Friday, October 17, 2014

Books on my Shelf

Ah the dreaded TBR pile. With some many pretty books getting released, I tend to buy them with the best intentions, and they end up replaced by even more awesome books. It's a cycle that we book addicts understand. So, I wanted to feature some of the books I've got on my shelf that I need to actually pick up and read (because I'm sure they're awesome)!


Stork by Wendy Delsol

Family secrets. Lost memories. And the arrival of an ancient magical ability that will reveal everything.

Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women tasked with a very unique duty. But Katla’s biggest challenge may be finding her flock at a new school. Between being ignored by Wade, the arrogant jock she stupidly fooled around with, and constantly arguing with gorgeous farm boy and editor-in-chief Jack, Katla is relieved when her assignment as the school paper’s fashion columnist brings with it some much-needed friendship. But as Homecoming approaches, Katla uncovers a shocking secret about her past — a secret that binds her fate to Jack’s in a way neither could have ever anticipated. With a nod to Hans Christian Andersen and inspired by Norse lore, Wendy Delsol’s debut novel introduces a hip and witty heroine who finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. She will dance and summon her tribe's deity, who will inhabit Liyana's body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But when the dance ends, Liyana is still there. Her tribe is furious--and sure that it is Liyana's fault. Abandoned by her tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. The desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice--she must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate--or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (October 14) - As You Wish by Cary Elwes

What is teaser tuesday?

It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


"And while a leap of faith would be required to presume that the other characters in the film (most notably Buttercup) would not immediately spot the resemblance between Westley and the Man in Black, the audience was free to make the connection (which of course, they did). Still, it had to look right. Despite going to great lengths to create dozens of perfect masks, the makeup department still wound up having to use dark makeup around my eyes in some scenes to create a seamless transition between mask and skin, much like what I understand they do with all the folks who play Batman." 
-As You Wish, Pages 38-39, by Cary Elwes. 

Also, I'm hosting a contest on Twitter for a book of your choice! If you follow me at Twitter.com/Cornucopiaofluv and retweet the contest you're entered to win!   

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review: The Infects by Sean Beaudoin

A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre.

Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back.

Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read—whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten—and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.


Best Bits:  I can always appreciate YA books that focus on guys, since those tend to be rare in the genre. Plus, the way that the zombie apocalypse begins in this one is totally believable. Nick works at a chicken processing plant, and in a typical teen fashion is crushing on a girl he thinks is out of his league. Things head south at said job, and he ends up fighting off zombies at a wilderness camp. I'm actively choosing not to share how the zombies come into existence, but it's pretty clear when you're reading.

 This book definitely didn't skimp on the gore or scare factor. I was genuinely spooked reading some scenes, with the anticipation that something bad was about to happen (I was usually right). What makes this book even better is the possibility that Nero may have been exposed to the virus and could be changing as well. We get a great look at his inner monologue and fight against the voice trying to control him.

Nit Picks: This book has it's own language, and a completely new slang vocabulary. In some books this works well, but at some points during this one I was drawn out of the story. I also thought that the end wrapped up extremely quickly. It was a time jump, and I wish I could have seen the bits in between.

The Infects
By Sean Beaudoin
Published by Candlewick
384 Pages
Purchased

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (September 28)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week. All links go to Goodreads

For Review -

The Swap by Megan Shull

YOU BE ME...AND I'LL BE YOU.”

ELLIE spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.

Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!

Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their feelings for each other grow—Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.


Published by Katherine Tegen


Illusions of Fate - Kiersten White

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.


Published by Katherine Tegen Books

Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon - Lindsay Cummings

The first book in an epic middle grade fantasy adventure series that takes place in an underground society at the center of the earth. Packed with action, humor, magic, and mystery.

After following a mysterious map into the woods and then under the woods, eleven-year-old Albert Flynn learns he’s a Balance Keeper—someone with special magical skills for fixing problems in three underground Realms at the Core of the earth. His new job is important; if the realms fall out of balance, the world above could be in great danger.

