Monday, April 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #32

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books You Will Love If You Like X Movie or TV Show
(What a fun topic!)

If you like: Star Wars

If you like: Mulan

If you like: Avatar The Last Airbender

If you like: Downton Abbey

Do you have any excellent book-to-movie pairings to share? Any thoughts on mine?
Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: Blonde Ops

Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman 
Date Published: May 6th, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mysery
Amazon/Barnes and Noble
Expelled from yet another boarding school for hacking, sixteen-year-old Rebecca "Bec" Jackson is shipped off to Rome to intern for Parker Phillips, the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s top fashion magazines. But when a mysterious accident lands Parker in a coma, former supermodel and notorious drama queen Candace Worthington takes the reins of the magazine. The First Lady is in Rome for a cover shoot, and all hands are on deck to make sure her visit goes smoothly. 

Bec quickly realizes that Parker's "accident" may not have been quite so accidental, and when the First Lady's life is threatened, Bec is determined to uncover the truth. On top of that, Bec must contend with bitchy models, her new boss, Candace, who is just as difficult as the tabloids say, and two guys, a hunky Italian bike messenger with a thousand-watt smile and a fashion blogger with a razor-sharp wit, who are both vying for her heart.

Can Bec catch the person who's after the First Lady, solve the mystery of Parker's accident, and juggle two cute boys at the same time? Blonde Ops is a fun, action-packed romp through the hallways of a fashion magazine and the cobblestone streets of Rome.
Models. Hackers. Plots. And Rome. 

Need I say more?

Blonde Ops is a fluffy adventure ideal for fans of Ally Carter and Robin Benway. The characters are fun and entertaining, the plot is exciting although a tad predictable, and the setting is awesome!

The main character, Bec, is a hacker just kicked out of a boarding school for the umpteenth time. I absolutely loved reading from her POV! She is smart, quirky, and... how can I phrase this?... very meddlesome. Additionally,  Bec was refreshingly enthusiastic about Rome, food, and of course, the cute Italian delivery guy!

Once Bec was shipped of to EDGE, under the custody of EDGE's editor, Parker. However, soon after arriving, things start going awry and Bec must use all her skills to find out a scheme involving the first lady! While I predicted the "bad guys", I still immensely enjoyed the mystery/adventure aspect of Blond Ops!

I've been to Italy before. The place is so amazing. I loved visiting there again while reading Blonde Ops! Also, I enjoyed the setting of Edge. There were a lot of quirky models, photographers, assistants etc. Also, I think I lot of YA books portray people who enjoy fashion in a bad way, so I enjoyed how the authors didn't shame anyone into fashion. I also enjoyed the light-hearted portrayal of the drama of the magazine. I especially like Sophie, Candace, and Kevin. 

Overall, the two authors of Blonde Ops have written a delightful, unputdownable story! I've been wondering if they will write a sequel as the ending wrapped enough up while still leaving the story open for a next installment. A girl can hope!

4/5 Stars

*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Prisoner of Night and Fog (Review + Giveaway)

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blackman

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Rating: 4 Stars
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

This book was an amazing treat. Fans of historical YA novels such as Rose Under Fire, The Book Thief, and In the Shadow of Blackbirds will be in a real delight with Prisoner of Night and Fog. This book is a well-researched and emotional masterpiece. 

My main concern going into the book was a gut feeling that I wouldn't like the main character, Gretchen. She calls the nasty Hitler "Uncle Dolf" after all. However, I am happy to report that I couldn't be more wrong about this lovely main character. Gretchen may be a bit naive, but she was strong-willed from the beginning and was a truly brave heroine. 

Also, I was a bit nervous about how the author would handle Hitler. Once again, my worries turned out to be all for nothing. Hitler was quite the characters, one I loathed fiercely but could see how others in the past could be so blind. The author clearly did her research on him, making him a three dimensional character. Anne Blackman even incorporated some shocking facts I hadn't known about Adolf Hitler!

Also, the romance was perfect. While the book was (thankfully) not centered around Gretchen and Daniel's romance, it was still very sweet. I loved the two of them together.

Overall, this historical fiction is among my new favorites. The amazing characters, setting and romance, mixed with the true facts and time period made Prisoner of Night and Fog quite the hit in my eyes. I would highly recommend this novel!

4 Stars
*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*
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Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.
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Question of the Day: What is your favorite YA historical fiction novel?

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #36

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Publication Date: September 23rd, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary (???)
Amazon/Barnes and Noble
Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

I love Scott Westerfeld's books, and Afterworlds sounds especially good. I am excited about the publishing aspect... and then the unique "afterworld" aspect. What a strange and wonderful premise!
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