Monday, May 29, 2017

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentmer

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 399
My rating: 3.5
Ages: 16+

Not only did Carver lose all three of his friends at once, but he has to live with the guilt of knowing he caused their deaths. Not on purpose, but caused all the same. With school starting, Carver isn't sure how to face everyone without his friends. Battling crippling guilt, Carver has to come to terms with what happened, even while being blamed by those around him.

I didn't mean for my last two reviews to be about grief and death, but sometimes these things just happen. However, this is a completely different look at grief and guilt than was in Letters to the Lost. This time, something that Carver did directly attributed to the accident that killed his friends, and it's something he has to live with. What I think is important though, is that in grieving, we all start thinking of things we could have done different and we all experience that guilt and need to come to terms with living while others are gone.

This book also deals with panic attacks, being blamed, and friendship. It's not a deeply depressing book, but it does deal with serious subjects.

There is some language and sexual talk.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 388
My rating: 4 stars
Ages: 15+

Juliet spends her free time in the cemetery, writing letters to her mother. Declan is likely to be voted "most likely to end up in jail." He's serving community service when he finds a letter left on a grave. When he decides to respond to it, he starts a relationship with an unknown person who seems to understand him better than any other person. But when he learns that the person he's been writing is Juliet, he wonders if he can continue to share with her.

I loved this book--I could barely stand to put it down. While it does deal with heavy topics such as grief and guilt and judging by appearances, it didn't feel heavy even while addressing them in a good way.

It took a little while for me to realize that when the chapter started with a letter from one character, it meant the chapter would be in the other character's POV. I think I would have liked a more obvious clue than that.

The secondary characters were also interesting and well developed, to the point where I believed that they had a life outside of reacting to the main characters' drama.

No sex (thought mention of it and mention of nudity) and only mild language.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 345
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 14+

Lydia is occupied with planning her eighteenth party, keeping her uncle from ruining the estate, and getting engaged to the man her father chose before his death. Things start to change with Robert Newton appears. Then they are both kidnapped, which connects them in a new and complicated way. But this just beginning of a mystery that could put both Lydia and Robert in danger.

This was such a fun book, especially for fans of Regency England. Lydia is a strong willed female, who is still feminine but aware of her responsibilities. Robert is a hard working third son with an admirable sense of right and wrong.

I also think that this is a great way to introduce young readers to the world of Jane Austen and the writing of Georgette Heyer. It introduces social mores, culture, and vocabulary in a easy way to for modern readers to understand and will hopefully lead them reading the classics.

No language or sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Marvel Press
Pages: 336
My rating: 4 stars
Ages: 10+

Doreen Green has just moved to New Jersey and ready to make new friends, just like any other 14 year old. However, Doreen isn't your run-of-the-mill teenager--she has a giant squirrel tail. She usually hides it, but when some trouble starts going down in her neighborhood, she takes action. Now, she's Squirrel Girl! Saving babies and befriending squirrels!

Having never heard of Squirrel Girl before it was announced that the Hales were going to write the novel, I went into this with no expectations. I was very pleasantly surprised! It was fun, with great little jokes peppered throughout (some that maybe kids wouldn't get as they are plays on words). I especially liked Doreen's optimism and kindness, even as she's fighting the villain.

I would say that this is more of a "middle grade" book than young adult. Also, I feel that Doreen acts younger than her age. Granted, it's been a few years since I was 14, but I don't quite remember it the way it's portrayed in the book. Of course, I try to block out a lot of my teen years, so it's completely possible.

Anyway. Great book for any one who likes superheros. No language or sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Inkblots by Damion Searls

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Pages: 416
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 18+

Seen as a stereotype of quackery, the Rorschach test has long been misunderstood, almost since the beginning. But it is more than just random pictures. The test consists of 10 carefully curated inkblots, with meanings derived from multiple factors. Only those trained to use the test (usually in conjunction with other psychological tests) can make sense out of the answers.

I need to be honest. I didn't finish this book. Not because I didn't want to, or because it wasn't interesting, but because of life. Just after starting this book, I started grad school and the combination of the technicalities in the book and the technical things I was reading for my classes, it was difficult to want to read this.

However, the third of the book I did read was very interesting. I find psychology fascinating, so learning the little I did about the test and how it works was cool. The book starts with a modern day example of using the test and how patients react differently to the inkblot test than they do to other psychological tests.

Great for those interested in the history of psychology.

No swearing or sex.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

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Publication date: 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 372
My rating: 3.5 stars
Ages: 13+

All Princess Anya wants to do is read books and become a sorcerer. But then a prince who was courting her sister is turned into a frog by her evil Stepstepfather, and to turn him back she must embark on a quest. What starts out as a simple quest turns into something much bigger as Anya collects more companions along the way.

Those familiar with Nix's previous books will find the same kind of rich world building in Frogkisser. But, as the exclamation point may hint at, it's not as serious as the the Old Kingdom books. Because of this, this is a fun book for everyone, especially younger kids with a higher reading level.

Frogkisser takes some familiar fairy tales and creatures and twists and turns them around, making sure that the reader is pleasantly surprised at every turn. There is also the inclusion of characters like the Gerald the Heralds that are a lot of fun to read.

There is no language or sex.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.