Showing posts from August, 2013

New Releases - If You Could Be Mine, The Boy on the Wooden Box, Relic

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to b…

The Book Thief Movie

I am so excited for this movie! The Book Thief is one of my favorite books of all-time and the fact that it's being made into a movie is both exciting and terrifying.


This movie is going to be beautiful and heart-shattering. There'll be a box of tissues with me when I go to see it, mark my words.

College: More Tips for the First Day

Last year, I posted five tips for the first day of school. This year, now that the first day of the semester has come around once more, here are five more tips.

#1: Pay attention to the syllabus
I know it's boring and that, for the most part, they're all basically the same but it's still important. This is when you'll find out what the class entails and when major assignments are due.

#2: Know where you're going
Look up which classes you have when and what rooms they're in ahead of time. If you're like me and you're afraid you won't remember, write them down somewhere or put them into your phone.

#3: Arrive early 
Get to class early. I tend to be fifteen or twenty minutes early the first week, just so I know how long it takes me to get there and I know I won't be late. This is also a good time to meet your fellow classmates and sometimes the professor.

#4: Sit toward the front
Choose a chair toward the front of the room. Not only is it easier to se…

New Releases: Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy; Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock; Texting the Underworld

Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy by Elizabeth Kiem Marina is born of privilege. Her mother, Sveta, is the Soviet Union's prima ballerina: an international star handpicked by the regime. But Sveta is afflicted with a mysterious second sight and becomes obsessed with exposing a horrific state secret. Then she disappears.

Fearing for their lives, Marina and her father defect to Brooklyn. Marina struggles to reestablish herself as a dancer at Juilliard. But her enigmatic partner, Sergei, makes concentration almost impossible, as does the fact that Marina shares her mother's “gift,” and has a vision of her father’s murder at the hands of the Russian crooks and con artists she thought they'd left behind. 

Now Marina must navigate the web of intrigue surrounding her mother's disappearance, her ability, and exactly whom she can—and can't—trust.

 Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun i…

RTW -- Favorite Beach Read

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

  This week’s topic: Summer is winding down, but it's not over just yet! What's your favorite beach read? This is always a tricky question for me because, even though I live within walking distance of a fairly nice beach, I rarely ever go there in the summer. And when I do go to a beach, I'm not usually there to read. If I'm on vacation somewhere where I can just lay out on the beach for hours on end (read: Florida), then I usually just read whatever's in my stack.
However, if I had to pick a book to read on the beach, I'd either go w…

Write On Con Starts Today

Reminder that the fourth annual Write On Con starts today! I've attended every year and it's always a fabulous learning experience, especially as I've never been able to attend a live writers' conference. It runs all day today and tomorrow, and all posts and chats will be archived if you aren't able to check it out right away.

For me, somehow the conference always falls the week before I go back to school, so I don't know how much I'll be missing while I'm running around trying to get everything done before I can go back.

The line-up looks amazing this year, as usual! It's shaping up to be better than ever.

College: 5 Things to Do the Week Before

At the time of posting, I have four days until I go back to school. I've officially left the denial phase--(What do you mean summer is over? It's June! It can't be over)--and moved into the anxious phase--(So much to do and so little time to do it. How am I going to get all of this done? Why didn't I start earlier?). Here are some tips to help with that frantic week before.

Get with roommates about move-in arrangements, if you haven't already
If you're not commuting, then find out when you can move in and make arrangements with roommates. It's important to know who is moving in first and how things will go. If you're really organized, you can decide which side of the room each of you want or you can just do what most people do and first-come first-serve.

Pick up last minute items
If you haven't gone shopping yet (and if you're not waiting to get there so you don't have to ship all your stuff like me), then get out there. The closer to the sta…

New Members of the Family

I've grown up in an animal-loving family and so we've always had furry creatures of some kind in the house. Last winter, while I was home, my mom decided that she wanted another guinea pig. We'd kept them for years, but they all passed on before I went away to college and she hadn't gotten another one since.

I named the new guinea pig Oswin, after Clara Oswin Oswald on Doctor Who, even after he turned out to be male.

At the start of the summer, Mom decided that she wanted to breed him. So we bought a little female--Ziva, named after Ziva Davidon NCIS--and put them together. She took and I worried that she wouldn't have her babies before I left to go back to school.

Wednesday night I was sitting in bed, their cage in my room, and I heard a strange squeaking noise. I got up to check it out and, sure enough, she'd already delivered two babies and was in the process of having a third. I sat up to make sure everything was okay (guinea pig deliveries are commonly dif…

New Releases: Gated, TMI, Out of Play

Gated  by Amy Christine Parker Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?

In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.
Will is her Intended.
The end of the world is near.

Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound's underground fortress--the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she'd rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than pla…

RTW -- What Animal?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

  Next week’s topic: If you could be any animal, which would it be, and why? My answer to this question varies depending on how I look at it. If I read it as which animal would I be, the answer is a horse. Like a lot of young girls, I was bitten by the horse bug. Unlike a lot of young girls, I never grew out of it. I was about nine, a friend of my father's offered to let me ride his old gelding, and the moment I was up on his back, I was hooked. It completely broad-sided my mom--who was and still is a huge horse person--because, as she likes to tell me, p…

Book Buying Tally: 2013

A few years ago, I decided to keep a tally of all the booksI bought or checked out of the library to see what the trends were. Ever since then I've kept a list of books and my reasons for picking them up and posted the results each August.

2010 results
2011 results and analysis
2012 results

August has come around once again so it's time for the annual tally. My list has taken a hit now that I'm at university and don't go to the library as much as I used to. The only books that count for the list are ones that I've bought to read for pleasure. I have a whole set of novels that I will read for pleasure but bought for class (it's on Tolkien).

I'll summarize the results to begin and then break them down. In brackets are last year's percentages for comparison.

Book in series: 29% -- [30%]
Author: 29% -- [20%]
Word of mouth: 18% -- [17%]
Add to collection: 12%  Genre research: 6%
Classic: 6% -- [3%]

Looks like my habits are staying relatively the same. I expec…

College: Buying Textbooks

It's almost back to school time. Back to school time comes with the semester tradition of buying textbooks. I'm weird in that I actually love the feeling of my textbooks arriving and flipping through them for the first time, but I still hate buying them. Here are some tips to get you through this textbook-buying season.

1. Shop around 
Compare prices on a variety of different websites. Find out what your classmates use and recommend. I tend to buy my books from Barnes & Noble because A) I trust them, B) the pricing tends to be relatively low in comparison to other places, and C) my shipping is free. A good way to keep costs down is to rent textbooks instead of buying them, though I prefer the option of reselling mine at the end of the year. Also, if you're looking at other sellers on a website like Amazon, watch that they don't run out of stock before you place the order.

2. Remember to take tax and shipping costs into consideration
When you're comparing prices…

New Releases: The 5th Wave, The Boy on the Bridge

The 5th Wave  by Rick Yancy The 5th Wave #1 After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

 The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford  Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei and soon, with Alexei as her guide, La…