Sunday, March 31, 2013

In My Mailbox 6--And Happy Easter!

In My Mailbox is a book blog meme hosted by The Story Siren. It highlights the books that we have received, bought, downloaded, or borrowed this week.

Before I do this, however, I have to say--HAPPY EASTER!
Today was a pretty huge week for me.  I got a ton of books from my Ebook library and a lot of free downloads on kindle.  So this may be a pretty big post.
Silent Changes

Silent Changes

By Melissa Murphy

Coexist (Keegan's Chronicles, #1)


By Julia Crane
Just a Little Crush (Just a Little #1)


Just A Little Crush

By Tracie Puckett
The Solitaire Prince

The Solitaire Prince

By Tyan Wyss
(P.S. My cover doesn't look like this one, it's much better than this!)
My Very UnFairy Tale Life (My Very UnFairy Tale Life, #1)Borrowed (From Ebook Library):


My Very UnFairy Tale Life

By Anna Staniszewski
The Mystery of the Missing Everything


The Mystery of the Missing Everything

By Ben Winters
The Locked Garden

The Locked Garden

By Gloria Whelan
The Year the Swallows Came Early

The Year the Swallows Came Early

By Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Viola in Reel Life (Viola, #1)


Viola In Reel Life

By Adriana Trigiani

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: Coralina

Coralina (The Nine Princesses Novellas, #2)


By Anita Valle

Summary: Coralina Corissa, known as “Coco” to her eight sisters, is the prettiest princess of a hundred kingdoms. And she knows it. Her beauty has always given her anything she wanted... and any man she wanted.

Runa Realm is facing a new threat. Strange bandits, disguised as nobles, are attacking beautiful women to steal their hair. Coralina isn’t concerned. Until Prince Luxley, her favorite (but not only) lover, gets clobbered by a peasant called Gord, who mistakenly assumed the prince was a bandit.

Outraged, Coralina plans to punish the peasant by deliberately breaking his heart. But Gord is nearly blind. For the first time ever, Coralina must rely on more than her looks to ensnare a man. But the harder she flirts, the more Gord seems to hate her. And the more her own heart (and hair) becomes endangered.

The Nine Princesses Novellas is a series that chronicles the adventures of an unconventional family of princesses, the struggles they face in a kingdom often hostile to their humble origins, and the day-to-day dramas of nine young women whose personalities often clash like swords. Fans of Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale would enjoy this young-adult series. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Genres: YA/Juvenile, Romance, Fantasy

Published: November 28, 2012

Series: The Nine Princesses Novellas By Anita Valle

My Rating: 4 stars

This is a book where I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I had read the first book, Maelyn, and I thought it was alright.  This book, however, is one of my favorites of 2013!

Coco is a character who I know I shouldn't like, but I did anyway. She is spoiled, a flirt, and she takes pleasure in breaking men's hearts.  But you know what? I didn't care. Under all that, you could see through how she interacted with Pipsy that she was actually a decent human being.  I identify more with Maelyn, but I enjoyed reading about Coralina more. 

Gord....hmmm.  I had mixed feelings about him.  He was another interesting character, but I don't think I exactly liked him as much as I should have.  The ending was definitely not a cliche romance ending, which may be the reason for my unfair feelings toward him.  I liked his daughter, Pipsy, more than him.

At first, I thought the bandits would be sort of babyish. I mean, they were stealing hair! But, considering that, I thought that they were actually written pretty well.  When I found out who the bandits were, it made even more sense and really added to the story.

The story kind of had an ending, it kind of didn't. A few things were resolved, and others seemed to be leading up to the next book, Heidel.  And now that I've read Coralina, I am definitely reading Heidel!

I would definitely recommend you read this story.  I don't think you need to read Maelyn to read this book, but I have a feeling Maelyn will be important later on  in the series, so perhaps you should. It is a short, fun, read that is unexpectedly great!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review: Trust No One

Trust No One (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #5)

Trust No One

By Linda Sue Park

Summary: When seven members of their family were kidnapped, thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, got ready for the fight of their lives. But their enemy, a terrifying group known as the Vespers, remained frustratingly elusive. They stay in the shadows, picking off Cahills one by one.

And now the Vespers have landed their most serious blow yet - a blow that strikes at the very heart of the Cahill family. Because Amy and Dan discover that there's a Vesper mole in their innermost circle. Amy and Dan need to smoke out the traitor before the next hostage dies. They have just days to discover who has their back . . . and who wants to sink a knife into it.

In this fifth volume to The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers series. Amy and Dan will venture into an unthinkable adventure that will have anticipating the final volume.

Genres: Juvenile/YA, Action, Adventure, Mystery

Published: December 4, 2012

Similar/Series: 39 Clues Series by Various Authors, 39 Clues: Cahills Vs. Vespers by Various Authors

My Rating: 4 stars

This book was arguably the best in the series. The Vespers felt a lot more real than in the previous books; I was always wondering, if they are so ruthless, why haven't any of the hostages been killed yet? They keep disobeying and trying to escape. It wasn't that I wanted them to die, it's just that if the Vespers were as ruthless as the story claimed, at least one Cahill hostage would have bit the dust by now. Well, in this book (view spoiler)SPOILER   Uncle Alistair did. -Sad yay-

One thing I didn't like, however, was that in this book Amy was less cool, fearless leader, and more Mockingjay Katniss-ish. Near the end, she goes slightly insane. I understand why, though I don't exactly like it. Amy kind of annoyed me when she did that.

It was also interesting to learn about Archimedes. And finally, all the stuff the Vespers are making the Cahills steal makes sense. The ending was another cliff hanger that made me want to have the sixth book in my hands right at that very moment!

The unexpected plot twists, exhilerating action, and unbelievable ending made this a great book to read. But, in the sixth book, it better say who Amy is going to end up with, because otherwise that whole love square--yes, square, there are THREE guys--will be for nothing!

