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Shelve It: August 24, 2014

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Happy Sunday evening!

A good-ish hair day + a pile of books? Time for a Shelve It. (Especially when James was nice enough to go grocery shopping and let me record this only four times. haha) I’ve been sharing most of what I bought lately on our Instagram account so I settled on what I’ve been getting in the mail, and borrowed from others/library. Yay the library! I’m ashamed to say I did not go to the library at all in 2013. I finally got a chance to get my card a few weeks ago, and I plan on making good use of it for the rest of the year and beyond!:)

Sidenote: I’m eating cheese right now and it’s wonderful.

Hope you spent the weekend reading something awesome! Enjoy the video below:


In the mail:

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott
Safe Keeping by Barbara Taylor Sissel (Thanks Harlequin!)
Independently Wealthy by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

From Elena at Novel Sounds (Thank you!):

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Jessica Darling’s It List #2 by Megan McCafferty
The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivan

From the library:

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorksi
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

On the blog:

Thanks so much for stopping in today! Happy happy happy reading!

August 29, 2014 - 1:41 pm

Alexa S. - HOORAY FOR THE START OF ME AND YOU! I definitely can’t wait to read that one, as you already know how much I loved Open Road Summer :)

August 26, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Tammy - I own Open Road Summer but haven’t read it, I guess I need to soon.

August 26, 2014 - 10:11 am

Leah - The SECOND you read Madame Picasso I want to hear all about it!! So I know next to nothing about art, but for some reason, historical art fiction (I probably just made that up, but we’ll go with it!) has my heart.
A recent one I read (that was only okay so I won’t push it too hard) was I Always Loved You. Still set in Paris, but this one focuses on Degas rather than Picasso.
Safe Keeping sounds like a book I would enjoy – thanks for putting it on my radar! The cover instantly made me think of Lisa Scottoline’s Save Me, but I’m thinking it’s just the red jacket.

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Pub Date: Fruit Beer 101

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Welcome to another spirited spin of Pub Date here at Rather Be Reading Blog!

So “back to school” might not mean what it used to back in the day, but I still have a soft spot for the season of new clothes, new pencils, and, hooray, the return of a crisp fall. Thanks to an idea from Maggie I originally wanted to pay homage to my first college in Long Island with some lovely local Southampton brews. But, go figure. I could not find any in the three stores near my apartment. So before I launch into my pick for today, let me recommend The Publick House in Southampton as an excellent place to stop by if you find yourself out east.

Instead, join me on a trip to the West Coast. Today’s beer comes from a 3-year old brewery in Southern California called Brouwerij West. What’s the brew? Dog Ate My Homework: a saison brewed with blackberries. (Isn’t that the best name? I couldn’t pass it up when I was looking for a Plan B.) The alcohol content is a little high at 7% so it is sold in a 1 pint/9.4 ounce bottle. I had enough for two glasses basically.

Let’s talk about fruity beers for a quick second.

A few weeks ago, Alexa and Elena came over for a craft night. It’s hard to pick a beer that delights all tastes, especially when not everyone is a seasoned beer drinker. In these situations, I tend to go for the fruit beers. The flavors taste more like juice or a cocktail, and I think the possibility of people liking it is that much higher. Before I started drinking beer, I didn’t know there were such familiar flavors available. It was a similar beer that made me braver to try more way back when.

Dog Ate My Homework was like a stronger juice, almost wine-like. Purple in color, a little foamy — it went down smoothly and I really enjoyed it. You could clearly taste the blackberries while the aroma was very grape juice-like. I liked that it was bubbly, felt all kinds of fancy.

And now a book…  The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker!

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I wanted a read that I loved (this one is underrated, IMO) and also:

  • spent a lot of time in high school (a.k.a. no summer stories)
  • had a very important dog character (the beer name!)

The Queen of Kentucky is the story of Ricki Jo, a 14-year old living in the south who is dedicated to breaking away from her old self and transforming into the new, improved, and popular Erika. If you ever struggled with insecurity and fitting in (that’s a joke; I have to believe all of us did), Alecia Whitaker hits all the excruciating, embarrassing circumstances you never wanted to relive. Ricki Jo learns a lot about loyalty, friendship, parents, and family in this book and I found it completely charming.

Those of you returning to school this year, good luck! Most importantly, don’t forget to take the time to destress! It’s imperative to your success. Really!

So until next time… cheers and happy reading!

