Thursday, January 31, 2019

DNF&Y [13]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative! If you would like additional information, please click on the DNF&Y tab at the top. If you want to join, you can link up at the bottom!

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
Synopsis (via Goodreads): A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.

Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Or can it be explained by science?

Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.

DNF at 51%

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Once Upon a River was very descriptive with extremely fleshed out characters, but I didn't have the patience for the pacing. Before you grab your pitchforks, I'm aware this was a story about storytelling, and the writing was reminiscent of someone orally telling a tale. However, reading this book was mentally exhausting. There were a lot of characters, a million little details, and a thousand threads to follow. I never felt connected to the characters, and that's likely because we were constantly jumping from one person to the next.

I just wanted to know who the little girl was! Why did she resemble so many people? Was she actually dead? Where did she come from? I was tempted to skip to the very end to see if any of those questions were answered, but even that seemed like too much effort.

The history, the language, the characteristics of people and places -- all amazing. I enjoyed learning about their lives, but all of the details made the book feel a little dense. I prefer stories with a quicker pace, so maybe I was doomed from the start. Despite feeling like some of the information was unnecessary, it did enrich the overall story.

White Stag (Permafrost, #1)
by Kara Barbieri
Synopsis (via Goodreads): The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

DNF at 28%

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I really, really wanted to like this. Goblins, a snowy setting, action and adventure -- all things I enjoy reading about. However, the story didn't deliver. It might have been my review copy, but there were a lot of inconsistencies that really detracted from the book. Also, Janneke has supposedly been around Soren for a century, but the two acted like total strangers.

“No, I mean, does your kind normally have that really cute nose crinkle when they make certain facial expressions, especially ones of humor or anger?" 

I would assume that was something he'd have noticed in their ninety-nine years together, but it was like they were seeing each other for the first time. Additionally, Soren didn't seem like the type to use words like cute. Janneke was also equally surprised by his actions, even though they were things he's been doing forever. Their relationship was unrealistic and it would have been difficult to picture a romance between the two.

Janneke was always angry or feeling guilty about something, but it was hard to tell where those feelings were directed. Herself? The goblins? Humans? She seemed be angry with everyone and everything. Based on what I read, Soren never gave her a reason to hate him. He tried to keep her safe (albeit against her will at times), and was quick to offer comfort and reassurances (as much as a goblin can manage), but she still distrusted his intentions. 

I thought the world-building was interesting, and I liked the idea of goblins and The Hunt, but a lot of the story was repetitive and the language was often redundant. It also wasn't believable when Janneke fought Goblins, especially when just showing their power crippled her. It seemed unlikely she'd ever be able to get the upper hand.

In the end, there were just too many things distracting me from the story. I think it's worth mentioning that there is a lot of brutality, detailed accounts of rape and abuse, and psychological torment. Goblins need humans to create (since they're only able to destroy things themselves), and some humans are treated better than others. Janneke's past has influenced her present, and it was often dark and unpleasant.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life
by Rachel Cohn
Synopsis (via Goodreads): "I'm here to take you to live with your father. In Tokyo, Japan! Happy birthday!"

In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World's future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS-the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahari, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn't exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of uber-cool international kids who spend money like it's air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who's frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.'

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.

DNF at 18%

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

It's been awhile since I've read something by Rachel Cohn (really love her books with David Levithan), and I was excited to start My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life. Regrettably, this one didn't work for me. I disliked the main character, Elle, which made it difficult for me to enjoy the rest of the book. Her attitude and personality left a lot to be desired.

Elle's relationship with her mother didn't feel authentic, and the one interaction I read about wasn't believable. It didn't feel like they were having conversation between mother and daughter, but one between two people that happened to know each other. Her mother has kept a lot of secrets, but she did very little to explain herself when given the opportunity. Even their banter felt forced and fake.

Elle has been in foster care for a few months now, and she's experienced some truly terrible living conditions. I felt bad for her at the beginning, and thought she'd be happy (at the very least curious or relieved) when her father asked her to come and live with him, but she was bratty about everything. She complained about the clothes, the way people greeted one another, how they ate their food, and various other customs. I hated how disrespectful she was of the culture and traditions -- even her inner thoughts were obnoxious. I know her circumstances weren't ideal, but ugh. I wish she had at least tried to understand and accept her new surroundings.

