Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blog Tour: Brunswick by Ann Haines

When Jonathan wakes up beside a lake bruised and bleeding, he has no idea how he got there or where “there” really is. He must try to remember how he ended up in this place and why. 
When he meets Grace and a group of people that seem to want to help him, he is thrown in to a world that he doesn’t know. Haunted by visions and voices in his head, Jonathan soon realises that this world isn’t as safe as he’d hoped. 
Taken from his life and asked to save a land he knows nothing about, from a menacing hooded figure, Jonathan must learn quickly to survive. As he struggles to stay alive long enough to get home he is faced with a deadly choice, Join It or Die. And when it becomes clear that so many would do anything to kill him he must stay close to those who would kill for him. 
To stay alive and get home he must face the one thing he never wanted to, the figure in black. And when the hood comes down Jonathan is faced with a revelation that could break him and destroy everything he has fought for.
My Review:
Brunswick followed a regular teen, Jonathan, on his journey into a magical world of the same name. It was a charming tale, for anyone who is a fan of fantasy, heroes, and especially imagination.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Every character was likeable, and Jonathan was the epitome of a wholesome hero. One of my favorite things was meeting all the creatures that lived in Brunswick. I'm not going to spoil them for you, but they were creatures/animals I can guarantee you haven't seen in any other fiction! 

Imagination was a big role in this book. The whole story ran on it. The plot twists were totally unexpected, and so clever. The morals that came out at the end were also heartwarming, and the epilogue sealed my love of this book. 

The cover kind of makes it look like a horror novel, but it's totally the opposite! I recommend this to anyone who is up for a bit of fantasy fun. (:

About The Author:

Ann Haines is a debut writer from the South East of England. She is a married mother of two, a horror movie buff, Tweeter, Blogger and a self-confessed geek............... and GLEEK (much to her sons annoyance).

She has been writing from an early age and even took to illustrations as she went through her teenage years. Although she still sketches as a hobby she now prefers to focus on her writing. At nineteen she became a mother and had to put her writing on hold for a more lucrative job to support her and her son, as it was just the two of them. She never gave up the idea of becoming a writer though and when her son was four he gave her the idea for what is now her first book 'Brunswick'.

After two and half years of writing her book and researching the self-publishing industry, Ann's book 'Brunswick' was published on Amazon. She became part of the Indie Publishing community that she loves and is widely involved in. Over the years she has had many ideas for her work and so we can expect to see much more of this new Indie Author.

Author's Links:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Joint Review: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)
The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Pages: 438
Publisher: Little, Brown
Published: July 17th, 2012
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
Kim's Review:

A few days ago, I read The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. Now, I absolutely love Chris, so obviously I was excited to read his book - I even stayed up until midnight on the day of its release so I can start reading it on my Nook. After reading the first couple of chapters, I was sucked into the story of Alex and Conner Bailey and found it difficult to stop reading.

While it's about 500 pages long, The Land of Stories is ultimately a children's book, so it is a little predictable and not as complex as some YA books. However, there were a few times that I was caught completely off-guard by a plot twist. The plot is really original, and I love Chris's style of writing. Although the main characters, Conner and Alex, are a few years younger than me, I still felt like I could relate to both of them.

Almost every chapter ended in a cliffhanger and kept me begging for more. Like I said before, it's a children's book, but I think that anyone can enjoy it whether they're eight or eighteen or maybe even eighty! Even if you may not like these kinds of books, I really recommend that you give it a chance. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Charlotte's Review:

The Land of Stories was a delightful tale for anyone who ever enjoyed any fairy tale whatsoever. Even when our favorite tales ended, they were still continuing in this world. For example, Cinderella is pregnant and the Evil Queen is in Snow White's dungeon. Alex and Conner were realistic children who had to track down some impossible items, and reading about their journey was really fun.

First off, this book is gorgeous. I loved the map-insert that was before the title page. I pulled it out all the time, and scanned it while reading. Honestly, it was distracting! The illustrations at the beginning of every chapter reminded me of Harry Potter. So, if you need a book to put on display, this one is for you!