P.S. I didn't like this cover at ALL. Ugly scorpion does not equal gorgeous cover!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: Freaked Out (Beacon Street Girls #7)

Freaked Out

Freaked Out

By Annie Bryant

Summary: Julia Faber's Hawaiian-themed birthday bash is the talk of Abigail Adams Junior High, but one of the Beacon Street Girls doesn't get an invitation. Should the others be loyal to their slighted friend and miss the party of the year? And Maeve's got more than the party on her mind: She's in deep trouble in math class and afraid she may have to repeat seventh grade.

It's no wonder the BSG are freaking out!
Genres: Chick-Lit, Juvenile, Realistic Fiction
Published: February 5, 2006
Similar: Lake Rescue by Annie Bryant
My Rating: 3 stars
This was a nice fluff read for me.  I don't know if this necessarily should be considered a fluff read, with all the social issues Annie Bryant packed into this 248 page book, but it was.  I'll explain what I liked and didn't like about the social issues later in this review.
The Beacon Street Girls have made their rebound from Lake Rescue! Yay! I hated Lake Rescue, guys. Absolutely hated it. Any-who....this was an enjoyable story that is perfect for girls ages 8-11. I don't know if it's really a book a lot of teens will like because of the way it is written, but that age group would love it.  The girls go through regular tween stuff and there's not too much romance in Freaked Out. A crush is mentioned a couple times, but that isn't the main focus of the book, which is nice. Many kids will be able to relate to Maeve's test issues.
What I found unrealistic about the girl's behavior, however, was their dialogue. I kept trying to attach it to the way regular 7th graders would speak, and I couldn't.  And sometimes, the girls would act a bit Mary Sue-ish.  This doesn't happen all the time in the book, but every once in a while I would pick up on it. 
Also, the underage drinking thing....I know I might get some backlash for saying this, but I didn't like it that much. First off, the boys who are drinking are in eighth grade. I know that some kids start that young, but I felt that it would have been way more realistic if they were already in high school. Also, when the kid barfs all over Maeve, I kept thinking of Pitch Perfect, where Aubrey pukes all over and then Lilly makes a puke angel. (Gross, I know!) So, I couldn't really take the scene seriously, I just kept giggling.
It was good, but it wasn't great.  I liked it, I didn't love it.  The first book was by far the best, in my opinion.  Still, younger girls will really like this series, regardless of the flaws. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: To Rise Above

To Rise Above

To Rise Above

By Julianne Jones

Summary: Katie, Samuel and Rhiannon have settled into a distant land but soon their faith will be tested beyond anything they had ever imagined...

After being wrongly accused and forced to give up everything, Katie Donovan has found new friends, new faith and a new family. But when it looks as if she’ll have to face even more heartache and loss will she have the strength to bear it?

Samuel McKinnon has accepted God’s plans for his life but he is about to come face-to-face with the harsh realities of colonial life. Will he give up or will he have the faith to persevere?

Rhiannon Sanford finally has the siblings she has longed for but then tragedy strikes and it looks as if she’ll lose everything she holds precious. Will she have the courage and faith to rise above?
Genres: Christian, Historical Fiction, Romance, YA
Published: January 22, 2013

Similar: Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke
My Rating: 3.5 stars
This book was unexpectedly good, though there were a few things that I felt could have been improved upon.  It is a teen book, but it is not at all a fluffy read, though still very enjoyable.  The writing style in here reminded me of Janette Oke.
I'm going to start with the positives first.  The characters were very real and likeable.  I really felt bad for Katie.  I kind of felt bad for Rhiannon as well, but Katie was definitely my favorite character.  Seamus and Moses were really adorable, and I loved reading about the Sanford's adoptive family. It was so sweet!
I also liked Samuel, though he isn't exactly my favorite guy I've read about.  I didn't connect with his character the way I could with the others, but I didn't dislike him either.  If I could describe him in one word, it would be 'nice'. He didn't have as much personality as Katie and Rhiannon, but I still liked him.
The setting was very interesting and unique. I haven't read too many books where the setting is Australia during the time it was a penal colony. It was very interesting.
Now...onto the negatives.
The first one isn't truly a negative, just a warning. THIS IS A SEQUEL!!! I didn't know that until after the book was finished, and I kept thinking, I wish there was some more background information...what happened to Katie? How about Seamus? I had a general idea, but because I didn't know it was a sequel, I didn't know specifics. So, if you do read the book, read To A Distant Land first! I didn't, and while it isn't too noticeable, there are some things that will be clearer.  (Note: this warning did not hurt the book's rating because it was my own fault.  This is just a head's up so others don't make the same mistake.)
Also, everything worked out a bit too neatly.  (This paragraph has a lot of SPOILERS.)  It started with Seamus possibly getting taken away by his father...but it ends up not being his father. Then, Katie's family is coming when Katie is about to be adopted...but her dad dies, so her whole family can get taken in by the Sanfords and there's no real conflict. Rhiannon can't walk again...yes she can, with some leg splints. These were the main instances, but there were a couple smaller ones as well. I can't stand when this happens because it's not realistic, so I was sad that it was in an otherwise extremely good book.
Over all, this is a really good book perfect for lovers of historical fiction.  I really liked it, and, though it had a couple of things that irked me a bit, for the most part it was very well written. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

In My Mailbox #5

In My Mailbox is a book blog meme hosted by The Story Siren. It highlights the books that we have received, bought, downloaded, or borrowed this week.

Another small week, but I'm kind of glad. There's still 20 books on my kindle that I've yet to read, and I really want to finish them all!

Princess of the Silver Woods (Princess, #3)

Princess of the Silver Woods

by Jessica Day George

I cannot wait to read this! I bought a physical copy, but I was too lazy to snap a picture of it. So, here's the Goodreads one.

