Tag Archive | 3 Stars

REVIEW: Fallen Crest Christmas by Tijan

Fallen Crest Christmas Book Cover Fallen Crest Christmas
Fallen Crest High #5.25
Tijan
Contemporary, New Adult
Self
December 15, 2015
Kindle
32
Amazon
12 Books of Christmas
December 18 - 20, 2017

This is a very very short novella consisting of one scene that has three parts, and an additional bonus scene. This was written to be a FREE gift to any Fallen Crest readers! And with that said, Happy Holidays from Tijan. (If it is not free, please refrain from purchasing. I am working on making it free.)

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my ELEVENTH contribution and I’m excited to share my final review tomorrow!

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

This was actually the last book I started for my 12 Books of Christmas (but not the last review I’m posting). A couple that I’d started were DNF’s for me, so I didn’t want to count them for this challenge. That left me with less than a week to grab another book and finish it. As luck would have it, I found this one on my Kindle!

So, this is actually a book meant for fans of this series. I’ve never read the series, so this is a review from an outsider’s perspective.

It wasn’t a bad story, and though it was a little confusing at times, it was not enough to pull me out of the story.

Short stories can suffer from lacking plots due to not enough time to build them up, but this wasn’t the case. I was able to dive right in and the author did a wonderful job showing me that Sam’s mom has been….. awful. I’m guessing some kind of abuse, if not physical than emotional, but they don’t really say. I was definitely intrigued and this short story left me wanting to know what happened in the previous book(s) in the series.

Most Christmas stories are happy, or at least have a happy ending, but this one, being more bonus content than a story on its own, left things up in the air. There was no happy ending, but there was a resolution of sorts.

I did notice a few editing things that turned me off toward the writing, but nothing to pull me out of the story. Just enough to bother this reader, but possibly others won’t even notice or care. It also wasn’t enough to make me NOT consider reading this author in the future.

All that said, I think this series might be a bit too gritty for me. I think readers who want to sample this authors reading style and who prefer grittier stories would enjoy this read and might go on to read the previous book(s). There might be spoilers in this to the previous book(s) but I really couldn’t say. You know, because I haven’t read them myself!


Quotes

“You’re going to have to leash the asshole and you’re going to go somewhere else because this is my home. If, and that’s only if, Sam needs someone to step up for her, I’ll get the pleasure of kicking someone out of my home.” She emphasized the ‘my’ before walking away with Logan. Before they were out of earshot, Sam heard Malinda say, “You just got here and I already feel like another drink.”

 

Samantha stared at her mom for a moment. She looked different this night compared to the other times Analise stopped by the house. There’d been a desperation clinging to her mother, but this mother, she looked composed. Calm. Almost serene, in a small way.

 

“…There’s a vast difference between peace and having a relationship. You cannot ask for a relationship. Not with your daughter. Not with your fiance’s sons. You cannot force something we will not give.”

“So what am I supposed to do?”

“Nothing.”

 

All three were silent for a moment, and in that shared quiet, it was three of them versus Analise. But it was more. It went deeper. It was them versus anyone who tired to hurt one of them. It was like this before. It was like this now, and it would be forever.


My (Writing) Life

Literally NO time for an update.

Family will be here for a party in less than 4 hours.

So much to do!!!

Catch ya later!

REVIEW: Approximately Yours by Julie Hammerle

Approximately Yours Book Cover Approximately Yours
North Pole, Minnesota #3
Julie Hammerle
YA Contemporary Romance
Entangled: Crush
October 2, 2017
E-ARC
220
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
October 5 - 7, 2017

Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And her family is only back in North Pole, Minnesota, long enough to sell Grandma’s house and say “Merry Christmas.” So telling her basketball-star, too-hot-to-be-real long-time crush that she’d like to kiss him under the mistletoe just isn’t going to happen.

