Writing My Own Fairy Tale

I read books. Then I blog about them. 

Come visit me at: www.writingmyownfairytale.com.

 

Eat, Brains, Love - Jeff Hart

Initial thoughts upon finishing this book: Loved the interesting and different take on zombies. Liked the characters. Liked that it had more depth than I had originally thought it would. Didn't like the ending. Hated Alastair. Wondering if this will be a series? There was a lot left open at the end of the book

 

Helpful tip: It's not a good idea to eat while reading this book. 

Eat, Brains, Love

Eat, Brains, Love - Jeff Hart

So far this is really funny but also seriously gory. I'm loving the interesting and different take on zombies. I hope it holds up for the rest of the book. 

Jessica Darling's It List

Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection - Megan McCafferty

This book was completely adorable. A perfect middle-grade book for girls who like contemporaries. It was my first Jessica Darling book but I most definitely need to read her other series ASAP. Jessica Darling's It List has humor, sass, and a very authentic tween voice with issues that most seventh graders can relate to. I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it. I wish this had been around when I was younger. 

 

Have you read her adult series? What did you think?

Magic Marks the Spot

Magic Marks the Spot - Caroline Carlson

I'm reading this one out loud to my kids and so far we're all loving it! It's very funny (for both the kids and me) and we can't wait to see whether Hilary will get to be a pirate or end up at Miss Pimm's. Gargoyle is our favorite. 

Exclusive Status For Your Books On BookLikes

Reblogged from BookLikes:

It's time for Thursday Release and it's a feature many of you requested :-) Now when a given book doesn't fit any default status on your Shelf (Read, Planning to read, Currently reading) you can create your own exclusive book status.

 

How? You can create and organize your books with new statuses in several ways.

 

Go to your Shelf Page and create your new status with your name, e.g. Not finished. New status will be added and visible at once on your Shelf.

 

 

You can also create exclusive status directly in book pop up, select it and Save for a given title. The book will receive new status immediately. 

 

 

If you want to reset previously given status (Read, Planning to read, Currently reading), click on it and Save. It should go white (inactive) and notion "On Shelf" will appear instead. 

 

You can also create exclusive status on Table view of your shelf (the entrance is on Shelf page). It is also a place where you can re-arrange your books one by one:

 

or move several books at once:

 

You can still create thematic shelves which will be added to your Shelf on the left and organize them the same way in table view. 

Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Not a Drop to Drink - Mindy McGinnis

When I started this book, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I had read a few reviews that were very positive and I'd heard the hype. I was really excited for it. But I just wasn't sure if I would connect with the story or if this post-apocalyptic world would work. After being burned a few times, especially in the YA science-fiction world, it's hard to know what to expect. But I can say that this book was everything all of those great reviews said it would be: grim, dark, dramatic, and intense. This book delivers.

 

The scariest part of this book is the setting. In the not-too-distant future, Lynn lives in a world where water is sparse. Luckily for her, she has a pond in her backyard. Unluckily, not everyone does. And those who don't want what she has. She killed her first person when she was nine. But it's all she's known. As long as she has been alive, she's lived in the basement of the little house with the pond with just her mother. They work for their lives, purifying the water they have, harvesting the food they grow in their gardens, canning it for winter, killing their meat, and protecting their pond. Lynn's mother taught her how to do everything and raised her to survive. But there are new threats to their pond. And Lynn works hard to survive under new conditions and learns that maybe survival isn't the only thing worth living for.

 

The characters in this book really drive the story. Lynn is a little naive but has grown up knowing only her mother and their little area of land. She has never ventured farther than where her mother can see. She has never spoken to another person, except briefly when she was younger to Stebbs, their only neighbor who lives across the fields in his own shack. Otherwise, men are seen as a threat and killed on the spot. Things have been done the same way for as long as Lynn has lived. But when her situation changes, she must change as well. Thanks to Stebbs, who steps in and helps out, whether Lynn wants it or not, and some newcomers from the city, Lynn has a chance to look at the world, and her little pond, a little bit differently. I liked how quickly she was willing to accept that maybe things in her world weren't the absolute only way to do things. I liked how she welcomed others and learned that being alone isn't always the best. And I also liked that we finally learned more about her mother. There are always reasons for why people do things the way they do and learning about those reasons adds so much to their character. I also liked Eli and Lucy and immediately felt protective of them. All of the characters were such individuals and they all added something important to the story.

