Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: The Girl Who Could Fly

The Girl Who Could Fly

The Girl Who Could Fly

By Victoria Forester

 
Blurb: You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods.

Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Easy as pie.

Sure, she hasn’t mastered reverse propulsion and her turns are kind of sloppy, but she’s real good at loop-the-loops.

Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.

School is great at first with a bunch of new friends whose skills range from super-strength to super-genius. (Plus all the homemade apple pie she can eat!) But Piper is special, even among the special. And there are consequences.

Consequences too dire to talk about. Too crazy to consider. And too dangerous to ignore.

At turns exhilarating and terrifying, Victoria Forester’s debut novel has been praised by Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight saga, as "the oddest/sweetest mix of Little House on the Prairie and X-Men...Prepare to have your heart warmed.” The Girl Who Could Fly is an unforgettable story of defiance and courage about an irrepressible heroine who can, who will, who must . . . fly.
Genres: Juvenile, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
 
Published: June 24, 2008
 
Series: N/A
 
Similar: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
 
My Rating: 4 stars

The Girl Who Could Fly was a book that I should not have judged by it's cover, which I personally do not like at ALL. Because of this, I ended up not reading it for a while, and it ended up being extremely good! Do not make the same mistake I did!

The book focuses on Piper, a girl who could fly. I thought this might be a Peter Pan wannabe when I first read that not-so-tiny-detail, but I was wrong. Trust me when I say that this book is nothing like Peter Pan at all! In fact, the book it did remind me of was the Mysterious Benedict Society, in both the way the author wrote it and one or two similarities between the two books.

Piper is such a sweet, caring girl, and, though she was not my favorite character in the whole book, I enjoyed reading about her. Her accent, however, got on my nerves after a while. It was the southern one, with yee-has and ain'ts to complete the stereotype.

My absolute favorite character in the book was....Conrad! Beneath that diabolical, two-faced villain is a wounded and unloved little boy who I just wanted to hug. He gets much better by the end; trust me.

One thing I have to complain about, though (and also the reason this book did not get a higher rating with me) is the completely obvious last names. Here's a sample of what I am talking about:
Piper McCloud; can fly!
Bella Lovelie: She's pretty
Dr. Mumbleby: He has such a thick german accent that it is hard to understand what he says
And, with a name like Dr. Hellion, it was safe to assume that the kindly doctor wasn't all she appeared to be...

This is a great children's book. It's a bit obvious at times, but it's entertaining nevertheless.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #2

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Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's reviews to highlight the books we have received, downloaded, bought, or borrowed this week.

It was all digital this week. Not that I mind; that means less clutter! :)

Downloaded:
Branded (Book 1) Chop, Chop (Chop, Chop, #1) Warm Winter Love All the Paths of Shadow The Wishing Well (Paradan Tales, #1)Secret Sisters Volume One

Borrowed from E-book Library:

 Girls Acting Catty   The False Princess 


This was my haul this week! How about you guys?

 

Review: Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith

Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith

Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith

By Gabrielle Douglas, Michelle Burford

Blurb: In the 2012 London Olympics, US gymnast Gabby Douglas stole hearts and flew high as the All-Around Gold Medal winner, as well as acting as a critical member of the US gold-medal-winning women gymnastics team. In this personal autobiography, Gabby tells her story of faith, perseverance, and determination, demonstrating you can reach your dreams if you let yourself soar.
 
Genres: YA, Nonfiction
 
Published: November 27, 2012
 
Series: N/A
 
Similar: Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Trying to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton; Winning Balance: What I've Learned So Far About Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams by Shawn Johnson
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
 
This book is probably my favorite autobiographies I have read so far. It was so cool to read about my all-time favorite olympic athlete and learn more about her.

Gabby's story is really inspirational, and one that I would encourage people to read. She overcame so much; a rare disorder, bullying, and an absent father. It is easy to see when reading that her faith is really important to her!

It's cool to read about Gabby as a normal kid, as well as learn about her road to the Olympics. At one point, Gabby talks about how she and her friend loved the show H2O: Just Add Water, which I thought was awesome because my sister and I used to watch that show all the time!

The one thing I didn't like was that there were one or two 'lols'. I don't exactly love it when people put text talk in a book; save it for your phones! That is the only thing that really annoyed me about this book. Other than that, I thought it was a wonderful, inspirational book. If you loved the olympics, and especially if you love gymnastics, Gabby Douglas' autobiography is an absolute must-read!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Hattie Big Sky

Hattie Big Sky (Hattie, #1)

Hattie Big Sky

By Kirby Larson

 
Blurb: Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim.
For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends--especially Charlie, fighting in France--through letters and articles for her hometown paper.

Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a "Loyal" American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.
 
Genres: Juvenile/YA, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Adventure
 
Published: September 26, 2006
 
Series: Hattie by Kirby Larson
 
My Rating: 5 stars!
 
