Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: Mini Book Review

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake
TOR Teen Book
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2865-6
Suggested Ages: 13 + (just for gore factor)
Buy from Indigo

Description: Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life

The Good Stuff

  • Hooked me in from the first paragraph and it never let me go
  • Dark, macabre, spooky, eerie - yeah I know repetitive - but its been a while since I read what used to be my favorite type of book
  • Brilliant use of humour - the dark and twisted kind
  • Set in Thunder Bay (if you have ever been there, you know its a fab setting for a ghost story)
  • Gideon reminds me a little of Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Intriguing and unique story idea
  • Nothing stereotypical (You will get what I mean when you read)
  • Adults are not douche bags - in other words this will appeal to teens and adults
  • Intriguing and well developed realistic secondary characters
  • New favorite - could not wait to get to work to tell staff and customers all about it (yup now has the JR staff pick sticker)
  • FYI - Ms Blake - may fangirl you at BEA
The Not So Good Stuff
  • I was supposed to be cleaning my house damn you dark creepy book
  • Have a hard time dealing with romantic attachments between ghosts and the living (Hey I am a practical girl) but story is written so well I almost let go of this
  • The cat - you know what I mean Kendare - made me feckin cry (Sorry spoiler alert - too late)
Favorite Quotes/Passages

`My mom is there, chopping herbs for what may be dinner or might be one of her wide variety  of magic spells`` 

``I keep thinking of of nomadic native tribes, and how they could pack up an entire civilization in an hour to follow some buffalo. When did human beings start acquiring so much crap?``

`Walmart is a convenient place for the breathing, but I have never seen a ghost comparing prices on motor oil or trying to jimmy his way into the Xbox 360 game case.`

5 Dewey`s

I picked this up a long time ago and am finally getting to reading it - damn another one that I could have been telling my customers about long ago (yup and picked up the sequel tonight)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Mini Book Review

Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein
Doubleday Canada (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-385-67657-1
Buy from Indigo

Description: I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

The Good Stuff
  • Fresh, exciting a brilliant change of pace from what I have been reading in YA
  • You will bawl like a little baby & that is a good thing
  • Powerful, strong and realistic female characters that I would proud to have as a daughter
  • Good central message of friendship
  • So many twists and turns and excitement I never wanted to put it down - ok and I didn't that is why I am so tired tonight
  • I literally gasped - totally unexpected moment that crushed me
  • Really felt like I was with them on their journey, I was that emotionally invested in them
  • Nice bibliography at the end for further historical reading 
  • Will make teens want to learn more about this period of history
  • I can't wait to meet Ms Wein at BEA and tell her how much I loved this book - will definitely be promoting this at work, since there are always teens and parents wanting something that doesn't involve Vampires or Dystopian themes
  • Man I wish I had a friendship like this - well without that one situation - but if I told you I would be giving you a serious spoiler!!!
  • Ok kids I don't have the right words to express the wonderfulness of this book - go pick up a copy - you will thank me

The Not So Good Stuff
  • The writing style is jarring at first with Queenie telling her story in Maddie's voice -- but please keep with it - this story sucker punches you
Favorite Quotes

"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend"

"I hate you, Adolf Hilter, you selfish wee beastie of a man, keeping Germany all to yourself.  YOU RUIN EVERYTHING."

"Paul tried desperately to translate and the driver resisted taking advice from a Slip of a Lass or whatever the French is for Slip of a Lass, I'm sure the direct translation in any language is more or less "Featherbrain," as it's what I get called whenver I'm expected not to be able do do whatever it is -fly a plane, load a gun, make a bomb - fix a car - so we lost fifteen minutes arguing."

4.5 Dewey's

I picked up a copy of this at Chapters Shawnessy - no reason, just was intrigued by the description

Son by Lois Lowry: Mini Book Review

Son (The Giver #4)Lois Lowry
Houghton Mifflin
ISBN: 978-0-547-88720-3
Suggested Ages: 12+
Buy from Indigo

Description: They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil.

The Good Stuff
  • Beautiful hopeful ending to a fabulous series
  • Some honest truths and observations about life, love, sacrifice and family
  • After meeting with Lois Lowry and hearing her speech at the Children's Breakfast, I can see her strength and her love for her deceased son throughout the book
  • Claire is a intriguing character, I didn't always understand her actions, but they made sense for her
  •  Deals with the all consuming love you have for your children - as a mom this will impact you more
  • Ties all of the books together and you are left with the overwhelming feeling of hope that their world will change for the better - but without it feeling too neat or tidy
  • I still miss Matty - and when he is mentioned I teared up
  • Nice to see Jonas happy
  • Perfect book for class discussions and book clubs
-The Not So Good Stuff
  • I suggest reading the first three books before picking this up - otherwise you will be lost (I am glad I read the whole series very close together as it gave it much more of an impact)
  • A little too much detail about Claire's journey down the mountain
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"She would not let them take that from her, that feeling. If someone in authority noticed the error, if they delivered a supply of pills to her, she thought defiantly, she would pretend. She would cheat. But she would never, under any circumstances, stifle the feelings she had discovered. She would die, Claire realized, before she would give up the love she felt for her son."