To Rise Above

To Rise Above

By Julianne Jones

I liked the cover, and it was free. Hopefully it is good!


By Davonna Juroe

This sounds amazing.  Like, really amazing.  And it was FREE.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: Chasing the Secret

Chasing the Secret (Sisters of the Sword, #2)

Chasing the Secret

By Maya Snow

Summary: A samurai will overcome all obstacles to face her enemy with honor. And she will show no mercy.

Kimi and her sister, Hana, disguised themselves as boys to study at Master Goku's dojo--and to prepare themselves to take revenge on the uncle who murdered their father and older brothers. They have become masters of the sword, and their combat skills are deadly. But after Master Goku's death, the sisters' future is uncertain.

When their uncle sees through their disguise, Kimi and Hana flee the dojo, but not all hope is lost: Word has come that their mother and younger brother are alive and waiting for them. Can Kimi, Hana, and their friend Tatsuya risk the perils that lie ahead and defeat their uncle in the hunt for their missing family? To do so, the young warriors must withstand terrible battles, treachery, shadowy ninja--and their own fear, on a journey that may lead them to their loved ones . . . and to the most dangerous choice of Kimi's life.
Genres: Adventure, Historical Fiction, Juvenile/YA
Published: February 1, 2009
Similar: Young Samurai series by Chris Bradford, Sisters of the Sword by Maya Snow
My Rating: 4 stars
Gosh, how I love this series. Chasing the Secret starts up right where Sisters of the Sword left off, and it does not take long for the thrilling action that was so prominent in Sisters of the Sword to show up in here. This book was just as exciting as the first and did not disappoint me at all!

Kimi and Hana do not disappoint in this story. The kick-butt female samurais show up again and show those male samurais a thing or two. I loved how Kimi would get out of bad situation after bad situation, without it being over repetitive. The plot twists in this book are unexpected in a good way, and I have a feeling that one of them is leading up to Tatsuyu finding his father! -squeal-

This isn't just an action book, though. I learned a bit about how life was back in Japan back then. I'll admit that I learned more in Sisters of the Sword, but there are still a couple interesting tidbits in here.

And the ending made me so eager to read book three! Maya Snow absolutely rocks at writing endings so that you can't wait until you can read the next book. The only thing library does not have book three. Poo.

So, if you haven't read this book, I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend it. Like I said in Sisters of the Sword, even people who hate reading have a good chance of becoming hooked on this addicting series!

Review: Jean and Johnny

Jean and Johnny

Jean and Johnny

By Beverly Cleary

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Jean is astonished when a handsome Johnny whirls her 'round the dance floor. She's never given much thought to boys before; now Johnny is all that's on her mind. Finally she finds the courage to invite him to a dance. But the excitement of a new dress and a scheme to take Johnny's photograph cannot stop jean's growing uneasiness that she likes Johnny a lot more than he likes her . . .This high-school story, which is both funny and touching, is about a girl who lacks self-confidence, and a boy who has too much.
Genres: Chick Lit, Romance, Juvenile/YA
Published: 1959
Similar: Fifteen by Beverly Cleary
My Rating: 3 stars
It took me a while to start enjoying this book. I think it had something to do with the fact that it's so...1950's. I've read a couple books that took place in the 1950's, but those were more like the Outsiders then Jean and Johnny.

I'll start with what I liked about it: it was a cute story about first loves. I liked the ending a lot. And for the most part, I liked Jean. She was a bit obsessive, but it's understandable; Johnny's her first crush!

Now, for what I didn't like. First, I couldn't really understand why Johnny was disliked by all of Jean's family. I guess they had different ideas about what makes a jerk in the 1950s, because for most of the book, I had no idea why Jean's family was wary of Johnny. He seemed like a nice person to me. I guess that I could kind of see what they were talking about, but not that much.

Plus, at times the characters annoyed me. I could somewhat identify with Jean, but at other times, I was rolling my eyes at her. The same with Elaine. They could be so annoying at times!

So, I don't know...I had mixed feelings about this book. It really was not as good as the Ramona books, or even the Henry Huggins books. At parts, I liked it, at parts I was kind of bored. It was a solid three stars.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: Sisters of the Sword

Sisters of the Sword (Sisters of the Sword, #1)

Sisters of the Sword

By Maya Snow

Summary: Kimi dreams of being a great samurai warrior, but she and her sister, Hana, are young ladies of feudal Japan, daughters of the "Jito" of the province. Her future seems clear: Girls do not become samurai.

Then, betrayal shatters the sisters' world. Their power-hungry uncle murders their father, and their mother and little brother mysteriously disappear. Determined to seek revenge and restore their honor, they disguise themselves as boys to train at a school for samurai. Kimi and Hana are thrown headlong into a life of warrior codes, sharp swords, and shadowy figures--as they work with fierce determination to avenge the brutal wrongs done to their family.

In a flash, life has swept them into a terrible adventure, more heart-pounding than Kimi and Hana ever could have imagined . . . and once it has been set in motion, nothing will ever be the same.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure, Juvenile/YA
Published: June 1, 2008
My Rating: 4 stars

I usually dislike historical fiction, but this book was so full of action that I didn't care. Sisters of the Sword is a must-read for any book lover!

I really loved the antagonist, Kimi and Hana's uncle. Or rather, I was enthralled with his evilness, if that's even a word. When you start reading the book, he sounds like the perfect relative; the one that you always knew would get the best Christmas presents, who you could always confide in. But, as the summary states, he ends up betraying his brother in the worst way possible. I went in this book not reading the summary, and I was so surprised!

The action in here appealed to the Hunger Games fan in me. Now, don't get me wrong; this book isn't at all like the Hunger Games, but when I was reading the fight scenes, there were a couple times where I was remembering Katniss talking about the careers and how they fought. I don't know if everyone would think that when reading this book, but that's how it was for me.