 
There are some books that, when you are finished, seem like your best friend. You have laughed with them, cried with them. You have gotten to know them. Hattie Big Sky, for me, was that book.

I used to not like Historical Fiction. It seemed boring and repetitive to me, the same story being told time and time again, but with different characters. However, this year I started to read the genre more and more. Maybe it's just a phase, but it's really made history come alive for me. Hattie Big Sky does this superbly, and I think that even if I had read this when I hated historical fiction, I would have loved this book. It's not a cookie cutter WWI book. You get a unique look at prejudice against germans, not to mention the fact that it doesn't focus on WWI alone. A huge part of the book is Hattie trying to make her new life in Vida, Montana work.

Hattie was a wonderful character to read about. Her perseverance, her bravery, and her willingness to stand up for what is right made her a character that I could really root for. I also really liked that Kirby Larson started the book when she was still with her aunt and uncle. It gives you a taste of what her life is like, and why she would risk it all to go to Montana.

The other characters are no less charming. There are the Muellers, who have to face taunts and threats because they are Germans. There is Traft Martin, who seems nice at first, but who I had very mixed feelings about by the end. I could go on and on, but I will stop there.

This book isn't an action book. It isn't a mystery. It's not a love story with vampires and/or werewolves. It's a story about a girl's life. So, it won't be for everyone, but I loved it. Hattie Big Sky is a book that I won't soon forget.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: the Mystery of the Missing Everything

The Mystery of the Missing Everything

The Mystery of the Missing Everything

By Ben H. Winters

 
Blurb: There has been a shocking crime at Mary Todd Lincoln Middle School.

In a glass case in the front hall, a trophy--the trophy, the first trophy ever won in the school's lackluster competitive history--has been stolen.

Even more horrifying, an outraged Principal Van Vreeland has canceled everything fun until the trophy is back, including the eighth graders' long-awaited, once-in-a-lifetime field trip to Taproot Valley. Rock climbing, ropes courses, ecology hikes, s'mores . . . all gone!

Luckily, Bethesda Fielding is on the case. As self-appointed sleuth extraordinaire, Bethesda's confident she'll be able to track down the culprit in no time and save her class trip! Except it seems like the more she searches for answers, the more mysteries she reveals. . . . Can Bethesda solve this baffling mystery--or are the eighth graders doomed for a Week of a Thousand Quizzes instead?
 
Genres: Juvenile, Humor, Mystery
 
Published: September 1, 2011
 
Series: This is a sequel to the Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
 
I'll admit that when I started reading this, I was expecting to give it a two star rating. That is because the beginning of this book is...bizarre. It couldn't quite be considered a quirky book. The beginning was just unexplainably weird.

First, what I didn't like: (When you are reading this, keep in mind that I DID like this book. There will most likely be a rant!) It is basically summed up in this phrase: the Disney Channel original movie principal, Ms. Van Vreeland. Anyone who has watched one of these movies (excluding HSM and Geek Charming, which were surprisingly amazing) knows what I am talking about. Teachers and principals are made out to be complete imbeciles, with a dash of evil. Well, that is what Van Vreeland was in this book.

First, she is screaming at the kids because someone stole the school's ONLY trophy. Then, she cancels the eighth grade trip to Taproot Valley until the thief is found. Her nasty temper shows up a lot in the book after this meeting, as well.

And the stupidity: First, her speech to the kids mentioned above makes her sound moronic. After that, she is randomly going up to people and asking, 'Did you steal my trophy?' And lastly, she refuses to admit she is wrong to the point of having a faculty meeting at three in the morning because she wrote 'a.m.' instead of 'p.m'.

I HATE when teachers are made out like this. Let's be honest, here; no matter what you thought of your teacher, they most likely were very influential in your life. I, personally, have had more good teachers then bad. And even the bad ones were not as awful as Ms. Van Vreeland.

Remember, though, I gave this book 4 stars. Here is the reason: the mystery was super entertaining!

It will be pretty much impossible to guess the full mystery. You may get bits and pieces, but trust me; you will not be able to figure out the whole thing. The ending was perfect!

Also, each character manages to be interesting in their own way. That is no small feat when you are writing about a whole eighth grade class.

The last reason is that I was able to follow along without a problem, even though this was a sequel to the Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, a book I have yet to read. I didn't realize this WAS a sequel until I was halfway through the book!

I would recommend this to mystery lovers, and people who love quirky books. It was a really enjoyable book!


 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #1



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Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's reviews to highlight the books we have received, downloaded, bought, or borrowed this week.
Yeah...so I forgot to do this last week. Well, better late then never, right? And I have A LOT of books. Squeal!

