Saturday, January 31, 2015

Review: Timeless


Timeless
Timeless by Michelle Madow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



So this is the end of this story. And I have to say I was a bit torn - do I continue in this story or do I stop as I am irritated with the second book?

Well, obviously I continued. It was a definitive end to the story. But I was a bit more bummed about this one than I thought I would be.

I liked how things were resolved but I thought that the story lacked more of the excitement that I wanted following the first book. I was so engrossed in the first book that the world seemed to slip away from me.

With these subsequent stories, I feel the connection between myself and the story and characters is strained at best. I still liked the characters and truly felt the love between Lizzie and Drew, but I felt that Chelsea's character was annoying and irritating more than I had in the the other stories.

With all that factoring in, I give this a 4 out of 5 because I still applaud (partial spoiler here) a happy ending, but felt it was just not up to the same level as book 1.



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Review: Vengeance


Vengeance
Vengeance by Michelle Madow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Ok, so I had already bought the other books in this series as soon as I finished the first one. And obviously I was not as in love with this book as the first. I suppose now I could have finished the first one and not continued on and still been on the this book is amazing high feeling.

Why did I not like this as much?

Pretty simply, it was not a very long book at all. And now seeing Goodreads deem it book 1.5 in the series, I understand why. I felt that this was more of a novella that would have been good as a side story in the next book.
Also, it seemed to be only what happened in one day and not over a few days so therefore it didn't mean a lot in the story as a whole.
Ok, so Chelsea is upset. Who wouldn't be? But seriously, not enough to fill a book.

I tend to judge rather harshly when a book is this short. Sorry!

So I gave it a 3 out of 5 due to the shortness of the book mostly.



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Review: Remembrance


Remembrance
Remembrance by Michelle Madow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Ok, so I have had this book and loved the cover. I mean it is just awesome. And the premise for the story is great. So, one of the facebook pages was hosting a "party" on this author's birthdays and it re-peaked my interest in this book.

I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!!!!

It starts off very "normal" for a YA romantic book. But then that re-incarnation twist rears it's head. (No that is not a spoiler, it is on the description of the book.) And the next thing I know it is past my bedtime and I am happily at the end of my book. I seriously do not remember my family going to bed I was that engrossed. And then my dreams that night were nothing but time travel fun!

I liked the connection between Drew and Lizzie. It was intense but yet believable (not cheesy in my opinion). And the supporting characters were well developed and fun or evil depending on what they needed to be. I was thrilled by the parental involvement - yep, my theme right? But seriously, the mom was present and involved. Awesome!

Was there something I didn't like? Let me think. . . umm. . . maybe the . . . I can't think of anything. Seriously, I am sure there are faults but even after I slept on it just the one night, nothing is coming to mind. It had cliche or predictable aspects for sure, but they were not cheesy and in my opinion, necessary for the story to happen like it needed to.

Ok, gushing over. I give this one a 5 (shocker right?) out of 5 stars. I cannot wait to start the second book this afternoon. YEAH!!!



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Friday, January 30, 2015

A true Let Down!

I am kind of sad right now.  I have almost completed the reviews for the Book Blog Blitz and I find myself sad and upset.  Is there such a thing as a Book Blog Blitz LetDown?

I mean seriously, I am wondering what I am suppose to do now with my reading time.  And I know that I am suppose to be able to just read for me now, but where is the purpose in that?  I mean, there is no true deadline looming in the future.  Is this a normal feeling?



But I know that I am not in the normal and I have a lot of other deadlines that will be looming.  Other books I was asked to read in a certain timeframe, events coming up that I can attend, etc.  But it all seems like a letdown in a way.

Not that I want to be the blooger who only does Blitz's, I just wonder if I was this excited about my blogging before.  Oh wait, no is the answer because that is why I am morphing my blog, right?


(Yep, I totally added a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Morpher!)  So I will be brave and keep reading (dare I say it aloud again?) FOR ME.  And I will hopefully not irritate others with my general dislike for books the norm likes too much.  I will continue to grow as a blogger and reviewer (Hopefully!)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: The Dress Shop of Dreams


The Dress Shop of Dreams
The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I was unsure what to expect from this book. It was a bit slow to start but once i got into it, I struggled with putting it down.

Was it predictable? Umm, yeah. But in my mind, not so much that you thought it was a cheesy read. I loved the complexity of the amount of characters as well as the depth of each of their characters.

