The (ever so slight) disappearance of indiereadergirl0329

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It’s coming! It’s coming! My birthday is just around the corner. In exactly seven days I will be one year older, with another milestone birthday under my belt. Tomorrow, I will be flying down to Florida for a little pre-birthday celebration where I will see Disney villains dressed up for Halloween, taste some fantastic food at the International Food and Wine Festival, and ride a hippogriff for the first time.

If that wasn’t reason enough to lack on my reading time, November is around the corner. And that means so is NaNoWriMo. November marks National Novel Writing Month where thousands of writers spend time crafting a novel-50,000 words in thirty days. This will be my second year participating and I can’t wait. I have my novel in place, waiting for me to begin. Last year I joined a NaNoWriMo writing group where one year later we still meet once a week to write, talk, and just be writers together. Unfortunately, I will be in Florida for the first two days, but our first annual, official NaNo write in will be on my birthday. I am looking forward to spending the night with my writing family on that important day. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people.

I didn’t make it to 50,000 words as November is always a busy month for me (I was in Chicago last year the first week). I am hoping things will be a little different, but I also have another commitment that takes precedence so we shall see. Sadly, I will not have so much time to read, review, and blog here as I will be hoping to reach those 50,000 words. I will try to check in periodically, but my reviews will be limited.

Thankfully, this only happens once a year. I will be back and blogging regularly as soon as December hits. Thanks for your patience and hopefully sticking with me.

Happy reading everyone!

Cornelia Funke, Inkheart.

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I saw the Wizard and was disappointed, too: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

By: L. Frank Baum Narrated by Anne Hathaway

First published in 1900. Published by Audible March, 2012 for the A List Collection

Length: 3 Hours and 49 Minutes

Genre: Children Fiction, Fantasy, and classic literature

Rating: Two and a half Stars

Acquired: Purchased through audible.co

 

One return trip home to Kansas, one brain, one heart, and a bit of courage in the land of the powerful Wizard of Oz

Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto are country bumpkins. They have never been on an adventure, killed a witch, or met a powerful wizard. That was until a nasty Tornado landed them in a magical country with all the above and more. Follow the yellow brick road and you can meet, or hope to meet, an all powerful wizard.  There is plenty of adventure with a brainless scare crow, a heartless Tin Woodman, and a cowardly lion. What can go wrong with this oddball group trying to help Dorothy and Toto get home?

This classic children’s novel was fun to listen to; Anne Hathaway did great voices. Unfortunately, I just didn’t find this as great of a story I wanted to.  I liked listening to Hathaway’s voice, but even at under four hours it took me a long time to really get invested; honestly, I don’t think I ever did. I didn’t have many problems with the writing, itself. Or, the narration. One silly issue I had, and it’s silly, is the silver shoes. Yes, silver shoes. Silly, but the ruby slippers are classic, so to find out they were actually silver, I was a tad put off. Silly, and nitpicking, I know. I stand by that complaint, though. It really bothered me, but it didn’t fully take me away from Oz.

There aren’t many concrete reasons why I disliked the novel. I wanted to like it; to really analyze the text. I just couldn’t. Nor can I believe there are fourteen novels in this series. He had that much to say apparently. I just don’t see it. Thankfully, Hathaway’s wonderful voices delighted me. I would recommend her recording over anyone else’s, I’d say. She was one of the few redeeming aspects of this novel.

Ordinary people can be superheroes, too! All My Friends are Superheroes Book Review

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All My Friends are Superheroes

By: Andrew Kaufman

Released May, 2013 from Coach House Books (first published in 2003)

Length: 140 Pages

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Rating: Five stars

Acquired through publisher at Brooklyn Book Festival

 

A Superhero Bride and an Ordinary Groom’s wedding wouldn’t be a super wedding without a superhero ex who causes the groom to be invisible only to the bride

Tom may not be a superhero, unlike his friends, but Tom’s wife The Perfectionist sure is. She is perfect in every way, including being perfectly sad and jilted. Perf’s ex, Hypno, does just that to Perf, causing Tom to be invisible to her only. As the days turn into months and Tom “isn’t home” The Perfectionist decides to move to Vancouver. Tom has the entire flight to convince Perf he has never left and still exists. Once the flight lands, and Perfectionist starts a new, perfect life without Tom.

