Hello everyone! Are you getting excited about Thanksgiving, US friends? I am! But right now it’s time for a new Saturday Situation, hosted by Candace at Candace’s Book Blog and me. So, here’s the scoop: I’m going to set up two Linky’s. One for Giveaways that you want to promote and one for Posts that you want to promote. The posts can be reviews, discussions, rants, events you are planning, anything that you want people to read! I know there’s so many great posts out there that often go unread. Here’s your chance to tell the world! Feel free to link up to other bloggers posts as well! Let’s spread the love!
on February 16, 2016
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.
Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.
In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig has such a creative premise. It’s ultimately one big adventure that a map nerd like myself can’t help but adore. I’ve read a few time travel books but none quite like this one. It has something for just about everyone, action, historical elements, romance, and slight traces of myth and magic.
The time travel aspect of the story is so very imaginative. How do you even come up with something like that? Big props to Heidi Heilig on that. Like I mentioned before, I looooove maps. Maps in fantasy novels are one of my favorite things ever. I must preorder this book just for all the maps that I suspect will be in it, well and because I like the book a lot.
The Girl from Everywhere is pretty hard for me to review. The plot was so intricate and sometimes twisty. I don’t want to accidentally give anything away. I did find all of the characters delightful. Nixie was a fabulous main character. She had all the qualities you want at the helm of a fantasy/adventure story. She was strong and capable. There’s some slight romance but it certainly isn’t the focus of the story. There’s also a small love triangle but it wasn’t a horrible makeyounotlikethebook one. I want to declare myself team Kasmir right now, though. I really enjoyed Nixie’s relationship with her father. It was definitely flawed, but that made it so believable.
I’m excited to see where the story goes from here! This is definitely a debut you want to watch out for! Add it to your 2016 lists now.
on January 26, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.
When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.
Shallow Graves is pitched for fans of Holly Black and I think for once that was spot on! This book is dark and strange but filled to the brim with fascinating and likeable characters.
Breezy wakes up to find that she’s dead and had been for awhile. Now she can spot murderers and easily kill them. What a captivating concept! Shallow Graves really starts off with a bang and doesn’t slow down much throughout the book.
Breezy was a great main character. It was easy to relate to her lost feelings. I like that she was so tough but not distant. Her interactions with Zeke were fun. I’m a little sad that didn’t blossom into something more. But maybe a sequel, yes?
I was honestly a tiny bit worried about the cult aspect of the story. I’ve read a few books where a cult just ruined the story for me, but I shouldn’t have worried. Kali Wallace has written a new, slightly scary, world with monsters in plain sight and real monsters (humans) out to kill them. It’s a very creative and engrossing world. I hope we get to see more!
Shallow Graves is a nice dark read. I definitely recommend it if you like those kinds of books, but read it even if you don’t. It quietly covers a lot of important topics. I think everyone can appreciate that and I think you will like it.
on September 22, 2015
Genres: Children's Book
Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. We will share the risen bread. / Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread. / Grateful to be warm and fed. / We will share the bread. In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.
“A warm and wonderful holiday treasure.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
“Captures the spirit of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.” —School Library Journal
“A delightful holiday book that shows the heartwarming tradition of food and family.” —Booklist
What I Like:
Sharing the Bread was an wonderful way to introduce my 2 year old to Thanksgiving. I feel like this is the first year he will really understand what’s going on and enjoy the family time and food. The story is really quite simple, a family prepares their Thanksgiving feast. Everyone helps or has their own special task. The illustrations are gorgeous and really bring the story to life. I wouldn’t expect anything short of beautiful from Jill McElmurry (we love Little Blue Truck so much).
My only qualm with the book is the book is the lines and scenes about saying grace and praying. We aren’t a religious family, but I understand that most people are and that it fits the time frame of the book well. I’m not going to be nitpicky about it, but it’s not my favorite part of the story.
What Finn Likes:
Finn seems to love the cadence of the story. He really enjoys picking out the dog and cat and various family members on each page. He’s always thrilled when their dinner is finally ready and they sit down to eat.
