ARC REVIEW: A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold + Review

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A Boy Called Bat

Elana K. Arnold

Published March 14th 2017 by Walden Pond Press

Middle gradeFiction | REalistic Fiction

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD

3 ★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

From acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso, A Boy Called Bat is the first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum.

For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

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REVIEW:

When I read the blurb of ABCB, I instantly remembered my younger brother and I want to admit that that’s one of the reasons why I want to read and review Elana’s book. Not only that, I’m an animal lover myself and even though Bat is way younger than me, it was not hard to feel for him while reading. But don’t let Bat’s age hinder you from reading ABCB. This book is genuine and very easy to read. That’s what I like the most. Arnolds writing was not hard to get in to and Bat’s story will make you care.

I also recommend A Boy Called Bat for young readers who are looking for their first read. I would want my kids  to read this someday so that they’ll have their introduction to authentic and diverse characters plus well written plot. This book is not only full of adorableness but full of heart as well. I’m looking forward to more Elana Arnold book no matter what age group she’s writing it for!

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300 Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own horse–a gorgeous mare named Rainbow–and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of Rubin Pfeffer Content

 

     

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5 Winners will receive a Copy of A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold!

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ARC REVIEW: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thicker than Water

Brigid Kemmerer

December 29th 2015

Young Adult > Mystery

432 pages (Kindle edition)

eARC via Netgalley

 

3★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasnt been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdads cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that theres any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And shed like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden

 

REVIEW:

I’m here because I’ve been attracted to you since the moment I saw you outside the church.

Yes that totally justifies hanging out with a guy who’s suspected of murder. Come on, he’s cute! Murder? How could he possibly?!

I’m here because you let your guard down around me sometimes, and I don’t think you do that with anyone else.

Seeing as you’re the only one who talks to him, what with him being a murder suspect and all. I can’t imagine anyone else who would willingly offer friendship to him. Well … except for you so yes, maybe that’s why. And also, you’re hot!!11

I’m here because you make me feel like I have something to offer the world, instead of being someone who needs to be sheltered away.

Ugh. 

Basically, what I hated about this book was how Charlotte kept romanticizing Thomas and how the first part of the book mainly focuses on her infatuation towards him that it somehow escaped her mind that the guy who’s making her all tingly inside is also suspected of murdering his mother. No biggie. These two could not be in a room together without either one of them thinking how hot the other is and wanting to tear each other’s clothes off. Like what is even with two of them?

It’s not clear who killed Thomas’ mother. That’s where the mystery begins. What we do know is that he just found her there lifelessly lying in bed. No forced entry. Not even a sign of struggle. Even though Thomas is the main character, I, as a reader, still did not eliminate the chance that he could be the murderer. So yes, I don’t care if Thomas gets Charlotte hot every time they’re near each other, I still think they were being stupid.

But still I trudged on forward even though it took me almost a month to get to the finish line. And wow I was impressed. Not because the mystery was so mind-blowing in the how did it even level. It was a little predictable actually. I was impressed by how this book hooked me and kept me on the edge of my seat for the second half part of the book. To think that just a few chapters ago, I was almost ready to dismiss this book as another careless mystery that couldn’t keep up to the genre (*cough* Never Never *cough*).

I’m no Sherlock and I admit, as soon as bits and pieces of clues were revealed, it was pretty easy to put them all together. But it still kept me wanting more.

All in all, Thicker Than Water is close to being a solid mystery. Like I said, mind-blogging is not what the book is, but what it offered was enough to keep me engaged all the way through the end. I still can’t let go of the characters stupidity though.

MARLAhbt

ARC REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

25733270The Girl From Everywhere

Heidi Heilig

Published February 16th 2016 by Greenwillow Books

YA >  Fantasy

464 pages

eARC for Review

 

 3★★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

 

REVIEW

I bet the reason I didn’t pick up this book earlier was because I am a cranky bitch, and the number of pages this has probably scared the ever living shit out of me.  So.  After reading this book, my first emotion was contentment.  I was content.  The Girl From Everywhere has everything I need from a YA Fantasy—it has a maps, really picturesque locations, local food from said locations and oooh it has a swoony love interest.  I was content.  But here’s the thing—after hearing a shit ton of stuff about this book, after having pie squealed on receiving a copy for review, after seeing all the people of GR loving this book, “contentment” is really the wrong emotion.  I want to be happy and excited and thrilled.  And my rating should definitely be higher than a 3, right?

