Book Review- Wait Till Helen Comes

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Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Published by Harper Collins on November 2, 1986
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 184
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Amazon

Beware of Helen…

Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her…our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.

But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home — a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond…to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watch her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather…

Wait Till Helen Comes is spooky, haunting, and an all around amazing ghost story.

I love the complexity of this novel. It is so short and easy to read, yet there is so much emotion packed into it. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because it would give away too much of the plot, but the way the plot progresses and changes is amazing. Every scene is important and interesting, and I love how the tensions between the characters change and shift as the novel moves forward.

The protagonist, Molly, and is only 12, and is the oldest of the three kids, so this book does feel a little young. I remember reading it for the first time when I was 8 or 9 and loving it. So it’s not necessarily a book aimed for older teens or adults. But, reading it now, I found myself enjoying it just as much, even though I remembered what happened.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good ghost story. This one is timeless.

I am going to give Wait Till Helen Comes five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

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Book Review- Haunting the Deep

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Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather
Expected publication by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 3rd, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 368
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Amazon

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

After being surprised by how much I liked How to Hang a Witch (read my review here), I jumped at the chance to receive this book from a fellow blogger. I was excited to dive back into the magically spooky world of Salem, and join Sam and her friends on their next adventure.
I was not disappointed.

This books picks up 6 months after the first book ends. Sam is dealing with the fallout of the events (which I will not spoil, incase you haven’t read the first book yet… which you totally should), and staying as far away from the descendants, and magic, as she can. Then she starts seeing spirits again. Spirits from the Titanic.

The mystery of this book kept me guessing until the very end. I didn’t see any of the twists coming, and honestly it was so exciting! I read this book in one afternoon because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next!

I also loved how much more developed the characters seemed in this book than the first one. One of the biggest problems I had with How to Hang a Witch was how all of the characters felt like children… even the adults. In this one, although I got glimpses of that same problem, the characters felt much more mature and true to who they were supposed to be. It was easier for me to get lost in the story because the inconsistencies were almost gone.

I loved the feeling of this book too. It was easy to read and light, but at the same time it was so full of emotion and excitement and mystery and intrigue.
I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a good spooky story. Both books are great reads!

I am going to give Haunting the Deep four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Romeo and/or Juliet

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Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North
Published by Riverhead Books on June 7th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Choose your own adventure, Humor, Fiction, Graphic Novels
Pages: 400
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Amazon

Shakespeare’s plays weren’t meant to be read. They were meant…to be played.

What if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits? This choose-your-own-path version of Romeo and Juliet—packed with fun puzzles, secrets, and quadrillions of possible storylines—lets you decide where the plot goes every time you read. You might play as Romeo, or as Juliet, or as both of them at the same time. You might even unlock additional playable characters!

That’s right. We figured out how to have unlockable characters in books.

Choose your own adventure books are great. You have a book, and you get to choose (sort of) what happens! What more could you want?

Well, apparently not ALL choose your own adventure books live up to the hype. Who could’ve guessed?

I was pretty let down by this book. At first it seemed funny and charming, but that soon got old… and tbh, kind of annoying.

It felt like this whole book was meant for 5th graders, only it talked a lot about sex (or at least the paths I were led down talked about that?). The “humor” wasn’t really funny to me. It felt like it was trying to hard. It kind of reminded me of a situation where a teen’s parents is trying to be “hip” with/around them. It’s kind of painful. Please stop.

While “reading” this book (or whatever you call it), I played as both Romeo and Juliet. I went through it quite a few times. I died happily and painfully and sadly. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. LIKE WHAT ARE ALL THOSE OTHER PAGES FOR? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG???? I seriously don’t get it. And after an hour, I got seriously tired of trying.

Honestly, this book really didn’t do much for me. It was super entertaining for the first half hour, and then I could barely stand it anymore. After playing through four or five times, I decided enough was enough.

Also, can we talk about Romeo and Juliet for a second? I get that Ryan North is trying to make this funny and entertaining, but the characters are kind of going a bit overboard. They both feel like a clashing of clichés that JUST DON’T WORK. I don’t get who thought that was a good idea. I mean… I guess it makes them original? Maybe it helps explain some of the paths you can choose? I don’t know guys…. just felt weird to me.

I do have to say, though, that the art in this book was amazing. I flipped through the book and was amazed at the variety of styles and beauty of all the pieces. Just feel like I have to put that out there.

