Category Archives: book review

With Malice by Eileen Cook

with-maliceJill Charon can’t remember anything that happened in the past six weeks. When she first awakens from her coma, in fact, she is initially concerned that she is waking up with a terrible hangover and that her mother will find out she was drinking the night before. Imagine her shock, then, when she discovers that she is actually waking up in the ICU after a horrific car crash.  Jill is worried that her parents won’t let her take her scheduled trip to Europe now that she has a broken leg, but that’s not really a concern.  You see, she doesn’t need a speedy recovery to go to Europe because she already took the trip — and the car accident actually took place in Italy.  To make matters worse, her parents are acting very strangely and being weirdly quiet about the accident.  Why?  Because her best friend died in that accident… And many people believe that Jill purposely crashed the car. Will she ever be able to recover the memories she lost?  How will she be able to move on with her life if she never remembers?  And what if Jill *does* start to regain her memories only to uncover something she would rather not remember?

Happy Reading!

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

warriorsThank goodness my son started reading this series and insisted that I join him!  All these years, I have been under the mistaken impression that the Warriors series was a lot like Redwall but with cats.  Yes, there are rivalries and battles, but this is much more realistic than the very fantastic (in both senses of the word) Redwall series.  Rather than being set in some fantasy world in which anthropomorphized animals build their own cities and battle against other anthropomorphized animals, this is a story about a house cat named Rusty who longs to live in the wild and joins a clan of feral cats called the ThunderClan.  There are actually four clans of cats, and they have co-existed for a long time by following the rules and boundaries laid out by their ancestors.  The balance of the clans is threatened, though, as the ShadowClan grows stronger and encroaches upon the hunting grounds of the ThunderClan.  With all the action, adventure, and mystery, it’s no wonder I’ve had kids asking me for these books for so long…  I just wish I would have followed their lead and read this sooner.  If you’ve made the same mistake and haven’t yet read these books, I highly recommend you add this to your reading pile soon.

Happy Reading!

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

recklessI first became acquainted with Cornelia Funke’s writing when I read Inkheart.  I quickly fell in love with her rich descriptions and quirky characters.  I was disappointed when that trilogy came to an end because I had so enjoyed living in that fantasy world with Meggie and Farid…  So how is it, then, that I managed not to read this book until nearly SIX years after it was published?  Let’s just say that I have a terrible habit of ordering books that are sure to be popular, based on book reviews and the reading tastes of my library’s patrons, and then not getting to them when I select my own reading materials.  I mean…  I *know* that I ordered Reckless and Fearless when I was still a full-time librarian, but I just didn’t manage to read them myself.  For the record — there are just WAY too many amazing authors out there for me to juggle these things in a way that won’t cause me distress! #LibrarianProblems

Fantasy readers who enjoy a blending of magic and the “real” world will definitely want to read this book.  Jacob Reckless has a magical mirror through which he can access another world.  He has always loved to go there to have adventures and to gather treasures he could bring back home, but his love for the Mirrorworld is tested when his brother, Will, sneaks through as well.  Will is cursed and begins transforming into a Goyl (a creature with skin made of stone).  With the help of his friend Fox — who can shapeshift between her human and fox forms, Jacob sets out to find a way to break the curse before it’s too late.

Happy Reading!

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

the-new-guyJules McCallister-Morgan is a no-nonsense, over-achieving, OCD kind of girl. Considering the fact that I was a lot like her in high school, I found it kinda funny to see how often I caught myself wishing she would just relax a little and enjoy her final year of high school.  Even the teacher who acted as advisor to the school paper, Mr. Wheeler, expected that Jules would relax a little once she hit senior year and actually scored the position of Editor… But then her rival for the editor position, Sadie, went and started a new student-run TV program called TALON and all bets were off.  As far as Jules was concerned, that was an act of war!  Mr. Wheeler did his best to keep the rivalry from getting out of control, but he didn’t stand a chance against a bound and determined Jules (not to mention the other newspaper staff members who were upset).  Things might not have gotten so heated if Alex hadn’t betrayed her, but what else could you expect when a super-cute, former boy-band member comes into your school and dates you but then works with your arch nemesis?!?