 

The writing in this book, like the summary says, is spare. I wasn't exactly sure what that meant before reading it but it turns out they weren't lying. The book gets right to the point. There are no extraneous words here. Every word is used and meant for a reason. And they will cut you. Along with being spare it is also grim and shocking and bleak and scary and every synonym for merciless. It's a little funny because spare can also mean to show mercy and this book shows no mercy for its readers. So be prepared. I knew the book would be dark but I did not expect the ending that came. But even as brutal as it was, I enjoyed reading a book by an author that didn't coddle its readers. It was nice to just get the story, good and bad and everything else.

 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. I know the YA sci-fi genre has gotten pretty saturated recently, but this one is definitely worth reading. It's quick, dark, emotional, and, most importantly, not that far off from a possible future reality for us. Also, this book is a standalone and perfect for the times you want to read a story from beginning to end without having to pick up three or more books. We see Lynn develop from young and naive survivalist to an older and more understanding adult. We get glimpses of the world outside her pond, but the real story lies within Lynn and her pond and that's the story we become attached to and want to read about. If you pick this one up, I really hope you like it. But don't blame me when it destroys you a little. I warned you!

 

Thanks to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Source: http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-quirk/files/2012/09/110924_censorship_banned-books.jpg
Two Boys Kissing - David Levithan

I'm giving this book five stars. I would give it five stars simply for existing but it most definitely earned those stars. This book is beautiful. The stories are so specific but also so universal. I wish everyone, especially teenagers, could read this book. I wish we could all see how similar we all really are, how we all feel the same things: love, fear, anger, insecurity, happiness, sadness, etc. No matter who we love, that love is the same. I hope someday we can all see that truth. And thanks to David Levithan we're just a little bit closer to that.

Not a Drop to Drink

Not a Drop to Drink - Woah. I'm going to need some time to recover from this before writing a full review.

The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything - Robyn Schneider I flew through this book. Not only because the beginning chapters of this book were captivating and very original but also because I needed to know what was going to happen with Ezra. Was he going to be okay? Who was Cassidy? What was her story? How would end-of-the-book-Ezra be different from beginning-of-the-book-Ezra? I just needed to know. And it was definitely worth it.In The Beginning of Everything we meet Ezra, our MC. He tells us about his childhood friend and his theory that everyone's life revolves around their one major tragedy. We learn about his friend's, then we learn about his own. We are told how he grew up to be one of the most popular guys in school. We also learn that he maybe wasn't entirely happy with his life. When the story reaches present time, Ezra's senior year is just starting and he's coming back as a different person than when he left it at the end of junior year. And when his senior year ends, he'll be even more different.This book felt like a mash-up of a John Green book and Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. The characters are smart and also a little nerdy. The dialogue was brilliant and funny. And the internal monologue of the MC was very beautiful and cognizant but also masculine. And I always love a male POV that feels authentic. Ezra felt very natural and real, even in his softer moments. You need a good cry, Ezra? you go right ahead. You deserve it. We'll all still love you when you're done.A few other things I loved about this book are the characters, the writing, and the original, unpredictable plot. I loved so many of the characters in this book and all for different reasons. Toby was the best best friend who had completely accepted himself and his place in their very cliquey high school. Phoebe was the shy girl who learned to stand up for herself. Luke was the nerdy bad guy. Charlotte was the shallow ex who hadn't learned anything from her past. Cassidy was the mysterious new girl who did whatever she wanted, always said the right things, but was hiding a big secret. Cooper was the lovable and loyal poodle. Even Ezra's parents and the school jocks were unique and memorable and played their parts well, whether we were suppose to like them or not. I loved them all for their abilities to make us feel and think and wonder (even if they were a bit stereotypical).The writing in this book and the uniqueness of the story were also what made me fall in love with it. Even when I thought I knew what was going to happen, something else came in and totally took me by surprise. The secret and the ending were not what I was expected. It was perfect and beautiful and meaningful but the events leading up to it were definitely not what I had predicted. (With the exception of a big conflict and reveal regarding Cassidy.) I just loved the idea that we do choose which paths we take and are in charge of the choices we make. The world may be full of chaos that we cannot control (people moving in and out of our lives, tragic events, etc.) but we still decide who we are and how we react to those things. We aren't passive in our own lives.Overall, I was very moved by the journey that Ezra takes in The Beginning of Everything. (I wish they had kept the original title!) Combine that with funny dialogue, fantastic secondary characters, and a very original beginning, this book is definitely one I'll be recommending! If you like John Green-type books, YA character-driven contemporaries, male POVs, or unique coming-of-age stories, I think you'll like this one.*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Starry Nights

