6/30/13

Doll Bones

Author: Holly Black 
Pages: 244 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity ....



My Summary: Zach is getting older, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still enjoy playing with his friends Poppy and Alice. But when his dad throws out his toys, Zach can only think of one thing to do: end the game forever.

Zach thinks that's the end of their friendship, but when Poppy and Alice appear outside his window late one night with a haunting tale of murder and bone china dolls, he can't help but jump at the opportunity for one last adventure.

My Thoughts: What a great read! I was sucked in immediately by the creepy premise, and I couldn't put it down. Although 244 pages may seem like a lot for a MG novel, it read quickly and didn't take more than 4 hours to complete. Black's writing brought the story to life, and I loved the way she included the childrens' real life issues into the story along with the paranormal aspect. The characters themselves were likable and easy to relate to, and the idea of the 'game' having brought the doll to life was great.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys ghost stories, paranormal and adventure novels, and of course fans of Holly's other series.

6/21/13

Follow Friday!

Welcome to Follow Friday! This weeks question:

What's your favourite literary quote?

I really can't choose, and it's not due to a lack of trying. I have so many literary quotes floating around that I absolutely adore - I really can't choose my favourite. One of my favourites is probably the one under the header of this blog, though! Franz Kafka perfectly described that feeling an amazing book gives you when you're finished - you really do feel like you've been wounded, and it's not the kind of wound that you can slap a band-aid over.

Thanks for visiting my blog! Please feel free to have a look around, and don't worry, I always follow back! 

6/16/13

Smoke

Author: Ellen Hopkins 
Pages: 560 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Hardcover (ARC) 
Expected Publication: 09/10/2013
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)
: Pattyn Von Stratten’s father is dead, and Pattyn is on the run. After far too many years of abuse at the hands of her father, and after the tragic loss of her beloved Ethan and their unborn child, Pattyn is desperate for peace. Only her sister Jackie knows what happened that night, but she is stuck at home with their mother, who clings to normalcy by allowing the truth to be covered up by their domineering community leaders. Her father might be finally gone, but without Pattyn, Jackie is desperately isolated. Alone and in disguise, Pattyn starts a new life, but is it even possible to rebuild a life when everything you’ve known has burned to ash and lies seem far safer than the truth?




Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest an unbiased review. 

My Summary: Pattyn is on the run - a fugitive, forced out of her small Mormon community because of the part she played in her fathers death. But the death of her father means nothing in comparison to the deaths of her baby and her boyfriend, Ethan. 

Jackie is left behind, trying to tend to the shambles of their broken home. With her father dead and her mother a wreck, Jackie is forced to put aside her own grief and care for her siblings. But Jackie - like Pattyn - has secrets buried within, and she can't keep them contained forever....

My Thoughts: I loved Burned, so when I heard that there was a sequel in the works, I was a little wary (albeit excited). When I found a copy sitting in my mailbox a few days ago, I knew it was going to be another one of those nights when I stayed up late reading. 

Pattyn and Jackie were extremely well-developed. I loved the way their stories started off in the same place, branched out, and then connected again. The supporting characters were also really well-written - I loved Gavin and Angel and Adriana. Jackie's struggle to move on was heartbreaking, and reading about her mother's indifference infuriated me. I found myself cheering on Pattyn, hoping she found what she was looking for and got the chance to move on. 

While abuse was a major theme in this novel, I found hope to be one as well. Moving on was a big one too, and Ellen Hopkins wrote it beautifully. Jackie and Pattyn's struggles were believable and relatable, and nothing was sugarcoated. 

Final Thoughts: If you are a fan of poetry, contemporary lit, or just looking to branch out in the YA genre, I definitely recommend you check out anything and everything by Ellen Hopkins. If you loved Burned, pre-order Smoke ASAP!  

6/3/13

Stormbringers


Author: Philippa Gregory
Pages: 288
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback (ARC) 
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Italy, 1453. Luca and Isolde grow more and more attracted to each other as they continue their journey to unravel the mysteries throughout Christendom. But their travels are delayed by the uprising of an intense religious crusade that threatens the balance of the civilized world. Death lingers in the air as war ravages on, but this religious conflict is nothing compared to the arrival of an intense and deadly storm.

Caught in the midst of unimaginable chaos, Luca and Isolde must rely on one another in order to survive.




Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: When Luca, Isolde, and their companions set out on their journey, they never expected to be swept up in the strange superstitious fears of a tiny town along the road. Approached by a self-proclaimed 'saint' and a group of wayward children, the five are baffled to discover the townspeople fear... well, almost everything.

Instructed by the Order to investigate this wild claim, Luca, Frieze, and Brother Peter attempt to discern whether or not Johann is a true believer or if he is simply executing an elaborate con. But things go horribly wrong, and the five travelers find themselves in more danger than they ever could have imagined....

My Thoughts: In this second installment of Philippa Gregory's Order of Darkness series, we see our foursome continue on the quest for truth in the world of Christianity. We see the relationship between Isolde and Luca grow as the journey progresses, with each perilous step bringing them closer to the sinister truth - and to each other. 

I've always been a huge fan of Philippa Gregory's. Her trademark world-building was evident in this novel as well as in the first installment, and her attention to detail really brought Isolde and Luca's world to life in my mind. The pacing was very well thought-out, and I never felt like the story dragged. There was also a lot of symbolism present, adding that extra element of intrigue to the atmosphere.

Final Thoughts: A really enjoyable read for those who love historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. I'm already anxiously awaiting the third installment!

Wallbanger


Author: Alice Clayton 
Pages: 300 
Publisher: Omnific Publishing 
Format: Paperback 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)
: Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O. 

Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow?–punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O. 

 Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick…



My Summary: Caroline Reynolds has her life together. She's scored her dream job, dream apartment, and she couldn't ask for better friends. So why is she unhappy? 

Because this twenty-something has had horrible experiences with men - the latest of which left a lasting impression on her nether regions. Frustrated, Caroline can't help but feel a little bitter towards her neighbour - a man she nicknames 'Wallbanger' because of the sounds of his late-night activities. But could Wallbanger be the game-changer that gets Caroline out of her rut?

My Thoughts: Don't be deceived by the name (or the cover!).This book was hilarious, and definitely not what you'd expect from the cover art. Hands down, it was one of the funniest books I've read in years. Every character added their own charm to the story, and I was hooked after the first few chapters. I flew through this one in only a few hours, and I was sad to see it end.

The characters were great, and I loved the relationship dynamic between Caroline and Simon. Their relationship developed naturally and believably, and never once did I roll my eyes at any forced-sounding words. Clayton definitely knows how to develop her characters.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a hilarious, light-hearted romance.