Friday, September 20, 2013

New Releases: September 2013

So yes, this post is late again.  But here you go, all the September releases I'd like to read.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Releases: August 2013

So I'm way late with this and August is almost over already, but oh well.  These are the August 2013 books I'd like to read. I've already got If You Could be Mine on hold from the library.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Faves: Summer Reads

So based on my own rules, I guess I was supposed to do this a couple of weeks ago.  Oh well.  It's my blog and I can slack off if I want to.

There's still a little bit of summer left, so today's Friday Faves topic is summer books.  I thought I should start by saying what I think makes a good book for summer.  In my opinion, a good summer read is a contemporary book that takes place in the summer.  Though it may take on some serious topics, it should be largely lighthearted and fun to read.  Good summer reads often involve romance, but not always.

So here's five summer reads I love.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sidekicked by John David Anderson

Published June 25th 2013 by Walden Pond Press

With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility. 

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers. 

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?
Rating: 4/5


Drew's superpower doesn't seem very super: he has heightened senses.  But it was enough to land him in H.E.R.O., a training program for sidekicks.  Unfortunately, the superhero he gets paired with isn't that great either.  The Titan, once the greatest superhero that Justicia had, is now washed up and out of shape.  Needless to say, Drew's feeling out of place, both in H.E.R.O., where he feels he's lagging behind his friends, and in his daily life, where he has to keep his secret identity to himself.

So first of all, you should know that Sidekicked is a middle grade novel.  This is the first time I've done a middle grade review on the blog.  Though I mostly read and review YA, you may see a few more middle grade reviews pop up here from time to time.

This book has a strong middle grade voice and a humorous tone.  It pokes fun at superhero tropes and isn't afraid to be silly.  At the same time, it has a compelling plot and interesting relationships between the characters.  I thought it captured the essence of the awkward middle school years well.  The adult characters were great, too.  While Sidekicked didn't shy away from the fact that grown-ups aren't perfect, it also didn't dismiss them as useless the way some middle grade and young adult books do.  John David Anderson found a good balance there.

One thing I would have liked to see more of was the relationship between Drew and his parents.  Drew's secret identity keeps them at a distance, and although he dresses up in costume to be a sidekick, it's at home that he feels like he's wearing a mask.  I wanted to see Drew's relationship with his parents develop further, but to me disappointment, it didn't.

Honestly, I'm a little disappointed that there's no sequel planned for this book.  I really liked it, and I wish there was more to read.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

First Lines I Love: An Addition

Hi lovelies,
A while back, I made a post called Friday Faves: First Lines I Love.  I've just come across another lovable first line, one which I would have included if I'd read the book at that time, and I wanted to share it.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
First Sentence: "The Garretts were forbidden from the start."
Why I Love It:  Who can resist a forbidden thing?  I certainly can't.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Five Things I Love About Kady Cross' Steampunk Chronicles

Hello lovelies,
Earlier this week, I was able to read The Girl with the Iron Touch, the third book in the Steampunk Chronicles series by Kady Cross.  Instead of writing you a review of just this book, I came up with a list of five things I love about this series as a whole.

1. Steampunk
     This one seems obvious.  The series is, after all, called The Steampunk Chronicles.  But I love well-executed steampunk, and this series has it.

2. Strong Female Characters
     Finley and Emily are fully developed, fiercely independent characters.  Finley has physical strength; Emily has mental strength.  Both girls display emotional strength.  I adore these young women.

3. Romance To Die For
     Emily and Sam are the absolute cutest couple ever.  I found it fascinating to watch Finley with both Griffin and Jack.  Kady Cross gets bonus points for writing a totally non-sickening love tringle.

4. Expert Plotting
     This series has plots that keep you on your toes with endless action, danger, and twists.

5. Beautiful Covers
     I admit it - I judge books by their covers.  I love the covers for all three books in this series.  They're beautiful and completely fitting.  I like the one from The Girl with the Iron Touch best of all.

In short - I love, love, love these books.  I find myself recommending them to people I know all the time (and once even to a stranger).  Now, I'm recommending them to all of you.

Note: I won a copy of The Girl with the Iron Touch from a giveaway run by the publisher.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green

Published May 14th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When a simple round of truth or dare spins out of control, three girls find it’s no longer a party game. It’s do or die.

It all started on a whim: the game was a way for Tenley Reed to reclaim her popularity, a chance for perfect Caitlin “Angel” Thomas to prove she’s more than her Harvard application. Loner Sydney Morgan wasn’t even there; she was hiding behind her camera like usual. But when all three start receiving mysterious dares long after the party has ended, they’re forced to play along—or risk exposing their darkest secrets.

How far will Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney go to keep the truth from surfacing? And who’s behind this twisted game?

Set against the backdrop of Echo Bay, an isolated beach town haunted by misfortune, Truth or Dare is a highly charged debut that will keep readers in suspense from beginning to end.

Rating: 2/5


In a small town, a group of beautiful girls are being sent anonymous notes.  The note sender is threatening to reveal their darkest secrets if they don't do exactly what the notes say to.

Oh, wait.  Haven't I read this book before?  I'm pretty sure I have, but it was called Pretty Little Liars and it was much better than this.

I loved Pretty Little Liars (or at least the first 4 books, but that's a rant for another time), and I've been waiting for someone to pull off another story of its kind.  But I'll have to keep waiting, because Truth or Dare didn't quite get it right.   After a game of truth or dare at a party, an anonymous "darer" began sending three girls notes, continuing the game.  The darer threatens to reveal the girls' darkest secrets if they don't play.

And that's where we hit the first snag, because the secrets these girls are keeping aren't even that interesting.  Certainly not scandalous enough to warrant the lengths they go to to keep them secret.  And, apparently, none of them has more than one secret, so the darer keeps making the same threats over and over.  By the end, it felt tired.

The seond problem I had with this book was the girls' backstories.  Tenley's father is dead.  Caitlin was kidnapped, though the book never specifies for how long or how she was found.  Sydney has an addiction to playing with fire.  These aspects of the characters could have been really interesting, but they weren't incorporated into the book well.  Instead of enhancing the story, they muddled it, and really held the plot back.

My last problem with this book was the ending, which was rushed, predictable, and just an overall disappointment.

This book gets 2 stars, because the writing wasn't bad on a technical level, and I was able to finish the book.  I certainly won't be reading the rest of this series, though.  It's not worth the time.

I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.