Books, Books, BOOKS!

Published July 17, 2012 by Ashley Townsend

Ah, books. A collective sigh can be heard around my house whenever my sisters and I discover a new author or smell the freshly pressed ink on the crisp pages of a new book. Hoarse shrieks of gleeful surprise can be heard when we’re at a bookstore and discover a novel we’ve been searching for, and giddy screams echo off the walls when we bring home a book that the library finally got. This has happened a delightful number of times this summer—our throats are raw from screaming and our fingers blistered and covered in paper-cuts because of it!—and I have decided to share with you some of the more delectable morsels that we’ve had the pleasure of reading. Throughout the summer, I will be posting about classic novels we’ve read time and time again, new books we have flipped backwards and done somersaults over, and awesome reads we’re currently plowing through. So … ta-da! Without further ado, the beginning of Ashley Townsend & Friend’s Reading Extravaganza! Wundabar!

The newest trilogy my sister Elizabeth discovered that I first flipped over this summer was Kelley Armstrong’s “Darkness Rising.” Genetically engineered humans—check; smart, sassy, take-charge heroine—check; cultish craziness—check; danger, intrigue, and sweaty palms at every turn; check. Pretty much the recipe for Ashley’s favorite new series! The trilogy is about a group of teens on a remote island off of Vancouver. No one is truly allowed on or off the island that’s owned by a company that supposedly creates prescription drugs, but instead they are involved in genetic research and are using this new generation of kids as test subjects to reactivate specific recessive genes that exhibit certain abilities or “gifts” in the carrier. *sucks in a breath* I didn’t think I could get through that. I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that “The Gathering” was really interesting and a great page-turner—awesome concept, intriguing, fascinating characters—but the second book blew my socks off! “The Calling” had me turning the pages like a mad woman, desperately trying to figure out the mystery and get them out of that stinking forest! Even when nothing is technically happening, Armstrong’s style of writing paints the intrigue and danger lurking just around the corner that you know is coming, but, of course, the characters can sometimes be clueless of it; I found myself repeatedly gasping and yelling, “Don’t get in that car with a stranger!” Overall, a must-read if you’re a fan of a taste of paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and palm-sweating danger. Loved it!

Lauren Oliver is an oober talented author, and her dystopian society in the “Delirium” trilogy is probably my favorite so far this summer. She does an incredible job of painting a very vivid picture of the area, government, society, etc. by incorporating her descriptions into certain character actions so that as a reader, you don’t feel as though you’re being force-fed too much information. The little details she wrote into the story—like an excerpt from the government “handbook”, The Book of Shhh, at the beginning of each chapter to show the corruption—added so much to the story. The entire concept is fascinating; mandatory operations for all eighteen year olds to remove the ability to love. I found “Delirium” to be a very interesting YA read, but “Pandemonium” really got my attention. The first half of the book sets the stage and was entertaining, but the remainder is so fast-paced and addictive; I couldn’t stop! The new love interest, Julian, is so fantastic and definitely the type of guy I fall for in a story … and probably real life. The only thing I didn’t like about “Pandemonium” was that certain characters swore a little more than I thought necessary. I think the author was trying to make the people in the Wilds seem all rough and tumble and a little edgy, but I just didn’t think it was necessary for the age group. However, I was seriously addicted to the second book in the trilogy, and the end is such a cliff hanger! I am not-so-patiently awaiting the final book, and you will too.

A super cute read, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The book is centered on a modern-day girl who accidentally unlocks a key—literally!—to the glamorous Gilded Age. Michele Windsor finds herself playing the part of a ghost in her family’s history where only a select few can see her, and one of those select just happens to be a handsome man named Phillip … The man who has been haunting her dreams all her life and also, incidentally, the son of a family the Windsors have been feuding with over the years. Forbidden yumminess! I originally picked up this book because it has the similar theme of time travel that “Rising Shadows” does, and I wanted to see how other authors spin it. It was slower paced, but very cute. What I liked so much about this first book in the trilogy is that Michele goes back and forth between her time and 1910, and she even travels further into her ancestors’ future. It wasn’t the usual fast-paced adventures that I gravitate toward, but it was very enjoyable. The end of the book was a complete shock, but I’m not telling! I can tell you, however, that I am seriously anticipating the next one and am curious to see where Alexandra is going to take the story in the next two installments.

Well, there you have it! This isn’t even an eighth of the books we have read, but that’s all we have time for today. I will definitely be posting in the future about tons more books we’re working on at the moment, and the “& Friends” part of my team is hard at work finding new reads for us to tell you about. Oh, and since this is an all-about-books day, I figured I should share the “Rising Shadows” poll I had whipped up a few months ago and kept forgetting to put up here. Whoopsie! I’ll also be adding a poll page on the left soon when I compile more questions. Remember, your answers and comments may help me shape the second and third books in the trilogy to better suite my audience. Thanks and happy reading!!!!! ^__^

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