 

SHOWN:

(Borrowed from Library:)

Hoops

By Walter Dean Myers


Children of the River

By Linda Crew


The Girl Who Could Fly

By Victoria Forester

Cinders and Sapphires

By Leila Rasheed

(Received from Goodreads:)

The Sweetest Dark

By Shana Abe

(Bought:)

Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith

By Gabrielle Douglas

The Homelanders (Books 1-4)


By Andrew Klavan

NOT SHOWN:

(Downloaded:)

Marrying Kate











Marrying Kate
By Kimberly Rae Jordan


Everblue (Mer Tales, #1)
 

 









Everblue
By Brenda Pandos




Cornerstone (Souls of the Stones, #1)


 





Cornerstone
By Kelly Walter




The Lake (The Lake #1)












The Lake
By AnnaLisa Grant






The Language of Souls
 















The Language of Souls
By Lena Goldfinch




Ireland Rose

 









Ireland Rose
By Patricia Strefling





Shades of Truth












Shades of Truth
By C.L. Stockton






(Borrowed from E-book Library:)

The Princess and the Bear (Princess, #2)





The Princess and the Bear
By Mette Ivie Harrison



The Vanishing Violin (The Red Blazer Girls, #2)

 

The Vanishing Violin
By Michael D. Bell






These books all look amazingly good. (And I love all of their covers, as well!) What did you get this week?

EDIT: I am sorry my post looks weird like this. It looks fine when I try and edit it, and then the pictures go all whacky and stuff. I have tried fixing it five different times. I have no idea what is going on!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: Defying Mars

Defying Mars (Saving Mars, #2)
 

Defying Mars

By Cidney Swanson

Blurb: Jessamyn has escaped Earth with food for her starving world, but her troubles are just beginning. She must rebuild her life without Pavel, the Terran boy whose kiss haunts her. Her success is further tainted by the loss of her beloved brother. Ethan disabled the deadly lasers orbiting Mars, but this has created a fervor to re-open trade with Earth which Jess knows would be disastrous. Add into the mix a secret which could launch an interplanetary war, and Jess finds herself at the center of an intrigue where, in order to save the world she loves, she must defy it.
 
Genres: YA, Action, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance
 
Published: December 15, 2012
 
Series: Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson (2nd book)
 
My Rating: 5 stars!
 
 
I HATE when a series has an amazing start, but the rest of this series is terrible. However, in this series, the exact opposite happened; the sequel is even better than the first! If every book were as wonderful as Defying Mars,the world would be a better place and there would be no such thing as a 'reluctant reader'.

I honestly could not put this book down. When I did, it was only because I had to. Otherwise, I would have read this book straight through. It was so addicting to read! The story will have you constantly wondering, what will happen next? There were a lot of parts where I was holding my breath in anticipation. This book is not for the faint of heart!

The romance, as I predicted, was a bit more prevalent in this book than the first. In Saving Mars, ithe romance had not yet blossomed, which is definitely not a bad thing, but it was nice to read about Pavel and Jessamyn's feelings for each other in here too. I thought it was really sweet, and like that it was kept clean.

And Lucca is so deliciously evil. She is pretty much the perfect villain. Her need for control, her cold-heartedness, and the secret abouther that you learn in the book (yes, that is vague. I hate spoilers, though) made her an antagonist that I hate yet love at the same time.

Okay, I do need to say something else. This is pretty much the only indie book where I read through the whole thing and did not find a single grammar error! YAY! It annoys me so much mentally correcting books, not to mention that it takes away from the story. I din't need to do that at all here.

This is one of the best series that I have read in a long time. Just the thought of book three makes me absolutely elated!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Saving Mars

Saving Mars (Saving Mars, #1)
 

Saving Mars

By Cidney Swanson

Blurb: When the food supply of Mars’ human settlement is decimated, seventeen-year-old Jessamyn Jaarda, the best pilot Mars Colonial has ever seen, flies to Earth to raid for food. Earth-Mars relations couldn’t be worse, and her brother is captured during the raid. Breaking rules of secrecy and no contact, Jess finds an ally in Pavel, nephew to a government official, but their friendship only makes more agonizing the choice before her: Save her brother or save her planet?
 
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, YA, Science Fiction
 
Published: July 26, 2012
 
Series: Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson
 
My Rating: 4 stars

I bought this book a couple months ago and it sat on my kindle for a loooonnnng time. Then, the second book in the series was free, and I bought that too. I remembered that I actually hadn't read this yet after that, so I stopped all other books I was reading and began with this one. I am so glad I did!

Cidney Swanson is a wonderful author. I haven't read any of her books before, but I am definitely going to start now. Her writing style is so awesome! When Jessamyn was taking in the wonder of Earth, I was actually amazed at the beauty, even though I live here! That is skill, I tell you. Skill!

Another thing: I don't usually like sci-fi. It was never a genre I really got into, and yet I could not get enough of this story. The body swapping was a really interesting concept, and that says a lot coming from me.

Jessamyn's connection to her brother was so refreshing. I loved reading about their bond. The last couple books I have read, the brothers and sisters fight like cats and dogs, so it was nice reading about siblings who genuinely love each other.

