Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review: The One Thing

The One Thing 
Author: Marci Lyn Curtis
Release date: September 8, 2015
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maggie lost her sight 6 months ago and she's still fired up about it. She still hasn't let go of hope that she's going to get her sight back and rule the soccer field again someday. Maggie even has a probation officer because of a school prank she pulled. It's at that probation officer's place that she accidentally falls and cracks her head on the floor. When she looks up there's a boy with light all around him! She can see! Sadly she can only see just around this young boy, but she'll take it. The question is HOW is this happening and what will she do now?

My thoughts: This was a decent story that not only pulls you through Maggie's story of frustration and angst, but it also shows you the world of a young boy who has Spina Bifida and is handicapped himself using crutches to get around. Of course there's also the little boy's brother, Mason Milton.

The characters in this one were nicely done with our MC being full of angst, and our secondary characters being descriptive enough to make me happy. I hate it when there isn't enough about them. The relationship that little boy, Ben, and our MC, Maggie, develop is one of mutual need even though neither one realize it at first. When her family has folded in on itself and is barely recognizable anymore, Maggie finds Ben and Mason's family to be a magnet of normalcy where she can be herself. 

I have a feeling that my high schoolers might really like this one, but I had a hard time with it. It was poor, just very average for me. It was as if there was something missing from it. I also had a hard time with the whole idea of Maggie being able to see again when she's with Ben. That was just silly for me. I have a feeling that's what was wrong with me when reading this one. 

Maggie and Mason's story was sweet, I loved her relationship with Ben, her relationship with her family seemed very real and well done, but the whole idea of her "sight" was just goofy for me. I couldn't seem to shake it off. 

Final thoughts: This was a decent read, but I had wished there was "more" somehow. 

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Fairytale Retellings We've Read...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team over at Broke and the Bookish! Leave a link to your Top 10 below!

Top 10 Fairytale Retellings We've Read...

1. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Szieska - 3 Little Pigs

2. Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson - Cinderella

3. Rump & Jack by Liesl Shurtliff - Rumpelstiltskin & Jack and the Beanstalk. Next comes "Red" - Little Red Riding Hood. 

4. The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer - 

5. A Tale Dark & Grimm series by Adam Gidwitz - 

6. Domitila by Jewell Reinhart - a mexican Cinderella story

7. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas - Beauty and the Beast, and more.

8. Splintered by A.G. Howard - Alice In Wonderland, so not quite fairytale but I think it counts!

9. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale - Grimm's Goose Girl 

10. The Bloody Chamber and other stories by Angela Carter - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, and SO many more! (Warning; these are rather adult in my opinion, but brilliant!)

What's on your Top 10 this week?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #183 - What You Left Behind & Hunter

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Jessica Verdi 
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Published by: Sourcebooks

It's all Ryden's fault. If he hadn't gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he's failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it's not like he's had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.
The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She's fun and energetic--and doesn't know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg's journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden's convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can't let go of the past? (Summary from Goodreads)

Oh my, does this not sound sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time? I love the POV choice, and I can't wait to get my hands on this book. 

(Hunter, Book 1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Release Date: September 1, 2015 
Published by: Disney-Hyperion 

Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why. (Summary from Goodreads)

I have this one from NetGalley and am excited to try my 1st written by her. I've heard SO much about how people really like her writing. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: A School for Unusual Girls

A School for Unusual Girls 
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Series: Stranje House, Book 1
Release date: May 19, 2015 
Published by: Tor Teen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's the time of Napoleon, who is now exiled to Elba. There are many who would like to take over and bring him back. Now that Britain is so completely overcome by war on so many fronts, it may not be able to hold on to what they've gained. When Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam's parents send her to Stranje House after a firm takes over the stables while she's conducting experiments, she thinks she's been dumped off for beatings and dungeons for the rest of her time there. She is nicely surprised to find out she has actually been given the chance of a lifetime to finally be who she truly is while learning to hide it from others better. Her new school is actually a school for spies!

My thoughts: This was FANTASTIC! I loved how smart and amazing the MC is, and how horrible her parents are which made me wonder if things like that ever truly happened. The way the girls are completely discarded by their families just because they're found to be "embarrassing" in some way is abhorrent! It was rather fun to see the drama that they put on though for the parents and new students/recruits.

Ms. Stranje is without a doubt a very cool character who has wiggled herself into so much intrigue behind the scenes in Britain. She has also trained the unusually exceptional young ladies of Stranje House to help her in her causes around the country. 

There are so many secondary characters that are wonderful and fascinating in this story, that I am going to let you find out on your own about them. No ruining it for you here! ;)

I will tell you about Georgie though. She is amazingly smart! Wow! She knows so much about so much! She is especially good at chemistry and science of all kinds. How cool is that!? She has spent so much of her life being treated like crap by her family that when she gets settled into Stranje House and begins to really open up and live it is a wonderful thing to be a part of in the story. 

Final thoughts: If you like a book that's historical "sort of" that also has a theme of girl power while also allowing for some amazing adventure along the way...then THIS IS FOR YOU! Get it now! LOVED IT and can't wait for book 2! This is one I will even be buying for my shelves since this was from NetGalley. 

