Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks is a really fun and quick graphic novel read. Seriously you guys, I loved Maggie, the protagonist, and her famil...moreFriends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks is a really fun and quick graphic novel read. Seriously you guys, I loved Maggie, the protagonist, and her family.
Maggie has been home schooled by her mother her entire life, but now her mother has left and she is about to start her first day of high school. To say she is nervous would be a bit of an understatement. She doesn’t have much experience with friends – just three older brothers. The oldest is a great mentor to her throughout the book, he was always there when she need to talk. I thought that was awesome!
So, as she is making friends, she also starts interacting with a ghost in the neighborhood graveyard. The paranormal element in Friends with Boys is pretty light – most of the book focuses on Maggie and her new high school experience. So, if you’re normally not a fan of the whole ghost thing – you should definitely still give Friends with Boys a try.
For the record: there isn’t really a romance element to the story, but she has a new friend with a mohawk who is totally cute – if there was a sequel I bet they’d definitely date.
So many things that Faith Erin Hicks included in the story are excellent. For instance: a school play about zombies who eat brains. Also, two of Maggie’s older brothers are twins that are trying to figure out how to have identities apart from each other. I could not get enough of the amazing character interaction found throughout Friends with Boys.
Even if you’re fairly new to the world of graphic novels – I think Friends with Boys is a great place to start. Maggie is a character who is easy to care about, and you’ll totally fall in love with her family and new friends as well.(less)
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter is a really fun middle grade story. I really enjoyed reading it! The characters and plot definitely wove together to...moreThe Humming Room by Ellen Potter is a really fun middle grade story. I really enjoyed reading it! The characters and plot definitely wove together to create a unique retelling of The Secret Garden…
I’ve actually never read The Secret Garden, but I have seen several of the movies. The atmosphere and characterization definitely create a unique experience – and I felt the same vibes while reading The Humming Room.
Roo Fanshaw is good at hiding – she has had to be. When circumstances force her to move to a remote island to live with her eccentric uncle, she doesn’t know what life will be like. As she gets used to the island, strange things start happening. She hears a mysterious humming in a part of the house she is not allowed to visit. When she finally discovers what is behind the humming, she is pretty shocked!
Roo also has a really deep connection to nature, and when she finds a dying indoor garden in her new home, she is determined to heal it. Luckily, she won’t have to do it alone.
Y’all, The Humming Room is such a charming and atmospheric read. Not to mention short: less than 200 pages short. There is a lot of story packed in though. Time is spent on characterization and plot both – neither gets less emphasis than the other.
Ellen Potter’s retelling has definitely made me want to read The Secret Garden, I will definitely be starting it soon! I can’t wait to get the same vibes from reading it as I did from The Humming Room.(less)
Misty at The Book Rat is having a graphic novel week over at her blog, y’all! In honor of that, I decided to read and review Tall: Great American Folk...moreMisty at The Book Rat is having a graphic novel week over at her blog, y’all! In honor of that, I decided to read and review Tall: Great American Folktales edited by Donnie Lemke. I grew up with these stories, and had a ton of fun reading them now.
Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry and Johnny Appleseed are all four stories that I remember reading as a child, and Tall covers them all. I enjoyed all of them even though they are definitely meant for readers on the younger side. I think Pecos Bill is actually my favorite tall tale – I love reading about him riding Widow Maker and roping tornadoes!
However, even though I am still definitely a Pecos Bill fangirl, Johnny Appleseed was by far my favorite of the stories in Tall. The illustrations and story were very well done. It also seemed to be written the best to appeal to people of all ages, versus just children. Good stuff, you guys!
So, if you grew up with these tall tales, Tall is a great journey back to the good ole days when Babe the Big Blue Ox seemed like the coolest thing since sliced bread. If you are new to the legends – this makes a great introduction! It is really short and easy to read.
I definitely recommend reading Tall: Great American Folktales!(less)
Oh angel books, what a complicated relationship we have. A love-but-mostly-hate kinda deal. Before reading Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James,...moreOh angel books, what a complicated relationship we have. A love-but-mostly-hate kinda deal. Before reading Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James, I would have claimed the Unearthly trilogy as the only angel books I’ve ever read and liked even the slightest. While those are definitely still my favorites – I did mostly enjoy reading Forbidden.
First – let’s talk Forbidden’s cover. I actually love it. I love the aquaish turquoisey color. I love the vintage feel. Basically: I’m a fan. I’ve seen several people talking about not liking it, but that’s perfectly fine. I like it enough for them too. What do you guys think about it?
Next: characterization. Y’all, when supernatural elements started being introduced I thought the characters accepted everything way too well. Actually, some of them accepted the possibility of supernatural answers to some questions they had almost immediately. I thought: What on Earth? Forbidden isn’t realistic! Who thinks this wa…thinks about it. Thinks about it some more. Doh.
Our entire culture is saturated with the supernatural these days! Of course these characters are more accepting of things like that then people would have been even 3-4 years ago. We’ve just all been Cullen-ed. So yeah, Authors: 1. Allison: 0.
So anyway, Claire Brennen starts having psychic episodes: seeing pieces of both the past and future. She and her two best friends are freaking out trying to figure out what is up. Then – they are saved from being crushed in a freak accident by new kid Alec MacKenzie (Alec MacKenzie of the hot Scottish accent, y’all!). Claire thinks Alec is some type of vampire or something because no way could a human have pulled them out of the way like that.
