Monday, August 31, 2015

Pre-Pub Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publication: September 1st 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

Everything, Everything was not at all what I was expecting it to be. I was thinking it would be another sob story about a sick girl and some random boy falling in love and blah blah blah. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book was beautifully written and had a very deep inner meaning. I cannot stress enough how beautiful of a book this was. It was innocent and everything felt brand new. The book drew me in and I felt all of the emotions it was portraying. If you think The Fault in Our Stars was such a beautiful book then you need to read Everything, Everything. TFIOS doesn't even compare. And did I mention short chapters? I sooo love me some short chapters. Long ones just make the book feel like its dragging on. So, yeah, read this. Now.

At first, I felt pretty connected to Maddy. I have some pretty bad health issues that sort of border on what she is supposed to have. I wish I had a sterile house where nothing could hurt me. But that is where my wishing I had her life ended. The poor girl had never really met another person, EVER, besides her mother, nurse, and tutors. The very first sentence of the book made me laugh and want to challenge Maddy. She says has read more books than I have. I don't know. I might give her a run for her money on that one. 

Olly was an amazing character. We all know that boys want what they can't have. And then when they finally get it they take it, use it and then leave. But Olly isn't like that at all. He watches his mother suffer and sees his family falling apart and I guess that teaches him to not take things for granted. His interest in Maddy, at first, is to be expected. Weird girl staring out of a window in an all white room. Who wouldn't be intrigued? But he didn't stop with simple curiosity. He formed something with Maddy that a boy his age normally isn't capable of. I was afraid that once everything happened he would change and Maddy would try to get him back but he would have moved on. 

You are supposed to be able to trust your parents 100%. Without the trust children build with their parents and family how is the child supposed to learn and grow? Maddy's mother broke that trust before Maddy was even old enough to know what trust was. Then Maddy grew up believing that her mother gave up so much of her own life just to take care of her. How will Maddy ever truly trust anyone now? She might feel like she knows what love and trust is but I have a feeling later down the road her relationships and life will cause her to question her trust in someone.

The book definitely didn't end the way I was thinking it would. It didn't even cross my mind that the book would end that way. I was thinking everything from suicide to running away and joining the circus. NOPE! WRONG! But I guess I should have been a little clued in when the whole Carla situation happened. A normal person would never do that to someone who has A) been a part of the family for 15 years and B) is the only other person Maddy has that loves her. Her mother was just afraid that the secret would get out I guess. And I didn't see that at all until the book ended. 

But after all that happened the final part was actually pretty close to what I wanted to happen. I was afraid it wouldn't happen because Maddy pushed everyone away towards the end. But it did happen and I hope she can move on with her life and finally get to LIVE.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Title: Delicate Monsters
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication: June 9th 2015
Cover Rating: 4/5


I received Delicate Monsters for review a few months ago. The day I got it I picked it up and started reading. It is now some months later and I am still not finished the book. The synopsis of the book sounded so good! I don't understand how a book can deviate so much from the synopsis. I have picked the book up at least 5 times and I just cannot get through it. 

I couldn't connect to any of the characters. I didn't like the story-line. The plot sounded good but it wasn't executed very well. The writing felt very choppy. I am not sure, exactly, how to explain that but some of the writing felt incomplete. Like there way more to say but it just ended.

I won't get too much into the book considering I didn't and couldn't finish it but this was my impression of the first 100 or so pages. The book is rather short and I didn't see it getting any better before the end. This is, in fact, the first review I have ever written for a DNF book. 

Sometime in the future I might return to this book and try to finish it but right now I just wasn't feeling it. If I would have known/paid attention to the fact that it was written by the author of Charm & Strange I probably never would have started it considering I also couldn't get through that book. I truly hate leaving books unfinished so I might just end up skim reading the rest of the book and updating this review later. But, until then, it will remain on my DNF list.