This novella from Canadian author Andrew Kaufman was hysterical. The story is just 120 pages, with an extra spent on new superheroes. I read this in one sitting laughing out loud. I absolutely loved this. I have wanted to read this book for a year now ever since I stopped at the publisher’s booth at a book fair last year. The book eventually sold out before I could get my hands on it. This year, I was able to score the last copy with the bonus material. I hyped this book up to both myself and to others I mentioned it to. I was no where near disappointed. It was fun read, having the superheroes not really portray typical superheroes we have seen and read about. Instead, their superpowers were more great personality traits. You have the Bedmaker, who yes, makes her bed every morning. The one real invisible guy may have been my favorite. For years, he painted himself blue to be seen. Blue! My next favorite may be Wild Mood Swing since he is one of the only ones that wears a costume.

There are just too many good things about this quick, entertaining read. Well worth the wait. I loved the extra superheroes. I guess things may happen for a reason.   

What Can Happen in Six Months when you black out: Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards Book Review

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Six Months Later

By: Natalie D. Richards

Released October, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire

Length: 326 Pages

Genre: YA Thriller

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired by Netgalley

Chloe was not the perfect or ideal anything. She was close to being a delinquent, had sub par grades, and a sub par social life until she woke up six months later from a routine nap to find out she wasn’t the person anymore. But, can’t remember how. 

A lot can happen in six months. Even more can happen when you wake up from a nap to discover you can’t remember the past six months of your life; and, you weren’t in a coma, hospitalized, or Rip Van Winkle. High School Senior Chloe can’t remember the past six months. The much better grades, the boyfriend she only dreamed about, new friends and social life, and her best friend not talking to her. She can’t remember the study group she participated in that changed everything. Or, why she is the only person a fellow student thinks has the answers. Her doctors say she is normal; all tests coming back clear. Her mother doesn’t understand Chloe’s new awareness of not being aware. Chloe is a mess. What starts to develop is even more so.

I have never really read a young adult thriller, or mystery novel. I didn’t realize this one would be it. I am happy to report, I am so happy I was allowed to review this book. There was a new twist, turn, and plot device thrown at me on every page. The end is not what I expected. Nor, the middle truthfully. I was shocked by everything that happened. I loved it! I loved guessing after each page and being wrong. Chloe was a great character. I wanted to be her crime solving sidekick as she slowly pieced her life back together. Back together isn’t entirely true. Her life would never be the same. That was one of the best parts, her character growth. She never just let what happen to her take its toll on her. She fought back. Proved to her mother that something was wrong.

This novel was extremely well-written. Something character growth can be hard, especially in a mystery/thriller setting. But, the way Chloe matured, both internally and with her interpersonal relationships, was really well-written. I didn’t feel confused with each turn and twist. There was nothing expected about this novel at all. I didn’t see certain turns of events coming. It is nice to read a book like this where I am just as surprised as the fictional character. My heart was beating with her.

Six Months Later is a real page turner. Even reading it on my Nook, I kept wanting the next page to come. I couldn’t swipe fast enough. In about two sittings, I finished this book sad it was finished. I couldn’t decide what to read next because this book was just too great to be compared to anything else. If you like suspense, a mini whodunit, or want to discover someone new, this book is for you. It makes you think. And, participate really. I am not a fan of thrillers, I passed on Gone Girl. But, with this book, I’m glad I didn’t. I will definitely keep an eye out for this author. I just enjoyed this book so much. If you read it, there will be no regrets.

Love is Neverending for the Believers: Endless by Amanda Gray Book Review

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Endless

By: Amanda Gray

Released September, 2013 from Month9Books, LLC

Length: 384 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal with a mix of Historical Fiction (Romanov Era)

Rating: Four Stars

Jenny Kramer was accustomed to seeing visions from just a simple touch, but when the visions start to involve Maria Romanov and becomes intertwined with her real life, Jenny has to find out what the connection between Maria and her is. And, why a boy from her visions seems very much alive next door to her. She’s can’t seem to stop herself from being drawn from him, either. Is it love? Is it Real?

