Thursday, March 27, 2014

Black Crow White Lie by Candi Sary

Standalone. Casperian Books (2012) Author
I could feel tiny stars gather in my hands...
Carson Calley grew up living in Hollywood motels with his fortune-telling mother, who is full of stories about their lives together and prophesies about his future.
We were Indians - Californian Indians. This pale skin was once native brown. And these legs of yours were once big and strong so that you could run after deer and shoot them with your arrows, and then bring the meat back to me. You were destined to be the great medicine man, the great healer who would take away all the pain and disease and suffering of our people.
Believing his mother's yarns, Carson becomes a healer, with the people of Hollywood waiting in long lines to see him, but a purpose built on lies and exaggerations can't last...or can it?

Carson has grown up on stories of his past life, his hero father, his ability to heal, and the potential he has to become great. As a preteen he eats up his mother's tales as well as anyone else's that he comes across. He soaks up these stories and enthusiastically believes that he could truly be the greatest healer of his time. But, he knows that not everything that his mother says is true what with her obvious exaggerations once she has alcohol in her. She could be gone for days and when she is he feels this rage inside him that a healer like him should not have. As Carson branches out to heal people other than his mom he learns some things about himself that have him asking whether his life has any truth in it.

I liked stories. I liked the way they had the power to make sense of life. You could go through a chaotic experience and come out of it feeling confused, but once you tell it to someone as a story, somehow it starts making sense. And I liked watching people cross over to that place that made sense as they retold their tales. I felt like I had company in that safe place away from chaos.

Black Crow White Lie was definitely a very unique book since the protagonist believes he has powers. He heals his mother whenever she asks. He is drawn to light not only outside but inside of him. He uses these stars that gather in his hands to heal his mother and later others. It sounds very strange yet it fit perfectly with the message of the story.

You know how you are told all these things from your parents that you later find out aren't real? Or sometimes you are protected from the harsh realities of life then, at a certain age it all comes crashing down on you? You learn that the world isn't as magical as you thought it was. There is this growth and realization that Carson discovers in this story that we all have felt once before. There's this anger inside him because he knows something is wrong with his mother and his view of the world, he just doesn't understand it yet. 

I really like the growth I see inside of Carson. He is odd but, he is just a kid needing some direction. His friends try to give him that. Faris is an old tattoo artist that looks after him and listens to his stories from time to time; Casper is a head shop owner who sees his potential to help people. Both of these two see that Carson needs a little guidance so they try to help him out in their own way. I think Carson really needed these two male role figures even if they are also odd in themselves. Everyone is a bit different in this story which is what captured my attention most. Black Crow White Lie is a very unique and sweet story about a boy realizing that nothing and no one can change who he really is and who he wants to be.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hide and Seek by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game #4. HarperTeen (July 2012) Library
My friends and I used to play lying games.

Now my twin sister is living one.

When I was alive, my family seemed picture-perfect. My adoptive parents adored me, and my little sister, Laurel, copied my every move. But now that my long-lost twin, Emma, has taken my place to solve my murder, we’re both learning just how flawed my family really is.

Laurel is shooting Emma nasty looks and sneaking around with my ex-boyfriend. And it turns out my parents are keeping a huge secret—could it be the reason I’m dead?
How far would they go to keep the truth buried? No one can harm me now, but Emma is still fair game. And if she’s not careful, she’ll end up buried, too. . . .

Now this is what I was looking for in Two Truths and a Lie. There is action and plot twists that I was expecting in the last book but I didn't get as much as I did in the first two books. Hide and Seek wasn't as thrilling as it could be but it did have Emma being chased by her family. Yes, this time around the killer could be someone in Sutton's family. Last time Emma became worried about Laurel being the killer when she stared daggers at her when Thayer came around. Although, it's just not just Laurel that Emma has to be worried about. Certain people in her family have started acting suspiciously in a way where Emma can't move fast enough to solve the mystery of her sisters murder.

So many secrets revealed! I can't even start on how amazing the next book is sure to be. With Hide and Seek we see a focus more on Sutton's family. Some of them are keeping a big secret that could change everything. Sutton's father becomes nervous and down right scary towards Emma. She doesn't know what to believe anymore. It can still be anyone in my opinion. It's getting close to the end of the series so the killer may be exposed in the next book.