"You won't ever know what that's like, to love someone, In a way I pity you."

4 Dewey's

I picked this up at BEA (Book Expo America) last year and am finally getting to it

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: Mini Book Review

The Graveyard Book 
by Neil Gaiman
ISBN: 978-0-06-053094-5
Suggested Ages: 10+
Buy from Indigo

Description: After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages

Mini Book Review: How does one review a classic? (Yes I know this book isn't a classic in the traditional sense of the word. ) How can one put into words the sheer delight one gets from a brilliant story without it doing it an injustice.  I have always been leery of  children's books that have been awarded literary prizes. Often they are more books adults enjoy than those of the intended audience. However, I had heard so many glowing reviews of this book I finally purchased a copy almost 10 months ago.  It's sat beside my bed since than glaring at me to read, but I couldn't do it as I had so many other books that had to be reviewed first.  Now, after finishing it I truly feel saddened that I hadn't read it sooner and been able to wax poetically about it to the customers of the Chapters I work at.  This is a book that will appeal to children of all ages (well maybe 9+ as it is dark and spooky and may freak out the more sensitive child - like my Jake).  It reminds me of the joy I used to get as a child losing myself in a fantastical tale.  It is written by a man who obviously remembers what it was like to be a child. It doesn't pander to the idea that children won't understand the darkness of life & should be shielded from death. This is a book that should be promoted in school as kids will read and want to talk about.  This is the type of book that should be used for class projects instead of that depressing crap about the prairies (yes I still have issues about this) This is the type of tale that will install in children the joy of the written word. Ok, enough, this is supposed to be a mini review - just go buy the damn thing for yourself and for your children.  I am keeping my copy for Jake for when he is ready for it. Mr Gaiman you are a truly gifted storyteller and I bow at your feet!

5 Dewey's

I purchased this from the Indigo at the Eaton Centre the day before I left Toronto

Saturday, May 18, 2013

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin: Mini Book Review

All These Things I've Done
by Gabrielle Zevin
Square Fish
ISBN: 978-0-374-30210-8
Suggested Ages: 13+
Buy from Indigo

Description: In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

The Good Stuff
  • Fast paced with plenty of twists to keep you intrigued
  • Fabulous dark and snarky humour
  • Intriguing strong female character with depth - really impressed with the character development
  • Interesting secondary characters
  • Liked the importance of family that is highlighted. Nice to see realistic and strong bond between Anya and her family
  • Virgin doesn't lose her virginity, even-though she is tempted, she really wants to wait until she is married (this is done in a non in your face preachy way)
  • Will definitely be picking up the next book (when it comes out in paperback later this year)
  • Mix between mafia, mystery and dystopian - very unique
  • Characters actions fit her personality - you don't always agree with her decisions/actions but you get why she does it
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Had a hard time dealing with the fact that chocolate and caffeine could make someone act like they were drunk
  • Would have liked more background on how the world became this way
  • Made me crave chocolate

4.25 Dewey's

Jen from work lent this to me and I didn't have to review (Thanks Jen I am glad you lent me this one)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: Mini Book Review

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan
ISBN: 9781443415781
Buy from Indigo

Description: The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore.

The Good Stuff
  • A truly unique (in a good way) tale that was totally unexpected as I had a different idea of what the book was about 
  • It deals with secret libraries and bookstores - um - hello, you can see why this one intrigued me
  • I don't want to give away spoilers but one of the settings was AWESOME -  please take me to a place like that  
  • A love story to the written word - no matter what the form
  • Lots of intrigue and mystery 
  • Tons of Geeky humour
  • Makes you think
The Not So Good Stuff
  • the characters were almost archetypical - I felt no emotional attachment to them as they didn't come across as real.
  • A little too slow paced
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I realize that the books I love most are like open cities, with all sorts of ways to wander in."

"A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time."

