May 30, 2014

Random Friday: Summer 2014 Reads

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following: 
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
Summer 2014 reads!  What releases are you looking forward to, and what books do you plan to read?

1. Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau (June 17th)
I was so excited to see how this trilogy ends! *hugs ARC*

2. On the Fence by Kasie West (July 1st)
Let me tell you, this book is even more squee-worthy than The Distance Between Us and super clean.  Yes, I've already read it, but I can't wait to read it again...and again...and again...

3. Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker (July 1st)
I know a while back I saw Taylor Swift mentioned in reference to this book, and I'll read anything reminiscent of her. (That tagline definitely sounds like what people think she thinks.)

4. Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (July 15th)
Superpowers=yes, please!

5. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (July 15th)
I've heard so many good things about this book, and I'm dying to read it.

6. Like No Other by Una LaMarche (July 24nd)
I just found out about this book recently.  Star-crossed lovers are always interesting, so we'll see how this book is.

7. Magnolia by Kristi Cook (August 5th)
This Southern girl at heart is a sucker for anything set in the South.  I hope this book contains lots of the culture I adore.

8. A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen (August 12th)
The part I'm most excited for?  They go to Machu Picchu!  How unique and cool is that?

9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (August 14th)
I didn't read Anna and Lola until earlier this year, but I absolutely loved Anna and enjoyed Lola; this book's release date got pushed back, but I'm sure it'll be well worth the wait.

10. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (September 2nd)
This one technically releases in what I consider the fall, but since it's only 2 days removed from August, I'm letting it slide.
This is the third Throne of Glass book, and I'm incredibly excited to see what happens next for Celaena and Chaol.

11. Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson (September 2nd)
The idea for this book is amazing, and since I've now learned about psychological disorders, it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.  Plus, the main character gets to play Ophelia in a production of Hamlet.

May 29, 2014

A Manly Guy Reads "Girly" Books

I hope y'all remember this post from back in January.  If you haven't read it, now is the time.  In the post, I talked about how society sees it as okay for girls to read books geared towards guys, yet guys are discouraged from and teased for reading books geared towards girls.  I then included a list of "girly" books guys should read (I recently added 12 more books to that list!), and after the post went up, I texted one of my guy-friends.  I challenged him to read 5 books/series from the list, and he agreed.  Most of the books he chose were my suggestion, since he didn't know where to start (I mean, technically he should read all of them, but I knew that would take too long). 

We chose: 
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Why?: Manly Guy loves baseball and the Cubs, so I figured those would be elements he'd enjoy.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Why?: It's one of the least girly (in my opinion, at least), and it's one of the books I recommend a lot.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Why?: They're one of my favorite series, so I'm trying to get everyone I know to read them.

Heist Society by Ally Carter
Why?: I remember a blogger friend saying her dad or grandfather or somebody had read and enjoyed this trilogy, so I figured that would be a good enough reason to get Manly Guy to read them.

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Why?: If y'all remember Hannah's review, she really loved this book, and since she's friends with Manly Guy, too, I knew her recommendation would be taken in high regard.

And then I recently interviewed Manly Guy about the experience.

Emma: So you read nine books.  Did you have a favorite book or series?
Manly Guy: The Naturals was probably the most captivating.

Emma: What made that one your favorite?
Manly Guy: I like criminal justice books, and it had a good plotline.

Emma: Did you have a least favorite and why?
Manly Guy: The Lunar Chronicles, because I just never got into the series.
Emma: It probably didn't help that you accidentally read them out of order the first time.
Manly Guy: Yeah, it's not like the series was bad; I just couldn't get into them.

Emma: Would you recommend any of the books/series to other guys?
Manly Guy: I've never been the type of person to recommend books to anyone, but I would recommend Fire & Flood to anyone who was into The Hunger Games or Divergent trilogies.

Emma: Most of the books had solely female POVs, but The Lunar Chronicles didn't.  Do you think Kai's and Thorne's POVs were accurate to a guy's voice?
Manly Guy: There aren't a lot of guys like that, but there are some guys like that, so yes, it was like some guys.

Emma: If there was one other book you'd read from the original list, what would it be? Or would you choose something from my updated list?
Manly Guy: Throne of Glass because it looks like Game of Thrones.
Emma: I wouldn't technically know, but from what I've seen online, I don't think Throne of Glass is anything like Game of Thrones.

