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!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Fun Post: My Top 5 Anticipated Books of 2019

Hey everyone! I'm excited to share my top five most anticipated books coming out this year. It took me a while to figure which books I was going to write about this week, but I think my list is a good one, full of some exciting books to add to your TBRs this year. I hope you've been enjoying everyone else's lists too, and without further ado, here's mine!

1) A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson

When I saw that a historical thriller had been compared to Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz, my interest was immediately captured. This is Jackson's debut novel and is #ownvoices and I couldn't be more excited about it. From the short excerpt (right here!) I read I fell in love with Jackson's unique and beautiful prose, and this book had one of the coolest opening lines I've read in a long time. So to anyone like me who likes reading about historical stories that were once ignored, and who likes a little love story with it, check out A Place for Wolves!
expected release date: April 2nd, 2019
preorder here: amazon, barnes and noble

2) Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
This book is another debut coming this year that quickly went the top of my list after I stumbled across it and an interview the author did on Goodreads. While this book is a love story, it's not typical at all, with the premise focusing on the idea of wishing for a do-over after a tragedy occurs, which is just what the main character experiences. Based off of the summary I see bits of myself within the protagonist, known as the 'King of Almost,' and several early reviews I read praised Reynolds' strong characterization, which is something I'm a sucker for. And so with diverse characters, a high praise-filled blurb from Becky Albertalli, and the promise of the need of a box of tissues or two, I have the feeling I am going to absolutely adore this novel.
expected release date: March 5th, 2019
preorder here: amazon, barnes and noble

3) Internment by Samira Ahmed

When I saw this cover in an article about exciting upcoming books I immediately wanted to read this book, and reading the summary only added to my excitement over this book. Set in a "horrifying near-future United States" this is a book about the strength of a girl and the need for a revolution. While some may see the premise of Muslim-American internment camps as far-fetched, with the discriminatory political climate of the country today, it's horrifyingly far from unbelievable. While the book has been described as blunt and hard to read by some, I can't wait to pick it up, and to see the conversations it will start and what we can do to prevent this rapidly spiraling situation,
expected release date: March 19th, 2019
preorder here: amazon, barnes and noble

4) These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling

We have now made it to the first of two fantasy books on this list for all you fantasy fans out there! I will admit, I almost never reach for fantasy novels. But as an avid fan of Labyrinth Lost, by Zoraida Cordova (a story of queer witches), when this book popped up on my Goodreads with reviews that all continued the phrase "sapphic witches" I was intrigued. As I read more about it, it seems as if this book contains everything I want in a book, from magic in the real world (a trope I'll never tire of) to reviews praising Sterling's emotionally complex characters and stunning driving narrative. This is Isabel Sterling's debut novel and is #ownvoices too, and I am so excited to experience the magic and power of this story for myself.
expected release date: May 28th, 2019
preorder here: amazon, barnes and noble

5) Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

And lastly, my most anticipated release of the year, the long-anticipated sequel to Rainbow Rowell's Carry On. As an avid Rainbow Rowell fan, when I saw her announcement tweet for this book I couldn't have been more excited. I was instantly in love with Carry On when I first read after reading Fangirl right before and I can't wait to reenter this magical world and see Simon and Baz and Penny all over again and fall in love with yet another one of Rowell's books. And the fact I was never quite satisfied with the first book's ending only makes my excitement  This summer I know I'll be rereading Carry On to prepare for this novel and I'm sure all of you are just as excited for this book as I am. And if you haven't read a Rainbow Rowell book, I 100% would recommend you catch up before Wayward Son comes out this year.
expected release date: September 24, 2019
preorder here: amazon, barnes and noble

An honorable sixth place mention goes to I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, a book that sounds beautiful and compelling and I also am very excited about it! Hope you all are having a great March and are reading some very great books, look forward to another great book review from one of our bloggers next Wednesday!


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book Review: The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg

Hey guys! Katie C. is back with another weekly book review. This month, I got to read The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg!

Start at the hot girl. 
Carson Smith isn’t thrilled to be spending the summer with his estranged dad in Billings, Montana. But then he meets Aisha Stinson, the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. And the smartest. And the funniest. They connect like he never has with anyone …
Also, she’s a lesbian. So there’s that

Turn left at the missing grandpa.
Carson’s dad is still bitter about the disappearance of his dad more than thirty years earlier when Carson and Aisha discover a box full of cards from his grandfather, some of them recent, they realize the old man is still out there somewhere. 
What are two bored teenagers in the middle of nowhere to do?

Proceed for 1293 miles. 
So Carson and Aisha begin a journey with no destination to find a man who wanted to be lost, in an unreliable Dodge Neon, with one very prickly mascot. And what comes next is an extraordinary, enlightening, hilarious inspiring, complete and utter mindblower of a road trip that will transform both their lives

You have arrived at The Porcupine of Truth

Ever since Bill Konigsberg came to TBF last year, he’s been one of my favorite authors of all time. I absolutely adored Openly Straight and Honestly Ben, two other books of his, so of course I had to get my hands on The Porcupine of Truth. And boy oh boy did this book exceed all my expectations!

