Sunday, May 18, 2014


Like No Other
By Una LaMarche
Published: July 24th, Razorbill

From GoodReadsFate brought them together. Will life tear them apart? Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). They've spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did.

When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection.

Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up?

My Thoughts:
Why do we need more diverse books? Because I, an ex-Catholic white girl (with awesome hair) raised in the Baltimore suburbs and now living in the blue-collared neighborhoods of Philly, would've never had my eyes opened to the Hasidic Jewish world of Brooklyn. Seriously, why are there not more stories about all different types of religious communities? I want to read them!

What really hooks me into stories is the desire to know everything about the character from the first moment I spend with them on the page. Devorah was so brave and strong, fierce and loyal and I loved her immediately. Her romance with Jaxon (spelled with an X) was sweet and seemed perfect...if only they didn't come from different sides of the street.

It's hard to say much about this book because I felt the ending was so perfect and poignant. I don't want to give anything away.
Read this one--IMMEDIATELY. Consider it the new Eleanor & Park, but in Brooklyn. This book questions our faith, our fates, how we define love and accept the consequences for our choices. It celebrates tradition and family. And it examines what makes us settle and what makes us stand up for what is right for our communities, for our families, and for us as individuals. This book was amazing. A favorite for sure.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Top 5 - My Most Abused Books

You could say that I have a bad reputation for being a bit less pristine with my books. In my defense, I would like to point out that a broken spine and the occasional dog-eared page does NOT make me what some would call "a book abuser."

Of the bajillions of books on my shelf, there's only a few I would say are in "bad shape." So I thought I'd make a list of my...

Top 5 (but really only 4) - Most Abused Books

Possibly my most favorite abused book is Deb Caletti's THE STORY OF US because I took it to the beach in Key West and gave it a little suntan. Sand between its pages, a cover that crinkles up no matter how much I try to flatten it--this is not the worst damage. Oh no, I took a pen to this one. Deb has such incredible prose, I needed to underline and bracket whole passages. It was like a reading "OH YEAH!"

Next is my copy of Jeffrey Eugenides' MIDDLESEX, which I inherited from my mom. She dropped it in the bathtub, which made the book balloon out. You can see the wrinkles across the pages, and where the glue is giving away. Lots of loose pages! Which didn't help when I read it with the cover folded back.

I found Nicholas Sparks' AT FIRST SIGHT while BFF Kelly and I were walking around Manhattan one fine spring day. It was leaning up against a stoop, Rock the Drop style and I freaked! I have never found a book out and about. Someone loved it and wanted to share it with me! So what if it leans like the Leaning Tower of Pisa (I totally spelled that as Pizza before spellcheck--don't judge me!).

I saved the worst for last: My copy of Joan Lowery Nixon's THE OTHER SIDE OF DARK. I have owned this book since I was twelve. You can see how much it was loved: dumped into book bags, slid between car seats and shoved under beds by the cover wear (and missing corner on the lower right side). It's well-loved pages are not only dog-eared, but water damaged from being stored in a cardboard box in a damp basement. This gives it that mealy feel when you turn those pages. Plus, look at those ripples! 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

For Your TBR - The Body In The Woods

The Body In The Woods
By April Henry
Published: June 17th, Henry Holt

From GoodReadsAlexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

My Thoughts:
The Body in the Woods is the first book in a new series by April Henry. The story pulls you in right away and I was fascinated reading about the Search And Rescue (SAC) training the characters went through. When they're called to help find a missing person lost in the woods, the teens stumble on a body and are pulled into a mystery worthy of a Law & Order SVU episode.

I really liked this one. It was a fast paced, intense read that left me guessing, but it was the characters that kept me hooked. I especially loved and connected with Alexis who spent most of the book in search for her mentally ill mother who went missing. Ruby was fascinating as well, and an interesting pick to narrate a mystery murder book. Obsessed with strange interests and reliant on logic and fact, Ruby spends most of the book tangling herself between the police and the investigation. She mentions that she has a hard time relating to other people, doesn't understand social norms, and doesn't process emotion easily--which led me to believe that maybe Ruby was a high functioning autistic.

The one character who wasn't explored as deeply was Nick, but since this book is the first in the series, I'd be interested to see if he's represented more in future books.

A lot of people recommended this book to me after I was looking to read more thrillers (especially psycho thrillers). I would definitely recommend this book to those who liked Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers or a more intense version of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' The Naturals. Another serial killer book on my TBR list is S.E. Green's Killer Instinct, due out this summer by Simon Pulse.

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