Overall, I gave the book 2.5/5 stars.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Horrorween Reviews 2015

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 3:30 PM 0 comments

Hey guys! So through the entire month of October I am going to be reviewing horror books, movies, games and whatever else I find that I think should be reviewed. I am going to try and watch newer horror movies but I will be watching the older ones, of course, for myself because it's kind of a thing I do. I try to find the Halloween(Michael Myers) movies on tv and I watch them, out of order, of course, because they never play them in order. I also watch Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street when they come on. I am always stalking the creepy channels during October to see what comes on. So, yeah, this will be happening. I will probably have at least 1 review a day for something. So I hope you guys enjoy! Let me know if you have any suggestions for horror books or movies for me to read/watch.

Review: What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Title: What We Knew
Author: Barbara Stewart
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication: July 14th 2015
Cover Rating: 3/5
Goodreads | Amazon


When I was offered a chance to review What We Knew I had to say yet. I disliked Barbara Stewart's other book, The In-Between, very much but I wanted to give her another try since that was her first book, I believe.

Sadly, I disliked this book as well. I wanted to like it so much but that just didn't happen.

The characters fell flat and the world building and events were just weird. The writing is hard to follow some times and the overall story just wasn't presented in a way that appealed to me. 

The book was supposed to be scary. Some sort of psychological thriller, just like her first book, but it wasn't scary or very thrilling. The pacing was wrong. It felt like the book was dragging on and on at most parts. The girls, although, yes, they are teenagers, felt very immature.

I actually ended up skim reading the last 75 or so pages and that is pretty terrible considering the book isn't that long. The author and her books just aren't for me. The ideas behind her books always sound so thrilling but her writing style just doesn't do it for me. So, sadly, I will be putting this author on my Do Not Read list. 

Overall, I gave the book 2/5 stars.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Author Spotlight: Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments


Shanna Swendson earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas but decided it was more fun to make up the people she wrote about. Her contemporary fantasy Enchanted Inc. series has been published around the world. She just launched a new contemporary fantasy series, beginning with A Fairy Tale, and her young adult steampunk fantasy Rebel Mechanics was a July release from Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers. She’s also contributed essays to a number of books on pop culture topics and spends too much time discussing television on the Internet. Visit her web site at www.shannaswendson.com.

Title: Rebel Mechanics
Author: Shanna Swendson
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication: July 14th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5


I have read quite a few Historical Fiction young adult books over the past 2 years. Some with magical elements and some without. But one thing I have noticed about ALL of them is that they are either woefully slow and agonizing or they are extremely interesting and keep your eyes glue to the book. Care to guess which category Rebel Mechanics falls under? If you chose woefully slow and agonizing... you would be very wrong. I always have that initial weariness when starting a book like this and I am glad to say that the weariness went away quickly.

Oh how I loved Verity. She had this air about her that most women from the late 1800's wouldn't have even dared to have. She was confident and independent and that just made me adore her. Did I mention she was intelligent? Such a rare thing to find in that time period especially hiding within such a young woman. The only thing I didn't like was in the beginning of the book she seemed sort of indifferent towards her fathers way for raising and educating her, leaning more towards dislike. Her father gave her an excellent education and a great chance at a better life and she just seemed to not appreciate it. Or, at least, that't the feeling I got from her. I think that he may have known her secret and was just trying to protect her while giving her an education and her best chance at a normal life.

Throughout the entire book I found my self constantly wondering how different the world I know would be if one little part of history had been different. This book is definitely a great way to get you thinking about life. The alternate world this book presented was Magic vs Steam Engines. While I love the progression in technology I can't help but wonder if things like The ozone layer and Global Warming would be a thing if magic really did exist. We wouldn't have as many gasoline powered things ruining the world.

I didn't like Alec from the start. I don't know what it was but I felt like he was using Verity. I think he might have been attracted to her but his truly love was the cause and his machines. I also got a funny feeling from Lizzie too. I think the entire Rebel cause just didn't feel right to me. It was amazing that they all believed in something to strongly but some of their morals and procedures just didn't sit right with me. Especially the part with the children. They KNEW something like that would happen. UGH.

I DID like Henry though. There was just something about him the struck me as innocent even though he wasn't. He seemed like a beautiful human and I kind of was rooting for something to happen between him and Verity since he was first introduced. He was a great gentleman he was so different from all the other Magisters. 

