My biggest thought about the House of Ivy & Sorrow is that it could have been more. The vThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
My biggest thought about the House of Ivy & Sorrow is that it could have been more. The voice was there, but it didn't come out as much as it could have. The conflict definitely needed more to it. Even with a twist, the conflict came with an explanation already just based on how the world works and it made it hard for me to stay connected to the story. I almost didn't finish this one because about a third of the way through I didn't feel like I would learn anything new about the conflict. To be honest, I didn't learn anything new about the conflict at the end. It came out like I thought it would. But the way it was resolved was interesting. I liked that the resolution came from the girls and their friendship. Girl power!
I liked the magic and the characters in this book. The idea of magic coming from places was creative. The character Nana was one of my favorites. She had the strongest personality in the book and I enjoyed reading about her. The love interest seemed a little boring at first, but he came with an interesting twist of his own. The romance was a little cheesy for my taste, but it was still cute for the most part.
I didn't enjoy the writing. There were a few cliche moments, but luckily it didn't go to the extreme or I would have definitely chucked this book across the room. The dialogue was interesting, but I found that the main character said "No" a lot, in big long strings, when things didn't go her way. Maybe it's a little much to expect someone to realistically be eloquent in moments of stress. I don't know.
I was disappointed, to say the least, when I found out the villain's motivation. I think this goes along with the weak conflict. The villain and conflict just needed to be turned up a notch and it would have been awesome! And then the villain had to go and be all tacky. He was cheesy enough to make me cringe a little. If only he had a mustache to twirl....
Overall, the magic and characters were good but without a strong conflict or interesting villain motivation this book just didn't keep my interest.
Content warning: a few brief kissing scenes and pain used for magic that is mildly disturbing (e.g. pulling out fingernails and teeth etc.)...more
I think the best way to describe The Forgotten Locket was melodramatic. Meaning that it feltThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
I think the best way to describe The Forgotten Locket was melodramatic. Meaning that it felt so dramatic that I was disconnected from it. It was more entertaining when I read it in my head with a super dramatic voice.
I was honestly kind of bored while reading this. Abby is rescued from her problems too quickly so they didn't seem that dire to me. It was also painfully obvious how things would resolve since the really big threats were taken away too fast. There seemed to be no rules and if there were rules they quickly found ways to "break" them to do the "impossible." So everything seemed possible and it made it feel like there were no problems because there will always be a magical solution. Not only that but EVERY problem was completely solved with a very nice bow on top.
I hated that most of the world building was unexplained. "Impossible" things happen (though since the rules are extremely loose a better word than impossible would be "new"). And the explanation for events was mostly "who knows just cuz." That was the answer more often than I allow for a story to be interesting. This world kind of feels like it was made up as it went along. And I could have driven a DeLorean through all those plot holes in the way time travel worked.
I felt like I didn't have to think or imagine for this whole book. This whole series.
And oh the romance. It was nice I guess to read about a guy who always stood by his girl and did the right thing but it was highly unrealistic. They never fought. Ever. Except maybe about who loved the other person more. Gag.
I know one star is a harsh rating and I usually only give it for books that I didn't finish, but I really should have put this one down and walked away. I knew exactly what was going to happen so the only reason I finished is because of my need not to quit on books. I know a lot of people liked this series but it was really not for me.
Overall, poor world building and an extremely predictable ending really dragged this story down.
Wow that conclusion had plot holes so big I could drive my delorean through it. (Get it? From back to the future?)...more
This book gave me a respect for contemporary romance.After Hello is one of the first newish contemporary romances that I've read. It takes better wriThis book gave me a respect for contemporary romance.After Hello is one of the first newish contemporary romances that I've read. It takes better writing to keep your interest since the author has to keep the plot and characters grounded in reality. I really liked the writing. I thought it was beautiful and the conversations were interesting. New York was very much a part of the story without there being tons of over-description. I just felt immersed in the city the whole time. The way the setting was written was very well done.
I really enjoyed watching the romance slowly build. I can see the appeal of contemporary romances now. The characters have rich and distinct personalities. Sam and Sara were so easy to visualize in my head and I could see why they were drawn to each other. They have time to actually build an interesting connection with each other. The story was very much character driven instead of plot driven.
