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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blood and Bone (The Iron World Series Book #2)


Blood and Bone (Iron World Series Book #2) by Candace Osmond

Blurb (Taken from goodreads.com):

"The stakes are high in the second installment of The Iron World Series as Avery Quinn decides which path her life will take. Become a vampire and be with Jack forever, or pledge herself to the Fey and help save Faerie from the horrible Queen Mabry? The more she thinks about it the more she wants to remain human. But as she sinks further into the magical world she has come to love, Avery realizes that remaining human is next to impossible, especially when a dark king sets his sights on her. To make matters worse, a secret society of shape shifters have sworn themselves as Avery’s enemy all because of a certain classmate with a caustic temperament. With a mythical war brewing and Evaine close on her heels, Avery must decide who to give her humanity to before it’s too late."

My Review:

Wow this book is intense. It continues to follow Avery in her crazy life, and let me tell you, it's definitely not lacking in action. There are all your favorite characters from the first book, and a few new ones as well. There were a few that were mentioned briefly in the first book, and you find out a lot about them in this book. The writing is well done; it's captivating, engaging, and I couldn't put it down. It is darker than the first book, but it wasn't too much for me. There are many surprises in this book, and some of them are doozies! (Is that even a word??) The last page too......seriously? That's how it ends??? It's a total cliffhanger!!! Ahhh!!! Where is the next book? Will a war happen? What will Avery decide to do about her mortality? Can she at least count on Aunt Tess to ground her and bring her back to normalcy? How about the boyfriend--do they stay together? So many questions to have answered that you better go start reading! 

Just so you know, there is language in this book, including the "f" word. Also, there is a lot of "intimacy," and some of it is quite detailed. There is quite a bit of violence too. Some characters die and some are wounded. The descriptions of a few of those scenes are graphic. 

Rating; R (There is language, including the "f" word. There is a lot of "intimacy," with scenes and innuendos. There is also quite a bit of violence with a few characters dying and some graphic fighting scenes.)

Recommendation: Adult (This book is not recommended for YA or younger readers.)

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.




Monday, June 15, 2015

Iron and Wine (Book #1)


Iron and Wine (Book #1) by Candace Osmond

Blurb (from amazon.com):

Iron & Wine is an Urban Fantasy set in a world full of hidden magical places and secret societies cloaked by modern day. In the first installment of the Iron World Series, young artist Avery Quinn reluctantly leaves behind her quiet and comfortable home in the country and moves to the city with her best friend Julie Ryan. With the expectation that college will be the most exciting part of her life, Avery hopes that her little world remains quiet and simple. But after a troublesome blue sprite looking for help appears in her bedroom one night, her boss turns out to be a three hundred year old vampire, and her best friend accidentally reveals herself as an orphaned pixie, school quickly becomes the least of her worries. Every aspect of Avery's life explodes with mythical beings and legendary creatures who all play a very important role in her existence. Some are friends, some are guardians, while others quickly become life threatening and deadly enemies. Avery must learn to juggle living in both her world and theirs, but in this magical tale of strange love, strong bonds and scary beings; what once was nothing more than mere fairy tales told to her by her Aunt Tess are now a scary reality and Avery has somehow landed deep in the middle with little or no way out except death or worse...the loss of her humanity.

My Review:

I thought I was over the vampire/werewolf thing, but I got totally sucked into this book! At first you don't know that anything is amiss. Avery is just a normal girl going off to college with her best friend. Then when she gets to college and her new apartment, everything changes. Nothing is as it seems, and no one is who she thought they were. There is an entire world out there of different creatures. I liked Ms. Osmond's writing style. It kept me hooked, for sure. The character development is well done, and it's clever how all the changes transition very well. I liked Avery's voice in the book; she is intelligent, a hard worker, cute, and a fun character. She is also a strong female character (most of the time). I loved the descriptions in this book. All the characters are well thought out and unique. It's interesting how the different worlds exist together, and yet apart. The boyfriend (I won't tell you who that is at the moment......) is a little obsessed, and although their relationship is a little cheesy and a little rocky, it's a fun element in the story. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading book two!

There is some language in this book. There are also quite a few innuendos and almost "intimacy" scenes. They do all but- many times. There is one scene also. There is some violence with creatures fighting creatures. 

Rating: R (This book is not appropriate for YA or younger.  There is profanity in this book along with some violence. There are quite a  few innuendos, and there is an "intimacy" scene, with many others where they go almost all the way.)

