Review: If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems

21 10 2014

If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems
If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems by Brian P. Cleary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review of: If It Rains Pancakes by Brian P. Cleary
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Age Group: 3rd-5th Grade
Format: eGalley
Source: Netgalley

I really wish that it would rain pancakes. That would make for an awesome story. This book taught me what a Haiku is and that they are actually kind of fun. I would say that this book would be great for third grade up to fifth grade. The illustrations were also very well done. The author and illustrator did an awesome job.

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Review: Swing

27 06 2014

Swing by Miasha
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review of Swing by Miasha
Release Date: May 2014
Publisher: Infamous Book
Age Group: 18 and up
Format: Book
Source: Library Thing

All I can say is wow. This was the first book that I’ve ever read by Miasha and I was thoroughly blown away. Although there weren’t a lot of pages, you were able to get the backstory of all of the swinging couples. What would normally take an author a series of chapters, this author was able to do briefly, but without missing a beat. I was enchanted by what would prompt a married couple to want to share what should only be between husband and wife with others. Although their lifestyle is not my cup of tea, to each his own.

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Review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

15 05 2014

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Age Group: 14 and older
Format: eGalley
Source: Netgalley

Cadence “Cady” Sinclair Eastman would enjoy summers on Beechwood Island with her cousins Johnny and Mirren and Johnny’s best friend Gat. They lived each summer together, the Liars, as they called themselves. Cadence, Johnny, Mirren and Gat. Gat, Mirren, Johnny and Cadence. And then, summer fifteen happened.

The only thing I can say about this book is OMG. I won’t lie. It started off kind of slow. I tried to look at reviews by other individuals and after reading the fifth review that said I needed to read the book for more details, I was completely intrigued. I finished it in three hours. It was simply amazing.

Imagine having family and friends that you rarely see except for once a year during the summer. Most of the common world calls these family reunions, but the wealthy call it summering. Then, there is an event that happens that causes the main character memory loss and brain numbing headaches. Now imagine those closest to you telling you that you will have to remember on your own what happened. That’s what happens to Cady.

The uncertainty that Cady feels not knowing anything that happened and to have her Liars wanting to help her remember but being told that they should let her remember on her own is frustrating. I so wanted to jump to the back of the book and find out what secrets lay ahead, but that’s what made it so interesting and intriguing.

This book has the perfect amount of suspense to keep you guessing and then when you get to the end, your mouth is left hanging open in complete and utter shock. I’m so happy that I got to read this book before others so that I can make everyone add it to their “to read” list. It definitely received five stars from me.

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Review of The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

23 04 2014

The Truth About AliceThe Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Age Group: 14-18 years old
Format: eGalley

Everyone knew all the rumors about Alice. I mean, she’d had sex with two boys in one night, right? But can you really believe everything that you hear? Sometimes you should just go with your gut.

The events that surrounded Alice Franklin’s eventual fall from popularity are some that had me thinking that teenagers are so superficial. Supposedly, Alice sleeps with two boys at a party and before you know it, the rumor has spread around town. Everyone knows about it. But, to make matters worse, the popular quarterback dies in a car crash and she is also blamed for his death.
As a teenager, I wouldn’t say that I was a social outcast. I wasn’t a part of the popular clique, but I was a cheerleader, so everyone knew who I was. But, I didn’t have a car or wear the latest designer clothes, so in that aspect, I could almost relate to just about every character in this book.

This book is told from the point of view of four different people that are either directly or indirectly involved with Alice. There is Elaine, who was the on and off girlfriend of Brandon, one of the guys that Alice is rumored to have slept with and also the guy that passes away. There is Kelsie, Alice’s former best friend, who was once a social outcast. She turns her back on Alice once the rumors begin to swirl. Then there is Josh, Brandon’s best friend and Kurt, the school nerd, who harbors deep feelings for Alice.

Masterfully written, The Truth About Alice, is a teenaged cliché, woven into the book pages. It brings to light those rumors we heard as children, about words not hurting and crushes them into tiny dust particles. Words can sting to the core. I felt strange emotions for Alice and wanted to hug her and tell her that things would eventually work themselves out. I like how the author told the story from different perspectives and allowed each character to have their own reasons as to why they treated Alice the way that they did. My favorite character above all was Kurt. He won my heart because no matter what people thought about him, he simply didn’t care.

I’m giving this book five stars. Why? Because it deserves it. It is by far one of the best young adult books that I’ve read this year. Great job, Ms. Mathieu!

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Review of We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

16 04 2014

We Are the GoldensWe Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review of We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley

Nell is completely enamored with her older sister, Layla. So much in fact that, when they were little girls, she called herself Nellayla because she felt that their bond was so close, they were like one soul. During Nell’s freshman year of high school, she discovers that Layla is having an inappropriate relationship with a teacher. This puts Nell in a serious bind. She wants to keep her sister’s secret, but she also feels like the situation Layla has gotten herself into is wrong. Thrown unwittingly into her sister’s secret, what should she do?

