Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

Young and Yang Mysteries #1. HarperCollins (June 2013) Library
Best friends and seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. On one of their midnight stakeouts, they witness a terrifying, bloody scene at the home of their bizarre middle-school counselor Dr. Charlotte Agford (also known as Dr. Awkward).

At least, they think they do. The truth is that Dr. Agford was only making her famous pickled beets. But when Dr. Agford begins acting even weirder than usual, Sophie and Grace become convinced that she’s hiding something—and they’re determined to find out what it is.                  
                                                                                                 Soon the girls are breaking secret codes, being followed by a strange blue car, and tailing strangers with unibrows and Texas accents. But as their investigation heats up, Sophie and Grace start to crack under the pressure. Will solving the case destroy their friendship?



Discovering this book a while back on a blog devoted to Middle Grade books I knew that The Wig in the Window was going to be a fun, mystery book but even after anticipating reading it for so long I didn't expect how much I would love it. More specifically how much I would love Sophie's growth in the story from shy follower to fearless leader. It's the kind of book that inspires the shy reader reading it to take some chances, maybe not as extreme as going searching for clues in a suspected criminal's house but, I'm sure they still get the point of Sophie and her will to be braver. 

So our narrator is Sophie, the quite girl who follows her friend Grace whenever she gets a wild idea into her head. For a while now Grace has been convinced that there is something strange going on with Sophie's counselor who they have nicknamed unaffectionately Dr. Awkward. What with Dr. Awkward's weird ever-smile, snarky remarks, deadless eyes, and massive fake breasts everything about her spells trouble. But, that doesn't stop Grace spying on her with Sophie in tow. And what they discover might just be the beginning of a real mystery in Luna Vista - one where they'll be in the center of it all.

Again my love for Sophie's character knows no bounds. The way she was treated because she liked different things than your average tween? teen? (I was never really clear on how old she was) made me like her even more. Just because she likes different things doesn't mean Grace or any others had to laugh at her or roll their eyes. She likes reading books about feng shui, worrying over her chi, practicing tai chi, and hearing quotes on Sun Tzu from her grandfather. I found her endearing and I loved it when her lights lit up when she was presented with a gift only she could love. She was just the best narrator to this really crazy thing that was happening that you don't really know everything to until the very end. It's actually very real and what happened was very tragic. The Wig in the Window should be really read by only tweens and teens, not kids any younger than that just because the realness of the story can be too much for younger audiences. Saying that the mystery of the story was really great and it had be wondering what was going on throughout the story. The author even provided some great twists toward the end so you didn't know what to think although I had a feeling I was right about a certain character.

Grace is Sophie's best friend and the story revolves around not only Sophie's growth as a character but their bumpy friendship. Grace could be pretty amusing with her crazy antics and fashion sense. She had me chuckling at times but I didn't appreciate her seemingly non-caring attitude towards Sophie with some things. Grace did grow in this story too and friendships at that age can be a bit tough so I liked that element to the story. 

I also liked the addition of Trista as another friend for Sophie because Sophie had no other friend other than Grace while Grace had two fashion conscience ones. Trista was someone who said it like it was. She stood up for herself and is seriously has to be the most inventive kid ever. She knows things from all ranges of topics and is like a mad genius with gadgets. I like to see that she looks like she is going to be included more into the next book, The Tiara in the Terrace, than she was in this one. I also liked that in this story she didn't jump to conclusions and was the more logical, cautious side to their operation. They are really going to need her for future missions and I'm excited about that. I'm excited by this book in general and I can't wait for the next mystery to roll around which I'm sure I'll probably be waiting a year for... but, no matter. I can wait for another great mystery like this one because I want it to be just as good with great character development just like in The Wig in the Window.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Word on Blog Tours


I don't know if I've ever wrote a post about blog tours on this blog before but I know I have mentioned how time consuming they can be - IF I go crazy and pick all that I can possibly want. It's like NetGalley with me. I pick as much as I can and then I fall short or take forever to read and review the book. I've missed a couple of blog tours or have done them late before because I always pick them on the wrong day. I don't know the future. I don't know what it holds for me and yet I've picked 10 books to read in two months. Thankfully, I've learned my lesson to not go absolutely crazy signing up for blog tours that are on the exact same month. Although, it seems I have a new lesson to learn. 

