Oct 222014

Mini Reviews

I haven’t had a lot of time for reviews lately, but I did manage to squeeze in a few reads.  Nothing was absolutely terrible, but I did find a new favorite or two.  If you’ve read any of these books, let me know what you thought about them in the comments!


2 A Song for Ella GreyA Song for Ella Grey by David Almond
Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism
Publication Date: October 2nd 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and  Hodder Children’s Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: “I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both…knew how they lived and how they died.”

Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.


Christal’s Review – 2 Skulls – D

A Song for Ella Grey has an interesting premise — reinterpreting the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice — but the execution just didn’t work for me.  Told in free-flowing prose by Ella Grey’s best friend, there was very little room for character development.  Even though we were in Clarie’s head, it never felt like we got to know her.  There were a lot of redundancies and overflowing descriptions that could have been eliminated to make the story tighter.  I feel like David Almond intended for this story to be meaningful, but everything about it just came off as shallow.  I can’t recommend this book, but I can recommend another adaptation series that I feel is far superior, All Our Pretty Songs and Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder Children’s Books for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


7 The FallThe Fall by Bethany Griffin
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

Christal’s Review – 3 Skulls – C

Another reimagining, The Fall worked a little bit better for me.  Bethany Griffin has previously adapted Edgar Allen Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, but this time she tackled a story I wasn’t familiar with — The Fall of the House of UsherThe Fall told the story of Madeline Usher and her family and how they were all ruled by the curse of Usher House.  This book could be very spooky at times, but the POV sometimes felt off.  Madeline is the narrator, but each chapter was her at a different age and they were not sequential.  Things would be getting good in the current timeline and then the chapter would end abruptly.  The next chapter wouldn’t continue the current timeline necessarily; we might end up transitioning to an event that Madeline experience at age 9.  It could get very frustrating.  The ending was what really bothered me though.  The reader puts all this time and effort into Madeline’s story, but we are left with a rather open ending.  I understand Ms. Griffin is paying homage to Poe and his original story, but I personally don’t feel the payoff was worth the read.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!


8 Rebel BelleRebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Book #1 in Rebel Belle
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Publication Date: April 8th 2014
Book Borrowed from Local Library

Synopsis from Goodreads: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – B+

I really enjoyed Rebel Belle!  I actually read it all in one sitting as it is rather short, completely engrossing, and an easy read.  Harper Price starts off as a character you love to hate, but you soon find out just how damaged she is and the pain she’s hiding behind her perfect veneer.  Neither of the guys hit it out of the ball park for me — David turned me off a bit with his “be mean to Harper to hide you like her” act and Ryan was a little too “charmingly” clueless — but, I am very interested to see how the three of them will work together in the next book.  This book definitely felt like a setup for the series, but it was still very enjoyable.  I do think the next volume will be better now that the mythology is established and we’ll hopefully get more character development for the boys, the big bad, and the super secret council.  Rebel Belle is like a cold glass of sweet tea on a hot day and I highly recommend it to those looking for a cute read.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 


9 Falling Into PlaceFalling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: September 9th 2014
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Christal’s Review – 4 Skulls – B+

Falling Into Place was a very powerful novel and I was surprised when I learned the author wrote this while in high school.  It makes sense though — who better to write about high school students than one of them?  This story focuses on popular mean girl Liz Emerson and her attempt at suicide.  As Liz lays in a coma, the people she loved and the people she wronged remember their experiences with her through an omnipotent narrator’s voice.  I pretty much figured out who the narrator was the first few chapters in and it worked for me; we were able to get different perspectives and secret moments that an outside narrator wouldn’t be able to provide.  Liz was a very hard character to sympathize with because of everything she did to other people, but you slowly learn more about the events that shaped her into someone who tries to take her own life.  There is no excusing what she did, and Falling Into Place never tries to make light of her actions, but you do start to feel bad for her by the end.  The other characters in the story were also well-developed and you connect with each of them and their pain as the story develops.  I enjoyed this one immensely and highly recommend it as well.  Readers should be aware that it does deal with very serious subject-matter like suicide, bullying, and drugs & alcohol, so don’t go in expecting a light read.  It is emotional and moving though and I will definitely be checking out whatever Amy Zhang writes next.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for providing an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!



