Monday, August 31, 2015

In My Mailbox- August 31, 201

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox last week:

Rules for 50/50 Chances- Kate McGovern--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Everything, Everything- Nicola Yoon--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

For the Record- Charlotte Huang--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Corsets & Clockwork- by Trisha Telep, various--PaperbackSwap

The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

The Sunday Salon- August 30, 2015

The Sunday Salon

I finished and reviewed the following books last week:
Summer by Summer by Heather Burch 

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I am currently reading The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness and up next is For the Record by Charlotte Huang. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Review- Everything, Everything

Last night I finished Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house,

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

I knew it, I knew it!

Okay, I'm a sucker for teens with medical diseases.  So this one seemed right up my alley.  And I was easily sucked in.

I felt so bad for Maddy.  I can't imagine having a disease where I can't be part of the normal, every day world.  And I liked Olly too.  He was different--in a good way.

And oh the twist at the end.  I so saw it coming.  And then thought I was wrong.  But I was right.  And I was glad I was---it was so twisted!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

Everything, Everything will be released on September 1, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review- Summer by Summer

I finished reading Summer by Summer by Heather Burch last night for a 2015 Booksparks YA Summer Reading Challenge.

From Goodreads:

When Summer took a job as a nanny for a couple vacationing in Belize, she imagined it would be a fresh start before starting college in the fall. And while she adores her charge, Josh, she can’t say the same for her employers’ oldest son, Bray. He’s cocky, inconsiderate, and makes her feel she’s a chore he has to put up with. In short, he’s everything she dislikes in a guy.

Bray had a plan for the summer: party, hang out with friends, and forget all the responsibilities waiting for him back home. But every time he’s forced to be around Summer, her dour, serious mood sets him off. Not to mention she has a habit of picking up on what he already knows is wrong with him.

Then the two find themselves on a dive trip gone wrong, stranded on a remote island. As they focus on survival, their differences melt away, and they find being together may be what both needed all along.

The premise of this story was pretty interesting.  I mean, how often have you played the whole "If you got stranded on a desert island and could only bring 3 things" game?  And I'm conflicted.  In a way, there was too much drama.  So much happened and even though it's fiction, I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking "really??"  And the whole ending with the illegal event was kinda strange.

I think somewhere in the summary, it should be mentioned that this is a religious book.  There is a lot of mention of God and praying and youth groups and abstinence.  Which is all good.  But something I don't really seek out in my books and I had no idea it was in this one.

I liked Summer and Bray separately.  Summer was sweet and I loved how good she was with Josh.  (Although comparing him to the fifth graders at the school where I teach, his actions and comments sounded more like a second grader).  And even though Bray was a party boy, there was something good in him.  Like the way he wanted to keep his family together.  But I didn't like their relationship.  I mean, come on.  Summer hated him minutes after she met him--such a strong feeling for a guy she didn't even know.  And he wasn't fond of her either.  But then they get stranded and suddenly, immediately, they're okay with each other?  Not likely.

That being said, there was something in the story that kept me hanging on and wanting more.  It's definitely not a beach read like the cover might lead you to believe but more of an adventure-type book.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free to review as part of the 2015 Booksparks YA Summer Reading Challenge.

Monday, August 24, 2015

In My Mailbox- August 24, 2015

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox last 7 weeks (Oops!):

The One Thing- Marci Lyn Curtis--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Adventures of the Teen Furies- MaryJanice Davidson--PaperbackSwap

Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)- Jennifer Estep--PaperbackSwap

Mirrored- Alex Flinn--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

The Body Institute- Carol Riggs--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

The Lies About Truth- Courtney C. Stevens--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

I Crawl Through It- A.S. King--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Nameless (Tales of Beauty and Madness #1)- Lili St. Crow--PaperbackSwap

Summer by Summer- Heather Burch--from publisher for review

Bear Witness- Melissa Clark--from publisher for review

Never Said- Carol Lynch Williams--from publisher for review 

The Legacy of Us- Kristin Contino--from publisher for review

Spinning Starlight- R.C. Lewis--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

As Dead as it Gets (Bad Girls Don’t Die #3)- Katie Alender--PaperbackSwap

Sanctuary- Jennifer McKissack--from publisher for review

Sprinkles and Secrets- Lisa Schroeder--PaperbackSwap

Tonight the Streets are Ours- Leila Sales--review for an Around the World ARC Tour 

Young Widows Club- Alexandra Coutts--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Edgewater- Courtney Sheinmel--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Dumplin’- Julie Murphy--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Frosted Kisses (The Cupcake Queen #2)- Heather Hepler--from publisher for review

House Trained- Jackie Bouchard--from publisher for review

Revealed (House of Night #11)- P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast--PaperbackSwap

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Sunday Salon- August 23, 2015

The Sunday Salon

I finished and reviewed the following books in the last 3 weeks:
I Crawl Through It by A.S. King 

After Eden by Helen Douglas 

Bear Witness by Melissa Clark 

Never Said by Carol Lynch Williams 

Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis 

I am currently reading Summer by Summer by Heather Burch and up next is The Legacy of Us by Kristin Contino.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Review- Spinning Starlight

I finished reading Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it's hard to escape it. So when a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it's just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi's vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead.

Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home-a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers' survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?

Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans strings the heart of the classic with a stunning, imaginative world as a star-crossed family fights for survival in this companion to Stitching Snow.

As we all know, I'm a sucker for fairy tale retellings.  And while I've actually never heard of The Wild Swans, I still wanted to read this one.