I must learn to read and write the review of a blog tour book well before I have to post it. I've become a tiny bit better by reading or listening to a book a day or two before I have to write the review. Sometimes I'm even finishing off the book in the morning before I write my review. MISTAKE! Things come up easily in my life apparently especially classes. If I have classes I will have to wait until I get back to my house to write my review and that's not what's supposed to happen. Also, I never know what my parents have planned. There could be a birthday party I have to go to and I'll be gone most of the day while I'm silently beating myself up by not writing the review earlier.

So there are a couple of things I need to have in my mind from now on when I am asked to do a blog tour:

Are you 100% sure you want to read this book?

There are a lot of books that pique my interest but I've learned that sometimes they are just no good. I hardly rate stars a two on Goodreads but I've been noticing I did so a good many times this year with blog tour books. I need to analyze these books more. I need to check if other people like them, if there are any complaints about parts of the book, if there is a sneak peek of it out there, and making sure the premise makes me more than happy to read it right then.

Do you even have time for this?

Scheduling is a big problem for me with blog tour books. Like I said before you don't know what is going to happen in the future. You'd think I would just say to these blog tour hosts that I can't do it. But, I usually wait to the last minute to do so. Also, I do really want to read these books. I picked them for a reason after all. Anyways it doesn't really matter what time I pick (unless it's finals week or something) as long as I read the book well in advance AND write the review. The thing with me is I over schedule. Books pop up that look really enticing but sometimes it's just too much and I need to realize that. I need to be more conscious of these blog tours and remember there are people who count on me to post my review or any other type of post.

Saying all that I've done a lot of blog tours right on time. I just have been late on the last couple of ones I've done so I'm not really happy with myself about that. I don't have any blog tours planned for the rest of the year except maybe one blog blitz that looks really good. I've been planning a couple of blog tours for next year already and I've been thinking about those a lot lately. I've tried to make sure they are spaced out enough so I don't get overwhelmed. I've done all of the above to make sure I'll be ready for those books and I'm pretty confident I got it handled. Do you have some of the same problems I do with blog tours? Do you over schedule yourself or has the book you wanted to read so badly turned out to be a dud?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blood Tests, Unschooling, and Being Proactive


I had to get my blood taken out of my body Saturday. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life because I've always thought that if a doctor ever needed to do that to me I wouldn't be able to. But, I did it even if as I stood up I got extremely dizzy and needed to lie down. I also got a couple of other tests done and got a lot of peace of mind from questions answered and tests run. I've always thought there was something wrong with me. I won't tell you why but I've always had this underlying fear inside me that something just wasn't quite right. I'm thinking back to that day and some other things I've come across. Really I'm very proud of myself that I got what I needed to get done. I feel like I've been holding myself back with different areas of my life. I turned 20 not too long ago and whenever I have a birthday nowadays I always contemplate my life and what I really want out of it. I know what I want out of my life but I still struggle to really DO something about it and the doctor's visit also brought me back to that mindset. There's nothing really holding me back now. So I keep thinking to myself - what's holding me back?

I came across this blog on a woman who home schools her kids. Penelope Trunk was the very reason I wanted to do this post because I love her opinions and the way she writes what she wants to say. Why was I looking up homeschooling blogs? Well I like to think about the future all the time and public schools have always seemed like the worst place you can possibly send your kids. With my career I know I wouldn't be able to send my future kids to private schools and I might not even care to anyways but, nevertheless it's what I discovered through these blog posts that I want to talk about. 

