Source: Bought

The Summer After You and Me

14 Apr, 2017 by in 2015, YA fiction Leave a comment

The Summer After You and Me

The Summer After You and Me

by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 5, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
three-half-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the BookGoodreads
Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

I was really excited to read this one because I visited the New Jersey coastal towns after hurricane Sandy. Our roots are from the area, and when the author mentioned the small town in her story it made it all worth it. The descriptions of  the town and venues give the book a local summer flavor. There were a few sketchy things for me as a reader, however.

-the relationship between Lucy and her friends as well as her brother Liam. It seems she was left alone quite a bit and her best friends and family pick the wrong side.

-the “F” word is thrown in and is out of place. The story could have been told without language

-Main interest Connor needs some more redeeming qualities besides being cute and charming. I found his character lacking

-The point of view switched too much form past to present for readers to really catch up and understand what happened between Connor and Lucy

The good?

-Lucy wants to be a marine biologist. She is smart, studies and is writing a thesis on marine animals. She’s down to earth and works hard

-Volunteer work is highlighted and encouraged

-The geography and scenery of New Jersey is woven in

-Not too heavy for a summer beach read that can be finished in one day.

 

Content: drinking, swearing

 

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The False Prince Review

23 Mar, 2017 by in fantasy, scholastic, ya fantasy Leave a comment

The False Prince Review

The False Prince

by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: Ascendance Trilogy #1
Published by Scholastic on April 1, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 355
Format: Paperback
five-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the BookGoodreads

This book is chock-full of action, suspense, and humor! With twists and turns in the plot, I could hardly put it down. Each character had completely different strengths and weaknesses. Sage’s dry humor and sarcastic remarks kept the mood from becoming too foreboding. With Conner’s mysterious plan and Sage’s shadowy past, the reader has to continually guess what will happen next.

The False Prince is also a coming-of-age novel. Sage has to refine his character by decreasing his arrogance and leaving some things unsaid. He is my favorite character because he won’t give in to anyone and intelligently takes note of small details that ultimately save him. The suspense in the plot only resolves at the very end, so the reader has to keep reading to find out what happens. I would recommend this book to ages 12 and above or anyone that wants to be pulled into a complex story.

-Kaykay, 15

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Destined For Doon Review

22 Mar, 2017 by in fantasy, harper collins Leave a comment

Destined For Doon Review

Destined For Doon

by Carey Corp, Lorie Langdon
Published by BlinkYA on September 2, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 346
Format: Hardcover
four-half-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the BookGoodreads
The second book in the popular new Doon YA series that takes on a classic story, Brigadoon, and spins it in a new way to give readers a fresh, modern experience.

In this sequel to Doon, Kenna Reid realizes she made a horrible mistake-choosing to follow her dreams of Broadway instead of staying in the enchanted land of Doon. Worse, she's received proof she and Duncan are meant to be, along with torturous visions of the prince she left behind. So when Duncan shows up and informs Kenna that Doon needs her, she doesn't need to think twice. But even if Kenna can save the enchanted kingdom, her happily ever after may still be in peril.

The Doon novels are a part of Blink, HarperCollins Christian Publishing's new YA imprint that delivers empowering and heartening literature while maintaining a tradition of imaginative and impactful storytelling.

Another high-action adventure, Destined for Doon is an excellent sequel to the first book, Doon, by authors Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon. This book was very fast paced and kept me entertained the entire read. Something I didn’t care for in the book however, was the relationship development between two main protagonists, Mackenna and Duncan. Almost all interactions between them were very strained, and the conflict grew to a point where it was  uncomfortable and at times made for an unpleasant experience. If the authors were trying to convey the pain that comes with a broken relationship, they definitely succeeded. Aside from that, this book was an excellent read. It kept my interest with intrigue and suspense, and lightened the dark fate facing Doon with the bright humor of Kenna and Veronica. I would recommend this book to any girl 14 and up. I wouldn’t really recommend this to boys, as a good portion of the book is romance and may not hold their attention. Suspenseful, enthralling, and filled with the magic of Scotland’s Brig ‘O’ Doon, Destined for Doon will entrance it’s readers.

