Friday, February 16, 2018

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Tess of the RoadTess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s and Random House Books for Young Readers for the advance reader copy Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman in exchange for an honest review. I just have to say, WHAT AN AWESOME COVER!!! Tess is such a different (not really likable all the time) character; as a child, she is always being spanked for the wrong things she says and does. But living in medieval Goredd, is not easy when you have a mother who is so angered and malevolent because too late realizes she married a man who slept with a dragon and has produced Seraphina, a human/dragon. Tess’ mother prays to the bad saints and instills this scary religion into her children. As an adolescent, Tess makes a huge mistake and puts her family’s and her own future at risk. As she mightily endeavors to get her sister married; Tess keeps making MORE mistakes. She speaks out when she shouldn’t, she punches a minister, now her family is going to put her with the nuns for the rest of her life. But Tess meets up with an old friend, who is a quigutl-a small dragon, and Patha is on a mission to meet a High Serpent (Dragon) and invites Tess to come. Dressed as a boy, Tess flees with Patha and as they try to exist with no money and food; Tess realizes she likes to work, using her hands and muscles, and she likes the adventure of the road. Tess still has her personal problems and constantly trying to forget her past- but will confronting her past and the forgiveness of the road, work for Tess? You must read this funny, heartbreaking fantasy about a girl who feels unloved and unlovable; and striking out on her own (with Patha) finds redemption on the road with dragons, and with much drama finds her place in life. I rooted for Tess from page one; readers will enjoy her adventures and growth!

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The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1)The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was really disconcerted the whole time listening/reading this series (off shoot from Mara Dyer series). I listened to Joe Jameson as he narrated this first book from Noah's POV. Joe did a great job I just did not enjoy the whole story-Noah and his "special" crew (Mara, Sophie, Stella, Leo, Jamie, her brother Daniel and Noah's friend who is an amplifier) were not likable at all. I don't mind darkness in books but there needs to be a little redemption and there was NONE in this book, so disappointing. It also says in the Goodreads description; "Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future." That is so wrong- Noah doesn't trust anyone, he keeps everything (lies, secrets, etc) to himself thinking/justifying that the truth is just too awful. I am going to say to Michelle Hodkin; "You really need to put some "GOOD" in Noah's books- teens deserve to read about good and evil, darkness and light. The past and the present of Noah and friends is just wrong; the suicides too tough (there were way too many), there was just darkness everywhere; characters being helpless or made to do things they did not want and Noah and Mara's future fell right in their lap - they are no good for each other as Noah's Dad and the Professor foretold. Daniel was the only character I liked and want to see more of. Noah and Mara need to change and I know Michelle Hodkin can do it; I just hope she does. Give teens books that will give them hope, not twisted, endless truth that tears everyone and their world apart.


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stars in Their Eyes (Caught Up in Love, #4)Stars in Their Eyes by Lauren Blakely
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a great romance! Loved Jess as the compulsive, determined celebrity photographer but also college girl trying to earn money for medical school. But enter William, English student who must go home in two months who is trying any way to stay---now competition for Jess- but is he really? Oh did I love their story and romance!

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Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Say You'll Remember MeSay You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVE Katie McGarry and her latest 2018 romance was the BEST!!! Ellison (Elle) and Hendrix (Drix) are as opposite as you can get- she is the perfect daughter of the governor and Drix is the bad boy just out of jail (for a crime he did not commit) and represents Elle's father's support of the Second Chance Program. Elle is a strong very likable character but she is being suffocated by the constraints her parents ask (make her do) of her - helping with support and appearances as her father campaigns for another term. Elle is playing a game at a carnival and being stalked by 2 guys when Drix helps her get rid of them. When they meet up later at The Second Chance appearance with Drix speaking- oh are they surprised!!! But after conspires to continually bring them together- which is a good thing for me because they bring out the best in each other. Elle makes Drix laugh and Drix supports Elle and is totally honest with her. I could not stop turning the pages of McGarry's latest romance and I highly recommend this awesome read!

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THe Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining WomenThe Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kate Moore's awesome narration is a book that must be read/listened to!!! This riveting look at history and the death and suffering of the radium girls is wrenching and is a must read for all!

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Love, Hate and Other FiltersLove, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This debut novel by Samira Ahmed is one all teens need to read- not only does it cover love, longing, restrictive parents, Islamophobia, and bullying but Maya's life rings true as the only Indian and Muslim in her school, parents who came to Americabut have not really progressed as Americans-they are successful without being devout, and are suffocating in their love and expectations for their only child. Thank god Maya has a close friend in Violet, a job she loves at a book store and her trusty camcorder which helps Maya see the world as a worthy documentary to be filmed, cataloged and kept for posterity. As a senior, Maya has not told her parents she wants to go to film school yet has applied and been accepted to NYU. Maya has been crushing on Phil since 7th grade and with his break-up maybe Maya will have a chance now. I really liked Phil, Violet, and Maya's aunt, Mina ( a successful graphic designer, has not married and so so supportive of Maya) and the positive changes and strength Maya garners when there is a hate crime perpetrated close to home, make this a must read for teens. Highly recommended.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina

I Am Alfonso JonesI Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG, Tony Medina's graphic novel sheds a light on the Black Lives Matter Movement, racial profiling, police violence, and minorities who are senselessly beaten, attacked and murdered and no one is held accountable. I liked the foreword by Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director 0f the Equal Justice Initiative, and delves into the horrid history of being of color in America. Tony Medina's Author Note is compelling and the Real Life Ancestors who appeared in the book. But I think even more impressive are the authors (on the back cover) who sing the praises of this graphic novel, the need for all to read it, and the power of this book now! I will certainly be reading Tony Medina's Resisting Arrest book too. I read this for #yabookchat and we will be discussing this heartbreaking book Monday 2/5 at 9PM EST, come join the discussion!

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