Category Archives: Book/Movie Review

Because sometimes you just want a nice, light read… A review of Beastly by Alex Flinn

Beastly by Alex Flinn (Ebook) A handsome, but arrogant son of an television news anchor is cursed by a witch and turned into a hideous beast. Terrified anyone will find out (thus ruining his career) the news anchor father sets him up in a lavish home with servants to wait on him, but he can never go outside (for fear someone might see him). The only way to break the curse is for the boy to fall in love, and have her love him back (and kiss his hideous face)

 

I really loved this contemporary retelling. I think what drew me forward was the interesting way the author wove in the scenes from the classic Beauty and the Beast tale into the present-day setting. Yes, I knew what would happen, but that didn’t mean the ride was not enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend this book for a light, fun read that will keep you smiling.

Add this one to your TBR!


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What’s you’re sign? I hope it’s not Cancer. A Review of Zodiac by Romina Russell

Zodiac by Romina Russell (Audiobook) This is a space opera with a complicated, interesting world (or WORLDS to be more accurate) People are living inside different constellations, called the Zodiac. There is a planet Virgo, planet Gemini… you get the picture. They all live in peace, until a horrible accident explodes one of planet Cancer’s moons, propelling it into the two other moons. Parts of the moons tumble into the atmosphere, wreaking planet-wide havoc. In the aftermath, we find out it was not an accident, and the person responsible plans on destroying one world at a time, unless a 16-year-old-girl (made leader because everyone else qualified died) can convince all the other planets that the cosmic fairytale Boogey-Man exists.

I found this book wildly entertaining. It is the first in the series, and you do not get complete closure at the end, but you do get a feeling that you finished a book.

This is an awesome high-paced thrill ride that will keep you guessing with a few gasps and surprises along the way. I would give this book 4 stars, subtracting one star because the beginning seemed to drone on before anything interesting happened. I almost considered moving on to something else, and all of the sudden chaos ensued. I’d definitely recommend, just be aware that when you start reading, it will get much more exciting and engaging.

Add this one to your TBR!


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When you are rooting for the bad guy… a review of CITY OF ASHES

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Audiobook) This is book two of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series. This is a really interesting world with a wide cast of characters having to do with a secret group that fights bad paranormals (like werewolves and vampires).

I think I liked this more that the first book because we get to see more of the bad guy, Valentine. While yes, Daddy is a jerk, I have to give the guy credit for standing up for what’s right. Shadow hunters are supposed to protect humans (mundanes) from vampires and werewolves and the like. That’s their job. This guy wants to take it to the next level and wipe them all out.

Part of me – the part that has watched monster movies and read horror novels, is on his side. “Protect the innocent!” The only reason I’m not 100% rooting for him is because the monsters in this book aren’t all monstrous. (It’s kind of like hating everyone in one country because a few of them are bad apples) Okay, yes, Valentine’s methods are not the best, but I do UNDERSTAND why he does what he does. And maybe a little part of me is rooting for him. I actually find him a little more interesting than the male lead, to be honest. I will be continuing this series (maybe next year). I’m brushing off my pom poms for Valentine.

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Dorothy Must Die. No, seriously. She must.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page (Audiobook) This book is about a girl named Amy who gets whisked to Oz by a tornado, only to find out Dorothy has taken up residence as an evil dictator, and Glinda, the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodsman are her evil cronies. Amy teams up with the Wicked Witches in their plot to kill Dorothy and bring Oz back from the brink of destruction.

This is a very neat tale showing what can happen to you when you get everything you want. I love how the author built on the classic tale, and shows us a new, dystopian future for Oz.

I must say, I was slightly disappointed with then ending. This is a several book series, and nothing gets closure in book one.

At All.

I’m not a fan of that trick. I’d rather have the main conflict completed, and something new pops up to entice the reader to continue. However, I am intrigued by the possibility of where the author might be going with this. I hope I’m right, because if I am, this light, fluffy read might get deep.

So yes, I will probably reach for the next book, maybe next year. This one is worth a read.


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A Grimm Look Into The Future: A Review of Tell The Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan (Audiobook) It is a rare day when I am completely floored by a book. Tell the Wind and Fire was sent to me by the publisher (Quite a surprise to me, I might add) When I first got it, I glanced at the cover, breezed over the blurb, threw it on the “maybe” pile, and forgot about it. A few weeks later, someone nudged me saying how good it was, but I still ignored. But now I am sitting in my chair with a huge gape on my face.

