Stacking the Shelves (#3)

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(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. The above photo was taken and altered by me for the purpose of these posts. Please do not take or “borrow” it.)

Hello Readers!

It’s been a few weeks since my last Stacking the Shelves post, and because of that I’ve accumulated a quite number of new books – some of which I bought, some I received for review, some I received for my birthday (that how long since I last posted a Stacking the Shelves post), and others I received as part of Andi’s Spring Book Exchange.

For my Kindle:

ProgramGetLost

The Program by  Suzanne Young (Thanks Andi for saying I should most definitely buy this one! I’m excited to read it!)

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (from Edelweiss)

(Physical) Books:

For Review:

OtherBoundFollowers

OtherBound by Corinne Duyvis

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

Followers by Anna Davies

CatchAStarInShadowsofCurses

In the Shadows by Kiersten White Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shelter

Birthday & Andi’s Spring Exchange (All books were given to me by Miss Print – fellow blogger and real life bff)

NaturalValentinePanic

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Panic by Lauren Oliver

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barns

hereandnowreal

The Here And Now by Ann Brashares

Something Real by HEather Demetrios

Books Given To Me Just Because (the first three again, from Miss Print, fellow blogger and in real life bff):

BoysofEden

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski

Escape From Eden by Elisa Nader

Books Purchased:

Open

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Open Road Summer by Emory Lord

Whew! That’s a lot of books! Now that I’ve shared what I recently received, let’s talk about what books are currently stacking your shelves!

Don’t Call Me Baby

Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley (review copy received from Edelweiss)

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For as long as Imogene could remember she’s always been the focal point of her mother’s mommy blog – a blog dedicated to, not only offering parenting tips and tricks, but also dedicated to putting daughter Imogene in the spotlight. Every private moment has been recorded. Every embarrassing school photo of Imogene has been plastered all over the internet for the whole wide world to see.

At first, Imogene didn’t think it was so bad. In fact, she actually thought it was kind of fun being recognized and fawned over by perfect strangers. But as time passed and as Imogene grew she soon realized that it’s not fun, it’s intrusive.

So when Imogene is forced to create a blog of her own for a school assignment she decides that now is the perfect time to take a stand. Through her blog she’s going to give her blogging mommy a taste of her own medicine. What starts as a simple project snowballs into an attack on her mother and the blog that she runs. It’s Imogene’s turn to speak, and her mom may not like what she has to say.

But will Imogene’s plan on exposing the truth backfire? Or will it finally make her mother realize that Imogene is more than a subject to be discussed?

Don’t Call Me Baby, author Gwendolyn Heasley’s third book, is a realistic read that captures the trials and tribulations of what it’s like to kind of/sort of grow up in the spotlight.

Heasley’s latest novel centers around a plot that is refreshingly original. Unlike any other plot line read before, Don’t Call Me Baby is a book that captures the reader’s attention. Heasley’s writing is simple yet solid. The tone often felt light and conversational even though it was tackling tough subject matter. There were moments that felt as light and conversational as the tone, and it was those moments that I really gravitated towards as a reader.

But there were other moments that I simply did not enjoy — other moments that left a bitter taste in my mouth. While maintaining a conversational tone throughout, not all of the plot was as light and airy as I had originally thought. There were moments that I felt that the world “blog” was a bad word. And as a blogger myself, someone who takes pride in that fact it made me feel really uncomfortable.

Don’t Call Me Baby raises a lot of great points. And it presents even more learning lessons. But because of the fact that I felt, as a reader, that I was being preached to. I felt that the book preached about the importance of disconnecting from the online world. It preached about the importance of knowing what information to post and what information not to post on the world wide web.

Beyond the preachiness, my expectations of Don’t Call Me Baby were not met. I was looking for a fun summer read in the midst of a very cold winter. Going into this book I totally expected some sort of beach read, If you were to judge this book simply by this cover, than you too would expect what I did.

From start to finish I did enjoy main character Imogene as a whole. What I liked most about her as a character wasn’t just that she was honest, flawed, and relatable. It was the fact that I could see her progression from complaining teen to mature young woman. When the book first opens Imogene was afraid to stand up for herself. But by the end, readers will see that not only is she not afraid to stand up for herself, but she’s not afraid to speak out against all the injustices she’s suffered as the “star” of a mommy blog. 

I wanted to love Don’t Call Me Baby, but the honest truth is that I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it had it’s lows but it also had it’s highs. Still though, those highs were not enough to save this book for me. But that does not mean that it’s not the book for you. Give it a shot. Read it, and when you’re done let’s discuss!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters That Will Make You Swoon

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Hello Readers!

As you know I’m a book lover through and through. As book lover I’ve met a lot of characters. Some I liked, some I hated. And some others I swooned over. And I’m sure, if you have read any of these books you will agree with me … hopefully!

