Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Important Tidbits of Info for All You Book Lovers!

Today is the last day of August! Can you believe it?!? This summer went WAY too fast!!!

To help alleviate those blues you may be feeling, here is some awesome info:

Random House has begun a new YA program called First in Line!


Once you join up at www.firstinlinereaders.com, as a member you will have access through monthly newsletter to behind-the-book material, author content, deletec scenes and giveaways for advance reading copies!!! Don't miss out, bibliophiles!


On a separate note, are any of you fans of Sophia Kinsella and/or Sarah Dessen?!?

They will be having a Google Hangout on Thursday, September 3rd - chatting about writing, their books and more!!!


You can RSVP now and submit your questions via this link: https://plus.google.com/events/cqnuus9ln071ti0i1c90bj2i1f4

Have fun!!! Fight those End of Summer blues!

Head back here on Wednesday for another review, as always! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey is a YA contemporary novel by Sophia Kinsella, author of the bestselling Shopaholic series.

After an incident with classmates, Audrey has developed an anxiety disorder. She now rarely leaves the house and wears dark sunglasses at all times to avoid eye contact.

Her family is loving, if crazy, and are working hard to help her get better – as is her kind therapist, Dr. Sarah. It’s a slow, but steady, progress.

When her brother’s gaming teammate, Linus, comes over to the house she initially feels as much anxiety as she feels about anything she is not comfortable with – that is, A LOT.

But soon she finds that Linus is patient with her disorder and is encouraging her to push farther into recovery than ever before. Suddenly, there is momentum.

And perhaps some romantic feelings…

I have never read the Shopaholic series, so I wasn’t sure what kind of writing style I was getting into at all. I have to say, all in all, I am pleasantly surprised by Finding Audrey!

This novel is more about dealing with psychological damage and the inner workings of a family under stress than it is about romance. However, the romance that is involved is sweet and impactful on the plotline.

Though, I am quick to clarify, romance is NOT the cure to Audrey’s anxiety disorder. I have seen many concerned readers online that were rebuffed by the idea that a boy could, essentially, be the antidote to a mental disorder. That is definitely not the case here – it is more about how his addition to her life affects her recovery.

Finding Audrey also has a comic element, though it never minimalized the weightiness of Audrey’s issues. It simply revolved around a pretty hilarious, sort of crazy family. I liked the way they all seemed to love each other, though – there was a sense of helpfulness, despite their eccentricities.

With all of these components mixed in with engrossing drama, I found Finding Audrey to be a VERY quick read. It was very good and very fast.

I recommend it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist is a YA historical horror novel by Rick Yancey.

Orphaned apprentice Will Henry lives and works with Dr. Warthrop – a man whose area of study is monstrumology, i.e. monsters.

Already Will Henry has seen terrors that many men three times his age could never imagine, but when a midnight caller drags in the corpse of a young woman entangled with the carcass of an Anthropophagus, the first of his most horrific cases begins.

A headless monster of extreme height and size, eyes deep in its shoulders and a mouth of razor-sharp teeth in its stomach, Anthropophagi are not supposed to exist in New Jerusalem. Yet, here one is.

Will and the monstrumologist now must race against time to put a stop to these horrors before they kill again. And again. And again…

The Monstrumologist is a gory, suspenseful, creepy novel that demands a strong stomach of its reader.

What’s wonderful about it is that as grisly and graphic as the novel is, as it delves into a monsterific mystery, it is written with an eloquent, elegant narration that delves into character development, subtle human emotion and an out-of-the-ordinary relationship.

This book can be deeply disturbing but also a page-turner with excellent characterizations, severe consequences and a sense of caring as we follow young Will Henry. I grew to have an affection for Will and even the eccentric, brilliant doctor.

I have to say that I am most determined to read the next three books in the series – though I did often feel rather nauseous at the detail of grossness in The Monstrumologist.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil is a middle grade fantasy novel by Soman Chainani.

And oh my gosh it is sooooooooooooo good!!!!!!