I feel like I would be very hypocritical to want to be a school counselor (if I even go down that path because I'm still very indecisive) when I hate public schools. I mean elementary school was great for a while until I switched schools but beyond that I just didn't care anymore. I remember just not caring... I started really disliking teachers and the very few times I saw the school counselors were horrible. I want to be a school counselor because I really hated middle school and I think I could make a difference but the thing is I would never want to send my kids to public schools or any curriculum based school. Sitting eight hours a day... What if my kid had ADD like my brother has or did or whatever? What if they needed to move to think like Ken Robinson's (you can skip to 15:10 to know what I'm talking about) friend? I don't want my kids or any other kid in fact to lose their creativity or never really discovering what their talent is. I still don't think I'm very good at anything and even if I'm only 20 that is still very discouraging. So would I be hypocritical if I don't like public schools and the way they contain kids like prisoners to be a school counselor at one? Or would I have to go to a more progressive school? Is that where kids need the most help though...? I don't know. 

I love the idea of unschooling - learning through life and social interactions. Not standardized tests and unnecessary classes. I mean I despise science class. I honestly think it's cool when I'm learning about it outside class. It's very interesting stuff but I still say to myself I hate science. What's wrong with that picture? This all brings me to being proactive. I really need to start evaluating my life more and doing something about what I want my life to be like. I picture my life a certain way and I don't feel like I'm working towards that at all. It's really frustrating. So I want to start acting like an adult and go after what I want. I want to learn how to drive already for goodness sakes! I want to be able to cook like a functional human being and I want to be able to explore my career options and figure out where I think I work best in the world. I wonder how do you all feel about this? Do you feel like you know what you want out of life and you are on the right path or are you daunted by what the future holds for you?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Audio Blog Tour: Lethal Circuit by Lars Guignard


Michael Chase #1. Fantastic Press (Aug. 2013) Blog Tour

A Chinese satellite is on crash course with Earth. 

It contains enough plutonium to irradiate a large city.

And that's the good news...
In the tradition of Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, and Robert Ludlum, comes a new hero.
Michael Chase is a twenty-six year old backpacker, a recent college grad, an amateur. He flew to Hong Kong to find his missing father. Four hours later, he's running for his life. The Chinese Secret Police want him dead. The Conspiracy wants him dead. And the one person who he thinks is on his side, may want him dead too. If Michael is going to live, he'll need to find a hidden piece of Nazi technology lost since World War II. And he'll have to do it before anyone else. Because if he doesn't, a little plutonium is going to be the least of his problems. 


So I've never listened to an audiobook before Lethal Circuit. It was a very different experience than just reading a book for obvious reasons but also just because I didn't know what to expect. The narrator was perfect for this spy thriller book. I thought it a little strange that he voiced the only woman in the story, Kate, but it was more than anything amusing when he did so. His voice was perfect for the rest of the stories and I liked when he did accents for different characters. I noticed that there was a lot of visual description of what was going on with the story. Reading the description of surroundings or events happening is completely different from listening to it. It actually really enhances the story and made me interested in what was happening in Lethal Circuit more.

The story was really interesting. I'm not the spy thriller type of reader so it was a nice change of pace. Michael and his father's relationship was really apparent in the book. I really liked that the author made us connect with their relationship by having these sort of flashbacks to what lessons his father taught him. Michael himself was a very logical and determined character which got him into some tough situations. He was really likable just by himself. Kate was a spy who worked with his father and she was alright. I liked that there was another character there to have Michael's back but the little romance going on between them was... just no. It was minimal and didn't work. I didn't really understand the need for it. Their "romance" was the only part of the story I didn't enjoy which means I did enjoy everything else. I liked the setting, the complexity of the story, seeing everything from different points of view, Michael's personality, and the revelations at the end about a couple of people. Lethal Circuit is a very good story if you enjoy books with any of those aspects especially if you just want something different from your usual reads.