There needs to be a whole section reserved for Pavel! I liked him so much. I don't know if this book could be considered romance, because even though Jessamynn and he kissed, there was really nothing else. I liked that everything wasn't instant with them. There most likely will be a lot more romance in the next books, but it goes slowly in this book.

Jessamyn! Finally, a heroine who is not a whiny damsel in distress. There was a lot of girl power going on in this book. She is headstrong, but not to the point where I could not stand her.

The action, characters, and wonderful storytelling had me hooked to Saving Mars from the very beginning. I couldn't get enough. As soon as you finish this book, you will want to read book 2!
 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: Doctor Who and the Plague of the Cybermen

Doctor Who: Plague of the Cybermen

Doctor Who: Plague of the Cybermen

By Justin Richards

Blurb: When the Doctor arrives in the 19th-century village of Klimtenburg, he discovers the residents suffering from some kind of plague: a 'wasting disease'. The victims face a horrible death — but what's worse, the dead seem to be leaving their graves. The Plague Warriors have returned. The Doctor is confident he knows what's really happening; he understands where the dead go, and he's sure the Plague Warriors are just a myth. But as some of the Doctor's oldest and most terrible enemies start to awaken he realises that maybe — just maybe — he's misjudged the situation.
 
Genres: Mystery, Science Fiction, YA/Adult
 
Published: April 2, 2013
 
Series: Doctor Who: New Series Adventures
 
My Rating: 3 stars
 
This was a good book. It started out as a great book, but after page 70 lost a bit of luster.

This was my first experience with a Doctor Who book, and I was not disappointed whatsoever. It wasn't as good as the tv shows, but it was still a great read for any fan of Doctor Who. The story was interesting and not hard to follow, even for someone who only knows basic facts about the Doctor. (You do have to know BASIC facts though; otherwise you'll be shaking your head and asking yourself, "What's a sonic screwdriver?")

The one thing that I did not like was that some parts moved rather slowly. The beginning was next to perfect, but the middle could have sped up a bit. Other than that? No complaints.

Yes, I liked it. It was a satisfying story that I do not regret reading. I just wish it could have moved a bit faster.

I recieved this book via Goodreads Firstreads. This in no way affects my review.
 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: The Practice Date


The Practice Date - A Novelette



The Practice Date

By Victorine E. Leiske

Blurb: Jane’s been in love with her best friend Lance since they were kids. Best friend, that is, until he ditched her for the more popular crowd. What’s a computer nerd doing spending time with jocks anyway?

When he asks her for help getting a date to the prom with the most popular girl in school she almost tells him to take a flying leap. But she’d be spending time with him, teaching him to dance and he’d be holding her...that sounded like heaven.

So she says yes.

But how much practice can her heart take?
Genres: Chick-Lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA

Published: June 21, 2011

Series: N/A

My Rating: 3.5 stars

This book is all a romance book should be; fun and satisfying, with an ending that gives you warm fuzzies. Unfortunately, it suffers from 'novella syndrome'; the plot goes by so fast that you cannot connect with the characters as much as you could in a regular sized book. Still, it was one of the better novellas I've read. I could still connect with Jane, just not as much as in a 200-300 page book.

I feel that this would have been even better if the author had decided to make it a novel. I would have liked to learn more about Lance's mom, and the romance would have been a bit more realistic. That's really my only complaint. This is still a great story for anyone who likes romance of YA.

To summarize; liked it, would have wanted a bit more pages. It was a fun little story!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: The Wide Awake Princess

The Wide-Awake Princess (Wide-Awake Princess, #1)

The Wide Awake Princess

By E.D. Baker

Blurb:
In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie—blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic—can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.


But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own.
 
Genres: Juvenile/YA, Fantasy, Retellings, Romance
 
Published: May 11, 2010
 
Similar: The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker
 
Series: Wide Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
This book was just adorable! I loved every minute of it.

Annie is such a likeable character. At first, I felt bad for her because no one wanted to be around her, since she took away people's magic abilities. It ended up coming in handy though, and then I was cheering her on.

Liam! I absolutely loved him. He was so mysterious! He may possibly be my favorite fictional male of 2013. And there was no insta-love at all. That alone was a breath of fresh air.

Another thing I loved was how E.D. Baker manages to keep this story a bit silly, but not stupid. A lot of times, an author tries to be so humorous that the story becomes idiotic, but not in this book. I giggled, but I never groaned.

This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but there is also Hansel and Gretel, the Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel, and many more. It's perfect for fairy tale lovers. I am pretty sure there are a few obscure fairy tales in here that went over my head, too, so that will be a bonus for people who know which ones the author is alluding to.

I loved this book. It is perfect for younger children, for teens, and even adults.

 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

In My Mailbox 7




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.
 
I got a ton of books this week. A TON.  And they all look amazing. I will have some problems deciding what to read next!
 
