Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review - The Vow by Jessica Martinez

The VowTitle: The Vow
Author: Jessica Martinez
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 432
Published: October 15th 2013 by Simon Pulse 
ISBN: 9781442458642
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends? Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him. Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love? 

I Give This ...

I loved the first book that Jessica Martinez wrote, so I jumped all over this one.  I thought the subject matter was interesting and the characters were well drawn out.  I just wasn't sure on the chain of events.

I always find it a little strange when an author feels the need to make a story more complicated.  I'm not sure adding in the detail that Annie's sister disappeared and her body was later found in the woods was really a necessary addition to the storyline.  Really the only thing it did was help in supporting how over protective Annie's parents are.  I think Annie was kind of a social outcast before that happened, so she would have clung to Mo anyway.  I did identify with her feelings that she could not let go of the only friend she felt she had.  I also enjoyed her building relationship with Reed.  I appreciated her excitement in learning to open up to someone new...someone besides Mo.

I think Mo's character was well drawn out.  I really felt his hesitation to go back to Jordan.  I think he felt that he had endured so much prejudice an tension that it was his right to stay were he was.  I can't even begin to imagine being in his situation.   I think he was so desperate to stay in the states that he wasn't thinking logically.

Which brings me to what I had the most trouble with.  I get that teenagers can be completely irrational and quick to act before they think.  But both Annie and Mo seem like more level-headed teenagers than most.  How did they come to the conclusion that marriage was the answer to this complicated situation?   It's never that easy when it comes to citizenship status.  It's a long complicated process for those who are doing it the "right"way.   I was even more surprised at how stubborn they were when the discovered how much they would have to go through just to prove the legality of it.

Overall, the story warped into more than I initially thought.  I think some things could have been left out and others thought out more.  I wasn't disappointed though and I will still be on the lookout for Jessica Martinez's next book.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review - At the King's Pleasure (Secrets of the Tudor Court #4) by Kate Emerson

At the King's Pleasure  (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #4 )Title: At The King's Pleasure
Author: Kate Emerson
Series: 4th (The Pleasure Palace, Between Two Queens, By Royal Decree)
Pages: 351
Published: January 3rd 2012 by Gallery
ISBN:  9781439177822
Source: Personal Copy

Description: History remembers Lady Anne Stafford as the woman who cheated on her husband with both King Henry VIII and his companion, Sir William Compton. Lady Anne was indeed in love with two men at the same time… but the king wasn't one of them. Lady Anne's complex and heart-wrenching romantic relationships are at the core of this riveting tale that masterfully blends romance, drama, and historical detail as only Kate Emerson can.

I Give This ....

I've particularly enjoyed this series because it's caused me to take another look at lesser known people in the royal courts during the Tudor time period.  I've probably heard Lady Anne's name in countless books I've read, but have obviously written her off.  This book really brought her character to life.

I got the distinct feeling that Lady Anne had a someone difficult life.  Her brother, the Duke of Buckingham did not come across as the best of people throughout this book.  He seemed cold-hearted and calculating.  I never got the impression that he cared even a little for Anne.  It was all about what she could do for him.  When her first husband died, the book made it seem like that he coerced Anne into handing over control of her holdings to him.  I know she was young, but she had very little say over things even though widowhood should have granted her some freedom.

I thought maybe she might have found a worthwhile companion in George Hastings.  But, I think he often was over powered by her brother.  The saying often goes that love is blind, but in this case that wasn't so.  It seemed more like it made him extremely jealous and quick to jump to conclusions.  I was floored that he wouldn't stand up to the Duke and willingly sent his wife to a convent without hearing her side at all.  Then he preceded to hold that against for years. 

I found it interesting that the book makes it seem possible to love two men at the same time.  Anne obviously loved her husband.  She was devoted to him and did her best to wave off Will for years.  But, it's equally as obvious that over time she grew to love Will as well.  It wasn't something that she planned.  I couldn't quite decide that if I was disappointed in her decision to act on that feeling.  I think I half hoped that she would be a women true to her word for her entire life.

