quotes Elisquared likes


"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green

4.23.2019

Top Ten Tuesday - The First Ten Books I Ever Reviewed

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.  It has since moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
The First Ten Books I Ever Reviewed
Oh man, this is taking me back.  I started book blogging on this site in 2010 (I started blogging on this site in 2009, but have hidden those early entries...yikes), so I have 9 years worth of bookish content saved up.  

I feel like my reviews have definitely changed in style over the years, so this was fun for me to look back and re-read them!  Links below all go to the reviews themselves.  Please check them out and laugh along with my first puny attempts at reviewing!



Book One - Reviewed 10.11.10 


I had to post a book review for my Creative Non-Fiction class in Undergrad.  Luckily, I already had a blog.  This was the turning point that this blog became a book blog.  Also, because this was for a class, it is much different from how I review books now.

Book Two - Reviewed 12.04.10


I adore Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and I had read both their previous books, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, so I knew I would love this one too.  I had also gotten a copy of it from the first big conference I went to, NCTE, where I got to meet Rachel and David and have them sign my books.  

Book Three - Reviewed 12.12.10


Another book I got from NCTE, and my first ARC ever!!!!  I loved this book, and was my first introduction to Holly Black.

Book Four - Reviewed 12.16.10


Another book from NCTE (seeing a pattern here?).  A cool re-imagining of Shakespeare's plays, but a series that I, unfortunately, never got into past the first book.

Book Five - Reviewed 01.05.11


This is still one of my favorite anthologies.  It's so much fun, and has a story for everyone.  The format is cool as well because you can read all the stories in order, or by mythical creature.  Definitely one to check out if you haven't!

Book Six - Reviewed 01.09.11


Another ARC from NCTE and my first real foray into YA contemporary romance.  It was adorable.  Love this whole connected series.  It is for sure a YA contemporary staple!

Book Seven - Reviewed 01.11.11


One of my very favorite books to this day, I couldn't put it down when I first read it.  I got it as an ARC at NCTE, and boy, was I sure glad I did!  I've since gotten to meet and correspond with Beth several times, and each book of her's I just adore!

Book Eight - Reviewed 01.30.11


Probably one of my most disappointing books.  I didn't like the way this was formatted and the development of the plot and characters was slow or non-existent.  Not a recommended book at all!

Book Nine - Reviewed 02.14.11


Two of my favorite YA authors equals one of my favorite YA books.  I devoured this book, and own like three different copies (of which are all signed by both John and David).  Just love it, and encourage everyone to read it!

Book Ten - Reviewed 02.23.11


Not my favorite of Rick Riordan's books, but still very good!  It's told differently than his other series, which makes it stand out.  Also, I don't believe he has written more in this series in a while, which is sad because I do find Egyptian mythology fascinating.


And there you have it, my first ten book reviews!  Definitely a blast from the past reading through all of these.  Also, I forgot how much I loved reviewing books back in the day (I certainly did it more often of my own volition and not due to a book tour).

What were the first books you reviewed?  Let me know!  Maybe I'll get some new books for my TBR!

BLOG TOUR --- Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak [Review + Giveaway]




Title: Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers
Authors(s): Shauna Holyoak
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Edition: Hardcover, ebook; 320 pgs
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon - Kindle - Barnes & Noble - Kobo iBooks - The Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.




Tour Schedule



Week One:
4/15/2019- Lifestyle Of MeReview
4/16/2019- Lone Tree ReviewsReview
4/18/2019- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
4/19/2019- Bri's Book NookReview

Week Two:
4/22/2019- BookHounds YAInterview
4/23/2019- Eli to the nthReview (ME!)
4/24/2019- two points of interestInterview
4/25/2019- The Caffeinated ReaderReview
4/26/2019- 
That Bookish Princess
Review


The Summary

Packed with high stakes mystery and tons of heart, this first installment in a new series introduces Kazu Jones-a spunky, scrappy detective who's this generation's Harriet the Spy.

When a string of dognappings grips her Denver neighborhood, Kazu Jones vows to track down the culprits. She can't stand to see more dogs go missing-especially once her neighbors' beloved pet is taken because of her gigantic mistake.

With the help of her gang-including her best friend and expert hacker, March; and her ginormous, socially anxious pup, Genki-Kazu uncovers evidence that suggests the dognapping ring is bigger than she ever imagined. But the more she digs, the more dangerous her investigation becomes. The dognappers are getting bolder, and Genki could be next.

My Review
A super cute and fun mystery from debut author Shauna Holyoak, Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers is book that evokes the Nancy Drew of old with a modern twist!

