Thursday, March 2, 2017

Kena the Good Hyena: Left Out by Gabriela Arellano and Gustavo Mazali




Goodreads Summary

Kena's birthday is coming. The cub invites all his classmates to his party, except one: Bako. Kena's mom intervenes to have Bako invited as well.
At the end, Kena realizes that a single act of friendship can lead to a beautiful outcome.



My Thoughts

This was a cute little book with a great message.  As an elementary teacher, I am always trying to get the children to be kind and be friends with each other.  This book was a great tool in helping them to understand a little better why excluding each other can hurt feelings. I read it to my class and they didn't see it as a "lesson" but instead just a fun time of classroom reading.

Thank you, Gabriela Arellano, for sending this book to me!  I love having new books to read to my class!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain by Diane Solomon and Mark Carey



Goodreads Summary

"You were born to this path! This quest is your fate."

Imagine a raven appearing out of thin air and guiding you to an exquisitely carved icon that glows with ancient light and pulses with shamanic power.

This is how the adventure begins for Nadia and Aidan Shaw, thirteen-year-old twins, who live in idyllic Cold Spring, New York, on the banks of the Hudson River.  Armed with the power of the Ravenstone and their own special gifts, they embark on a harrowing quest across centuries, at the bidding of a mysterious old shaman. They must depend on their courage, their faith in their friends, and luck. Or is it destiny?

If they succeed, what they bring back could change the course of human existence.



My Thoughts

The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain may have been written for children/middle grade readers but I loved it!  When asked to read and review this book I figured it would be a cute little book and that if I wasn't able to get into it (since it is a children's/middle grade book) I would consider having my daughter read and review it for me.  Well, that clearly wasn't an issue at all!  I will tell her that she should read it, but only because it was so good!

I don't recall reading many, if any, books about twins so that was interesting in itself.  There were honestly so many interesting things in this book!  It kept me wanting to read and I found myself trying to sneak in extra times to read a chapter or two.  As a matter of fact, I "went to bed" early so that I could finish it last night!

I will certainly be recommending this book!  Not just to children or middle graders, but to anyone who enjoys reading science fiction, fantasy, action, magical type genres.  Thank you, Mark Carey, for sending this book to me!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Game by Angie West




Goodreads Summary

Do you want to play a game? 

Lei Guthrie and her best friend, Iris, have a tradition. Every Friday night after work they play a game, preferably vintage, the weirder the better. So when Lei finds a romance novel trivia game rumored to be cursed, she couldn’t be happier. Until she and Iris become trapped in the game. The rules are simple. Make it through three romance novel scenes gone horribly wrong and retrieve a silver key from each. Oh yeah, and stay alive. 

My Thoughts

I went into this book somewhat blind.  I get so many review requests a day so I couldn't exactly remember which one this was.  Once I started reading it I vaguely remembered the synopsis but still wasn't completely sure what it was going to be about.  It had me pulled in pretty quick.

First of all, I love the idea of having a weekly game night where you play games you pick up at a thrift store!  Sounds so fun!  Now, with that being said, I don't like the idea of a cursed or haunted game! Lol!

The Game is a very entertaining novella with a storyline that I've never read anything even close to before.  There were times when it was funny and other times intense.  I did want a bit more to the story.  It was very open ended and left me wanting more.

Thank you, Angie West, for sending this book to me!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Elimination by Marina Epley



Goodreads Summary

ELIMINATION is the first novel in THE MIND BREAKER trilogy, set in a violent dystopian world where governmental forces hunt down, imprison and even kill those with psychic abilities.
Rex is an eighteen-year-old mind breaker hoping to keep a low profile. Unfortunately, he was forced to use hypnosis on criminals during an attempted bank robbery, revealing his abilities. Now considered a national threat to society, he has to flee through devastated countryside in order to remain alive. Even worse, by going on the run, he’s endangering his one and only friend Kitty, another strong hypnotist.
Rex soon realizes that together they make a vulnerable target. And the only way to save Kitty is to allow himself to be captured, thus diverting attention while his friend escapes. But nothing goes as planned, as his actions only serve to push Kitty into an even worse situation than a life sentence in prison. With his world falling apart, Rex must figure out how to fix his accumulating mistakes and regain their freedom before it’s too late.
What Rex doesn’t yet understand, is that he may soon play a major role in preventing all-out war between ordinary humans and mind breakers, a war which could lead to total extinction of the entire human race.



My Thoughts

So.  Good.  SO GOOD!  I really, really enjoyed this book!  It's been a while since I enjoyed a YA book this much.  Don't get me wrong, I have liked a lot of books, but this one... I didn't want to put it down.  I had to since I'm an adult with a job and a family and all, but I really didn't want to!

Here's a little tidbit about me, I prefer to read books where the protagonist is female.  I think it's just because I can relate to them more.  However, Elimination was the kind of book where I didn't care at all that the protagonist was male.  And let me add that Rex was a very good character.  Seriously, all of the characters were great.  Some were great in an 'I love this guy/girl!' kind of way and some were great in an 'Oh, I hate this guy/girl!' kind of way.  Both show great writing and a really great book.