*Share your DNF&Y post! Please leave the direct link to your DNF&Y post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

My Weekly Pull [55] & Can't Wait Wednesday [25]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

West Coast Avengers #7 by Kelly Thompson, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Eduard Petrovich, Stefano Caselli

Jacob's comics for the week!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Urban Legends #9 by Gary Carlson, Frank Fosco, Kevin Eastman
Amazing Spider-Man #14 by Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley
Black Panther vs. Deadpool #4 (of 5) by Daniel Kibblesmith, Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Ryan Benjamin, Rain Beredo
Man Without Fear #5 by Jed MacKay, Danilo Beyrouth, Kyle Hotz
Marvel Knights 20th #6 (of 6) by Donny Cates, Kim Jacinto, Kaare Andrews, Vita Ayala, Joshua Cassara
Punisher #7 by Matthew Rosenberg, Szymon Kudranski, Greg Smallwood
Spider-Man Deadpool #45 by Robbie Thompson, Jim Towe, Dave Johnson

I really love West Coast Avengers, but I'm not a fan of this week's cover. It makes Kate look older than she is, and it doesn't match the image of her we've seen the last six issues. I appreciate that they want to give other artists a chance to share their talents and ideas, but it can also be a turnoff when they change too much about the characters. As far as the story goes, I'm really enjoying what Kelly Thompson is doing! She really has a knack for writing Kate, and I've liked her spin on all of the West Coast Avengers.

I'm technically reading Marvel Knights 20th, but it's never guaranteed, haha. The last few weeks I've read them because Jacob wants to show me something, but it's not one that I actively seek out. The story is good, don't get me wrong, but they're not characters I normally read about. All of the people involved (Bruce Banner, Daredevil, Punisher, etc.) have lost the memories that they're supposed to have, and are currently living in a weird alternate version. It's pretty crazy!

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Comics Will Break Your Heart
by Faith Erin Hicks
Expected publication: February 12th 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Miriam's family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that's what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn't have enough to worry about, Miriam's life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam's grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).

How perfect is this book for this post? My Weekly Pull is about the comics I've had pulled for me this week, and my CWW is a book about comics! <3 It also sounds like it's going to be a really great story, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Q [6] Do you watch book trailers?

Have you ever watched a book trailer? If you haven't, they're very similar to movie trailers. They give you a general idea of what the book is going to be about; however, I've seen some book trailers that reveal crucial information that spoils part of the story. I think book trailers should only include the information within a blurb, otherwise, they risk sharing too many details (and we all know even the blurbs can contain too much information about the story). 

Why are book trailers a part of the marketing and publicity for new books? Where are they advertised? I feel like they have a really high potential to spoil something about a book. Even if they're not spoiling the content, they do damage and alter the characters for me. I like to picture the characters in my head as I read, and the trailers essentially give you a picture to recall. They're not always accurate, or even follow all of the descriptions listed in the book, so I would rather create the images on my own. It's also why I like reading a book before watching the movie, so I already have a clear idea of what the characters look like to me.

Do you watch book trailers? Do you actively search them out, or just click on the ones you randomly come across? Or are you like me, and try to avoid them altogether? I watched a lot of trailers before writing this post, because I wanted to see how trailers made my publishers compared to the ones made by fans. If it's just music and words, I'm okay. It was when the book trailer felt like a movie trailer that I lost interest. Do you think there is a large fan base for book trailers?

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #1)
by Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. 

A Curse so Dark and Lonely completely consumed me once I started reading it! I kept telling myself it was late, and that I needed to go to sleep, but I just could not put this book down. Rhen and Harper were both trapped in tragic circumstances, and I felt compelled to continue reading until I knew how their story ended. It was devastating and beautiful, but also entirely believable. 

I loved Kemmerer's spin on Beauty and the Best, and thought Harper was fierce and wonderful. She's stubborn and strong, and she's willing to risk her life to save others. I don't think she ever thought of herself, because she was constantly trying to find a way back to her sick mother and troubled brother. Even after spending time with Rhen, Grey, and the people of Emberfall, she was unwilling to leave them if there was a possibility she could help save their lives. Her struggles were realistic, and she didn't accept her new surroundings without a fight.

I don't typically like love triangles, and I'm not saying this has one, but there's an opportunity for one to occur. Honestly, I wanted Harper to end up loving both guys and spending her life living with both. I know that sounds really weird, but they both had qualities I admire, and I think they would have been happy in a three-person relationship. 