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 Posted by on October 22, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 212014
Review: All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield

All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield Genre: YA Realistic Fiction Publication Date: June 27th, 2011 Publisher: Text Publishing   Synopsis from Goodreads: Mim knows what she wants, and where she wants to go — anywhere but home, stuck in the suburbs with her mother who won’t get off the couch, and two brothers in prison. She’s set herself rules to live by, but she’s starting to break them. Now Mim has to retrieve a lost package for her mother. Does this make her a drug runner? Why is a monster dog called Gargoyle hidden in the back shed? And Jordan, [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 21, 2014 at 8:00 am
Oct 202014
Review & Trailer: Night Sky by Suzanne Brockmann & Melanie Brockmann

Night Sky by Suzanne Brockmann & Melanie Brockmann Book #1 in Night Sky Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy Publication Date: October 7th, 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire Synopsis from Goodreads: Skylar Reid is shaken when Sasha, the little girl she babysits, is kidnapped. Scared that the weird dreams she’s been having about Sasha are real—and even more afraid that Sasha is already dead. When a mysterious girl with extreme butt-kicking abilities roars into town on a motorcycle and, well, stalks Skylar things get even weirder. Supergirl Dana tells Sky that she also has abilities – that a hormone in [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 20, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 172014
Review: Pulled Within by Marni Mann

Pulled Within by Marni Mann Book #2 in Bar Harbor Genre: New Adult Romance Publication Date: September 12, 2014 ARC Provided by Author Synopsis from Goodreads: Storms can’t last forever…can they? For five long years, Rae Ryan has lived in a storm over which she has no control. Little by little, everything has been taken away from her—her job, her relationship, her best friend and her home. Plagued by nightmares and a terrible family secret, she carries her scars as much on the inside as she does on the outside. Hart Booker, another disappointment from her past, returns to Bar Harbor and [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 17, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 162014
World of Weir Blog Tour, by Cinda Williams Chima + Giveaway

THE SORCERER HEIR: The can’t-miss finale to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series. The delicate peace between Wizards and the underguilds (Warriors, Seers, Enchanters, and Sorcerers) still holds by the thinnest of threads, but powerful forces inside and outside the guilds threaten to sever it completely. Old friends and foes return as new threats arise in this stunning and revelatory conclusion to the beloved and bestselling Heir Chronicles series. The Sorcerer Heir is a self-contained story, accessible to readers just discovering the Heir series, but loyal fans will be rewarded by visits from characters they love (and love to [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 16, 2014 at 8:00 am
Oct 152014
Review: Meatworks by Jordan Castillo Price

Meatworks by Jordan Castillo Price Genre: M/M Science Fiction Publication Date: July 3rd, 2014 Publisher: JCP Books, LLC   Synopsis from Goodreads: Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 15, 2014 at 8:00 am
Oct 132014
Review: Branded by Laura Wright

Branded by Laura Wright Book #1 in The Cavanaugh Brothers Genre: Contemporary Romance Publication Date: June 3rd 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Signet Synopsis from Goodreads: In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers… When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 13, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 102014
Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham Book #1 in new Veronica Mars mystery series Genre: Contemporary Mystery/Screen to Page Publication Date: March 25th, 2014 Publisher: Vintage   Synopsis from Goodreads: From Rob Thomas, the creator of groundbreaking television series and movie Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling new mystery series. Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 10, 2014 at 8:25 am
Oct 092014
New Release Review: On Her Father's Grave by Kendra Elliot

On Her Father’s Grave by Kendra Elliot Book #1 in Rogue River Genre: Romantic Suspense Publication Date: October 7th 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Montlake Romance Synopsis from Goodreads: In a small town like Solitude, Oregon, keeping a secret can be murder. Stevie Taylor had left her sleepy Oregon hometown for a more exciting life. But after her police chief father passes away, the LAPD cop returns to Solitude and signs on as a patrol officer, hoping to heal from her loss…and from the horrific things she’s seen in the city. In Solitude, everyone knows everyone else’s business—and, to Stevie’s [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 9, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 082014
Spotlight on October's New Releases

Welcome to our monthly feature where we take a look at the new books releasing this month and offer up our top picks and opinions. We have chosen 36 of our most anticipated new releases. The release dates are on a best known basis and are not guaranteed. Books may get delayed or sometimes even released earlier so please check with your favorite store to ensure availability. Now, on to the books! A Song for Ella Grey by David Alwood – Expected publication: October 2nd 2014 by Hodder Children’s Books A Highland Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear (#15 in Heart of the [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 8, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 072014
Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Genre: Women’s Fiction Publication Date: December 31, 2012 Synopsis from Goodreads: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 7, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 062014
Early Review: Reaper's Stand by Joanna Wylde

