Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Salt and Storm

 Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whale men safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother, the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic, stole Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape from her mother before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roes’ power.

When Avery awakens from a dream foretelling her own murder, she realizes time is running short—for her and for the people of her island, who, without the Roes, will lose their ships and the only life they know.

With the help of Tane, a tattooed harpoon boy from the Pacific Islands, Avery plots her escape from her mother and unravels the mysteries of her mother’s and grandmother’s pasts. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected—one she might not be able to make
I was in the mood for a witch book and picking this one up was one of the best decisions I've made. I loved the main character Avery because she was very down to Earth and relate-able. I liked how the author described how the magic worked and towards the end we as readers found out how the Roes got their magic.

The romance in this book was okay. It was cute and slower paced than most (which was nice) but I honestly didn't feel that there was much chemistry between Avery and Tane. They were just there together. I did however enjoy the conversations between the two of them and I enjoyed getting to know Tane better.

My favorite part of the book was the writing. It was very descriptive and while reading it was like watching a movie in my head. Here's a quote I particularly enjoyed from the book:
"...My panic makes me lurch for air again and again, but when I breathe now, blood and water spray into the air, a column of red that clouds around me, and I can taste them mix, salty water and salty blood, and just as my eyes roll back into my head, I see the bright curve of a hook, a hook the size of a man's head, and I urge every last bit of strength I have into my scream..."
Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and I will be buying myself a copy once it releases.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Belzhar (SPOILERS)

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.
I had really high hopes for this book, but sadly, for me, Belzhar didn't live up to its hype. The writing was very good but the characters fell flat and the main character especially irritated me.I think the idea of going to "Belzhar" (a place the characters would go when writing in their journals) was very unique and intriguing and I'm happy the author went into detail about all the characters different experiences.I especially enjoyed how writing in the journals helped the characters develop and figure out their issues. However, Jam's character was hard for me to deal with because I've been in a similar position as her (at least I thought I had until I read the end of the book) and it was just ridiculous how she got so depressed over a boy she barely knew. Turns out that the guy who was her "boyfriend" wasn't really her boyfriend and he hadn't actually died. Jam had created a story about all that to make herself feel better about getting rejected. It was kind of an insult to me because I was with my ex for a year when we broke up and it destroyed me (I myself had to be admitted into a hospital for treatment (which is why I haven't blogged for awhile, sorry guys!!)).

Anyway, I would recommend waiting to get this in paperback or to check it out from the library. I think most people will either love it or hate it, but I'm sorta in the middle just because the idea was cool and the writing wasn't that bad.
3 Stars!

Source: ALA 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review: Lovely, Dark and Deep

Lovely, Dark and Deep sounds cliche simply because of it's title, and I will admit, it sort of is. (However, I would like to note that I have heard many opinions different from my own about this particular novel).
Wren Wells is trying to outrun the accident that killed her boyfriend and wrecked her plans to live a normal life. Instead of going to college, she retreats to her father's isolated art studio. There, in the remote northern woods of Maine, she meets Cal Owens, a boy who wears his own hurt like a badge. But when their connection threatens Wren's hard-won isolation, she has to choose: open up her broken heart or join the ghosts who haunt. 

Alright, I'm not even going to grace this book with my own summary of it, because I know it'll end in a rant about my deep hatred for Wren Wells, the the spoiled, narcissistic bitch (excuse my French) who turns away everyone that loves her simply because she "can't handle it". All right, I'm ranting, I'll stop now. 
Pros: Amy McNamara truly is an excellent author. Her writing style is smooth and elegant and many of the characters are astonishingly creative and interesting. Everyone -- besides she who shall not be named -- is so loving, and it sort of projects the goodness in the world. Cal Owens, the love interest, is honestly one of the greatest guys in the world, and you can actually feel that through his actions as well as his words. 

Cons: Wren is THE most annoying person I have ever read about. All everyone does for her is give, give, give, and yet she still pushes them all away, as if her problems are the only one's that exist in the world. I never thought that I could hate a fictional character this much, but I do. So basically, the main character is the biggest flaw in the book. 

