August 29, 2013

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .
Doll Bones was something I just picked up. I had no prior interest in it, and honestly, I don't particularly have any interest in it now. My only real interest in it was the scare factor. How scary could a MG book be? But then I started it. And realized, that, well, yes, as expected, it wasn't that scary. But first, let's get this out of the way-- I am deathly afraid of some of those porcelain dolls. They just freak me out, and that being said, well, this one didn't. Ouch, that's pretty sad.

The doll's story was actually fairly mediocre. That may have just been because I was expecting to have the wits scared out of me, but I can't discount the fact that it just wasn't scary. But I need to move on.

I don't very often read books with male narrators, so Doll Bones was unique in that way. Zach was kind of a funny kid, but the more I read from his point of view, the more I realized...he's like twelve. Maybe 13, and they're playing with "dolls"? That was a slight character flaw in itself. I mean, I realize that some people are more mature than others, but does a twelve year old boy really play with dolls? Not in this day and age. You'd be lucky to find a twelve year old that hasn't already had a girlfriend.

But aside from that, I did enjoy Zach and his friends, Alice and Poppy. Their adventure was awesome, and I liked the way that they were around each other. They were just simply friends.

All in all, Doll Bones was neither creepy enough, mature enough or interesting enough to have me hooked, but it was an okay read.

August 28, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #29

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits, #3
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane 

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Honestly, I just really love this series. As per tradition, I am completely salivating to see what Katie does next. But, well, to be totally and completely truthful, that cover...ick. He looks way to old to be Isaiah, and not nearly outcast-ish enough. Does anyone agree?

August 27, 2013

Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger

Gone Fishing
Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Using a wide variety of poetic forms – quatrains, ballads, iambic meter, rhyming lists, concrete poetry, tercets and free verse –this debut author tells the story of a nine-year-old boy’s day of fishing. Sibling rivalry, the bond between father and son, the excitement – and difficulty -- of fishing all add up to a day of adventure any child would want to experience.

Matthew Cordell illuminates this novel-in-verse throughout with his energetic black-and-white line drawings.

While each poem can be read and enjoyed on its own, the poems work together to create a story arc with conflict, crisis, resolution and character growth.

The back matter of this book equips the reader with a Poet's Tackle Box of tools and definitions for understanding the various poetic forms the author uses in this story.

I thought it would be fun
                                     to write a poetic review of this one
It's not something I usually do,
                                              but I thought that it could be like a gift to you
My poetry really isn't the best,
                                              but you can rest assured that what follows won't be a huge mess.
Gone Fishing was a fun little book,
                                                      a welcome change from my little funk.
It was better than I'd expected it to be,
                                                           something new quite definitely.
Sam and Lucy were oh so sweet
                                                 even if they argued constantly.
Each poem is told through different eyes
                                                             and each and every one has a new disguise.
New fonts and voices, styles galore,
                                                      fun and games, and a whole lot more.
Sadness and pain, anger and forgiveness,
                                                              each is wrapped up like a cute little ribbon.
To tell the truth, it's just a bit of fun,
                                                     and even if you don't read it I'll tell no one.

So, what did you guys think? I'm really not a very good poet, but I tried. ;P

August 26, 2013

Loki's Wolves by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr

Loki's Wolves
Loki's Wolves by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr
Series: The Blackwell Pages, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: May
"The runes have spoken. We have our champion...Matthew Thorsen."

Matt hears the words, but he can't believe them. He's Thor's representative? Destined to fight trolls, monstrous wolves and giant serpents...or the world ends? He's only thirteen.

While Matt knew he was a modern-day descendant of Thor, he's always lived a normal kid's life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.

But now Ragnarok is coming, and it's up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor's hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.

In their middle grade debut, K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr begin the epic Blackwell Pages series with this action-packed adventure, filled with larger-than-life legends, gripping battles, and an engaging cast of characters who bring the myths to life.
Loki's Wolves was just one of those books that I picked up because it was a middle grade. It looked interesting enough, and it was really just a place filler. I hadn't heard anything special about it, so I didn't know what to expect when coming into it. Turns out that was alright, though, because I really enjoyed it.