I also like that Harper has cerebral palsy. Honestly, if it hadn't been for the author's reminders, I would have completely forgotten about it. Her condition doesn't define her or affect what she's capable of. She's willing and determined to try new things, and she accepts herself exactly the way she is. Lilith called her broken, but I never saw her that way. She rides horses, runs from potential kidnappers, tries to save a women she doesn't know, and risks her life for a world that she's not a part of. I think Harper is a character that will inspire readers to be better versions of themselves.

"They believe her limp is the result of a war injury, but Harper is quick to correct them. 'I was born this way,' she'll snap, 'and I'm going to die this way, so teach me to work around it.' They love her for it."

Rhen mentions being a douchebag prior to the curse (and even a little at the start), but we also see how he's changed over the many seasons he's had to live through it. He's learned to care about his people, and he worries about their safety and whether or not they trust him to be in a leadership position. He's been physically and mentally tortured, and still tries to protect those around him. I didn't love everything about Rhen, but I understood him and his actions. 

Grey was mysterious and unintentionally charming. His words and movements are very calculated, and he manages to say a lot with very few words. He's loyal to a fault, and his loyalty has cost him a lot over the years. I was unsure about him at first (when he retrieves Harper), but he quickly gained my trust and respect. I'm curious what his role will be in the next book! 

A Curse so Dark and Lonely may be a retelling, but Kemmerer easily made it her own. I loved her twists on the original story, and I'm happy she chose to include the surrounding kingdom and not just the cursed castle. It added an interesting and unique perspective! Harper and Rhen couldn't sit around and worry about themselves, because they had to work together to save his kingdom from an invasion. Truthfully, it was probably better for their relationship. 

I really, really loved this one! This book wrapped up nicely, but definitely left room for more.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Sunday Post [10]

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at the Caffeinated Reviewer! It's an opportunity to share news, post a recap for the previous week, showcase books, and highlight what's planned for the week ahead.


We went to Legoland this week! We've never been before, so it was an exciting experience for all of us. We'll have to go back this summer when the outdoor water area is accessible (it looked pretty awesome when we walked by). The girls were too short for a few of the rides, but they were able to participate in everything else! Our son's favorite part was building cars to race down tracks with his dad. It was such a great family day! 

My husband is building me another bookshelf, and it's almost finished! I should have a picture to show you next week, but it's currently in it's final stages of sanding and whatever else that entails. Yes, he is pretty perfect! ;) My current bookshelf is one he built for me while we were dating, and it has been too full for too long. After the bookshelf, he has plans to build us a larger dining room table, and I'm really looking forward to having bench seats for the kiddos.

Previous week on the blog:

Sunday: Nothing!
Monday: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry [Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt + Giveaway] ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Tuesday: Nothing!
Wednesday: Nothing!
Saturday: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1) by Roshani Chokshi ⋆⋆⋆

What I'm currently reading:

I actually finished A Curse so Dark and Lonely shortly after writing this post! It was too good to put down, and I was completely wrapped up in the story. I'm not normally a fan of retellings, but I've enjoyed Kemmerer's books in the past (and met her this past November at a signing!), so I decided to give this one a shot. It was amazing! Truly! I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here. Look for my review tomorrow!

Stolen is a book I accepted for a blog tour. There was just something about the cover and the synopsis that really intrigued me. I opened it for the first time this morning, so I haven't read enough to have an opinion. Seafire is another wonderful book! I've been listening to the audiobook for it, and didn't realize it was narrated by Rebecca Soler -- love her! She also narrated The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I'm loving the all-female crew, and how passionate they are about saving their own.

What I plan on reading next: 

I'm looking forward to all three of these! I've had my eyes on Courting Darkness for awhile now, and I'm really excited to have an opportunity to read it. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane is the second book in the series, and my son has been asking me to read it since we finished the first book (but there were others we wanted to read, too). I don't know much about The Deceivers, but I won a copy and have enjoyed Simmons' books in the past!

What I'm watching:

We finally watched Ant Man & The Wasp and The Greatest Showman. I really enjoyed both! I've always loved musicals, and The Greatest Showman was no exception. Hugh Jackman's voice always does something to me -- it's mesmerizing! Even when he's playing a grouchy Wolverine in the X-Men movies, haha. 

I'm still watching Fairy Tail episodes as they pop up, and I'm really curious how this show is going to end. I started Sirius the Jaeger on a whim yesterday, and it's pretty gruesome. I wasn't expecting all the violence, but the story has been enjoyable as well. It's anime, vampires and werewolves, and a group of people that hunt vampires down. I'm only a few episodes into it, so I know they're both after something, but I'm not sure what that is.