Starry Nights - Daisy Whitney I'm going to come right out with it and let you guys know that this book was just not for me. I was originally sucked in by the cute cover and the idea of a YA mystery book meets Night at the Museum but for me it just didn't work. I'll explain my reasons below but I also believe that there are people who will love this book. If you are into art and Paris and museums and HEA, I think this one would work really well for you. So just make sure you keep all of that in mind while you read the rest of this review. Also, there are some *spoilers* here.My main problems with this book are 1) the instalove and 2) the MC's voice.Sometimes, I can get behind instalove in books when it feels like there's some kind of justifiable instant connection between two characters but unfortunately, this was not one of those times. Julien falls in love with a girl in a painting. He hasn't even talked to her and he's fallen for her. Then, magically, as soon as she comes out of her painting, she falls for him, too. None of it made sense for me, even in a magical realism world, how a teenage boy would fall in love with a girl in a painting and give up all real girls for her. He knows nothing about her, where she came from, who she is, or if she's even real and going to stick around. But it doesn't matter, he saw her in art and he loves her. And Clio, the girl in the painting, has literally been trapped in a painting that was in someone's basement for a hundred-something years. She knows nothing about Julien, nothing about the current world, hasn't talked to anyone since she was trapped, but she sees Julien and that's it. She gives up all other potential guys and her life's work for the first boy she sees. I just don't get it and can't support a "romance" like that. But if you like really cheesy romances, you might really like Julien and Clio.On a similar note, Julien never really felt real to me. He's supposed to be a teenage boy and while I understand that he is in France and I'm not accustomed to French teenagers, his voice never felt natural or teenage boy to me. He was a nice enough character and smart and all the things you'd think you'd want in a perfectly nice character, but he just never screamed "I'm a teenage boy!" Though, honestly, he never actually really screamed anything to me. With all of his niceness, he was also a little boring. The only times he really seemed believable to me were the times he was with Emilie, a real girl ballerina. He seemed much more natural and not I was really hoping the two of them would get a chance together, but Julien barely even thinks of her with Clio in the museum.Overall, the fact that I couldn't connect with the MC and the instalove that gets really cheesy (At one point Julien says, "She tastes like a song.") it just didn't work for me. I wasn't sure about the magical realism at first, but that part actually worked just fine for me. I did really enjoy some of the secondary characters; Bonheur and Sophie add some interest and Simon works as a loyal sidekick. The plot does get a little weird towards the end with the progression of the mystery and the addition of a character who's trying to get Clio's painting. But overall, there just isn't much to the story that I really connected with. It's a very light, somewhat younger YA that might work if you're a big art fan or really into magical realism. *I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson So good! I just wish I had Crown of Embers so I could start it right now!

The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani It was okay. It's a little too long and seems to wander a bit. I wasn't ever really sure which direction the author was taking it and what the overall lesson of the story was. Because this is a middle grade book, I was hoping we would get some lessons on how it doesn't matter what people look like, it matters what they do. But I don't think that really came through. The writing was really good and there were some really nice moments, but overall I felt that there was a lack of direction.

The Sky Is Everywhere

The Sky Is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson I loved it! Such an emotional and beautiful book about grief and love.

Brave New World

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley Well, I finished it. I'll have an actual review up next month but I can say now that this was definitely not a favorite. Interesting but I just did not like it.

Currently reading

Sentinel
Jennifer L. Armentrout