Albert and his Balance Keeper teammates Birdie and Leroy arrive in the Core not a moment too soon. There’s an Imbalance in the Calderon Realm and it’s threatening to bury Albert’s hometown of New York City in a mountain of ash.

The three must train hard completing mental and physical challenges, but above all, they must harness the power of their Tiles—unique superpowers given to each Balance Keeper. So far, Albert’s mastered the art of not mastering his Tile....

With the situation in Calderon growing worse every day, can Albert, Leroy, and Birdie restore balance before New York is destroyed forever? Will Albert master his Tile before it’s too late?


Published by Katherine Tegen Books

Messanger of Fear - Michael Grant

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . .


Published by Katherine Tegen Books



Purchased -

Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter - Josh Gates

Truth is stranger than legend . . . and your journey into both begins here.

World adventurer and international monster hunter Josh Gates has careened through nearly 100 countries, investigating frightening myths, chilling cryptozoological legends, and terrifying paranormal phenomena. Now, he invites fans to get a behind-the-scenes look at these breathtaking expeditions.

Follow Gates from the inception of the groundbreaking hit show (at the summit of Kilimanjaro) to his hair-raising encounters with dangerous creatures in the most treacherous locations on earth. Among his many adventures, he unearths the flesh-crawling reality of the Mongolian Death Worm, challenges an ancient curse by spending the night in King Tut’s tomb, descends into a centuries-old mine to search for an alien entity in subterranean darkness, pursues ghosts in the radioactive shadow of Chernobyl, and explores sightings of Bigfoot from the leech-infested rain forests of Malaysia to the dizzying heights of the Himalayas.

Part journey into the unexplained, part hilarious travelogue, part fascinating look at the making of a reality-based TV show, and featuring never-before-published photographs; this Destination Truth companion takes readers on the supernatural expedition of a lifetime.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Feral Blog Tour - Interview with Holly Schindler


Your new book, FERAL, was released on August 26.  Can you tell readers a bit about it?
The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

FERAL’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
FERAL takes on a different subject matter and genre than your past books.  What inspired you to write a YA thriller?
You’re right—FERAL is quite different from my previous releases (a YA literary problem novel, a YA romance, an MG contemporary realistic read).  I’m a serious fan of vintage movies—especially Hitchcock.  That really helped shape FERAL, which is a psychological thriller, in the classic sense. 
Like psychological thrillers, FERAL features mystery, horror, and paranormal elements, but the emphasis is on the “psychological” rather than thriller / action.  The novel features a Hitchcockian pace and focus on character development (here, we’re exploring the inner workings of the main character, Claire Cain). 
Essentially, every aspect of FERAL is used to explore Claire’s inner workings—that even includes the wintry Ozarks setting.  The water metaphor is employed frequently in psychological thrillers to represent the subconscious, and in this instance is incorporated in the form of a brutal ice storm (that represents Claire’s “frozen” inner state).  The attempt to untangle what is real from what is unreal (another frequently-used aspect of the psychological thriller) also begins to highlight the extent to which Claire was hurt in that Chicago alley.  Even the explanation of the odd occurrences in the town of Peculiar offers an exploration into and portrait of Claire’s psyche. 
Ultimately, FERAL is a book about recovering from violence—that’s not just a lengthy or hard process; it’s a terrifying process, too.  The conventions of the classic psychological thriller allowed me to explore that frightening process in detail. 
Can you talk a bit about your road to being published?  How do things change once you’re an established author?
My road to the first publication was really long: it took seven and a half years of full-time effort to land my first deal. 
My first two books (both YAs) were with a smaller house.  I actually handled the first two deals myself; shortly thereafter, I signed with an agent who wanted to represent my MG. 
I know most people assume an agent is a magical creature who can instantly open doors in the publishing world.  In reality, it took my own agent a year and a half to sell my MG (THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, which released with Dial / Penguin earlier this year).  At that point, I knew I wanted to bring the agent in on the rest of my work—including the YAs.  We agreed that it was time to seek a larger house to publish the YAs as well…But even with an agent and two YAs (one of which was critically acclaimed, having earned a starred review and several awards) on my side, it took a year to sell my third YA, FERAL, to HarperTeen. 
When I started out, I assumed that selling the first book would change everything.  That once I’d inked the first contract, I’d be “in” the publishing world, and my work would be handled differently.  Not so.  Just as the world doesn’t magically change by signing with the agent, the world doesn’t change once you’ve sold a few books, either.  It’s still a process of submission and rejection. 
That’s an important distinction, though: the PROCESS remains the same.  Am I the same person I was when I jumped into my pursuit of publication?  No.  I know myself as an author far better than I did when I was starting out.  I know what I want my books to say.  And that makes the process far less scary.  I also don’t have the same approach to finding a publishing house that I did when I was seeking my first book deal.  I don’t just want my book to be accepted by a house, I want my book to find the RIGHT house, the right editor who recognizes and connects with what I’m doing. 
What are five books that you would suggest every teen read?
1.   CATCHER IN THE RYE – Salinger.  It’s considered, by some, to be the first YA novel written.
2.   SPEAK – Anderson.  I consider it a seminal work in contemporary YA literature.
3.   ELSEWHERE – Zevin.  My favorite YA read.
4.   TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD – Lee.  You’ll probably get this one assigned to you in class—I did.  And it was hands-down my favorite high school read.
5.   A book outside of your usual genre of preference.  I think it’s important to move outside of your comfort zone.  Reading tastes are somewhat like food preferences—a lot of it’s based on trial and error and multiple exposures.  Just because you didn’t much care for literary reads a few years ago doesn’t mean you won’t like them now.  Give a new genre a shot, keeping an open mind.
What’s next for you, any new books in the work?
Youbetcha!  I’m always working on something new…In fact, I recently finished both my next YA and MG, and I’m working on branching out into new genres.  Be sure to follow along with me on Twitter: @Holly_Schindler and facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor to keep up to date with the latest news!

