July 30, 2014

Quick Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

This will be really quick mainly because it's a sequel, and I don't want to give much away.  I liked it! I really did.  You never know when you read a sequel if it's going to go south from the original. But it didn't. The story twists and turns nicely giving me several surprises.  Plus I found it full of great suspense.  Mara believes her old boyfriend (yes the one that's supposed to be dead) is actually not dead and is stalking her.  I never knew if I should be trusting and believing her or if the stress of everything she has been through is making her mind play tricks on her.  And I was torn as to whether I wanted it to be all due to what she's gone through or having it be real!! I mean if it was real that made it really really scary, so part of me didn't want that.

The romance portion of the book - I still liked Noah and their romance was good.  Sometimes once a romance has started it can start to move towards annoying or unrealistic or something along that lines.  I didn't find that with this one.  And although it was important to the story it didn't completely over-shadow the story so that was nice.

The ending - be prepared for lots of unknowns still hanging out there! I will HAVE to read the last book because there is so much I need to know.  Plus Mara is not is a good place at the end, so I need to find out what happens to her.  Pssssst - I hear that if you pre-order The Retribution of Mara Dyer it comes signed! I believe I'll be doing that.  

Final thought - nice to have a sequel that stands up to the original.  One series I will be finishing!

You can read my review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer HERE.  

July 29, 2014

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

Hosted by Broke and Bookish

Today it's all about what author I buy the most from.
I won't have 10 for this one!

1.  Patrick Carmen - There is a few reasons for this.  He has a ton of books out, and I went to a book signing for him so that means I bought a lot.  Plus when I taught kids read his books.

2.  Carrie Ryan - She wrote The Forest of Hands and Teeth series and I loved it, so I own all three.  

3.  Jonathan Maberry - He wrote the Rot & Ruin series, and I LOVE them!!!

4.  Sara Dessen - This is only because of school.  My girl students loved her books, so I had most of them.

5.  Rick Riordan - My daughter and I (and my students) LOVE all his books, so we own them all! He's probably the one I own the most from.  

July 28, 2014

July 25, 2014

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

I'm going to keep this brief.  Love it because is was just cute and sweet and adorable and nice and good and cute (yes I said it twice).  I haven't read a book in a long time that was just a sweet nice little love story.  Yes there was more to it than that especially with Ellie's background, but over-all that's what it was - a nice sweet romance.  I loved it for that reason alone.  Ellie and Graham were great characters.  They were realistic, believable and perfect for the story.  Of course there was a few times I wanted to shake both of them, but they they are teenagers, so I allowed them to be that way and didn't hold it against them.  

As for the pacing of the story and romance.  I felt it worked.  The beginning with all their emailing allowed me to buy into their feelings more because they had that build up time.  And once Graham comes to Maine that all felt ok for me too.  I mean he was only scheduled to be there for so long, so it had a reason for the pacing!

The ending was great too.  I won't give anything away, but I did like it :)

Final thought - if you are in the mood for just a simple little nice story check it out!

July 23, 2014

I Made a TBR Jar

I have more books than I know what to do with.  But with all those books I still have problems finding something to read.  Mostly because I'm indecisive, so I can't decide.  On a previous post I asked people to help me find a new book to read. One poster suggested I make a TBR Jar.  I had heard about them and seen them on Pinterest, so I said YES! and made one.

If you don't know what it is a brief explanation: You put all the books you have in your TBR pile (I only did ones I owned of course but both paper and ebook copies!) on little slips of paper and the put them in a jar of some sort.  When you don't know what to read, you pick a slip and read that book!

First I got some colored card-stock so it would be fun to look at.

Then I just sat down and got to work.  I did have one issue.  I'm in the middle of reading the Percy Jackson series, but I can't read them all at once.  And I plan on reading The Lost Hero books too.  So for each of those books I just wrote "Next Percy Book" on the slip, so I know to take the next one.

Once done the jar now sits on my shelf along with a pen and more paper, so I can add books as I buy them.  Yes I'm that person who buys books but doesn't read them right away!

Will I do this for every book I read?? No - just when I can't decide.  I figure if I've already read a book I pull out I'll just draw again!

We'll see how it works, but it was fun to do!!

July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Today we are looking at what characters we'd like on a deserted island with us

1.  Any of the main teen characters from Rot & Ruin by Jon Maberry.  They are tough and smart and fighters!

2.  Tris from Divergent because she'd keep us fighting to survive if I wanted to give up.

3.  Katness from Hunger Games - Same reason as Tris BUT I would have to boot Katniss if she got whiney like she did in book 3.  

4.  The main character from A Bad Case of Voodoo by Jeff Strand because he would keep me laughing! 

5.  Ponyboy from The Outsiders because I could talk books and reading with him.  Plus he'd made sure I noticed the sunsets.  