That also brings me to my complaint: the plot felt slow to me. This story happens in one day, but it felt like hardly anything happened. They go on a quest together (if you will) for the brattiest celebrity ever, but they take their sweet time going about it. Sometimes I wondered if they just plain forgot about it. It was a little aggravating to me. You can take this criticism with a grain of salt since I'm a fantasy lovin' gal and I prefer plot driven stories. So I can't really tell you if the plot is slow for a contemporary novel - just that it felt slow to me compared to what I usually read.
The conflict was interesting - maybe mildly far-fetched but still possible and a lot of fun. I thought the resolution to their quest was a bit of a let down, but the open ending to the rest of the story was enjoyable. I liked the feeling of hope and wondering of what would happen next.
Overall, it was a charming romance with a fun setting and great characters, but the plot felt slow and anti-climactic to me.
The Shadow Prince felt like a YA version of Percy Jackson. Like Percy Jackson, it's Greek mytThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
The Shadow Prince felt like a YA version of Percy Jackson. Like Percy Jackson, it's Greek mythology that asks the question, "What would the Greek Gods be like if they were around today?" It also does an awesome job of making a Greek myth modern. This retelling of the Persephone myth uses a different version that shows Persephone making her own choices and having power because of it. I love how the traditional version of Persephone is questioned and suggests it was turned into a cautionary tale to keep girls from wandering away from home. There were so many fun allusions to Greek mythology (Apollo Canyon, Ellis Fields, Olympus Hills and my favorite - Pomegranate lip gloss).
First of all - yay for this being set in my home state of Utah! I was a little apprehensive at first of the start of the novel. The set up was very predictable. Luckily it got better as it went along. All the theories I came up with ended up being wrong which I loved.
Man I loved these characters. Haden is one emotionally stifled and impulsive dude who, as Daphne puts it, "sometimes talks like Thor." Haden is such a sad character. I'm drawn to sad characters like I am to sad stories. There's something beautiful about sadness. Daphne was very likable too. She has a passionate love of music, cares so much for her family, and is willing to do whatever it takes to make her own dreams come true. Their romance was off the charts.
Overall, this was a great mythology retelling that the author made her own with characters that I loved. ...more
Life in the Pit was a cute, quick romance that piqued my interest because the main character is a cellist and I love the cello! The story revolves aroLife in the Pit was a cute, quick romance that piqued my interest because the main character is a cellist and I love the cello! The story revolves around a play that isn’t real, but sounds like a mash-up of every Jane Austen novel ever written with a dash of Clue. Brittany is playing in the orchestra pit for the play while her best friend Amanda stars in it. The plot was a little over-dramatic and cheesy sometimes but still entertaining, cute, and fun. Amanda and Brittany felt like frenemies at first. I had one of those in high school. But their relationship grows as the story grows on and I could see that they cared about each other. The boyfriend is cute, impulsive and thoughtful. Brittany is insecure but relatable. And Brittany is a terrible detective. Like laughably bad. But oh well. Brittany really grows by the end of the story and I enjoyed watching her become more confident.
It was pretty obvious who the “mystery” sabatoger of the play was, but when I found out the motive it was so bizarre that I was just like…..okay….. I have no words, really.
Overall, a fun contemporary romance that was only a little cheesy from a lovely local author of mine.
Slippers of Pearl is an interesting twist and original take on the fairy-tale The Princess Who Couldn’t Laugh. I thought the story was very imaginativSlippers of Pearl is an interesting twist and original take on the fairy-tale The Princess Who Couldn’t Laugh. I thought the story was very imaginative and the writing was cute and witty (though there were more comparisons in this book than I think it really needed). I liked that the house the main character, Faryn, lived in was alive in a adorable and charming way. The story felt kind of like The Hobbit because Faryn goes on different adventures involving magic shoes, runaway pigs, and trying getting a girl to laugh to lift a curse. My only complaint about this book was that unlike Bilob who is on all these adventures to get somewhere, there was no overall story line connecting all the side quests in Slippers of Pearl. Still, the author put a lot of detail in the story that made it very rich and entertaining to me.