And now he’s asked out her cousin, Elda. Elda is a mess at flirting, so when she begs Holly to intervene, she does. Holly helps her flirt with him over text. And then again. And again. Now she’s stuck texting him as her cousin, and Elda is the one going on the date. Holly thought she could settle for just conversation with Danny, but talking with him is some kind of magic. He’s got the perfect comebacks, she makes him laugh, they text until everyone is asleep.

She just can’t ever tell him it’s her he’s really texting.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book has hot texts, gingerbread wars, and a slow-burn romance that could melt a Minnesota winter.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my SEVENTH contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

This was a cute holiday book I found on NetGalley that caught my eye because A) it takes place in my home state of Minnesota, and B) it revolves around the plot of a one girl texting a boy to make him like another girl, and C) I’ve basically fallen in love with YA contemporary romances lately.

So yeah, this was a cute book, but it wasn’t unforgettable. I think Holly is pretty relatable, because what girl hasn’t compared herself to a friend/sister/cousin she thought was prettier than her? She clearly suffers from a big case of low self-esteem and has built up some very big walls to prevent herself from getting hurt. Unfortunately, those walls have also done her the disservice of keeping others away.

I also really liked Danny because he was the guy who had it all – he was the hot star of the basketball team with the hot, “perfect”, cheerleader girlfriend. Until he injured himself and his girlfriend dumped him. Then who was he? He really was just a sweetie and it was obvious why Holly liked him. I really loved that the author showed that someone who had it all, like Danny, could also suffer from low self-esteem and self doubt. Feelings of unworthiness run rampant in the teen years.

The way Holly and Danny bonded over the gingerbread competition was pretty adorable, but I was mostly frustrated that Holly would even want to encourage her cousin to date the guy she’s been crushing on her entire life. That just never really made sense to me from the get go. I mean, maybe in the beginning, but when it became pretty clear Elda wasn’t really all that interested in Danny Holly still pushed her cousin into continuing the charade.

In the end, it was a cute story, but like I said above, it just wasn’t entirely memorable. I would read the other books in this series, just to see what happens with the other minor characters, but I wouldn’t buy the books.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

 

(Elda) was the girl next door of every boy’s dreams. Holly was the girl next door who actually lived next door. Of course he was checking out Elda. Anyone with eyes would have done the same.

 

A girl with Holly’s savvy and Elda’s body would be more powerful than Wonder Woman. “We’d rule the freaking world. A guy like Danny Garland wouldn’t know what hit him.”

 

“Let them see how sad you are,” Craig said. “Girls love a wounded guy. They’ll want to help you. Seduction 101.”

Danny blinked at Craig. “What do you know about seduction?”

“I’ve seen a lot of movies.”

 

Maybe she suffered from a mild case of resting bitch face.

 

He got into a bit of a groove, not on his showstopper to do list, but on a list of ways he could stop being so pathetic in front of Holly. He’d just written “Stop whining to her about how she doesn’t like you,” when the bell above the Santabucks door jingled.

 

Man, North Pole loved karaoke almost as much as it loved Mariah Carey.

 

It was the day of his North Pole architecture tour date, and Danny felt a bit like someone was forcing him to eat his vegetables, which was silly. Elda wasn’t broccoli.

 

A whole morning alone with Holly. This day was going to end in tears—his.

 

I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be honest with someone about how I feel. I’ve been pushing people away for so long that I don’t know how to let anyone in.

 

“Why are you whispering?” she whispered back.

“My mom’s just over by the counter.”

“And she can still hear every word out of your mouth,” came his mom’s voice.


My (Writing) Life

Christmas is nearly here and if I want to get all of my 12 Books of Christmas posted before Christmas Eve, I need to get my rear in gear! I have two left to finish, I should be able to finish both today as I have 10 pages left of one and the other is a very short novella.