 
Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs). 

Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud.  Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” 

FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller.  Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”

Schindler encourages readers to get in touch.  Booksellers, teen librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits.  She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and hollyschindler.tumblr.com

FERAL Trailer:
Rafflectopter form for a giveaway of a signed copy of FERAL (running from Sept. 27- Oct. 13):

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.


Best Bits: Can we just talk about how cute the cover is for a second? I love pink, and pearls, and orange, ugh it's awesome. Okay, moving forward. I'm always a bit skeptical when books involve the popular-turned-badass leading lady. Hawkins manages to have Harper maintain her sassiness, while gaining an understanding of herself. I think after five year, people know that I love character growth. I also liked the relationships. There's no insta-love, and probably the best part was watching Harper try to decide if she and her boyfriend, Ryan, really should be together (a common struggle in high school when couples tend to grow apart). 

I actually think that I am going to like this series more than Hawkins' previous Hex Hall books. This could be because I love southern settings (I'm one of like 15 people who watch Hart of Dixie). This could also be because there are funny moments littered throughout the book. Hex Hall was a bit more serious, and the sly humor in Rebel Belle made the book that much more enjoyable.

Nit Picks: I was sad to discover that this is going to be a series. My kingdom for a standalone! There is certainly more to be explored in follow-ups, but I would have liked a little more background on Harper's life. We see her adjusting to her new powers, but we don't see her explore grief due to the death of a family member.

Rebel Belle
By Rachel Hawkins
Published by Putnam Juvenile
245 Pages
Purchased 
 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (September 9)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


"Zombirule #2: After a fight, avoid turning away from a fallen zombie to hug your girlfriend with relief. Under no circumstances fail to tage that zombie again, or while you have your PTSD face buried in her shampoo-smelling hair, said zombie will stand up offscreen, give the audience time to scream, and then take a big ol' hunk of rib eye out of your back." 
-The Infects, Page 124, by Sean Beaudoin 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (September 3)


Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.


