Mini-Review: Wonderstruck


Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing. Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories--Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder.Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing. Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories--Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder.

It’s hard to describe exactly what I felt while reading this book. Elation at the speed and ease of navigating 600+ pages? Burning biceps as I held the book to read (it weighs like 10 pounds—no lie!)? The thing that sticks with me most is the pictures. I loved seeing Rose’s story unfold with every page. It was a constant guessing game. I was captivated by the detail that went into every picture. When her story starts to blend with Ben’s story, it becomes this beautiful tale of finding where you belong. To be able to tell a story with so much passion with only black and white sketches, isamazing... Simply, amazing.

Ben’s story is very moving. The poor kid has a rough life and never feels like he belongs anywhere… until he runs away to NYC. It is in NYC that he begins to learn about his past and finds a way to belong in his new life. I really did love this story. It was simple, yet complex. For a MG book it’s pretty deep. Anyone that reads this novel will have mixed emotions. There are so many layers to navigate that it’s hard not to experience many things while you read. A+ novel. (So glad we picked this for book club this month!)
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Best Book Ever! Greek Mythology

Short and Sweet

Coranne (or Amanda C.) from Short and Sweet Reviews hosts a weekly feature called "The Best Book Ever." Each week, different bloggers (some stay the same each week) will be "facing off" Food Network style to tell you why their choice of book is the best one in the genre. Each week a different topic will be featured.

This week's topic... Greek Mythology I had a hard time thinking of a favorite Greek mythology book. Since it's one of my favorite genres, I couldn't narrow it down to just one. So, I decided to pick a book that is probably not that well known. This is a fantastic Helen of Troy story mingled in with an even greater adventure. (So complicated!) If you enjoy historical fiction, adventure stories, or Greek mythology, you MUST read this book.


My featured book:

Goddess of YesterdayAt age six Anaxandra is taken by King Nicander to be a companion to his crippled daughter on the island of Siphnos. Anaxandra has adjusted to her new life when, six years later, Siphnos is sacked by pirates, and she is the sole survivor. When a fleet of ships stops on the island to investigate, she assumes the identity of Princess Callisto to survive. The ships belong to Menelaus, king of Sparta, and he takes her back to Sparta with him. But Helen, wife of
Menelaus, does not believe that this child is Princess Callisto. Anaxandra manages to stay out of harm’s way—until Paris and Aeneas arrive. When Menelaus and his men depart to attend his grandfather’s funeral, Paris and Helen’s passionate affair plunges Sparta and Troy into war.

If you want to read my full review for the book I will be pushing, you can check out Short and Sweet Reviews and also see what other books are being featured.

Next week's topic: ????


Review: Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)


Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Where to start… I devoured this book as quickly as possible. I had to know what happened after the cliffhanger ending in Catching Fire. However, I was mildly disappointed. When the actual Hunger Games ended, there seemed to be something lacking from the plot. I had a hard time getting into the complicated political overthrow plot. This book also had some new characters that seemed a little out of place. Maybe out of place isn’t the right term. They were there, but I couldn’t figure out what purpose they served. It was hard to connect to any of them because there wasn’t much depth. It was as if they were there for the purpose of the plot’s subterfuge only. I really felt like there was no attempt to grow the new characters at all, except for maybe Boggs.

** Spoiler alert**

Then there is the problem with Katniss herself. In the other books I thought she was so strong and defiant. Now, she seems so weak. In the aftermath of the events in Catching Fire, it makes sense. Her mental breakdowns and nightmares are acceptable and one hundred percent justifiable. What annoys me, however, is her constant pity party. Everyone knows that bad crap happens (that was obvious in the first two books), but to keep harping on it drove me nuts. It’s as if we needed a constant reminder of how crappy life could be for her. Complete over kill.
I hate to say it, but this time around my favorite character was Finnick. He had the most depths out of all of the characters in this book. Oh, the secrets he has to share! Holy smokes. That was a dark turn I didn’t expect. But then he gets killed off. That irritated me. I really wanted him to survive. It’s not the fact that he died, either, that bothers me so much. It’s the manner in which he died. What a waste. That entire scene seemed so rushed and out of place. I didn’t even realize so many people died until two or three pages later. One of the major deaths in the book didn’t even stand out to me. I knew she died because of the massive bombing that occurred, but what was the purpose?
I will say that there was one surprise that caught me off guard. Peeta. Wow. I didn’t see that one coming. Poor, sweet Peeta.

No review would be complete if I didn’t talk about the ending. WTH?! I am so unhappy with how things ended. I’m all for Peeta, don’t get me wrong, but the way things were left with Gale seemed so wrong. No closure. I know there is supposed to be some great message about war and the roles we play—whether knowingly or not—but still… I felt so invested him that love triangle. I wanted a better solution. I don’t care so much who Katniss ended up with, it’s just the why that bothers me. It’s like she didn’t have a choice in the matter at all. She gets sent back to District 12 alone under the impression that no one will come for her. But then someone does… Only, it seems like he’s there because he has nowhere else to be. Did anyone else get that feeling? Obviously Peeta wouldn’t stay in the Capitol after what happened, so it only seemed natural that he would return to his home. With Katniss being there, of course they would end up together eventually. They are the only ones who can fully understand what it’s like to be a survivor of The Hunger Games. But does that mean he wants to be there with her or she with him? Not necessarily. It felt like they were both going with the hand life dealt them because they didn’t know what else to do.

** End spoiler alert **
I guess there was some sense of closure after the epilogue, but I still don’t know how satisfied I am with it. The pieces do fit together and there is plenty to think about afterwards, that’s for sure.  Leaving the series with this book unread would be wrong. Be forewarned, though, it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and how you feel at the end really depends on whose side you’re on.
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On Sale Today!

Forget about the dragon, 2012 is turning out to be the year of books! More reading goodness on sale today...


The Catastrophic History of You and Me



Just before her 16th birthday, Brie Eagan literally dies of a broken heart after her boyfriend tells her he does not love her. She then must go through the five stages of grief, while watching her friends and family try to cope with her death, before her faith in love is restored and she can move on to the afterlife.




Double

When the sixteen-year-old runaway Chap is mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel, his life changes dramatically. Chap takes on Cassiel's identity, gaining the family and friends he's always dreamed of having. But becoming someone else isn't as easy as he hoped--and Chap isn't the only one hiding a secret. As he teeters on the brink of discovery and begins to unravel the mystery behind Cassiel's disappearance, Chap realizes that he's in much deeper danger than he could have imagined.

Faery Tales & NightmaresDangerous promises and beguiling threats swirl together in a dozen stories of enchantments dark and light by New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr. Uncanny and unexpected creatures appear from behind bushes, rise from beneath the seas, or manifest from seasonal storms to pursue the objects of their attention—with amorous or sinister intent—relentlessly.

From the gentle tones of a storyteller’s cadences to the terror of a blood sacrifice, tales of favorite characters from Marr’s Wicked Lovely novels mix with accounts of new characters for readers to fall in love with...or to fear.


Win a signed copy of the book HERE.



Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary.

Such great books to choose from this week! How could you pick which one to read first? 

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