Kazu is a sleuth-in-training, keeping copious notes on the mysterious goings on in her suburban Denver neighborhood.  With her best friend March, a hacker extraordinaire (for a fifth grader), she is always on the case!  But when it comes to the string of dognappings plaguing the city, Kazu, and her group of friends, may be in over the heads!

The plot was a great mix of who-dun-nit mixed with serious talk about why dognappings would happen.  With that piece of serious, the plot doesn't get too wacky, even with a group of fifth graders investigating the situation.  Lessons on friendship, growing up, and family are intertwined with the mystery, making the book relatable even to readers who aren't big mystery lovers.

But while the plot is fast-paced and entertaining, what makes the book sing is Kazu herself.  She is a strong, independent girl who has a real idea of what she loves.  There's also a strong representation of her Japanese heritage (it doesn't just stop at her name), which is refreshing to see.  Kazu may be precocious, but she sounds like an actual fifth grader, which is so nice.  I felt Shauna really managed to craft a group of kids who sound and act like actual kids.  Each character had their own personality, so while some were a little more static than others, they were all memorable.  Kazu had a great crew to hunt for the culprit in this caper!

The plot sucks you in, but the characters keep you going, I would definitely recommend this as a fun spring read, perfect for by the pool or under the covers with a flashlight!  Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak is out today, so don't hesitate to grab your copy now!


Final Rating



Fun Extras


About the Author

Shauna has been telling stories long before she could ride a bike, and some of them are even true! She writes for kids and teens and thinks it’s kinda the best job ever. Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers is her debut novel, and it will be released on April 23, 2019! She lives in Idaho Falls, ID with her husband, six of their seven children, and two naughty dogs.



Giveaway

3 winners will receive finished signed or unsigned copies of Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers, US Only.


3.25.2019

BLOG TOUR --- The Everlasting Rose (The Belles #2) by Dhonielle Clayton [Review + Giveaway]




Title: The Everlasting Rose (The Belles #2)
Authors(s): Dhonielle Clayton
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
Edition: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook; 352 pgs
Publisher: Freeform
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon - AudibleBarnes & Noble - iBooks - The Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.









Tour Schedule



Week One:
3/1/2019- JrsbookreviewsReview

Week Two:
3/4/2019- Lisa Loves LiteratureReview
3/5/2019- PopthebutterflyReview
3/5/2019- YABC- Excerpt
3/6/2019- Moonlight RendezvousReview
3/7/2019- Feed Your Fiction AddictionReview
3/8/2019- What A Nerd Girl SaysReview

Week Three:
3/11/2019- A Gingerly ReviewReview
3/12/2019- Wonder StruckReview
3/13/2019- Lifestyle Of MeReview
3/14/2019- Pacific Northwest BookwormReview
3/15/2019- Jena Brown WritesReview

Week Four:
3/18/2019- Life of a Literary NerdReview
3/19/2019- Novel NoviceExcerpt
3/20/2019- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
3/21/2019- Ex LibrisReview
3/22/2019- BookHounds YAExcerpt

Week Five:
3/25/2019- Eli to the nthReview
3/26/2019- Smada's Book SmackReview
3/27/2019- Confessions of a YA ReaderReview
3/28/2019- YA Book NerdReview
3/29/2019- 
Falling for YA
Excerpt


The Summary

With a price on her head, the evil Queen Sophia out for blood, and no idea who to trust, Camellia Beaureguard, the former favorite Belle, must race against time to find the ailing Princess Charlotte, who has disappeared without a trace. Sophia’s imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep Camille, her sister Edel, and her loyal guard, Rémy, from returning Charlotte to the palace and her rightful place as queen.

With the help of an underground resistance movement called the Iron Ladies–a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely–and the backing of alternative newspaper the Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections, and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and halt her attempt to restore peace to Orléans. But enemies lurk in the most unexpected places, forcing Camille to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice to save her people.

My Review

First things first: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR THE BELLESIf you have not read the first book (of course I question why you'd be reading a review of the second book) of this duology, going any further may spoil you!  Please head this warning and proceed with caution!

Okay, now that that's out of the way, WOAH pretty much sums up this book!  It was amazing, and I can't really talk about it without talking about The Belles (which is also amazing).  The book picks up right where we left off: Camille, Amber, and Rémy are still on the run from Psycho Sofia (yep, that's what I'm calling her because she is seriously messed up).  But even though that's the case, Dhonielle eases the reader back into it, so the plot is easily followed and immerses you right back into the world of Orléans.