The Norse god's element was a fun break from the norm, and as a huge fan of Thor and Loki, it was a big hit for me. It was very interesting, but as I read it, well, it can also be a tad confusing. Keeping up with all of the happenings and different kinds of creatures was just hard. Not that it was interesting, but you know, maybe a little less information would have been nice. But then I probably would've complained about that too. ;)

Alternating points of view can be such a hit or miss for me-- I'm happy to report that this one was a hit. Each of the characters had their own unique personalities, and it was obvious whenever points of view changed. I feel like Laurie should have been my favorite character (because she's a girl), but Matt was actually my favorite. I don't know why I liked the golden boy so much, but it might just be that I'm supposed to. He is, after all, the hero, Thor's replacement, right? Maybe that's why. But I also really enjoyed the characters of Fen and Laurie...but I am so upset about Baldwin. Who knows what's going to happen there, though, so fingers crossed!

For whatever reason, I absolutely could not stand Astrid. She put off a bad vibe from the beginning, and I just can't figure out who she's supposed to be! I'm not exactly a huge fan of the twins either. But they were the only characters that I didn't care for, so I'd say we're doing good.

The illustrations were pretty good-- that might be my new addiction in MG-- why don't more YA books have illustrations? They are so much fun! Anyway, I noticed that the illustrations were slightly anime looking-- did anyone else notice that? All in all, Loki's Wolves was a good read, but hopefully the next book comes out soon because we're kind of in an awkward spot ending wise...
Also, happy birthday, Daddy!

August 23, 2013

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes, #1)
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Series: The League of Princes, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun.
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom was a very fun book. I first picked it up because of the awesome illustrated cover, but after I read the intro there was no putting it down. First off, well, the premise itself was just awesome. I love the idea of it! Anything done with fairytales is A-OK by me, seriously. But anywho, this is one of those books that I kind of feel to old was way fabulous, and I loved it to death, but it was written for kids much younger than me.

But that's not the point. The illustrations were awesome, the story was captivating, and the overall experience was something special. I loved all the princes-- Gustav, Liam, Duncan and Frederic. Weirdly, I think that anti-social Gustav was my favorite, being the youngest of two sets of octuplets (seriously laughter occurred when that was announced). His dorky heroism and complete uncaring nature won me over, y'all.

In spite of that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the other princes, and of course the princesses too! Almost every chapter was in a different point of view, which you'd think would be confusing, but it really wasn't at all. It was fan-freaking-tastic. Each point of view was uniquely fleshed out, and each and every character had their own quirks. It was all very whimsical and imaginative.

All in all, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom was a really interesting break from all the bad books I've been reading lately. I really loved it, and I'm hoping to get to the sequel soon!

August 22, 2013

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Antithesis by Kacey Vanderkarr

Antithesis by Kacey Vanderkarr
Series: N/A
Source: Blog Tour
Publisher: Inkspell
Publication Date: July 21, 2013
My name is Gavyn.

Liam doesn’t care that I only have one arm. He actually likes my red hair and freckles. I might forgive him for kidnapping me.

My name is Gavyn.

I lost my Liam. I’ve lost them all. And now it’s my job to make sure they don’t show up again.

My name is Gavyn.

I had a life with Liam, but he couldn’t give me what I need. Then I killed his father. I don’t expect he’ll forgive me for that.

My name is Gavyn.
Antithesis was a new kind of read for me-- I'm honestly not into science fiction, but this one just sounded so good that I couldn't resist. The idea of alternate realities is something that I've puzzled on and thought about for days on end, to tell you the truth. Just the idea that someone out there who's the same as me but somehow different just...astounds me.

So anyway, having jumped at the chance to read this, I was hesitant about not liking it. But it turns out that I was worrying about all of the wrong things, because I actually did like it!

