Archive for the ‘ YA ’ Category

Book Review: The Copper Witch by Jessica Dall

The Copper Witch Review at Quintessentially BookishRelease Date: March 13th 2014
Publisher: 5 Prince Publishing
Series: The Broken Line (#1)
Pages: 257

The Copper Witch

From the book jacket:

Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.

Overall Thoughts:

Though the book jacket description is eye-catching, it really isn’t doing this book justice.  The story is much more involved than it would lead you to believe.  I expected to like the book, but I ended up enjoying it, and Adela, more than I thought I would.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Characters:

Adela starts out as a little bit of a brat, but I soon started really liking her confidence and her unapologetic attitude towards going after what she wants.  What reads as  spoiled childishness at the beginning ends up morphing into a woman doing what she can to protect herself in a world where she doesn’t have many options.  Yes, she is selfish and vain and sometimes hurts other people, but she is also strong, intelligent, and ambitious in a way that female characters (or, really,women in general) are not often allowed to be.

Setting:

I actually had to go back and skim the book again before I could write about the setting; I couldn’t think of any overly distinguishing characteristics. This is not because it is deficient, but instead because it complements the story so well.  It provides the perfect backdrop for Adela and her rise to power.

Writing Style:

The writing isn’t exceptionally poetic – this is a novel driven more by plot than language – but it serves it’s utility. The dialogue is the most impressive bit.  Dialogue is difficult for many writers, but Dall makes it seem effortless.  It walks the line between appropriate to the historical setting and appealing to modern readers while still sounding completely natural.  I’ll admit that my inner voice was slightly British when reading the dialogue.

Extras:

Just a touch of magic…maybe.

Favorite Line:

“Men tend to underestimate a smart woman with an innocent face.”

Read This If You Like:

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Nobody’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Jessica Dall online: Goodreads // Facebook // Website

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read…Maybe

A few months ago I posted a list of books I thought every woman in her 20s should read.  Today, my wonder twin Robi is guess posting with his list of books every man in his 20s should read.  Thanks Robi!

 

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially Bookish

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

This book meant a lot to me when I first read it in high school, and it meant more to me when I read it in my 20s.  It’s a book about friendship and fate that covers a wide range of time and emotions.  It’s a “coming of age” story that has an ever changing “age” that it encompasses.  It especially appeals to me as a story of two friends, one who knows exactly his fate and his place in the world, and one who is always trying to figure it out, and how each approach has its own merits and its own pitfalls.

 

 

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

This is one of my all-time favorite books.  I can remember when I first read it as a kid.  And I can remember the joy of receiving a signed copy for a Christmas present this year (yeah, I’m stuntin’ on it).  The main character can easily be any of us when we were a kid, and just as easily be anyone as an adult.  It’s a story about being angry and lost at times, and still finding joy and happiness, and about being a kid while also being forced to grow up.  Further, it’s the story that I credit with helping me realize that boys and girls can be best friends.  My absolute best friend is a girl (the only one who could actually get me to write a blog post…), and is someone I can be imaginative and playful with, and also someone who can understand when I need to vent or be moody.  From making friends to dealing with hardships, this book is one that taught me so much, and I will always come back to read again and again.

 

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishHarry Potter Series by J. K Rowling

This book series has everything.  It’s a book where the reader can grow with the characters, understand their motivations, their secrets, their abilities, and the reader learns life lessons along with the characters.  And I think, because of these things, the reader can take a lot from it.  Plus, whether we are younger or older, it’s easy to equate with the emotions of the characters.  It covers all themes: friendship, hard work, sacrifice, teamwork. Read one each year in the summer, and realize that whatever is coming up in the next year, by facing it and relying on both yourself and others, it can be tackled and accomplished.

 

 

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishGunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work by Tim Gunn

I don’t feel like you have a to a fan of Project Runway, or the fashion world in general, to enjoy this book and learn something from it.  Even if one has no desire to get first hand stories from behind the scenes of some of the biggest names in fashion (side note:  see my final entry in this post, though, as to why it should still be considered), Gunn’s “golden rules” are important for any person to follow.  It’s part autobiography, part insider look into the fashion industry, and a whole lot of self-help.  His guidelines toward etiquette and how one should conduct and dress oneself are inspiring, and should make readers want to be better for themselves and for others. (seriously, though, people need to quit wearing pajamas in public.  Comfort is overrated.)

 

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishEither/Or: A Fragment of Life by Søren Kierkegaard (Specifically “Crop Rotation”) 

“Boredom is the root of all evil…”

Of all of the books I read in college, this one stuck with me the most.  I feel that boredom is becoming increasingly rampant.  When you are in your 20s, starting out on your own, starting to work full-time, etc., boredom kicks in at all moments, and it will only get worse.  And this boredom leads to filling it with useless activities (Facebook, bored eating, TV watching), which leads to despair over ourselves and our situations.  Kierkegaard’s ideas won’t solve boredom, but it will help you face it, realize it, and hopefully move on it from it (utilizing a “rotation” method that goes more towards being productive and creative, not through ways that are wasteful or useless).

