Category Archives: NetGalley

NetGalley Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

        Candlewick Press    To Be Released March 25, 2014              320 Pages Ebook
Candlewick Press
To Be Released March 25, 2014
320 Pages Ebook

*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

The Roux Family have bad luck when it comes to love and due to its bad luck came the birth of Ava Lavender, a girl born with wings. At 16-years-old, Ava is not only looking for acceptance through her peers but also the need to understand her rare situation (having wings). 

But when Nathaniel Sorrows, becomes obsessed with Ava believing she is an angel, things get even more complicated for Ava. And all things within her life and her family explodes the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. 

This book was hard for me to get through. Ava is telling the story and the story begins with her great grandmother and continues until it reaches her mother which then begins her story. I didn’t like the way the story was told. There was barely any dialogue let alone any action. Therefore, it was slow and it felt as if the author was reaching even at the beginning of the story. It didn’t feel real from the heart.

Another issue I had with this book is the “magic.” The only person who had any real abilities was Ava’s twin brother. Yes, she has wings and she does some things with them but it is not because she is magical or came from a magical family. She came from family that was beautiful. Seriously, everyone one is the Roux family is describe as being completely beautiful it makes me a bit sick.

Because most of the book is strictly the history of the family, by time it got to Ava’s story I didn’t care for it. But I push through and learned that I didn’t care for Ava.

I thought that a girl born with wings would be a lot more fun. But it wasn’t. This book was about a family going through one tragedy after another. No real action, no real solution and most importantly, the book lacked action and emotion.  Overall it gets 2 pickles.

 

NetGalley Review: Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera

      Amulet Books     To Be Published March 11,2014        272 Page
Amulet Books
To Be Published March 11,2014
272 Page

* I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Star Mackie is 10-years-old and lives in a trailer park with her mom and her sister Winter. The three moved to a new town after Winter is expelled from school.

Things are hard enough at home for Star but trying to make friends in a new town when you hair is blue and cut like a mullet is a bit hard. But when Star starts a poetry club begins to fall in love with the works of Emily Dickerson, she begins to see what life is really about.

This book was incredibly sad as well as cute. Star is a rebel with a cause. I loved her and the fact that she was very conscious of the things happening around. She wasn’t insecure, she didn’t have a lot of problems within her herself but there were  issues around her.

I really loved the fact that she adored her sister.  Winter wasn’t a bad girl she was just frustrated and upset at her mother for quite a bit of things. She loved her sister but she was going through issues and needed space; for a while Star wasn’t okay with that.

But what I really liked about the book was the diversity of the characters. Star makes friends with kids whom you would not think would love poetry and they actually get along with each other even when Star was being a jerk.

I didn’t like her mother so much. It didn’t feel like she cared enough. Don’t get me wrong she cared but not enough for me to feel it passionately. I felt something missing from the mother . . . she was way to bitter for me.

But overall the story was well written and it is a good read for children trying to fit in as well as handling things at home. It was descriptive without being too much but I do wish it was longer. With the climax it ended too short and easily. Overall this book gets 3.5 Pickles.

NetGalley Review: Insanity by Susan Vaught

Bloomsbury USA Childrens   Published Feb. 18, 2014                384 Pages
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Published Feb. 18, 2014
384 Pages

 

*I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. *

Never, Kentucky is a small town that is place for ghosts and humans that cannot find peace. 18 year old Forest, fresh out of foster care is working the graveyard shift at Lincoln Hospital, which is a mental institute.  

Forest took the job in hopes of saving money for college and getting out of Kentucky. But fate has other ideas for her when she sees a patient’s dead husband being chased by supposedly a devil agent named Levi. 

Caught in a situation Forest never thought she would be in, she must find information about her heritage and look at the bigger picture in life. 

This book isn’t just about Forest. It is actually told from the point of view of 3 other teenagers. The author did a horrible job of transitioning these point of views and for a big part of the book I was lost.  Vaught abruptly ended Forest’s story to talk about another one and it was bad. Most of the beginning of the book you only know about Forest and the agent. Even in the summary the focus is Forest and not the other teens.

I wasn’t able to finish the book. But I did read half way through before anyone decides to kill me.

