Posts Categorized: 4 star books

Mini Reviews: Magic and Chills Edition + Giveaway

Mini Reviews: Magic and Chills Edition + Giveaway

Today I’m taking a look at three books, two fantasy and one thriller, all featuring female leads ranging the badass spectrum from “totally” to “eh, not really.” One of them is also one of my favorite reads of 2013 and we’re giving away a finished paperback! Two of these covers are so summery and fantastical and leave me just longing for warmer weather. Even though it’s spring, the cold weather is hanging on here in Philly; it snowed just a few days ago! Coincidentally, I didn’t like the snowy covered book nearly as much as the pretty fantasy books. Let’s see what happened.  Title: A Snicker of Magic  Author: Natalie Lloyd  Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars  Release Date: February 25, 2014  Publisher: Scholastic Press  Age Group: MG  Source: Advance copy provided by the publisher  A Snicker of Magic is such a charming and delightfully Southern little story. The enchantingly named Felicity  Pickle is on a quest… Read more »

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Dress the Part: Panic

Dress the Part: Panic

Dress the Part is a monthly feature in which I use my past life as a costume designer and personal stylist to help the ladies of YA express themselves visually. This month we’re looking at Heather from Lauren Oliver’s Panic, a book about a young woman whose life falls apart the summer after she graduates from high school, leading her to behave recklessly and enter a weird contest that… I’m actually not sure how to finish that sentence, guys. It’s like this crazy daredevil game they play in her shitty little town. It totally sounds like something my friends and I would have participated in (the kids do some stupid, stupid, scary things), but the winner somehow wins tens of thousands of dollars, and I just can’t wrap my mind around where the money comes from. I kept flipping back through, trying to make sense of it, but I just couldn’t…. Read more »

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The Impossible Knife of Memory: review

The Impossible Knife of Memory: review

I understand now why Laurie Halse Anderson is one of those writers readers never fail to keep track off. I read Speak several years ago and remember feeling how it stood stark naked amongst other books I had read before it. Anderson’s writing is poetic yet so daringly outspoken that you can’t help but stop and listen. Anderson is famous (or infamous) for tackling varying degrees of heavy subjects. This may be her most ambitiously profound yet. It’s about Hayley Kincain. Daughter of Andy Kincain. Step-daughter of Trish. Homeschool-ed, truck-driving, cross-country traveling, socially-inept yet bad ass Hayley Kincain. Hayley enters her senior year in an actual school for the first time in her life. She and her father move into his childhood home, where she spent her early years living with Gramma. After her death, Hayley spent the next years criss-crossing the country as map navigator to her truck-driving father…. Read more »

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Dress the Part: Uninvited (plus giveaway!)

Dress the Part: Uninvited (plus giveaway!)

Dress the Part is a monthly feature in which I use my past life as a costume designer and personal stylist to help the ladies of YA express themselves visually. This month I’m gonna take a look at Davy from Sophie Jordan’s Uninvited, a book about a future world in which we have found a way to test for “the kill gene.” Poor Davy’s cozy upper middle class existence is ripped away from her when she tests positive for the gene, and she pretty quickly loses everything she cares about (her future at Juilliard, her boyfriend, her friendships, etc.). More importantly for our purposes here, she has to get a huge fucking neck tattoo. So Davy gets her neck ink, and a few chapters later she is described as wearing khaki shorts, a bright blue tank top, and tennis shoes. With the ladybug necklace her dad bought her for her… Read more »

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A Mad, Wicked Folly: review

A Mad, Wicked Folly: review

I’m sure you’ve seen this cover making its round in the book community. Even I find it quite catching, and I’ve been known to criticize a YA cover once or twice…or most-times. But that’s beside the point. What I want to say is that I think Sharon Biggs Waller’s A Mad, Wicked Folly deserves popularity. Because, truly, if one’s decision whether or not to read a book is based on synopsis alone this book would’ve been discarded easily. The premise promises drama and opulence to some, monotony and exasperation to others. It promises nothing more than what we’ve all read before: a girl trying to defy her circumstances, a girl with morals, goals, and personality. But they’re always a let down. Not here. Not Victoria Darling. Not Sharon Biggs Waller. A Mad, Wicked Folly is a historical young adult fiction that does its job; it entertains while imparting knowledge. Victoria… Read more »

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Neverwas: review

Neverwas: review

Neverwas is the highly anticipated second installment in the Amber House trilogy. This book starts off on quite a spin. At the end of Amber House, Sarah rescues both her little brother Sam and her aunt Maggie from the dream world which changes the course of the future. Neverwas is consequently based on an alternate present — a time when the Nazis won WWII; when the world continents are divided under the oppressive commands of the German and Japanese empires; and when racial segregation is still routine. In comparison, Neverwas is a departure from its predecessor. It is bigger and more ambitious in scale, moving away from domestic drama into an all-out, no holds barred, twilight zone-esque fight to save the “real” world. It is still frightening, still mysterious and still gripping — only that the source of these fears and mysteries have slightly changed along with history. In other… Read more »

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Avalon: review

Avalon: review

When I was 21, a mutual acquaintance introduced me to Buzz Aldrin at a cocktail party. We had been talking for under thirty seconds when he just turned around and walked away.  While I was in the middle of speaking.  I got to talk to the second human to walk on the moon, and I was so boring he couldn’t even be bothered to make up a polite excuse for turning his back on me mid-sentence.  It was the greatest moment of my life. Because I love space.  Space adventures are among my favorite things in the world.  And Avalon is a really, really fun addition to this genre.  I mean, it has laser guns and a cute boy.  What is there to complain about? Not much, but… well, a few things bothered me. For instance, two (male) members of the Avalon’s crew are virtually indistinguishable from each other, character-wise,… Read more »

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