Also, Kimi and Hana are girls who are truly before their time. They, as girls, are not allowed to be samurai, but that does not stop them.

There was one thing that I was wondering about:  (SPOILER!)       
 (view spoiler)in the book, Kimi and Hana become servants. It seems to me like they were too good at it,considering they were the Jito's daughters. But the story was so good that I was able to suspend my disbelief while reading it.
In closing, it was a great book that I believe even reluctant readers could enjoy! I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Review: The Witch Queens

The Witch Queens (The Hidden History of Oz, #1)

The Witch Queens

By Tarl Telford

Summary: In this epic prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, young sorceress Glinda and her friends battle the tyrannical Wicked Witches and learn the true cost and responsibility of freedom.

The Witch Queens
Fifteen year-old Glinda is destined to one day become the most powerful sorceress in the land of Oz, but that day is still a long way off. Today she has much more pressing concerns - making sure that her hair is just wild enough to drive her sorceress mother crazy during the exotic Abracadabra Bazaar. But Glinda’s red-haired rebellion sets off a series of events that launch the Wicked Witches to power and embroil the land in war.
Glinda’s fiery red hair (and matching temper) have made her some powerful enemies. Kalinya rules the land of the East, but hungers for greater power. Ondri-baba desires the West and controls the Sandy Armies. Mombi seeks political power and allies herself with the new king, Pastoria, of the Emerald Lands. The lines are clearly drawn, with the freedom of all Oz hanging in the balance.
Driven from her home in the North, and running for her life, Glinda is no match for the allied Wicked Witches and their Sandy Armies. Not even the Winged Monkeys, slaves to a powerful magic, can turn the tide in this war.
The dream of freedom comes from a mysterious “wizard”, transported from pre-Civil War America, and his stories of revolution and liberty. These dreams spread and the inspired army grows daily. War clouds the entire land. In the wake of this upheaval, a city of emerald is built on principles of individual freedom, liberty, and responsibility.

The Hidden History of Oz, Book One: The Witch Queens is a powerful adventure for all ages. Join Glinda and her friends as they battle against tyranny and discover the true responsibility of freedom.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Published: July 11, 2012
Similar: The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum
My Rating: 4 stars
I read this book after watching Oz the Great and Powerful in theaters and was pleasantly surprised at the creativity of the story. This book is a must-read for fans of Wizard of Oz!

Unlike Oz the Great and Powerful, this story focuses on Glinda more than Oscar. I liked the original take on Glinda's personality; rather than being a goodie two shoes who likes to float around in bubbles--not that there's anything wrong with that--Glinda has a rebellious streak, and clashes with her mother often, which starts the chain of events in the book. I wasn't sure that Tarl Telford could pull off this personality twist, but he did it well. Oh, and she's a bookworm! YAY!

And then Oscar (The wizard) comes, and there's a bit of romance! His character also is a bit different from what I was expecting; he is way less cocky then in the movie, and much sweeter, in my opinion. I liked him.

You are also introduced to some new characters: Glinda's loveable friend Winkie-Kells, Omby-Amby, and many more.

The story is brilliantly told; it is somewhat dark at some parts, and has that hint of Frank Baum's original writing in it. It explains exactly how Oz came to be like it was when Dorothy arrived in a very unique and pageturning way, and leaves no detail out. It was a great story, and I enjoyed reading it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Survivors: The Empty City

The Empty City (Survivors #1)

Survivors: The Empty City

By Erin Hunter

Summary: The time has come for dogs to rule the wild.
Lucky is a golden-haired mutt with a nose for survival. He has always been a loner—roaming the streets of the busy city and relying on his instincts to get by. Other dogs have Packs, but Lucky doesn't long for the days he spent with his littermates. He stands alone.
Then the Big Growl strikes. Suddenly the ground is split wide open. The Trap House is destroyed. And all the longpaws have disappeared.
Now Lucky is trapped in a strange and desolate new world with no food, foul water, and enemies at every turn. He falls in with others left behind, including his littermate Bella, a Leashed dog. Relying on other dogs—and having them depend on him—brings new dangers that Lucky isn't prepared for, but he may not be able to survive on his own. Can Lucky ever be a true Pack dog?
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Juvenile
Published: August 21, 2012
Similar: Warriors by Erin Hunter
My Rating: 3.5 stars

Fans of Warriors Will either be absolutely delighted with Survivors, or they will hate it with a burning passion. Well, maybe not that intense, but they won't like it.

I enjoyed it, but I constantly was comparing it to Warriors, and that probably made it lose some points with me. You can't beat Warriors, let's face it. These are some things I came up with:

Lucky: Firestar
Loudcages: Monsters
Longpaws: Twolegs
Earth-Dog: Starclan (Kind of)
Pack: Clan
Fierce Dogs: Bloodclan/Shadowclan/any cats giving Thunderclan a hard time.

The Erin Hunters are definitely sticking to what they know best, but I think that's a good thing. However, I find it strange that they went right from cats to dogs. Hello, Bluestar's death? And now I can't like cats in this series! Good thing I'm both a cat and a dog person.

The Empty City is still pretty original, and it has a bit of dystopian in it as well....kind of. It's not honest-to-goodness dystopian, but it was still cool. And I found myself liking Lucky a lot; his personality is much different than Firestar's. Still, I don't think it lived up to Warriors, which disappointed me. It did beat Seekers, though.

All together, 3.5 stars for a mostly original story with some characters I am sure I will grow to adore. (I hope there's pups soon! Kits were the highlights of the book for me in Warriors! They're adorable!)

Review: Goldenhood



By Jessica Randall

Summary: Curiosity is a dangerous thing.

Whispers have followed Elise Dubois all her life. Dark intrigue runs through her ancient family line. The temptation has finally proven too much, and Elise searches for truth in the tales.

