Genre: Young Adult

Retro Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Posted May 31, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 8 Comments

Retro Review: Twilight by Stephenie MeyerReviewer: Tracy
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Series: Twilight #1
Also in this series: Eclipse, Eclipse, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, Breaking Dawn, Twilight, Twilight

Publication Date: July 18th 2007
Genres: Young Adult, Horror & Ghost Stories, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 544
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five-stars

Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger.Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: Ah, the Twilight craze. This book is responsible for a lot of young adults becoming steady readers – and a lot of adult women losing their mind over fake characters. Good times. 

This review was originally published April 20, 2008

So yesterday I took my oldest daughter to a birthday party and dropped her off. It was either sit and watch her go down huge inflatable slides (um, no thanks) or mosey around the nearest store since I had forgotten to bring a book (I know, what was I thinking?). So I drove to Target and immediately went to the book section. The very first book I see is Twilight. My friend Christine raves about this book but I had never read YA before so I hadn’t really given much thought to reading this one. I grabbed it off of the shelf but still looked around. Nothing else seemed to grab me so I bought Twilight, sat down in the food court and started reading.

ok – how stupid am I? Don’t answer that! When I put off reading books that people tell me that are great and then I finally read them that’s the first question I have to ask myself. I should know by now that my “book” friends just don’t steer me in the wrong direction! Example: books I’ve put off reading then kicked my self afterward: Dark Lover by JR Ward and the rest of the BDB series, the Dark-Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy – you see the pattern.

That being said – I LOVED Twilight. I thought that it was a charming, sweet love story that had adventure & humor. Can you ask for more? Bella’s thoughts (and of course her dry humor and sarcasm) as she moves to a new town and starts a new school were so familiar to me since my family moved a lot up until I was about 20. Because of that I was immediatly drawn into the story and then just couldn’t put the book down.

I don’t think I’ll be putting off reading these highly recommended books any longer. And I certainly won’t not read a book just because it’s labeled YA.

Rating: A+/ 5

five-stars

Guest Review: Dragon Adventure by Mell Eight

Posted May 30, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dragon Adventure by Mell EightReviewer: Tracy
Dragon Adventure by Mell Eight
Series: Supernatural Consultant #5.1
Also in this series: Dragon Consultant, Dragon Deception, Dragon Dilemma, Dragon Detective, Dragon Soldier
Published by Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: May 17th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
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three-stars

Aqua and Rios are bored, which is always a recipe for disaster. They decide that taking a trip to visit Nickel would be a ton of fun, so they hop on a boat and go sailing down the river. Niagara Falls separates the two kits from their destination, not that they're aware of that fact, and their fun adventure quickly turns into a desperate fight for survival.

Aqua and Rios are water dragons, approximately 15 years old, and are the foster sons of William Armistead.  They are at the North American Territory Leader’s Conference in Canada and since their “Uncle” Willy controls all of Canada he brought them with him so that they could understand what’s going on – he’d been teaching them about his duties. Of course they’re bored out of their minds and as their Uncle Dane didn’t bring his son Nickel with him they have no one to play with.

When they’re dismissed they decide that they’re just going to go visit Nickel. They get out a map and figure it won’t take long at all to get to Nickel as it’s only a few inches of map space – by river…in a rowboat. Obviously it takes longer than expected even with their supernatural powers and they end up getting to shore so they can sleep that night.  Rios is awoken by a sound and finds a Nix, a water shape-shifter, who’s trying to save the waterways from drug dealers. Rios gets attached to the Nix – who he names Nixie – very quickly and decides to help.  The pair get into some trouble but Uncle Willy is there to save the day in more ways than one.

This was a very short but very cute read.  It’s set in the world of the other Supernatural Consultant books, and Dane is in it, but none of Dane’s dragon kits are in it.  Aqua and Rios were adorably rambunctious and I enjoyed reading about their antics.  The story is told with the thought that Rios and Nix will eventually mate but that’s just kind of implied.  They’re too young at the moment to go that far. 🙂  The only reason this story got a lower rating was because of length.   I just couldn’t get too into it all as it was super short.

