Monday, May 26, 2014

Liebster Award! :)


Hi everybody! I know I have been less active recently. Hopefully that will end soon. I have some fantastic news, though; Skylar Finn from Life of A Random has nominated me for a Liebster Award! 

So, I will start off with random facts about myself. I need six, and I'll start off by saying I am terrible at this part; I never know what to write, so bear with me:

1. I love to procrastinate. Which is a terrible habit.
2. I just read the Harry Potter series for the first time this year. It was AMAZING.
3. My favorite movie is Titanic.  
4. I have tried to read Pride and Prejudice twice; I can't get into it. I am planning on trying again this summer. 
5. I am a huge Professor Layton fan. 
6. This year, I went from having over 100 unread books on my kindle to only five. It's pretty much one of my greatest life accomplishments. ;)

Now, for the questions:
 1. Do you like animation movies? What's your favorite?
YES YES YES YES. A thousand times, yes! I love Frozen, Shrek, Toy Story (1, 2, and 3)...there's too many to name.
2. Which nationality of food do you like best?
 This is hard, because I am the kind of person who absolutely loves trying new foods from around the world. I'd have to say that I love Italian most, but it's super hard for me to choose. 
3. If you had to do one chore for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Organizing bookshelves. I love it almost as much as reading. 
4. Favorite genre of book?
Currently, dystopian. But it changes on a daily basis.
5. Who's your favorite Narnian character?
I really loved Mr. Tumnus. However, I also liked Shasta from The Horse and His Boy.  
6. If you had to pick one, which would you rather a book had: romance or action?
Action. All the way. 
7. Do you take selfies?
*Sigh* I'm a bit ashamed to admit it but yes. Not a lot though. 
8. Do you like writing discussion posts or reviews better?
I SUCK at writing discussion posts. I think I've done one in the history of this blog. So reviews.
9. What's usually your first thought in the morning?
'I don't want to get up.'
10. You can change anything about yourself that you want. What do you change?
I'd probably be more outgoing. 
11. Do you prefer hot weather or cold weather?
Hot. I can't stand the cold. It is my dream to move to a more tropical climate someday.

Now, for my favorite part, the nominations! :D I am to nominate nine different bloggers. 

Ashly @ Book 'n' Go

The rules for nominees:

-Link back to the person who nominated you.
-State six facts about yourself
-Answer eleven questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
-Nominate nine bloggers with under 500 followers.
-Ask them eleven questions.
-Let them know that you nominated them!

My Eleven Questions for Nominees:

1.) What made you want to start blogging?
2.) What is your favorite book of this year?
3.) Have you ever read a book, then saw the movie, and decided the movie was better?
4.) If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
5.) How much does the book cover matter to you?
6.) What is your favorite food?
7.) What is your least favorite book?
8.) Do you dog ear pages?
9.) Who are some of your role models, or people that inspire you?
10.) Hunger Games or Divergent?
11.) What is your favorite season?

The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu

The Secret Side of Empty

By Maria E. Andreu

Blurb: As a straight-A student with a budding romance and loyal best friend, M.T.’s life seems as apple-pie American as her blondish hair and pale skin. But M.T. hides two facts to the contrary: her full name of Monserrat Thalia and her status as an undocumented immigrant.

But it’s harder to hide now that M.T.’s a senior. Her school’s National Honor Society wants her to plan their trip abroad, her best friend won’t stop bugging her to get her driver’s license, and all everyone talks about is where they want to go to college. M.T. is pretty sure she can’t go to college, and with high school ending and her family life unraveling, she’s staring down a future that just seems empty. In the end, M.T. will need to trust herself and others to stake a claim in the life that she wants.

Author Maria E. Andreu draws from her personal experience as a (formerly) undocumented immigrant to explore an issue that affects over one million children in the U.S. But while the subject matter is timely, it is M.T.’s sharp, darkly funny voice and longing for a future that makes this story universally poignant.

Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: March 11, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 336

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
So, short little story to kickstart this review. I have been going through a pretty bad reading slump lately. Every book I pick up seems to be mediocre, or just plain bad. And it kind of made me not want to read. Like ever. So, when I picked up this book, I was a bit nervous, because I had been really excited to read it, but what if it was another letdown?

It wasn't.

In fact, it was probably one of the best books I have read since I finished the Harry Potter series around a month ago. That's how good this book was.

