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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

My House is Kind of a Library

by andye

At any given moment I have no less than 20 books "checked out" of my house.  My friends know that when they come over (which is a lot), they're leaving with a book in their hands.  Sometimes people come over just for the purpose of picking up a book, or dropping them off.

My house is a library, AND I LOVE IT!!

I love that people know me as the book girl.  I love that they know that I'm ready with an endless list of recommendations, for every type of reader.  I love that moment when they've read a book I gave them and we get to talk about it.  I just love it!

It's like a challenge.  Matching up a person with the perfect book.  

One of the biggest reasons that I actually buy books that I've already read, is so that I can loan them out to people.  I mean, I do want to have books that I've loved on my shelves, but half the time I know I'm not going to read them again, but I buy them anyway just so that I can share them with all my friends.

Oh, and if I have a matching bookmark?  That's just icing on the cake!  

The only problem I have with this system, is that I'm horrible at keeping track of who has my books.  Like, who has my copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth?  It's been gone a long, long time, and I have no idea who has it.  I tried keeping track, writing down who checked out what and when, but I just failed miserably.

How about you?

Do you loan out your books?  Do you have a system for keeping track of who has what books?  Do you care about what condition they're in when they're returned?  And most importantly, DO YOU KNOW WHERE MY COPY OF THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH IS?

Monday, June 1, 2020

5 Big Problems With ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I recently read *ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. You may have already heard of this book, as everyone seems to be RAVING about it. But I thought I should just give you my thoughts, and a little caution before you decide to drop the big bucks on this one.

 by Andye

1. The cover.

Ok, yeah. The cover is freaking amazing. The problem, though, is that when you take off the dust-jacket, the naked book is JUST AS AMAZING. Or maybe more amazing, I don't even know. So, what am I supposed to do? Display it with the jacket on? Or off? How am I supposed to pick? Switch it back and forth every other day? And where do I put the jacket on the off days? It's going to get crinkled! So now I have to buy TWO copies, just so I don't have to stress out about this. Rude, Random House. Rude.

2. People are bothering me about it. 

This goes along with problem #1. I took Illuminae with me to my son's baseball game so I could read in-between innings, but when people saw the cover, and all the writing and scribbles and the big CLASSIFIED stamp and all the cool pages, they kept TALKING TO ME ABOUT IT. I wanted to scream, "NO. REALLY. I BROUGHT THIS HERE SO THAT I COULD TALK TO YOU. JUST KEEP INTERRUPTING. PLEASE."  Seriously, the questions went on and on. Even MEN were asking me about it! So, don't buy this book unless you want people to talk to you, because people are incredibly nosy.

3. The cussing is blacked out.

You may think this is a good thing. To shield your virgin eyes from the filth. But all it does is make you sit there and try to figure out which foul word goes in the blank. It's like a CUSSING QUIZ. I mean, I tried all kinds of combinations, and there are a couple I still can't figure out. I thought my bad language vocabulary was pretty extensive, but now I have to go look up bad words just to see what fits. How is that ok?

4. It's deceptively big.

I tried to tell someone that I read a 600 page book, but then she looked at it an saw all the pages were made up of emails, IMs, and reports, and some of them just had drawings, or computer scribbles, or propeganda "pamphlets", and she said it didn't count. I mean, she took the book from me and started devouring it because it was "so cool" but somehow it doesn't count as 600 pages? Pretentious.

5. It was gross.

There are things that happen in this book that will make you want to gouge out your eyes. For instance: crazy people gouging out other people's eyes. This book gave me nightmares, and I was NOT expecting that. There could've at least been a warning that this book was going to be CREEPY sometimes. The scariest part is that it was so realistic. I can definitely see something like this happening for real, and now I'm scarred for life. Also scared for life.


Ok, so yes, this was maybe the coolest book I've ever read. And yes, I loved the way the events unfolded and revealed things. And yes, the romance was great . . . and heartbreaking. But I just don't know if I should be OK with it considering all the things I've listed above. Plus I just don't know what to think about AIDAN and that freaks me out! I mean, a super computer that basically can do whatever it (he) wants to you? This could seriously happen in real life, people! WHO WANTS TO THINK ABOUT THAT?

So in short, I cannot recommend this book for people who are wimps, are indecisive, don't like talking to people, like cussing, don't want to think about the future, or hate cool things. The rest of you, read at your own risk.

The Illuminae Files #1
by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (October 20, 2015)
Language: English

Goodreads | Amazon
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

*All pics and thoughts are from the special edition ARC and may change in the final copy.

Friday, January 31, 2020

A New and Exceptional High Fantasy // FURYBORN by Claire Legrand: Book and Audiobook

by Claire Legrand
Series: The Empirium Trilogy (Book 1)
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (May 22, 2018)

Audiobook Publisher: Listening Library
Language: English

Goodreads | Amazon 
The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable―until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire's heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world―and of each other.
This book, guys. This book. I am quite blown away.