Published by Orion
Release Date: March 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

 
Best Bits: Digging into a book by Stephanie Perkins is always a delight. It's like snuggling a warm blanket with some tea. You know it's going to be comfortable and enjoyable. Isla did that for me. Perkins brings us back to France, where we see a couple in a different year at the same school where the series began. Can I go to school there?

 What I enjoy most is how accurate these books are to the teen experience. It captures the angst, the self-consciousness, the fear of uncertainty...and I totally would have gone on a romantic weekend trip with my boyfriend if I could have gotten away with it! I wish that I had read these during those years, because I can imagine myself nodding along and feeling totally validated (did I mention swooning over amazing male characters?). This book also had another great theme, friendship. We see how Isla isn't willing to give up her best friend for her relationship. Sure, they spend less time together and both grow, but it's never a question of leaving him behind. Not to mention, hurrah for a book that depicts male/female friendship without having a love triangle!

Nit Picks: I had extremely high expectations for this one, especially because the couples from Anna and Lola were so swoon-worthy. I think this couple is a lot more realistic in that they had a lot more to deal with. They didn't feel as certain at the end, like the couples in the other book did. I'm not sure if that's because I'm older and more skeptical, or because the drama was more intense between the two. So, in a way this isn't really a nitpick...more of an explanation why this couple wasn't my favorite.

I'm sad to see this series go, but I purchased each book because I know I'll be rereading them during those dreary fall/winter days when I need a pick-me-up!

Isla and the Happily Ever After
By Stephanie Perkins
Published by Dutton
339 Pages
Purchased

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (August 19)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


"An old man with a busted piano is playing "La Vie en Rose"on the street outside my window. He hauls it around this part of the city, from one corner to another, but I've never seen how he moves it." 
-Isla and the Happily Ever After, Page 47, by Stephanie Perkins

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (August 13)


Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.


Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Published by Dutton
Release Date: August 14, 2014

Okay, I know I've posted about this before, but AHHHHHH it comes out tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (July 30)


Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.


Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

#EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).


Published by Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (July 29)

What is teaser tuesday?

It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


"You look way too chipper for a Monday morning," Sam said as we pushed through the front doors.
"Calculus," I said. 
-Chapel Wars, Page 48, by Lindsey Leavitt

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten

Rowena Duncan is a thoroughly modern girl with big plans for her summer—until she catches her boyfriend making out with another girl. Heartbroken, she applies to an out-of-town job posting and finds herself somewhere she never expected: the Renaissance Faire.

As a face-painter doubling as a serving wench, Ro is thrown headfirst into a vibrant community of artists and performers. She feels like a fish out of water until Will, a quick-witted whip cracker, takes her under his wing. Then there’s Christian, a blue-eyed stunt jouster who makes Ro weak in the knees. Soon, it’s not just her gown that’s tripping her up.

Trading in the internet and electricity for stars and campfires was supposed to make life simpler, but Ro is finding that love is the ultimate complication. Can she let the past make way for her future?


Best Bits: I went in hoping for a cute summer read, and this book met all my expectations. Ro is trying to escape seeing an ex and his new girlfriend, so she finds a job out in the middle of nowhere. What teen girl hasn't wanted to do the same thing? It's a fun setup and it doesn't take her long once she's there to start focusing on herself (and a new guy, but that's sort of the point). While it may seem like the new romance is the focus of the book, there's also a focus on confidence and following your passions. Ro loves art, and as she begins to work her individuality into face painting at the faire she begins to realize that she might not be headed toward the future that's right for her. 

The other characters at the faire make the book even better. You would expect to find some eccentric people working at King Geoffrey's Faire, and you won't be disappointed. Of course there's Christian, the attractive knight, Will, the guy who proves appearances can be deceiving, and my personal favorite, Ramon. Ramon is the grumpy head cook at the tavern, and his interactions with Ro and the gang were great. 

Nit Picks: My only complaint is that I wanted more. We only see a couple weeks in the summer, and as much as I loved the parts we got to read, I would have loved to get to experience more of the faire over the time that Ro was there.

