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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon // Thoughts & Giveaway

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI
by Sandhya Menon
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 30, 2017)
Goodreads | Amazon

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
I don't normally read that many contemporaries, but there was just something about this adorable cover that made me dive in as soon as it showed up on my doorstep. WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is nothing less than completely adorable. So many sweet moments that I lost count. I loved getting a glimpse into Dimple and Rishi's family lives, and the way that they both embraced and pushed against their parents' traditions and expectations. Rishi is quite possibly the sweetest, most adorable human on the planet. I absolutely loved him! There were moments that I thought Dimple was a little judgmental, both about her parents, and about one of the other girls in the program. But I do think, in the end, she learned a lot about herself, and the people around her. Rishi and Dimple pushed each other to be the best versions of themselves, and I loved reading every moment.

If you're looking for an incredibly sweet YA romance, I definitely recommend diving into WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI! 



Passing along my ARC! Enter below if you'd like a chance. International.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

CALL FORTH THE WAVES by L.J. Hatton \\ Beautiful and Imaginitive

Review by Krista

CALL FORTH THE WAVES
The Celestine Series #2
by L.J. Hatton
Series: The Celestine Series (Book 2)
Paperback: 346 pages
Publisher: Skyscape (March 22, 2016)
Goodreads |
Amazon
Earth, not so very long from now: the silent, inscrutable alien visitors who bathed the planet in transforming rains have moved on, leaving behind a world much changed.

Penn Roma, age sixteen, is blessed—or cursed—with supernatural talents she has always concealed. Her sisters, likewise afflicted, are prisoners of the Commission, the government agency tasked with controlling these strange children. Penn’s determination to save them only gains urgency when she learns of the horrifying plans the twisted Warden Dodge has for the peculiar charges.

But Penn herself must remain hidden, navigating a series of fantastical havens with her embattled allies, similarly enhanced teens also in the Commission’s crosshairs. Worse, her vast, half-understood powers have become unpredictable, failing at critical moments and activating outside of her control.

Can Penn trust a rogue warden, supposedly opposed to Dodge’s schemes, to help free her family…or has the Commission set its most nefarious trap yet?
I really enjoyed reading Sing Down the Stars (book 1) and was excited to jump into the next book to see where the story would go. This second book did not bring as much excitement for me as the first one, and from the cover I was actually hoping for more of it to take place underwater. I was not completely disappointed as we do get some under water action, exciting things to happen and even some surprises.

The majority of this story is learning more about the characters in general and their abilities. It takes place upon a floating city where the group has hidden from the Wardens. What I have enjoyed most about these books is the writing style of the author. She really has a talent for visuals and exciting new creatures/robots that really brought out a feeling of "wow, that is cool" The books have a carnival-like feel to them, yet it's a powerful modified human / alien-adjacent like story. The aliens are the ones that made the humans have certain powers, but we never really meet the aliens in the books.

What we follow is how the laws have had to change to safeguard humanity from those that had been altered, and the loved idea of those that take power for granted. I absolutely hate the villain in these books and I cannot wait to see how Penn and her unusual family will make him pay. I really enjoyed both books so far, perhaps only saddened by not getting more than what was given, but it only heightens my excitement for the next book to arrive.

A great teen magical fantasy story that is hugely imaginative and beautifully written.

Friday, January 20, 2017

#ReadWayfarer {Phone Interview With Alexandra Bracken}

By Becca...


Earlier this month, I had the immense pleasure of joining a conference phone interview with Alexandra Bracken to discuss her newest novel, Wayfarer, which continues Etta and Nicholas' adventures through time. Huge thanks to Alex and Disney Hyperion for having Reading Teen be apart of it!

This was the first time I have ever done something like this, and let me tell you I was a nervous wreck. It was like going to BEA all over again and meeting authors, with sweaty hands and an anxiety filled belly, trying to figure out what in the world I should ask Alex! I had so much I wanted to ask, but I had to narrow my results down to two questions so everyone would have time to ask their own questions. I'm a nervous wreck when it comes to ordering pizza, so imagine how nerved up I was dialing into a conference call with a bunch of other people and one of my favorite authors. I was sleep deprived from staying up the previous night and devouring Wayfarer in it's entirety, which probably didn't help the nerves, but with shaking hands, I dialed in, got connected, and what do you know? Guess who gets to go first? Yup, little ol' Becca. 

