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review 2017-05-26 08:55
A good story but lacking in romance
Pete and the Werewolf - Cassandra Pierce

I liked the story and the world-building but unfortunately the romance was underdeveloped. Time jumps in the relationship and not even fade to black romance meant that it was hard to feel any chemistry between the leads. I'd have liked several more chapters to fill in the blanks and give us just a modicum of heat.

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review 2017-05-26 06:02
Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
The Whole Thing Together - Ann Brashares

Quick review for a somewhat quick read for me, though it felt like I had to push myself through this novel several times. "The Whole Thing Together" has many issues, but I would echo concerns that much of this novel suffers from rampant cliches, insensitive references in the measure of racial attribution (considering it uses a racial slur casually and struggles constantly to accurately and sensitively portray the multiracial character who struggles with her identity) and sexism (slut shaming and odd fixations on physical details of the characters). In addition to those issues, I think the biggest downfall of this novel really came in that I just couldn't find a space to connect with the characters. Not as much as I wanted to, because there were parts of the narrative that had the potential to go interesting places, but never quite reached that point and abruptly halted in places where the development could've provided more intimacy than the narration allowed.

At its heart, "The Whole Thing Together" is a family drama, showcasing teens as well as young adults in a separate sections of the same family struggling through multiple phases and revelations in their lives. Think "Parenthood" or "Brothers and Sisters" in terms of TV dramas, only I think the characters in this novel were far less fleshed out. As ambitious as this narrative sought to be, it tried to take on far too much in a narrow scope, to the point where nothing really worked well. The narrative voices blended far too much for me to truly connect to them (I don't mind third-person omniscient POV, I read it quite often in many genres). I would hesitate to call this YA, it feels more like it straddles the line between YA and New Adult (at least if you think about certain themes tackled in this book).

The surprise revelation towards the ending was emotional, but I honestly think that it could've had more impact if the character constructions were stronger. In the end, it's a narrative with strong intentions, but the execution leaves an unmemorable and sometimes offputting portrayal that doesn't showcase the best of what Brashares can do, and as someone who liked the Sisterhood series, this left me greatly disappointed.

Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.

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review 2017-05-25 20:05
Review: The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis
The Whitby Witches (Egmont Modern Classics) - Robin Jarvis


I would like to thank Egmont Publishing for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

I somehow managed to miss this author's books as they were originally released many years before my own children were of age to read them. Last year I happened across his newer series, The Witching Legacy and have since read both books one and two and loved them. So when I saw this one I was eager to delve into it, especially as it's set in Whitby like the newer books.

 

The Whitby Witches was a lot of fun. It was full of adventure, imagination, and danger. I was completely swept along with the characters and their story. The writing was easy to read and the world was vividly described. It was wonderfully dark and atmospheric and a lot of fun all round. Everything was so easily pictured in my mind as I read. It was like being a child all over again, reliving that wonderful sense of adventure, danger and anticipation.

 

The only negative aspect, and it's not something that's particular to this story alone but something that seems to be a trend across many children's stories and books and something I'm more aware of now as a mother, is the fact that the majority of villains or bad guys in children's stories always seem to have some kind of disfigurement or disability. They are always "ugly" scarred or disfigured in some way. Why are we portraying this kind of message to our children? How a person looks doesn't portray whether they are good or bad. Beauty is only skin deep, the outside does not reflect who a person is on the inside. "Monsters" can look just like everyone else and just because someone isn't what most would class as "normal" it doesn't make them the bad guy to be feared. Perhaps that is too scary of a concept in truth for children but it's reality. Anyway, I realise this is a more general comment and not something particular to this book alone but it's something that I found myself contemplating after finishing this one so I wanted to comment on it.

 

All in all, The Whitby Witches was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm going to have to get my hands on the rest of the series now.

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2017-05-25 08:13
Allie and Bea
Allie and Bea - Catherine Ryan Hyde

By:  Catherine Ryan Hyde 

ISBN:  978-1477819715

Publisher:  Lake Union 

Publication Date: 5/23/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Master storyteller, Catherine Ryan Hyde returns following Say Good-Bye for Now landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016 with another emotional thought-provoking saga ALLIE AND BEA – two protagonists from different generations caught up an unfair system find they may learn something from one another.

The best and worst of humanity.

Bea a senior barely making it on her small social security check. Her husband is deceased and she resides in a mobile home with her cat Phyllis. Her savings is nearly depleted trying to make ends meet.

Then a phone scammer saying he is from the IRS to collect back taxes. Quickly her money is gone. Wiped out. She has nowhere to turn and nowhere to live. Even her rent check will bounce since someone wiped out her bank account.

Feeling stupid and helpless, she has to change her direct deposit bank account and decides she has no choice but to live in her old van with her cat; and leaves her things with a friend. She barely has enough money for gas and food for another month until she receives her next social security check.

