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Archive for November, 2013

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Posted by Caitie F on November 21, 2013

Title: The Name of the Windname of wind
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Paperback: 672 pages
Pub Date: March 27 2007
Publisher: DAW Hardcover
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic,


I have been reading this book on and off for over a month. It isn’t that it wasn’t good, it was, it just was not a book you could speed through. The writing is so beautiful that I found myself reading lines over again, which doesn’t happen to me often. Rothfuss has built such a stunning world that I had to take my time in there and really immerse myself at first. But then the story started to really pick up and I could not put the book down.

If you love epic fantasy and haven’t read this book yet, what are you waiting for? Kvothe is a brilliant character full of flaws and brilliance. The entire story is told to the Chronicler by an older Kvothe, so even when things are the most tense, you know at least he will be okay. It made me wonder about an unreliable narrator, but once he criticizes himself, it isn’t an issue.

I loved reading what these stories became. As the reader, you know that x happened because he did y and z, but others turned these stories into tall tales and suddenly he is an epic hero for he ages. His intelligence and cunning make him one of the best ever, but not even he could be or do what some of them say.

This is an absolutely wonderful book and I can’t believe it took me this long to read. The ending makes me want to pick up the sequel immediately, but I am going to make myself take a break before I jump back into that world.

I actually have avoided reviews for this book before reading it and before writing this review because I didn’t want anything to be spoiled and I didn’t want anything to taint my original thoughts. I am really excited to see what others have to say!

Have you read this book yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.


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Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Posted by Caitie F on November 20, 2013

Title: Time Between Ustime between
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Hardcover: 384 pages
Pub Date: Sept 3, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility. As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate-and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.


Time travel makes me happy. I am counting down the days until the Doctor Who Special, I need to see About Time, I am just all around fascinated by time travel. And who isn’t? Wouldn’t it be great if we could go backwards or forwards in time?

As far as I can tell, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon, so I am going ot be content with reading wonderful books about time travel like this one. On the surface, it is a romance reminiscent of Time Traveler’s Wife without all the drama and annoyances (sorry, I did not like that book at all). Put when you really read it, it is about a girl who decides to change her own life and take the opportunities she can.

The romance is great. Their relationship develops as naturally as one could when one character is not telling the other that they come from the future and can travel within their own lifetime. It isn’t insta-love, more like insta-curiosity. Bennett is cute and dashing and Anna is smart and adventurous. This book will make you swoon a few times.

Anna’s best friend Emma is one of my favorite side characters ever. She is kind, funny, and an all around awesome friend. She and Emma compliment each other so well and it is one of the best friendships in YA.

But the best part about this book is Anna herself and how she is a strong female who questions people, even people she likes, even Bennett. His rules felt so arbitrary to me, so when she called him out on it, I was incredibly happy to see how she did it. He isn’t a bad guy, but he has just been playing by his rules for so long that he can’t think of what anyone else might say.

Anna is one of the best characters I have read thsi year and I really hope more people read this book!


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The Mesmer Menace: Gadgets and Gears by Kersten Hamilton

Posted by Caitie F on November 19, 2013

Title: The Mesmer Menace: Gadgets and Gears, Book One17165929
Author: Kersten Hamilton
Hardcover: 144 pages
Pub Date: Nov 19, 2013
Publisher: Clarion Books
Rating: +++

Summary from pub:

Welcome to the Amazing Automated Inn, home of eleven-year-old inventor Wally Kennewickett, his genius scientist parents, and his dashing dog, Noodles. From the lightning harvester on the roof to the labs full of experiments in the dungeon, the inn is a wonderful place for a curious boy and his loyal dog to be. That is, until President Theodore Roosevelt himself calls the elder Kennewicketts away, leaving Wally and Noodles to face the evil mesmers, horrible hypnotists bent on controling the minds of powerful people. It seems the inn is their first stop on the way to world domination . . . and only an ingenious boy, a staff of automatons, and a brave dachshund stand in their way!


When a book is from the perspective of a non-human, it always has the potential to be creative and fun. The fact that this steampunk middle grade book is told by a dachshund did make it better, but it wasn’t enough to make this a book I highly recommend.

It felt like it wasn’t sure what age it was for. It is only 144 pages, and it from a dog’s perspective, so I thought it would have been more the 8-1o set, but there is complicated science and some difficult language that made it seem like it was more for 10-14. This is a case of knowing your reader and what they will like or what they might find silly. It also was th first in a series, but it seems like this first book was a little too short and rushed.

