Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Jerome Jones contacted me recently on writing a review on his children's books The Mystery of The Lost Recipe and The Mystery of the Lost Uniforms. Both books follow Abby and Tommy as they solve mysteries in their hometown Pismo. I was very excited to review these books, but because I am no longer a child, I brought in the real professionals - my younger siblings.
My first sibling to help me out was Sophie, who is eight years old. Weston, the second to help me along in writing this review, is currently six years old.
Here’s what we think of The Lost Recipe:

The Lost Recipe was all three of our favorites of the two. Sophie once exclaimed, “These kids are awesome!” while I was reading. Afterwards, she remarked that it was “fun and interesting.” she also liked that they found the recipe and that Mr. Nut “had a funny name.”
Weston felt the same way. But while he agreed that he liked the book, he had to admit that he didn’t know why he liked it. Except, of course, because of Mr. Nut who had a “funny name.”
Their favorite parts were the pictures, which Sophie liked because they “helped [her] solve the mystery” and Mr. Nut. At the end of the day, I think that we could call these two a Mr. Nut enthusiast.

The Lost Uniforms:

Sophie was interested in this book as well, but thought that it was a little bit too long. In her opinion, she liked that the other one was shorter and a little more to the point. Aside from this point, they were  both excited for a new story involving Abby and Tommy and loved listening to the new mystery. And of course, when Mr. Nut made an appearance they were very excited. No joke, they exclaimed, “Mr. Nut!” as soon as his face appeared on the pages.

I have to agree that of these two, I liked The Lost Recipe more because it was a little more exciting and to the point. However, it was not significantly better than The Mystery of the Lost Uniforms. And while there were little problems along the way (such as occasional redundancy) both books were a fun and exciting read. My twelve year old sister had even been found eavesdropping, and she said that she found it enjoyable to listen to.
But aside from just being a fun and exciting read, the kids felt like solving a mystery and eating healthier afterwards, which was a big theme in these books. Abby and Tommy are outside constantly when solving mysteries and getting involved in their communities, and they never forget to stop for a nutritious meal.
Overall, I found the book very fun both personally and for my siblings. But even more than that, I loved the messages that it shared. Kids are getting increasingly more lazy, and the promotion of being active is very important. Tommy and Abby are great role models and exciting to read about! So if you have a child around the ages of 4-12 and are looking for some good books, I would definitely recommend.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

What You Left Behind is a heart breaking book of loss and recovery. By far, it is one of the saddest books that I have read in a long time. In fact, if I were to say there was only one flaw about this book, it would be that it was TOO sad. Which is saying a lot, coming from someone who has survived novels like The Fault in Our Stars and the likes.
The book starts right in with Ryden and his six month old baby, Hope. As to be expected, he is discouraged having to take care of a baby at the young age of 17 without much help. And just to pile onto the already terrible situation, Hope is the reason that Meg - Ryden’s lover - is dead. He doesn’t blame little Hope, but there is a part of him that is unhappy with the little girl whom he isn’t even sure likes him. But as a reader, I couldn’t blame him too much. After all, he just went through the traumatic experience of losing somebody that he loved dearly and in the process, had a huge responsibility placed on his shoulders.
While juggling school, his job, and his fatherly responsibilities, Ryden is also hoping to play for his High School Soccer team, and hopefully get a scholarship into college with it. But with his already precarious situation, it can only go downhill when he discovers that Meg left a journal for her sister - and when he sees a check list of journals Meg chose to write on the back of it and sees his name, he knows there is a journal out there waiting for him. He thinks that it will help him cope; but his mom and friends think it will only make it worse.
So he works out schedules with Meg’s best friend Aaron about babysitting Baby Hope while he goes to soccer practice and looks for journals. And in between time doing that, he’s got Joni on the side. But while the synopsis of the book may allude to this being a more romantic novel, it is not something I would categorize it as personally. Romance is in there for sure, but it is far from the purpose of the book. What You Left Behind is a story of loss and getting back up on your feet after everything has gone wrong. Ryden’s situation brought me to tears and forced me to take regular breaks because it was honestly too much for me to read sometimes. But then, isn’t life like that sometimes? Ryden’s in a bad situation for sure, but we all find ourselves having trials - some bigger than others, but we’ve all been there. This book was an inspiring tale of being able to rise again and smile more, even after you feel like everything good has vanished.
In the end, it was a good read. Will you be an emotional wreck? Most likely. But it’s worth it in the end.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Hey guys! I’m sorry I have been so absent of late. I’ve been trying to get back into the school routine. Anyway, let’s get back into the groove with another “Let’s Talk Covers!” And I’m not the only one who has experienced grief with these covers. Introducing... The Lux series.

