A Great End to a Great Series: Emerald Green (Ruby Red, #3) by Kerstin Gier Book Review

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Emerald Green (Ruby Red, #3)

By: Kerstin Gier Narrated by Marisa Calin

Released: October, 2013 by Macmillian Audio

Length: Audio 12 Hours and 42 Minutes

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: purchased via audible.com

 

We’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard…oh wait wrong book. We’re off to see a made up Count to close the Circle of Twelve so illnesses can be cured. Or, are we?

Two weeks ago, Gwen’s perfect cousin Charlotte was the Ruby, the Raven, the last time traveler of a circle of twelve–a secret society based on two families of time travelers. But, Charlotte wasn’t the Ruby. It was Gwen, whose  real day of birth was a secret, among other things, creating an uproar. Now, with a little bit of training, a demon ghost friend, and her best friend Leslie, Gwen isn’t so bad at time traveling. But, the mysteries are piling up. The pressure is building to close the Circle of Twelve. And, Lucy and Paul, two time travelers on the run with the original chronograph that allows all time travels to go to specific places in time, are still a sore subject. Gwen is starting to find out what they know–why the circle shouldn’t close. And, it’s big.

Then, there’s hot and cold Gideon. I love You/ I don’t love you. With his feelings constantly in flux, Gwen spends the time not crying with her grandfather discovering more secrets, and getting closer to the truth. Thankfully, Gideon makes an honest man of himself and is upfront. Now, time to save the day you two–together, preferably.

Gier’s final book in her YA fantasy trilogy was excellent. I loved every twist, turn, revelation, and final reveal. I was stunned at the end at who someone really was. The surprises were great. Listening to it on audio made me feel more there with all the action.  Marisa Calin, who has narrated the whole series, was a joy to listen to again. This was a great finale. Everything I would want to happen, happened. I was right about one of my hunches (and, I love being right!). There were intriguing turn of events I didn’t see coming. I think this was truly the best in the series. It was truly the strongest send of a third and final book could be.

I would truly recommend this series. I was never disappointed. There were never any parts I wanted to really skip. The characters were all amusing, well developed and crafted. The time traveling was interesting and fun. The mysteries were intriguing and kept my attention the whole time. This is definitely a good series to start. I normally don’t finish series. I get bored with them so easily. This one, I just couldn’t help but finish it. I’m so happy I did. I am completely satisfied. I hope you consider this series. It’s a very quick read. It is even more fun to listen to because Calin does fantastic voices. Give Ruby Red a try and fall in love with Emerald Green like I did. You won’t regret it.

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In Lieu of Basketball… Out of Print’s Book Madness: Hero VS Villain

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It’s March! You know what that means, it’s March Madness. I for one am not a basketball fan in the least. I barely know five NBA team names. I don’t know the schools, nothing. This year, though, I am singing a different tune. A literary tune that is. I have discovered a better March Madness and I want YOU to participate, too.

Out of Print Clothing is a website full of lovely literally clothing, jewelry, accessories, and stationary. For each product sold, one book is donated to a community in need through their partner Books for Africa. How great is that?

And, now, this March they have created the contest Book Madness with the theme of Hero vs Villain. The winner gets a $500 gift card, plus there are other legendary prizes.

Book Madness (click me for link!)

64 of literature’s most famous (and infamous) characters go head-to-head.
Who will rise above the madness and emerge victorious?

In our fourth year, we are mixing it up by letting you vote for your favorite heroes and villains from literature. Just like college basketball’s March Madness, we give you the opportunity to fill out your own bracket and compete against fellow bookworms.Submit your bracket for a chance to win a $500 Out of Print gift card and other legendary prizes!

Here’s how to enter:

1. Print a sample bracket to see the match-ups here (PDF)
2. Make sure to access this site from a desktop computer browser. Chrome and Firefox recommended.
3. Click REGISTER below to create your Book Madness profile.
4. Once registered, you will be taken to the predictions screen. Follow the instructions in the yellow box.
5. VERY IMPORTANT: Bracket submissions are final. There is no going back once submitted.
6. We encourage you to use the Facebook and Twitter buttons at the bottom to share with your friends.
7. BRACKET DEADLINE IS SUNDAY, MARCH 23. The voting period starts Monday, March 24. Check back daily to vote and see where you stand on our leaderboard!

