Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wonder by R.J. Palacio Review

Name: Wonder
Authors: R.J. Palacio
Publisher: Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 14th, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Buy the book on Amazon
315 pages

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.


My Review:

I saw this book online and in bookstores for quite some time before I actually read it. I thought it looked intriguing, but I had no true interest in reading it, mainly because I haven’t been into most middle-grade fiction lately. However, when it was finally recommended to me by a family friend, I knew I would have to read it. And boy was I glad that I did.

Wonder is just like the title: it’s a wonderful book. Kids can be mean, everyone knows that. Some kids are mean on purpose, and others just don’t know how not to say what they’re thinking. In this fantastic and inspiring book, fifth grader August Pullman has a facial deformity that, he claims, is much worse than you can ever imagine. When he finally goes to a real school, not every kid is nice to him, mostly just because they refuse to get to know him. Obviously, these kids have never heard the phrase “you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”

This book was told from many different refreshing perspectives: August Pullman, his sister, his two best friends, his sister’s best friend, and his sister’s boyfriend. The reader was able to get a full glimpse into August’s world, both from his point of view and from the point of views of those around him. It was heartbreaking to read how some of his fellow classmates treated poor August, but at the same time, the readers are able to see the good that is inherent in people, even if it’s buried deep under the social norms that constrict them.

In my opinion, the best part of the book was Palacio’s wonderful ability to make one sentence hilariously funny, and the next hauntingly sad. August went through a lot of difficult situations during his first year at a real school, and the readers of this book are able to experience both the happy times and the sad right by his side. It was really wonderful to read. This may be a middle-grade book, but there is really no age limit on who would like this book. Adults and kids alike should read Palacio’s Wonder and experience the uplifting magic that this book contains.

My Rating:

Waiting on Wednesday 136: Princess of Thorns

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Name: Princess of Thorns
Author: Stacey Jay

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: December 9th, 2014
Add the book on Goodreads

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

My Thoughts:
This book had me at "Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales."  This book has definitely been added to my to-read list, and I can't wait to pick up a copy next winter!

What are your thoughts? What are you waiting for this week? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Happy Third Birthday Catching Books!! Three year blogoversary giveaway!!

Three years ago from today (June 22), I started Catching Books! I can't believe how much time has gone by since then! I graduated high school, completed two years of college, went to BEA and I have reviewed so many awesome books :)

Thank you so much for all of you for sticking with Catching Books and being on this awesome journey with me! I know the past few months I haven't been the best blog poster but hopefully we will be getting some other reviewers to join the team/I will get around to reading lots of books this summer!

So in honor of my blogoversary I will be giving away TWO awesome prizes!! The first one is a signed copy of Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (this book is the sequel to The Devil Wear's Prada!!). The second giveaway is a box of mystery books (some ARC and some not). 

So here's the rules:
1. You must be from the United States
2. The Giveaway ends on July 24th!
4. You can enter both giveaways!!
4. Winners must reply within 48 hours otherwise another winner will be chosen!
5. Fill out the rafflecopter below!!
6. If you have any questions let us know!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again everyone and be on the lookout for more posts coming soon! Thanks again so much for sticking with us!! I know we haven't been the best posters lately but when school is out the books come out :) and we will definitely be posting more!!

xoxoxo Sarah and Jaime

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday 135: The Iron Trial

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Name: The Iron Trial
Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Doubleday Children's Books
Release Date: September 19th, 2014
Add the book on Goodreads

From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will -- is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It's a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

My Thoughts:
I must admit that I added this book to my Goodreads to-read shelf without know anything about it- besides, of course, that it was written by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. They are both fantastic and imaginative writers, and I'm pretty sure I would love this book even if it had the most boring plot line in the world. That being said, a Harry Potter style book about an academy for magicians sounds like something I would pick up in any bookstore, regardless of it's "middle-grade" categorization.

What are your thoughts? What are you waiting for this week? Let us know in the comments!

The Vast and Brutal Sea Guest Post by Zoraida Cordova

The Author’s Dream Cast for THE VICIOUS DEEP TRILOGY

First off, when I started writing the series, I didn’t have actors in mind. Naturally, I do like to fantasize with casting, because what else would I do with my free time except Tumbl!? If you have a different opinion (I have been known to be out of my mind), let us know in the comments!

Tristan Hart - Zac Efron
He’s too old to play him by now, but I think he’d be perfect for Tristan. He’s a mix of boyish and cocky. http://www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/201339/rs_634x1024-130409123404-634.2efron.ls.4913.jpg

Layla Santos - Jessica Szhor
Layla is half Ecuadorian and Half Greek. This is what she looks like in m head.

Brendan - Champion of the Northern Seas and Tristan’s cousin is beautiful, playful, and totally Sam Caflin.