The Lux series is one of my all time favorites. The story is awesome, Katy is basically my fictional twin, and Daemon. Who could ever forget Daemon Black, the super sexy, funny guy with a weakness for being over protective. It’s also... and hear me out before you click out of the page... a love hate romance. And I know a lot of bibliophiles nowadays hate them, but if it’s done right who can deny the amazingness! What can I say, I love it when the lovers fight.

I have to be completely honest and say that I do like the first cover. I actually found Obsidian by walking around the Library and finding myself caught by Daemon’s entrancing eyes. Not to mention, he’s about the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. So I checked it out and BOOM. One night read, just like that.

I really only started to get upset with the latter covers.

Onyx and Opal. TERRIBLE covers! For one, Katy doesn’t look like... well... Katy. The character I know didn’t go traipsing through the forest in scandalous dresses trying to look super sexy. Same with the third book. Literally the whole series Kat is telling Daemon that he doesn’t need to protect her all the time and that he needs to lay off being so overprotective. It doesn’t much look like that on the cover, does it?

And Origin... I think I cried when I first saw this cover. WHAT HAPPENED, IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN THE LAST TWO. For one, he looks like he’s from the nineties, his leather jacket looks like it’s a denim jacket (which clashes horrifically with those jeans of his!) and WHAT, what, WHAT happened to his delicious hair that was all messy and floppy? In this cover it looks... okay, I guess, but his beard thing! Ew! And what is he doing? Just slow-mo walking through a desert in a cowboy costume? Halloween is over. Really, I could go on for hours about this one.

So, after much complaint, we got an announcement from Jennifer L. Armentrout: NEW COVERS! And dang was I excited. And so appropriate as well - these things were hideous. So I awaited excitedly for the next covers.

And then they came out.

WHYYY. I mean... sure. They’re cool or whatever, and in real life they are sparkly, but come on. They’re both shirtless, the makeup on “Katy” is super over the top, and worst of all... I CAN’T SEE DAEMON. Except for half of his face in the last book, I don’t get the full glory of him. And that’s sad for me.

In the end, I accepted that I would never be content with the Lux covers. But I PROMISE, the story is amazing. If you’ve ever thought twice about reading this series, let me make the process easier by saying: Just do it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

THE DREAMER by E.J. Mellow

Molly hasn’t slept well since the night of her twenty-fourth birthday. Being struck by lightning might have something to do with it, but then again, her chicken did look a little undercooked at dinner. Whatever the culprit, her life quickly catapults from mundane to insane as, night after night, Molly is transported through her once dreamless sleep to a mysterious land illuminated by shooting stars.

There she meets the captivating but frustrating Dev, and together they discover Molly possesses a power coveted by his people—the ability to conjure almost anything she desires into existence. Seduced by the possibilities of this gift, Molly shifts her attention from waking life toward the man, the magic, and the world found in her dreams.

But Molly must ask herself—does something truly exist if you only see it when you close your eyes?

Faced with the threat of losing everything—her job, best friend, boyfriend, and most importantly, that little thing called her sanity—Molly will learn just how far she’ll go to uncover what is real and what is merely a figment of her imagination.

