Upcoming SF Bay Area YA Book Events: 7/31 - 8/6

Hello lovely readers. This week we have a few great events. You can check out our side bar to keep up with events in the SF Bay Area, or you can check out this post that has all the events for the upcoming week.  As always we highly recommend verifying all events prior to attendance because life happens and that can mean changes or cancellations. We plan on attending some events and hope to see you there. Don't be shy make sure to come up to either one of us and say hello. We love to talk about everything books and more.

Our very own
CHRISTY (@diamondxgirl) is covering the event
Hicklebee's in San Jose
Wednesday, August 3 @ 7pm

The Smaller Evil
Mrs. Dalloway's Books
in Berkeley
Saturday, August 6 @ 7:30pm

Theme Songs - July Review Round Up

PHEW July is coming to a close and we reviewed close to 20 books! There were so many feels and thoughts after these books that we thought we would choose some theme songs to represent story elements, intense feelings, or anything that especially stood out to us. 

For those of you who are into playlists, here's our July Review Round Up Playlist and the books that belong to them!

Signs of You by Emily France
Theme Song: The Ghost of You by My Chemical Romance 

Theme Song: Crazy = Genius by Panic at the Disco

Theme Song: Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson

Theme Song: Talking Body by Tove Lo

Theme Song: In the Garage by Weezer

Theme Song: Fireflies by Owl City

Theme Song: Empire State of Mind by The Glee Cast

Theme Song: Terrible Lie by Nine Inch Nails

Theme Song: Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran

Theme Song: Kids in the Dark by All Time Low

Theme Song: Heathens by Twenty One Pilots

Theme Song: Aliens Exist by Blink-182

Theme Song: I Melt with You by Modern English

Theme Song: Radioactive by Pentatonix & Lindsey Stirling

Theme Song: Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer

by Gwenda Bond
Theme Song: Dark Horse by Katy Perry

Theme Song: Going Under by Evanescence

REVIEW: SIGNS OF YOU by Emily France

by Emily France
Published: July 19th 2016
Publisher: Soho Teen
Source: Audible
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.

When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.

When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.

My Thoughts:

Grief is a lens to look at life through.

The final 5 minutes of this book is just full of #allthefeels and now I'm just sobbing. SOBBING. 

Signs of You is a little nugget of a contemporary with a bit of magic/paranormalism mixed in. It's one of those books that you'll likely consume in one sitting, not just because of it's dainty size but because the journey of Noah, Riley, Kate, and Jay is equally as mysterious as it is mesmerizing. 

Everyone has experienced grief at some point in their life. For Noah, Riley, Kate, and Jay, grief is one of the things that connects them. They're a tight-knit support group of friends who are suddenly experiencing a very surreal thing: they can see their deceased love ones around town. These aren't zombies and they're not even really ghosts. What they do know is this phenomenon is connected to an old Totem they were warned against. 

Each of the characters and their surrounding supports were likeable and charming in their own ways. There's very little ego in this book, just pure caring and support for each other, which is a refreshing thing to see in a contemporary novel. The story arc is not perpetuated by some awful thing that happens between characters but by a new sensation that they're all learning about together. In that sense, Signs of You is a mystery novel.

Overall, Signs of You is worth your read (or listen, because the audiobook is also fantastic) because it's something new and different that crosses genres and has wide appeal. Just be prepared for a few tears at the end!

11 Strange YA Books to Read While Waiting for Stranger Things

Y'all are watching Netflix's latest scifi-thriller throwback, Stranger Things, right? RIGHT?! Right. Because if you're not, you now have weekend plans. You're welcome.

We here at Tales of the Ravenous Reader have an affinity for things strange and weird. For the unexplained. For things that go bump in the night. For books that Nancy refers to as Freezer Books.

As primarily an e-reader, I don't think this would work for me.

Stranger Things is no stranger (ha) to the unusual. You can expect suspense, mystery, thrills, science fiction, horror, and, best of all, nostalgia. You'll get 8 glorious episodes and then you're left wondering if - when - we will get a second season. Until then, we've created a list of 11 (GET IT!?) books to keep you busy.
11 Strange YA Books to Read While Waiting 
for Stranger Things

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimen
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.
Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs. 

The Boys of Summer by Richard Cox
In 1979, a massive tornado devastates the city of Wichita Falls, Texas, leaving scores dead, thousands homeless, and nine-year-old Todd Willis in a coma, fighting for his life.Four years later, Todd awakens to a world that looks the same but feels different in a way he can’t quite grasp. For Todd, it's a struggle to separate fact from fiction as he battles lingering hallucinations from his long sleep.
The new friends Todd makes in 1983 are fascinated with his experience and become mesmerized by his strange relationship with the world. Together the five boys come of age during a dark, fiery summer where they find first love, betrayal, and a secret so terrible they agree to never speak of it again.
But darkness returns to Wichita Falls twenty-five years later, and the boys—now men—are forced to reunite and confront the wounds from their past. When their memories of that childhood summer refuse to align with reality, the friends embark upon a search for truth that will threaten their lives, and transform their understanding of each other—and the world itself—forever.

