Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: Cold Calls - Charles Benoit

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (I like it.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Clarion Books
Page Count: 278 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Three strangers all get the same phone call. An anonymous voice stating "I know your secret". What does the person on the other end want? They want each person to bully another specified person and for the grand finale, record it and put it online. The bullying doesn't go so well for any of them though and they end up in counseling. Which is lucky for them, because it brings them together. With all three of them working at it, they might be able to figure out who is blackmailing them before that person shares their secrets with the world.

This was certainly a fascinating read. Mostly I just wanted to learn what everyone's secret was. I didn't think Eric's was all that bad. Definitely not great, but not as bad as the other two. Fatima's is the worst one when it boils down to the truth. Shelly makes hers horrendous, but in actuality it's not really as bad as Shelly makes herself feel.

It was a bit surprising what all the hub-bub was about. It was almost a let down, but it was pretty ingenious and realistic and just worked. This novel will definitely make you think twice about both sides of bullying.

If you're looking for an interesting mystery within a mystery, grab this one.

First Line:
"The phone rang and he answered it."

Favorite Line:
"Eric opened the stairway door and started down the hallway to the cafeteria, where he would share lunch with a stranger."

Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: This One Summer - Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki

Where I got it: AmazonVine
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (I really like the illustrations.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: First Second
Page Count: 319 p.
Add it: Goodreads

What is usually a getaway for Rose and her family feels less so this summer. Rose's friend Windy is there, but Rose is on the cusp of teenagerdom and Windy is still a pre-teen. On top of that Rose's mom seems to have receded inside herself and always ends of fighting with her husband. Even though she sometimes finds Windy juvenile, she's glad she has her by her side.

I loved this little snapshot of life. The illustrations perfectly matched the whole tone of this novel.

This whole story takes place during one whirlwind of a summer. Rose is growing up and with it comes the realization that not everything in life is fun in games. I feel like this summer is a loss of innocence for Rose and that is shown a bit by all the things that crash around her and the horror movies.

Windy is a vibrant character and she makes the contrast between her and Rose really stand out. Sometimes I found her to be a bit tiring and I imagine that's how Rose sometimes feels too. It's tricky staring teenagehood in the face. On one hand you still feel like a kid sometimes on the other hand your starting to view the world a bit differently.

This is not a happy-go-lucky summer tale. It's dark and a bit crushing. It's hopeful though, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you are a fan of realistic fiction and love graphic novels. I recommend this one.

First Line:

Favorite Line:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Half Bad - Sally Green

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (I like it.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Page Count: 380 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Nathan is a witch, this they can tell. What they aren't sure about is if he is a white witch or a black witch. He's half of each, but they aren't sure if that makes him good or not. Nathan has been raised by white witches, but this doesn't put the council at ease. When Nathan turns fourteen the council decides that he is more likely to be dangerous and they take him away and lock him in a cage. He is then held prisoner by a woman who is trying to keep him in line. Nathan knows he must escape though. It's his only chance. He has to escape before his seventeenth birthday.

Definitely a fan of this one. Such an interesting witch story. Yes there were themes that we've all seen a million times before, but there was a lot of new and fascinating details in this novel that make it well worth the read.

Sally Green creates a lot of new witch mythos and I for one, love it. Nathan is an interesting narrator for the tale too. He's not great at a lot of things that others are good at, but he's excels in other areas. He is incredibly strong-willed and that's a great thing to see in a character forced to endure such nonsense.

Nature versus nurture plays a large role in this novel, it's pretty much the thing the council is trying to decide on. Nathan is raised as a white witch, but they are worried that his father's blood will infect him and cause him to go dark. This is only mildly amusing seeing as what the white witches seem to be capable of. They seem far more terrible than any black witch, because they pretend to take the high road.

I'm very eager to see where Nathan's journey takes him in the next book. I would definitely recommend this if you're looking for a novel about witches that has action to it.

First Line:
"There's these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished in by the big arms of an old chair."

Favorite Line:
"Never underestimate the enemy."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: Golden Jessi Kirby

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 4 stars (It's fitting and a bit more elaborate than just a plain picture, so I approve.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 278 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Parker is a good girl and has always had her life mapped out for her. She leads a safe--if boring--life and doesn't cause her mother any grief. But then she finds something, something that causes her to break out of her good girl mold a little. She finds the journal of a girl who died ten years ago and she takes it to read it. She just wants to know more about the girl who was half of the Golden Couple of Summit Lakes High. What she finds out is more then she bargained for, and Parker wonders if there could be even more to the story that isn't contained on those lined pages. With the help of her best friend and a boy she has a crush on Parker might finally start living her one wild and precious life.

I really enjoyed this novel. The mystery wasn't too hard to figure out, but it was a little different than I first suspected. There were enough twists to make me not lose interest. I fell like Parker is the slowest reader in the world though. Unless we didn't see everything she read. I feel like what we saw was like an hours worth of reading. I was dying for her to get a move on and finish reading it.

