Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Miracle Girls

                                                                                                                                                                                                
                                           

The Miracle Girls

By Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt


Blurb: Ana Dominguez was happy in San Jose, but everything changed when her dad moved the family to Half Moon Bay, California, to open a law practice. Her parents think she's settling into her new school nicely, but she has them fooled. Riley, the most popular girl in school, has picked Ana as enemy #1, and Tyler, Ana's crush, doesn't even know Ana exists. 

When Ana ends up in detention with Riley, her life suddenly changes. When Ana, Riley, Christine, and Zoe share their essays on "The Day My Life Changed," it turns out they have more in common than they ever would have imagined. Now as Ana lives out her faith, she and Zoe are determined to befriend Riley and Christine. But the drama of high school life has only just begun. . . .

Genres: Young Adult, Christian, Realistic Fiction

Published: September 8, 2008

Series: Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt (Book 1)

My rating: 4 stars

This was a great Christian book, maybe one of my favorites.

Miracle Girls was a fun book to read because the characters were all unique and interesting to read about. There is Anna, with strict Christian parents who don't let her even talk to boys on the phone. There is Riley, a daredevil who doesn't get along with Anna...at all. There is Zoe, the dependable best friend with hippie parents. And there is Christine, the rebel.

All the girls are different from each other, which I liked. They weren't clones or anything, they each had their own personalities.

I liked reading about how they became friends, because it was a really great transition from absolute enemies to BFFs.

I would recommend this to Christian fiction lovers, girls in particular. It's the characters that make this book good!



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Match Me

Match Me (Me, #1)

Match Me

By Liz Appel

Blurb: Bonnie Nichols wasn't the kind of girl to crash a wedding. Or throw things. But somehow, she ends up doing both...at her ex-boyfriend's wedding.

Bonnie has been in love with Chase Somers since elementary school and seeing him at the altar with the absolute wrong girl causes her to do the unthinkable—toss a shoe in his direction in order to try and stop it. But she doesn’t count on the shoe knocking him out. Nor does she count on the entire church knowing it was her who did the throwing. The shoe doesn’t stop the wedding, but it does make her the laughingstock of her town.

As Bonnie copes with both the embarrassment of her actions and the loss of the boy she has always loved, her best friend Jill attempts to yank her out of her despair by pushing her to use Match Me, an online dating service. Despite her skepticism, Bonnie agrees to go on a few dates, dates that end up going comically bad.

Convinced that she will be single forever, an unanticipated complication causes Bonnie to take stock of her life and the people around her. Was she really ever in love with Chase Somers? Or was loving him simply the easy thing to do?

Crashing the wedding—and throwing that shoe—just may end up being the smartest thing she's ever done.
Genres: Adult/YA, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Humor, Chick Lit
Published: August 26, 2012
Series: Me by Liz Appel
My Rating: 4 stars
What a cute story! I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was. Match Me was light, sweet, and funny; three things that I desperately wanted to read about after finishing a couple books that I can’t say I enjoyed very much.

Bonnie, the main character, has just crashed her ex-boyfriend’s wedding to try and stop him from marrying the wrong girl, Angela. She becomes the talk of the town; and not in a good way. I felt so bad for her, but at the same time I couldn’t help but laugh a bit. The author managed to give everything in this story a funny spin.

Chase was a jerk. The author portrayed that well, and I loved the scene where Bonnie realizes that. I felt like cheering for her. (Side note: What if Carrie Underwood, and not Taylor Swift, had been the singer Bonnie was inspired by? She would have totally trashed Chase’s car. That would have been interesting.)

The romance was really cute. Bonnie’s new love interest was SO MUCH BETTER THAN CHASE. Sorry, I really didn’t like Chase in here.

I would recommend this to girls 14+, because there is a bit of mature content in here. (SPOILER: pregnancy scare) It’s an adorable little story, and I wouldn’t mind reading it again!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: The Healer's Apprentice

The Healer's Apprentice

By Melanie Dickerson


Blurb: Two Hearts. One Hope.

Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.

When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

Genres: YA, Romance, Retellings, Christian, Historical Fiction

Published: September 10, 2010

Series: Fairy Tales by Melanie Dickerson (Book 1) can be read as a standalone

My Rating: 2 stars

There are some books where I finish, and I am not sure why I did not enjoy them. It takes me a few days to ponder over what I disliked about the story. Healer's Apprentice, however, was a book where I finished and knew exactly what I did not enjoy.


