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Fall Mini Reviews: Adult Books Edition

Posted by Caitie F on December 22, 2015

Title: In the Woods woods
Author: Tana French
Pub Date: May 17, 2007
Hardcover: 429 pages
Publisher: Viking
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

Review:

I am always looking for great mysteries and this book really works! It has been on my shelf forever and I am so glad I finally read it. What makes a great mystery for me is the characters and these characters were fantastic. From the leads to the suspects to the side characters, every single on was defined and I had to know what happened next. Absolutely brilliant.

Title: A Discovery of WitchesdiscoverAuthor: Deborah Harkness
Pub Date: February 8, 2011
Paperback: 579 pages
Publisher: Viking
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Review:

I was not expecting to like this as much as I did. Vampires don’t interest me very much, and neither does paranormal. But I still picked this one up finally because so many people I tend to agree with said it was fantastic and it was. The writing in this is just stunning and that is what makes it stand out so much.

Title: Modern Romancemodern
Author: Aziz Ansari
Pub Date: June 16, 2015
Hardcover: 277 pages
Publisher: Penguin Press
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

Review:

This book was so fascinating – and I think if you are dating is even more so. I still loved it and loved what it said about my generation as whole – and it isn’t all bad things! Reading this really gives some insight into the world now…and it is also really funny. I would love to see more like this from Aziz.

Title: DauntlessDauntless
Author: Jack Campbell
Pub Date: July 2006
Mass Market: 304 pages
Publisher: Ace
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century–and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who’s emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized, beyond belief…

Captain John “Black Jack” Geary’s legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic “last stand” in the early days of the war, he was presumed dead. But a century later, Geary miraculously returns from survival hibernation and reluctantly takes command of the Alliance fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics.

Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic “Black Jack” legend…

Review:

This was such a fun book – it was fast, entertaining, and made me feel like I was watching a great episode of Star Trek. Is it the best book ever? No. But it is a fun way to spend a couple hours.

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Mini Reviews Fall 2015 YA Contemporary

Posted by Caitie F on December 18, 2015

Title: We Can Work It Outwe can work
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Pub Date: Jan 27, 2015
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Point
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

When Penny Lane started The Lonely Hearts Club, the goal was simple: to show that girls didn’t need to define themselves by how guys looked at them, and didn’t have to value boyfriends over everything else. But what happens when the girl who never thought she’d date a good guy suddenly finds herself dating a great one? She doesn’tneed a boyfriend . . . but she wants it to work out with this particular boyfriend. And he wants it to work out with her.

Only, things keep getting in the way. Feelings keep getting hurt. Words keep getting misunderstood.

Penny Lane worked hard to declare her independence. Now she needs to figure out what to do with it — and how to balance what she wants with what everyone else wants.

Review:

Elizabeth Eulberg is on my “must buy” list. Her books are just so much fun and have such smart and interesting women in them! This is no different. I was so happy to be back in the world of Penny Lane and all her friends. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it until I opened this book.

Another brilliant book from one of my favorite authors!

Title: Everything, Everythingeverything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Pub Date: Sept 1, 2015
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster

Review:

This book was SO well-written. I was absolutely captivated by every page. This was one of those books that I read on my bus commute, even if it made me feel a little queasy (TMI). It was totally worth it. If you haven’t read it yet, just know that you won’t be able to put it down once you start.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t. But if you love books with beautiful writing, characters who jump off the page, and that give you a look into something completely different from what you know, pick this up. I can’t wait to read what Yoon does next. And isn’t that cover stunning?

Title: The Sky is EverywhereSky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Pub Date: Mar 9, 2010
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding

Review:

How did it take me so long to read this book? It was everything I love – great family and friends, a romance that feels SO real, and a character you is imperfectly amazing. Lennie is everything I look for in a YA character. I loved that dynamic with Toby.

This book is absolute perfection. if you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait another day.

Title: Dumplin’Dumplin
Author: Julie Murphy
Pub Date: September 15, 2015
Hardcover: 375 pages
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Review:

A YA BOOK ABOUT FRIENDSHIP! What more can you ask for? There is a romance, but the real focus is on the friendships. And they are SO great and SO real including the clashing and jealousy sometimes felt.

It is also inspirational without being “this is an inspirational book”. It is funny. It is the kind of book that makes you react, which is what I think we all want in books. Another one you absolutely must read and I hope teenagers are getting their hands on it.

 

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Summer Reading Reviews: Fantasy

Posted by Caitie F on September 23, 2015

Well, it is later than I had hoped, but here is the third post in my reviews of ALL the books I read this summer.