In the village of Gavaldon, it has become an accepted truth that once every four years two children are kidnapped – only to appear in mysteriously delivered fairytale books later on. Their faces are clearly seen in the illustrations – some the heroes, some the villains.

Of course, many an adult has tried to resist such a ridiculous idea. Yet it is difficult to deny that it seems these children are being taken to be featured in new fairytales.

Sophie, the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, is ready when the next four-year mark comes. She is prepared to be a princess, marry a prince and continue to wear as much as pink as she can.

Her best friend, Agatha, isn’t too thrilled at the idea though. Not only does she think the idea of being whisked away to a fairytale is ridiculous – she doesn’t want to lose Sophie. With her off putting, antisocial personality, home in the cemetery and pet cat who hates everyone – she certainly knows she wouldn’t be taken along with Sophie – nor could she probably find another friend if Sophie is taken.

But when the time comes, both Sophie and Agatha find themselves at the fabled School for Good and Evil. And when Agatha is dropped in the School for Good and Sophie in the School for Evil, everything they think they know seems reversed.

Sophie is desperate to get to the School for Good, whereas Agatha is just desperate to get them both home. What they will learn, however, is the only way to get anywhere is to live through their own fairytale…

THIS BOOK IS SO AWESOME, I LOVED IT!!!

It’s not as clear from the premise I typed up as I’d like it to be, but The School for Good and Evil extraordinarily original.

With strong world building, Soman Chainani has weaved a story that creates a school to, essentially, teach children to become princes, princesses, witches and villains. Based on your looks and demeanor, it seems, you are plopped into a school and from there you reach your destiny.

Or do you? Can your looks and demeanor truly judge what you should be? Have you no chance to change? To be gray, instead of black or white?

For a “middle grade” novel, The School for Good and Evil presents some very mature questions!

I absolutely adored the twist to the fairytales. From beginning to end, this book is extremely inventive, fun and creative. We get fascinating classes – such as Beautification, Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication for the princesses and Uglification, Henchmen Training and Curses & Death Traps for the villains – to follow and a glorious myriad of unexpected twists!

On top of all of this, we also get characters that are funny and ridiculous, but also heartfelt. The School for Good and Evil, many times, made my heart hurt. It also made me smile with quick turns of wit and flat-out excellent writing.

It’s hard to express how much this book excited me! One other indicator: I immediately ordered book two on Amazon.com, as well as pre-ordering the third and final.

Yay!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything is a YA contemporary debut novel by Nicola Yoon.

Madeline is allergic to the world. She never leaves her sanitized house or sees anyone besides her mom and longtime nurse Carla. She reads a lot, her books arriving in vacuum sealed packaging, and does her schooling online.

Used to this life, Madeline has accepted it and enjoys it. She looks forward to her movie nights with her mom and doesn’t think about how she hasn’t met anyone new in seventeen years.

Then one day a moving truck arrives next door. A boy about her age, named Olly and dressed all in black, notices her looking from her window. Their eyes meet and now she can think of hardly anything else.

When they start emailing and IMing, Maddie becomes sure of one thing – things are changing.

And it’s certainly going to be a disaster…

Everything, Everything is a beautifully constructed story.

When we first meet Maddie, she is fully uncomplaining of her life – loving her books, her mom and Carla. She knows she can’t have more and she’s okay with that. Yet once a burgeoning crush begins, she cannot deny the sudden desire for more.

With a great level of pacing, Maddie slowly becomes more and more involved with Olly until she realizes that never meeting anyone, touching anyone or going anywhere is what she’s had to do to survive – but perhaps survival is not the only thing that matters.

Maybe living is what matters.

And for the first time she is questioning if what she is doing is truly living.

Thus begins a rather taut story of first love and coming-of-age, as the reader both want Madeline to have more but also fears for what that will do to her.

This is a swift, absorbing read that will tug at the heartstrings and also brings about a feeling of inspiration. We should never take for granted what we have – and remember that it may be preferable to live than to just survive.

Compelling. Elegant. Memorable.

*Keep an eye open for your chance to read Everything, Everything when it is released in September 2015!