Category Archives: Young Adult

Review: Tales From My Closet

TalesFromMyClosetPublisher: Scholastic Press
Author: Jennifer Anne Moses
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 4 Stars

Summary
Five girls. A paper dress. Tons of shoes. One unforgettable raincoat. White Jeans. Secrets. Drama. Friends?
For Justine, Bianca, Becka, Polly, and Anne, living in Westfield, New Jersey is “life on planet toilet paper.” At least that’s how Justine feels when she shows up as the new girl in school wearing a Scott Paper Caper dress. To her, it’s a super-original fashion statement. But other “loser freaks” don’t agree.
The other girls have their own fashion issues, ranging from fabulous boots to raggedy pajamas to what to wear to therapy. Told in alternating voices, TALES FROM MY CLOSET follows the stories of high school kids who have nothing in common–and everything in common. They’re at war with each other, but through their clothes, they reveal and conceal themselves and make peace with what it means to be a teen. Over the course of a school year, their individual struggles and successes come together to tell a story that’s funny, honest, and all-girl fabulous.

Review
Loved the alternating stories throughout the book. Huge of family secrets, financial instabilities, denial, self-image, self-discovery, teenage hormones, and a fashion sense that will drive them crazy! With the alternating stories, you got the insight of all the girl’s thoughts, and how everything played out. Of course all the girls have a connection that is bound to be nothing but true friends.
The story was very well put together, inviting, and you can really see how this could easily be a true life story. My only downfall was some of the characters lacked building, and I would love to known more about them. However, it is definitely worth a read and will recommend to those would love Young Adult.

About the Author
JenniferMosesJennifer Anne Moses, who lived for years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a writer and painter who currently lives in Montclair, NJ, where the pizza is much better but the Zydeco, not so much. In addition to her books, she’s published dozens of essays, articles, Op Ed pieces, and short stories, and her work has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prizes and New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. At readings, she mainly tells stories and jokes. She and her husband have two mutts and three children.

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Disclosure: I won this book for free via Goodreads First Reads. I did not have to do the review, and this review is my honest opinion.

Review: Charmed @EricaRidley

CharmedPublisher: Intrepid Reads
Author: Erica Ridley
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Series: Nether-Netherland
Review Source: Author/LibraryThing

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary
Prepare to be… Charmed!
Daisy le Fey is good at a lot of things. Math, science, accidentally turning people into pumpkins… Unfortunately, she’s not good at the one thing hiring managers look for when filling open positions for magical beings: Magic.
When she jeopardizes her apprenticeship by getting involved with sexy mortal Trevor Masterson, it’s one disaster too many. In order to stay out of purgatory, she’s going to have to ditch the human—and her one chance at true love.

Review
I truly enjoyed this light read and the writing so much I was laughing through a lot of the scenes. The story painted a very detailed picture with enough in the plot that will have you wanting to finish it when you first start to read. There was a lot happening: excitement, emotions, nail biting. I will always remember Daisy and Trevor. I usually don’t read Paranormal, but I think I will start embracing a new genre. I enjoy that easy it was to follow and filled with fantasy. All of the characters were enjoyable,  developed, fun, exciting, flawed, and some even sexy.
Daisy is  strong, cheerful, runs into trouble, and she is wingless tooth fairy. She doesn’t think she needs a relationship much less  romance. I guess you will just need to grab up this book to figure out what Daisy will due to to gain her wings and how her magical powers work, lets just say turning things into pumpkins is not what should happen.
This is an adult twist to fairy tales, and kinda like an all grown up Tinkerbell. If you love tooth fairies, then you will definitely love this book, go ahead and be Charmed, like I was.

About the Author
Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up.
She is the author of two Gothic romances, Too Wicked to Kiss and Too Sinful to Deny, the vampire romance “Never Been Bitten” in the paranormal romance anthology Born To Bite, contemporary paranormal romances Charmed and Midwinter Magic, and the holiday romance Let It Snow.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.

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Disclosure: I won this book in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: Running Lean @dianalee4jc

RunningleanPublisher: Zondervan Publishing House
Author: Diana Sharples
Genre: Young Adult, Comtemporary
Review Source: Booksneeze

★ ☆★ – 3 Stars

Summary
Running Lean [run·ning leen]

1) A term referring to a deficiency of fuel in the fuel-to-air ratio of an internal combustion engine.
2)A physical condition where not enough caloric fuel is present for optimal performance of the body.
3)A spiritual condition in which a believer relies on his own strengths.

