Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: For Real by Alison Cherry

For Real 
Author: Alison Cherry
Release date: December 9, 2014
Published by: Delacorte Press
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if your brilliant, beautiful older sister needed your help? What if you suggested going on a reality T.V. show in order to enact revenge against her cheating ex-boyfriend?

Miranda is the older sister who has it all together. She’s funny, beautiful, has a ton of friends, and seems so self-assured and focused that Claire feels like she is not Miranda’s equal. Claire is a quiet, introverted person who looooooooooooooves reality T.V shows and would prefer watching other people do things than do them herself. She is awkward and klutzy, and as a kid needed Miranda’s help to put herself out there.

But now Miranda needs Claire’s help, and Claire’s solution is to go on a reality T.V. show that involves racing around the world as a team. The only reason Miranda agrees to participate is because her cheating ex has also been accepted to compete on the show. And Miranda and Claire name their team Team Revenge.

I love this story. It is full of unforgettable sister moments, as well as, powerful coming-of-age moments for Claire. Each sister has a unique voice because their personalities are so different, but they learn that while each sister has her own strengths and weaknesses, together they compliment each other.

Alison Cherry has included some fun twists and turns within the basic plot of revenge which make this story really move. I’m not going to say much more about it because I don’t want to give anything away. However, I could not put it down because I loved discovering what was going to be around the next corner in the race and in Claire and Miranda’s relationship. You’ll laugh out loud at moments, be super frustrated with one sister or the other at times, and feel excitement over what comes next in their adventure always.

If you enjoy fun, powerful relationship stories, pick this one up and I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #170 - P.S. I Still Love You & A School for Unusual Girls

"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: Jenny Han
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Published by: Simon&Schuster Books for Young Readers

Lara Jean didn't expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren't. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean's feelings for him return too. Can a girls be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that's part of what makes it so amazing. (Summary from Goodreads)

I thought the first book was interesting and sweet. I can't wait to see the next chapter in the story :)

Author: Kathleen Baldwin 
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Published by: Tor Teen

It's 1814. Napoleon is exile on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England's dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society's constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies--plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father's stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible--until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads--or their hearts... (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds SO much like Gail Carriger's books which I ADORE! I am really hoping they are a bit similar honestly! A bit steampunk and a bit romantic equaling lovely adventure all around. Plus, who really fits in completely anywhere!? 

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

The Girl at Midnight 
Author: Melissa Grey
Series: The Girl at Midnight, Book 1 
Release date: April 28, 2015 
Published by: Delacorte Press
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a young girl is taken under the wing (literally) by an Avicen, an ancient creature of feathers and magic, her world not only changes, but becomes something amazing. Echo grows up in her nest learning all that she can about their world while reading everything she can get her hands on in the library and continuing her thieving ways. Then one day, The Ala tasks her with finding a legendary Firebird before anyone else. Of course things aren't as easy as they seem they will be when she sets out to take on this job, and soon they are on a completely different course then she thought they would be...

My thoughts: WOW! This was an adventure full of fantasy wrapped in our own world! I loved how the setting of this story is our own time and place, but with seriously magical and fantastic characters and creatures who have been at war for so long they don't even know what they're fighting about anymore. (Romeo and Juliet anyone!?) 

The fantasy creatures/characters of the Avicen and the Drakharin are seriously cool. The detail and variety was so very interesting that I could easily picture their plumes and scales in my mind. It was glorious. Plus, the fact that these groups have been there all along right under our very human noses and we have never noticed is just too cool of a concept as usual for me! That is ALWAYS catnip for me! 

Another element that really kept me going was how our main character, Echo, became part of a "Scooby Gang" of sorts to "save the world." They never actually say any of those words, but that's how I felt and I really do so love it when a group, especially one that's a mixture from both "sides of the track", comes together to save us all. It makes me warm and fuzzy! ;) 

The villains in this were seriously nasty! To have a sister who is supposed to love you and protect you be the one who has destroyed the things in your life that you have loved is just beyond evil! And there are others on the Avicen side as well who are just ignorant and happy to be so because of tradition, or because perhaps there might be a fella they really like who's never looked at them the way he's looked at someone else so you can never be safe in a dark place with them. I mean...WHOA! 

The main character, Echo, was wonderfully smart and sassy! She had been on her own for a very long time, but even in this world where she's had to fight for her place in it she's always shined even without the bright plumage. 

The romance was just right in this one! How did she do that? I never feel that way. I'm always frustrated in some little way about that element, but this was just right. It didn't feel silly, or fake, or rushed. Nicely done. 