I’m hosting Christmas for my immediate family on Saturday so I also need to get the house in gear. That’s going to mean probably little to no writing from me for the time being. Which is okay, because I’m stuck on SUMMER OF PEACE. I have the ending written, but I’m just not sure right now how to bridge the gap between where I currently am and the ending. I’m so close, but I’m drawing a blank. I think I’ll need to go back and pepper in a few lines of dialogue to make the transition smoother.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to work ahead on my publishing work. I want to get ahead and stay ahead! I’ve been formatting books like crazy the last couple days (okay, I formatted four books. That’s not that crazy…) and I’ve been working on covers. Completed two covers and am *THIS CLOSE* to finishing a third. My goal is to complete all of the Jan/Feb releases in December, then move on and complete all of the Feb/March and March/April ones in January. That’ll put me ahead just enough.

Anyway, enough from me. I’ll see you all tomorrow with my EIGHTH book of Christmas. 🙂

REVIEW: Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber

Dashing Through the Snow Book Cover Dashing Through the Snow
Debbie Macomber
Contemporary Romance
Ballantine Books
October 6, 2015
Paperback
272
12 Books of Christmas
September 28 - October 1, 2017

Savor the magic of the season with Debbie Macomber’s newest Christmas novel, filled with warmth, humor, the promise of love, and a dash of unexpected adventure.

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead.

At first they drive in silence, but forced into close quarters Ashley and Dash can’t help but open up. Not only do they find they have a lot in common, but there’s even a spark of romance in the air. Their feelings catch them off guard—never before has either been so excited about a first meeting. But the two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Enjoy the second holiday book I’m contributing for the 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


My Review

The hotel I work for received a new shipment of books for the lobby. This book was one of them, so, seeing that I needed a few more holiday books to meet my 12 Days of Christmas book quota, I snagged a copy, devoured it in about 4 days, then returned it to work.

This book is pure fluff. If you are in the mood for a cheesy, over the top, unrealistic, anything-that-can-go-wrong-does with a happily ever after, this is your book.

The heroine, Ashley, is immature beyond words. She has a good heart, but sometimes I had to shake my head at some of the questionable things she said and did. Meanwhile the hero, Dash, went from Grade-A jerk to…. well, someone I could like. Together they had great chemistry, I’m guessing the author was going for a “they balance each other” thing, but I really don”t see how they could possibly work with how immature she was and stoic he was.

Ultimately, if you’re in the mood for a super fluffy, light, rom-com you might enjoy this book. (FYI, it’s also a Hallmark movie. Which I haven’t been able to find no Netflix to stream. Boo!)


Quotes

“…There’s only one car left in the entire lot and we’re both headed to Seattle, and, well, I thought if I talked to his mother I’d feel better about sharing a ride with a perfect stranger.”
“Trust me, my dear, my son is far from perfect.”

 

“Besides, you’re not my type.” She didn’t really have a type, but if she did, he’d be at the top of the list, not that she’d tell him that.
“Oh really?” he said. He snorted a laugh as if to say the opposite sex found him irresistible.

 

“Do you know you roll your eyes a lot?” she asked.
“I didn’t before I met you.”

 

He frowned. “I worry when you get overly accommodating. It’s like when a woman says, ‘Correct me if I’m wrong…’ Trust me, most men know never to make that mistake. It’s a trap.”

REVIEW: More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

Series: Friends #2

Read: February 20 – March 2, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Genre: YA Romance

Pages: 320

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, Beat The Backlist 2017, TBR 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

He’s not perfect, but he’s all I want…

I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests.

But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me.

So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart.

And I’m going to let him.


REVIEW

I received a copy of More Than Friends from Goodreads First Reads. I took one look at that cover and wanted it. It’s so pretty!

Alas, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped. I read through it fairly quickly, it was a page turner, but I guess I just prefer books with less teen drama and different plot devices.

As far as the characters go, I liked them. Both Amanda and Tuttle. They both had depth and character flaws. They felt real. Tuttle in particular. He comes across as the perfect golden boy, but once you get inside his head you realize he has a lot of baggage. A LOT of baggage!