Now the old legends have returned. The village lays torn by suspicion, and a young girl must face evil to protect what is left of her family. But with two opposing forces vying for her allegiance, she must first decide which side she is on.
Genre: Retellings, Fantasy, YA
Published: December 4, 2012
Similar: Snow White & Rose Red: The Curse of the Huntsman by Lilly Fang
My Rating: 3 stars

Until halfway through Goldenhood, I was kind of bored. The story lacked a plot that I could really be immersed in, and the mystery had yet to reach its height. But then, right before the 50% mark on my kindle, I got really into the story.

It was interesting to learn about this particular fairy tale. I'd heard of Little Red Riding Hood, but never Goldenhood; at first I thought they were the same, but they aren't. Now, I have to read this fairy tale!

The book had a great mystery I thought I had guessed it, but I was still a bit surprised at the end. It was more than I'd expected! There was a teeny bit of a love triangle, but it wasn't a big part of the plot, and Elise, the heroine, never dwells on it. In the end, it added to the book's ending and would not be annoying to anyone who doesn't like love triangles. (I enjoy them!)

I would recommend this to people who enjoy the author Robin McKinley, or retold fairy tales in general.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Project ELE

Project ELE (ELE, #1)

Project ELE

By Courtney Nuckels and Rebecca Gober

Summary: Millions have already died, and thousands more are perishing daily. As a last ditch effort to preserve the human race, the government implements Project ELE. With the earth heating at rapid speeds, all remaining survivors are forced to turn to F.E.M.A. shelters to wait out ELE's wrath.

Fifteen-year-old Willow Mosby's life, as she knows it, ends the moment she walks through the shelter's door. Willow has to quickly adapt to the new challenges that shelter life demands, the least of which includes making new friends and working a full time job.

Soon after making an interesting discovery, Willow and her friends start exhibiting strange abilities. Seeking answers, they embark on a mission to find out what these new abilities mean and whether they are a gift or a curse.

This new adventure can send her world crashing down around her. The question is: Can Willow survive the fall?
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian, Fantasy, YA

Published: July 30, 2012

Similar: Currently N/A

My Rating: 2.5 stars

2.5 stars

I had many high hoped for this book when I read the reviews. It seemed like a perfect book for me. But the many grammar errors in this book made it lose much of its luster. And I had the revised version, I am sure of it, because it has the revised version cover.

The first thing I did not like about this story was, as stated above, the spelling and grammar errors. At one point, I had to giggle when I read this sentence:
Excitement coerces through me when we reach our cave.
(In case you missed it: coerce means to force somebody. It should be course.)

But that was not the only spelling/grammar mistake that had me groaning. There were almost never question marks after questions, and commas were repeatedly left out, making it confusing to read the story. I'm not being an English teacher here; I wouldn't care, but I like reading my story without being confused as to what the heck that sentence was supposed to mean. Even people who may not care about grammar in stories can find this annoying.

I also wasn't a big fan of all the gushy names. Alec and Zach almost always called Willow sugar, baby, honey, etc. I just wanted them to call her by her actual name for once; a few times is cute, but if you never call her by her real name, it gets annoying.

And, the romance was cheesy. Sorry. Claire and Connor weren't too bad, but in every other scene Willow and Alec are making out and Alec is saying something like, 'I am so glad you didn't die because I can't imagine life without you in it.' That's paraphrased; it sounded worse when I read it.

Also, at the beginning it seems like Willow is this kick-butt, Maximum Ride-ish heroine. Nope. She has her moments, but at most parts I saw here as being rather weak.

There were things I liked, of course. The ending was amazing. The beginning was too. It was the main part that I hated.

The big question is, will I read the next book in the series? I don't know that myself; with that ending I may just have to. Let's hope it's edited this time, though!

Waiting On Wednesday #3

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted on Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to show upcoming releases we can't wait to read!
Wednesdays in the Tower (Castle Glower #2)

Wednesdays in the Tower

By Jessica Day George

A castle that is constantly rearranging itself, and a young royal family sworn to protect it... Celie, Rolf, and their beloved Castle Glower are back in this exciting sequel.

Strange things are afoot in Castle Glower: new rooms, corridors, and even stables keep arriving, even when they aren't needed. Celie's brother Bran, the new Royal Wizard, has his hands full cataloguing an entire storeroom full of exotic and highly dangerous weapons, while Celie has her hands full . . . raising the creature that hatches from a giant egg she finds! Will they be able to find out what's making the Castle behave this way in time?


So, I recently reviewed Tuesdays in the Castle (It's right here). And, I have to say that I LOVED it; right after I finished it I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a copy of it. So, Wednesdays in the Tower is very high on my waiting list right now!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: Tuesdays at the Castle

Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower #1)

Tuesdays at the Castle

By Jessica Day George

Summary: Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. This delightful book from a fan- and bookseller-favorite kicks off a brand-new series sure to become a modern classic.
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Juvenile
Published: October 25, 2011
Similar: Currently N/A
My Rating: 4.5 stars
This is a delightful and original tale from one of my favorite authors! And, there's a sequel coming in two months! Yay!

I usually start with the characters, so, here it is; they were all amazing. Yep, I really have no criticism whatsoever. The main siblings in this story, Rolf, Lila, and Celie, are a bit like Peter, Susan, and Lucy from the Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. (There's not really an Edmond personality among the main characters, though.) Pogue was another character who I loved from the start. He is a handsome flirt with a personality that you just can't help but like.

The castle was another very fascinating part of the plot. By the end of this book, I decided that I would love to live in a place that changes rooms and hallways when it gets bored! Yes, it would be a bit inconvenient if I was running late for something, but it would always be an adventure to walk around my own house.

The ending was just right, and can be a stand alone book so that you are not pining away for the next book, but I can assure you that you will most likely want to read the sequel to this wonderful story. I'm 99.999% sure you will; I would be 100% sure, but some people are intensely picky about their books.