"We need James Bond with a library science degree."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  •  This would be a fabulous book for a book club or just to talk about over coffee or a glass of wine.
  • Fans of Douglas Copeland or Christopher Moore will feel a connection to this tale.  
  • Librarians will especially feel for this book as it deals with keeping the old yet embracing the new. The knowledge that technology will not destroy the written word. The two can and will work together
  • You love books/bookstores - this one is for you

4 Dewey's

I purchased this from Chapters Shawnessy because my HarperCollins reps waxed so poetically about it

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer

Nowhere but Home
by Liza Palmer
William Morrow (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-200747-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: A brilliant, hilarious, and touching story with a Texas twist from Liza Palmer, author of Conversations With The Fat Girl (optioned for HBO)

Queenie Wake, a country girl from North Star, Texas, has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup. Again. Now the only place she has to go is home to North Star. She can hope, maybe things will be different. Maybe her family's reputation as those Wake women will have been forgotten. It's been years since her mother-notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money-was killed. And her sister, who as a teenager was branded as a gold-digging harlot after having a baby with local golden boy Wes McKay, is now the mother of the captain of the high school football team. It can't be that bad…

Who knew that people in small town Texas had such long memories? And of course Queenie wishes that her memory were a little spottier when feelings for her high school love, Everett Coburn, resurface. He broke her heart and made her leave town-can she risk her heart again?

At least she has a new job-sure it's cooking last meals for death row inmates but at least they don't complain!

But when secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A fun-filled, touching story of food, football, and fooling around.

The Good Stuff
  • Totally enjoyed just losing myself in this lovely story about redemption, family, forgiveness, prejudice and hope
  • Full of unique, yet believable and interesting characters
  • Wonderful character development 
  • Liked the plot line that involved Queenie being a cook for last meals at a prison - could lead to some very interesting conversations
  • Makes you think 
  • I cried - I consider this a good thing as you feel an emotional attachment to a character - that my friends is a sign of a good story
  • Loved the humour in this one 
  • The type of story you don`t want to put down - not that it is non stop excitement - its just the type of story that you care about what is going to happen to these richly developed characters
  • Loved the relationship between Queenie and Merry
  • The type of book you want to hug when you are finished
  • Made me wonder if I could grant the wish of a convicted murderer - he or she was a child once - what made them become who they were? - do they deserve forgiveness? - do they deserve to get a final wish? - so many thoughts
  • Must read more by this author - have a feeling that I will enjoy her other works
  • Sad that others could judge children based on what their parents actions - and you know this happens in real life
  • No preaching about whether the death penalty is the right thing to do
  • Could have easily turned into a stereotypical small town caricature type of story but the author is truly gifted and instead you get something real
  • Strong realistic female characters

The Not So Good Stuff
  • A tad repetitive - nothing horrible - just some stronger editing would have given this a 5 instead of a 4.5
  • Made me crave Southern Cooking - I am trying to stay away from that stuff it is not good for me (yes this is made worse because my hubby is cooking ribs for his work and it smells divine in this house)
  • a wee bit predictable - but in this case it is ok - because you are so invested in the characters
Favorite Quotes/Passages

`` Food that`s good, but not  great enough to tolerate someone `being kind of a bitch`` is surely sweeping the Irish culinary world.``

``Fine. Maybe I was going to point out the tragedy  of One-Minute Wes being your only sexual experience. I mean what kind of whore are you?``

``We`re finally sinking in is the knowledge that their opinions only reflections of themselves and how unhappy they are in their own lives. I should know. I`ve spent years snarling at people because of how lonely I am.``

Who Should/Shouldn`t Read
  •  Must send this this review to Jennifer Estep - think she would enjoy
  • Anyone looking for a good character driven story that leaves you with the feeling of hope
  • Perfect for a vacation read
  • Those who like `chick lit`with heart - I don`t take the term chick lit as a negative thin - but lets face it guys aren`t going to get the appeal of this
4.5 Dewey`s

I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline
William Morrow
Buy from Indigo

Description A captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

The Good Stuff
  • Epic, its been a long time since I read a story like this. These used to be my favorite types of stories. Parallel stories told years apart, characters of different eras face the same prejudice and hardships - human nature never really seems to change.
  • Interesting story based on a little known piece of history
  • Was hooked in right away and didn't want to put it down
  • Heartbreaking and horrific at times because even though this is a fictional story it is based on fact and what some of these children had to go through is truly brutal
  • Loved the conversations between Molly and Vivian and would love to have more of the story
  • Makes me want to research more into the "Orphan Trains"

The Not So Good Stuff
  • The storyline that focused on Vivian was far better developed than that of Molly which is a shame. I found the Molly bits to be a bit jumpy
  • I wanted more - this was one of those stories that could have been much longer
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Do you believe in fate?" I ask.
'What's that again?"
"That everything is decided. You're just - you know - living it out."
"God has it all planned in advance."
I nod.
"I dunno. I don't like the plan much so far."
"Me either."

