Food, Girls and Others Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff is a wonderful story about trying to find oneself when you don't quite fit in. Its a story...moreFood, Girls and Others Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff is a wonderful story about trying to find oneself when you don't quite fit in. Its a story that its easy for anyone to relate to because we have all been there. We've all had moments when we feel like we're on the outside looking in. And we've all struggled with trying to find ourselves in the treaterous place known as high school. Andy Zansky isn't popular by any means, he's the second fattest kid in his class and his main claim to fame in school is to be a member of the model UN with his best friend. Then one day Andy sees a girl who he knows is far out of his league....she is pretty and working her way into the popular crowd. Usually Andy would pine from afar but something is different this time and he decides to try and change things. So when an opportunity arises to try out for the football team he goes for it. But at what cost? Will he climb the popularity ladder? And if he does, what is he leaving behind?
I loved the voice of Andy he was sweet and funny and the progression of events was believable. The chapters are short which helps make this book into a fast read and each starts with a funny lead in title. Although I am not usually a fan of chapter titles as they can reveal things to come that haven't been reveled yet. This was a fun story and there is a little something in it for everyone. There is dealing with bully issues, romance, struggling to overcome the odds and even a little of chasing the dream. There is a little bit of Andy inside everyone and I think that he'll endear himself to everyone who reads his story. This is a wonderful coming of age story and I loved watching as Andy learned from the choices he made - both good and bad. This is a quick read because it sucks you in...I read the book in one sitting, which rarely happens these days. So if you have a quiet afternoon then you might want to spend it getting to know Andy a little better.(less)
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I decided to sign up for the Losing Faith tour on Traveling...moreAs originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I decided to sign up for the Losing Faith tour on Traveling ARC Tours. I had heard some discussion surrounding the book and so thought hey why not? The book begins shortly before Brie's sister Faith is found dead of apparent suicide. However, despite how things look Brie doesn't believe that her sister killed herself. Brie and Faith might not have been the closest of sisters but there are some things that you just know about someone else. And so as a way to deal with the grief of her sister's...or avoid dealing with the grief...or both...Brie decides to investigate the events leading up to it.
Losing Faith is the sort of book that is perfect for a lazy day of reading. Its great for sitting out on the balcony, curling up on the couch on a winter's night or relaxing on the beach. Its not a book that is filled with car chases or gunfights or overly intrinsic plots. Its a book that is filled with following words that you just fall into. The plot itself is a bit slow moving but I loved the beauty of the words and so I didn't mind that it took awhile for events to develop. I also didn't think that the cult in the synopsis was an actual cult - although it certainly has the earmarks of the beginning of a cult. Hey, even cults don't grow to David Koresch bigness overnight.
I really loved the character of Brie. She was a genuine girl who was dealing with the loss of a sister and only really got to know her after it was too late. As with many Young Adult books Brie's parents were almost non-existant but they were seen on the peripherals. But what you saw of them showed that they each dealt with the grief and horror of losing a child in very realistic ways. Which left Brie in a weird state of limbo. It also didn't help that those Brie thought of as friends weren't really friends and those that Brie didn't were the ones that provided a pillar of strength. Also, a special shout out to Alistair (aka Alis) who is a wonderfully sweet boy that I think many will swoon over.
There were some scenes that were cliched but over all there was a realism to the story that its hard not to enjoy the prose of the words. Losing Faith is a story about love, loss, and having faith in the world around you. Its a story that reminds you how easy it is to lose track of those that we should be closest to and so hopefully those that read Losing Faith take it to heart that people are only here for a brief moment and you should hold tight to your loved ones for as long as you can. I really enjoyed Losing Faith and its one that I will be recommending to others.
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere(less)
***As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere***
Island Sting by Bonnie J Doerr was a book that I was really excited about when I first heard a...more***As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere***
Island Sting by Bonnie J Doerr was a book that I was really excited about when I first heard about it last year. Its setting, the Florida Keys, is a place where I want to spend more time in...I have visited once but that was just for a few hours during a trip to Florida a few years back. So not only is it a place that I want to know more of its an eco-based mystery....which means science and environmental facts. Island Sting is told from the point of view of Kenzie - who just moved to the Keys with her mom from New York. Her first day there she falls into a canal and helps to save one of the Key Deer and somehow gets involved in a mystery of someone who is killing the deer for sport.
I think I expected more from Island Sting then I got. I expected a mystery something that I'd have to try and figure out but there was no real mystery. Everything was handed to reader so it was very unfulfilling. I don't know maybe I just read too many mysteries and so for me this one was no challenge. I also found the writing to be more middle grade in nature than young adult even though all the teens were 16 or so. Although if it wasn't for the occasional reference to driving a car or high school I'd swear they were more 12 than 16. There were several times I felt like I was being talked down to as things were being explained to Kenzie. For as new girl on the island, the city chick, there was much about island life that she was clueless about.
I also had some issues with the dialogue. It just came across as stilted and didn't always ring true for a teen voice. The description to dialogue transitions didn't always work for me either. There just seemed to be a bunch of words that were edited out so there were these random jumps in events. The character of Angelo also annoyed me. His mood swings were just out of control and I just didn't see anything about him to like. So it was hard to believe that Kenzie was so head over heels for him....especially in the short amount of time in which this book takes place.
