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Minute review: Happily Never After (Missy Fleming)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 180
Publisher: February 6th 2013 by Fire and Ice
ISBN: 9781612355603
genre: paranormal, fairytale retelling
source: copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Happily Never AfterThere's no such thing as happy endings.

Savannah, Georgia is rumored to be the most haunted place in America. Quinn Roberts knows it is. She's felt the presence of spirits her entire life, investigating and photographing them with her best friend. Only none of those encounters ever turned violent, until now. The menacing darkness feeding off her stepmother has promised she won't live to see her eighteenth birthday.

After a chance meeting Quinn reluctantly allows actor Jason Preston into her life, which has complications of its own. She's not used to letting people get close. Falling for him while fighting for her life, and her family's legacy, only complicates things more. Jason shows her exactly what she stands to lose, especially when she's being attacked by the mysterious entity. Each attack is more violent and terrifying than the last.

With Jason's help, she dives into the Roberts' family history, searching for a link between a woman who went missing a hundred and fifty years ago and what's happening now. What they find is a brutal murder and that the ghost doesn't just want to hurt Quinn, it wants revenge.

It wants her life.

The first thing that caught my eye about Happily Never After is the setting. It's set in this amazing Georgia town. You may know of Savannah, Georgia. I could not believe the author was not from Savannah because she did such a great job describing its quirky atmosphere.

If you are expecting a traditional fairy tale retelling, you may be a bit disappointed. Yes, there are obvious similarities between Happily Never After and Cinderella. However, the author really gives it a spooky paranormal spin. I loved the ghost hunting aspect (which can be found on every corner in Savannah just about) and the freaky haunted house.

I wasn't overly impressed with the characters because the book was so short. What I did enjoy, though, was the plot. It was just the right amount of creepy ghost story paired with a smidge of Cinderella. The villains were enough to make your blood boil.. especially the awful stepsister. Ugh!

I have to say the majority of the book was pretty straight forward and predictable. I even figured out the ending prior to the epilogue. I can say though that I was a bit surprised to see this is a series. It should be interesting to see what happens as the series continues. Plenty of doors were left open and I hope our dear Quinn gets her happily ever after.

Early Review: Sketchy (Olivia Samms)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
publisher: April 30th 2013 by Amazon Childrens Publishing
ISBN: 9781477816509
genre: mystery, paranormal

Sketchy (Bea Catcher Chronicles, #1)A popular cheerleader—raped, beaten, and left for dead. An edgy outsider with a gift. Can they team up to catch a killer?

Bea’s life has been a mess ever since she got kicked out of private school and sent to rehab. Now clean, Bea is starting over at Packard High School, in a city shaken from two assaults on young women. The latest victim, Willa Pressman—the one who survived—doesn’t remember a thing. But Bea has a disturbing new “skill”: she can see—and then draw—images from other people’s minds. And when she looks at Willa, Bea is shocked by what she sketches. Bea might be the only one who knows Willa’s secrets—and who can take down the killer before he strikes again.

Eh. It had promise, but that's about it. I liked the mystery aspect of it. The summary on Netgalley really made it sound interesting and suspenseful. What I got, though, was something else entirely.

I think I'm just going to make a bullet list of what irked me:

* Flat characters. Nothing there. Nada. Bea had promise but she didn't feel well developed. Her friend was pretty good. I liked him.

* The romance factor. It was subtle, but enough to make me say, "Hold the phone!" I am sorry, but if you are a cop/detective and have an interest in a high school senior, you're a friggin idiot. I don't care if she's almost 18 or not. That just annoyed me because it showed how poorly these characters were thought out.

* The daycare episode. You must be a 3rd rate daycare to let something like that happen. With all the rules and laws nowadays, there is no way that would happen. For a book that was supposed to have a modern setting, that was shoddy.

Spoiler Alert below. Be warned.

* "The scene." Now this just made me hoppin mad. I totally screamed "WTFizzle" in my head as I read this. I'm sorry, Bea. You are being raped and you're freakin moaning and groaning and talking dirty to the perv because you think it's going to help you escape? Child boo. That is not believable at all. Not even close. The book took a nose dive right there. Did not recover from that.

Spoiler over.

I did LOL (for real) at one point in Bea's bedroom that I found to be hilarious. I could only imagine what a scene like that in real life would be like. Funny stuff.