Ethan and Thayer are acting very protective of Emma. It's a love triangle with only one of them knowing the truth about who she really is. I liked that there was more focus on the (albeit odd) romance as well as Sutton's family. Shepard seems to be going through everyone before the big reveal which I hope is as shocking as it should be. 

Ethan this time around is becoming closer with Emma's friends especially since Thayer is around. Thayer still has feelings for her. You can tell by the way he's always grinning and sitting next to Emma. It's kind of adorable. I guess I like the "bad boy" in this one because Thayer is acting really sweet towards Emma. Wait until he finds it's not her... He's going to be devastated. I wish there was more of him but at least he isn't stuck in jail like last time. I still like Ethan. It sounds like he was acting weird at the ending of the last book because Emma introduced him as his friend to Thayer so I understand his reaction now. He's the same as ever. You do get a glimpse into his home life. I wonder what's going on there. I think I wonder with everything in this book. There are so many things I feel like speculating which makes this series so good. It keeps you on your toes and it always ends with a great cliffhanger.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Post: 3/16/14

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It's a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received and share news about what's coming up for the next week ahead.

Wow! This has been a busy week. Spring break has made me a very productive reader. I read 7 books in total in the course of a week which is crazy. I haven't done that in forever. It's back to school tomorrow. I'm reading Splintered next. It's going to be awesome to be in Wonderland for a chance. I tried to read the original story a long time ago but it didn't take. Hopefully this retelling will make me fall for the original story once again. Thanks for the recommendation everyone. I love the What's Next meme I started to participate in.

Last Week on the Blog:

Last week I discussed what motivations Maleficent may have had to put Aurora under a curse in the upcoming movie Maleficent. I reviewed The Program and Til Death which I both loved reading. A blog tour for Clever Girl stopped here. I reviewed the picture book - Princess Pigsty. I participated in the meme What's Next? and was recommended Splintered to read next. I reread and reviewed Two Truth and a Lie. Finally, I reviewed Fearscape which although I really enjoyed scared the hell out of me.

Around the Blogosphere (a.k.a. my to-read list is now larger):

18077961   20527879

Some books I added to my to-read list that I can't wait to get my hands on: Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington and They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire.

Posts/articles/videos I enjoyed:

Plans for Next Week:

I'll be reading less this week but I still have plans to read some great books. Right now I'm reading Wicked Plants and then I'll be moving on to Splintered.

I also plan to read Black Crow, White Lie and if I can Witch Finder. I stopped reading A Discovery of Witches a while ago so I want to read a few chapters a day until I finish it. It's really long so I have to read it that way to stay sane. I have two books that I've read but not yet reviewed so I'll get on that quick before I lose what I want to say about each of them.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fearscape by Nenia Campbell

Horrorscape #1. Amazon Digital Services (Nov. 2012) Own
He followed her because he wanted to own her. She trusted him because she wanted excitement. There's a saying that curiosity can kill … but Valerian Kimble is beginning to learn that satisfaction might just be worse.
Fourteen-year-old Valerian lives in an age where antiheroes and bad boys are portrayed as the romantic ideal, and good guys are passe and boring. So when Gavin Mecozzi, the school's brilliant but twisted loner, begins to show an interest in her after a chance meeting in a pet store, Val is intrigued. He's charming and poetic and makes her feel things that she thought were only possible in books--
Because somebody is stalking Val. Somebody who wants to hurt her. Own her. Possess her. Maybe even kill her.
As her meetings with Gavin unravel into a more complex and frightening relationship, Val can't help but wonder if the new boy in her life is her depraved and obsessive stalker.
And whether he's capable of murder.
Time is running out.

I don't know why but I went in search for serial killer/stalker young adult books. I wanted something thrilling to read next like I've been reading lately. I wanted action, mystery, and to be on the edge of my seat. That is exactly what I got from Fearscape and so much more. I regret finding this book not because there was anything wrong with it, other than some few flaws, but because after settling down after reading this heart pounding book I became truly disgusted with the villain, Gavin.

