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Oct 22 2014

Waiting on Wednesday {51}

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waitingonwednesday-300x92Waiting On Wednesday is originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, but we just love this meme so much we had to tag along! Each Wednesday, one of the Lit Up Review writers will post a book she is looking forward to, along with the summary and cover. You can find all of these posts by clicking on the category button and selecting “Waiting on Wednesday, and fill up your Goodreads shelves with great books to get excited about!

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Gone Too Far by Natalie D. Richards | Goodreads
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Keeping secrets ruined her life. But the truth might just kill her.

Piper Woods can’t wait for the purgatory of senior year to end. She skirts the fringes of high school like a pro until the morning she finds a notebook with mutilated photographs and a list of student sins. She’s sure the book is too gruesome to be true, until pretty, popular Stella dies after a sex-tape goes viral. Everyone’s sure it’s suicide, but Piper remembers Stella’s name from the book and begins to suspect something much worse.

Drowning in secrets she doesn’t want to keep, Piper’s fears are confirmed when she receives an anonymous text message daring her to make things right. All she needs to do is choose a name, the name of someone who deserves to be punished…

I tore through Natalie D. Richards’s debut, Six Months Later, and her second book sounds even more thrilling. An inventive plot combined with the author’s suspenseful, psychological writing is sure to produce a winning novel.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Oct 21 2014

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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46167Novel: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway | Goodreads
Release Date: 1929
Publisher: (my edition) Scribner
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

The best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Hemingway’s frank portrayal of the love between Lieutenant Henry and Catherine Barkley, caught in the inexorable sweep of war, glows with an intensity unrivaled in modern literature, while his description of the German attack on Caporetto—of lines of fired men marching in the rain, hungry, weary, and demoralized—is one of the greatest moments in literary history. A story of love and pain, of loyalty and desertion, A Farewell to Arms, written when he was thirty years old, represents a new romanticism for Hemingway.

I’ve recently started reading classics, and so my reviews for a little bit might be more of classics than YA – stick with me please! :)

I’ve been wanting to read some Hemingway for a long time, and A Farewell to Arms exceeded my expectations in so many ways.

Hemingway’s prose is like nothing else I’ve ever encountered – it’s simple, easy to grasp, and interesting to read. For “classic” literature, I was expecting prose a bit more complex and difficult to understand. Instead the length of his sentences, which are short giving it a unique sound and pacing.

As far as the plot goes, it was definitely a bit dry in the beginning, but as the book continued it picked right up. Catherine and Henry’s relationship is unlike relationships in much of literature now, in my opinion, but I don’t that’s necessarily bad. Catherine takes everything in stride, not even blinking an eyelash at some of the more surprising points of the plot, which fascinated me. The war element of this novel I think could’ve had a serious influence on the romance – what are your thoughts on that?

As far as being a classic, I think that A Farewell to Arms is a fascinating look at love, war, and sacrifice, and is timeless in so many ways. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Willa
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Oct 20 2014

Being a Blogger

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Hey y’all!

Today I’m here to talk about something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, particularly in how it relates to my reading. Has being a book reviewer and blogger changed my tastes, criticism, and general experience relating to books?

I’m an intense personality when it comes to this – young adult literature and publishing – and seeing myself as I am now compared to four (!) years ago is positively astonishing.

I never would have guessed that I would have gotten the opportunities that I have today, and I consider myself blessed. But it was only when I started scheduling when I had to read certain books, planned around my upcoming SAT and AP Bio tests, that I truly began to wonder how much it’s changed me as a reader.

For one, I’m more aware of books before they come out. I never go into a bookstore without running into titles that I already know about. Being a book blogger, a lot of my job is knowing what’s coming out and where the industry’s headed, and really predicting what might be good. Now if I go into a store and see a book I don’t know, it makes me doubt it; I’m not sure whether I should take a risk or not. A part of me misses flipping through random pages, not knowing author names and statistics. (But I love this so much that I can never go back.)

I attribute part of the blind-reading loss to Borders shutting down because the YA section in my Borders was HUGE and so I was always stumbling upon new titles. Barnes & Noble, and my local indies, have significantly smaller selections. I’m still in mourning over Borders closing.