Let me start by saying I would not classify this as YA, although I know that's a losing battle (just look where A Court of Thorns and Roses ended up)... But this book is complex, it takes it's time, and it has probably the most descriptive sex scene I've read in YA. This book won't be for everyone.

But it was definitely for me.

I will keep my review brief as there are so many good descriptive reviews out there that give more details, if that's what you're looking for. I just want to say that I loved so many things about the way this book was written. You can tell that Claire Legrand took a LOT of time planning this story. Those books are always my favorite because there are so many details and threads and twists. The fact that she starts the book off basically telling you how Rielle's story ends, yet somehow finds ways to keep you interested, and even surprised, is absolutely incredible. I love that we follow two fierce young women who think they know themselves, but end up surprising themselves by where their paths took them.

All the characters are incredibly well fleshed out, including one very devious villain. Corian is completely horrible, but also absolutely fascinating. I adore complicated bad guys. And the relationships are so convoluted. The fine line between love and hate, loyalty and betrayal is walked constantly with these characters. I loved it!!

Action, war, forbidden romance, TOTALLY forbidden romance, fierce females, magic, friendships, family, lies, temptation, and the journey two girls take to find out who they are and what they're capable of. FURYBORN delivers on all these things and more.

A note on the audiobook: I absolutely love the narrator of this audiobook. Her voice is so perfect for this story. However, I wish there had been two different readers for Rielle and Eliana. It was really hard to keep track of whose storyline I was in, especially at the beginning when I was just learning the characters. I was constantly trying to figure out who was who and having the same voice made it much more complicated. However, I'd still recommend it because I really did like the reader so much. Her voice was awesome, and the passion she brought to the story added so much to it. Thanks to Listening Library for sending a copy for review.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Interview With Michael Grant and a FRONT LINES Giveaway

Hey lovely readers! Today we have a VERY special guest visiting! We here at Reading Teen have been huge fans of Michael Grant since the day he sucked us into his GONE series. When Kit interviewed him about LIGHT, it was one of the highlights of her blogging "career". Today I get the privilege of interviewing him about his newest book, FRONT LINES.

Check it out below, and don't forget about the giveaway at the end of the interview!

Andye: FRONT LINES is described as a gender-bending, alternate history of WWII. Are you a big history buff? What made you want to tackle this particular time period?
Michael: Hmmm, I’m not quite sure what the official rules are for claiming “History Buff” status, but basically, yes. I’m a sucker for a good story and I picked WW2 to write about because it’s an astounding array of good stories, far, far too many for me to do more than sample a small bite of what’s available. And because it is still easily relatable.  People in the 40’s didn’t have computers or cell phones, but they drove cars and flew planes, so the milieu is something a modern reader can get into easily.  

Andye: In your re-imagined world, girls are able to enlist as soldiers, or even be drafted. Are there girls/women in your life that you based your characters on?
Michael: Actually, the only person I consciously modeled is Audie Murphy, a 5’5” runt considered too small and too weak and too young to serve in combat - an opinion that was just a wee bit wrong as Murphy became the most decorated American soldier of WW2, walking away with basically every medal anyone had ever invented, including the Medal of Honor. 

A: I've been anticipating this book since you first started talking about it on Twitter. At the time, you were questioning what you wanted the title to be. Why did you decide not to use "Soldier Girl"?
M: Actually we ended up dropping “Soldier Girl” because some people thought it belittled women.  Of course the main characters are all 17 or 18 at the start, so they are in fact, girls.  But I didn’t need the grief.

A: For fans of your previous books, like the GONE series, or MESSENGER OF FEAR, how is the Soldier Girls series different? How is it similar?
M: The big difference is that in my other books I’m writing pure fiction, meaning I have complete control of the narrative, start to finish.  In FRONT LINES there’s a whole bunch of reality to deal with.  I had to do more research, conform my narrative to the facts and try to stay true to the language and customs of the time.  I’d write a paragraph and have to look up a fact.  Next paragraph, the same.  And the next. . .

A: Is there a message that you hope readers will get from this series?
M: I hate ever thinking about ‘messages.’ My job is to create relatable characters and tell stories, not lecture from on high.  But in the process of telling the stories of Rio, Frangie and Rainy (among others) I had to understand and convey the depths of racism, antisemitism and sexism that were pervasive and right out in the open. I don’t approve of ‘bowdlerized’ history, history reduced to inspirational patriotic stories on the one hand, or hair-shirt self-abnegation on the other.  So, I suppose if there’s a message it’s that reality is complicated, nuanced, and often morally ambiguous. Even the ‘good guys’ can be pretty despicable at times, and yet these are the people who literally saved the world.  Really.  Saved. The. World.

And now, for the quick-fire questions, which I believe are worth 5 points each:

Best book you've read this year: Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus.
Favorite food: Maryland crab cakes.
Favorite dessert: Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked.
Favorite vacation spot: London.
Best movie you've seen this year: Mad Max Fury Road.  Imperator Furiosa forever!

Photo Credit:

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.

Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.

These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.