Won:
Doctor Who: Plague of the Cybermen

 

Doctor Who: Plague of the Cybermen

By Justin Richards
 
 
 
 
Love's Stormy Gale
Downloaded:
 

Love's Stormy Gale

By Lynette Sowell
 
 
 
 
 

Bridger (Bridger, #1)

Bridger

By Megan Curd
 
 
 
 
 
Traitor (Bridger, #2)
 

 

Traitor

By Megan Curd
 
 
 
 
The Journals of Kara and Jason

The Journals of Kara and Jason

By Charlie Wood
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Anathema (Cloud Prophet Trilogy, #1)

Anathema

By Megg Jenson

 

 
 
 
Bluedawn (A Watermagic Novel, #2)

Bluedawn

By Brighton Hill
 
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
 
 
 
 
 
 
Borrowed from Library:
 

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

By Jessica Day George
 
 
 
 




Scarlet (Scarlet #1)




 Scarlet

By A.C. Gaughen

 

 
 
Journey Through Fire (Sisters of the Sword, Book 3)
 
 

Journey Through Fire

By Maya Snow

 

 
 
 
 
These are all my books! What'd you get this week?

Review: Corridor

Corridor

Corridor

By Robin Parrish

Blurb: THE ONLY WAY OUT IS TO RUN.

On the eve of his seventeenth birthday, Troy Goggin finds himself inexplicably transported to an impossibly huge, miles-long structure called the Corridor. But what is the Corridor, and why was he brought to it?

It’s a place of mystery, wonder, and heart-stopping danger. It will test him and push him both mentally and physically. His only companion is the girl whose voice he hears inside his head, explaining the rules he must follow if he hopes to escape.

But there is much more to this extraordinary place than Troy could ever imagine. The Corridor’s true purpose — the biggest mystery of all — is revealed only to those who make it to the end.


Genres: YA, Action, Adventure, Christian, Dystopian, Mystery

Published: December 22, 2011

Series: N/A

Similar: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My Rating: 5 stars!

This book is amazing. Fantastic. Any word for really good that you can think of. It's all of those. All I can think of after reading this is, Why haven't I heard of this author before? He's awesome!
Theway Robin Parrish wrote Corridor is what really made me love it. It is so suspenseful. You can't stop reading, because you need to know what happens to Troy. If I did stop, I would just wonder what would happen next. It's addictive.

And the relationship between Troy and Victoria...ohmahgosh it was awesome. It's not your typical, YA, insta-love connection. I'm not sure it can even be classified as a romance throughout most of the book. It's the end that made me sigh with emotion. Literally.   

The book is so unpredictable. You don't know what Troy will have to go through next. Even though I knew he would be okay, because there was still half the story left to go, I sometimes would get anxious becuase that's just the kind of story this is; one that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I need to write about the end. There are no words for the end. It was so wonderful. That's all I can say without giving away major spoilers.

I went in to this book thinking it would be another average read. What I got was a heart-pounding, emotional, obsess worthy story that I wouldn't mind rereading ten times. This is considered 'Christian Fiction', but, though it was very clean, I think anyone can enjoy this awesome story. In all honesty, I didn't realize it was Christian Fiction until I hopped on to Goodreads.  So, I would recommend this to anyone and everyone. READ, READ, READ!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: Scones and Sensibility

Scones and Sensibility

Scones and Sensibility

By Lindsay Eland

Blurb: Seek tirelessly and you shall not find a contemporary heroine of middle-grade literature as refined and romantic as Miss Polly Madassa. Still swooning over the romantic conclusions of Pride & Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables, twelve-year-old Polly decides her purpose in life: helping along lonely hearts in search of love. Polly's only task this summer is to make deliveries for her parents' bakery, leaving ample time for this young cupid to find hearts to mend--beginning with the kite-store owner, Mr. Nightquist, who will pair perfectly with Miss Wiskerton (the unfairly labeled town curmudgeon). Polly's best friend Fran Fisk is in desperate need of a mother ever since hers ran off with a man she met on the Internet; Polly must find a match for Mr. Fisk. And while she's at it, it wouldn't hurt to find Clementine, Polly's teenaged sister, a beau worthy of her (so she can shed that brute, Clint). Polly's plans are in full swing, so she definitely cannot be bothered by the advances of classmate Brad Barker.

But maybe Polly should have turned her attention to Miss Austen's Emma next, because she quickly learns the pitfalls of playing matchmaker. How will Polly patch up her own relationships, while ensuring that destined love can take its course?
 
Genres: Juvenile, Chick Lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance
 
Published: December 22, 2009
 
Series: N/A
 
Similar: Miss Match by Erynn Mangum
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
This book was really entertaining. I loved the story!

Polly Madassa. Hmm. She was a very...fascinating character. At first, I liked her a lot. Like her, I also fell in love with Anne of Green Gables, and I do remember trying to talk more like Anne once or twice. I am not sure I can totally relate to her, though, because her matchmaking is something I would never do. It didn't annoy me, though. I really liked reading about her misguided attempts to set up everyone with their Mr. Darcy. I especially enjoyed the end, where she realizes that her matchmaking does more harm than good, and changes her ways. So, I liked her, for the most part.