There's no discussion, Gavin is the stalker in this story. You learn about that fact five seconds after you meet him. I had no doubt in my mind that he was the bad guy. What I didn't think was how completely creepy he was going to be. I know. He's a stalker so of course he is but seeing him through the eyes of the innocent 14 year old protagonist Valerian, he didn't appear like he was going to go as far as he did in this book.

I understand Val was very naive however, I understand why she was. She's a kid who gets attention by this handsome, muscular, older guy who is enraptured by her presence. The kind of charm he exuded to her clouded her judgment. It's very terrifying if a man like that becomes a threat. If you've ever been approached by a strange man than you know exactly what I mean. So I understood completely how she was feeling especially her confliction since she considered him to be hot. 

I think it's a very bad choice to make stalkers in books good looking. It sends the message that it's okay for a guy to want to own you like Gavin wants to with Val. I've read a lot of reviews where people want them to have a happy ending when this sick person tries to rape her. What are you thinking? He's crazy!!! He's pure evil but because he's hot that's okay? Then, because I wanted to know what to expect in the next books I find out some deeply disturbing things that are going to happen in the third book. With the culmination of that reveal and all the reviews I was looking at I started feeling nauseated. I really liked the story while reading it. It was thrilling and terrifying but I am thinking back now at what Gavin was saying and I just became truly scared about this character. I haven't been so scared of a character since I read Kindred back in High School. 

I still think Fearscape deserves a high rating because it felt so real and elicited great emotions from me. But, Gavin was too much of a good villain that I couldn't possibly finish this series. I'm happy that the author doesn't see this as a romance like so many readers do. She sees Gavin as a sick, horrible person. She is trying to show the dark side of the real world. How people like this are out there and it's a very terrifying, real thing. So she doesn't condone this stalker behavior which is a relief because so many readers seem like they do. If you don't mind very intense, disturbing scenes you might want to try this book out. It is really good and provides a great scare even if it was too dark for me. If you keep all I had in mind as well as it being more of an adult book even if it set in high school and you think you'll like it - go for it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game #3. HarperTeen (Jan. 2012) Own
My killer is out there. And my sister might be next. 

Two months before I died, my best friend's brother disappeared. I have no idea where Thayer went or why he left, but I know it's my fault. I did a lot of horrible things while I was alive, things that made people hate me, maybe even enough to kill me.

Desperate to solve my murder, my long-lost twin, Emma, is pretending to be me and unraveling the many mysteries I left behind - my cryptic journal, my tangled love life, the dangerous Lying Game pranks I played. She's uncovered my friends' darkest secrets, but she's never had the chance to dig into Thayer's past - until now. 

Thayer's back and Emma has to move fast to figure out of he's after revenge... or if he's already gotten it. 

A Small Note:

I've read this book before so this review will have thoughts on what I thought before and after rereading this book again. I wasn't able to write a review before so I'm making up for it with this one. If you haven't read the first two books you might get some new details ruined for you naturally.

My Thoughts:

Two Truths and a Lie picks up with Emma discovering Thayer in her bedroom. Thayer has become a new prime suspect with Sutton's friends and sister being cleared so she's terrified when he suddenly appears looking menacing. Thayer, clearly has a history with Emma's dead twin sister Sutton and Sutton's sister Laurel. Whenever they interact you can feel the tension between them. He's angry and the way he talks to her makes her suspicion arise against him even more. Like his father he is known to be pretty volatile so there's another thing stacked against him. He doesn't seem like the type to beat up a woman because I'm sure he doesn't like that his sister was when he was at home. He does act very hostile towards Emma though. You don't really know where he's been but, you do get hints with Sutton's flashbacks about what type of person he was before she died. I have always liked her flashbacks because you never know what they are going to reveal. It can also be a trap because Sutton doesn't remember everything right away.

Shepard is very good at filling in the details of what's happened so far in the story. My reason for rereading this story was because I wanted to read the fourth book so it came in handy to have all that information from the past two books laid out for me. It feels very much like a Lemony Snicket move to do that. I felt like I was getting a second chance to glimpse at who could be the killer and there are still plenty of suspects left. 