Now for the real question: Does that count as a DNF?

I say no, because even though I was stuck in the first 100 pages, I did get 4 or 5 full stories, beginning to end. So I’m counting that as a read. Just not a very good one….
I would recommend this book to younger teens who don’t really like sitting through a whole book. This is quick, fun (for short periods of time), and entertaining. It’s also full of that going-though-puberty-everything-sexual-is-a-hoot humor.

I am going to give Romeo and/or Juliet two out of five hearts.

♥ ♥

Discussion: What’s With All The Green Eyes in YA? Have all other eye colors been banned?

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Lets talk about green eyes.

Apparently 2% of the population of THE ENTIRE EARTH has green eyes. But honestly with the amount of green-eyed characters in books, you’d think that every other person you pass on the street is gonna stare back with some variation of emerald or forest.

COME ON?? WHO ARE WE TRYING TO KID HERE?

I’ve met maybe 3 people in my life with honest-to-god green eyes.

I’m not counting those blue-but-sometimes-can-pass-for-green eyes, or hazel-eyes-that-look-green-on-good-days… I’m talking actual, no-possible-mistaking-it GREEN EYES.

Is there some universal law that love interests in books have to have bright green eyes?

giphyBecause that’s what it’s starting to feel like.

Where are the gorgeous browns and blues and ambers? The greys and the hazels? There are so many eye colors out there. So why does it feel like every other character in a YA book has green eyes?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for green eyes as much as the next girl, but other eye colors are gorgeous too. And I just really feel like there is a huge lack of other eye colors in the fictional-love-interest-pool.

Honestly, if a book isn’t set in northern or central Europe, it’s very unlikely that the character knows (much less has the chance to fall for) someone with the kind of green eyes that all YA-love-interests seem to have.

But guys, it’s not only love-interests that have green eyes.

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So many main characters and side characters and just characters in general have green eyes. And then their friends have green eyes too. Like I get one green-eyed person. Or gingers, that’s a whole different story (although still, three unrelated gingers in a small town school? Unlikely). But anyway, the two gingers that I actually know both have eyes more on the bluish side… not the bright vibrant green that authors seem to be so fond of.

But so many people with green eyes? All together? Something smells fishy.

I mean, obviously there are people with green eyes, and yes, those people can obviously be love interests.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m just saying that it seems like every love interest in every book I’ve picked up happens to have green eyes. It’s kind of weird. If I had that many green-eyed-guys in my life I would be set.

And yeah, not all books have green-eyed love-interests. There are a ton of exceptions.

I’m just pointing out a trend that I’ve been noticing a lot lately.

Have you been noticing all the green eyes too?

Are there any other trends like this that you have been seeing in books?


 

 

Book Review- Unscripted Joss Byrd

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Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Day Peñaflor
Published by Roaring Brook on August 23 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Pages: 224
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Goodreads

Hollywood critics agree. Joss Byrd is “fiercely emotional,” a young actress with “complete conviction,” and a “powerhouse.”

Joss Byrd is America’s most celebrated young actress, but on the set of her latest project, a gritty indie film called The Locals, Joss’s life is far from glamorous. While struggling with her mother’s expectations, a crush on her movie brother, and a secret that could end her career, Joss must pull off a performance worthy of a star. When her renowned, charismatic director demands more than she is ready to deliver, Joss must go off-script to stay true to herself.

I was really excited to read Unscripted Joss Byrd. I’ve been having luck with the last few contemporaries I’ve tried, and I love stories that explore life behind-the-scenes. This one promised to be awesome. But, I was sadly disappointed.

Let me just start by saying that it took me half the book to even figure out how old Joss was. At first I thought she was 14 or 15, and then she would say something that would make me think she was 8 or 9. Finally, it was revealed that she was 12, but gosh did that take FOREVER.

As for the characters, they felt so fake. This book didn’t throw me behind the scenes of a movie; it sat me awkwardly in front of cliché characters that were trying too hard to create a story that might be worth reading. I don’t mean to bash the book, I just was really REALLY disappointed by it. The characters were all so ONE DIMENSIONAL and PREDICTABLE, I could barely stand it.

In books where the characters are lacking, usually the plot is the savior. NOT IN THIS CASE. The plot was kind of boing, and was not original by any means. There were no surprises, no major twists, and nothing that made it special. The whole thing was just kind of “blah.”