I think I can say that this was my first Steampunk type book and I really enjoyed it. I do own a few others but for some reason the whole idea didn't appeal to me much. But I might try the others now that I had some decent success with this book. Also, I think the one thing that has stuck in my mind since finishing this book was the version of Yankee Doodle. Although it was an alternate world it was pretty great to see something I know popping up. 

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


1) What made you want to become an author?
I've always loved books and loved to read, and ever since I was a very small child, I've entertained myself by making up stories in my head. When I was about 12, I realized that I could write them down and I'd have a book. That was when I decided I wanted to be an author. I'd scribble stories in spiral notebooks and then go to the library and read through the Writers Marketplace books to learn about publishers.

2) Where did the idea for Rebel Mechanics come from?
I've been a fan of Victoriana for a long time -- I like Victorian architecture, am fascinated by the clothing, love the books from that era, and am drawn to that general air of elegance. When steampunk came along, I was fascinated by the aesthetic that added a sense of adventure, and I wanted to write something in that vein, but I didn't have any story ideas. Then one day, I was looking at my bookcase and saw my copy of Jane Eyre next to a romantic adventure book, and then I remembered something snarky I'd once said about books starting on a journey needing a robbery to make that kind of opening work, and something in my head just clicked. So I ended up writing a story about a governess with adventures that included a train robbery in the opening scene, and it all built from there.

3) What do you think the current world would be like if magic really existed?
I wonder if we'd have our current level of technological development if we had magic -- but if we had magic, would we notice the difference? We might be doing the same things, but doing them in a different way. I suppose a lot of it depends on who has magical powers or access to powers.

4) Which do you prefer? Men from the 1880's-1920's or men now?
I think I'd enjoy the manners of men from the past, but that would have come with some pretty extreme sexism in a lot of cases. So maybe what I'd like is a modern man who has somewhat old-fashioned gentlemanly manners.

5) Would you rather be magical or be able to build machines?
I think I'd have to be magical because I'm useless at machines. I tend to think of machines as magic, anyway, because I don't much care how they work, just that they do.

6) If you had to choose between walking barefoot where ever you go or never writing another book again as long as you live which one would you choose? and why?
That's an impossible choice! I hate going barefoot. I don't even go barefoot at home. I always wear socks or slippers. But I make my living writing books, and I suppose I'd rather go barefoot and work at home writing than have to get a regular job.

7) Doritos or chocolate chip cookies?
Chocolate chip cookies! Mmm, chocolate ...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Reviewer!!!

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 3:40 PM 0 comments


We have one last new reviewer for now. Her name is Valeria and she is from California! I hope you guys will all give a warm welcome to her. You can click on her signature to go to her blog. 


Friday, August 14, 2015

New Reviewer!!!

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 4:14 PM 1 comments


Hey guys!! We have a new reviewer joining the team. Her name is EJ and she is awesome! You can click on the image below or the same image on the side bar to be taken to her goodreads account! Let's give EJ a warm welcome.




Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Title: Stolen
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publisher: Chicken House LTD
Publication: May 4th 2009
Cover Rating: 2/5


I've never read a book that involved kidnapping and from the victims perspective so I chose Stolen since it had a good reputation and a lot of reviews saying it gave them weird feelings.

The novel has a dark plot and story base yet it lacked depth specially when it comes to the main and ONLY two characters in the Novel . Ty, the kidnapper, and Gemma, the victim.

Ty was "normal" to me when it comes to what he has been through (his mother leaving him , father forgetting about him in the dessert and Ty surviving on his own , him ending up in London alone being on drugs and alcohol and many more that I don't want to spoil) except when he tracked Gemma for 6 years and built a place in the middle of the dessert for them to live forever which is obsessive . He was actually interacting nicely to his environment an Gemma, he even let her run away! TWICE!  With all the unfortunate events he has been through, Ty's character should develop to become twisted , dark , intense and even weird but there is nothing like that in Stolen which is disappointing.

