June 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2)

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Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 338
Published: September 29, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4/5

Lola and the Boy Next Door is book two in the Anna and the French Kiss collection of books. I’m not sure if this is a series or a trilogy, but book three, Isla and the Happily Ever After comes out in August of this year! I’m so excited for its release!

Lola is a 16 year old girl that designs costumes. She is dating a 22 year old guy named Max, that is in a band. Max and Lola’s relationship is anything but simple, especially since Lola’s parents, Nathan and Andy, do not approve of Max and Lola dating. Having one overprotective father is bad enough, but two is almost unbearable.

Lola works with Anna (from Anna and the French Kiss) at the movie theater and has to watch how happy Anna and her boyfriend, St. Clair are together. Something about their relationship makes Lola uncomfortable, but she can’t place what it is. That is, until one day when she gets new neighbors. Calliope and Cricket Bell are twins that used to be friends with Lola until they had to move due to Calliope’s training as a figure skater. Lola and Cricket had become very close and everyone was sure they would end up together. Lola even found the perfect present for Cricket’s birthday, but never got the chance to give it to him since she wasn’t invited to his birthday party. Cricket told her the next morning that they were moving and that was the last she heard from him.

Until now. With her relationship with Max on the rocks and Cricket’s sudden reappearance, Lola’s unique life has become even more out of whack. Lola has to decide between Cricket and Max in order to find true happiness, while also dealing with being a teenage girl that gets made fun at school, two overbearing fathers, and a biological mother that comes and goes from her life whenever she feels like it.

I really enjoyed this story and gave it a 4/5. I enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss more, but Lola and the Boy Next Door was an equally endearing love story.

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June 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

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Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 372
Published: August 4, 2011 (First Published January 1, 2010)
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5/5

I absolutely loved this book!

Anna is about to be a senior in high school in Atlanta, that is, until her parents tell her that she will be spending her final year at a prestigious school in Paris. Feeling overwhelmed with isolation once her parents leave her dorm for the first time, Anna breaks down. Her new dorm-neighbor, Mer, approaches her and immediately the two become friends.

She is introduced to the rest of the gang, including St. Clair. St. Clair has a girlfriend named Ellie that no one likes anymore. She has graduated and is now going to a photography school which means she no longer makes any effort to be friends with anyone. This works to Anna’s advantage since she has an almost debilitating crush on St. Clair.

Anna and the French Kiss is an absolutely endearing story about finding new love and fighting against everything you’ve found comforting in life to be with that person. I read this book way too fast and I didn’t want it to end. I’ve already started Lola and the Boy Next Door and I have a feeling I’ll be reading everything by Stephanie Perkins that I can get my hands on.

June 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Carnelian (Chalcedony Chronicles #1)

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Author: B. Kristin McMichael
Pages: 200
Published: February 1, 2014 (First Published January 9, 2014)
Genre: YA, Science Fiction (Time Travel), Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 4/5

Mari is about to go away to college. After spending basically her entire life working with her grandfather to appraise antiques, Mari purposefully chose a college over 600 miles away. During her first day on campus, Mari finds a giant tree that she can sit under to read. While reading she notices that a guy sits next to her against the tree, but is too engrossed in her book to pay much attention to him, that is, until he falls asleep literally in her lap. Mari lets him sleep for a little bit before quickly sneaking away to go back to her dorm. On the way to her dorm she runs into another student, literally, and he helps her from falling.

Mari’s first introduction to the three brothers Seth, Ty, and Dee may not have been the most graceful, but she never expected them to become such a huge part of her life. After quickly befriending Ty, Mari can’t seem to get away from Seth. He is known around campus as a player and Mari has had enough experience with players to last a lifetime. Yet there’s something different about Seth.

Mari, Seth, Ty, and Dee begin an adventure that includes time travel and ancient wars in book one of the Chalcedony Chronicles.

I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the next one. I haven’t read many time travel books, but I felt this one did a good job of being enjoyable while also kind of believable. I gave this book a 4/5.

Horror Reviews · June 2014 Book Reviews · Kids Books · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: My Haunted House (Araminta Spookie #1)

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Author: Angie Sage & Jimmy Pickering (Illustrator)
Pages: 160
Published: August 1, 2006 (First published October 6, 1994)
Genre: Children’s, Paranormal, Fantasy, Humor, Adventure
Rating: 4/5

Araminta Spookie live with her Aunt Tabby and Uncle Drac. Uncle Drac likes to sleep during the day in a sleeping bag that hangs from the ceiling along with his bats. Aunt Tabby can’t stop cleaning their giant house and is getting fed up with it. After cleaning for the last time, Aunt Tabby decides that she is going to sell their home so they can live somewhere newer that will be easier to take care of.