-Avid Aviary Reader, 15

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By Your Side by Kasie West

14 Feb, 2017 by in contemp, kasie west, YA fiction Leave a comment

By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side

by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen on January 31, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the BookGoodreads
In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Kasie West is one of my go to authors for YA contemp. By Your Side features two high school students locked in the local library together. One by choice, the other not so much. The plot takes a while to progress as both characters are guarded. But, once it gets going after the lock in, there is a lot to love. I enjoyed the coming of age and progression both Dax and Autumn have to go through. Autumn suffers from an anxiety disorder which is inhibiting her everyday life, Dax, a foster child who has led a rough life. Both are perfectly flawed and learning to navigate their trials.

A clean teen read with some kissing and chemistry, this one is a great pick for Valentine’s Day! It teaches the importance of finding who you are and following your heart regardless of pressure from friends. about_ the_author
I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, and BY YOUR SIDE. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson. _DSC6406

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Timepiece by Myra McEntire

24 Oct, 2016 by in myra mcentire, young adult Leave a comment

Timepiece

by Myra McEntire
Series: Hourglass #2
Published by Egmont on June 12, 2012
Genres: Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 325
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the BookGoodreads
A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking.

Kaleb Ballard was never supposed to be able to see ripples - cracks in time. Are his powers expanding, or is something very wrong? Before he can find out, Jonathan Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, reappears. Why is he back, and what, or whom, does he want?

In the wake of Landers' return, the Hourglass organization is given an ultimatum. Either they find Landers and the research he has stolen on the people who might carry the time gene, or time will be altered - with devastating results for the people Kaleb loves most.

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Landers. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...

Why I Chose This Book:
I wanted a novel based in Tennessee. It has been several years since I read Hourglass, book one in the series, but I remember how much I loved it. Myra McEntire is an amazing author, the covers are perfect.

What I Loved:
The main characters are each struggling with conflict in their lives. Alcoholism, mental health, feeling needed, trust issues. They are overcoming their weaknesses one day at a time. The Hourglass novels have an interesting premise of time travel mixed with physics and individual paranormal gifts. Both male and female readers will be pulled in.

What I Would Change:
Read these books in succession. It’s hard picking back up on the series after five years. I had forgotten a lot of the plot line. There are some light horror-like moments which I didn’t like, but I’m not a fan of anything scary ;0

Overall:
Oh, Myra McEntire how I have missed this series! I ordered book number three so I can continue on Kaleb and Emerson’s adventure. Why did I wait so long?

Parental Content:
Swearing, drinking, moderate violence, heavy kissing and reference to sex.

About the Author

Myra McEntire knows the words to every R&B hit of the last decade, but since she lives in Nashville, the country music capital of America, her lyrical talents go sadly unappreciated. She’s chosen, instead, to channel her “mad word skills” into creating stories. She’s an avid Doctor Who fan and will argue passionately about which incarnation is the best.

You can visit her online at myramcentire.com.

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Wanderlost by Jen Malone~ Breview

01 Jun, 2016 by in harperteen, YA book reviews, YA contemporary 1 comment

Wanderlost

by Jen Malone
Published by Harper Teen on May 31, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
three-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the Book
Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe. A romantic and charming YA debut perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

 

Why I Chose This Book- Title and cover. Who doesn’t want to get away and wander for summer?

Family Relationships- Healthy and evolving. I really liked how the parents were involved and present. Neither family was perfect, but they were making improvements. There was a strong sisterly bond and grandmother, grandson care taking relationship.

Setting- Europe! You don’t get much dreamier than that! Unfortunately, it felt like the author was telling me about the places instead of showing me through sights, smells and tastes. I just finished reading Love and Gelato, another contemp YA, so I had fresh in my mind what Italy was like. Wanderlost didn’t take me away to the places described.

Bothersome- As a reader, I had a hard time believing Aubree’s parents would let her stay in Europe after she is busted. Not likely. Also, there is the token LGBT character which, to be honest, came out of nowhere and was not actively involved in the plot in any way.

What I Liked- The phone conversations between Sam and Aubree were perfect and I wish they would have continued for a while longer. They have a great chemistry. Sam is my favorite of the bunch. He’s humble, cheerful, self confident and home schooled. I love that we are starting to see more home schooled (and normal) main characters in YA.

Content- (highlight to reveal) Lots of kissing and some heavy making out in a hotel room, underage drinking

 

 

about_ the_author
Jen Malone once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on Stevie Nicks’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. She is a former Hollywood film publicist and current college professor who lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children and (someday, when she wears her husband down) a pet hedgehog.