Laurel plays a more prominent role in this one than I remember from the past books. I know she's always had a crush on Thayer and they were best friends but can she be any icier towards Emma? I vaguely remember them being nice with each other for a while. When Thayer comes rolling into town everything changes. She talks like Sutton would as if Emma was her enemy which is not good for Emma. What could be more terrifying than having your sister's killer sleeping in the room next to you?

Emma and Ethan are an item in this book. I like how Emma always tries to be nice and protective towards his feelings. Ethan acted really weird with Thayer like he is frightened with him which also gets me thinking he might still be a suspect. For all I know everyone could still be a suspect except one person is definitely ruled out in the end. Also, I'm pretty sure her parents didn't do anything to her either. Actually I'm positive. They each had interactions with Emma. They were both very sweet with her which gets me thinking how unaffectionate Sutton was towards them. However, I feel like I got to see a whole new side to Sutton this time around. I feel like she was always overcompensating because she was adopted. Other things that came to light about her and some of her friends make me like them more. Although, they've all gone too far on their Lying Games which happens to be the cause of Sutton's death... I probably wouldn't forgive what they would do to me because every prank that they do seems to end up humiliating or ruining someone's life not to mention that one time where they almost got Sutton killed. So it could really be anyone. Maybe someone we haven't even met yet.

I know that I didn't like this book as much as the others. I mean I liked it more this time because I anticipated the one thing that bothered me last time - not much Thayer time. He was supposed to be the center of the whole thing in this book. I did get glimpses of his life in the flashbacks but there wasn't much face to face talk with him and Emma. That being the only thing I didn't like about this book I would say it isn't that big of a deal even though it felt like a filler book.

I know this was more like an examination of possible suspects although I basically said it could really still be anyone. I mean there have been some crazy twists before so I wouldn't be surprised if it was someone I never suspected. I hope for the next book and for the rest of the series it becomes even more action packed and suspenseful like it was with the two previous books. I also really want Alex, Emma's best friend, to come along. Wouldn't it be a shock when she starts calling her Emma in front of everyone? I would like to see how Shepard spins that! I really want to see more of Thayer. Mainly, I don't want Emma to die. I'm really sure she won't because it's not that type of series but I do worry. She didn't deserve all of this. She's such a nice person and I wish she's happy in the end. I can't believe it's been a month in Emma's world with half of the book series over. Please be good Hide and Seek!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What's Next #2 - Splintered Hallowed Lies

This is a meme hosted by IceyBooks where I ask your opinion on what I should read next.

The last recommendation turned out so well! I absolutely loved everything about The Program so I'm looking for another great book to read. The choices I picked are on the dark side except the last one - it's a continuation of a series. What do you all think of the three choices below?

Splintered by A.G. Howard
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the "Outside" abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can't leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family's barn-at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

City of Lies by Lian Tanner
Goldie Roth is a trained thief and a skilled liar. Along with her friend Toadspit, she's supposed to be one of the Keepers of the mysterious Museum of Dunt. But although she desperately wants to be a Keeper, she will not leave her sick parents to do so.                                                                                                                                               
But when Toadspit's sister Bonnie is stolen, he and Goldie are forced to follow the child-stealers to the neighboring city of Spoke. Along the way, Toadspit too is captured, and Goldie is caught up in the Festival of Lies, where every word she says means something else and no one can be trusted. There, Goldie discovers some dangerous secrets—secrets that the child-stealers will kill to protect. She will need all her skills as a thief and a liar if she is to survive and save her friends.

Have you read any of these before? Comment below on which one sounds more appealing for me to read next!

Til Death by Kate Evangelista

Fractured Souls #1. Entangled Teen (March 2014) Publisher
Sixteen-year-old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a daydreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally, this is not a problem, as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky—even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more drool-worthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Too bad he acts like he hates her.

When Selena learns she’s being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined, she’s had enough. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easily, especially when she discovers that Dillan isn’t what he seems…and might not actually hate her after all. Dillan might be the only person who can save her.

There are so many elements of this book that could have gone wrong. I don't know whether I was in the right mood at the right time or if this book was given to me at the exact moment I needed it, just the same everything came together wonderfully into a magically, mysterious, amazingness of a story. 

