Oct 20 2014
Mini-Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Written By: Jade | | Tags: , ,

thenameofthestar-mjPublisher: Speak
Published: October 2, 2012
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 372
Form: Paperback
Series: Shades of London (1)
Author: Site | Facebook | Twitter

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

My Thoughts

  • Nice pace, intriguing, and quite suspenseful.
  • The oddity and mysteriousness of Alestair and the grayish bald guy who Rory thinks is the suspect is creepy.
  • I like the whole pretense of a copycat Jack the Ripper, but I think the execution of the concept could have been a bit cleaner and tied better into the actions of the murderer.
  • I think it’s kind of cool to have a police force for unruly shades.  Especially considering the heinousness of some of the crimes they perpetrate on the living.
  • Jo is pure awesomeness.

Overall I liked the book.  While I feel that the conclusion could have come together a little more smoothly, the mystery was cool and it certainly kept me flipping the pages anxious to see what would happen.  I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series and other books by this author.


Oct 03 2014
Review: Rose Galbraith by Grace Livingston Hill
Written By: Jade | | Tags: , ,

rosegalbraith-glhPublisher: Living Books
Published: July 1, 1991
Copyright: 1940
Pages: 284
Form: Paperback
Author: Site | Facebook

Young, beautiful Rose is desperate!  She and her beloved mother had planned to travel to Scotland so that Rose could discover her heritage.  Then, suddenly, Rose’s mother had died.  To honor her memory, Rose went through with the trip, though doing so meant going to live with the wealthy relatives who had shunned her mother for marrying outside of Scotland’s elite.

But the glamour of her relative’s castle and its priceless possessions can not hide the heartlessness of the inhabitants…or calm Rose’s fear of the unscrupulous aristocrat who is scheming to marry her.  Rose’s only hope and comfort come from the letter she receives from handsome Gordon McCarroll, a friend she became reacquainted with a she began her journey.  But can even Gordon save her from the people who seem determined to take control of her life…?

My Thoughts

I had no idea this was a christian fiction book when I picked it up from my local used book store, but I’m very glad I did.  After Rose’s dear mother dies, Rose decides to continue on with their plans to visit her mother’s family in Scotland, and then continue on to visit her father’s family.  But when Rose shows up at her maternal Aunt’s castle, she finds the hard and bitter woman her Aunt has become and a greedy and manipulative Uncle eager to marry her off to the son of the man her mother shunned.  They think to get their hands on Rose’s ‘inheritance’ that was left to her by her father.

Poor Rose loses her mother and then shows up at her mother’s childhood home only to be manipulated and prodded into marrying a wretch of a man.  Thank God she had the foresight to get out if there as soon as she could, and thank God for her correspondence with Gordon, without which she may not have had the courage.  While spending time with her father’s family, Rose grows closer to them and Gordon as they continue to correspond with each other through the mail.  They both feel and unmistakable connection and kinship even though an ocean separates them.

I like that when Gordon finally shows up and declares his love for Rose, she works up the fortitude and courage to go back to her mother’s family and try set things right.  This story is pretty cheesy and hokey, but I actually adored that about it.  My only complaint about this book is that sometimes I couldn’t figure out what was being said when her father’s family got to speaking in their Scottish dialect.  It was hard to decipher it all.  Other than that, I really enjoyed this book and even went back to that book store to pick up more books by this author.


Sep 23 2014
Review: The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

thewitchsboy-kbPublisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Published: ARC Expected Publish Date September 16, 2014
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 372
Form: Paperback
Author: Site | Facebook | Twitter

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived.  But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

Meanwhile, across the forest lives Aine, the daughter of the Bandit King.  She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” When Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over between their two kingdoms?

My Thoughts

  • This book reminds me of a middle school, watered down, version of Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, but not necessarily in a bad way.
  • The power of the magic seems a bit confusing, as far as how powerful it is, how to wield it, who can use it, and so forth.
  • I think this is an appropriate and lovely story for middle schoolers.  But as someone who has read the aforementioned series, I couldn’t help but feel the author incorporated a lot of the elements present in those books.  Even down to a character who has a thick tongue and terrible lisp and the main character sharing his name with the patriarch of the Stark clan from Game of Thrones.  I don’t know if that was the author’s intention, but it’s just how I felt and what I picked up on while reading this novel.
  • Continuously having to  read Ned’s stutter throughout the novel got on my nerves.

For me the story was cheesy, yet endearing.  I think that it will thoroughly captivate and entertain the audience it was written for.  As for me, I found it entertaining but it wasn’t quite my cup of tea.


Sep 19 2014
Mini-Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

thegiver-llPublisher: Dell Laurel-Leaf
Published: January 24, 2006
Copyright: 1993
Pages: 179
Form: Paperback
Author: Site | Facebook | Twitter

Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community.

When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

My Thoughts

After reading The Giver by Lois Lowry I finally get where the inspiration for many of the dystopian novels out today comes from.  The circumstances, community, and life created and depicted by Lowry in this book is genuine and authentic.  I loved Jonas.  His eagerness, and willingness to be helpful, and his compassion for other people was refreshing to see in the midst of a world where everyone and their lives are so very much cookie cutter like and extremely dictated and organized.


Now, while I really loved and appreciated this story, I was left with more questions than answers which rendered the ending completely unsatisfactory for me.  Some questions are:

  • Why were the children with light or different colored eyes the only ones with the ability to ‘see beyond’?
  • If Rosemary was The Giver’s true daughter, does that mean Jonas was his true son as well?
  • Did Jonas and Gabriel have a good life when they reached their destination?
  • How did the people receive them?  Was it with open arms or suspicion?
  • How come Elsewhere has not been subjected to everything the people and place Jonas comes from has?  How have they avoided the sameness?

Despite all my questions, I did genuinely like the book and think it is an excellent example of dystopian and a good starting place for middle schoolers or readers new to the genre.


Sep 15 2014
Mini-Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

lolaandtheboynextdoor-spPublisher: Dutton Books
Published: September 29, 2011
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 338
Form: Hardback
Series: Beloved Series (2)
Author: Site | Facebook | Twitter

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Thoughts

The following are my thoughts as they came to me while reading and I jotted them down.  I’ve read so many books since that I really can’t remember to write anything more down.

  • I love that Lola has two loving and present parents in her life, that actually care and are involved when it comes to raising her and looking out for her well-being.
  • I love that her parents are two gay men as it shows that families come in all different forms and there is no exact ‘norm’ for family.
  • I think it unfair of Lola to be upset with Cricket because he’ s uncomfortable with her and Max.
  • Lola can work a nerve.
  • Max = Eeeuwww
  • Love Cricket and his genuineness.  His sincerity is endearing and becoming.
  • Lola strikes me as immature and whiny.
  • Painting your man’s nails (or the man you’re interested in), is NOT SEXY!  Neither is glimpsing the chipped remnants of said polish days later.  Chipped nail polish isn’t even cute on girls.  I don’t even want to imagine the guy I’m interested in with nail polish on, chipped or otherwise.
  • I love Cricket’s unassuming nature and his love, dedication, and support to his family and friends.
  • In the words of Wendy Williams, “I love their love”, and I’m always a sucker for a friends to lovers story.

PS: I adored the fact that Anna and Etienne were characters and present in this novel.  It was good to catch up with them and see how their relationship has developed.

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