Final thoughts: What a fantastic start to a new series! Adventure and mystery from beginning to end. I cannot wait to not only buy my own copy, since this was an eGalley and will disappear now, but also cannot wait for book 2!! AHHH! 


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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #169 - The Isle of the Lost

"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: Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Published by: Disney- Hyperion

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Forest is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be? (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds AMAZING! It also gives a description of the kids of the villains who have been growing up on the island and oh does this sound fun! I cannot wait to read this series! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret 
Author: Bob Shea
Release date: May 5, 2015
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ballet Cat loves to dance and twirl and spin, but Sparkle Pony has a secret today. That secret could change everything about their playing ways though and Ballet Cat doesn't know what to do. Will their friendship survive?

My thoughts: ADORABLE! Wow! I don't know when I last read a book aloud that the girls loved more and that I enjoyed doing the voices of while reading to them as well! Too darn fun! Plus it is incredibly sweet. When I was at a session with Disney at ALAMW15 where they promoted this one they mentioned that this is also going to be a series. How great is that!? I can't wait for more Ballet Cat! Woot! Woot! 

The girls thoughts: They love it and cannot wait to have the next book to read! Also, "Read it again! And again!" Even though they're now 8 & 10!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #168 - A Court of Thorns and Roses

"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: Sarah J. Maas 
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Published by: Bloomsbury Children's

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin--one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it...or doom Tamlin - and his world - forever. (Summary from Goodreads)

The tag says that this is, "perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore" and her books are my favorite!!! I'm in! Plus, that cover is AMAZING!!!

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #167 - The Start of Me and You, Hit & Dream a Little Dream

"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: Emery Lord 
Release Date: March 31, 2015 
Published by: Bloomsbury 

It's been a year since it happened--when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school...and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her-the perfect way to convince everyone she's back to normal. Next: Join a club-simple, it's high school after all. But when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live? (Summary from Goodreads)

Oh, I love a sweet romance. 

(Hit, Book 1)
Author: Delilah S. Dawson 
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Published by: Simon Pulse 

No one reads the fine print.

The good news is that the USA is finally out of debt. The bad news is that we were bought out by Valor National Bank, and debtors are the new big game, thanks to a tricky little clause hidden deep in the fine print of a credit card application. Now, after a swift ad silent takeover that leaves 9-1-1 calls going through to valor voicemail, they're unleashing a wave of anarchy across the country.

Patsy didn't have much of a choice. When the suits showed up at her house threatening to kill her mother then and there for outstanding debt unless Patsy agreed to be an indentured assassin, what was she supposed to do? Let her mother die?

Patsy is forced to take on a five-day mission to complete a hit list of ten names. Each nae on Patsy's list has only three choices: pay the debt on the spot, agree to work as a bounty hunter, or die. And Patsy has to kill them personally, or else her mom take a bullet of her own.

Since yarn bombing is the only rebellion in Patsy's past, she's horrified and overwhelmed, especially as she realizes that most of the ten people on her list aren't strangers. things get even more complicated when a moment of mercy lands her with a sidekick: a hot rich kid named Wyatt whose brother is the last name on Patsy's list. The two share an intense chemistry even as every tick of the clock draws them closer to an impossible choice.

Delilah S. Dawson offers an absorbing, frightening glimpse at a reality just steps away from ours--a taut, suspenseful thriller that absolutely mesmerizes from start to finish. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds perfectly horrifying and too close to how what our future could possible be. YIKES!!! 

Author: Kerstin Gier (translated by Anthea Bell) 
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yep, Liv's dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she's in a graveyard at night, watching four boys perform dark magic rituals.

The really weird thing is that Liz recognizes the boys in her dream. They're classmates from her new school in London, the school in London, the school where she's starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But they seem to know things about her in real life that they couldn't possibly know, which is mystifying. Then again, Liv could never resist a good mystery.... (Summary from Goodreads)

Dreams are so dangerous...they can be amazingly sweet, terrifying, intense, passionate, dangerous and so much more...this could be SO good! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

All the Rage 
Author: Courtney Summers
Release date: April 14, 2015
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Romy is "the girl who cried rape", and Kellan Turner is the Sheriff's son and the golden boy of town that everyone thinks is perfect. She has been found to be a liar, and as such has lost everything--her friends, her family--everyone. But then the golden girl disappears, and Romy was secretly one of the very last to have a meaningful conversation with her the evening before...could this be history repeating itself somehow? What IS the cost of her silence?

My thoughts: This is a raw, and shameful story of one small town's dirty secrets. Of course it could be any town, anywhere which is what makes this story not only so awful but also so good. 

