Caroline and the Case of the Middle Grade Book Feels: The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer & Brandon Dorman

Caroline and the Case of the Middle Grade Book Feels: The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer & Brandon DormanThe Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1) by Chris Colfer, Brandon Dorman
on July 17th 2012
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy & Magic, Middle Grade, Siblings
Pages: 438
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Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

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SHE’S BAAAAACK! I can’t believe it’s been over a year and a half since I debuted this feature with my niece Caroline! What can I say? Middle Schoolers are VERY busy people! I just couldn’t get Caroline to sit still long enough to write a review. I got a lot of wonderful comments from readers when I shared her review of Wonder and I’ve been eager to get her back on the blog for another appearance.

Needless to say, I’m pretty thrilled she’s back to talk about a Middle Grade book series that she is loving these days. Her absolute favorite show is “Once Upon a Time” and when she discovered these books she became an instant fan since they reminded her of the show. Something tells me she’s following in her Auntie’s fantasy loving footsteps. I’m so proud!

Caroline Continue reading “Caroline and the Case of the Middle Grade Book Feels: The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer & Brandon Dorman”

Sarah

Mini Book Feels: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

Mini Book Feels: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi LeeThis Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Siblings, Steampunk, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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four-stars

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.
His sweetheart, Mary—gone.
His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

-a space where I share my thoughts and feelings on upcoming and recent book releases -
-a space where I share my thoughts and feelings on upcoming and recent book releases –

This Monstrous Thing

Continue reading “Mini Book Feels: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee”

four-stars
Sarah

Book Feels: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick {GIVEAWAY}

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Feels: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick {GIVEAWAY}The Boy Most Likely To (My Life Next Door, #2) by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published by Dial Books For Young Readers on August 18th 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Dating & Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Love & Romance, Siblings, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 432
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five-stars

Surprises abound and sparks ignite in the highly anticipated, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door. Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:- find the liquor cabinet blindfolded- need a liver transplant- drive his car into a houseAlice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:- well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard. Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.And Alice is caught in the middle. Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more.

TheBoyMostLikelyTo

Continue reading “Book Feels: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick {GIVEAWAY}”

five-stars
Sarah

Book Feels: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Book Feels: My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1) by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published by Dial Books For Young Readers on June 14th 2012
Genres: Dating & Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Siblings, Young Adult
Pages: 394
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five-stars

"One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time."The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase's family embraces Samantha - even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?A transporting debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

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MLND Continue reading “Book Feels: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick”

five-stars
Sarah

Book Feels: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Book Feels: Princess of Thorns by Stacey JayPrincess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Published by Random House Publishing Group on 2014
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Family, Fantasy & Magic, Siblings, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.   Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.   Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love? Praise for Juliet Immortal

I was provided with an ARC of this title by Random House Children’s & NetGalley
in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to both for the opportunity!

I’m honestly not quite sure where to start here…actually I have no clue how to even write this review. I mean, how am I supposed to write something cohesive and coherent about one of the BEST BOOKS I’VE READ ALL YEAR!!!! I really have a much harder time reviewing books I love because all I want to do is post a photo of myself cheesing it up with the book and a caption that says “READ THIS NOW!” I’ve done you a favor though, and instead of a selfie of me with Princess of Thorns surrounded by hearts, I’ve created a mood board to give you a visual sense of how epic this book is. Check it out…

PrincessofThorns

This book kind of came out of nowhere for me if I’m being honest. I requested it on NetGalley a few months back after reading the summary and deciding that it sounded like a book I would enjoy. Then over the past month or so, I started hearing some serious buzz about how amazing this book is. So when I FINALLY got around to reading it last week, it’s safe to say that I was blown away and its now become one of my very favorite reads of 2014.

The story of Aurora has some familiar elements to it, as it’s a bit of a twist or continuation of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Aurora is the daughter of Sleeping Beauty and her handsome rescuer, but her parents happily ever after never quite materialized. Aurora has grown up in a cruel and unforgiving world, and is forced into some pretty unfortunate circumstances. I thought Aurora was an amazing main character, and the bravery and strength she possessed was exactly what I was looking for when I started reading. She’s also a sympathetic character but I never really found myself feeling sorry for her, because she is just so capable and brave. Go on girl!!

I also found it really intriguing that she spent much of the book disguised as a man, not as a way to create an image of strength and capability to others, but as a way to disguise herself so she could accomplish what she needed to. Aurora is smart, strong and bad-ass and, thanks to her fae lineage, the woman knows how to handle herself in a fight! She reminded me a lot of Celaena from the Throne of Glass series and Scarlet from the Scarlet series, and because of that she’s earned a spot on my roster of favorite female fantasy characters.