"No time," Vivian calls over her shoulder. "I'm old , you know. Could drop dead any minute. We've got to get going."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Great book for a reading at the cottage, on the beach or just about anytime you want to lose yourself in a great story
4 Deweys

I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

Hold Fast
by Blue Balliett
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-29988-6
Suggested Ages: 12+
Buy from Indigo

Description: From NYT bestselling author Blue Balliett, the story of a girl who falls into Chicago's shelter system, and from there must solve the mystery of her father's strange disappearance.

Where is Early's father? He's not the kind of father who would disappear. But he's gone . . . and he's left a whole lot of trouble behind.

As danger closes in, Early, her mom, and her brother have to flee their apartment. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to move into a city shelter. Once there, Early starts asking questions and looking for answers. Because her father hasn't disappeared without a trace. There are patterns and rhythms to what's happened, and Early might be the only one who can use them to track him down and make her way out of a very tough place.

The Good Stuff
  • Very unusual and truly unique
  • Fast paced and totally engrossing, I did not want to put it down
  • Early is a wonderful character that you cheer for and want to help
  • Heartbreaking, honest  and real
  • Focuses on the power of words, a love of language and the library world - of course I am going to love it
  • Highlights the plight that families that are homeless live through - the prejudice they fight, the lack of resources, help and understanding
  • Stays with you long after you finished reading
  • Stresses the importance of family and hope
  • Not in your face or preachy with the moral aspect of the story - just shows you what life can be like for those forced onto the street and into shelters - very impressive gift Ms Balliett
  • Will be looking for other works by this author as I was so impressed
  • Adding this to my Staff Picks at work
The Not so Good Stuff
  • Her writing style may put off the type of reader that would benefit the most
Favorite Quotes Passages

``Books are produced in batches, and the first printing is like the first batch of cookies from the oven. It`s the one everyone wants.``

``No one official seemed to be too concerned. It was almost, Early  thought, as if you weren`t 100 percent human when you came into the police station on the wrong side of the front desk. If you were upset, it was unreasonable. If you had a question, it could wait. Just the fact that you were there seemed like a strike against you. Right then Early made herself a promise: she wouldn`t be helpless, not ever, not if she could see a way out. She wouldn`t allow that to happen.  She could see that being helpless in a situation like this was dangerously close to becoming just less.``

``It`s so fun, like seeing a movie with popcorn, only better, because it stays in your head as long as you want it to and then you can go back and see parts of it again.``

Who Should Shouldn't Read
  • Would be perfect for a class read 
  • For anyone of any age with a love for the written word
  • The reluctant reader might have a hard time with this one which is a shame
4.75 Deweys

I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review (You KNEW I would love this one didn`t you Nikole)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem (Delirium #3)
by Lauren Oliver
ISBN: 978-0-06-201453-5
Suggested Ages: 12+
Buy from Indigo

Description: They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge

The Good Stuff
  • Perfect ending to a brilliant series
  • Exceptional character development - I detested Lena at the beginning of this trilogy and was disgusted with her acceptance of her life & ended up cheering and hoping for her
  • The ending is so wonderful. If Oliver never writes anything else about these characters you can be satisfied and left with a sense of hope. At the same time it leaves it open if she wants to write more she can - brilliant
  • Oliver is a gifted storyteller. Everything feels so very real and you are emotionally invested in the characters
  • Kept on the edge of my seat about what was going to happen
  • Really makes you think about love - at times it does feel like a disease - and maybe we would all be better without it -- but at the same time it is the thing that gives us purpose
  • Last page is beautiful and wise

The Not So Good Stuff
  • A little too angsty with the two love interests - hey I am old, this sort of thing irritates me at times
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Who knows? Maybe they're right. Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings. Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road. And in the end that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose."

"How can someone have the power to shatter you to dust - and also to make you feel so whole."

"I like seeing the Wilds this way: skinny, naked, not yet clothed in spring. But reaching, too, grasping and growing, full of want and thirst for sun that gets slaked a little bit more   every day.  Soon the Wilds will explode, drunk and vibrant."

"This is the strange way of the world, that people who simply want to love are instead forced to become warriors."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Obviously if you enjoyed the other two books in the trilogy,  you will love this
  • You have to read the other two stories first - won't make sense unless you do
5 Dewey's

I purchased this from Chapters Shawnessy because I read the rest of the series and loved it

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire
by Abigail Gibbs
William Morrow (HarperCollins)
ISBN: 978-0-06-224873-2
Buy from Indigo

Description: One moment can change your life forever...

