26 September 2017

Review: A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Book Format: ARC
# of Pages: 272
Synopsis: The unrequited love of the girl next door is the centerpiece of this fiercely funny, yet heart-breaking debut novel.

Fifteen-year-old Matt Wainwright is in turmoil. He can’t tell his lifelong best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her; his promising basketball skills are being overshadowed by his attitude on the court, and the only place he feels normal is in English class, where he can express his inner thoughts in quirky poems and essays. Matt is desperately hoping that Tabby will reciprocate his feelings; but then Tabby starts dating Liam Branson, senior basketball star and all-around great guy. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough; but, as Matt soon discovers, he’s close to losing everything that matters most to him.

Humorous and heart-wrenching, A Short History of the Girl Next Door is perfect for readers who fell in love with All the Bright Places' Finch or Stargirl’s Leo.


Meet Jared, (Taken from Goodreads)
Jared Reck lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two daughters. He teaches 8th grade Language Arts, where he has been reading awesome books and writing alongside his students for the past twelve years. A Short History of the Girl Next Door is his first novel.
Learn more about Jared at jaredreckbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @reckj.


My Review:
I was sent this book by the publisher and this is my honest review.

A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck tells the story of a classic love story with a twist that I wasn’t expecting. Matt & Tabby grew up together, and had been inseparable since the day Tabby’s mother left. Her dad needed the help taking care of a newborn baby and the Wainwrights enjoyed having little Tabby around all the time. Everything changes when Matt realizes that he’s in love with his best friend.

In the beginning, I had the feeling that the story was going to be a typical love story. Neighbors grew up together, the boy falls in love with the girl, they have some falling out but then they make up and fall in love. BUT that is not what this book was like at all. Without any spoilers it had most of the typical love story aspects but in the middle nearing the end the book took a turn that I didn’t see coming.

I don’t normally read mushy love stories so I found myself really loving the initial relationship between Matt and Tabby. Even though it was typical I just loved them so much. I loved how close Tabby was with Matt’s family especially his little brother and grandparents. I also loved that even though she was becoming a little more popular by dating the popular senior at school she still loved Matt as a friend and didn’t treat him any differently.

Another favorite part of the story was the school aspects of the story. All of the teachers were so involved in the lives of all of their students especially Matt and Tabby and they stood by them when tragedy struck. I love how everybody in this book was so good to one another everybody was so supportive and it just felt like such a great community to be in.



  

07 September 2017

Review: Click'd by Tamara Ireland Stone

Click'd by Tamara Ireland Stone 
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 7, 2017
Book Format: ARC
# of Pages: 208
Synopsis: Allie Navarro can't wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK'D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it's a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK'D.

Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone's making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone's secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present CLICK'D to the judges?

New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.



Meet Tamara: (Taken from Goodreads)
TAMARA IRELAND STONE is the author of Time and Time Again, a collection of her two novels Time Between Us and Time After Time, and the New York Times best seller Every Last Word.

A Silicon Valley native, she has worked in the technology industry all her life, first testing Atari game boards in her parents’ garage, and later, co-founding a woman-owned marketing strategy firm, where she worked with small startups as well as some of the world’s largest software companies. She enjoys skiing, music, movies, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Listen to playlists and learn more about her books at www.tamarairelandstone.com.


My Review: 

I received this book for review from the publisher and this is my honest review.

Click’d by Tamera Island Stone follows 12 year old Allie who has just finished coding camp and which helped her to create an app to help anyone looking to make friends easily. Because of her brilliant app her teacher nominates her to compete in a competition for young coders who also created games or apps. In the book Allie beta tests her app using her middle school as testers to help her chances in the competition.

It was really interesting to me to read this being that I have read bits and pieces of her other more mature works. I’m not sure how I feel about Stones middle grade title, the writing is so different which is to be expected but I felt as if the writing was more simplified than it really needed to be, but it could just be because I am 21 reading a book for younger kids. Another aspect I had trouble with was the ages of some of these characters. The writing was really young but I don’t think the characters fit with the writing. There were some scenes in which the characters seemed to act their ages but there were also times where Allie for example seemed a lot older than 12 she was always seemingly out on her own, and her friends were way to boy crazy and mature than 12 year olds seem in my experience.

I really love this story Allie and her coding experience could be something so inspirational for younger kids who will be reading this. While reading this I had the urge to play games on my phone like the girls who were having so much fun and wanted to make things just like Allie was doing. This book could do wonders for kids giving them the courage they need to be creative and create just like Allie and Nathan are doing in this book.