There are five fun rounds with all your favorites from the most beloved novels. There’s Napoleon from Animal Farm, Voldemort and Harry from Harry Potter, Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre, Satan from Paradise Lost, Attiticus  Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, and many, many others. My final pair was Voldemort (Villain) vs Katniss (Hero). I won’t tell you who won.

I hope you participate! I can’t wait for voting to begin. Much, much better than the traditional March Madness, don’t you think?

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by!!

Tales of Love told through the eyes of a feathered girl: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Lesyle Walton Book Review

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

By: Leslye Walton

Released: March 25th, 2014 by Candlewick Press

Length: 320 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy-magical realism

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Born with feathers, and a silent twin, Ava Lavender narrates the story of the three generation of women in her family that faced love– the fanciful phase, the heartbreak, loss, and everything that comes with it in a moving tone.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is one of those books I couldn’t put down. Full of magical realism, it pulls you in from the beginning. Starting with a very brief detail of Ava’s extraordinary birth, she begins to tell the story of her female ancestors, based on a single emotion-love. And, oh, how these Roux/Lavender women have been affected. And, how unique they all are. After the great-grandfather dies, after being mistaken from someone else and is gruesomely murdered, while the wife maman, and everyone else, thinks he left with another woman begins to almost melt until she literally becomes a pile of blue ashes in their sheets. Then her daughter, Pierette, becomes a bird for the man she loves who never loved her back. A bird! There’s another sister who carves her own heart out after she gives birth to a child whose father is the betrothed to her older sister- Emilienne, all out of love. Emilienne is Ava’s grandmother in the story who lost her husband early on in the marriage, but not before giving birth to their daughter Viviane, Ava’s mother.

Ava takes center stage much later in the novel, but when she does her story shines just as much as the other women. Each, melding into the others so seamlessly. The novel doesn’t necessarily have a plot, which at times I would normally have a problem with, but with this novel I didn’t. I loved how fluid it felt, even without it. The center plot, or theme really, was love and that was the driving collection that made everything make sense and hold a connection. There were no gaps, or holes in the story. Even as each generation of women took center stage in their own way, Ava was always there, guiding and keeping everything together. For a debut novel, this was an ambitious undertaking– to tell four generations worth of stories based on an emotion almost solely told by a person, somewhat of an outsider at certain points. Walton succeeded wonderfully. I look forward to reading her next work.

What I loved most about this novel was the magic in each woman. Not magic like Harry Potter magic. But magic, like something different we can’t explain. Emilienne had hers, where, in the beginning, the people in town thought she was a witch. Then there was Viviane, who could smell things and give emotions to them. Even silent Henry had his own idiosyncrasies. Plus, there was Ava with her wings. It wasn’t completely reminiscent of Sarah Addison Allen, but somewhat. As I am a huge fan of hers, I instantly became a fan of Walton’s. I enjoyed how there was nothing simple or ordinary in this novel. Even the town was special. It was an unique read I couldn’t put down.

Walton stuck to the theme of love very well, her analysis pretty head on. She didn’t take the pretty route. She didn’t show all the good, happy parts of being in love. Didn’t write about all the bad, either; although she wrote a lot on it, but not everything. I enjoyed her take on love; especially how she used it to fuel her plot. Each character found love and its meaning in different ways; and how it could effect them, too. There was so much beauty in the words and descriptions Walton chose, even when love’s ugliness reared it’s head.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It really is a must read. There is something about it that I think makes it one. Not just the words. The characters, the magic, the unsugar coated realism. It’s all there and more. I was initially giving it four stars, but realized I love it so much more. I’m moving it to five. It’s that good. I am planning on buying a copy for myself. There is something about it that just sucked me in. It wasn’t just those feathers. I hope you pick this one up. It’s worth it. It really is.

I Prefer The Sun Sisters: The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh Book Review

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The Moon Sisters

By Therese Walsh

Released March 4th, 2014 by Crown

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Literature/ Fiction-Magical Realism

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: Via publisher

 

Younger sister Olivia “Livya” Moon set upon a journey to see the Cranberry Glades and the will ‘o wisps their now deceased mother often talked about and based a story upon. Reluctantly, her older sister Jazz comes along with two train hoppers that make for a less than delightful, but slightly moving story about family bonding and getting to where you’re meant to be.

Olivia Moon is a free spirited eighteen year old with Synesthesia who was the last one to be with their mother before her probable suicide. Jazz Moon is less free spirited, more fickle and abrasive than her sister. Constantly looking out for her, she has never been the loving or touchy feely type. So, when Olivia decides to take a trip to see the Glades where their mother’s only novel, left unfinished, was set, Jazz is more than reluctant. Outspoken throughout the whole trip, meet a train hopper nicknamed Hobbs and Red Grass, someone much more sketchy with a secret of his own. Both the sisters are holding on to something; while Hobbs is hiding all on is own. Trusting no one was a trend in the journey.

