Monday, January 26, 2015

The Honest Truth Review

The Honest Truth

TITLE: The Honest Truth
AUTHOR: Dan Gemeinhart
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PUBLICATION DATE: 1/27/2015
PAGES: 240
FORMAT: ARC
SOURCE: Amazon Vine/Publisher
MY RATING: 


SUMMARY (FROM GOODREADS): In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He's got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day.

But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from.

So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier--even if it's the last thing he ever does.

The honest truth is a rare and extraordinary novel about big questions, small moments, and the incredible journey of the human spirit.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I hadn't heard anything about this book before I read it, and I thought it was possibly about a boy who goes on a camping trip with his dog. I was completely wrong. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted to, but I think this would be a wonderful book for any middle school aged child. There's a lot of lessons packed into this little book. It was a quick read that I think would hold the attention of a younger, less patient reader.

CHARACTERS: I loved the main character of this book. He's just a little boy, but he has to go through so much and it's made him so strong and determined. I also really liked Jess, the main character's best friend. She has a decision that she is struggling with and my heart went out to her.

COVER: I love the bright colors that they used for this cover. The image also fits the book 100%.

**I received an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.**

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Letter to My Cat Review

A Letter to My Cat: Notes to Our Best Friends

TITLE: A Letter to My Cat
CREATED BY: Lisa Erspamer
PUBLISHER: Crown Archetype
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/28/2014
FORMAT: Hardcover
PAGES: 176
MY RATING:


INSIDE COVER BLURB: A Letter to My Cat is a tribute to the alluring, elusive, and always mysterious feline. The cats in our lives have unique personalities and stories to tell; they are our soul mates, heroes, companions, confidantes, our family. This heartwarming book features beautiful photographs and deeply personal letters written by a variety of cat lovers to their beloved four-legged friends. It's a celebration of the unconditional love these kitties bring into our hearts and homes.

With contributions by celebrity cat lovers such as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Mariel Hemingway, Stacy London, Gina Gershon, and Dita Von Teese, as well as from social medial star Lil BUB's owner, the "cat whisperer" Jackson Galaxy, a soldier returned from Iraq, and a fourth-grader, these notes and photographs--by turns moving, thoughtful, and sometimes downright hilarious--celebrate the devoted friendships we share with our relines.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: The concept of this book is amazing. I love cats (I have three) and I love reading letters people have written, so this is the perfect combination for me. 

The introduction made me laugh out loud thinking about all of the similarities with my cats (and just as I was reading, I got the surprise of one of them jumping up onto the couch and landing right on the open pages of the book). I really enjoyed reading this. I can relate to so many things in this book. I also love the accompanying photographs. 

This is a great coffee table book to just leave lying around to pick up and skim through when you're having a bad day or just need a pick-me-up.

COVER: The cover is great. The cat on the front is adorable and I like how they created an envelope with a cute little cat stamp on it.

**I received a finished copy of this book for my honest review.**

Monday, January 12, 2015

All The Bright Places Review

All the Bright Places

TITLE: All The Bright Places
AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers
PUBLICATION DATE: 1/6/2015
FORMAT: ARC
PAGES: 400
SOURCE: Amazon Vine
MY RATING: 


BACK COVER SUMMARY: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might die, but every day is also searches--and manages to find--something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school--six stories above the ground--it's unclear who saves whom.  And when the unlikely pair teams up on a class project to discover the "natural wonders" of their state, they go, as Finch says, where the road takes them: the grand, the small, the bizarre, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising--just like life.

Soon it's only with Violet that Finch can be himself--a bold, funny, live-out-loud guy, who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet forgets to count away the days and starts living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink.

This is a heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teens who find one another while standing on the edge.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a quick read, even though it's fairly large, so don't be intimidated by it's size. It has road trip elements, even though it's not really a "road trip book." All The Bright Places has plenty of feels, so if you're in the mood for something with lots of different emotions, the definitely check this one out. I would recommend it for older teens as it does have some pretty heavy topics in it, but it is very much worth reading.

CHARACTERS: I didn't feel as connected to the characters as I wanted to, but I think that was more about my mood when I was reading this book than the book itself. 