It isn’t a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, it is just short. All the characters are great and the setting will make even the least imaginative people excited. If you like using your imagination, well, be prepared because this book will take you on a journey.

This is also the first steampunk middle grade book I have read and it is very cool. Not only is it something very far away from what we see, but it will excite the reader about inventing and improving.

This is a fun, quick read and young scientists will be enthralled with the Inn, Wally and his dog.

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This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink

Posted by Caitie F on November 12, 2013

Title: This Wicked GameThisWickedGame_Cover-198x300
Author: Michelle Zink
Hardcover: 368 pages
Pub Date: Nov 14, 2013
Publisher: Dial
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Claire Kincaid would love to be normal. But as a descendant of Marie Leveau, the most powerful voodoo queen in history, that’s just not possible. Even worse, Claire’s lack of interest in the craft makes her an outsider in her community, putting her secret romance with the voodoo Guild leader’s son at odds. But when mysterious strangers start requesting black market items from local voodoo shops, including the one her family owns, Claire decides to investigate. With the help of some unlikely allies and her gorgeous boyfriend, Claire must uncover the dark truths her family has kept hidden from her and unravel a dangerous plot that threatens to destroy every member of the Guild, including her family and the boy she loves.


I loved the Prophecy of the Sisters series and really love New Orleans as a setting, so when I saw Michelle Zink had written a paranormal young adult book set in New Orleans and focused on voodoo, I knew that I would probably like it. And I did. I liked it more than I thought I would.

Voodoo seems silly to me, even in a work of fiction, so I was skeptical. The setting and characters are realistic, so I thought it wouldn’t work for me. Well, when the main character is in the world and is skeptical, it makes everything much easier to accept. It was so developed into the story that it made the story feel natural.

Everything about this book was great – setting, characters, plot, and writing. I even liked the romantic relationship. They had been together for a while before the book starts, so there is a history and actual meaning. Their conflict wasn’t central to the plot, but it added to the world and I absolutely loved how Zink showed a realistic relationship progressing. He was a great character too. He wasn’t perfect or cookie cutter, but he was a good guy and he and Claire complemented each other very well.

This book will make you think about generational gap, challenging beliefs and customs that may be in a need for an update, and trust. It handles all of these issues really well and I hope that it can translate into talking about some of these issues in this country and the world now.

If you are looking for an exciting and suspenseful mystery with some magic thrown in, you don’t need to look any further. This is a great book and Michelle Zink proves again that she knows how to write a wonderful young adult book that anyone can enjoy.

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The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Posted by Caitie F on November 7, 2013

Title: The Moon and More16101126
Author: Sarah Dessen
Hardcover: 384 pages
Pub Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?


I am always happy when a new Sarah Dessen book comes out, and when I saw that this was not just a romance, but also about family, I was excited. My favorite Dessen books are about family and friend relationships just as much as the romantic relationships. I was especially excited that it was about someone going into college because I think it is the time when your life changes the most.

This did not let me down at all! Emaline is amazing. I would want to be friends with her and her two best friends. She is really nice, loyal, witty, and extremely smart. She would get along really well with Rory Gilmore, which makes her awesome. She isn’t perfect, she gets annoyed by her insane family and the snooty people she has to deal with, but does it how all of us would. I felt a connection to her and cheered for her in every moment.

The romance in the book was great too. I thought Luke and Theo were both realistic guys and could see why she was interested in them. They both had flaws and infuriated me, but that just meant they weren’t perfect dream guys.

The most interesting storyline was the one with her father and half-brother. Whenever I saw her half brother’s name on the page, I had to smile. He was often the brightest spot of her day and it came through to being some of my favorite parts of the book. Her father was infuriating. I agreed with so little of what he did. People like him make me crazy! How Emaline deals with him and watching their relationship evolve was an unexpected highlight of the book.

I loved the story about Morris also. Everyone knows his type – seems like a slacker, but really does try hard and is a really good guy. I cheered for his success and kept hoping. Emaline’s best friend Daisy also stood out as a great opposite to Emaline and their friendship just worked.

This is one of Sarah Dessen’s best books and I highly recommend it.

