Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My wishlist book this week is:

In the Age of Love and Chocolate (Birthright, #3)

In The Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin

From Goodreads:

All These Things I’ve Done introduced us to timeless heroine Anya Balanchine, a plucky sixteen year old with the heart of a girl and the responsibilities of a grown woman. Now eighteen, life has been more bitter than sweet for Anya. She has lost her parents and her grandmother, and has spent the better part of her high school years in trouble with the law. Perhaps hardest of all, her decision to open a nightclub with her old nemesis Charles Delacroix has cost Anya her relationship with Win.
Still, it is Anya’s nature to soldier on. She puts the loss of Win behind her and focuses on her work. Against the odds, the nightclub becomes an enormous success, and Anya feels like she is on her way and that nothing will ever go wrong for her again. But after a terrible misjudgment leaves Anya fighting for her life, she is forced to reckon with her choices and to let people help her for the first time in her life.

Why do I want to read this?

In the Age of Love and Chocolate is the 3rd book in Gabrielle Zevin’s very enjoyable Birthright series. Set just slightly in the future, the trilogy takes place in a New York in which chocolate and caffeine are illegal. Anya is heir to the Balanchine Chocolate crime family, and has to figure out where she fits in among the crime lords, the crime fighters, and her teen schoolmates, who’d really like to make it to prom without too much trouble. True, the illegal chocolate concept may not work completely as a parallel for Prohibition, but trust me — despite the occasional odd moments, the Birthright series really delivers.

Gabrielle Zevin is the talented writer of YA hits Elsewhere and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. You really can’t go wrong with any of her books — but if you haven’t experienced the Birthright series yet, start with All These Things I’ve Done, then move on to Because It Is My Blood. In the Age of Love and Chocolate comes out in October. I can’t wait to see how it all works out!

Besides — chocolate! Mmmmm.

What’s on your wishlist this week?

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

I’m baaaaack! Plus, a Wishlist Wednesday post.

Hey, all! Thanks for keeping up with Bookshelf Fantasies while I was away this past week. I’m back, frantically trying to wade through all the emails that have piled up, whilst simultaneously doing mountains of laundry and emptying my suitcases. I had a lovely vacation in Costa Rica (thanks for asking!), and will share some photos — as well as my reviews of the wonderful books I read while away — as soon as I catch my breath a bit more.

Meanwhile, I’m diving back in with a Wishlist Wednesday post!

Wishlist Wednesday: The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday pick this week is:

Openly Straight

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

From Goodreads:

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write.And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate being different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

Why do I want to read this?

I have a bit of burn-out when it comes to YA novels of the supernatural, otherworldly, or end-of-the-world, end-of-civilized-society varieties. But… I do love finding a YA novel that deals sensitively with contemporary issues, while at the same time telling the story of memorable individuals facing real-world challenges. Openly Straight sounds like it takes the coming out experience and flips it on its head. Is it possible to be so “out” that that’s all people see? Is it realistic to want to keep such a big part of yourself hidden, not out of shame but from a desire to be known for oneself without labels?

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the author tackles this subject — and how Rafe’s struggle to define himself, for himself, works out.

So what’s on your wishlist this week?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday. Happy reading!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

For Wishlist Wednesday this week, it’s a two-fer:

If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman

From Goodreads on If I Stay:

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Where She Went is a sequel, and I’m not providing a synopsis… because I don’t want to know! In general, I prefer to know only the bare bones of a plot before I read a book, and definitely when it comes to two related books, I don’t want to get spoilers for #1 by reading about #2.

So why do I want to read these?

I’m probably the last person on the planet (well, maybe second or third to last) who hasn’t read one or both of these books. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of reading Just One Day by the same author, and really loved it. (You can see my review here). Her writing is terrific, and the story moved well beyond standard romantic fare to say something truer and deeper about self, identity, independence, and inner strength. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Just One Year, due out this fall — so meanwhile, I thought it would be good timing to go back and read Gayle Forman’s earlier hits!

Have you read If I Stay and Where She Went? Are they must-reads or read-if-you-get-a-chance books? Let me know your thoughts!

So what’s on your wishlist this week?

Have you voted in my vacation reading poll yet? Rather than pick my own reading material for my upcoming trip, I thought I’d let everyone else do it for me! Here’s the link to see the options and cast your vote. Choose wisely! Whichever books get the most votes by Friday are going straight into my suitcase.

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

  Gorgeous

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

From Goodreads:

When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.

Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.

A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.

Why do I want to read this?

This really, really, really — on the surface of it —  does not sound like my kind of thing. And yet… I’ve read a series of great reviews about this book, including a rave review in the New York Times by the absolutely amazing Libba Bray. Good enough for me!

I’ve heard that it’s funny and moving, well-written, with a fairy-tale feel as well as a deep look at self-image and standards of beauty. I was a bit enchanted when I read this bit of an interview with the author:

There’s a lot in the book about our obsession not just with celebrities, but also with beauty. It’s fun, but are you also critiquing it?

Absolutely. Any behavior that becomes obsessive can be dangerous. One of the inspirations for this book was something my mother said: She was looking at old photos from when she was young, and she said something like, back then I thought I was so ugly, but I looked great. And then she laughed, which I’m glad about, but it made me think about the degree to which beauty rules our lives. I knew that this stuff mattered and could do terrible harm, and comic writing becomes funnier the higher the stakes are.

This YA book sounds like a lot of fun — but it also seems to have a lot to say. I’m intrigued, and just waiting for a copy to  become available at my library. Let me know if you’ve had a chance to read Gorgeous yet!

So what’s on your wishlist this week?