Equilibrium. That’s what Stacey and Calvin found in each other. He is as solid as his beloved vintage motorcycle and helps quiet the constant clamor in Stacey’s mind. She is a passionate, creative spirit—and a lifeline after Calvin’s soldier brother dies.
But lately the balance is off. Calvin’s grief is taking new and more dangerous forms. Voices of self-loathing are dominating Stacey’s life. When struggles with body image threaten her health, Calvin can’t bear to lose another person that he loves. Taking action may destroy their relationship, but the alternative could be much more costly.

Review
Running Lean, I loved the aspect of teaching us about a real life situation to an eating disorder. Now, I know what to look for as my daughter gets older. Some of the tricks and techniques that Stacey used was very spot on for a lot of people.
My opinion of the book, and the reason why I only gave it three stars was due to the lack of depth. We never understand Calvin’s pain, or how his brother died or how Calvin coped with his grief. We never learn anything about Calvin other than he gets jealous, likes motorcycles, and his brother died. That is all.
Running Lean is fully impacted by the whines of Stacey and how everyone starts revolving around her. Sure, something is wrong, but “sorry” was overpowered in the book. The story felt forced to me, and I don’t know why Calvin stayed with her. You never get to experience the “love connection” before Calvin and Stacey, and why they love each other… they just seem “there”. I do understand when we go through life, us girls (no not all of us) get clingy. We demand attention, we stomp our feet when we don’t get our way, but by the time I was Stacey’s age I wasn’t whining. I knew what life was about, and I had to take it by the horns and do what is right for myself. I never seen Stacey step up to the plate til it was almost too late, and even then it was like she didn’t understand the whole picture.
I wish I could get more invovled with the book, the cover is awesome, and the summary seemed like it would be well worth it. It was okay.

About the Author
Diana Sharples lives in north Georgia with her husband and teenage daughter, along with a house full of pets. She started writing stories when quite young and finished her first novel at age thirteen. Life intruded and bills had to be paid, but in the late 80s she returned to school and earned a degree in communication design/illustration from the Atlanta College of Art. She pursued a career in science fiction/fantasy illustration and won numerous awards for her work, which appeared on a magazine cover in Great Britain and in the pages of a gaming manual. She worked for a number of years on a never-ending elvish soap-opera-novel, receiving feedback and mentoring from several published authors in the speculative fiction genre. However, she changed career tracks in 2001, after accepting Christ as her Savior.

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[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2V7Rxigw2U]

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Pushing the Limits

PushingthelimitsPublisher: Harlequin Teen
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Pushing the Limits #1
Review Source: Library

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with freaky scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.
But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Review
Awesome, totally completely beyond Awesome.. I wonder if we could come up with another term: breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, amazing, stunning.. could we use anymore words??!!
I knew I was missing out with this series, and I can not wait to start the second book. Hopefully, I can get caught up and be up-to-date with the series. I can not wait to see what will be in store for me as I take the journey to find out about Noah, Echo and all the others.
The road of emotions you will ride through is so overwhelming, but I can promise you it is worth it. It is worth even the tears that will be shed, and the smiles that will broke through, I promise.
Echo was pretty amazing. She has flaws, and issues. Throughout this book you will come to realize who she is, find out what black hole has been in her mind, she will also figure out how to find herself.
Noah has a dark side, but he is also lost for many of reasons. He definitely values his family, and he doesn’t want nothing to stop his love for his brothers. I am glad he got to see the truth before the darkness took everything he ever wanted.
Everyone in this book has a purpose/importance, and I loved watching the characters come together. I loved that life wasn’t perfect, people made mistakes, and love didn’t just happen. Love did happen, but it wasn’t the “swoon” love at first. I loved how they had to battle each other, and learn to let go before the other one could fall. Falling is not all about falling in love, but it is also about falling into getting to know yourself, your well-being and what makes you whole. Okay, enough of me rambling, just go get this series!

“Let him be, Beth. Sometimes you can’t help who you fall for.” – Isiah” ― Katie McGarry

About the Author
Katie MCGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Playlist For Theme:
Push” by Matchbox Twenty
Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon

Special Song to Katie:
Can You” by Angela McGarry

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Disclosure: I received this book from the library. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: Transparent

TransparentPublisher: HarperTeen
Author: Natalie Whipple
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Transparent #1
Review Source: Goodreads ARC

★ ☆★ ☆★ – 5 Stars!

Summary: (Goodreads)
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.
After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

My Review:
I really enjoyed this book, like complete awesome read. Once I started I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep going… I wanted all my questions that was stirring in my head to be answered and I couldn’t sleep til I got those answers. With the sleep thing: having a 5-year-old, and an infant the sleep thing means a lot, haha!
Fiona’s honesty was so blunt, and her dry humor reminded me a lot of my mother, haha! She was definitely a likely character in this book. I loved watching her character grow as the book went deeper into the storyline. Fiona has never seen herself due to being born with differing ability of invisibility. People could see her clothes, but not her body. I thought that was different from other “invisibility” characters from what I  have read before.
I loved how Fiona got to meet people her age, and got to see how her transformation started to take place. All the characters in this book were so great, and I can’t imagine how they will develop more into the series, but I will definitely have to keep my eyes open for the next book.

