Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang




This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books


What's it about?

Janie and Micah have been friends since they were in elementary school, ever since Janie moved in next door. They crawl between each other's bedrooms and sneak out in the dark of the night to go on adventures, pull pranks and lay under the stars at the local quarry. Even though their friendship is perfect, they still keep it a secret from everyone at school. Since Janie is outgoing and popular and Micah is more of an introvert with a much smaller social circle, they feel that hiding their relationship is for the best. When Janie's family moves, even though it's only a few minutes away, the two of them begin to grow miles apart. Micah's world begins to fall apart when he wakes up in the hospital with holes in his memory and he discovers that Janie is missing. In order to find out what happened to his best friend, he will have to expose their bond and in the process, he'll uncover some disturbing things that happened to Janie that may shed some light on where she went and why. One way or another, this is where his world will end.

The story is told in a nonlinear style, from dual POVs and it includes Janie's journal entries to help unravel the mystery.


My Thoughts:

First of all, I have to say that Amy Zhang is an incredibly talented young writer who has a HUGE future ahead of her. She has a gift with words that many would kill for. I am a huge fan of hers. Her first book, Falling Into Place, was one of my favorite books from last year (check out my review HERE), so she set the bar pretty high. While I did enjoy This Is Where the World Ends, it didn't have quite as big of an emotional punch as Falling Into Place. My issues were really with the plot and ending. It could have used more plot development and the ending didn't have as much wow factor as it could have. It just kind of. . . ended. I pretty much knew what was going on from the start, so I was hoping for a big emotional bang at the end, but I didn't really get one. I do have to mention that the actual subject matter of this book is VERY heavy, and it does include rape. I don't want to give away too much more, but I had to give a heads up on that one. It had the potential for emotional intensity, but it didn't quite get there for me, but like I said, she set the bar really high with her first book, so it was still a compelling read. It could have used a little more mystery and a bigger bang at the end, but all in all, I'm still glad I read it for Amy Zhang's gorgeous writing. It is a quick read, and so is Falling Into Place, so I recommend checking out both if you haven't already. I will definitely be checking out and looking forward to whatever she has to offer next.


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<3 Michelle

Monday, April 11, 2016

No Wi-Fi = Sadness



A lot has been going on, but at the moment, I do not have Wi-Fi. I have reviews and posts on the way, as soon as Verizon can get here to fix this. I'll explain everything in my Stacking the Shelves post this weekend. It'll be big because I haven't done one in a while. Sorry for my absence.

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<3 Michelle

Monday, March 28, 2016

March OwlCrate! See What's Inside!




Hello, Minions! My March OwlCrate arrived last week, and as usual, I'd like to share with you what was inside. This months's theme was WRITER'S BLOCK. I did not guess the book this time and it's one I've heard really good things about, so YAY for OwlCrate! So far, they've been pretty amazing with their selections and I've had fair warning with the monthly theme so I dont go out and buy what's in the box before it arrives. Want to see what I got?



The book inside was The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner and it came with a note from the author. Also inside: banned books socks from Out of Print, 642 Tiny Things to Write About from Chronicle Books, a quill pen from Kikkerland and a custom pack of bookish pins from Bookworm Boutique (there are SO MANY things I want from there!).


 A monthly subscription to OwlCrate is $29.99 a month plus shipping. They've already announced the theme for next month's box . . . DYSTOPIA.


Next month's box will contain an addictive and unique dystopian novel, as well as lots of items inspired by our favourite dystopian stories. If you like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and Shatter Me you won't want to miss this box! So many goodies! 

Hmm . . . I wonder what the book will be? I just have to avoid buying any books with that possible theme until next month. I figure that even if, for some reason, the book they pick is one I already own (bought or received as an ARC), I can just do a giveaway for it and keep the other bookish goodies.

If you're interested, check it out at OwlCrate.com . You can also follow them on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

I REALLY love OwlCrate!


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<3 Michelle

Monday, March 21, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I LOVED But I Haven't Talked About In A While



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Interesting topic this week. Considering all the shiny new books that we all come across every day, I do notice that the older ones don't get as much attention. This is a list of books that I find myself recommending frequently.


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


This is my favorite book. If you haven't read it yet, now is the time. It's available in a new enhanced edition. The movie is currently filming and is supposed to be released this year.




This is the only book that ever gave me nightmares. Even though it scared the crap out of me, I absolutely loved it. If you are a fan of zombies, do not miss this book. Maisie Williams (from Game of Thrones) was just cast in the movie.


Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi


This is such an amazing dystopian/sci-fi trilogy. A must read.


Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine


This Phantom of the Opera retelling absolutely blew me away. Such an amazing book.


Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy


This is the "other" cancer book (but I think it's better than The Fault In Our Stars).


by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


Just a reminder, if you haven't read this fabulous sci-fi adventure yet, DO IT. This series is amazing.


Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun


If you're an anime fan, you MUST read this book/series. Trust me.


The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows


One of my favorite books last year, if you have not read this yet, I advise you do so. If you like fantasy, you'll love this. The sequel is out April 5th.

Reboot by Amy Tintera


This book is SO kick-ass. Seriously. Fans of Divergent must read this! I think it's better.