Thank you to the author, Marina Epley, for sending this wonderful book to me!  It is on the top of my recommendations list!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Lesson in Classical Painting by Juliette Aristides



Goodreads Summary

A companion volume to Lessons in Classical Drawing and an atelier in book form, Lessons in Classical Painting breaks down the foundational skills and techniques of painting in a format that is accessible and manageable for all readers. 

With the same direct, easy-to-follow approach of Juliette Aristides's previous books, Lessons in Classical Painting presents aspiring artists with the fundamental skills and tools needed to master painting in the atelier style. With more than 25 years of experience in ateliers and as an art instructor, Aristides pairs personal examples and insights with theory, assignments and demonstrations for readers, discussions of technical issues, and inspirational quotes. After taking a bird's eye look at painting as a whole, Aristides breaks down painting into big picture topics like grisaille, temperature, and color, demonstrating how these key subjects can be applied by all painters.



My Thoughts

One thing you may not know about me is that I love to paint.  When I was younger I used to draw all the time.  I would pick up a paintbrush and would feel too intimidated to actually paint anything.  Just in the last few years I have learned to really love painting.  I'd say it's a pretty good tie to reading!

When I saw this book on the list of choices to review I knew it was the one for me.  I have enjoyed leaning new techniques and practicing the different paintings in the book.  This book taught me a lot and refreshed my memory on things that I had previously learned.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Chasing Symmetry by Tempeste Blake



Goodreads Summary

Someone had been trying for the perfect shade of red . . .
When art professor Bianca James tries to save a dying woman, the grudge-holding chief of police is all too quick to catapult her to the top of the suspect list. As if that isn’t enough, her ex-boyfriend’s younger brother, Finn Tierny, is assigned to the case, and she’s faced with a trilogy of dilemmas: go head to head with the chief, stop a cold-blooded killer on her own, or trust another Tierny.
Finn’s return to Riley’s Peak is bittersweet. He’s flooded with memories, both good and bad, as he battles doubts about being a cop, a cantankerous father, a jealous brother, and a drug dealer with a rap-sheet longer than the list of addicts he’s been supplying. 
Threats escalate, the suspect list grows, and it becomes clear—the murderer’s resolve to kill Bianca is almost as strong as Finn’s desire to keep her alive.
Almost.



My Thoughts

I love murder mysteries! When I was contacted about reading this book, I was beyond excited!  And then when I received it in the mail along with a note and special little "gift" from the author, I was ecstatic!  I wanted to dive right in... but, sadly, my TBR list was ridiculously long so I had to wait a while.

So, the time came that I could get into this book and I wasn't disappointed!  I am usually pretty good at figuring out 'who done it' but not this time.  I was wrong!  Very wrong.  This book is full of surprises and keeps you guessing the whole time.

Now, I could have done without the 'romance' things in this book.  And, honestly, the choice words were a bit much for my liking.  Those were the only reasons that I chose to give Chasing Symmetry 4 stars instead of 5.

I will definitely be recommending this book to fellow mystery lovers!  Chasing Symmetry will be a book that I keep for my collection!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, January 27, 2017

EKO by Loren Walker



Goodreads Summary


Shortlisted for the 2016 Half the World Global Literari Award. 
2016 Shelf Unbound Best Indie "Notable 100" Pick
Select Pick by the Library Journal's Self-e Module. 

Midnight in Osha: an injured woman is left at the gates of a commune. Eighteen-year-old Sydel, an apprentice hungry to prove her worth, is certain that healing the blue-haired stranger will finally win the respect of her community. But tensions spike when two men appear in search of their sister: Phaira, the woman in the clinic. And when Sydel’s experimental medical treatments prove successful, instead of offering accolades, her elders make the sudden decision to banish her. 

Guilt-ridden, Phaira and her brothers, Renzo and Cohen, offer shelter to the bewildered girl, and take Sydel with them into the violent, industrial North. Then the reason behind the expulsion comes to light: Sydel is an Eko, a being that can read minds and accelerate healing. And when word of her talents goes public, Sydel becomes a valuable prize to possess, with the siblings as her only means of defense.



My Thoughts

First, let me just say that Eko is an extremely fascinating book.  It follows the story of a girl named Sydel.  She basically has a unique ability, called Eko, that allows her to hear people's thoughts and even send her thoughts to them.  Sydel isn't the only person with this special ability.

When I first started reading this book I had a little bit of a difficult time getting into it.  You're kind of thrown right in with no backstory so it is hard to keep up with what is happening.  It was about a third of the way through the book that everything finally clicked and it all made sense.  Don't get me wrong, it was all still very interesting even when I didn't fully understand exactly what was happening haha!  But when it clicked...Aha!  It went from good to great!

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the YA Dystopian/sci-fi genre.  It's a good one!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.