I do admit that I was a little bit reluctant to read The Dreamer. I’ve always been a little bit skeptical of indie books because of previous experiences. But I am happy to say that I was not disappointed by The Dreamer.
Two main things that I absolutely loved about this book - the idea, and the romance. Let’s start with the idea.
We meet Molly, our MC, right as she gets struck by lightning. Luckily, she is fine, but she starts having these odd dreams of this different, all too vivid world. This idea almost seems cliche, but when I thought about it I realized I have never encountered a book where dreaming is actually a reality. It takes Molly a while to realize that this world she is being transported to is a real place, and when she does, she realizes that she has a real problem. She has a hard time coming to terms with it (because really, who wouldn’t have a hard time with that?) but as all lovable main characters are, she is up to the challenge. And her biggest might just be... Dev.
Dev. Don’t even get me started! He’s that super attractive guy that every good NA/YA novel needs. But at the same time, it’s kind of like... Do I even like him? He kind of sucks. But daaaang he is attractive. We’ve all been there as readers of Young Adult novels. But then of course, we won’t only have Dev, but we also have Jared, who is her super nice (earthly) boyfriend who only wants nothing more than to be there for her. The two extremes. And to be honest, I still don’t know where I stand when it comes to choosing between them...
While there was a lot of great things in this novel, I did have one slight problem with The Dreamer - it was a little bit slow. It almost was like an introductory book to get us ready for the awesomeness that the second book promises (which I am sure is coming). It was still interesting, but I didn’t feel that the plot was completely developed and at times didn’t see character’s goals. Nonetheless, it ended in a way that was too tempting to say no too. Talk about a cliff hanger! I need the second right now!
I do recommend The Dreamer for slightly older audiences (I would say 15 and up) and for those who enjoy fantasy and romance. I give it 3.9 stars, because it deserves more than 3.5 by doesn’t quite make four because of the pacing.
Get ready for The Divide, which comes out this October!


Thursday, September 17, 2015


I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him up and thrown away the key.

And now, I was going to pass down the white tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.

April won’t let Jonah go without a fight.

He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?

I have always been a sucker for books that battle the stigmatisms surrounding mental illnesses. So when this one crossed my path, I knew that I had to get my eager hands on it. Your Voice is All I Hear  is probably one of the best books that I picked up in 2015.
Your Voice is All I Hear is all about the relationship between April and Jonah. From the very beginning, I was drawn into this book by the characters. April was shy and soft spoken, and when Jonah comes into her school as a new student, she thinks she has no chance. But instead of looking at the prettiest girls in the class, he looks right to April and outright calls her pretty on the first day in front of everybody. This inevitably leads to their coming together in an official boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, and a really cute one at that.
And next thing we know, Jonah’s in a mental hospital.
The most painful part of this book (and there was a lot of pain) was when her mother told April to give up on Jonah, because she deserved better. I feel like this happens all too much. Jonah was a nice, great boy, but because he has a mental illness people automatically think lowly of him and accuse him of being “crazy.” I wanted nothing more than to shout at the mother that though mental illness can be hard to deal with, it is still none other than a sickness. And there are cures, and ways to deal with it. April stayed by Jonah’s side faithfully throughout the book, and it was because of this that I felt a great deal of respect toward the main character. Through thick and thin, she was with him.
I would be lying if I said that this book wasn’t painful to read. It was emotional and brutal - and yet, honest. These are issues that need to be addressed, whether people want to or not. It’s a book that you look back and you remember, definitely not the kind that you finish, set down, and forget about.
The only reason I don’t give Your Voice is All I Hear five stars - I sometimes felt that the pacing was somewhat off. I felt like Jonah’s condition went from critical for one hundred pages, to suddenly stable and acting one hundred percent normal. But with the whole book put into consideration, it was hardly a problem.
I would say that Your Voice is All I Hear is for a bit of an older audience just because it does get scary and upsetting at times. But there are obvious positive messages and role models. A must read for sure!
So next time you’re in your local bookstore, make sure you look for Your Voice is All I Hear!

