Monday, June 29, 2015

Nothing Today!

Hello!

I'm sorry, but I don't have a review for you today. HOWEVER, I am actively looking for book recommendations, so please feel free to comment below with a recommendation! Everything and anything YA or MG would be great.

Have a great Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: GEEK GIRL

I just got home from a very busy weekend trip. I wanted to post something, so I decided to do another recent YA read. My brain is a little fried, so please excuse any mistakes.



I'm far too tired to consider doing a summary of my own today. 

Goodreads says: 

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. 

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. 


As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. 


And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?



Review:

I found this book to be a tad outlandish, but I don't know much about the modeling industry, so it may just be my outside view of business. According to the author biography, Holly Smale became a model as a teenager, so I'm going to trust her on that part of this story.

The writing style is the best part of this book. Harriet has such a fun voice, and I love how Harriet used interesting facts to tie together her feelings and events.

All of Smale's characters are fun and interesting. Toby's obsession with Harriet makes his character quirky, and Wilbur has a way of dominating every scene. I do feel that the characters' lives tend to revolve around Harriet, and that makes them a tad unrealistic.

The plot keeps you guessing, and you are always looking forward the next chapter.

I found Harriet's motivation and resulting actions unlikely. Becoming a model just so she could become "cool" is a drastic step, and Harriet seems too level-headed to make such a rash decision.

I didn't check the facts in GEEK GIRL to make sure they were correct. However, I did find a few pieces of false information.

GEEK GIRL has me hooked, and I know that I'm definitely going to pick up the next book. It's an enjoyable read.

I think GEEK GIRL somewhere between 3. 5 and 4 stars. Maybe a 3.8 or so?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT

Good morning! I hope you're ready for some YA fun. Jenn Marie Thorne's debut novel, THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, is in the spotlight today!


I'm not going to do a summary of THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, but Goodreads has us covered!

Goodreads says:

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.


My review:

I really enjoyed THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT. The journey felt real, even though Kate's situation is a little outlandish. I ended the book wanting more of Kate's story; it's so well-written and enjoyable that I didn't want it to end!

Kate is such an awesome character. While she is independent, strong, and quirky, Kate also foes through powerlessness. I can see some readers labeling her as whiney or useless, but I found that she is neither. Rather, she is human, and her humanity is what made her stand out as a richly created character.

I loved the plot. It moves quickly, and there always seems to be something happening. The fast pace kept me engaged. I felt like it also made me feel like I was experiencing the hectic campaign with Kate.

I enjoyed the romance, but it was also a little outlandish. I don't want to spoil anything, but I did find it to add to the story. Sometimes romance can get in the way of the plot, but Thorne allowed no such thing to happen in THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT.

If you are willing to overlook the outlandish features of this book, you will find it to be absolutely stunning. THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT is a wonderful story.

I really want to give it five stars, but because of the nature of the story, I'm going to go with 4.8 stars out of 5.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: SILVER IN THE BLOOD

I've returned to share a recent YA read with you!

I borrowed an early copy of this book from a friend, so please keep that in mind when reading this review!



I am a casual fan of Jessica Day George. I really enjoyed DRAGON SLIPPERS, but I had trouble with WEDNESDAYS IN THE TOWER. I didn't realize SILVER IN THE BLOOD was by Jessica until I was about halfway through.

There are a few spoilers in both summaries. Nothing more than one would find on the book's jacket, but I thought you deserved a warning.

My summary:

Hailing from some of the most fashionable and well-known families in New York, socialites Dacia and Lou are excited to travel Europe. But Europe is very different than the parties and Parisian gowns they imagined. There's an odd man trailing Lou, and Dacia, facing consequences for her shenanigans in London, is stuck in Romania alone and happens to be quite bored.

But they go from the frying pan into the fire. Confronted with a dark family secret, Lou and Dacia are thrown into a dangerous plot that screams treason and murder. Together, the cousins battle their own family in a desperate attempt to discover a different future for themselves.

Goodreads says:

New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.


With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives. 



