TBR Readathon

Okay, so I'm not doing any official, year-long challenges this year, but Nancy has a fun month-long challenge that I'm definitely going to take part in ... especially since we're reading The Silmarillion together. All the "official rules" can be found here, and my TBR Readathon list is below ...

I'm splitting this list into three categories: Library, Review and Me, because several of the books I want to read are Library books that are/will come up during August. And those have due dates that need to be followed, even if you're staff. So ... Those sort of take top priority when push-comes-to-shove. Review and Me are self-explanatory: review books and just me books. Also, I've been all fancy-schmancy and added a GoodReads shelf widget to the sidebar, so you can see the books easier. And now ... the books!

Beautiful Day: Elin Hilderbrand
Frogged: Vivian Vande Velde
Gorgeous: Paul Rudnick
The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle: Christopher Healy
Invisibility: Andrea Creme & David Levithan

Prophet: RJ Larson (this is actually a reread, because I want it fresh before I read the other two)
Judge: RJ Larson
King: RJ Larson

The Silmarillion: JRR Tolkien
The Moon and More: Sarah Dessen

I'm going to leave the official count at these ten. For the moment. Knowing there's a good chance some of my holds will come in during August, I'll add them to the GoodReads shelf as they arrive. And it's possible I may feel inspired to add a few other "random" books in the mix as we go. But for now, we've got a starting point. Yay! I like having my August reading worked out for me ... Join us?


Double Click

 Double Click
Lisa Becker

Remember the crazy adventures of Renee and her friends, told through emails (yay for modern epistolary novels!), in Click? Well, Becker has picked up where she left off and continues the saga. The drama. The mysteries. The surprises!

All our familiar character friends have returned, with a new addition (or two) to keep things interesting. Renee is still the peacemaker/center of this zany circle, and I really enjoy her as a character. Ashley and Shelley continue their barbed camaraderie and Mark seems to have met The One. But underneath and interwoven with all the friendly chatter (or catty gossip) that is exchanged virtually during work days and late nights, there are separate lives taking place. Moreso than in Click (to me, anyway), we get a better sense of the characters as individuals. They have ups and downs and secrets (oh, the secrets!) and even though it's obvious they're a super close-knit circle of friends, they're not together 24/7. And it's okay. It's healthy. Life is a personal adventure, and while our friends share it, they can't live our life and their own. (I apologize for that philosophical interjection in the review of a delightful fun read, but it seemed right, teehee).

A fun, quick read and a great follow up to Click, tying up loose ends and carrying the story forward. I did get slightly confused at points keeping up with who was emailing whom about what, but it's possibly a result of reading while slightly distracted at times (and it was never too hard to get my brain straight again).

eBook provided by author for review.


The Movement of Stars

The Movement of Stars
Amy Brill
Riverhead, 2013

Please take a moment and soak in that cover. It's stunningly simple. It's beautiful, reservedly elegant. And so, so fitting.

Hannah Price is unique. Even as she outwardly follows the principles of her strait-laced Quaker community in Nantucket, she is straining against their limitations. Her heart is in the stars, obsessively searching for a comet to call her own and win the King of Denmark's medal. Rather than trying to become a "good catch" and transition into wife-and-motherhood, Hannah spends her days in the Atheneum (basically a library), and her nights watching the skies and assisting with her father's repair business (servicing navigational instruments for whalers). If she is a bit "unconventional," it is okay -- as long as she maintains the pretense of adherence, the community will mostly accept Hannah's quirks. Until she starts teaching a young whaler-sailor from the Azores. Isaac Martin is unlike anyone Hannah has ever met, and as their secret lessons continue, he not only stretches her mind - he opens her heart, in ways Hannah never thought possible. As Hannah stretches, she begins to question: herself, her family, the whole Quaker community. The answers are sometimes surprising, but as she gains a clearer picture of Life, Hannah grows. Even after Isaac leaves, and the formal "lessons" end, Hannah keeps searching for truth. Not the accepted truth of her people, or her past, but the truth that will propel her into the future.

The Movement of Stars is a beautiful story of personal growth, and the importance of asking your own questions. With careful historical context, and just enough astronomical history to make this spacegirl happy, it's an engrossing read that makes me want to find out more about Maria Mitchell, the real-life American astronomer who inspired the story.

Book provided by my public library.


Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer
Morgan Matson
Simon & Schuster, 2012

Whew. This book ... I don't normally cry over books or movies. If anything, I may have to blink rapidly a few times, and call it "touching." Every now and then, something comes along and makes me cry my eyes out. Like Pegasus and Spoken from the Heart (reliving 9/11 through Laura Bush's eyes? wowzers). I can now add Second Chance Summer to that list.

Taylor's family has been given a deadline. A horrible, heartbreaking deadline. One that changes all their plans, and sends them back to the lake house in the Poconos - for one last summer. Everyone knows it is a summer of "goodbye", but for Taylor, maybe - just maybe - it will also become the summer of second chances. Taylor hasn't been to the lake in five years, not since that summer when things ended so badly, and finding herself back in the place where she knew the most happiness and love, at such a painful time, is rough. But as the summer begins to settle into a routine, Taylor finds that your past doesn't have to dictate your future. Soon, she finds herself actually enjoying this last summer. Until reality slams back into focus, and she finds old habits die hard. Running away from things is the easiest and safest response, she thinks. But as things play out, and the inevitable end arrives, Taylor discovers a new reality, a new mindset: one that says things like Love are worth fighting for. That being scared isn't something to run away from. That sometimes you have to rely on other people's strength, when yours is failing. Life is full of second chances.

This book ... First, I should point out the cover is gorgeous. You can't tell in that image, but the title is silvery-shimmery, and it's just beautiful. As for the story itself: it's real. It's raw. It hit so very, very close to home. The summer I turned seventeen was also a last summer - the last summer with my granddaddy. Only we didn't know it at the time. He was checked into the hospital on my birthday, and a little under five months later, I said goodbye. So yeah. I bawled my eyes out reading this, because I know the feelings, the fears, the pains. Second Chance Summer is a beautifully written account of a journey that I hope most of us don't have to endure (especially at seventeen), but that all of us can relate to on some plane. We've all experienced heartaches and mistakes, wanting second chances and for things to not end/change/start. A moving, powerful, beautiful-even-if-it-made-my-heart-hurt story that is just the right balance to summer "fluff" while still being distinctly summery. Wow. Just wow.

Book provided by my local library.