Tag Archives: YA fiction

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.

Silas Roberts is the chieftain’s son and wants Bethan for himself at any price and will use force to do it.

One night Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and leave Martyn to die.  When Bethan asks her Gran to save Martyn’s life, Bethan is told that she must exact revenge on the boys that attacked her and Martyn.

This is a story of magic, betrayal, revenge and inner strength, and it contains quite a bit of violence so beware.  The story is unique from the Romany perspective, and it had a strong heroine who preserves her beliefs even through horrendous and mind-shattering situations.  However, I felt that the story dwelled on the revenge aspect too long and ended too abruptly.  I was expecting more about Bethan’s internal conflict, than the revenge plot itself.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but would probably not recommend it to a friend.

Thank you to Hillary Monahan, Random House and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

 

 

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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.

 

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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

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
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 (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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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