Wednesday, September 30

Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson

Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 448

Summary:  The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

My Thoughts: Honestly, this is probably not something I normally would read. It almost had that “historical” touch to it that I try to steer clear off. But, I really enjoyed it and felt myself thrust into this magical world.

We are introduced to Lee who has a mother and father she lives with. The family struggles to survive day to day but they make it. They hunt and eat the food they catch. They do the best they can. Lee also has a natural gift of finding gold. But nobody must know this!

Lee also has a best friend named Jefferson. I really liked him and I liked hearing about the tales with him in it too.  I also liked seeing things that happened to him and his experiences.

Lee goes through some stuff (don’t want to give too many details here) and Lee sets out to travel and meet Jefferson somewhere along the way. He leaves before her so she has to try to find him along the way. Things don’t go very smoothly for Lee. First, she gets robbed and left with pretty much nothing. And, yet it could have still been worse.
Than she does meet up with a decent family even if they are rough around the edges.

I honestly want to rave about this one and go on and on but I just feel like too much happens and it's just so intense and deep and there's just too much story to tell.  Granted this one is very different from Carson’s other novels, I really liked it. I liked the characters and the plot. I could just relate so well to Lee and everything she has been through.

I also liked the relationship between Lee and Jefferson. It was cute yet alluring yet comforting.

Overall: I really did want to write a lot more about this one, I wanted to give more details but I feel as if I say too much I’ll give away too many key points. I’ll just leave you with this, its a good one and I hope you read it.

Cover: Like it. The colors go so well together and it's mysterious. I would definitely pick it up!

What I’d Give It:

Monday, September 28

Hello I Love You by Katie Stout

Hello I Love You by Katie Stout
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304

Summary:  A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

My Thoughts:  Oh man, this one has some good and bad reviews so I was a little weary. But, I really did like it. And it was a very fast read for me!

We are introduced to Grace who has decided to leave Tennessee and go away to a boarding school in Korea. Talk about a long ways from home. If it was me, I probably couldn’t do that. Too far away! Grace’s family is pretty well known. Her brother was famous, and her dad is a record producer. A lot of people in the United States know the family.

Grace gets a really great roommate. Her name was Sophie and I loved her!  Sophie also has a twin brother named Jason. Jason is in a popular band in Korea, along with two other guys. So, Grace doesn’t quite get away from the reporters and the publicity like she had hoped. Hanging out with Sophie and the band turns a public eye on Grace but nobody really knows who she is, for a while.

I really did like Jason. From the get go, I liked him. He was kind but kind of mysterious. But he was also a jerk at times. He was just very guarded. I think he was a sweet guy, just guarded. I really liked getting to know Jason and the bandmates.

I also liked reading about Korea and the food and the traditions there. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I really liked the plot of this one and how Grace realized a lot and grew a lot in such a short time.

Overall: I really liked the characters in this one! I loved getting to know Grace and Sophie and the boys. I really enjoyed getting to know their families too. Especially Jason’s mom.  I thought this one was a cute novel!

Cover: Love it! If I saw this one in the store, I’d pick it right up and buy it. Its cute!

What I’d Give It:

Friday, September 25

Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Lelia Sales

Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Lelia Sales
Release Date:September 15, 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 352  

Summary: From the author of This Song Will Save Your Life comes a funny and relatable book about the hazards of falling for a person you haven't met yet.

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either.

My Thoughts: I wanted to love this one, I really did. But, I just liked it. It was just okay in my opinion.

We are introduced to Arden who has her whole life ahead of her. She’s not really sure what she wants to do yet. She has dreams and goals but she’s not 100% on anything yet. She has an amazing boyfriend who she adores but just doesn’t feel “right” for her. She also has a crazy best friend who seems to get her into trouble a lot.

Arden finds a blog about a boy named Peter. Peter seems sincere and caring and he seems like someone Arden can admire and be more like.

Well, one day Arden isn’t having the best day so she decides to go to NYC to meet said blogger Peter. She finds him pretty easy really. Yes, she knows the basic information I guess, but it was just tooo easy!!! haha! At first Peter seems so caring and realistic and sincere and everything she thought he would be. She spends the course of the night getting to really “know” him.

But things aren’t always what they seem and Arden realizes nobody is perfect.

I really liked Bianca for some reason. She at least seemed to tell mostly the truth and was upfront to Arden. And, I liked Arden but I feel as though she was easily blinded.

I loved that she just up and went to NYC. I loved that she got in her old beat up car and just drove.  But I never really connected to the story and the characters as much as I hoped. I didn’t really liked her boyfriend or Peter very much.

Overall: This one was still a cute fun read. It was light and a fun read for a summer day. It just wasn’t my favorite read of the summer! I’ll continue to read more by Sales and see if there is a book I like more!