Gemma seems lifeless to me , her personality falls flat and her background wasn't much focused on for me . The writer put so much focus on how Gemma was trying to find plans to run away or kill Ty, but that took more space than it should have.

I wanted the characters to collide, fight and have more intense moments together and let their relationship evolve but nothing happened . Their conversations weren't rich, they were more like "exchange of information" or Ty telling a story rather than a real 2-person conversation, Gemma's part was short and more of her thinking of a way out . Gemma was not listening to Ty in the whole novel, she was just simply hearing it.

The setting of the novel being in the middle of a desert made me feel in the middle of nowhere! I felt it! It gave the feeling of being hopeless and isolated from the whole world where you have no place to run to but Ty. The description was beautiful and spot on! The heat of the endless desert, the stars and the patterns it formed made me develop a hate/love feeling towards it. Just like how Gemma felt. 

I wasn't a fan of the ending. When it finally got to the point of their interaction, it all ended up so fast . No goodbyes or anything. Just the confusion of Gemma having to go back to reality.

Stockholm syndrome was a nice touch that gave me the urge to search about it and wonder if Gemma actually suffered from it but she is convinced that she doesn't.

Gemma ended up not adapting back to her old life and was confused about her feelings toward the life she had with Ty in the middle of the desert, which was a realistic type of confusion and post-traumatic feelings.

The book wasn't bad , but it wasn't as dark as it should have been in order to go with the intense atmosphere and would have been better if some complexity and intensity was added to Ty. It was like a beautiful portrait that lacks shading!

Overall, I gave the book 3/5 stars.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Author Spotlight: In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
After graduating from Dartmouth College, Jen taught high school English for fourteen years. She holds an MA and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. A competitive hurdler and jumper in high school and college, she coached high school cross-country and track & field for thirty-one seasons. When she’s not writing in her office overlooking her back yard pond, you can find her running, hiking, visiting national parks, or going out for ice cream with her husband and son.


Title: In a World Just Right
Author: Jen Brooks
Publisher: Simon + Schuster
Publication: April 28th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5
Goodreads | Amazon


In a World Just Right is a crazy ride of a book. So many twists and turns. Lots of emotions and plenty of amazing characters. Even the 'other' characters had their own personalities. This is a contemporary book with a splash of, not so much supernatural, but magic? I'm not sure how to say it without saying too much.

Jonathan is this really amazing and eccentric character. His thought process is both frightening and powerful. He has one of the strongest personalities I think I have seen in a male protagonist. His is just truly a work of art. I do, however, think he would be completely different if his parents and sister hadn't 'died' or maybe even if he just didn't have the scar. I think because he had so much time alone with himself that he just turned into a somewhat bitter hermit.

I don't know if this is a spoiler or not. I mean I won't be giving away any major plot points so here  goes. Jonathan can bring things to and from his mad up worlds. Letters, T-shirts, and other material items. So I kept thinking, why doesn't he just replace his files or something with the ones from his 'other' school? Or slip the acceptance letter from one college to another? After thinking about it for a while it sounds pretty hard and a bit crazy but he did do the world in both worlds so if he was really worried so much about starting college ASAP then I am wondering why this idea never crossed his mind. 

Why is everything about Kylie? I know she is the reason Jonathan created her world but Tess is right there... RIGHT THERE and all his questions are based on Kylie? That would be the furthest thing from my mind. What about his parents? Did they have this ability too? And is Tess the same one? AHHH!!! I wanted to yell at Jonathan so much!

When I read books I really enjoy the conversations in them. You get to know not only the main character but whoever else they might be talking to. In this book, there is a lot more description and thought sections, not enough conversation scenes for me. I know that Jonathan is a loner in the Real world but he isn't in his made up worlds so I feel like there should have been a bit more conversing. Sometimes the book went pages and pages without conversation. I feel like this was the only problem I truly had with the book.

Now you might think I would give this book a low star review because of some of the statements. But I think that if a book makes you feel, makes you want to yell at a character, then it's a good book. What is the point of reading if you don't feel something? This book made me feel sadness, anger, confusion, happiness and complete. I love love love when books just make you feel everything. And the ending of this book just made me go BOOM. So many unpredictable paths. This book was just abso-freakin-lutely stunning and I can honestly say its the FIRST book I have enjoyed from a male protagonists perspective.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.


