Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Tiger Lily
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
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Publication Date: July 3rd 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 292
ISBN: 9780062003256
Genre: Fantasy | Fairy Tale | Retelling
Source: Library

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Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up. (Goodreads)
Tiger Lily is a book that I’ve wanted to read for a while now, as I’ve heard nothing but good things and I’ve been super curious about the book. I was super excited when the book was picked for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club read for August. I couldn’t wait to dive into the story. I had just recently read Anderson’s The Vanishing Season, so I was really looking forward to starting this book and seeing what all the fuss was about. I really enjoyed reading this book.

Most of the characters in the story are ones we’ve meet before; Peter Pan, The Lost Boys, Hook, Smee and even Tinker Bell. The story is actually told from Tinker Bell’s point of view. But the character that really stole the story would be the main character, Tiger Lily. Wow, she reminded me of a buffed-up Katniss, in a way. She was an outcast in more ways than one, and it was unfortunate that most of the people in her village avoided her. I couldn’t help but feel bad for her throughout the story, I just wanted to grab her and give her a great big hug. (Not that she would appreciate that at all.) But we get to watch her grow from a person that doesn’t really know how to care or show feeling, to a person that learns what love is. It was interesting to read her story.

Peter was a bit different than the ‘Disney version’ of Peter Pan that I have known for so long. He loved to have fun, was at times selfish and conceited, and was also a bit broken. He cared for the Lost Boys like they were family, and did whatever he had to do to keep them safe, even at times doing things that were very unpleasant. With no memories of his life before, all he had ever known was Neverland. But he longed for so much more. It seemed that there were so many different sides to this Peter, and it was interesting to read all the differences to what I was used to.

Some of the secondary characters were really great as well. I LOVED Tinker Bell, what a great character. The only thing that annoyed me was that NO ONE paid attention to her, when they really should have. Another interesting character was Pine Sap, who was Tiger Lily’s best friend. I do believe that I am half in love with him after reading this novel.  The villains in the novel were well written as well; although Hook didn’t seem quite as determined as I expected him to be, and Smee was a bit terrifying.

Much like The Vanishing Season, I really enjoyed the writing style for the book. The writing was, at times, almost lyrical, and I really love when that happens. The storyline was highly addictive, and it drove me crazy that I had to keep sitting the book down. I finally finished the last half of the book all in one sitting, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

(Just a side note—I’ve been a big fan of the TV show Once Upon a Time for a while now, so of course I pictured some of the characters in the novel to look just like the characters in the show. LOL!)

Overall; I am so glad that I finally got to read this book. It was worth the wait, but I’m kind of kicking myself for not having read it sooner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #157 - I Was Here by Gayle Forman
I Was Here
by Gayle Forman
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Publication Date:
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
ISBN: 9780451471475

Available for Pre-Order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss. (Goodreads)

Wow, so this book sounds like it's going to be a super emotional read.
But... it's Gayle Forman, so you know it's going to be great.
I've already pre-ordered my copy. I can't wait to check it out!

**"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine,
that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.**

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #156 - Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Vanishing Girls
by Lauren Oliver
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Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062224101

Available for Pre-Order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other. (Goodreads)

Vanishing Girls has a cover! And it's awesome!
I've been waiting to see this for a while now,
and I have to admit, I love it!
The story sounds great as well.
I can't wait to read some Lauren Oliver awesomeness!

**"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine,
that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.**

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Forget Me by Kim Harrington
Forget Me
by Kim Harrington
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Publication Date: August 7th 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780399165290
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery
Source: Penguin First to Read

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An edge-of-your seat psychological thriller with a romantic twist

On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as "Evan Murphy." She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive.

Digging through layers of secrets and lies, Morgan is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her boyfriend, her town, and even her parents' involvement in this massive web of lies. (Goodreads)
It’s been three months since the death of Morgan’s boyfriend, Flynn. She is hoping to finally get some closure of his passing by uploading a picture and a final goodbye to him on the popular website Friendshare. But when the facial recognition software on the site suggests that she ‘tag’ him as Evan Murphy, a boy who lives in the neighboring town who looks just like Flynn and is definitely alive, Morgan begins to question if anything she knew about her boyfriend was true.

Morgan was such a great character; so funny and very likeable. Oh, and she loves photography, which made me love her even more. She was also determined to figure out what exactly was going on it her little town and what had happened to her boyfriend, especially after she meets Evan, who looks almost exactly like Flynn. I admired that determination in her. The relationship that forms between Evan and Morgan was super cute as well. There were some pretty awesome secondary characters in the novel also, especially Morgan’s best friend Toni. Seriously, these two girls are the bestest best friends ever, and I adore their relationship.

I really loved the cryptic storyline for the novel. It definitely kept me guessing as I turned the pages, and just when I thought I had figured everything out, Harrington threw in a plot twist and totally threw me off again.  I had my suspicions quite a few times on who the ‘bad guy’ was, but I was totally wrong! At only 288 pages, this book makes for a really quick read. But it wasn’t just the page count that caused me to read the book so quickly, it was the fact that I just couldn’t put the book down! I needed to know what was going to happen!

Overall; I’ve been a fan of Harrington’s for a while now, and this newest addition to her growing book collection definitely does not disappoint! Both the characters and the storyline make this book a really great read. Check it out sometime!

A huge thank you to Penguin and their ‘First to Read’ program for allowing me to read and review this novel!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The Vanishing Season
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
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Publication Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780062003270
Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal | Mystery
Source: Edelweiss

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Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind. (Goodreads)
I was super excited to finally start The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson, as I have heard SO many great things about the author. I’ve had Anderson’s ‘Tiger Lily’ on my to-read list for a while now as well, and I’m super excited to start it now, hopefully soon.