Gavyn turned out to be a character that I could strangely relate to. I mean, obviously I have two arms and a girl's name instead of a boy's, but I related to her in a totally different way. I know what it's like to be weird. And for all intents and purposes, hey, Gavyn is weird. But she's also totally fun and awesome and sarcastic. I would totally be friends with her, and her friends Drake and Lena. They seemed like a cool trio.

But back to the alternate realities thing: how weird would it be to meet yourself? Because Gavyn does. A couple of times, actually. And I just can't get over how strange that would just, you know, be. I think that I would seriously freak out. Then, to make things more confusing, I started wondering how it is that all Gavyn's are friends with Lena's and Drake's. Isn't there some sort of paradox or something that should be against that? Statistically speaking, at least one of the Gavyn's never would have me Lena and Drake. Does that make sense, or am I just crazy rambling?

But back to the point: she met herself, and yet when she refers to the other Gavyn's as Gavyn, well, I never got confused. Which I honestly think should count for a heck of a lot. Just like the fact that Liam, well, seems to see the real Gavyn. I think that should count for a lot too. It seems like not very many people see her, and she deserves to be seen for who she is, because she totally kicks ass. Even if she does puke afterwards.

All in all, Antithesis was a fun, philosophically challenging read for me. I can't believe how weird that just sounded, but it's true.
About the author:

Kacey Vanderkarr is a young adult author. She dabbles in fantasy, romance, and sci-fi, complete with faeries, alternate realities, and the occasional plasma gun. She’s known to be annoyingly optimistic and listen to music at the highest decibel. When she’s not writing, she coaches winterguard and works as a sonographer. Kacey lives in Michigan, with her husband, son, crazy cats, and two bearded dragons. Visit for more information.
Twitter || Blog || Facebook

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August 19, 2013

Flat Out Love by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, #1)
Flat Out Love by Jessica Park
Series: Flat Out Love, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: April 11, 2011
He was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shirt read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy.

So, that was Matt. Who Julie Seagle likes. A lot. But there is also Finn. Who she flat out loves.

Complicated? Awkward? Completely.

But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother's? This was all supposed to be temporary. Julie wasn't supposed to be important to the Watkins family, or to fall in love with one of the brothers. Especially the one she's never quite met. But what does that really matter? Finn gets her, like no one ever has before. They have connection.

But here's the thing about love, in all its twisty, bumpy permutations—it always throws you a few curves. And no one ever escapes unscathed.
Flat Out Love was a good read for me, but I didn't like it nearly as much as I thought I would. I just couldn't get over the fact that Julie could be so...I don't know, judging I guess would be the word? That's not really right, but I'm sure you get the idea. She put me off just a little bit. Now, honestly, I read both this and the novella from Matt's POV, and I actually liked Matt more than I liked Julie. But when you read both, well, you realize how little Julie actually thinks about Matt. Whereas Matt thinks about her constantly. She's a really big part of his story, but he is almost nothing in hers. I think that may have been what put me off her, to tell the truth.

I mean, she was hilarious and she seemed like she'd be a lot of fun to hang out with, but she wasn't much more than that to me. She was constantly trying to fix the Watkins (especially Celeste) and she seems to have such a clear idea of what's "normal" and what's "not normal". Coming from a weird family myself, I really don't think that there is normal and not normal. Celeste was such a unique, bright kid. I really liked her, and I did want her to have more friends and everything, but she really wasn't that bad. Granted, yes, the "Flat Finn" thing really freaked me out, but I got over it.

But let's move on-- even though Matt really isn't a big part of Julie's story, I thought that they were adorable together whenever she gave him a chance. Matt was a funny, weird guy, but his nerdiness really was endearing. But...there was also another side of him, that, well, not gonna lie or anything-- kind of freaked me out. Daddy always said you don't bring crazy to the house, and he did a bunch of screwed up things. In his novella, though, you really get to see that what he was doing was for his family, not just to be weird. o.O

All in all, Flat Out Love was a good read, with awesome plotting and an interesting story, but the romance didn't grab me like I'd hoped it would. It didn't even really show up til the last bit of the book, honestly.