 

 

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially Bookish
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

This is not just a comic, it’s a life philosophy.  Calvin’s (and, by extension, Hobbes’) ideas on everything ranging from parental politics to school to life are deep and far-reaching.  This is especially true when you realize that Calvin could make more out of a cardboard box and a stuffed tiger than most of us can make out of a house full of electronics, TV shows reaching the trillions (by this point, I imagine that’s the case), and the constant presence of the world at our fingertips (whether that be useful or a crutch).  This, more than anything, is a calling to utilization imagination and try to find the fun in life.  (Also, Calvinball, using the same things to create a constantly changing and challenging game to combat boredom is a great example of the rotation method (see above).

 

Something out of your comfort zone

This is not so much a specific book as much as it is a challenge.  Now is the time to read something out of your “comfort zone.”  There is no reason to be pigeonholed to reading only certain things.  But if you don’t start now, that time may not come.  Read Young Adult series.  Read books that are the opposite of your beliefs.  Read a horror book, a romantic book, a book aimed at kids, a book that you think would be “too smart” for you.  Hell, read Twilight.  It doesn’t have to be the best to pique your interest and expand your mind.  And this is the perfect time to start, before you get stuck in a rut of thinking only a certain type of story is appealing to you.

Waiting on Wednesday: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can highlight upcoming books they’re excited to read. My choice for this week is:

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins

Why I’m Waiting

I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series and I’m excited to see what she comes up with next.   I like the ambiguity around this title.  Most people seem to assume that this is going to be a dystopian Hunger Games-esque, but Oliver’s claim that this is her return to standalone realism makes me think otherwise.  I want to know what Panic is, whether it’s dystopian sci fi or teenage games.

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park Review at Quintessentially BookishRelease Date: February 26th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 328

From the book jacket:

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Overall Thoughts:

I see why this book received so much praise.  It’s sweet and real and heartbreaking.  I wanted to read it again immediately after finishing it. This book certainly includes painful things, but it does so in a way that isn’t overwrought.  It’s simultaneously dark and hopeful and very real. People often complain that YA books are too dark, without really understanding how important it is for those books to portray the difficult lives and circumstances.

Characters:

I just love these two characters.  I want to give Eleanor a hug and be the mother that she desperately needs.  She really just breaks my heart.  Park is wonderful.  He’s the kind of boyfriend I would wish for every teenage girl.  Rowell does such a great of portraying two characters that are lost in that way that is so universal to so many teenagers, but still unique to each one.

Setting:

The setting, particularly Eleanor’s house, is very important to the story.  The way she describes each location really emphasizes the way the characters feel when there.  Eleanor’s house feels suffocating and almost scary, but the bus seat feels safe.  It’s a great accompaniment to the action and conversations.

Writing Style:

Rowell writes from the perspective of both characters and does so beautifully.  She often alternates between each of them within one scene, so we are able to see simultaneously what they are both feeling in a particular moment. The language she uses is very poetic, but still believable as a teenage voice.  It was really difficult for me to pick a favorite line because there are so many that were so wonderfully written.

Extras:

Mixtapes.  I do so miss mixtapes.

Favorite Line:

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Read This If You Like:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I wrote this several weeks ago and apparently forgot to publish it. So, here you go!

 

 

Storybound Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Divergent (#3)
Pages: 531

The Secret Eater

From the book jacket:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Plot:

This final book explores the reality of the revelation from the end of Insurgent. Tris, Four, and their friends learn why the factions were formed, the purpose of their city, and what lies beyond the fence – as well as what part they play in all of it.

Overall Thoughts:

Though this was a controversial ending to the series, I loved it.  Roth makes some very tough choices that certain types of readers might not fully appreciate, but those choices remain true to the characters and plot in a way that a more upbeat ending would not.  Even with the popularity of dystopian fiction and darker novels, there’s often a push for YA writers to end their series with a happily ever after – the characters fall in love, the bad guy is beaten, everyone lives – but this isn’t always an appropriate way to end the story.  I appreciate Roth’s commitment to ending her story in a way that respectful to her characters and the reader, rather than caving to the pressure to tie everything up in a nice little bow.

Characters:

We learn more about Tris and Four in this book than we did in the previous two combined.  Tris explores her past, her mother’s past, and how they have shaped who she is. Four flounders a bit as he tries to come to terms with what he fears about himself.  It’s interesting to see his side of the story, rather than solely that of what Tris believes about him.  We learn much more about what motivates him.

Setting:

Talking about the setting is difficult without revealing too much about the plot.  It plays a big part in this final book, to the point that it’s almost a character on its own.

Writing Style:

Unlike the previous two books, Allegiant is written in alternating viewpoints between Tris and Four.  While I think it helped round out the story in a way that just hearing Tris’s side would not have done, I wish there had been more distinction between the two characters.  The voice Roth used for each was so similar that I often had difficulty remembering which character was narrating.  I would have liked to see each of them have a more clear voice that was all their own instead of being so very much Roth’s voice.

Extras:

A much more clear back story than we usually get in dystopian novels, while still being vague enough that the details don’t muddle the story.

Favorite Line:

 “Sometimes, all it takes to save people from a terrible fate is one person willing to do something about it. Even if that ‘something’ is a fake bathroom break.”

Read This If You Like:

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Matched by Ally Condie