This is probably going to be in contention for the best book I’ve read this year. It’s a complicated story that I will try to explain concisely, but I doubt I can do it justice.

We are in New York City in a dystopian future. New York is governed by wielders of “light magic”. Next to New York is the Dark City, where the dark magicians live (in poverty).

Lucie is caught between two worlds, a light magician from the dark city. She gains some celebrity when she saves her father from an execution, and then is used as a political pawn of both sides of a war between the two cities.

This is a retelling, which I should have realized on the first page, but I didn’t make the connection until the last half-hour of the book. The world-building in this book is exemplary. You spend a great deal of time (maybe 60%) inside Lucie’s thoughts. Where this might have been annoying, for me it was grounding as the thoughts flowed freely, in a believable way.

My only real problem with this style, was that I wanted to really feel the emotion of the pivotal ending scene… but with Lucie contemplating the way the world was about to change, I think we lost some of the raw emotion of what happened at the end. Still, that did not stop me from thinking about this book for days after I’d finished. For some reason, this resonated with me. I’m really glad I decided to give it a chance. This is a book you should not hesitate to put on your TBR.


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Don’t. Ever. Peek. A Review of Gravity by Melissa West

Gravity (Ebook) This book is about an alien race that has created portals between our worlds. They visit Earth every night, and by law from an interplanetary treaty, they are allowed to “suck” antibodies from humans while they sleep. They do this so someday they will be able to inhabit Earth.

(The humans are not harmed in any way)

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it, but I think it was the overall premise of “The Taking” at night and how the humans had to wear blindfolds that bothered me. While it was explained, I never really bought in to the overall premise, which left the story falling a bit flat and unbelievable to me.

Afterthought—The cover may have messed the book up for me as well.

“Don’t. Ever. Peek.”

While they are not supposed to “peek”, this sets itself up for something a little spookier than actually happens in the book. Maybe my issues had to do with expectations. I don’t know. I got nothing.

Anyway…

The human race also gets themselves into a little bit of a pickle when they rebel, and at the end, both their worlds are in some trouble. There was a lot of great action in this book, especially at the end, which is ten tons of readerly-fun.

I might pick up the next book someday, but it’s not going to be at the top of my TBR. Which makes me sad. In some ways, I wonder if it is really this book, or the fact that I have read so many five-star books this year, that anything that rates lower really stands out. You know what… maybe I’ll read the second book anyway. I’m wondering, now as I write this, if the author can work through my niggles in the next book. I’ll let you know.


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Let’s Run Away with a Rock Band! A Review of Shadow of a Girl by Shannon Greenland @SEGreenAuthor @entangledteen

Shadow of a Girl by Shannon Greenland (Ebook) An abused 16 year old girl runs away from home, lies about her age, and takes a job as a roadie for a rock tour. Enter hot rock star.

I passed on this book several times because, really, can you get any more cliché? I’m not sorry I picked it up, though. The rock-star hero, West, was a refreshing change, in that he was a nice guy that I could actually picture myself falling for. (Not like the tortured jerk heroes that seem the dominate the romance category) In the beginning, he was a touch unbelievable to me. I was going to subtract a star for that, but I gave that star back, because “Yay for the nice guy!” I wish Mr. Nice guy would be invited to more YA novels.

Now, Eve is a great character. The author seemed to do a lot of homework, or knows someone personally who has been abused. Her character was great. She did have that typical “I’m not good enough for him” period, which is another troupe that I wish would disappear, but I can forgive her that. She’d been taught she wasn’t good enough by an abusiver for years.

The plot and pacing of this book was spot on. It has that “Can’t put it down” feel, and I found myself making excuses not to do other things so I could come back and read (That is unusual for me) This book totally had me up until we hit the 90% mark.

This, unfortunately, is where it fell flat for me. The climax happens. “Oh no! What is she going to do‽” And yes, we get to see Eve stand up for herself, but after all the buildup, I expected it to be longer and more exciting. Then, she gets something slipped into her hand. This item is jam packed full of potential for at least another ten pages of tension and nail-biting. But that doesn’t happen. Instead, what she did with that item is glossed over in a summary.

I was very disappointed. I also wasn’t really happy with the way the relationship reconciled, either. I mean, he’s 19. She’s 16.

Minor spoiler coming up in purple. Stop reading if you don’t want to know

Okay – are you gone if you don’t want to know?

