Waiting on Wednesday: Coin Heist

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine! My new release pick is:

Coin Heist

Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig

June 10 2014

The last place you’d expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint – which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes – an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore.

United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies – the slacker, the nerd, the athlete, and the “perfect” student – band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. The diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Elisa Ludwig’s Coin Heist is a fun, suspenseful, and compelling thriller, told from the revolving perspectives of four teens, each with their own motive for committing a crime that could change all of their lives for the better—if they can pull it off.

This sounds like such a fun story!

April Wrap Up

Here are all the books I read this April!

1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs--The Election that Changed the CountryExtremely Loud and Incredibly CloseThe Archived (The Archived, #1)Stunning (Pretty Little Liars, #11)We Are the Goldens

ForbiddenWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1)The HelpDaughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Dream Factory

  • 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft, and Debs – The Election That Changed the Country by James Chace
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer review
  • The Archived by Victoria Schwab review
  • Stunning by Sara Shepard review
  • We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt review
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma review
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire review
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett review
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor review
  • Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler review

Bingo Card Progress

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For a romance – Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

For has been turned into a movie – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

For set in California or Florida – Dream Factory (in Disney World, Florida)

For set in high school – We Are the Goldens 

For written by a woman – The Archived

For yellow cover – The Help

For start with a S, P, R, I, N, or G – Stunning

For a YA book – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I think I’m making pretty good progress!

ARCs Received and Not Yet Reviewed

  • I Am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff
  • The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz
  • Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
  • Fields of Elysium by AB Whelan
  • The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling

Books Purchased

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  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (a gift for my friend!)
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

And from the library…

  • Dare You To by Katie McGarry
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • A Million Suns by Beth Revis
  • Poached by Stuart Gibbs
  • Reality Boy by AS King
  • White Space by Ilsa J Bick
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  • Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

And that was my April! How was yours?

 

 

Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler Review

Dream Factory

Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

Published Dutton Juvenile 2007

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: paperback from the library

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400When the character actors at Disney World go on strike, the teens hired as replacements learn that it isn’t exactly the Happiest Place on Earth. Ella gets to be Cinderella, simply because the shoe fits. It should be a dream come true, but Ella no longer believes in dreams. Luke is a fur character, Dale the chipmunk. Chip is played by his girlfriend, Cassie, who is perfect in every way. Why, then, does Luke find himself more drawn to imperfect things like the theme park’s Phantom? A team-building scavenger hunt brings Luke and Ella together. As they uncover the Magic Kingdom’s treasures, they discover an undeniable magic between them.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998This book was exactly what I needed – super cute, adorable, and just overall extremely entertaining. I am a HUGE Disney fan, so naturally, if it has to do anything with Disney, I will be reading it. This book isn’t exactly focused on Disney per say but the romance between Ella and Luke was so cute. It’s the perfect summery read.

This is set in Disney World. Naturally, I love Disney World and have been there so many times, it’s just like the palm of my hand. If there was anything that drew me from the story, it would probably be that this book was not written as if the authors had ever even been to Disney World. Everything was off, from the restaurants and the food and the schedules. This would probably not be too big of an issue if I was not overly obsessed with Disney, but knowing that it wasn’t supposed to be like that threw me out of the story. The geography and set up of the parks is really different than what they write in the novel, so it isn’t super realistic to its location, but I did like all the Disney fun facts Mark had.

Ella plays Cinderella and I really loved her approach to the character. She didn’t like playing a character all day, but she took it in stride. It’s the same with Luke. No one in this book was upset about playing a particular character, but I loved how that’s how we got to know them. Luke and Cassie are Chip and Dale, Amy is Snow White, Mark is Prince Charming, and even the side characters have all their own characters. It’s a really fun detail in the story. All of the characters are developed really well and the romance feels natural. It isn’t like a sappy romance story, at all. This story of Ella and Luke is really beautiful. It’s not insta-love, it’s not lust, and it takes a while to come about, giving the reader time to fall in love with the characters by themselves and as a couple.

The writing in this book is also done so well. There are some really beautiful quotes from this book and really good messages that I really enjoyed. It’s also a little bit quirky at times which really reminded me of something very John Green-esque. The story never gets boring or overly lovey. The book is balanced all the way throughout and I really fell in love with the whole story and the characters who led us through it. I just wish the authors had done a bit more research into the setting before jumping in.

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Discussion: Unfinished Books

Now, I love reading and it makes me so sad when I have to leave a book unfinished. But sometimes, it just has to happen. Now, this is a fairly new concept for me since I started book blogging. I never really thought about putting books away when they weren’t working. But now, I just don’t really want to waste my time reading a book I’m not enjoying. Here are a few of my ideas when it comes to DNF books:

1. I always give them a fair shot. If I feel like I didn’t give them a good chance (I was biased/in a bad mood/knowingly not being in the right mood for that book), I’ll reshelf them as ‘tbr’ and come back to them later. If I gave it an open chance and it failed, it goes to the DNF pile.

2. Sometimes, I’ll finish the first book in a series and not continue on. This is what happens most often. Sometimes, I’ll look up spoilers if it’s the writing getting in the way, but it’s normally characters that I don’t care about anyway.

3. The hype isn’t too crazy and I’m just not thrilled to read the book. If a book has crazy good reviews, I’ll probably push through it a little longer.

Personally, I think it’s totally okay to not finish a book if it’s really not what you’re into. Besides, we read for fun, right? Let me know what you think of not finishing books!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Review

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Published Little Brown 2012

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: paperback

Other books in this series: Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

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Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.