But I was confused for a lot of it.  I enjoyed it but I think a lot of it was over my head.  I liked Liddi and the basic plotline of how she has this large family of older brothers who she was super close to.  And she was set to take over the company when suddenly her brothers all go missing.  And there's a villain who makes it so that if she talks, her brothers die (which makes me think of the Little Mermaid because Ariel lost her voice).  So I got all of that.  But the actual other worlds and the whole Khua thing really lost me.  I think it was too techy or sci-fi for me to really get.

But I liked how at the end of each chapter we got a snippet of an important part of Liddi's life.  I think seeing those sides of her is what really made me like her and root for her.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Spinning Starlight will be released on October 6, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Review- Never Said

I also finished Never Said by Carol Lynch Williams on the cruise for a 2015 Booksparks YA Summer Reading Challenge.

From Goodreads:

Annie and Sarah are fifteen-year-old fraternal twins who only spend time together because they're under the same roof. Annie's life has long been focused around her appearance and the beauty pageants that celebrate it, whereas Sarah's interests are sports and her runner boyfriend, Jeremy.

Then Annie begins to gain more and more weight, and all she seems to hear from her mother is, You used to be so pretty, followed by the latest diet to try.

Things begin to unravel for Sarah as well. Jeremy her boyfriend of more than a year decides to see if he and Sarah are "right" for each other, dumping her in order to get his head on straight.

Sarah is devastated. Her family is crumbling. The love of her life is dating other people. Her sister is getting heavier and more depressed. When Sarah learns, through gentle questioning, that a neighbor and very good family friend has been sexually abusing her sister, she knows she must act and help the sister who seemingly always had it all.

Told in alternating points of view, Never Said is the story of a family that has been caught up in what doesn t matter and about two sisters who realize that their relationship no matter how different the two of them are is most important.

Okay, first off this summary is wrong and Sarah's boyfriend's name is Garrett.  Now that we've taken care of that--this is another book with a serious topic and tragedy.

We know from the beginning that something has happened to Annie.  I had a guess that I thought was right and I was close but not exact.  I really liked her.  I love how her story was told in prose/poem format.

Sarah wasn't my favorite.  She was the shy one and I wanted to feel bad for her but I really just wanted to tell her to get over her shyness.  It was too much.

We all know I love twins so this was an interesting take on their relationship and how they told the story.  Without giving too much away, this topic is serious and while it might not be against the law in the way we might normally think, it is and it's something that teenagers need to be talked with about.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

Never Said will be released on August 25, 2015.

FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free to review as part of the 2015 Booksparks YA Summer Reading Challenge.

Book Review- Bear Witness

On the cruise, I finished reading Bear Witness by Melissa Clark for a 2015 Booksparks YA Summer Reading Challenge!

From Goodreads:

Three years after witnessing the kidnapping of her best friend, Robin, Paige Bellen is expected to continue on with life as usual. Now, with her closest friend out of the country, a messy relationship with Robin’s boyfriend, and a family that handles her with kid gloves, Paige isn’t sure if she’ll ever be able to move forward in life. Bear Witness explores the aftermath of a crime in a small town, and what it means when tragedy colors the experience of being a young adult

My feelings about this book are mixed.  On one hand, this is such a chilling tragedy.  I wanted to feel for Paige because of the horror that she went through.  But I didn't really ever find myself liking her or feeling sorry for her in particular (more for just the situation that she went through).  I didn't find her particularly likeable.  I also didn't really feel that she came very far, healing-wise.

I did, however, like the way the story was told.  The first chapter is current-day.  Then each chapter goes back one year until we get to the year of the tragedy and even the year before that (to show the innocence.)  I thought that was a unique way to go about the telling of the story.

The book is short and there are only a few chapters so it's definitely a quick read and one you can fly through.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free to review as part of the 2015 Booksparks YA Summer Reading Challenge.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Book Review- After Eden

I finished reading After Eden by Helen Douglas on Thursday.

From Goodreads:

The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Eden’s best friend Connor will discover a new planet—one where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous. It will also ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend’s greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden.

Grounded in a realistic teen world with fascinating sci-fi elements, After Eden is a heart-pounding love triangle that’s perfect for dystopian fans looking for something new to devour.

Sci-fi doesn't normall do it for me.  But I so enjoyed this one.  The whole premise of Ryan coming back in time to stop one small action from happening to save the world is crazy to think about.  And Eden's role in it as well.

Eden and Ryan were pretty okay as main characters.  Their relationship was the typical insta-love that you often read about in YA books. I did not like Connor, however.  He just seemed like a jerk the whole time.  I get that he was jealous of Ryan but he really had no redeeming qualities in my eye.

I think the reason I flew through this book was because of the whole plot.  (usually it's the characters).

There's one twist at the end that I didn't see coming.  Maybe I should have but thinking back, I still didn't see any clues.  There's a second book in the series and I'll be interested in reading that one.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Review-- I Crawl Through It

I just finished reading I Crawl Through It by A.S. King for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Four teenagers are on the verge of exploding. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of past trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope, but no one is listening.

So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will even build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away...but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.

The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience-and find the way out.

Ugh.  I just went from reading one of the best books that I've read in a while to one of the worst books I've read in a while.  And from the 4 star rating on Goodreads, it looks like I'm in the minority of feeling this way.

The book made absolutely no sense.  I get that Stanzi and China have PTSD from events in their life.  But what the hell is with the invisible helicopter that some people can always see, some can only see on certain days, and some can't see at all?  And flying to the mysterious place?  

Then you have the flasher bush man.  Like its okay and no one ever called the cops on him.  Really????  And the police couldn't trace the bomb threats???  A character that turns inside out???  And  more but I just don't care enough to list them.

Oh my head just hurts with how much I disliked this book.

I gave this book a rating of 1.5/5.

I Crawl Through It will be released on September 22, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Sunday, August 2, 2015