So many of us have grown up in towns, or even cities, that are so darn small. In those small towns so many of them have sad, and rather dark secret little histories with stories of things that either have happened and been ignored or things that happened and were then altered to be something else after the fact. Sometimes these are small things and sometimes these are big things. We've all heard the stories, or we've all seen the movies if we haven't the stories ourselves. I grew up in, and still live in, just such a small little city. There are so many stories...from a substitute teacher who partied with the high school a specific spot with a specific name that the high schoolers partied at in the middle of the country then there are darker stories too...

This story that Courtney Summers spins in ALL THE RAGE is a darker story, and oh what a sad, sad story it is filled with awful people. Both the adults and the classmates all around the main character of Romy are just awful. This treatment is all because the main character claims that she was raped by a boy who is the son of the Sheriff's and the richest woman around who owns the only big business to "be anything" from their little town. Plus, poor Romy (literally) has an extremely alcoholic father who has broken their family apart completely right around the time this happens unfortunately. Oh, and guess who the dad worked for!? You betcha! The richie rich mom! Who he called a very naughty word and then got fired. Ugh! Now she never sees her father, all the kids at school hate her and the bullying there is completely out of control. 

To try to deal with all of this horrifyingness on her own because she is in complete denial and just wants to forget everything since she's certainly not getting any help from the law anytime soon, she works every night after school outside of town so she doesn't have to run into anyone she might know, she keeps her head down, and she wears red lipstick and nail polish like armor! Then she meets Leon, and thinks there's hope that maybe someone might like her again as long as they don't know anything about her story or her life/town. But once the Golden Girl disappears and there's tons of media coverage around her town she begins to have a very hard time keeping the "life" she created after the rape separate from her "real life". 

Summers does such a good job making you feel Romy's brokenness. The need to hurt yourself again and again just so you can feel something again because you are so numb all the time afterward. Also, the mean girls and the mean boys were so mean! Whoa! But I've seen it and heard it in the halls...they turn on you in an instance! And they are SO good and hiding it from adults it is unbelievable. 

What I really didn't like about the story was the broken mother. I wanted the mother to be stronger, and to stand up for her daughter! Why didn't she do that? I just didn't understand that part of the story at all. I don't know parents like that. 

Final thoughts: A good new "Broken Girl" addition to any collection. 

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

The Sin Eater's Daughter 
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter, Book 1
Release date: February 24, 2015
Published by: Scholastic Press 
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A young girl has been blessed by the Gods and as blessed she cannot be touched without lethal consequences in this kingdom of intrigue and mysterious ways. As long as the Queen isn't angered all shall be fine...won't it?

My thoughts: This was an interesting one. I picked this one up because of the cover. The cover is GORGEOUS! WOW! Plus, the idea that you cannot touch anyone just like the X-men's Rogue, or like the MC from Mafi's Shatter Me Trilogy is just fascinating and horrifying all at once. Isn't it? Like a car accident on the side of the road that you can't help but look at even if you know you shouldn't look because it's going to be terrible.

The huge difference here is that in Twylla's courtly world she has the Queen (a horrific villian) to deal with who controls everything no matter what. If you cross her in any way at all, or if she even thinks that you have crossed her in any way (even if you just giggled by accident, or because you're drunk) she will have the court hounds tear you apart limb from limb! O_O 

Here are some things I really found interesting and well done about this story...

  • Twylla's mother - The Sin Eater of the kingdom! Wow! She is fierce and powerful in her own right! Twylla was her apprentice until she was swept away to the palace to be the Daunen Embodied by the Queen to be betrothed to the Prince.
  • The mythology - this was so interesting and built so well to explain the kingdom's history.
  • The villian - WHOA! She was SO SCARY! Everyone walked, or ran, or even hid...whatever it took where this lady was concerned! WOW! She wrote the book on being crazy! 
  • The hopelessness and feeling of being trapped - Twylla's situation is such a terrible one where Salisbury is so very good and making us feel her despair and isolation from all that she knows and loves which you learn much, much more about as you read later on in the book. 
What I had a hard time with...
  • The complete melancholiness of the whole tale. It was just too much for me. 
  • Twylla's helplessness when she has so much power. How can she be so clueless!? I have a very hard time with this in characters. They need to grow! 
In the end I was left disappointed, and wondering it because I'm older then the characters? I'm not sure. Maybe. It was terrifying which was perfect. The mother-daughter bits were also good, but the rest...meh, and they seemed to go on and on even though the book really wasn't the long. 

What did you think of it? Did you like it? What is it that I'm missing? 
What do you think of the cover? 

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