I really enjoyed this latest edition in the series.  I feel like I'm getting a different side of history from the eyes of people history has forgotten.  I'm ready for the next one!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review - Glittering Promises (Grand Tour Series #3) by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Glittering Promises (Grand Tour Series, #3)Title: Glittering Promises
Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren
Series: 3rd (Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences)
Pages: 464
Published: October 1st 2013 by David C. Cook 
ISBN: 9781434764287
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try..   

I Give This ...

After the crazy events in the last book, I was hoping for more of a calmer final book in the series.  While I didn't quite get that, I was pleased to have a mostly satisfying ending to a series that I enjoyed.  

Cora has become quite the young woman on this trip.  I don't think that was something she really was expecting.  She already had a good grip on who she was.  I think that background helped shape her and how she reacted to her new found wealth and freedom.  I enjoyed how her father was willing to give her a shot.  He had to know that letting her run the mining company and allowing her to have such a financial stake in the adventure was an extremely risky move.  It made me wonder that if he two other daughter's would show such initiative, if he would offer them the same opportunites.

While the back and forth in the romance department somewhat drove me crazy, I think I understood what Cora might have be thinking.  First, a lot has happened to her on this trip.  To expect to find love as well is completely overwhelming.  Plus, as much as I hate to admit it, she had to find out how Will truly felt about being a heriess.  I think it would take a special kind of man to come to terms with that.  Obviously I believe Will is.

I caught on to our culprit right before the events unfolded.  It made complete sense it when it was all said and done.  I was a little disappointed that Cora's decision could not just be accepted and this was how her hand was forced.  I was also completely saddened by some of the events in this conclusion.  So much has happened that I really felt like that didn't need to be thrown in to.  But, it just goes to show that life is not always easy.   I think it will help Cora to stand on her own two feet even more and not take one second for granted.

I admit, I'm not officially hooked on Lisa Tawn Bergren.  After this series and the River of Time series, I think I need to invest in her previous works and look forward to what she writes next!

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:

CountdownTandem (Many-Worlds, #1)
  • Countdown by Michelle Rowan
  • Tandem by Anna Jarzab 
Currently Reading:
The Enchanter Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #4)
  • The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Up This Week: 
Resist (Breathe, #2) Bang (Visions, #2)
  • Resist by Sarah Crossan
  •  Bang by Lisa McMann

Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Blogger Hop!

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is Hosted by Ramblings of A Coffee Addicted Writer
 Halloween Edition: 
What is your favorite horror novel and why? 

I was a horror novel addict as a teen and young adult.  I was particularly fond of Stephen King.  IT, Carrie, The Shining, and Pet Cemetery all rank up their of my all time favs!
I also watched a lot of horror movies.  My mom was a big fan and once it was evident that I wasn't a child prone to nightmares, I watched a lot with hers.  I've seen some great one and some downright horrible ones!  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review - Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1) by Victoria Lamb

WitchstruckTitle: Witchstruck
Author: Victoria Lamb
Series: 1st
Pages: 320
Published: September 24th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
ISBN:  9780373210978
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: If she sink, she be no witch and shall be drowned. If she float, she be a witch and must be hanged. Meg Lytton has always known she is different;that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practice witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne. With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg's hand in marriage, and Meg's own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn't a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice. 
I Give This ...

 You know how you have certain topics are must reads?  One of mine is Tudor England, with a particular soft spot for Queen Elizabeth.  Add in witchcraft and I was sold.

Meg was a different sort of character.  I enjoyed learning about her gift and how witchcraft may have been viewed during the sixteenth century.  She may have been afraid of being discovered at any given moment, but it never stopped her from practicing her art.  It also never stopped her from trying to learn more.  But, I never felt that she threw caution to the wind.  Sometimes, it was her emotion that got the best of her and not her magic.

I also really liked how the Princess seemed very true to character.  She was willing to dabble with magic to better position herself to become Queen.  She has an end goal in sight and she will not let anyone or anything stand in her way.  Even when Meg finds herself associated publicly with witchcraft, Elizabeth distances herself from the situation.

The only thing I felt really stood in the way of the story was the romance.  At first I found the intrigue between meg and Alejandro to be interesting.  What could cause more tension that an attraction between a  would be priest and a witch?  But Meg misread every situation to the point she was often rude and short tempered to him.  It drove me crazy because they have quite a big of interaction in the story.  I'm amazed he stuck around and helped her out.