This book deals with illegal immigration. You want to know how many books I have read that actually deal with that topic? One, besides The Secret Side of Empty. That kind of surprises me. You would think that illegal immigration would be a bit more represented in literature, especially today when it's such a hot topic. But it hasn't been, and that worked in this book's favor. The story made me look at illegal immigration in a whole new way; I had never given a ton of thought to it, but M.T.'s experiences really opened my eyes. It made the issue more "real" for me. Ironic, that a fictional book can do that, but it did.

M.T. was one of those characters that I just loved and loved and loved. No, we don't share a lot of the same life experiences, (except for the fact that she's kind of a nerd and I am too, haha) but there were still things--little things, but they were still there-- that I could relate to her on. I always love when an author can create someone with a completely different life experience than me and yet I can still, on some level, connect with the character. That's what happened with M.T.

The story, while it was primarily about life as an undocumented immigrant, also branched out into other problems that many teens face. This book was so realistic; I just loved it. It could make me really sad one moment and really happy the next. It made me giggle, and sometimes I teared up.

I would like to end this review saying that I agree with M.T.; the bad guys are usually more interesting characters than the good ones. Especially in the early Disney Princess movies.

Guys, what are you reading for? Stop reading my review and start reading the book!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Blitz: Love and Leftovers

Love and Leftovers
Paperback Re-Release: 05/13/14
Katherine Tegen Books

Summary from Goodreads:
My wish is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy, daydream-worthy love.
(If only it were that easy.)

When her parents split, Marcie is dragged from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She leaves behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father. By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this "vacation" has become permanent. She starts at a new school where a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up.

But understanding love, especially when you've watched your parents' affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you've lost it?

Available from:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo * Book Depository

 Character Quick Picks with Marcie:

Books or Movies: Books.

Handwriting or typing: Handwriting. I can’t live without my blue notebook.

Poetry or prose: Poetry. You can say so much with less.

New or Vintage: Anything. I only have one suitcase of clothes and I am really tired of wearing the same things.

Inside or Out: Outside. Being stuck in the same house with my mother is driving me crazy.

Quiet or Loud: Quiet. I’ll leave the loud for Katie, my best friend. She plays in a band.

Sneakers or Flip Flops: Sneakers. I just started running, and I like it.

Coffee or Tea: Coffee. Because that’s what J.D. brings me—but that might have more to do with J.D.’s dimples than the beverage itself.

Truth or Dare: Dare. Because if anyone finds out what I did. I’ll die of embarrassment.

Cake or Pie: Cake. I really need that birthday wish to come true.

Sweet or Sour: Sweet. Donuts. Marshmallows. Chocolate. Kisses.

Day or Night: Night. I feel free to write in my journal when I’m the only one awake.

Action or Adventure: Action. This little driving-across-the-country adventure Mom and I started back in June is getting old.

About the Author
Raised without television, Sarah Tregay started writing her own middle grade novels after she had read all of the ones in the library. She later discovered YA books, but never did make it to the adult section. When she's not jotting down poems at stoplights, she can be found hanging out with her "little sister" from Big Brothers Big Sisters. Sarah lives in Eagle, Idaho with her husband, two Boston Terriers, and an appaloosa named Mr. Pots. Her next book, Fan Art, will be released in June.
Author Links:

Win a signed paperback copy of Love and Leftovers and a guitar-pick necklace. (USA and Canada)
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Book Blitz Organized by:

My Neighbor, the Spy by Becky Black Powell

My Neighbor, The Spy

Becky Black Powell

Blurb: Max is convinced his neighbor, Mrs. W, is an enemy spy. His risky plan to find proof of her espionage and impress the CIA with his skill threatens to backfire and lead Max and his team right into a dangerous trap. Max and the team fall victim to the new neighborhood bullies and discover something amazing about Mrs. W that changes everything.

Genres: Juvenile, Realistic Fiction 

Publication Date: March 14, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 204

My Rating: 2.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads.

When I saw the blurb of this book, I thought it would be cute. Plus, I love books that have anything to do with spies. It's one of my bookish favorite things. This book was basically what my first impression of it was; cute. It's the kind of book that I would have loved when I was younger, I can say that for a fact. Now that I've gotten older though, I did notice a couple things in the story that rather bothered me. Mainly, the predictability.