However, I did enjoy some parts that I read. I liked Forest and was completely into her story. She was motivated, wasn’t hung up on the past (until it bit her in the butt) and she was realistic. I also liked the fact that she wasn’t a rebel or a jerk. She was a nice girl.

I didn’t like Levi. He didn’t really do anything for me to like him. He was a jerk who actually liked Forest, so when he began being nice to her I just threw some shade at him and called it a day. He wasn’t well rounded.

The book was boring and dull. In the opening you see Levi being killed but then for the next 6 chapters nothing weird or crazy happens to Forest minus the seeing ghosts. The story tries to come off creepy but it doesn’t ever really reach there. Overall the book (what I read) gets 1 Pickle I didn’t have huge expectations for this book but I still was hugely disappointed.

NetGalley Review: Scintillate (The Light Key Trilogy #1) by Tracy Clark

       Entangled Teen Published Feb. 4, 2014             304 Pages
Entangled Teen
Published Feb. 4, 2014
304 Pages

*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

When Cora Sandoval was five years old her mother disappeared causing her and her father to leave Ireland for America. Since then her father has been nothing short of overprotective and when Cora gets sick and begins to see people’s auras her father doesn’t let up once.

Not only does she have this ability to see people’s colors but when a Irish foreign exchange student name Finn comes into her world an attraction so intense is born. Her father disapproves and his mother as well forcing Finn to move back to Ireland and leaving Cora.

But Cora isn’t having it anymore. Desperate for answers that her father refuses to give her, Cora goes to Ireland to find out the truth about her mother, her new ability and why her aura is different from everyone else.

This book is very original. A lot of the paranormal books in YA deal with witches, werewolves, vampires and things in that nature. I really appreciated the author taking the step to do something completely different. It made the book much more enjoyable.

As much as I hate to admit this, I really loved the relationship with Finn and Cora. It is extremely intense and not the sappy ‘I can’t live without you’ but the realistic and poetic romance. I thought the author did an amazing job with the details she placed in this relationship and really this whole book.

However, I really didn’t like Cora. There is nothing in me that believed she tried hard enough to find the truth. 1: She didn’t begin really looking til after Finn left, which makes me believe that she was content as long as she had Finn. 2: She always backed down from her father. She would give some fight and then stop. Because of this I felt she didn’t have the strength to follow through. Also she has this new ability and doesn’t really do anything with it. Through the entire book I was saying to myself ‘I know she can do something with that ability why isn’t she trying?’ This was extremely frustrated because I was right and guess what? It happens at the END of the book UGH!

I also think her father was overly dramatic. I understand being overprotective but he was too much. Not only was everything a secret but he would throw fits if he didn’t get his way with Cora or simply walk away from her. I was completely over him.

I am hoping that in the next book Cora ‘mans up’ for a lack of better term and just learn about herself and how to protect herself from danger. I am also hoping that there is something still going on with Finn and Cora. Yes, there is a love triangle happening. If you didn’t expect one whelp you’re wrong.

Overall this book gets: 3.5 Pickles its a bit closer to a four but I am content with this rating.

NetGalley Review: Sing for Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck

        Howard Books To Be Published April 8, 2014            336 Pages
Howard Books
To Be Published April 8, 2014
336 Pages

* I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion*

Rose Sorensen is a good girl. She listens to her parents, does whatever they ask with no lip, and goes to church on a regular basis. However, Rose likes to sing and she likes to sing jazz but it is forbidden by her parents and those who attend her church. 

But one day her cousin decides to take her to a jazz club for her birthday and that is when things fall apart. Between falling for an African-American man and wanting to sing Jazz, Rose has a lot on her plate.

I was surprised at how much I liked this book. The book is set in a time when there is no legal longer segregation but blacks and whites are separated none the less. It is also during a time when people believed that singing anything else but God was a sin.

This is a really important time because it changed a lot of thoughts about music and it changed families. I thought it was great that the author decided to focus on this part of history. With that being said I liked Rose. Although she was completely plain, I did enjoy her character. How she remained the church loving girl throughout the entire book even though she did begin singing jazz. She didn’t change who she was, her work ethic or how she felt about her family, she just simply added singing jazz to the list of things she can do.