1) What was the inspiration behind In a World Just Right?
I honestly don’t remember where I got the idea for a kid who can create worlds. Doesn’t everyone wish for that power at some point? I do remember having this idea about a scene with kids riding a night bus home from a track meet (I used to run, then coach, track and field), and the world maker kid was on it, and some nefarious organization (or maybe the government) was in pursuit of the kid. That scene never made it into the book, though!

2) If you could create a parallel universe, what would it be called, and what would it contain? (Mine would be called Carpe Librum. I would own a huge house with a 3 story library and I would have a ton of money to spend on young adult books.)

Carpe Librum! I love it! Can I come over?

I think In A World Just Right makes clear that when you create another world by changing some parameter(s) of the real world, there are ripples and consequences. Most of the things I would want to put in a parallel universe would be big changes (no war, no disease, no poverty), but to outright eliminate any or all of those might have unexpected consequences for biology, ecology, economy, etc. (Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try, though.) I do think it would be wonderful to create a world where people could coexist without judging each other, especially pre-judging each other. Think of how many news stories you’ve seen recently would have turned out differently in such a world.

3) If you were given the opportunity to be a guy for a day, would you? And why?
Ha! I have never been asked this question, but I have to say, I definitely would. I read an article somewhere recently, written by a man, that talked about how men view women. One of the points the author made is that men view woman as sort of insane because they are so emotional, implying that guys think way more rationally. I also relatively recently had the experience of reading Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle, which to me felt eye-opening with regard to how “guys” think. I would welcome the opportunity to experience guy-thought, as it would be tremendously useful for understanding things they do/say. However, I absolutely must note that I don’t believe all guys think exactly the same, so to be “a guy for a day” would be a different experience depending on the guy I got to be!

4) Are you currently working on any new books?
I just typed THE END on the first draft of a new manuscript! I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a top secret project, though.

5) Coffee or tea?
Would you believe I only drink water? Occasionally juice or lemonade.

6) What is the best part about being an author?
There are many unbelievably wonderful parts. The best is having readers contact me to say they loved my book. I really can’t express how it feels to know your words made a difference to somebody. The other best is sharing the journey with others in the business. I’ve met so many wonderful, generous, talented people on this journey, and I’ve made some very good friends.

7) If someone came up to you and asked your opinion on In a World Just Right, and they didn't know you were the author, what would you say and how would you pitch your book?
Wow. Tough question. I guess I’d say that people are calling it a thought-provoking book. I also frequently see descriptive words applied like beautiful, unique, original, philosophical, and my favorite from one particular reviewer: freakin’ exquisite. I think the audience for the book is one that likes to be challenged on a certain level by what they read. Jonathan is a character whose loneliness makes him deeply sympathetic, but he also makes choices that are questionably ethical to escape that loneliness. This makes for good discussion, I think, and that is the kind of book I wanted to write.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Author Spotlight: Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments


Jessica Alcott lives with her husband and their two cats. She graduated from Bennington College and has worked as a children's publisher in the UK.

Title: Even When You Lie to Me
Author: Jessica Alcott
Publisher: Crown Books
Publication: June 9th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

Even When You Lie to Me touches on a very sensitive topic. Student-Teacher relationships are not unheard of. But most of them end extremely bad, mainly for the teacher. Sometimes people forget that teachers are people too. They make mistakes and don't always use proper judgement. I actually see no problem with a Student-Teacher relationship if the student is 17-18, they BOTH have feelings for each other and consent, and if the teacher is truly interested in a relationship and not just some creepy "I bang my students" fetish. 

Charlie is amazing. Yes, she has her flaws and faults; like how horrible she is towards her mother. But she is strong and not worried about her looks. She wants to get good grades and go to college. I don't think Drummond messed up her life, per se, but he did alter her future and how she sees herself and the world around her.