Parker was a really good girl and so it's surprising to see who her best friend and crush were. They certainly didn't seem like the top of the class types. I guess it's a case of different people gravitating towards each other.

I really enjoyed the journey in this novel. Parker's and the physical one. Parker comes a long way by the end of the book and to think that if she hadn't found that journal it may never have happened is astonishing. Such small moments can change the course of life so dramatically.

Definitely check this one out if your looking for a gentle mystery that isn't full of murder and mayhem. It was a great story.

First Line:
"Life is made of moments."

Favorite Line:
"He sat on the log next to me, dripping ice cold water, bare skin covered with goosebumps, and the biggest smile on his face."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: Calling Dr. Laura - Nicole J. Georges

Where I got it: Inter-Library Loan
Rating: 4.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 5 stars (I really love the artwork in this graphic memoir. This cover is very fitting.)
Genre: Graphic Memoir / Adult?
Publication Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Mariner Books
Page Count: 288 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Nicole's family told her that her father was dead. When she became and adult, she saw a psychic who told her he was alive. Her sister confirmed that indeed he was. Now Nicole isn't sure who she is and what else she may have been lied to about. Luckily, she has radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger to give her some advice.

Memoirs are always tricky to review, because it's a story about someone's actual life. There's not really much to criticize with this one anyway. I enjoyed it, thoroughly. The illustrations were fantastic, the story was honest, what more can you ask for in a graphic memoir. At times I didn't like some of the people, Nicole included. Sometimes they too dramatic for my taste, but it is what it is.

This was just a great almost coming-of-age story and I would totally be friends with Nicole Georges if given a chance.

First Line:

Favorite Line:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Tour and Giveaway : Torn Away - Jennifer Brown

Where I got it: Netgalley
Rating: 4 stars  
Cover Rating: 3 stars (Kind of plain.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Page Count: 288 p.
Add it: Goodreads

Jersey is ready for the tornado. They've practiced it every year since she was little. She knows that you go to the basement and ride it out. She isn't too keen on having to go through it alone and she's nervous about her mother and sister who are at the dance studio. What Jersey wasn't ready for the noise and the aftermath. Jersey loses everything to the tornado and is shipped off to live with her alcoholic father. When that doesn't work she goes to live with her grandparents that she didn't even know existed. Jersey isn't sure where home is anymore now that she doesn't feel like she belongs in any of the places she's shipped to. She'll slowly realized that you sometimes have to make the most of it and redefine what losing of everything really means.

Reading this book came at a hard time for me. I had just lost someone that I was fairly close to and so this book made me quite emotionally distraught. I think I still would have been distraught regardless of that.

This was such a raw and honest novel. Jersey was all over the place emotionally and it was totally realistic. Her situation just kept getting worse and worse and worse. Since this book takes place over only a short time, there is no real happy ending. Things start to look up though, so that's a nice thing.

I didn't really care much for most of the secondary characters, they all fell a bit flat. I did like Kolby and wished he played a bigger part in this novel. I feel like this novel took place in the moment. There was no past and there was no future, we were thrust right into the moment with Jersey. I think this is why some of the story and characters were underdeveloped.

This was an intensely emotional read just like all of Jennifer's other novels. I enjoyed it though and learned a lot about tornadoes from it. I would definitely recommend this if you like heart-wrenching reads.

First Line:
"Marin wanted to teach me the East Coast Swing."

Favorite Lines:
"If what he said was true, the story of my life was a lie."

"Meg's pink mouth had been replaced by a much larger red one."

"'Hold your breath. You don't want to breathe in judgment. Oppression is contagious.'"

"I'm wondering if it's even possible to lose 'everything' or if you just have to keep redefining what 'everything' is."

Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist. Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children. | Twitter | Facebook

Thanks to Itching for Books and the publisher I get to have a giveaway for one paperback copy of this novel. This is open to U.S. residents only. Please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Stuff I Got This Week

Title links send you to the Goodreads page for the book. Author links send you to their website.

For Review from William Morrow

For Review from Amazon Vine

For Review from Amazon Vine

For Review from Amazon Vine


That's what I got over the past few weeks, what did you all get? 

Friday, May 2, 2014

May TBR Pile

Hey all. Back from my temporary absence, it's been a crazy and busy spring for me so far. Hope you all have been doing well. I did get some reading done while I was away from the internet, so there should be reviews up soon. For now I shall share with you titles that I hopefully will get through in May.

Mannequin Girl - Ellen Litman
Torn Away - Jennifer Brown
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
Dorothy Must Die - Danielle Paige
Cold Calls - Charles Benoit
Long Lankin - Lindsey Barraclough
Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo
Spoils - Tammar Stein
Tease - Amanda Maciel
Dangerous Girls - Abagail Haas
The Line - J.D. Horn
The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker
Nil - Lynne Matson
Pointe - Brandy Colbert

What are you hoping to read this month?
Have you read any of these?


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