Emma: Okay, so I've gotta ask. I know you wouldn't read Heist Society in public because "the covers have a girl on them." Don't you think a truly manly guy would be secure enough to read them in public?
Manly Guy: Yes.
Emma: So are you saying you aren't truly manly?
Manly Guy: No, I'm saying I'm not secure in my masculinity.
Emma: Interesting.

Emma: What was your overall opinion of this experience?  Do you think I should try to get more guys to take my "Girly" Books for Manly Guys challenge?
Manly Guy: The experience was all right. It was a little hectic since I was finishing it during baseball season.  Go ahead and get more guys to do it, if you want, but you should shorten it to maybe three books or series.

So that concludes the first "Girly" Books for Manly Guys challenge!  If you're a guy who reads "girly" books, sound off in the comments. Or, if you're a girl, have you ever convinced a guy to read a book that's typically thought of for girls only?

May 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Want to Hang Out With

I have realized there are so many cool authors that I'd love to have dinner with, or get coffee (well, not coffee for me) with, or just have a really good conversation with.  So these are ten fifteen of those authors.

Authors I Want to Have Dinner With

Kiera Cass
1. Kiera Cass
I got to meet Kiera on the Dark Days tour, but we only had, like, a 2 minute chat.  So I definitely want to talk with her longer, and she's an author that I'd like to have to dinner.  We could chat boys (both real and in books) and just have fun.

Emery Lord
2. Emery Lord
I just love Open Road Summer, as you all know, and Emery is totally an author I know I'd have fun hanging out with.  And maybe I could pick her brain for writing tips since ORS is outstanding?

Kristin Rae
3. Kristin Rae
Kristin is one of those authors that I just find to be sweet and adorable.  I totally want to hear more about her trip to Italy! (I've seen some of the pics on Twitter right around Wish You Were Italian's release day.)

Elizabeth Eulberg
4. Elizabeth Eulberg
I know from the book event back in February that Elizabeth is genuinely funny and nice.  I seriously wished I could've hung out with her longer that day, so she's definitely on my list for authors I'd like to hang out with.

5. Amy Zhang
Amy is just all-around cool.  Plus she's right around my age, so that's a bonus.

Joelle Charbonneau
6. Joelle Charbonneau
I've met Joelle once, and I totally want to meet her again, but also just hang out with her (in a non-creepy way, I swear).  And as my mom likes to say, she hadn't met anyone who talks faster than me until Joelle.

Lauren Morrill
7. Lauren Morrill
Lauren is one of those authors I've only interacted with on Twitter, but she seems super nice and funny, and an author I'd like to hang out with.

8. Sara Raasch
I'm a pretty new fan of Sara's (still waiting to read Snow Like Ashes...), BUT I've followed her on Twitter for about 6-8 weeks now.  The video of her unboxing her ARCs was the best thing ever, and I just think she'd be fun to hang out with.

Authors I Want to Have a Good Conversation With

Marissa Meyer
1. Marissa Meyer
She's totally the person whose brain I'd want to pick when it comes to cyborgs, creating a vast futuristic world, and creating great characters.  I could learn a lot from Marissa.

Tamara Ireland Stone
2. Tamara Ireland Stone
Tamara is definitely an author I'd want to talk music with.  It features so heavily in her first two books, and I'd love to see what other songs have influenced her writing.

A.G. Howard
3. A.G. Howard
I mean, anyone who puts a completely new spin on Wonderland like she did is someone I'd want to chat with.

Anne Blankman
4. Anne Blankman
I know she did some heavy research for Prisoner of Night and Fog, and I'd definitely want to hear more about everything she didn't put in the book.

5. Robin LaFevers
Can you just imagine what she knows about weaponry and poisons?  She's the type of author who could share some...valuable information. (I'm saying that completely from a writer standpoint.)

Ally Carter
6. Ally Carter
I kind of wanted to put Ally in both categories because I've heard from her Twitter that she's an awesome cook/baker, so we could just hang out, share recipes, and cook.  But on the other hand, I'd really love to have a long chat with her about how she creates the worlds of her books, and the complex characters, and just her ideas for her books in general.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
7. Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Have you read The Naturals?  I seriously want to hear about all the research for that book, and just any of the psychology information she has.  She could teach me a lot.

So what did you do for your TTT list this week, and what authors do you really want to hang out with?