The story is written in more romantic language, as Polly puts it, and I really liked that. It was fun to read something that was a bit different. I don't know if I could read every single book like that, but it was nice to read just one book in this way.

I don't know if this book is for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it. I will most definitely be reading more from Lindsay Eland!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: Miss Match

Miss Match (Lauren Holbrook, #1)

Miss Match

By Erynn Mangum

Blurb: Lauren Holbrook has found her life's calling: matchmaking for the romantically challenged. And with the eclectic cast of characters in her world, there's tons of potential to play "connect the friends."

Lauren sets out to introduce Nick, her carefree singles' pastor, to Ruby, her neurotic coworker who plans every second of every day. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything.
 
Genres: YA/Adult, Chick Lit, Christian, Realistic Fiction, Humor, Romance
 
Published: March 27, 2007
 
Series: Lauren Holbrook by Erynn Mangum
 
Similar: Emma by Jane Austen, Perfectly Dateless by Kristen Hillerbeck
 
My Rating: 3 stars
 
I'm going to be honest. It was not the description of this book, but the cover that made me want to read it. So maybe that reflects in my review, because this isn't the kind of book that I would usually want to read.

I'm going to start with the positives first, because I don't want it to seem like I hated this book; it was enjoyable, for the most part!

First, The Princess Bride references. If you want me to love a book, put in references to books/movies that I absolutely ADORE. And I looovveee the Princess Bride. This has nothing to do with the review or the book, but:

description

Yep. Love it. So that was cool.

Laurie loves chocolate. And food in general. Nuff said.

The humor! (Actually, I have noticed a pattern in Christian YA novels. They all have main characters, usually girls, with a good sense of humor who is always attractive and single and finds a perfect Christian guy somewhere in the midst of the story. Sometimes, I get tired of this pattern. But I am still addicted to reading these kind books. I think Miss Match fell in that category.)

So, I didn't hate it at all. Keep that in mind when reading:

The negatives....

What...the...heck. SPOILER: Nick and Ruby only have gone on four or five dates when Nick proposes to her. This book takes place in the course of a month. I know that for a fact, because Laurie hasn't gone on her fishing trip yet, but she is about to. THEY ARE RUSHING INTO IT. And Ruby says yes! [gone on four or five dates when Nick proposes to her. This book takes place in the course of a month. I know that for a fact, because Laurie hasn't gone on her fishing trip yet, but she is about to. THEY ARE RUSHING INTO IT. And Ruby says yes! (hide spoiler)] I am sure there are people that do that, and I am sure some of them go on to live long and happy lives. But a typical ['dating to engagement' period is 2 YEARS. I looked this up just to be sure! (hide spoiler)] 'dating to engagement' period is 2 YEARS. I looked this up just to be sure!

Also, some parts of this book were just not that interesting. I was bored. This is the main reason it's only getting three stars from me. In fact, if it wasn't for Laurie's funniness, I probably would have been bored a lot with this plot.

So, I liked it, but I am not sure I'll be finishing the series. This is Erynn Mangum's first novel, however, and she showed a lot of promise in here, so maybe I will. I just hope that the next one will be a bit more engaging, and there won't be any early engagements. (Unintended and terrible joke. I am truly sorry.)
 
 
 


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: Viola in Reel Life

Viola in Reel Life (Viola, #1)

Viola in Reel Life

By Adriana Trigiani

Blurb: I'm marooned.

Abandoned.

Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.

Ick.

There's no way Viola's going to survive the year--especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.

Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.

But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in.
 
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Chick-Lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance
 
Published: August 18, 2009
 
Series: Viola by Adriana Trigiani
 
My Rating: 3.5 stars
 
 
This book is so good. Maybe people who are more aquainted with ghost stories then I am will disagree, but I usually don't read them. I loved the red lady element. It transformed this story from an okay boarding school plot to a really cool, mysterious mystery-ish plot.

Viola was kind of a strange character for me, because she seemed like sometimes she liked Prefect Academy, sometimes she hated it. I thought she had finally adjusted there, and then she would say something like, 'Indiana sucks, and this academy sucks, everything sucks but my precious Brooklyn.' (Obviously paraphrased, though)

Also, I really didn't see Jason as being a jerk until the author pointed it out. I kind of wished that she would have given more hints that he would end up being a not-so prince charming[a not-so prince charming (hide spoiler)] because I liked him before the film festival.

The characters are the only somewhat weak parts to this book though. The story is really riveting, and I loved reading it. Viola's movie sounds like something I would want to watch. I loved that part of the book.

Also, I know I mentioned this above, but the ghost part was sooooooooo good! I wasn't sure if Viola was seeing things, or if it really was a ghost at first, but you find out later. I won't give anything away, but I thought it was really cool!