The main thing that annoyed me was that this was so similar to the Fairest Beauty. How is that even possible?! They are two different fairy tales, and yet they were basically the same. I can't go into detail too much, because it's the plot twists that are all alike, and I wouldn't want to spoi the whole story, but I can say this; I was suffering from some serious déjà vu while reading this. I suppose that if I had read these books in order, I would be complaining about this in my review of the Fairest Beauty instead of this review, but I didn't, so it's going in here.

Another thing I disliked: Wilhelm. I liked his brother Rupert more, who, turns out to be a jerk, which kind of sucked, because I was entertaining a small hope that Rose would realize that Wilheim had an extremely boring personality and fall in love with Rupert. Sigh. 

Also, the 'plot twists' in here are not plot twists at all. They are so apparent that I knew pretty much the whole book how Rose be able to end up with Wilhelm. I think that if these reveals were a bit more shrouded in mystery rather than being blatantly foreshadowed, I could possibly have given this book three stars. But they obviously weren't.

And the icing on top of my hate-cake was the fact that Rupert calls Wilhelm a prude. That just seemed too modern of a word to use in a story that seems to take place during medieval times, so I looked it up, and I was right! It was. There is no way that Rupert would have called Wilhelm a prude, since this takes place in the 14th century.

Again, I would not recommend this story. I think this is going to be the last book I try to read from this series.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Review: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Changed the World

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

By Vicki Myron

Blurb: How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.


Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most. 


As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

Genres: Non-Fiction, Biography

Published: September 24, 2008 

My Rating: 4 stars

Dewey was a book that made me cry. I can’t say that about many stories.


I don’t normally read biographies, but I’d been seeing this one in libraries for a while, and I decided I was going to read it. It sat unread on my kindle for a while, and finally I got to it, expecting a story that I wouldn’t overly enjoy, but could check off my to-read list. 


I liked this more than I expected, though. I fell in love with Dewey, a cat that I wish I could have met. His Buddha poses, the Dewey treatment…that was adorable! . Dewey was such a friendly cat, and it was heartwarming to read about him; he was my favorite part of the book. 


That brings up the question: Huh? I thought the whole book was about Dewey??? The answer is, heck no! Sometimes it seems like the author went off on a tangent and talks about Spencer, Iowa, more than little Dewey, and I would wonder, ‘when do I get to read more about the kitty?’ I wanted more about Dewey, and less about the history of the author’s hometown.


The end is what made me cry. I knew what would happen--what always happens at the end of biographies, but that didn’t make it any less sad. I don’t cry often at books, but I had some tears for Dewey.


I enjoyed this book a lot, but I wish that there was more Dewey in it. The book is titled ‘Dewey’, after all.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: After the Leaves Fall

After the Leaves Fall
 

After the Leaves Fall

By Nicole Baart

Blurb: Julia DeSmit can't wait for her life to begin. After her mother leaves when Julia is nine years old, she's raised by an unassuming, gentle father and a saintly, matriarchal grandmother until her father dies just as Julia is becoming a young adult. On the cusp of womanhood, Julia feels jaded by her circumstances and longs for a new identity. College seems like the perfect place to start over. But when Julia makes a mistake that will change her life forever, she returns to her grandmother's farm, defeated and convinced of her own worthlessness. Only through the gentle prodding of her loving grandmother does Julia begin to accept the imprint her childhood has left on her life and look for hope in a loving God who longs to make all things new.
 
Genres: YA/Adult, Christian, Realistic Fiction, Romance
 
Published: September 5, 2007
 
Series: Threads of Change by Nicole Baart (book 1)
 
My Rating: 5 stars!
 
After reading this, I have to go and change my review of Miracle Girls. Because in that review I said that Miracle Girls was probably my favorite Christian-realistic fiction book. And now it isn't; now After the Leaves Fall is.

So now I will desperately try to write a review for this book, and most likely fail miserably, because it's hard to put into words what I liked so much about the story. Still, I'll try.

The emotions in this book were just so well written. I could really understand how the characters felt. Especially Julia, who was one of the most well-written characters I've come across in a while. She was so real. The author portrayed Julia's uncertainties, her relationships, her ambitions in such a genuine way.

The prose was absolutely beautiful. Sometimes Julia seemed older than her actual age, but it was still wonderful. I don't read many books that are composed this eloquently. Nicole Baart can write.