For a majority of her life, it is just been Jenny Kramer and her architect dad since her mother died when she was young. Although she is close with her dad, the details surrounding her mom are vague. Jenny can’t remember anything about her. All she knew was her mother would disappear for periods of time without saying why.  Jenny never pushed her dad for details, but when a figure from her dreams not only sneaks into the paintings Jenny made for an exhibit, but appears in the abandoned manor next door, Jenny starts to question who her mother really was. Why did she have a ring that resembles that of a secret organization in her town that helps people out of time. And, what is out of time? There are so many questions Jenny needs to find the answers for. The first, why the man resembles a boy, Nikolai from the Romanov Era? And, why he calls her Maria, the girl she is in her dream? Is she related to a Romanov?

 There were so many layers to this novel that I can’t do them justice. So much intrigue. I loved the historical aspect. It brought anew twist to the paranormal/fantasy aspect in the novel. I enjoyed that the chosen period wasn’t that of the Tudors, or the like, but of the Russian Romanovs that have such a sad history. It made the book seem less cliche; Romanovs aren’t usually on the top of peoples radar. Gray was able to weave together the tragic end of the Romanovs, focusing on Maria Romanov, into a timeless love story. Jenny/Maria was a strong character. The love story between her and the mysterious Nikolai was great. It wasn’t a love that was forced down the reader’s throat because it is supposed to be true love. It was natural; believable in the intensity for once. The way Nikolai finds Jenny/Maria was awe-inducing. I didn’t cry over their love, but of all the true love YA books out there, this has to be one of the most original; and sweet, heart-warming, and not creepy in a It is Young Adult, but didn’t always feel like that which was refreshing. You didn’t think about how old the characters were. There was no High School moment. They were never in classrooms that would remind you you were reading a YA book. It all felt contemporary; and, the age irrelevant.  I am never a huge fan of reading soulmate books, but this one was one I would read again. It all felt more authentic than others.

The dialogue in this novel wasn’t the writers’ strong point, but it was enjoyable enough that I didn’t want to skip many pages. I loved the plot the best; the way it unfolded it a gradual pace that allowed me to hang on to my seat for a little while. I was definitely surprised, or shocked, at certain plot twists that I enjoyed. All the plot twists, or layers, were great. I really found this novel to be unique and original. Since Amanda Grace is a duo, I thought maybe I would read parts that belonged to one author and not the other, like some collaborations read. Not here. The novel was completely fluid, with no real style changes. The book may seem to be a little long at a little under 400 pages, but reading it feels like it is much shorter. I just kept turning the page as each twist appeared, an aw love moment would happen, and a funny line would appear. I loved this novel.

I highly recommend this book. Just read it. You will want more. There is a slight cliff hanger, but I couldn’t find out if it is part of a series. Makes me love it even more that it was so good I want a second one. I’m not even a real fan of series. It was that enjoyable for me. I want to find out more!

Falling Hard for Falling Hard: Falling Hard (Roller Girls #1) by Megan Sparks book review

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Falling Hard (Roller Girls #1)

By Megan Sparks

Released July, 2013 by Capstone Young Readers

Length: 255 Pages

Genre: YA fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Annie has a choice to make: become a  fearless roller girl, or join become a British All-American cheerleader with the head cheerleader already marking you on her list.

After growing up in London, Annie relocates to the Midwest to live with her American father after her parents separated; leaving her life behind and starting high school as both a freshman and a foreigner. Wanting to please her dad, she tries out for the cheer-leading team, even though the captain, Miss Popular Kelsey, has it out for her.  But there is another sport that catches her eye, roller derby. After watching one game, with her new best friend, Annie is hooked. But, what about cheer-leading? And, the hot soccer player Tyler, perfect All-American boy. Can Annie juggle everything?

I read this book in a day. I couldn’t put it down. I laughed, a lot. It isn’t a book that is going to be a classic, or make it on any prestigious lists; I think that’s why I enjoyed it. It is such a light-hearted gem not to be missed. I liked Annie a lot, but it was her best friend I enjoyed maybe a little bit more. She just had such a great sense of humor. Called cheer-leading, cheer-weeding. She was one of those characters that was someone I would like to have in my corner. I could pass on oogling over Tyler, but there was also Jesse, who works at the roller rink and could have potential with Annie if she gets over the All-American Soccer boy crush. I don’t think dating an athlete is all that in regards to having a social life, but Annie thinks so. It was kind of annoying. But, really one of the only flaws in the book.

The writing was nothing fancy; which worked. The story wasn’t convoluted; it was very suitable for the age group the book is geared towards. Although I am no longer in that intended age group, I liked how I didn’t have to think while reading it. The flow was good. The dialogue was decent. It all meshed well. There is definitely a positive message in this book. Annie is a good role model; she is strong, speaks up for herself, a good friend, and makes good decisions (on what, you’ll have to guess. Is it roller derby or cheer-weeding?)  I am looking forward to reading the second book. It was just too fun to not want to continue the series. I am a little biased though, because I do like the roller derby. I loved the movie adaptation of Whip It starring Ellen Page (I haven’t read the book yet) that is very similar to this novel. Both girls are discovering themselves and how they fit in where they are living. Many girls in high school can relate to this book. The roller derby choice isn’t brought in for the violence factor. It is tied in a great, encouraging way.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for some light reading material. It is a great, one to two sitting read. You aren’t dedicating too much of your time. It isn’t a heavy commitment. And funny. Endearing. Leaves you with a smile. Give this little gem a try. You won’t regret it.

When witches are in Tudor England: Witchstruck (The Tudor Witch Trilogy #1) by Victoria Lamb

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Witchstruck

By Victoria Lamb

Released September, 2013 by Harlequin Teen

Length: 320 pages

Genre: YA Historical, paranormal-witches

Rating: Three Stars

Acquired: by netgalley

 

A witch, Lady Elizabeth, a Spanish Priest in Training, and a Witch hunter  in Tudor England, what could go wrong?

Meg Lytton is a witch in training, serving exiled Princess Elizabeth accused of treason, living in the dilapidated castle at Woodstock. Meg wasn’t very smart covering up that she was a witch. Lady Elizabeth knows, asking her often to use her powers to predict her status and so forth. Then, there is the Spanish Catholic Priest Alejandro de Castillo who catches her but soon changes her. Then, there is the Witch Hunter, Marcus Dent,  who still wants her.

Oh, Meg, she is trouble. She can’t control her magical powers, often getting cocky with her abilities. But Lady Elizabeth’s persistence doesn’t help, either. Lady Elizabeth is portrayed as somewhat needy, immature, yet willful and strong. A tad bit whiny, too to be honest. And, Meg, fiesty, fiesty Meg. The audacity she had. Yet, she was strong. Strong, independent, and extremely willful. She claimed to always be careful while practicing, but I didn’t see much of it. She was by no means weak, but a little insolent and definitely naive. She wasn’t very lovable to me, or really likable, but definitely had character. To be honest, I was unimpressed with how any of the characters were portrayed, but I loved the Priest. I liked his personality, interaction with Meg, and how noble he behaves. He is perhaps the main reason why I gave this book three stars.

I did enjoy the this book. I found the subject intriguing with the mix of the Tudors, their history I have always enjoyed reading about, and the presence of witchcraft. As well as Meg Lytton’s family members and Lady Elizabeth’s other supporters trying to dethrone Queen Mary. At the time of the book, Queen Mary is pregnant, or having a false pregnancy. The plot was strong, just Meg and Lady Elizabeth’s characters weren’t developed as well.

Although I didn’t love this book, or believe it should be rated higher than I gave it, I would recommend this book to fans of YA books. There is something about it that makes it worth reading.

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