Sunday, December 4, 2016

Magic Lamp Sunday 12/4/2016

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:  

Paula: I wish that humans can figure out how to defeat disease and injury without getting creepy and weird about it. Inspired by Scythe by Neal Shusterman.

Andrea: I wish that I owned a Christmas tree farm in Oregon. Inspired by What Light by Jay Asher.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: What Light

What Light
Published By: Razorbill
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Page Count: 256
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary, Holiday

Like most people, I begin seriously thinking about Christmas after the last bite of mashed potatoes and stuffing on Thanksgiving. There is something magical about this time of year that makes me feel light hearted. I love the decorations, twinkling lights, peppermint hot chocolate, Christmas carols, and shopping for the perfect gifts. I love reading holiday themed novels once late November hits and I was super excited to dive into the newest Jay Asher novel.

Sierra has an unorthodox life around Christmas. Right before Thanksgiving, she packs up and travels with her parents from their Christmas tree farm in Oregon to their tree lot in California. She spends Thanksgiving through Christmas Day away from home as she helps her parents sell trees. I have always been fascinated by the Christmas tree farm process. I am not sure most people truly think about what is involved in their tree aside from the labor they do of getting it home, set up, and decorated. It was intriguing to see Christmas through Sierra's eyes as it had such an important impact on her family and their holiday traditions.

The Shopping Lark #241

Each Friday, Reading Lark is going to feature some new releases each week to help give you some ideas of what to buy next. This is not an exhaustive list of this week's releases - just some novels that caught our eye. Feel free to share what books you're excited about that came out this week in our comments section.

YA Releases for the week of 11/29-12/4:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: Every Hidden Thing

Every Hidden Thing
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Page Count: 368
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Historical Fiction

I loved Kenneth Oppel's Victor Frankenstein series, so I was thrilled to hear about this novel. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but my knowledge of early paleontology is limited. I always love reading about people, places, and time periods that can teach me something new and inspire me to do my own research. Every Hidden Thing certainly delivers on that front as I now have an insatiable desire to learn more about "The Bone Wars", which provided inspiration for the novel. Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh were the real men who inspired the characters of Professor Bolt and Professor Cartland in the novel. These real historical figures and their fictional counterparts were constantly in competition. These men were ruthless and countless fossils were destroyed in the process as the both struggled to outdo the other.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls
Published By: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 2011
Page Count: 216
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Young Adult - Fantasy

Patrick Ness has got to be the most versatile author writing for young adults today, at least of his generation. Between the sci-fi dystopian Chaos Walking series and the contemporary paranormal The Rest of Us Just Live Here, I thought he was pretty amazing. But now having read A Monster Calls, the movie version of which will be out just before Christmas, I am in absolute awe of Patrick Ness. 

 In A Monster Calls, Ness gives us the story of Conor whose recurrent nightmares are disrupting his life. As Conor become desperate watching his mother continue to succumb to a terminal illness, the yew tree in the churchyard behind Conor’s home appears outside his window. The monstrous tree offers Conor three stories of times when it walked the world righting wrongs, in exchange for Conor telling it the true story of Conor’s own nightmare. 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Song Rising

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. . . 

The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3)
By: Samantha Shannon
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: March 7, 2017

The hotly anticipated third book in the bestselling Bone Season series – a ground-breaking, dystopian fantasy of extraordinary imagination

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London's criminal population. 

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging. 

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Review: Scythe

By: Neal Shusterman
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: November 22, 2016
Genre: YA dystopian
448 pages
Source: Galley kindly provided by publisher

Neal Shusterman wrote one of my favorite YA dystopians of all time, Unwind, so I was super-excited to get my hands on this new offering. I even planned my reading so I could review the book on its release day (though somewhere along the line I got mixed up about the date.) I am so excited to be able to sing the praises of another Shusterman novel, and to encourage readers to get in on the ground floor of what promises to be a fantastic series.

Teaser Tuesday: What Light

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature, hosted by Jenn at Books and a Beat.

This season was supposed to be perfect, not bogged down with what-ifs. They're all around me, though, in everything I do. I don't know how to fully enjoy any of these moments without wondering if it's the last.

~ What Light by Jay Asher, pg. 31

Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: Two by Two

Two by Two
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Page Count: 497
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher
Adult - Fiction

Two by Two is the latest Nicholas Sparks novel and I was thrilled to be able to get a chance to review it. It was a great novel about love and trust, and especially about rebuilding those relationships. However, I was disheartened by some of the characters and found the main character difficult to rally behind. 

 Russell and Vivian fell deeply and madly in love, got married, and had a baby girl, whom they named London. Russell worked hard at an advertising firm and Vivian quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom after she gave birth to Vivian. But when Russell could see the writing on the wall that his job was in jeopardy, he quit to start his own company. That's when their marriage started to go down hill. 
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