Selena can see the future. But, she couldn't have possibly foreseen the troublesome, cocky yet sweet Dillan come storming into her life. The very moment they meet their connection with each other is electrifying - literally. Dillan doesn't know what to make of this inexplicable connection he has with Selena. Is she human or something else? How can her touch cause such a reaction? All he knows is that she's trouble and he needs to stay far away yet he can't seem to go anywhere without bumping into her or a moment without thinking about her. 

Selena does NOT like Dillan. He stares at her like there is something wrong with her; like he hates everything she is. She won't be fooled by his bad boy charm. She has enough on her plate when she starts seeing her own bloody death. Knowing that inevitably all her premonitions come true, Selena becomes desperate. She would never have thought weeks ago that she would need the help of Dillan who she finds out is very different than the typical teenage boy. 

She scowled. He liked it when she scowled. Maybe a little too much, because her nose scrunched up and the tops of her cheeks tinted pink. She clutched the handle of the feather duster so hard its feathers quivered. Her lips contorted. Whatever promises he'd made himself about avoiding her went unfulfilled. Something about her always pulled him in. Why fight it?

I completely fell for Dillan and Selena. I know in general people might pick at a couple of things they didn't like about this book however, when it came to Til Death everything worked for me. I didn't mind the bad boy image Dillan portrayed because he actually has a heart unlike some other characters I've come across. His and Selena's relationship becomes impossibly adorable. I couldn't deny that I liked this story even if it showed signs of being too... teenagery. They were always denying the feelings they had for each other that were clearly there. Their bickering and annoyance with each other was so darn cute that I couldn't help for fall for them both. 

Selena has some fight in her. When she needs to she tries to handle her problems and doesn't want protection from anyone. I really respect a heroine who takes charge of her life. She has this big secret of being able to see her future. You would think it would come in handy but she can never change her fate. What she sees will happen one way or another. She has this soft spot in her that makes it so she can't help being nice. So she has this tough and sweet side to her which can be the said for Dillan too. 

At the beginning Dillian could be pretty vulgar. I felt like he was being overly sold as a guy. He settles down pretty soon after he encounters Selena. He has this mysterious back story that haunts him. He is very different in that he is part of the Illumenari, a secret organization that deals with supernatural beings. There are some weird things happening in the small town of Newcastle and he is eager to investigate. He's been demoted in the organization so he's not exactly supposed to be investigating the disappearances in the town. The way the hierarchy is explained sounds like something that came out of a video game. I don't completely understand how your powers are gained or diminished but it's a pretty cool idea.

The mystery surrounding Dillan, the town, and Selena get crazy good. I'm so excited for the next book because there is so much left to explore. This book has such great fantasy, mystery, and romance mixed into the story. With the variety of creatures that come up in this story there is bound to be many more that follow. And that ending? One of the greatest cliffhangers I've ever come across. Til Death might surprise you. It's a very fun, plot-twisting type of story that captured my attention from beginning to end.

Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke

Standalone. Scholastic/Chicken House (April 2007) Library
The fourth picture book by literary sensation Funke and celebrated illustrator Meyer; a modern-day, girl-powered, fairy-tale-in-reverse!

One morning Princess Isabella throws her crown out the window--it's BORING being a princess, she declares. When she steadfastly refuses to fetch her crown from the fishpond, her father, the king, puts his royal foot down. "Off to the pigsty with you!" he commands--and Isabella couldn't be happier about her punishment! Because while plain old princesses spend all their time primping and smiling and stifling yawns--yuckety-yuk!-- REAL girls get to peel onions, pick blackberries, and sometimes even sleep outside with the pigs.

Princess Isabella is tired of being the typical princess. She wants to play outside, have fun, and go wild! She's cooped up all day learning how to smile right, laugh right, and one day she throws away her crown and says enough. Her father isn't very happy with his daughter's decision. She refuses to get her crown back from where it landed so the king decides to send her to the kitchens and then to the pigsty. Every day that passes by her knowledge and love grows for everything outside of the castle. She embraces her new name - Princess Pigsty.

