Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

10:00:00 PM 1 Comments


The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol
Published by: Chicken House on July 25th, 2017
Genre: Fantasy and magic
Pages: 318
Source: Paperback
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Arianwyn has flunked her witch's assessment: She's doomed. Declared an apprentice and sent to the town of Lull in disgrace, she may never become a real witch-- much to the glee of her arch-rival, Gimma.
But remote Lull is not as boring as it seems. Strange things are sighted in the woods, a dangerous infestation of hex creeps throughout the town, and a mysterious magical visitor arrives with his eye on her. 
With every spirit banished, creature helped, and spell cast, Arianwyn starts to get the hang of being a witch--even if she's only an apprentice. But the worst still lies ahead. For a sinister darkness has begun to haunt her spells, and there may be much more at stake than just her pride . . . for Arianwyn and the entire land.


R
eview
:
I read this book in a day, which means I didn't put it down except in between the tine I was taking my naps this weekend. It was a quick and fairly good read for me.

I really liked the magic aspect of this book, it made for a definite fun read. I did have an issue with the character building. I couldn't for the life of me connect on any level with any of the characters at any point. I have to keep in mind that this book is targeted with middle-grade readers in mind instead of a 21 year old, so it doesn't bother me as much as if it were targeted at my age group.

I also had an issue with the world-building because I couldn't exactly keep track in my head of where all these places were. A map would have been amazing, and considering how beautiful the page cover is, I expect a map to be the icing on the cake on this one.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own and are not swayed by any outside factors.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

9:05:00 PM 0 Comments

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers on July 4th, 2017.
Genre: Magical realism
Pages: 400
Source: Hardback
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?
Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up.
Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.
No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind. 
As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.


Review:
My favorite book that came out so far has been Caraval by Stephanie Garber. When I saw that she blurbed this book I immediately knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. I raved about it on Instagram, I posted quotes to Goodreads, and I devoured it in between stolen moments at work. When I finished it, I had to sit there to fully grasp what I just went through. It was an emotional ride, and I haven't fallen in love with characters like this in a long, long while. I don't think I'll read another book this amazing for a long time, it was just that good.

What I Hated:

There's not a thing I hated in this book. It's written in a way that pulls you in. With different fonts, mysteries to unravel, and a twist at the end that was slow-building but amazing when it was finally out in the open.

What I Liked:

All of the characters were their own person. So many different personalities were introduced but yet all of the characters were well developed, and well loved on my side. Even the ones I had trouble liking in the beginning I ended up liking in the end.
The magical surrealism was amazing.
The writing style is unique and told in different perspectives until both perspectives clash in a long-awaited battle.

Quote
:
"What will the world be like without you in it? Now I know. It is a world that is emptier, more tired, often dulled. It is gray where there used to be endless color. It is nights without the guiding compass of stars. It is surviving some days solely by the kindness of others. It is fighting, always fighting, to find all the beauty that is still here, even after the worst Disappearance of all."

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own and are not swayed by any outside factors.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Stacking the Shelves

5:01:00 PM 1 Comments
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly round-up hosted by Tynga of books you've recently acquired, whether they be e-books or physical, books you've picked up from the library, or books you've gotten for review.

For review:


The Disappearances - Emily Bain Murphy
Published: July 4, 2017

Synopsis:
What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?
Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up.
Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.
No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind. 
As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.


Einstein's Beach House - Jacob M. Appel
Published: October 1, 2014

Synopsis:
A couple adopt a depressed hedgehog; a mother is seduced by the father of her daughter's imaginary friend; a man kidnap's his ex-wife's pet turtle. In eight tragi-comic stories, Einstein's Beach House: Stories features ordinary men and women rising to life's extraordinary challenges.


Published: July 4, 2017

Synopsis
After a botched escape plan from her boarding school, Abigail is stunned to discover the school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, along with being training grounds for future spies. Even more shocking? Abigail’s mother is a top agent for The Center and she has gone MIA, with valuable information that many people would like to have—at any cost. Along with a former nemesis and charming boy from her grade, Abigail goes through a crash course in Spy Training 101, often with hilarious—and sometimes painful—results. But Abigail realizes she might be a better spy-in-training than she thought—and the answers to her mother’s whereabouts are a lot closer than she thinks…

A Name Unknown - Roseanna M. White
Published: July 4th, 2017

Synopsis:
Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family's history, their very name?
Peter Holstein, given his family's German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 
But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors' scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he's more than his name?