The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King


This is one of my favorite books and I feel like it gets overlooked. A.S. King has become well known for her brilliant contemporary novels, but this, her first book, is a little bit different. It is the story of how an innocent Irish girl becomes one of the most feared pirates of the Caribbean, thwarts a curse that spans the centuries and discovers that even time cannot defeat true love.



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<3 Michelle

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly feature hosted by Book Date to share what we've read, what we're reading and what's up next. It's also a way to share news and get organized.


Hello, Minions! I haven't been doing this every week, but I figured it was a good time to post an update on my reading plans. There are SO MANY books about to release that I've been waiting for. My paycheck won't make it out of my workplace this month since I work in a bookstore.


Yeah, I know, go ahead and say it:




But anyway, I've been pretty disorganized and scatterbrained with my reading lately, so I'm going to make a plan and try my best to stick to it. Mostly. If I can. Yoi. I'm hopeless.


Upcoming review:


Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this book! I actually read it a while ago but never got the review posted. I also have an extra copy I'll be giving away, so that'll be happening sometime this week.


Currently reading:


Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifaces #1)
by Cassandra Clare
It's long and I've had other books/reviews/stuff that keeps interrupting me. It's really good, I'm just taking my time with it.

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani
This is for my book club that is meeting on Thursday. I figured I should read the book before going, especially since Adriana is actually calling in to the meeting.


What's up next:

Ok, here's the planning part.There are new releases I really want to read, sequels I've been anticipating and I have a very ambitious YA book club this month (we're trying to read at least two for discussion). It may be a few weeks before I post another It's Monday! update, so that's why I'm planning so far ahead here.


First, the books I want to read next:


The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine


Sequel/Prequels I MUST read:



(click covers for Goodreads links)


YA Book Club reads:


The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu
Storm Siren (Storm Siren #1) by Mary Weber


I also really want to sneak in:


Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi
Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr


That should cover the next few weeks. I'll check in to let you know how I'm doing! Odds of  getting distracted by other books: I'd say 50/50. We'll see.


What are YOU reading?

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<3 Michelle

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Stacking the Shelves 3/20/16



Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews to share what we've added to our shelves for the week.


Not much going on this week. It was not going too well, but then the Penguins beat up on the Flyers yesterday, so it ended on a high note.





Here's my haul:


Bought


The Vengeful Half by Jaclyn Dolamore
Earth's End (Air Awakens #3) by Elise Kova
Lailah (The Styclar Saga #1) by Nikki Kelly
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
Shades of Darkness (Ravenborn #1) by A.R. Kahler


For Kindle




Right Kind of Mistake (Right Kind of Mistake #1) by Rebecca Thomas
I Wish by Elizabeth Langston
Into the Fire by Kelly Hashway


Traded


Dream On (Silver #2) by Kerstin Gier

I got this from Alyssa Susanna @Eater of Books in exchange for my ARC of Graceling. She had been searching for one for a while and I was happy to help her complete her collection.


eARCs from NetGalley & Edelweiss
(click covers for Goodreads links)




Oh, and Hello from Millie Lou!



What did you add to your shelves this week?

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<3 Michelle

Friday, March 18, 2016

Picture Book Review: Cash Kat by Linda Joy Singleton, Illustrated by Christina Wald



Cash Kat by Linda Joy Singleton
Illustrated by Christina Wald
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing

A picture book? Don't I normally review YA books? Well, yes, but there IS a YA connection here, plus, I do have two little Minions of my own who helped with this review.

SO HERE WE GO. . . 


You may recognize Linda Joy Singleton from her fabulous YA books:



(Above are some of them)

She's also written many MG books, and Cash Kat is her second picture book. Linda very kindly sent me a copy to review (and to read to my Minions).


What is Cash Kat about?

Kat and her Gram Hatter are spending the day at the city park, helping to clean it up. While there, Kat finds herself on a treasure hunt for coins while picking up trash. Along the way, there are many different coins and even a dollar! She learns about the value of each as she puts them away to save up for ice cream later. With each find, Gram also makes Kat a fun new paper hat to wear. By the end of the day, Kat learns far more valuable lessons about generosity and taking care of the environment.


My Thoughts:

Not only is Cash Kat adorable and fun, but it contains lessons that children will enjoy learning. The characters are cute, quirky and amusing and the story is delightful and multi-layered. There is more going on than just looking for money to buy a treat. It teaches coin values, saving money and finally, a lesson in philanthropy. The book teaches, but in a way that is relatable to children. The "treasure hunt" Kat is on for coins is fun and each discovery is exciting. The book also allows interaction as you read it aloud to children. I found that my son was answering back to questions asked in the book and counting the coins as Kat found them. He was laughing at Gram Hatter and pointing out the new hats she was making for Kat. Another thing he liked is that after the story ends there are pages in the back of the book that teach more about money values and helping the environment. There's even a matching game involving coin counting. I also have to mention that he enjoyed the adorable illustrations.

Cash Kat is a PERFECT gift to give to a pre-school or kindergarten aged child, boy or girl. It's both fun and educational.

I'll leave the final verdict to my son:


He says:

"I LOVE IT!"

and more importanly,

"READ IT AGAIN!"

And you can quote him on that!

I think I'll now be reviewing picture books (especially ones with YA connections) occasionally. If you like this idea, please let me know!


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<3 Michelle