Sunday, March 31, 2013

Quote of the Week: The Firefly Letters

Quote of the Week is a new segment where I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes, whether they be from books or just something I find inspiring.

"My mind soars
and whirls
in a dance
of wild fear
and graceful hope." 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 8: Alive

Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "Alive" by Becki Ryan, it's from the movie Flicka, which is how I first heard it. It's nearly impossible to only listen to this song once, whenever it comes on my ipod I always hit back and listen to it at least two or three times! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

Title: The Wild Book
Author: Margarita Engle
# Of Pages: 144
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Source: Library
Level: Middle Grade
Rating: 3 Hearts



Fefa struggles with words. She has word blindness, or dyslexia, and the doctor says she will never read or write. Every time she tries, the letters jumble and spill off the page, leaping and hopping away like bullfrogs. How will she ever understand them?

But her mother has an idea. She gives Fefa a blank book filled with clean white pages. "Think of it as a garden," she says. Soon Fefa starts to sprinkle words across the pages of her wild book. She lets her words sprout like seedlings, shaky at first, then growing stronger and surer with each new day. And when her family is threatened, it is what Fefa has learned from her wild book that saves them.

My Verdict

I just have to express my absolute LOVE of this cover! The illustrations are just so colorful and beautiful. Now for the actual story: this is the third book I’ve read by Margarita Engle and unfortunately none of them have lived up to the first.

The Wild Book is about eleven-year old Fefa, who at the beginning of the book finds out she has “word-blindness” or what we now know as common day dyslexia. The book is about Fefa’s struggle and how she works to overcome it. It’s set in the Cuban countryside of 1912, and is a work of historical fiction loosely based on stories the author’s grandmother used to tell her.

I found it unbelievable how cruel Fefa’s own brothers and sisters treated her, making fun or her reading and writing, calling her ugly. Maybe it’s because I had a great relationship with my sister growing up, but I just couldn’t fathom them being so downright nasty to her.

As always the authors beautiful writing had me jotting down quotes as I went along. Here is my favorite:

“Words seem to float
and drift, changing
their strange shapes,
like storms clouds,
always ready to explode.

Overall it wasn’t a personal favorite, but I think it serves as a great example for kids of perseverance and never giving up, because while Fefa got frustrated a lot near the beginning, she kept working to overcome her dyslexia.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordlover Wednesday: Mondegreen

It's time for another segment of "Wait, There's a Word for That!" Where I'll share crazy words for things you never would of dreamed existed. 
So this weeks word is...

Mondegreen A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase, especially in song lyrics.

What better example of misheard song lyrics than the scene from 27 Dresses where Jane & Kevin try their hand at singing Elton John's classis, Bennie and the Jets =D

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quote of the Week: Albert Einstein

Quote of the Week is a new segment where I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes, whether they be from books or just something I find inspiring.

"Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere."

                                                                      -Albert Einstein

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shuffle Saturday 7: Use Me Up

Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "Use Me Up" by Hanson. Even if you don't think you know Hanson chances are you do. MMMBop anyone? I still have my cassette of that first album. In the last couple of years I decided to check out their more recent music and it's all pretty awesome! This song is from their latest album Shout It Out. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Title: The Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
# Of Pages: 448
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
Source: NetGalley
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 2 Hearts



I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

My Verdict

While this story was very unique, mysterious, and occasionally sweet, the bad outweighed the good for me.

The story is told from alternating points of view; Nastya and Josh. Nastya survived a traumatic experience when she was fifteen that took away the one thing she loved most in life, her ability to play piano. Now, three years later she is still consumed by fear, anger, and hatred for what happened to her. It takes awhile for us to figure out what happened in Nastya’s past. We get small snippets here and there until the full story comes out at the end. I really couldn’t understand Nastya’s mindset most of the time. She didn’t respect herself at all and was so self-destructive it was painful to watch.

Then we have Josh, another person who’s past is full of pain and loss. New to school, Nastya tries her hardest to push everyone away, but there is something about Josh that draws her in. The two start to form this odd relationship that goes from hate, dislike, like, to love. I didn’t really love Josh either. I liked him most of the time but then he would do something stupid and really bug me.  He was also pretty self-destructive, not letting anyone into his life who he could later lose, because inevitably that’s what always happened.

My main issue with this book was the swearing and sexual comments every two seconds. There were more F-words in this book than I’ve probably heard in my entire life, and the disgusting sexual “jokes” they were constantly making were not funny. Had these two aspects not been so prevalent, I would have enjoyed this story a lot more!

Overall, this just wasn’t the right book for me.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quote of the Week: Before I Fall

Quote of the Week is a new segment where I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes, whether they be from books or just something I find inspiring. 

"So many things become beautiful when you really look."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 6: Come Around

Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "Come Around" by Phone Calls From Home. PCFH is a smaller, indie band I've been following for awhile. I'm honestly surprised they haven't totally blown up the music scene yet, but I have no doubts it' will happen!!! If you like it be sure to check them out on Facebook or Twitter =)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: The Language Inside by Holly Thompson

Title: The Language Inside
Author: Holly Thompson
# Of Pages: 528
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Source: Borrowed ARC
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Hearts



Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it's the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma's family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma's grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.  

Emma feels out of place in the United States. She begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother's urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena's poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.

My Verdict

Author, Holly Thompson uses free verse to weave together a great multi-cultural story about family, friends, love, hardship, and what to do when the language inside doesn’t match the language outside.

The main character, Emma, and her family move from Japan (the only home Emma’s ever known) when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. The family moves to Massachusetts to stay with a relative so that her mom can be treated in Boston. 

Her mother’s breast cancer, the move - it all leaves Emma with a lot of stress and she starts to suffer from severe migraines. Emma also experiences a lot of guilt having left Japan right after it was struck by the tragedy of a Tsunami. She feels she should be there with her friends to help clean up the destruction and start rebuilding.

Her grandmother signs Emma up to volunteer at a long-term care facility while she’s in town. She is there to help a patient named Zena , who suffers from locked-in syndrome, write poetry.  The only way Zena can communicate is with her eyes. Emma has to hold up an alphabet board organized by row and color, reading each one out until Zena looks up to select a letter. I found this dynamic of the story to be very heartwarming as we get to watch Zena and Emma’s relationship grow as they connect with one another through their mutual love of poetry.

There is also a small romance aspect to the story between Emma and Samnang, a fellow volunteer at the care facility. It’s a sweet relationship that develops slowly throughout the story but at times it was frustrating too because they weren’t even going out but Emma would get all worked up and upset if he hung out with another girl *insert eye roll*.

“I look at him
and he looks straight back at me
into me
and there’s a calm
between us

we are just sitting, breathing,
and I think we are smiling
with out eyes.”

As you can see, this book deals with a lot of different issues; breast cancer, locked-in syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, and migraines, to name some, but it does so effortlessly, weaving them together into one coherent and touching story about one girl’s journey to find herself.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordlover Wednesday: Cantankerous

Todays Wordlover Word is...

Cantankerous (kan-TANG-kuhr-uhs)
Adjective- Difficult to deal with: ill-tempered, quarrelsome. 
Earliest Documented Use- 1736
Example- "What a crusty, cantankerous old man."

Discover more about this word here:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quote of the Week: Chasing Brooklyn

Quote of the Week is a new segment where I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes, whether they be from books or just something I find inspiring. 

"My reflection tells one story.
My heart, a different one.

The difference is,
hearts don't lie.
Mirrors do."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 5: White Dress

Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "White Dress" by Parachute. I love all of their music but this is one of my absolute favorites of theirs. Hope you like it! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Author Interview: Cathy Ostlere

Cathy Ostlere is the author of young adult novel in verse, Karma. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi is gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards. The murder sparks riots in Delhi and for three days Sikh families are targeted and killed in retribution for the Prime Minister’s death. It is into this chaos that sixteen-year-old Maya and her Sikh father, Amar, arrive from their home in Canada. India’s political instability is the backdrop and catalyst for Maya’s awakening to the world.

Born Bookish: Karma is your first book for young adults, what made you want to branch out to a new audience?

It's funny, but I never really thought about specifically writing to a new audience. Karma was the story I wanted to tell and it turns out it is perfectly suited to a young adult readership. As I was writing I found the character Maya to be strong and resilient and I was delighted to be able to share her with readers who are a similar age.

Born Bookish: Your adult novel, “Lost” is written in traditional prose, what made you want to tell Karma in verse?

"Lost" began as poetry but developed into prose. "Karma" began as prose and turned into poetry. I'm not sure I can explain why both books changed except to say it felt right for each story. Writing is an organic process and writers sometimes must take their cues from gut feelings.

Born Bookish: The murder of Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi and the Sikh community massacres that followed are real life events that took place in Delhi, India in 1984. What inspired you to write a book on this specific event?

The story of the 1984 slaughter of innocent Sikhs and the Hindus who tried to help them is a story not often told. And I believe it's an important story. There are many important discussions that can come from knowing about this event: religious tolerance, the immigrant experience, racism, and the power of teenage love.

Born Bookish: Karma is considered to be Historical Fiction. How many hours of research did you have to put in prior to writing in order to make this novel historically, and culturally accurate?

Good question! I really have no idea! I researched while I wrote instead of doing all the research up front. This was done because I didn't know what kind of research to do until my characters found themeselves in particular settings and situations. My characters lead me into the story. But my research made it real and true.

Born Bookish: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process for Karma?