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson ~ Review

18 May, 2016 by in Morgan Matson, The Unexpected Everything Leave a comment

The Unexpected Everything

by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 519
Format: Hardcover
three-half-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the BookGoodreads
From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

Let’s face it, I picked this one up because of the cover. Summer, ice cream truck and a yellow spine. Andie’s father is a congressman who is being investigated for fraud in his office and has to take a break from their high profile life while they clear his name. Politics has strained his relationship with his daughter, especially since they both lost Addie’s mother to ovarian cancer. They are used to having a campaign manager and intern following them around at all times, a blackberry ringing with texts and the press scrutinizing their every move. Life shifts when neither knows how to fulfill their new role as a father and daughter team instead of passing ships. To make matter more complicated, Addie’s internship at a medical program is cancelled once the dean hears of her father’s fall from political grace. So what is she to do…all the good job are taken! Walk dogs.

After a literal run in with a dog owner, she secures a job walking for Clark, a best- selling teen author. He’s geeky, down to earth and a bit damaged by his own strained relationship with his father. Addie has to learn to let down her guard and be herself, while Clark has to learn how to relate to a new pack of instant friends that come along with his new girlfriend. I had a hard tome telling the four girls apart at times, though the side story of one of them having to use only emojis to communicate was fun. The side BFF’s felt a bit flat for a book over 500 pages long. The only other part that gave me angst was Addie’s flings with Topher, the son of a Senator in her neighborhood. I am sad the two of them never developed more than a kiss and don’t tell friendship. The arc of father and daughter depth was excellent, by the end family relationships had been mended and priorities put in the right place. Exploring boundaries, healing families and what to do when life shifts unexpectedly, The Unexpected Everything is a great summer read!

Content– highlight to reveal drinking, teens making out and pushing boundaries

 

 

 Author Bio

Hi! I’m Morgan. (I’ve always found the third-person biography thing pretty weird.)

I write YA novels, usually about a girl, a summer, a boy, sometimes a dog, and always lots of coffee and ice cream. I love road trips and traveling, old black & white movies filled with repartee, summers, Starbucks, and fountain diet coke.

I’m originally from the East Coast, but I now live in Los Angeles with my dog Murphy, in a house I wish was closer to the beach.

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See How They Run Embassy Row #2 by Ally Carter

17 May, 2016 by in ally carter, embassy row, see how the run Leave a comment

See How They Run

by Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row #2
Published by Scholastic on December 22, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the BookGoodreads
Inside every secret, there's a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions--from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter.

Grace's past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.

Grace is experiencing trauma from the death of her mother and can only remember bits and pieces of the event she witnessed. Her memories are muddled but all lead to a scar faced man who seems to now be following her. Spending time in Adria with her grandfather, a diplomat on Embassy Row, she’s afraid she is literally going mad. Her friends Noah and Alexi are there to hold things together when she unravels, but the anxiety and flashbacks are coming on stronger and more frequently. A plot driven, action packed story, See How They Run is riddled with past tradition, secret societies and murder. I’ve struggled a bit with this series because it is so much darker than anything else Ally has written. I put it down at one point, then came back after a break to finish it out.

Oh the ending!

You will definitely want to read book one to be able to decipher all that is going on. There are many layers to the story and the cliffhanger left me needing book three! I enjoyed the dynamic between Grace and her brother as well as the sparks. I would recommend the series for older teens as there is some violence and the tone is more dark than the Gallagher Girls or Heist Society series. There may also be some triggers for teens experiencing PTSD or anxiety. There is lots of history woven in to the backstory and I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds.

Author Bio

I was born and raised in Oklahoma. My mother was a teacher and my father a farmer and rancher. I have one older sister.

In high school, I was very active in a number of student organizations and graduated as co-valedictorian of my senior class. I then attended Oklahoma State University and Cornell University and worked for several years in the agricultural industry before writing full-time.

My first novel, Cheating at Solitaire (Berkley) was published in 2005. The following year I published the sequel to Solitaire, Learning to Play Gin. There are no more plans for future books in that series at this time.

My first novel for young adults, I’d Tell You I Love You but Then I’d Have to Kill You was published by Disney-Hyperion in April 2006. Love You Kill You (as we call it) was followed by Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (October 2007), Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover (June 2009), Only the Good Spy Young (June 2010), Out of Sight, Out of Time (March 2012). United We Spy (September 2013) is the sixth–and final–Gallagher Girls novel.

