This is the 41st book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
Published June 1st , 2010 by Razorbill
I hugged my sisters and they fit against my sides like two jigsaw pieces that would never fit anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine ever letting them go again, like releasing them would be to surrender the best parts of myself.
Three sisters share a magical, unshakeable bond in this witty high-concept novel from the critically acclaimed author of Audrey, Wait! Around the time of their parents’ divorce, sisters April, May, and June recover special powers from childhood–powers that come in handy navigating the hell that is high school. Powers that help them cope with the hardest year of their lives. But could they have a greater purpose?
April, the oldest and a bit of a worrier, can see the future. Middle-child May can literally disappear. And baby June reads minds–everyone’s but her own. When April gets a vision of disaster, the girls come together to save the day and reconcile their strained family. They realize that no matter what happens, powers or no powers, they’ll always have each other.
Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.
A cute book about three very different sisters (named April, May, and June no less) who discover they have super powers.
The characters were portrayed so realistically that I felt like I’d been pulled right into the book. I adored the relationships between the sisters, their mom, and the love interests. The girls are also struggling with a recent divorce between their parents, which I can kind of empathize with.
May is probably my favorite out of the three, though I like them all in their way.
If you’re looking for a light, fun read, I recommend this one.
This week’s book recommendation is Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler. You may know her as the author of the famously banned book, Twenty Boy Summer. While I enjoyed that one, I absolutely loved this one. If you’re looking for a book with great characters and development, relationships, and family secrets, this might be right up your alley.
Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart.
She used to be a good student, but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her “boyfriend” isn’t much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family’s painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?
Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery
Hey guys, I don’t think I’ve done a proper update post since the end of June. Yikes! Anyway, I really haven’t been up to all that much in regards to writing. I’ve been taking it easy ever since I finished The Birthday Bash for Camp NaNoWriMo. However, I plan to finish Chalts up in September and possibly write a Halloween-themed short story or two for October.
I did enter Whispertown for Pitch Wars on Monday. Now I just have to wait another week or so to see if it made it. If not, I will enter #PitMad in September. That’s it for now!
I’ve also gotten about halfway finished with the re-vamping of the blog. What do you think so far? The main page, About, Posting Schedule, Contests, and Book Vs Movie pages are finished. I just have to finish the Book Reviews and Resources pages. Let me know what you think of the new design. It’s not a major change–just wanted the fonts and colors to match better. The Book Vs Movie page is probably the most changed one. Thank you for your patience as I make the blog (hopefully) look better!
Hey guys, apologies for the hiatus. Have had some real-life stuff going on plus I am also working on revamping the blog design some. Thank you for your patience. Things should go back as usual now.
This week’s book recommendation is Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield. If you like small towns, beautiful writing, deep and complex characters, and mystery, this is the book for you.
An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent.
Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town–and Becca–into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.
Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson’s life are intercut with Becca’s own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia’s death.
This is the 38th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.
Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Published May 21st 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”
But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look.
Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn’t always tell the whole story.
I loved Jennifer Brown’s Hate List so I’ve been wondering how the rest of her books are. This one was pretty good. It involved a topic I haven’t read about before or know much about–sexting. The main character was easy to like and feel sorry for. I think most of us can recall things we regret doing in our life that seemed right at the time. This was how I felt about Ashleigh and the entire incident.
It was harder to feel bad for her ex, Kaleb. Then again, I didn’t like him to begin with. It’s hard to feel bad for someone who would send classmates a revealing picture of your ex. I don’t care what your ex supposedly did–you don’t send something like that to other people, especially if they are still under 18.
Like Hate List, this book felt pretty realistic in regards to the settings, plot, and character. I liked the introduction of Mack and how he became a friend for Ashleigh. It was nice to see an actual girl-boy friendship without romance as well. I also really loved the relationship between Ashleigh and her mother–very sweet.
I’d definitely recommend this one to teens.
The Face on the Milk Carton
Book written by Caroline B. Cooney, 1990
Movie directed by Waris Hussein, 1995
Synopsis from Goodreads.com:
The face on the milk carton looks like an ordinary little girl: hair in tight pigtails, a dress with a narrow white collar, a three-year-old who was kidnapped more than twelve years ago from a shopping mall in New Jersey.