Pub Date Lineup: The Book Addict’s Guide | Andi ABCs | Just A Couple More Pages

August 24, 2014 - 10:57 pm

Alexa S. - I loved that beer we had when we hung out for craft night! I do tend to like fruity beers, so I suppose if I were too experiment (which I am doing more now, I promise!), I would probably go for those first. As for the book, I’ve still not read this one, though I know you liked it. I have to remember to check it out sometime!

August 24, 2014 - 5:05 pm

August 24 Shelve It from Rather Be Reading Blog - […] Pub Date: My philosophy on Fruit Beer + a book/beer pairing! […]

August 22, 2014 - 9:30 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - I love it! This sounds yummy and I don’t know why but I have been SO into saisons these past few weeks. I agree — fruit beer is a great place to start non-beer drinkers because of the flavors that allude to juices or cocktails or wines and also it dampens the “beer flavor” for those who aren’t used to it. They’re not usually overly hoppy either, which I think is usually a turn-off to non-beer drinkers!
I haven’t read this one yet but it sounds good!! I love how it matches the beer too :) I’m always up for underrated books and trust your recs, of course!

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Estelle: Just Call My Name by H. Sloan

Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg SloanJust Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: fate, friendship, romance, parents
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: After being kidnapped by their father, Sam is living in an apartment and going to school and Riddle is living with the Bells. But their imprisoned father is not done with them, and vows to put a halt to the “normalcy” they have finally been granted.

Holly Goldberg Sloan’s writing puts me in a trance. I feel calm and safe, even when the characters I am reading about may not be. She makes me believe that every little thing we do affects the bigger things, and that in the end, despite the tough stuff, we will be okay.

In her follow-up to the excellent I’ll Be There, Sloane reunites us with Sam and Riddle, two boys faced with a terrible childhood. Emily and the Bell Family, the kind and selfless family that has given these two a feeling of home. And I can’t forget Bobby who is now going by Robb, a peer who ends up in the middle of it all — sometimes a nuisance, but proving to be a blessing in more ways than one.

As much as I enjoyed hearing how life was for all of these characters and being introduced to a new one — Destiny — I wasn’t expecting this book to be so similar to the first. I kind of wish we were done with Sam and Riddle’s father and moved on to other challenges. Of course, Sam and Riddle’s situation with their dad has caused long-term effects and I would have liked them to deal with these emotions and repercussions more. Generally, more insight into Emily and Sam’s relationship, and more moments spent with the Bell’s would have made for a stronger story. Everything felt a bit too much on the surface for me, and I finished with so many questions and not enough answers.

Still, Sloan is a master at piecing together quirky characters, where the smallest appearance can equal major impact. Plus if you want to read about good vs. evil, and the journey toward a happy ending, all of Holly’s work falls into this category. Definitely check out I’ll Be There, Just Call My Name, and last year’s middle grade, Counting By 7s, for charming casts of characters you can’t help but root for.

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August 21, 2014 - 1:28 pm

Alexa S. - Even though I’ve taken it out of the library more than once, I have yet to read I’ll Be There. (I do love its cover though!) I did love Counting by 7s, so I have no doubt that I’ll like and root for the characters in the other 2 as well (when I do read them)!

August 21, 2014 - 11:42 am

Jen @Fefferbooks - Agree agree! But you knew that. :) Good reminder that I need to go put Counting by 7s on the library hold list, though!

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Magan: The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

book cover of the running dream

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen [website]
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
PublisherKnopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 240 Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: track runner, prosthetic leg, dreams that change
Format Read: Purchased hardcover copy.

Summary: Jessica’s dreams of attending college on a track scholarship are shattered after she loses part of her leg in a bus accident on the way home from a track meet, leaving her uninsured parents with medical bills they cannot pay.

It’s time to step away from the current releases and focus on one that you could easily find at your local library without the super long wait list. In the midst of our move, my goal became to read physical books on my shelves so I could pass them along to another avid reader. The Running Dream has fantastic ratings on Goodreads and I was so intrigued by the summary.

Jessica is a high school track star. In an early-season track meet, she breaks her personal record and beats her greatest competitor in the 400m race. The school bus is involved in a major accident on the way home. One of her young teammates dies; Jessica loses part of her leg. The Running Dream is composed of different parts that dictate the struggles she faces — the realization that she’s not going to be a runner again when she first wakes up in the hospital, going home and having to return to school, seeing her friends continue to participate in track, and learning how to walk with a prosthetic leg.