Monday, August 24, 2015

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett

This review is doubling as a school assignment
Official Summary: Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She's full of ambition, but without a husband, she's considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town...

My Summary: The Help is a beautifully written, inspirational novel that follows three different women’s point of view during the Civil Rights era. Aibileen, a house maid raising her seventeenth white baby, Minny, also a maid, that is always running into trouble with her sassy comments, and Skeeter, a twenty two white woman who dreams only to become a writer.
As a child, Skeeter was practically raised by her house maid, Constantine. Though she left during her college years and she does not know the reason behind her disappearance, Skeeter has always held more respect for the Colored people than that of her friends. One day, Skeeter asks Aibileen if she ever wished she could change things. This question eventually led to the Help, a compilation of Black house maid’s experiences working for white families. It is a risky move, but Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny are all willing to risk it in order to get their views and experiences out into the world during one of the most monumental times in all of history.

Theme: While there are a lot of obvious themes, such as racial injustice and gender roles, what I most learned from The Help was that sometimes risks need to be taken for the greater good. And on a more personal level, that people have feelings and they need to be treated as such. Aibileen and Minny were putting a lot on the line by giving Skeeter their stories - at this time in history, colored people were being beat or even killed for miniscule mistakes such as accidentally walking into a Whites Only building. They were paid less than minimum wage, accused of carrying non existent diseases, and at times, treated like they were nothing more than scum. Yet they agreed to help Skeeter because they knew it could make a difference, a difference that had to be made.
But it wasn’t only dangerous for Aibileen and Minny, but for Skeeter as well. Being white, she was mostly protected from physical harm, but not so much social. While writing Help, Skeeter lost the majority of her friends and took a major fall on the social ladder. When the end of the book was being written, she knew that she was almost in as much trouble as her colored friends in the sense of being harassed and thrown into jail. But Skeeter wanted to do something for a better future just as much as Aibileen and Minny did.
A song that I thought closely related to The Help was Fight Song by Rachel Platten. ( because as the song says, Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny only had one match, but with it they could make an explosion. The song makes me think of looking for a better tomorrow for yourself and making it a reality, which is exactly what these three women did by committing to writing Help. It was risky, and it was nerve wracking, but they wanted to show that they still had fight left in them and they weren’t going to succumb to the Whites and their cruel, unjust treatment.

In the end, The Help was one of the most inspirational and rewarding books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The story was complex and beautiful, as were the characters. One of the most impressive aspects of this book for me was that though there were more main characters than I am used to reading, each character was very individual and distinct. The characters kept the suspense going until the very last minute, where I barely held myself back from crying. While not everything was resolved on the outside, all characters found their internal peace, and that was what made this book for me. Something they had been so reluctant to start had turned into their greatest achievement, and the thing that revived them and made them realize, I deserve better than this. They crossed a seemingly uncrossable line that eventually led to their own personal finish line. Or, to say it better, a new, better starting line.

If you have not read The Help, I greatly encourage you to do so. I give it a rating of five stars.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Vs. Movie: Paper Towns

***This post will contain spoilers of the book! Do not read if you have not yet read Paper Towns and still plan to***

There’s really no question about who is going to win the war waged between books and movies. The books, obviously! But nonetheless, I enjoy comparing them to one another. I do it in my head all the time, so I figured I might put it on paper as well! So without further delay, Paper Towns - Book Vs. Movie!

I picked up Paper Towns only about two weeks before the movie was coming out. I LOVED it, but it was definitely something that I saw as being more popular in book format than as a movie. Not that the story wasn’t amazing, but the biggest reason that I loved it was just because I love the way that John Green writes. Paper Towns had a ton of deeper, hidden meanings that I loved to discover, and the characters were so beautifully written. I basically went to that movie just for the characters!

For a based-off-the-book movie, Paper Towns did not bother me too often. I loved the way that they portrayed and kept real to the characters. Quentin was Quentin, Margo was Margo, Ben was Ben... so I applaud their work there.

But without fail, there was one flaw that bothered me throughout the entire course of the movie.