On another note, even though I kind of had issues with the ages of the characters I did enjoy the relationship they had together. Allie was such a sweet girl and tried to be good to her friends and others despite the issues she was dealing with trying to launch her new game. Not only is this great for inspiring kids but it also great to teach kids how easy it is to make friends and that they never have to be alone. Stone did a great job keeping it interesting and inspiring for all ages I definitely will check out anything of hers in the future.

I just finished a teen book that has to do with coding and creating games and I think that book, Nexis by A.L. Davroe and this go together so well keep an eye out for a video on my youtube channel about both of these books to introduce users to the joy of coding as well as both of these novels.



 

25 August 2017

Review: The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night 
Publisher: Stories Untold Press
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Book Format: Paperback
# of Pages: 320
Synopsis:
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.
 


My Review:
I received this book from the publisher/author and this is my honest review.

Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night takes place in a mystical land in which magic is real and those who are born with it must attend Halls of Ivy to learn and master their individual skills. The main character goes by the name of Ivy of course and she is introduced to readers while working as a scaldrony maid in a huge castle completely unaware of any powers she may have.

The biggest issue I had while reading was how quickly scenes changed. There were so many points within this book that I found myself confused because of the lack of transitions. I feel as though normally transitions are marked by the start of a new chapter but this book had so many different scenes in each chapter that ran into each other. Ivy’s thoughts and actions were all so crazy and hectic that it was sometimes hard to follow. Thinking back to the book now I still am not so sure I really understood all of the crazy things that happened in the book. I was also hoping that the narration style would be more storyteller style I almost felt as if the narrator wasn’t invested and excited about the story which turned me off to it at some points.

Something I really enjoyed was the many different settings included in the story. My favorite scene in the book took place while Ivy was tucked away in a library room and a book kept flying off the shelf. The book ended up revealing a whole secret place to Ivy and it was so fun to see her find the place, describe it as she went and also meet someone new.

I did enjoy the story and would definitely read other books written by Night. It’s hard for me not to fall in love with stories about young girls discovering what there life was meant to hold. Even though I found it hard to follow at some points but there were also more times when I was smiling and excited to watch all the magic unfold.



 

18 August 2017

Review: Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Book Format: ARC
# of Pages: 320
Synopsis: From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back...

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.


Meet Wendy, (Taken from Goodreads)
Wendy Walker is a former attorney and investment banker in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. Her debut thriller, All Is Not Forgotten, has become an international bestseller and was optioned for film by Warner Brothers with Reese Witherspoon set to produce. The paperback will be released July 18, 2017, followed by her second thriller, Emma In The Night, on August 8. .










My Review:

I won Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker from the publisher and this is my honest review.

Emma in the Night takes place in a world in which two girls simultaneously went missing about three years before the start of the book. The book starts with the younger of the two daughters turning up at her mother's house hungry, cold, and alone. Immediately everyone involved the case three years prior jump into action and its like the investigation never went cold.

I was a little apprehensive to read another book having to do with disappearing girls since I had just read All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda but Walker’s novel was completely unique and I was never bored for even a second. Her characters were by far the most interesting and entertaining than I had read in awhile. Both girls had drastically different personalities so it was very easy to tell them apart which sisters can sometimes be. The parents were also crazy neither of them were anywhere near stable and it made the story that much more chaotic but in a good way.

My favorite types of mystery novels are the one that me as the reader cannot figure out. A lot of mystery books are so easy to figure out and to know what is going to happen before you turn the page all the time gets boring sometimes. This novel, took a few twists in the middle and near the end that I would never had expected and I loved it. I never saw the end coming and that made me want to read everything possible by this author.

Another aspect I loved was the settings described within the book. The beach, and the house that the girls were held captive at, the girls’ mothers house. All of these different places were uniquely described and this made it really easy to picture every scene.


11 August 2017

Friday Reads: August 11, 2017





 


ITS FRIDAY! What are you guys reading this weekend? Let me know down below because I'm always looking for new books to check out! Thanks for stopping by, have a lovely weekend!

My Friday Read:
The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

07 August 2017

Blog Tour: League of American Traitors by Matthew Landis


League of American Traitors by Matthew Landis
Publisher: Sky Pony
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Synopsis: Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. . . . 

When seventeen year-old Jasper is approached at the funeral
of his deadbeat father by a man claiming to be an associate
of his deceased parents, he’s thrust into a world of secrets tied to
America’s history—and he’s right at the heart of it.

First, Jasper finds out he is the sole surviving descendant of Benedict Arnold, the most notorious traitor in American history. Then he learns that his father’s death was no accident. Jasper
is at the center of a war that has been going on for centuries, in which the descendants of the heroes and traitors of the American Revolution still duel to the death for the sake of their honor.