I liked this book a lot. There were a few little quirks, but nothing that I couldn't get over. This is definitely a recommendable book. I know I'll be finishing the series!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: The Locked Garden

The Locked Garden
 

The Locked Garden

By Gloria Whelan

Blurb: It's the year 1900, the dawn of a new century and a chance for a new beginning for Verna and Carlie, whose mother died two years ago. They are headed to their new home--the grounds of an asylum for the mentally ill. Their father, a doctor, has been hired to treat its patients while the girls are under the strict and watchful eye of their aunt Maude. The towering asylum, the murmuring patients with their tormented pasts, the exquisite locked garden at the center of the grounds--Verna perceives forbidden mystery and enchantment everywhere. Even Aunt Maude's temper will not keep her from striking out on her own exciting adventures.

But is Verna ready to confront all the secrets and emotions that have been locked within--even those of her own heart?
 
Genres: Historical Fiction, Juvenile, Realistic Fiction
 
Published: June 1, 2009
 
Series: N/A
 
My Rating: 3.5 stars
 
This book was really interesting. I liked it a lot. It seemed like the majority of the people who didn't like this book didn't like it because the title was misleading; so, knowing that it was, I was able to enjoy the story a lot more. However, there were a few things that made it not quite 4 stars worthy. I'll get to those in a minute.

First off, what I enjoyed about the book: Eleanor. Her backstory, her personality, her battle with depression, and her relationship with Aunt Maude. It was the best part about the whole story. She tried so hard for Aunt Maude to like her, and I thought that was really sweet. I could not STAND Aunt Maude; she was so mean! Now, back to Eleanor. What I really liked was how the author showed you her family and gave insight as to what made Eleanor finally break. It was so sad, but so good at the same time!

And, did I sense a teeny bit of romance between Verna's dad and Eleanor? Just a teensy weensy bit? I think so!

Sadly, it is time for the negatives now...
THE ENDING. What the heck? It just ended. It wasn't even a real ending. Maybe I'm just too used to happily ever afters, but this seemed like there was no resolution at all. None whatsoever.

Also, I really didn't like Verna as much as I would have liked to. It seems like Eleanor is really the character that you are supposed to get attached to, and Verna is just the means of telling the story. That may have just been me, but it was still a bit of a problem.

All in all, it was a really good story. It has a unique feel to it that I haven't read in very many Juvenile books. I liked this one a lot.



Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: Lucky Charm

Lucky Charm (Beacon Street Girls #8)
 

Lucky Charm

By Annie Bryant

Blurb: Marty is missing The Beacon Street Girls begin a desperate search to find their beloved doggie mascot. At the same time, Katani's sister Kelley has become involved with a therapeutic riding program for children with autism, but the riding stable is in danger of closing. When a famous Red Sox player reports that he has found Marty and will pay the BSG $10,000 to keep his lucky charm, the Beacon Street Girls are faced with an extremely difficult dilemma. In Lucky Charm, the Beacon Street Girls weigh the importance of helping a good cause versus getting their beloved pet back.
 
Genres: Chick-Lit, Juvenile/YA, Realistic Fiction
 
Published: May 31, 2006
 
Series: Beacon Street Girls by Annie Bryant
 
Similar: Main Street Series by Ann M. Martin
 
My Rating: 2 stars
 
Every once in a while, I get a doughnut at this bakery I live near. It has cinnamon and sugar all over it, and at first bite, it tastes really good. After I'm about halfway through it though, I have to stop because the sugar and cinnamon don't taste that great, since the people pile it on. That is pretty much what I think happened with the Beacon Street Girls.

These girls! They're so...ugh. I get annoyed if I read about them for too long, let's put it that way. I thought that the books were getting better finally, but Lucky Charm may have been one of the worst I've read so far. It. Was. Bad. Two years ago, I would have been shocked that I wrote that, but now, it's normal.

I had to force myself to read this book. I really wanted to throw it across the room. Hard. I was so annoyed. Let me sum up the story: The Beacon Street Girls lose Marty, the girls get all witchy towards each other, they find out a Red Sox rookie has him and he bribes them 10000 bucks to keep him. Katani and Isabel are like 'yep, that sounds good. Isabel has a good reason to say this, Katani has a much worse reason. I probably would have been more on her side if she hadn't acted like a selfish, witchy, brat. Then everything ends up okay because, hey, it's a book and that's what happens.

And throughout the book, there are these stupid remarks that made me go "WHAT?!" Like Katani being surprised that Robbie Flores supposedly lives in Rhode Island because he lookes South American. Think about this for a second. o_O

And Katani making a new rule that is important, but honestly sounds straight out of a textbook: 'I have a new amendment to propose...we weill never listen to a stranger who tells us to go someplance without an adult...it's always a bad idea.' Seventh graders don't talk that way. Seventh grade teachers do.