Araminta is determined to not let this happen. Araminta has a lot of adventures left to begin and refuses to allow their house to be sold without any input from her or Uncle Drac. She develops a plan called the Awful Ambush that she will use against anyone that is interested in buying their home in order to scare them away. While preparing for her Awful Ambush, Araminta discovers a little boy ghost named Edmund. Edmund used to work for Sir Horace, a suit of armor that Araminta always thought was a rust bucket and not a real person. Sir Horace, Edmund, and Araminta must work together to keep their home from being sold!

This was a quick and fun read. A great beginning to a kids series that I will definitely be continuing to read. I have the next three books in the series and will be reading and reviewing them soon!

June 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Doppelganger

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Author: Milda Harris
Pages: 206
Published: November 11, 2012 (First published July 29, 2012)
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

A super quick read that I really enjoyed!

Citrus was over an hour late to school. She somehow overslept even though she’s never been late for anything. Worried about being late to her World History exam, she rode her bike the few miles to school and ran to the office to get a late pass, but the secretary seemed confused when checking the attendance sheet.

In too much of a hurry to pay attention to anything but getting to her test, Citrus ignored the secretary’s confusion and ran to class. But what she saw when she got there was nothing she was expecting. She was already in the classroom taking her test.

How could she have been late to school…but also be taking a test at the same time? Confronted in the hallway by a boy she’s had a crush on forever, Citrus realized that something strange is happening. Now she knows that she isn’t the only one with a double somehow.

Citrus must uncover the secrets behind the Doppelganger’s taking over the school and try to save herself and her friends at the same time.

This was book one and I really enjoyed it. I’m very excited to read the next one!

Horror Reviews · June 2014 Book Reviews · Kids Books · Series/Trilogies

Book Reviews: Slither Sisters & Teacher’s Pest

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Author: Charles Gilman
Pages: 174 & 170
Published: January 15, 2013 & May 7, 2013
Genre: Children’s (Middle Grade), Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Rating: 5/5 & 4/5

Slither Sisters is book two in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series. I gave this book a 5/5 and I really enjoyed it. In the first book, Professor Gargoyle, Robert is transferred to the Lovecraft Middle School. He soon discovers that the school is filled with ghosts and other supernatural beings that have been trying to take over the school. A set of twins at his school goes missing for a few days, only to return later with no knowledge of where they were. All seems to be back to normal, but Robert knows that there is more to the girls than meets the eye. The girls are actually now being used as hosts to beasts that are working for the “master.”

Book two continues the tale of Robert as he tries to take down the twins before they can kidnap more children and teachers.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a great addition to the series and further delved into Robert’s character.

Teacher’s Pest is book three in the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series. I gave this book a 4/5 and I did enjoy it. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first two, but that is probably due to the amount of bugs that were in it. Obviously with a title like “Teacher’s Pest” there were bound to be some bugs, but I felt itchy the entire time I was reading it and I’m not a fan of bugs.

Book three picks up where book two left off. Robert was given the opportunity to become student council president, but he decided to withdrawal his name from the ballot leaving only his classmate, Howard Mergler, to take the position. Howard was in an accident and now has to walk with braces on his legs. At least, that’s what everyone thinks. But Robert knows the truth, Howard has been kidnapped and his body is being used by an evil bug beast that is bringing thousands of bugs into the school to help control the students.

Robert and his best friends Glenn and Karina must fight against Howard to destroy all the bugs and prevent more kidnappings!

This series is really fun and I will definitely be reading the next book, Substitute Creature, as soon as I can find it. I highly recommend it!

June 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting

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Author: Helena Hunting
Pages: 400
Published: March 4, 2014
Genre: Adult, New Adult, Romance
Rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed this story. Even though it was 400 pages long it seemed like a much quicker read due to the writing style. I felt like I really understood both Hayden and Tenley’s character by the first few chapters.

Hayden is a tattoo artist recovering from a severe drug addiction and the death of his parents. Tenley is a masters student at Northwestern recovering from a massive plane crash that killed her entire family and fiance. Once their paths cross, Hayden and Tenley enter into a passionate love affair that struggles to reveal their well kept secrets to the other person.

As their relationship builds, Hayden discovers more about Tenley and why she wants her first major tattoo to be a large back piece with very dark themes, some of which will end up covering up the scars she has all along her side and hip.

Tenley wants to break down Hayden’s tough exterior to find out what makes him not only insanely anal about organization, but also withdrawn and intense while he is around her. Working across the street from Hayden’s tattoo shop certainly doesn’t help her avoid his awkward advances once they meet, but it does allow her to gain some insight into Hayden since she works for his aunt.

I didn’t realize this was listed as book one on goodreads, but I’m really happy that it is because I felt that the ending wasn’t satisfying enough. Book two, Inked Armor was published in May of this year and I’ll definitely be adding it to my TBR list soon. This novel was full of pretty intense sexual scenarios, and while that could have easily taken away from the development of the main characters, I don’t think that was the case for this story. Hayden and Tenley are two beautifully broken individuals that have found love in each other and I am very interested in seeing how their story plays out.