I’m more critical in reading. I’ve read almost a thousand books since starting this blog. That’s a lot of reading material, a lot of characters and informations. I can notice patterns and similarities, trends and writers that go off the beaten path. I like to think of myself as being a decent blogger and making those connections is what allows me to feel successful in my recommendations; at the same time, my reading style’s changed pretty drastically because I don’t just sink into the book with no semblance of why I enjoy it. I analyze characters, plot devices, tropes and ideas and beautiful prose for what it was that made it stand out to me, what might appeal to other readers. As I venture further into my academic life, that analytical eye has helped me with rhetoric and arguments, granting me access to valuable skills. At the same time, I feel like there are some books I’m unnecessarily critical of, but would otherwise have enjoyed if I hadn’t been exposed to all the background knowledge of the bookish world.

While it’s something to think about in regards to my reading/writing/thinking, I still enjoy books just as much as I did when I was the awkward eleven-year-old reading on the bleachers at recess. I just enjoy them a little differently.

I’m less shy. Honestly, I am so proud of myself for this. Blogging has given me so much more confidence in my abilities, my voice, and myself as a person. I struggled a lot in middle school – as everyone does – and because I have something to ground me, it’s really helped. I’m an introvert for sure, although because I write, it doesn’t always show. Because I’ve gotten used to having an audience, it’s improved my public speaking, ability to share my work, and even being brave enough to talk to people that I never would have normally. Obviously, it’s a personal process and I’m still very very shy but that’s juxtaposed with my ability to talk about it.

I’m very grateful for blogging. I love meeting people like my Lit-Up girls and I love being able to talk about what I love and access so many other people with it. Thank y’all for reading with us!

grace
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Oct 19 2014

The Weekly Blaze {59}: October 13-19

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weeklyblaze

Thanks for stopping by for another edition of The Weekly Blaze! What have you been reading lately? We at Lit Up Review have been falling into autumn books, devouring atmospheric tales and creepy horror novels.

We have also been doing a bit of posting on the blog. Here are the posts you may have missed.

Monday, October 13: Emily’s review of Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail: “Despite my inability to fall into the story completely, the plot still holds enough shocks and emotions to keep any reader invested.”

Friday, October 17: Jessica’s Story Gazing post on Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: “If you liked Open Road Summer, you may like…”

Emily
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Oct 17 2014

Story Gazing {25}: Open Road Summer

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storygazing
Story Gazing is a bi-weekly feature we started here at Lit Up Review and is a fun way to recommend new books to our readers through an “if you like blank, then you should try blank” format. This week, I’m recommending some books with great romances but also a great focus on friendship, just as Open Road Summer does.

Open Road SummerOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord | Goodreads

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind…and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

If you liked Open Road Summer, you may like…

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler | Goodreads

I absolutely adore this book, and it’s the first one that came to mind when I think of books that remind me of Open Road Summer. Not only is there a swoon-worthy romance, there’s also the fame aspect that Open Road Summer has. Both protagonists are friends of famous people, and that’s also where the unique friendships come in. At the end of the day, while Aly and Liam’s relationship is a major focus in the novel, I find the friendship between Aly and Vanessa to stick with me even more. Honestly, this book almost has it all, and I think many people would pair the two books together. (Plus, bonus points for diversity!)

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Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | Goodreads

The friendship between Emi and Charlotte is the type of friendship I long for. They wholeheartedly support one another, and though Emi and Charlotte sometimes butt heads, it’s because one is trying to do what’s best for the other. Their friendship is what really ties the book together. But on top of that, there’s the relationship between Emi and Ava, which grows and builds so beautifully. Plus, LaCour’s writing is just so beautiful and soft in a way that perfectly fits this book. And like Open Road Summer and Behind the Scenes, there’s also an entertainment aspect, although it’s a behind-the-scenes look into set producers and designers, enhancing the book even more. (And again for diversity!)

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West | Goodreads

Ahh, another great, obvious choice. Not only is Xander and Caymen’s relationship a swoony one that ranks among my favorite romances, there’s a great exploration of Caymen and Skylar’s friendship. While perhaps not as prominent as the friendships in the other books, it’s really interesting to see how the relationship affected their friendship in a way that wasn’t necessarily portrayed in the other books. A major reason for that is that unlike the other books, The Distance Between Us isn’t about any famous people (sort of-I mean no entertainment industry connection). Caymen’s struggles are seemingly very different than those of the other protagonist. And yet it’s one that’s very similar to them, especially Open Road Summer in many of its focuses. Reagan in ORS also reminds me of Caymen, not so much in their actions, situations, or thoughts, but in that they both use snark, sometimes this dark, snarky humor, either to deal with their situations or just because that’s the way they are. As with all the other books, I highly recommend that anyone who still hasn’t read this book go and read it as soon as possible.

jessica
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