Challenge updates:

Discussion Challenge: 0 / 11-20

I'm happy with my progress so far! I should have a discussion post later this week, and my goal is to do at least one every month. What has been your favorite read this month? I might want to add it to my list!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, SΓ©verin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, SΓ©verin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, SΓ©verin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. 

I almost gave up on The Gilded Wolves, but things improved as I kept reading. The story reminded me of both The Da Vinci Code and Ocean's Eleven, but written for a younger audience. The aspects of the story that included symbolism and mathematical equations sometimes felt a little far-fetched, but they were intricate and difficult enough to be believable. The characters had to actually work for their answers, and solutions didn't fall into their laps. However, I didn't always understand why Forged objects worked (or how), but I ignored the part of my brain that wanted a clearer understanding of the information being presented.

Speaking of information, The Gilded Wolves really overloaded my brain at the beginning, and then periodically throughout the book. I want an author to show me how their world works, because a lot of new information can be overwhelming and difficult to process. I would rather feel like I'm a part of the story, which is hard to do when I'm having trouble understanding how the world works. Additionally, some of the chapters in this book started with archival records from the Order of Babel, and the information only added to my confusion (random names and dates that dealt with Babel fragments and Forging).

There were also a lot of inconsistencies that I wasn't a fan of. For example, the rings are supposedly melded to the skin and impossible to remove (unless by force), which is why the first chapter happens the way it does. However, towards the end of the book, everyone is taking their rings off like it isn't an issue at all. I thought they had to literally be cut from the skin? If you've read this, did I miss something along the way? Really, everything about the house rings was confusing.

I did like watching everyone work together, and learning about all of their individual quirks. Hypnos was charming and instantly a favorite! It was clear he was lonely and looking for friendship, but the group was distrustful of anyone within the Order. Also, now that I think about it, he said the Order monitored his every movement outside of his house (and even wore a recording device for their benefit), but after a certain point he never seemed to have one on. Did the Order suddenly not care about his whereabouts?

As for the ending, I didn't like it. I felt betrayed by the author, and didn't appreciate how she handled something regarding one of the characters. There's also a cliffhanger, but it wasn't one that left me wanting more. I was annoyed with Severin and his decisions, confused about why he's able to attend the big meeting that's coming up, and angry at the way he's treating his friends. I understand that he's in pain, but he's picking at the wound instead of letting it heal. It went against what I thought I knew about Severin. In all honesty, I feel like I know very little about the characters, except for what they achieved during this book.

Books like this are always hard for me to review, because on the one hand I liked it enough to finish the story, but there were still a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way. I enjoyed watching everyone worked together to crack codes and riddles, but I didn't always like how they handled their personal relationships and goals. If The Gilded Wolves sounds like something you'd enjoy, go for it. I thought the overall story was incredibly imaginative and fun to experience.

Friday, January 25, 2019

My Weekly Pull [54] & Can't Wait Wednesday [24]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday (we took the kiddos to LEGOLAND this Wednesday and I forgot to schedule this post!) to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Oliver #1 by Gary Whitta, Darick Robertson
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #2 by Tom Taylor, Juan Cabal, Andrew Robinson

Jacob's comics for the week!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #90 by Tom Waltz, Dave Wachter, Kevin Eastman
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Steve Skroce
Man Without Fear #4 by Jed MacKay, Danilo Beyrouth, Declan Shalvey

Jacob stumbled across Oliver last night, and it sounded like something we'd both enjoy! "OLIVER re-imagines Charles Dickens' most famous orphan as a post-apocalyptic superhero fighting to liberate a war-ravaged England while searching for the truth about his own mysterious origins." Also, that cover is awesome! I still haven't read the first issue of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, but I plan on getting to it soon. Moving impacts more than your location! We're behind on everything.

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The Year They Fell by David Kreizman
Expected publication: July 30th 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): The worst moment of your life can help determine who you really are.

Josie, Jack, Archie, Harrison, and Dayana were inseparable as preschoolers. But that was before high school, before parties and football and getting into the right college. Now, as senior year approaches, they're basically strangers to each other.

When their parents die in the same plane crash, most of them are suddenly on their own. And they're the only people who can really understand what that feels like.