I think the reason Charlie wanted Drummond so bad was because she connected with him on an intellectual level. She didn't really have too many people in her life and, aside from her dad, none of them were on the same intellectual level that she was on. And then Charlie puts her heart on her sleeve and she gets it broken, pretty much. 

Lila is... ugh. I didn't like her at all, honestly. She was rude, not a great friend and seemed like she wanted Charlie all to herself but didn't put forth any effort to truly show Charlie that she cared. The birthday party Lila threw for Charlie is a perfect example. Leaving your friends behind for a guy and getting too caught up in drinking and sex is a terrible way to be. But that is the life of a lot of teenagers.

I liked Asha. She had some issues and was a bit snobby and presented herself as a know-it-all but she was a good person at heart. I think Asha and Charlie should have been better friends but Charlie was too worried about hurting Lila. The girl who pretty much shoved her on the back burner for a guy she kept saying she didn't like much. 

Then we have Drummond. He is the new English teacher and everyone wants him. He is pretty young and he gets swept up in trying to be his students friend rather than their teacher. He is a good guy but he might not have had the best life before becoming a teacher. We don't find out much about his past but I did get the feeling that he was trying to make up for a bad past by being the way he was with his students. 

The book touches on Feminism a few times. The one conversation between Asha and Charlie has a pretty big meaning. All the body shaming and stuff girls go through isn't all on society and men. If a guy compliments a girl and she responds with "ew, I'm ugly", "my stomach is so fat", "my arms are so fat", that just shows the guy that it's okay to think girls have to be skinny and beautiful. A lot of body shaming is actually done by women themselves.

I did have a few problems with the book. The main one being that the real 'action' didn't start until almost the end of the book. It was like a slow building anticipation for what I knew was going to happen and it took forever to finally climax and when it did my heart was broken. I hated the ending. No, it wasn't a bad ending and the authors writing is beautiful and evokes a lot of feelings from the reader(me) BUT it didn't end the way I was hoping. I can honestly say I cried a bit. All the emotions that came to light and blew up in Charlie's face were hard to ignore and not feel.

Even though I was mad about the ending I still completely loved this book. When a book can make you feel things that the characters are feeling then you know its a good book. I felt shy, embarrassed, upset, broken and many of the other emotions Charlie went through in one school year. People are comparing the author of this book to people like John Green, Sarah Dessen and Lauren Oliver. To that, I say no. Jessica Alcotts writing is nothing like theirs. It is so much better. This book feels so very real whereas the other authors books are so fabricated that I couldn't connect to them at all. Other people will feel differently about this but this is only MY opinion. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.



1) What was your inspiration for writing Even When You Lie to Me?

I think I was mostly inspired to write it because I'd always wanted to read a story like this, especially one that didn't end either with a happily-ever-after or a moralistic punishment, because those weren't as interesting to me. I wanted to see if I could make this story one of empowerment rather than victimization. I also probably wanted to process the hell of high school a bit – there's something cathartic about thinking about that stuff years later, when you've gotten a bit of perspective on it (emphasis on "a bit").


2) What are your views and feelings towards Student-Teacher Relationships?

Obviously, relationships between underage students and teachers are not only immoral but illegal, as they should be. Even when a student is of age, I think the power imbalance makes it extremely difficult to have an equal relationship; also, teenagers are still maturing emotionally, and there's a big difference between, say, an 18-year-old and a 22-year-old (I would not have believed anyone who told me that when I was 18, because I thought I was incredibly mature, but having come out of the other side of it, I can tell you definitively that I was not). With that said, relationships can be messy and ambiguous, and we don't always know why we're drawn to the people we are. I don't think it helps us to think that anyone who'd do something like this is an inhuman monster. We're all capable of doing bad or immoral things, and to pretend that people who do are somehow different from us only makes cartoon villains out of them, as if there are "bad people" and "good people." There aren't bad people, just human beings who do bad things (except Dick Cheney; I'm pretty sure he's Satan).


3) Are you currently working on any new books?

Yes! It's another standalone book, realistic but with some paranormal elements. It has been tough to get right, but I'm still hard at work on it (I have to say that in case my agent is reading this).