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price...

The Good Stuff
  • Fabulous first chapter - it hooked me in. It was suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat
  • Unique take on the vampire genre
  • Some fabulous uses of humour
  • Love the cover 
  • Interesting idea that at least kept me reading even-though I really disliked all of the characters
  • See some potential in the writer. She is only 16 and wrote a book, that is pretty impressive. However, she needs more experience, not a book deal.  Again I am not a writer, so who am I to judge

The Not So Good Stuff
  • Kaspar is a dirt bag people. He is abusive, controlling and he threatens to rape Violet - hello this is not a "bad boy" this is a creap
  • Story jumps around so much I completely lost interest quite early on.  I refuse to give a dnf when a book is sent to me for review - but honestly I almost gave up a couple of times
  • Girly - seriously - Girly as a term of endearment - ick ick ick!
  • No one but the police and government know about vampires -- yeah, cause that really makes sense
  • character development is erratic.  One moment Lyla is an instant best friend and 30 second later she is a total jealous bitch - way too stereotypical for my tastes
  • This genre is awkward. Not really YA and not mature enough for fiction. This will be really difficult to sell.
  • Way too many questions and not enough answers - and honestly I really don't care because I am not emotionally invested in anyone
  • Sex scenes are not hot. After reading middle grade and teen I was looking forward to reading something a little bit passionate - but yeah, not so much
  • Vampires are how old - yet still act juvenile (Hell I am 42 and not mature -- but even I would not act that way)
  • Repetitive - this book could have used some serious editing
  • Sorry I am a Mom - if my child acted like Violet I would lock her in her room - seriously this is not a healthy relationship -- this is not romance people - this is abusive
  • Nothing really makes any sense -- Violet is a vegetarian - but barely reacts when her love interest kills a girl with no guilt
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Twenty-four hours ago I would have laughed at that thought. Vampires were works of fiction meant to frighten children. Vampires were mythical creatures girls drooled over. They weren't made to be real."

"And if you are thinking of bumping me off, feeding me garlic bread will just make my breath smell; buying me a necklace with a cross on it will just make me look religious; and giving me a shower in holy water will make me smell very pleasant."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • Um -  if you liked the Twilight series, 50 Shades of Grey or Beautiful Disaster - you probably will enjoy this one
  • Yeah -  if you like your heroines strong and your love interest not a potential rapist - I guarantee you will not enjoy this

2 Dewey's

I received this from William Morrow in exchange for an honest review -- sorry guys I had to be honest

Whatever After: If the shoe Fits by Sarah Mlynowski

Whatever After: If the shoe Fits
by Sarah Mlynowski
ISBN: 978-0-545-41567-5
Suggested Ages: 8-12
Buy from Indigo

Description:Once upon a time my brother and I found a magic mirror….

Tonight the mirror swept us into Cinderella's fairy tale. Now, we are NOT messing this story up. No way. Cinderella is going to marry her prince just like she's supposed to.


Cinderella broke her foot, and there's massive swelling. The glass slipper won't fit, the prince won't know she's the one for him, and they won't live happily ever after. And it's all our fault!

To save the day we'll need to:

• Learn how to use a dustpan
• Stay out of jail
• Find Cinderella a job
• Make sure true love finds its way

We just have to get it all done before the clock strikes twelve and the chance for a happy ending is gone... forever!

The Good Stuff
  • Great opening paragraph - the type of book that will hook the reader away
  • Quirky fun humour
  • Fast paced, even the most reluctant of readers will not get bored
  • Likeable heroine that will appeal to the middle school girl
  • Nice messages about not needing a prince to save you
  • Nice development in the story - just a little bit of information to keep you interested and wondering what is going to happen next
  • a fun twist on the fractured fairy tale genre

The Not So Good Stuff
    • Come on - throw me a  bone here - need to know more about Maryrose
     Favorite Quotes/Passages

    "I have a magic mirror in my basement and I'm going to use it."

    "How comes the mother always dies in fairy tale?" (Jen's Note: I've been asking this for decades!)

    "Yikes. Even if my parents never bother using it. I have never felt more thankful for our washer and dryer in my entire life."

    Who Should/Shouldn't Read
    • Perfect series for reluctant middle school girl readers
    • Fans of Meg Cabot's middle school books will adore this series
    • Those who enjoy strong girl characters who don't need a boy
    4 Dewey's

    I received this from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review