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #182 - Never Always Sometimes & School for Sidekicks

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Adi Alsaid
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Published by: Harlequin Teen

Never date your best friend.
Always be original.
Sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliche high school kids--the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the cliches, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love. (Summary from Goodreads)

This one sounds sweet--a cute coming-of-age story between best friends...or something more.

Author: Kelly McCullough
Release Date: April 4, 2015 
Published by: Feiwel & Friends/

Evan Quick is a GIANT superhero geek who dreams of one day becoming a superhero himself. Every morning he checks to see if he's developed his powers overnight, and ever day there's nothing. No flying, no super strength, no invulnerability--that always hurts to check--no telepathy, no magic. Not even the ability to turn off the alarm clock without smacking the switch.

But then Evan somehow manages to survive a supervillian's death ray, and is sent to the Academy for Metahuman Operatives. Unfortunately, his new school is not what he expected, and instead of fighting bad guys, Evan finds himself blacklisted, and on the wrong side of the school's director. If Evan ever wants to realize his dream, he must convince his "mentor" Foxman", a semi-retired has-been, to become a real hero once again. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds SO FUN! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Diverse Books/Characters...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team over at Broke and the Bookish! Leave a link to your Top 10 below!

Top 10 Books with Diversity/Diverse Characters...

1. Wonder by R.J. Palacio - This is about a boy who overcomes being scared of how he thinks others will treat him, his fear of going to school, and worrying about what other will think of him.

2. Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine - This is about a girl who finds a way to make whites and blacks friends. She also learns that it doesn't matter if people bully her as long as she is strong in the way she feels about herself. 

3. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern - Amy is a main character with cerebral palsy who has decided she wants to seek out friends who aren't adults. This is a very emotionally engaging story. 

4. One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva - I love this story about Alek who explores his reality: maybe a boyfriend is really what he wants. 

5. Skin by Donna Jo Napoli - Sep is an interesting main character because she is dealing with a skin pigment issue called vitiligo. It's a good story about learning to love who you are. 

6. Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman - This is a story about Dani who immigrates to the United States after "The Crisis" in Argentina. I learned a lot about a piece of Argentinian history that was fascinating; plus, I truly enjoyed Dani's character throughout the story.

7. The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen - Running is Jessica's life...until a car accident causes her to lose her leg. This story has a lot of spirit as Jessica comes to terms with her life as it is now and realizes all the possibilities still open to her--but it's a long journey. 

8. The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare - the MC has a deformed leg because the leg was crushed as a baby. His father refused to ever use magic again so he grew up with this handicap which has kept him from running, playing games, etc. When he falls into the Iron Trial he finds that perhaps he'll be able to do other things he's never even dreamed he could do overcoming his handicap.

9. She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick - The MC in this book is blind and goes on a mission with her little brother in tow to find their father who she's sure is in danger somehow even though no one else thinks so. She even has to get them both across an ocean to start their search. 

10. I Am Malala: the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai - Holy moly did I learn a lot about how the Taliban started in her village and a lot about the contemporary history of that area which I knew NOTHING about! It was extremely eye opening, and very well written. She is an AMAZING human being. I cannot wait to see what else she is able to accomplish in this world. 

What's on your Top 10 this week?

Review: The Novice

The Novice 
Author: Taran Matharu
Series: Summoner, Book 1
Release date: May 5, 2015
Published by: Feiwel & Friends/MacMillan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Orphaned Fletcher has been learning to be a blacksmith his whole life under the tutelage of the man who took him in as a baby after he was left naked in the snow outside the village gates. As an orphan is treated as the lowest of individuals, but has been able to not only learn much about blacksmithing, but also hunting and weapons as well from his adoptive father. Sadly, one night of curiosity ends in a horrific incident which sends Fletcher fleeing from the only home he's ever known. Will he be able to hide from those who are surely chasing him? Then during a mugging in the King's city he's helped by none other than a battlemage who then sends him on to Adept Military Academy to learn to fight the orcs with his newfound talent. Will he be able to keep up with the noble's children who have been trained since birth? What about Ignatius, his demon? Will he learn to work as one with him? Whatever may come he must learn to help the empire in any way he can.

My thoughts: I LOVED THIS! This was so well written and different! I cannot believe he first wrote this when he was just in primary school! That's SO crazy cool! I wasn't quite sure about his one when I started thinking it might be really dark because of the orcs and demons, but it isn't dark because of that at all. It's dangerous because of them, but not dark. What makes parts of Fletcher's story dark are the evil people around him who use their power they have or think they have to violate, bully and degrade him just because they don't feel he's a worthwhile person in their society.

Fletcher is an amazing character who has grown up with amazingly difficult times around him. There has been a war going on against the orcs his whole life and before, while a new "war" against the elves is now going on as well. From his learning to be a blacksmith to learning what it means to by a summoner. 

There are so many great characters in this book though: from his adoptive father in Pelt...to the battlemage's he meets at the school, and especially the one who sponsors him...to the other commoners who are also starting at Adept Military Academy with him...to his demon, Ignatius. In fact all of the demons are really cool, and honestly they are really characters as well in the book adding a whole level of interest in the book.

I cannot wait for the next book and seriously hope that it comes out quickly! I'm SO glad I got an ARC of this to try from MacMillan. Thanks MacKids! 

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