Oh, was this book good! No, that doesn't describe it right...superb might be a better description. This was a superb book. I would highly recommend you picking up this book and reading it.

Review: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë

Summary: Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity.

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.
Genre: Classics, Romance
Published: October 1847
Similar: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
My Rating: 4 stars
As I've said before, I absolutely hate reviewing classics, because it's hard. But I feel like I have to review this one, because I feel accomplished after reading it. (I mean, it took me soooo long, compared to how many days it takes me to read a regular book! That wasn't a negative thing, though.)

I know I should have read this earlier, because you can't be a true Bronte fan when you haven't read Jane Eyre, but all I had was a stupid Reader's Digest 'concentrated version' or whatever they call it when they take out half the book to make it easier to read. I'd started reading this, but after I found out it wasn't the true thing, I stopped. So, that's why I'd never read this.

I'm glad I did! It was so good. I don't know if I liked it better than Wuthering Heights, but it was definitely very well written. Jane was well ahead of her time, and I really liked her.

It was so different than any of the books I'd recently been reading, and that's not a bad thing. Jane Eyre was a breath of fresh air, and it was kind of creepy in a good way. The mysterious laughing, the figure in Jane's makes you wonder what exactly was going on? And I really didn't see the answer coming!

I don't find Mr. Rochester as 'swoon-worthy' as most people do, but he was certainly an interesting character. I liked him way better at the end then at the beginning.

All together, it was a great story. I can truly see how this book has endured through time!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

In My Mailbox #4

In My Mailbox is a book blog meme hosted by The Story Siren. It highlights the books that we have received, bought, downloaded, or borrowed this week.
Only 2 books this week, from my Ebook library! They seem pretty good though (Well, of course they do, otherwise I wouln't have borrowed them, but still!)

Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower #1)Tuesdays at the Castle

By Jessica Day George
She's such a good author! I can't resist. I have a fever....and the only prescription is more Jessica Day George! Oh, gosh, I can't believe I just made that joke. Sorry.

The ABC's of Kissing Boys

The ABC's of Kissing Boys

By Tina Ferraro
This book has mixed reviews, but I thought I'd try it out and see how I liked it.  I am going through a realistic fiction phase...before it was fantasy, now it's realistic fiction. 


Friday, March 15, 2013

Review: Boys Are Dogs

Boys Are Dogs

Boys Are Dogs

By Leslie Margolis

Summary: Middle-school boys act like wild animals.

That’s what Annabelle discovers on her first day in her brand-new life. Birchwood Middle School is totally different from her old all-girls elementary. In fact, lots of things in Annabelle’s life are totally different now that she’s back from summer camp. There’s mom’s new boyfriend, a new house, new friends—even a new puppy that likes to chew on Annabelle’s clothes. Well, at least the puppy comes with a leash and a training manual! If only she could say the same for the boys . . .

Featuring Annabelle’s hilarious take on friendship, boys, and her all-new life, this novel / survival guide perfectly captures the joy—and agony—of junior high school. And it might just teach you how to tame the wildest beast of all, the teenage boy.
Genre: Chick Lit, Humor, Juvenile, Realistic Fiction
Published: September 2, 2008
Similar: Girls Acting Catty by Leslie Margolis
My Rating: 4 stars
This book was so. much. fun! I liked it almost as much as Girl's Best Friend by the same author!

I normally don't enjoy reading about 11 year olds, because most authors manage to make them sound like complete idiots who don't know how to do anything and may as well be in preschool. That is SO not an accurate depiction, and it makes me think they forgot what it was like to be that age. Not Leslie Margolis, though. She made a relatable character with struggles that kids and even teens can relate to, and adults will remember having when they were children.

The dog training part of the book was funny and I found myself wondering if this could actually work if I had tried it in sixth grade. I'm thinking it probably would have. (Though I probably would have gotten a reputation for being bossy.)

So, I would definitely recommend this book, especially to girls ages 9-12. It was a good read, and I am placing a hold on the second book in the series as soon as I am done writing this review!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective

Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective: Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency Volume 1

Will Allen and The Great Monster Detective

By Jason Edwards

Summary: Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective is the story of a smart but timid 5th grade boy haunted by fears that have literally come to life. He searches fruitlessly for help until a strange business card mysteriously appears in his book bag, instructing him how to summon Bigelow Hawkins, The Great Monster Detective. With Bigelow's help, along with the use of a very special flashlight and magnifying glass, Will must learn how to conquer his monsters and uncover the secret of the dreadful Hidden Beast before it's too late...

Genre: Juvenile, Humor

Published: September 1, 2007

Similar: Currently N/A

My Rating: 2 stars

They say that the best reviews are thoughtful without being mean. I, sadly, have not learned how to master this skill, so: WARNING: This review will be slightly sarcastic.

This book was weird. Super weird. And wow, I found it painful to read.

First, we have Will, who thinks he has a monster under his bed. Then, voila, a card of a monster hunter appears out of thin air and some creepy thing that resembles a man in a bad need of a shave appears in his room and helps take the monsters away in exchange for Will's beloved teddy bear.(And I realize this may not be as good as I hoped.)

So, after deducing that there are monsters, hairy person uses Will as bait. Here we are introduced to the man eating toilet. No, that's not a joke. Apparently, it represents when Will was scared of the mall toilet at age three. Well, I guess that makes sense, but eating toilet?

Then, Will causes it to shrink, and he has to keep it for a long time. At this point, all I can think is, just step on it! Squish it! It was around the size of a bug, and it's a man-eating toilet. But, no, that won't work, because it's symbolic of children having to live with their fears, right? Right....

And then, there's a tree, and a bully, and then hairy guy ends up being a teddy bear monster or something. Okay.

Will Allen saves the day, and Will Allen becomes an official monter hunt. The end.