4) Why did Drummond run away when him and Charlie could have actually been together?

As I said above, I think it would have been very difficult for him and Charlie to have an equal relationship, even though Charlie does start to come into her own power by the end of the book. I think – and this is just my own opinion; I don't think I have the final say over any interpretation – Charlie's process of maturation meant that she had to be the one to let him go, and that hopefully he left because he realized that (you could also read it that he's afraid and he knows he made a mistake, so he runs away in a very immature fashion, BUT I tried to make it something you could read many different ways, as people have seemed to so far!).


5) If you could only read the same book over and over again for the rest of your life what book would you pick?

Well, I do have a book that I read over and over (which is very unusual for me), which is The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman, by Louise Plummer. I've read it every Christmas since I was in high school and it's always still incredibly smart and funny and wise about relationships (and, yes, romantic).


6) Cookies or brownies?

This is like the Sophie's Choice of baked goods. Today it's brownies, but I'll regret that tomorrow.


7) What is your favorite genre to read?

Truthfully, I probably go for contemporary/realistic more than anything else, but that said, I love plenty of genre stuff too. As long as it's a good story, it doesn't matter what genre it's in.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Musical Synopsis[1] Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Have you ever read a book and thought "Wow, I know the perfect song to go with this book."? Well I get like that a lot. So I wanted to start something where I post a few songs that are kind of a review of the book. The songs will have a lot of meaning behind them and will be what I feel the book is about. So without further ado. My first Musical Synopsis will be for.... The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi.



This song is pretty obvious as to why it made the list. 

This one should also be pretty obvious as to why it is in here.

This song might a little harder for some to understand. I think this is how Juliette felt for most of the book. She felt like she was throw away and failed at everything she tried to do. 

This song is for Warner and Adam. It definitely fits their life with their father.

This is not only an extremely beautiful song but I feel like this might be how Adam and Warner felt towards Juliette.

Do you guys have any songs that make you think of the Shatter Me series? Feel free to share!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Author Spotlight: Haunted by Lynn Carthage

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Lynn Carthage is a novelist living near Sacramento. Under her real name, she was a Bram Stoker Award finalist. Born in Vermont, Lynn has lived in Maine, Ireland, and Arizona. She reads voraciously, loves anything French, gets “itchy feet” to travel on a regular basis, and finds peace in the woods, in meadows, in nature. She has always been fascinated by how history allows us to imagine how people of the past lived and breathed and felt.

HAUNTED is her first young adult novel, and will be followed by the next two books in the Arnaud Legacy trilogy.

To learn more, visit www.lynncarthage.com

Title: Haunted
Author: Lynn Carthage
Publisher: Kensington
Publication: February 24th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

Have you ever read a book where you could just skim through it and only read the conversations but by the end you know exactly what happened without having to read the rest? Well Haunted isn't a book you can do that with. Sometimes I find myself skimming ahead in books if they are slow or sometimes I just do it out of reflex. I found myself doing it out of reflex for this book but after five pages I realized I needed to go back and actually read everything. If I hadn't gone back I would have missed out on the moldering library scene and the beautiful the beautiful simile with the queen bee. So I restarted the book. As a reviewer/blogger, sometimes you feel like you don't have enough time to fully read a book word for word. But, I promise you, that this book is worth the read. Cover to cover, word for word. 

I think the part the really pulled me into the book was what could this girl have possibly done to warrant moving from California to the English countryside. Did she kill someone? Burn a house down? It has to be something horrendous because even she can't remember. And who is she, you might be asking? Well, I DON'T KNOW. She doesn't use her name for a while and that makes it all the more mysterious, to me at least. But she tells us her sisters, mothers and stepfathers name. And we even learn the name of the hottest guy in her old school. But who is she? Hmmm. I think I will leave that out. So you now have to figure that out for yourself.