About the Author

Lars Guignard is a former film and television writer and a graduate of both McGill University and the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. His debut thriller novel, Lethal Circuit, has been an amazon top 100 Technothriller since its release. Guignard has wanted to write Indian stories for kids ever since he attended a boarding school in the majestic Himalayas. The time he spent in the “school above the clouds” affected him profoundly, and once he returned home to North America he was struck by the lack of children’s stories from India available in our culture. Since India is such an incredible country, he decided to write a series of action adventure books for young adults about India to introduce young readers to this magical, mystical land. So if you’re looking for a great book adventure for kids, try Ghost Leopard today!






Giveaway

Thanks to Candace's Book Blog Tour and the author for providing me a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog Tour: Destiny by Cindy Ray Hale

Destiny #1. Self-Published (Nov. 2013) Lola's Blog Tours
Destiny Clark, a young Mormon girl living in Tennessee, is wildly infatuated with Isaac Robinson, the headmaster's son at her Baptist high school. When they're cast together in the school's production of Les Misérables, Destiny is horrified to find that she has to be publicly humiliated by acting out her true feelings of rejection onstage. 

As their rehearsals begin, Destiny realizes the unimaginable: Isaac has developed deep feelings for her despite their religious differences and the fact that he has a girlfriend. 

But will they be able to find their place amongst the backbiters of their ultra-conservative world?                                                                           

Weaving around Destiny and Isaac's alternating viewpoints, Destiny is the first book in a series inspired by the characters of Les Misérables and explores heartbreak, self-discovery, intolerance, and love.


Destiny's family converted to Mormonism years ago. She's really happy about her new faith and believes she's following the right path for her but the trouble is she still goes to a Baptist school where everyone treats her like a pariah. Everything changes when she meets Hannah on a camp retreat. Hannah is the first real friend she has had that accepts her. She's also a very devious friend by trying to get Destiny's forever crush, the headmaster's son Isaac, to notice her. Meanwhile, Isaac sees his cousin Hannah with Destiny - a Mormon becoming friends. Quickly not wanted this Mormon to try to convert his cousin he hatches a plan to get close to Destiny and discover secrets that he will later on reveal to Hannah. By doing that he will show her what Mormons are really like. But, as Isaac gets closer and closer to Destiny he becomes drawn to her and can't help feeling what an amazing girl she is and that maybe everyone truly is wrong about her.

Destiny deals a lot with faith and the contradictions people don't realize they are doing. Both sides of Isaac's and Destiny's family believe that they are all good Christians but then they hate one another. Isaac's father is very verbal about his distaste for Mormons and even tells Destiny that she isn't a Christian. Destiny's father forbids the two from dating because Isaac isn't a good Mormon boy. They are both very hypocritical it's astonishing. I've had experience where I was once trying to talk about the very different things I felt about the religion I am in and I've been told that I was just simply wrong and how can I believe that? So I understood Destiny's situation and felt for her. Who is anyone to say what you believe is wrong?

The other part of this book is about the growing romance between Isaac and Destiny. I thought they were really sweet together although Isaac and Destiny kept secrets from one another. I'm still waiting for Destiny to admit hers... I like that they both became or were open-minded with each other and I loved that they were truly good people who cared for one another. They had great chemistry together and I really just wished that everyone would see they weren't doing anything wrong. I do wish there was more of a back story between Destiny and Issac. Issac mentioned how she thought she was becoming cute but that was about it. Suddenly he couldn't stop thinking about her. Other than that I liked that the author delved into this topic. It's difficult for both sides to be in a relationship with both people being in different religions. You are "supposed" to be in a relationship with someone in your same religion but sometimes it doesn't work out that way. I loved the exploration of that and the way different religions might perceive each other. Destiny's story was really unique and gives way to a topic that isn't talked about as much in YA.

About the Author

Wife. Mother. Writer. Cindy Ray Hale lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband and four children. In addition to being a writer, she’s an avid reader and a social media junkie. She starts her morning by writing with a freshly-blended berry spinach smoothie next to her. She’s obsessed with Les Misérables, playing the piano, and stalking up-and-coming musicians on YouTube. Destiny is her first book and will be available for purchase November 2013. 




