Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Keep me in Mind by Jaime Reed

Publisher: Point
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Rating: 4 stars

Ellia Dawson doesn't recognize the handsome boy who sits in tears by her hospital bed. He claims he's her boyfriend, Liam. But to Ellia, he's a stranger. She remembers her name. Her parents. Her best friend, Stacey. But Liam is a total blank in her life.
Liam McPherson is devastated. His girlfriend, Ellia, suffered a terrible accident--maybe because of him--and now she's lost her memory. But the harder Liam tries to reach Ellia, and remind her of what they had, the more she pulls away. As Ellia begins on the slow road to recovery, Liam begins work on a secret project that he hopes will bring back the girl he loved.
But can there ever be a future when the past is in pieces?

I think I saw this book in the back of another book, and as someone who's always looking for books featuring African American females in non urban settings (basically people I can pretend to be) the cover of this book is what did it for me. Ellia had an accident while running with her boyfriend and can't remember the last two years of her life. If that's not bad enough, during those two years, Ellia did a lot of changing. It was during those two years that she met and began dating her boyfriend Liam, it was when she decided she wanted to make and design clothes as opposed to being an engineer like her dad wanted her to, she had also began to sneak around and act in ways that no parent would approve of. What's interesting about this book is that, as Ellia begins to learn more about who she became over the two years that she didn't remember, she didn't the "old Ellia" and wasn't sure how to handle it.

Liam... that poor kid. I'm honestly not sure what to say about him. So let me sum it all up. This is a great book. Ellia and Liam are incredibly realistic characters. I like that their racial differences were acknowledged, but didn't take over the book (FINALLY!). Learning about Liam and Ellia's relationship from the book that Liam was writing was a nice twist although I wish we could have seen more though. SPOILER. We learned that at one point Ellia and a friend ran off to a frat party and had to call Liam to pick them up and I guess there were covered in feathers. And Ellia and Liam drove around with a homeless man in the trunk. Where were those stories!!!

Anyway. This is a good book. Everyone should read it. While the ending squished my heart a bit, I thought it was 100% appropriate, realistic, and very mature. This book is appropriate for younger teens. I would have no problems giving this book to a 6th grader.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Publisher: Pointe
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Rating: 4 stars

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue! 

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out... 

Well, I have to say, the title of this book alone would have been enough to send me packing if I hadn't read the description first. I'm a closet romantic. I love romance novels, although I would prefer some kind of plot, like running for you lives, or solving some kind of mystery. That being said, something about this idea of this book really got to me. Misunderstood girl writes song lyrics on her desk, only to have someone else complete them. Who doesn't want that to happen in real life. Secretly, everyone wants that to happen. So characters:

Lily: Our main character. I wouldn't say she's a hipster, more like hipster adjacent. She does her own thing, and while I can't say that she doesn't care what other people think (because she is a teenager, they all care), she's willing to march to the beat of her own drummer regardless of others. She wants to be a song write, but has crazy writers block. That is... until she starts her pen pal excursions with the someone at her school. I decided that I liked Lily when I saw how she interacted with her family. I have younger siblings. My sister and I are 12 years a part, I know what it's like to have them burst in your room, interrupt your time with your friends, having to constantly babysit. It's exhausting, and let me tell you, Lily handled it waaaaay better than I did. She was a great sister, a great daughter, and a pretty good best friend. Also, props to creating an amazing and vivid family dynamic. I loved reading about them.

Cade: The mortal enemy. While this was Lily's story, and it was sweet. I feel like I wish there was more interaction between Cade and Lily. We saw Thanksgiving, that car ride, a few hallway moments, and the pool. but I don't know... I think I needed a little more. SPOILER ALTER IF YOU COULDN'T FIGURE IT OUT IN THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS We learn a lot about Cade from his letter, but I feel like we didn't really get to see it. There was a slight disconnect.

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Cade was the person writing ti Lily, but as I always say when it comes to book, it's not always the ending, it's the journey. I liked it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Outlander is the best!!!

I started reading the Outlander books a while ago. And by reading I mean listening to the audio books. I spoke to a lot of people as I started listening to the books because as soon as  Clare traveled through the stones, I thought the books was AWESOME. I'm on the fourth books now. A lot of people say they stopped reading during the 3rd book and I think they're crazy. There is romance, but for the most part, the book is about two people trying to live their life in 1700's. There's action, adventure, pirates, betrayal, family, jail, some brutal stuff, and a ton more. This story is the best!!!! The books are very long so I'd definitely suggest the audio books. The audio book reader is perfect, although she does struggle with the american Boston accept that pops up in the second book.