The ending was just as beautiful as the rest of the story. It was so wonderful to read about (view spoiler)[Julia's love for her unborn child. (hide spoiler)]

And lastly, for everybody who thinks that all Christian Fiction is unbearably preachy, this book is not. In fact, for pretty much 90% of the book, the main character isn't even Christian.

After the Leaves Fall is an excellent story, and one of the best Christian Fiction books I've ever read. I loved every minute of it, and I look forward to reading more by Nicole Baart.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Legend

Legend (Legend, #1)
 

Legend

By Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
 
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Romance, Science Fictin, YA, Action, Adventure, Mystery
 
Published: November 29, 2011
 
Series: Legend by Marie Lu
 
My Rating: 5 stars!!
 
What....how...Oh my gosh...wow!!!!

I haven't read a dystopian this-yeah, I'm going to use this word-amazeballs since Hunger Games. This one probably TIED with it. TIED! With HUNGER GAMES! Which of course means that the book was basically flawless in every way.

Day is my new book boyfriend. He's totes swoon worthy. (Yeah, I just used the words totes; whatcha gonna do 'bout that? Huh, huh? Just kidding of course.)He's so awesome! I've always loved reading about criminals that do good, and Day is exactly that. He loves his family, he's ADORABLE, and he's pretty much like a ninja.

description

We also have June. Another kick-butt main character! I liked her a lot. She and Day were a lot alike, I'll admit, but that wasn't a problem for me.

I'll admit, I got REALLY into this story, with it's super-fast paced action, great characters, and suprises and twists at every turn. For example, when June found out that Day didn't actually kill Metias, I was so happy because it meant that they could be together! And my heart was aching for Day at the end of the book.

Also, the setting for Legend is extremely interesting. Colonies vs. Republic, United States split. One thing I would have liked to know was; what the heck happened that we split up? This normally doesn't bother me in Dystopians; I actually like when the author leaves it to the reader's imagination, but I feel like there's the potential for an awesome story behind that question. Well, maybe it'll get answered in the next books.

OH! One more thing! I am completely AMAZED at how Marie Lu was able to make me like Metias, even though he's, well, dead for most of the book. I don't think any author's been able to do that to me before! She put in these little tidbits about his relationship with June, and I just felt so heartbroken that he was gone.

So, if it isn't already obvious, I seriously loved this story. I'm hopefully getting Prodigy soon!

Note: I heard this might become a movie! But so help me, if they screw this up, I will be FURIOUS.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: The Five Kisses

The Five Kisses (Sweet Deception Regency #1)
 

The Five Kisses

By Karla Darcy

Blurb: If you love Downton Abbey and Jane Austen you’ll love The Five Kisses! Can the daughter of a professor with a very small estate interest the heir to an Earl in not just love but marriage? When 13 year old Chad stands up to a bully and rescues a kitten, Gillian saves him from a beating. A thank you kiss surprises them both. If she was older than 9, she might have fallen in love with him right there. But then…" The journey from friendship to love in this traditional Regency will warm the heart of any reader.
 
Genres: Adult, Historical Ficton, Realistic Fiction, Romance
 
Published: August 11, 2012
 
Series: Sweet Deception Regency by Karla Darcy (book 1) I think these can be read as standalones, though.
 
My Rating: 3 stars
 
 
I don't love Jane Austen or Downton Abbey. It's not that I don't like them, I just haven't read or seen them yet. I will someday, of course, it just hasn't happened yet. What I did love was that cover, so I got this book for free on Amazon. (Go freebies!)
 
This book was all right. It didn't exactly draw me in, but I didn't want to throw it across the floor, that's for sure. So, it's earned three stars.

I've never read many regency romances before. After reading this book, I think that I may try a few more. I really liked reading about this era; it's always been one of my favorites.

The romance was sweet, and it was fairly clean. It wasn't the best I've ever read, but it was by no means the worst.

But the ending was seriously rushed. He comes home and he's all like, I'm going to marry you, and she's like, sure.  I didn't find this to be very realistic at all. It seemed a bit like the author just wanted to be done with the story, so she ended it.

So, all together, it was an okay book. It kept my interest, but that was more because it was during a time period that I like reading about then anything else.


Waiting On Wednesday: United We Spy


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we cannot wait to read!
 
The book I am highlighting this week comes out September 17th. You've probably heard of it:
 
United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6)
 
United We Spy by Ally Carter!
 