Buy on Amazon





Excerpt

“Um…Isaac?” 
Mmhmm?” 
“I was wondering if we could keep this on the down-low? 
“Why would you want to do that?” I had a feeling it was because her parents disapproved, but I wanted to see what she had to say about it. 
“Um…” She chewed on her lip like she was contemplating which reason to give me from a long list. “It’s complicated.” 
“I’m listening.” 
“If Michael comes out here and finds us, we have to pretend we’re out here as friends looking at horses.” 
“That’s not an explanation.” 
She ducked her head and wouldn’t look at me. “Isn’t it enough for me to just be your girlfriend quietly with no questions asked?” 
“Are you worried about Aspen? You don’t need to be afraid of her. She made her decision.” 
She shook her head. “No, I could care less what Aspen thinks.” I didn’t believe it, but there was determination in her jaw as she said it. 
“Are you worried about your parents? Because I can talk to them.” 
Her eyes flew open in terror, and she shook her head vehemently. “No! Oh my gosh! Isaac, don’t do that!” 
“I don’t like pretending and sneaking around like I’m ashamed to be with you.” 
“Please, can we just keep it quiet for a few more weeks?” She looked up at me with such desperation. I couldn’t deny her small request. 
“Okay. But I want you to at least go to Homecoming with me next weekend,” I said with a hopeful grin. 
She arched an eyebrow disapprovingly. “I can meet you there and be with you I suppose, but never in a million years will my parents let you pick me up formally as my date.” 
“We’ll have to set up several Les Mis practices then. Maybe we can do one at your house so your parents can get to know me a bit better?” 
She gazed at me cautiously but nodded.  “Okay, but you have to make it seem like there’s nothing going on between us.” 
I sighed and swept my fingers across the silky skin of her collarbone. “That won’t be easy.” 
“You’ll just have to try.” She stood on her tiptoes to kiss me again. 
“You’re not supposed to date me, are you?” I had a feeling Hannah had been lying about Destiny’s parents suddenly changing their stances on dating. 
She refused to meet my penetrating gaze. I cupped my hand under her chin and angled her face toward mine. “I want you to feel like you can be honest with me. Please, just tell me.” 
When her cobalt eyes met mine, she had fear in them. “There are so many people who think we shouldn’t be together. It’s not just my parents. What about yours? Your dad hates us. If he found out you were dating a Mormon…” 
“He doesn’t hate you. How could you say that?” 
Anger flashed in her eyes. “He hates what I am. It’s the same thing.” 
I opened my mouth to speak but closed it again. She was right.





Thanks to Lola's Blog Tour and the author for providing me with a copy of Destiny in exchange for an honest review!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Blog Tour: The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

Standalone. HarperCollins (Nov. 2013) TLC Book Tours
The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief--and a page-turner that will touch your soul--Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

Readers of The Five People You Meet in Heaven will recognize the warmth and emotion so redolent of Albom's writing, and those who haven't yet enjoyed the power of his storytelling, will thrill at the discovery of one of the best-loved writers of our time.


I've only ever read Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie but it only took me that one book to fall in love with Albom's storytelling. I was delighted to get a chance to read his new book -The First Phone Call from Heaven, a story about hope in a small town. It's told from several points of view including our main character Sully, who recently got out from jail doing time for a crime he says he did not commit. He is left to take care of his son without his beloved wife after she passed away while he was in jail. Sully comes home to a town where people are claiming miracles. The dead talking to the living? Preposterous. Sully is determined to get to the bottom of these so called miracles so that his son can move on from his mother's death.

Sully is our skeptic in the story. He tries to find proof with various leads to figure out what is happening with this town. Meanwhile the people who are contacted are thrilled or otherwise terrified by what this all means. Soon local news gets into the action and the small town of Coldwater, Michigan is turned into a feeding frenzy of reporters, protesters, and believers. At first I was a bit worried about the growing amount of point of views we were going to get in this story but it turned out to be fine. I was able to get into each and everyone's lives and care about them especially Jack, a man who lost his soldier son two years ago. All the characters react differently to their phone calls so all their stories kept me engaged and wanting to know how they would grow by the end of the story. 