Title: Burning Skyburning
Author: Sherry Thomas
Pub Date: Sep 2013
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Rating: +++++

Summary (from goodreads):

Iolanthe is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—the one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant teenager with no training. Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

Review:

This book has been on my radar for a while, and when I finally read it, it was so much better than I thought it would be! Both main characters are fantastic – smart, flawed, brave, and totally kick ass. The world building is incredible. The magic is super creative and cool. Everything about this book was awesome. I really need to read the next book in the series – if you like high fantasy, read this book.

Title: The Magician Kingmagician
Author: Lev Grossman
Pub Date: Aug 2011
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Viking
Rating: ++++

Summary (from goodreads):

Quentin should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring. Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they’d hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia’s illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

Review:

It took me so long to read this book because I really didn’t like how the first book ended. Lev Grossman likes to stomp on your heart repeatedly. But this was a very good second book. It still stomps on your heart. A lot. You will still want to smack some sense into the characters. In a good way though. It was great to be back in this world and Grossman is an extremely talented writer.

Title: The Wrath and the Dawnwrath
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Pub Date: May 2015
Hardcover: 388 pages
Publisher: G P Putnam for Young Readers
Rating: ++++

Summary (from goodreads):

Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Review:

I was worried when I read the description of this book. It sounded like it could be a little Stockholm sydrome-y. Or insta-love. But it isn’t either. Instead, it is a beautifully woven tale with an amazing heroine. I loved the other women in this book – the relationships are what makes it go from good to great.

Title: The Witch Hunter witch
Author: Virginia Boecker
Pub Date: Jun 2015
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Rating: +++++

Summary:

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake. Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate

Review:

Woah. This book is intense and super suspenseful. Be prepared to read this book all in one siting if you can, I know I did. This is exactly how I like my YA fantasy books – really hard choices, learning everything you know is wrong, and figuring out how to try to make up for your past. I want the next book so badly.

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Summer Reading Reviews: Young Adult Fiction

Posted by Caitie F on September 2, 2015

I am doing a series where I review ALL the books I read this summer that weren’t graphic novels, since I already did those. It will be broken up into four posts, that will hopefully all be posted in the next two weeks. Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Fantasy.  The reviews and descriptions will be short.

Title: More Happy Than Notmore happy
Author: Adam Silvera
Hardcover: 304 pages
Pub Date: June 2015
Publisher: Soho Teen
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Review:

Wow. This book is incredible. I read it WAY back in June, right after it came out and I still think back to this book in September. Everything about this book is great: the characters, the plot, the setting, what it says about the world. Everything. If you somehow missed it when it came out, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Title: Where I Belongwhere I
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Paperback: 289 pages
Pub Date: Feb 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

Meet Corrinne. She’s living every girl’s dream in New York City—shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was. . . . When Corrinne’s father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she’s stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she’s supposed to be living. She doesn’t care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R.—before the recession—was as perfect as it seemed.

Review:

This book was a fast summer read. The main character was so annoying at the beginning, but she was supposed to be. I didn’t love the romance in it, but I liked having a main character that felt more realistic. She didn’t change all at once. There were some very big cliches of both city and country life, but all in all it was a fast and fun book.

Title: Bass Ackwards and Belly Upbass
Author: Elizabeth Craft
Hardcover: 386 pages
Pub Date: 2007
Publisher: Poppy
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Harper, Sophie, and Kate are about to commit the ultimate suburban sin–bailing on college to each pursue their dreams. Middlebury-bound Becca is convinced her friends have gone insane.

Harper is going to be the next Jane Austen. Or Sylvia Plath. Or Plum Sykes. Figuring out which should be easy. It’s living with the lie she told her three best friends that’s going to be hard. Kate doesn’t know exactly what she wants. But whatever it is, she won’t find it at Harvard. Maybe the answer is in Paris, or Athens or anywhere Kate can be someone besides the girl with perfect grades, perfect hair, and the perfect boyfriend. Sophie is a star. She’s already got the looks, the talent, and a list of demands for her dressing room. Now that she’s wrangled a furnished guesthouse in Beverly Hills, it’s only a matter of time before she’s discovered. Becca is dysfunctional. At least, her family is. Which is why she can’t wait to flee the drama and get to college. But Becca’s friends know she needs more than a spot on the Middlebury ski team and a cozy dorm room. They know she needs to fall in love.

Review:

I love books that center around groups of friends like this or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. None of the characters were perfect, but they were all intriguing andI really loved following their stories, especially since they were all after high school, trying to figure out what they are doing next. Looking forward to reading the second book!