Last chance. Okay?

Good.

Well, the relationship between Eve and the rock star is left totally hanging. I would have preferred for West to step up and say “I’ll always love you, but you’re only sixteen. My career will be over if anyone finds out.” As callous as that seems, IT’S TRUE. I think a better ending would have been for them to stay friends from a distance, and have him show up with a rose (even better, a roll of stickers) on her 18th birthday. BOOM! Perfect ending, and I wouldn’t have been disturbed by the thought of them actually getting together.

[End spoiler. You can come back now!]

I struggled a little on rating the book because of what I stated above, but I enjoyed all the rest of the book so much I decided to only subtract one star. Everything about this book is awesome. Shadow of a Girl really rocks on many levels, but I think the ending could have been expanded on for the conflict with the abuser, and also with the over age boyfriend.

Yes, I’d definitely grab another book from this author.

The lady has skills.

Five Oreos on the writing style, and four Oreos for the book.

Click here (Goodreads) to get your own copy of Shadow of a Girl

Oreo Four

Twelve Year Old Reviews “My Brother is a Super Hero” by David Solomons

This book is about two brothers who hang out together in a tree house. One day, while the younger brother goes into the house to go to the bathroom, aliens come down and make Zach, the older brother, a superhero.

There is a guy who always wanted super powers so he tries to kidnap Zach.

What I liked about this book was I really liked the action and the mystery since the little brother was trying to stop his friend from finding out that Zac had super powers.

The ending was also great. It was really intense and I liked the way it all worked out. There is a really good theme, but I can’t tell you or it would spoil the ending.

I would rate this book a four out of five Oreos because I really like action books and this is a really really good action book. So, yeah, I recommend this book for young readers who like action.

Oreo Four

 

Learn more about this book HERE


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What happens next? A Review of Queen by Kiera Cass

Queen by Kiera Cass (Audiobook) This is a “prequel” novella in THE SELECTION series. Here, we find out how Queen Amberly becomes queen in her own Selection experience.

This novella really can’t stand on its own. The Selection process is not explained or defined, and situation and characters happen in this book that you would have no idea what is going on unless you’ve read the first book. Also, the writing and world-building is nowhere as deep and intricate as the full novel. But that isn’t really a problem, since its target audience would have read the first book.

QUEEN is an interesting look into the past of the king and queen, and we find out why the king does some of the “meaner” things he does in The Selection.

My real beef about this novella is that it suddenly just STOPPED. I mean, we go through general selection stuff, then the prince tells Amberly that he likes her, and introduces this whole new conflict that had me sitting upright, suddenly really interested and engaged and ready to take on this new part of the adventure.

Then… nothing.

Amberly is happy that he says he liked her, and we don’t get to take the journey with them through that conflict.

Yes, this is just a novella, and if they delved into that plotline, it could have been its own full-length book, but then why not just have him choose her and not act like that conflict existed? It just left me feeling a little unfinished, if that makes sense.

I’d give QUEEN two stars, because the ebook is listed at $2.99 which is really disappointing for what you get. This should be a freebee. I look at books like this as little gifts to readers. – just little tidbits to keep them excited about a series until the next book arrives. At $2.99 (maybe even at $.99) I’m not sure this really delivers.

If you can pick this up at the library, or as a free read (in a legal promotion) And you’ve read THE SELECTION already, I think you will really enjoy this. Just don’t expect the big whirlwind romance you experienced in the first novel.


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How to become a princess: A Review of Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Audiobook) This book was the monthly selection for my book club. I expected this to be a YA novel, but in truth, while it does deal with YA issues, it reads more like a middle grade novel. (Which yes, I should have figured from the cover)

The characters for the most part, are 14 and up, put with all the teasing and really young behavior and actions, they all sounded more like nine year olds (Comparing them to my own kids who are 10, 12, and 15)

In this book, a mountain province has been selected as the place where the prince will choose his new bride. Since the people living there are peasants, they create an academy for all the girls to attend to make them “princess worthy”.  After a year, the prince will choose one of them.

This is a nice, light story about building friendships, love of country, family, and home, and finding out that what you dream of might be hidden right outside your front door.

I can’t say I loved this book, because I have trouble connecting to middle grade characters in any story, but this was an enjoyable read. It will probably never rank among my favorites, but if you enjoy a good story about growing up, this might be a great choice for you.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


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