one and saying, "these ones aren't as good as the others," as she proceeded to eat a second. Maybe just to make us smile, like she always did.

When I was in eighth grade, Stephanie was the one who suggested me to the team as a blogger and made sure I got involved with TBF, as she knew I'd love it. The fall of 2017, I wrote a blog post about wanting to read American Panda by Gloria Chao, and the week after at a FAB meeting Stephanie pulled me aside and excitedly said she'd read my post and loved it. She then pulled an advanced copy of it from behind her back and insisted I take it and write a review of it. Last TBF, our first without Stephanie, I volunteered with Gloria Chao and knew she would have been so happy and excited to see me there.

A week after she passed away, our head blogger and I were talking on the phone and told me Stephanie always said she was so proud of what I had become, and couldn't wait to see me succeed in my future endeavors. And to this day, I think of her and hope I am making her proud, with everything I do, and with every book I read.

Until next month,

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Book review: Black Wings Beating by Alex London

Hey guys! Katie C. here with another Wednesday review! Today I’ll be talking about Black Wings Beating by Alex London.

The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer--while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She's nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he's long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother's future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

This isn’t my first Alex London book; way back during my first year at TBF when I went to London’s panel, I had read his book Proxy and instantly fallen in love. So when I heard that Alex London was releasing a brand new series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the first book. And boy oh boy was i not let down!!!

Probably the greatest thing about Black Wings Beating is the world building. This story is set in a fantasy land that's centered around birds (if you couldn’t tell from the cover and description). While reading this book, I was introduced to legends centered around birds, games and fights centered around birds, jobs centered around birds, the entire story itself is centered around a fantasy bird like creature called the Ghost eagle. The incredible world building really sets this book apart from the rest and makes it truly unforgettable.

Another thing I loved about this book was the characters, specifically Brysen and Kylee, who dual narrate the story. Brysen and Kylee are twins and each respond to the conflict in different ways and go off into the mountain for different reasons. That’s what makes this novel so interesting; the fact that we can see the story through two totally different eyes! There’s Kylee, who’s practical and serious and who just wants to be free of the family business and other powers she represses. And there’s Brysen, who’s romantic and impulsive and who chases after his dreams despite the lack of reality they contain.

Overall, this book was absolutely fantastic and if you’re a huge fan of fantasy, birds, or a breathtaking story in general, I highly recommend Black Wings Beating!

That’s all I have for today. Until next time, this is Katie C., signing off!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Tribute to Stephanie

        Hi everyone, it's Laura. I hope that you are having a lovely April. For this post, I'm going to talk a little bit about the truly inspirational Stephanie Squicciarini, the founder of Teen Book Fest, who sadly passed away last year.
I did not have the privilege of knowing Stephanie well, being a new blogger last year. However, I still remember getting to meet Stephanie for the first time and being so impressed by her obvious passion for Teen Book Fest. I met her at the George Eastman 5k, where I was running on the Teen Book Fest team. The mood was cheerful and fun, certainly permeated with the feeling of kinship between a group of people wearing caps (because authors are superheros- yes, we had the best costumes) and joined together by their mutual love of books. Stephanie welcomed me into the group and introduced herself. Immediately, she noticed that I was not wearing a Teen Book Fest t-shirt (I did not own one at the time). That certainly wouldn’t do, as the TBF kinship was trying to showcase our mutual love of all things Teen Book Fest that day, so she gave me a TBF t-shirt. I remember thinking that it was so kind of her to welcome me into the group in such a way.
I knew that I was meeting an extraordinary woman, but I wish that I knew at the time just how extraordinary she was. I later learned all about Stephanie: a veritable hero and legend for all that she did for the teens of Rochester. Stephanie was the one to found TBF, in an effort to give the teens (and adults) of Rochester a chance to meet with their favorite authors. I wonder if she knew from the beginning what a wonderful gift she was giving to Rochester’s population of bookworms, allowing us to meet some of our idols, such as Roshani Chokshi, who came last year (and is incredibly friendly) and Marissa Meyer, who came a few years ago. Stephanie also was instrumental in the establishment of the Irondequoit Public Library, which I got a chance to visit last year. I was blown away by the beauty of the library and completely awestruck by Stephanie’s hard work to make the library such a lovely place. However, it was the stories about Stephanie that really showed who she was. During that day at the library, I heard so many heartwarming stories about Stephanie advocating for the new library because she recognized the power of books, Stephanie showing resilience to make the library a reality, and Stephanie showing great kindness to her friends and companions. One story that stuck out to me was that Stephanie would always send chocolate in the mail along with her letters. It seems like such a small thing, but it truly shows Stephanie’s spirit of kindness.

Stephanie was an incredible woman and a true superhero. The gift that she gave to the teens of Rochester was remarkable: a chance to hear stories and be empowered by their content. Stephanie recognized the true beauty of words and shared it with everyone who knew her. The Rochester teen community will always be indebted to Stephanie and will never forget her. Stephanie left a rich legacy that will live on in a Rochester community forever grateful for her.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Book Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Hello everyone! I recently read This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada, and I can’t wait to share it with you! If you like YA science fiction and post-apocalyptic worlds, this is the book for you.

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

First of all, I love the concept of This Mortal Coil. In this futuristic world where gentech can manipulate DNA, apps and devices exist with the ability to amplify the senses, accelerate healing, or, at the other end of the spectrum, shut down the entire body. Needless to say, I found the science behind this book fascinating. With gentech, you could code yourself cures to rare diseases, hack your genes, etc.- just imagine the possibilities. And not only is the world futuristic, but it's post-apocalyptic as well. A cruel and devastating plague is decimating the earth, which creates an intriguing backdrop and a much more dark and complicated side to the story.

I also love how this novel makes you reassess the line between right and wrong. In dire circumstances (e.g. deadly plague), what would you be willing to do to survive? To ensure the survival of humanity? To what extent should individual people be allowed to decide what the best course of action is? And finally, should we tamper with what makes us fundamentally human? These are all fine lines to walk, and ultimately, who the heroes and villains are all depend on which side you’re on. 

In the end, This Mortal Coil is about a fight for survival. Power is constantly shifting, the people you’re rooting for are constantly changing, and so many plot twists… If you like post-apocalyptic worlds with science, humor, and romance, or novels such as Angelfall by Susan Ee or Warcross by Marie Lu, you’ll love This Mortal Coil. And the sequel, This Cruel Design, is out already, so you can look forward to that too!  


Find This Mortal Coil in the Monroe County Library SystemGoodreadsBarnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday Fun Post: Tribute to Stephanie

Hey guys, Katie C. is here, and for today's Friday fun post, I’m actually going to talk a bit about the founder of TBF, Stephanie Squicciarini, who unfortunately past away last year. 

I’ve been going to TBF for years now, but it wasn’t until my first year of being a volunteer blogger that I learned who the real mastermind behind all the craziness and fun that is TBF as well as the intense organization and planning that not many people know about. Making TBF a reality is no easy feat, especially back in 2006 when TBF first began. But Stephanie loved books and reading so much and was determined enough to start a tradition that last year, roughly 2500 teens participated in. 

This is my third year as a book blogger for TBF and honestly, my biggest regret was not taking the time to get to know Stephanie better while I still had the chance. All throughout her life, Stephanie was super involved with the Fairport public library, but because I’m a Canandaigua native, I never really got the chance to say hi or attend a library program. However, while I may not have gotten as close to her as I wanted, I still have some really amazing memories of her.

I remember Stephanie from my very first year attending TBF, back in 2014. The theme that year was steam punk, and she was right out in front of the crowd with red curly hair and a top hat with goggles on the front. I thought it was the coolest hat I'd ever seen. I remember just last year when I asked Stephanie if there was any chance I could get an extra TBF shirt and instead of handing me one, she took me and some of the other book bloggers to the back of the library and gave us each multiple shirts any color we wanted. All out of the kindness of hear heart. I remember seeing her sometimes at festivals. No matter what she was doing, she was doing it with a smile and with a heart full of passion.

Its been almost a year with out Stephanie in our lives, and TBF hasn't, and will never, be the same without her. But while Stephanie may no longer be with us, she lives on through the things she did for so many teens and the wonderful tradition she started and kept going for 13 years. Stephanie Squicciarini will always be missed, but never forgotten.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Hey everyone, happy April! I am so excited for this weeks review, as it's of one of my all-time  favorite books that I recently reread. After seeing the new movie adaption for the second time recently I was hit with the need to reread the book. Emily M. Danforth's The Miseducation of Cameron Post is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful stories in the world so I figured I'd share it with all of you. Here's a little about it:

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship — one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self — even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

The first time I read this book I think I cried about 30 times. While the movie is very strong and beautiful, this book is so incredible on its own. Maybe its the fact that this book is over 400 pages long but the whole time it feels as if you are on this journey of discovery and acceptance with Cameron. You fall in love for the first time with her and get your heart broken too. And that brings me to one of the two things that makes me love this book so much: Danforth's incredible characterization.

For the whole story, you are rooting for Cameron, even through some of her more questionable decisions and the fact sometimes she isn't fully likable. She reminds me of myself and of my other teenage friends in her wit and her passion, and in the way she thinks and loves as she meets the world outside her small town. But Cameron has flaws, as do her friends and her love interests and her family, they are all developed deeply in this novel, something that makes it stick with you even longer.

My other favorite thing about this book is the writing and the feeling it brings on upon you. While Cameron's thoughts and narration let me live in her mind, Danforth's writing let me live out and see her life for myself. The opening chapters of childhood innocence and summertime first love, the way she writes about music and movies, the simpleness of Cam's small town, all resonated so deeply in my heart, even if I hadn't experienced it myself. This book is beautiful inside and out and I hope if you haven't read it yet you will check it out, before seeing the movie, and hopefully at least some little part of it will resonate with you, and it will live deep inside your heart like it does in mine. 


find the book here
goodreads amazon barnes and noble

Friday, March 29, 2019

Tribute to Stephanie

I don’t tend to remember first impressions, or even "important" events, but I do tend to remember small, random moments, and in honor of Stephanie Squicciarini, who made a difference in our lives in so many ways, I’m going to share some of these memories with you.

Growing up, Stephanie was always a presence at the Fairport Public Library- someone I most likely heard about before I actually met. While I was introduced to her there, my first concrete memory of Stephanie is actually from my middle school library, when she came to talk about the summer reading program. I remember at one point she wanted to see if any of us could pronounce her last name correctly, and everyone started to flip through the brochures she had given us trying to find it. And even though I knew her last name by then, I remember I didn't know how to pronounce it either.

Throughout the years, I must have seen Stephanie countless times. I went to a lot of library programs, and I especially remember the summer volunteering parties. We always played bingo and I remember she would laugh because there would always be a monotone echo after each ball was announced. And she always had a special round where you could win extra prizes if you had her age on your board. 

I also remember Stephanie from TBF- I was so lost and confused the first year I went, but I remember I talked to her at one point and it made my day a lot better. During my second TBF, two authors I really liked had not signed my t-shirt, and I was disappointed because I wouldn’t be able to get to them later that day. And despite how busy she must have been, Stephanie took the t-shirt to those authors and made sure I got those last two signatures.

Lastly, it is arguably the memories that don't have vivid images tied to them that are the most influential to me- her understanding nature, her consistent presence, the way she listened to everyone, her straightforward advice, and how excited she was about reading, to name a few. Stephanie impacted countless individuals as well as her community, and I am so grateful that I knew her.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday Fun Post: Anticipated books of 2019

Hi everyone! It's been really difficult to pull together this list for you, since there's plenty of books that I'm itching to release, but many of them are juuuust tentatively maybe possibly going to release this year, if you know what I mean. So, I did my best to pick out the ones that I'm ready to put on my bookshelf that are definitely coming to us soon.

Firstly, I am desperately awaiting Master of the Phantom Isle, the third book in the Dragonwatch series by Brandon Mull, which releases October 1st of this year.

Dragonwatch is a 5 book series following our triumphant heroes Kendra and Seth Sorenson in a new adventure protecting both the mundane world and the hidden world of magic world from the tyranny of dragons. Though Master of the Phantom Isle is the third book in this series, I'm just going to go ahead and recommend the entire thing to you because they're all brilliant, full of new creatures, magic, and adventures.

Of course, I am  always anxiously awaiting anything that Brandon Mull writes, however I've really been enjoying Dragonwatch so far. Dragonwatch is a sequel series for Fablehaven, so it really is recommended that you read those first (I promise you won't be disappointed) but you can always plop yourself right in and you won't be too lost. If you haven't read any of his books up until this point I highly suggest you put any of his books on your list.

You can find the first Fablehaven book here: Amazon or  B&N
You can find the first Dragonwatch book here: Amazon or B&N
And you can find Master of the Phantom Isle here: Amazon or B&N

Next, I'm really excited for Kingsbane by Claire Legrand, set to release on May 21st.
Last year for TBF I got a chance to read Furyborn, the first Claire Legrand book I'd been introduced to. While it wasn't what I originally expected it to be, I really enjoyed Furyborn and I'm excited to revisit those characters in the sequel, Kingsbane. I enjoyed the first book a lot because it followed two different characters, and two different queens to be. While their paths never cross, as they exist in different times, their stories still entwine. I definitely recommend you pick these books up and read for yourself!
You can pick up Kingsbane here: Amazon or B&N

Ever the Cinda Williams Chima fan, I greatly awaited the release of Deathcaster, fourth book in the Shattered Realms series, which was released only a few days ago on March 5th. I have yet to read it myself but I hope to pick it up soon.
In the series so far, each book has followed a different main character, struggling against the war broken world of the Seven Realms. In this fourth book the different storylines will begin to come together, while revealing the mysterious connection between them all. This series is another that follows a first, but for this one you definitely don't have to read the Seven Realms books first if you don't want to. I suggest anything that Cinda Williams Chima has written to any fans of magic and other worlds, and I hope some of you are excited as I am for Deathcaster.
You can find Deathcaster here: Amazon or B&N

Since last year I have been excited to read The Everlasting Rose by Dohnielle Clayton, which released very recently on March 5th of this year.
The Belles was another book I had the pleasure of reading for TBF last year and I am absolutely ready to read it's sequel. The first book was filled with so much mystery and so many secrets that I'm itching to read the next installment. There's so many mysteries to be solved in the troubled world of Orleans, where beauty is currency. Dohnielle Clayton puts a brilliant and dark twist on the world of beauty and fashion. Lucky for is The Everlasting Rose is already out, so I'll be getting my hands on it soon.
Snag The Everlasting Rose here: Amazon or B&N

Lastly, on my list for anticipated books of the year is Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen, releasing May 7th.
I had to have at least one on my list that wasn't a sequel to anything else that I've read. I'll admit that I don't know too much about this one myself but in reading the synopsis for the book on a couple different platforms I'll admit that I was intrigued. Pirates? Heck yes. A soldier with a secret? Sounds good. Journeying? Always. I'm new to Danielle L. Jensen's books but I'm ready to enjoy nonetheless.
Grab Dark Shores here: Amazon or B&N

That's all I have for everyone today! Happy reading, now and upcoming!