Review: Shadowland

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Shadowland by: Meg Cabot

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

There’s a hot guy in Susannah Simon’s bedroom. Too bad he’s a ghost.

Suze is a mediator – a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind… and Suze happens to be in the way.

Beware spoilers ahead!

When I was younger I was a fan of Meg Cabot. As far as I was concerned she could do no wrong and that all her books were fantastic! Last year I discovered that it’s not true. I found out that I didn’t like her contemporary books. But I still immensely enjoyed her paranormal/supernatural books. This year I remembered this series and was happy to find that my library has it! I am happy to say that I enjoyed this!

The book begins with Suze mentioning the differences between New York and California. Her mother has gotten remarried and they had to shift to California because Andy her step dad owns a business there. Suze actually likes Andy and she doesn’t mind Dopey, Sleepy, and Doc (her nicknames for her step brothers) but she doesn’t like the fact that they had to move. Suze doesn’t share these thoughts with her mother. Andy makes her mother very happy and Suze is okay with that.

Her new family take her home. On the way there she notices again how different Cali is from New York. While they are talking it comes out that the school she’ll be attending is a very old building. As is there house. After hearing this Suze starts to freak out because she doesn’t like old buildings.

When they get to the house Suze tries to remain calm. Andy has put a lot of work into the house and has tried to make it comfortable for her. Once they reach Suze’s room she sees a guy sitting at her window seat. Only the rest of her family don’t see him. Suze can see ghosts and usually there are more ghosts in old buildings.

I seriously did not expect to enjoy Shadowland this much! It was so much fun! This book is written in first person told in Suze’s point of view. It takes place over the course of a few days.

I loved Suze. She is definitely my favourite Meg Cabot character! She was smart and a bit of a hot-head. She was tough and could handle a fight just fine.It was interesting to read about her experience with ghosts. And how the mediator stuff works. Throughout this book Suze trying to help people ends up being a bit reckless. She never accepts anyone’s help she goes solo. Throughout the book she decides to work with other and that it isn’t so bad.

The relationships were awesome! I loved how close Suze was with her mother and that she didn’t mind her step father. It’s nice to read about a good step parent. While Suze isn’t close to any of her brothers in the beginning of the book she does develop a good relationship with Doc. It was so sweet reading about! It wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine but they were there for each other.

The little I read about Cece and Adam was nice. I liked Father Dom and Jesse. Father Dom is the principle (and a priest) of the school that Suze attends. Much to her surprise he is also a mediator and does offer to train her. He was a nice mentor. Jesse was a bit clueless but sweet. This does take place in a few days so there isn’t really any romance. Suze does consider Jesse good looking but at the moment they’re just friends.

The plot was pretty good. Heather was realistic. There are definitely girls like her. It was also nice to for a change that Suze didn’t like her powers. But that didn’t mean that she was rude to people she still did all her ghostly duty without a lot of complaints. I admire her for that.

I only had two problems with Shadowland. There were times when Suze would talk about how good looking Jesse that it would become annoying. And while I understood why she did so there were times when I felt it wasn’t necessary. Also I find it very weird that in a matter of a day Suze is very popular. Yes she did save one of the students and threaten to break another students fingers, I don’t think it’s possible to get popular that fast. Nonetheless I enjoyed this!

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend this series to anyone looking for a completed fantasy that it more focused on the character development.  

Review: The Rose & the Dagger

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The Rose & the Dagger by: Renee Ahdieh

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Buddy read with Waukesha, Luke, and Adita! Once their reviews have been posted I’ll add the links.

For those of you that followed me back in November probably know that I did not enjoy The Wrath and the Dawn. You’re probably wondering why I bothered to continue this series. Part of it was curiosity. It was curiosity that got me to finish all the short stories. After I finished The Mirror in the Maze I was curious to see how the series ended. It came in my library I put it on hold. While I did enjoy this more than the first book I can’t say I’m happy with how this series ended. 

The book begins with a prologue in which a little girl and her brother are trying to restore their house. A storm blew their house over. Unfortunately the storm killed their mother. While the girl and her brother start clearing the area a boy appears in their door. The girl realizes that this boy is the prince. The prince mentions that he would like to help the girl and boy with their home. The brother agrees and they continue to work.