I must admit that when I read the synopsis of the book, I was hoping that it delivered a punch that would have me cursing in the air because I was so mad. I didn’t find myself spewing vulgarity to the heavens, but I was entranced as I read, my eyes transfixed on my Kindle. The story is told from Nell’s point of view. Nell is a very inquisitive and responsible (to a point) teenager, who looks up to her older sister in a way that is borderline loving, hero worship with a touch of creepiness. Her best friend Felix is her confidant, he doesn’t sugar coat anything for her, mince words, or treat her like she is special. Nell loves that about him. I really liked how the author describes this friendship and was very surprised that this wasn’t one were the two of them with eventual fall in love with each other.

Nell has so many things on her plate. She is just beginning high school, she has a crush on a boy, she makes the soccer team and she is worried about the strange way her older sister is beginning to behave. She is going through typical teenaged emotions and the author mixes words so that you feel each one. When Nell learns of Layla’s secret, it is purely by accident. As rumors start to spread about her sister and a teacher who has a reputation of being with a different female student each year, Nell chalks it up as just being gossip. But when she catches Layla in the act of video chatting with this teacher, Nell knows that nothing good can come of it and just how bad the situation can become.

The moral compass is stretched to the limit with this story and I really wish that the author wouldn’t have ended the book the way that she did. Layla was involved in something that teenagers shouldn’t be aware of. She was completely taken advantage of but she felt that it was love. There could’ve been so much more that would have made this a five star book. All in all, I really liked the book and would very much encourage people to read it, especially if you are the parent of a teenager.

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Review of Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

6 04 2014

Don't Look BackDon’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review of Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Age Group: 12 and up
Format: eGalley

What would you do if you woke up in the hospital, not knowing who you were and also learning that your best friend went missing on the same day and hasn’t been found? Do you try and solve the mystery on your own or do you just give up?

When I first began reading this book, I thought to myself that is seemed like I had read it before. The storyline seemed to be a little bit overused. But, once I got past the first three chapters, I could tell that it was going to be nothing like I had ever read.

This book had mystery, intrigue, love and horror, all wrapped up into one crazy book. The main character, Samantha, known to her friends as Sam, wakes up in the hospital, not knowing who she is, where she was when they found her, and how she got to the hospital. She also finds out that her best friend, Cassie, is also missing. We learn that she has suffered some form of traumatic amnesia and she must learn who she is all over again. As she starts to talk to the people that were closest to her, including her twin brother Scott, she finds out that she was an uber bitch with a group of friends who “ruled the school.”

As the story progresses, Sam begins to disassociate with her previous “friends” and begins the task of trying to mend some broken friendships, including that of Carson, whose father works for Samantha’s family and whom she learns used to be her best friend. Of course, she was an utter crazy person to him, but he begins to see that maybe she has changed for the better.

As new facts begin to surface, Samantha begins to see that things were the way they were in her life because she was trying to be someone that she wasn’t and once she took her life in her own hands, the people around her begin to drastically change. All the while, she is trying to figure out what happened the night that she and Cassie disappeared and more importantly, where in the heck was Cassie?

There are so many things in the book that make it exceptional. If I write too much, I would give the story away and then what would be the point of you reading it on your own? Let me just say this, you will be very shocked to find out the surprise twist. I would highly recommend this book to teenagers over the age of fifteen. The reasoning behind this is because there are some subject matter in the book that is very mature. I would almost say that it borders on being a New Adult book, but older teenagers would find it very intriguing.

I gave the book four stars and not five because the amnesia story has been done so many times. As a matter of fact, there was a book published recently with the same premise, girl has amnesia, finds out she is super rich and that she was a super bitch. You know, been there, read that. I almost put it down and not finish, but I also wanted to see if it had any redeeming qualities and if it was like any of the others that I ever read and I’m glad I did. It completely blew my mind. I’m super glad that I didn’t judge this book by the storyline.

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Review of A Fish Named Glub by Dan Bar-el

28 03 2014

A Fish Named GlubA Fish Named Glub by Dan Bar-el
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review of A Fish Named Glub by Dan Bar-el
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Age Group: 3-5
Format: eGalley

Glub is a fish that has a lot of questions and he is a precocious one. As any child can tell you, questions are the key to learning about the large world around you. While living in a diner, Glub begins to question a lot about the large world around him. Although I felt this book would be better suited for older children, I wouldn’t necessarily rule it out as one to read during a family storytime. The illustrations were wonderful. All in all, I gave it three out of five stars.

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