I also loved how it all evolved together yet still separate. I loved the magical aspect of it without it being overpowering and ridiculous. As well, I really liked the Grandmother's love for her family and her need to protect. And I Loved the Ending! So cute!!!!

I definitely recommend this book and give it 4 stars!

This book was received from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.





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Day#4 - Are we really over halfway done?



The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos
 The Scar Boys
      First off, let me say that I had met this author at a YA Frenzy event hosted by Anderson Bookstore.  It was awesome.  Lots of authors to meet and greet and sign your books if you wanted.  Lots of books to add to one's "to read list".  And this was one of the books that upon listening to him speak about, I thought my son may enjoy reading.  But alas, the budget I had decided upon was spent and so it went on the "to be bought later" list.  And when I saw it was on this blog tour's book list, I became excited and was hoping I was right that my son would enjoy it.  And I was not delusional.  Yeah me!!

     So why did I like this book.  First off, I liked his flawed but normal characters.  I felt that these were kids I could have hung around with in high school.  (Yep, kind of a groupie type personality is what I could be labeled with I suppose).  These kids had a bond that may not be understandable from the outside world but it is there it is strong.  Having a kiddo who formed his own band, I get that bond and how it just stays there.  It is a rather remarkable thing.

     I also liked how the parents were involved in the kids lives.  I know I mention that a lot in my reviews, but seriously, I need to say that I definitely feel that parental influence seems lacking in the ya genre.  And I think that these young ones need to be reminded that we are here for them and are not invisible.  And so when books do portray that, I full-heartedly applaud them for it. (OK this mom is off her soap box.)

     One thing that perhaps I did not enjoy in this book is the idea that Henry never found anyone to be with.  No I was not looking for a true love moment with him, but I still would have liked him to found someone for a time.  I know that it makes him more realistic by not having him find anyone, but still, the hopeless romantic in me would have liked that.

     I did like the cover too.  It made me think of all the indie band posters I had seen in my youth and made me smile for sure.  And I loved how each chapter is named.  Well done.

     So all that being said, I would give this book 5 stars.  I enjoyed more than I had thought I would and it was well written and a quick read that I did not want to put down.  

Author:

 Len VlahosI dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece -- think R.E.M. meets the Ramones -- that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records. 

From the Author:
    Halfway through my sophomore year at NYU film school, I dropped out to go on the road as the guitar player in a punk pop band called Woofing Cookies. We had started the band in 11th grade, broke up when we graduated, but were lured back by the siren song of music at the end of freshman year. Our self-booked tour (30 or so gigs in 40 or so days, coast to coast) was to be our one way rocket to stardom. Unfortunately, no one told our van; it threw an engine rod eleven days in, stranding us in Georgia. We canceled the rest of the tour dates and tried to earn enough money to find our way home.

That idea, of a teenage punk band touring America in a dysfunctional van, stayed with me. I spent years trying to write the story, but it always came out as memoir. It wasn’t until I discovered the disfigured and damaged character of Harbinger Jones that I realized my experiences in Woofing Cookies were more universal, that they were really about the power of music to heal. When that all came together, I knew the story I needed to tell.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day #3 - you getting tired of me yet?


The Story of Owen Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnston

 The Story of Owen

     This is one of the harder reviews for me to write.  And the reason is that I am a bit unsure if I truly enjoyed this book.  Usually I have to decide between if I loved the book or liked it or just didn't enjoy it at all as the overall theme.  Harder than normal is this task for this book.  I have to admit that I had a pretty hard time continuing in this book.  And I really am not sure why.

     Conversely, I was at least intrigued by a few things.  One was the lack of magic in this book.  I am of the mindset that dragons equal magically, fantasy world fun.  But in this book it just happened that dragons are in a modern world.  Huh, that is different? And honestly, I was a bit confused by logistics of it but decided to just roll with it.

     I am also the type of person who enjoys a love story.  I mean look at my reading list and you can see that.  But this holds nothing of that.  I mean, it is very specifically not a love story or even a hint of one.  That is a bummer in my mind.

     One of the things that frustrated me or confused me at least, was the wonderment of the back story.  No, let me clarify.  There was no back story given, it just felt like there should have been one.  And then perhaps I would not have felt so confused.  A good back-story can make a book go from an OK read to an epic story in a heartbeat.

     So overall, I have very mixed emotions about this book.  On one hand, I applaud the original idea of the story and characters.  But on the other, I was frustrated and confused and dare I say a bit disappointed.  I will give this story 3 out of 5.  I feel someone out there will really like this and be less confused by it.