The Girl From Everywhere begins right in the centre of the action.  Nix Song, our protagonist, is a very clever, very talented time traveller on a ship.  With her father, Slate–the Captain, who has special gifts of his own—she uses maps to hurl the ship through time and reach a specific destination, in a specific year.  So far so great.  But as the story unfolds, you discover that the path the ship takes, the places it travels to aren’t just a random drivel of locations; it is, in fact, a part of a a thorough, well planned search that Slate carries out for Nix’s mother who died in childbirth.  Of course, Nix has no chance but to help her troubled father get back to the woman he loves, but going back to her would mean that Nix might never be born.  Which means that the Nix of the present may perish.  This is, I think, all you need to know before you hop into the book.  Any more research may be spoiler-y, so you might want to steer clear of that.
The Girl From Everywhere {Novel Aesthetic}The book mainly consists of the “pirates” aboard the ship—Slate, who is the Captain, and the crew including Nix, Kashmir, Rotgut, a ghost!  There is so much diversity among the people aboard, and that was one of the things I loved most about the crew.  They were a funny lot, a loyal crew,  and yet there was a kind of experience that these people had, that was unmatched.  The way they spoke, the way they did certain things was indicative that the whole time-travelling jig wasn’t all smooth sailing (he he, I love puns) and I loved seeing that piece of authenticity!

Nix was…difficult to hate.  That’s the closest I can get to describing my experience of reading from her point of view.  You see, she’s not exactly the type you love in an instant, but she’s also no Bella Swan.  She’s tougher than she looks, and more complacent than she shows.  Her loyalties are unmatched, but there are times when you wonder if she’s going to just pick up her skirts and make a run for it.  Basically? UNPREDICTABLE. Her habit of overthinking is abhorrent, almost annoying to the point of wanting to commit bloody murder, but this endeared her to me immensely.  I’m the “majorly over-think until you lose your shit” types, and this was something I understood.  Kashmir (or Kash) was my favourite character in the book.  He is the ultimate book boyfriend, but his friendship with Nix is #goals.  His sass is unmatched and he’s a thief who had my heart from the moment he entered.  Complete and absolute sweetheart.  He had some of the funniest lines in the book, and I’d say he was the perfect, charming yin to Nix’s complicated, troubled yang.

My main reason of the 3 star rating was a couple of things I’d like to talk about next.  Firstly, love triangle.  Cannot stand those if my life depended on it.  The premises does not even hint at a third player in the story, and so I went into the book not expecting this at all. The third guy was…bleh.  Bland.  Too perfect, if that is a thing.  I was all, “No no nO NIX WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! ABORT ABORT ABORT.”  The sad part?  Nix spends more time with this guy than Kash. sob. sob sob sob.  Secondly, like I said, I was still mainly undecided about whether or not I liked Nix or not.  Didn’t hate her—far from it—but gahh.  I can’t make up my mind about her.  Guess I’ll only know about her once the next book comes out.  NEXT YEAR. sob sob sob.

Heidi Heilig has created a very complex, well-written, and might I say, a very charming set of characters for a story that is more myth and plot driven than anything else.  I loved how each chapter, each thread of dialogue brought to light something new about the characters, something you might have missed before.  Add to that the fact that most of the book takes place in 19th century Hawaii, all the myths and traditions, and the entire *cough*heist*cough* she-bang was done beautifully, you can’t complain at all that the book isn’t well researched!  If you’re okay with the whole still-unresolved-love-traingle thing, please please go read this book!  Maps, diversity, swoons, ships, dragons—this book really does have everything!

 

 

 

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ARC REVIEW: Rumor Has It by Farrah P. Polestico

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Rumor Has It

Farrah P. Polestico

Published November 30th 2015 by Smashwords Edition

YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | Kobo | Smashwords 

 

3 ★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

It’s senior year and it’s now or never. Callie Rivera always wanted to be part of her school’s drama club, and she finally musters the courage to audition for Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Only she got the audition dates wrong and landed a role that only existed in her wildest dreams. And her co-actor? None other than Landon Arcival, theater actor extraordinaire, not to mention Callie’s (former) crush— or so she says.


Callie is living the dream, until she wakes up to a nightmare. According to the rumor mill, she is sleeping with different guys in her school. Of course, it isn’t true, but who would believe her? And the worst part? It may or may not be her fault the rumors spread in the first place.


What to do? Callie finds herself in the middle of a hot mess. But then Landon proposes the perfect plan that can fix everything, but only if they don’t fall for each other first.