For me, this book suffered from having too high expectations. I think if I'd expected less I would have enjoyed it more. Perhaps if it were billed more as middle grade that too would have helped me enjoy it more as then the juvenile language of the book would have had more of a place. I've been reading a lot of YA over the last few years and I know that a more complex writing style and story can really thrive. There will be at least two more books involving Kenzie Ryan and I think that I will check out the next one before completely abandoning her story. Kenzie has potential and perhaps Island Sting just suffered a bit from being a debut book and that with time the writing and the crafting of a mystery will grow and become more of what I like to see when reading a mystery. Until then this is a book that I can only recommend to the younger reader.
***As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere***(less)
Women of Victorian England don't have a lot of options available to them. Children have even less. Mary, left an orphan at an early age ends up doing...moreWomen of Victorian England don't have a lot of options available to them. Children have even less. Mary, left an orphan at an early age ends up doing what she needs to in order to survive. In her case, it means burgling houses for food and items to sell. One day she gets caught and just as she's about to hang she finds herself whisked off to a special boarding school. Schrimshaw School for Girls takes in the wayward girls who show an apt for a quick thinking mind and trains them up to be governesses and companions. Well....some of them. Others are placed on a different path, one that involves spying and collecting information all while pretending to be just a governess or paid companion.
This is the life that Mary finds herself in at the age of 17 and its while starting her first assignment she somehow finds herself in a wardrobe and meeting James for the first time. Mary was placed as a paid companion in the Thorold house in order to investigate fraudulent shipping claims. James is search for information on the family in an attempt to find out if they will be scandal on his if his older brother marries Mary's charge. The two decide to team up to try and get to the bottom of the many secrets that abound in the Thorold household and they form an uneasy friendship. I really liked the interactions of James and Mary. They were both quick witted and fun. Mary is a strong character and while she does stray from her assignment she does it with the best of intentions.
A Spy in the House is a novel filled with secrets. Every character is hiding something from everyone else and trying to do all they can to prevent their secret from coming out. What results is a comedy of sorts and an intriguing mystery as you try to sort out all the threads in this tale. There were times when the scene plotting and dialogue seemed a little stilled and awkward but overall I enjoyed this book. I liked learning more about Mary and am curious to see how her secret forms who she becomes in later books. I am also curious to learn more about the school and the two mysterious heads who run the spy operation. This isn't a perfect novel but then so few are these days and there are several lose threads remaining at the end. Although that is to be expected as this is the first book in a series. A Spy in the House does keep the reader interested and engaged and while it did take me far longer to read than it should have (I was attacked by the distraction fairy) when I did pick up the book I found it hard to put down. If you like cozy mysteries then I suggest you pick up A Spy in the House.
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere (less)
First Thoughts: Loved this book! I liked it better than the first one. I really enjoyed the dual-telling aspect of this story and the shifting between...moreFirst Thoughts: Loved this book! I liked it better than the first one. I really enjoyed the dual-telling aspect of this story and the shifting between the past and present. My only complaint is that each story was so good that when the narration returned to the other one it was a bit jarring as I didn't want to leave the story I was in. Cindy Pon has a gift of narration and I fell in love all over again with Ai Ling and Chen Yong....she also does the impossible and makes you fall in love with the bad guy too! I really hope that there will be more in this series as I am so in love with the world she's created.
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
Where to start...
There were just so many things about Beautiful Malice that did not work for me. Fir...moreAs originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
Where to start...
There were just so many things about Beautiful Malice that did not work for me. First lets start with the setting. For the most part the setting is unclear, ambiguous but then the main characters all go for this weekend holiday in a town located in New South Wales, Australia. I was like...yes...finally a clear setting and one that makes the language of the book make sense. Australians just have a slightly different way of speaking than Americans - the cadences of words are just different. But then when the gang meets up with Ben - the author makes a point to say that he was Australian and that one reason why Alice dated him was for his accent. That just baffled me as by this point I thought they were all Australian. Then a few pages later Ben is telling a story and mentions when he first came to the state....and I just went huh? It didn't make sense since the only place that was ever mentioned was a place location in Australia - and living stateside you don't exactly make a weekend trip to Australia....especially when you're trying to keep things on the cheap.
Note: in talking with another blogger who read the Australian version of the book the setting was very clearly stated as Sydney, Australia...so it seems that for whatever reason the American publisher decided to try and remove those references.
But moving on...lets talk about sequence and the flow of time. This book has three distinct time periods in them and there is no real rhyme or reason to the authors jumping from one to another. The changes just became this jumbled mess for me which would knock me out of the story. I believe it was done as a way to try to heighten the suspense and make the thrills more thrilling as random bits and pieces of the past, present and future were revealed. But my suspense wasn't heightened the odd changes just annoyed me more than anything else. Especially during those times with the perspective of the book would change. For the bulk of the book the story was told in first person but every so often the I's would change to you's and it never really worked for me.
Then there is the plot.
The very first line tells you exactly what happens to Alice there is no suspense there. No shock. The story is just so flat and bland and I figured out what all the big reveals where before they were made official. The characters also all came across as flat and one dimensional. Alice was narcissistic and crazy and she appeared so form the start...she then just spirals out of control and it just doesn't ring true. Katherine is a girl trying to escape her past by forgetting it and when things get hard or rough she just turns her back on the darkness and tries to pretend it doesn't exist. This is not healthy behavior and not something that you want to do when the person you are trying to forget is crazy.
This book didn't work for me on so many levels and its not one that I can recommend. Beautiful Malice is also a book that is often billed as Young Adult but I don't get the YA vibe from it when I read it. The phrasing and the way the characters speak (in their bad dialogue scenes) is way more adult than teen. What about you...have you read Beautiful Malice? What did you think of it? Let me know if the comments below.
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere(less)