It’s been a while since I was in high school, and perhaps I just wasn’t / didn’t hang out with the kinds of kids in this book, but I was surprised that a book with such a tame cover would contain so much sexual content! As a parent, I would not be happy to catch my own young adult reading this book, which seems to glorify sex in high school and make it seem as though everyone is doing it. And yeah, maybe I’m letting my prudish side show, but those are my feelings. I prefer my teen fiction to remain clean. If anything happens it’s behind closed doors/fade to black, as well as being between two characters who actually know where they stand with one another, because throughout this entire book Amanda didn’t know if she was actually with Tuttle or not.

As a whole, this is a well written book filled with teen drama drama drama, but there is far too much sexual content IMO for a YA book. I’d have much rather seen them at least in college.


Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

It’s like I’m always waiting for the bomb to drop. For the joke to be on me. No one in a million years would ever match me with Jordan Tuttle. Not even me.

 

Ugh. I’m actually pissed people aren’t noticing me when I don’t want them to notice me. I make no sense.

 

“Wait a minute. You apologized to her?” Livvy shakes her head. “Why.”

“Because what I said to her was wrong. It bothered me all night. I had to tell her I was sorry.”

“You’re too nice.” She’s still shaking her head.

Maybe you’re not nice enough, I almost tell her, but I don’t. That’s opening a whole new bag of trouble.

 

Whispering “sorry” under my breath—because yes, I do talk to my car sometimes, thank you very much—I turn the key and the engine starts right up.

 

I have no photos of Jordan and me together. None. And in this social media driven world we live in, if there’s no photographic proof, then it didn’t happen.

 

“Passion only lasts so long, especially with those two. They are a prime example that you cannot sustain a relationship based merely on passion.”

REVIEW: Pan by K. R. Thompson

Pan by K. R. Thompson

Series: The Untold Stories of Neverland #1

Read: February 2017

Format: Kindle

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Magic Quill Press

Release Date: August 10, 2015

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Pages: 103

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, Retellings 2017, Beat The Backlist 2017, TBR 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Neverland has always been their sanctuary—until now.

Magic is dying in Neverland—and so are the pixies. Only one is brave enough to search the human world for someone to believe. Tink finds a desolate boy flying in the night, peering in windows, searching for the life he once knew. But can she convince him to abandon his quest and save Neverland?

Discover the untold story of the boy destined to become Peter Pan.


REVIEW

A while back I had an idea for a story I wanted to tell and as this story tossed and turned in my brain I realized it might make a good Peter Pan retelling. But then I remembered I’ve never read Peter Pan, and I’ve only read one story based on it. So I went on a downloading binge, snagging every free fairy tale and Peter Pan related book I could find on Amazon. I promptly forgot about them, and there they sat on my Kindle, until I was motivated to read them by the retelling and backlist challenges I recently signed up for. (Two birds with one stone!)

This particular book, while well written, didn’t really capture my full attention. I actually mostly had my Kindle read it to my 5 year old daughter and me over the course of a few days while we ate lunch. The whole of the book was broken into smaller stories. The first is the tale of how Peter Pan came to meet Tinkerbell and find his way to Neverland. Another is Peter finding the Lost Boys and bringing them to Neverland as well. There’s interesting bits about the fairy’s and why Tink brought Peter. The Nyad’s were interesting as well and I think I’d like to read more about them. As a whole though, I didn’t connect to the characters. I never really cared what happened to them. I’m blaming that on the length of each of these small stories and would assume that the full length novels would have better character development. As of right now I would not pay to read the first full length book, but should it become free I would give it a chance and if I liked it, perhaps go on to purchase the others in the series.

As for my initial quest which led to me downloading this book? I’ve got some fresh inspiration tossing around in my head now, so mission somewhat accomplished.


Get the Book here:

Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 

The pixies in Neverland were dying, and without someone to believe in them, Neverland would soon cease to exist.

 

The crocodile was the only one who hadn’t tired of his games, the only one who returned the attention given to him, and was the only one who seemed worthy of the adventure Peter sought.

 

She would listen because they were a part of him, such an important part, he would sit for long periods of time and replay the memories in an effort to never forget them.

