Friday, July 22, 2016

Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk

Summary on Goodreads.

"Imagine a helpless, pregnant 16-year-old who's just been yanked from the serenity of her home and shoved into a dirty van. Kidnapped Alone Terrified.

Now forget her ...

Picture instead a pregnant, 16-year-old, manipulative prodigy. She is shoved into a dirty van and, from the first moment of her kidnapping, feels a calm desire for two things: to save her unborn son and to exact merciless revenge.

She is methodical, calculating, scientific in her plotting. A clinical sociopath? Leaving nothing to chance, secure in her timing and practice, she waits for the perfect moment to strike. "Method 15/33" is what happens when the victim is just as cold as the captors."

This is an unusual book because instead of focusing on the kidnapper doing things to the victim, it is about the victim and the things she will do to her kidnapper. Very interested plot indeed.

Based on 5 stars, I will take one star away because of dragging. Yes, I felt the story dragged too much. MC (kidnapped girl) would go on and on about her plan. As she herself said at one point, she could have escaped sooner, but she waited 33 days because (otherwise it would had been a very short book!).

I will take away another star because of the background on the FBI agents. I understand that some other character should be included in the story to give the story a decent length, but I was bored with the FBI plot.

I will also take another star away because of the writing in general. For some reason, the writing was kind of redundant. Unless it is Jose Saramago, this repetitive writing doesn't work for me. Another thing that didn't work for was the first person narration. The story started with "I..." and she is telling what happened 17 years ago. Well, I already know that she is very much alive and kicking it; so, somehow, knowing that she had made it, took away some of the curiosity.

I did like MC and his methodical mind. I liked that she didn't freak out, didn't beg, and didn't cry. She simply plot her revenge.

If you want to read something different, this book is for you!

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Highly Illogical Behavior

Summary on Goodreads.

"Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him. Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same."

I read it in one sitting and, for the most part, I liked it. I totally understand why Lisa did what she did; I don't know why they had to tell Solomon, though. I mean, they ended up really liking him so, for me, there was no need to bring up why they became friends. But that's me.

I found Clark's reasons not to have sex very... Unbelievable, but I do appreciate that this books teaches about waiting rather than all teenagers have sex and go to parties where they do stupid things.

I enjoyed Solomon's parts a lot more than Lisa's, but I liked that Lisa was real. She wanted to be the best and she owned that.

Clark was there... but his character was never that important; actually, his character was never explored.

At the end, this was a light and quick read that I enjoyed because of the lack of YA drama (parties, smoking, sex, drinking, and bitching).

I wanted more of Solomon... but I got what I got :-)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Summary on Goodreads.

"Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world. But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists."

What is new in this book? Nothing. I picked it because I loved The Replacement, but when I read this synopsis I pretty much knew this one would be another contemporary cliche. Even Paper Valentine was better than this.

Perfect girl (in the outside) meets bad boy (in the outside too). So two people with nothing in common get something in common...

The story is told in two povs, Waverly and Marshall's; I liked Marshall's voice. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything compelling here to keep me reading.

Although I am naturally attracted to broken characters that are more than they seem (in this case Marshall) I couldn't find a point of reference to make me hold on to the story.

The writing seemed a little elaborated to me; as if it didn't flow naturally. We also have the best friend, the mean girl... you know... the usual suspects in YA high school.

I wished Yovanoff had come up with something more original than this.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Summary on Goodreads.

"Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about. Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life, and—hardest of all—herself."

I really liked it. The only thing I didn't like was the mystery surrounding Francesca's mother condition. Coming from a family where we have open communication, I didn't get why they couldn't just straight tell a 16 year old that her mother was suffering of depression. I didn't get the "I don't want medication" thing either. But I guess some American people are like that.

Other than the above, I loved Francesca and her relationship with everybody.

I had read about Marchetta's great writing style and I agree, it is indeed great; and she knows how to portrait teens. Obviously I now have to read her other books.

I completely get how and why Francesca's mom condition was unbalancing Francesca's life. I didn't get the way adults approached it, though... all very secret and like waiting for things to fix themselves.

But I so enjoyed this book!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Summary on Goodreads.

I am so glad to read this after the whole series is out. I can't wait to start the next book. I loved it! I guess this book is just like Twilight: half of the world hates it and the other half loves it.