May 26, 2014

Review: Cinderella's Dress

Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton
Grade: B-
Release date: June 3, 2014
This e-galley was provided by NetGalley and Entangled: Teen in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: My first thought about Cinderella's Dress is that Shonna Slayton really brought the 1940s setting to life.  There's a mention of Christian Dior and his New Look, and that was really cool for me since I researched the New Look for a history project.  The slang and descriptions of clothes were great and not too overdone.  My main problems with this book come in the form of Kate's stupidity, the vagueness about the dress, and the open ending.  I'll start with that last one first.  The ending is very open, so I guess there might be a sequel?  I don't even know.  There were a lot of unanswered questions and unfinished business, so I can't see it just ending there, but Goodreads tells me nothing about if the story will continue or not.  Also, throughout the whole book, I felt like I was a little too in the dark about Cinderella's dresses - what they were, why Kate's family had them, the necklace Kate wears, even the glass slippers.  I still don't feel like I have all the answers so that goes back to the open ending.  Finally, Kate makes some very stupid decisions when it comes to her pride and trying to make a name for herself.  I won't reveal anything, but I seriously wanted to shake that girl.  I will say that I really liked the romance in this book.  Kate and Johnny Day are seriously adorable together.  I also really liked Kate's brother, Floyd.
Language, romance, and violence were all tame.

The Verdict: Definitely an adorable read, but it definitely has some flaws so don't expect this book to be as perfect as Cinderella's dress.

May 24, 2014

YA Heroines and Disney Princesses

So, as y'all know, I'm a big Disney fan, especially of the princesses and their movies. (And at this point, you're all probably saying, "Why, Emma, I had no idea!") And one Friday night in April when I watched Frozen and Tangled back to back, I started thinking about YA heroines that remind me of the different Disney princesses. 

Snow White
  • Sky from Searching for Sky.  Both are thrown into new environments and find new families.  Also, I found both Sky and Snow to be a bit naive (which isn't entirely a bad thing).
  • Lara Jean from To All the Boys I've Loved Before.  The romance in TAtBILB is quite different from Snow White's romance, but both are essentially love stories at their core.  Also, I found both Snow and Lara Jean to be inherently kind and goodhearted.

  • Juliette from the Shatter Me trilogy.  I personally feel Shatter Me is a Cinderella story (except less about a prince falling for a humble servant girl).  And if you've seen Cinderella's later movies, there's a good deal of character development and growth that proves she's not as weak as some people think.
  • Miri from Princess Academy.  Princess Academy is definitely a Cinderella story where the prince will pick his bride from all the girls in the land at a ball.  I do think Miri and Cinderella shared certain character qualities, too - hard-working, clever, intelligent, hopeful, and determined.

Aurora/Briar Rose
  • America from The Selection trilogy.  Aurora was definitely a hard princess to find a match for because, unfortunately, she's only in about 18 minutes of her film.  However, I chose America because both girls are musical (Aurora has a beautiful voice, and America plays many instruments).

  • Cress from Cress.  Both heroines long for a different world, which they end up in.  They also fall head-over-heels for a guy.  Plus, they're both kind of known for their hair.

  • Cammie from Gallagher Girls.  I recognize a lot of Belle's spirit in Cammie, at least at the beginning of the series.  They're both smart, brave, caring heroines.
  • Lady Ada Averley from the At Somerton trilogy.  Ada loves books and learning just as much as Belle.  Also, both want more than just a comfortable marriage.  They want adventure (albeit in different ways - Ada wants to go to college, and Belle wants an adventure, which she gets).
  • Gigi from Smart Girls Get What They Want.  A bit of an outcast - or at least ignored - Gigi, has the same smarts as Belle.  She also depends on her friends and realizes appearances aren't always what they seem.

  • June from Legend.  I had trouble finding a match for Jasmine, but a friend's brother helped me out.  He recommended June, since she's quick-witted and independent - definitely qualities Jasmine possesses!

  • Kestrel from The Winner's Curse.  One of the main connections I found between Kestrel and Pocahontas was the whole star-crossed lovers thing.  John Smith and Pocahontas couldn't be together, and things didn't look good for Kestrel and Arin.  Also, Kestrel wants to save her people, although she is intrigued by and kind to the Herrani.  Bonus: Grandmother Willow is a mother figure to Pocahontas like Kestrel's nurse was to her.

  • Scarlet from Scarlet.  I could list any number of stories where the heroine disguises herself as a boy, but I'll stick with one of my favorites: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.  Of course, Scarlet's and Mulan's reasons are very different, but I still see similarities, particularly since they're both brave, loyal young women.

  • Caymen from The Distance Between Us.  Caymen and Tiana are both hardworking girls who care about their mothers.  They are sassy and both fall for boys who are "out of their league" (one being the heir to a hotel empire, and the other being a prince).