She has no idea how closely Alec’s secrets align with hers. Just wait, Claire. Just wait.
Claire rocked in Forbidden a lot of ways, you guys. She had a backbone. When she first gets confirmation that Alec is indeed supernatural, it is through one of her visions. She sees him killing someone. So instead of being a whiny little wuss that gets scared, backs into a corner and starts asking questions – she takes off. I mean, she ran out of there like she just witness Voldemort killing a puppy. She stole his car keys and got the hell out of Dodge. That is what I call survival instinct! (AKA How Not to be a Dumbass.)
Thank you Syrie James and Ryan James, for not writing an idiot as your heroine.
So, now the not so great parts. Even though I did like Claire and Alec and Claire’s friends and mom and so forth…I didn’t really connect with any of them. I wanted them to be happy and get together and all, sure. But I didn’t feel it once they did. You know what I mean? The writing of Forbidden failed to pull me in completely.
I was also a little disappointed with the overall plot. I didn’t feel like anything new was brought to the table. Angels? Forbidden love? Elite school setting? Plot climax during school dance? It has all been done before. Syrie James and Ryan James might have pulled together an interesting plot with decent characters, but I didn’t feel anything special anywhere.
So, while I realize “decent” isn’t exactly the highest form of compliment, that is ultimately how I’d describe Forbidden. If you’re a fan of angel books – definitely pick it up! I still think it is one of the better reads in the genre. If you aren’t, check out the synopsis. If it appeals to you: then go for it!(less)
I put off reading The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg for awhile. Afterlife plots don’t always appeal to me. Well, let me tell...moreI put off reading The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg for awhile. Afterlife plots don’t always appeal to me. Well, let me tell y’all. This was an exception – because I loved it! I was totally blown away by both the plot and characters.
When The Catastrophic History of You & Me begins, fifteen year old Brie has just died of a (literal) broken heart. She goes through the stages of grief and discovers all the things she didn’t know about her close friends and family. There are surprises in store from her boyfriend, best friends and parents! Really makes you think about what might be going on in your own life…
Jess Rothenberg majorly impressed me with her mad awesome plot building skills. Seriously – so many twists and turns. The kind you don’t always see coming. I was constantly being surprised by what happened next! I definitely did not expect to have so many great unexpected changes thrown at me when I started The Catastrophic History of You & Me.
I was immediately struck on page 1 because there was a reference to Princess Bride! Then, throughout the book there were multiple references to Disney Princesses. They were all so fun and clever, I had so much fun reading most of this book! Towards the end there was even a nod to Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus! How awesome is all of that? So much awesome all in one book.
Not that everything was Wesley and Buttercup loving and magic carpet rides. There was a lot of tragedy, mourning, poignancy and anger. Just like the plot had constant twists and turns – so did the emotions.
And as for the characters – seriously wow. Brie has a lot of depth. Patrick, her guide in the afterlife, is equally amazing. Two of the best-written YA characters I’ve come across in recent history.
Basically, Jess Rothenberg has created an amazingly written story in The Catastrophic History of You & Me. I can’t think of anything I would change. Definitely a book you guys want to check out!(less)
I devoured Everneath by Brodi Ashton like book crack, y’all. Seriously – one sitting. I do have some issues with the characterization, but overall I d...moreI devoured Everneath by Brodi Ashton like book crack, y’all. Seriously – one sitting. I do have some issues with the characterization, but overall I did obviously enjoy this one. I am really interested to see what happens next – so I will most likely be picking up the sequel.
At the start of Everneath, Nikki Beckett wakes up and realizes that she has spent 100 years having her emotions leeched away by an Everliving – a mythological human-like immortal dude. Except, 100 years in the weird Underworld is only six months on Earth. Nikki manages (well, accidentally) to bargain herself into six months back in her old life. Which means trying to figure things out with her boyfriend Jack.
The kicker to all this? Nikki wasn’t supposed to make it through the Feeding process intact. Now Cole, the Everliving, wants to use Nikki as a bid to rule the Underworld. If Nikki chooses not to accept Cole’s offer, she will be taken by the evil Shades.
You guys – seriously. I got into the plot of Everneath in a big way. Brodi Ashton knows how to reel her readers in! I put off reading this for a long time because I wanted to avoid yet another love triangle. Well, silly me: no love triangle. There are two guys – Cole the Everliving and Jack the human boyfriend. Luckily, Nikki pretty much knows who she wants to be with. Huge sigh of relief.
Okay so, picture me sitting in my awesome (old as the hills) blue reading chair devouring this book like a crazy person. Then all of a sudden I snap out of my haze and think “Doh! What am I doing?” I was so involved in the story that I almost forgot to notice that Nikki is being a total guyaholic wuss. There was never a time when she felt able to stand on her own – if Jack wasn’t around to lean on, she’d run directly to Cole (and vice versa). Big red flag there. This was the only issue I had with Everneath, but it is a big one.
Nikki! News flash: teenage boys are not all that! Seriously. Do something on your own. Make a decision by yourself in the sequel. Please.
So, despite my annoyance with Nikki, I still liked Everneath. Definitely a book worth reading if you’re a paranormal YA fan!(less)