I am also the author of Heist Society (February 2010) and its sequels Uncommon Criminals (June 2011), and Perfect Scoundrels (February 2013).

In January 2013 I published the cross-over novella Double-Crossed that features characters from both the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. It is available for free at spiesandthieves.com and wherever ebooks are sold.

ALL FALL DOWN is the first book in my new Embassy Row series. It was published on January 20, 2015 and will launch a new three-book series with Scholastic.

My books have been published in more than twenty countries and have appeared on best-seller lists from the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, and Bookscan. They have sold over two million copies in the United States.

I am one of the luckiest people in the world, and today, I’m able to do the job I wanted to do when I was a kid, and I am back living in Oklahoma.

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Finding Your Roots~ TV Series DVD Review

22 Dec, 2014 by in Finding Your Roots, movie review, PBS, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Finding Your Roots~ TV Series DVD Review

Finding Your Roots

on July 17, 2012
Genres: Adult, Non- Fiction
four-stars
Source: Bought
Buy the Book
The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of this 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates. Continuing on the quest begun in his previous projects, African American Lives, African American Lives 2 and Faces of America, Gates finds new ways to, as he says, "get into the DNA of American culture." He takes viewers along for the journey with one celebrity pair bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link. And he treks through layers of ancestral history to uncover the secrets and surprises of their family trees.

Gates' guest pairings include...
- Award-winning husband-and-wife actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, who are revealed to be distant cousins;
- New Orleans jazz masters and close friends Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis, whose European immigrant ancestors made very different choices in the slave-era South;
- Spiritual leaders Angela Buchdahl, Yasir Qadhi and Rick Warren, whose ancestors' paths to America were shaped by religious convictions; and
- Education superstar Geoffrey Canada and media legend Barbara Walters, who both rediscover family histories long obscured by forgotten name changes.

Gates shares the findings with each guest and travels with them as they process what they've learned. He accompanies musician John Legend to a rock concert, goes backstage on Broadway with Samuel L. Jackson, joins Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker as he reveals the root-seeking results to his parents, and trails Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Geoffrey Canada to memorable family reunions.

The series searches through several branches of the American past, leaving audiences all the more curious about their own background and eager to unearth their own family roots.

This DVD features subtitles in English (SDH)

I’ve spent the last two months watching episodes of Who Do You Think You Are?, so when I heard there was another genealogical series, this one put out by PBS, I wanted to give it a try. My family purchased the 3 disk series for me off of Amazon. I sat down to watch seasons 1 & 2 in marathon fashion. I enjoyed the narrator Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He is charming and well educated. However, about five episodes in, I started noticing a heavy handed slavery theme. It seems to me there is a definite political message over portrayed in each person’s family tree.

Gates wanted to track down any ancestor of each guest that owned slaves or participated in the civil war. At first, it was interesting, but then it got to be too much. Particularly political for me was the episode with Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon. On previous shows, many ordinary black citizens volunteered to have their ethnicity tested by 23and me. They were each asked to estimate in advance how African American, Native American or European they thought they really are. In this instance, the show took the 23andme DNA results folders into a High School classroom. Gates then proceeded to teach the students about the founding fathers and how they owned slaves.  I was not happy about the indoctrination and revisionist history theme, as well as having minors participate in discussing their DNA testing results on the spot in front of their peers at school. This was way over the top. I was watching the series with my family and as a mother, I would not want this happening in an every day classroom in America.

There is a strong message of “things are not what they seem” and color lines are blurry. Good message, but very persistent delivery. Overall, interesting look at paper trail and genetic genealogy, but I would not recommend watching the discs back to back. Watch them one at a time :)

Content: mild swearing “bleeped out”, civil war and civil rights violence and blood

My favorite episode thus far is one that is still available online.

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Decoding Our Past Through DNA… Secrets encoded in their genomes challenge these guests’ ideas about their families’ histories and their identities today. This episode features Jessica Alba, Anderson Cooper, Valerie Jarrett, Governor Deval Patrick and more.Premiered November 25, 2014. Go online and watch this one before it expires. I cried! Inspiring civil rights message and great discussion of unraveling family secrets through DNA testing.

Video expires December 26, 2014

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