About the Author:
Natalie Whipple, sadly, does not have any cool mutations like her characters. Unless you count the ability to watch anime and Korean dramas for hours on end. Or her uncanny knack for sushi consumption.
She grew up in the Bay Area and relocated to Utah for high school, which was quite the culture shock for her anime-loving teen self. But the Rocky Mountains eventually won her over, and she stuck around to earn her degree in English linguistics at BYU. Natalie still lives in Utah with her husband and three kids, and keeps the local Asian market in business with all her attempts to cook Thai curry, Pho, and “real” ramen.

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Disclosure: I won this book for free via Goodreads First Reads. I did not have to do the review, and this review is my honest opinion.

Review: Get Lost

Get LostPublisher: WaterBrook Press
Author: Dannah Gresh
Genre: Young Adult, Christian, Devotional
Review Source:  Blogging For Books

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary: (Goodreads)
Have you ever ditched a friend for a guy? Filled your journal with more thoughts about guys than God? Found yourself jealous because that other girl gets all the dates? Maybe it’s time to get lost—in God.
Discover how to get so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find you.
Dannah Gresh traces God’s language of love through Scripture to help you pursue your heart’s deepest desires and seek love the way God designed it to be. Because once you identify your true longings and let God answer them, you’ll know just how to respond when romantic love comes along.
With a guided ten-day Love Feast Challenge, Get Lost will help you see for yourself how getting lost in God opens the door to lifelong fulfillment.

My Review:
Love can be so complicated, if we let it. We tend to associate everything with love: We love our friends, animals, food, shows, etc. Dannah breaks it down for us though:
Hesed is the Hebrew form of love. Hesed describes the God kind of love for us.
In the Greek, this love is called agape. This love is unfailing, and is not rooted in emotionalism or circumstances. It is a love that is about the other and not oneself. Agape is the love we really desire, and it is offered to us.
She also shows us at the beginning we are wired for craving. She lets us know it is not wrong to want to be loved, but most of the time we lean on people to offer us love instead of God.
Get Lost reveals that we need to get over ourselves and get lost in God. In this book you will guide yourself into an experience of getting to know what it is like to get lost with God: His Word, His Voice, His Love.

About the Author:
Dannah Gresh, a mother/daughter communication coach, has sold well over three quarters of a million copies of her books—including And the Bride Wore White and 2008’s best-selling CBA youth book, Lies Young Women Believe (coauthored with Nancy Leigh DeMoss)—making her one of the most successful Christian authors targeting teens and preteens. With the belief that today’s culture has been seeking to rob little girls of their innocence, Dannah has been fighting on the front lines to protect them. Her fun line of Secret Keeper Girl mom/preteen daughter connecting resources and live events that tour the country provide moms with just the right tools to fight back. She has long been at the forefront of the movement to encourage both tweens and teens to pursue purity and is often called upon to defend the conservative position of abstinence in national news media like USA Today, Time, Chicago Tribune, and Women’s Wear Daily. She is also a frequent contributor to FamilyLife Today, Midday Connection, and Focus on the Family. Dannah lives in State College, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bob, and their children, Robby, Lexi, and Autumn, whom the family adopted from China in 2007. She and her husband founded Grace Prep, a new model in Christian high school education, which Bob administrates. She is shamelessly in love with her labradoodle, Stormie.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes

There are Reasons Noah Packed No ClothesPublisher: Cloud Books
Author: Robert Jacoby
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Review Source: Author

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary (Goodreads):
You need your eyes, don’t you?
So does Richard Issych. Two weeks ago he overdosed. Now he’s fighting for his life, finding threatening notes like that one on his nightstand.
“There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes” is the story of 19-year-old Richard Issych, who wakes to a harsh new reality inside an inpatient unit. Now Richard’s journey turns into one of revelations and struggling through his own reasons for being as he discovers new meanings for redemption, sacrifice, hope, love-and the will to live.
In the end, what are the reasons Noah packed no clothes? Richard can only imagine. But it has something to do with a size 3XL bowling shirt with the name “Noah” stitched over the pocket.
There are reasons . . . everyone uses his own dictionary.
There are reasons . . . some new heavens come from some new hells.
There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes

My Review:
There Are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes gets you inside of a mind with someone who tried to leave the world. It takes you through a journey of what it is like on the inside of a mental hospital. While reading such an intruding book, you are captivated into wanting to know more. The characters within the book, the conversations that took off, you never knew where a conversation would end or where it would pick up later. Who knew they “saltpetered” the ice cream. Would you think that?
Richard is the main character, you get inside his head. Once you are inside his thinking, you began to wonder if you second-guessing his decisions, just as he is. You realize how people think, and it is not just you, or how you process things, but everyone is not perfect in their own thinking.
This book is so well-written, I did get lost in some places, but it doesn’t change my mind that I would suggest others to give it a try. It isn’t something that you would think  you love to read about, but even reading you are wondering if it will make to Hollywood Movies, and I think it will! Captivating is an understatement.

About the Author:
Robert Jacoby is a poet, novelist, memoirist, and diarist. His poetry has appeared in more than a dozen literary magazines, most recently The 2River View, Sleet Magazine, and Slow Trains. He has published two books, a novel, There are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes (2012), and a memoir (by interview), Escaping from Reality Without Really Trying: 40 Years of High Seas Travels and Lowbrow Tales (2011). Besides keeping writer’s sketchbooks, which contain ideas and notes for poems, portions of novels, and other works, he has kept personal notebooks. Since 1985 he has written about 900,000 words…reflections on events, life, and his work. For comparison, Thoreau and Kierkegaard wrote about 2 million words in their journals.
He is at work on a second novel, Dusk and Ember (or Leave the Dead to Bury Their Own Dead); a book of poems, Stars Fall Nude (or Everything You Know Alone You Will Know Together; and another nonfiction book—Never Stop Dancing—a memoir (by interview) of a friend who lost his wife in a pedestrian traffic accident in Washington, D.C. in April 2010, and the aftermath and recovery with his two young sons, visit his friend’s online journey, Hole in the Sun.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Spellbinding

SpellbindingPublisher: Scholastic
Author: Maya Gold
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Review Source:  NetGalley/Scholastic

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary: (Goodreads)
There’s more than one way to be powerful . . .
It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva–sixteen and nearly friendless–makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.
Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush–and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there’s Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.
A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history–and her heart–before she can face the powerful truth.

My Review:
I can say this book is very entertaining. I loved the fact that it was a page a turner, and you wanted to know what was going to happen next. It may not have been a “wow, that has never happened” in a witch book, but it was enjoyable.
The writing style sucks you into wanting to learn more, and I appreciated that. This book is an easy read, and you will get to know the characters as the story line develops.
You will either like Abby, or not. I genuinely liked her, she is just an average sixteen year old, that grows with mistakes, and learns sometimes you can’t have everything you want. She meets Rem in Salem, and sometimes their relationship was up and down, and not a lot of depth. I did enjoy reading about them though, and one of the reasons for this book to be a page turner.

About Author:
Maya Gold grew up in New Jersey, a few towns north of Diana’s home in Weehawken. Now she lives in upstate New York with her fashion–forward teenage daughter and a very friendly dog. Maya writes books and magazine articles, and in her spare time, she coaches a high school drama club. Cinderella Cleaners is her first series for young readers.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from NetGalley/Scholastic. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Entangled

EntangledPublisher: Self-published
Author: Nikki Jefford
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Series: Spellbound #1
Review Source:  NetGalley

★ ☆★ ☆ – 4 Stars

Summary: (Goodreads)
Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.
Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.
The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.
Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.

My Review:
Isn’t the cover stunning? Beautifully Amazing.
In the beginning of Entangled, you will learn that Char and Gray are completely polar opposites, as being identical twins, they are nothing alike.
The first of the story was hard to follow, didn’t know much about characters before the story starting unfolding, scenes were jumpy, but I think it would be a good idea to put stars or something when a scene ends, so that way some confusion can be cleared up. However, I think the story line is great! Once I got out of 5th chapter I kept wanting to know what was next, what secrets were coming out, and what was behind the madness. I also loved the fact that there wasn’t any “instant” love sorta thing, sure there was some lusting, but what teens doesn’t do that?

Char does seem to be selfish, and thinks about herself a lot, but yet Gray is suppose to be in the background as everything gets settled, and figured out, which I guess is understandable.
Raj, who wouldn’t love this character? He is complicated, but who isn’t? He has to be the one character that is interesting to read about, well him, and Gray as they both build character about the same time.
It is enjoyable, I would suggest this book to people who have patience with plot and like for the story to build. I hope I can get my hands on the next sequel because I will definitely read it, I really want to know what happens next!

About the Author:
Bookaholic, nature girl, and animal lover. Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada. She married the love of her life, Sebastien, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They reside with their Westie, Cosmo. Loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.