The romance evened out a little in the end, and I'm interested to see how it might work out between these two polar opposites.  Plus, I'm still stuck on Tudor England.  I'm sure I will pick up the next book in the series!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review - Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

Just One YearTitle: Just One Year
Author: Gayle Forman
Series: 2nd (Just One Day)
Pages: 323
Published: October 10th 2013 by Dutton Juvenile 
ISBN: 9780525425922
Source: Publisher for honest review

Description: After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself. 

I Give This ...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who had this book on the highly anticipated list.  Gayle Forman has left her thumbprint on contemporary young adult fiction.  But, somewhere along the way, I felt this point of view lost it's way.  It almost hurt to write that down.

I think the romantic in me wanted Willem to be this lovestruck guy.  I wanted to him to be as devastated by the events as Alyson was.  I desperately needed him to be the good guy that was searching high and low for his "Lulu" as she was searching for him.  But, I honestly felt I didn't get any of that.  I got a lost little boy who could never get a full grasp on what he really felt for Alyson.  Before he could find Alyson, he needed to recognize his own faults and failings over the last couple years.  

I think the truest emotion we get from Willem is in the opening chapters.  He's been beaten severely and has suffered memory loss along with a concussion.  He is desperately trying to find (and remember) this person that he may have lost.  He has an image of her and that's about it.   But, as it becomes clear that he has very little to go on, Willem becomes a little lost.  Almost the rest of the book is a story of his wanderings with snippets of his desire to find Alyson.  The most determined thing he does in this regard is a trip to Mexico because he remembers a sliver of a conversation about her Christmas holiday's there.

It's not that I didn't mind Willem's journey to find his way in life.  I think it's more the fact that it didn't paint a very good picture of him.  Especially after learning one significant detail about that fateful morning.  Granted I knew from the first book that he was a wanderer who "collected" girls as he went along.  But, I expected more from his character.  I also don't doubt that he truly felt something for Alyson.  But, I wondered that after a year of wondering and building this up in his mind, how much of it was really real.

In the end, I just didn't feel the same about Willem and that was disheartening.   I'm still glad I read it because the story would have felt incomplete without knowing his side of the story.  And I won't give up on Gayle Forman.  I just think this side of this story didn't work for me. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review - Crash (Visions #1) by Lisa McMann

Crash (Visions, #1)Title: Crash
Author: Lisa McMann
Series: 1st
Pages: 233
Published: January 8th 2013 by Simon Pulse 
ISBN: 9781442403918
Source: Personal Copy

Description: Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that. What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow. The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember. 

I Give This ...

I've only read Cryer's Cross by McMann, but I have several of her other books on my to read list.  I really liked the sound of this one and was willing to try it.  It wasn't all that I was hoping for.

I liked Jules at first.  She lives in a crazy family that owns a pizza shop.  She's in love with the boy who's family own the rival pizza shop.   There's a whole lot of background story there that involves stolen recipes, etc.  So when the parents discover in junior high that Jules and Sawyer are friends, it's quickly squashed.  It leaves Jules heartbroken and wondering how Sawyer could drop their friendship in the blink of an eye.   She tries to convince herself that she doesn't care, but really she knows his every move.   So when she begins to same the vision over and over, she couldn't possibly let him die. 

I was ok with the story up until Jules tries to save the day.  The first thing she does is try to warn Sawyer and confess her undying love in the same moment.  Granted she thinks she's a little on the crazy side and pays her little attention.  Her next course of action is to analyze every little detail of the dream, which of course leads to analyzing every little detail around their restaurant.  She chalks up her stalker tendencies to trying to save Sawyer.  I just found it a little overkill.

The story felt so young even though our characters are not.  I felt like I was reading a middle grade fiction book with the way the character behaved and sometimes talked.   It felt frightfully simple and I think so many details could have been fleshed out a little better.  I also wondered why make Jules father a hoarder?  I just complicated the story and added no real substance (although would make an interesting story all by itself).

I did like the end and how the vision changed at Jules manipulated the chain of events.  It was interesting to read about and I wish the author would have devoted a little bit more time to.  I'm not sure on the next one, I have it for review though..  The end had a sort of cliffhanger to it.  But, I felt it was way to convenient to keep the story going. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:
Crash (Visions, #1)Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)Witchstruck
  • Crash by Lisa McMann
  •  Just One Year by Gayle Forman 
  • Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb

Currently Reading: 

  • Countdown by Michelle Rowan
Up This Week:

Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1)The Enchanter Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #4)
  • Tandem by Anna Jarzab 
  • The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Stacking The Shelves!