As fifteen-year-old Janie Johnson stares at the milk carton, she feels overcome with shock. She knows that little girl is she. But how could it be true?
Janie can’t believe that her loving parents kidnapped her, until she begins to piece together clues that don’t make sense. Why are there no pictures of Janie before she was four? Her parents have always said they didn’t have a camera. Now that explanation sounds feeble. Something is terribly wrong, and Janie is afraid to find out what happened more than twelve years ago.
In this gripping page-turner, the reader will unravel — as Janie does — the twisted events that changed the lives of two families forever.
Which I Viewed First: The book.
Which I Enjoyed Most: The book.
Out of 5 stars, the Book Gets: 5 stars.
Out of 5 stars, the Movie Gets: 3 stars.
Things the Book Did Better: More character development.
Things the Movie Did Better: Was neat to see the story in action.
Verdict?: The book.
Why?: The character development was better in the book. Janie came across as more complicated and easier to sympathize with where in the movie she seemed like more of a brat. I also felt that the parents were less likable in the movie as well. Plus some of the characters–like the twins–were omitted and that also seemed to take away from the story.
Should the movie be re-made?: Maybe.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Would love to hear your thoughts!
This is the 37th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.
After by Amy Efaw
Published August 11th 2009 by Viking Juvenile
An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .
Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made. Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there’s only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.
And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible. She turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon’s unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.
After is one of the most intriguing reads that I’ve come across in a long time. The subject itself is controversial–women who abandon their babies in dumpsters and other such places. While it is very tragic, I have always felt that the majority of these women did so because they were desperate. It’s very easy to judge when you haven’t been in a desperate situation. I’m not excusing the actions, but it is a valid concern.
The author did a superb job of making this book feel realistic. Even though there were times I found myself annoyed with Devon and her inability to sometimes react, it felt real. I felt bad for Devon, and also her baby. Devon hasn’t had an easy life and it was sad at how she had to take care of herself and how everything she’s strived for might be gone because of a really bad decision.
The settings, characters, and plot seemed realistic. This book made me feel so many different emotions–shock, horror, sadness, sympathy, etc. There was a scene in which people in Devon’s life made it known that they would have supported her that especially almost brought me to tears.
I recommend this book for everyone. Too often I see people react to these stories without knowing the full story. Yes, it is terrible. No, I don’t think women in these situations should all serve the same sentence.
Stories like this make me realize how much our society needs to be aware of Safe Havens and where they exist. While it may not keep this from happening all the time, I believe awareness would help these desperate women and their babies. I’ve encountered many people who didn’t even know what a Safe Haven was and that’s sad in itself.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending. After all Devon has put me through as a reader, I just felt like she didn’t deserve what she thinks she does. I really hope the author has plans to continue this story because I’m dying to know what comes next. While I don’t believe she should go without some kind of sentence, I am also not in favor of her being charged with intent to murder because I don’t feel she intended that at all.
This is one of those books that is going to stay in my mind. There’s so much to consider that I’m not even sure I can wrap my mind around what all I’m thinking, but definitely check this one out.
Today I would like to introduce you to J.C. Nelson, author of the newly released Free Agent.
In this episode of HISHE: Fairy Tale Edition, we take a look at small time criminal and big time ecological destroyer Jack, of Jack and the Beanstalk. If for some reason you have survived to adulthood without hearing the story, let me sum it up for you:
Jack, a lazy boy with a non-traditional view on currency and value, lives alone with his mother. Hard times hit and Mom tells Jack to trade their cow for cash so they can eat. Jack trades the cow for three magic beans.
And it should be noted that nowhere does it ever say that Jack feels like he got a bad deal. When Jack gets home, however, his mother is not so amused. She’s a participant in the usual capitalist economy and decides to invest the beans in some dirt outside and send Jack to bed.
Overnight, a bean stalk grows which reaches the clouds. Jack climbs the bean stalk, because, well, what could go wrong climbing a beanstalk without a parachute? It should be noted that this act of starting up the bean stalk means that Jack in fact formed the first “start up.” He’s also the first venture capitalist, because he ventures up the vine and steals from a giant who lives in the clouds.
