Friday, 21 April 2017

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Book in the Paranormal Romance Genre


This meme is hosted at Blue Eye Books and The Butterfly Reader

This week's theme is favourite / least favourite books in the _____ genre (choice of genre) 

I've chosen paranormal romance because it is one of my favourite genres!

Favourite

 Nevermore (Nevermore, #1)

My favourite paranormal romance....that's a tough one. I have a lot of favourites but one that sticks out is obviously Nevermore. But you all already know how much I freaking love this book. For the sake of variety, I'll add a few honorable mentions: Hush, Hush, Shiver, Vampire Kisses.

Least Favourite

 Fallen Angel (Fallen Angel, #1)

My least favourite paranormal romance....I didn't really like Fallen Angel. It's not the worst book in the world by any means but I felt like it kinda wasted my time. I didn't enjoy it. 
~ ~ ~ ~

So I was thinking about books lately (duh). And reviews (duh again). But specifically I was thinking about mini reviews. I read some books that I don't feel are worthy of a full length review, either because I can't say much without spoiling it, or I just don't have a lot to say about it anyways. I was thinking about posting little batches of mini-reviews every now and then. What do you think? Do you post mini reviews? Do you like them, do you hate them? 
Thanks for visiting my blog :) Have a great day, and happy reading!

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry


The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

 Series: N/A
Author: April Henry
Page Count: 213
Published: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
  5 Stars ★★★★★

She wakes up to two men arguing over whether or not to end her life. She doesn't know her name, she doesn't know where she is, and she doesn't know why one of her fingernails has been pried off of her hand. 

She manages to escape, but her ordeal is far from over. As she investigates herself, who she is, and what is going on, she gets help from an acquaintance who is determined to solve this mystery with her. Only one thing is for certain...danger is around every corner. 

It's hard to write a synopsis of this book without giving anything away. The complete mystery of what is going on made this book truly a five-star read, and as my second five-star April Henry novel, I know that I'll be reading her books again. 

The main character's fear was absolutely palpable from start to finish. I love that the author started the story off with the two men discussing whether or not to murder her, this absolutely drew my attention in and it didn't let me go until I turned to the last page. The little touches, like the main character's injured finger (ouch!) really gave the book an eerie vibe and built suspense. 

The characters themselves, from the main girl, to the boy who helps her figure out what is going on, worked well with the story, and I think that all of their personalities, relationships, and affiliations contributed to the awesome quality of this novel. As I mentioned, it's hard to say much without giving important pieces of the plot away, so trust me when I say that the explanations behind the characters' motives and situations were far from disappointing. 

There truly isn't much else that I can say, except that if you like mysteries, you should read this book! I can't say much more because I worry that I'll spoil it somehow!

I recommend this to those who like mysteries and thrillers where a lot is at stake. If you're into suspenseful young adult books, this one is for you.

Friday, 14 April 2017

50/50 Friday - Lightest/Darkest Book (themes or atmosphere)


This meme is hosted at Blue Eye Books and The Butterfly Reader

This week's theme is lightest / darkest book 

Lightest 

Vampire Kisses (Vampire Kisses, #1)

Vampire Kisses is a cute paranormal romance with quite a light atmosphere, especially for a vampire story. I've read contemporary romances that are darker than this series. It's a nice read for people who want a change from the more intense paranormal worlds in young adult fiction.

Darkest

 Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #1)

Captive in the Dark has an extremely dark atmosphere, with many dark themes. There's lots of heavy stuff in this book, with many events that would upset a lot of readers. I am not one of those readers, I love books like this! But it's dark enough that I feel obligated to warn anyone considering reading it that there are many serious themes. 

I really liked both of these books. What did you think of them? What are some of the darkest or lightest books that you have read?

Monday, 10 April 2017

Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard

Watch the Sky

Series: N/A
Author: Kirsten Hubbard
Page Count: 272
Published: April 7th, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  3.5 Stars ★★★

Jory's stepfather, Caleb, is always watching for signs. Signs of what, Jory doesn't know, but what Jory does know is that Caleb cares for him, his mother, his step-brother, and Kit, the girl he considers a sister, so he doesn't question Caleb's claims. Jory spends time with other people from his school, and slowly Caleb's grasp on his mind seems to weaken. When his stepfather says that it's time to start digging a tunnel to prepare for what's to come, Jory has to make a choice before his family disappears into the ground, abandoning the outside world. 

This is a middle grade book, with Jory, the main character, around eleven or twelve years old. I mostly read young adult, and I'm expanding into the adult range as well, so reading a middle grade book was a nice change from the usual paranormal romances and contemporary dramas. 

I think the author did a great job of narrating what was going on through how Jory perceived the world around him. Written in third person, the story focuses on Jory's struggle to question Caleb, make friends, and choose what is ultimately right: to abandon Caleb's plan, or to go through with it without question. The theme of questioning what one has been told was very important, and I really appreciate that the author included this theme in a middle grade novel, because I think it's essential to introduce the idea that not everything you're told is right, from a young age. Critical thinking, and thinking for one's self, were things that Jory struggled with and ultimately inspired him to question the things that his mother just accepted for fact, and this to me made him seem like a strong character and a great role model. 