 

10.Seth (All I Need by Susane Colasanti)

9. Leo, the Tattooed Boy (Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando)

8. Adam Wilde (If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman)

7. Ethan Wate (Beautiful Creatures Series by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl)

6. Gansey (The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater)

5. Levi (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)

4. Oliver (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith)

3. Four (Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth)

2. Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins)

1. Cricket Bell (Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins)

Happy Birthday To ….

HappyBirthday

 

The BookBandit Blog!

It’s true. A few weeks ago, on April 3rd, the BookBandit Blog celebrated its fourth birthday. I started this blog as a simple way to keep track of what I was reading and enjoying while in Grad School, but it has blossomed into something more – something that allows me to be a part of a great blogging community, and something that I’m super proud of.

A lot of the successes I’ve experienced with The BookBandit Blog have been because of you dear readers! I started blogging for myself, and as much as I still blog for myself, I also blog for my readers – the people who seek out my blog and read my review, the people who comment on my posts, and the people who support The BookBandit Blog.

Since life has been super busy, I haven’t had the chance to celebrate The BookBandit Blog turning four. So I’m taking that time to celebrate now! And what better way to celebrate than to host a giveaway!

Through this giveaway, three lucky readers will have the chance to win one of the three bookish prizes.

Prize # 1 includes:

TimeBetweenUs

An ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of Time Between Us signed by author Tamara Ireland Stone.

Prize #2 includes:

Bitterblue

A hardcover copy of Bitterblue signed by author Kristin Cashore.

Prize #3 includes:

BoyOnTheBridge

An ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of The Boy on the Bridge signed by author Natalie Standiford.

Not only will winners receive a signed book, but they will also receive some bookish swag like bookmarks, keychains, stickers, etc.. Cause really, what’s a book without bookish swag right?!

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only age 13 years and older.

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on THIS POST. Comment on anything – your current read, a book you are looking forward to, what’s better cake or cupcakes! Absolutely anything, just leave a comment. Of course when commenting please make sure to leave a valid e-mail address as winner will be contacted via e-mail. Please feel free to tell me which prize you are most interested in winning in your comment as well.

Contest will be opened from today, April 17th (12, noon)  and will run until May 1st (11:59 pm). Three winners will be selected via random number generator.  And will be notified via e-mail on May 2nd. Winners will have two days (48 hours) to respond to e-mail with shipping/mailing information. If no response is received within that time frame I will have to select a new winner.

Good Luck!

 (*The above photos were created by using PicMonkey.com. All the pictures featured within  this post were taken by me for the purpose of this post.)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Items I’d Like to Own

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(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & The Bookish. The above photo was taken and altered by me for the purpose of TTT posts. Do not take or “borrow” without permission.)

Hello Readers!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is a really interesting one. In this post I get to share the top ten bookish items that I’d like to own.  But I don’t want for a lot. So, below you will find the top five items I would love to own … one day.

5. Vintage Card Catalog – it’s the librarian in me. I’d love to catalog all my books. Yes, I think that would be fun.

4. Bookends – but not those plain ones. Fancy ones.  I like these owl bookends a lot.

3.   Bookish Artwork – Again, I imagine a space of my own, a space where I can decorate to my own styles and tastes. And through that art I would love to pay homage to the book I consider to have been a pivotal book in my reading life: To Kill A Mockingbird.  After wasting time on Etsy a few months back, I stumbled upon this. I would love to own it.

2. A Reading Nook – one day, I aspire to own a home. And in that home I aspire to have a far off corner I can call my reading nook. And I’d like it to look something like this. Of course, I would take this design as inspiration and put my own touches on it. For instance, instead of actual bookshelves, I think it would be cool to have wallpaper that has been designed to look like bookshelves.  I’d like a small chair side table to stack my current reads and a cup of coffee. I’d also like a big, cushy chair that I could sink into and drift into whatever book I’m reading. That sounds nice, right?!

1. Bookcases – If I had all the space in the world, and the ability and resources to custom make something like THIS, my books would have a beautiful home and I would have a great focus point in above mentioned space. But for the time being, with minimal space, I would totally settle for a few of this specific bookcase.

Shootin’ The Breeze: Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Hello Readers!

Alyssa B. Sheinmel’s upcoming novel, Second Star, took me by surprise. I picked it up out of curiosity, not really knowing what it was truly about. But as I read I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into the story. I immersed myself in the mystery – what really happened to John and Michael Darling? I immersed myself in the blossoming romance – I really hope Wendy ends up with … well, I can’t say who as it will give some key story elements away.

It’s obvious that I enjoyed Second Star. So much so that I reached out to author Alyssa B. Sheinmel to see if she would be willing to answer a few questions for us. And guess what!? She was!