In the fairy tale, Jack is helped by the giant’s wife, and in return, he takes all their treasure, starting with golden coins, a golden goose, and finally a singing harp. Yes, that’s how Jack repays the giantess’s wife’s kindness.
When Jack is discovered to be raiding the treasury, he flees down the beanstalk and then cuts it down, killing the giant. So, to review: Jack is a murderous son of a gun who steals from those kind enough to help him and then murders their husband. The official fairy tale ends with Jack and Mom living happily ever after, but if you step back, Jack should be in deep [NOT_HONEY].
First off, that was the only beanstalk of its kind, and thus was a protected species. Jack better hope there’s a ton of gold because he’s going to be fined. Secondly, it’s illegal to own a golden goose – they are protected animals and Jack didn’t acquire a license from the department of fish and wild life OR the treasury.
And on top of that, the giant fell pretty much right beside Jack’s house. So he’s going to live out his days with the stench of rotten giant any time the wind blows from the east. On the plus side, he and his mom will be able to eat for the rest of their lives.
Yes, that’s how Jack and the bean stalk should have ended. With thieving, murderous, Jack living out his days in a hellhole just west of the world’s largest corpse, until he’s sentence for his crimes and sent to jail.
When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price…
Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with.
Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes.
Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…
Intrigued? Check out this excerpt:
The New Year’s Eve countdown told me I had five minutes until the ball drop. That gave me six minutes until somebody got killed. I spotted the shoplifter in line at the theater and worked my way across the street, through the teeming crowd. She had no idea what she was wearing, which made her both stupid and dangerous. Stupid was dangerous enough by itself.
“Marissa, I might remind you of the time,” said a man’s voice. It came right out of the store window beside me, the dry voice with its not-quite-English accent. He watched me with critical eyes.
“I got it, Grimm.” I walked along the theater line, head down.
His image followed me, reflecting from the windows and even the brass banister knobs that held the velvet rope. “I’ll believe that when you actually do.”
Call it women’s intuition, or maybe the slippers she wore tipped her off, but the shoplifter turned and looked right at me. Our eyes met, and she knew why I was there, if not who I was. As the crowd surged forward, she ducked into the theater, disappearing into the throng.
“God Damsel-it.” I spat out the faint taste of soap. “Doesn’t count, not a real curse.”
“Watch your language, young lady. Only proper women live happily ever after. Now, go get those slippers back.” Grimm appeared in the ticket window, beckoning me on.
If I had enough Glitter to buy a happily ever after, I wouldn’t have spent all day chasing a thief. There were easier ways to make a living, and definitely safer ways.
I breathed in the warm lobby air, laced with enough butter, fat, and salt to make me gain a couple of pounds just from walking through.
The ticket man watched me as I approached, jiggling my leg. “I’ve got to go. Could you save my spot in line?”
He rolled his eyes, the apex of teenage angst, and motioned me past. I’d been to my fair share of balls and knew where I’d go if I had a pair of shoes that were killing my feet. I headed straight to the bathroom. Nobody in the prep area, but I listened. There, soft sobbing, and the click of high heels on ceramic.
“The slippers won’t come off like that.” I hoped I wasn’t talking to a Grandma, but the sobbing cut off.
Grimm coalesced into the mirrored wall, his white hair framing the bald spot on his head. He looked at me over horn-rimmed glasses that masked eyebrows like a yeti’s. “Marissa, two minutes.”
If I’d had something handy, I’d have thrown it at the mirror. In the name of not having a magical disaster, I decided to commit the cardinal sin of the ladies room. I tried the stall door. As my hand touched it, the door burst open, hitting me in the face. Pain made the world flash white. I put my hand to my nose and felt the blood as she dashed out of the restroom. Grimm told me the shoes were enchanted, but the fact that she could run in three-inch heels meant serious magic. Now I knew I had the right girl. In the lobby, the fire alarms wailed as I came out of the bathroom, and I caught a glimpse of her running out. I charged after her, through the fire exit and into the alley.