Overall, it’s a good coming of age story with a lot of funny moments and a good message. It was pretty entertaining for me as an adult, but I think kids would really dig this story.
The first thing I noticed about Transparent was that it had a nice voice to it. I loved the main character Fiona's honesty and dry humor about how sheThe first thing I noticed about Transparent was that it had a nice voice to it. I loved the main character Fiona's honesty and dry humor about how she was born. Fiona had me smiling a lot with the things she said like when she said she read her math book because she was "that bored." I found Fiona incredibly likable. Her invisibility defines her whole life and she struggles with the fact that she could potentially be the perfect criminal, that no one will ever call her pretty, and that sometimes she isn't even treated like a person with feelings since people can't see them expressed on her face. I loved watching her grow when she had to face the choice of pretending to be whatever she imagined instead of who she really is.
I had a hard time at first understanding the world that Transparent is set in. My questions did get explained later on, but I felt a little lost at the beginning especially about the "syndicates" (which are essentially mafias) and how the dynamics of that worked. There was a very subtle dystopian feeling since the world is essentially run by mafias, but I wouldn't put it in that genre.
I really enjoyed all the other characters and their interesting super powers. I think my favorite was the creative and useless power of emitting odors. I want that one. The secondary characters have beautiful back stories as well. My favorite was the character with the super strength and the disadvantages that came with it. And Miles was such a likable older brother/father figure who was adorably protective of Fiona. One of my favorite moments of the book was when Fiona discovered that her parents are people with a past and she suddenly gets why they do what they do.
I loved the cool twists in this story. I went back to skim read all the signs I obviously missed. There were big hints but you have to remove your labels and judgement and you can't believe everything you're told. Those are the very best plot twists in my opinion.
I haven't read a romance that I've enjoyed this much in a very long time. I loved the connection that slowly grew between them. They slowly fall in love as they get to know each other. The tension between them was so interesting without feeling like there was unnecessary drama.
Overall, Transparent had a nice conflict and a cool plot twist with a wonderful cast of characters and an adorable romance.
The Actor and the Housewife was an emotional journey full of Shannon’s usual charm and wit. IThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
The Actor and the Housewife was an emotional journey full of Shannon’s usual charm and wit. It explored really well the idea of whether a men and a women can be “just friends.” I got to live out the fantasy vicarioulsy of “What if you met your ultimate Hollywood crush” and it was a lot of fun. I loved this witty and sweet story that had some heartbreak in it, too. And ahhhh the culture of the ’90s. Becky, the housewife was very relatable to me. Yes, I am a Mormon housewife and her life sounds a lot like mine (except I don’t make pies), but it was more than that. She’s not ashamed to be a little cliche and she never apologizes for who she is which made her very likable. Becky is able to build a relationship with the actor, Felix, even though they are almost complete opposites. The real chemistry of the relationship between the actor and the housewife comes from the fact that they don’t try to change each other and they respect each other. Their banter is so funny. Honestly, the relationship felt awkward sometimes, but I could really see it happening. It did make me wonder if actors do have “real” friends. One of my favorite scenes was Becky struggling to deal with her crazy kids and the actor just being in awe. It was nice to see her life through his eyes.
Now to what I didn’t like. Basically, the ending.
The Spoiler-Free Version
I really wanted it to end differently. Though I can appreciate the fact that the way it did end was very non-cliche and supported the point that the story was trying to make, it left me feeling let down to the point that I kind of wondered what the point of the whole story was. My disappointment is more than just not getting my way. I felt like it hadn’t really gone anywhere. Neither of the characters had changed or progressed very much.
The Spoiler Version
Click the spoiler tag below.
(view spoiler)[I really, really wanted them to get together at the end. The fact that they didn’t meant that their relationship stayed the same through the whole story leaving me to wonder what the point was. My disappointment is more than just not getting my way. They are friends through the whole novel and the fact that they remained that way makes a statement that you can be just friends but at the same time neither of them really changed or progressed at all. It made me fee like the story didn’t go anywhere. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, it was an entertaining, witty story and the perfect beach read while I was on vacation. It was pure escapist fun even if I was disappointed with the ending.