Did you read this one? What did you think? Let me know in the comments

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Starry-Eyed: 16 Stories that Steal the Spotlight Edited by Ted Michael and Josh Pultz

Posted by Caitie F on November 5, 2013

Title: Starry-Eyed: 16 Stories that Steal the Spotlight Print
Edited by: Ted Michael and Josh Pultz
Paperback: 400 pages
Pub Date: Oct 8, 2013
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

No light is as unforgiving as the spotlight, but to be in it while being a teenager is just plain brutal. This collection of fictional short stories highlight the struggles, hopes, failures, and triumphs of young aspiring singers, dancers, actors, actresses, and performers. While these characters may feel out of place during their everyday lives, they are able to find a home onstage and in rehearsals. Woven throughout the anthology are personal anecdotes from several of today’s most celebrated performers of stage, screen, and television.

Whether hilarious or romantic or devastating or suspenseful, these diverse coming-of-age stories are perfect for anyone who is reaching for the stars.


I love a good short story collection and when there is a great theme, I am even happier. When I saw that the theme of this one was performing arts and teenagers, I thought it would be cool.

Then I read the first couple stories and they were about theater! In case you don’t know, my husband and i met on a Broadway message board. We have a subscription to a playhouse this year and seeing 16 shows. I was a theater geek in high school.

If any of those things are true, or you just like short stories by awesome writers, this collection is for you. Did I love every single story? No. But most of them were very well-written, fun to read, and took me back to those days of performing.

You don’t have to like musical theater to enjoy these stories, but a musical theater fan will have fun with the references and figuring out what song characters are talking about.

After each story, there is a short anecdote from a famous performer. They were interesting, heartfelt, and real. I think it added so much to the book and gave real inspiration and advice to young people who love to perform.

This is one of the best short story collection I have read and I hope you go out and get it!

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The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer

Posted by Caitie F on November 3, 2013

Title: The Case of the Time-Capsule BanditRandi Rhodes
Author: Octavia Spencer
Hardcover: 224 pages
Pub Date: Oct 15, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Deer Creek is a small town whose only hope for survival is the success of their Founder’s Day Festival. But the festival’s main attraction, a time capsule that many people believe hold the town’s treasure, has gone missing.

Randi Rhodes and her best friend, D.C., are Bruce Lee–inspired ninjas and local detectives determined to solve the case. Even if it means investigating in a haunted cabin and facing mean old Angus McCarthy, prime suspect.

They have three days to find the treasure…the future of their whole town is at stake! Will these kids be able to save the day?


I am always a little leery of celebrities writing fiction. I saw Octavia Spencer at BEA and it didn’t really make me want to read it more. She loved to read, which is always good, but it wasn’t like seeing Chris Colfer which made me rush out to get it..

That said, I still wanted to read it because I love middle grade, a ninja detective sounds cool, and it is a diverse group of characters, which is much needed in middle grade.

Turns out it was a pretty good book! It wasn’t the best written book, but the story was exciting and kept me reading. It is written in a style that middle grade readers will really enjoy. It is funny, fast-paced, and has heart. It was one of those books that was very hard to put down. The mystery was put together very well. The reader could figure it out, but it wasn’t super obvious like some books for young readers can be.

The characters were great – especially Randi. She was complex, funny, and very smart. Any kids that like mysteries or ninjas will be cheering her on. Her friends were equally awesome. They had different backgrounds and situations, but it didn’t matter to Randi and the characters were all fully formed. No one was a token or defined by what made them different.

This is a fun mystery and I will read the next book in the series!

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The Creature Department by Robert Paul Weston

Posted by Caitie F on November 2, 2013

Title: The Creature DepartmentCreature Department
Author: Robert Paul Weston
Hardcover: 352 pages
Pub Date: Nov 5, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: ++++

Summary from publisher:

Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory.

Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there’s a rambling old mansion from which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.

Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.

They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth. Tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly. And huge, hulking, hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.

But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, “employees” to create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.


This book is so much fun to read. The creatures in the Creature Department are among the most creative I have ever read. I only had the ARC, so the illustration were not  final, but what I saw was so cool. The ARC even glowed in the dark! I am so excited to see the final product of this book!

This is a book for all middle grade readers who have an imagination and a sense of adventure. The two main characters are great – both of them love science and are smart, but are also funny, excited, and the kind of friends that kids wished they had.

There are twists and turns throughout the book, nothing is really as it seems so it is very difficult to put down. I was surprised many many times!

It is also full of awesome inventions that every reader will wish was real. Readers will also be able to think up their own inventions they could make with the essences of creatures. It will broaden your mind to the possibilities of science and also show how important it is to have an open mind about others, even if they seem really different from you at first.

Go pick up this book soon, you will be so glad you did!

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