See, there are bullies in this book, as with a lot of Middle Grade category books. And the MCs are a bit wimpy. But, as in a lot of middle grade books, (SPOILER!) the MCs can overcome their struggles and the bullies get their comeuppance.  (END OF SPOILER) I've seen a lot of books do this before, and while it's a nice message, I would love to see something else.

Also, I couldn't believe that the protagonist was twelve. He sure didn't act like it. I could see him being a nine year old, maybe a ten year old at most. But twelve was stretching it. He was a bit too immature for a twelve year old, in my opinion.

Like I said before though, the story was cute. It was short, sweet, and it had a nice little ending. Also, I'm definitely not the target audience for this one, even though I do read a lot of Juvenile and middle grade; boys ages 10 and under would probably like it more than I did. So, my review should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick

Absolutely Truly

By Heather Vogel Frederick

Blurb: An unsent letter in a first edition copy of Charlotte's Web leads to a hunt for treasure in this heartwarming middle grade mystery from the author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.

Now that Truly Lovejoy's father has been injured by an IED in Afghanistan and is having trouble finding work back home, the family moves from Texas to tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, to take over Lovejoy's Books, a struggling bookstore that's been in the family for one hundred years.

With two older brothers and two younger sisters clamoring for attention, her mother back in school, and everyone up to their eyebrows trying to keep Lovejoy's Books afloat, Truly feels more overlooked than usual. So she pours herself into uncovering the mystery of an undelivered letter she finds stuck in a valuable autographed first edtion of Charlotte's Web, which subsequently goes missing from the bookshop. What's inside the envelope leads Truly and her new Pumpkin Falls friends on a madcap treasure hunt around town, chasing clues that could spell danger.

Genres: Juvenile, Mystery, Realistic Fiction 

Publication Date: November 4, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 368

My Rating: 3 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I will admit that when I found out about this book, I squealed a bit. Heather Vogel Frederick is the author of one of my all-time favorite series, The Mother Daughter Book Club. Needless to say, I had some tremendously high hopes for this book because of that.

Sadly, this one did not live up to those expectations. It was a decent book, but I had been hoping for so much more than decent--not only hoping for it, in fact, but expecting it.

This one wasn't bad by any means. One thing I loved about it is that you can just tell that the author is a total bookworm. She will reference the Little House series one moment and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase the next. It's amazing. Books play a pretty major role in the plot, too, Charlotte's Web in particular.

The book also has likeable characters. I am sure others will love Truly; I had a really hard time connecting with her, because there are just not a lot of similarities between her and me. Also, while she was by no means a bad character, I never thought she lived up to the amazing MCs of The Mother Daughter Book Club. (I am fully aware that this poor book probably suffered from my frequent comparisons to it and the aforementioned series. For that I apologize, Absolutely Truly.)

The mystery, however, failed to capture my interest in the slightest. That was what really disappointed me about this book. The plot had a couple things going for it, mainly the fact that it was so wrapped up in books, but this lukewarm mystery was not one of them. It was not fascinating; it was boring. When the blurb claimed that they go around "chasing clues that could spell danger", I was intrigued, but I now totally disagree with that. There was about one scene that was even the slightest bit dangerous, and honestly, everything turned out to be fine.

Absolutely Truly was not the best mystery out there. I liked it mostly because I'm a book geek and the fact that so many of my favorite stories were referenced in here made me super happy. I was hoping for so much more from this book, and it's kind of sad that I didn't love this. Oh well.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Blast: Missing Lily

missing lily  Missing Lily
 “You don’t know who I am,” I whispered. He didn’t move—either away from me, or closer—and after an interminable moment, I stepped back and hurried out of the house. He didn’t follow me as I fled into the night. Lylin was not used to being alone—much less alone, hurt, and lost. So when she is separated from her guard and forced to abandon her horse, she counts herself lucky to stumble upon a manor house. Still frightened by those who chased her into the night, she keeps her identity a secret, calling herself Lily as she accepts the help of kind servants, and the compassion of Lord Fallon. When they fall into an easy friendship, she wonders if her secrecy was too hasty. However, as she gets to know the manor and its residents, Lylin discovers that she’s not the only one hiding secrets, and it may be a very good thing that her host doesn’t know her true identity as a member of the royal family.  
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add to goodreads Author Annette K. Larsen: I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.
I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
Missing Lily Tour
Not yet read Just Ella?
It is on sale for $3.99 for the duration of the blog tour.
Grab your copy on Amazon.
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      Book Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 6/10/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog Tour Excerpt: Only With You