Paper Girls Vol 1 by Brian K. Vaughan 
In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Random Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind. Bonesaw.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days. It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

The Accident by Diane Hoh
She appears in Megan's mirror one day, nothing more than a wispy, shadowy plume, glowing with an eerie light. Her voice is faint and hollow, like a distant echo. The voice of a young girl.Strangest of all is her request.
"I beg you to trade places with me, Megan. For just one week. Let me live again."
Megan is overcome with fear. Yet she is drawn to the shadow in the mirror, unable to look away. Fascinated by the oddly soothing voice, she listens to a tale of a horrible accident many years before. A tale she would never forget. Gradually, Megan begins to realize that she has no choice. As terrified as she is, she knows she must make the trade....

The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
Eleven years ago, Stella and Jeanie disappeared. Stella came back. Jeanie never did. Now all she wants is a summer full of cove days, friends, and her gorgeous crush—until a fresh corpse leads Stella down a path of ancient evil and secrets. Stella believes remembering what happened to Jeanie will save her. It won’t. She used to know better than to believe in what slinks through the shadows. Not anymore.

Event Recap: Chris Colfer & The Land of Stories

#TLOS5Tour | July 24th, 2016

Chris Colfer joined the #bookhuggers in the Bay with a reading of TLOS5 (An Author's Odyssey), costume contest, trivia, Q&A session, and a preview of book 6 coming in the TLOS series.

Chris began the enchanted event by reading a short excerpt from the story (find your own here) and followed the reading with trivia from the previous books. Chris quizzed the audience on things such as, "What is the Evil Queen's heart made of?" (stone), "What to Alex and Connor use to talk to each other while living in different worlds?" (a piece from their mirrors), and for the tough final round, "What are the 6 items that the twins had to collect to complete the Wand of Wonderment?" (The Snow Queen's scepter, the Wicked Stepmother's ring, the Sea Witch's jewels, the Evil Queen's mirror, the Giant's golden harp, and Ezmia's pride). The kids who answered the questions had memories of steel!

After trivia, Chris held a costume contest, where the audience judged their favorite costumes of the day.

The Brother's Grimm and the group on the end won!

Audience members lined up along the auditorium to ask Chris their burning questions. We've both decided that we need to poll some kids for questions to ask at book events.

Chris shared that the short stories by Connor were actual stories he wrote as a kid. Mother Goose is his favorite character but he has a fondness for Little Red Riding Hood and may even share some personality traits with her. Chris believes Alex and Connor have developed the most over the five books (but jokes he has also developed through the books!). The character of Mother Goose is based partially on Chris' grandma and partially on an actress he worked with. 

Chris' writing process has changed over the years and he now listens to music or looks at art for inspiration. He shared with the audience that they should write daily and don't be discouraged as a young writer. "If you have a story to tell, you have a right to tell it. There are people out there who will love your story!" He loves introducing new generations to original fairytales (which he has loved since a kid), loves writing about strong female characters, and when children talk to him about his characters like they are real people. Even though TLOS is ending with book 6, Chris is thinking about a prequel series and promises more TLOS through other types of books. 

The Land of Stories - An Author's Odyssey is available now. You may still be able to find signed copies at Books, Inc so be sure to check if you're interested (and yes, they ship!).

Upcoming Book Event: SONYA MUKHERJEE for GEMINI

Come and join us TODAY at Kepler's in Menlo Park for the book launch of  

Sonya Mukherjee

Thursday, July 28, 2016, 7:00 p.m.


Join us in celebrating the launch of Sonya Mukherjee's  powerful and daring debut novel, Gemini,  the story of sisters Clara and Hailey, conjoined twins who are learning what it means to be truly extraordinary.

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins Clara and Hailey have lived in the same small town their entire lives--no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence and they're slowly becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister's and figure out what it means to be her own person. Told in alternating perspectives, this unconventional coming-of-age tale shows how dreams can break your heart -- but the love between sisters can mend it.

"Thought provoking and engaging, this story of two girls finding their own unusual path to adulthood will pull readers in and give them a lot to think about." (School Library Journal)

NOVEL to REEL: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Nerve | July 27th 2016

A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of "watchers."

My Thoughts:

First things first...While the premise of the movie is the same as the book, none of the things that take place in the trailer happen in the book. It's been four years since the book published so I'm sure there needed to be some updating and sensationalizing so I let that go.