This book follows the adventures of Carson Smith and Aisha Stinson. They just meet each other for the first time at the beginning of the book, but watching them throughout the entire story grow from acquaintances to friends to chosen family is mesmerizing. Despite being on the same road trip, each one is going on a different journey, and through all the puns and fights and deep talks about love and god, they each just so happen to be just what the other needs in order to help them on their way. Another great thing about Carson and Aisha in this book is that they don’t end the book as a couple (obviously, since Aisha is a lesbian), which is so refreshing since there are not a lot of books with a male and female lead that end the book with a strong friendship and nothing more.

In addition to great protagonists, this book explores deep ideas such as the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and religion and what an act of love truly entails. Exploring these ideas that exist in society that no one feels comfortable enough to discuss is, in my opinion, what made The Porcupine of Truth over the top. Especially since when it wasn’t making me think about different parts of my life that I’ve never examined before, this book was filled with so many incredibly cheesy puns and jokes that were just bad enough to make me laugh.

Overall, The Porcupine of Truth is by far one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you enjoy deep coming of age stories or have enjoyed anything else by Bill Konigsberg, I highly recommend you check this one out as soon as you can.

That’s all for today, you guys! Happy reading! This is Katie C., signing off!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Top 5 Anticipated Books of 2019

Hi friends! Happy March! March may seem to be a bit of a dreary month (at least in Rochester, where the weather is transitioning from cold winter to muddy spring). However, March means that we are one month closer to some fantastic books coming out in 2019. So mark your calendars, because these are five books that you don’t want to miss!

  1. Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi
Have you read the Shatter Me series? If not, you need to go out and get all of the books immediately. Don’t worry, I’ll wait… Okay, now that you have in your possession one of the most beautifully unique dystopian series that I have read, get excited because Defy Me, the fifth book of the Shatter Me series, comes out in a month. Yes, a month! Shatter Me is a series fraught with twists and turns, tears and laughter, heartache and hanging off of a cliff as you wait for the next book to come out. It is a masterfully told tale of a young woman in a dystopian world with an odd power. There is a romance, there is adventure, there is a best friend that lacks no wit: this book series truly has it all. I highly suggest that you read the series. Once you finish, you will realize how exciting the prospect of the next book is. Defy Me comes out April 2. I’ve included a handy link to help you get off that cliffhanger as soon as the next book is released to the public.

2. The Wicked King by Holly Black
I have some good news about this next book: it is a bit of a cheat because it is already out. Yes, you can pick up The Wicked King (the second book of The Folk of the Air) at your local bookstore, no waiting required. And for everyone who has read the first book of the series, The Cruel Prince, you know that this book will be quite a treat. If you have not read the first book of the series, I suggest that you pick up both book and have a reading marathon. Make sure to set aside a few hours to read, because these books are absolutely enrapturing. The first book was fraught with plot twists, intrigue, and hints of forbidden romance. The second book is sure to offer a similar treat. Get ready to be transported to a vivid fantasy world, as this book is sure to be a real treat. I’ve included a link to amazon to make it easier to acquire Holly Black’s next adventure of a novel.

3. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
William Herondale. William Herondale. Does anything more need to be said? Joking aside this continuation of The Infernal Devices series promises to be truly phenomenal. First of all, Will Herondale is back (I love Will… can you tell?). The series follows that children of some favorite characters from The Infernal Devices series and brings back some favorite original characters. The new story is set in the early 1900s, just past the turn of the century. The cover has been released and looks absolutely gorgeous. I cannot put into words how much I am looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I also cannot gush enough about how much I love The Infernal Devices series. If you have not read The Infernal Devices series, go out right now and buy it. Embark on a journey to the Victorian Era and fall in love with the characters like I have. And, when you finish, put down the book and join me in counting down the days until Chain of Gold comes out. Only 255 days left (sigh). I’ve included the link to amazon to make it easier for you to pre-order this wonderful novel and make sure that no extra days are added to the countdown.

4. Finale: A Caraval Novel by Stephanie Garber
The final novel in the Caraval series comes out on May 7, and I absolutely cannot wait. Every book in the Caraval series has managed to be decadant and enticing, with gorgeous imagery and a luxurious plot choked with romance and adventure. The plot twists and turns are certainly sharp, but it is the dazzling descriptions of the world that Stephanie Garber creates that makes this book truly exceptional. I know that May 7th seems like a long time to wait to return to such a magnificently crafted world, but perhaps a reread of the first two books in the Caraval series would be enough to tide you over. I absolutely cannot wait to see how Garber decides to conclude the thrilling trilogy. I’ve included a handy link to make it easier for you to pre-order the wonderful book.

5. Supernova by Marissa Meyer
The final novel in the Renegades series is another book that cannot come out quickly enough, in my opinion. The brilliant way that Marissa Meyer blends the lines between good and evil, with villains can seem sympathetic and some heros that are monstrous, the Renegades series has been a treat from page one of book one. The world that Meyer has created is vivid and complex, something that is truly a treat to be immersed in. This series truly has everything: secrets, romance, and true comradery that is a delight to read. The characters are flawed and complex and certainly people who you root for. The second book in the series was hard to put down, as the world building was so incredible that I didn’t want to leave. I’ve included a handy link to amazon so you can preorder the book and make sure that you can return to the world as soon as the book is released (and the book is shipped to your house).

Happy Reading!