  • Lucy from The Geography of You and Me.  It's pretty hard to match Rapunzel's personality, but I felt both she and Lucy had a longing to travel and they were both pretty alone when they were young (Lucy mainly had her brothers while Rapunzel only had Pascal).

  • Ismae from Grave Mercy.  Any girl who can kick butt and has a crossbow on her book cover would probably be a good friend of Merida's.  They'd bond over weapons, poisons, and annoying boys/men.

  • Eva from Relic.  Both girls had one sibling, whom they loved dearly but lost (Eva's brother died, while Elsa runs away).  Then both heroines go on an adventure of sorts to either live up to their brother's name or find their sister.  Bonus: Eva's world reminds me of the Inuit and Sami cultures, the latter of which had influence on the creation of Frozen.

  • Cath from Fangirl.  Both have sisters?  Check.  Both are a bit shy and introverted? Check. (Although Elsa is a bit more extroverted once she's back in Arendelle.) Both have social anxiety?  Check.  Both break out of their shells to some extent?  Check.

So there you have it.  Disney princesses and some YA heroines that are similar to them.  I'd love to see more heroines like Jasmine, Snow White, and Aurora, though.  They don't all need to be like Mulan, Belle, and Merida.

May 23, 2014

Random Friday: Literary Quotes

Want to participate in Random Fridays? Just do the following: 
  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my post.
  • Blog about this week's topic.
  • Add the link to your Random Friday at the bottom of this post.
Ah, literary quotes.  So many are iconic.  I've already included several in a Random Friday from January when I featured some of the best opening lines.  The quotes for this post, though can be anywhere in the book.

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and then all at once."~The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

"The better stuff a creature is made of - the cleverer and stronger and freer it is - than the better it will be if it goes right, but also the worse it will be if it goes wrong."~Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

"Sit.  You've just been soundly kissed.  No doubt you're short of breath."~Splintered by A.G. Howard

"The people we love are the ones with the power to destroy us."~Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

"I think it's the bravest thing in the world to run straight at love, even knowing how badly you could get hurt."~Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

"...but her DNA twists into bars of music instead of double helixes."~Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

"Is it possible for home to be a person and not a place?"~Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

May 21, 2014

Review: These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Grade: B-
This ARC was provided by ARCycling in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: This book...I'm not even sure what to say.  I had some expectations going into it, and I sort of knew what would happen, but I did not predict that ending, particularly something that happened about 74% of the way through.  Everything with that plot twist was a bit weird for me.  Overall, I'm not a fan of paranormal stuff, and ghosts, and the like, and a big part of the plot reminded me too much of that.  Overall, though, I adored Lilac and Tarver.  They were great characters.  I did want more world-building about why all these people were in space and why they were living on different planets (and had been for seemingly quite some time).  The world-building of the planet they landed on was good, though.  I was kept guessing almost the whole way through.
Language was mild, and romance was pretty clean.

The Verdict: This was definitely an interesting read, much better than several space tales I've read.  It's definitely worth a try.  If you've already read These Broken Stars (and you probably have since I was late to the game), try Across a Star-Swept Sea, Salvage, or The Winner's Curse.

May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Friendship

1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
I'm sure this book will be on everyone's list, but it's definitely one of the most recent titles that has a big focus on friendship. (And psst, my BFF and I were in the book trailer - we appear at the 0:32 mark on the right!)

2. Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
I found that one of the biggest themes in SGGWTW is friendship.  Gigi, Bea, and Neerja support each other through thick and thin.

3. Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
For those of you who've read Better off Friends, you know that Macallan and Levi's friendship starts to become something more, but they're first and foremost best friends and I think it's important to be best friends with your significant other.

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)
4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is primarily a romance, but I definitely found that the different friendships and what happened to them were just as important as Anna and St. Clair's romance.

5. Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
I loved watching the friendship between Lauren and Elizabeth develop.  It hit several bumps in the road, but I think they probably became very close once they actually became roommates.

6. The Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick
To me, what MDBC revolves around mainly is the relationships - familial, platonic, and romantic.  I really enjoyed reading as the girls became friends

7. Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
Cammie Morgan would be dead, were it not for Bex, Liz, and Macey. 

8. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I was still reading Since You've Been Gone while writing this post, but it definitely fits the bill.  Sloane is pretty absent so far, except in flashbacks, but she's mentioned a lot, and I really feel like her friendship with Emily is real and special.  Thankfully, none of my close friends have just disappeared like Sloane did.

Okay, wow, only eight books this week.  Hopefully I'll find some more books about friendship when I explore other bloggers' lists!