In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998Welp…this book was not the best. Like at all. Ugh…I hate when books have a lot of hype and then I end up not liking them. It makes my opinions so hard to form and this review so hard to write. This book does seem to have mixed reviews, so I guess I’m on the bad end of it.

The first part – I totally loved. It was really good and I liked where the world building and Karou was going. And then it slowly started going downhill until I hit like page 300 or so, then skipped to the end. I can’t really tell you much more because of spoilers, but people who have read the book will know what I am talking about. Anyway, the end of this book just got really bad. I skimmed it, skipped some of it, and was just really not a fan. It started going that way around the time she met Akiva, who until then, I really liked. After that, she just totally became in love with him and all the others characters just left.

I didn’t really like Karou as a character either. I didn’t connect with her, which may have been because of the third person POV. I really liked her human friend, but other than that, I really did not like any of them. Or the romance. She just gave up everything for him, including her friends and her life in the Czech Republic (which was my favorite part of the book). There was just nothing interesting. The world was way too complex and introduced so quickly I couldn’t really catch onto any of it. All of the names got really confused.

So overall, I really didn’t like this book and I won’t be continuing on with this series, although I was so looking forward to it and the hype. Ahh…

So what did you think of this book? Did you love it or hate it?

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We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt Review

We Are the Goldens We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Published Wendy Lamb Books May 27 2014

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: I recieved an egalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in any way.

Other books by this author: The Things a Brother Knows, How To Build a House

Buy this book: Amazon Barnes & Noble b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart. When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it. 029c6-coollogo_com-9181998 First sentence: “There’s something I need to tell you.”

I came into this book expecting a totally different thing than I actually read, but it actually worked very well. This book deals with a rather heavy topic of student-teacher relationships. It was really unique though because it was told from Nell’s point of view to her sister, Layla, who is the one in the relationship with her teacher. It gives an outsider’s perspective on what was happening. I really liked how she was writing it to Layla and therefore used quite a bit of second person. It made the story more relatable and easier to understand as it unfolded. One thing I really enjoyed was how both Nell and Layla had lives outside of this one problem. Nell had other guy troubles and a best friend, Felix, who also had his own problems. The main point of the book was not this relationship. But when it came time for that, those scenes just blew it away. I loved how Nell wanted to comfort Layla through it but also had this internal conflict about how this was wrong, yet her sister seemed so happy. The younger-older sister relationship is also not normally seen, especially in this way, so that was really nice too. It is a provocative book for making the story seem like this because it also made me conflicted on what to do. Just like Nell, I was going through all the emotions because I cared for the two girls and their relationship just as they cared for each other. The ending was a little disappointing because I really wanted to see how the relationship played out after the big climax of the book hit. And when that little sentence hit (for those of you that have read the book, you know what I’m talking about) – I literally dropped my Kindle in shock. I freaked out. The book always carried this overall tone of something never being really okay and walking that line. It was so interesting to read and it really kept me hooked the entire way through. Like I said, I really wish the ending wasn’t as vague and we didn’t get  a resolution in some things, but it worked overall. Overall, the heavy topic was handled really well. The writing was beautiful and the characters were so well fleshed out. I wished it was a little longer and that the student-teacher relationship origins would have been explained a little more, but this was a really interesting read.

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The Help by Kathryn Stockett Review

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Published Amy Einhorn Books 2009

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

Format: Kindle ebook

This is her first book!

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998This is the second time I’ve picked up this book. The first time I was going to listen to the audiobook (narrated by Viola Davis) and just fell out of listening, as I often to do with audiobooks. However, the story has been following me ever since that, so I decided to pick up the physical book and give it a go!

The Help is an insanely beautiful story. It’s told from three points of view – Skeeter, Abilieen, and Minny. I loved all three of them, almost equally. Skeeter chapters were probably my favorite, as I related to her story of wanting to be a writer and struggling with women’s rights and being a more work-focused person rather than focusing on her romantic relationships. Her story was so interesting and unique that I really loved her. Abilieen was a heartbreaking character. I loved her relationship with Mae Mobley and her overall perspective. It was something not many authors could probably deliver very well, but I really enjoyed it. Minny was not as strong of a presence as the other two, but her chapters really packed a punch in the way that Abilieen’s couldn’t, mostly because of who they were helping. I loved all the secondary characters too – I felt so concerned for Ms. Celia’s problem, I loved watching Mae Mobley develop, and all the drama between the white women was just so realistic and funny.

The plot of this story takes a little while to pick up, but the characters are the essential hook here. When the three women finally cross paths and begin on their epic journey, it really is incredible to watch unfold. I liked how everything tied together at the end to really bring together a very powerful story. The setting of the 1960s South was very enjoyable. I don’t know how realistic this is (and I’ve seen quite a few reviews scolding the book for not being realistic, neither in setting or characteristic). There were some historical events tied in, such as Martin Luther King Jr, the March on Washington, and the sit ins. Other than that, I enjoyed the book for being fiction. I was not expecting a true story from this, but just a good read that I hoped would provide me with something to think about.

The message of this book is that we are all alike and that our skin color does not separate us. This may seem like a strange topic for these days, but I really think it is important to extend this metaphor. I think the best showing of this is how Skeeter embraces Abilieen, Minny, and all the other maids that help her. It’s a really nice community that they form. The message gets across very well and it’s done beautifully, while not being subtle. What the message is is quite obvious, but the book, for me, was mostly about the characters and less about the meaning.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I think it is a beautiful story told by interesting characters that feel like real people and is definitely worth a read for anyone interested.

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