 

“Then the snow came, just as Mother said it would. I kept thinking I had to be close. If I could go just a bit farther, then I would find them and I could duck inside and be safe. But the snow fell faster, and it got cold… so, so cold…”

 

“It wasn’t life I was offered. It was an existence of death. I couldn’t go home and I couldn’t be a boy anymore.”

REVIEW: Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

I recently had the privilege to take part in Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and took on the challenge of reading a middle grade book, something I don’t normally do.
Read on to find out about this title and MCBD.


 

Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Series: Series #1

Read: January 15 – 26, 2017

Format: Hardback

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: August 25, 2015

Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

Pages: 256

Reading Challenges: European Reading Challenge & #2017YARC

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cassie Arroyo, an American studying in Rome, has her world ripped apart when someone tries to kill her father, an art history professor at an Italian university. Is she their next target?

Cassie sets out to uncover what is happening, only to learn that she is a member of an ancient bloodline that enables her to use the Spear of Destinya legendary object that can alter the future. Now running from a secret organization intent on killing those from her bloodline, Cassie mustwith the help of some friendsdecipher the clues that will lead her to the Spear.

Christina Diaz Gonzalez has created a fast-paced thrill-ride of a book, rich with riddles and myth, that young readers will not want to put down.


REVIEW

Special thanks to the MCBD for providing a copy in exchange for this review.

 

Another reviewer compared Moving Target to the DaVinci Code and I have to agree. It’s like DaVinci Code Light. Or Diet DaVinci Code. It’s a great introduction to kids who are into that kind of adventure story.

This is a fairly short book, so I personally could have done with some more character building, but I think for the target age there is just enough for them to get connected and engaged.

The action starts off with a bang – literally – when Cassie and her dad start running from she doesn’t even know what. When Cassie’s dad is shot, she’s on her own, left with only one cryptic clue from her father, which sends her down the rabbit hole and change her life forever.

I like that the author chose to use the Spear of Destiny as the object the kids are after. I like the lore she created for the Spear, that one person can control the destiny of the world. And I love that if Cassie gets her hands on it, the fate of the world will rest in the hands of an 8th grader. Yikes!

The action in this book was pretty much non-stop, only slowing down in the beginning once Cassie gets to the Monastery. I’m really not sure if there’s anything else that could have helped that though because that info needed to be given, the scenes had to happen.

It was cool to see a variation of languages in this book as well. Cassie’s father is of Cuban descent so she and her father speak Spanish from time to time. The story takes place in Italy, so there is also some Italian sprinkled in. It makes me want to start using my DuoLingo app again because I recognized some of that Italian, but I couldn’t translate it in my head!

Some of the riddles/puzzles Cassie had to solve to complete her quest were too easy in my opinion. It baffled me that no adult character had figured it all out sooner. I had to keep reminding me that the target audience for this book would not have the same reasoning skills as an adult.

The characters also read a little young to me. I kept forgetting that the girls were 8th graders and Asher was 15. They just felt younger to me.

There was a twist at the end, but I saw it coming, which was sort of disappointing. Until the last twist happened that I did not see coming, so that was a real treat! I’m curious to read the second book just to see what comes next for Cassie.

Overall it was a quick read. It wasn’t a book I couldn’t put down, but I also didn’t dread having to pick it up again. For me as an adult, it was average. But I’m not the target audience and I think middle grade kids will enjoy it.

 

So, should you read it?

I don’t think adult readers will get much out of this story, but I think middle grade kids would, especially those who like fast past books with puzzles and riddles. I considered having my 4th grader read it, but I think she may be a bit young for it. Perhaps in a year or two.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christina grew up in a small Southern town in the Florida panhandle, but she’s always been in touch with her Cuban heritage. She loves having breakfast with pan cubano and Southern style gritsthe best of both worlds!

She is the author of the award-winning novels, The Red Umbrella, A Thunderous Whisper, and the action-adventure duology, MOVING TARGET RETURN FIRE (Scholastic).

