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Monday, June 26, 2017

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera


Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else" [more]

We need more books like this one. Real in so many levels. I loved the setting and the glimpses into the lives of a Latino family. I felt Margot was a real teenager that teens in NYC can relate too. She knew she was wrong but she did it anyways; just like we do.

The book reminded me of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina

Friday, June 23, 2017

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina


Rating: 5-Stars

Summary on Goodreads.

"One 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..." [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.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Final Girls by Riley Sager


Rating: 3-Stars

Available on July 11, 2017

Summary on Goodreads.


"Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went..." [more]


I liked the plot and how and who the killer turned out to be, but I didn't like anything else. I didn't like the characters, the dialogue, the writing... nothing at all.

I forced myself to keep reading because of the good reviews, I wanted to see what the big end was about. That said, once I knew who the killer was, many obvious questions came to me. Do not keep reading because what follows are spoilers.

***Spoiler. Spoiler. Spoiler***

So Coop was the real killer but the police never noticed that he had too much blood on him when he found Quincy. Yes, he held her in his arms, but that wouldn't count for the amount of blood described on him. On the same note, if the alleged killer didn't actually killed anybody, then he didn't have any blood on him. Didn't the police notice that either? Hmmm...


Friday, January 6, 2017

Coloring Book: Equinox by Stephen Barnwell


Title: Equinox

Artist: Stephen Barnwell

Pages: 124

Publisher: Antarctica Arts, 2016

Art Rating: 5-Stars

Paper Quality: 3-Stars

Available: Amazon

Are you tired of coloring fairies, flowers and faces? Then this is the book for you. So different to other books out there. I looooveee it!

The paper is okay but place a blank sheet in between if using markers.

If you visit the artist's Website, you can get some free pages (check for copyright). Also, he has section with coloring tips and techniques that will help you A LOT. I have improved my coloring tremendously thanks to him.

You can see a video of a flip-through of the book here by Coloring Addict.




Friday, December 30, 2016

Coloring Book: Lacy Sunshine's In The Land Of Fae and Whimsies by Heather Valentin



Title: Lacy Sunshine's In The Land Of Fae and Whimsies Coloring Book Volume 22: Big Eyed Fairies Whimsical Sprites Coloring

Artist: Heather Valentin

Publisher: CreateSpace (self-published on Amazon)

Pages: 74

Art Rating: 4-Stars

Paper Quality: 2-Stars

Available: Amazon


I like this book because the illustrations are simple and little detailed. I find that when I am coloring and the illustrations have too many details, I get bored and run out of ideas and color combinations.

I don't find the artwork to be all that (maybe it is a printing issue) but they are cute.

The papers is your regular CreateSpace cheap paper; therefore, you should use a blank page between pages to avoid markers (if used) bleeding through the page. Also, because the paper isn't thick, you can see through the pages which for me is distracting when coloring. Thus, place a blank page in between.








Monday, December 26, 2016

Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu


Summary on Goodreads.

"When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other."

Stories about healing are not for me. I prefer the chase, they why, the who and how. This book is about Ethan's recovery after he was rescued. It is also about Caroline dealing with her life after her bother was kidnapped and found. So here we go through those stages of recovery.

I frankly didn't like it just because "fictional healing" is not for me. This is a work of fiction, thus emotional recovery here is fictional. I know the author did research and all, but for me is just made up.

Monday, December 19, 2016

A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby


Summary on Goodreads.

"It is London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital. Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain. When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper’s dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity’s worst nightmares..." [+ more]


This is kind of historical fiction without dwelling too much on the historical part. The Elephant Man did exist (as Jack the Ripper), and Evelyn's disfigurement due to the use of white phosphorus was a real issue back then. However, the story is not about that. It is about the Elephant Man and Evelyn's relation, and... some ghosts.

It was interesting at the beginning but I am really the type that don't like ghost stories. So when the paranormal aspect in the plot kicked in, I lost interest.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis


Summary on Goodreads.

"Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways..."
[+ More]


I hate preaching books, but this one preached in a way that didn't feel like preaching at all.

I liked Alex, and Jack, and PK. Told in those three voices, every voice had its own nuance.

I like happy endings and this ending might not have been for me. But it was the ending this book needed nonetheless. he ending was good nonetheless.

I loved. I loved the romance...I loved everything.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Coloring Book: Chibi Girl by Jade Summer


Title: Chibi Girls: An Adult Coloring Book with Japanese Manga Drawings, Magical Fairies, and Cute Fantasy Animals

Artist: Jade Summer

Pages: 110

Publisher: CreateSpace (self-published on Amazon)

Art Rating: 4-Stars

Paper Quality: 3-Stars

Available: Amazon

Oh! How I love Chibis! When I saw this book I ordered without bothering to see what was inside.

110 pages of Chibis! I am in Chibi land.

The illustrations are a little too thick for my taste but they are cute. If you are good at coloring (which I'm not) you'll be able to produce amazing results. The thick lines remind me the work of Hannah Lynn's Enchanted Halloween coloring book.

The paper quality is not too good but the back of the pages are black so you can't see through and if you use markers the ink might not bleed through.

And I don't know why I chose to color the same illustration as on the cover!




Monday, December 5, 2016

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando


Summary on Goodreads.

"Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story. "

It's not that I didn't like it; it's more that I didn't like it that much. I feel like something was missing. The concept of the plot is good and, thank God they didn't disappear because some... wait, would that be a spoiler? Then I will just say that I'm glad that they didn't disappear because of what I was thinking.

The explanation for the disappearance satisfied me and I liked the concept but there's something that I can't put my fingers on that bothers me with story.

We have different and distinct POVs, Char being the voice more different from everybody. I think that what the author did with Char, like writing in very small fonts when she was feeling suffocated, or leaving a page blank when her mind went blank was a good technique to make me feel what the character was feeling in that moment.

Overall, the book is intriguing and liked it.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Coloring Book: Flower Girls by Jade Summer


Title: Flower Girls: An Adult Coloring Book with Beautiful Women, Floral Hair Designs, and Inspirational Patterns for Relaxation and Stress Relief

Artist: Jade Summer

Publisher: CreateSpace (self-published on Amazon)

Pages: 106

Art Rating: 4-Stars

Paper Quality: 3-Stars

Available: Amazon




I found this cutie after HOURS of browsing on Amazon. The illustrations are cute and what I like most is that the hair is not typical hair but hair made up of patterns. This coloring book has enough illustrations to last you all year!

On a down size, the faces are very simple and don't have any "wow" to them. You know how you are able to recognize the work of Jasmine Becket-Griffith right away? Well, this artist has published many coloring books but she seems to miss a personal style. That said, all the faces in this coloring book have he same expression (eyes, lips, and nose). But as I said before, the creativity of the hair makes up for the lack of variety on the face.

The paper quality is not bad but is not too good either. On a plus side, the back of the pages are black, so if you use markers the color won't bleed through. Also, you can't see though the pages which is good.

Below are two pages my daughter and I colored. I copied them on cardstsock paper.

             








Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron


Summary on Goodreads.

"Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten..." [+ more]


Oh! How I enjoyed this book. Some bloggers has said that the story is slow but I didn't find it so. For me, the pace was perfect for the story.

What I liked most was the unnecessary love triangle so popular in YAs. For a moment there, I thought that the author was going to go that way; but then she didn't and I was relieved. I think that the author did an incredible good job with this story. Everything was weaved perfectly and I didn't find any loop holes or lose ends.

I liked Nadia (the main character) a lot. Actually, I liked everybody. When something happened to make Nadia and Gray brake up, the author didn't drag it and didn't wait until the end to bring them together again.

The story is a nice dystopia and what was causing people to forget turned out to be something that I considered (at one point) but wasn't truly expecting.

The writing was exquisite. Darn it, I just loved the book, okay?

Monday, November 28, 2016

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier


Summary on Goodreads.

"Seventeen-year-old Aussie Che Taylor loves his younger sister, Rosa. But he’s also certain that she’s a diagnosable psychopath—clinically, threateningly, dangerously. Recently Rosa has been making trouble, hurting things. Che is the only one who knows; he’s the only one his sister trusts. Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and very good at hiding what she is and the violence she’s capable of.

Their parents, whose business takes the family from place to place, brush off the warning signs as Rosa’s “acting out.” Now that they have moved again—from Bangkok to New York City—their new hometown provides far too many opportunities for Rosa to play her increasingly complex and disturbing games. Alone, Che must balance his desire to protect Rosa from the world with the desperate need to protect the world from her."

I will have to find my motivation to get back to this book. It is veeeryyyy slow....! I made it half way through and so far Rosa has done NOTHING! Other than her brother telling me how evil Rosa really is, and how he has to constantly watch out for her or she could, like, provoke WWIII, I haven't seen anything of what Rosa is capable of doing.

Other bloggers who managed to finish the book said that the second half of the book is very good because you don't really know if Rosa is really a psycho/sociopath or if it is all in her brother's head. Also that the twist at the end was worth the boring first half of the story.

The concept is very good: an evil child? Bring it on! But the story would've been better if instead of Che (the brother) telling me what his sister is capable of, the author had shown me what Rosa actually did. An entire book of maybes to finally show me something was not worth my time. Personally, I don't care how bad nine-year old Rosa is anymore. I think I will have to take her brother's word for it.

Friday, November 4, 2016

This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston


Summary on Goodreads.

"No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own."

This book was sooo good! I was reading, stopping, reading... just because I didn't want it to end but at the same time I couldn't put it down.

I rarely see YA thrillers done right, and this is one of those times. I especially love that the end wasn't the typical confession of the killer. No, here it was pure detective work throughout.

I liked the writing style, the romance, the mystery... everything!


Friday, October 14, 2016

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue


Summary on Goodreads.

"An English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl..."[+ more]

It was a hard book for me to read but I couldn't put it down. I just had to know how Anna was surviving without food! Oh, the trick...! This book is by the same author of Room which I also enjoyed. Just after I finished the book and red the commentary in the back, did I realize this was a work of historical fiction.

I loved The Wonder: the plot, the setting, the outcome, Lib (the nurse), Anna... but for some reason the book was so hard for me to read!

Was it the writing style? I don't know, but I had trouble linking one word to the next. It was as if the writing wasn't flowing. Some reviews have cataloged the story as boring, and I can say that at one point it was boring just because I couldn't get into the writing/words. Yes, it was kind of slow, but I feel that it had to be that way in order to get the ending we get.

I am amazed by this story - the idea and the development. Just when I thought there was nothing new in literature comes this story so different from thrillers, crime, and high school drama.