It's pretty safe to say this one did nothing for me. I do not recommend it. Love the cover, though.

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Review: Dear Cassie (Lisa Burstein)

The Deets:
Audience: YA
Pages: 352
Publisher: March 5th 2013 by Entangled Teen
ISBN: 9781620612545
Genre: contemporary
Source: e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Dear CassieWhat if the last place you should fall in love is the first place that you do?

You’d think getting sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp for a month-long rehabilitation “retreat” and being forced to re-live it in this journal would be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

You’d be wrong.

There’s the reason I was sent to Turning Pines in the first place: I got arrested. On prom night. With my two best friends, who I haven’t talked to since and probably never will again. And then there’s the real reason I was sent here. The thing I can’t talk about with the guy I can’t even think about.

What if the moment you’ve closed yourself off is the moment you start to break open?

But there’s this guy here. Ben. And the more I swear he won’t—he can’t—the deeper under my skin he’s getting. After the thing that happened, I promised I’d never fall for another boy’s lies.

And yet I can’t help but wonder…what if?

I really liked that this book dealt with the idea of consequences. Too many times people do things without thinking about the aftermath. I think teenagers are especially guilty of this, always thinking, "It won't happen to me." Well, for Cassie it did happen to her.

The story unfolds with glimpses into the night that changed everything: prom. Because of that night, she made choices that would have a drastic effect on her future. You meet some interesting characters along the way as Cassie suffers through wilderness rehab. During her month-long visit she has to reform and comes to terms with her past. It's a rather painful process for the main character.

I really liked the premise of this book. It was a good message and relevant. Unfortunately, the way the author chose to develop Cassie ruined it for me. She was this hard-as-nails teen that cursed up a storm. I mean, there were F-bombs on every page. And I don't mean one or two, either! It got to the point that it was ridiculous. I really think Cassie's character could have been developed and shown as "tough" without being so vulgar. If someone said good morning, she told them to F off. She also labeled every journal entry with " __ F-ing days to go." I tried to skip them and make my brain not read them, but I couldn't. They were littered all over the page like confetti after the pinata breaks. For that reason, I cannot give this book above a 3 star review. Had the language been minimal, it would have easily been 4 stars for content. Oh well.

Overall, it's a good story, but the language is awful. Do not read this one if you can't handle F-bombs littering the page (along with other expletives).

Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop

It's my favorite time of year! It's Spring, which means it's time for Fairytale Fortnight. I hope you have been enjoying the festivities at A Book Rat and A Backwards Story-- the hosts of this year's event. If not, now is the perfect time to start! Just follow those links...

I've been super busy with work lately, so I won't be participating in the event this year. (kinda bummed about that) But I will be participating in the giveaway hop. I love fairytales, so it was really hard to limit myself to a book that I thought was fitting for this adventure. 
Here is what is up for grabs:
The Diamond Secret: A Retelling of "Anastasia" (Once Upon a Time)
Nadya is a mischievous kitchen girl in a Russian tavern. Having nearly drowned in the Iset River during the turmoil of the Revolution, she has no memory of her past and longs for the life she cannot remember. Then two young men arrive at the tavern and announce that Nadya's long-lost grandmother has sent them to find her. Yearning for family and friendship, she agrees to accompany them to Paris for the joyful reunion. Nadya eagerly embarks on her journey, never dreaming it will be one of laughter, love ; and betrayal

I do only ship to the US and Canada at this time. Fill out the rafflecopter form for the giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Lost Girl read-along: Week 4

 This week we are reading pages 164-220. That's chapters 7-9 of part 2 in The Lost Girl. If you missed out on last week's discussion, you can view it HERE.

As you read this week, think about this question: How do Alisha, Neil, Nikhil, and Sasha each respond to Eva? Why does Neil-- and later, the rest of the family-- choose to call Eva by her real name?

For week 5, we will be finishing part 2 in The Lost Girl. I will post the discussion questions next Sunday, so check back then to post! Remember, you get 2 entries in the giveaway for every comment you leave on the blog, plus an additional 1 entry for posting on the Facebook page (LINK HERE). So don't be shy! It doesn't matter when you post either, just as long as it's before we finish the book.

Happy reading!

Week 1 discussion questions here.

Week 2 discussion questions here.

Week 3 discussion questions here.


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