 


ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

Scholastic was founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine. Today, Scholastic books and educational materials are in tens of thousands of schools and tens of millions of homes worldwide, helping to Open a World of Possible for children across the globe. The mission of Scholastic is to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Scholastic will also be helping with social media efforts surrounding this event and working to get the MCBD the message out. We will have more details and images in the days to follow, but in the meantime we simply wanted to share the good news. Be sure and connect with Scholastic on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and multiple other social media outlets.


QUOTES

What did this bald-headed, bow-tie-wearing, tweed-jacket-loving teacher have against me? I might not be a great student in his World History class, but I got good grades in my other classes.

 

Choices determine destiny.

It was similar to something my dad used to tell me when I was little. He’d remind me of how my mother would always say that the beauty of life was its uncertainty. How you could choose your own future and nothing was preordained.

It had never been more true.

I had to choose to be hrave.


MCBD

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee & Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawDelores Connors, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand, Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra RichardsElsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

 

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Other Important Links:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents

REVIEW: Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill

Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1

Read: Decenver 17-20, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 Ever The Hunted is the story of Britta, a teenage girl who is shunned by her people due to the fact that her mother was from a country that her kingdom is at war with. A mother killed for being a traitor. When Britta’s father dies, she’s left with absolutely nothing. When desperate times come to desperate measures, she ends up poaching and is caught by the kings guards. And now our story begins…

In exchange for being allowed to live, Britta must help the king’s guards track down her fathers accused killer. Her former friend, Cohen. The boy she was in love with before he left and never came back.

I think the problem with this story for me was too much time spent tracking Cohen. I was just bored. I felt like I was reading military fiction, I just wanted things to get moving. Once she separates from the guards the pacing picked up and so did my interest. The magic introduced in the second half of the book helped too.

In the end I did enjoy this story, I just didn’t love it. I know this is the first in the series and I think the next book will probably pick up as far as pacing so I’m not counting this series out just yet. I will most likely read book two and I look forward to seeing what’s in store next for Britta.



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QUOTES


Each time I lean forward, Leif pulls me back against his chest. If the captain doesn’t hang me, this ride may be torture enough to kill me.

 

I hate the way Cohen makes a mess of my thoughts. Hate that I’m here in these woods, hunting him for murder. Hate the doubts tangling in my mind because they’re meaningless next to the truth in Lord Jamis’s words.

 

My gaze briefly drops to the sweat mark on his shirt and then to his full lips framed by rugged facial hair. The sight does something strange and liquid to my insides.

 

I kept my secret for years, so perhaps this time he can keep his.

 

“Admit I smell just fine, Britt.”

“Get off me.”

“Admit it, or you’ll be smelling me all over you the entire night.”

Honestly, he smells wonderful.

 

“He’s no more a murderer than you are a gentleman.”

 

His ragged exhale hits my bare back, enticing a shiver to dance through me a moment before his fingers connect with my skin and make mincemeat of my thoughts.

 

Suddenly, I feel like I’ve been pretending my entire life. Acting as though I don’t care when people say unkind things to me. Acting like it doesn’t matter that no one wants to be my friend. Acting as if I’m not lonely.

 

Seeds and stars, it should be illegal for him to go shirtless.

 

 

REVIEW: Risuko by David Kudler

 

Last night at work I was alone folding laundry and able to finally finish this book!
Seriously you guys, the text to speech function on the Kindle is the greatest invention EVER!
Multitasking at its finest.

I was also able to do a little outlining on my novella due next year. Unfortunately, my Bluetooth keyboard wouldn’t connect to my Kindle so I couldn’t actually write. I’m hoping the keyboard just needed charging. Fingers crossed it works tonight!

Now that wedding season is calming down, there’s a little more down time at work so I actually take breaks. When things are busy, I just don’t take a break at work. At least, not one that lasts longer than it takes to eat something, and even then I’m ready to run to the front desk if someone walks in. I don’t mind though, I love my job.

And now, my review!


Risuko by David Kudler

Series: Seasons of the Sword #1

Read: October 5 – 26, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Stillpoint Digital Press

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.

Risuko.

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers.