August 16, 2013

Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom and the Challenges of Bad Hair by C.C. Payne

Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair
Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom and the Challenges of Bad Hair by C.C. Payne
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
While Lula Bell Bonner tries desperately to fit in by not standing out, her wise and irrepressible Grandma Bernice says: Let your light shine! It's Grandma Bernice who provides the joy that balances Lula Bell's difficult school life, but when this balance is upended, when Kali Keele turns up the heat on her cruel teasing, and when the talent show? that she should NEVER have signed up for - is about to happen, how in the world can Lula Bell cope? This funny, heartfelt novel exploring friendship, family, and forgiveness, introduces an unforgettable hero, lost in the wilderness of 5th grade, searching for her own shining light.
Lula Bell was exactly what I expected as a MG contemporary-- a sweet, younger girl who's going through some issues but is soldiering on. Lula Bell was an awesome main character perfectly innocent and nice enough to imagine her well. I think I was a bit like her, honestly. But I didn't have the grandma that she has-- Grandma Bernice was my favorite part. She was so wacky and out there, but she also had some honest and true things to say about people.

Her words of wisdom were definitely worth listening too, and I enjoyed her voice. I missed her too, after she was gone. The way that Lula dealt with her grief was believable too. I think at that young, well, you understand what's happened but the long term effects really don't happen for a long time. Then it all comes crumbling down.

I liked Lula's friend Alan, but it seemed like she really didn't treat him very well, honestly. He was always a friend to her, and always great, but when it suits her she drops him. Every time. But I think that she grew enough through the book that it won't be happening again. Lula Bell is so hard for me to review. Because even though I liked it, nothing really happened inside the book. I mean, stuff happened but it had a very slow and southern honey feel to it...all in all, it was a good story, but I can't say that I'll read it again or that it was something special, you know?

August 15, 2013

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Keeper of the Lost Cities (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1)
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
Series: Keeper of the Lost Cities, #1
Source: Bought
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.
Keeper of the Lost Cities was an odd change for me. As you guys know, I'm really more of a contemporary gal, even in MG. But I tried it, because it looked interesting-- admit it, that cover is so adorable. It looks kind of like a mix of City of Ember and I don't know, something else that I can't remember right now.

It was completely different, though. Keeper of the Lost Cities was about the elves, which I thought was a unique idea. I liked the capitalization on all of the powers of the elves and the lost cities, but I felt like there was more potential that wasn't really carried out. Not very much has been done with elves, and the author had the power to really make them her own, but she didn't really. Fortunately though, the plot kept me interested.

It was very slow in the beginning-- the first two-hundred pages were the slowest, because nothing was really happening. I mean, things were happening of course, but it was all happening so slowly that it was hard to pay attention. Fortunately, it picked up around the middle, where it became interesting and fast enough to keep me glued to the pages.

I liked our main character, Sophie. She seemed like a really sweet kid and she was pretty funny, but she wasn't all that remarkable. She could have had more development, but I look forward to reading more about her-- she has some great potential ahead of her. All in all, Keeper of the Lost Cities may not have been all that I had hoped, but that doesn't meant that it was terrible. It sounds like I liked it less than I did.

August 2, 2013

Come Back to Me by Coleen Patrick

Come Back to Me
Come Back to Me by Coleen Patrick
Series: N/A
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: March 6, 2013
Whitney Denison can’t wait to start over.

She thought she had everything under control, that her future would always include her best friend Katie… Until everything changed.

Now her life in Bloom is one big morning after hangover, filled with regret, grief, and tiny pinpricks of reminders that she was once happy. A happy she ruined. A happy she can’t fix.