I personally felt like the most dramatic parts in the book were dimmed down considerably in the movie. In the book, Quentin and his friends ditch graduation in a last minute plan to go find Margo (a plan that Angela was NOT A PART OF), and the whole thing is an intense mad dash to Anglo New York that, if they did not succeed, they would not find Margo at all and would most likely lose her forever. The stakes were higher than missing hair appointments and getting ready for Prom. And remember when Quentin almost hit the cow and got himself killed? In the book, everything slowed down, he accepted his fate, and when they spun off the road he was bawling his eyes out. In the movie, he laughed it off and acted like he had NOT ALMOST DIED. And then they get out of the car and mess around, even though as I recall, they were rushing to find Margo! Because she was going to leave!

And then my biggest problem...

They didn’t give Quentin the opportunity to get mad at Margo!

At the end of the book, after Quentin had found Margo, she had been a jerk (once again) to him. In the movie, he just took it. In the book, he defended himself. And yeah I egged him on! The girl dragged him around during the last weeks of his whole high school experience! And when he found her? She wasn’t impressed or happy at all, instead deciding to tell him that she hadn’t meant to be found at all and to go home. All of his work had been for nothing. So yes, I loved when he stood up for himself to Margo. But in the movie? He still just stared at her like a lost puppy who just needed love.

Whyyy!!! I gained a lot of respect for Quentin at that point in the book! Because he finally said to her, you walked all over me. And I’m not okay with that.

I wasn’t the only one who thought this, either. My mom actually leaned over to me and asked me, “Why doesn’t he say something to her? She’s been nothing but a brat!” I couldn’t agree more. Which is why we should stick to the book, people.

Okay. In the end, I think that the director did do a good job. Movie adaptations are hard, and it’s especially hard to satisfy readers of the book. But the best word of advice that I could give to you about this one: you probably won’t enjoy the movie unless you have read the book as well. I have yet to have a friend who liked that movie without having read the book previously.

And if you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend. It is quite possibly my favorite book by John Green.

Stay tuned for more Book Vs. Movie posts! This was a really fun idea that I hope to do it again in the future. Happy reading!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Let's Talk Covers - Anna and the French Kiss

I have never been a fan of this cover. In fact, I pushed off reading it for about a year (even though my Goodreads insisted that I would love it) because I hated the look of it so much. But after manning up and picking it up from the library, Anna became my new favorite contemporary. My opinion of the cover, however, did not change.
First… how is it significant? All we see is a girl leaning over smiling at a boy’s arm, with the Eiffel tower in the background. My biggest problems would probably be…

  • That doesn’t look a lot like Anna. The way that the girl on the cover is acting is super Un- Annaish. She’s smiling all flirtatious and bubbly, but do we remember how she actually met St. Clair? Not so smooth. Also, he had a girlfriend and she respected that. She was completely cool with being friends. Not so sure what’s going on in the picture… I would accept it if he were smiling back, but he just looks disinterested.
  • Some of you may think that this is a ridiculous reason and I admit that it kind of is… but HIS ARM LOOKS SO GIRLY TO ME. It just doesn’t look right! Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. But seriously, I can’t get over it.
  • It just looks too simple and photoshopped, not at all as phenomenal as the book is. It would have been better it if were a bit more sophisticated. It just doesn’t properly capture what is inside of the book. WHICH IS AMAZINGNESS.

Now, let’s talk about this new cover…
I know I may be contradicting myself - well, no, I am - when I say that I love it for it’s simplicity. After all, up above I said that it looks too simple. But this is the right kind of simple. A gorgeous paris scene tinted pink, with the cover’s writing over top? I don’t have any problems with it. It may not be my favorite possible cover for the book, but I don’t have any real complaints. It has the right amount of sophistication, but still promises a cute and fluffy book.

And look at that gradient effect! Gorgeous!

So yes, in the end I am happy with the way that this cover change turned out. Good job to the people who designed this new cover, whoever you are! I absolutely adore it!