Feature & Follow (August 24) – Worst Cover on a Great Book

Welcome to the Feature & Follow Hop, hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read!

If you’re here for the first time, I’d love if you could follow via email, RSS, LinkyFollowers or Networked Blogs. Just let me know your follow method of choice in the comments, and I’ll be happy to return the favor.

And if you’re not new, welcome back! Repeat visitors are better than a Snuggie on a cold night. (Come on. You know Snuggies are awesome.)

This week’s question:

Q: Worst cover? What is the worst cover of a book that you’ve read and loved?

Oh good, this one’s easy. I really, really loved this book. I hate the cover. So much that I will never buy a physical copy of this book, even though I am all about physical copies, because I don’t want it on my shelves. Digital only for me.

1. I understand that the tear of blood is actually very  relevant to the plot, but ewwwww.

2. WHY IS SHE WHITE? NO. Unacceptable. (If you haven’t read it, the main character is Asian.)

(Seriously though, it’s an awesome book).


#SYTYCD Book Pitch – Season 9, Week 5 (@DANCEonFOX)

I skipped this feature last week because all the routines were rehashes of old routines (which…not a giant fan of that, gotta be honest). Plus, one of the routines already inspired a book. If you want to see the re-interpretation, here you go.

But anyway, after the two-week hiatus and then skipping last week, I feel like I haven’t done one of these in forever. Fortunately, last night’s episode had several fantastic dances to pick from.

[Getting away from the point of this post for a second, I just want to go on record as saying that I. Love. All-Stars. Especially after my favorite dancer was eliminated last week, and I now don’t have a serious emotional investment in the competition, the main reason I was looking forward to this week’s episode was to see who they brought back as All-Stars. And oh my goodness. Kathryn McCormick. Jakob Karr. Brandon Bryant. Alex Wong. Yes yes yes YES.]

So there were a lot of fantastic and emotional routines last night, and the one I’m picking wasn’t necessarily the best one (although I really enjoyed it), but it’s the one that most screamed “story!” to me. And it doesn’t hurt that the All-Star was one of my top 3 guys to ever compete on this show. I could watch him dance every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. Seriously.

Song: Dancin’ Dan (Me and My Shadow) (Fosse Original Broadway Cast)

Choreographer: Spencer Liff

Dancers: Lindsay and Jakob Karr (Season 6)

Book Pitch: When a teenage outcast stumbles upon a spell to bring her shadow to life, she begins to plan the perfect crime. But when her shadow develops a conscience, her plot may be thwarted by…herself?

(I honestly don’t know how my brain went from that dance to “crime,” but there it is. My mind is a strange, strange place).

Suggested Author: This one kind of needs a creative genius because the concept is so weird, so I’m going to play the J.K. Rowling card. I may wind up regretting using a lifeline so early, but we’ll see in the coming weeks.

You know what other video goes really well with that dance? This one. 

If So You Think You Can Dance and Lindsey Stirling ever want to combine forces, I think the universe may explode, in a good way.

Week 3 Book Pitch

Week 2 Book Pitch

Week 1 Book Pitch

The original SYTYCD Book Pitch post

Throwback Thursday (August 23) – Into Thin Air

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Feel free to grab the Throwback Thursday button code from the sidebar to use in your posts.

Thanks for participating, and we look forward to seeing which books you choose to remember!

My Throwback this week is…

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Yes, I’m picking another non-fiction book. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Into Thin Air may be non-fiction, but it reads like a thriller. It is the true story of the ill-fated 1996 expedition to climb Mt. Everest, when a terrible storm and some bad judgement calls resulted in the deaths of five people and the terrible peril of the rest of the party. Krakauer was part of the expedition as a journalist, and his first-hand account of his party’s fear and struggle to survive in extreme conditions is in turns suspenseful, gripping, exciting, and haunting.

Krakauer writes with not a small amount of survivor’s guilt, like he’s trying to make up for what happened on the mountain. It’s sometimes hard to read, not because it is in any way bad, but because his emotions are so raw and real.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. A non-fiction book has to be pretty darn interesting for me to even pick it up in the first place. But this is easily the most thrilling non-fiction I’ve ever read, and I tore through it the first time I picked it up in high school. Honestly, if you didn’t know it was a recount of Krakauer’s actual experience, it would be easy to believe its fictional, because the course of events is just that intense, and Krakauer tells the story like a seasoned novelist.

Maybe you’re like me and you don’t read a lot of non-fiction. Maybe you adore non-fiction and can’t get enough of it. Either way, I think this book will appeal to you, because it’s kind of amazing.

This is a blog hop! Link up your Throwback Thursday post below!

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (@KatieMcGarry @HarlequinTeen)

Received an advance digital copy from the publisher via NetGalley

If I’m not careful, I’m going to have to admit I like reading Contemporaries. Which just seems weird. I mean, I’m a fantasy/sci-fi gal. I like when things blow up and shoot lasers and travel through time and battle monsters. What is up with me liking books lately that are all about relatively normal high school students? I’m having a bookish identity crisis, people.