After they have finished most of the work the brother asks for the princes name. The prince says that his name is Khalid. The brother introduces himself. And the girl turns out to be Shiva.

The plot in this book was much better than the first! There was a large focus on the war and some politics. The magic was interesting to read about as were the new characters. There wasn’t that much focus on Shazi and Khalid’s relationship. I actually found Khalid to be much smarter in this book. He started acting like a King. I enjoyed reading about Shazi’s sister Irsa! She was so refreshing to all the strong and confident females you read about. And I absolutely loved her romance! Rahim was so sweet! All of the twists and reveals were very surprisingly. Especially concerning Despina. There was this really sweet scene were Shiva comes in! 

Shazi and Tariq were the same. Which is to say annoying. I actually noticed an error while reading this book. In the beginning of the book it is mentioned that Shiva’s mother died in the storm. Yet when Shazi and Tariq are talking about Shiva, it’s mentioned that his aunt (Shiva’s mother) committed suicide. Please do correct me if I’m wrong. The curse was pushed aside in this book. You’d think with it being deal in the first book it’s reduced to nothing in this book. The magic wasn’t really explained.

I also wished that Irsa and Rahim were the main characters as I would’ve preferred to read about their romance. You are given constant reminders in this about how strong the women are. In the form of a stupid man touching her. And said women defending herself. How was it that most of the men Shazi ran into were pervs? I am not at all happy with how Irsa and Rahim’s romance was dealt with. While the epilogue was somewhat sweet it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I’m really not happy with a certain part of the ending.

Overall this was not a good conclusion in my eyes. But I still recommend it to fans of forbidden romance and fairy tale retellings.  

Review: The Lie Tree

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The Lie Tree by: Frances Hardinge

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

To earn a secret so profound, I would need to tell momentous lies, and make as many people as possible believe them…

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is modest and well mannered—a proper young lady who knows her place. But inside, Faith is burning with questions and curiosity. She keeps sharp watch of her surroundings and, therefore, knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing—like the real reason her family fled Kent to the close-knit island of Vane. And that her father’s death was no accident.

In pursuit of revenge and justice for the father she idolizes, Faith hunts through his possessions, where she discovers a strange tree. A tree that only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit, in turn, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder. Or, it might lure the murderer directly to Faith herself, for lies—like fires, wild and crackling—quickly take on a life of their own.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF 

I heard about this book through a GR friend’s review. It sounded interesting and I was happy to see that it was coming in my library. Unfortunately I didn’t like.

The book begins with Faith’s family traveling. Faith’s little brother asks why they are traveling and their mother says that it’s for their father’s work. When her brother mentions that they never needed to come for their father’s traveling. Their mother responds that this is a vacation for them.

Their mother then tells Faith that she’s happy that Faith hasn’t asked any questions. Faith is bursting with questions. She has the same questions as her brother and more. But as a Lady she is not supposed to ask any questions just do as she is told.

Faith claims that her stomach is hurting and goes for a walk. Faith then takes an about turn and listens in on a conversation with her uncle and father. Her father mentions that he is not happy that he had to come here. Her uncle then replies that they didn’t have a choice. The public believe that her father is a fraud and they would’ve all suffered.

The reason I didn’t finish this is because I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t care that Faith’s father was supposedly a cheat. I had no interest in continuing further. I’ve rated it 2 stars because the premise sounds interesting and the writing style was well done.

Overall I had no interest in this book. I still recommend it to fans of murder mystery with a hint of paranormal.  

Review: Between Us and the Moon

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Between Us and the Moon by: Rebecca Maizel

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever for a new generation.

Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.

Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.

Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

I had heard about this book last year through GR. It looked interesting. At the time it wasn’t in my library so I made a mental note of it. Luckily it had come to my library and I was excited to read it! Unfortunately I did not enjoy it.

The book begins with Sarah talking to her sister Scarlett about the stars. Scarlett calls Sarah a dork and leaves. Their mother calls and announces that Sarah’s boyfriend Tucker is here. Sarah goes to greet Tucker. She notices something off about him but pushes it aside. Tucker takes Sarah outside and breaks up with her. During their conversation Tucker mentions that he has changed but because Sarah has her head in science she never noticed. He also implies that he has been cheating on her. He leaves.

Sarah goes back in her house in a daze. She can’t believe what just happened. She always thought that Tucker and her would be forever. They’ve been friends since kindergarten and share a love for science. Sarah is very happy that her family will be spending the summer in Cape Cod.