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

  The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

From Amazon:

In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

Why do I want to read this?

I don’t just want to read this — I’m dying to read this! The story of two magical creatures from distinctly different cultures and traditions sounds amazing, and I’ve heard so many good things about this book already. I love stories about golems, and introducing a golem and a jinni in old New York sounds too good to be true. As both magical and historical fiction, this sounds like something I’ll love.

Full disclosure: Over the weekend, I discovered that I still had an unused but almost expired Groupon for a local bookstore, so I ran right out and picked up a copy of The Golem and the Jinni. It’s so pretty! The cover is gorgeous is person, and the page edges are dark blue — the whole thing just looks so special! My problem now is that between work demands and some upcoming travel, I won’t have time to enjoy this book until mid-July at the earliest.

So what’s on your wishlist this week?

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

  The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

From Goodreads:

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?

Why do I want to read this?

I just finished reading The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey a few days ago, and I’m still catching my breath! This suspenseful book about an alien invasion is one of my favorites so far in 2013, and I loved it so much that I want to read more by this author.

I actually picked up a copy of The Monstrumologist last year, when I was trying to catch up on some of the Printz award winners and honor books.* I’ve been hesitant to start any new series, particularly ongoing series — but as it turns out, the fourth and final book in The Monstrumologist series comes out this fall, so I think it’s time to jump in!

Have you read The Monstrumologist? What did you think?

*The Michael L. Printz award list has got to be one of my favorite resources. I’ve encountered so many great books thanks to this list! If you haven’t given it a look before, check it out here.

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

  Kissing Shakespeare

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

From Goodreads:

A romantic time travel story that’s ideal for fans of novels by Meg Cabot and Donna Jo Napoli–and, of course, Shakespeare.

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Why do I want to read this?

I feel like all of my book choices lately have either been creepy, scary, or heavy — so it’s time for something light, fun, and romantic! I’ve had my eye on this YA novel since it came out last year, and you know what? I think a time-traveling romance involving William Shakespeare sounds like the perfect summer read.

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

  MaddAddam (MaddAddam Trilogy #3)

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
(to be released September 2013)

From Goodreads:

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, which is being fortified against man and giant Pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. While their reluctant prophet, Jimmy — Crake’s one-time friend — recovers from a debilitating fever, it’s left to Toby to narrate the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb.

Combining adventure, humour, romance, superb storytelling, and an imagination that is at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Margaret Atwood, and a moving and dramatic conclusion to her internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy.

Is anyone else as excited about this book as I am?

I had no idea a third book was on the way until I stumbled across this on Amazon last week. The first book in the trilogy, Oryx and Crake, is one of my very favorite books. At the time that I read Oryx and Crake, I was under the impression that it was a stand-alone  novel. When The Year of the Flood came out a few years later, I was thrilled. And now — here comes book three!

If you haven’t read Oryx and Crake, I’d say drop everything and get this book! Here’s the Amazon synopsis:

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

Margaret Atwood is a complicated, challenging, and always engaging writer. Her books require effort, but they’re well worth it. The first two books of this trilogy are science fiction with a dystopian twist  — but with a unique worldview and literary approach. I absolutely cannot wait for MaddAddam!

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

 Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
(to be released September 2013)

From Goodreads:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?

Why do I want to read this?

This just sounds perfect for me in so many ways! First, I’ve read Rainbow Rowell’s two other novels, Eleanor & Park and Attachments, in the past month or so, and while they’re quite different, I loved them both so much! (Click on the links if you’d like to read my reviews…)

And then, of course, the plot of Fangirl just sounds right up my alley. I’m imagining the Simon Snow series to be somewhat akin to Harry Potter — and who can’t relate to obsessing over characters, dressing up, waiting for movie premieres??? Plus, the deeper story of sisters growing up and growing apart sounds quite lovely, and I know that I love the way this author writes. All in all, Fangirl is a book that I just can’t wait to read!

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!

Wishlist Wednesday

Welcome to Wishlist Wednesday!

The concept is to post about one book from our wish lists that we can’t wait to read. Want to play? Here’s how:

  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Do a post about one book from your wishlist and why you want to read it.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of the post at Pen to Paper.
  • Put a link back to Pen to Paper somewhere in your post.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Wishlist Wednesday book is:

 The Abominable: A Novel

The Abominable by Dan Simmons
(to be released October 2013)

From Goodreads:

It’s 1926, and the desire to summit the world’s highest mountain has reached a fever-pitch among adventurers. Three young friends, eager to take their shot at the top, accept funding from a grieving mother whose son fell to his death on Mt. Everest two years earlier. But she refuses to believe he’s dead, and wants them to bring him back alive.

As they set off toward Everest, the men encounter other hikers who are seeking the boy’s body for their own mysterious reasons. What valuable item could he have been carrying? What is the truth behind the many disappearances on the mountain? As they journey to the top of the world, the three friends face abominable choices, actions–and possibly creatures. A bone-chilling, pulse-pounding story of supernatural suspense, THE ABOMINABLE is Dan Simmons at his best.

Why do I want to read this?

Sometimes, there’s nothing like a good horror story to really hit the spot! I haven’t read that much by Dan Simmons, but what I have been has been intense, disturbing, and scary. Perfect!

Plus, I’ve always been fascinated by Mt. Everest and the people who feel compelled to climb it. The idea of a horror novel centering on an early Everest expedition just sounds like something I’d love. Can’t wait!

So what are you doing on Thursdays and Fridays? Come join me for my regular weekly features, Thursday Quotables and Flashback Friday! You can find out more here — come share the book love!