COVER: I love it. The post-its tie into the story perfectly.

**I received an ARC of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.**

Saturday, January 3, 2015

December Wrap Up

Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

In December I read a total of 10 books! This brings my totals books read for the year to 102 books, my personal best! I managed to read 9 real books, which means my total real books for this year and for the "Real Books" Challenge is 81 which means I am a Real Book Queen!

Real Books:
Lost for WordsThe Honest TruthThe Bell JarThe Silence of SixA Letter to My Cat: Notes to Our Best FriendsMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday StoriesHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)All the Bright PlacesCharm & Strange

Ebooks:
Eyes Turned Skyward


Here is my list of "real books" for the entire year of 2014:
January
1. Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
2. How to Love by Kate Cotugno
3. Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart
4. Find Me by Romily Bernard
5. Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
6. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Leithan
7. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
8. The River by Mary Jane Beaufrand
February
9. Need by Carrie Jones
10. Captivate by Carrie Jones
11. Entice by Carrie Jones
12. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
13. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. Blood Loss by Alex Barclay
16. Undercover by Beth Kephart
March
17. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
18. Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
19. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
20. Gated by Amy Christine Parker
21. Half Bad by Sally Green
22. Divergent by Veronica Roth
23. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
April
24. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
25. The World of Veronica Roth's Divergent Series
26. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
27. Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington
28. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
29. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
May
30. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
31. The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely
32. The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
33. Killer Instinct by S.E. Green
34. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
35. Legend by Marie Lu
36. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
37. Rain by Amanda Sun
38. Tease by Amanda Maciel
June
39. Great by Sara Benincasa
40. The Taking by Kimberly Derting
41. Soul Screamers Volume One by Rachel Vincent
42. Alcatraz Escape Files
July
43. Panic by Lauren Oliver
44. Take Me On by Katie McGarry
45. Shrinking Violet by Danielle Jospeh
46. Velocity by Dean Koontz
47. Four by Veronica Roth
48. Falling Into Place
August
49. Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts
50. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
51. Shugo Chara #1
52. The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer
53. Servants of the Storm
54. Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
September
55. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
56. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
57. H20
October
58. Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne
59. Charmed Season 9 Volume 1
60. Lindsey Lost by Suzanne Marie Phillips
61. Charmed Season 9, Volume 2
62. Charmed Season 9, Volume 3
63. 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
64. The Boy Recession by Flynk Meaney
65. Charmed Season 9, Volume 4
66. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgal
November
67. Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
68. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
69. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
70. Boy2Girl by Terence Blacker
71. Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick
72. Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
December
73. Lost For Words
74. The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
75. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
76. The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers
77. A Letter to My Cat
78. My True Love Gave To Me
79. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
80. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
81. Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn



I had so much fun joining in on this challenge and I have decided that I want to do it again. I will be trying for the goal of 50+ books: Book Queen/King.

Go check it out at Fiction Fare and sign up if you're interested!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Black Ice Review

Black Ice

TITLE: Black Ice
AUTHOR: Becca Fitzpatrick
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
PUBLICATION DATE: 10/7/2014
FORMAT: Hardcover
PAGES: 392
SOURCE: Amazon Vine
MY RATING:


INSIDE COVER SUMMARY: Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn't prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin and accept the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants -- but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. Things get even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that took place on that very mountain -- a discovery that may make her the killer's next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy or an ally?

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This story wasn't what I wanted it to be. I feel like it could have been done a lot better. That being said, I did find myself wanting to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. The premise of the story pulled me in and had me interested, but I was frustrated with how naive the girls were and angry with how easily they trusted complete strangers. The story was dragged out a little bit in parts, but it was suspenseful enough to make me not want to put down the book.

CHARACTERS: Mason made me really angry. I wanted him to hurry up and explain himself. The way the book was going, I knew he was eventually going to explain some things, but he just dragged it out and waited so long. Britt and Korbie make quite a few decisions that don't make sense and are agitating.

COVER: I really like the cover, except for the guy on it. It would have been the perfect cover if it just had the scenery on it.

**I received a finished copy of this book from Amazon Vine for my honest review.**