Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Unleashed

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Unleashed, the romantic, high-stakes sequel to New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's Uninvited, is perfect for fans of James Patterson's Confessions of a Murder Suspect.

Davy has spent the last few months trying to come to terms with the fact that she tested positive for the kill gene HTS (also known as Homicidal Tendency Syndrome). She swore she would not let it change her, and that her DNA did not define her . . . but then she killed a man.
Now on the run, Davy must decide whether she'll be ruled by the kill gene or if she'll follow her heart and fight for her right to live free. But with her own potential for violence lying right beneath the surface, Davy doesn't even know if she can trust herself.
Release Date February 24, 2015 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: The Paradise Trap by Catherine Jinks

Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Rating: 3/5

Marcus doesn't even want to go away for the summer. And his Mum's fond memories of Diamond Beach turn out to be nothing like reality. This could be his worst holiday ever…
But things quickly become more interesting when Marcus discovers the hidden cellar in their smelly old caravan. There, he and his new friends, the Huckstepps, find themselves touring a string of fantasy worlds filled with giant pink cats, stranded holidday makers and walking talking fairground rides, in a place where dreams turn quickly into nightmares.
Your dream holiday is meant to be the perfect escape. So run. NOW.
An a wild, exhilarating ride that will lead Marcus straight to oblivion unless he can escape the trap that's been laid out for him - and all those tempted to venture through the disappearing doors…

My Junior Book Club read this book and for the most part the kids enjoyed it, although I wasn’t a big fan. A boy named Marcus discovers a staircase under a seat in the mobile home his mother bought. The staircase leaders to a cellar and anyone who opens the door finds themselves in their dream “paradise” and the creatures in their paradise did what they could to keep them from leaving. Throughout the book various characters are trapped in their dream paradise and the other characters in the book get them out.

For the most part the book was alright, but there were some very confusing parts. There’s a section of the book that takes place on a boat and neither I, nor the kids, had any idea what was happening during that chapter. There was also very little character development. I feel like none of the characters learned anything from their experience in the nightmare of a cellar. None of the characters grew, or seemed to learn anything. I understand that the book was for younger children (my book club is 4th and 5th grade) but I feel like it does them a disservice. I don’t know. Some of the characters were funny, the kids were able to talk about what their dream paradise and dream nightmare would be , but there wasn’t much else going on.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Life of a Blogger: Achievements

 photo 93ed5406-2c23-4562-8935-8c077eb7200b_zpsd777ca2c.jpg
What is it?
A Weekly meme hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat.
Rules from Jessi herself!

*Please stick to the topic order on the list. If you want to catch up on old topics that’s fine, but the point is to link up to the same topic all around the blog-o-sphere, so please do not move ahead or change it to your own topic.

This Weeks Topic
When I was in undergrad, I was a Theatre Major. I began as a performer, but I let self doubt drive me away from the stage and into the background. As disparaging as that could have been, I was a great Wardrobe Manager (they do quick changes, costume presets, repairs, and things like that). I ended up competing in College Theatre Festival, although there were many costume designers, there were few Wardrobe Managers. It was not only an honor to be invited to do that, I was given an award and Honorable Mention at that festival, and an actually award at the second. I'm pretty proud of what I was able to accomplish. No one ever thinks about Wardrobe Managers, most people have never heard of the positions, it's always "Costume Designer". I was proud to show people that Wardrobe Managers matter. It was a small victory.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Playlist for the Dead

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular NowPlaylist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.
Release Date January 27, 2015 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Rating: 4/5

So wrong for each other …and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

At one point Echo was a part of the popular crowd with a jock boyfriend, chasing her dream of being an artist. Noah was a jock with loving parents and two young brothers. In present day Echo is the school freak and Noah, the bad boy foster kid who’ll sleep with any girl with legs.

I have to say, when we learned that Echo had scars on her arms, like other readers, I’d assumed that she’d cut herself and that we’d spend the rest of the book slowly learning why. However, when we learned what really happened, I must say I was surprised. As I read, I slowly put the pieces together, but that was a plot twist that I don’t think many could have put together before hand. I liked Echo as a character, although I typically like my girls stronger, we saw some of that backbone during her altercations with Beth and at the party at Noah’s house. I must say however, that I was she could say (or even think) the word sex. I don’t mind that she was a high school virgin, we see quite a bit of that in YA books actually. I can even understand that sex was difficult for her to think about she almost sounded like she was 10 years old when sex came up. It was really hard to suspend my disbelief with that. It continually took me out of the story.

I thought Noah had a great story. It began very typical, a foster kid who bounced from bad home to bad home, and is thus hardened to the world. Unlike other foster kid stories (sorry if that sounds insensitive) Noah came from a good home, and it was taken from him. The story becomes interesting when we learn that Noah’s younger brothers are with another family. Noah’s convinced the family must be abusing his brother’s like his foster parents abused him. It doesn’t help that his brothers foster parents seem to hate him, and don’t want his brothers to see him. We, as readers, are pretty sure that the boys’ foster parents are probably alright, but… you never know. When Noah’s youngest brother is hurt, Noah begins the process of adopting them when he turns 18 and ages out of the system.