Even though it was a Middle Grade novel, there were some raunchy innuendos every once in a while. (Most often there were a part of Conner's dialogue.) I doubt younger children would realize them though. I found some of them funny too, and I could really see Chris' humor coming out and that personalized the novel. The plot twists were somewhat predictable, and there were very cheesy romance moments.

The beginning starts off with some sad memories, but the children developed over the course and at the end were happy. This change was clear, and I got teary at the end because it was so easy to be swayed by their happiness. I can not wait until the next book!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: Beach Blondes by Katherine Applegate

Beach Blondes: June Dreams, July's Promise, August Magic (Summer)
Beach Blondes by Katherine Applegate
Pages: 720
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: May 6th, 2008 

My Review:

This book borders on three stars. Beach Blondes is a compound of three books originally written in 1995. It was a fun, cheesy and somewhat dumb summer read. Perfect for hot days when all you're doing is drinking iced tea on the porch.

Beach Blondes follows Summer Smith, (and pretty much every character gets a bit of their POV at least once) a simple girl from Minnesota who has come down to Florida to stay with her aunt and cousin for the summer. On the plane ride a woman reads her future with tarot cards, and Summer is told she'll meet three guys. The dangerous guy, the mysterious guy, and the right guy. Ensues is a wild summer she will never forget.

I definitely felt like a loser at some points, when I realized how little activity I was doing compared to these girls. That's not a good feeling for the reader, so I did take that into account. You should want to be friends with the characters, in a summer/romance novel like this. You shouldn't feel less than them. This feeling didn't really bother me though, because I wasn't a fan of any of the characters! They were all annoying, to put it blatantly. Summer (the main protagonist) was okay at first, but in the third book she seemed to have developed into a worse version of herself. Her logic was screwy and the way she acted around guys (*cough* Sean & Seth) was pathetic and unadmirable. On a side note and somewhat unrelated one, when your boyfriend calls you pathetic, you do not agree! (MARQUEZ, I'M LOOKING AT YOU.)

As for the cheesiness, (e.g. Lianne's revenge plot) it didn't really affect the book overall. It was cute at some points, like Seth and Summer's romance. The aspects that really saved the book for me were the climaxes and resolutions. Whenever I started to get annoyed or disgruntled, something would happen and save me from abandoning the 700+ pages. Because it was three books originally, the little surprising points were spaced out perfectly. Katherine Applegate is very good at writing plot twists you never saw coming, but gave you 'OH!' moments afterward. They saved the book for me.

I'll probably read the rest of the series, although I only recommend it to the people who don't mind spending several days reading this book. It took me nearly a week to read Beach Blondes, and I can normally finish a 200-300ish page book in less than two days. If you are willing to take your time, I do think you'll enjoy this book!    

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mylnowski

Summary: 2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house - parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.
Review: This book was better than I expected it to be! Okay to start off, I don't usually go for books like this. I only started to really get in to chick lit/contemporary YA books after reading Anna and The French Kiss. Back to this book though. I loved it!
To sum up this book, April is a girl who is living with her Dad in Westport. Since her Dad got a new and "better" job, they are moving to Cleveland. April is opposed to this and makes it clear to her Dad that she does not want to move. She does not want to leave behind her life here with her boyfriend, Noah and her friends Vi and Marissa. Suddenly, April comes up with a brilliant plan. She decides to move in with her best friend Vi. After lying about a few things, about ten to be exact, her Dad lets her move in with Vi. And then her adventures start to unfold. 

The characters for the most part were good. Each of them were interesting. I don't know why but I really liked Vi and Dean's playful kind of relationship. During the whole book I wished that one day I could do what April was doing. (cough Char and Kim cough). It sounds like so much fun! I would never be able to pull it off as great as they did though. 

I loved the way this book was written as well. I don't know how to describe it but there were some flashbacks but it actually made the book better in a way. Believe it or not, towards the middle and end of this book I was actually surprised. This book has everything you would want in a contemporary young adult book. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Summary: When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night - dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows her. Margo's always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she's always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they're for Q. Printz Medalist John Green returns with the trademark brilliant wit and heart-stopping emotional honesty that have inspired a new generation of readers.

