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Tag Archives: 3/5 stars

ophelia and the marvelous boyTitle: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
Author: Karen Foxlee
Pages: 240 (Ebook)
Rating: 3/5

I received a copy from Netgalley for review. This book is coming out on January 28th, so you can pick it up quite soon too!

Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn’t believe in anything that can’t be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia’s help.

As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy’s own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world.

A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is a truly remarkable adventure that I for the most part enjoyed. I love museum settings and think that this is a story that both boys and girls can enjoy, especially as a read-out loud to a class story. In fact, I started out reading it out loud to a friend but ended up falling quiet and reading it to myself. Oops.

Ophelia was interesting, more so than the Marvelous Boy who I refuse to speak about for spoilerish reasons (also because I might end up yelling about a specific thing again. Which is a good thing, that means the author did good!). She meets him and refuses to believe in his fantastical stories about wizards and keys and the end of the world. I nearly wanted to smack him myself after he kept making Ophelia go after keys, it got a bit tedious. My favorite scene would have been Ophelia and the ghosts, that struck as the Snow Queen’s evilest of deeds. More so than the misery birds or the wolves, or that she wanted to kill a boy. The misery birds were pretty neat and scary, wish I could have seen more of them in the story.

It was a great read though I felt like the ending and the fight with the Snow Queen was rushed and slightly anticlimactic. The Snow Queen gave me the chills and I loved the flashbacks of Ophelia and her mother, but the other characters seemed to lack some character building. The ending came at a satisfying point even though I wanted it to continue for just a bit longer so I could get a few remaining questions answered! Overall though, I was happy to have picked this up and would definitely recommend it to any youngster or young of heart.

Stay warm!
~Tally

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the collectorTitle: The Collector
Author: Victoria Scott
Pages: Ebook!
Rating: 3/5

He makes good girls…bad.

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

 Dante’s awesomeness was what made me pick this book up, and at the beginning, made me cringe to no end. TOO OVER THE TOP. But he settled down and I found myself chuckling and shaking my head each time he interacted with Charlie. Half-defensive, half-incredulous to find himself in her company I loved Charlie at the beginning. So sweet and naive. Then I had a bit of trouble liking her toward the end of the middle part, that made me lose interest for a while. And I never did like Blue, I’m sorry to say.

Dante, he’s very cocky but did I find him attractive (you know beside drooling over the cover?)? Not really, he sounded very much like the teenager he is. Though I do believe we’d get along grandly as friends. Maybe… Minus the long, long, and longer inner struggle that he seemed to gravitate towards. Don’t get me wrong, they include some really nice, feelsy moments but mostly I just waited impatiently for Ms. Scott to go on with the story. The ending was a bit predictable and anti-climatic but it did leave me slightly curious to read the next book.

The Collector was a really enjoyable book to read. If you don’t mind a slow-paced plot but with some pretty interesting cast of characters, I would recommend it. The paranormal aspects aren’t really present yet but I can feel Victoria Scott saving up for some neat suprises!

Happy Reading!
~Tally


invisibleTitle: invisible
Author: Cecily Anne Paterson
Pages: 270 (Ebook)
Rating: 3/5

 I got a free copy of invisible from Amazon, this is Paterson’s first book and while I had a few problems getting into it, once it picked up emotionally and storywise, I was really impressed.

Jazmine Crawford doesn’t make decisions. She doesn’t make choices. She doesn’t make friends. Jazmine Crawford only wants one thing: to be invisible. For Jazmine, it’s a lot easier to take out her hearing aid and drift along pretending that nothing’s wrong than it is to admit that she’s heartbroken. She starts to come out of her shell when she’s forced to be in the school play and even makes friends with bouncy Gabby and chocolate-loving Liam. But can she stand up to the school bully, and is she strong enough to face the truth about what really happened to her dad?

Why did I have trouble getting hooked? I couldn’t tell for sure what age Jazmine was, be it that I wasn’t paying attention or clues weren’t given soon enough. It drove me crazy. I’d pegged Jazmine as upper high schooler but once it was established that she was junior high level, it brought a more profound level of feeling to the story, at least, to me.