My review:

I have not personally been to Romania or researched the 1890s in great detail, so I can't judge Jessica's accuracy in either area. However, I can say that this is novel has a perfect amount of both mystery and adventure. The writing style complements the attitude of the time. There are a lot of little details that add a lot to the story.

The plot is very interesting. It did take a while for the family secret to be revealed. This pacing allowed the mystery to be revealed at the right pace, but it also made the beginning a little boring. However, once you reach page 173 or so, the story picks up the pace and becomes a whirlwind.

I wish I could have seen more of Radu, their cousin. He was an interesting character, but I don't feel like all of his qualities added up.

There are letters, diary entries, and similar materials before each chapter. As most of the book is told from third person, these works allow for a first person perspective. However, I found most of them a little boring and a drag on the story. A few added to the story, but I found that they tended to hurt more than help.

Although SILVER IN THE BLOOD is not steampunk, I would recommend it to fans of Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, especially if one particularly enjoyed WAISTCOATS & WEAPONRY.

Once you get through the slow start, SILVER IN THE BLOOD is a wonderful book filled with intricate characters, excellent plotting, and a wonderful adventure.

4 stars out of 5.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Quick Review: CATCH A FALLING STAR

Hello! I know I promised to try and do more MG books, but I wanted to share a great YA novel. I decided to try the quick review format. Feel free to tell me what you think of quick reviews in the comments.

Title: CATCH A FALLING STAR

Author: Kim Culbertson

Cover:


Goodreads says:

A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

Favorite character: A difficult question to answer. I would have to pick Carter or Adam.

My review:

The light tone, snide comments, and plethora of references made this book an amusing read. Carter made a great protagonist, and I enjoyed her unique perspective. Culbertson did a great job of weaving in lessons and creating three-dimensional characters. Like most books with a similar plot, CATCH A FALLING STAR bordered on unrealistic and didn't have many major surprises waiting for readers. However, the plot isn't the meat of the book; it's the interactions between the characters that make this book wonderful. A great summer read!

Starred review: 4/5

Recommended for: Kasie West fans who enjoy humor and a sweet love story

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Another Trip to the Library

Good evening, dear reader. This post is a tad more personal than the normal "library adventure." You see, lately I've been having trouble finding the book.

Maybe you have had a similar experience. You pick up plenty of books, but none of them are able to hold your attention for long. You want only novels from a very thin slice of a single genre, and nothing else will do. I don't know what this disease is called, but I do know that I have caught it.

In order to find a book that would satisfy my need, I went to the library. The disappointing MG section repelled me, so I floated over to the YA section. I spent a blissful half hour searching for the book. Although I didn't find it, I was able to snare a few other YA novels in the same genre. Hopefully they will help cure me.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Review: MESSENGER OF FEAR

Good morning to my fellow early birds! I have a book I'd like to share with you.


This wonderful book is by Michael Grant.

I got MESSENGER OF FEAR from the library, so I no longer have it with me. Therefore, I do not feel like I should write a summary. However, Goodreads has something to tell us...

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear. 

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out. 


My thoughts:

Like I AM NUMBER FOUR, I picked up this book because the storyline intrigued me. It was spooky but not overly so, and I loved what I had learned about the Messenger from the inside flap.

The plot did take a different path than I expected, but I still enjoyed it. I didn't actually predict the ending, although it does seem a little obvious when I think back. All the same, the ending was very interesting, and I think it added to Mara's character quite a bit.

There is a lot of imagery, which I liked. It added to the sense that Mara wasn't human and she was seeing everything differently.

It did, however, lack that extra layer of emotion that makes a good book magical. I saw the scenes as I read them, but I didn't feel like I was a part of them.

The writing style felt a little odd at some points, but I found it consistent. I personally consider an inconsistent writing voice the stuff of nightmares, so I was very glad that Grant didn't wander from the voice he set in the beginning.

Near the end of the book, I got a small peak at the force behind all of the supernatural characters. I felt that there is enough to understand the story, but my own curiosity wanted more. It might be explained in future books when the plot calls for increased explanation.

MESSENGER OF FEAR is a great book, but it isn't extraordinary. If it sounds interesting, I would definitely pick it up, but if it doesn't intrigue you, there are other books that might be a better choice.

4 out of 5 stars.