Princess Academy is just plain beautiful writing. The tone was bittersweet and slightly formal, which I loved. At the same time, it felt very much likPrincess Academy is just plain beautiful writing. The tone was bittersweet and slightly formal, which I loved. At the same time, it felt very much like a young girl narrating. I can see why this was a Newbery Honor book. I really don't know how she managed to do that. The descriptions of the characters immediately created an image in my head and aren't just a list of facts about them.
"Enrik!" Miri jogged to the trader she had dealt with for the past two years. He was lank and pale, and the way he looked down his thin nose at her reminded Miri of a bird that had gone too long without a grub.
-Shannon Hale, Princess Academy pg 24.
There are a lot of characters in this book. There were so many that I had to write a list of them to keep track! Each character comes with a distinct and interesting personality. Not all the girls at the Academy are nice. And their teacher, Olana, is like the offspring of Effie Trinket and Severus Snape. She was very entertaining and one of my favorite characters.
There is the barest hint of magic that shows the power of memories. I was not expecting magic in this book, and although there isn't much of it, it is delightful and fascinating.
The ending is quite the intense. I was glued to the book as these young girls showed true bravery.
Shannon Hale continues to amaze me at her ability to have a different style in each of her books. I was pleasantly surprised by this book - it was not the light and fluffy read I thought it would be, but I could still see it appealing to kids.
Overall, it was a beautifully written book about bravery and friendship with the lightest touch of magic that kids will love (and adults probably will, too).
The story was more grown up in this second installment of the Princess Academy. Palace of Stone deals with more issues that usually involve adults likThe story was more grown up in this second installment of the Princess Academy. Palace of Stone deals with more issues that usually involve adults like marriage and revolution. What made this revolution story unique was that it was started by a girl who could see both sides. Most of the revolution stories I've read have been about the little guys trying to overthrow those in power like Les Miserables and The Hunger Games. It was interesting to wonder how she was going to work this revolution out with one foot in each world.
I loved getting to see all of these wonderful characters again. Miri is very easy to relate to. I liked Peder, but I would have smacked him over the head if he had been in the same room as me at the end.
I loved learning more about the history of Mount Eskel. The world of the lowlands was fun to explore. It seemed colorful and a little magical and it reminded me of the world from the Disney movie, Tangled.
I liked how the magic was expanded on in this book. It answered a few questions I had about the importance of linder, the stone that is quarried on Mount Eskel, and if there was more to it. There is and it was fun to discover!
Princess Academy could easily stand on it's own, yet you can see how the happy ending from the first book might not work out and last. That made it even more fun to read this sequel.
Overall, it was a unique view on revolution that expands on the magic and the world that kids and adults would love.
A Mutiny in Time is a story about 3 kids who travel back in time to fix history before the world ends. I liked the twist in this story that unlike traA Mutiny in Time is a story about 3 kids who travel back in time to fix history before the world ends. I liked the twist in this story that unlike traditional time-travel stories, they are supposed to change things. The historic details that aren’t accurate amused me. I think a lot of kids would be clever enough to know whose faces should really be on Mount Rushmore. It would have been fun to see and learn more history (I mean besides the random facts that came out of Dak). The characters and their quirks made me chuckle. One thing I didn’t get was why the villain wanted to destroy the world?? Her motivations weren’t really clear to me, but I’m hoping that we’ll find out more about the bad guys (aka the SQ) and their motivations later on in the series. Wanting power for power’s sake does not make interesting villains. Other than that, the author did a good job with playing with your expectations a little with a nice action-filled plot. The story was a lot of fun, adventurous, and didn’t feel predictable.
One of the really fun things about this book is the online game component. The book comes with a map that has clues to help with the game. It also had a lot of cool facts from history presented in a nice way. The game was simple, fun, and full of puzzles and mini-missions. I did find the wagon mini-mission to be very finnicky and a little tedious, but I enjoyed the game overall and played it over a few days. Just FYI – the game is an app as well as on the Internet, but they don’t sync up. Meaning however far you get on one doesn’t transfer over to the other. But otherwise the game is exactly the same whether you play it on your phone or the internet.