Maggie is a good girl, one that will do anything to keep her parents happy. Even moving to the small town of Gill Creek after her mom lost her job. She never complains, even though the move is clearly something that she doesn’t want to do, but she understands the amount of stress that her parents are under, so she goes along with whatever they decide to make them happy. I both admired her for her this, and found it insanely frustrating at times. Especially when people took advantage of her, that really made me want to shake some sense into her.

I can’t say that I really cared for many of the secondary characters in this book. I never quite took a liking Liam and Pauline, teens that Maggie met in her new town. I knew something was up with these two from the very beginning. I especially didn’t buy the relationship between Liam and Maggie. Poor Maggie may have been into it, but Liam’s heart was elsewhere. Maggie did have some pretty great parents, however. I was also intrigued by the ‘ghost’ who narrated some parts of the story.

I really enjoyed the mystery feel to the book, it really kept me guessing. The ending was a big surprise that I didn’t really see coming. I expected something completely different to happen, but I was definitely wrong on my guessing. I can see how the ending of the book would upset some readers. It did make me a bit angry, but more for what happened with some of the secondary characters than with the main character. This type of ending is becoming increasingly popular in YA lately.  I also really enjoyed the writing style for the book. It had a hauntingly beautiful quality to it, which I thought went really well with the storyline.  The only issue that I really had with the book was that one of the side plots kind of left me hanging at the end of the book. While we really don’t get an answer on what happened, and that was a bit frustrating, I kind of liked the anonymity of that part of the story.

Overall; I did enjoy reading this novel, and I’m looking forward to reading more by Anderson in the near future. Tiger Lily is my book club read for next month, and I’m super excited to start it now.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
The Things You Kiss Goodbye
by Leslie Connor

Publication Date: June 24th 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780060890919
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Source: Edelweiss

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love. (Goodreads)
I’ve had The Things You Kiss Goodbye on my list of books to review for a while now. I have really mixed emotions now that I’ve finished the book. I both loved the novel, and found it insanely frustrating as well.  I went into the book rather blindly, even though I had read the synopsis, I was expecting a love story of sorts, but what I got instead was a story that was much darker instead.

When basketball star Brady Cullen asks Bettina out, she can hardly believe her luck, especially since her super strict family seems to approve of him. So she jumps on the chance to get some time out of the house. But things start to change when the summer ends, and school begins, and with these changes, comes great turmoil.

Bettina had the makings to be a really amazing character.  She was Greek, artsy, and all kinds of awesome, but she’s also pretty much a pushover. Her father was overbearing and rarely ever even let her out of the house. So when she saw a little bit of rebellious freedom in her future when Brady asks her out, she jumped on it. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out well for her after Brady changed. I really wish that she had stuck up for herself earlier in the novel, both to Brady and her father. It really bothered me that she didn’t tell anyone close to her what was going on in her life. It’s never good for one to hold in so much information, especially if you are only doing it for reasons such as getting to spend time away from your family or getting out of the house. Yes, her father was insanely overbearing, and I can see why she would need a break from time to time, but she definitely went about it the wrong way. One thing I always stress to my daughters is to never, ever let someone hurt you, and to always go to someone for help if they do. Easier said than done, I know, especially when you are a teenager with raging hormones, and just want a little freedom in life. I just really with Bettina would have stepped up and at least talked to someone. People were there, willing to listen, but she never really even tried to talk to them, and that made me very sad for her.

Brady, the ‘boyfriend’ in the novel, was a jerk. Flat out, jerk. Bettina stayed with him a heck of a lot longer than she ever should have. While we know from the blurb that he changes over the summer, it’s never really said as to why he changed. I can’t see how just ‘becoming popular’ could have turned him from such a sweet, shy guy into the cruel being that he had become. What’s worse is that he’s never really held accountable for the abuse that he caused.

While I’m glad that Bettina had found a caring soul in “Cowboy”, someone that treated her kind and actually listened to her, I barely felt the connection between the two. Cowboy was someone that she should have been able to open up to, and while she did in a way, but she really didn’t. Also, I don’t see how they came so close over such a short amount of time that they were together to have warranted an ‘I Love You’ from each other. It never really seemed like they had gotten that close to me. Both of these characters had experienced abuse, and that totally could have bonded them, but it was rarely ever discussed between the two. These two characters, despite the major age difference, could have been really great friends until Bettina was of legal age.

There were some really great secondary characters in the book that I really enjoyed. Two being Tony and Bonnie, who were friends from school whose relationships with Bettina grew over the course of the book, and who I found myself wishing that Bettina would talk to about what she was going through. Another was Tony’s grandmother, Regina, and I would have to say that this woman was really the highlight of the book for me. Such a caring, wonderful woman, even if she was insanely scary at times. I also loved the sweet relationship between Bettina and her younger brothers. As for her father, on the other hand, I didn’t care about him so much. He didn’t seem like much of a father to her, always seemed to be overlooking her while also being insanely controlling. Luckily he does redeem himself a bit in the end, but there for a while, I pretty much hated him.

The storyline for the book was quite engrossing, and I found myself reading this book very quickly. There were quite a few parts in the novel, especially near the end, that made me ugly cry. That doesn’t happen a lot with books, but with this one, I just couldn’t hold it back. I think this book would make a great book to discuss as a group read, especially between teenage girls. It would definitely make for an interesting discussion for teens and parents as well.

Overall; while you may thing after reading this review that I didn’t like the book, please know that I really did enjoy it. Some things were insanely frustrating, and some things I wish were different, but in the end, it really did make for a great read. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author in the future.

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