Of course I loved how rebellious and independent Isabella was. She held steadfast to who she was not caring what others thought about her. Many girls can see a great example in Isabella to not let anyone hold you back from who you want to be. I didn't feel this was too short like I usually feel with picture books. It's a picture book that can be enjoyed by anyone. I liked how the illustrations were created. It's kind of haphazard in a very good way since the story is how it is. All in all this was a very sweet story about a girl who stuck to what she wanted. It worked out for everyone in the end.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Tour: Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley

Standalone. HarperCollins (March 2014) TLC Book Tours

Clever Girl is an indelible story of one woman’s life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today, from one of Britain’s leading literary lights—Tessa Hadley—the author of the New York Times Notable Books Married Love and The London Train.

Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibin, Tessa Hadley brilliantly captures the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives—an ability to transform the mundane into the sublime that elevates domestic fiction to literary art. 
Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an English woman named Stella. Unfolding in a series of snapshots, Tessa Hadley’s moving novel follows Stella from the shallows of childhood, growing up with a single mother in a Bristol bedsit in the 1960s, into the murky waters of middle age.                                                                                                           

Clever Girl is a story vivid in its immediacy and rich in drama—violent deaths, failed affairs, broken dreams, missed chances. Yet it is Hadley’s observations of everyday life, her keen skill at capturing the ways men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles.

Clever Girl follows our main character, Stella, through all her struggles, decisions, and mistakes. You see the course of her life as if she was retelling it at an old age. There is a great deal of pain in her life caused by others and her own flaws. You get to know her in a very intimate, personal way. She's an ordinary woman that goes through life making the same mistakes that everyone else does. By having this story about someone who could be anyone there was a sense of connection I felt towards Stella. With all her faults and mistakes I couldn't help think about my own life and how I'll decide to live it. Even if someone knows what they want they can get sidetracked like Stella ultimately does at a very young age. Young love, early pregnancies to two fathers that aren't or can't be around, Stella faces it alone with the help of some strangers and some friends from time to time. She kind of becomes her mother which if pretty funny because I think that's what daughters (and even me) fear is going to happen to them. It's also funny when she starts mentioning her sons at points of the story even before they are born since her second born is clearly exactly like her wild, angry-at-the-world self.

Stella has an argumentative, push-and-pull personality and relationship as she develops in her teen years. You could just see where everything was going to go downhill. She was hanging around a boy who of course her mother and stepfather didn't approve of. Stella has never approved of her stepfather. Her angry side really came out when he came into the mix. I think when you're a teenager you go through this transition where you are pissed at your parents, the world, and everyone in it. You see only what you want. We don't really grow out of our selfishness that kids inherently have in them. I saw myself in the way she acted when she was younger. I wasn't nearly as rebellious, my rebelliousness was pretty much nonexistent - it was there in spirit, but I could still see the selfishness of not wanting to grow up that I'm sure many people grapple with. 

You see her mature out of this stage of standoffishness towards others but you also see the mistakes she continues to make. I wanted to tell her to stop! You have something good. Stop messing it up. There's this air of sadness that comes with her life yet she does try her hardest to make her life better for her and her sons. She struggles so much! This story could be really tragic at times. There are those moments where she gets away from that sadness and I love those moments. I wanted to see her succeed. This book produced so much overwhelming emotions in me. It's a really great story about growing up and overcoming all the things thrown at you in life including your own misguided ways. 

Thanks to TLC Book Tours, the author, and the publisher for letting me read and review Clever Girl in exchange for an honest review!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program #1. Simon Pulse (April 2013) Own
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

What can I say about this book other than how simply perfect it was in every conceivable way? The dynamics of the characters, the world in which they lived in, and the way the story flowed. I was hooked by all of it throughout the whole book. Everything that was thrown at Sloane was heart-wrenching. In a world where suicide in teens is an epidemic The Program is there to protect lives. However, the Program is this misguided evil organization that doesn't understand it's doing more bad than good. By erasing "infected" memories they are taking the good ones too. What they deem to be a bad influence may be the only reason someone feels life is worth living like with the case of Sloane and James.