Then she is faced with the impossible and begins doing things she never thought she would do in order to survive. Bea does not have any knowledge of cell phones, nor the internet. She never had the opportunity to do much traveling nor see the world. She is rough around the edges, and over the years she has learned not to let others in or get too close. She does not trust easily, cynical, and now a loner. How will she continue to survive sleeping in her van and too old for a job?

Told from two points of view, we meet Allie. Allie is a teen and wise beyond her years. She is smart and has strong principals and integrity. She is a devout vegan and very strict with her food and lifestyle.

She has just discovered her mom and dad are being arrested for tax fraud and being sent to jail. She is left with a social worker, and has to leave her home, friends, school, and all her possessions -
taken to a group home. Allie has no clue of the evil of this world.

All this is foreign to Allie. She soon learns people in this world are not so nice. Some of the girls are very dangerous at the group home and things get out of hand. She has nowhere to turn and no money. Then her only hope is a friend who helps her escape and soon finds herself in another nightmare even worse than what she left. Human trafficking.

She has one shot in order to escape a madman. Soon an unlikely old woman and a runaway teen connect. Two lives both desperate. They soon discover they may learn some hard life lessons together.

As always, Hyde takes readers on a thought-provoking adventure. It may not be an easy road; however, her characters always find a way to connect with someone on a different path to change their lives. Fate intersects. They may not know the reason for the encounter, but you can be assured they were meant to take the journey.

Even though I could relate to Bea being a senior, had to think of my recent experience with my dad, age 86 yrs old with this crazy healthcare system and a recent phone scam. Luckily he did not get sucked into this and lose his money.

 

I also related to Allie in so many ways. She is wise beyond her years. She has integrity. I am also a vegan and some of the reactions are ones I face daily. I had to laugh when I went to a shelter during our last Florida hurricane evacuation. I could eat nothing they had. It was good I packed some healthy snacks and was able to go home the following day. Being a vegan is foreign to many in our world. Lots of laughs between the two.

I admired Allie for her strong principals; however, it also demonstrated how when faced with survival, how people get desperate enough to cross moral and ethical lines. A heartwarming story of the kindness of others. She taught Bea so much about herself.

No one can take you on a better road trip adventure than Catherine Ryan Hyde— mixed with life messiness, emotion, heart, and lots of humor. I think we have all been close to living in our car at one time or another, in our lives when things have looked hopeless.

A good look at our broken system and how it fails the young and the old in different and similar ways. When this happens, we may not always have a family; however, there may be a guardian angel where we least expect through the kindness of a stranger.

The highs and loves of life! The cracks in life let the light through. After reading a CRH book you want to rush out and do something good for someone, or volunteer at a homeless shelter. Help someone less fortunate. You want to give back. Life changing moments. Inspiring.

In addition to the reading copy, also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Lauren Ezzo and Janet Metzger with an engaging performance for both voices. Loved the journey along the Pacific Coast. One of my favorite cities: Santa Barbara, CA! I was curious to see how these two souls from different walks of life would connect - fans will enjoy this one.

From an online interview with the author we get a glimpse into what’s coming next:

“After Allie and Bea will come a novel called The Wake-Up, about a former cattle rancher who becomes so sensitive to the emotions of others that his entire life is turned upside-down. And all this just as he’s trying to find his way with a seriously abused new stepson who can’t be trusted around his animals.” Read more

Ironically, have read many of CRH books ; however, realized this evening I have never watched or read, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s international sensation, Pay It Forward, the moving story of Trevor McKinney, a 12-year-old boy who accepts his social studies teacher’s challenge to come up with a plan to change the world. Rented it tonight on Amazon Kindle- highly recommend if you have not read the book or watched the movie. (have some Kleenex handy).

A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/01/Allie-and-Bea
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review 2017-05-25 04:03
I am so Sad!!!
IDA - Alison Evans IDA - Alison Evans

When I saw this book on Netgalley it looked like a book I would really enjoy. I am so sad because this was not the case !!!!!! I couldn't handle the talking in the book, so I just couldn't finish the book. 

I will say  I did like what I did read about Ida, as well as her girlfriend Daisy. I just gave up at 27 %. But I was ready to give up at 20% but wanted to give the book a fair chance. But I just couldn't do it.

I will also have to admit that I was confused about the storyline as well, I just think that the way certain individuals talked in the book just distracted me so bad that I just couldn't get past it. I am sure other individuals that will read this book wouldn't be bothered by this, and I wish I could have been one of them.

I would say give this book a chance because even though I didn't like the book doesn't mean you will be like me. 

I would like to also mention that I was the person that asked to read this book. No one made me, and my opinion is my own and no one else's. Thanks so much NetGalley for the chance. 

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