So, now that I have just went through a sarcastic summary--and I realize this is kind of mean, I am sorry--I would like to point out some more things besided the story that had me groaning.

The humor: maybe it was just supposed to apply to young boys, but I found it unlaughable.
The illustrations: They were okay, but not as good as many I've seen in previous books.

The one good thing,however, is that a younger child with anxiety issues could possibly benefit from this book; a really young child who doesn't find this book impossibly strange. This is why I am giving two stars instead of one.

Review: Princess of Glass

Princess of Glass (Princess #2)

Princess of Glass

By Jessica Day George

Summary: Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other's countries in the name of better political alliances--and potential marriages. It's got the makings of a fairy tale--until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.
Genre: YA, Retellings, Fantasy, Romance
Published: May 25, 2010
Similar: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
My Rating: 4 stars
I really, really, REALLY liked this book. Jessica Day George is on the fast track to becoming one of my absolute favorite authors!

This is a retelling of Cinderella, but it may be the most original retelling I've ever read! (Though, I am planning on reading Cinder soon, so that could change.) I've never read a Cinderella tale that made me want to punch Cinderella in the face. I ended up liking Ellen, the Cindy of this story, a lot better near the end, but at the beginning I absolutely hated her.

Poppy was an even better main character than Rose, the main character in Princess of the Midnight Ball. She was funny, spirited, and brave. I didn't really like Christian as much as Galen, but he was a nice character as well. I would love if Poppy was in more books as a main character.

I was rushing through this; not because I wanted to get it over with, but because I couldn't wait to see what would happen next! There is just one thing that I was still wondering at the end of the book; are Poppy's dreams just dreams? Or are they the making of the next sequel, which I know there is, but have no idea what it's about?

Ooh, and I have to say one thing about the Corley. Her character is like the fantasy version of an unsub on Criminal Minds! Really, her backstory and her actions were like sorceress meets psycho on a crime show. I loved it!

So, I really liked this book. It was just as good as the first, if not better!

Monday, March 11, 2013





By Cecily Paterson

Summary: Jazmine Crawford doesn’t make decisions. She doesn’t make choices. She doesn’t make friends. Jazmine Crawford only wants one thing: to be invisible. For Jazmine, it’s a lot easier to take out her hearing aid and drift along pretending that nothing’s wrong than it is to admit that she’s heartbroken about her dad dying. She’s been drifting and ignoring her over-worried mum for four years now.
When bad girl Shalini and her mates adopt Jazmine, she quickly finds herself involved in more than she can handle. Sitting in disgrace in the principal’s office, Jazmine is offered a choice: help drama teacher Miss Fraser in the upcoming production of The Secret Garden or face a four week suspension.
It’s Miss Fraser who clinches the decision. “I believe in you Jazmine,” she says. “I know you can do this.” And Jazmine, terrified, disbelieving and elated all at the same time, joins the play.
For a while it’s all good. Drama star and chocolate lover Liam is friendly and Jazmine realises that making friends, talking to her mother and feeling her emotions isn’t as scary as she thought. In a final happy twist of fate, acting diva Angela quits the play and with only a week to go, Miss Fraser asks Jazmine to take on the main role of Mary.
But then Shalini returns from her suspension. She’s out for payback, and she has just the ammunition she needs to force Jazmine to quit the play and go back to her old ways.
Will Jazmine be confident enough to stand up for herself against Shalini? Will Liam still like her if he finds out who she really is? And does she have the strength to face the truth about her father’s suicide?
Genre: Juvenile/YA, Realistic Fiction
Published: January 17, 2013
Similar: In Between by Jenny B. Jones
My Rating: 4 stars
I really liked this book. It was a nice story that helped me get out of my Ebook slump.

The story deals with bullying, making new friends, and parent death in a way that many will be able to connect with. While these are serious topics, it doesn't come across as a depressing, wow is this bleak, kind of book. I thought it was rather heartwarming how Jazmine comes out of her shell and stands up for herself.

Jazmine was an interesting main character. She claims she's "had no feelings" since her father died, but it's obvious that she is in a lot of pain. She is so lonely that she becomes friends with Shalini, the school bully who honestly treats Jazmine like crap and calls her 'deaf girl'.

Shalini was completely despicable. I wanted to try and knock some sense into her. There was not a drop of goodness in this character, which kind of disappointed me. I like antagonists who aren't completely evil, but who are human. Shalini was more of a devil. However, it's explained what caused her to become so malevolent, and that kind of satisfied me. Kind of.

And Mrs. Fraser was the most awesome teacher ever! Gosh, I adored her. I loved how she took Jazmine under her wing and helped her spread her wings.

I also loved the Secret Garden references. Jazmine seems like she is based off of Mary Lennox, and it's hinted in the book. I LOVED Secret Garden as a kid, so it was a nice element.

Now, the book did have a couple editing mistakes, but I've come to expect that with indie. My rule is that if it doesn't interefere with the story, I won't 'mark down' for it. Thankfully, the few mistakes in here did not.

So, all together, it was a great story that I really enjoyed. Oh, and it's free. Just a little added perk.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Liebster Award!

I have been nominated for a Liebster award! Thank you so very much to Kat's Book Buzz for nominating me!
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees;
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been chosen.
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog.
Questions From My Nominator:
1-What made you want to start blogging?
Well, I'd been writing reviews on Barnes and Noble for a couple years, and Goodreads from a couple months.  Then, one of my friends told me about book blogging, and I knew it was something I wanted to do. 
2- Which three books are you most looking forward to reading in the next month or so?
Mila 2.0, Moon Over Manifest, and Uncommon Criminals.

3- What's the most important criteria you look for when deciding whether to read a book?
Well, I hate to admit it, but the cover is one of the most important things.  If I don't like the cover, chances are I won't buy it. Also, if the description's good or I am a fan of the author, I will usually get it.