The other characters provided some interesting dialogue and situations, and they ranged from Jory's "normal" friend, Alice, to his mysterious stepfather. Alice, and the other children that Jory befriends, provide a way for Jory to feel like he's not completely alone outside of his family, and they are very likeable! They're smart, bright, and hopeful, which contrasts the uneasiness that Jory experiences at home. 

This uneasiness mainly takes the form of Caleb and his "signs". I disliked Caleb from the start, I thought he was suspicious, paranoid, and fairly controlling. I also didn't really like Jory's mother, for buying into Caleb's ideas so easily, and dragging her children into everything. Jory's sister, Kit, was an interesting character. While not his biological sister, they form a bond that remains important throughout the novel, and while she remains mostly silent in the story, I think she has a big impact on the way the story is told overall. If she wasn't in the book, I feel that it would be a much different book than it truly is. 

I had some issues with the pacing. I think that at times the book dragged on, and at others, the events went by way too fast. While the idea of the book was very interesting, I think there weren't enough answers as to what exactly Caleb was preparing for, and why Jory's mother bought into his ideas so easily. 

Overall this was an enjoyable middle grade novel. While the pacing was a bit off and some pieces of the book seemed to lack context, the themes of questioning what one has been told, and the characters themselves made for an interesting read. 

I recommend this to middle grade readers who enjoy stories set in the contemporary world. If you're interested in a book that explores what it means to think for yourself, this book is for you.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Thoughts About Book Blogging

Hey everyone! Lately I've been thinking about book blogging, and why I love it, and how it's affected me as a reader and as a person. I wanted to share some of these thoughts with my readers to see if any of you have the same ideas as me, or if you've been affected differently!
 
My cat, Poe (Instagram)

I think that one major thing that book blogging has forced me to do is to face some of my social anxiety. My social anxiety isn't just an issue when it comes to in-person interactions....it's online as well! So whenever I make a blog post, I have to look it over a million times before and after I post to make sure I don't sound awkward, and while I love interacting with my followers and blogs that I love through commenting, I'm always anxious that I've accidentally left some horrible typo that will make me seem really strange! However, since I started blogging, this has gotten quite a bit better. I've had to move past my comfort zone to interact with people online and it's helped me a lot. Interacting with other bloggers has been a great experience for me, it's made me a bit more confident.

This was a nice pic I took (Instagram)

Blogging has also made me feel better about myself because every follower, every comment, every page view means that somebody cares about what I have to say about books, and I think that's awesome! Knowing that people want to know what I'm reading and reviewing, what covers I like, and my opinions on other book-related subjects makes me so happy. :)
 
 A picture from when I was re-arranging my bookshelf (Instagram)
 
Lastly, book blogging has introduced me to so many books that I want to read! I might not have come across some of them had I not stumbled upon a review on a blog that I follow. This is great because I'm discovering more books, but it's also a bit annoying because it adds to my ever-growing to-read pile! 


How has book blogging affected you?

Monday, 3 April 2017

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz


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 Series: Blue is for Nightmares
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Page Count: 284
Published: November 8th, 2003
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
  4 Stars ★★★★

Stacey is a junior at a boarding school, a witch, and has been having nightmares about one of her best friends. In these nightmares, it is undeniable that Drea, her friend, is in trouble, and she soon worries that these dreams may come true when strange gifts and phone calls start arriving.

Stacey uses the magic that her grandmother taught her with hopes to reveal who is behind all of this. But will she be able to unravel the messages in time?

So the first thing I'll say is that this book is rather short, but the length works for the story. I was worried that it might be too short and that the ending could be rushed, but it was paced well and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

When I started this book I was expecting more of a paranormal or supernatural mystery, but instead what I got was more of a contemporary story with religious or realistic magic. Stacey wasn't the kind of witch who can summon lightning from her fingertips, rather she uses candle magic and reads cards for divination. 

I really liked this aspect of the story. Most of the witch or magic books that I come across, especially in the young adult genre or range, are more mystical and based in the witches and warlocks of fairy tales and movies. I was surprised to find that the character actually practiced Wicca, because I rarely find Pagans or Neo-Pagans in YA books! 

The mystery itself, of who was targeting Drea, was suspenseful and interesting but to be honest, it didn't feel very original. I was also somewhat disappointed with the ending and who turned out to be the culprit. Their motive didn't make much sense to me, it seemed slightly over the top for the situation. I thought the villain seemed kind of stupid, actually, for thinking that they could get what they wanted through scaring Drea? I can't say much else with spoiling it. 

Between this book and Deadly Little Secret, I can say that I definitely enjoy the writing of Laurie Faria Stolarz. I will be looking for her books in the future, however, I won't be absolutely rushing to get the sequels. I feel like while I like her books, I'm not absolutely blown away. 

I recommend this book to people who want to read a more realistic or diverse portrayal of magic! If you want a YA mystery, you may enjoy this one.