Kurt - Maxi Iglesias
Kurt plays an important part in Tristan’s journey (no spoilers!) This guy works pretty darn well.

Thalia - Vanessa Hudgens
In my head Thalia has a green tint to her skin and hair. That’s hard to find on Tumblr, apparently. So here is an actress that I think has a beautiful smile that is contagious.
Bonus, she took a selfie with green hair.

Kai -
Kai is blonde with a light blue/green coloring to her scales. This isn’t an actress, but when I saw this image it clicked!

Arion - Idris Elba
Arion is named after one of my best friends growing up. He’s super tall and has a super deep voice that is equal parts dry and sarcastic. Arion (in the book) is dark skinned and has black and white scales.

Dylan - Champion of the Western Seas is obviously Charlie Hunnan
Dylan is one of my favorite characters because he’s got such a strong family history, but at the end of the day, he’s just as lost and confused as the other champions.

Princess Gwen - Ana de Armas

I admit it. Gwen is my favorite in book 3. She’s strong willed, but has a soft spot for her loved ones.

Nieve - The Silver Mermaid. The Silver Witch. The Daughter of the Seas. Beautiful and deadly, I’ve decided not to cast her. Instead, here’s a throwback to the first cover comp.

Disagree with my “casting”? Let us know! Who’s your Tristan Hart?



 About the Author: Zoraida Córdova was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where she learned to speak English by watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker on repeat. Her favorite things are sparkly like merdudes, Christmas, and New York City at night.


Buy links:

 Rafflecopter Contest code: Pre-order The Vast & Brutal Sea and win prizes! a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Vast and Brutal Sea by Zoraida Córdova Review

Name: The Vast and Brutal Sea (The Vicious Deep #3)
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Format: E-Book ARC
336 pages

Thank you so much Sourcebooks Fire for sending me a copy of this book to review!
This epic clash of sand and sea will pit brother against brother-and there can only be one winner.

In two days, the race for the Sea Court throne will be over-but all the rules have changed. The sea witch, Nieve, has kidnapped Layla and is raising an army of mutant sea creatures to overthrow the crown. Kurt, the one person Tristan could depend on in the battle for the Sea King's throne, has betrayed him. 

Now Kurt wants the throne for himself. Tristan has the Scepter of the Earth, but it's not enough. He'll have to travel to the mysterious, lost Isle of Tears and unleash the magic that first created the king's powerful scepter. It's a brutal race to the finish, and there can only be one winner.


My Review:
What a fantastic ending to a phenomenal series! From the start, I have been a huge fan of both books in The Vicious Deep series and The Vast and Brutal Sea is a really great way to end this fun ride!

What I really liked about The Vast and Brutal Sea was the plot! It definitely was fast paced and it was nice seeing all of my favorite characters back together again. I also liked how Zoraida made everything so detailed and we got to meet new characters and see different places which was great as well. I also really (still) like that the book is from Tristian's perspective! I thought over time I would not like the book being voiced by a male character but I really liked it and I loved reading Tristian's funny banter.

What I also really loved about the The Vast and Brutal Sea was that it was action packed, but the novel also was able to tie up loose ends, and add some romance in too. I also liked seeing Tristian really step into the role of a leader. In the first two books, Tristian was more watching from the sidelines but in this one we really got to see him step up to the plate.

Overall, I really liked The Vast Brutal Sea and I'm sad to see the series end! Definitely a solid ending to a solid series. I'm hoping that there will be some sort of e-book novella in the future so I can read more about Tristian's adventures.

My Rating:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ruins (Partials Sequence # 3) by Dan Wells Review

Name: Ruins (Partials Sequence # 3)
Authors: Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: March 11th, 2014
Format: ARC copy
Buy the book on Amazon
464 pages

Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.

There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.


My Review:

The Partials series has always been a solid one for me: none of the books have ever been “the best” or “the worst.” They have simply just been good, and reliably good at that. There are parts with action, parts with dialogue, parts with romance, and parts with character development, and Dan Wells has excelled at writing all of those parts in a manner that genuinely makes you want to keep reading. This last book was no exception.

Kira is one of the most underrated heroines I have ever come into contact with in a YA book. She’s intelligent, she’s quick on her feet, and she knows what she’s capable of. Sure, sometimes she thinks that she alone can save the world, but are her thoughts really so self-involved if she actually can save the world? More importantly, Kira really cares about those around her. Whether she loves them, hates them, or simply sees them as allies, she tries to do whatever she can to keep everyone alive. She was a delight to read about.