REVIEW

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this cover art. It’s amazing, right? I’ll admit, I requested this book from NetGalley all those months ago because this cover is amazing. So pretty. Plus there was a little girl called ‘Squirrel’ who is supposed to unite Japan? Sounds awesome!

Unfortunately, I found the story lacking. I couldn’t really connect to the characters on a deep enough level. For example, in the beginning, Risuko is taken from her village after being purchased by Lady Chiyome, and she digs in her heels a little at first, but it really didn’t take much for her to seemingly “get over” being taken from her mother and sister. Sure on the outside she accepts her fate, but I find it hard to believe that a little girl would not even have any internal dialogue resenting Lady Chime or missing her family. She just kind of goes through the motions as if this is all normal.

Now, that isn’t to say that all characters were difficult to understand. The exception is Kee Sun, the Korean cook working for Lady Chiyome. He was fabulous! He has his own nicknames for everyone and just a very vibrant personality.

As far as pacing and plot, it took a really long time to figure out what the plot really was. Things were happening to Risuko, but it was almost like she was a bystander. Her actions were the result of people telling her what to do. It took a long time before her own actions began to drive the plot forward. By the time it ended, I liked where things had gone, but I just didn’t get enough sense of Risuko’s growth as a character. And while I can’t think of any scenes that should have been cut, I just didn’t see most of them really driving the plot forward.

There were some really cool things in this book though. I learned a little about ancient Japan and the Takeda empire. I loved the concept of these women being trained as shrine maidens, but also spies and killers. There was some interesting information about herbs that I enjoyed reading about. (Yes, I’m a nerd.)

Also, the tag line – Can one girl win a war? – is a little misleading. Because really, not much happened in this book. I can see maybe in future books this being a true catch line, but not this one.

So, would I recommend this book?

In the end, I think this book is just written for too young an audience for me. I think it reads more middle grade than YA and tweens and younger teens will probably get more from this story than older teens and adults, like myself. For those interested in ancient Japanese culture, this may be a good intro into the topic/culture. I’d say read the sample online to decide if the book is right for you.



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QUOTES


“…Some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be
a very special kind of woman. All I want to do is climb.”

 

Kee Sun fussed with the platters, placing a bunch of watercress at the end of each, then he turned to us, gravely, and said, “If any of yeh drops year platter, I’ll skin yeh with the dullest, rustiest knife I’ve got, yeh hear?”

REVIEW: Squirrel Bait by Chip Davis

Squirrel Bait by Chip Davis

Series: Chip’s Dollar Dreadfuls #1

Read: June 3 – Aug 18, 2016

Format: Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Humor / Horror

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Tonya has an unusual passion for books, even for a librarian. When her books are harmed she takes it personally. When people turn up dead over damaged books, there are questions to answer. When the killer is a weresquirrel, the questions become more confusing.

There is a certain pretentiousness in classical literature. Elegant writing filled with meaning both astounding and sublime. This is not that. Not horrific enough to be horror, nor humorous enough to be comedy, welcome to Chip’s Dollar Dreadfuls. There may not be any fundamental truths, but there will be blood…so much blood.


REVIEW

So, I kept hearing about this book. Chip Davis is a notorious presence on a Facebook page I often frequent (usually on Thursdays) so I went ahead and finally purchased and read his short novella, Squirrel Bait.

This is the story of a library. Well, sort of. You see, when people damage the books in the library, librarian Tonya gets very upset. She doesn’t go into homicidal rages, no, she just becomes very emotional. Her books are her precious. I’m not sure what’s wrong with this town Tonya lives in, but people just seem to walk into the library and damage books for no reason other than they want to. It’s a little odd, but in a book like this, we forgive things like that. Anyway, police reports are filed and the punks names and addresses are logged at the library. But at night, the punks have begun being murdered. Obviously Tonya is the #1 suspect. Oh yeah, and her boyfriend is a cop, so of course that makes things especially awkward.

The way this book started, I honestly thought there would be no plot. That it would literally just be squirrels killing people. However, I was pleasantly surprised when there was a small twist around 20%, and then there was a full backstory as to where the Weresquirrels came from and so on.

