Book Review- Grit

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Grit by Gillian French
Published by HarperTeen on May 16 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 304
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It’s summer in rural Maine; when seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss isn’t raking berries with her sister, Mags, and cousin, Nell, during the day, she’s drinking and swimming with the boys in the quarry by night. She knows how to have a good time, just like anyone else, but when you’ve been designated the town slut, every move you make seems to further solidify your “trashy girl” reputation.

But the fun is what’s been keeping Darcy’s mind off the things she can’t forget: a disturbing secret she shares with Nell, the mysterious disappearance of her ex-best friend, and that hazy Fourth of July party that ended with Darcy drunk, on her back, wondering how she let it get this far.

Then someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel, almost laughable gesture that can only be the work of someone with a score to settle. Everything Darcy has been trying to keep down comes bubbling to the surface in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

Grit was a lot different than I thought it would be. Honestly I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, I just know that it was not what Grit turned out to be.

Darcy was surprisingly easy to relate to, and had so many dimensions that I’m not sure one book was able to explore them all completely. What I loved even more than that, though, was how dimensional ALL of the characters were. Each character felt like a real person. I wish that some of the characters were more explored *ahem Mason* but for the most part all of the characters had a chance to give some of themselves to the story.

I loved the emotions in the book, and I found myself at the edge of my seat on more than one occasion. Emotions are a large driving force in the story, not just for Darcy, but for the other characters too. Everything that happens feels so real, because of what causes each event to happen.

The ending of the book was amazing, but I wish there was a little more explanation of what happened to all of the characters. I feel like there are a few loose ends to be tied up. But, for the most part, I really liked it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good, short summer read, or anyone who likes contemporary mystery. I am going to give Grit four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

* An ARC of this book was provided to me by the author, however this in no way influences my review.

Book Review- Follow Me Back

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Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Expected Publication by Sourcebooks Fire on June 6, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 354
Amazon
Goodreads

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

I might have just found one of my new favorite books. Follow Me Back was AMAZING!!! I received an ARC in exchange for a review in the mail yesterday, and considering I’m in the middle of two other books, my plan was to read the first few sentences and put it on the shelf to read next. AND THEN I COULD NOT STOP READING. Literally I could not put the book down. I didn’t do anything until I finished it. I just sat there and read and read and OMG look who’s fangirling now.

The story is told in two narratives; a police interview, and back story. There was so much mystery and secrecy. I just had to know what was going to happen next the whole time. The whole book was fast paced and exciting.

The characters themselves were surprisingly relatable and likeable. It was easy to sympathize with Eric and to like Tessa. Their conversations were so cute, and despite everything else going on around them and in their lives, they had each other. What I liked most about that was how they got to that point. Their initial conversation was actually super believable, as was its progression. It just seemed organic and natural.

I just really loved everything about this book. I loved the characters and the plot. I loved the writing and the presentation. I loved the mystery and action and suspense and the danger. I would recommend this book to literally anyone who likes amazing books because that is what this is.

If I could give Follow Me Back more than five hearts, I would, but five seems to be the limit, so five hearts it is.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Seriously though. Go preorder this book!! You do not want to miss this!!

Author Q&A- Ian Reading

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ian Reading. Ian is the author of quite a few books including the Wizards of Waterfire series, The Dragon of the Month Club, and the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency series. He is an amazing writer, and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to ask him a few questions. So lets get into it!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start? 

A: I have been writing now for a few years.  Or maybe more accurately I should say that I was writing for a couple of years, starting a few years ago.  In the past 18 months I have not written much, unfortunately, because of being so busy.  (That’s a lame excuse, I know, but I am currently trying to reconfigure my writing process so that the constant stresses of my day job are not interfering with getting books finished.) 

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse? 

A: The thing that inspires me the most to write are the stories themselves – and the characters in them.  When I have an idea in my head and I am excited about it, I just have to see where it’s going to go, I have to see how the story develops.  And that pushes me to actually sit down and write it out. 

Q: What was the original idea behind your book Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold?kittyhawknewcover

A: The original idea behind the first Kitty Hawk book was the character of Kitty Hawk herself.  She was my muse.  I just loved the idea of a teenaged female pilot with her own plane, flying around the world and solving mysteries.  That was the basis for everything that followed and to a great degree because of that the stories just sort of wrote themselves. 