I had high hopes for this novel. The cover, for one, is beautiful. The title is pretty and alluring. I just couldn’t get into it. I finished it, albeit reluctantly. I dragged my feet the whole way, like Jazz. I didn’t connect to any of the characters. Jazz complained too much for a character that was cold, distant, and rightfully so was called a b*tch by Hobbs. Olivia was too free spirited for me. I’m all for flower children. But, there comes a point when you have to act like an adult. There were moments, but so fleeting. Walsh over did it for me with Olivia’s character. She was too much to handle. Hobbs was the only character I truly liked.

The plot was slow moving for me. I was confused a little by the end, but if I say why it’d be a total spoiler. I just thought there would be more magical realism like in Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen novels. I didn’t find much of it; of anything. There were letters to the father that disowned the mother that I personally felt were unnecessary and did not move the plot along at all. I think it was used as a way to understand the mother while having her dead, but I found myself skimming them rather than devouring them.

I wish I could say something extremely positive about this book. I did finish it, which I almost gave up on. But I don’t feel the same contentment I usually do after reading a novel I like. I won’t say don’t read this; maybe it just wasn’t for me. Just go at it with caution, perhaps. It got outstanding reviews on goodreads. I’m disappointed I cannot give same.

This is why I Don’t Get the Flu Shot: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski Book Review

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Don’t Even Think About It

By: Sarah Mlynowski

Released: March 11th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal-ESP

Rating: 3 Stars

Acquired: via publisher

Getting a flu shot was never rewarding…until 22 sophomores get ESP as a side effect. The results: funny, witty, and down right amusing. But, they already know that.

When the students of homeroom 10b at Bloomberg High School lined up to get their flu shots, none of them expected to get super powers. Sure, there was Pi who had the second highest GPA in her class; and, always wanted to be extraordinary. But, to get ESP after the shot a day later, now that was something. Told as a collective we, Don’t Even Think About It takes place over a week with around 22 floating main characters all trying to deal with their new ability to hear people’s thoughts.

There’s Olivia, who is constantly sick or afraid of getting sick out of habit living with a hypochondriac OCD mother. She now knows the school nurse used to be a stripper and has sex. A lot. Like go on a condom run doing school a lot. Olivia is also afraid of public speaking of any kind; even talking to Lazar, the cute boy who likes her until she can read his mind.

Then there’s Tess and Mackenzie, best friends forever. Until, Mackenzie forgets Tess can read her mind and let’s her thoughts slip to Tess needing to lose weight. And that Mackenzie cheated on Cooper, another ESP, the last one to get it.

There’s also BJ, who hits on Tess in every way possible– through ESP, in person, through text. Sadie, who is the center of Teddy’s mind who is not an ESP but the center of Tess’s mind. Plus, a pair of twins, a guy named Levi, and too many more.

The whole homeroom became a we. They would talk to each other through their thoughts. Cheat in class. Know more secrets, like about Mackenzie cheating on Cooper. Hear everything. And comment on everything. There were italics throughout the whole novel; so many scattered thoughts from too many voices.

Pi takes charge in this novel, but it is Olivia who shines for me. I just adored her. She had her issues with public speaking; maybe even a character flaw or two. But there was so much in her that was likable. She was quirky, adorable, and funny. Kind, considerate, and without even realizing she could, she could stand up for herself.

This novel was a cute and quick read. I’ll be honest. When I first got it, I thought it would be cheesy. The cover wasn’t very promising. The title gives too much away. But, this cynic liked it. Not a lot, but enough. It was funny, witty, and although had way too many featured characters, some of them, when given the time to develop, developed rather nicely; like Olivia, Tess, Pi, and Cooper. When they were given their own time, they showed maturity in situations and choices that were made. The side characters were good. The concept was original. The writing wasn’t juvenile. Although I believe it deserves a three star rating because I simply just liked it, it is a strong three stars. I think if I was at the targeted age, which I am not, I would give it a four, or higher star rating. For an author that writes a lot of series, or has written series in this past, this was a good standalone novel in my opinion.