I love this book. I hope everyone loves it as much as me!!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Reading for work has killed reading for fun.

So, you know how sometimes, you come up with the great idea, and you're sure it's going to change you life??? Well about 4 years ago, I had one of those ideas. I needed a new life goal, my first career choice didn't work out, so I took a look at all of the things that I was good at that I thought I could turn into a job. Funny enough, I could only think of one practical skill. Reading. Actually that's a lie. I was good at reading, and I was good at talking. That was basically it. I was also good with children, not necessarily because I wanted to be, children and I just seemed to naturally get along. From all of that, I decided I should be a teen librarian. At the time it seemed like a smart fit. I started school (the one thing I promised myself I would never do) and got a full time job working in a library almost as soon as I started looking in my second semester of grad school.

So here's a little background. Every since... let's say middle school, but it was really probably around the 4th grade, I've been a reader. Reading was what I did when we moved 3000 miles away from my family. Reading was what I did when my parents had another baby and I was 13 and people were mistaking me for a mom. And reading was what I did in Middle School when I had almost no friends because apparently people though I was gay (not that it should have mattered). Reading was my safe place, and the only thing that helped me relax. Fast forward to now. Reading has become a job. I feel like I can't read for me, because I have to read for patrons. I have to read the newest JoJo Moyoes book so I can talk about it was patrons. Most of the kids that come to me are between 4th and 7th grade so when I'm reading, I'm constantly thinking "can I recommend this book to younger kids", "is this book to violent for younger kids", "will a mom get mad at me if I suggest this book to younger kids", and as soon as a book has sex, or bad language, or violence, I begin to feel like I've waisted my time because I know that I can't suggest that book to the kids who come to be for readers advisory. These aren't the thoughts I want to have. These aren't the thoughts I use to have. These aren't even thoughts I use to have at my old job because kids normally came to the library on their own, and the parents didn't really care what they were reading, as long as they were reading.

I stopped blogging and using Goodreads because I began to hate reading. It was the scariest thing in the world because I began to wonder how I was going to distract myself from the woes of the world. Thank goodness for Pokemon Go. I'm slowly working to change my mindset. But honestly, the books I'd need to read to fit the needs of the community that I work in, aren't necessarily the books that I want to read. It's making things kind of a mess. I'm hoping to find some middle ground.

I don't know if anyone is going to read this post, but this is a blog, and in my opinion, if I can't express myself and my feelings in my own blog, then when can I do it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Review: Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Rating: 4 stars

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid's fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender's Game.

The planet's natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn't seem like a hero. He's a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom's life completely changes. Suddenly, he's someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there's a price to pay. . . . (Goodreads)

I came to this series waaaaaaay late in the game but I really liked it. I was in desperate need of an audio book and I was also on the hunt for more books that I can recommend to my younger male patrons at the library so I decided to give it a listen. Not only is Tom and great and well defined main character, his friends are equally as well developed. His friends are all very different characters, but they fit perfectly with each other. It's the group of friends I always wished I could find and put together. While training to be combatants during WWIII Tom and his friends get into a bunch of mischief, but there are bigger problems to be dealt with as well. One of the instructors has it in for Tom, Tom also being to involve himself with the enemy, as well as commits other acts of treason.

Now, full confession, I audio booked this and I know that having an awesome audio book reader can make something that's not really great, seem great (such as the Stephanie Plum books, I'd never read them, but I'll listen to them for the rest of my life) but if nothing else, this book is easily suggestable to reluctant reader male children, and that's exactly what I was looking for.

But really guys, this is a great book. Action packed, and quick moving. Read it!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

I Want A Pen Pal!

Hey all! A quick plug for a girl named Jess. According to her blog, Paper Utopia, she's a student in England and she's doing something awesome She organizes this thing called book blogger penpals. or #bbpenpal. You fill out a form on her page and she pairs you up with someone, and the letter writing begins.