Title: Don’t Even Think About Itdon't even
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Hardcover: 336 pages
Pub Date: Mar 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

Review:

This was such a fun book to read. I don’t think most authors could pull of a book from different perspectives like this, but Sarah Mlynowski did. It was so creatively written and is a smart, fun YA book. It was the perfect book for summer, but would also work in the back to school season if you are reminiscing about those days. You will be instantly glad you never suddenly could read everyone’s mind.

Title: The Westing Gamewesting
Author: Ellen Raskin
Paperback: 182 pages
Pub Date: 1978
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger – and a possible murderer – to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

Review:

How did I never read this mystery before? It was SO good. I loved everything about it. If you, like me, missed this classic, go get it and read it now.

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Summer Reading Reviews: Adult Fiction

Posted by Caitie F on September 1, 2015

I am doing a series where I review ALL the books I read this summer that weren’t graphic novels, since I already did those. It will be broken up into four posts, that will hopefully all be posted in the next two weeks. Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Fantasy.  The reviews and descriptions will be short.

I am starting with Adult Fiction, which actually has the most books.

Title: The FirebirdFirebird
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Paperback: 539 pages
Pub Date: Jun 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird—the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

Review:

I LOVED the first book I read by Susanna Kearsley, THE WINTER SEA, and this book was just as good. This book goes with the first and is kind of a sequel, though it could stand alone. Why would you want it to? These are two of my favorite books. I have never been much of a Russian history fan, but this made the history fascinating. The blending of historical and contemporary with the magical realism element woks perfectly. Both have intrigue and great romance.

Title: In the Unlikely Eventunlikely
Author: Judy Blume
Hardcover: 397 pages
Pub Date: June 2015
Publisher: Knopf
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

Review:

When I saw the Judy Blume had a book for adults, I knew I had to read it. It was really good! Not surprisingly, the voice that I thought was the best was the teenager, yet the voices were all distinctive. I can’t believe I had never heard about this story before, but am glad that I got to read this fictionalized version. It was a very fast read, and was often suspenseful (like every time someone got on the plane. Was this the next one???). Overall, a very enjoyable read.

Title: LeadLead
Author: Kylie Scott
Paperback: 320 pages
Pub Date: Nov 2014
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.

Lena’s not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional. But when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

Review:

If you like rock star romances, this is a series you should look at. This is my least favorite of the three, but it was still enjoyable. I didn’t like Jimmy as much as the other guys, but loved seeing everyone come back and Lena was fine. It was an enjoyable and very fast read.

Title: Pride and Prejudice pride
Author: Jane Austen
eBook: 427 pages
Pub Date: 1813
Rating: ++++

Summary:

It’s Pride and Prejudice. You know what it is about.

Review:

I have finally read it. And it was unsurprisingly good. I have watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries a couple times and have read a retelling or two, but now i have finally read the source. Much better if you picture all the characters as the people in LBD, which I did the entire time. I see why it is a classic and look forward to reading my next Austen.

Title: Glazed Murder
Author: Jessica Beck
Paperback: 291 pages
Pub Date:  Mar 2010
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

Meet Suzanne Hart, owner and operator of Donut Hearts coffee shop in April Springs, North Carolina. After her divorce from Max, an out-of-work actor she’s dubbed “The Great Impersonator,” Suzanne decided to pursue her one true passion in life: donuts. So she cashed in her settlement and opened up shop in the heart of her beloved hometown.

But when a dead body is dumped on her doorstep like a sack of flour, Suzanne’s cozy little shop becomes an all-out crime scene. Now, everyone in town is dropping by for glazed donuts and gruesome details. The retired sheriff warns her to be careful—and they’re all suspects. Soon Suzanne—who finds snooping as irresistible as donuts—is poking holes in everyone’s alibis…

Review:

A cute cozy complete with recipes, what more can you ask for? Though you will want to eat donuts while you read it. Solid mystery, fast read. Not the best cozy I have read, but I still recommend.

Title: Go Set a Watchmango set
Author: Harper Lee
Hardcover: 278 pages
Pub Date: July 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: ++

Summary:

The original manuscript Harper Lee submitted. Somehow, it became To Kill a Mockingbird

Review:

I have no idea how an editor saw this and said “this story of Scout in the courtroom, this is what you should write”. That editor is a genius.

This book has one great scene (and it isn’t that one) and that was about it. And of COURSE it has one great scene, it is a first draft! I could rant on this for a while, but am not going to. Glad we could all have some real conversations about Atticus, but this never should have been published.

Posted in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Review | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Graphic Novel Reviews

Posted by Caitie F on August 6, 2015

Well it has been a while, but it is summer and it has been busy and I have SO many books to review.