The world building is one of the real strengths of the book, of which there are many.  We get to see even more of the kingdom than Trianon, the Imperial City.  Camille and co. escape to the Spice Islands, and meet up with Edel (surprise, she's alive and hiding out as well).  But it isn't that easy to hide in a city where the populace knows your face intimately, and all Belles and their beauty treatments are now outlawed.  The group travels to several islands, and the through their journey the reader gets to see the differences of each teahouse and "culture".  I like that each island was so different from each other.  This makes Orléans feel like a real place and not a fabrication of a country.  The asian influence that Dhonielle mentioned as inspiration is highlighted wonderfully through the travels to the different islands.

Besides the world building, the characterization of not only Camille, but her siblings, is fleshed out.  For much of the journey, the reader gets to see Amber and Edel more closely than before.  This shows another side to how each Belle handles their "gift" and the complete destruction of life as they knew it.  It brings to light the different aspects of humanity, be it the good or the bad.  Even Camille herself, our heroine, goes through a darker period while dealing with her anger at Psycho Sophia's tyranny, but also at the larger culture of Orléans, and how Belles are viewed.  Some are saying that an incident that happens towards the end of the book was unnecessary, but I think that this reflects the twisted world that Camille is trapped in and the anger, frustration, and sacrifices that she has to make, whether they are the right sacrifices or the wrong sacrifices.  Hindsight, or "reader-sight", is all well and good, but I think that the actions Camille takes are realistic based on the revelations she has, and the increasingly unhinged actions that Psycho Sophia takes.

Then there's the commentary on beauty, the monetization of beauty, and the lengths that a person, or people, will go to achieve the ultimate level of beauty.  This reflects our own culture as well; and I think it doesn't just speak to western countries, but to the world as a whole.  In each society there is a "standard of beauty", and to achieve that standard people go to high lengths.  The United States is shown as the prime example, but is not the only culprit to this ridiculous emphasis on beauty.  The society of Orléans is of course an extreme example, but pick up any magazine, watch any pop culture show, and you see examples of augmentation after augmentation being done to look a certain way.  This monetization of beauty standards also reflects the dissonance that exists between races, and how white beauty is the "ultimate".  While in Orléans, all color of skin and all style of hair is worn, the underlying perfection often reverts to a "white" perfection, at least in the case of Sophia, who is the villain of the tale, with her constant blonde hair and light skin, and how she refuses to resemble her darker skinned mother.  Definitely a pointed commentary of current beauty standards within our society.

Overall, I felt that this was a strong sequel to an amazing duology.  I believe that if Dhonielle wanted to, she could easily give us even more within this world, and I would eagerly eat it up.  The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton is beautiful and horrible all at the same time, reflecting just how beautiful and horrible reality can really be.  Don't sleep on this book, or The Belles, because these books are worth the read!


Final Rating



Other Things of Interest

Book One: The Belles


Inspiration Pinterest:

Cover Shoot:


About the Author

Dhonielle Clayton (“Dhon” like “Don” or “Dawn”) spent most of her childhood under her grandmother’s dining room table with a stack of books.

She hails from the Washington, D.C. suburbs on the Maryland side, but now lives in New York City. She was an extremely fussy and particular child with an undying love for Cheerios (honey nut only), pink lemonade, and frosted animal cookies. A self-proclaimed school nerd, she loved covering her books with brown paper and filled her locker with Lisa Frank stickers. She loved putting headings on her homework, odd-looking pens and freshly sharpened pencils, and numerous notebooks to fill with her research. On most Saturdays you could find her with her equally nerdy Dad at Crown Books and then the comic bookstore where she stocked up on her weekly reading material. Plus, she was so spoiled that her grandfather took her to the library after school almost daily.

She attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School because her parents thought Catholic school would keep her out of trouble. She went to Wake Forest University, and studied pre-med until she received a fateful F in Chemistry. This setback prompted her to change her major to English, and earned a BA. She rediscovered her love of children’s fiction by re-reading Harriet the Spy, which pushed her to earn an MA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and an MFA Writing for Children at the New School.

She taught secondary school for several years – at a pre-professional ballet academy and a private K-8 school. She spent most of her twenties in and out of America – living in London, Paris, a small Japanese town, Bermuda – and wandering the planet. She’s been on five out of seven continents, and has grand plans to reach all of them.

She is a former elementary and middle school librarian, and co-founder of CAKE Literary, a creative kitchen whipping up decadent – and decidedly diverse – literary confections for middle grade, young adult, and women’s fiction readers. She is also COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books.

What’s next? She will be enrolling in culinary school in New York City and plans to open up a restaurant in the city of her soul, Edinburgh, Scotland.



Giveaway

3 lucky winners will win all 3 books in the DELILAH DIRK Series, US Only.

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