My Faire Lady
By Laura Wettersten
Published by Simon & Schuster
352 Pages


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dear Blog

I'm sorry I've neglected you! Life has been a bit chaotic, and a friend and I almost did a combined blog adventure. Alas, the real world got in the way for both of us. I don't want to let Cornucopia of Reviews die, because I've been here for five years (and I love all the blog connections I've made). So, I've decided that I probably won't update as much, and for the most part I won't be accepting anything for review. I'll review what I buy/find at the library, etc.

Mostly, I'm going to use this as a way to visit other bloggers and keep myself updated on what's coming out, the things I'm excited about, and hopefully a review once a week. I'm not holding myself to that because some weeks I work and when I get home all I can think about is climbing into bed and watching a chick flick.

So...I'm still alive, and I can't wait to see what you've all been up to for the last month :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Tsarina by J Nelle Patrick

Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it's not in the right hands.

Best Bits: I love a good historical fiction novel, and if it involves any popular writing/film/tv names (The Tudors, The Romanovs, etc) I'm there. When I found out that J. Nelle Patrick was actually the pseudonym for Jackson Pearce, I was even more excited. I can't say that it was a perfect read, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. The fantasy element was an interesting twist throughout the book, and I was kept on the edge of my seat until things were resolved. 

I found it realistic that Natalya didn't really understand the purpose of the revolution. She can't understand why people are targeting those who are rich, and believes that the Romanov's will prevail. I think this is an honest portrayal of someone who is isolated in a lifestyle of wealth. So, while others may be frustrated by her naivety, I think that it provides some uniqueness to her character. It was also contrasted well with her friend, Emilia. She also has the same line of thinking, but is a bit more shallow than Natalya. It was refreshing to see over the course of the book the growth in their understanding of the world and politics.

Nit Picks: Sometimes, I felt like the story was taking place during the communist revolution, but within it's own little bubble.  For example, it's clear that Pearce did her research while she was writing this novel.  She discusses people that were involved with the Romanov family, and particularly with Rasputin, paints an interesting picture of the time. At the same time, however, there have been some changes with Alexi (who was still a young boy when he was killed). Even small changes like that made me question what was changed as a plot device, and what was accurate. 

Tsarina 
By J Nelle Patrick
Published by Razorbill
331 Pages


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (June 21)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews! It's a way to highlight the books that everyone got throughout the week.

Purchased: 

A World Without Princes (The School of Good and Evil 2) by Soman Chainani

In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn't quite the fairy tale they expected.

When Agatha secretly wishes she'd chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love-and this time, it comes from within.




From my Book Fairies:

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Sue and Kate Rorick

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie's life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters, beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets, and for Lizzie's viewers. Suddenly Lizzie, who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman, was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (June 17)


What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 

"A man in his mid-twenties was edging his way into the tiny cafe. He was short, slight, and extravagantly good-looking." 
-The Cuckoo's Calling, Page 98, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another Lunar Chronicles Book!

Jeeze, I leave for a little while and amazing things go down!

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles .1) by Marissa Meyer

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Published by Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Okay, I just need to take a second to stop jumping up and down! It's 256 pages, so it's n0vel-length. I cannot wait to read about her descent into a need for power and control! This will also tide me over until November when Winter is released. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm Still Here

My computer is down for the count (hold me while I openly sob, Internet)! I'm still here planning and reading! I've got winners to get in to he with, too! I've also got a pretty big announcement that I'm hoping will happen soon :) I'll be back with everyone ASAP


In the meantime, happy reading!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Yes, I'm an adult who still reads YA

Some of you may have recently read an article on Slate.com titled "Against YA" by Ruth Graham. It was certainly an interesting read, but I can't get on board with it.

The overall message of the article is that if you're an adult who still reads YA, there is something wrong. As an adult, we should eschew anything that isn't written for the intelligent adult (and, if I'm guessing based on tone, there is a subset of fiction that is still less-than). I'm an adult, I have a full-time job, and I read a variety of literature. That includes a love of YA books. Why is it that I have to be judged for enjoying what I read? Why does this author feel the need to force emotions upon me. How does it benefit anyone to shame me into giving up a genre I connect with, and enjoy?