I have been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, thanks to Panels and specifically the amazing @skrishna‘s videos and recommendations. I have gone done the graphic novel hole and I don’t want to come out!

I am going to review the four things I have read so far this summer, in a much less formal way than usual!

Y: The Last Man

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The first one is something that my husband has been encouraging me to read for a while. He even got my Volume 1 for the holidays. I have now finished al 10 Volumes (but not in order since my library didn’t get the numbering right) and it is SO GOOD.

The concept is that a disease wiped out all males mammels (and other species as well), except for Yorick and his monkey. He wants to get to Australia where his girlfriend Beth is, but there are a ton of people and obstacles in the way.

But this really isn’t all about Yorick, it is about the women around him who are brilliant, funny, and kick SO MUCH ASS in every way possible. There are women who are crazy villains. There are women who are amazing heroes. There are women who are just trying to survive. I really thought it was smart and really made me think the entire time I read it.

Ms Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why

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I LOVE Ms Marvel. I will read every Ms Marvel thing that ever comes out. Kamala is my favorite and I want to see more of her everywhere. Let’s get a Kamala Khan movie, TV show, and merch. And make sure Lockjaw is in it too.

This is so expertly written and draw and you will really want to take your time reading Ms Marvel so you can appreciate everything. I am not going to spoil anything for you, because that is part of what was so great about my reading experience of this volume.

So excited I just got Volume 3 from the library.

Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside

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I went into my first DC comic knowing nothing about Batgirl. I didn’t even know who she was before this. But I really enjoyed this Batgirl. I like that she is young. I like that she is super smart. I love her friends and that this feel modern. The villains are the one downside, but I do like how technology is used.

I will be reading the next volume of this one as well!

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YA Mini Reviews in June

Posted by Caitie F on June 6, 2015

I want to share mini reviews for all the books i have read in the past 2 months. I am breaking it into posts based on age level. The first is YA:

Title: The Assassin’s Bladeassassins
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 430 pages
Pub Date: Jan 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Celaena Sardothien owes her reputation to Arobynn Hamel. He gave her a home at the Assassins’ Guild and taught her the skills she needed to survive.

Arobynn’s enemies stretch far and wide – from Adarlan’s rooftops and its filthy dens, to remote islands and hostile deserts. Celaena is duty-bound to hunt them down. But behind her assignments lies a dark truth that will seal her fate – and cut her heart in two forever…

Review:

These novellas are absolutely wonderful Seeing Celaena before the events in the series is amazing. It made me love her – and all of her friends – even more. If you haven’t read this series yet, you need to.

Title: All the Rageall the rage
Author:  Courtney Summers
Hardcover: 321 pages
Pub Date: Apr 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

Review:

This is one of those books that I want every single teenager and parent to read. It is amazingly written and these character will imprint onto your heart. I read this over a month ago and I think about it at least once a week. One of the best YA books iI have ever read.

Title: Saint Anythingsaint anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Hardcover: 432 pages
Pub Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

Review:

Sarah Dessen’s latest is one of the least “Sarah Dessen-y” books she has written, and I don’t mean that as a negative thing. There is a little too much going on, but the main character is absolutely wonderful and it was so easy to jump into her world. It is perfect for everyone who has ever felt like they were invisible as a teenager, something I could really relate to.

Title: Code Name Veritycode name
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Paperback: 441 pages
Pub Date: Feb 2012
Publisher: Egmont
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine – and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France – an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team

Review:

Wow wow wow. This book! I saw all the hype and thought “oh, another WWII historical fiction. meh”. Yeah, this is unlike any WWII historical fiction and is brilliant. IF you haven’t read this yet, read it. I shouldn’t have waited so long.

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More Quick Reviews!

Posted by Caitie F on April 11, 2015

TItle: Behind the Beautiful Foreversbehind
Author: Katherine Boo
Paperback: 288 pages
Pub Date: Feb 2012
Publisher: Random House
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter — Annawadi’s “most-everything girl” — will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

Review:

This is not an easy book to read, but it is a great one. It is just narrative nonfiction at its finest. I recommend it to everyone – just go out and read it.

TItle: Love Story love
Author: Jennifer Echols
Paperback: 243
Pub Date: July 2011
Publisher: MTV Books
Rating: +++

Summary from goodreads:

or Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions–it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter. . . . except this story could come true.

Review:

This book was light and fun – at the time, exactly what I was looking for, but it was just okay. I didn’t really get teh appeal of Hunter. He was just meh as a romantic lead. I did love that it took place at college and want to find more books that do. If you want a quick read that will make you smile often, it is worth checking out.