A lot of what this book is about is based on the theme of hope but it's really also about ethics. It's kind of hard to say how it's about ethics. It's just the way the media and everyone reacted to the phones calls was very contradictory to what the message was supposed to be about but I guess that's the point? I also think the point was to think about how our society is now and I guess to just reflect on what happened in the story. Like Tuesdays with Morrie, this book was really heartwarming and a bit of a tearjerker as all books dealing with death or life after death can be. I mean picking up the phone and hearing a dearly departed friend? How could you not want that type of reaction just one more time...? If you enjoy Mitch Albom's books I am sure you will enjoy The First Phone Call from Heaven too. It was a wonderful story about hope, forgiveness, and letting go.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins for providing me with a copy of The First Phone Call from Heaven in exchange for an honest review!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Blog Tour: Nightmare City by Andrew Klavan

Standalone. Thomas Nelson Publishers (Nov. 2013) YA Bound Tours
Tom Harding only wants the truth. But the truth is becoming more dangerous with every passing minute.
As a reporter for his high school newspaper, Tom Harding was tracking the best story of his life when, suddenly, his life turned very, very weird. He woke up one morning to find his house empty . . . his street empty . . . his whole town empty . . . empty except for an eerie, creeping fog and whatever creatures were slowly moving toward him through the fog.
Now Tom's once-ordinary world has become something out of a horror movie. How did it happen? Is it real? Is he dreaming? Has there been a zombie apocalypse? Has he died and gone to hell?
Tom is a good reporter he knows how to look for answers but no one has ever covered a story like this before. With the fog closing in and the hungry creatures of the fog surrounding him, he has only a few hours to find out how he lost the world he knew. In this bizarre universe nothing is what it seems and everything including Tom's life hangs in the balance.


Tom wakes up having the weirdest sensation. Faces and people everywhere all milling around in this weird dream almost like it is not a dream at all. Then he wakes up to a staticky phone call - a woman's voice he can't fully place insistently telling him that she needs to see him. Her voice sounds so familiar... Other strange things start happening to Tom begging certain questions like where is his mother and what is that fog coming closer and closer to him seemingly alive? The reporter in Tom needs to investigate and as he further gets into his own mystery he discovers a web of lies all leading to the truth he so needs to know.

Right off the bat you can tell that there is going to be a lot of imagery in the Nightmare City. Everything is described in a way to make you more curious about what in the world is happening to Tom. Is it supernatural? Is it all in his mind? It can be a detriment when reading the book or you could really enjoy the fast paced style of the story. I was in between most of the time. That's really the only technical thing I could say that I didn't like about Nightmare City. I enjoyed how it played out and Tom as the main character. I really liked that he realized a lot of things about his life - the lies and the truth. It is all wrapped in a nice neat message about always telling the truth and sticking up for what you believe in. There's a bigger picture at work in life and you have to make sure you don't miss it.

There's a fog coming after Tom and in it are people who aren't quite human. The mission? To figure out what is going on with clues that people leave for him. It takes some mistakes and about half way through the book for Tom to figure out the reality of his situation which I have to say I had a feeling about. But, the different directions and new information coming in throughout the story had me guessing to what was really going on even until the end. The Nightmare City has great mystery, fast paced action, and a solid message about discerning the truth from lies and standing up for that truth.


About the Author:

Andrew Klavan is a best-selling, award-winning thriller novelist whose books have been made into major motion pictures. He broke into the YA scene with the bestselling Homelanders series, starting with The Last Thing I Remember. He is also a screenwriter and scripted the innovative movie-in-an-app Haunting Melissa.




Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for hosting this blog tour and letting me receive  Nightmare City in exchange for an honest review!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil #1. HarperCollins (May 2013) Library
At the School for Good and Evil, failing your fairy tale is not an option. Welcome to the School for Good and Evil, where best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she'll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil. The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie's dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are... ? The School for Good and Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.