If you’ve read and enjoyed all of the Supernatural Consultant books so far then I think you’ll enjoy this one as well.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars

Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Posted April 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer NivenReviewer: Rowena
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 4th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 391
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four-stars

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

This was the first book that I ever listened to from beginning to end and while I still prefer to read my own books, this was a great story. It was interesting, the characters were compelling and Niven’s writing style kept me invested in what was going on. I’ve never heard of prosopragnosia before listening to this book but I’m glad that I’ve been schooled on it.

Jack’s character and his experiences with prosopragnosia hurt my heart and I was very interested in that part of the book. Libby was a wonderful addition as well. She was so strong and I really enjoyed seeing the both of them come into their own while finding their love for each other.

This was not an easy book to read (or listen to) but I felt it was an important book for younger kids to read. It’s important for kids to understand what other kids could be going through and to empathize with them. To help them when they need it and I felt like if Jack had someone who knew everything and could help him long before Libby came along, maybe things wouldn’t have gotten as bad for Jack as they had.

Still, this was an interesting listen that I’m glad I took a chance on. I’ll definitely be reading more books by Niven as I enjoyed both Jack and Libby’s story. Jack and Libby weren’t perfect and with Jack being as popular as he was and Libby, not popular at all, their romance would be laughable and completely unrealistic but I thought Niven did a very good job of convincing me that their love was real and true. This was a great introduction to Jennifer Niven’s writing and I cannot wait to read more. I definitely recommend this if you’re in the mood for a contemporary YA with meat. It’s good stuff. I promise.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Betrothed by Wanda Wiltshire

Posted April 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Betrothed by Wanda WiltshireReviewer: Tracy
Betrothed (Betrothed #1) by Wanda Wiltshire
Series: Betrothed #1
Published by Pantera Press
Publication Date: July 1st 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 341
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two-stars

Amy Smith has always known she was different. Severe allergies, fragile health and taunts at school have made life an endurance test for the adopted seventeen year old.

When Amy starts having strange dreams, everything changes. Night after night, she becomes trapped in a shroud of black - a void of silence but for a male voice calling for a girl named ‘Marla’.

One night, the darkness clears, Leif is revealed and Amy discovers that she is the girl he has been searching for.Immediately the two are swept up in a passionate yet forbidden love. Leif isn’t like the other boys Amy knows. Breathtakingly gorgeous, he speaks with her telepathically … not to mention, he can fly …

Desperate to find a way to be with her, Leif tells Amy of the terrifying threat to his Fae homeland, the danger to the people, and of an unforgivable betrayal to his King. He urges her to seek her true identity…. But Amy is confused... isn't it all just a dream?

Amy has always felt different than the other kids in her school.  She has severe allergies and can hardly eat anything.   The kids at school have always taunted her except for a small core group of friends – especially her best friends Jack and Hilary who are always there for her.

For the last few months Amy has been dreaming about being lost in a dark place with a voice calling for a girl named Marla.  When she finally meets this man in her dreams she falls in love almost immediately.  He says he is a prince of the Fae and that Amy, whose real name is supposedly Marla, is Fae as well.  He tells her that she is his betrothed and that they will be together in the Fae kingdom as soon as he physically locates her.  Of course there is one glitch…his father, a king, forbade Marla’s parents from having children and she did anyway and then hid her away.  The prince, Leif, thinks that he managed to get the decision overturned.

Marla is understandably confused by everything she hears so searches for her true identity.  It actually points to the fact that Leif could be telling her the truth.  She also believes he’s a figment of her imagination so when he shows up and she finds that he’s actually real she’s blown away.  Now that Marla knows who she is she can’t wait to get to the Fae kingdom and be “normal.” Of course there are many things standing in her way.  Her human adoptive parents, the whole “I really wasn’t supposed to be born” thing and then of course Leif’s father who hates her who will stop at nothing to keep Marla out of Telophy.