It has a blurb and everything!(unlike the last book I posted for WoW): Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.
 
OH MY GOSH.
 
I. Need. This. I actually wrote a 'I want this' review of it on Goodreads, which I never do, but I just want need it soooooooooooooo badly.  I'll just post that, gifs and all:
 

REVIEW (Of course, that term is used loosely):

This is me finding out it won't come out until later 2013! I CAN'T WAIT THAT LONG!!!! Need...Gallagher...girls!

description

Honestly, the series had just gotten even more AWESOME!!!! And Zach, (WHO IS SOO MUCH BETTER THAN JOSH) had just successfully stolen my heart! And...Ugh! I just need it soo badly!!! Why must you do this to us, Ally Carter?! Double Crossed is my only consolation!

description
 

----

So, can you tell I'm excited? And a little, teensy bit impatient?


What book are you waiting for this week? Tell me in the comments below!                 

 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: The Sky Inside

The Sky Inside (The Sky Inside, #1)
 

The Sky Inside

By Clare Dunkle

Blurb: Martin lives in a perfect world.
Every year a new generation of genetically-engineered children is shipped out to meet their parents. Every spring the residents of his town take down the snow they've stuck to their windows and put up flowers. Every morning his family gathers around their television and votes, like everyone else, for whatever matter of national importance the president has on the table. Today, it is the color of his drapes. It's business as usual under the protective dome of suburb HM1.
And it's all about to come crashing down.
Because a stranger has come to take away all the little children, including Martin's sister, Cassie, and no one wants to talk about where she has gone. The way Martin sees it, he has a choice. He can remain in the dubious safety of HM1, with danger that no one wants to talk about lurking just beneath the surface, or he can actually break out of the suburb, into the mysterious land outside, rumored to be nothing but blowing sand for miles upon miles.
Acclaimed author Clare B. Dunkle has crafted a fresh and fast-paced science-fiction thriller, one that challenges her characters -- and her readers -- to look closer at the world they take for granted.
 
Genres: Juvenile/YA, Adventure, Dystopian, Science Fiction
 
Published: March 25, 2008
 
Series: The Sky Inside by Clare Dunkle (book 1)
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
I was a bit unsure about this book, because Dystopian has just been getting more and more generic, in my opinion. However, I still managed to really enjoy the Sky Inside.
It's not a rip-off of Hunger Games, first of all, which I appreciated. I haven't read anything very similar to the Sky Inside, well, ever. It was also full of unexpected twists and turns, and unpredictability is something that I love in books!

The setting was not extremely unique, but it was unique for a dystopian. Basically, the people live in a 'suburb' where all the houses are the same. This is the part that I thought wasn't too new. But after that it gets a bit more interesting. For example, people don't have to work anymore. School is dumbed down, and Peter Pan is now a business man fighting a law firm. (And, as a huge Peter Pan fan, I can assure you that nothing says 'oppressive government' like changing Peter Pan into a business man.)

I loved Chip. He was such a cool dog, and I wasn't expecting to like him as much as I did. He's a robot, and I usually don't like reading about robots too much, but you can't help but love Chip. He's loyal, funny, and rather adorable.

I was a bit confused at first, because I hadn't realized there was a sequel when I finished, and the ending didn't feel fully complete. So I looked it up, and there is a sequel! Yay!
I would recommend this to fans of Dystopian, particularly Uglies.

 

Review: The Color of Freedom

The Color of Freedom

The Color of Freedom

By Michelle Isenhoff

Blurb: Fourteen-year-old Meadow Wynn McKenzie hates the British. Turned off her Irish farm and forced to book passage to America as an indentured servant, Meadow understands why the rebels wish to throw off the yoke of King George’s rule. But is freedom worth the cost?

Then, forced to flee her master, Meadow disguises herself as a boy and takes up with a traveling tinker. While winding toward Boston to reunite with her father, she’s moved by the courage, pride and determination of the American patriots, but their Puritan roots run deep.

Before she can embrace the cause of her new homeland, Meadow must carefully consider a future amongst Puritan hatred for her Catholic beliefs. Would liberty apply to Irish, to Negroes, to Quakers, to Jews, to Catholics? Or would that slogan be cast aside when majority rule served the majority? Perhaps the colonists had simply invented a new kind of tyranny.

But war will not wait for Meadow’s decision.
 
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction
 
Published: April 20, 2011
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
It's kind of weird how much historical fiction I've been reading lately. I went from avoiding it at all possible costs to seeking out recommendations for this genre. So when I saw a book blog call this a 'clean indie read', and I saw that it was Historical Fiction, well, I was pretty excited!

Anyway, The Color Of Freedom offers a unique look at the Revolutionary War. It focuses more on the prejudice during that era then the actual war itself, though this isn't left out completely; it just isn't all the book's about. Maybe some people who are looking for a bit more 'war' will be disappointed, but I personally thought that it was very interesting to read about.

The one downside to this book is that I did not connect with Meadow as much as I wanted to. However, that is just me. I do think that she was a very dynamic character.

All in all this was a very good book! I will be checking out some other books by Michelle Isenhoff soon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review: Touching Spirit Bear

Touching Spirit Bear (Spirit Bear, #1)

Touching Spirit Bear

By Ben Mikaelsen

Blurb: Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Peter Driscal in the parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Peter may have permanent brain damage and Cole is in the biggest trouble of his life.

Cole is offered Circle Justice: a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim and the, community. With prison as his only alternative, Cole plays along. He says he wants to repent, but in his heart Cole blames his alcoholic mom his, abusive dad, wimpy Alex--everyone but himself for his situation.

Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. There, he is mauled by Mysterious white bear of Native American legend. Hideously injured, Cole waits for his death His thoughts shift from from Anger to humility. To survive, he must stop blaming others and take responsibility for his life. Rescuers arrive to save Cole's but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that may save his soul.

Ben Mikaelsen paints a vivid picture of a juvenile offender, examining the roots without absolving solving him of responsibility for his actions, and questioning a society in which angry people make victims of their peers and communities. Touching Spirit Bear is a poignant testimonial to the power of a pain that can destroy, or lead to healing.
 
Published: 2001
 
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Realistic Fiction (Yeah, I realise that makes no sense. It's hard to understand unless you read the book.)
 
Series: Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson (Book 1)
 
My Rating: 4.5 stars
 
So...this book made me realize something. I have an obsession with survivalist stories. Am I the only person that didn't know this was a genre? I would just call them 'books like Hatchet'. And now I'm really excited to learn that there are so many books like this.

Yeah, his book was a bit like Hatchet, but I actually liked this better. For starters, I loved the transition of Cole's character. He starts off as a total jerk/sociopath(he's in jail because he beat up a kid named Peter to the point where Peter might have permenant brain damage) to this reformed and, for lack of a better word, nicer boy.

I did feel bad for Cole, though. At the beginning, he is a total psycho, but there's a reason. His father is abusive and both of his parents are alcoholics. In short, his home life sucks.

Another thing I liked about this book was the Circle Justice, which I had never heard of before and found extremely interesting. It really is fascinating to read about!

The ending was such a surprise. I didn't expect that (yeah, that's about as specific as I'll get, sorry) to happen! I know this whole paragraph sounds extremely vague, but I don't want to ruin the whole book for people.

There is one more thing I should probably mention. I don't really know if I would call this a fantasy. The blurb makes the book sound like it, but it's really not. When I first picked up the book, I thought it would be an actual ghost bear, but the bear is alive and pretty much a normal bear. The only reason the bear is unique is that it's not supposed to inhabit the island Cole is spending his Circle Justice Punishment on. It's a bit fantastical, but only a teensy bit, in my opinion.

If you are thinking about reading this, go for it! I could not get enough of this book.

P.S. My book was signed by Ben Michaelson! Not to me, but to whoever owned it before (this was a secondhand book). Still...PRETTY COOL!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: The Fire Horse Girl

 
 The Fire Horse Girl

The Fire Horse Girl

By Kay Honeyman

 

Blurb: A fiery and romantic adventure, perfect for fans of Grace Lin, Kristen Cashore, or Lisa See!

Jade Moon is a Fire Horse -- the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful, and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams, and wants only to find a way to make them come true.

Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise's smooth manners couldn't be more different from her own impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn't want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path . . . one as brave and dangerous as only a Fire Horse girl can imagine.
 
Genres: YA, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance
 
Published: January 1, 2013
 
Series: N/A
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
The Fire Horse Girl was a really good Historical Fiction for sure. I like reading books in this that are about events not very many people write about, and, at least in my opinion, this book fits that description.