Reaper’s Stand by Joanna Wylde Book #4 in Reapers MC Genre: Contemporary Romance Publication Date: October 7th 2014 ARC Provided by Netgalley and Berkley Trade Synopsis from Goodreads: As Reapers Motorcycle Club president, Reese “Picnic” Hayes has given his entire life to the club. After losing his wife, he knew he’d never love another woman. And with two daughters to raise and a club to manage, that was just fine with him. These days, Reese keeps his relationships free and easy—he definitely doesn’t want to waste his time on a glorified cleaning lady like London Armstrong. Too bad he’s completely obsessed [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 6, 2014 at 7:00 am
Oct 032014
Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder by R.J. Palacio Genre: YA/Middle Grade Realistic Fiction Publication Date: February 14, 2012 Publisher: Knopf   Synopsis from Goodreads: I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 3, 2014 at 8:39 am
Oct 022014
From Page to Screen: Outlander episode 8

************ ************   I’ve been dreading the mid-season break episode.  Especially after I heard that it wasn’t going to return until April 4th!  Just in case you didn’t figure it out, that is six whole dang months.  Nevertheless, no matter how much I dreaded it, the mid-season finale came anyway.  Thank goodness it was a good one! Generally I hate to repeat myself, but I want to say again that I think Tobias Menzies is one helluva actor.  In this episode we got more of Frank Randall then we have since the beginning.  This time we didn’t just get loving, [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on October 2, 2014 at 8:06 am
Sep 302014
New Release Review: What If by Rebecca Donovan

What If by Rebecca Donovan Genres: New Adult Contemporary Romance Publication Date: September 16th 2014 ARC Provided by Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley Synopsis from Goodreads: What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time? Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago. Except this girl isn’t Nicole. She looks exactly like Cal’s shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on September 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm
Sep 292014
Review: Carrier by Anne Tibbets

Carrier by Anne Tibbets Book #1 in The Line Genre: New Adult Dystopian Publication Date: June 16th 2014 Synopsis from Goodreads: Twenty-two -year-old Naya has spent nearly half her life as a sex slave in a government institution called The Line. When she’s kicked out after getting pregnant with twins, she’s got no way to earn a living and a horrifying choice to make: find someone to replace her, or have her babies taken in her stead.A doctor with a history of aiding ex-Line girls, Ric Bennett, wants to help. He runs a team of rebels that can delete Naya’s records [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on September 29, 2014 at 7:00 am
Sep 272014
Early Review: Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer Genre: YA Paranormal Publication Date: September 30, 2014 Publisher: Kensington Teen (ARC provided by Netgalley)   Synopsis from Goodreads: One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time. Michael Merrick is used to pressure. He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it out for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way. His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She’s got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on September 27, 2014 at 8:20 am
Sep 262014
Group Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

New Release Group Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper Release date: September 23, 2014 Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction Book provided by NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Synopsis from Goodreads: A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder–and the one boy who can help change her future. Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on September 26, 2014 at 7:00 am
Sep 252014
Page to Screen: Outlander Episode 7

September 20, 2014 9PM Wedding of one James Fraser to one Claire Beauchamp The world of Outlander has been bracing for this moment, this exact moment, since Ron Moore and Diana Gabaldon announced that Outlander was optioned for the screen.  I’m pretty sure I remember our first words were, ‘OMG, The WEDDING!’.  I know that when I lend out one of my copies of Outlander one of the first thing I ever say to people is ‘you have to make it to the wedding’.  It’s epic.  From the beginning through the wedding night…. epic. So, needless to say, I was [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on September 25, 2014 at 8:21 am
Sep 242014
From Page to Screen: The Maze Runner

It’s true that, in the end of this series, I was very unhappy.  My review of Maze Runner on Goodreads has gotten the most attention, more than any of my other reviews.  I think it’s because there are so many others who felt as let down as I did.  I can’t post it here for you because it was nothing but a giant angry rant and at least half of it is spoiler.  Suffice to say when I heard that this movie was being made I was as cynical as you can possibly get. I tried to stay obstinate about [ Read More of this Review ]

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 Posted by on September 24, 2014 at 8:00 am