When reading the summary I thought the book was more about the romance between Rose and the African-American male. However, he just happen to be there. The book was more about Rose’s love for jazz and the desire to pursue it. She fell in love with jazz before she fell hard for her young man. I think for him it happened to be right place right now because most of the book, before she admitted feelings, all she could think about was the music and how that was what needed to be hidden from her parents.

I was disappointed with the lack of romance within the book but I wasn’t that disappointed because this book was well written and it was passionate. There wasn’t a lot of glitz and glamor, which is fine. The book and story is very simple and it is a breath of fresh air.

For this historical fiction I highly recommend it to those who aren’t looking for something dripping in romance and a greater purpose. Overall 5 Pickles

NetGalley Review: The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine

           Ebury Press  Published Oct. 24, 2013             512 Pages
Ebury Press
Published Oct. 24, 2013
512 Pages

*I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

17 year old Joe Gray has moved to a new town with her mother and is feeling lost; not because she misses her friends back home (she really didn’t have any) but because she has to start anew.

When helping a old lady bring flowers to her husband’s grave, she meets Tristan and love at first sight is an understatement.  However, Tristan has a secret that can either make or break their relationship.

Firstly, this cover is beautiful! However, the story was bad. Naming your daughter Joe is the most ridiculous thing ever. Her nickname being Joe is fine but not as her first and only name. I think the author was trying to be cute by making her the tomboy who knows martial arts and who is witty and takes crap from no one. But it just fell short. Joe is literally the most beloved character.

Everyone loves her expect for the most popular boy in school and the man after Tristan. The author over did it with this point. She made her the perfect girl. Her mother allows her to do what she wants (her mother is a bit of a bird brain), she is extremely happy to be a boarding school, and finally every guy around her is handsome and wants to protect her.  I was a bit sick of it.

Tristan is a brat. For a 17 year old who was dead for 60 years he is a brat that throws tantrums. That whole he is amazingly sexy flew out the window with that.

The writing was amateur and if the author was comparing the book to Twilight (which despite how horribly written it was I loved it), then I can see why she choose not to care.

As much as I wanted to love this book I couldn’t. Overall score: 2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb

         Sourcebooks Jabberwocky  To Be Published April 1, 2014
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
To Be Published April 1, 2014

*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second book to the Rose Series. Rose has found out that she is a magician and that powerful one at that. In this book she is no longer a poor orphan but a servant girl as well as a magician’s apprentice to the King’s magician.

But when Rose begins to get comfortable in her position, the kingdom’s beloved Princess goes missing and it is said that a dark magician has done the deed. Now it is up to Rose to find the Princess before the world she just entered is no more.

This book is purely for children. It is not fast pace and there isn’t a lot of action but it can keep a child’s attention. What I liked about the book was the constant drawing in it did. Rose was a bit whinny for a girl who in the first book defeated a evil witch but you feel her excitement and her growth.

I also like how there aren’t a billion and one questions that need to be answered. The problems that are in this book for the most part stay within this book. The only on going issue is her parents and what happened to them. I like how the book stayed focus and I feel that is really important in a children’s book, especially a series.

The only downside beyond Rose and her whinny self is the book was boring. Because of the fact that there wasn’t much action happening in the majority of this book, I lost focus. I expected more action when a Princess is missing and expected even more because this is a book dealing about someone learning to use magic.

I also expected more fight out of Rose but she was too scare throughout most of the book and it was too unbecoming.

Overall the book gets: 4 Pickles

P.S. Don’t you just love that cover!

NetGalley Book Review: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy #1) by Joanna Wiebe

      BenBella Books    To Be Published Jan. 14, 2014                272 Pages
BenBella Books
To Be Published Jan. 14, 2014
272 Pages

*This book was received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Recently Motif by Tanya interviewed author Joanna Wiebe about her new book. Read it here!

Anne Merchant is sent to Cania Christy boarding school where the most wealthiest teenagers attend. Not understanding how she was able to attend the school, since her father is the funeral director, Merchant begins attending the school with nothing but questions. 

However, this isn’t any typical boarding school. You are graded for every thing you do including a school dance. Students are obsessed with the Big V which is to become valedictorian and no one could be trusted.