Sharing the Bread is a lovely Thanksgiving picture book. I always enjoy reading it to Finn.
on January 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won’t open.
Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
I’ve read a few other books about school shootings and was very captivated by them. When I heard about This is Where it Ends I immediately added it to my to read list. It sounded so horrifying but good. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all I hoped it would be.
This is Where it Ends suffers from having way too many points of view. I’ll admit this could just be my problem because I’m a little notorious for not liking books with multiple points of view. But I feel like it was overkill in this book. I kept getting characters confused or losing track of them in the story. I got pretty annoyed.
I also feel like the characters just did silly, unrealistic things. They weren’t well written at all. I had zero interest in them by the end.
This is Where it Ends had a lot of potential. There were intense moments that had me on the edge of my seat but it wasn’t enough to make up for the other problems I had. This book seems to be getting lots of great reviews so don’t let my opinion sway you. You may love it.
on November 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
If Almost Famous were a YA novel… a raw, honest debut celebrating music, friendship, romance, and life on the road.
Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule… Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
I think it’s no secret that YA readers love books with a strong music theme. There’s been so many great ones. One of my absolute favorites is Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway. I devoured it in one sitting and I’ve never found a book that’s came even kind of close to it. Until now…
For the Record was so very fun! I was in love from the very first chapter. It’s about Chelsea, the main character, landing the lead vocals job with a already established rock band and her adventures and hardships on tour. It’s so easy for a book to come off as silly when it’s about a bunch of famous people but For the Record feels so authentic. Charlotte Huang has some insider knowledge in the music business and it shows.
Chelsea was a fabulous MC. She’s down to earth and so easy to relate to, even though she’s in this unfathomable situation (for most of us). She just really wants to escape her home town and her unfair high school experiences. Escape she does! With a rock band! I feel like Chelsea made some pretty dumb decisions throughout the book but that just made her more real.
The touring and band aspects of the story were so well done. I loved that they had days with off performances and days with excellent ones and that I could really feel that in the tone of the story. The other band members and crew were all well written. I loved that each member had such a fleshed out personality.
I was pretty surprised by something that happens between Chelsea and her best friend toward the end of the book. I almost think the story would’ve been fine without that situation. It felt a little out of place to me. I took away one star because of that, but it was still a fantastic book.
For the Record was pretty unputdownable. It’s going to get a lot of love from the Audrey, Wait fans. I adored it and highly recommend it!
on October 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut, Say What You Will, with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes, and learning to forgive. Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Nevin, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.
Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.
Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?
A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern didn’t show up on my radar until a few weeks ago when I started seeing all the glowing praise from fellow readers. I knew that I had to read it instantly. I feel like there’s been a sad lack of incredible contemporaries in my life this year and I wanted this book to fill that gap.
I think the premise for A Step Toward Falling is pretty amazing. Lucas and Emily witness something horrible and do nothing. They are then ‘punished’ by having to attend a weekly relationship class for adults with developmental disabilities. I loved seeing them learn about their peers and themselves throughout the book. There was some great character growth for Emily. I also feel like I learned and grew with them.
My only issue with the book is Emily. She was a pretty unlikable character surrounded by likable ones. She did have good character growth, like I mentioned before, but it seemed like it took her forever. She is supposed to be this great person but she continually does stupid and hurtful things. I also felt like her high school social hierarchy hangups were odd and out of place with the rest of the story. She annoyed me but I adored Lucas and Belinda.
Lucas was such a well rounded character. He definitely picked up Emily’s slack for me. He had a good heart and didn’t deserve Emily’s judgements through most of the book. He was my favorite character in the story, hands down. Belinda was also fascinating. I loved the chapters from her pov. That was a really unique element to the story. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had a developmentally disabled main character. She was sweet and refreshingly honest. It was impossible for me not to like her.
A Step Toward Falling was a good read. I certainly enjoyed it, but my dislike of Emily kept me from absolutely loving it. I think it’s an important book with a wonderful message. We could all learn a thing or two from it.
(Probably more like 3.5 stars)