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BookBandit Blog (BB): Second Star is based upon the classic Peter Pan – of all the classic stories, why did you choose to retell this one?

Alyssa B. Sheinmel (ABS): The world and characters of Peter Pan have just always been fascinating to me. I actually wrote one of my college admissions essays about Neverland; I’d been the kind of kid who’d worn a watch from the day she learned how to tell time and I wondered what kind of effect Neverland would have on me.

BB: With that, if you could retell any other classic story, which would you want to retell and why?

ABS: Oh my goodness, that is an impossible question! I love modern-day retellings of existing stories, whether fairy tales, mythology, classic novels…I honestly can’t pick just one. I hope there will be a few in my writing future!

BB: Why surfing/surfers? (p.s. I don’t surf, never have, probably never will – but I have to say I absolutely adore the surfing aspect of Second Star)

ABS: I’ve never surfed a day in my life either, and I doubt that I will ever try – but I became absolutely obsessed with all things surfing as I researched and wrote this novel. It started with a book called The Wave by Susan Casey, about not just big wave surfing but also about the ocean and waves themselves. After that, the floodgates opened. I watched every surfing video I could find, read every book I could about big wave surfing – and the more I read, the bigger a part I knew surfing would play in Second Star. (And I’m so thrilled to hear that you adored the surfing part of the story – I loved, loved writing it.)

BB: f you had to describe Second Star to a reader who hasn’t a clue as to what it’s about, but you could only use three words, what three words would you choose to describe your book?

ABS: Sand, Waves, Longing

BB: What next for you? Can you tell of any upcoming projects?

ABS: My next book is called Faceless. It’s the story of a girl named Maisie who’s in a terrible accident. Her injuries are so severe that she undergoes a partial face transplant. It’s been an intense book to research and write – I always fall for my characters a little bit, and it’s never easy to write the more difficult parts of their stories. But I’ve also really loved writing it, and I’m excited for people to read it when it publishes next year.

BB: What advice can you offer to aspiring writers?

ABS: My number one piece of advice is never stop reading. I’m a firm believer that you can learn something from everything you read, whether it’s a novel you love, (or even a one you dislike), an article in a fashion magazine, a blog post, an op-ed column, even a textbook. I really do think that everything I read has something to teach me about writing.

A big THANK YOU to Alyssa for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me/the blog. If you want more information about Second Star or about Alyssa B. Sheinmel be sure to check her out!

Second Star

 Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

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When John and Michael Darling – two surf loving teen who go missing – they leave more than an empty bedroom behind. They leave their older sister, Wendy, with a constant ache in her chest, a notion of what their life was like in her head, and a gaping hole in, not just her live, but her family’s life as well.
According to the police, the twins died in a surfing accident. According to the police, Wendy’s younger brother’s are dead even though they have no evidence to prove this. The worst part of the entire situation is that everyone believes the police, everyone believes that John and Michael are really gone.
Except Wendy.
Wendy knows better to believe the police. She knows that her brothers are out there – alive – chasing after the next big wave.  She knows that it’s up to her to find them.
But what she finds is unbelievable. She finds a ragtag team of teen surfers hidden by a cove – a surfer’s nirvana. She finds Pete and Jas, two enemies who know more about her brothers than she does. And ultimately, through they she finds love.
Second Star, a retelling of the classic Peter Pan, written by author Alyssa B. Shienmel, is a realistic, modern-day take on a beloved fantastical tale. Scheinmel’s retelling is tinged with magic, wonder, and love.
There are three key aspects of Shienmel’s Second Star that make this such a great read. Firstly, even though it’s a retelling, it’s a unique one. Yes, Shienmel uses Peter Pan’s basic concept, but she spins a story all her own. SThe writing that fills the pages is strong and descriptive.  Shienmel doesn’t rely on simply telling Wendy Darling’s story. Instead, through her words, she shapes images inside of the reader’s mind.
Secondly, the characters. Wendy, Pete, Jas, and even stoney Belle are all original. Their names are really the only things they share with Barrie’s original work. They’re personalities are vastly different. For instance, Jas isn’t  mean-spirited, nor is he seeking revenge on his former friend and surf mate Pete. Instead, he’s living and loving the best way he knows how. And Wendy. She isn’t content to sit idly by and take care of everyone, especially knowing that her brothers are out there somewhere. Beyond the personalities, Shienmel’s characters are all relatable on some level or another.
Third, Second Star posses a true transportive quality. Readers sink into the lush setting. They will instantly feel as if they have been transported to a place and time beyond the stars, where life – no matters of the ups and downs – is easy and breezy.
Second Star was a great read. Not just for fans of Peter Pan, but for fans of great stories filled with great characters. Pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.