The author asserts that the reason I, as a twenty-something, read YA falls into three categories. The author believes that it's either nostalgia, escapism (isn't all reading some form of escapism?), or instant gratification. Yes, I have 90's nostalgia, but the books that I read rarely create that yearning in me. The author seems to believe that because these books depict and cater to teens, they are, by nature, unsatisfying and unworthy. That she didn't cry while reading The Fault in Our Stars because it just wasn't good enough. Couldn't we chalk that up to individual preference?

Why should we shame those who read? Why not embrace YA and read more than a handful of books before stereotyping an entire genre? If being an adult means that I pass judgement on others, and embrace an air of superiority in any aspect of my life, then we are no better than the way some teens view us. We pass judgement on them, tell them their emotions are less valid because they are still young, and that their literature is less than. Not I!

For some fabulous reading by my local indie owner, check out her response from Publisher's Weekly. She's created a fabulous anti-anti-YA list that everyone can enjoy. View it here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Teaser Tuesday (May 27)

What is teaser tuesday?
It's a meme hosted by Should Be Reading and here are the rules: 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! 


"Hmph." This seems to appease Kitty a tiny bit. Knowing something first, before Margot, is a big deal." 
-To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Page 134, by Jenny Han

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Movie Review: The Vampire Academy

Based on author Richelle Mead’s worldwide bestselling series, VAMPIRE ACADEMY tells the legend of Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), two 17-year-old girls who attend a hidden boarding school for Moroi (mortal, peaceful Vampires) and Dhampirs (half-vampire/half-human guardians). Rose, a rebellious Guardian-in-training and her best friend, Lissa – a royal vampire Princess - have been on the run when they are captured and returned to St.Vladamirs Academy, the very place where they believe their lives may be in most jeopardy. Thrust back into the perils of Moroi Society and high school, Lissa struggles to reclaim her status while Rose trains with her mentor and love-interest, Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky), to guarantee her place as Lissa’s guardian. Rose will sacrifice everything to protect Lissa from those who intend to exploit her from within the Academy walls and the Strigoi (immortal, evil vampires) who hunt her kind from outside its sanctuary.

Best Bits: I think any movie that starts with "Bad Girls" by M.I.A automatically gets four stars. I'm new to this series, I've been flying through the books, and loving every minute of them. I think this puts me in a unique position with the movie. I don't have a huge set of expectations due to years of waiting for new books. What was I looking for in the movie? The same feel of the book. I wanted something that doesn't take itself too seriously, but still had intense moments. I think this movie did that well. Yes, there were a number of changes from page to screen, including altering some plot points. Some will be a bit upset with that, but it's all in the name of making a movie that flows (this was ingrained in me after watching commentaries from LOTR).

Perhaps the most important parts of the movie are the characterization of, and friendship between Lissa and Rose. The books depend on these things, and the friendship guides a majority of Rose's decisions over the course of the series. I was happy that Rose was sassy, and Zoey Deutch was able to pull it off. Lucy Fry, playing Lissa, was great as well. You feel for her as she's trying to adjust back to life at the academy while other students whisper behind her back. As I've continued on with the series, she has sort of replaced my mental image of who Lissa is.

Nit Picks:  I felt like there was an excess of cleavage for Rose. I'm wondering if this was to play up her curvy figure which is described in the book, but I can imagine that getting in the way of fighting strigoi. I also thought that the actor who plays Dimitri looked old...and I can't even explain it. He's only a bit older than I am, and doesn't look that old in behind-the-scenes photos/other movies. I'm going to blame it on the hair.

If you are looking for a fun, quick movie to watch with the girls, I'd say give this one a shot.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (May 21)


Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This weekly meme shares the upcoming books that I'm most excited about.


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
 A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Secretly training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king, Mather—she would do anything to help Winter regain its source of magic and rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers and fighting enemy soldiers just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, and never has been, her own.

Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one’s destiny.

Published by Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 14, 2014

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