Recommendation: 18 and up (for sure not younger than 18), adult would be most appropriate.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.




Friday, June 5, 2015

Flipped


Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Blurb:

"Bryce: My mom didn't understand why it was so awful that 'that cute little girl' had held my hand. She thought I should be friends with her. 'You like soccer. Why don't you go out there and kick the ball around?' Because I didn't want to be kicked around, that's why. And although I couldn't say it like that at the time, I still had enough sense at age seven and a half to know that Julianna Baker was dangerous.

Julianna: What did a kiss feel like anyway? Somehow I knew it wouldn't be like the one I got from Mom or Dad at bedtime. The same species, maybe, but a radically different beast. Like a wolf and a whippet. Only science would put them on the same tree. Looking back, I like to think it was at least partly scientific curiosity that made me chase after that kiss, but it was probably more those blue eyes."  

My Review:

I had no idea what to expect with this book. I normally do not read the back blurbs, but this time I did because it was scheduled to be a book club book at the school this summer, and I wanted to see if it would be appropriate for my soon-to-be fourth and second graders. After reading the above blurb, I definitely decided that it was not going to be appropriate for them. I read the whole book to see if maybe my soon-to-be eighth and seventh graders could read it. Judging from the blurb, I didn't really like the premise. The talk of the kiss kind of turned me off; it sounded like the book would be about an obsessed crazy girl or something. I am glad to report that it is not like that at all. The description makes it seem like it will be something very different from what it is. It is actually a cute story about two kids. Bryce moves in across the street from Julianna when they are in second grade. He doesn't like what he sees, and she loves what she sees. Hahaha......the story follows these two as they grow up. It moves from one viewpoint to the next. It's interesting because it shows the same events from each of their perspectives. I thought this was so interesting. It's great to have middle-schoolers read this because you see how actions, words, and assumptions affect those around you. As you read the different vantage points, you can begin to see how stereotypes, socioeconomic status, and certain situations are seen by "the world" as one thing, but are, in reality, completely different. I think this is a great book to help kids see that before they judge someone they need to walk in their shoes. It also helps them to see that words do hurt. I ended up liking this book. I liked the character development and  how it was written. I liked the writing style. I liked the insight into each of these characters' lives. I think it is a book that every middle-schooler should read because it helps them see that it is not all about them.

There were some things in this book that I think make it inappropriate for middle-graders and younger readers. There are a couple of profane words. Mostly, I think some of the themes discussed are more appropriate for middle-schoolers. There isn't any "intimacy" or violence, besides the second grade kiss, but I think the older kids will better understand it and take from it what should be taken. Does that make sense? I did enjoy it, and I think it would make a great book club book, but for middle-schoolers not elementary kids.

Rating: PG-13 (A couple of profane words, heavier topics)

Recommendation: 7th grade and up.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy Book #2)


Palace of Stone (Princess Academy Book #2) by Shannon Hale

Blurb:

"When Miri and a few of the girls from Mount Eskel's princess academy travel to the capital to help the princess-to-be get ready for her wedding, they have no idea what to expect. Some are worried about leaving their beloved mountain for the first time, others are thrilled about going to the big city, and Miri is mostly just happy to see her best friend. But not everything in Asland is as perfect as the mountain girls hoped. As she finds herself deep in the middle of an upheaval that affects everyone she loves. Torn between her loyalty to the  princess and her belief in her new friends' daring ideas, and between an old love and a new crush, Miri must test the strengths and skills she gained in the princess academy."

My Review:

I really enjoyed the first book. It was so cute and yet Miri stood out as a strong female character. I liked the camaraderie between the girls. I'm not quite sure where I thought the second book would go, but it wasn't this. I definitely did not think the second book would go that direction. And, unfortunately, I did not really love it. It was okay. It had some good moments, and Miri still had a few good, strong moments, but I didn't feel like it lived up to the first one. I think it was the topic that I didn't like. I'm not sure why I didn't like the topic. It's an okay topic to discuss and be involved in, especially if the circumstances are correct, but I just didn't like it in this instance. I liked that more about the quarry-speak was brought up, and how it was used in a different way. I liked that Miri was able to go to school, and I liked many of the characters. It was still well written and there were a few moments where I found myself excited to see what happened, but mostly it fell flat for me. I'm sad about it, because I had really high hopes for this book. I liked the courage that a few of the characters had to show, and I liked that it showed how situations and decisions are not always black and white.