Only With You

by Cecilia Gray

(The Jane Austen Academy Series #5)
Publication date: May 2014
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

Blurb: Dive into the fabulous, fun lives of six Academy girls as their friendships are tested, torn and ultimately triumph…

Emma has it all – looks, money, and luck. It’s not like she keeps it all to herself – she’s totally committed to helping those less fortunate. AKA, everyone. She invites her heartbroken friend to help with a weekend charity event with an eye to matchmake, but when that friend turns her eye toward the guy Emma wants for herself, how will she choose between friendship and her own feelings?

* * *

The last thing that the girls at the elite Jane Austen Academy need is hot guys to flirt with. But over the summer the school has been sold, and like it or not, the guys are coming. And it’s about to turn the Academy—and the lives of its students—totally upside down…

The Jane Austen Academy series are modern retellings of Jane Austen classics set at a beachside California boarding school.




Cecilia Gray lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she reads, writes and breaks for food. She also pens her biographies in the third person. Like this. As if to trick you into thinking someone else wrote it because she is important. Alas, this is not the case.

She’s rather enamored of being contacted by readers and hopes you’ll oblige.

Author Links:

Emma heard a sharp shriek, then tires on pavement, and stood and walked to her picture window. Her perfectly manicured hands brushed aside the white panel curtain. Knight's shiny, black Corvette squealed as it made a hairpin turn up the rolling hills that led to her family's beachside estate. Knight seemed to be taking advantage of being the only person on the private road. She clutched the fabric in her fist as the sports car executed a stunning right-angle turn, its tires rotating sideways and smoke swirling up from the exhaust pipe.
Knight was nothing if not reliable, and she should have known he would take her 911 message literally in every sense.
She glanced at the one-of-kind Hublot watch on her slim wrist—a replica of the one her mother wore. There was still so much to do but she stole another look at her reflection, this time in the full-length gold-gilt mirrors that lined the entry to her walk-in closet. As usual, nothing was out of place. She ruffled her long, blond curls, which cascaded artfully over her bare shoulders, sending up another whiff of lily perfume. Her platinum hoop earrings winked as they reflected the sunlight pouring in both through her front windows, as well as the back patio that overlooked the pool. She'd selected her dusty-rose camisole sundress for its comfort and now wondered if she should change—she was much more stunning in golds—but no, there wasn't any time. With a quick smack of her lips to refresh her pink lip gloss, she swept out of her room and down the stairs.
She ran into the brightly lit hall, sun streaming in through floor-to-ceiling white-trim French windows. The cleaning staff had finished mopping, dusting, sweeping, and steam-cleaning the Moroccan tiles, French chandeliers, and Turkish curtains hours ago. While they were qualified professionals and had performed all the needed touch-ups, Emma still saw room for improvement. She stopped at each windowsill to turn the crystal vases of calla lilies so the petals opened up to the sun and the lush, silky leaves faced the lathing rays hitting Newport Beach.
Had it been another day, she might have ignored these small details in favor of a nap or a trip to the beach. But today was not just any day. Today was the first day of many days of two miserable lives she intended to make much, much better.
If only her two victims knew what they were in for.
She threw open the front doors to the circular driveway, which—perfect timing—Knight was rounding. The Corvette swung out parallel to her and stopped hard. Knight threw open his door and leaped out.
Knight's gray T-shirt was rumpled, as if her text had found him sleeping. Likely, given his aggressive napping schedule. He must have pulled on the first pair of dark jeans he could scrounge up from the foot of his bed. The sleeves of his brown leather jacket were pushed up to his forearms, and one of the shoelaces of his Converse was untied and flopped to the ground. His brown hair stuck up at odd angles, skyward and sideways. He must have fallen asleep with gel in again. (Knight wasn't one for Emma's strict grooming rituals.) While she should have frowned in disappointment at his haphazard appearance, she found herself smacking her lips with approval.
He did manage to make disheveled look adorable.
Knight's warm, coffee-colored eyes wildly roved her body from head to toe and back. "Oh god. You look okay." His right arm latched around her neck. He pulled her against his side and laid a quick kiss on the top of her head. "You are okay, right?"
"Of course I am." With a grunt, she disentangled herself from his arms.
"What is it then? Don't say your mom."
"Why would I say your mom?"
"Emma." He let out an exasperated sigh. "So…everything's okay?"
"Better than okay. Dazzling! Don't worry about your lack of luggage. I'll have some clothes brought to the house. But first we must go for a ride." She walked around to the passenger side of his Corvette and opened the door. She noted that he wasn't moving and waved her hands for him get in.
Knight's brow crinkled, and he heaved out a breath that ruffled his bangs. He ran a hand through his hair, which made the dark strands puff up even more, and then pulled his phone out of his back pocket. Reading the screen, he said, "9-1-1. I need you now." He held the phone out over the hood of his car for her to read. "Is this how your phone autocorrects, I'm doing nothing important, swing by whenever?"
"Everything I do is important." Emma crooked her finger. "Let's go."