Author Info:
 E.K. Johnston is a forensic archaeologist by training, a bookseller and author by trade, and a grammarian by nature.
 
She spends a great deal of time on the internet, because it is less expensive than going to Scotland.

She can probably tell you, to the instant, when she fell in love with any particular song, but don't ask her, because then it will be stuck in both of your heads.


From The Author:


     The first part of The Story of Owen that I knew was a picture: Lottie on the Burlington Skyway, defending Hamilton, and then falling to the highway below. Originally, I was going to set it in Generic small town Canada, but almost immediately once I started writing, I decided to set it in my small town Canada, so that any kid from the area would be able to recognize the landmarks (and, in some cases, the people). From there, it came in pieces: the history and the Oil Watch with Lester B. Pearson, the music with Siobhan, the swords from a chance conversation with a friend, and Hannah because I very rarely manage to keep blacksmiths out of the stories that I write. At the heart of it, though, was always Canada, and the parts of my country that I love the most.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 2 - Woot Woot!!



Day 2 of the book blitz and it rocks! Another great book!!


 "Gabi - A Girl In Pieces" by Isabel Quintero
 
     When I received this book, I have to say that the cover made me wonder what this book could possibly be about.  It was a bit odd.  My kiddos were kind of put off by the thing too.  I explained that it is probably how the main character saw herself (basing that solely on the title).

I will say that I am not really a fan of diary type books.  That style really does not interest me at all.  I prefer a traditional book in that sense. 

 I was a bit bored at first as I felt it was a bit like "an after-school special".  Then I kept going so we always hope that the story will improve, right?

And improve it did.  I realized that Gabi was just a normal high school kid with her own drama that would make any parent crazy.  But her parents were there with her.  Yes her dad had a drug problem and was gone most of the time in more ways than one.  But they didn't both totally abandon her for their own lives to fend for herself or her siblings.  (Yep that is a pet peeve of mine in literature if you have never been able to tell.)  I was happy to see that the mom was not only involved but also pretty normal per parental standards.

The "after-school special" aspect was there throughout the book and it grew on me.  I mean, I grew up on those things and would re-arrange schedules to watch them so how could I not like it, right?  So, the drama was there that makes a good story and is still believable as it happens to kids all the time.  Just not always in the same school at the same time.

So all in all it was an okay book in my opinion.  Not one I would normally have picked up but one I did like once it got going.  I think in my thoughts this book is a 3 star out of 5 rating.

I really appreciate being able to take part in this blog tour.  Can't wait to see what is next!!

    Author: Isabel Quintero was born and raised in Southern California. Her love of reading and writing comes from her mother reading to her before she went to bed, and from the teachers and professors who encouraged her to keep writing. Her love of chorizo and carne asada tacos comes from her dad grilling on Sundays during summertime. She is an elementary school library technician and loves sharing her passion for the written word with students. She also teaches community college part time and works as a freelance writer for the Arts Connection of San Bernardino. Quintero works as events coordinator for Orange Monkey Publishing and assistant editor for Tin Cannon, a literary journal. She still lives in SoCal and enjoys going on adventures with her wonderful husband, Fernando. 



Everything a Door
by Isabel Quintero

Angst. Sheer unadulterated, unapologetic teenage angst, is what first drove me to write in high school. And poetry, of course, because what else could it be? What other form could capture the loneliness that I felt? Only poetry.

Imagine this: tenth grade, teenage Isabel, a little plump, very light skinned and Mexican, very awkward, boy crazy and very curious about sex, but so afraid of boys that she’d run and hide in the bathroom whenever her crush would walk by. Now imagine that same Isabel being introduced to e.e.cummings at a time when she felt her life was falling apart. It changed everything. Gave me power and purpose. The way the words broke on the page, the words running together, punctuation rules be damned, the stanzas running amuck where before I had been taught that there was only one order to everything, actually made sense. This was what writing was supposed to do: crack the world open and allow you to hold its heart in your hand. Then listen to it sing, watch it plop to the ground, but not panic because you knew how to write, you knew how to put it back together.

This is what writing did for me. It gave me voice. It gave me control. e.e.fucking cummings, man.  That was it. Well, more like Ms. Agard, my tenth grade English teacher who made the class memorize “anyone lived in a pretty how town.” She knew the power of writing and made sure that we knew it too. It was like being given the key to everything. And everything is a door. Everything.