 

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REVIEW:

 

“It’s only romantic when it’s Shakespeare”

 

Let me just start off by saying that although Rumor Has It may have a rather NA-ish cover, the novel is nothing but sweet and it very much belongs to the ya genre. This story reminded me of Easy A when it started. That fact made me happy and a bit nervous somehow. Nervous because I was fearing that the story will flow just like what happened in the movie. But I was relieved when it was starting to get obvious that the author is making her own spin and by the near end, Rumor Has It is totally standing in its own story.

I like Calie. I’m pretty sure we, especially girls, have been in her position where you think the only logical thing to do is lie. And you may think that it’s not gonna do any harm but in the end, you’ll have to face the consequence of that lie you made. Calie is likeable and a character that girls will relate to. Just like every high school girl in this world, she just likes to fit in, survive highschool unscathed and make all those goals and dreams come true. But who said that highschool is easy? NO ONE. Because it’s not.

The romantic aspect of Rumor Has It take a huge part of the story. It was sweet and perfect for tweenteens readers. Although I wish it didn’t move in such a fast pace and that we got to know more about our love interest, people will be charmed. Nobody can resist those popular-unpopular love tales. And the fact that our main characters are involved in plays and reciting Shakespeare like it’s the easiest thing in the world, it just made them more precious in my eyes.

Rumor Has It is a short yet satisfying contemporary read. Perfect for readers who inhale ya contemporaries like crack. Its about friendships, staying true to who you are and of course, young love. 

 

AUTHOR:

 

Twitter | Website | Goodreads 

Farrah F. Polestico wanted to be a lot of things in life— an engineer, a nurse, an astrophysicist. But it wasn’t until she was thirteen when she knew for sure she was going to be a published writer. And now she is. When she’s not up all night writing her next book, you can find her reading anything and everything from a Charles Dickens novel to old grocery receipts.


   

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ARC REVIEW: Proof Of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

18520642Proof Of Forever

Lexa Hillyer

Published June 2nd 2015 by HarperTeen

YA >  Contemporary

352 pages

eARC for Review

 

 ★★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.

After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.

Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.

Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.

Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.

REVIEW

Proof Of Forever, on first glance, is Disney material. From the cover to the theme to the entire idea of being thrown back into time courtesy of a Photo Booth. Very idyllic. And that is the frame of mind I went with into this book. And I’m pleased to report, that this book was nothing like the cheese fest or the fluffy cotton candy I expected. It was honest and real and even though it wasn’t perfect, it’s going to be a book I’m going to remember for a long while.

This book is about time travel but it’s not your typical Sci-Fi. This book is also technically about four girls and their (mis)adventures, but it’s about so many more characters. Basically, Proof Of Forever is not your typical Contemporary so DO NOT judge it that way. The book follows four girls, Tali, Luce, Zoe and Joy. They used to be best friends and they’d sworn to remain best friends after their last summer at Camp Okahatchee. But as these things usually go, life got in the way, and they drifted apart, almost becoming strangers to each other. But two years later, when Joy suggests they all meet up at the reunion night of Camp OK, they grudgingly agree, only to be thrown back into time to two years ago, when they were fifteen; their last summer at the camp. There they realise that they have to do everything the way they’d done it before, so as not to alter their futures. But while their bodies might be fifteen years old, each of them have changed and grown. The book is all about how they deal with their growth and reconcile themselves with the people that they’ve grown into (or will grow into) and their attempts to go back to their time again.

The book was rather predictable where it came to plot—I was sure right away about certain things that would happen and I turned to to be right. This is the precise reason I found myself having a so-so opinion where it came to the story itself. Talking about each character is a little easier, because the end result was predictable (to me, at least), the way they went about their days at the camp weren’t. They were not all perfect human beings, and they did a lot of things that I didn’t quite agree with, but I suppose it did enhance the whole learning curve that the girls experienced.

I’ll also admit–the book is rather slow. It’s written as third person POV, in four different POVs, and while I’d like to say that each girl had a different, unique voice, that isn’t completely true. After a certain point, the characters started to blend into one for me, which sucks, and I had to physically make notes trying to remember who is who. It might be just me, but yeah. That happened.

Again, if you do choose to read the book, don’t do it for the story itself, meaning the time-travelling part. I found myself enjoying the symbolism behind each character and what they learnt and how they learnt it, and I think you might too. The writing too was not quite my type, but it was perfect for the mood of the book,and that was amazing. It doesn’t grab you, but it definitely lures you into continuing to read the book. All in all, as far as “coming-of-age” YA goes, Proof of Forever may be something you might want to try if you’re looking for a bitter sweet ending and a couple of cute summer romances!

 

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