Won

Brave Deeds - David Abrams
Published: August 1st, 2017

Synopsis:
From Fobbit author David Abrams, Brave Deeds is a powerful novel of war, brotherhood, and America. Spanning eight hours, the novel follows a squad of six AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their leader, Staff Sergeant Rafe Morgan. In an inhospitable landscape, these men recall the most ancient of warriors while portraying a cross section of twenty-first century America—sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but subject to the same human flaws as all of us.
Drew is reliable in the field, but unfaithful at home. Cheever, overweight and whining, is a friend to no one—least of all, himself. Specialist Olijandro, or O, is distracted by dangerous romantic thoughts of his ex-wife. Fish’s propensity for violence is what drew him to the military and could be a catalyst for the day’s events. Park is the quiet one, but his quick thinking may make him the day’s hero. And platoon commander Dmitri “Arrow” Arogapoulos, is stalwart, yet troubled with questions about his own identity and sexuality. As the six march across Baghdad, their complicated histories, hopes, and fears are told in a chorus of voices that merge into a powerful portrait of the modern war zone and the deepest concerns of us all, military and civilian alike. Moving, thoughtful, funny, and smart, Brave Deeds is a gripping story of combat and of brotherhood, and an important addition to the oeuvre of contemporary war fiction.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Lights, Camera, Middle School! (Babymouse Tales from the Locker) by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

3:36:00 PM 0 Comments

Title: Lights, Camera, Middle School! (Babymouse Tales from the Locker)
Author: Jennifer Holm
Illustrator: Matthew Holm
Pages: 208

Synopsis from Goodreads:
For Babymouse, middle school is like a monster movie. You can never be sure who’s a friend and who’s an enemy, and the halls are filled with mean-girl zombies. Instead of brains, the zombies hunger for stuff—the perfect wedge sandals or the right shade of sparkly lip gloss—and they expect everyone to be just like them. But Babymouse doesn’t want to fit in—she wants to stand out! So she joins the film club to write and direct a sweeping cinematic epic. Will making the film of her dreams turn into a nightmare?
 
Review:
This is the first book I've read of the Babymouse series, and I have to say this book should be a staple of all middle school libraries around the world. It was a fast read, with a good moral behind it.
Babymouse signs up for an extracurricular activity in film-making. After writing the script and casting the crew and actors, Babymouse and Gang go through all sorts of things it takes to make a movie. Soon, Babymouse lets the movie go to her head and ends up pushing away her friends and taking advantage of them. She realizes with the help of her annoying brother that she should apologize. After she does, they quickly wrap up the film and realizes that middle school doesn't have to be so bad after all.

Matthew Holm incorporates some pretty quirky illustrations throughout the pages of this book and it makes it a fun, easy, and quick for middle kids in middle school.

I received this bool in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own and are not swayed by any outside factors.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

9:58:00 AM 1 Comments
"We are all made of flesh and stars, but we all become dust in the end. Best to shine while you can." - Alice Feeney, Sometimes I Lie

Synopsis from Goodreads:
My name is Amber Reynolds.
There are three things you should know about me:
1. I'm in a coma.
2. My husband doesn't love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.


I'm going to just go ahead and say that even though I'm going to have to read it again to fully grasp exactly what happened, that this book deserves a million stars. I haven't had a book take me by surprise so many times like this one has. I had no idea what was coming, and there were so many twists and turns I was never settled throughout the whole time it took me to read.

As far as psychological thrillers go, this one definitely takes the cake for the best one I've read in quite a few years. I can't remember ever reading a book with a more unreliable narrator ever in my life. I felt like I had whiplash from all of the things I thought I knew then were snatched right out from underneath my nose.

All of the characters within this book are so well developed. Some of them are downright terrifying, and all of them are very crucial to how things play out. The only word that could come to me after finishing was "phew!" I'm glad it's over, but I know it's going to be replaying in my head for weeks to come. Do yourself a favor, and pick this book up when it comes out on March 13th, 2018.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own and are not swayed by another outside factors.