Q: Tell me about Kitty Hawk. What kind of person is she? Is she based off of someone you know?

 A: Kitty Hawk is unlike anyone I know in the entire world, but she is definitely someone I would LIKE to know – and someone I admire and would like to be, in fact.  She is smart and quirky and funny, and best of all she’s a pilot and has her own plane!  For me that is the coolest part about her, by far.  I often imagine her being able to fly up into the mountains and land her trusty De Havilland Beaver seaplane on a lake somewhere, and just be in nature, alone and peaceful.  There is such freedom and potential in that and I love it.

 Q: What other fictional characters do you think Kitty would get along with best? What would they do?

 A: Kitty Hawk would definitely get along well with Nancy Drew.  She is a bit of a Nancy Drew herself.  I think she would also get along great with the lead character in Carl Sagan’s Contact, Ellie.  They are both driven and ambitious and intelligent characters.  But maybe most of all Kitty Hawk would get along with Amelia Earhart (who is real, of course, not fictional).  They are both pilots, after all.  And they both want to fly more than anything else in the world.

Q: Where is the strangest place an idea for the book came to you?

A: Long before I really knew what the plot details of Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold were going to be, I found myself on a whale watching boat off the west coast of North America.  And being a proper naval vessel their radio was constantly tuned to the Coast Guard emergency frequency.  And at one point a Coast Guard bulletin came on calling for planes and vessels to be on the lookout for a missing plane that had taken off but not arrived at its destination.  This was tragic, of course, it could only mean one thing up in the bush pilot parts of the world – but what I remembered about it was the organization of the message, how the Coast Guard followed a specific protocol and structure, and months later that came back to me and found its way into the book.  The same protocol and structure as the Coast Guard called for people to be on the look out for Kitty Hawk’s missing plane.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: I think what I would want most for the world to know (or at least the fans of Kitty Hawk and of the Dragon of the Month Club books) is this:  I am working on the next books in the series.  I promise.


Some more on Kitty Hawk-

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new young adult series of adventure mystery stories by Iain Reading. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales, Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada. As the plot continues to unfold, this spirited story will have readers anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon. 

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5). Each book can be read as a standalone.

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/

About the Author: 

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Book Review- Nerve

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Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
Published by Dial Books on September 13, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 294
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Goodreads

A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly.

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Nerve was quite the game. Vee is a quiet, behind the scenes type of girl, until she decides that she doesn’t want to be anymore. Vee joins NERVE, an online game run by unknown people where contestants face their fears to win prizes. She gets partnered up with Ian, a hot and mysterious boy, and together they have to face the demands of NERVE, and try to survive.

I really enjoyed the story and the characters (and of course NERVE). It was fast paced and kept me gripped the whole time. I couldn’t help but squirm at the characters discomfort and gasp when something almost went (or just went) wrong.

It was easy to relate to Vee, and interesting to see her world through her eyes. Most of the characters had a strong presence, although some did seem a little stereotypical. I feel like there could have been a bit more individuality, although the characters did fit their respective roles quite well.

I did see this movie when it came out (so before I read the book, as I have a bad habit of doing), but let me just tell you this: besides the characters names and the name of NERVE, the book and the movie have nothing in common. The dares are completely different, the game is set up differently, and the ending is not even close to the same. Both are incredible, but don’t skip out on either one. You’re going to want to experience them both.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers, or wants to get into them. It is a really quick read (I did it in four hours over two days), so its great for you if you don’t have a whole bunch of time.

I am going to give Nerve four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- I am the Mission

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I am the Mission by Allen Zadoff
Published by Little Brown on June 17, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Pages: 432
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Amazon

He was the perfect assassin. No name. No past. No remorse. Perfect, that is, until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders. Now The Program is worried that their valuable soldier has become a liability.

And so Boy Nobody is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to prove his loyalty.

His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of an extremist military training camp for teenagers. It sounds like a simple task, but a previous operative couldn’t do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Now Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly.

But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, nor the truth.

I am the Mission was I am the Weapon on steroids (or, ya know, tons of five hour energy). Every time I thought Boy Nobody-who adopts the name Daniel-is going to get a break, something crazy happened that totally threw the story in a new direction. No one is safe. I repeat: NO ONE IS SAFE.