I've been a fan of John Green's books ever since I first picked up Looking for Alaska a year or so ago. I love his writing as well as his vlogs on YouTube, so naturally, I was excited to read Paper Towns.

This book is divided into three parts: The Strings, The Grass, and The Vessel. As you read in the summary above, the first part is about a night where Margo Roth Spiegelman, Quentin's old childhood friend, takes him on a trip in the middle of the night where they perform various pranks, from breaking into houses to get revenge to breaking into Seaworld just for fun. This is the first time Margo and Quentin have "hung out" in years, and Quentin finds that what he thought was just a crush on the mysterious girl could be love.

The next morning, Margo goes missing. This isn't the first time, though; she always took off to go "exploring" and came back a few days later. Whenever she left, she would leave little, hard-to-find hints about where she was going. Now that Quentin felt closer to her after the previous night, he becomes determined to find her. So along with his friends Radar, Ben, and Lacey, he searches her house, the state, and practically the country for her. However, while continuing the search and figuring out clues, they find that Margo could be an entirely different person than who they had thought her to be.

I found the first two parts of this book a bit slow-moving. I also thought the plot was really similar to Looking for Alaska: Both are narrated by a boy who falls in love with a quirky, unique teenage girl. Something tragic happens to the girl. The boy and his friends spend the rest of the book searching for answers.

In the third part, however, it finally picked up and I couldn't stop reading. I was up until about two in the morning last night finishing this book. Despite the doubts I'd had about the book early on, it redeemed itself in the last hundred or so pages. While I don't think Paper Towns is John Green's best, it is definitely worth reading. The only problems I had with this book were that the plot seemed recycled at first and that I thought some of the characters were underdeveloped. 

In the end, however, I would give this book 3.5/5 stars. The writing is fantastic - the metaphors and clues really made me think sometimes - and the ending is very bittersweet. There are also a few lines that made me laugh out loud.

Paper Towns is a story that tells how our perceptions of people can be very different from who they really are. It's an interesting read, although I would definitely recommend checking out some of John Green's other books before judging him as a writer since this isn't his best piece.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

In My Mailbox #10

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by the Story Siren! It's an opportunity to showcase what books you have purchased, borrowed from the library, etc throughout the week.

Here's what I've picked up from my library this week:

2 Norse Mythology books (Thor has spiked my interest. . .)
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

What have you received this week?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Follow Friday #7

After taking a break from doing this meme, I'm back! (: This week's question is:

Q: Jumping Genres: Ever pick up a book from a genre you usually don’t like and LOVE it? Tell us about it and why you picked it up in the first place.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
Genre: Comedy

It's not that I dislike comedy, just that I'd rather spend my time reading something else! I'm a big fan of The Office, and that's what led me to read Mindy's book. I loved reading about her crazy stories, and I found that I related to a lot of them. I can't wait to watch Mindy's new TV show this fall, although that has nothing to do with what 'm talking about now! 

What about you?

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Hi everyone! My name is Kim and I'm a new member of the blog. I'm probably a stranger to most of you, so here's a bit about me. I'm fourteen years old and will be a freshman in high school in the fall. Obviously, I love books, and I'll read just about anything.

I'm extremely excited to start reviewing on here and I'm definitely looking forward to getting to know everyone! I'd also like to give a huge thank you to Char and Marissa for letting me be a part of this blog. Until next time! :)


Review: Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Shooting Stars
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
Published: February 28th, 2012
Publisher: Walker
Pages: 272 (Paperback)

My Review:

I loved this book! With such an interesting basis, Shooting Stars is unlike any other book I've read before. A paparazza protagonist who is snapping pictures undercover? Yeah, I thought so, you can't think of any other book like this one.

Jo is a regular teen, besides being one of the youngest (and best) paparazzi in the business. When she's offered a job to go undercover at a retreat facility to take pictures of one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, Ned Hartnett, Jo feels dirty. But she needs to the money, even if it means betraying the one celebrity that was ever nice to her.