Let's talk casting. Do Emma and Dave embody Vee and Ian? How about other characters?

Juliette Lewis stars as Nancy (Vee's mom) and answered questions on a Reddit AMA the day before release, so I asked her what she thought! Here's what she had to say about their casting.

In short, yes, Emma and Dave portray Vee and Ian pretty much on target with their personalities in the book. Emma plays a convincing girl who plays it safe, only to take some major risks throughout the movie. Dave plays Ian as the charming and sweet guy who may have something to hide. Together they're a dynamic couple who risk losing parts of themselves in the name of the game. Most of the action is focused on the two of them so everyone else really is secondary. Everyone is portrayed appropriately, though. 

Oh, and Machine Gun Kelly, rapper turned actor, plays an antagonist of sorts.
A photo posted by Machine Gun Kelly (@machinegunkelly) on

Ok, so they're pretty great. But what about the plot? We've all seen Allegiant. And Eragon. And The Mortal Instruments. *shudders*

Can we take a moment to say a prayer for the books referenced above and hope that when someone opens a time capsule in 500 years, those cinematic representations will have died out? Anyways. 

I frequently found myself holding my breath through the dare scenes and Nancy was squeaking and shaking her seat. I think I even saw her peeking out through her fingers at times. The short of it? The movie was an adrenaline rush, thrill seeking movie and we loved it. Vee and Ian were put to the test with realistic dares, things you see people do (often unsafely and at the egging on of their peers) either on YouTube or other means. 

Nerve | September 13th 2012

A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

My Thoughts:

We've learned an interesting rule about fame. Those who seem desperate for it are the people that others least want to see.

This book is sold with the tagline "For fans of The Hunger Games" but really, it's like Hunger Games meets Jackass. Jeanne uses Nerve to explore our culture's obsession with reality tv coupled with taking things a bit too far. She also explores how people can use the information we post online to hurt us. 

Vee is desperate for the attention her best friend, Sydney, seems to garner without any effort. In a moment of reckless abandon, she enlists Tommy, obvious guy-who-pines-for-the-girl-who-can't-see-him, to film her completing a relatively harmless dare. Due to a wardrobe malfunction, she earns a fandom (and some new kicks) and is invited to complete more risque challenges. One of these challenges pairs her with Ian, an attractive boy from a different school. The two of them immediately hit it off and essentially cheer each other on. Eventually they end up in over their heads and there are literal lives on the line. 

Nerve goes from zero to sixty in a few pages flat! This isn't a preachy story about starry-eyed people idolizing celebrities; this is a story of how far humans will go if they have the "right" motivation and encouragement. Jeanne effectively pairs our fascination with celebrity and our human nature to succumb to peer pressure (via "watchers" who pay to observe the challenges), and she does it in an equally horrifying and enchanting way. This is the train wreck you can't look away from, even though you know it's going nowhere good. 

Reel Story...How did the movie compare to the book?

Our theater was packed with teens and we were some of the few adults there. So much gasping and clapping and everyone on the edge of their seat!

You're still responsible even if you're just watching. 

If you go into an adaptation wanting each scene to represent a chapter in the book, you'll be disappointed in Nerve. The director took the concepts - social media saturation, peer pressure, viral mentalities - and "modernized" it to appeal to the current teenage generation. I see this as a good thing because teens really are expected to question their actions (and reactions) and also the amount of information they're sharing. The sentiment remains the same; the execution is different. 

All in all? Two thumbs up from the Ravenous Readers.

We dare you to see Nerve this weekend.

Waiting on Wednesday: GIVEN TO THE SEA & NEVERNIGHT

Jill over at Breaking the Spine started this and I believe that it's awesome" This blog post is to alert those that visit about "the" book that we cannot wait to get our hands on.

Nancy's WOW!

This week my WoW was a bit of a challenge because I could not figure out if I like the premise of GIVEN TO THE SEA or it's stunning cover more. Being the cover whore that I am I must say that this cover is one of the most beautiful ones I have seen in a long, long time. But once I get past my initial cover love haze and get back to what the book is about it makes me want this book even more. Like NOW!! Just read the synopsis and you will know what I am taking about.
Given to the Sea
by Mindy McGinnis
ISBN-13: 978-0399544613
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers 
Pages: 352
Amazon, Goodreads

Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.

Christy's WoW

My WoW this week is MOTHER FLIPPING NEVERNIGHT. Because my amazing UK red sprayed edge limited edition signed copy CAN NOT COME SOON ENOUGH. I mean, look at it. 

We will have a review and extra special GIVEAWAY for you on (or before!) release day so be on the watch!

Release Date: August 9th 2016

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?