Is this book very realistic for most teens?  Probably not.  Was it extremely entertaining?  Absolutely!  If you want drama and romance in a book that will make you alternately laugh out loud and groan with frustration over a “smart” girl who can be pretty clueless at times, I suggest you check this one out!

Happy Reading!

All the Feels by Danika Stone

all-the-feelsLiv didn’t just hate the end of the final Starveil movie… It ruined her life.  As far as Liv was concerned, Starveil *was* life, and the death of her favorite character (Spartan) might as well have been the death of a family member.  Her mom and her best friend, Xander, didn’t really understand, but at least the rest of the fandom got it.  For a while, Liv simply moped about and grieved.  But then she had some take-out Chinese food and was inspired by a fortune cookie — It’s up to you to make your happy ending.  All of the sudden, she knew what she had to do.  Armed with a new (anonymous) Twitter account and some awesome , Liv set out to inspire the fandom and to seek out “evidence” that #SpartanSurvived!

Since my husband is one of the biggest Star Wars fanboys around and had a majorly difficult time accepting what happened in Episode VII, I read the description and just *knew* I had to read this book.  Whether you are a fangirl/fanboy or simply know someone else who is, this geeky romance is sure to give you #AllTheFeels.

Happy Reading!

Etiquette and Espionage [Finishing School series] by Gail Carriger

etiquette and espionageLong-time readers of my blog have suffered through my constant lamentations that everything is a freaking series …  I sometimes read a book not realizing that it is the first in a series (ahem, Cinder) and just about die waiting for the rest of the series to be published.  Back when this book first came out, I knew it was part of a planned series and made the conscious decision to wait until after all of the books were out before I read it.  I had heard it was good and all, but I didn’t hear enough to lure me into actually cheating.  The final book of this series came out in November, so I decided I was ready to binge-read the series (well, binge-listen to the audiobooks) this winter.  Part of me is glad I didn’t have any major gaps of time in between the stories, but part of me is so mad at myself that I didn’t just suck it up and read these from the start.  Such is life, right?!?  Darned if you do, and darned if you don’t!

The Finishing School series is just so amazing that it’s hard to explain, but I will do my best to point out the various things I loved.  The cast of characters, both normal and nefarious, was fabulous.  I think I may have clicked with this series so quickly because Sophronia has a very Georgia Nicholson feel to her — awkward but lovable; smart but bumbling.  She’s awesome enough that readers might want to be like her and not so perfect as to be annoying, you know?  And although it’s a mystery and a fantasy that takes place in a finishing school, it is a lot sillier than Libba Bray’s [Gothic mystery] Gemma Doyle series.  It still had plenty of mystery, and there were conflicts with supernatural creatures aplenty, but there was a much lighter feel to it overall.  Readers who enjoyed the steampunk airships of Oppel’s Airborn series and Westerfeld’s Leviathan series will appreciate the fact that Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is held aboard a dirigible.  Not to mention the proliferation of gadgets, like exploding wicker chickens and mechanical wiener dogs!  If you like steampunk, supernatural mysteries, and/or tales of girls who don’t quite fit in with their high society families, I recommend you check this series out.

Happy Reading!

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

flawedCelestine North has always played by the rules. Perhaps that was why she never really thought too hard about the consequences for people who broke them.  I mean, just follow the rules and you don’t have to worry about facing any punishments, right?  In her society, people who break the rules are branded Flawed.  As in actually branded, with a branding iron!  And once they are branded, they are literally second-class citizens who have a different set of rules to live by.  While riding the bus one morning, Celestine finally comes face-to-face with a situation that makes her question everything she’s ever known.  A woman with an injured leg takes one of the Flawed seats on the bus because it affords her more leg room, and then her friend takes the only other Flawed seat to make it easier to converse.  Then an elderly Flawed man gets on the bus, and he is forced to stand.  As he nears collapse from a coughing fit, Celestine tries to help him… and all hell breaks loose.  She ends up on trial for aiding a Flawed person, which could lead to her own Flawed classification.  But how could showing a little human decency ruin her whole life?

Though we don’t actually brand people Flawed in America, I think there are definitely plenty of situations in which Americans turn a blind eye to suffering and persecution under the mistaken impression that those people somehow deserve or earned their lot in life.  I think this would be a fantastic book to read to start a discussion about empathy and the ways people can change their views of “other” people.

Happy Reading!