I am part of the second half. I never thought of reading this because I read a lot (a lot!) of bad reviews; but then I decided to see what the series is about since the movie came out.

I liked Cassie a lot! She is one of my favorite female characters of all time because she keeps it real and asks questions that I'm thinking about while reading the book, like "where did you get the IV from?" And she worries about clean underwear, deodorant, and tampons. Any ways, the author keeps it real. You know, I had never read any other dystopia book that brought up the issue of hygiene. It's like... women don't get their periods when the world is ending?!

Oh! That first kiss totally got to me (pg. 178). Evan got to me... And later on Ben got to me. I'm totally digging the love triangle here.

I find the romance to be complete normal and plausible. I read a review that said the romance is awkward but I didn't see it that way. Two people alone for a long time.... and they are both cute/pretty/handsome... well! I would fall in love with Channing Tatum too!

Page 300: Oh! Now I just happen to love Zombie too. Yes, Zombie is a name.

In short, I'm just in love with this damn book!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Book Tour: The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes

Summary on Goodreads.

Release date: July 5, 2016

Available on: Amazon     IndieBound     Barnes&Noble

"Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent falls—and despite the state’s threat to take him away from his mother if she can’t keep him from getting hurt. But the young autistic boy cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his back door..." [+ more]

I love books about autistic children so much! This one is about March, a an autistic boy who loves to climb trees. One day he sees a new huge tree, The Eagle Tree, and from there on all he can think of is climbing that tree.

I liked March so much because he was the one telling his story, how he processed thoughts, and how he felt... instead of  a narrator. I Think that there was too much information about trees in the story, though. So someone who really likes trees will be able to relate and like it. I kind of skipped those endless descriptions and information about trees. However, I do recognize that it was important because it was March talking about them, not the author.

I found a new view on autistic children in this book. For example, March would get hurt climbing a tree and he wouldn't feel the pain. In fact, he wouldn't know he was hurt is somebody didn't point it out to him.

Autistic children are peculiar, and just when I thought I had read all about them, The Eagle Tree comes along.

March is a lovely character and I had a lovely time reading this one.

Tour Provided by TLC Book Tours

About the Author: 
Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His historical novel, Sinful Folk, was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award. The Eagle Tree is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves. He lives with his wife and children in Olympia, Washington.

More about Ned Hayes can be found at

Saturday, May 28, 2016

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Summary on Goodreads.

Available on 6/28/2016

Buy on Amazon.

"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..." [+ more]

I have read two other books by Miranda and I know she likes to tell her stories in a dragging way. This one was not different. I picked it because of all the good reviews it has, but for me was so boring! There's nothing new here other that the book is marketed as in "the story is told backwards," which wasn't completely new either. I think the author wanted to do it kind of like that Memento movie but it didn't turn out that way (at least not for me).

I was bored out of my head because there is a lot of telling. The writing is good, yes, Miranda has that, but she goes on and on and I just wanted something to happen. Anything, really.

We have our typical girl leaves town for better life, goes back to face past, hooks up with ex, and blah blah blah. Perhaps told in a straight way the story would've been more effective? Doesn't matter, books are a matter of "love them or hate them." And I hated this one. Well, hate in terms that I don't think I will ever try to read another book by Megan Miranda. Darn it! And I liked Fracture so much.

And the missing girl? The typical "maybe she left town because she was 18..." But then new evidence suggests otherwise. Hmmm..., best friends, wouldn't you know if you best friend left town? Oh! right, you guys all had a reason not to tell everything you knew... Same old.

I got this ARC from my library.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina

Summary on Goodreads.

"The morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with..." [+ more]

I liked the diversity in this one. For once, no white people! This book comes strait out of Queens, NY (being a Queens resident, I know). At first, I was mad at Piddy for being such a wimp and giving her mom a hard time because she wouldn't tell her who her father was. But, I guess that since I've known my father all my life, I wouldn't really know how it feels to grow up not knowing who your father is.

I would have liked more confrontation between Piddy and Yaqui, but on another level, the story is good the way it is. Not everybody had the guts to confront a bully. I also like the cultural traits of Hispanics covered in the story.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass

Summary on Goodreads.

"Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father..." [+ more]

I just loved, loved, loved this book. The writing style is my kind of thing and the development is just so real that I felt as if I wrote it :-) Ha ha!