I did like that this book was clean. There wasn't any profanity that I can remember, which is good. There were a few kisses, but that's as far as it went. There was some violence in this book. It's not too graphic or over-the-top. If you enjoyed the first book then I would still recommend reading this one, but know that it goes in a direction you will not be expecting.

Rating: PG (No profanity, some minor violence, and a few kisses.)

Recommendation: Fifth or Sixth grade and up (The topic of this book is heavier than the first one, and I don't think I would recommend it for fourth graders.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

.....And a Little Math Today!

I know I'm usually all about reading; however, I found this great math program that is free for the summer, and I had to share! My kids have used TenMarks at school, and so I am familiar with the program. It is all automated, so the kids do an initial assessment, and the program determines where he/she should be, and it gives him/her problems that are at the correct ability level. When your child masters a topic then it automatically assigns more difficult problems. TenMarks has a FREE summer program this year! You just sign your child up, put which grade he/she will be going into this fall, and you're on your way! They have 40-50 assignments for the summer, so the kids can work on it almost every day. I'm happy, but my kids aren't......(hahaha....yep, I'm the mean mom!!)

TenMarks

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Bookseller


The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Blurb: 

"1962: It may be the Swinging Sixties in New York, but in Denver it's different: being a single gal over thirty in this city is almost bohemian. Still, thirty-eight-year-old Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She was involved, once--with a doctor named Kevin--but when things didn't work out the way she had hoped, she decided to chart her own path. Now she dedicates herself to the bookstore she runs with her best friend, Frieda, returning home each evening to her cozy apartment. Without a husband expecting dinner, she can enjoy last-minute drinks after work with her friends; without children who need to get ready for school, she can stay up all night reading with her beloved cat, Aslan, by her side.

Then the dreams begin.

1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They live in a picture-perfect home in a suburban area of Denver, close to their circle of friends. It's the ideal place in which to raise their children. Katharyn's world is exactly what Kitty once believed she wanted...but it exists only when she sleeps. At first, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. Even though there is no Frieda, no bookstore, no other familiar face, Kitty becomes increasingly reluctant to open her eyes and abandon Katharyn's alluring life. But with each visit to her dreamworld, it grows more real. As the lines between the two worlds begin to blur, Kitty faces an uncertain future. What price must she pay to stay? What is the cost of letting go?" 

My Review:

This book is one of the SheReads.org books of spring! The beginning line of the book says, "This is not my bedroom." I was hooked from there. Seriously. I would freak out if I woke up in an unfamiliar room and couldn't remember how I got there. The story that unfolded following this opening line was compelling, intriguing, and full of emotion. I couldn't put it down. Each of the worlds felt so real and were crafted with great detail. I loved Kitty's life with the bookstore and her friend Frieda, and yet I fell in love with the dream of Katharyn's life with Lars and the children. The writing is very well done; I love Ms. Swanson's writing style. It flows seamlessly between time periods, and immediately you're drawn into the next world. The character development is very good. Kitty, Katharyn, Frieda, Lars, Kitty's parents--they are all so real-to-life. I really enjoyed this book. The whole time I was reading I kept wondering how in the world she would tie the two worlds together, and with about sixty pages left I finally got a hint of how that would happen. It worked really well and actually surprised me when I finally saw that direction. I liked the ending and thought it came together well. There was one tiny aspect of it that I didn't love, but the rest of it I thoroughly enjoyed. This book is heartwarming, full of detail, sad, happy, frustrating, and all the emotions in between. It definitely makes you think about your life and the choices you have made to get you to where you are. 

There is very little profanity in this book, which is good. There are a few words, but that's it. There really isn't any violence except for a description of some abuse that happened before the story takes place. "Intimacy," however, is a different story. Right at the beginning there is a scene that is quite detailed. I was a little worried, but that is the only scene that goes into great detail. There was one more towards the end, but it's not quite as detailed. Two things about this book could have been so much better: the cover art and the title. The cover art is bland and boring. The title is even worse. The title is not exciting, it does not grab you at all, and it does not do this book justice. Other than those two things, I enjoyed this book. I loved the hint of mystery, the emotion, and the learning that Kitty went through. I would recommend this book with the above warnings, and I think it would make a great book group discussion.

Rating: R (Not a lot of profanity or violence, but there are two love-making scenes, and one of them is very detailed.)

Recommendation: Adult

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.