Van Draanen told Jessica’s story in such a relatable way that allowed me to completely empathize with Jessica but still breeze through the story at a rapid pace. The chapters are short and very intentional, the story progressing and moving forward, allowing for a lot of time to pass throughout the story. One minor quip I had was the running analogies made at the end of each chapter that sometimes seemed a little unnecessary, but definitely drove the point home.

The strongest aspect of The Running Dream is what happens beyond Jessica’s personal growth. There’s a lot of exploration about how we perceive people and how other people see us. Jessica feels broken and questions people’s intentions when they want to hang out with her. She begins to feel like a charity case. But her accident also causes her to befriend people she wouldn’t have ordinarily noticed and that leads to this awesome conclusion to the story that isn’t really about Jessica at all. She goes through such a powerful internal transformation, and really, the end is what made the entire book for me because it left me feeling empowered.

If you’re looking for something that’s outside of your normal realm and features a character with struggles you may not have faced in your young adult reading ventures, check out The Running Dream. Aside from all the goodness I’ve discussed above, you’ll also get a lovely helping of a strong, strong best friendship and a super sweet love interest.

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August 29, 2014 - 1:39 pm

Alexa S. - I remember seeing you mention this novel on Twitter when you were reading it, and that intrigued me already. But reading your review makes me definitely want to check it out for myself! The premise seems simple, but I love that you feel it was portrayed in a way that felt poignant and real.

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The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (Interview + Giveaway)

The Good Girl by Mary KubicaThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 352
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: thriller, kidnapping, family secrets, love
Format read: Finished copy sent to me by the Publisher. (Thanks!)

Summary: Mia, a school teacher, disappears one night in a bar. In a series of flashbacks from the perspectives of some of the most important people in her life, readers experience the kidnapping, the search to find her, and the aftermath.

First things first, The Good Girl has been compared to Gone Girl a ton. I haven’t read Gone Girl yet so I can’t supply a comparison. But let me say this… on its own, The Good Girl may be a labeled as a thriller but it’s possibly one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve read all year.

In a very sneaky, I can’t believe I’m falling for this type of way.

Debut writer Mary Kubica challenges her readers to believe the unbelievable in this scary tale of a young teacher who goes missing from a bar. Her captor,  actually assigned to deliver her to someone else, “saves” her from what was promised to be a terrible fate and hides her away in a cabin. I know what you are thinking. Does this mean her captor has a conscience of some kind? How benevolent is this move really if she is still technically stolen?

I was seesawing between these two questions (and many more) as I read deeper into the story. In addition to the perspective of the kidnapper, we also meet Mia’s mom, heartbroken over her daughter and the way she has handled motherhood. It’s obvious that a dire situation like this is going to change many people, but Kubica did a fantastic job of pacing how the characters evolved and moved forward since Mia’s kidnapping. Continually, I would go back and forth, sympathizing with some characters and really disliking them. It was that kind of story: everyone’s flaws are on display.

If you are looking for a book to keep you planted in one place and totally test how you feel about everything, The Good Girl is your answer. Kubica has created a well-written and engrossing story, full of twists and turns not only limited to action-packed scenes but emotional ones too.

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A chat with Mary Kubica!

Mary Kubica, author "The Good Girl"First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, Mary! I thought The Good Girl was fantastic and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with others! Now that it’s been a few weeks since the release, how are you feeling? Is it still unbelievable to see your debut out in stores?

Thank you for having me!  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being a guest here at Rather Be Reading, and thanks so much for your kind words about The Good Girl.

Yes, it is still unbelievable to see my book at stores!  I’m not entirely sure if or when I’ll stop being surprised to see the image of Mia on store displays – or my name on the cover of a book for that matter.  It’s been such a thrill.  There was such a great build up for The Good Girl’s release, and so much time spent waiting and wondering what would happen when my novel was finally shared with the world – and then suddenly it was off and running, and between a small bookstore tour and other promotional activities, it’s been a whirlwind – in the very best sense of the word.  It’s been so much fun.  The best part is that I’m just finishing up my second novel and am looking forward to reliving the whole process all over again – though this time I’ll have a better idea of what to expect.

You’ve created a very calculated mystery in The Good Girl, what was the biggest challenge in keeping your reader on their toes but not giving away too much?

It takes a bit of work to set the stage for a big reveal that with both catch the reader off guard and seem entirely plausible to the reader once they’ve reached the end of the book.  You don’t want to divulge too much that the reader sees the ending coming, and yet as an author, you need to lay the groundwork so that later on the reader can look back through the novel and connect the dots.  This can be tricky, and certainly required a few rounds of edits while writing The Good Girl.  But I was thrilled when it all finally came together.