4- If you could meet any author, who would it be?
Oh, gosh.  Probably Suzanne Collins. 

5- What one question would you ask that author?
(Hunger Games Spoiler) Why did you kill Finnick and Prim!? Though I would ask it more respectfully than that.

6- What book can you read again and again and never get tired of reading?

I think that it would have to be Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

7- Which book would you love to see get adapted to film or TV?
Well, most of my favorites already have. I would probably have to say Airman by Eoin Colfer.

8- What's your dream vacation spot?
Disney World, Florida.

9- What has been the most challenging thing about running a blog?
Writing reviews.  I sometimes have a hard time putting my feelings about the book into words.

10- Which two book characters would you like to be friends with?
Oh, gosh.  Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables is a definite yes.  And then there's Ella from Ella Enchanted. 

11- Which two authors would you like to see collaborate on a book together?
Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine.  These two ladies write all my favorite retold fairy tales, and one that had them both would be sure to be one of my favorite books ever.
11 Random Facts about Myself:
1. I like physical books better than Ebooks, but I buy more Ebooks than physical books.
2. I love Moose Tracks Ice Cream.
3. My favorite animated movie is Toy Story 2.
4. I love dogs just as much as cats.
5. I love Hunger Games, but I am neither Team Gale nor Team Peeta.
6. I usually hate poetry, but I love the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost.
7. Red pandas and snow leopards are my favorite animals.
8. I strongly dislike ice skating because I am terrible at it.  Sorry, winter people.
9. My favorite snack food is Cheez-Its.
10.  The song I will always love no matter what is 'My Heart Will Go On' by Celine Dion.
11. I have always wanted to play an instrument, but I can't read notes to save my life.
Questions for My Nominees:
1. What is your all time favorite book?
2. Why is that book your favorite?
3. Do you like cats or dogs?
4. Do you have a favorite spot where you like to read?
5. What genre do you like reading the most?
6. Why do you love reading so much?
7. Would you want to become a writer one day? Why or why not?
8. What book have you always really wanted to read, yet haven't?
9.  Do you always read the book before watching the movie?
10. How many books do you usually read at one time?
11. What's your favorite tv show?
My nominees are:

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren. It highlights the books that we have received, bought, downloaded, or borrowed this week.
This was an all digital week, which is actually for the best, since I have a stack of 11 books on my dresser which I have sworn to finish.  I recently cleaned out my kindle of unwanted e-books, so I decided it was okay to splurge a bit.
Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective: Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency Volume 1

Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective

By Jason Edwards



The Jerk Magnet

By Melody Carlson
By Darkness Hid (Blood of Kings, #1)


By Darkness Hid

InvisibleBy Jill Williamson and Jeff Gerke




By Cecily Anne Paterson
And, I borrowed 3 books from my Ebook library...

Princess of Glass (Princess #2)Secrets of My Hollywood Life (Secrets of My Hollywood Life, #1)


Princess of Glass

By Jessica Day George



Secrets of My Hollywood Life

By Jen Calonita


Boys Are Dogs


Boys Are Dogs

By Leslie Margolis

Saturday, March 9, 2013




By Wendelin Van Draanen

Summary: Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.
Genre: Juvenile/YA, Humor, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Published: January 1, 2001
Similar: Currently N/A
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Thank you, Goodwill, for having this amazing gem of a book. I loved it very much.

Why did I love it, you ask? Good question! Well, here are the main reasons:

The characters were all kinds of amazing. Juli Baker was this, deep, philosophical, smart, lovable girl who I could really relate to, though she is loads smarter than I am. Bryce Loski was this cute, determined, (Yes he was! The ending proves it!) slightly less lovable boy whose feelings are real and understandable. Mike and Matt were these funny brothers who didn't show up much, but who I still really liked. Lynetta was this brave, stubborn girl who I was applauding when she stood up to her father, a man who needed a good punch in the face. Bryce's grandpa was so awesome. And Juli's parents were also of the awesome variety.

The plot was not overly romantic as I feared it might be. It was a wonderful, realistic, heartwarming depiction of the life of two junior-highers, but it really wasn't romantic (read: cheesy crap) at all.

And the switching POVs? Loved it. You got a different view of each scene and character in each chapter. So, each chapter gave you different opinions, information, and made you see the scene in a different light.  I sometimes find switching POVs a bit annoying, but in Flipped it was done very well.

Oh, and who could forget the Matt and Mike's many (hilarious) band names? (LOL LOL LOL)

Loved it. 'Nuff said.

Anna Maria's Gift

Anna Maria's Gift by Janice Shefelman

Anna Maria's Gift

By Janice Shefelman

Summary: When Anna Maria's father, a famous violin maker, dies, she is sent to live in the Pieta, an orphanage in Venice. Though she misses her father, she knows he will always be with her, as long as she has the beautiful violin he crafted for her.

Luckily, the Pieta is not just an orphanage—it’s also a renowned music school whose teacher is none other than composer Antonio Vivaldi. When Anna Maria becomes his star pupil, another orphan’s jealousy leads her to throw Anna Maria’s precious violin into the canals. With help from her beloved teacher and new friends, Anna Maria searches Venice’s bridges, streets, and canals, but it seems hopeless. Will Anna Maria ever find her father’s violin?
Genre: Juvenile, Historical Fiction
Published: April 27, 2010
Similar: Currently N/A
My Rating: 3 stars
Some books just don't need long reviews, so, here's mine in a nutshell.

This book was a cute little story about an orphan in Venice who learns the lesson of forgiveness. The characters were cute (cute just really describes this book best, sorry), and it was interesting to learn a bit about Vivaldi. Yay!...I really don't know what else to say about it. It was good, but definitely for younger readers, probably age 5-10 at most, which begs the question....why did my library shelve it in Young Adult? The world may never know.