I loved how everything was sequenced. I got to know Sloane, her brother, and James' friendship with flashbacks. I got to hear her tell the story of how she fell madly in love with James. I got to see how he became her strength when her brother killed himself and when The Program put pressure on everyone to be normal, showing no grief even when she was losing everyone around her. Then, everything that followed was just amazing. This book has no flaws in my eyes. I'm so happy to have read it.

I feel like whenever there is an evil organization or adults who think they are doing what is best for kids have no idea how life works. Not being able to express pain over your brother's passing without being threatened to have your memories erased is kind of key to recovery. Teenagers can move forward if they have some sense of security and caring counselors who don't want to drug you. This story was all sorts of tragically wonderful even with all the injustice present. 

All of the characters had distinct personalities. Their cohesiveness with the way the story was being carried out was brilliant. The characters whether primary or secondary were fantastic at being who they are. Even the misguided or terrifying ones were just so good! Sloane wasn't a damsel in distress thank goodness. She was rebellious, angry, and hurt about the life she was dealt with. The only thing that kept her happy was James. I loved everything about their relationship. I liked how hard she fought to keep him in her memory. Then she meets Realm, a boy who's going through the Program too and that becomes amazingly complicated. 

I feel like I can't even write this review correctly but I gave it a shot. I'm just full of emotions and I'm trying to contain myself without putting a ridiculous amount of exclamations everywhere. Before I ramble on even more or ruin something I want to finally write how highly I recommend this book. It is worth checking out. You will get completely sucked in this impossibly cruel world with fantastic, amazing (all the adjectives!) characters.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Once Upon a Dream

William A. Breakspeare

I've been thinking about fairy tales a great deal lately specifically retellings of classic fairy tales. I've grown up surrounded by Disney movies. These movies although iconic aren't the original stories created by the Grimm Brothers, Aesop, or others. They created these stories as lessons or to write down stories they've heard all their life. They've enchanted me all my life. Yet, it is the Disney movies that I know and love not the original stories. The original stories are even darker than the movies. If you noticed there is always at least one thing that resembles the original grim tale like Rapunzel being kidnapped, Snow White being poisoned, Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother being eaten, and Aurora being cursed.

Sleeping Beauty's villain is getting her own story. You know the original tale how Aurora is cursed by a sorceress and a knight fights off the dragonous villain to save the day. I know that there is a bunch of negativity revolving around what the princesses represent. I can't help but agree with some of them yet when a movie like Maleficent draws near I can't help but be enthusiastic.

The trailer for Maleficent looks amazing. The trailer with Lana del Rey singing Once Upon a Dream was eerily haunting. It makes me desperate to see where the story is going to lead. I love the original song with Prince Phillip and Aurora so it's pretty cool how it has been twisted around. I want to see how Disney interprets what Maleficent's motive for cursing the young princess. I'm thinking something happened with her and the King so she curses Aurora out of revenge. She might have been seen as a monster and is seeking revenge over the main person who persecuted her. I made this post because I really want to talk about retelling and this movie. What do you think is Maleficent's motive for cursing Aurora? She's seems fascinated by her there must be a connection to her one way or another. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

The Keepers Trilogy #1. Delacorte Books (Sep. 2010) Library
Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.

Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day.   

When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving.                                                                                                  

Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . .                                                                 
Museum of Thieves is a thrilling tale of destiny and danger, and of a courageous girl who has never been allowed to grow up—until now.

I can't tell you how many times I've ordered this book from the library and then ended up returning it without reading a single page. My mom took advantage of how long I've had the Museum of Thieves by reading not only this book but the rest of the trilogy while I hadn't even started the first book. I finally gave this book a chance and it proved to be as amazing as a dystopian could be. The time flew as I became entranced by the museum and its characters. The world in which Goldie lived in was filled with injustice. Children are forced to be chained to their parents or a Blessed Guardian at all times. All Goldie wants is her freedom yet when she takes the chance she places her family in danger. As a fugitive she crosses paths with Sinew, a master of concealment, who brings her to the Museum of Dunt where she will learn the secrets of being a thief and what perils the city of Jewel is about to face.