Once in Cape Cod Sarah still feels hurt by Tucker. One day her sister Scarlett goes to the beach. Sarah wants to go as well but Scarlett says that she wants to spend some time with her friends. Sarah goes anyways and ends up following Scarlett. Sarah realizes that if she becomes Scarlett she’ll never be hurt again. Thus creating The Scarlett Experiment.

The reason I didn’t finish this book is because of all the lies that Sarah ends up telling. Literally before the epilogue she reveals everything. Which didn’t sit well with me. My family considers me the epitome of honesty so that might be part of the reason I couldn’t finish this.

I have rated this 2 stars because despite all hte lies Sarah does develop. And the premise sounded interesting.

Overall this was not for me. I still recommend it to fans of contemporary. If you can get past the lying then I think you’d enjoy this.  

Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

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How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by: Sarah Strohmeyer

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl’s summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they’ve hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she’s assigned to serve “The Queen”-Fairyland’s boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe’s job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Last year I had read the authors book Smart Girls Get What They Want and fell in love with the story and the characters! I was quite happy to see that How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True was in my library. While I didn’t like it as much I was hoping to I still enjoyed it!

The book begins with a prologue. Zoe is walking the Queen’s dog Tinker Bell. Tink has managed to run off and Zoe is attempting to find her. Zoe crosses into a forbidden area and gets stuck in quicksand. With Tink nowhere in sight and with Zoe sinking she has no idea what to do. Then one of the princes comes to her rescue. Zoe can’t tell which one of the princes because she has her back to him. The prince comments that Zoe is stuck but he can’t help her because she’ll tell the Queen and he’ll get disqualified. Zoe promises not to tell the Queen and that if he helps her she’s in his debt. He manages to find Tink and saves Zoe. When Zoe turns around to thank him, he’s gone.

We are then taken to the first chapter in which Jess and Zoe are on their way to Fairyland. Their quite excited for their summer! A year and a half ago Zoe’s mother passed away. She died of some sort of cancer. Jess (Zoe’s cousin) was there for Zoe. Unlike Zoe’s boyfriend at the time who wanted to dump her at the funeral but didn’t because his parents told him not to.

Over time Zoe started noticing changes in Jess as well. When Zoe asked what was going on Jess said that her parents lost their job. And they’ve blown through her college fund. So now she can’t go to that arts school she wanted to go in. Jess feels to guilty to ask her parents to work out a way to send her to college. The advantage of getting the internship at Fairyland is the Dream and Do Grant. A girl and a boy will win $25,ooo. Zoe is hoping that Jess will win and she intends to help her in any way she can.

When they reach Fairyland they are told by the interns that there internship starts tomorrow. A guy announces all the cast members. Jess gets Red Riding Hood 2. But Zoe’s role is not announced. She tells as much to Andy and he mentions that she is a Lady-In-Waiting assigned to work with the Queen. The way he mentions this scares Zoe. Andy gives her a list of what to do and what not to do. Then sends her off to meet the Queen. Upon meeting the Queen Zoe is surprised because she is not all that bad. The Queen gives Zoe a list of instructions and sends her on her way.

I was definitely expecting more out of this but nonetheless I enjoyed it! This book is written in first person in Zoe’s point of view. And it takes place within the summer.

I liked reading about Zoe and Jess’s relationship! I loved how close they were and how much they supported each other. Fairlyand was fun to read about. I actually felt like I was there! I liked how it’s mentioned that Zoe saw a grief therapist and it was mentioned in a positive light. Reading about her therapist was interesting and sometimes you were told about their conversations. I also liked the relationship between the Queen and Zoe. The Queen wasn’t all that bad. She just had a very long list of likes.

When the synopsis mentions the ‘cutthroat’ competition it was very accurate. It felt like the only reason half of the people were there was because of the Dream and Do Grant. Yes I understand winning money would be really cool. But what about the experience? They got to dress up as fairy tale characters and entertain little kids. That sounds like fun to me.

I enjoyed reading about Zoe’s growth. I felt that in the beginning she wasn’t as confident until she started working for the Queen. It was also nice how she found a way to move on with her life after her mother’s death.