I'm the co-author or author of about 160 books, including the ANIMORPHS series, the GONE series, the BZRK series, the MAGNIFICENT 12 series (Mommy, make him stop saying series!), the MESSENGER OF FEAR series, and soon (well, eventually) the SOLDIER GIRL series.

The best way to reach me is at Twitter @MichaelGrantBks. I'll be honest: I keep forgetting there's mail here. Here's the thing: I don't have an assistant or a staff. I would, but then I'd have to hire someone and train someone and give them stuff to do, and relate to them as a human being, possibly even care about them. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

But if my handle is in the Tweet, I read it. And once or twice a week I go on at random times to chat with fans. I love my fans, but it's either be honest with you and be my actual self on Twitter, or fob you off on some assistant, and how would that be better? I already have my father-in-law handling email from my ancient website. I'd rather be harder to write to but really be me, and really talk to you, if that makes sense.

Honestly, if it was up to me and I had the time we could all just hang out at random Starbucks. Or if you're over 21, a pleasant cocktail lounge perhaps. At some point there would be ice cream. There must always, at some point in the day, be ice cream.

I also have a personal Facebook page at AuthorMichaelGrant, but that's limited to 5000 friends and apparently I actually have that many. Who knew? But I leave it public so if I have something to say I'll do it there.

I hope you'll give my books a try. If you don't like one, that's cool, I don't like every book I read, either. But maybe give them a try. People seem to like them.

Now, my publishers want me to sell you on my stuff, so I'll do two brags: 1) Everything I write is like nothing you've ever read before in young adult literature. I don't copy, I don't imitate, I don't clone. 2) I know how to end a series.

And that's my advertisement. Thank you.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
1/18: A Perfection Called Books - Review
1/19: What Sarah Read - Top 10
1/20: Kelly Vision - Review
1/21: Across the Words - Guest Post
1/22: The Petite Book Blogger - Review

Week 2:
1/25: Emily Reads Everything - Top 10
1/26: Rachel Writes Things - Review
1/27: Awkwordly Emma - Guest Post
1/28: Paperback Princess - Review
1/29: Reading Teen - Q&A

3 Finished Copies of FRONT LINES (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 2, 2020

8 Reasons I WON'T Visit Your Blog

I recently did a post called 8 Reasons I Visit Your Blog, so I thought I'd do a little opposing post to talk about the things that make me not want to visit your blog (or not return once I have visited).  These are my own personal reasons, and may not reflect the masses.  Thanks to Meg Ryan for helping me illustrate.

1. Automated music or sound effects. I seriously hate this. Most of the time, I won't realize my volume is turned way up, and I open a blog and *BAM* I'm blasted with some random music or other noise, and I basically pee my pants and click on five hundred things in my frantic attempt to close the window. If you have this, I will not be returning (sorry)!


2. You're a jerk. Listen, I'm all about the snark. One of my favorite book blogs is, and Steph, Kat & Meg have perfected the snarkasm. I'm talking about just flat out being a tool. If you spend your time looking for reasons to jump down anyone and everyone's throat, or you're just waiting on people to screw up or say the wrong thing, I just don't even have time for that. See ya (not sorry)!

3. Your blog is too cluttered. I get that everyone has different tastes, and this is totally a personality thing, but my brain just can't handle five thousand and seven different colors and patterns happening at the same time. It makes me stabby.

4. You misspell a ton of words on a regular basis, or your grammar is terrible. I'm not overly picky about this (I don't think). I mean, I don't keep my posts completely proper, and everyone makes mistakes (I probably have in this post (like possibly using too many parenthesis (but at least I said "too many" and not "to many."))), but if your post is filled with mistakes, it just looks like you didn't care enough to even use spell-check.

5. Your posts are almost all made up of memes or blog tours. Again, this is personal preference, but I'm just not interested in reading those types of things over and over. I'd rather read a blog that only posted once a week with something original than one that posts daily memes or tours etc. I'm just like, "Hello?  Is this it??"

6. All your sidebar pics or ads are hanging off your sidebar. Ok, I know I'm being nit-picky here, but when you do that, it just . . .

7. You are entirely too loquacious or sesquipedalian. If your blog is replete with a copious magnitude of superfluous, discursive ruminations, then I am inclined to expeditiously dematerialize, never to return.

Uh . . . what?

8. Your posts are all geared toward your blogging friends. Don't get me wrong, I think it's awesome that bloggers have made such good friends (I know I have), and they all visit each other's blogs, and know all the inside jokes. But if I'm not part of it, I don't get it, and it just makes me feel left out. I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm just saying I probably won't be sticking around.

These are just a few of my pet peeves when it comes to blogs (they might be a tad exaggerated), and just because something bugs me doesn't mean it's the same for everyone, or even most people. What are the things that keep you from returning to a blog? I hope it's not excessive gif usage, or I may be in trouble . . .
P.S. All these gifs, pics and videos are from French Kiss, which is an older movie, but so cute, and so completely quotable! You should check it out

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