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Some Memoir Mini Reviews!

Posted by Caitie F on March 20, 2015

I have read several memoirs lately, and wanted to do some quick reviews!

Title: Brown Girl Dreamingbrown girl
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Hardcover: 337 pages
Pub Date: Aug 2014
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Mini Review:

See all those stickers on the image of the cover? This book won SO many awards. It is beautifully written and so moving. It is written in verse and every word has been chosen with intent. It succeeds in every single way. This is a absolute must read for everyone.

Title: Brunette Ambition brunette
Author: Lea Michele
Hardcover: 208 pages
Pub Date: May 2014
Publisher: Harmony Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads

The star of the hit show Glee shares her experiences and insider tips on beauty, fashion, inner strength, and more in an illustrated book that’s part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide.

Lea Michele is one of the hardest working performers in show business. Whether she’s starring as Rachel Berry on Glee, rocking a glamorous look on the red carpet, recording her solo album, or acting as the spokesperson for L’Oreal, Lea is the ultimate multi-tasker. She knows better than anyone that it is difficult to be your best self and keep things in perspective when your to-do list is overflowing and you are faced with challenges, so she’s developed a foolproof system for remaining healthy and centered. In Brunette Ambition, she reveals the lessons and advice that have worked for her–from beauty and fashion secrets to fitness tips, and career insights. Supplemented with never-before-seen photos and revealing anecdotes, it’s the book Lea wishes she’d had in her teens and early twenties: A practical and inspirational guide to harnessing tenacity and passion and living the fullest life, no matter what obstacles life puts in your way.

Mini Review:

As a huge fan of Glee, I knew I had to read this book (I am so going to cry during the series finale tonight!). It is part memoir, part advice book, part recipe book, and part inspirational. It balances all of those parts really really well.

When I finished reading it, I was motivated to take care of myself, have more confidence, and try some new things. I have kept it up for a couple weeks now. It is sticking and I am feeling great. It was the perfect book for when i read it.

Title: I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend
Author: Martin ShortMust Say
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: Nov 2014
Publisher: Harper
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads

Martin Short is one of few celebrities in show business who has continually worked hard, found success, and kept his personal life intact. His memoir is a reflection on his diverse collection of experiences, both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Short takes us through his career, from his early years with Second City Toronto and Saturday Night Live to his movie stardom. He recalls how he developed some of his enduring characters—manic man-child Ed Grimley, slimy lawyer Nathan Thurm, and the large and bizarrely insensitive Jiminy Glick. Here, too, are his television appearances, from How I Met Your Mother to his Emmy-nominated role in Damages, as well as his stage productions, including his Tony Award-winning performance in Little Me. Throughout, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Nora Ephron, Frank Sinatra, and others friends and colleagues share the spotlight.

This deeply private man brings us into the circle of his family life, from raising his children to the legendary parties he and his wife have hosted. He recounts the pain of losing a brother and both parents by the time he was 20, and of the devastating death of Nancy, his wife of thirty years, in 2010. Despite the hardships, Short’s life has been full of laughter, and he remains perennially upbeat. In this wise and entertaining memoir, he shares his irrepressible joy.

Mini Review:

This is one of the better celebrity memoirs I have read. It is funny. It is heart breaking. It doesn’t gossip about other celebrities. Overall, it is just a read that will make you feel like you know Martin Short more. And you get to find out that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are just as wonderful and you could hope. If you like Martin Short at all, you should read this book. I wish i had listened to the audiobook, since I have heard it is even better since Martin reads it.

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Some YA Mini Reviews

Posted by Caitie F on March 19, 2015

I have so little time, but wanted to get some reviews in!

Title: Heir of Fireheir
Author: Sarah J Maas
Hardcover: 562 pages
Pub Date: Sept 2, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

Mini Review

This series is the absolute best. You should read it if you haven’t. This book is absolutely incredible – it is a little different from the first two, but in the best possible way.I am eagerly waiting for QUEEN OF SHADOWS just like everyone else.

Title: FireFire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Hardcover: 461 pages
Pub Date: Oct 2009
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there’s more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren’t afraid of becoming the monster her father was. (less)

Mini Review:

I read Graceling way back in 2011 and have wanted to read Fire every since then. But I didn’t. I kept putting it off because it was so beautiful and I was crushed by the idea of having such a limited amount of Kristin Cashore books left. I got over it and finally read Fire and I am so glad I did!

Fire is such a complex character. The world building is excellent. All the other characters are just as complex and flawed. The writing is gorgeous. Everything about this book is wonderful. It was a little long, but I really didn’t mind since it meant I got to stay in the world for a little longer.

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