This is about a "cult" but unlike other cult books, this one makes sense because the main character's doubts are well portraited. She believes, and sometimes she doesn't, but then she asks herself "but what if..." This book is so real in so many levels that sometimes I felt I was Castella. Finally, I found a book about a cult that is believable.

Of course the Cresswell are the odd family in town, but Castella doesn't really dwell on that. Eventually she realizes what is wrong and right and stands up for it. Her character is fully developed and we can see how she grows out of her shell into a fuller person and has to make decisions to save her entire family.

I could understand and relate to why Castella believed in what she believed and how she grew out of such belief.

I liked this book so much and found it to be so complete that I'm adding this author to my list of favorite authors.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Cellar by Minette Walters

Summary on Goodreads.

"On the day Mr. and Mrs. Songoli’s young son fails to come home from school, fourteen-year-old Muna’s fortunes change for the better. Until then, her bedroom was a dank windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. Over the years, she had grown used to being abused by the Songoli family—to being their slave...." [+ more]

Here is a book that fully satisfied me. Finally, bad people get what they deserve. I so enjoyed the frankness and crudeness of this one.

Nothing was left hanging. Punishment and revenge was brought upon those who deserved it. If the author's style is like this, I intend to read her other books.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez

Summary on Goodreads.

"Atticus Craftsman never travels without a supply of Earl Grey and his five favourite books – so he makes sure he has packed both after his father, distinguished publisher of Craftsman & Co., sends him to Madrid to shut down a failing literary magazine, Librarte. When nobody has heard from him in three months, his father knows something must be very wrong..." [+ more]

Ohhh how I loved this book. I read every single word. So funny. The Spanish version is titled La felicidad es un té contigo which I would never have guessed by the title given to the English version.

This is not a romance read, although romance is found at some point. I enjoyed each one of the characters; all distinctive and quirky. Apparently thee book has been translated into different languages. Well done. Everybody deserves a copy of this one.

So Atticus goes to Spain to close the literary agency of the family. His father becomes concerned because six months have passed and he hasn't heard from his son. The father goes to the police and has to deal with inspector Manchego, a whole different kind of inspector who has a particular line of investigation.

In Spain: Atticus is overwhelmed by the five women that run the literary agency, and taken by a sudden carnal desire for one of the woman that he doesn't know how to handle. After all, he is only English and the Spaniard passion might be to hot for his cold body.

The writing here is just exquisite. Lyrical and all that. I was surprised to find such beautiful writing and such delightful plot. I will totally buy the Spanish version for my mother to read. She cannot die without reading this!

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title, and sorry it took me so long to read it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gone Again by James Grippando

Gone Again (Jack Swyteck #12)

Summary on Goodreads.

"Sashi Burgette vanished three years ago on her way to school. The night after the teenager’s disappearance, ex-con Dylan Reeves was stopped for drunk driving. An article of Sashi’s clothing was found in his truck, and a police videotape of his drunken explanation under interrogation sealed his fate at trial. Now, just days from Kyle’s execution, Sashi’s mother visits Jack Swyteck, doing pro bono work at the Freedom Institute, and delivers shocking news: “Sashi called me..." [+ More]

I had no idea that this book is part of a series; and book number #12 for that! I grabbed the book at the library, and you know how publishers are: they refuse to include that the book is part of a series on the cover. However, this one reads as a stand-alone. I didn't need any previous knowledge to get into this one. And I like it so much that I'm going to go back and read the first one. Yes sir!

What I liked is all that death row/who did/I'm innocent thing. But I especially liked that most of the story took place in court. I am a sucker for that "overruled/sustained" thing.

Story: Sashi is an adopted teen from Russia but she has a condition called RAD. Something like she can't get physically and emotionally close to anyone. Sashi is also a compulsive liar and trouble maker.

Now, this wealthy American couple who already have a teen decide to adopt Sashi and her brother. Well, Sashi made their lives a living hell.

One day Sashi vanishes, a man is found guilty, sentenced to death and that is where Jack comes in: trying to prove that the man is innocent and doesn't deserve to die.

So go ahead, skip all 11 previous books about Jack and just read this one. It is worth it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Tour: Clarina Nichols by Diane Eickhoff

Available on Amazon

Publication date: March 25, 2016

Summary: "Everyone knows about the ''Votes for Women'' campaign that led to the 19th Amendment in 1920. Few know just how long the struggle really was. Decades earlier, brave women began breaking the taboo of remaining silent at gatherings that included men. No one represents this early struggle -- the small triumphs and discouraging setbacks -- better than Clarina Howard Nichols (1810-1885), the Vermont newspaper publisher whose speeches made a powerful case for equality. Victim of a failed marriage, Nichols was a magnet to abused and mistreated women and was their advocate at a time when her sex was just beginning to speak up..." [+ more]

This is a nice biography into some of the history of women's right to vote (and be taken into account). The best part of this book is that it is YA so the writing is not heavy but easy to follow. It also has pictures! Which I liked because it gave me a better sense of Nichols and the time period.

Eickhoff describes Nichols' life in a way that it makes it easy to understand without dwelling into too many details. For example, Nichols first husband one day just took off with their children and Nichols went to her in-laws for help. They helped her get the children back and that was that.

I was surprised to learn that Nichols, now a single mother of three, later married a wonderful man. Even more, in a time where women had no voice and their opinions didn't really matter, she became a newspaper publisher.

She really is an inspiration for women today and Eickhoff summarizes extensive research in this brief biography that will appeal to YA.

This book tour was brought by TLC Book Tours
About the Author
Diane Eickhoff grew up on a farm in Minnesota, taught school in Appalachia and New York, and

helped edit a newspaper for an anti-poverty program in Alabama. She has written widely for publications aimed at high school and younger readers. Her biography, Revolutionary Heart, from which this book is adapted, was named a Kansas Notable Book and the winner of ForeWord magazine’s Book of the Year competition in biography, among other honors. She lives with her husband, author Aaron Barnhart, in Kansas City.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Seventh Child by Erik Valeur

Summary on Goodreads.

"On September 11, 2001, on a desolate beach on the outskirts of Copenhagen, police begin investigating the strange death of an unidentified woman. Surrounding the body are what appear to be offerings to the deceased: a book, a small noose, a dead golden canary, a linden tree branch, and a photo of the Kongslund Orphanage. As the police puzzle over their bizarre findings, the Twin Towers fall in walls of flame and the case is quickly overshadowed by the terror half a world away..." [+ more]

Okay, I'm reading the Spanish version of this book and it is 750 pages. Not really a problem if the story wasn't so slow! This is killing me. Paragraphs and paragraphs and pages and pages of nothing. A lot of words that mount to nothing at all. Something that could be told in one sentence "I received an anonymous letter" takes two pages here. The state of the letter, the stamp, where the letter came from, how it was placed on the desk, how he picked it up from the desk (right or left corner)... this sea of words is just endless!

So the story is about a period where being a single mother was a disgrace, and yet, knowing that, women would get "accidentally" pregnant. The solution, God forbid abortion, was to give the baby for abortion. The thing is that not only low class women got played and got pregnant, prominent families had daughters to succumb to the temptation of the flesh and accidentally become pregnant. So children from rich and prominent families ended up in this orphanage as well. One of these children, the 7th child to be precise, becomes a person (or child?) of interest.

The rest of the story is to find out who this child is, where he is, who the parents are/were, and so on. A thriller, let me tell you, this book is not. A mystery, yes: it is a mystery to me how this author could write so much nonsense.

Of course the story is not only about the child, there is some murder involved too. I really don't know if they are all connected or not because I couldn't keep reading which is a shame because I love Scandinavian thrillers.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Punch of Color by Hannah Lynn

Available: Hannah Lynn Art &Design
Publisher: Self
Artist: Hannah Lynn
Price: $8.50 and free shipping
Art Rating: 5-Stars
Paper Quality: 5-Stars
Pages: 10

Last night I colored my first face/portrait ever, and I loved it! I think I might have just discovered my
true coloring interest. I am tired of coloring animals and flowers.

This set of Punch of Color comes with 10 individual single-sided pages of beautiful illustrations. The paper is coverstock.

Now, I'm not literate about coloring and different types of paper, I just do it because I like it. But I found that if you use makers the coloring will look a lot better than colored pencils.

I particularly did the first layer with a Copic marker, then used a similar Prisma colored pencil, and finally went over it with a colorless blending pencil.

For the spheres, I mixed Jacquard Pear X powder mixed with Vaseline to make it stick.