They have to face the issues that drove them apart--and the secrets their parents left behind. How can you keep up appearances when you're falling apart inside? How can you forgive parents who betrayed you? How do you tell someone you've been in love with them since preschool?

The answers will help forge a new family in this heartbreaking, funny, and surprising young adult novel from award-winning storyteller David Kriezman. It's a deeply felt, complex journey into adulthood, exploring issues of grief, sexual assault, racism, and trauma.

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Mini Reviews [23]

My Island by Stephanie Demasse-Pottier,
Seng Soun Ratanavanh (Illustrator)
Expected publication: April 2nd 2019

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A young girl imagines a lovely island populated by thousands of birds, where she picnics with her animals, plays games, reads, and collects flowers. You too are welcome on this island, if you know how to dream. Gorgeous, colorful illustrations accompany this gentle yet impactful story that celebrates the imagination of young readers. 


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. 

My Island was mostly disappointing. The synopsis made it sound like we were going to see a girl having adventures, but really it's just a narrator making observations. My Island mentions sharing as a requirement for the island, but doesn't elaborate further. I wish the story had given more details about what happens on the island, and why visitors needed to know how to sing, share, and dream. It was a super quick read, maybe two minutes, and probably not one I will read again.

Red Light, Green Lion by Candace Ryan,
Jennifer Yerkes (Illustrator)
Expected publication: May 7th 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): In this clever book, a green lion is waiting at a red traffic light. While he waits, a series of unexpected events occur, involving such things as lightning, a lilac, library books and lima beans. 


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I thought Red Light, Green Lion offered a unique perspective that children will be able to relate to. The story talks about being prepared on any given day, because you never know what will happen. Our days can be full of surprises, beauty, and kindness, but they can also leave us feeling down and discouraged. I like that this story touches on both possibilities.

Red Light, Green Lion covers a lot of topics with simple sentences that convey a deeper meaning. "Some days, everything slows down, and we may feel stuck. Those are good times to be still and think." Every day has the potential to be amazing, but some days will be harder than others. Our perspective can play a large role in determining the outcome.

I Think I Can by Karen S. Robbins,
Rachael Brunson
Expected publication: March 28th 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Designed to be read with a buddy, this dialogue between an aardvark and a mouse contains only kindergarten or first-grade words, making it a unique first reading book. Sentences are short, with lots of repetition for reinforcement and to build reading confidence. Early childhood specialist and former Romper Room teacher "Miss Karen" believes that reading should be easy and fun, and that reading with a buddy brings pleasure to young children. Recalling the classic children's book The Little Engine that Could, this story encourages beginning readers to believe in themselves. They will want to read it over and over again, and will be proud to say "I can read!"


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I know the synopsis says I Think I Can is supposed to be read with a buddy, but my son is still learning how to read. Reading it on my own felt repetitive, but I do think reading it like a conversation would make it more fun. Instead, they had to listen to me say something and then basically repeat myself for a few pages. Once the mouse started asking different questions, it read more like a story, but then it was over. I would consider buying this for a future read, but it didn't really work reading it solo to my kiddos.

Mine. Yours. by Marsha Diane Arnold, 
Qin Leng (Illustrator)
Expected publication: April 2nd 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Little Panda startles Big Panda awake inside his den. So Big Panda (who's a little cranky) sets him straight by declaring, "Mine." Then he puts Little Panda outside on a rock and tells him, "Yours." When Little Panda appears at breakfast wanting Big Panda's food, he tells him again, "Mine." Though, to encourage Little Panda to leave, he hands him a kite and says, "Yours."


I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I wasn't a fan of Mine. Yours. I thought the older panda set a bad example for the younger panda. He was selfish, possessive, and uncaring. The little panda asked for food and was given a tiny portion compared to what the larger panda hoarded for himself. I dislike the message it sends to children, because adults (especially parental figures) are supposed to take care of them. The young panda was essentially told to go outside and play so the larger panda didn't have to deal with him. 

It didn't help that the only two words used were "mine" and "yours" throughout the book. We try not to use mine at our house, and encourage our children to share what they have. My husband and I share with them, and we expect them to share with us and each other. I know that the story is trying to make a point, and eventually the word "ours" is introduced, but animals were getting upset with the little panda for things that were out of his control. His kite was flying around and bumping into people, and they acted like he'd committed some terrible crime. No one tried to help him, or offered a kind word. I understand what Mine. Yours. was trying to accomplish, but I wasn't a fan of how it was done.