June 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: The Iron-Jawed Boy (Sky Guardian Chronicles #1)

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Author: Nikolas Lee
Pages: 264
Published: July 6, 2013
Genre: YA, Middle Grade, Fantasy (Mythology)
Rating: 5/5

This book blew my mind. I have never used the goodreads description for a book before, but I like the description that is provided so I’ll use that as the summary:

“Year 2300
Protea: Capitol of the Eldanarian Isle

Two hundred years have passed since the lands of the Outerworld humans were destroyed, save but a handful of rebellious cities. In their ruin, the last gods of Earth, the Illyrians, rose victorious. And ever since, it’s with a cruel iron fist they’ve ruled over their subjects–desperate to keep their thrones.

Fast approaching his teens, Ionikus Reaves knows the gods’ malevolence all too well, orphaned by them after their call for a military draft on Eldanar, his home island. But when a power once dormant in Ion boils to the surface, he’s whisked off to a hidden world of the island, where he comes face-to-face with the mighty Illyrians.

For Ion is a Guardian–a reincarnated god bound to serve and protect the pantheon he’s so quickly learned to hate. Now torn between his obligations as a Guardian and his hatred of the gods he’s to guard, Ion finds himself in the middle of a war within himself. A war that could uncover a dark secret of the gods’…and split the pantheon in two.”

I was given this book for review from the author on goodreads and I honestly didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. From the first chapter on I was completely enthralled. The last few chapters blew my mind and the last sentence of the book left me wanting more! An absolutely brilliant beginning to what I hope will continue to be an amazing set of books. The second book “The Iron Jawed Boy and the Hand of the Moon” came out this year and it has definitely been bumped up to the top of my TBR list. I predict great things to come from Nikolas Lee!

Exciting New Releases! · June 2014 Book Reviews · Kids Books

Book Review: Oliver and the Seawigs

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Author: Philip Reeve (Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre)
Pages: 195
Published: (Expected July 22, 2014)
Genre: Children’s (Middle Grade), Adventure, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

A very quick but enjoyable read!

Oliver is a ten year old boy that has had a very full life. As the child of two explorer parents, Oliver has traveled all over the world! Recently though, his parents realized that there was nowhere left for them to explore so they decided to move back into the home they had owned, but rarely lived in along with their son.

Once arriving at the family home, they noticed something strange in the water surrounding it. There were a bunch of new islands that had yet to be explored! Oliver’s parents left Oliver to unpack his room while they went in a small boat to explore the islands. After a while of unpacking Oliver realized that he hadn’t heard from his parents and decided to look out the window. What he saw would have upset a regular kid, but not Oliver since he was used to adventures.

All of the islands except for one small one were gone! His parents were nowhere to be seen and the small boat that they had left in was now floating nearby in the water. Determined to get his parents back Oliver took the boat and rowed to the small island where he befriended “a grumpy albatross [and] a nearsighted mermaid.” Oliver and his new friends set off to find his parents while aboard the small island which turned out to be a living creature!

This was a really short and fun read for a Saturday afternoon. I was pre-approved to read this for review from NetGalley and I’m so glad that I read it! A solid 4/5.

June 2014 Book Reviews · Series/Trilogies

Book Review: Night School – Legacy (Night School #2)

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Author: C. J. Daugherty
Pages: 385
Published: January 3, 2013 (First Published November 7, 2012)
Genre: YA, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
Rating: 5/5

This book was absolutely fantastic!

Allie was taken to the Cimmeria Academy in the first installment of this series, Night School, as a result of being arrested three times for vandalism on school property. Once there she began to uncover secrets about her family history  while also trying to uncover the secrets of the Cimmeria Academy.

In Night School: Legacy, Allie has become a member of Night School and is beginning her training in self defense. After a short visit to her family’s home in London ended with her being chased by Nathaniel’s men, Allie is taken to stay with her best friend Rachel until school starts again.

Returning to Cimmeria, Rachel and Allie help the faculty make last minute repairs to the building before the school year starts. Carter, Allie’s boyfriend, is also helping to repair damage from the past summer’s fire. Everything finally seems to be going right for Allie, until she receives a letter from her brother Christopher asking to meet him to talk.

Making the choice to keep this a secret from everyone she loves, Allie falls into a world of lies that is the start of another ruined relationship. Word gets out about her night time visit with her brother as well as the secret that she is the granddaughter of a very influential member of Cimmeria.

Allie must train as a new member of Night School in order to protect herself and her friends from Nathaniel’s men before it is too late.

This story follows right along from the first book and I absolutely loved it. I read this book in one day (same as the first one) because I couldn’t get enough! I have the next two books in the series and I can’t wait to pick them up! This is probably my #1 top favorite series right now.