This isn’t a deep thinking book. If you’re looking for a literary masterpiece, Chip Davis will probably be the first to tell you that this is not it. This is a humorous horror book, in line with something the Sci-Fi (or is it still Sy-Fi?) channel would produce. But it’s better than Sharknado. I mean, there are murderous squirrels. SQUIRRELS! Tiny, furry, scurrying squirrels. Desecrating people! If you can’t handle comedic violence, stay away.

There were some minor errors that would have been caught by a good proof reading of the book prior to publication, but nothing that will really pull the average reader from the story. It’s a quick read, and for those who like B-movies, this novella will be well worth your 99 cents.

(By the way, the last two pages are THE BEST.)


Get the book here:

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QUOTES

“I’m going to marry the densest cop on the planet. What did I do to deserve this?”

“You’ll marry me?” Steve was getting more confused by the second.

Tonya smiled at him. “Yes, Steve, I will marry you. Thank you for finally asking.”

~

“How hard can it be to kill one squirrel?”

 

REVIEW: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Raven Cycle #1

Read: May 14 – 25, 2016

Format: Hardcover

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Paranormal / Fantasy Teen

 

I heard a lot of good things about this series so I had really high hopes when I began reading. I read Stiefvater’s book Shiver in the past and enjoyed it, though I didn’t love it. That ended up being the case with Raven Boys.

Basic premise: Daughter of a psychic (Blue) is told all her life that if she kisses her true love, he’ll die. So she doesn’t date or kiss boys. Ever. Meanwhile, a group of boys over at the prestigious Aglionby Prep school (aka raven boys) are on the hunt for some magical “ley line” which is supposedly going to lead the leader of the boys (Gansey) to some dead guy who will give him something he really wants. I didn’t really understand all the ley line talk.

Alright, so that’s that. The book starts out in Blue’s POV and I really liked her. She had a unique POV being the daughter of a psychic and living in a house full of other psychics as well. Meanwhile, she’s not even remotely psychic. All was going great, I was loving the book! Then….

We switch to Gansey’s POV and we’re inundated with talk of these ley lines. I was so confused. I was bored. I didn’t care. I just wanted to go back to Blue’s POV!

Finally after about ten chapters Blue and Gansey finally meet and the story REALLY starts. I did end up liking all of the boys by the end, there was a mystery surrounding one of the boys that was really eye opening once revealed. Had I not been bored so much in the beginning I’d be tempted to go back and re-read it just to look closer for the clues.

Finally the book ended. And it was…. Okay. I didn’t hate the ending, but at the same time I wasn’t left with a burning desire to read the next book. Chances are I will read the next book, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get my hands on it any time soon.

In all, this book was meh. There were good and interesting characters, but it took too long to get to know some of them so I didn’t really care what was happening to them, and what was happening to them was interesting, but… again, I just didn’t care.

I’m curious to see what other people thought of this book. I do think Ms. Stiefvater is very talented and has a lot of great ideas, I just haven’t found a book from her yet that really resonates with me and leaves me wanting more.


Quote worthy:

When it finally happened, when she finally saw him, it didn’t feel like magic at all. It felt like looking into the grave and seeing it look back at her.

 

Blue had two rules: Stay away from boys, because they’re trouble, and stay away from raven boys, because they were bastards.


He said, “I’ve always liked the name Jane.”

Blue’s eyes widened. “Ja—what? Oh! No, no. You can’t just go around naming people other things because you don’t like their real name.”

“I like Blue just fine,” Gansey said. “…However, I also like Jane.

“I’m not answering to that.”

 

“Aquamarine is a wonderful color, and I won’t be made to feel bad for wearing it,” Gansey said.

 

“Blue. My name’s Blue Sargent.”

“Blair?”

“Blue.”

“Blaise?”

Blue signed. “Jane.”

“Oh, Jane! I thought you were saying Blue for some reason.”


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(At the time of this review, the ebook edition of this book is only $1.99)

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