His only hope to escape his dangerous fate on his eighteenth birthday? Take up the research his father was pursuing at the time
of his death, to clear Arnold’s name.

Whisked off to a boarding school populated by other descendants of notorious American traitors, it’s a race to discover the truth. But if Jasper doesn’t find a way to uncover the evidence his father was hunting for, he may end up paying for the sins of his forefathers with his own life.

Like a mash-up of National Treasure and Hamilton, Matthew Landis’s debut spins the what-ifs of American history into a heart-pounding thriller steeped in conspiracy, clue hunting, and danger. 


Book Links:

Meet Matthew,
I love history, but not in the old, awful, kill-me-now-please kind
of way. My passion is convincing my students that the past is actually hilarious, shocking, tragic, disturbing, and altogether
UN-boring. While getting my graduate degree in History at Villanova, I realized that there was yet one more way to do this: write contemporary young adult books laced with history to convince my students that past isn't as awful as they think. That’s a huge reason why I wrote The Judas Society.
 

Some other stuff: I love poetry but don’t understand it; I want Gordon Ramsay to give me a fatherly hug at some point; I tend toward the unapologetically dramatic; and (to my great shame) I didn’t read the Harry Potter series until last year. I’m also really good at covering up patent insecurities with self-deprecating humor (like this joke).


Author Links:



 
Interview:
1.What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I love creating worlds and then letting people into them;
it’s sort of like letting people get to know me, indirectly. When my friends read my books, they’re often like “Dude I could totally hear you say that” which is awesome, because it means I’m coming through authentically.

2.What advice can you give to aspiring writers?
Two things.
1) Don’t stop. Ever. You won’t finish that novel unless you actually finish it, so go do it.
2) Don’t let writing consume you, because it can’t make you happy. Affirmation from getting published is great, but like everything in life, it fades. Pursue your dream of writing a book and getting it into stores, but don’t base your feelings of value on it, because it will let you down.

3.What do you do when you have writers block?
Depends on the block. If it’s straight up “I have no idea where this scene is going or its purpose” I stop and consult my story map to figure out where the heck I am and what I should
be communicating. If the writer’s block is “I have zero good ideas” I stop writing altogether and watch movies and listen to all sorts of music to get the feels. 

4.What is your least favorite thing about being a writer?
I hate how books (like many cool things) can easily become a
ll-consuming pursuits. I try really hard to set up concrete boundaries—teacher, husband, dad, neighbor, writer—but that’s harder when it comes to mental space. Books suck you in and you can get lost in them, forgetting that they are actually made up things that matter far less than you are making them currently. It’s not that they are unimportant; it’s that there are many things that are far more important. A convicting question for me is: Am I as invested in the lives and burdens
of my coworkers and neighbors as I am my made up story? That answer crushes me constantly, and I am always fighting against the siren call of my manuscript. 

5.Do you have an email subscription or Facebook group that my followers and I can follow to keep up to date on you and your writing?
 

My author Facebook page is Matthew Landis, where I post updates on books and other items. I write some blog posts as well on my website, usually about nerdy stuff –
http://www.matthew-landis.com/new-blog/  



 

05 August 2017

Review: All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Book Format: Paperback
# of Pages: 384
Synopsis: 
Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.


My Review:  
  
I bought this with my own money and this is my honest review.

I started reading Megan Miranda with her first few young adult novels and from there I fell in love. All The Missing Girls is her first fiction novel telling the story of a women returning back to her hometown to help her brother take care of their father when their past comes back to haunt them.

This book is written backwards; the first few chapters were the present while the rest of the book was told backwards from that point. It blew my mind really to be watching a story unfold backwards but it made me that much more invested into the story of the missing girls and I found myself not being able to put the book down. There were two missing girls cases intertwined within this story which made it that much more gripping. If you weren’t trying to figure out what happened to the first missing girl you were collecting clues about the second and trying to go from there. It was a non stop thriller.

Another plot point that I really enjoyed was the family aspect. I have a really close relationship with my brother and to see the strained relationship between Nic and Daniel was extremely gripping. Half the time when I should have been more interested in the disappearances of the two girls I was more interested in trying to understand what was going on between brother and sister.

I also found myself shipping Nic and Tyler more than her own fiance which probably wasn’t very good, but I couldn’t help it considering how the book was written.

It’s hard to say much else without giving away clues so all I will say is the plot was fantastic as were the characters and I recommend this 100 percent



 

 
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