Illustration by Sebastian Ciaffaglione
The Museum of Thieves was way better than I expected. It's chalk full of originality. I was irritated whenever the Blessed Guardians appeared - they had chapters dedicated to their POV. I could just hear their smug voices resonating through my head. The whole concept of children being chained up to them for their "protection" was both brilliant and aggravating only because the characters in Goldie's world were ignorant to how wrong they were treating their children. The Museum of Dunt is actually this labyrinth that keeps evil at bay. It's this alive structure that is starting to become infuriated by events unfolding in the city of Jewel. When the Blessed Guardians and the Fugleman start plotting something big it's up to the thieves of the museum to stop him at all costs before they unleash terror to the city streets of Jewel.                                                                                                                                                     Goldie learns everything about how to be a thief from the caretakers of the museum including Toadspit, another runaway who doesn't take too kindly to her presence. She also meets the last brizzlehound a creature that can be a small dog one moment and a huge ferocious animal the next. All the characters have a very distinct personality and most of them being thieves makes them even more interesting. I don't have anything bad to say about any of them or this book. It had a great setting, cast of characters, and I was thoroughly entertained. I'm eager to read the rest of the series. Considering the ending of this story the next book is going to awesome.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Madness Read-A-Thon 2014: The Books

Month long read-a-thon hosted by Fiction_TheNewReality

I didn't get to sign up for this read-a-thon on time but I still wanted to participate in it so that's what I'm doing! I've never done a read-a-thon this long yet I feel like it's more flexible than the other ones I'm used to. I'm planning on adding some different discussions based on this read-a-thon. This time around I'll be updating each week the book's I read instead of one long post. I'm thinking of adding some tasks based on 30 day blogosphere events that go around. If anyone has any suggestions on topics to post about feel free to comment below.

The Books:

Since this is a month long challenge it might look like I'm going insane with the amount of books I plan to read but I really want to step up my reading game from the past two months so without further ado here are the books I plan to read for March Madness:

I also want to read some comics mainly from the Fables series. I know it's a lot but I want to read as much as I can.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

#16 Things I Thought Were True by Janet Gurtler

Standalone. Sourcebooks Fire (March 2014) NetGalley
Heart attacks happen to other people 


When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought...

Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue 

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend...and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.

I had such a great experience with my last road trip book that I couldn't wait to get into 16 Things I Thought Were True. Since I was looking forward the most to that part of the book it was a shame there wasn't a longer ride with Morgan and her new friends. But, the focus on family and Morgan branching out and gaining independence made me really enjoy this book.

A while back now Morgan lost her best friend and gained a massive amount of embarrassment when a video of her dancing in boys underwear became viral. This could have gone south but the way social media was integrated into the story was done really well. I'm sure bloggers have felt the pressure and pride Morgan felt when gaining new followers. Morgan just took it to a whole new level however, with the help of some new friends she was able to get her head away from gaining new followers to gaining new real relationships. 

The one thing or shall I say person that annoyed me was Morgan's mother who kept her daughter in the dark as to who her father was. Not only that, she puts so much pressure on Morgan to be the responsible one and to take care of her brothers even though they are older than her. Her mother really frustrated me. I couldn't understand where she was coming from. She was only thinking about herself not her daughter. Things get even crazier once Morgan meets her dad at the end of her road trip. 

Although part of Morgan's family frustrated me it was also the best part of the book. I loved how everyone came together when Morgan's mother needed to go to the hospital. The twin brothers were such characters. I really liked their different personalities clashing (in a good way) with Morgan's new friends. It's really the characters in general that made this book shine.

Adam is Morgan's demanding manager who makes a complete 180 when she needs someone to take her to the hospital. He's a nerdy sweet guy who gets a bad wrap because he's the boss. He was an alright character compared to Amy, a super hyper girl who has no filter. At first I was worried that she spoke her mind too much like a kid who's parents are embarrassed by what comes out of their child's mouth but then I got to know her personality and I grew to care about her maybe even more than Morgan. I usually don't like secondary characters as much as I liked Amy and Morgan's twin brothers yet with this book everything was turned around on it's head. I did like Morgan though. When the story got into the road trip and what occurred afterwards it really took shape into something great. I'd recommend this book more if you want a good story about family and character growth with a small side of road trip fun.