As part of Aurora’s journey, she finds herself paired up with a prince that has his own secrets to keep and battles to fight. Being the bad-ass female that she is, Aurora quickly enlists Prince Niklaas’ help in her quest to rescue her younger brother and reclaim her throne from an evil queen, and they become a dynamic duo. It was pretty interesting to see their relationship develop while Niklaas is under the belief that he’s travelling with a man. Stacey Jay did a fabulous job creating layers in each of her main characters, allowing them to become individually distinct but even better together. Their chemistry was absolute perfection, and when Niklaas finally discovers his travelling companion’s true identity, things are taken to a whole new level. Don’t expect sunshine, roses and love poems though…this is a uniquely complicated relationship and I was totally sucked in to seeing how on earth Aurora and Niklaas’ relationship would evolve.

I’m going to be honest and say I wasn’t a huge fan of Niklaas’ at first. He was a bit cocky, a lot arrogant and totally clueless when it comes to women. But, as the novel progresses his character growth is absolute perfection, and by half way through the book I was alllll about him! I was rooting for Niklaas just as much as I was rooting for Aurora, and their individual stories come together so perfectly and this makes the novel that much more intriguing.

Princess of Thorns hits all the right fantasy notes and completely delivers in the world-building category as well. This is the first Stacey Jay novel I’ve read and I was completely blown away by how beautifully she presents the world in which this story takes place. Aurora and Niklaas travel far and wide, and each location was more spectacular than the last. I got completely lost in the fantasy of this world, making it so easy for me to get totally sucked into the story.

If you love romance and high-fantasy, I highly suggest Princess of Thorns be added to your reading list as soon as possible. It’s incredibly adventurous, beautifully written and totally delivers on the swoon, and if you ask me that’s a perfect combination. Maybe it will make your favorites of 2014 list as well!

five-stars
Sarah

Book Feels: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Book Feels: The Walled City by Ryan GraudinThe Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on November 4th 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Asia, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Family, General, Love & Romance, People & Places, Siblings, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 448
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three-half-stars

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

I was provided with an ARC of this title by Little Brown & NetGalley
in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to both for the opportunity!

The Walled City is an exhilarating tale of three lives that are brought together in the harshest of circumstances, as they are forced to rely on each other to break free of the confines of the walls they live in, both physical and emotional. One sister risking it all to find the other sister who’s fighting a losing battle, and a mysterious street boy fighting his own demons for salvation. Each character is separate and unique from the other yet their three stories blend together seamlessly.

 Images from Ryan Graudin’s The Walled City Pinterest board — Click image for more.

At first, the stories of our main characters, Jin, Mei Yee and Dai, seem so removed from one another but we soon find that they are also undeniably tied together. I’m normally not a fan of multiple POVs, but Graudin made sure to give each narrator its own distinct voice and I appreciated seeing this story from its different perspectives. It added to the depth and emotion of the struggles each character was facing, while also filling in the gaps and giving the reader a deeper understanding. As the novel progresses all three narrators find themselves more involved in each others destinies and by the end it really feels as though these once individual people were never separate at all. I loved how Graudin slowly developed the relationship between one set of characters, but then super charged another. It came off as authentic and true to the story of people being faced with unforgiving circumstances and the need to do whatever it takes to escape.

I think one of my favorite parts of this book was discovering that the Walled City, which is essentially its own character, is actually based on a real location. Kowloon’s Walled City, a shanty town in Hong Kong that was overrun with crime, prostitution and drugs, acted as the inspiration for this novel. Graudin took this inspiration and ran with it, because once you start reading you’ll get drawn right into the dark and gritty realism of a life lived behind the walls.

Graudin’s writing is exquisite and powerful, adding even more intensity to the emotion of the story. She paints a vivid picture of life within the walled city, which allowed me as a reader to really connect with each character and understand why they made the decisions they did. Jin, Mei Yee and Dai live in an extremely dangerous world and Graudin’s talent for allowing her writing to still be beautiful and haunting while describing these horrific circumstances is pretty impressive!

This book is perfect for readers who enjoy Dystopian novels because, even though it doesn’t take place in a dystopian world, it still has those elements of survival, danger and desperation. I also think people who enjoy character driven novels with really appreciate this book since the development of all three main characters is so well though out and robust. Whatever type of book you prefer, I strongly recommend The Walled City for its emotion, gorgeous writing and non-stop action.

three-half-stars
Sarah