Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reading with ABC is Moving!

Yep, if you missed the BIG news (see here) Reading with ABC is moving from Blogger to WordPress. Actually,today. 

Please bear with me and give me a few days to figure out what the heck I'm doing! I hope to start posting again by Friday (I'm praying hard to the WordPress gods and crossing my fingers for good measure)  

The new address is readingwithabc.com, it will probably look a bit unfinished for a while, but please pardon the mess :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Discussion: Besides Reading, What do you do?

We all love books.  After all, you’re reading this post from a book blog :)  But we also have other passions / interests / things we love.  Here are some of mine:

Family and Friends – As you might recall, my hubby is in the military.  The military life is very difficult; we are often by ourselves, we have to re-locate, and be very resourceful (why is it that everything breaks when hubby's not here?).  However, this makes my immediate family (hubby and three boys) a very close group, more responsible and adaptable.  I LOVE you guys!

For the reasons stated above, friends become extended family.  Even if they also move (if in the military), now it’s very easy to keep in touch.  This is the group of friends that I can rely on for anything!

Work – I work for a big health system that originated in Baltimore and I love what I do.  I have a bachelors in health information management, and two masters, one in human resources and a second in healthcare administration, and a graduate certificate in healthcare informatics (what can I say? I love school!)  I don’t want to go into all the details about that, but I’m grateful for my job and the fact that I look forward to getting to my office every day.

Baking – Another thing that I enjoy is baking.  It’s relaxing to me and I love tweaking recipes and come up with new ones.  I’m no expert decorating, something I hope to improve upon, but it sure tastes good!

Greeting Cards / Bookmarks Crafts – My sister is the master at scrapbooking, but I’m horrible at taking pictures.  Instead, she’s taught me enough for me to be able to make greeting cards and bookmarks.  These things are more useful to me!

Music – I really like to listen to music, but since my first language is Spanish, most of the music I listen to is in Spanish too.  That’s not to say that I don’t listen to the radio (after all I have two teenagers!), but if given the choice, I gravitate to what I love and it’s more familiar to me.

What do you like to do besides reading?  Do we share any interests?  Travel? Music? Parties?  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #74

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which we feature all the book goodness that we received, borrowed or purchased during the previous week. All links are to Goodreads.

Hi there gorgeous people!  I didn't do a STS last week because I only got one book :( I didn't do much better this week, but I have big news to share with you. 

Reading with ABC is moving to WordPress! Yes, the wonderful Ashley from Nosegraze and Creative Whim now also has open her Book Host and decided to take the plunge.  She will be moving my blog next week for its new home and I'm really excited about it!  Hopefully this move will be seamless to most of you. Please be patient while I learn my way around WordPress.  

Are you in WordPress already?  Do you love it? Do you have any advice for a rookie?  Any wonderful plugins that I must have?

Here are some posts you might have missed in the past two weeks:

Audiobook review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Guest post and Giveaway: Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn
Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Review: Stracrossed by Josephine Angelini 
Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver 
Discussion: New Trends in YA

Here is what's stacking my shelves this week:

Purchased (physical books)

Shadow of the Mark by Leigh Fallon - I really enjoyed Carrier of the Mark, the first book in the series. Besides, who can resist this beautiful cover?


LumiƩre by Jackeline Garlick - Not sure how I came to get this one, but it looks awesome :)

When Lighting Strikes by Brenda Novak - Romance *sigh*

Gilded by Christina L. Farley - I've seen some pretty good reviews about this book and I got it for Kindle with the audio as well (see below)


Landry Park by Bethany Hagen - This is another book that seems to be liked by many.

Gilded by Christina L. Farley - See above

For Review

Get Happy by Mary Amato - I loved Amato's Guitar Notes and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

What's stacking your shelves this week?

Friday, March 14, 2014

One Window, Two Views {2014 Trends in YA}

One Window, Two Views will be a weekly meme where we will discuss a topic from each of our points of view.  Please join the discussion! 