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson

Horns and Wrinkles

Joseph Helgerson

Blurb:  How can you tell if a river’s under a spell? River trolls, rock trolls, blue-wing fairies—the usual suspects—the stretch of the Mississippi where Claire lives has rumors of them all, not that she’s ever spotted any. But then Claire’s cousin Duke takes a swim and sprouts a horn—a long, pointy, handsome thing. After that, Claire doesn’t have much choice but to believe that something rivery is going on, especially since she’s the only one who can help Duke lose his new addition.

In the tradition of grand river adventures, Joseph Helgerson’s tale is as twisty and unpredictable as the Mississippi River itself, while an unusual cast of characters adds pepper to the pot. Readers of all ages will enjoy getting in—and out of—trouble with Claire and Duke in this nimble, sharp, and funny fantasy.

Genres: Juvenile, Fantasy, Adventure 

Publication Date: September 11, 2006

Pages: 368

Series: N/A

My Rating: 2 stars

This book was definitely more quirky than funny, and not the good kind of quirky, either. It was the kind that makes you scratch your head and wonder what the heck you just read. Yes, the story is inventive; I will give the book that much. But it's still pretty bizarre, and I just could not bring myself to care for the characters in the slightest bit.

First, there is Claire. Claire's an overall 'meh' kind of character. I didn't not like her, I didn't like her all that much either. I wish her personality would have been fleshed out more; she started out as a character with a lot of potential; tomboy, can't relate to her sisters, loves frogs, turtles, and the like; but there really wasn't a lot of development from her at all throughout the book, and honestly, I personally don't think she contributed a lot to the story in the first place. She was just kind of a bystander in how everything ended up playing out, except for the very beginning.

Duke; he reminded me a lot of Dudley Dursley. He was mean, a bit of an idiot, and there was one scene where he just kept chowing down on food. I didn't feel any great love for Duke. Like at all. He was supposed to be unlikeable, though, so not a terrible thing.

The trolls, however, really annoyed me. I liked Frozen's take on them infinitely better; there was only one who was even slightly likeable in here.

The humor was simply put, bad. Not one thing registered as funny to me in this whole book, which is really kind of sad, especially when both the blurb and the cover claim this book is funny. It's not that it wasn't my kind of humor, either; the book really isn't that funny.

The storyline was really bizarre but really unique, I'll say that. I don't think I've ever read a book even slightly like this. Trolls themselves aren't something I see a lot in kid's/teen's books, but even if they were, I think this book would stand out. However, the storyline was so strange that I really never got into the book. 

The one thing that I without a doubt loved was the illustrations. I never pay attention to the little pictures at the beginning of chapters, but with this book I  would practically study them. They were adorable. And of course, this cover is just the cutest. I am seriously thinking of buying more of the illustrator's books just so I have the illustrations (and covers) to brighten up my day. 

I'm giving this two stars because it was pretty imaginative, but other than that there weren't a lot of 'pluses' for me with this book.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Last Ride of Caleb O'Toole by Eric Pierpoint

The Last Ride of Caleb O'Toole

Eric Pierpoint

Blurb: "I need you to be strong."

Caleb O'Toole could hear his mother's last words as clearly as if she was sitting right next to him. He promised her he'd keep his sisters safe. But safety is over a thousand miles away in the rugged Bitteroot Mountains--past dust-choked deserts and thorny tumbleweeds and as sun so hot, it's hard to breathe. Tornadoes and hungry wolves wait for them on the path ahead. But with the infamous Blackstone Gang hot on their trail, Caleb has no choice but to keep going. There's no telling how far the gang will go to keep their latest murder a secret. And Caleb is the number one witness to their crime.