I write five days a week, about 4-5 hours a day. I write whatever comes to mind, allowing the characters do whatever they please. Then I spend a year editing the story, giving it shape, and making sure the characters make sense.

Born Bookish: Which character was easiest for you to write? Why?

Maya was the easiest. She just seemed like a real girl to me: a girl who needed me to tell her amazing story. But 17 year-old Sandeep was fun to write! He's very bold and mouthy and mixed-up and a little funny-looking. He made me laugh.

Born Bookish: What is your favorite novel in verse?

It's hard to pick just one. But if I have to I'll say Helen Frost's "Keesha's House". By using traditional sestina and sonnet forms she draws the readers into the lives of seven struggling teenagers. The writing is spare but the story is large. It's a remarkable literary feat.

Born Bookish: A lot of people are hesitant to try reading this format, why do you think that is?

For many readers, poetry is a daunting genre. They think it will be difficult to read. They think there won't be a story they can grab onto. They think it won't make sense to them. Because of these assumptions, the idea of reading a verse-novel just isn't that appealing. But of course, verse-novels have come such a long way in the last five years and the readership is growing in leaps and bounds. So many teens (and adults) are discovering that the spare voice, the right word, the beautiful description, and the powerful voice of a character is a rich experience. I think more teachers should put verse novels in front of students. The stories read quickly but often the ideas and characters stay a long time.

Born Bookish: If you could take any classic novel and re-write it in verse, which would you choose?

I'd choose Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. A kind of road trip!

Born Bookish: What was your favorite children’s book growing up?

Honestly, I was a big big Nancy Drew fan! I loved all the mysterious settings: hidden staircases, tunnels, attics, mansions, castles, ranches, and ships. Mystery! Secrets! Danger! I was glued to the books.

Born Bookish: Do you have any books in the works that you can tell us a little bit about?

I am working on a new YA book that has secret tunnels in it. Perhaps I'm invoking a little of Nancy Drew!

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)Born Bookish: Here at Born Bookish, I have a segment called Breathtaking Book Covers where I post the cover image of a book that I think is stunning. Is there a book cover that has ever taken your breath away? If so, what book?

I really love the beautiful cover from Nnedi Okorafor's "Akata Witch".

A BIG thanks to Cathy for the interview!!! She was also super nice and sent me a bunch of bookmarks for you guys! The first three  people to link up a novel in verse review this month will get one of these bookmarks =)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordlover Wednesday: Estrapade

It's time for another segment of "Wait, There's a Word for That!" Where I'll share crazy words for things you never would of dreamed existed. 
So this weeks word is...

Estrapade- the action of a horse trying to dismount its rider 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Quote of the Week: Shatter Me

Quote of the Week is a new segment where I will be sharing some of my favorite quotes, whether they be from books or just something I find inspiring. 

"Hope is a pocket of possibility. I'm holding it in my hand."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shuffle Saturdays 4: Gotta Be You

Shuffle Saturdays is hosted by the girls at Pretty In Fiction, where you post a random song from your ipod each week. 

This weeks song is "Gotta Be You" by One Direction (a.k.a. my favorite  band) It was only a matter of time before one of their songs popped up, and as a fair warning there are many, MANY more to come. Your welcome ;)

Novels in Verse Challenge: March Linky List!

We are now into month three of the Novel In Verse Reading Challenge, you guys have been reading some great books so far =)  Last month I had a small giveaway for challenge participants. Congratulations to both Angie from Pinkindle and Victoria from Writ of Whimsy who both won autographed bookmarks from verse novelist Cathy Ostlere! 

No contest this month, but I think there will be another one for April. 
Link up your March reviews below!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Book News: March Releases!

Today is March 1st, which means more awesome books coming out! 
Below are the March releases I'm most excited for! 

COMING MARCH 1st . . .

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home.

COMING MARCH 5th . . .

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not….

COMING MARCH 16th . . .

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). 

The List:

1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous

But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club presient–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far.

COMING MARCH 19th . . .

Alice in Everville by S.C. Langgle

Alice Little thinks she’s read every word the world-famous poet Sylvie Plate published before her untimely death…until she discovers a coded message hidden in Sylvie’s final collection of poems--a message that may explain the poet’s mysterious demise.

All she has to do is decipher the code and she knows she can convince her beloved English teacher, Miss A, that Sylvie’s message is real. Unfortunately, she only has one manic day at Everville Mall to do it. And between keeping track of her fountain-splashing, havoc-wreaking sister, finding a new copy of Sylvie’s poems, and…oh yeah…dealing with the blue-eyed, guitar-playing, majorly swoon-worthy Jaden Briar, who keeps popping up everywhere she goes, Alice wonders if she will ever finish deciphering in time.

COMING MARCH 26th . . .

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

What March release are you anxiously awaiting?