Betrothed had a decent blurb and I was interested in the premise when I read it. Unfortunately there ended up being too many things about this book that just didn’t gel well with me.

My main issue was Amy/Marla – throughout the book.  She drove me batty with her indecisions.  With Leif is was insta-love.  Of course in the Fae the men are born and then send part of their soul out to find their soul mate, or in this instance betrothed, and then she’s born.  There is no greater love in their culture.  I don’t normally mind insta-love but the fawning and falling all over Leif was ridiculous.  Maybe it was her age (17) but whatever it was had me rolling my eyes on a regular basis throughout the book. Leif I didn’t mind so much because he definitely more mature than Marla was.

I also had a huge issue with Leif’s father – one of the more important kings in the Fae land.  The author made it so that every woman loved the king and wanted to be with him.  They couldn’t refuse, either.  What a load of rot.  That drove me crazy, especially when the author had the king using his kingly influence against Marla.  It was just downright creepy and disgusting and kind of icing on the cake for this book.

I kept thinking that the end would make it all come together in the end but that didn’t happen either – we were left hanging with Leif and Marla completely apart (because of the bastard king).  So not only do we get a frustrating story, the author ends it with no HEA.  Ugh!

Overall I found the book…frustrating.  The writing wasn’t horrible but I really disliked the story a lot, sorry to say.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars

Guest Review: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Posted April 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie RayReviewer: Tracy
Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray
Published by Entangled Crush
Publication Date: April 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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three-half-stars

For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.

CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.

Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…

Cece meets Emmett the first day of school in her literature class.  They seem to get along and Cece can’t help but notice how hot Emmett is.  Of course she doesn’t think anything will happen between them because of a scar that she has on her cheek.  Despite knowing most of the kids at her private high school there are still times when someone sees her for the first time and is horrified by her face.  Cece tries to take it in stride but sometimes it just hurts.

Cece is the captain of her volleyball team at her private school and she’s not one to mess around with it.  You’re there to work and to win.  The school even recruits a girl from California to come and play on their team.  The new girl, Bryn, is insanely beautiful.  Despite a rough start with Cece and comments about her scar the pair actually become friends. The problem is that Emmett is awestruck with Bryn’s beauty and asks if he can text her.  They exchange numbers.  Bryn is soon asking Cece for help because she’s just not good talking to guys.  Cece texts Emmett for Bryn but ends up telling him her feelings for him.  Of course he thinks that it’s Bryn where does that leave Cece?

This was a cute book.  It’s a play on the Cyrano de Bergerac story but slightly different. It’s also has a very close resemblance to the 1987 movie Roxanne, also a Cyrano story.  Cece talking under Emmett’s balcony acting like she’s Bryn, Cece giving a dozen better insults to her scar after a girl comes up with a
“unoriginal” one – even prefacing the insults as Steve Martin’s character did in the movie.  It was funny, don’t get me wrong, but a little too close to the movie.

Emmett and Cece are truly perfect for each other but Emmett likes her as a friend.  He’s so blinded by Byn’s beauty that he can’t see anything else.  Bryn is a great girl but not all that intelligent.  When she asks Cece to text and email Emmett she has no idea when they’re saying and just doesn’t care as long as she can sleep with Emmett.  Totally shallow but that’s Bryn.  While I found Emmett and Cece intelligent I found them to be almost too mature for their 17 or 18-year-old selves.  I kept having to remind myself that it was YA because it read like a super mature NA novel.

Despite those couple of things that I found a bit annoying I have to say that I really liked the book.  Emmett was a great guy and Cece was a wonderful girl.  They were written so well and I loved their perceptions of the world, literature and music. The supporting characters in the story were well written as well and they made things more young adult in the end.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars