#BookReview: No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli @frankmoewriter

36377669Grandpa used to be the one to make demands of me. Now he’s almost completely gone. His brain is, anyway. His body’s as strong as the day he stormed the beach at Normandy. Maybe stronger.

Gabe LoScuda is no ordinary 18-year-old.  After his parents die in a car accident, he’s the caretaker of his eighty-year-old grandfather who has Alzheimer’s, and he’s also the “babysitter” of his estranged Uncle Nick, or as his dad put it, “that drunken, good-for-nothing loser kid brother of mine”.  Don’t fret. Gabe has a support system.  His best friend John “the Asian Michael Jackson” and his new friend and tatoo artist, Sofia Flores, who ” is pretty in her own way, but she likes to poke holes in herself”.

As Gabe tries to get his life in order by getting a new job and trying to keep his head above water, another tragedy happens where a little boy down the street is injured by a hit and run driver.  And Gabe’s car was identified at the scene of the crime. Continue reading “#BookReview: No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli @frankmoewriter”

#BlogTour #BookReview The Teenager with a Chameleon Soul by Cindy McElroy (9781619848016)

The Teeager with a Chameleon Soul tour banner NEW

I am delighted to kick off my first blog tour with YA Bound Book Tours and introduce The Teenager with a Chameleon Soul by Cindy McElroy.

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: September 28, 2017

SUMMARY

Meet Sadie MacPhearson. She’s seventeen and lives in a ritzy, artsy beach town called Mariposa Beach, California. Blond, bootylicious and beautiful—she’s a main chick of the Pop Crowd: the most flawless looking, smartest, trendiest, richest, fabulous group of party animals at Mariposa Beach High School. She wants one thing, to keep her secret but it’s always lingering above her head. When the administrators want to assess her for a learning disability, she coats inhibitions and fears with alcohol, which, in turn, causes serious damage in her life, mostly her chameleon soul.

Continue reading “#BlogTour #BookReview The Teenager with a Chameleon Soul by Cindy McElroy (9781619848016)”

Book Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan (9781524701864)

51OtNpM9HeL._SY346_Bethan Jones lives alone with her grandmother, Gran, who is the drabarni (magical practitioner) of her clansmen.  To Romany people, the drabarni is the wise women of the clan and Bethan is next in line. To Bethan’s disappointment, Gran says she is not ready to learn spellcraft yet and insists she go to the local village every day to sell herbs to the villagers, but her world turns upside down.

Martyn Woodward is a local farmer, a diddicoy (of Romany blood), and a gadjo (an outsider), who is forbidden in Bethan’s life.  However, Bethan finds him handsome with a pleasant disposition and will ask her Gran if he could teach her to read.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan (9781524701864)”

Book Review and Giveaway: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.

 

Purchase

Praise

“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”
~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy

“Sariah Wilson’s new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I’d recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”
~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair

“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I’ve read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn’t put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle’s battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you’d think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”
~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing

“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors – Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn’t go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I’ll be re-reading this one all the time!  She’s extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that’s a real modern-day fairy tale.”
~Hilary at Novel d’Tales

“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn’t have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn’t want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It’s a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”
~Andrea of Literary Time Out

“The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”
~Ana of The Book Hookup

MY REVIEW

uglyThe ugly stepsister is determined not to finish last in this tale.  This a very fun, laugh-out-loud story about Mattie Lowe, a good girl (and not ugly by the way) who is pining for her stepsister, Ella’s boyfriend Jake.  Little does Mattie know that Ella is pining for Mattie’s good friend Trent and has given Mattie free rein to pursue Jake in any way she wants.  But what would Jake, class jock and lead competitor to Mattie’s run  for class president,  think of that?  Will Prince Charming turn out to be a frog?

I read this young adult book in one day.  The references to John Hughes films are memorable.  I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Author Sariah Wilson

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).

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I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Tour Giveaway

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Ends 3/10/13


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Book review: Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley (9780060753108)

0060753102.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_Beauty’s life is good, she lives with her father, her two sisters and her brother-in-law in a small cottage.  However, when her father comes back from a trip, she finds that he has to sacrifice a daughter to the Beast that lives in the enchanted castle.  Beauty sacrifices her life for her father’s life and stays with the Beast and the mysterious moving furniture, candles and teacups.

This is the second book I have read by Robin McKinley and she doesn’t disappoint me.  I love the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and this version is very well written and enchanting.  I can see that Disney also liked this version and borrowed some of her ideas.  A fun read!

Book review: The Twisted Window by Lois Duncan (0440201845) E-book

This is an unusual and disturbing story about mental illness.  The attractive, new guy at school, Brad Johnson, has taken an interest in Tracy Lloyd, but what does he really want from her.  If it only could be so easy.  His story is heart-wrenching and frightening and her fate is in the hands of this confused young man.

A young adult novel with twists and turns that catch you off guard.  It will take you in and leave you gasping.

Thank you to Ms. Duncan, Open Road Media and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

Book review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington (9780373210527) E-book

“Words matter–how we use them and how we don’t.”

Chelsea learned the hard way.  Her words almost ended up killing a fellow classmate. When she outed a boy at a party, her “friends” decided to beat him and send him to the hospital.  Her conscience made her rat out those friends and all hell broke loose.  Due to the incident and her actions, she decided to take a vow of silence which changes her life forever.  Chelsea reflects, “I’m a work in progress.  Because nobody is perfect.”

This is a frightening, true-to-life,  story that we see way too often in our world and Ms. Harrington, again, finds a very real way of bringing this raw view of bullying, peer pressure and friendships into the 21st century.  The story is riveting and the characters are well-developed and engaging.  A must-read for young and old alike.

Thank you to Ms. Harrington, Harlequin and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch (9780545388092) Audiobook

It is good to see a young male protagonist in a young adult fiction novel.  I was beginning to wonder if they existed.

Stephen Quinn, 15,  and his father are living in a post apocalyptic world which was devastated by an unknown plague.  They travel around the country as salvagers who trade their wares to stay alive.  However, their luck has run out and they stumble upon some slavers which leads to a horrible injury to Stephen’s dad.  Lost and alone Stephen has to rely on strangers (something his grandfather said to never do) to help him get a handle on his life.  The strangers are part of a place called Settlers’ Landing  who have learned to sustain life as they know it.  Fortunately, Stephen has found a friend in an orphan named Jenny who refuses to accept things as they are.  But can Stephen trust all of them?

This is an interesting take on a dystopian world that is a fast-paced story with a good plot.  The characters are interesting and believable.  This young adult novel will spur you on to read the next one in the series to find out what happens to Stephen and Jenny.  The narrator, Dan Bittner, does a great job bringing the characters to life.

Read the first four  chapters and watch the book trailer at http://www.jeff-hirsch.com/?page_id=239

Thank you to SYNC YA Literature for giving me the opportunity to download and listen to this audiobook for free.

Book review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (9781848450776) E-book

Echo and Noah are two lost teenagers who just want to “find normal again”.  Echo was one of the popular girls in school until she lost her brother from the war and an incident she can’t remember with her mother changed her life completely.  Echo’s thoughts are “My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead and my mother has… well … issues. How do you think I’m doing?”

Noah was part of a happy family until tragedy struck and he lost his parents in a fire and he and his two younger brothers were thrown into the foster care system which separated him and from his brothers.  Noah’s thoughts are “‘Good.’  That is if you considered your foster mom and dad getting into a screaming match and throwing everyone’s gifts into the fireplace a good Christmas.  I’d always dreamed of spending my Christmas in a hellhole basement watching my two best friends get stoned.”  Can Echo and Noah ever trust adults again?

Echo and Noah meet each other through their new high school clinical social worker, Mrs. Collins.  She recommends that Echo tutor Noah in some subjects.   They are total opposites, (Echo with the popular girls and Noah with the stoners), but do opposites really attract?  They push the limits to find peace in their lives and to find common ground with each other.

The reader will feel all of the emotions that the characters feel and more.  All of the characters are very believable and the storyline is important for all ages.

Check out Katie McGarry’s “Two Essential Ways to Build Your Characters” at http://harlequinblog.com/2012/07/two-essential-ways-to-build-your-characters/  Great ideas!

Thank you to Ms. McGarry, Harlequin UK and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity review this book.