This book really focused on the fascinating apocalyptic world that Dan Wells created. There was still a significant amount of character development, especially when it came to Marcus, but for me this book was more about how everyone could possibly survive all the horrific incidents that had happened. All the deaths, all the backstabbing, and all the failures really came to light in this final book. It was interesting to meet some of the original players in the creation of the Partials, especially because they had become so far out of touch with reality by the time they met the main characters. Wells did a particularly wonderful job of creating these three-dimensional characters, though I do wish he would have played them, and their plot lines, up a bit more.

In the end, I really did enjoy this series as a whole. While there was no spark of lightning that I sometimes feel when I know a book is never going to leave my head, at the same time there was no moment that I thought any of these books were too boring and that I would have to put them down. And, to be honest, I would rather be thoroughly engaged in an entire series than feel that amazing spark in the first book, only to find it extinguished in the subsequent books. Wells did a great job of creating such a wonderful world and such engaging characters, and I look forward to reading more books by him in the future.

My Rating:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Solstice by P.J. Hoover Review

Name: Solstice
Author: P.J. Hoover 
Publisher: Tor Teen/Macmillian
Release Date: June 18th, 2013
Format: E-Book
384 pages

Piper's world is dying. 

Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.


My Review:
I've had this book on my kindle for awhile now but I never got around to reading it. I'm so glad I ended up picking this book to read! It had everything I needed to get out of my reading slump..action, mythology, dystopia, and romance!

What I really liked about this book was how original the plot was. I absolutely loved how P.J. was able to tie in the greek mythology aspect to this dystopian setting. I'm a huge fan of greek mythology and I really liked how well it fit in with this story. I do wish we got a little bit more background on some of the characters in this book--especially a little bit more about Piper. I thought Piper was a really great main character and I liked how she cared so much about others instead of herself.

I also really enjoyed the world building that P.J. used! We really got to see what the underworld looked like and I really appreciated that. The only compliant that I have would be that we didn't get to learn more about the global heating crisis...I know the main plot is based in Texas but it would have been nice to have a little bit of background info about what is going on in the rest of the world.

Overall, I really enjoyed Solstice! It was a great blend of dystopian and mythology, and I highly recommend checking it out this summer!

My Rating:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday 134: Trial by Fire

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Name: Trial by Fire
Author: Josephine Angelini

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
Add the book on Goodreads

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

My Thoughts:
I love the idea that the main character is her own worst enemy. That, plus the fact that this book was written by the author of the Starcrossed series, makes me want to read this book so badly! I hope it's a good as it looks!

What are your thoughts? What are you waiting for this week? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs Review

Name: Hollow City
Authors: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: January 14th, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Buy the book on Amazon
396 pages

The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London the peculiar capital of the world. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reacting experience.

My Review:

The first book in this series, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, blew me away when I first read it. It was one of the best middle-grade books I have ever read: it was spooky, it was meaningful, it made my skin crawl, and it had such beautifully scary photos. While I found the first book to be a bit more structured and exciting, I still found the sequel to have all of the same wonderful aspects that I loved in the first book.

The photographs were still my favorite part. Not only does Riggs do an excellent job of choosing such bizarre photos, but he also intertwines them wonderfully with the text. The story reads as if it was based on the photos, and while it was a bit strange to read the book as if it were only second to the photos, it was a wonderfully refreshing experience.

I enjoyed reading about the peculiar children in landscapes other than their own loop. In the first book, they were mostly seen with each other, and they didn't have as much experience in the outside world. However, seeing these children with their extraordinary (or should I say peculiar?) powers interact with those in the real world was intriguing to say the least. The character development in this book was well-done, especially with regards to Jacob. He truly morphed into a peculiar child, and no longer seemed as afraid of the world as he was in the beginning of the first book.

Overall, this book was a great read. Riggs has an engaging prose voice, and his story develops fluidly. There was a lot of travelling around in this book, and something new always seemed to happen every few pages. While that is not one of my favorite plot structures to read in a book, I would still recommend Hollow City. I can't wait to read the next book when it comes out.

My Rating:

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars Movie...thoughts?

Hi friends! I hope everyone is doing well with school and such and hopefully have a great start to summer!

It's been a busy year in the YA book world..especially for book to movie adaptations! I wanted to get everyone's thoughts on book to movie adaptations..specifically The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Did you read the book before seeing it? Did you like it? Did you bring 100000 tissues to the movie?

I'm really hoping we will see more YA books transforming to the screen in the future. It's always fun to see your characters come to life!

What books do you want to see on the screen? A personal choice of mine is The Starcrossed Series by Josephine Angelini :) 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Book Trailer: Round Ten

Hi everyone! Here are some of the book trailers that we at Catching Books loved watching from the past few months. We hope you like them, too!

I loved watching the trailer for The City of Heavenly Fire, and I can't wait to read the book now that it's been released! I'm also looking forward to Elusion by Claudia Gray.

What are your thoughts? Do you like book trailers? Which one do you like the most? 
Let me know in the comments :)