I've always wanted to have a pen pal. To some, I think it seems old fashioned, and unnecessary. I have this feeling that bloggers understand the appeal. It's always easier to be 100% yourself when you're not face to face with someone, and from that, great friendships can blossom. Some of you may have noticed that in books like Roomies, Because You'll Never Meet Me, and that section of Aristotle and Dance Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Maybe my expectations are unrealistic, but it would be nice to have a friend with common interest who you can talk to without holding back.

If any of you want to check it out, here's the link. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday:The Problem with Forever

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.


For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.
Release Date: May 17, 2016

I'm dying to read it!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Rating: 4 stars

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been close. After all, nothing can unite four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict, spartan upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go. (Goodreads)

I got this book in my January (I think) Owl Crate box and I've just finished it. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the book because I haven't read a lot of historical fiction, but let me tell you... I freaking loved this book. This book was about the Bronte siblings and I've never read a single one of their books so I had no idea how everything would translate for me.

The book jumped off the page from the very beginning. From the state we knew that there was some mystery to solve, and we also knew that this book would have pretty amazing and desirable paranormal elements. The Brontes (or at least Charlotte and Branwell) are writers and they are able to transport themselves into the fictional worlds that they create and take on characters. They are literally able to live in their own stories! What's better than that. But as we can guess from the book description, things eventually take a turn with the siblings begin to loose control of what they've created, we also learn that great power comes at a great price.

I really liked that the chapters jumped between siblings. Not only were we able to connect with them better that way, we were also to see what they thought of each other. Emily the reckless, Anne quiet but watchful, Branwell also a bit reckless but much more unsure of himself, and Charlotte, the eldest, the creator. I can't say too much without going on a crazy tangent, but reading this book made me actually want to read the real Bronte sister's books. I don't normally choose classics but I just might.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: April 6, 2016
Rating: 2.5 stars

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule. And now faces life-changing repercussions.
She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where obedience is paramount and rebellion is punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her-everything. (Goodreads)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.

I really wanted to like this book, I really did. From the description the book was a dystopian (which I like although I know some people are over it) and from the cover, the main character was a POC and being a POC myself, I really try hard to find characters that I can relate to on a physical level (particularly with all of this election foolishness). However, though I tried, I didn't like this book at all.

Celestine followed all of the rules of her society until she didn't, (MINI SPOILER BUT YOU SHOULD REALLY SEE THIS COMING FROM THE BOOK DESCRIPTION) and she's found Flawed. I must say, the part where Celestine is branded flawed is actually my favorite part of the book. Judge Craven is a pretty awesome and malicious villain, everything else, was less exciting. Celestine seeing a guy through the glass of her prison wall and although they never speak except for one line of his, she's obsessed with him, he's constantly on her mind. I didn't buy it. I'm honestly pretty forgiving with things like this, but not this time, the author wasn't convincing at all so it got to the point that every time she though about this guy I wanted to throw my tablet across the room. If all of that had been left out (or done) I think I would have liked the book more. The scenes with the reporter... great. The mom... weird but amusing. I also liked the Celestine's perfectionist personality is at times what makes her leader and hero for the flawed people. I can't say I was a big fan of Art though, he just felt like a flat character.

*sigh* I wanted to like this book, I really did, it just wasn't well done in my opinion.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.


What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.
Release Date: July 26, 2016

This looks super cute.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: Because You'll Never Meet Me

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children Books
Publication date: July 2, 2015
Rating: 4 stars

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.(Goodreads)

I really liked this book. It took me a while to get into the book because from the start I was not feeling Moritz, he was cranky and drove me nuts. As the boys began to tell each other their stories it was a fascinating shift. At the beginning of the book Ollie read like he had a serious case of ADD, he was all over the place in a sometimes laugh out loud kind of way. We get the impression that he's like that because he so isolated and happy to finally have someone to talk to, but as his story unfolds, we learn there's a little more to it than that.

Moritz, on the other hand reminds me of a crotchety old grandpa. However the longer he talks to Ollie, and the more encouragement that Ollie gives him, although he still remains kind of crotchety, he branches out, makes friends, and even slowly steps into a relationship. (Snaps for that by the way).

The only problem that I really had with the book was show long they drew out the mystery of what happened between Ollie and Liz. Every time it was brought up and Ollie said some version of "I'll hold that story off for another day" I was super annoyed. I felt like the author wanted to keep us hooked to the story in a pandering kind of way. Also, I didn't like Liz. I understood, but didn't understand her all at the same time. I just didn't like her.