Haha, just kidding. Her name is Phoebe. I seriously haven't heard that name since Hey, Arnold. But Phoebe likes to swim and seems very eccentric when you first meet her. She goes through a few stages of mentality. First she thinks she is crazy because she hears things. Then she thinks she has schizophrenia because she has been seeing things. If I was Phoebe when all of this started happening I probably would have crawled into bed and stayed there. But, unlike how I would be, Phoebe wants answers. As any good protagonist/heroin would. I give her points for bravery. 

This book has a strong family aspect to it. Phoebe would do anything to protect her little sister, Tabby. But at the same time there is a lot of resentment and jealousy going on. I can understand that. Phoebe was an only child for almost all of her adolescent life and then all of a sudden her mom is having a baby. That can definitely be something that would hit any child hard. But I don't think Phoebe's resentment is towards her sister. I think it is towards her mother and Steven. She feels like her mother is ignoring her and she feels like she is no longer Steven's child even though he has never treated her as anything less than his daughter. 

Something felt off with this book. Not meaning the writing or anything. But when Phoebe talked to her parents they didn't really seem to notice her. Steven did, but he also seemed to be trying to ignore her. So this kind of made me wonder what was going on. Later on I obviously found out what was going on but the whole Phoebe being ignored thing kind of tipped me off. I didn't completely guess what was going on but the idea I had went down the same path. But Haunted lives up to its title. It is a very haunting and it had me questioning my mental health one point. 

So, as a whole, the book is about ghosts, secrets, creepy family history, love, loss, and so much more. I try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible so I think I will end the review here. If I was to go on it would probably get into the plot twist and other things and I think the reader should find all that out on their own. But, with that being said, I still feel like my review has not done this book justice. If you are a fan of We Were Liars and you enjoyed how the book ended then I think you would like this. The book itself isn't ANYTHING like We Were Liars but they have somewhat of a similar plot twist. 

Haunted was a fun read and I think everyone should give it a try. The authors writing was very beautiful and full of similes. She used such amazing imagery when describing scenes, sounds, and places. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.


1) Are any of the characters or places in Haunted based on real life? Well, Madame Arnaud is a bit of a twist on Elizabeth Bathory, the real-life Hungarian countess who loved to bathe in virginal peasant blood. Cause, you know, shower gel wasn't invented yet in the Middle Ages. A few scenes are based on a sort of real life: a dream (let's term it a nightmare) I had a number of years ago. I was toying with setting the Arnaud Manor in a real-life English city but feared the reprisals and instead came up with Grenshire. 2) What is the most disappointing book you have ever read? I remember hurling Cujo across the room when I reached the end--but not because it was disappointing. Instead, because Stephen King is a master at getting you involved in characters, so deeply that you can have an entirely visceral reaction to an ending that isn't violet-scented unicorns cavorting on a grassy green. 3) How many books do you plan to write in the Arnaud Legacy series? It's a trilogy. I've written the second already and just have to buckle down and finish the third. Miles is the narrator for the second book, so we no longer have entry into Phoebe's head. 4) If you could only eat and drink the same thing for the rest of your life, what would they be? I used to joke that the Victorian prison diet wouldn't be that awful for me. Brown bread with butter, a tin cup of water: I'm okay. 5) How would you describe Haunted to someone who is interested in reading it? It's a classic haunted mansion story with strong themes about appreciating family and standing up for yourself. 6) If you could move anywhere in the world, money is no issue, where would you move and what would your house look like? Paris. In a heartbeat. I love that city. But is it cool if I also have a lavish spread in the French countryside, maybe in Dijon or Vezelay, because in Paris I'd want to have a tiny apartment under the Haussmann eaves? 7) Do you believe that ghosts are real? Argh, you had to ask that. Oh man...the jury is out, gnawing on their fingernails in great dilemma-ridden anxiety. I've lived two places that almost anyone else would say were definitely haunted. Things happened. Big stuff. A sensitive came out and intervened for me at one house (the one that I learned at the local historical society was built on a relocated graveyard. And no, I am not being dramatic recalling old 1980s horror movie plots. It's the God's honest truth unless if they were messing with me. And preservationists rarely mess with people....) And yet, my native skepticism takes me to the edge and lets my toes dangle. I will say I want there to be ghosts, because they make for great stories.

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