Sunday, February 14, 2016

Books on my TBR #1: Battle of the Books!

I thought now would be a good time to start documenting some of the books that I want to read in the future. Don't get me wrong, I have a goodreads shelf for some of them, but I've never actually talked about why I want to read them or what is so interesting about these books. I'm deciding to do that now, especially after so many of you voted to see a post about my To-Be-Read list in one of my Twitter polls from my Twitter account!

Here goes nothing.....;

My school participates every year in something called Battle of the Books. For those of you that are not familiar, Battle of the Books is kind of like a competition and a celebration of reading.

Wait, what does this have to do with my TBR?

Each year, schools from around the state pick out 10 books that they think are the best reads of the year, or are written by amazing authors that deserve more attention. Schools then order copies of this book for our libraries, and students (like me!) can check them out and read them. So, I will be reading these books as a part of the event!

If you are curious about what happens next, after about a month or so, the school schedules a gathering at a local library near us for all of the students that read any of the "Battle Books" to get together and have our own mini book club. We discuss what books we enjoyed, what characters we relate with, and after we have a dinner made up of pizza and sweets, we move on to a trivia competition.

Teams from several different schools (in our case, 3 schools) compete against each other! Each team is made up of at least 5 people that have read at least 3 of the "Battle Books". Questions can come from any of the battle books, and can be as general as "What is the author's last name?" and as specific as "What was the fifth word in line 17 of the 323rd page of the book?". Okay, not really. But these questions can be tough.

After about 30-40 questions, a winner is crowned! They win bragging rights and a small trophy. Our school hasn't won the competition yet, to my knowledge, but I'm getting a head start this year so we (hopefully) win!

After that event, we go into a Skype conversation with the authors if they are willing to Skype with us, where we can ask any kind of question we want about their writing style, about their own lives, or whether or not they made the curtains blue because the character is sad or because they really like the color blue. When I went to the Battle of the Books event last year, this was my favorite segment. I was able to ask questions to some of my favorite authors AND come home with some bookish swag.

I loved this event SO much last year, and I was so excited when I finally saw the list of books that we are reading this year. I can't wait to read them (I haven't read any of them yet!).

Alive by Scott Sigler
A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabba Tahir
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

The Novice by Taran Matharu
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart ...

19547856Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

15724396Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

23437156Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first. 
22521951Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.
Have you read these books? Let me know which book to read first by commenting down below! :) I am so excited for this event and I will keep you updated on my feelings for these books as I finish them! I am really excited to be a part of Battle for the Books this year, and I hope you guys can help me out by picking the first book for me to read!

If you had to pick one of these books to read, which one would you read?

I have another question for you: Do I have to read the Percy Jackson books before Magnus Chase? Do I have to read the Grisha Series (Shadow and Bone, etc.) by Leigh Bardugo before Six of Crows?


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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on our blog posts! I will always try and get back to each and every single one of your comments! Please feel free to leave suggestions for new books to review, as well as comments on the individual reviews themselves. Again, thank you so much for stopping by!