The romance was well done!  It was slow burn. Zoe and Ian started out as friends and then became something more. I liked how it didn’t  take away from the plot. And when Ian found out about Zoe’s mom he didn’t force himself on her. He was willing to give her time and space to figure everything out.

There was the mystery of the about the mysterious prince that saved Zoe and some other things at Fairyland. I suppose now that I think about it the prince was kind of obvious. The twist at the end was unpredictable. I so didn’t see that coming. I liked that ending and the name really fits that book quite well.

I only had two problems with How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True. I was expecting the Queen to be a lot worse. I thought that she would treat Zoe terribly but she didn’t. I also would’ve liked to read about the other characters a bit more. A lot of this book was Zoe doing some ridiculous things for the Queen. For example walking Tink at dawn. Nonetheless I still enjoyed it!

Overall this was a cute book! I recommend this to fans of the author and contemporary fans.

Review: The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 6

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The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 6 by: Jun Mochizuki

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Jun Mochizuki, acclaimed creator of PandoraHearts, continues her epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas!
Showing up without an invitation, an old friend of Noe’s appears and…collars him?! Vanitas can’t very well let his companion up and disappear, but where exactly are his quarry headed??

Find out what happens in the sixth installment of Jun Mochizuki’s latest epic adventure tale, The Case Study of Vanitas, the same day as Japan!

Beware spoilers ahead!

After finishing the last chapter I was eager to read this one. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this chapter!

The chapter begins where the last one left off. Noe is doubling over in pain and says that he indeed did see the Charlatan. Dominique a woman claiming to be Noe’s fiancee enters. Noe reveals that he isn’t engaged to Dominique and that she is a childhood friend. Dominique then takes Noe with her leaving Vanitas.

When Noe asks why she came after him she explains that it is because she was worried about Noe. As readers have already seen Noe is absolutely clueless and very child-like. Dominique thinks that Vanitas is using Noe for some personal gain. Dominique mentions that she was able to get an invitation to a party so that Noe can have a word with one of the attenders about curse breakers. Eventually Vanitas finds them and goes with them. The chapter ends with Dominique telling Vanitas Noe’s backstory.

The only reason I rated this 3 stars is because I felt that the chapter was too short. When I got to the end I was surprised and assumed that there would be more. But alas I finished it. What I really enjoyed about this chapter was Dominique. I liked her character. And as usual this was funny. What’s interesting is that Dominique is Noe’s teacher’s granddaughter. I’m really looking forward to learning more about Noe’s past in the next chapter!

Overall a good but too short of a read. I recommend this series to people looking for a unique fantasy. And for anyone who is new to reading manga, who would like to start off with fantasy. 

Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2016

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In terms of reading I would say that May has been a good month! In terms of enjoyment I wouldn’t say that May was a great month. I DNFed a lot of books. I was busy for a good part of May and that did mess with my reading and reviewing schedule. Eventually I was able to enjoy May and just take things slowly. I’ll definitely stop making my months all about reading. I actually watched some tv which was nice! In May I finished 21 books! All the links below are my reviews.

Book(s) that I DNFed:

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  1. Endangered by: Dani Hoots
  2. Tooth Goblins by: Ash Toroid
  3. A Darker Shade of Sorcery by: William Collins
  4. Under the Never Sky by: Veronica Rossi
  5. Tell Me Three Things by: Julie Buxbaum
  6. Wolf by Wolf by: Ryan Graudin
  7. One Tiny Lie by: K. A. Tucker
  8. The Flip Side by: Shawn Johnson
  9. Revenge of the Girl with Great Personality by: Elizabeth Eulberg
  10. There Once Were Stars by: Melanie McFarlene

 

Book(s) that I didn’t really like (includes 3 star rating):

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  1. Dead Is the New Black by: Marlene Perez
  2. Girl Against the Universe by: Paula Stokes
  3. The Secret to Letting Go by: Katherine Fleet
  4. The Case Study of Vanitas, Chapter 6 by: Jun Mochizuki
  5. How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by: Sarah Strohmeyer

 

Book(s) That I Enjoyed:

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  1. It’s All Your Fault by: Paul Rudnick
  2. No Love Allowed by: Kate Evangelista
  3. The Art of Lainey by: Paula Stokes
  4. Infinite Repeat by: Paula Stokes
  5. The Lies About Truth by: Courtney C. Stevens
  6. The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott