3 Book Reviews !!!

In honor of last week’s full moon here are 3 books from my past, present, and future that have WOLF/WOLVES in the title.

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Let’s start with the present.

The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney

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4 stars out of 5 (I was given an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Anna is a twelve year old girl who lives in England with her dad after escaping from Greece during WWI.  Her mom and brother are presumed dead.  Anna is one of those characters you can’t help but love and root for.  She is adventurous, smart, brave, and kind.  The author creates a vivid 1920s setting that sucks you in for the first 2/3 of this book.  The suspense kept me turning pages and I couldn’t put it down.  Then the story got a bit strange.  Not bad strange but definitely different; hence the Sci-fi/Fantasy category for this book.  Anna meets some traveling gypsies, and finds a strange boy in her attic. That is when things start to get interesting especially after her dad is mysteriously murdered. Kearney’s characters are fleshed out but I was disappointed that one did not make an appearance in the second half of the book.  It seemed the author had set it up early in the story that he would reappear.  Maybe in a sequel? I believe this book is the first in a series and I look forward to more.  This book releases May 10, 2016

The past. I read this book in 2015.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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5 stars out of 5 ( I wish I could have given it more stars!)

This book interested me because I was the same age (14) as the main character was during the time period of this book so the 80’s references were fun to read. The main character, June, loses her uncle to a mysterious and “taboo” disease, AIDS.  She doesn’t understand her family’s reluctance to talk about her uncle’s life and death so she goes in search of answers herself.  June gets some help from a mysterious man at her uncle’s funeral which starts an exciting and heartbreaking secret adventure.  I remember hearing about AIDS and HIV as a teenager in the 80’s but didn’t quite get what it was all about.  Also, I didn’t know there was any type of discrimination and shaming of the disease and those in the LGBT community going on.  The writing is superb!  The character development is amazing and the mysterious man arc is intriguing. This book was in my top ten last year and was a debut novel by the author. I look forward to more.

The Future

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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I have not read this book yet but it is definitely on my TBR list. The reviews for this book look so good.  Please comment below if you have read this book or any of the other books.  I would love to know your thoughts.  Goodreads summary of Wolf by Wolf below.

Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

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Book Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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Even though it started out a bit slow, this book was a great debut novel from Zentner.  There were many lessons in stereotypes and judging people that I think the readers can learn from.  The main character, Dill, has a last name that is infamous where he lives, and he can’t shake it.  I endured this type of problem when I was growing up.  I had to work hard at my reputation to shake the negative connotation with my last name.  There were some wonderful and funny moments between the main characters, Dill, Lydia, and Travis.  Unfortunately, there were also some devastating and sad moments too.  Dill and Travis don’t have the best home life and have dads that are jerks.  I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 because like I mentioned it is a bit slow at the beginning but also that the author didn’t explain somehow in his story that not all Christians act like the ones he portrays in his book.  The best part about this book, however, is the theme that no matter your income, looks, popularity, or home life, you CAN change your life for the better.  There is hope if you have the courage.  I recommend this book for teens (and adults) who feel trapped and depressed of what their future may hold.  The Serpent King will show you that it is okay to go after your dreams.

Book Review: Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

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4.5 stars out of 5

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was very excited to read this book and I was not disappointed! This book captured me from page one. It is about a girl, Nanette, who is a star soccer player, has lots of friends, but feels like an outsider.  Eventually, through a series of events, she does become an outsider and ridiculed by her peers.  Nanette is given a rare book to read by one of her teachers and she becomes obsessed with the story.  She meets the author and other fans of the book which become her new friends.  I LOVE books that are about characters who love books!

The author, Matthew Quick, also wrote Silver Linings Playbook which I did not read but did enjoy the movie.  His prose is gorgeous.  There were times I had to stop and reread something because it was so beautiful. For example, “Lonely people often have great ideas but no support.  People with support too often have bad ideas but power.  And you don’t give up power. No one does, regardless of whether they have good ideas or not. No one gives up power without a long, bloody fight-one that usually involves foul play.  Lonely people typically can’t stomach treachery, and that’s another problem.  They tend to tell the truth and fight fair. So we need art and music and poetry for the lonely people to rally around.”

The author seems to grasp problems teens deal with while in high school and looking to their future.  I HIGHLY recommend this book not only for older teens but for parents of teens.  Parents, myself included, put a lot of pressure on these kids and we don’t always know what is going on in their heads.  Matthew Quick does an excellent job telling us through Nanette’s story.

This book is to be released May 10, 2016

Goodreads summary below
Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bugglegum Reaper–a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic–the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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3 stars out of 5

I had high hopes for this book because the description really intrigued me (see below). Being able to use a map to go to any time period sounded like a story that would have lots of different adventures in different places. Instead there was very little traveling  and a lot of confusing plots and characters. The main character is Nix and her dad is the captain of the time travelling ship. The author has Nix refer to him as dad, Slate, and Captain. It took me a bit to figure out they were the same person at the beginning of the book. There were a couple time jumps that were interesting but for a 400+ page book the potential to go to many more places was lost. The book left off with the hint that there may be a sequel.

 

Goodreads summary below

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

 

Book Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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4.5 stars out of 5

This was such a beautiful book. I thought the four different perspectives would be confusing to follow but Sepetys is such a brilliant writer that it worked well for this story. I felt like I was reading four different journals from four completely different characters. I liked the perspective from the German traitor, the Polish girl, the German soldier, the peasants, etc. They each had their own struggles during WWII. I had never heard of the tragedy that happens in this book from WWII and once I finished and did some Googling I discovered this was not the only disaster of this type. (I don’t want to give it away, so that is why I am being so vague.) Also, there are a couple other historical events that Sepetys puts in the book that I found interesting to look up and read after I finished the novel. I highly recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction and stories from WWII.

Summary from Goodreads below.
Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

FIRST BLOG POST!!!

Welcome!!! Thanks for checking out my blog.  I am very excited to start this adventure.  I debated long and hard what book should be my first book review and I decided on the fabulous book below.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)

byV.E. Schwab(Pseudonym), Victoria Schwab(Goodreads Author)

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London.  Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

SUMMARY BY GOODREADS

MY REVIEW-5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS

This was a great read. I love books that have rich characters and places. Ms. Schwab has created a whole world of magic and intrigue. The character development is superb and the pacing of the book is fast paced and action packed. This author is a talented writer because the descriptions and prose is fantastic!  I love the concept that there are 4 different Londons that Kell can travel between.  This book was very suspenseful and I look forward to reading the other two books in this trilogy.