I was shocked at how utterly heartbreaking this book was. I think we expect thrillers to be scary but there is also a lot loss in this book. But from the very beginning you know it’s going to be a very unconventional kind of story. What perspective was the hardest to write?

I would say Colin’s was the hardest character to write because he was the character I could relate to the least.  He’s a rough man with a troublesome past, something I don’t have a lot of experience with.  I definitely had to search outside of my comfort zone to find Colin, but once I did, his story became easier to write.  For the same reasons, Mia’s mother Eve was the easiest to write because she was the character I found I had the most in common with.

One character who is surprisingly sticking with me is Mia’s sister. She was so dismissive and detached from Mia throughout the story. Did you start out with creating a fractured relationship between the two or was it something that developed over time?

Mia is portrayed as the black sheep of the Dennett family, and as such, she needed to have a fractured relationship with ever member of her family.  Her sister, Grace, though a minor role, is certainly at odds with Mia.  If Mia is the black sheep, then Grace is the pride and joy of the family.  She is everything Mia is not, and everything Mia’s father wishes she could be.  Their relationship was that way from the get go, though if anything I softened it ever so slightly while writing the novel to give Grace a bit of dimension.

I read in an interview that you were a huge fan of the Baby-Sitters Club when you were younger. Me too! Who is your favorite character and which of the baby-sitters do you think is most like Mia, your main character?

I loved the Baby-Sitters Club books!  My sister and I actually formed our own babysitters club with a handful of neighborhood girls when I was younger, and passed out fliers around the neighborhood and earned ourselves quite a few babysitting gigs!  It was great.  I have to admit that I’ve forgotten many of the details of the books over the years, but I’m looking forward to the day my daughter is old enough that we can share them together.  For the characters, I’d say that Mia is most like Claudia for her artsy, individualistic nature, and for myself I’d pick Kristy because growing up I was the one most likely to start my own club – also the one who could be a bit bossy at times when I didn’t get my way!

For a final fun question: which actors would you cast in a film version of The Good Girl? (Don’t forget Mia’s mom because, despite her flaws, I think she was my favorite character.)

I love this question and, trust me, it’s once I’ve considered many times!  For James and Eve Dennett, Mia’s father and mother, I’d choose Victor Garber and Helen Mirren.  These were, by far, the easiest to decide.  For Gabe Hoffman, the lead detective on the case of the missing Mia Dennett, I’d choose Dylan McDermott, and for Mia’s abductor, Colin, either Jeremy Sisto or James Franco.  And finally, for Mia herself, I’d cast Emma Watson or Jennifer Lawrence as the starring role in the film.

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Thanks so much to Mary for the extra insight into her writing and The Good Girl! I can’t wait for your next book.

Bonus! The awesome, generous people at Harlequin have supplied us with a copy of The Good Girl for a lucky winner.
Go play! (Open to U.S. and Canadian residents!)

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August 29, 2014 - 12:13 pm

Alexa S. - Your review + the interview kind of makes me want to give The Good Girl another try! I didn’t quite gel with it the first time I attempted to read it, but your assessment has me quite intrigued. Perhaps I shall give it a second chance :)

August 26, 2014 - 5:22 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Oh awesome! So happy to see a review for this one. I just saw all the hype but not one person who had read it yet. It sounds interesting! Glad it know it’s a bit more… emotional than scary thriller. I think I’ll add it to my list! :)

August 22, 2014 - 3:37 am

Weekly Wrap-Up (#47) | - […] Be Reading — The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (US/CA only) (ends August […]

August 19, 2014 - 12:41 pm

Leah - AAAAHHHHH ESTELLE!! I’ve been waiting and waiting for this one and I’m THRILLED to hear it’s a good one!
Also, Victor Garber and Helen Mirren? I’d be all about that movie!

August 18, 2014 - 9:20 pm

Molly | wrapped up in books - I almost bought this in the book store recently!

August 18, 2014 - 6:04 pm

Brianna - I’ve been stuck on thrillers lately and this looks like a winner.

August 18, 2014 - 4:34 pm

Courtney @ Courtney Reads A Lot - This one sounds so intense and also amazing! You’ve definitely caught my interest! I’m adding it to my TBR pile. Lovely post!

August 18, 2014 - 10:33 am

Cassie (Happy Book Lovers) - This looks creepy and daring and like everything I love in a book! The cover is especially terrifying but equally hypnotizing.

Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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