Rate: I want to formally apologize to the author, Amy McNamara, for all the belittling I have down, she's a great novelist, she has amazing attention to detail and emotions, but I just can't give this book a good rating when all I want to do is burn Wren Wells at the stake. 1.5 out of 5 books (because books are better than stars.)  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: The Green Teen Cook Book and Sticky Fingers

I absolutely adored both these books. I used the cook book to (easily) make some yummy salmon and I used the DIY duck tape book to create a cute little wallet for myself and it only took about twenty minutes to do. These are definitely things you want if you like cooking or making crafts. I loved the detailed pictures in the DIY book and the instructions in the cook book made cooking unbelievably easy to do. Not to mention the cook book had a lot of healthy meals inside it.
The colors of the pages are vibrant and inviting. I actually want to make the crafts and food items because the books are so pretty:) Go and get copies now. Like, now. Even if you don't cook or make crafts, they'll sit pretty on your shelf.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

Two-time National Book Award finalist Adele Griffin offers an ingenious fictional take on the "oral history" celebrity bio that defined a bestselling genre: Edie, American Girl by Jean Stein and George Plimpton. In presenting herself as interviewer and curator of memories, Adele paints the portrait of a tragic young celebrity who allegedly committed suicide—presented in a series of brief first-person recollections—that ultimately results in the solving of a murder. 

Adele's words: "From the moment she burst into the downtown art scene, seventeen-year-old Addison Stone was someone to watch. Her trademark subversive street art and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more about this brilliant wild-child who shone so bright and was gone too soon. By means of more than one hundred interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—I have retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life, with research that sheds new evidence on what really happened the night of July 28, 2013. With photo inserts and previously unpublished supplemental material."

This book was definitely a new kind of read for me as I have never read a fictional biography before. I loved how Adele Griffin wrote using interviews and pictures. It made the story seem more real, I actually thought it was a real biography. Griffin creates a character with substance and the reader gets to truly know who Addison Stone was. I could literally feel emotion coming off the pages from all the different characters telling stories about Stone's life and death.

I've never read an Adele Griffin book, but this novel has made me want to buy every single book she's ever written. It was that good and the pictures inside definitely helped the novel to be even more interesting. 5 Stars!

Received at ALA 2014 in exchange for honest review

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Danna's Readathon!

Hey guys! So I'm going to be starting work this Sunday so I decided to hold a two day readathon in which I read as many books as I possibly can. Here's the lineup for my readathon of July 2014:
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
  • Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
  • Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
I know this seems like a lot, but I honestly don't have anything to do other than read all day (which is why I got a job). Anyway, wish me luck! Thanks for visiting:)

Review: O, Africa!

In the summer of 1928, twin brothers Micah and Izzy Grand are at the pinnacle of their movie-making careers. From their roots as sons of Brooklyn immigrants, they have risen to become kings of silent comedy – with the brash, bloviating Micah directing and calling the shots, while his retreating brother skillfully works behind the lens. But when Micah’s penchant for gambling, and his interracial affair with Rose, a sharp-witted, light-skinned black woman from Harlem, combine to threaten his livelihood and his life, he finds himself in need of a quick escape.

As the ascent of the talkies looms on the horizon, the brothers’ producer offers them an opportunity that couldn’t be better timed: travel to Africa to compile stock footage of the exotic locales, as well as filming a new comedy in the jungle. Together with an unlikely crew of producers, stars and hangers-on, the Grands set out for Malwiki, where among the tribesmen they each discover unforeseen truths about themselves, their lovers, and the meaning of the movies.

Moving from the piers of Coney Island to Africa’s veld, and further to the glitter of early Hollywood, O, Africa! is an epic tale of self-discovery, the constraints of history and prejudice, and the stubborn resolve of family and friendship in the face of tragedy.

I honestly couldn't get into this book. I read about fifty pages and then quit because it was kinda boring. I went into it with high hopes which was probably a mistake because it made me not like it so much. The writing was really good, but the story line and characters were...meh. I would recommend this book to avid adult book readers and those who like slow beginnings in books.I didn't finish it though.
1.0 Stars