At the village of Gavaldon two unlikely friends, one deemed good and the other evil, are captured and sent to two different schools - The School for Good and The School for Evil. There the two friends must learn how to be the best princess or villain they could possibly be in order to be a part of a fairy tale. The problem is that Sophie, who loves pink and beauty, is sent to The School for Evil while Agatha, the girl everyone calls a witch, is sent to The School for Good. Try as she might Sophie can't convince the School Master that she is in the wrong school especially since she's so good at being evil... Agatha who sees herself as ugly next to the other girls agrees that there has been a mistake. Agatha is determined not to switch places or prove she's a witch but to go home with her only friend in the world. That must be their happy ending but Sophie doesn't seem to agree especially since she met what she thinks to be her future prince - Tedros. 

This is my type of book. If you love fairy tales you are sure to love this book. I was thrilled to read it! I spent long nights trying to read as much as I could. It's a really long book which was probably the only problem with this story. Although I did stay up to 2:31 a.m. to finish it (I really wanted to know how it ended) so the feeling that it was drawn out could have been because I was so tired. Nevertheless that seems to be the major negative aspect of the book that everyone comments on so it's something to keep in mind.

Everything else was fantastic. Most of the way through this book I felt it was my anthem especially considering all the fairy tale books I want to read next year. I just love fairy tales and I loved that Chainani created the fantastic characters that are Sophie and Agatha. I love the message that just because someone looks "beautiful" or "ugly" on the outside doesn't mean they are the same way on the inside. You could clearly see right away that Sophie who cared mostly about herself and the way she looked more than others was going to be sent to the evil school. Agatha, can be mean but you could also tell in her heart she cares more about her friend than anyone else. She is a protector, a friend, and a true princess. I absolutely loved Agatha. She was dark and moody but inside very sweet. I wanted her to have her happy ending whatever it ended up to be. Sophie on the other hand I couldn't care less about but that seems to be the intention. You are not going to root for the villain are you? But, not everything was black and white with these two girls. Sophie could really surprise you. The two girls' friendship was a center theme for The School for Good and Evil. You didn't really know where they were going to stand with each other until the very end of the story. This was a great tale of what makes a person truly good or truly evil.

Overall: A fairy tale story worth trying. The messages in this story are profound and something many children, especially girls, can learn from. I will so be continuing on with this series.

Find out if you are a Ever or a Never at The School for Good and Evil website.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trailer Reveal: The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky

If you haven't noticed the countdown on the side of the blog... there is one. On February 15th, I'm happy to say I'm having the author of The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky (release date: February 6th) Holly Schindler on She's Got Books on Her Mind for a guest post. The first guest post ever on here which I'm really excited about. The trailer came out today and Holly asked us all in the blog tour to share it if we want so that's what I'm going to do. The book is very unique and very much something I'm sure many people will love and can learn from.

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.

August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.

The Trailer


Sunday, November 3, 2013

October 2013 Reads Wrap Up


I'm facing the facts that I'm reading less and less these days. With 35 books left in my yearly Goodreads Challenge I know I probably won't make it. So my list this month will be rather short. Once the semester's over I'll go crazy reading but until then I will settle with reading at least seven books. I am thinking of so many different things I want to do next year. Different posts and themes... Since I have two weeks before the spring semester I have a bunch of time to plan out everything for January. October I got very much into Once Upon a Time the show which is going to play a major role in my plans. It's going to be very different next year...

Here are the books I want to read in November:

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Nightmare City by Andrew Klavan
Lethal Circuit by Lars Guignard
The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
Destiny by Cindy Ray Hale
Sia by Josh Grayson

I honestly don't really have a favorite book for October which is pretty sad. I only read four books after all and none of them jumped out at me. But, I would love to know yours and if you happen to be already planning for next year.

What books are you excited to read this November?