So, that being said, this is a great book, and appropriate for all age groups. Hats off!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Otherworld Secrets by Kelley Armstrong

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.


More than a decade after Kelley Armstrong first opened the doors to the Otherworld, fans are still clamoring for more. In response to their demands—and to coincide with the Syfy Network show based on the series—Plume has signed up three Otherworld anthologies, each of which revolves around a different theme. The second in the trilogy, Otherworld Secrets, features fan-favorites such as Cassandra, Savannah, and Adam in rare and neverbefore- published short stories—plus a brand new novella. Fans old and new will flock to this mystery-themed volume to discover the deepest secrets of this captivating world.

Anthology Contents
1) Life After Theft – new Hope/Karl novella2) Forbidden – Subterranean Press 2012 Elena/Clay novella3) Angelic – Subterranean Press 2009 Eve/Kristof novella4) Zen and the Art of Vampirism – Zoe novella from Subterranean Press’s long-sold out “A Fantasy Medley”5) The Ungrateful Dead – Jaime short story from “Blood Lite” anthology6) Counterfeit Magic – Subterranean Press 2010 Paige/Lucas novella 

Release Date: January 26, 2016

I love this series so much it might be a bit of a problem.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Review: Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon

Publisher: HarperCollins
Date published: August 28, 2012
Rating: 3 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her hacking skills to stay anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in a warehouse with an IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa starts to wish she had someone on her side.

Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa’s talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation threatens his life in no uncertain terms. But what Noa and Peter don’t realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who’d stop at nothing to silence her for good.

I chose this book when I was desperate for an audio book to listen to at work and I wasn't super picky about what it was. This book is very fast pace and action packed. There are chase scenes, I think gun fire, conspiracies, people breaking down doors, and other randomness. I'd say this book was very entertaining and great for reluctant readers. I started listening to the second one but other things took priority. It's a fun book but not very deep. There wasn't much character development and, it's not that I didn't like Noa, I just also didn't care to much what was going on with her, aside from not wanting the main character to die. That's about it. This book was a solid three stars.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Review: Shackled by Tom Leveen

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Rating: 3 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Pelly has a master plan. After years of therapy, medication, and even a stint in a mental hospital, she’s finally ready to re-enter the world of the living. Pelly has been suffering from severe panic attacks ever since her best friend, Tara, disappeared from a mall six years ago.

And her plan seems to be working, until an unkempt girl accompanied by an older man walks into the coffee shop where she works. Pelly thinks she’s seen a ghost, until the girl mouths “help me” on the way out, and Pelly knows she’s just seen Tara.

Too shocked to do anything, Pelly helplessly watches Tara slip away again as she steels herself against a renewed spiral of crippling anxiety. But rather than being overcome by anxiety, Pelly feels more energized than she has in years. Determined to track down enough evidence to force the police to reopen Tara’s file, Pelly’s master plan takes a turn for the dangerous.

Pelly decides she cannot be shackled by her past—and the anxiety, fear, and grief that comes with it—any longer if she wants to save Tara. But in seeking answers through whatever means necessary, she’ll come face-to-face with true evil. And not all the shackles are in her head...

I liked what this book was trying to do. I really did. Pelly had some issues after she witnessed her best friends kidnapping... well sort of. Then she thinks she sees her kidnapped friend and spends the entire book trying to find her. Great, good, got it. Sadly the book fell a bit short. I understand that Pelly was upset about what happened to her friend, but I feel like something was missing. The girl smokes, she doesn't go to a real school, she wont leave the house at night, and all of this because her friends disappeared 10 years before. It's serious but, the book didn't do a good enough job of making me care all that much. Not to mention Pelly was freaking ridiculous. I didn't like her at all. She ropes her coworker into helping her look for Tara. He obviously likes her, but why. I have no freaking clue. Pelly is straight up rude, granted she also realizes that she's rude, but that's not the point. 

I can't say much about the book except it's a great read for a reluctant reader, although, an older kid because of a thing that happens. It's a short book that moves quickly but it's not that great.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.


We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.

Master storyteller Rick Yancey invokes triumph, loss, and unrelenting action as the fate of the planet is decided in the conclusion to this epic series.
Release Date: May 24, 2016

Although I thought the second book was just so, so. I can't wait for the last book!