Cover: Like it! Its so bright and colorful and I love it!

What I’d Give It:

Tuesday, September 22

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 336

Summary: Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

My Thoughts: This is one I probably wouldn’t normally read but I did it on a whim one day. And, I thought it was good but I just didn’t find myself too into it or the actual plot. It just wasn’t the right one for me I think.

We are introduced to Kate who has liked a boy for a while. His name is Ben and she’s known him a long time. In her eyes, Ben is perfect. But he always seems to have a girlfriend and Kate is just the “friend.”  One day, Kate gets really drunk and gets a ride home from Ben from a party. At this party, a picture is taken of another girl. The picture makes its rounds, and the girl files a rape claim. Of course, in this town the school and most of the town turn against the girl. Kate doesn't know what to think. Kate wasn’t really there and she wants to stay away from the situation.

Of course, Kate ends up getting in the middle and she has some tough decisions to make. I don’t want to say the whole plot of this one. Or what happens. Part of me was surprised by the ending, the other part, not so much. I had a feeling that was what was going to happen.

This was a good one, it just wasn’t the right one for me. I like cookie cutter happy endings where everything makes sense. This one was just ARRGGGG.

Overall:  This one will definitely make you think about things. I rooted for Kate and for her to do the right thing. And she deserves a really great guy! I'd say this is probably a 3.5 rating for me.

Cover: Like it! Love the door handle! It fits!

What I’d Give It:

Sunday, September 20

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  320

Summary:  This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay--in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

My Thoughts:  I’ve read other books by Ally Carter and I enjoyed them! And I just loved All Fall Down!

We are introduced to Grace who has spent most of her summers roaming Embassy Row! With her mother gone, and her dad away she is forced to spend another summer at Embassy Row with her grandpa.

Grace just wants to be left alone. She’s been having some problems in her past and now they follow her around and are always on her mind. She’s coping with her mother’s death and with the scarred man she believes killed her. Grace sees him again on Embassy Row and is determined to prove his guilt. She also meets a few friends along the way. Oh man, I liked the two girls she gets to know better and the boy. Actually, the two boys. I liked them both. They are both worth mentioning but of course I liked Alexei the most.

Alexei was funny but also witty but also annoying at times. I really liked him from the get go. And the beginning of the book I laughed my butt off.

I kind of figured out how things were going to go down from the beginning. I had a feeling the ending was also going to happen. I kind of guessed the major plot points in this one but I still enjoyed reading it a lot. I laughed a bunch of times and I liked it. I still think I liked the Gallagher series a bit more though.

Overall:  I really liked Grace and her cast of friends, or more like a bunch of dorks! They are all a little dorky but also funny and neat! This one is probably a 4 cupcake rating for me. I thought about 5 but I didn’t like it as much as her other series.

Cover:  I’d definitely pick it up! Like it!

What I’d Give It:

Friday, September 18

The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  416

Summary:  One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

My Thoughts:  I’m not really sure what to say about this one. I’m a little bit torn. We are introduced to Shahrzad whose best friend has been murdered. She was one of the girls who became Khalid’s wife and was murdered just as many girls before her had been.

I really did enjoy it. I however had a hard time getting into it. The first half I just felt like dragged on. I wasn’t into the plot or the characters very much. I just didn’t relate to them and I didn’t care for them.

But by about the midway point I started getting sucked right into the story and I had to know what was going to happen next. I enjoyed Shahrzad getting to know Khalid and seeing a side of him she did not expect.  I liked their encounters. I also liked all the side characters as well. They each were so bright and beautifully written.

I just had a feeling there was more to Khalid’s story than what everyone thinks and I was very right. I knew it would be something like that even though I wasn’t sure what.  

Overall: I found myself really enjoying this one even though I had a hard time with the beginning.

I started to care about the characters and by the time the story ended, I wished I had the second book. I really liked all the characters even the not so good ones. I also want to know what happens next.
Cover:  It’s not too bright and colorful but if I had seen it in on the shelf, I’d probably pick it up!

What I’d Give It:

Tuesday, September 15

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Balzer And Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 384

Summary:  Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

My Thoughts: No matter how much praise I give Dumplin, I’ll never do it enough justice. I really loved it a lot. I already read Murphy’s debut, Side Effects May Vary and enjoyed it too.

Growing up, I was always normal sized but never really overweight. Once, I got a little older I gained some weight. I knew how Dumplin feels. I know the daily struggles she goes through and how she wants to just be herself and she wants others to look at the inside of her, not the outside.

We are introduced to Willowdean who is in high school. She works at the local fast food joint alongside a boy named Bo. Oh, Bo. I really loved him a lot. Willowdean and Bo have a sort of secret relationship and this worked for them, at first. It was never outright said it was a secret so when it seemed like he really did want to hide Willowdean, she kind of went the other way for a while. She starts seeing a boy named Mitch. I liked Mitch but I never got the chemistry between Mitch and Willowdean. It just really wasn't there.