I really don't have anything bad to say about this book. It kept me glued to its pages, and I loved every word. The plot twists were totally unpredictable, but in a good way! The author left coy hints to an upcoming event, but I didn't pick them up until it actually happened. I bet if you reread the book, you'd have a few 'Oh!' moments.

The only reason that it isn't one of my favorites, is because it wasn't knock-down-your-friend's-house-to-recommend-it kind of book. Some feeling was missing that I can't explain. It wasn't obsession-worthy.

On a completely unrelated note, isn't this cover gorgeous? I kept looking at it even if I was in the middle of a chapter . . .

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of young adult fiction! (:

Review: Starling by Lesley Livingston

Starling (Starling, #1)
Starling by Lesley Livingston
Release: August 28th, 2012
Pages: 352
Publisher: Harper Teen
My Source: ARC

My Review:

Imagine every myth, every goddess, god, and beast--rolled into one. What do you get? This book. The basis mythology is Norse, but there is Greek and Egyptian too. It was an AMAZING read for someone like me, who loves mythology.

Starling's protagonist is Mason Starling, a teenager who goes to the exclusive Gosforth Academy in NY. She's also a champion fencer, and her dad is extremely rich with an underground train that brings the family to and fro. Nice life? Not so much, when a tree comes crashing into the brand new Gosforth gym and with it comes a naked Fennrys Wolf--a regular-looking kid like her, except he can't remember anything besides that interesting name and some creatures that look like demons from Hell, Mason's life changes for the worst.

I really didn't expect to fall in love with this book. The cover is kind of bland in my opinion, but the words really made me understand it. Oh boy, I devoured this book. (As much as I could while still devoting six waking hours to school..) No chapter was boring, and the action scenes were well placed out so that it wasn't all action and no development. Fenn got more interesting as time went on, and I really rooted for Mason and Fenn. All the side characters were equally as important as the main characters, and Mason's family was the most interesting dysfunctional bunch of them all!

The only reason I have a star knocked off--it's really close to be five stars--was that things came way too easy to the characters. Fennrys forgot some vital piece of information? He remembers it exactly when he needs to! It was extremely unrealistic, and it happened more than once. But as you see, it didn't matter that much to me and I got over it!

Oh my goodness, WHAT A CLIFFHANGER!!!! It feels like I'll have to wait forever until the next one, which isn't even on Goodreads yet!! *sigh*

I recommend this to ANYONE who likes mythology. Unless you have an extreme distaste for it, I think you'll really enjoy this book!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Hello everyone, Marissa here! Again, I apologize for my absence but now that it is summer and I have less end of the year stress, I can finally start doing more book reviews on here and our channel. Here is a review of a book I recently finished

Summary:  It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Review: This book is amazing. I am writing this literally seconds after finishing it. Let me start by telling you that this book is a bit slow at points, but I urge you to stick with it. Some times in the book are confusing, but as you read on everything makes sense. This is such a sad but beautiful story. 

I must say, one of the things I loved the characters. I fell in love with Hans Hubbermann. Hans, you are one flawless human being. Liesel was also a great character. She was one of those characters that I enjoyed reading about and seeing her as she grew up as the story progressed. And lastly, Rudy. Rudy, Rudy, Rudy. I have nothing more to say. 

I loved the relationships between the characters too. Especially Liesel and Max's relationship. It was so cute and beautiful. I absolutely loved reading the parts with both of them together. I also loved Liesel's relationship with Hans because he is just so caring for her. Rudy and Liesel's relationship was also a favorite. I loved how they teased each other and how much their friendship grew.

This book is unique in the way it is narrated by Death. That was also one of the things I loved about this book. I loved the style of the writing in this book and this book being narrated by Death contributed to my love for it. 

I never thought I would love a book on such a sad topic in history, but this is a book that i recommend to everyone. This is one of those books that I will never forget and trust me, if you read this book, it is going to be one that you won't forget either.