 Arianne: Sci-fi is going to be huge this year. Huge. And it’s not just any old sci-fi, either. There are two big trends to watch out for in young adult science fiction for 2014: aliens, particularly aliens really wanting to inhabit the Earth, and technology, particularly scary technology from the not-too-distant future. Some of the alien adventures, like Alienated by Melissa Landers and Avalon by Mindee Arnett, involve romance. Some of the technology-based titles, like Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam, involve romance, too. Others, like Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke and Starbreak by Phoebe North, involve entirely different worlds. But there’s also an emerging focus on adventure over insta-love, and this is where novels like Scan by Sarah Fine and Vitro by Jessica Khoury come in. Because sci-fi’s always been a place where relationship conflicts and ass-kicking adventure can co-exist, and that’s one thing that I hope doesn’t change this year.

As dystopian and paranormal lose their publishing appeal, contemporary is making a comeback. For a genre that’s always been pretty strong, it’s outdone itself in 2014. First, there are books like #Scandal by Sarah Ockler and #16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler that take the emphasis on social media last seen in books like Adorkable by Sarra Manning and bring it to a whole new level. I for one did not foresee the arrival of hashtags in book titles! Male narrators are coming into their own this year – who said there weren’t enough guy characters in YA?! The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson, High and Dry by Sarah Skilton, More Than Good Enough by Crissa-Jean Chappell and Road Rash by Mark Parsons set out to prove that contemporary is just as much a guy’s terrain as a girl’s. There’s also been an increase in books that take advantage of teenagers’ desire to get out and see the world. Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae, Royally Lost by Angie Stanton, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins and The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith are just some of the books in this trend that I can’t wait to get my hands on. In fact, I think contemporary is going to be my favourite genre of all in 2014! What about you, Liza?

Liza: Arianne, I think some of the new trends also include Thriller / Mystery / Horror (I’m grouping them together to make it easier on myself!)  These are genres that I’m usually very selective about, especially with horror, because I’m a wimp when it comes to that.  It seems that publishers are looking for the next “Gone Girl” equivalent in YA. Nevertheless, I’ve spotted some books that fall in these categories and that I would love to read (and I even own some of them already).  Let’s start with Jennifer Armentrout’s Don’t Look Back which sounds like an amazing mystery, the same as The Body in the Woods by April Henry. I’m currently reading a unique combination of horror, mystery and graphic novel, In the Shadows by Kierten White and Jim Di Bartolo.  Other books in this category are The Vanishing Season by Lynn Anderson, The Fall by Bethany Griffin, Say Her Name by James Dawson, and Feral by Holly Schinder.  Now that I think about it, I’ve had more of these as my WOW in the past several weeks!

Also big this year is Fantasy.  After the sound successes of series like the Throne of Glass by Sara Maas, Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson and The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo, publishers are looking for more of the good stuff; after all it’s been proven that the YA reader loves fantasy.  This year brings some pretty amazing reads that aim to transport us to new worlds.  Let’s start with The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski and Death Sworn by Leah Cypess, two of my recent reads and already favorites.  The first about the conquest, conquerors and love against all odds, and the second about a world where the Empire, Magic and Assassins rule the world.  Another awaited title is The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Peason, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raash, and Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White. You might notice that most of these books might also include some type of paranormal element, such as magic, as well.  Oh, and it seems that it’s a requisite to have a gorgeous cover too.

I don’t believe that we’ve seen the last of dystopian and paranormal, but rather that the market it’s been saturated in the last few years and YA readers are being more selective of what they read.  Another trend seems to be the emergence of the stand-alone books, probably brought by the resounding success of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.  Books such as Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg (loved it!), This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready and On the Fence by Kasie West seem to be pretty popular.

Let’s talk: What do you think is the next big trend in YA?  Which one of these is your favorite genre? Do you agree with us?  Do you disagree?  Have you read any of these?  Are you eagerly waiting for some of these books?

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Title: Panic by Lauren Oliver
Published: March 4th, 2014 by HaperCollins
Source: ARC (thanks to ALA!)
Format: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary
Age group: Young adult
Reviewer: Arianne
Grade rate: C

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Lauren Oliver specialises in using human emotion as the centrepiece of her work. She did it in Delirium, where love became a disease and joy a far-off dream. And she does it again in Panic, one of this year’s most highly anticipated new releases.  

With vision and finesse, Oliver has set her most epic concept yet against a stark backdrop of small-town claustrophobia. Capitalising on a tumult of teenage angst – from loneliness and despair to anger and resentment and back again – she paints a vivid if somewhat bleak picture of what life can be like in a world that’s constantly trying to tear you down.

