Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Final Book Thief Discussion Post

Thank you so much to everyone who's participated in the read along! I've really enjoyed reading your tweets and posts and updates all month. It's been so much fun to read the book for the first time with you guys.

Now, on to the questions. I would post a recap, but... I'm not Death and not about to spoil the book!

1. How did you feel when Max had to leave the Hubermanns? What did you expect would happen to him?

2. Why do you think Liesel ran out to Max when they finally did cross paths, even after she had seen what happened to Hans earlier in the book?

3. What did you think of Death spoiling the ending a couple chapters before it actually happened? Did the warning make it easier to handle?

4. Which death impacted you the most?

 5. How did your view of Ilsa Herman change over the course of the book?

6. The power of words is such a big theme throughout the book. Which instances of powerful words stuck out to you? Or, which quotes from the book stuck out to you?

7. In this post Markus Zusak says:
In many ways I felt that the book is about Liesel’s different kind of loves - for Hans, for Rosa, for Rudy and Max, and for books and living in general.
Which of those loves resonated with you most?

8. Thoughts on Liesel and Death finally meeting?

9. If this was your first time reading The Book Thief, is it what you expected?
If it was a reread, what did you notice this time around?

10. Will you see the movie?

Come link up your posts!
I almost forgot about the last Twitter Chat!  I was thinking I'd host it around 8 PM Mountain tomorrow (Tuesday). What do you guys think? Is that too late for people not on Mountain time?

**UPDATE #2**
 We're also giving away The Book Thief-inspired shirts!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Awakening by Christy Dorrity

Christy is a local author, best known for her Book Bloggers Cookbooks. I was part of her first cookbook, so I'm excited to help spread the word about her new YA book, Awakening!

About the Book

. . . because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth.

A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery's family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn't think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking her way.

When an unexpected fascination with Irish dance leads McKayla to seek instruction from the mute, crippled janitor at her high school, she learns that her family is not the only one with unexplained abilities. After Aunt Avril comes to Star Valley in pursuit of a supernatural killer, people begin disappearing, and the lives of those McKayla holds most dear are threatened.

When the janitor reveals that an ancient curse, known as a geis, has awakened deadly powers that defy explanation, McKayla is forced to come to terms with what is real and what is fantasy. A thrilling debut novel based in Celtic mythology, Awakening is a gripping young adult fantasy rife with magic, romance, and mystery.

Awakening (The Geis, #1)

Praise for Awakening

"AWAKENING is a wonder and a delight. Christy Dorrity is a talent to watch."
~David Farland, New York Times bestselling author of Nightingale

"I thoroughly enjoyed AWAKENING, a captivating and unique debut novel that creatively integrates Irish dance."
~ CHRIS NAISH, Riverdance member and Creative Director of Fusion Fighters Irish dancers.
About the Author

Christy Dorrity lives in the mountains with her husband, five children, and a cocker spaniel. She grew up on a trout ranch in Star Valley, Wyoming, and is the author of The Geis series for young adults, and The Book Blogger’s Cookbooks. Christy is a champion Irish dancer and when she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably trying out a new recipe in the kitchen.

Purchase Awakening by Christy Dorrity:

Purchase Kindle Book Purchase Nook Book 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Read This: Blackmoore

by Julianne Donaldson

This book is so intense, in the best possible way. I loved the setting, and the whole Gothic feel to Blackmoore. I loved the chemistry between Kate and Henry. It was so obvious how they felt - and how deeply they felt it - that I could hardly tear myself away from their story. And I hated (in the best way) all the obstacles that came up in their story. There are secrets and scandals and plenty of family craziness. But it combined for such an engaging story.

The characters are all so interesting. Kate has some obviously flaws, but that allows her a lot of character growth. I enjoyed the use of flashbacks that showed different sides to Kate, her family, and Henry. The flashbacks also set up a big mystery that kept me turning pages as fast as possible.

I liked this even better than Edenbrooke. The story is darker, but the romance is even sweeter.

The Big Three:
Language: not an issue
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: not an issue

Just So You Know:
I received a review copy of Blackmoore via Shadow Mountain in exchange for an honest review. Blackmoore is available now!

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Book Thief Discussion Post! Parts 4-6

Kami is hosting our second discussion post on The Book Thief. Come link up on her blog.

You guys, I have a confession. I may have finished The Book Thief already. I couldn't help it.
Anyone else read ahead?

Some thoughts on Parts 4-6.
1.  What emotions have you felt while reading? Are they strong emotions?
Yes! I think the strongest was when Death spoiled a certain person's upcoming death. I was so mad!!! Especially because that was the only character I really wondered about. 

2.    Several characters mention similarities between Max and Liesel. What similarities have you noticed, and why do you think the author made these characters relate to each other?
In a lot of ways Max and Liesel have nothing when they show up at the Huberman's. They have a dangerous background, and they both are afraid they're putting Hans and Rosa out by living with them. But I liked that they had so many similarities because I think that made it easier for them to be friends. It was very sweet to see them bond over nightmares and late nights and words. Liesel has friends already but it was nice to see someone who understood her.

3.    What do you think of The Standover Man aka the book Max wrote for Liesel.
I loved the pictures! It's interesting to see the story told from a different perspective, and in a different format. 

4.    How do you feel about knowing who is going to die in the end and what are some of your predictions?
I am still mad. (not really. But I was)
As for predictions,Twitter says:

5.    What do you think of Rudy's rebellious attitude? 
I love Rudy. It was so nice to see more of his personality. And here's where it's bad that I've already finished because I don't want to say too much. But love, love, love Rudy.

6.    Is Rosa growing on you?
Yeah, especially with the way she handles Max coming to live with them. She's much nicer (outwardly) to him than Liesel. And I loved how she treated Liesel after the mayor's wife fired her. 

7.    What do you think of the relationship between Max and Liesel?
I like it. It's very tender, and kind of brother/sister-y. I was surprised that people shipped them.

8.    Why do you think Liesel is so determined to steal from the Mayor's library?
In a way, to get back at her for firing Rosa. But also because I think she'd miss having access to so many books.

9.    What really stands out to you in the story and why?
Max fighting with Hitler was so bizarre but interesting. I loved the snowman in the basement, and Hans hitting Rosa with the snowball! It's all so unexpected, but at the same time makes sense in the story.

10.    If you were in Hans' position, would you have helped/hid Max?
Of course I'd like to say yes. But honestly I don't know. If I'd made a promise I'd like to think I would have kept it. But I wouldn't have gone looking for that kind of experience.
Is that terrible?

So, what did you think of this part of the book? Where are you at in the reading?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Fall TBR

Today's Top 10 Tuesday topic is: Fall TBR Come play at The Broke and The Bookish!

I'm proud to say that I read/am reading all but one of the books from my summer TBR post. Hopefully I'll be as good about my Fall list!

Books That Aren't Out Yet:
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Things I Have Checked Out from the Library Right Now:
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Upcoming Bookclub Picks:
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Diviners by Libba Bray

Just Haven't Gotten to These Yet:
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

Have you read any of these? What's on your Fall TBR?

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's a (Good!) Free Book

I really enjoyed The Reluctant Bachelorette when I was part of the tour awhile back. My review here. And it's FREE! Today and tomorrow only. Give it a look! It's very cute (and super clean)

The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Renee Anderson

Unknowingly cast as the bachelorette for her town’s charity event, Taycee Emerson wants out. Especially when she discovers her old teenage crush, Luke Carney, is one of the bachelors and it’s up to the viewers–not her–to decide which bachelors stay or go.

Coerced into participating, Taycee does what any self-preserving girl would do. She launches a subtle attack on Luke’s good name with the hope of getting him voted off the show. Unfortunately, Luke’s an eye-for-an-eye kind of guy, and when he discovers what she’s up to, it means revenge.

Grab a copy for FREE on Amazon!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Book Thief Discussion! Parts 1-3

It's the first discussion post for The Book Thief readalong. The awesome Suey is hosting today, over at It's All About Books. Come play along here.

1. What's your first impression of Death as a character/narrator?
I think this sums up my original opinion nicely:
But I have come around to Death, a bit. I think I like him as a narrator, quite a lot. As a character, I'm not sure. I prefer him less directly involved in the plot. Remember how I was afraid this book would be 550 pages of sad?
2. What's your first impression of the unique writing style?
I love it! It's very conversational. It reads just like how people talk. 
And then switches to being very poetic and almost flowery.
It's like Death is trying to make you comfortable and then win you over with his way with words or something.
3. Which character stands out to you the most so far and why?
Liesel, because she's the main one, I guess. Also Hans because he's mostly incredibly nice. Except for that one part where he smacks her!
4. What do you think the author is trying to say about the power of words?
First, that words are powerful. Liesel seems to become more and more confident in her life and surroundings the more she learns to read. Words also seem to help bond her and Hans together.
5. How do you feel about all the foreshadowing that's going on?
Foreshadowing? Or anvil sized hints? Or "beat you over the head" spoilers? 
No, I don't mind them, honestly. I think it's fitting with the way the book started (the whole "you are going to die.") I think Death/Zusak doesn't want anyone to be caught off guard by what will happen. Which adds suspense and dramatic irony and also makes everything feel more complex. So it's interesting. It's not very often that books go around spoiling themselves.
6. Also, how do you feel about all that German swearing?!? 
I spent some time on Google Translate until I decided not to anymore! I don't know any German, so I just kind of go with it and imagine they're saying whatever I think should go there.
7. What do you think about the relationship between Hans and Rosa?
It's interesting. I think it's one of those they banter but actually love each other deals. Occasionally it gets a little old (to me) but I think that's just personal preference.
8. What do you think about the relationship between Rudy and Liesel?
In a lot of ways it's similar to Hans and Rosa's - only I think it's easier to see how much Rudy and Liesel enjoy each other. You can tell they're on each other's side. It's cute.
Symbols. Source
9.  What are your feelings on the politics of the time that we've seen so far?
I like that it's there, but not in a heavy-handed kind of way. I liked when Rudy's dad went over his thinking about the Jews, and how he thought what was going on was wrong, but also helped him in a way, but was probably wrong, but was kind of helpful. I like how complicated the book makes things.
10. What images and/or symbols stand out for you in this story so far?
Oh man, this is the question that has held this post up. I was supposed to be looking for symbols?!?! :)
The colors? Those are symbols, right? Truth be told, I guess none. Because I've thought about this question for nearly a day and have nothing. Oh well.
What did you think of the first three parts? Link up at Suey's blog or comment here or link to your own post in the comments!
There will also be a twitter chat tomorrow (Weds) at 12 Mountain Time. Use #bookthief to chat. I'll be in and out, as that is school pick up/feed my hungry children time around my house. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Read This: Pivot Point

Pivot Point
by Kasie West

The Short Story
When Addie's parents separate and her dad wants to move out of their "gifted" compound, Addie has to use her ability to look into the future to decide who to stay with. She can see the outcome for both choices, and there's a lot of good (and cute boy) in both. But an unsolved murder case has unexpected consequences in both lives. Suddenly her choice is more complicated than she expected.
Maybe not the best writing, but a wild, exciting book.

Come for the....
different. I had never read a book like this before and I loved the idea of being able to see both results of the choice Addie had to make. It was interesting to see how life in her paranormal/superpower compound played out vs. the normal world. It made me want to have superpowers, basically. There was definitely an amount of disbelief-suspension required, but I had a blast reading this. 

There's a bit of a slower start (basically the story gets "set up" 3 different times) but it's hard to put down once it gets going. I thought the author did a nice job of tying in elements from both lives. It was such an interesting idea that all of the main characters, and many of the main events, were important in both lives. And it created a ridiculous amount of tension. As I reader I loved knowing more than the characters in certain situations, and switching back and forth between the two possibilities just added to the intensity. I appreciated the complexity of Addie's life no matter what she chose. Overall, the ideas in this one were great.

 Don't Think About This Too Hard

  • My biggest complaint was the quality of the writing. It's not as tight or nuanced as the writing you'd get from a more experienced author. A few things felt too obvious, many plot points were too predictable, etc. It's probably a 3 star quality wise, but I still enjoyed it at least 4 stars.

The Big Three:
Language: I can't remember exactly, but I think it was fairly mild
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: a murder mystery, some sports-related violence, use of weapons

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's a Party! (And a Recap)

Tomorrow is the big Utah Blogger/Author/Reader/Everyone Party and we'd love to see you there!

Utah Book Month Bash
Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Wines Park in Lehi, Pavilion #3*

  • Bring a small dessert to share; we'll provide plates/forks/napkins/cups/water.
  • Bring ONE book (per attendee) to swap.
  • We do have a pavilion with picnic tables, but you may also want to bring chairs or blankets for sitting on the grass.
  • Families are welcome - there is a playground for kids.

I love the Utah Book Month closing social. It's always so fun and the food and books and friends are the best.

I did pretty good reading-wise for August/Utah Book Month. I read:

Transparent by Natalie Whipple
Cow Can't Sleep and Old MacDonald Had a Dragon by Ken Baker
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Wolves, Boys, and Other Things that Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

For non-Utah authors, I read:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
Pivot Point by Kassie West
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Favorites of the month were Transparent and The Bitter Kingdom.
And September brings The Book Thief read-along. I'm 100 pages in and already enjoying this very different book.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Book Thief Read Along: Kick Off

Welcome, welcome, welcome to The Book Thief read along! I'm so excited to read this with everyone. Especially because...

I've Never Actually Read This

I know, I am ashamed.

So, for my kick off post, I wanted to share what I do know (or can make up) about The Book Thief:
  • It's narrated by death, who is quite the dancer (apparently)
  • It's set in Germany during World War II
  • There's a girl, and she steals books. I think she is the book thief.
  • Her family is hiding a Jewish(?) guy. Possibly in their house. 
  • They're making a movie, and the bad guy from Pirates of the Caribbean is also a bad guy? He's in it, anyway. 
  • Markus Zusak is Australian. I think. Not that that has anything to do with the book, but my list was really short.
  • Famous last line:
 And, that's all I've got.

How about you? If this is your first time reading, what do you already know about it? If you've read it before, what made you want to read it again?

The Schedule:
September 1: start reading
September 10: read through Part 3: Suey will host discussion on her blog
September 20: read through Part 6: Kami will host discussion on her blog
September 30: finish the book: I'll host final discussion, right here