So, incase you haven’t figured by now, I am the Mission kept me guessing the whole entire time. I saw nothing coming. There was so much going on and such high stakes. It was super intense. My only complaint is maybe there was just a little too much going on. At some points my brain just needed a break from all the action.

There are only five characters in I am the Mission that carry over from the first book. And I’m talking actual characters, not just people mentioned (like Boy Nobodies real parents). Those characters are: Boy Nobody (duh), Howard (yay!! love Howard!!), Mother, Father, and Mike. Everyone else is new. The setting is new. The mission is new. I actually really like that. The story feels fresh.

Again I love how downplayed the romance is in the book-if you can even call it romance. I mean sure, there is definitely something going on there, but its not the main focus of the book and I can not tell you how refreshing that is! I love the fact that the book is driven by events and characters rather than “love” (or rather, “lust”).

I am the Mission was a great read, and definitely the kind of book you want to read if you want to start reading thrillers and mystery books.

I am going to give I am the Mission four out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Reivew- I am the Weapon

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I am the Weapon by Allen Zadoff
Published by Little Brown on May 13, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Action, Adventure
Pages: 368
Goodreads
Amazon

They needed the perfect assassin.

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends and doesn’t stay long. Just long enough for someone to die — of “natural causes.” Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.

But when The Program assigns him to the mayor of New York City, things change. Somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and a girlfriend; a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program’s mission.

In this action-packed series debut, author Allen Zadoff pens a page-turning thriller that is as thought-provoking as it is gripping, introducing an utterly original and unforgettable antihero.

I am the Weapon was intense. It is action packed and fast paced from the first sentence. Boy Nobody, who later adopts the name Ben, is a highly trained solider who lives his life mission to mission. Is he cool? Yes. Is he dangerous? Hell yea. Is he good? Now that right there is the million dollar question.

Throughout the book, Boy Nobody begins to reveal (or rather, remember) things from his past. Things from before he became Boy Nobody. Instead of following his instructions and completing his mission, he goes on a quest for answers, causing a whole lot of craziness in his wake.

One thing that makes me love the book is the relationship story line. I love how Ben and Sam aren’t immediately head-over-heels… it feels more real that way. They don’t trust each other (for good reason) and they have a lot of great entertaining conversations that drive the story line forward and have real substance.

The ending of the book took me by surprise. Well, I don’t know if surprise is the right word, because I expect nothing less than what happened from Boy Nobody… but I certainly didn’t see it coming. It broke my heart a little, and my only complaint is it didn’t break my heart enough.

I also feel like I am the Weapon would have been a great stand-alone book (besides the whole unresolved mysterious past). I don’t really feel compelled to read the second book, which is never exactly a good thing. But at the same time I’m curious, and I expect some pretty big things from I am the Mission.

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

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Reivew- The Candymakers

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The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
Published by Little, Brown on October 5, 2010
Genres: Childrens- Middle Grade, Mystery, Fiction
Pages: 453
Goodreads
Amazon

Four children have been chosen to compete in a national competition to find the tastiest confection in the country. Who will invent a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew?

Logan, the Candymaker’s son, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch alone?

Miles, the boy who is allergic to merry-go-rounds and the color pink?

Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy like it’s a feather?

Or Philip, the suit-and-tie wearing boy who’s always scribbling in a secret notebook?

This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant’s perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.

The Candymakers is a sugary sweet feel good book, that is told in a pretty (cool) unusual way. The first part is told from Logan’s perspective. Then, it is retold from the perspectives of Miles, Daisy, and Logan respectively. Then, Logan takes the reigns again to continue the story.

I love how the book is written. Each time the first two days are told from a different character, key parts of the story fall into place and you slowly get the bigger picture. Each of the children is so unique and has such an interesting and unexpected story, and it makes the book so amazing!

Another thing I love about The Candymakers is how every character has their own challenges to face, yet they are all linked together by events that happened in the past (that some of them don’t even remember!). They each have different motivations and as the children get to know each other and spend time in the (amazing) candy factory, they learn important things about themselves.

Also, lets be real here for a minute: WE NEED THIS CANDY TO BE REAL!!! All I want to do is eat Neon Yellow Lightning Chews and a Pepsicle and Harmonicandy and Bubbletastic ChocoRockets and every single other candy in this book! Even the Bacon Pops! It needs to happen. All of it.

I am going to give The Candymakers five out of five hearts. If you haven’t read this, you need to!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