Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: This Monstrous Thing

This Monstrous Thing
By: Mackenzi Lee
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: September 22, 2015
Genre: YA steampunk
384 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

I chose this book specifically because it's a re-telling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, one of my all-time favorite novels. I loved teaching Frankenstein to my seniors, but struggled with how to make it accessible, because the nineteenth-century language is pretty thick for average high school kids to slog through. I was hoping that this book would give me all of the philosophically interesting themes to explore, in language that's easier to digest. In that, the novel is fairly successful.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review: Lock & Mori

Lock & Mori
Published By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Page Count: 256
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Mystery/Thriller

Lock & Mori is a modern spin on Sherlock Holmes with much darker edges than the original. 

James "Mori" Moriarty lurks on the edges of her high school. After watching her mother succumb to an illness, Mori has lost touch with her friends and wades through every day dreading the moment when she has to go home. Since her mother's death things haven't been great. Her father drinks too much and his verbal barbs often end in bruises for her three little younger brothers. Mori feels like every evening is spent in  war zone trying to keep those she loves alive. She's frayed around the edges until a chance meeting with Sherlock Holmes gives her a mystery to solve.

Waiting on Wednesday: Forever With You

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where she spotlights upcoming releases.

This week I am waiting on...

Forever With You
(Wait For You #5)
By:  Jennifer L. Armentrout
September 29th, 2015

Some things you just believe in, even if you've never experienced them. For Stephanie, that list includes love. It's out there. Somewhere. Eventually. Meanwhile she's got her job at the mixed martial arts training center and hot flings with gorgeous, temporary guys like Nick. Then a secret brings them closer, opening Steph's eyes to a future she never knew she wanted—until tragedy rips it away.

Nick's self-assured surface shields a past no one needs to know about. His mind-blowing connection with Steph changes all that. As fast as he's knocking down the walls that have kept him commitment-free, she's building them up again, determined to keep the hurt—and Nick—out. But he can't walk away. Not when she's the only one who's ever made him wish for forever . . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway: Christa's Luck

Christa's Luck 
Published by: Graisland Productions 
Publication Date: 15 June 2015 
Page Count: 309 
Source: e-book provided by author 
Audience: Young Adult – Fiction

Every once in a while, I am reminded of why I love reading.  Reading is something that can connect you to anything as long as you allow your imagination the freedom it needs.  What I loved about Christa's Luck is the connection it gave me to my past, bringing back fond memories.  This book reminded me of the love I have for horses and the horseback riding I did as a child. It made me want to get back out and become involved with horses once again.

Christa's Luck is a story about a teen girl, her horse, and the wild horses of Nevada. Christa is a 13-year-old girl who has been able to ride a horse since she could walk. She loves riding out on the trails that take her into the nearby forests and mountains. Out there is where the wild mustangs roam free, where there are legends of a Lost Herd – the biggest herd in the area – that no man can catch. Christa loves theses horses, their spirits wild and free, and she would do anything for them. That willingness is soon tested because there are people rounding up the wild mustangs and taking them to unknown places to be sold or slaughtered. Christa and her friends fight to stop the round ups, but soon tragedy strikes and she finds herself banding together with those she has been fighting to save her beloved mustangs.

Teaser Tuesday: Ash & Bramble and Fangirl

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

I am the Godmother. I know your greatest fears; I know your deepest desires. I have taken your stories and added magic and wonder and, oh, perhaps a dancing slipper made of glass. A poisoned apple. A sharpened spindle. A glittering ball gown.

An ever after.

~ Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas, Kindle Location 25 (ARC)

Professor Piper looked suspicious. (Or maybe Cath was just paranoid.) “Can you tell me what you’re writing about?” 

 “Yeah,” Cath said. “Of course. I’m writing about…” She imagined a big wheel spinning around. Like on The Price Is Right or Wheel of Fortune. Wherever it landed, that would be it—that’s what she’d have to write. “I’m writing about…” 

 Professor Piper smiled. Like she knew Cath was lying, but still really wanted her to pull this off. 

“My mom,” Cath said. And swallowed. 

 “Your mom,” the professor repeated. 

 “Yeah. I mean … I’m starting there.” 

 The professor’s face turned almost playful. “Everyone does.”

~ Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Audiobook Disc 10

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: Cloudwish

By: Fiona Wood
Published By: MacMillan Australia
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Page Count: 288
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary, Magical realism

Cloudwish is the third book by Australian author Fiona Wood. Set in Melbourne, it tells the story of Vân Uoc as she returns to school for her first year of the IB (International Baccalaureate - I loved this, I teach the IB and it's not well known here, so I really enjoyed reading about it). Vân Uoc doesn't feel that she fits in at her exclusive private school. As a scholarship kid, the daughter of Vietnamese migrants, she is expected to do her best in school, go to university, and become a doctor. But Vân Uoc has other ideas. She wants to be an artist.

Cover Crazy: Dumplin'

The purpose of Cover Crazy is to feature a cover each week for us to admire its beauty. I really like this idea since there are so many great covers out there! Cover Crazy is a feature that was started by The Book Worms.

I love the simplicity of this cover. The stark black background allows the girl on the cover to shine. Your eye is instantly drawn to her form and the red dress. I love that she is not stick thin, but is confident in her own skin. The starkness also forces your eyes to take in the writing. I also love the crown and its detailing.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Magic Lamp Sunday 8/23/15

We discovered this feature at Ya-Aholic, where it ran on Fridays. It sounded like a fun addition to our lineup, but fits better here on Sundays. It's based on the basic Magic Lamp = 3 wishes idea. Since there are so many of us, though, we're just taking one wish each per week. 

If we had a Magic Lamp, we'd wish:  

Andrea: I wish that I could be as observant as Sherlock Holmes. Inspired by Lock and Mori by Heather W. Petty. 

 Nicole: I wish that I could see more of Ireland. Inspired by Enchanted Island by Ellie O'Neill. 

 Julie: I wish I could do my first semester of college over, with less drinking and more studying. Inspired by Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. 

 Aimee: I wish the Blessed Dragon Orchid were real. Inspired by Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Book Review: The Oxford Project

The Oxford Project
By: Peter Feldstein

Published By: Welcome Books
Publication Date: September 16th, 2008
Page Count: 287
Source: Library Copy
Audience/Genre: Nonfiction/Photography
 Buy it at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or Indiebound.

I've heard a few people say that The Oxford Project was Humans of New York two years before Humans of New York existed. Though I'd tend to agree, I don't think the description addresses the depth this book goes into, the snapshot of small town America that is it's heartbeat, or the scope the project. Feldstein started with a simple enough goal in 1984, photograph all 676 people in his small town. He returned 20 years later to interview and photograph the same subjects again. The result is a combination of starkly moving photography and an almost voyeuristic peek into the town of Oxford, Iowa.

What's Your Status? 8/22/15

Check back each Saturday to find out what's been keeping the Larks busy this week.

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