And the Liebster award goes to…

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I am very happy to say I got nominated  for the second time for the Liebster award; this time by the awesome blogger Elizabeth over at the redheadreader. If you haven’t heard of her, you should stop by and give her blog a once over. She reviews books most thrillers, horror books, and mysteries. So, if that’s your thing, follow her blog. Thank you, Elizabeth! It was a nice surprise to wake up to in the morning. I am so happy and honored you thought of me.

The Liebster Award is rewarded to up and coming blogs that currently have less than 200 followers. The German word, Liebster is translated in English to: Sweetest, Kindest, Dearest, etc. So, it really is an honor to be thought of for this.

The Rules:

– List 11 facts about yourself.
– Answer 11 questions chosen by the person who nominated you.
– Ask 11 new questions to 11 new bloggers. They must have less than 200 Bloglovin followers. (You cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
– Go to their blog and inform them.

11 Things About Me

  1. I have two cats- Hansel and Gretel. They are the most adorable brother and sister grey duo you’ll ever meet. My furbabies that make me melt.
  2. I can listen to music while I read.
  3. I often play songs on repeat. The most played song on iTunes right now is Concrete Wall by Zee Avi at 288 times. And, that’s just on my new computer. I’ve played a song more times than that. I can get fangirlie with songs.
  4. I still play my Super Nintendo like a boss 🙂
  5. Notebooks have become an obsession of mine. I buy them. Make them. Decorate them. Hoard them. I just love them.
  6. Stickers are my second obsession.
  7. I want to be a writer someday.
  8. I currently have one novel I’m working on, with two in the making that I lost when my old computer died that I can kind of recreate; and, want to.
  9. Being in publishing is my ideal career/industry I want to be in.
  10. I love to travel. I’ve been to Paris three times already.
  11. I want to learn how to speak French fluently.

Questions from Elizabeth

  1. If you could enter any book world, which world would you choose? Why?

Wonderland from The Looking Glass War series by Frank Beddor without the war nonsense. I would love to travel by mirrors every day to work. The world sounded so exciting and unusual. I don’t have to be Queen Alice, or Queen Hannah, but it’d be a plus.

        2. You’re stranded on a desert island and can only have five books, what are they?

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
  • Ariel by Sylvia Plath or the Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath, it’s a toss up
  • The Hours by Michael Cunningham
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

3. If you could be any book character, who would you be? Why?

          Macy from Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. Not only is Wes my favorite book love interest ANYONE has ever written; and, my has there been some good ones, especially by Mrs. Dessen herself who is a pro at making me swoon. Macy is also a strong, independent girl that I see some of myself in; but, there are qualities in her that I wish were in me, too. If I couldn’t be her, I would at least want to be her best friend.

     4.What is the most challenging part of blogging?

For me, staying connected. I don’t often post; or, check up constantly on the latest posts. I need to do that more often. Comment more.

5. All-time favorite author?

It’s a tie between Jane Austen or Sarah Dessen. I have read a majority of Jane Austen’s novels; and, one incomplete novella. However, I have read all of Sarah Dessen’s. Some even multiple times. Still, both ladies tug at my heart.

6. What are some of your hobbies outside of reading and blogging?

I like to craft paper goods. I am even thinking about starting a small business. I make bookmarks, decorate/mod podge covers of notebooks, and make stickers. I also love discovering new indie artists to listen to. I try to find a few new ones each month, creating a playlist. I love making playlists on my iTunes.

7. What is the scariest book you’ve read?

Hmmm, I’m not a big fan of horror so I don’t think I’ve read any truly scary ones. Maybe as a kid I would say a goosebumps book. It had something creepy on the cover. I recently found it in my basement; it still gave my bad juju.

8. What is your favorite song currently?

Ooohhh, this is a good question because I constantly put a song on repeat. The last song I had on repeat was Chase the Blues Away by Tim Buckley. I think it was, I put so many on. But, it is a great song. He was a 60’s/70’s folk singer who died in his late 20’s of a drug overdose way too young. If you know who Jeff Buckley is, it’s his father. I learned about him after watching the indie film with Penn Badgley called Greetings from Tim Buckley that showcases Tim Buckley’s music. Excellent film and music. Highly recommend it. It’s on demand. 🙂

9. What made you start your book blog?

I started my blog the day after The Book Expo of America in NYC last June after meeting this woman Shelia of bookjourney. She told me how bloggers can come for all of the days; and, there is even a conference for them. I was so excited, I decided why not. I am so happy I met Shelia and decided to do start this blog. It’s truly been a great time. It will be one year at BEA this year.

