Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: Ugly to Start With

Title: Ugly to Start With Author: John Michael Cummings
Pages: 168 Genre: Young-Adult
Subgenre: Historical Fiction
The life of Jason Stevens is told through 13 short stories that can be read all together as a novel or each one by themselves and still get a good story, either way. Jason lives in the small, historic town of Harper's Ferry in West Virginia during the 1970's when life was determined by one's wealth, skin color, and town gossip. Each story shows a different moment in Jason's life when something , even if it's just something little, changes about him or his life. Jason wants to be an artist, but surviving your teen years in Harper's Ferry, especially when your father is the most-hated, racist, stubborn man in the whole region, is none too easy.
Ugly to Start With is real, raw and smart. The unique short story format focuses on Jason's change, rather than a set plot and plays to its own advantage, giving the already interesting story an edge. Every one of the stories brought me a little bit more of Jason and a little bit more of the dynamic and old-fashioned Harper's Ferry. At times it made me laugh as Jason would describe the strange traditions of Harper's Ferry. Other times it would bring me to the brink of tears or send a wave of pity through me. The whole time I was amazed (and maybe even a little shocked) at how deep the author went into and how real the whole community of Harper's Ferry seemed. I could just imagine these characters gossiping in their kitchens or barely making a living. It just seems impossible to not feel like these characters are something more than just people in a good story. The characters were definitely what made this book so good. Ugly to Start With navigated through risky topics, but did so very well using a great cast of characters.
Cover:I love this cover. The whole packaging of the book is gorgeous, to be honest! This cover could not be more perfect for Ugly to Start With.
Level of Romance: Medium? A little? I'm not really sure how to categorize this one because it really depends on which story is read. Jason is trying to find himself and I guess one could say it takes some romantic experiences to get there.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Warning: This book contains some mature themes that, in my opinion, require a mature reader. Recommended for ages 15+

Review: Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions

If you want a break from paranormal novels, why not read a short story by your favorite author in Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions? This lovely anthology filled with all sorts of paranormal beings certainly doesn't disappoint! From vampires to angels to ghosts, 16 popular authors of the young adult genre write short stories according to the theme of paranormal diversions (or journeys) in this anthology. Some authors chose to write stories set in the same worlds as their previously published books, like Jackson Pearce, Melissa Marr, and Carrie Ryan. Others, like Allie Condie and Claudia Gray decided to give the readers something completely new. I didn't find the stories that were related back to another book to contain spoilers that the internet couldn't easily ruin for you or isn't already common knowledge. If anything, I think these short stories are something like samples for what you would find in those worlds and what to expect from the characters. I discovered new worlds and new authors that I have heard so much about but never actually picked up their works. Each story was amazing and unique, but still kept to the theme. Sincerely, this was a quick read, even though it is over 400 pages long.
I'm honestly not the biggest fan of this cover. I like the red hue of it and the dirt road lined with trees is just gorgeous. But I don't feel like this cover really expresses what the whole book is about or really what the theme is.
Level of Romance: It varies depending on the story, but most of them do have a romantic secondary theme.
Rating: 5 out of 5

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: The Moon Coin

    Title: The Moon Coin     Genre: middle-grade

Author: Richard Due     Sub-genre: fantasy

Series:Moon Realm Series, Book One

Page Count: 297 Chapters: 21

Lily Winter and her brother, Jasper have always loved the bedtime tales their Uncle Ebb told them about a fantastical place called the Moon Realm. But as the children grew older, the tales lost their magic and they became just good stories. Nine years after Lily and Jasper heard their first tale, Uncle Ebb goes missing. Lily and Jasper search his house, in hopes of finding some clue as to where he has gone. On their search, they find mysterious rooms they had never been allowed in before. Uncle Ebb's private rooms. In one of these secret rooms they find a strange coin that was covered in strange symbols strung up on a necklace. The moon coin. That necklace would take Lily to the Moon Realm, a place that was supposed to be only make-believe. Only it wasn't really and Lily finds the Moon Realm in dire need of saving. She takes it upon herself, and in turn, her brother, to be the savior of the nine moons and all the fascinating inhabitants of them. Will the two be enough to save an entire universe?
   I loved this. Every page grips the readers further into the Moon Realm. The writing is so beautiful and vivid, I had no trouble seeing the whole thing in my mind, like a movie. The characters, especially those from the Moon Realm are so well-rounded and the actual moons themselves are just plain amazing. They are well-developed and practically individual characters themselves. Form the Rinn of Barreth to the Dragondain of Dain, each moon introduced me to a whole new world with a new set of characters, but the transition was flawless. I was so far into these worlds, I still thought about them for days after I finished it. Also, I will add that I thought the ending was perfect, setting the stage for a sequel. This was an amazing first installment of the Moon Realm Series. I am very impatiently waiting for the sequel, The Dragondain, which doesn't have a set date for release yet.

Level of Romance: None.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Buy the e-book here on Amazon.