6.  Sam from Shiver.  I never finished the series, but I liked him a lot.  I think he would just be nice to have around.

7.  Miranda from the MG book When You Reach Me.  I don't know why.  I like her.  I like the book.

8.  Harper Price from Rebel Belle.  LOVE that girl, and I'd love to see what Katniss, her and Tris would think of each other.  

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.  Would make for an interesting time!

July 20, 2014

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume - Ebook Only 1.99

I have to share this.  I grew up reading Judy Blume (didn't a lot of us!?).  My favorite book by her is Tiger Eyes.  I loved it growing up, and I loved it when I reread it just a bit ago.  Well right now the ebook version is only 1.99! So if you've been thinking about reading this book, now would be the time.

Here's links to it.

Barnes and Noble for Nook version
Amazon for Kindle version
My local indie bookstore for the Kobo version

About the book

Davey has never felt so alone in her life. Her father is dead—shot in a holdup—and now her mother is moving the family to New Mexico to try to recover.

Climbing in the Los Alamos canyon, Davey meets the mysterious Wolf, who can read Davey’s “sad eyes.” Wolf is the only person who seems to understand the rage and fear Davey feels. 

Slowly, with Wolf’s help, Davey realizes that she must get on with her life. But when will she be ready to leave the past behind and move toward the future? Will she ever stop hurting?

To share as well - a movie was recently made based on the book.  It was directed by her son, so we can trust it's accuracy :)

July 18, 2014

New Lauren Oliver Book - Vanishing Girls

I just saw that Lauren Oliver has a new book coming out.  
It sounds great, and I love the cover! 
Just thought I'd share.


New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

July 16, 2014

Review: The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It's Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia's guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they'd never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn't exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.

My Thoughts

I love mysteries.  I have loved them since I started reading the Bobbsey Twins when I was really little.  I love reading a story where I'm trying to figure out the clues and the outcome just like the main character is.  I love when I'm kept guessing and not know who or what to trust.  I will never tire of them! The problem is, I'm picky and if the story is too transparent and I can guess things long before they happen I'm not going to love the book.  I wouldn't say that happened with this book, but I had suspicion from the start and they did end up being true.  So that took away from some of the fun of reading it.  I did still like seeing how all the pieces fell into place nicely AND there was a great little twist at the end that made me like the book more.  So in the aspect of being a mystery I liked it.  It held my interest - mostly to see if I had it right and to see if I was right how it all fit. So if you like books like that I say pick it up.

There was one issue I had with the book that was minor but there.  Lexi pretends to be Alicia because she feels as Alicia she can be outgoing and flirty and all that kind of stuff AND she feels this is the "better" way to be.  That her real self as Lexi isn't good enough for people to really like here.  A lot of it stems from the pressure she puts on herself - clearly seen with the whole college drama.  I found this aspect of the novel annoying as best but to a very small degree the wrong message to send.  Thankfully Lexi's ideas are challenged and she does grow, but I just have to mention that it bothered me.  

In the end - good book.  Fun fast read.  

July 15, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Movies or TV Shows!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  
And I've decided to join in!

This week it's all about your other favorites beyond books (funny I should join when it's not about books!)

So here are mine!

First TV Shows - I'm not a HUGE follower of TV shows

1. Supernatural - I LOVE this show even tho I'm way behind on the seasons.  My daughter has seen them all, so she keeps telling me spoilers - not on purpose but still I need to get watching!

2.  Finding Bigfoot - NOT because I believe in Bigfoot but because the show makes me laugh and laugh and laugh

3.  Mountain Monsters - Same reason as Finding Bigfoot

4. M*A*S*H - I watched this growing up with my family, so it holds a very special place in my heart.  I can watch episodes I've seen many times and still love them.

5.  The Walking Dead -  Zombies.  Need I say more????? Although they better step it up this upcoming season or I may fade on this one! 

Now Movies

1.  The Outsiders - I've watched this movie every year since 1996 because I taught the novel.  I NEVER tie of it.  I think mainly because I fell in love with Ponyboy when I was 13.  I can still recite the poem by heart!

2.  Star Wars (mostly the original 3) - I may not seem the type but I really do love these movies.  My 12 year son loves them too - way beyond me because he knows and remembers things about them I've never notices.  We are all excited for the new movies to come out.

3.  Anything scary! I grew up on the Freddy Krueger movies and they scared me to death.  I love scary movies.  My husband doesn't so that causes problems sometimes :)

4.  Because of Winn Dixie - I haven't watched it in forever but it stuck with the book so well, and it was such a sweet story.