10.  What character, location, and/or object from a book do you wish existed in real life?

Wes from the Truth About Forever so we could walk and walk; and play the game of truths together. He is, after all, my biggest book crush. If he was real, all my problems in the dating world would be solved. 🙂

11. Which book has had the biggest impact on your life?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

                              “I can see it now. This one moment where you know you are not a sad story, you are alive… and in this moment, we are infinite.”

           How can that quote not change your life? If it wasn’t so long, I would get a tattoo of it, but sadly it is. I like the idea of not being a sad story when often times I have felt like one with struggles I have faced. There is also another quote that talks about being both happy and sad. And how you can be both. And, how you didn’t choose how you got here, but can choose where you can go from here. Truly beautiful quotes. I wish I could write like Chbosky; and, he only wrote one novel. But, it is a novel I have no problem rereading time and time again.

11 Questions for my Nominees

  1. What is your preferred type of book? Audio, ebook, or paper/hardback?
  2. Which book from your childhood can you recite the most?
  3. Do you prefer reading standalones or series?
  4. Can you remember what your first blog entry was about?
  5. If you had the chance to rewrite one blog entry, which one would it be? Why?
  6. What book, or books, are you currently reading?
  7.  Trapped on a desert island, would you want a wand or a sword?
  8. If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what genre would it be?
  9. Is there a book you would want to rewrite the ending to? Why? Or, better yet, to what?
  10.  Nook or Kindle?
  11.  If you could recast any movie based on a book (like twilight..) what book would it by?

My Nominees 

  1. Margie at Ope’s Opinion’s
  2. Christine at Readerlymusings
  3. Diana at Brilliantly Novel 
  4. Livvy at Book Comet
  5. Amy at One Girl One Book
  6. Tabitha at Tabitha’s Book Blog
  7. Lindsey at The Candy Eating, Red Headed, Bookworm
  8. Joana at Joana in the Sky with Books
  9. Kristina at Never Never Land Reviews

Nora Ephron would be pleased: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin Book Review

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What Nora Knew

By: Linda Yellin

Released January 21, 2014 by Gallery Books

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

One Assignment to write about love, channeling Nora Ephron. One cynic journalist. One love-enthused crime writer who kills all his main character’s girlfriends.  One story Nora Ephron would give her stamp of approval

 

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine year old cynic, but don’t tell her that. Divorced from a high powered divorce lawyer, Molly knows she hasn’t found “the one”. Instead, she is dating Russel, the chiropractor. Russell is stable, a pragmatist, and lacks romance. Molly feels settled. When she is assigned to write about soul mates in the tone of Nora Ephron, Molly knows she is the last person who should be assigned the article; and the truth is, she was the last choice. When she tries to create a romantic dinner for Russell, it fizzles. They settle into each other, both knowing neither are the romantic types, but that’s OK.

Cue You’ve Got Mail. During Memorial Day weekend at the Hamptons, Molly meets her match in fellow writer Cameron Duncan. A famous crime writer, Cameron kills off every girlfriend in his Mike Bing novels; while still managing to make every woman reader swoon. Molly doesn’t believe he’s sincere as he says Sleepless in Seattle his one of his favorite films. Like Joe Fox, Cameron Duncan starts to appear everywhere, infuriating Molly; but slowly waking her up in the perfect Nora Ephron way. 

Does the article turn out great? Does she even write it? Well, you’ll just have to read the book because there may be some predictable surprises. I could definitely see this book being adapted to film. It’s a great homage to Nora Ephron, but it’s the characters that are so great. Molly is so much like Kathleen from You’ve Got Mail. The cynicism is spot on. The references to the movies. The way the plot moves; even the slight character growth. I read this book surprisingly in one day. I laughed a lot. And, I admit, cried at two spots. Cameron Duncan was a great character. And, so was Dr. Russell. How boring and simple. There is a scene in the book, a realization between Molly and Russell that I think many couples who have felt stagnant in their relationship can relate to. It is a very relatable book that truly reads like a romantic comedy movie. I will see it in theaters if it gets adapted into film. I hope it does. It would be a pity if it didn’t. The material is all there.

If you are a fan of romantic comedies; or, looking for a light, fun read this book is it. Spring is near. Summer, too. It’d be a great beach read. Yellin really nails the romance aspect. What it’s like to feel stuck in a relationship, in life. To meet that one person who drives you crazy.  To be closed then open. I hope you give this book a once over. It’s worth a read. 

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