Willowdean enters a beauty pageant that her mom is involved in. At first, Willowdean does it just to prove a point. That she can. And that she deserves it just as much as anyone else.

I really loved all the girls we meet and the things they do with her. I loved the friendships, even the ones that weren’t perfect.

I feel like I could just type this review forever but I think this is just one of those books you have to read on your own and experience and one that will keep you up all night long.

Overall:  I really really loved this one. It made me smile and laugh yet at the same time really made me think about things. It was heartbreaking yet sweet. Add this one to your Fall TBR now!

Cover:  Love it! It just fits. Cute enough to draw me in but not overly cute where it looks tacky.

What I'd Give It:

Friday, September 11

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages:  368  

Summary:  It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

My Thoughts:  I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one, since the main character is a boy. I tend to read more books where girls are the main characters. But I did enjoy What You Left Behind.  We are introduced to Ryden who has a daughter who is just a baby. He was with a girl who got sick and is no longer around.  This was pretty devastating. Ryden is trying to do what he can to survive. He’s going to high school, has a job, and trying to support his baby with the help of his mom.

Ryden meets a new girl at his job. He feels guilty even having some sort of feelings for this other girl since it hasn’t been that long since his girlfriend died.

I really liked Ryden’s mom. She got it. She understood him a lot better than most moms would. She supported him. She loved him. She loved his baby. She understood.

Most of the book, we spent time looking for his old girlfriend's Meg’s notebooks. She left a few notebooks laying around for Ryden and a few others that explained her feelings during her last days.

I did like this one. It was also a very fast read for me. I liked Ryden as well but I never really fully connected with him even though I wanted too. I also liked Joni and her personality and how she understood Ryden and got it.

Overall:  I liked this one. I read it in a night, Flew right through it. I think this one is more of a 3.5 cupcake rating for me.

Cover: Like it. Its kind of dark but still interesting.

What I'd Give It:

Thursday, September 10

Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy #4.5) by Jennifer Estep

Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy #4.5) by Jennifer Estep
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Kensington
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 46

Summary:   I'm Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was--until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I'm fine, that Loki and the Reapers don't have a hold on me anymore, but I can't risk it. I can't risk hurting Gwen again. So I'm leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what's happening to me, whether I'm safe. I can't tell her, but this is my story. . .

My Thoughts: Another little novella in the Mythos Academy series! Spartan Frost tells a little story from Logan’s point of view. Basically what happens after book 4 where Logan almost killed Gwen.

This one explores the feelings Logan has and his inner troubles he’s going through. It's just a little glimpse into his mind.

I really enjoy this series and I thought this was was a cute little novella. It really isn’t very deep and not much happens but it gives me a little bit more understanding of Logan.

Overall:This one was a very quick read, with a little under 50 pages! I liked it! Glad we are getting to know Logan better.

Cover: Its cute!

What I’d Give It:

Tuesday, September 8

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 336

Summary:  Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won't invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie's rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn't interested in rehabilitation, not when she's still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie's whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she's ever met.Ben's life isn't easy, but he doesn't see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn't have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she's currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the magnetic lead singer of Maggie's new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben's brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future...before she loses everything she has grown to love.

My Thoughts: Maggie was a pretty average teenager. She had friends, a family, and did ok in school. Until she got sick and lost her eyesight and also she’s been in a bit of trouble since.  Its hard to stay on the straight and narrow when you're basically mad at the world.

Maggie runs into a boy named Ben. Ben was quite a bit younger than Maggie but he takes her under his wing and invites her over to dinner. Ben was a bit girl crazy but it was so darn cute.  Maggie meets Ben’s family. And it's pretty cute. Ben’s mom was a riot and his brother Mason was pretty cool. I knew from the get go there was something special about Mason.  And I laughed my butt off when I found out who exactly he is.

I hated seeing Maggie suffer because she was blind. She was trying to navigate her new world and get used to it but it was hard. And then when she was around Ben and could partly see, I wanted her to be happy. And, it doesn’t help when I found out the reason why she could see. I wanted to cry so many times throughout this one.

I really enjoyed the characters and the plot in this one. And, I was happy where the story headed. I’m happy to see how far Maggie has come and how she deals with things.

And the romance, whoa. Loved it of course. Just loved Mason so much.

Overall: I really really liked this one a lot. Ben was such a fun kid who didn’t let things get him down. He was so darn chipper. I wish I had a friend like him. This one was very enlightening and such a good debut.

Cover: Like it but I don’t feel like it gives the book justice really. I’m not sure I would pick it up or not if I seen it in a store BUT I would want everyone to pick this one up!

What I’d Give It:


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