Alex started the call by thanking us for calling in, and oh my goodness. I forgot how adorable and sweet she is. You might be wondering how I know this, but I got to meet here 2 years ago at BEA, which you would think would've calmed my nerves a bit, but no. Haha. 

ALEX: To give you a pretty brief summary, it kicks off two weeks or three weeks after Passenger ends.  Nicholas and Etta are trying to figure out how to get back to each other at the same time that they're trying to track down the astrolabe, and they're dealing with alternate timelines and wars and all that crazy stuff. I had the best time brainstorming an alternate timeline, even though the alternate timeline is truly kind of tragic and nefarious and awful.  So, like I said, I'm so excited that you guys could join.

And then, I was up next to bat (forgive me if my questions don't make much sense....remember, I was nerved up quite a bit)

ReadingTeen:  As you were writing Wayfarer, I know that there is an alternate timeline that as you said was pretty nefarious.  Did you prefer writing the actual real history timeline or exploring the alternate one?

ALEX: It’s funny because in the series, our timeline is technically Ironwoods' timeline, so it's technically an alternate timeline too and in some ways, it requires just as much research.  When I was trying to figure out the alternate timeline, there's a lot of butterfly effects that happen with very small decisions and certain lynchpin people and moments. I sort of wrote myself in a corner and I was so mad at myself. For example, I gave Sophia's birth year in Passenger, and then I realized the original alternate timeline I came up with would have meant that Sophia would have been orphaned at the end of Passenger too.  So, I had to go back and completely in a panic brainstorm an entirely new alternate timeline. My friend Victoria Aveyard was up until three o'clock in the morning brainstorming this new timeline with me.  I did have fun writing it just because Victoria was there, and we were constantly bouncing ideas back and forth to each other.  The alternate timeline is just so sad, so I feel weird saying that I preferred writing it. It was exciting to explore that different timeline overall.

Honestly, I had the most fun reading the alternate timeline parts. It was just so imaginative, scary, page-turning, and crazy. I couldn't get enough of looking inside Alex's imagination into what our history could have been like. I couldn't even begin to imagine how much time, research, and dedication went into figuring everything out. Just thinking about it gives me a headache! However, Alex did a fantastic job with Wayfarer, and I truly think I enjoyed it much more than Passenger.

ReadingTeen:  When I'm reading, I'm pretty notorious for finding a ship that I really love.  Who was your favorite ship out of the series?

ALEX: I had so much fun writing Sophia and Li Min and their interactions with each other. It was like they were either going to kiss or kill each other at any moment, which is always a really fun dynamic. Sorry if you guys haven't read, this is a spoiler.  One of the sad things about this book for me is that in order to tell Nicholas and Etta's story, I had to keep them apart for a good portion of the story.  In an earlier draft, they reunited earlier, and it just didn't work from a conflict point of view or for the story structure, which is one of the many problems of my problem child.I really did miss writing them and I’m glad I got a little bit in at the end.  Li Min and Sophia were definitely my favorite duo, but I also had fun writing the dynamic between Etta and Julian even though it's not romantic. Just how they were constantly clashing, and he really thought he could get in there and she would shut it down from the beginning. I really like writing group dynamics, and that was one of the challenges of Passenger, that there wasn't a big group.  It was only Etta and Nicholas for most of the book.  And so with this one, I had a blast writing different groups and managing everyone's personalities.

I SHIPPED SO MANY SHIPS IN WAYFARER, GUYS, which is kind of weird since our main ship isn't together for pretty much the entire novel. I was sad about it at first, but honestly I had so much fun seeing new characters and watching them interact (and flirt) with each other that it became hard to even remember that Nicholas and Etta weren't really together that much. No doubt I still ship the crap out of them, but Sophia and Li Min are shipping goals. If you're going to read this series, read it for their ship in itself. Trust me, it's worth it. I definitely think all the new group dynamics helped improve the entire series with Wayfarer in comparison to just Etta and Nicholas in Passenger.

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK:

Synopsis:

I’ve been orphaned by my time.
The timeline has changed.
My future is gone.

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas—the eighteenth century privateer she loves—and her natural time. 