One thing that goes without question is the fact that Lauren Oliver is simply an incredible writer.  She’s one of the few I know who could pull off third person present narration, but she doesn’t just settle for one narrator, she goes with two! Panic is more than just a string of sentences thrown together into roughly YA shape. Every word is carefully chosen. It’s soaked with style. It’s written with the title in mind, and the prose hurtles forward with the force of an oncoming train – yet at the same time, there is an element of the psychological thriller about it, and there are some scenes which just sizzle with the effects of slow-burning tension and secrets.

Heather and Dodge are hiding things from themselves as well as others. Dodge, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, has a fierce determination to win and an even more fierce determination to get revenge in the only way he knows how. I liked Dodge, but didn’t love him, though I admired his strength and story. Unfortunately, Heather really let me down. It’s in keeping with the stagnant atmosphere of Carp as a town, but she seemed lost without a guy by her side and she’s not very individual.

And with such problems in the cases of the main characters, it’s no surprise that the secondary characters fall flat as well. Natalie and Bishop never seemed real to me. I appreciated that Oliver was trying to tackle tough themes and issues she’d never broached before, but it just didn’t really work out in her favour. Harsh realities become gratuitous, dragging details and there’s no vibrancy to anchor yourself to as a reader. 

As a plot construct, the Panic game is remarkably simple, but in reality, it has huge risks and all too often, devastating consequences. Nobody knows who the judges are and it’s obviously played outside the realms of the law. Like the overcoming of fear in Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Panic too focuses on tackling the doubts and nightmares of the teenage players. I was willing to suspend my disbelief to begin with, but when I discovered that the adults of the town were still completely oblivious to the game despite it already having cost lives (and rewarding several winners with inordinate sums of money) even my interest in it began to wane. Also, when they started keeping tigers in captivity and players refused to take responsibility for the damage they were causing to others, physically, mentally and emotionally? Not cool. Everyone kept giving excuses and I was totally exasperated with them by the end.

In short: Panic pulses with dramatic intensity and social contrast. Fans of the author will recognise her style and epic depiction of the simplest human emotions, while new readers will be awed by the tension and action which define the harsh landscape of its plot. It’s not for everyone, however, as it requires huge suspension of disbelief on the reader’s part and there are some major faults which jump out from the page now and again. I don’t think it will become an enduring favourite for me, but I hope it’s not the last Lauren Oliver book I’ll read.

Cover Reveal: Perfect for You by Ashelyn Drake

Perfect for You
Release Date: September 2014
Swoon Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

Sophomore year in high school comes with its own set of problems. You're no longer a freshmen, but you're still two years away from ruling the school. So, you sit and languish in a kind of purgatory until junior year, when things start to get interesting.

That is, unless during your sophomore year, you find your boyfriend making out with another girl in front of your locker. Then, interesting takes on a whole new meaning, and that's what happened to seventeen-year-old Meg Flannigan. It's no wonder her self-esteem suffered a major hit.

Now a senior, Meg catches the eye of not one, but two guys at school (I know, right?). They happen to both be gorgeous, and each vies for her attention in the most flattering of ways. Sounds good, right? Not if one of the guys is her boyfriend, and the other one wants to be.

Meg doesn’t want to lose Ash. They’ve been together for almost five months, and she’s falling in love with him. But Noah. Ah, Noah. He’s the irresistible guy Meg has been crushing on for two years, and she isn’t ready to send him away either. But stringing both along could have disastrous results, leaving Meg in the cold once again.

One thing's certain. Meg needs to decide between Ash and Noah soon, or she'll lose her perfect match forever.

PERFECT FOR YOU was released previously as two novellas. Ashleyn wanted to give her readers more, and has decided to write an entire novel based around Meg's story.

About the Author
Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Author Links:
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Cover Reveal Organized by:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we have the opportunity to let others know about books that we are eagerly waiting for.

Title: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin 
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release date: November 4th, 2014

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there run drugs or work in brothels—or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

Why I want to read it: I really enjoyed Graudin's All That Glows (see my review here) and I want to see what's next for her.  Two more good things about The Walled City: One, by the characters names (and the dragon) it sounds like the book has an oriental influence; and two, I love this cover!

What are you waiting for this week?


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