Bullying is a hard subject to write about and Jazmine went through a lot of ups that had me grinning at all the cuteness and simple happiness. Then there were moments that she’d retreat and leave me aching in sympathy. The worst part was her journal, kind of predictable but at the same time Paterson made it agonizing to read. Ahh, and I loved how the Secret Garden play (and Miss Fraser!!) helped Jazmine and the ending, just lovely and perfect amount of touching.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who might have a youngster (say 10+)  and to those that don’t. It’s a rough ride but also has its inspiring moments. Touching bases with many topics that are sometimes hard to acknowledge such as physical disabilities and depression I did truly enjoy this book for how honest it was. Read it!

~Nataly


fairy bluesTitle: Fairy Blues
Author J.L. Bryan
Pages: 231 (Ebook)
Rating: 3/5

With their enchanted instruments charming the crowds, the Assorted Zebras attract interest from record producers, and soon they’re off to cut their first album and music video. Jason and his friends don’t know they’ve just become pawns in a sinister plot by a cabal of evil fairies…

Meanwhile, Aoide and her band pursue a new strategy for regaining their stolen instruments, one that will take them into the most haunted region in Faerie.

It was so much fun to read the second book of this series, even moreso than the last book. I really enjoyed the fairies a lot this time, they have such funny personalities. In this book they go to enlilst the help of wolf banshees to get their instruments back. Their quest through some of the most perilous parts of their world was comical (I absolutely loved the scene with the pumpkin patch!) but also had its tense moments.

Mitch, Dred, Jason and Erin have quite an adventure themselves. In Ireland! Magicking their parents so they can go record with an important company, the tie between Jason and Erin cotinues to grow, still awkard but it is a nice budding relationship. They have dark fae after them that concludes with a nice battle full of, if not surprises, at least entertaining allies.

I really enjoyed reading more about these to groups and I look forward to reading more of Bryan’s works. Happy Thursday!

~Tally


Tomorrow Land Mari Mancusi zombie apocalypse
Title: Tomorrow Land
Author: Mari Mancusi
Pages: 5,779 (Kindle Fire)
Rating: 3/5

I really liked Tomorrow Land, though I’m not sure whether it’s dystopian or not. I would still post about it if I was sure though… So probably not that important. Interesting, though. Also interestingly, approximately one third of this book takes place at Disneyland. The other parts take place in weird post-apocalyptic towns and box stores which provide ample room to hide from the zombies. That’s right, zombies. We’ve finally hit a zombie book. It’s about time, no?

Anyhow, I’m not very well versed in zombie books, but I think from a YA dystopian-obsessed point of view Tomorrow Land was pretty good. I liked the world, though I was slightly confused a few times, and I loved how the story progressed in a non-linear fashion (think Contagion) so you didn’t get to learn how things had started until it seemed like they were ending. I’ve always been a sucker for the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey plot style.

Peyton is the last girl alive, thanks to the safehouse her father built her before the zombies took over. After the programmed containment period, Peyton is released into a world full of unknowns, left to fester in the zombie virus since she last knew it. She must be prepared for anything. She’s been keeping fit, mentally and physically, just like her father told her to. She knows she can handle the zombies.

But can she handle the people she meets in the supposedly dead world?

This book had a love line. Very nice, back and forth, no triangle, pentagon, dodecahedron stuff happening here. It was quite refreshing. The love interests argued and things, but it was more over whose fault the infection of their companion(s – happened more than once) was than whether or not they were the favorite. It made things much more realistic, from my point of view.

I can’t talk too much about the zombie infestation thing (spoilers (not spoiler alert, but that’s why I can’t explain in detail all the facets of the zombie infestation)), which I’ve found can make or break an apocalypse novel, but I was satisfied well enough by the ‘scientific’ explanation, and thankful it actually played into the book, because sometimes there is no to very little scientific explanation (looking at you, paranormal romance) because ‘it’s not important to the plot’ which makes me want to cry and stop reading. Science is always important to me as a reader, though I am quite the nerd.

I realize this is kind of a shortish review, but I read the book in like three hours at midnight-3am, so forgive me if I haven’t come up with a gorgeous analysis of the inner plot structure. Just know I liked it and would definitely recommend it to someone looking for a nice post-apocalyptic zombie novel.