Book review: Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen (9781441775320) Audiobook

This YA book leaves you feeling emotionally raw. It’s a story about Danny, an up-and-coming gymnast, who has a unfulfilling relationship with his dad especially since his mom died. It’s about Kurt, an up-and-coming full back with a speech impediment, who is starting at a new school and living with his new foster mother. Danny and Curt feel they don’t have anything in common until tragedy strikes and Danny’s teammate commits suicide. Only Danny and Kurt truly know what really happened to Danny’s teammate and their lives are in jeopardy unless they come forward with the truth.

This is a very good audiobook narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Paul Michael Garcia about friendship, obligations, bullying, justice and courage. You will not be able to put this book down. It’s a hard hitting, gut wrenching look at bullying and the perseverance to overcome the odds.

Book review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio (9780375899881)

I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid…I know ordinary kids don’t make other kids run away screaming in playgrounds.  I know ordinary kids don’t get scared at wherever they go.  My name is August, by the way, I won’t describe what I look like.  Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August may not look like an ordinary kid, but he loves to do things that ordinary kids like to do such as play games, joke with friends, and do things with family.  He was born with a facial malformation and has undergone extensive, painful surgeries that have eventually improved many factors of this life.  However, the kids at his new school don’t understand why August is different.  As August says, “They were just being normal dumb kids.

You see August has been home schooled by his mother all his life and his parents finally decided that it may be beneficial for August to go to school and try to interact with kids his own age.   At first, he wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but he made a few friends and he really liked going to school, until he runs into some problems that may change his mind.

This book is ultimately about August and how life effects him and is not only written in his point of view, but in other points of view such as his sister Via, his new friend Jack and Summer and others he meets on the way which are very important to the story as well.

How can I express my feelings for this book?  It is funny, moving and thought provoking.  It is wonderfully written and the characters are real.  I recommend that everyone of all ages read this book and hopefully it will make you reflect on your life and how you feel about yourself and others.  One could only hope to become the person that August is.  August is cool beans!

Thank you to R.J. Palacio, Random House Children’s Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.   Ms. Palacio’s blog is at http://rjpalacio.tumblr.com/Wonder is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other bookstores.

Book review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington (9780373210244)

To believe so concretely that there’s someone–something–out there watching guard, keeping us safe, testing us only with what we can handle.  I’ve never believed in anything the way Aunt Helen believes in God.

Harper has lost her sister, June, to suicide.  Her big sister, the golden one, the one that did no wrong, as opposed to Harper, the rebel, the misfit.  Why did June do it?  She didn’t leave a note, but she left notebooks with stories about California.  Harper’s parents were divorced and not coping well and Harper wanted to give June her wish of going to California, so she devises a plan with her best friend, Laney.  The problem is Harper only has a driver’s permit and Laney’s car is toast.  Enter Jake.  He seemed angry the first time Harper met him at June’s funeral, so why would he give them a ride to California?   He says that he and June were friends, but was that all?

This is a coming of age story of three young lives who discover the beauty of living.  Harper discovers the truth about herself and about her sister, Laney discovers that there are consequences to her behavior and Jake discovers that he should strive for his dreams.  I liked the trip they took and the people they met on the way.  You don’t want to miss a second.

Thank you to Ms. Harrington, Harlequin and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani (9780385741286)

Sonia has learned that her father has lost his job and he isn’t acting like himself. She wonders what he does in his study that makes him feel better. That’s not the only change.

Now that her father has lost his job, she has to go to the public middle school. Everyone at her private school knew how to say her name, Sonia Nadhamuni. Now she has to pronounce it for all the new kids.

Sonia is on a journey to figure out her cultural identity, her status in school, her family’s future and her personal well being. By the end of the book I believe she is on her way to figuring it out.

This is a good coming of age novel that hits home for many pre-teens and teens. Adolescence is a formidable time and Sonia tackles it with determination and style. The situations are real and the characters are interesting.

Thank you to Ms. Veera Hiranandani, Random House Children’s Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Any Witch Way by Annastaysia Savage (9781936564033)

Sadie felt like an outcast at school. She didn’t fit in. No one believed her when she thought her mother was still alive and had not died in a car accident. She just had this feeling… Enter her 13th birthday and her whole world transforms into magic, witches, gnomes and pure evil. You see Sadie is one of a long line of witches and her mother preferred to live as a human so never told Sadie about her transformation before she died. When Sadie is first told about her new status, she doesn’t even get a chance to learn what powers she possesses before all hell breaks loose…literally. She is transported into a war between the Witches and Magikal Beings, Hunters, Trappers and Exterminators Syndicate and the Society of Magikal Beings. Sadie is told she has a power that only she can use to stop the evil doers from winning.  But what is it?

It’s a whirlwind of magic (evil and good), running for her life and learning the secrets of this new magical world that she is now a member.

My pet peeve is to not compare a book to another. I find it unfair and try to review a book on its own merits. With that being said, I found this book to be absorbing from the start. In this day and age young adult books are very diverse and are very enlightening. This book was no exception. The characters were well thought out and the plot was very engaging. I agree that Sadie (future witchling) was a bit whiny, but she had a lot to whine about. Personally, I would have been screaming my head off at the nasty, pus-faced goblins and monsters that appeared frequently. As to the monsters and violence in the book, I recommend the book to be more suitable for early- to mid-teens.

A fast and enjoyable read!

Thank you to Ms. Savage and JournalStone for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Book review: Running Around (And Such) by Linda Byler (9781561486885)

I am a big fan of young adult and Christian fiction and was excited about reading Ms. Byler’s debut novel. However, I found the book to be choppy and slow to get to the meaning of the book title, running around. It wasn’t until most of the way through the book that the main character, Lizzie, spoke about the concept.

Personally, I did not like the main character, Lizzie, one of five Amish children, who seemed much more immature than her younger siblings. Her whining and “whoa is me” tones about her life in a new community were nerve racking and I just wanted the author to get on with the story.

Unfortunately, I found the story to be disappointing due to the main character and how it skipped months at a time between chapters and did not have a nice flow.  I will probably not read the next book in the series where I hope Lizzie starts acting more mature.

Book review: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (9781416989417)

Nora is a good girl and meets the new, bad guy, Patch. Patch is mysterious and dangerous and appears to be her “guardian” angel. Enter the bad guy, Elliot. The new transfer student who may have been involved in a murder at his previous school. Of course, we can’t forget Nora’s sarcastic best friend Vee who is all about guys and sex.

I found this story similar to the Twilight series minus the vamps and adding fallen angels. Similarities are: Nora and Bella are dull and just plain helpless and Patch and Edward are those mysterious bad boys that love to be in control. I am not a big fan of Twilight, but I like the premise of fallen angels in Hush, Hush and I hoped this book could have been better. The front cover is fabulous, but the content within the covers is not motivating me to go out and get the sequel.

Book review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (9780142407325)

Melinda has been ostrasized by her peers because she called the cops at a summer party, but no one knows the horrible secret she is hiding. “It” has devastated her life and she feels there is no one to talk to so she keeps silent until “It” rears its ugly head again and she needs to save her former best friend from undergoing the same fate Melinda did.

A truly memorable novel that reaches into a young teenagers anguish and reaches into your soul.

An excellent must read for young teenagers and parents alike.

Book Review: Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa (9781604890303)

“In my family, it was as if you had to be dead to get noticed.”

Hailey has a father who has lost his job and is drinking, a mother who lost her inheritance when she married her father and has recently lost a baby, and a brother who has lost his faith in God.

What has Hailey got to lose? Her respect? Her virginity? Her “best” friend? Her soul?

Tusa paints a disturbing picture of poverty and lack of family values. This book is hard hitting and thought provoking. A book that takes you into the depths of despair and will not let you go.

Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (0545123267)

0545123267.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_A nice, poetic story about a young girl, bitten by wolves many years ago, who falls in love with a wolf/boy. Even though bitten, she does not shapeshift into a werewolf and her love needs to find out soon how she did it before he turns into a wolf forever.

This story is well written and very imaginative. A great read!

Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (0060530928)

df6004262c98252593043535367434d414f4541This is one of the most unusual books I have ever read. Though the first chapter was disturbing for a YA book, when you read further it is about a boy named Nobody Jones who learns about friendship, family, revenge and surviving. He just happens to learn these things from ghosts and witches while living in a graveyard.