Caleb O'Toole can hear his mother's last words: "I need you to be strong." and he can't let her down.

Genres: Juvenile, Historical Fiction, Adventure

Publication Date: September 3, 2013

Series: N/A

Pages: 304

My Rating: 2 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

(I should probably start off by saying that I am in the minority on this one from what I can see. (Almost) everyone else gave it glowing reviews, so you may want to take this review with a grain of salt.)

Think of every western movie and book that you have ever read. What did the plot revolve around? You'll probably come up with something along the lines of:
-Native Americans

Every single event listed is in this book.

This book does prove that historical fiction doesn't have to be boring, a complaint that I hear a lot, especially from young kids, the age this book is geared to. But it could have been just as exciting if only one or two ideas were taken from that list and worked with, instead of throwing in every single thing that could possibly have gone wrong during this period in history. Or, they could have made this book a bit longer and spaced out the catastrophes; I don't think I would have minded as much, perhaps not at all, if things hadn't been happening almost on top of each other.

Of course, young kids might like The Last Ride of Caleb O'Toole more than I did, so I will not say that I am not recommending it; if there is one book that can keep a kid's attention span, it would be this one. There's hardly ever once a lull in the adventures of these fictional characters.

I may not have liked it, but I gave it an extra star because I know there are people who will. However, this one was simply not for me.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Stacking the Shelves 5/3/14

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is about sharing the books you received in the past week. You can include books you buy, books you borrow, review books, gifts, and e-books!

Review Copies:
I am insanely excited to read all of these!
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Many thanks to Emily at Follow the Yellow Book Road, where I won a copy of Don't Even Think About It!
My Neighbor the Spy was won via Goodreads First Reads. 
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This is probably all that I am going to read this weekend, because:
1.) The sheer length of the seventh book alone!
2.) After I am finished with these, I'll probably be in a book depression. This is one of my favorite series, if not my favorite. 
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That's all! What do you guys think? Comment below!

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Cutlass by Ashley Nixon


by Ashley Nixon

Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his  strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

Publication date: April 23rd, 2014

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Cutlass (book 1)

My Rating: 3 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Cutlass was a book that I think would have been absolutely perfect for me if it weren't for a few things plotwise that bugged me. Still, I did enjoy it.

Honestly, it would probably take some really huge problems in the book for me to NOT like it, because, well, pirates. Pirates are a wonderful reading treat for me, because I just can't find very many, and they really do make a fascinating story. Maybe there are a ton of pirate books out there just hiding from me, I don't know. The fact is, it's something that I haven't read a lot of even though I would like to. That was a pretty big reason I liked this book.

I really liked Barren. He was daring and fierce at times, sensitive and vulnerable the next. He's the kind of character, basically, that I have a tendency to really, really like. There was one thing, however, that I was not buying about him. He's the most feared pirate of them all, apparently, but yet he's a mere eighteen years old. I can suspend my disbelief for that age, but apparently he's been terrorizing the seas for the past five years or so...which would mean that he started at thirteen. I cannot imagine someone that young being such a feared pirate. The other main character, Larkin was not my favorite, but I did like her. I think that her interactions with Barren were what made her so fun to read about, especially when they had just met.

The plot was good. However, I did feel it was slow, which kind of surprised me. I wouldn't expect a pirate story to be as slow as Cutlass was. Still, I thought that as a whole, the plot was well thought out and interesting. Maybe it's simply my inexperience with pirate stories, but I thought it was cool that it was a fantasy.

I still am not sure how I feel about the romance. Yes, Barren and Larkin are good together. But it was a bit too....Stockholm Syndrome-y (That is totally a word, you and the dictionary just haven't heard of it) for me. I mean, yes, Barren's nice. But he kidnapped Larkin. Usually people don't fall in love with their captors. I don't care what reason he kidnapped Larkin. I don't care if his brother's a jerk. He still kidnapped her, and it felt a bit weird to me.

Cutlass was a book that I have mixed feelings about, if you couldn't tell, but my reading experience with it was still positive, so I think that it has earned three stars.

 Will be found here come release day:


Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. When she’s not writing, she’s hard at work on her Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

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