Merchant, with the help of an attractive senior must learn the school’s secrets and accept the truth in order to live.

When I finished this book I really couldn’t tell if I liked it or not. But I am going to say that I liked it but as much as I thought I would.

Merchant is an interesting character. Her mission is to find the truth and she does a horrible way of doing as such. She was a boring detective. However, she was witty which I loved. So I went back and forth with her because she was pushing for answers but barely did the work to find it out.

As for the writing I though the story itself had too much going on towards the end. It was one twist, another one and then one more to add dramatic effect for the second book. Although the story was a bit boring, I liked what the author was doing up until the climax.

But the story itself is completely original. It was nothing what I expected from a story regarding boarding school. I just believe that towards the end it was too much added in the first book.

Finally, I didn’t like the ended. THAT was expected and it was disappointing. I looked at the book and scream WHY! I seriously do not know one teenager that would agree with that decision.

Overall, the book gets 7 out of 10. I am curious about the second book but I am in no rush to read it.

Pickles

Adults ONLY Book Review: The Education of Victoria by Angela Meadows

        Sourcebooks Casablanca  To Be Published April 1, 2014          272 Pages
Sourcebooks Casablanca
To Be Published April 1, 2014
272 Pages

ADULTS ONLY

*This book was received via NetGalley in exchanged for an honest review.*

After being caught by her father with the stable boy, 16-year-old Victoria is sent to a boarding school in which she believes she will be trained to be a proper woman/wife. However, she is sent to the Venus School for Young Ladies in which she learns the arts of pleasure for men, women and herself.

When schooling is over, she returns to England and finds that her father is going bankrupt. Desperate to help, Victoria uses her new skills to save her family estate.

I like my erotic books to have a story and a purpose. This book was just flat out porn. Every page EVERY PAGE was about how either Victoria did this to herself, roommate, teacher, classmates. It was way too much.

I didn’t understand how her father just sends her to a school without research and I also didn’t understand how the author decided to throw in there a 16 year old having some fun with some old man. It was distasteful and I didn’t see the point of the story. Most of the book we are with Victoria at this school and all she does is have sex. SHE IS 16.

How the author thought this was okay I really don’t know. Yes, back in those days a 16 year old can get married. But here is the thing she wasn’t married screwing half the school and wasn’t during this time girls were supposed to wait until marriage?

Beyond that . . . Victoria was a lifeless horn-dog. I was completely disappointed in this book and I need to stress the fact that this is porn not exotica.

Overall, this book gets 4 out of 10.

Pickles

NetGalley Review: Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

Skyscape Published Dec. 1, 2014 273 Pages
Skyscape
Published Dec. 1, 2014
273 Pages

Penny Farthing is near death when surgeon Calvin Warwick is able to successfully swap out Penny’s bad heart with a brass ticker. But the moment when it is found that Warwick killed people in order to save Penny with an updated Ticker, Penny isn’t so happy that she was saved.

During Warwick’s last day of trial, the Farthing factory was bombed, their house was broken into and Penny and her brother Nic receive a ransom notice, demanding their parent’s secret information in order to have their parents back unharmed.  

With the help of Penny’s best friend Violet, a gentleman around the town (whatever that means) Sebastian and a young army general Marcus, Penny and Nic go on the search for their parents and the truth about Penny’s ticker.

The first pretty cover of the year!!!!!

This book was a dry read. The plot, the characters everything seemed un-lifelike which is crazy considering that the topic of life centralizes the entire book. Penny  lacked development and character. She did what she wanted and how she wanted.  She had little regard for her own life, which again is crazy!

The storyline didn’t really provide enough to keep me interested in the story. As much as I love when books start off in a really great scene, there is a way to do it right and the author did not provide enough of a griping point in order for me to understand why things were moving the way they were. Yes, do you get that information but the vagueness of what happened to her, her sister and the man who gave her a new heart last for way too long for me to enjoy the book.

Also the author added a very unnecessary element to a world of science; paranormal. It was thrown in there without any type of back-story or anything leading up to it to make me believe that the paranormal topic should be there.

What I did like about this story was the steampunk aspect of it. It was detailed and creative and there was a lot of though behind it.

Overall, the book was okay. Nothing spectacular.

2 Pickles