I wish that I could say I loved this book, but I can't. I recommend this to little children who aren't critical about what they read.

Review: Bloom

Bloom

Bloom

By A.P. Kensey

Blurb: THE POWER TO CREATE…THE POWER TO DESTROY.

Both are at your fingertips.

Chosen individuals have been gifted with extraordinary abilities in order to restore balance to the world—a balance that suffers amidst endless chaos.

HAVEN KINCAID is almost eighteen. After moving away from her friends before the start of her senior year, she struggles to fit in at her new school. When the boy of her dreams shows interest, she finally has a chance to be normal—but Haven is more different than she realizes. After a tragic loss and a deep betrayal, she is kidnapped by a sinister group that will do anything to extract a deadly ability she can barely control—even if they kill her in the process.

COLTON ROSS is fresh out of high school. Driven by a desire to escape his abusive father and haunted by the memory of an absent mother, he moves to New York City to start over. When a favor for his friend backfires and he ends up in jail, Colton is bailed out by a mysterious businessman who offers him the chance to strengthen his new-found power and discover the truth about his past—a truth that will set him on a quest for insatiable vengeance.

BLOOM is an action-packed fantasy adventure that tells the story of two young adults surviving in a dangerous world. As their journeys unfold and collide, they must risk their lives to defeat an evil that threatens to destroy everything they hold dear.
 
Genres: Action, Fantasy, Humor, Science Fiction, YA
 
Published: November 29, 2012
 
Series: N/A
 
Similar: Threads That Bind by Brant Williams
 
My Rating: 3.5 stars
 
This book reminded me of X-Men.  I really enjoyed the beginning and middle, but the ending was a bit shaky for me, which is why I am only giving 3.5 stars instead of 4. 
 
To start off, Bloom is hilarious.  I was laughing so hard!  It's not the plot that's hilarious--it's the jokes that the author's sprinkles into the story.  Like when Colton's friend, Reece, robs a CD store to get a girl to be interested in him.  If you read that part, I can guarantee you will at least giggle!
 
I also liked the characters, though I did not fall in love with any of them or really identify with them. I just really enjoyed reading about them. There were a couple people who thought Haven was unattached, but I didn't see it.  I thought she acted perfectly normal for someone in her situation.  Colton, however, was my favorite character.  I found his backstory and his personality very fascinating.
 
The story was also pretty interesting, and it was not a bad remake of other "I just found out I had powers" plots.  I was very engaged, for the most part.
 
But...the end. I just could not get into the action.  I really don't know why; it wasn't poorly written.  I just found it somewhat predictable and a tad unexciting. That is my only complaint about this book, but the action went on for so long that I became a bit uninterested.
 
This was a satisfying read, all together. I enjoyed it, and it did not fall short of my expectations.  I would recommend this to people who enjoyed X-Men. It also reminded me a bit of the movie Jumper, so if you liked that, you might like Bloom as well.
 


Review: Yellowfang's Secret

Yellowfang's Secret (Warriors Super Edition)

Yellowfang's Secret

By Erin Hunter

Blurb: Yellowfang has dedicated her life to ShadowClan. She is a loyal medicine cat, ready and willing to do anything to protect her Clanmates and keep them safe. But a dark secret haunts her, threatening her life and the lives of every cat around her....
 
Genre: Fantasy, Juvenile/YA
 
Published: August 21, 2012
 
Series: Warriors by Erin Hunter
 
Similar: Crookedstar's Promise by Erin Hunter, Bluestar's Destiny by Erin Hunter
 
My Rating: 5 stars
 
This book was....wow.  I was sure it would be good, but this.... no words.  I was definitely not expecting to love it as much as I did, because I hadn't liked Crookedstar's Promise or Bluestar's Destiny as much as the other Warriors super editions.  But this was great. I stayed awake thinking about it later! That hasn't happened in a while.
 
Yellowfang. The ornery cat.  The cat that, before this book, I would have never considered for my list of Top 10 List of Warriors Cats.  This has put her way up there, with Jayfeather and Leafpool.  (I seem to have a love for medicine cats.) The stuff she had to go through...I felt so bad for her.  She didn't seem so ornery in this book, and it made me realize why she was cranky in the first place.
 
But I am sorry, I don't know what she saw in Raggedpelt.  That cat was a moody, unappreciative, selfish, idiot.  There were one or two moments where he seemed like a decent cat, and then he went back to jerk mode. 
 
This book made me want to cry at some parts. And, just so you know, I usually love when books do that. Those poor kits! It was so sad.  I love kittens, so reading about Brokenstar's treatment of them made me very angry.  If you read the first Warriors series, you know it gets better in the end, but still...
 
Even though I have read almost every Warriors book ever written, this one made me want to pick up the original and read it for the third or fourth time.  If you haven't read the original Warriors series, the ending will make you need to pick it up! The Hunters ended this book perfectly.
 
5 stars, because this is a book I will not soon forget.