The relationship between Noah and Echo is… rather typical, but done well. Tough boy protects weak girl, but as Noah tries to help Echo remember what happened the night she got the scars on her arms, you can’t help but love the both of them and route for their relationship. I like this book so much more than I was prepared to, (the mushy cover turned me off). Noah and Echo helped each other in very real ways, there was nothing superficial about this book and I can’t wait to read the others! These are real characters with real problems, that are almost hard to read about sometimes, let alone hard to imagine happening. This is one of those books that some could call dark, but I think it's so important for teens to read. They need to know what it's like for someone to be a Noah or an Echo, so that when they meet someone who those characters (because they probably will). People when only learn to truly accept each other, when they can understand each other, and books like this help us do that.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Life of a Blogger: Bad Habits

 photo 93ed5406-2c23-4562-8935-8c077eb7200b_zpsd777ca2c.jpg
What is it?
A Weekly meme hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat.
Rules from Jessi herself!

*Please stick to the topic order on the list. If you want to catch up on old topics that’s fine, but the point is to link up to the same topic all around the blog-o-sphere, so please do not move ahead or change it to your own topic.

This Weeks Topic
Bad Habits
Hmmmmm, I have a bad habit of clenching my jaw. It seems like a simple thing, but I do it in my sleep and though out the day. On top of that, I like to sing, so it continues to irritate my jaw sooooo, I really wish I could stop that. It's pretty painful.
I'm also the worst at keeping things off my bed, again, it sounds ridiculous, but if I'm not careful, I'll only have about two feet of space to sleep in because there are clothes, shoes, book, Tupperware, stuffed animals, pens, purses, and a million other in my bed. I have a problem.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: September 26, 2013
Rating: 3.5/5

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last. (Goodreads)

Overall I liked this book. It's very strange because it's not normally the type of book that I would have been interested in, if I'd had all the details, but I'm still glad I read it.

Judith was kidnapped, when she was returned to her family, her tongue had been cut out and she was officially the town pariah, even among her own mother. Although it's possible for Judith to speak, she doesn't because not only has her mother forbidden it, but because it's now a constant struggle. While we, the readers, are inside Judith's mind we learn of her childhood crush on a boy, now man, named Lucas, and we also learn that (view spoiler). Needless to say, it's makes their situation strange. Just before Judith was taken, another girl disappeared and later turned up dead. The father of that dead girl resents Judith for returning and we know that he's going to cause problems for her.

So I had no idea this book was period, it didn't take me long to figure it out, but when I did, I'd assumed it was a flashback or something and eventually we'd speed up to modern time, we didn't. I have to say I wasn't mad about it. It actually made the story more interesting. It was deplorable the way Judith was treated, and all because they'd assumed a man had sexually violated her. Today, she would have received comfort and counseling, and everyone she encountered would have told her it wasn't her fault, but sadly, in the past, a girls virtue was all she had. Because she was "mute" people in the town thought they could speak to her as if she was nothing more than dirt under their shoe, the speech wasn't as crude as it would have been today, but it was still there.

One of the interesting things about this book was that it was a mystery, there were things we didn't know, but the mystery was unraveled slowly, I wasn't sitting on the edge of my seat (which is what I personally prefer), but I still wanted to know, I appreciate that the author was able to accomplish that. Would I read the book again? No. but was it worth the read? Sure.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Life of a Blogger: Scars You Have

 photo 93ed5406-2c23-4562-8935-8c077eb7200b_zpsd777ca2c.jpg
What is it?
A Weekly meme hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat.
Rules from Jessi herself!

*Please stick to the topic order on the list. If you want to catch up on old topics that’s fine, but the point is to link up to the same topic all around the blog-o-sphere, so please do not move ahead or change it to your own topic.

This Weeks Topic
Scars You Have
 I'm going to assume we're talking about physical scars, and I do have one. When I was in college, for no good reason, I fainted in the middle of the night on the way to the restroom. To this day, I have no idea why... it just kind of happened. I woke up on the floor, my glasses were broken, and I was bleeding from my face. I ended up needing stitches on a cut I'd gotten along my eyebrow.
I always though fainting would be glamorous and that my arms would be posed beautifully around my head, and there would be a hot guy there to make sure I was okay... didn't happen. I wound up with a black eye and stitches. Oh well.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Review: A Song for Bijou by Josh Farrar

Publisher: Walker Children's
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Rating: 4/5

Life for Alex Schrader has never involved girls. He goes to an all-boys prep school and spends most of his time goofing around with his friends. But all that changes the first time he meets Bijou Doucet, a Haitian girl recently relocated to Brooklyn after the earthquake-and he is determined to win her heart. For Bijou, change is the only constant, and she's surprised every day by how different life is in America, especially when a boy asks her out. Alex quickly learns that there are rules when it comes to girls-both in Haitian culture and with his own friends. And Bijou soon learns that she doesn't have to let go of her roots to find joy in her new life.

Told in alternating viewpoints against the vibrant backdrop of Haitian-American culture, Alex and Bijou take their first tender steps toward love in this heartwarming story.

I saw the cover and I had to see what was going on here.

Alex is a seventh grade boy who attends an all boys catholic school, and has discovered girls. He's a little obsessed. When he sees a new girl dressed in the uniform of his sister school, he's totally overcome and MUST get to know her. He learns from his friends that her name is Bijou and she's from Haiti. In this book we watch as two kids with different background, customs, and experiences work against the odds to form a friendship.

Tweens who read this book will see reflections of their own lives. Alex has two best friends Ira and Nomura, however Ira isn't maturing at the same speed as his two best friends and is being left behind. Alex and Bijou are lying and breaking rules to see each other. This book portrays children taking their first steps into the complicated teen world.

This book did a great job of that portrayal. Two thumbs up Josh Farrar.

View all my reviews