For Review: 

Daughters of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, # 3)Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)The First Phone Call from Heaven
  • Daughter's of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
  • Pawn by Aimee Carter
  • First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom  

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review - The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, Thomas Docherty (Illustrations)


The SnatchabookTitle: The Snatchabook
Author: Helen Docherty
Illustrator: Thomas Docherty
Pages: 32
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN: 9781402290824
Source: Ebook for honest review from Publisher

Description: Where have all the bedtime stories gone? One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down...when a Snatchabook flew into town. It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

I Give This ...

 Did you notice that rating?  If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that I rarely give that out.  A book has to be something special to earn it from me.  For a picture book to get it...well this one was just fantastic in my opinion.

First off, my younger daughter still loves a good picture book and loves to be read to.  So the idea that someone might come along and still all her books was not something she wanted.  But, the story caught her attention and she loved the little creature that was causing all the chaos.  I also think she loved how in the end, this little Snatchabook sat in on bedtime stories all over the little village.

From a mom (and teacher) perspective, I loved how the story rhymed.  Sometimes, the flow of the rhyme doesn't work with the story and sometimes the rhythm gets lost.  I didn't feel that once during this book.  Plus, I really enjoyed the message.  I liked how the rabbit helped the Snatchabook correct his mistake, but realized he just wanted to hear the stories.   I also liked how the book pointed out the importance of books and how you are never to old to be read too.

I really enjoyed this picture book.  I received an ebook, but will be on the lookout to purchase one for my class.  I think they would enjoy this story as much as we did!

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!

Read Last Week:
  • At The King's Pleasure by Kate Emerson 
  • The Vow by Jessica Martinez  
  • The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

Currently Reading: 

Crash (Visions, #1)
  • Crash by Lisa McMann
Up This Week:

Just One Year (Just One Day, #2)Witchstruck
  • Just One Year by Gayle Forman 
  • Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review - Red by Alison Cherry

RedTitle: Red
Author: Alison Cherry
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 320
Published: October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 9780385742931
Source: Publisher via Netgalley 

Description: Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.  Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note: I know your secret.
Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school. Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?

I Give This ...

There was never really a doubt in my mind that I would read this.  I'm drawn to books were the story is so obviously about a redhead, especially when that seems to be a focus of the plot.  I thoroughly enjoyed what this story represented.

To be honest, I wasn't sure about the story at first.  The story seemed slightly ridiculous in the way the town was completely prejudice against anyone who was not a redhead.  Even those who had strawberry blonde hair weren't exempt from some ridicule.  Then I realized that for me, the story represented how ridiculous any prejudice is.   It really put the whole book in perspective for me, although I have no idea if that was the author's try intent.  

I really enjoyed Felicity.  She's a great lead  character.  She may be the one that seems to have it all, but she's lying to everyone.  Although, I was a little disappointed to discover that she was what everyone refers to as a strawberry.  I think it would have been more scandalous has she been a complete different hair color.   I like how she handles the blackmail.  She gives in to the demands at first.  But, gradually she sees that she's really not that different from those who are punishing her.  She begins to see how she would be treated if she didn't dye her hair.

I think I was most disappointed in Felicity's mom.  I really expected more from her.  Yes, we know all along that her mom is the one who took her in the gradually darken her hair the color it is.  But, for her to be so unsupportive of Felicity's decisions was disheartening.  I always hate it when a grow women can't see their selfish actions.  I was also initially worried that Felicity would take the wrong actions at the pageant.  But, she proved how strong she really was.

Overall, a different book than I initially thought it was going to be.  While it was completely lighthearted, it really made me think about things.  Favoritism and prejudice are wrong no matter what the reasoning.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Champion by Marie Lu

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Title: Champion
Author: Marie Lu
Publication: November 5th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile 
Champion (Legend, #3)
He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.
I was on the fence after the first book, but the second one completely changed my mind.  I hope this final book lives up to my expectations!



Related Posts with Thumbnails