Hope your 4th was the best,
Rosey


the banks of certain riversTitle: The Banks of Certain Rivers
Author: Jon Harrison
Pages 331 (Ebook)
Rating: 3/5

It was interesting to read something outside my comfort zone. I recieved this book for review and I will warn you that The Banks of Certain Rivers is aimed at an adult audience with content more appropriate to that age group. I went back and forth with this book, the sweet moments in the end were what earned the book 3 stars instead of a 2.5. Read on:

Neil Kazenzakis is barely holding his life together: ever since an accident left his wife profoundly disabled, he’s been doing his best as a single dad and popular high school teacher. He’s also been dealing with Lauren Downey, his sort-of girlfriend of the past two years who’s pushing for a commitment—and for Neil to finally tell his son Christopher about their secret relationship.

Neil’s carefully balanced world begins to fall apart when some questionable footage of him is anonymously posted to YouTube…just as Chris learns about Lauren in the worst possible way. Doubting his own recollection of the events in the online video and threatened with the loss of his job and the ability to care for his wife, Neil must find a way to prove the truth to his family, his community, and himself as he struggles to regain the splintered trust of his son.

Neil, I’ll call him Mr. K, tumbled in headfirst into a whirlwind of problems. I had a few problems connecting with him sometimes but there was always something new to learn about him. Through the course of the first half of the book you see flashbacks to how he came to be who he was now and throughout the book we also see emails, another coping method that I rather enjoyed the concept of. (It’s a bit bittersweet to write to an email address that will never respond or be seen by anyone.)

The two people that I felt, could have been more developed as characters were Lauren and Chris. I never got a good read on Lauren, she seemed like an even more complicated mass of emotions with no real center of stability until she fully took on the role of calming balm to Neil And Chris, sweet teenage boy, a real gentleman also made me raise an eyebrow at his almost puppy-like behavior around his dad but he grew on me. Sort of. I enjoyed Alan the most, he had a calming, sometimes mischievous streak in him that really did a lot for the story. I liked that most of the characters had a hobby or passion, even if they didn’t take much stage time.

Who the antagonists were, that kept me guessing for sure. It added a measure of realness to the story, seeing how a teacher could be brought down by a video and have to face to consequences while almost believing the video himself. The school scandal takes backstage when Chris disappears after Mr. K’s problems spin out of control. It was a bit interesting with some nice father/son moments but I found the resolution to the video trouble much more interesting (note: it might have been Chris’s aforementioned puppy behavior that did it).

The ending is a neatly tied into a bow for everyone but one person that I rather liked (read the review again if you missed who;) ) and I felt satisfied with all the light and life after a well written book of breaking loss and slow mending.

~Tally


fairy metal thunderTitle: Fairy Metal Thunder
Author: J.L. Bryan
Pages: Ebook (194-Paperback)
Rating: 3/5

A rock & roll fairy tale.

Jason plays guitar in a teenage garage band called the Assorted Zebras, but they have no fans, no gigs, and they’re going nowhere. Even worse, Jason has a crush on their lead singer, but she doesn’t seem interested in him at all.

Then Jason steals instruments from the fairy world. Soon the band is enchanting crowds, and Jason is a step closer to the girl of his dreams, but the new gear is brimming with dangerous and destructive magic they can’t control.

Their shortcut to success has cost a troupe of innocent fairies their livelihood and turned Jason and his band into enemies of the powerful Queen Mab, who sends supernatural bounty hunters to track them down, including one of the most dangerous horned creatures in Faerie…a small unicorn named Buttercake.

 Was reading a book review in one of the blogs I frequent when I discovered this particular book. Seeing that it’s free on amazon I didn’t think there was any wrong in trying out this self-published writer. Like most readers, I approach self-pubbed writers with caution. Things can go wrong.

It was not the case with Bryan. He is (in my small exploration of these authors) the first author to provide a flowing story without the typos. He cares about his story. And that’s what made this book so enjoyable, short but good.

There’s Jason, the typical boy with the unattainable crush and a disintegrating band. While baby-sitting the little sister, he happens on a chance to impress said crush (this scene reminded me of Harry Potter, no joke) and he follows the strange creature thief into a world dangerous for humans. There, he finds some really cool music instruments…

It’s a blast (literally at points) watching the kids find out just how much power these fairy instruments have and how they adapt to the players. And then we get a view from the owners of the instruments and how much trouble they get into from the theft. The fairies didn’t sparkle personality-wise like they could have but it was cool to meet the unicorns.

Who I might say, are far more scary then they appear at first glance. Unicorns or other, it was a great twist at the end and a good way to end this short but fun and music packed book. Recommend it for kids and adults who want a light read but still satisfying.

~Tally