Now, I’ve never  been big on contemporary novels, so that could be why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I was hoping. But I really just felt like it was trying too hard, and didn’t deliver. I didn’t feel anything for this book. NOTHING. NONE OF THE FEELS. So disappointing.

I wouldn’t really recommend this book to anyone, unless they are big fans of contemporary. Maybe they will be able to find something in the pages that I didn’t.

I am going to give Unscripted Joss Byrd two out of five hearts. Its not the worst book I’ve ever read, but it was not anywhere close to what I image it could have been.

♥ ♥

Book Review- Everything, Everything

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Pages: 310
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Goodreads

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black: black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, but decided to finally pick it up because the movie is coming out (and the trailers look amazing!!!), and I don’t like watching a movie before I read the book. Honestly, for a book that I’ve wanted to read for so long, I went in with relatively no expectations, which I think is why I enjoyed the book as much as I did.

The story is told in an interesting way: there is text, and then there are IM conversations and drawings and logs and emails and medical reports (I might be missing something here, but you get the point). Maddy, the narrator, had a strong voice, and was easy to relate to (which is pretty remarkable considering her “bubble boy” condition). Olly, the male protagonist, was very entertaining and kind of perfect. And the two of them together were straight up adorable.

So did I enjoy this book? The short answer is yes, even though I did have quite a few problems with it. For one, the relationship between Maddy and Olly seemed very unlikely. But, that doesn’t really bother me that much… because it’s literally the biggest plot arc of the book and without that there would be nothing (well, maybe not nothing, but certainly not a story). What bothered me more about this book was the end.

Obviously I’m not going to give any spoilers, but I’m just going to say that the whole second part of the book and especially the major “twist” at the end kind of ruined the whole book for me. It felt too out there to be possible. Like, yeah, I get it, happy ending and all, but it just wasn’t realistic. I didn’t buy it. And it just made the whole book go from yes-okay-this-is-adorable-and-I-can-maybe-imagine-that-this-is-real-in-some-world to what-just-happened-this-is-not-possible-please-just-erase-the-last-hundred-pages-and-make-an-ending-that-I-can-believe.

Everything, Everything was definitely interesting and cute, and a very fast read. I would recommend it if you are big into contemporary and YA romance, but if you are not that into it (like myself) then you might have the same problems with the book that I did.

I am going to give Everything, Everything three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Alice in Tumblr-land

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Alice in Tumblr-Land and Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation by Tim Manley
Published by Penguin Books on November 5, 2013
Genres: Humor, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Fiction, Retellings, Short Stories
Pages: 265
Amazon
Goodreads

The Ugly Duckling still feels gross compared to everyone else, but now she’s got Instagram, and there’s this one filter that makes her look awesome. Cinderella swaps her glass slippers for Crocs. The Tortoise and the Hare Facebook stalk each other. Goldilocks goes gluten free. And Peter Pan finally has to grow up and get a job, or at least start paying rent.

Here are more than one hundred fairy tales, illustrated and re-imagined for today. Instead of fairy godmothers, there’s Siri. And rather than big bad wolves, there are creepy dudes on OkCupid. In our brave new world of social networking, YouTube, and texting, fairy tales can once again lead us to “happily ever after” — and have us laughing all the way.

Alice in Tumblr-land took classic children’s book characters and put them in the modern world, creating some pretty interesting situations. A lot of these situations, as I’m sure you can figure out by the title, have to do with social media and the internet.

This book was definitely written for adults. It had its fair amount of R rated content, and though some of it was entertaining, most of it just felt unnecessary and forced. The stories were split up into small paragraphs that rotated, so each of the individual stories ended up feeling disconnected. The stories, besides being set in modern times, really had no connection to each other.

The characters were very one dimensional and not engaging. It felt like each story took the most stereotypical view of each character that was possible and created these unrealistic situations around them.

Alice in Tumblr-land is a very short book, and took less than an hour to read (which tbh is probably the only reason that I finished it). If you are looking to kill an hour, reading this book isn’t the worst way to do it. That being said, I’m not any better off for having read it, so I guess it just comes down to if you enjoy this type of book or not (which, as it turns out, I do not).

I am going to give Alice in Tumblr-land two out of five hearts.