5.  World War Z - Again zombies! And if those zombies show up we are all screwed! 

July 12, 2014

Help me pick!!

I don't know what to read next. I'm not able to decide. 
Tell me what to read. 
Only requirement.....must be YA!!

July 10, 2014

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both of them legions of faithful fans.

My Thoughts

So, um, ya........I wasn't overly thrilled with this book.  Why?  Hard to put my finger on it.  I think a lot of had to do with me being able to buy into these characters as "real" people.  I just couldn't see it.  I teach, so I'm around kids a lot - granted not high school kids but middle school ones.  Yes I know there is a big difference! But all the same I just couldn't believe these teens.  The way they talked - the way they thought etc - It just come across as realistic to me. I mean some of their thoughts was so deep I couldn't understand them, and I don't think I'm a dumb person!  For example - Tiny's musical is supposed to have this big theme about love, and I just didn't get it. There was so much going on that it seemed lost in the shuffle somewhere.  And the ending with all the Will Graysons added to that confusion.  Actually that part I got!  Beyond that I couldn't stand Tiny.  I found him selfish and over-bearing.  I mean I got that I was seeing him through the Wills' eyes, so I was seeing him as they saw him and that their view changed throughout the book but it did nothing for how I saw him by the end.  He rewrote the whole musical because he realized it shouldn't be all about him but then in the end it was all about him (at least in my mind).  I don't know the whole story just didn't work for me.  Maybe it would've worked better if the kids were in college.  I found it hard to let go of the thought "A school wouldn't let them do that" or "how are high school kids allowed to do all this?".  

Anyway - sorry John Green fans, but I wasn't thrilled with this one. 

July 2, 2014

Walter Dean Myers 1937-2014 - He Will Be Missed

I was very saddened today to learn of the passing of Walter Dean Myers.  He was one of my most favorite YA authors going back to when I first started reading YA for a class I was taking in college. He quickly became one of my favorite authors.  I had never really read anything like him before, and I was blown away at what he write for "kids". Throughout the years I've continued to read his books staying amazed at what he produced.  I could only hope to be a tiny bit as good as him.

His ability to write books that spoke to the reality that many youth faced was beyond comparison.  Every book I read by him contained characters that could've walked off the page and become real people. They dealt with issues faced by teens everyday - and they dealt with them in a way that was open and honest not candy-coating anything. They were relatable, raw and told teens they were not alone.  The world of young adult literature will miss him and his stories.

I was lucky enough to interview him for the blog just a bit back. Check out the links below.  

Review of Lockdown

Plus you should check out his website: Walter Dean Myers

A few books to read by him if you've never read him before:

Fallen Angels
A coming-of-age tale for young adults set in the trenches of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, this is the story of Perry, a Harlem teenager who volunteers for the service when his dream of attending college falls through. Sent to the front lines, Perry and his platoon come face-to-face with the Vietcong and the real horror of warfare. But violence and death aren't the only hardships. As Perry struggles to find virtue in himself and his comrades, he questions why black troops are given the most dangerous assignments, and why the U.S. is there at all.

This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee from acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Presented as a screenplay of Steve's own imagination, and peppered with journal entries, the book shows how one single decision can change our whole lives.

Somewhere in the Darkness
Jimmy hasn't seen his father in nine years. But one day he comes back -- on the run from the law. Together, the two of them travel across the country -- where Jimmy's dad will find the man who can exonerate him of the crime for which he was convicted. Along the way, Jimmy discovers a lot about his father and himself -- and that while things can't always be fixed, sometimes they can be understood and forgiven.

July 1, 2014

Review: Crash

Crash by Lisa McMann

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this in one day - that should tell you something shouldn't it :) One reason for that fast of a read is Lisa McMann's writing style. I happen to love her writing style. She writes short chapters with short clipped sentences, and this really keeps the story moving.

But of course there was more to the fast read than that. I enjoyed this book. Jules' desire and drive to find out what these visions are, who they affect and how she can change them pushes the story forward at a pace that couldn't help but drag me along. I liked how she chose to believe what was happening and push to figure out what she could do to change it. Of course she first had to accept what was happening. YOu could argue that she accepted to quickly that these were really vision - that she didn't question it enough. She did accept it fast - but I chose to overlook that. I mean I had to let go of reality to begin with since she's having vision, so I could let go of how fast she accepted them! Once she accepted what was happening, I loved how she dealt with it. She was so smart and determined figuring things out and never giving up.

Want to know what else I liked? I liked the relationship between her and her brother and sister. So many times siblings in young adult fight or don't like each other - or never really interact in a way I can buy into. I didn't find that here. I just really like how they treated each other! Minor thing, but it was good.

Over-all liked it a lot, and I plan on reading the rest of the series!

View all my reviews