I wasn’t afraid of your average dark alley. I had standard Agency-issue spells in my coat and a nine millimeter in my purse for dealing with the less dangerous pests, but even I knew you have to be careful with an upset woman.
She pulled at her feet and limped down the alley. “I’m not giving them back.”
No way was she going to outrun me. Tennis shoes might not be the height of fashion, but I wore them for their practicality. I slipped a bag out of my pocket. “This will let me take them off. You can’t remove them because you stole them.”
She stumbled, then slumped against the wall, her feet out in front of her. Passing taillights made the glass slippers glisten, moving and shifting, like something alive. That made sense, since Grimm said they were. The glass filled with red, like she’d cut her toe. The bloodstain spread up the sides of the glass and she began to gurgle and cry.
I pulled out my pocket compact. “Grimm, I might have a problem.”
“Tell me you have them.”
“Get out of there, Marissa. She’s not going to turn into a pumpkin.” His voice was firm and commanding. I’d never been the type to listen to firm or commanding. See, there was this thing about magic slippers. Use them with permission, and at midnight the whole deal expired. Steal them from a custom boutique on Fifth, and at midnight turning into a vegetable was the least of your worries.
She curled into a ball, kicking, growling, and making noises I’d never heard outside of the labor and delivery room. Running through the theater was out; heading back in there would introduce a whole load of teens to a different kind of monster than the movie ones. The loading bays down at the end of the alley didn’t look too promising, and now Princess PMS rose to her feet. The bloodred stains covered her from head to toe. Shadows covered her face, but where the orange wash of the street lights hit her she looked maroon.
“You want to let me help you?” I asked. The growling noise she made ruled out diplomacy. “Okay, we do it my way.”
She leaped at me. I’d mastered seven different forms of self-defense and I wore all four of the major protection charms, but one thing was constant: Whether my assailant was a drug addict or a bridge troll, pepper spray would leave them blind. So I ducked out of the way and gave her a dash of the scent I was sampling that day. It hit her like a brick, leaving her clawing at her eyes. I realized as she stumbled past that her nails were now at least three inches long and razor sharp.
She started sniffing the air, then like a dog, she ran straight into me, knocking me back to the Dumpster. Dumpsters hurt. I caught her arm before she could give me surprise plastic surgery and slammed her into the ground, pinning her underneath me.
That should have ended it, but she rolled over, throwing me to the side, and I barely stepped out of the way of those nails. She kicked at me and I caught her foot.
“Gotcha,” I said, rubbing the shoes with the bag. Grimm said the bag was made of genuine werewolf fur, but whatever it was, the effect was immediate. She thrashed and choked and kicked and I held on tight until she went limp. The slippers came off in my hand without a fight.
They glimmered under the streetlight, and for a moment I saw an image form in them: Me, walking down the street in them. No Agency bracelet on my wrist, a bag from shopping in my hand. I could be free, if only I put them on.
“Marissa,” said Grimm, speaking from the reflection in the shoes, “put them in the bag.”
I did, and the fantasy blew away like dry leaves down the sidewalk. My back hurt where I’d hit the Dumpster. My arm throbbed where she’d grabbed me, and my cheek had that hot feeling that said somewhere in her thrashing, she’d managed to nail me with a foot.
“I’m going home,” I said to my compact mirror. “What do you want me to do with her?”
“Leave her for the police. They’ll be there shortly. Evangeline needs your assistance on the Upper East Side, and there’s the matter of a troll.”
“I’m going home.” I knew full well he’d heard me the first time.
“I’ve got work for you, Marissa, and if you are ever to get your own ever after—”
“The only after I’m interested in right now is after a bottle of wine and after a long night’s sleep. I’ll see you when I’m ready for work.”
“Marissa, you need to ask yourself what you want more: A night’s sleep, or another job.”
I wiped a trace of blood off my lip, took a look at my bruises in the compact. Everything about me ached and the cold seeped out of the shadows into my bones. I put my hand on the bracelet and made my decision. “Tell Evangeline I’m on my way.” Nights like this made me wish I’d never gotten started in this business.
Author Bio: A Texas transplant to the Pacific Northwest, JC Nelson lives with a family and a flock of chickens near rainy Seattle.
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