Jade Moon was my favorite character in this book. She was definitely strong, and she refuses to take no for an answer. She overcomes the odds in many different ways. Honestly, I think it's pretty hard not to like a character like her.

Like I said before, this is definitely not a regular Historical Fiction. In fact, a lot of the things I learned in this book I had NEVER knew before, not even from my history classes! It's an extremely interesting book, but I think that it will also appeal to people who don't like Historical fiction, because there are a lot of action-y and exciting scenes.

Also, PLOT TWISTS! There were a couple things I didn't see coming. Kay Honeyman did a fantastic job of making sure that the plot did not start to become predictable. Just when you thought you knew what would happen, there would be something unexpected to shatter your theories.

Fire Horse Girl is a great book for...anyone really. It'll appeal to fans of Historical Fiction, Romance, Adventure, Realistic Fiction-it's the kind of book that covers a lot of genres. And it covers them well.



 

Review: Sophie, Pay Attention

Sophie, Pay Attention (Rhoda, You Too)! (Kingdom Kids, #1)

Sophie, Pay Attention (Rhoda, You Too!)

By Susan Barnett Braun

Blurb: Hi! I'm Sophie, and I'm 8 years old. I love my family, Jesus, and my pet rabbit. But sometimes I think it's hard being the youngest in the family. Maybe the others don't always take me seriously, or maybe they get upset when I forget things (like my math homework!).

I used to feel bad about that, but then one day my Sunday School teacher told me the story of Rhoda, a girl from the Bible who sounds like she was living my life! Rhoda's story made me think maybe I could look at things differently.

Now, can I convince my family to look at me differently too?
Genres: Juvenile, Christian, Realistic Fiction
 
Published: September 23, 2011

Series: Kingdom Kids by Susan Barnett Braun (book 1)
 
My Rating: 3 stars
 
Sophie Pay Attention (Rhoda, You Too!) was a very basic story that helps kids learn about Rhoda, from the Bible. The story is, like I said before, very basic. The book is around 20 pages long and is about a girl seeing a deer in her backyard. When she tells her family, no one believes her.

I gave this the ‘average’ rating because it is a bit boring. I think the author could have given this book a plot that taught the same story, but was a bit more entertaining. Young kids are the main target for this book, and I think that the plot might not succeed in completely holding their attention.

However, I think that kids will be able to relate to Sophie, who is the redeeming part of this book. She has a problem with paying attention, she forgets her homework, and sometimes people don’t believe her because she is young.

I would recommend this little book to Christian readers, because it teaches a Bible story that is sometimes overlooked in Sunday school.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: Cinderella in Skates

Cinderella in Skates

Cinderella in Skates

By Carly Syms

Blurb: Natalie Melter hates that her family made her leave sunny Arizona to move to Wisconsin but she’s even more upset that her dad, a former hockey player, tells her that she can move back to Arizona in the summer only if she makes her school's hockey team.

Natalie doesn't know the first thing about standing up on a pair of ice skates, but life in snowy Wisconsin is about to get a whole lot more interesting when the cute college hockey player next door decides to teach her the sport he loves.

Will Natalie put it together in time to make the team or will Shane be a distraction she can’t ignore?
 
Genres: YA, Chick-lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance
 
Published: February 23, 2013
 
Series: Cinderella by Carly Syms (Book 2) , but this can also be read as a standalone.
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
 
This book was so very cute! I really liked it, which is saying something since I dislike sports books in general.

Cinderella in Skates has like...nothing to do with Cinderella. Seriously. But I didn't care, because I liked what it was about. I don't really read many books that take place in Wisconsin, so that was interesting. I have never read a book that had to do with hockey either. So I could get over the fact that it wasn't a retelling.

I thought the characters were all pretty likeable, and I liked Natalie. She and I have a lot of things in common, besides the whole hockey part! (She loves Wuthering Heights too!)

I also loved reading about the competition between Erica and Natalie. I am a sucker for these competition type plots. I always have been. So I ate it up.

Also, apparently this is New Adult? I don't know, but that's what Goodreads says. Anyway, if it is, then this is the first NA book I have read in my entire life. And while I don't think it'll become an obsession of mine like YA, (this was pretty clean, but a lot of New Adults aren't) I did feel pretty good about finally reading one.

This is a great book for when you want a light and fun read!


Waiting On Wednesday #4

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
 
This week, I chose a book that most people probably won't know about:
 
Canes of Divergence
 
Canes of Divergence by Breeana Puttroff!
 