So, she is counting down the days until she leaves home for Colson University, cramming her summer with busywork she didn’t finish her senior year, and taking on new hobbies that involve glue and glitter, and dodging anyone who reminds her of her old life.

When she runs into the stranger who drove her home on graduation night, after she’d passed out next to a ditch, she feels herself sinking again. The key to surviving the summer in Bloom is unraveling whatever good memories she can from that night.

But in searching for answers, she’ll have to ask for help and that means turning to Evan, the stranger, and Kyle, Katie’s ex-boyfriend. Suddenly, life flips again, and Whitney finds herself on not only the precipice of happy but love, too, causing her to question whether she can trust her feelings, or if she is falling into her old patterns of extremes.

As she uncovers the truth about her memories, Whitney sees that life isn’t all or nothing, and that happy isn’t something to wait for, that instead, happy might just be a choice.
When I first started Come Back to Me, I really wasn't sure what to expect. I was pulled in by the pretty, new-adultish looking cover. That was my first mistake. My second was thinking that this would be a romantic read-- all hopes of that were killed pretty quickly.

Whitney was really unstable, and a bit of what you'd call an unreliable narrator. I was left wondering how we got from point A to point B multiple times, which just threw me out of the story. There was no real structure to it, which disappointed me to no end.

The romance was sub-par. I didn't feel any hope for the characters romantic life, nor did I feel any chemistry between them. There was absolutely no build-up or in-between stuff. It kind of went from "Hey I just met you and this is crazy" to "so here's my number, call me maybe". Yes. I just quoted that song, which I'm pretty sure I've never even heard. They fell in love so quickly, which left me with no idea what they love about each other...I don't think I can name one quirk or anything about the characters.

Whitney and what's his face (I can't remember his name!) don't seem to have any interests to speak of. I know nothing about them. They went on one date, and then it's like they're in love and it was this huge fight and they don't speak...and I don't even know.

I don't even know seems to be the theme for this one. The flashbacks kept coming with no warning and throwing me out of the story, just like the mashed up dialogue and scenes. All in all, I can't really recommend this one to y'all, but if it sounds like something you'll like, go for it.

August 1, 2013

Debutantes by Cora Harrison

Debutantes by Cora Harrison
Series: N/A
Source: Borrowed
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: August 2, 2012
It’s 1923 and London is a whirl of jazz, dancing and parties. Violet, Daisy, Poppy and Rose Derrington are desperate to be part of it, but stuck in an enormous crumbling house in the country, with no money and no fashionable dresses, the excitement seems a lifetime away.

Luckily the girls each have a plan for escaping their humdrum country life: Rose wants to be a novelist, Poppy a jazz musician and Daisy a famous film director. Violet, however, has only one ambition: to become the perfect Debutante, so that she can go to London and catch the eye of Prince George, the most eligible bachelor in the country.

But a house as big and old as Beech Grove Manor hides many secrets, and Daisy is about to uncover one so huge it could ruin all their plans—ruin everything—forever.
I'm a big fan of historical YA as a genre. That being said, I wasn't a big fan of this book. It was heartbreakingly slow-- to the point that nothing really happened. I may like historical, but I like a little mystery or intrigue. This didn't deliver on that front.

There was a mystery, but I found it trivial. The hints weren't very well done, because I figured out the mystery long before it was time. I'm not a huge fan of that, but in a world where everything has happened before, I feel like it's a given. I don't have to like it, but I understand it.

I don't, however, understand writing in the third person. It took me a long time to figure out what was bothering me about the writing, but when I did it was like I noticed it everywhere. Suddenly it just hit me like a ton of bricks. We have a main character, but the story is never told from her point of view. While it's interesting, it mostly served to confuse me.

Just like the characters. I was confused by the characters, who remained flat until the end of the book, when I realized that it's not necessarily that they're flat, it's mostly that they're dull.

All in all, Debutantes just wasn't for me. I found the characters to be dull and the story boring. I wish that I had liked this more.