But with Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, I found yet another well-written and riveting contemporary that I simply could not put down. Really. I tried.

The Plot (from Goodreads)

“No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.”

My Thoughts

Okay, the synopsis sounds hokey. Maybe you don’t think so, but I do. Bad boy reaches out to the popular girl so that she can learn to love again? Um, no. Truth be told, I’m not exactly sure why I requested this book, because I think the synopsis sounds hokey. But I’m glad I overcame that (for whatever reason), because it is not hokey.

From the first page, a counseling session between Echo, her father and stepmother, and her therapist, Mrs. Collins (who I LOVE, by the way), I was completely engrossed in this story. Echo is a complex and well-developed character, and we find out right from the beginning that she suffers from traumatic memory loss, that she deals with tremendous grief over the death of her brother, that she has all sorts of authority issues and trust issues, and that she’s smart. And unlike a lot of books that claim the main character is smart but the character never actually talks or thinks or acts like a smart person, Echo actually thinks intelligently. She’s logical. She’s quick. She’s witty. She made me like her, despite her myriad of issues and struggles.

Then you meet Noah, another case of Mrs. Collins. Noah has been in the foster system ever since his parents died in a fire after his freshman year of high school. Since then, he’s been labeled a “bad influence” and cut off from his young brothers. And while Noah is also a smart cookie, he reacts understandably — he decides to become the bad influence everyone thinks him to be, without really thinking through the consequences. As a reader, I could see that he wasn’t really doing himself any favors there, but Katie McGarry does a fantastic job getting inside Noah’s head so you can really understand how he became the way he is.

Partially through the interference of Mrs. Collins, Echo and Noah wind up thrown together, and although they aren’t each others’ biggest fans at first, they slowly grow to see all that they have in common, and ultimately get together (which I don’t consider a spoiler, since it’s on the cover).

However, unlike many other contemporary teen romances, the romance in Pushing the Limits is not the central focus of the book (Echo and Noah actually get together around the 50% point). Although my emotions were pulled every which way by the romance, the main focus is trying to get Echo and Noah to both cope with the trauma in their lives and move past it. Echo needs to remember what happened on that night two years ago when her mother senselessly attacked her. Noah has to come to terms with how he fits into the lives of his brothers, who he is only allowed to see rarely, and how to determine what is best for them. Both stories tackle difficult subject matter admirably (Noah’s scenes with his brothers made me cry on more than one occasion), and both resolved in a satisfying and realistic manner.

There’s a lot of secondary characters in the book, and while none are developed as thoroughly as Echo and Noah, they all had their own voices and personalities, and I loved reading about how the different relationships worked. My favorites were Noah’s foster brother Isaiah, and the aforementioned Mrs. Collins, who Katie McGarry somehow made me love even while viewing her through the eyes of Echo and Noah, neither of whom really liked her.

The narrative uses the alternating POVs of both Echo and Noah, and each had their own distinct voice. They thought completely differently, and even if their names were never mentioned in the narrative, I would have been able to follow who was speaking when. I thought it was a great use of dual POV, and I was fully invested in both characters.

There were times when some of the dialogue felt a bit forced, or some of the descriptions were a bit unrealistic. For example, according to Noah, Echo smells like hot cinnamon rolls all the time, and tastes like warm sugar. I get that maybe she’s really into the “Warm Vanilla Sugar” scent at Bath & Body Works (because seriously, it smells so good), but unless she’s constantly licking frosting (which she isn’t), I’m not sure how that scent is translating to taste for him.

And then there was Noah constantly referring to Echo as “my siren.” I get that he thought she was irresistible, but I kind of doubt a tattooed, stoner “bad boy” would actually think the words “my siren” every time he sees this girl. They’re minor things, but they took me out of the story just a tad.

That aside, I still really enjoyed this book. I didn’t intend to devour it the way I did, but I couldn’t stop reading. I only got 4 hours of sleep the night I finished it because my bedtime came and went and I couldn’t put the book down. If you’re a fan of contemporary romances that tackle some serious issues, I highly recommend Pushing the Limits.

Content guide: Contains profanity, mentions of child abuse, drug and alcohol use by minors, sexual situations

Top Ten Tuesday (August 21) – Best Books Since I’ve Been Blogging

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by our friends over at The Broke and the Bookish! And a special congratulations to one of their contributors, Jamie, who got married last weekend! Huzzah!

Today’s topic is actually pretty easy for me, since I’ve only been blogging about five months and therefore don’t have hundreds of books to pick from. For those of you who have been at this for years, you have my sympathies.

So here’s tonight’s topic:

Top Ten Favorite Books You’ve Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog 

With the exception of the first two (which will link to Amazon because I haven’t posted my reviews yet), I’ll just link the title to my review of each book. Because if I had to summarize what I loved about each of these in just a sentence or two, they’d all say the same thing (“THIS BOOK IS AWESOME”) and it would get boring.

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Defiance by C.J. Redwine

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

And let me just say, I’m glad I started this blog and discovered so many other fantastic blogs, because if I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have read any of these, much less conversed merrily with several of these lovely authors on Twitter and even met two of them in person.