Learn more about the series at TheMoonRealm.com

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: All That Matters by Youseph Tanha

“Ethan Wright is just like any other high school kid that is one day lucky enough to meet the girl of his dreams. Throughout the course of high school the young couple learn to cope with incredibly difficult odds to discover all that matters.’All That Matters’ is a novella about love and life and all that the heart can endure. With memorable characters and a deep story you will find it difficult to put this book down.”
(Source: http://www.YousephTanha.com/ )
Raw, real, and a little gritty this book shows a true struggle in life.
Really describes what going into high school is like in a small town. I loved it. Ethan is a teen boy that falls for a pretty girl in his tech class. I loved Ethan. He is such a sweet guy and endures a lot for Amanda, the girl of his dreams. Despite the fact that the book covers the heavy topic of cancer, the book isn’t really depressing. If anything, it is inspiring and hopeful showing how much a relationship can be stretched. It's a great love story told from the boy's point of view. I haven’t read a book that is so honest about what a high school student experiences in a long time. “All that Matters” shows Ethan, a normal high school guy, go through the normal high school events, like first love and finding true passion. In a word, I would call this book “real”. I loved this book, from the characters to the storyline to the setting in a small town.
Pages: 98

Level of Romance: The story kinda revolves around Ethan’s love for Amanda. There is some sexual content.
Rating: Favorite!

 Buy this book here: Amazon

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: "Hello," I Lied by M.E.Kerr

Hello, I Lied: A NovelLang Penner is a teenage boy spending the summer on the exclusive estate of retired rocker, Ben Nevada. His mother is a cook for Nevada and Lang is just along for the ride. When Nevada gets a guest from France, the lovely Huguette, Lang is employed to keep her busy. Lang is reluctant, but as time wears on, he begins to like hanging out with Hugette. In fact, she makes him question his status as homosexual and everything he's already decided for himself. One thing is for sure, that summer will be one Lang will never forget.
I loved this book so much. Lang was a great narrator with an authentic teen attittude. Even though I didn't expect it, this book kept me up at night finishing the last page and then hours after that thinking about the outcome that shocked me, but at the same time didn't. Honestly, after finishing this book, I feel how Langdescribes himself at the beginning: torn. Lang questioning his sexuality is something I expected to be so much more awkward, but Kerr does a great job making it flow into the story. I had preconcieved notions about this book, but as I read and became entangled with the characters, they all melted away. In my opinion this has everything that an LGBTQ book should have.
   As a warning, this book does have some mature language like "fag". The word is used quite a bit so...Also, as an LGBTQ book, sexual interactions is addressed and talked about.
  Level of Romance: mild? I guess it's not really romance-y, but Lang does talk about his feelings ...
Rating: Favorite

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: The Boys of Summer by Richard Denney

The Boys Of Summer (Book 1: Secrets)  The Boys of Summer( Book one: Secrets)
Declan Ambrose is an openly gay vampire in love with a human...whom he's never met. Sent on a mission by his coven's leader, Victor, to retieve a bracelet from Riley Morgan. Riley is a teen boy with an awful fate and Declan is determined to save him from it. As for his mission, his love for Riley may hinder Declan's progress in that.
   I didn't enjoy this novella as well as I did the rest of Richard's works. I'm not sure what it was, but I didn't like Declan and reading this book, told through the point of view of his eyes, was hard. Honestly, Declan's motives are a little blurred makig his whole character less than believable. On the other hand, I loved Riley. He is my favorite character of Richard's to date. He is the character torn between love and what he must do. But it doesn't feel fake, which I love. I really hope to see more from him. The storyline was good and it definitely kept me guessing and engaged. Overall, absolutely worth the read .
Level of Romance: Just count on a lovesick vampire narrating the story. His thoughts are enough to spice it up.
Rating: Like
Buy it here
Pages (on the kindle): 66
Chapters: 6
Source: Amazon
Edition: Kindle e-Book
Release Date: August 2nd, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Read Dangerously Final Report

So, it's officially over, this read-a-thon. I didn't do too shabby. Here are the stats:
Books Read: 4
1. Schooled by Gordon Korman
2. Crash by Jerry Spinelli
3. Claimed by Lauren Barnholdt and Aaron Gorvine
4. Tricked by Lauren Barnholdt and Aaron Gorvine

Pages Read:488

Hours of Reading: about 9

Best book Read: I think it's a pretty close call between Crash and Schooled. I enjoyed both so much and they are both written by my favorite authors. If I had to choose, I would probably go with Schooled because it has a little more depth to the narration and character arches.

Worst Book Read: This one is really tough because I sincerely enjoyed all the books I read. I'm not going to pick anything for this category.

Did you enjoy the read-a-thon?: Absolutely. I read a lot in these past three days and the challenges were really inventive and a great relief when you needed a midday break from reading. I'm really glad I participated!

I always seem to be come super busy during a read-a-thon. I really should have logged more hours of reading and gotten more done. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk, right?
I'll have all the reviews up soon (within a week I hope!) so you can know all there is to love and dislike about these books. See ya'll soon and Happy Reading,
                              :D Marriah