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future. 

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.



Author Bio:

Alexandra Bracken is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Passenger series and The Darkest Minds series. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved East to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. After working in publishing for several years, Alex now writes full-time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that's perpetually overflowing with books.




Huge thanks to Alex and Disney-Hyperion again for such a fabulous time! It was an experience I will truly never forget! Have ya'll read Wayfarer yet? What did you think? If you got to interview Alex, what would you ask her?




Thursday, January 5, 2017

Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick \\ DNF

by Jackie

BLOOD RED, SNOW WHITE
by Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (October 25, 2016)
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Sold by: Macmillan
Goodreads | Amazon

Russia wakes from a long sleep and marches to St Petersburg to claim her birthright. Her awakening will mark the end for the Romanovs, and the dawn of a new era that changed the world. Arthur Ransome, a journalist and writer, was part of it all. He left his family in England and fell in love with Russia and a Russian woman. This is his story. 
Oh how the mighty fall. Blood Red, Snow White seemed like something that I could fall head over heels in love with. I mean HISTORY. Russian Revolution. Like, the use of real history. All of this fantastically intertwined with allusions and metaphors out into the next world. Like, what is there NOT to love? Right? RIGHT?

This is where I went wrong, because, although it seems to check all of the boxes…I just really struggled. I couldn’t get into it. I just really could not get into the writing, the style. It felt over-descriptive without really saying anything at all. This was my issue, and this is why I couldn’t finish the book.

Overall, I don’t really have much to say because I really didn’t read through much of the book. Blood Red, Snow White was not my cup of tea. Not even close.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber \\ A miss...

Review by Kaitlin

CARAVAL
by Stephanie Garber
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Flatiron Books (January 31, 2017)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
Have you ever read a book that felt like something you had already read even though it was set in a newer-to-you scenario and had a somewhat creative ending? Yeah. That's Caraval. I haven't read a lot of books with a carnival/circus vibe or with a magical game--much less a combination of both-- but Caraval still managed to feel like something I've already read. So. Many. Times. I went into this book expecting mesmerizing writing, a lush setting, a complicated game, and delicious twists and turns, but instead I got . . . standard YA elements. Or maybe they just paled in comparison to my previous read (The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, which was gorgeous and swoonworthy and so, so worth reading) and missed the parts that proved Caraval to be a spectacular stand-out in YA fantasy. It got better in the last 100 pages, but that didn't make me see the book in a much better light.

This book is partially about a bond between sisters, yet one of them didn't have much page-time. Instead, Julian took up second-biggest spotlight and filled that role of the mysterious, possibly bad, smirking love interest that banters with the heroine. Considering that he was one of the most interesting characters to me, I didn't always mind his presence, but at the same time, I really wished there was more focus on Tella. (I have a feeling she'll have a larger presence in the sequel.) Tella was definitely my favorite character because she had a personality that leapt off the page. Most of the other characters were unremarkable, including Scarlett. I actually spent a good chunk of the book thinking her name was Crimson because that's what Julian called her. Julian was the only other character that I really liked, but I did find him unremarkable at many moments.

I was a bit frustrated with this book because the entire time I was reading, I kept wanting MORE--as in, more creative ideas, more surprises, more pretty sentences. I occasionally glimpsed what I was wanting from the book, but then it would go back to being lackluster and expected. I feel like an elaborate, magical game with a carnival/circus vibe could've been pushed to many new and wondrous places. It could've been more imaginative, mind-twisty, wicked, and extraordinary. This book shouldn't be one I describe as "ordinary," but . . . man, so much of the book felt pretty ordinary to me. The last night of the game and the events afterward came the closest to what I wanted, though by the time I reached that point, I already felt so over the story that I barely reacted to what was going on. Also, that was was only a chunk that was impressive and that didn't suddenly make the rest of the book seem better in hindsight. It just felt like a decent end to a disappointing read.

Overall, Caraval was a miss for me. It's a quick read, though. I was surprised that I was able to move through it so quickly as I was reading (though I still took forever to finish it because I took a big break from it). It was still an engaging story, despite all the negative things I said about it. I know it's been a hit for many early readers, but for me, it didn't feel as creative, substantial, or lush as I was hoping it to be.
Now A Mismatched Reader
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