I cannot WAIT for this one. It comes out in July. I have almost no idea what it will be about. But I do know this; it's the sixth book in the Dusk Gate series, one of my favorite series! So I have to have it.
 
Plus that cover may be my favorite of the whole series. I did like the first the best, but then they changed it. :(

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Review: The Fairest Beauty

The Fairest Beauty

The Fairest Beauty

By Melanie Dickerson

Blurb: A daring rescue.
A difficult choice.


Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom—but can she trust another person to keep her safe?

Gabe defied his parents Rose and Wilhelm by going to find Sophie, and now he believes they had a right to worry: the girl's inner and outer beauty has enchanted him. Though romance is impossible—she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else—he promises himself he will see the mission through, no matter what.

When the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven, they find help—but also find their feelings for each other have grown. Now both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them—they must also protect their hearts.


Genres: YA  Christian, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings, Romance, YA

Published: January 8, 2013

My Rating: 2 stars

I just realized what I didn't like about this story; THE CHARACTERS! Yes, I think that must be it, because I just read two different fairy tale retellings, each with protagonists that were strong, witty, and had so much more character development and I looooved them.

The rating for this book was originally three stars. However, I'm redoing my rating system, because I honestly was bored out of my mind while reading this whole story, and why the heck should it deserve three stars?

There. I blew off some pent up anger at having to read this, I suppose. Now for the real, rant-free review. (Hopefully)

I hate that I didn't like this, because I was really excited to find an author who wrote Christian retold fairy tales. Those are my two most read genres mashed together (and of course they're two of my favorite genres, otherwise I wouldn't read them so much). In theory, The Fairest Beauty should have been my dream book. Well, it wasn't.

Sophie, the main character, was a boring, hopelessly perfect in every way, main character. And she was weak! I know that all the original princesses were not exactly the epitome of 'strong women', but this is a retelling! Your oppurtunity to make Snow White more than just a damsel in distress! Also, there was nothing truly original about her character. I really didn't see Sophie as being very different than the Disney Snow White, except for the fact that she didn't burst out singing "Someday My Prince Will Come." Note: I know that at first she seems pretty strong. Wait a couple chapters. She gets progressively weaker, in my opinion.

Now we have Gabe. He actually wasn't too bad. At least he had some personality, unlike the pale Mary Sue mentioned in the above paragraph.

I remember that another thing that I knew from the start I didn't like about this book was the fact that everything works out so perfectly in the end. Even (view spoiler)[Sophie's father ends up not actually being dead. (hide spoiler)]

After much pondering, I have decided that Sophie was the weak link in this story. If she had been a better character, for lack of a better term, I would have really enjoyed this story.

I don't really know who I would recommend this to. I hesitate to say people who enjoy Christian fiction, because this is definitely not the best the genre has to offer. I think that fairy tale lovers might enjoy this story, but this fairy tale lover didn't.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: Sweet Mercy

Sweet Mercy

Sweet Mercy

By Ann Tatlock

 

Summary: When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people.” They aren’t lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?
 
Genres: YA, Christian, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Published: May 1, 2013
 
Series: N/A
 
My Rating: 4 stars
 
 
I just finished Sweet Mercy. And I loved it. It was just so good. The characters, the story...everything. It was Christian, but it wasn't preachy. It was just wonderful.

I'll start with Eve. Eve was an interesting character, and I am still not 100% sure what I think of her. I'll admit that at the beginning I didn't like her as much, because she was the kind of person that thinks she's a perfect saint compared to everyone else. But she grows, a lot. Her elderly self ponders how she was, and says that something she learned is that (and this isn't verbatim) no one is all bad, just like no one is all good.

The Christian elements in this book did not overtake the whole entire plot. I'll be honest, I wouldn't have been apalled if they did, but a common complaint with Christian fiction is that it becomes overly preachy after a bit. I don't think this one does at all. It's message is subtle, but poignant.

Also, Sweet Mercy is an amazing example of historical fiction. This might sound strange, but I really felt like I was in that era while I was reading. This isn't a "hey kids, today we're going to learn about the Great Depression!" kind of story. It felt real.

This is some of the best Christian fiction I've read in a long time, as well as the best Historical Fiction I've read in a long time. It's the kind of book that I won't get tired of rereading again and again!

I received this book via Goodreads First Reads. This in no way affects my review.